Hello my running shoe friends.
I see you sitting there, ready for another workout. But not today. We need to talk. I’ve dreaded this day for the last month or so but I think we both felt it coming.
Oh sure you still look pretty good on the outside. Yes, yes I do remember picking you out at the store and being impressed with your silver, red and black colors. It reminded me of my school colors at Washington State University. And yes, my goodness yes, I really did like the way you embraced my foot when I slipped you on—it's why I picked you above all the others.
But come on shoes, be reasonable. It’s been six months. We’ve covered hundreds of miles. You’re not exactly a spring chicken anymore. What? Oh- it’s a saying that means you’re old. Well not old but, lets say, experienced.
I mean look at your heels. They’re smooth now, the grooves worn down. Hey, come now. You don’t have to be angry like that.
Yes I know you told me to pick up my feet more than once but you’ve seen the sidewalks – they’re a bit uneven and scraping happens when I run. And sure it’s worse when I’m tired. Alright I’ll admit that! But it’s because, I’m tired! And that’s part of your job anyway-cushioning my feet and ankles and knees when my form gets ugly.
Ah shoes, let’s not argue.
We have so many fond memories together.
Remember those first cold, dry days in January right after I brought you home? We were both so eager to get out and move! I used to say I could just put you on and go for a ride, you did all the work! Well I’m sure it did feel like that from your point of view but I had something to do with our runs too! We both felt so good after we were done. And you always had a place of honor in my room. I always put you on the top of the shoe rack, on the left side. You were above all the others. Nothing touched you.
Remember those days during the snowstorms when we stayed inside? Neither of us wanted to but running on the treadmill seemed like the smart choice instead of slipping on the snow and ice. We gutted it out together. We watched a lot of national news those days as we ran on the treadmill. Probably too much national news.
And then Spring finally arrived. And we chanced those mornings when the weather app on my phone showed a rain shower headed our way- and we made it! Out and back and dry and laughing at how we’d tempted fate and won. So much fun!
Oh yes, I do remember those other days when we were not quite as lucky. Remember that one time we ran three miles from home then turned around and saw a huge black cloud staring us down? There was nothing to do but smile and laugh and roar and run through the downpour.
I think you looked for every puddle you could find and joyfully splashed as we sprinted through.
I’ll never forget those moments’ shoes. You held and protected my feet so firmly through it all! Soaked yes, but never broken in structure or spirit.
Those were good times my wonderful shoes.
I stuffed you with newspaper and gently laid you out next to the heater in the kitchen. You were dry and ready to go in two days. Yes, I know you could have been ready sooner but it wasn’t that cold out and we wanted to keep the heat down in the house and I mostly run every other day – as you are well aware. But we’re getting off track here!
Listen, shoes. Everyone has a shelf life. You can only endure so many miles before you start to tucker out. I know, I know. You’ve done your best every single time I’ve laced you up. But for the last couple weeks, okay if I’m honest, the last month, you really have not been the same.
Well it doesn’t surprise me that you still feel strong! I’m sure you do! But I’ve noticed a difference. I feel you are a bit, well, flat.
No, I don’t mean it to hurt you. I really respect you. Its why I’ve never worn you for anything but running. Okay, yes, you do have a surprisingly good memory. There were a couple times my legs were stiff from a long run the day before and I took you out for a walk. My point is – we had a special relationship. I used you during those incredible moments when I went farther than I thought I could, or got caught up in the music as I ran and we floated along together. And we endured the hard times when neither of us felt like going out the door, but we did anyway. And we always felt better when we came back from the run didn’t we? Of course we did.
I’m trying to let you down easy because our relationship means so much to me. I know you’d feel bad if my knees started hurting because of something that’s going wrong on your end. And I would hate it if I pushed you so far that your seams started to come apart.
So that’s why we need to make a change, my beautiful running shoes.
Don’t be sad. You should be proud. You’ve done your job, answered the call, performed admirably.
And this is not good bye. I’m going to keep you on the top shelf of the shoe rack, just one spot to the right. We may even be hanging around more hours together as I wear you around the house on weekends—and take you out to ballgames with the family, or hikes or walks to the store.
Think of this as semi-retirement for a job well done.
I’ll always remember our time together. But I need to move on and start creating memories with a new pair of shoes. They’re blue. You might see them next to you on the rack.
This is not goodbye.
It’s more like, I’ll see you around.
Just not on my morning runs.