There comes a time (about every 400 running miles or so) when it’s time to retire a pair of running shoes. With the mileage that I generally run, this works out to be every 6 months or so and frankly, it’s kind of a sad event. Please see exhibit A below.
The running shoe on the left is the old one and the one on the right is fresh out of the box. What I want to bring your attention to is the thickness of the tongue. Notice how the tongue on the old shoe is completely flattened while the tongue on the new shoe is nice and thick. Well, the same thing that happened to the tongue happened to the interior workings of the shoes. Running on a hard surface yields hundreds of pounds of pressure and the poor shoes can only take so much before they stop doing their job of cushioning your steps.
Here’s comparison of the bottoms of the shoes.
I’m almost positive that the old shoe is caked with clay. At least I hope it’s clay. I look at that worn sole and I think about all of the journeys that the old shoes and I have taken together. The races that we ran and the scenery we passed. It’s bittersweet to think that they have no more mountains to climb. I truly can’t dwell on it. I know it sounds totally bizarre, I mean they’re just shoes, but still. I get attached.
And then I look at my new shoes…
…at their pristine stitching and unmarred whiteness…and I start to feel better. Holding those new shoes, I feel their potential. I dream of the miles and journeys we’ll take and I know through experience that they’ll help me go the distance. I mean, it isn’t their fault that they’re as of yet untested. And frankly, I know that in a week or two, my old shoes will be just a memory and the new shoes and I will have begun our new journey towards a life of happiness…that will last precisely 6 months.
The love of the running shoe is a fickle thing.