I'd been putting it off for long enough: I had to buy new running shoes. My snowy 8 mile run was the tack in the proverbial sole of my shoes as I slipped and slid all over the sidewalks, my now tread-less sneakers were practically yelling "retire us, please!"
I knew I had to do it. I knew I had to buy new sneakers -- because the treads were bare and the soles were starting to lose support.
But, I miss my old sneakers.
We've been through a lot. And as crazy as it sounds to be emotionally tied to something you wear on your feet, my trusty gray and teal kicks got me through my first-ever training runs.
In early May 2012, I ran my first 5K in them. It took me 36.05 minutes to run that first 3.1 mile race. I wasn't glamorous. I wasn't graceful. Heck, I wasn't even sure I would finish. But those shoes carried me up and down those first rough hills I tackled and stomped on the finish line of that first 5K of mine just for good measure.
The shoes themselves reek -- permanently saturated with the smell of sweaty feet I'm convinced all came from my first 10K. It was so hot the day of that 10K, I thought I may pass out before the race even started. But, my sneakers held me up when I thought my nerves would knock me down, and even helped me have the courage to stride over to meet a group of new friends. That race was the one where my shoes really started to take form and fit the form of my feet like a glove -- worn in just enough.
The shoes have become a symbol in my family: When mommy sets her running shoes out at night, she's going to be racing, my toddler has learned. "Run fast fast, mama," my son will say. "I'm gonna race you when I'm bigger." Every time I lay out those shoes I know my child is watching. Whether he knows it or not, a part of me runs not only for myself, but also for him. I want him to grow up strong and healthy. I want him to try things that make him push himself so that he is proud of himself when he realizes he can do anything if he just tries.
I ran my very first half-marathon in my old shoes -- a distance I never thought I would even want to try to tackle.
They've taken me through winter training runs in the snow, a 10-mile run without music in the rain, and some of the ugliest treadmill miles I've ever cranked out.
Since May 2012 when I started, I put 810.88 race-miles on my old sneakers, and I will likely never throw them away.
They are the shoes that helped me learn to run.
I don't yet know where my new shoes will take me. Luckily, I've got a lot of mileage to figure it out.