I’m not sure what month I purchased them. Sometime last fall, I committed to running again and walked over to Connected Soles, the running store two blocks from my house. The shoe specialist offered me some choices, and I ended up with a pair of purple Saucony Rides. They felt so comfy on my feet after wearing my other pair way too long.
Some of my runs this year…..
After a several year hiatus from running, I started training again in July 2017. The heat in Louisiana had sidelined my enjoyment of running, and the cooler summer temps of a Michigan summer had enticed me back on the pavement. Slowly I worked up to a 5K distance before doing my longest run of 7 miles just before it snowed. Yes, I should buy some new running shoes. I was a runner again.
My Rides were lightly used through the winter, but several times the treads held me steady on a snowy morning. Yaktrax boosted my confidence when I was worried about slipping on ice. Virtually new by the time the snow melted, my Rides waited patiently for clear roads and for me to get serious about training. One late winter day in March, I told my running coach I was ready to start. A half marathon finish line glistened in my dreams.
I signed up for the Mt. Baldhead Challenge, my favorite multi-terrain race. A brisk September morning seemed far away in February, but I was determined to clock that 15K. (They later lengthened it to a 12+ miler which threw a wrench into my training plan late in the summer.) Jessica, my coach, said she was running the Detroit International Half Marathon, so I signed up for that, too. I had months to build a base, lengthen my long runs and hone my mental game. I didn’t care about speed. I just wanted to finish strong and enjoy the journey.
It was a hotter than usual summer, and I sweated and cussed about the heat. My trusty shoes rose to the occasion way before sunrise on long run days and rested peacefully on rest days. They squished through a rainy 10K in Ann Arbor, slogged through sand on more than a few dune runs and cushioned my footfalls on miles of pavement. I wanted to quit a number of times, but my shoes never uttered a complaint.
My 2018 season was like any other running season. I hated it some days. I hurt. I cried – literally. I laughed with friends. I played with my dog. I raced with strangers and made new friends. I cursed the heat and shivered in the cold. I challenged dunes and stairs. I pounded pavement and mucked through mud. I questioned my sanity, admired my stamina and envied those faster, swifter and skinnier than me.
My new Saucony Rides sit beautifully laced in pink in my living room. I broke them in yesterday, and they felt soft and comfy in comparison to my former pair. What adventures await me in these shoes? My goal is to get stronger and work on strength over the winter and run when I feel like it. When the snow melts, I’ll get serious again. Next year, I plan to work on speed instead of distance. But whatever I do, my new Rides will obligingly take me there. May they see many sunsets and sunrises before they cross their last, glorious finish line. And may we both be exhausted with the joy of a great run.