After my Adidas road beaters passed the 1,000-mile mark last year, I’d started thinking they might just be immortal.
These were the first real running shoes I bought back in 2010, when I still had 30 pounds left to lose. But I hadn’t worn them on a run in months, and they’d been relegated to fourth-string with my recent purchase of Saucony Kinvara 3s. This week I mowed the lawn in them, the fresh green stains signifying their apparent retirement.
The light was fading as I finished up, but I wanted to go on a short run to loosen up my quads, which had been on strike ever since our fire tower workout two days earlier.
This was gonna be a slow jog on gravel. The way my legs felt, it almost didn’t matter what I had on my feet.
“What the heck,” I thought. Nobody was going to see my grass-stained shoes anyway.
I’d thought my beaters might have stiffened up in the closet, but they felt like security blankets protecting my feet from the gravel. It was my quads that were causing all the trouble — along with that ax murderer I kept imagining was lurking in the increasingly dark woods I was passing by.
I like to think I could outrun most potential attackers, as long as I wasn’t taken by surprise. But I wasn’t going anywhere fast now. This seemed like a good time to call my sister, especially since she’d been texting me for the last half mile about when we were going to run next.
“My thighs are basically not working,” I told her. “Even worse, I think there’s a serial killer spying on me in the woods.”
It helped to hear a familiar voice. And to look down and see my old familiar shoes, still surprisingly comfy after all this time, even if they do look like something out of a horror movie.
By the time our house appeared in the distance, the knots in my muscles were loosening up. I even managed to build up a little burst of speed, which had seemed impossible earlier.
Could I really retire my beaters, which have taken me on so many adventures, real and imagined?
Or would I discover, on the next wearing, that the fuzzy warm glow of nostalgia had worked some kind of spell, like the fairy godmother in Cinderella?
Maybe they’re just gnarly old pumpkins after all.