Last night my husband called me a running snob.
Let me back up for a second. I was talking about how I had just been to the local running store, gift certificate in hand, and was looking for two items in particular. Well, three items really. The main item was S caps, or salt caplets. I don’t know about you, but I always figure that the specialty running store which is located literally a mile, two miles at most, away from Rodale which is the headquarters of Runners World and Running Times, home to such famous runners as Amby Burfoot, Bart Yasso, David Willey, Kathleen Jobes whom are only a few of our local elite. I live in a runner’s haven people! On any given weekend you can head out to the Parkway and count upwards of 50-100 other runners. Seriously. Anyway, you would figure that a specialty running store located amongst all of this would carry some specialty items, right? I am continually disappointed every time I cross the threshold of this particular store. I would not have even gone into this store yesterday had it not been for that gift certificate.
That damn gift certificate. I remember receiving the gift certificate and upon sight sighed a brief disappointment, “Why wasn’t it for the other local running store? The other, much better running store.” Yes, I have become a convert to the other local running store, the competitor. It’s too bad really since the first one I talked about is located just a couple of miles from my house. The other store is about a 20 minute drive across the Valley. No big deal, really, in the grand scheme of things. It’s just unfortunate that the second store blows the first store completely out of the water. Running store #1 didn’t have arm sleeves or compression socks either. In fact, 4 brands of sneakers hung on the wall, the only running apparel was a very select couple of Mizuno items (one long sleeve shirt, two running jackets and one style of long pants), Balega brand socks and nothing else, some Ironman watches (not even Polar or Garmin GPS watches) … forever disappointing. The clerk had never even heard of arm sleeves and when I pointed out to her that they were more of a cycling thing, she literally asked me where the local cycling shop was. Umm, excuse me dear, it is located across the street and a couple doors down from this shop.
Seriously! It is sad.
This is why I have taken to ordering my shoes and arm sleeves and compression socks and will order my S caps online. And I buy all of my clothing at Dicks Sporting Goods or Target (love the C9 collection!) Yep, I am among the masses, I am supporting the big guy as opposed to the little guy.
Back to that running snob comment. I calmly explained to my husband that I am not a running snob. Far from it. Now that I have some years of running experience behind me and would like some specific items to aid me in my sport, that does not necessarily make me a running snob. It’s not like I’m looking for the best of the best. I do not condescend anyone or anything in regards to running, or with anything else in life for that matter. Just because I’m logging some longer mileage now, that makes me a snob? I think he’s a little confused. Just because I expect a little more from the local running store than they provide, just because I feel their sales staff should be a lot more knowledgeable than they actually are, that makes me a snob? (Remember, this is the same store that sold me the wrong running shoe which ultimately ended up causing me a stress fracture and sidelining me one year ago.) In my opinion this particular specialty running store is not much better than shopping at Dicks or Sports Authority or The Finish Line for that matter. They mostly cater to the novice runners who don’t know the importance of a good, quality shoe, nor the difference for that matter. I’m not faulting the novice runner at all. I’m just saying they don’t know. So, Mr. Specialty Store flashes all sorts of brand names at them and does their fancy foot work and the novice runner walks out $100 or more poorer, and not always for the better. But he is ignoring the seasoned running community at large. He is not supporting our needs. And I am forced to take my business to the internet.
I’m not even going to get into the whole local running club thing. That is an entire other rant.
Okay, with all that said … they have arrived! At long last, they have arrived. My new pink running shoes. Actually, they are more of a fuschia color. Now I am not typically a fan of the color pink. In fact, I’m pretty darn sick of it as I have two little girls and it seems that the majority of their wardrobes consists of varying degrees of pink. I have two pink items in my entire wardrobe, a fuschia Under Armour running shirt and a fuschia tech shirt from a 5k race for breast cancer a couple years back. I would much more rather own a pair of red running shoes but these are hard to come by. I have searched high and low for them, even found a red pair of Saucony racing flats but never bought them. I’m just not fast enough to wear flashy, bright red racing flats. So, pink it is. Oh, stopped at the local running store to use my gift certificate from the 5k I raced in August, the one where I placed first in my age group. (Probably the last time I’ll do that, too.) Grabbed a pair of Balega socks and some Clif Shot Bloks – not that I’m a fan of Shot Bloks, just trying to use up the gift certificate.
Oh yea, here’s a shot of my other New Balance 769’s, the orange ones. Notice the number 2 I had to write on them with my Sharpie to tell which pair was which. By the way, Pair #1 is still kicking and going strong with 300 miles on them. I compared them to the brand spanking new ones and while I can feel wear on them, it’s not too bad. I think I still have a good 25-50 miles before they bite the dust.
And now on to the arm sleeves. Here is a photo of the pair I already have by DeFeet. The design is suppose to look like lace. I really like them but as I mentioned in a previous post, they feel more like a knit than the smooth lycra feel I was trying to find.
I have earnestly been searching for arm sleeves over the past couple of weeks. My search keywords have been “cycling + arm sleeves” and it’s been turning up several options. I finally settled on a pair off the Sheila Moon website. You can find the solid colored arm sleeves all over the place but I wanted to go with something a little more funky so I settled on this one (pictured at right.) And since I’m such a cheapo $15 was a much better option than $40 or up at some other sites. Even with shipping added in I ended up spending $21 which still isn’t too bad. I came pretty close to ordering from the Terry website, they had these cool hibiscus arm sleeves. You just have to do the research.The Sheila Moon arm sleeves, pictured below, are already on their way to me. I can’t wait to get them sometime next week. I love all of this new gear. If I could only find some running pants that were grey instead of black, I’d be a happy camper.
On the website backpackinglight.com I found an informative post by Larry Savage on arm sleeves which mentioned several different brands if you are in the market for arm sleeves this year:
One of the better arm warmers I’ve used comes from Ibex. Craft, Pearl Izumi, Descente, Sugoi, Giordana, Sock Guy, Castelli, Garneau, DeFeet, Canari,Terry and tons of others make quality arm warmers. Primal Wear makes them in Camo and Tatoo pattern, you can get them with state flags on them but my favorite is from SheBeest called Pink Highball.
Found another good cycling site: teamestrogen.com. They have running stuff, too, and some very cool socks by the Sock Guy. I love my Sock Guy socks.
And now that I’ve had my coffee and the sun is starting to show it’s light, I’m going to lace up my new kicks and head out for a recovery run.
Just one question for you: Are you satisfied with your local running store? What do they do best? What don’t they do best? I’d like to hear about your experiences and how your running stores compare to mine.