Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Farewell, Merrells

Well Merrells, you were great shoes.  No, great is an understatement.  You were fantastic.  Perfect.  The Best.

You brought me into the world of barefoot/minimalist running without any blisters or rubs or hot spots.  There's not much you could do about the sore calves as I learned to run on the balls of my feet instead of my heels, but you fit perfectly and made my feet happy.  There's a reason you were called a glove, because that was how you felt.

You took me through the walk-crawl-run approach starting with miles and miles logged trekking around my city over the winter.  Come spring and the slow recovery from my knee fiasco, we started "crawling" with short runs in the woods with the pup.  We progressed to several runs a week as summer approached, and completed a 10k by the end of summer.  You took me on streets and sidewalks, dirt paths and rocky hills, grassy fields and rubbery tracks.  Everywhere we went, you were perfect.  You kept me on my feet for hours at sporting events, accompanied me on obstacle races, and allowed me to pack light when traveling.  You escorted me through my first high ropes course and paddled with me on my first white water rafting adventure.  There was never a single moment when I thought I should have been wearing a different pair of shoes.

I have always been a barefoot girl, but you made it possible for me to do that at all times everywhere without grossing people out or burning my feet or stepping on something painful.  Regular shoes feel heavy now because of the amount of time we spent together.

Of course, all good things must come to an end.  It was inevitable after 10 months, 200 miles, 3 countries, 4 provinces and 17 states that your thin soles would start to wear through.  I ignored it for as long as I could, but eventually I had to acknowledge reality.  It seemed fitting that our last adventure together should be a crazy race with lots of mud and obstacles and running up and down mountains.  You were unrecognizable by the time we crossed the finish and it was an appropriate conclusion to our lovely relationship.

I may be living in your version 2.0 counterpart now, but it's not the same.  They aren't quite as perfect.  I miss the light-as-air protection that you provided, and your weightless but secure hug around my foot.  Enjoy your retirement in shoe heaven, Merrells.  Keep putting away the miles.

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