We all know how attached runners get to their shoes – many of us refuse to throw them away and instead pile them into a closet never again to see the light of day. I never thought I would be one of those runners.
But here I am, feeling emotional distress because a pair of shoes needs to be thrown away.
As I’ve searched my psyche for why I’m having such a hard time throwing away these wonderful Saucony shoes, I remember the hours I spent running through the rain and cold, and struggling up hills at the ends of runs.
Hours and hours of running.
I remember picking out the shoes at Dick’s Sporting Goods and needing to go back for a larger size (which NEVER happens to me). I remember my first of the longer runs where I really pushed myself – where I wanted to give up, but I didn’t. I remember standing near the starting line of the Manchester half tying and retying my shoes because they had to be just right.
They are much more than just shoes. And as humans we use objects to remember important moments in our life – wedding photos, old license plates, belongings of a loved one. Maybe that’s why runners have such a hard time throwing away an item that has been so integral to their life.
Those shoes allowed me to get away from so much and focus on making a better me. The running I did in those shoes directly affected me as a person. They represent an indomitable spirit of someone determined not to fail – they represent me.
But I know I have to get rid of them.
And, I will. But not after taking them for one last hurrah…and unstringing the laces. I may not have room to keep a pair of shoes, but I do have room for the laces!
So one year after my historic first half marathon run, I’m going to say goodbye to the shoes that carried me through so many training runs and helped me get across that finish line in Manchester. I’m still torn about tossing them into a garbage bag, but they can’t stay in the closet either.
I’ll say goodbye this Saturday to a pair of shoes that carried me on many self-discovery journeys in the form of runs. But I’ll keep the lessons, and laces, I learned from them forever.