My Beloved Nile Tulip Shoes Delivered Victory

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Nike Free 3.0. This is the Nike Brand of running shoes that my feet slipped into that morning of 6th of July. I bought them in Gikomba flea market sometimes in 2018. I bought them alongside three other pairs. But these have always been my favorite, and there is a big reason for that. I even gave them a name - Nile Tulip, named after one of my favorite trees. John, the guy who sold them to me is from Coastal Kenya. A short, stout and light-skinned fellow, he is one of those semi-jovial people. In a one-minute conversation with him, he will come forth as both reserved and outgoing. It’s as if his personality can’t quite decide what it wants to be.

At exactly 4.40AM, the Nile Tulips hit the ground running. Within three steps, I knew that this would be an awesome run. The hamstring muscles at the back of my thighs were relaxed like a dawn ocean breeze. They were unleashing the power in my legs. The quadriceps muscles at the front of my thighs were also on a roll, as were the adductor muscles that live inside my thighs. With these trio of muscles smiling widely, my beloved shoes were springing ahead, faster and faster.

When I finished the first kilometer, my running app known as mapmywalk informed me that I had completed that first kilometer in 5:19 minutes. I smiled at the full moon. I had never run the first kilometer this fast. After saluting the moon, I excitedly gazed down at my Nile Tulips and silently thanked Phil Knight for founding Nike shoe company way back in 1964, when Barack Obama was three years old.

In 2018 when I bought the Nile Tulips, I was so impressed with them that I decided to read the entire story of Nike. Luckily for me, two years earlier, Phil Knight the founder of Nike had published ‘Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike.’ For one week, I devoured this book and drew immense inspiration from the story of Nike. I learnt how the ‘NIKE’ name was revealed in a dream to Jeff Johnson, an early employee of the company. Its the name of the Greek goddess of victory.

As I ran along Moi Drive and approached the Umoja 2 Junction, I looked down at my Nike shoes and felt like giving them a high-five. I felt energized by the knowledge that my Nike shoes had their origins in the business dreams of Phil Knight, his co-founder Bill Bowerman and their early employees. Thanks to those business dreams, I was able to wear these Nike sneakers that helped me to complete the second kilometer in 5:26 minutes. For the third kilometer along Usain Stretch, I ran even faster and finished it in 5:19 minutes.

This fast pace lingered on for the entire 11.5 kilometers, resulting in an average of 5.45 minutes per kilometer, my best ever time on this route.

When I entered my house all sweaty and weary, I removed my shoes and gave them a long, loving look.

“We did it!” I said jubilantly to them.

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