When I put on my shoes…

I put on my courage. I put on my strength. I focus on my goals, and my dreams–I put everything I hope to be deep inside of those two soles.

When I tie up my laces…

I tie up my insecurities. I tie up my doubts. I tie up who I used to be, and the past that still haunts me. I tie up every failure, big and small,…and double knot it so it won’t come undone.

When I hit the trail, running…

I feel every last bit of it–the love, the pain, the joy, the worries, the stress, the goals, the ambition, the sorrow, the drive–but I let it all slip away into the dirt beneath my feet. With every deliberate step, I’m a mile farther from who I used to be, and a mile closer to who I crave to be. But my feet pounding the Earth- that’s all that I can feel. No matter the pleasure or the pain, it somehow always feels right.

and…When it comes to an end…

I collapse in satisfaction. I wipe my brow, and breathe in deep. I soak it all in. I untie the knotted laces. I shake out that never ending flow of “dirt” that has seemingly collected over the years. I know they’re strong and sturdy. I know they can handle the abuse. So I toss the rugged old soles into a corner, and I go about my day. And there they’ll be waiting patiently…

…for another go at it tomorrow.


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45 Replies to “Shoes.Laces.Trail.Dirt.”

  1. WOW! Sensational. You are such an inspiration to me on a tremendously deep level. I adore you and your amazing writings. What is your next race? I’d love to meet up!

  2. So well said! You definitely have a gift for putting your feelings into words. I haven’t been able to run for 3 weeks and will most likely have to drop my first marathon attempt due to an injury, but your post has re-invigorated me to stay positive and focus on the time that I will once again be able to lace up my shoes – and it will be all the more sweeter. Thanks Ash!

    1. Thanks Kent! Man that sucks about the marathon… What happened exactly? You sure you want be able to run anyway? I’ve done quite a few races sans training that I ran pretty decently during! Maybe you should still give it a go?

      1. I developed hip bursitis: most likely from training like I was 20 or 30 years younger (I’m 58) – lesson learned! So not being able to bounce back from injury the way a younger man could, the healing process is very slow and the last thing I want to do is start back to quickly. I’m just thinking it may be wiser to sign up for spring marathon to keep me focused and motivated. After 40 years I’ve finally learned to “Crave the Run” and I don’t want to ruin it due to impatience.

        1. Sorry to hear that. But, you’re really smart! With that kind of patience, no doubt you’ll get to your goal as soon as you are feeling better. I need some of your patience… can I borrow some?! 🙂

  3. Great post Ashley. You do such a great job describing what you feel. . .and, what so many others feel but can’t put into words.

      1. Running is going pretty well. I moved to Texas a few months ago to do a program with the Wounded Warrior Project, haven’t done much racing, but training is a million times better than in OH. And yep still with Brooks!

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