[\ˌper-ə-pə-ˈte-tik\]: wandering from place to place
I have found that I standardly have a pretty bad sense of when a shoe is reaching the end of its life. One day I am out on a pleasant run, and the very next day I start to feel as if all of the cushioning is gone. It’s as if someone, just to spite me, has removed a small section of foam in the shoe and replaced it with a small, jagged rock. This happened for the first time back in February, when a pair of Asics, with only 380 miles on them, decided to give up on me. The result was a continual pain in my right forefoot––a pain whose cause took me forever to locate. At first I thought that it was an overuse injury. I was increasing my mileage for my first marathon and, given the scores of hills in North County San Diego, a sore forefoot wouldn’t at all be surprising. Yet any adjustment I made in my route seemed to help very little. Two weeks later I changed my shoes and the pain was gone shortly thereafter.
Saturday I had a very similar problem. I was out for a very enjoyable 5 mile run at “Easy-pace” when, about 3 miles in, I began to notice that my Nike Pegasus 28s were probably giving out. This was confirmed on Sunday morning when I woke up for my long run to a very sore forefoot (though this time it was the left foot). This wasn’t too much of a problem because, honestly, I came to the opinion that these shoes, while worth running them to death, were not worth another purchase. So I slid on my Mizuno Wave Rider 15s, which, after 120 miles, I can say is the best shoe I’ve ever owned, and headed out the door for a 14.5 mile run with loads of hills. Sadly, the hill run irritated the problem even more and I am just now feeling pain-free, but during the run I began to think about how sad it is to retire a pair of shoes.
I have come to understand why so many runners keep piles of shoes around, stashed away in the closet. In many ways, one’s shoes carry one through a lot. I was in my Pegasus 28s when I first encountered IT Band problems, when I pushed myself to regain the lost fitness resulting from the injury rest period, when I crossed the LA Marathon finish line, and when I worked my way through four weeks of recovery in order to (safely) arrive at 6 consistent 40 mile weeks. It is something that I would only expect another runner to understand. Some people keep the shirt they bought while binge drinking in Cancun, Mexico. Some keep mementoes of that first date he or she had with a significant other. Still, others like to stash away pictures from favorite vacations, postcards from scenic destinations, and even coins from distant lands. Runners like to keep their shoes. And while I am not the type to hold on to things I don’t use and will probably be donating my shoes very soon, in many ways I am going to feel like I am giving up something that I shared something truly special with.
In fact, maybe, if I am being honest, this blog is some effort to preserve that.