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  • Walking in, I knew that when I finally staggered across the Warrior Dash Finish Line, I would leave my beloved running shoes behind; sending them on a noble journey to a developing country where they will be (hopefully) valued and appreciated.

    I knew this was going to happen. I even bought, and began the process of breaking in, a brand new, shiny, colorful, exciting pair of shoes in preparation.

    But as I tied my laces together, stood before the mountain of mud-caked footwear, and launched my shoes into the pile, it felt as though I was tossing aside a faithful friend.

    On the most basic level, they were the most comfortable running shoes I have ever worn. As someone who suffers from chronic knee pain, I can't describe the relief the perfect combination of cushion and support can bring; both physically and mentally.

    On another level, they were a gift; a bold gift I'd say. Buying shoes for another person is a challenge at the best of times, but buying running shoes for someone as finicky as yours truly? Virtually impossible. But from the moment I slipped my little Size 7.5s into those beauties, I knew it was a match made in heaven. New, comfortable shoes without the agony of research and decision-making? The perfect birthday gift.

    On the deepest level, those shoes have seen me through countless ups and downs in life. Running has long been my escape, and those shoes saw it all; joy, frustration, anger, love, loneliness, companionship, sadness, anticipation, bitterness, forgiveness, pain, triumph.

    Over the last three years, those shoes have been part of every major transition, decision, trial, and celebration. A lot has happened since Summer 2009. A lot has changed. I have changed. Leaving behind those shoes was really sad, and hard to do. But it's time to move on, into my next phase of running, and my next phase of life.
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