How I Learned To Tie My Shoe Strings

It was probably my eldest sister who first taught me to tie my shoe when I was a child.  She had a bunch of responsibilities.  Among these was to look out for 4 little hoodlums (my other siblings and I).

Growing up, I was not very fond of shoes.  We loved exploring land, pond and sea, barefoot.  It was a weird kind of connection that drew flesh on nature, and when I went home crying because a rusty nail, shell, piece of glass, or iron punctured or cut my foot bottom (Very often.  BTW, no tetanus shots either), you better believe I suffered another pain (pounding of a slipper or belt on my butt) for running around barefoot–a swift lesson of  ’cause and effect’ that I soon forgot.  This was part of island life.  We lived simple.  It was beautiful (except all the ass whopping I got).

Coming to America was supposed to be liberating, but I soon found it restrictive.  Gone are the days of roaming around barefoot exploring the land, sea, pond, and environment.  Instead, they were mostly locked up in a shot-gun house in New Orleans, and not allowed to go outside for too long.  Unlike in Roatan island where we collected shells, flowers, fruits, etc, the only thing we could possibly collect outdoor were bullets and pollutions.  And my feet (mom said they are beautiful) were mostly encased in a pair of Payless shoes.  And I learned to tie these well, just in case I have to try run from a bullet.  This is what I remember.

Back in college days I started running longer distances (2-3 miles tops).  Oftentimes I had a loose shoe string and would stop to tie it, which was a bummer.  Life continued this way because I didn’t know of any other technique than a simple bow, and I’d tie that booger with all my might.   So I went on years working with the single knot the ice age way.

A few years ago in Jan Jose I learned to double knot (one bow, and follow again with loops of the bow as if tying another bow.  One bow, two knots–one on top of the another) those bad-boyz tennis strings.  I’d had enough of the stop-tie-and-try to crank up momentum again routine.  I remember it very well.   One day I ran out of the apartment off to Santa Theresa Blvd and looked down to find…  LAWD!  The bow was un-tied.  In anger I re-tied that shoe, and with a not so pleasant word, gave it a second knot, and voila!  A ‘lil bit of anger and desperation brought about a big change in my game.

The above double bow-knot technique has served me well–when I am careful to tie those strings twice.  It has become a habit, but during ING Miami Marathon 2013, after stopping at the medics pass the half marathon mark to slap some Vaseline on that screaming blistered pinkie toes, I forgot to double tie.  I paid for this simple negligence.

Now that we got this two-knot-bow deal straight, and I hope we have, let me tell you that I’m trying to find a way to avoid another source of grief I encounter in running long miles.  Really, there are two very unsightly and painful challenges I am trying to overcome:

  1. How to Avoid blisters
  2. How to avoid loosing a toenail

OYE!  You may be ahead of this game, and may be able to tell me what works for you, and I am “ALL EARS” here, so lay it on me.  For now, here are a few adjustment I’ve learned to make over the past years of running long distance.  I’ve been working with these suggestions so far and I believe they are making some difference.  Without delay here they are: