As I pull into the parking lot and run (not literally) into my local running store, Runners Roost in Denver, it takes me about two minutes to buy my new pair of running shoes (also know as “kicks” to some). I’ve been buying them so long, I no longer need to even try them on. My current shoe of choice is the Newton Motus. The new version is blue with yellow and orange trim. I just ask for the shoe in my size, and I am in-and-out faster than an In-N-Out Burger drive-thru (my burger of choice when I am in an area that has one).
I really have no idea how many pairs of running shoes I’ve gone through in my life, but the experience is always the same. When I open the box of my brand new shoes…. ahhhh “smell that smell” – the aroma of brand new running shoes seeps out of the box! Call me crazy, but to me that smell is as thrilling as the smell of a new car, only much cheaper!
As this euphoric aroma is permeating my sense of smell, my sense of sight also kicks in as I enjoy the visual newness and cleanliness of the shoes. Bright colors and fresh tread on the bottom, knowing full well that over the next few months both will be worn away as the miles add up. Then my sense of touch also kicks in as I remove the shoes from the box, and hold them in my hands, feeling the texture and contour. As I look at them I think to myself, “yea, I will be breaking these babies in soon enough.”
Next, I’ remove the tight wad of paper that’s stuffed snug inside to the toes. I can always tell if the shoes were tried on by someone else, because they would already be laced up. Thankfully, most of the time they’re not and I get to lace them up myself. As I finish, it’s now time to officially try them on. In my mind, there’s nothing like the feel of a brand new pair of stiff running shoes, ready to be broken in to the form of my feet. Seriously, for me, prepping my brand new running shoes is a sacred ritual – a right of passage.
And lastly, it’s time for our first run and, man, there’s also nothing like the first mile as I get to know and establish our new relationship. As the miles click on, I realize my new running shoes are becoming as comfortable with me as I am with them. Sure, they may cause a small amount of pain at the beginning such as a blister, but I know they are going to protect my body for many a mile. As I complete my first run, I gently take them off my feet, look at them and smile — they are now part of my family and just as if it were fate, there is no question we were both destined to be together. (Hmmm, hope my wife doesn’t read this and get jealous!)
Of course, and sadly, there is a cycle of life with my running shoes. A day will come a day when mileage sets in and the shoes become old and broken down, and ultimately need to be retired. However, before that happens, I’ll get each and every possible mile, and possibly a marathon, or at least a few races, out of them. Don’t feel bad though, all my worn out running shoes live a wonderful second life. I give them to a person in my running group who donates them to the Denver Rescue Mission so someone else can continue to enjoy them. Really, isn’t that what love is all about!
Ahhh, the smell and feel of new running shoes! Euphoria!
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