Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Farewell at Farewell

Written By: Cristina Stavro

Photo taken by Liz Stuart
August of 2011 was when I first laid eyes on Saucony’s Peregrine trail shoes.  They were new, they were so clean, and I swear I heard an angelic choir break into song when I first put them on.  My first long run ever the week before found me cursing my old trail shoes—too small, too clunky, and no way I was going to train for and run my first 50k in them.  Thus began the frantic search for new shoes between long runs.  When I tried on the Peregrines, it was love at last.

There I was, two years later and on the other side of the country at the foot of Farewell Trail in the very same shoes.  Much older, and much, much dirtier than when I first got them.  Other shoes have made their way into the rotation since then, but none ever came close to my Peregrines.  That’s part of the reason why I kept reaching for those shoes day after day despite their mileage being up well over a year ago.

Even with holes and complete lack of cushioning, these were the shoes I laced up before almost all of my Bend expeditions, big and small: Shevlin, Tumalo, Sparks, Green Lakes, even my scramble to the top of Broken Top.  But being someone who works with runners and shoes everyday, I always answer the question of “How long do shoes last?” Not this long, that's for sure.  I couldn’t keep running in these dead shoes, no matter how much sentimental value there was.

During my nightly map session before bed, I had kind of started a little game, trying to see what was the biggest loop I could make on Bend’s trails without overlapping.  My head spun with numbers as I added mileage and repeatedly lost count.  At one point I was up to 50-something miles and hadn’t even made it west of Broken Top. Then I came across Farewell Trail in the middle of it all.  It was a sign—and since bronzing my shoes wasn’t really an option, I figured one last run would be a great way to say goodbye to my Peregrines...and what better trail to bid adieux than Farewell?

5:30 wake up call got me in the car and heading toward Tumalo as the sun rose.  I choked back a few tears as the car rumbled down the forest service road with my shoes in the passenger seat and Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” blaring through my speakers and into my soul, sparking a flood of slow motion flashbacks of all the good times my shoes and I had—falling in love with trail running for the first time at Canonsburg State Game Area in Grand Rapids, MI; running my first 50k in Chattanooga, TN; kicking up red dirt in Moab, UT; exploring incredible trails in Mammoth Lakes, CA with my best friend on our road trip out West; and virtually every time I’ve hit the trails in Bend, these shoes were on my feet.

When I reached the trail head, I shut off the car just as “My Heart Will Go On” started.  I took my time lacing up, knowing this was it. Looking deep into my Peregrine's eyelets, I could tell they knew this was it as well.  So I dug in as Farewell Trail instantly started its climb upward and the rest was history.  For the rest of the run, I picked through some rocks and roots, opened up in the clear spots and downhills, and stopped only to gawk at the spectacular view of Broken Top in the distance when I reached the top of the hill (okay, and maybe catch my breath, too).  It was a solid, heart- and adrenaline-pumping run that ended with my Peregrines and I cooling off in the creek at the end.

Tomorrow I set off to start a new tale of trails with a different pair of shoes, but my trusty, dusty Peregrines will always sit in my pile of shoes. Actually, does anyone know of a good taxidermist? They do shoes, right?

Cristina is a new member of the FootZone and OutsideIn crew. She's a Midwest girl and loving the the adventurous landscape of Central Oregon. Come meet her in the shops or at the FootZone Half Marathon Training Group, we're happy to have her as the group leader. 

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