There is something you should know about me. I have a sentimental attachment to my old running shoes. Its nothing to go tell the people from that show “Hoarders” about, but it is definitely a problem. I just can’t seem to force myself to part with my retired training partners. My closet is stacked neatly with these packed out, dirty shoes. I tell myself I keep them around to wear around town or hiking, but they just sit there, sad and dejected. I have started to purge these one pair at a time, getting rid of one set of identical pairs. I hope one day I can let my training memories live on in my head rather than my closet.
On the other hand, I know there is no hope in convincing myself to part with my old racing flats and spikes.. These are the shoes that are with us on our days of glory and accomplishment, and therefore hold the best memories. Their help in PR’s and ego boosting have helped them creep their way into a much deeper realm of my sentiment. A racing shoe helps to get you in the right mindset. Its like the PF Flyers that Vinny pulls out on “Sandlot” to tackle the beast. Changing shoes right before a race just gets me pumped to crank out a fast time. And because they are designed lighter, they actually make you run faster. For every ounce you take off a shoe, you take off about 2-4 seconds per mile, to an extent, without even trying. So over the course of a half marathon or marathon it can add up to a few minutes. My cross country spikes from the days of college racing are especially sentimental. They have layer of mud staining the mesh and bits of grass stuck in the spikes. They are like a little memory box.
I think I hold on to these running memorabilia because I want the feeling I get when I run to be a little bit more permanent. Running is so much more than mileage and wearing out shoes. Its a relationship you develop with your body and your mind, with friends and places and even shoes. So even though my non-running friends think its weird I have more pairs of worn out, never to be worn again shoes, than I do heels, I know there are some other runners out that feel the same way.