Dear New Balance 769’s:
It’s been a good run with you guys (no pun intended). I remember the day I picked you out from Transports in Berkeley – it was almost exactly one year ago; my boyfriend and I had been dating for a minimal amount of time, and he said he wanted to accompany me to the running shoe store. He was bored instantly, of course, but dutifully sat next to me and listened to my chatter about what each shoe felt like.
I put on a few Asics, a Saucony, and then was brought the New Balance 769. My initial impression of you was how unattractive you were. I honestly had to close my eyes when I put you on in order to decide if you were the right shoe for me. As it turns out, you were.
Your unappealing look eventually evolved in my eyes into an image of comfort (physically and emotionally). Every time I saw you sitting by the door, waiting for me like a puppy who wants to go outside, I felt inspired to pull you on and take you for another run (no leash required!). I found solace in your soles; relief from the stresses of teaching, packing, or just life on the run. We even did a few bike rides together just because we could peddle up and down and all around those hills.
Unfortunately, eventually our honeymoon period has come to a close. The dull throbbing in my shin is not splints nor a stress fracture; no, it’s the tell-tale sign that I’m running in worn down shoes. I didn’t want to notice that I could feel each rock under my feet, that your cushioning wasn’t softening my impact…but I finally did.
Remember the half-marathon we ran with Kristin in San Francisco? Holy macaroni, remember all the runs with Lil’ K? And what about that accidental nine miles we did when we first moved to Orange County? And all the times I praised you when I worked at the running shoe store?
One of my favorite runs with you was late at night. We were getting ready to head out to Pismo Beach the next day, and I was anxious with giddiness, so out the door we went at almost midnight. We just circled the neighborhood a few times with only the stars for company or music.
It is with heavy footsteps that I retire you from anything impact related, dear 769’s. You’ve been my trusted friends, my worthy partners in crime, and another one of my all time favorite pairs of shoes. I’ll miss you, little guys.
A Runner’s Delight