The Race of Gratitude, or Ode to my First Running Sneakers

Toes and shoes
Bare toes say “Thank you” to my first pair of running shoes

About a year ago, I got this crazy idea that I wanted to try running. Again. I had a pair of beat up old sneakers that I found for $20. I laced them up and started the Couch to 5K program podcasts with Laura.

Around week 5 or 6, I got the crazy idea to see how far I could go, with just my music. (I had been listening to the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, so I blame Captain Jack Sparrow.) I completely surprised myself. And so, the running bug bit me and I [mostly] haven’t looked back.

About four months after I started running, I did a race at a farm. The day after it rained. While I don’t have pictures of my shoes, they were a sight. Plus, we’d decided it was probably a good idea to get decent shoes. To protect my already aching knees. So, to Charm City Run we went. (If you’re ever in the Baltimore area and are in need of walking or running shoes, go see them.)

I was staring at the wall that felt like it was towering way over my head. Deer, meet headlights. One of the sales people came up to me and asked if she could help. I looked at her and said, “I’m looking to get a pair of shoes. And I’m a very new runner.” She introduced herself and we got to work on finding me a pair of shoes that would work for me. A half hour later, I walked out with a pair of Saucony Hurricanes (13). It was a hard beginning, but it could have been that I decided it was a good idea to start tackling more hills at the same time I was breaking in new shoes. (Retrospect: Don’t do that. Bad idea.)

The shoes shown above have taken my legs at least 400 miles, in between running, walking, and regular use. This past Saturday, they ran their last race, the Baltimore 10 Miler. The race became my race of gratitude. For the wonderful police traffic controllers who made sure none of us runners (fast and slow alike) were hit. For my amazing partner who ran her butt off. For these shoes, who have helped me so much of what I can do. As we pounded the pavement and I was realizing this would be the last race for these particular shoes (I had gotten new shoes the weekend before – Saucony Hurricanes [14]), I knew I couldn’t retire them from running with a thank you.

So, thank you for your support.
Thank you for your consistency, even when I wasn’t.
Thank you for taking me so many miles, even when we were both tired.
Thank you for helping me dodge Baltimore potholes and street obstacle courses.
Thank you for taking me to an incredible Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race PR.
Thank you for the 5Ks, the 10K, the two 10 milers.
Thank you for the short runs, the long runs, and that one time, 10 times around my parents’ suburban neighborhood.
Thank you for running with me when I had music, when I didn’t have music, when I felt like I was soaring, and when all I could do was whine.

Thank you for being there as I began to learn what I can do.

There will always be a soft spot in my heart for you, my pink Saucony Hurricanes [13].


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