WEATHER: Flippin’ cold for DC — 17 degrees at running time.
MILES: 23 — first long run of 2011!
MILES THIS WEEK: Enough.
WHERE TO: Capital Crescent Trail, Rock Creek Park, hot shower.
Good news, sports fans! As part of my tireless effort to whore out your favorite blog, I have managed to get it occasionally picked up by Washington news website TBD.com. And while they don’t care about my constant blathering about my personal problems or persistent sexual innuendos, they do care about the posts in which I give you valuable and timely information about the DC running scene.
And wouldn’t you know it, I actually have a DC-based running thing to tell you about.
Because you see, the other day, my finely honed sense of my body, developed from years and thousands of miles of pounding the pavement, informed me that my various battered ligaments were ready to tear loose like a g.d. wet paper towel. And so, after soothing myself with a trough of nachos, I dragged myself out into the cold to my neighborhood running store, the Pacers over at Logan Circle.
“Why go to the running store?” you ask. “There’s a perfectly good sporting goods store like 2 feet away from your office.” And far be it from me to rag on a DC sporting goods establishment, so let me just say that this particular chain’s name rhymes with Schmitty Schports, and it is a lot like a Foot Locker except less smelly, yes, but also less helpful.
Anyway. Below, I give you a comprehensive, scientific rundown of the pros and cons of both types of store.
Category: Running-Specific Helpfulness
Running Store: The nice, friendly shoe salesman will take a gander at your feet, bend them around, make you do a few deep knee bends, jog around
naked barefoot, etc. Just do it. You’ll be glad you did. Because after this rigamarole, he will scratch his chin and nod knowingly. “Hm. High arches, slightly bow-legged, nasty disposition, so maybe I’d give you a Reebok. Definitely not a Nike. Are you a Scorpio?”
“Oh dear God. Go with Mizuno.”
And if you manage to find a really good running store, they might get even more detailed.
“What kind of running do you do?”
“Uh…marathons, I suppose.”
“OK, cool. So something lightweight. Now, why do you run?”
He will grab your hands and look into your eyes and pull you close…so close that you can smell the Clif bar he had for breakfast in the hot breath on your face. “NO, really. Why do you run?” he will say, with distinct emphasis on every word and a quaver of passion on his voice.
And pretty soon, when you are digging the heels of your hands into your streaming eyes and sobbing, explaining about how running is the only thing that makes you feel free anymore, what with your dead-end career and loveless marriage and frustrated childhood dreams of being a superhero ballerina firefighter, he will suddenly slap his forehead and say, “Of course!” and drop your hands and run to the back room.
“Lime green Mizunos,” he will say.
And damn if those aren’t the most glorious shoes you have ever felt in your life.
Schmitty Schports: The salesperson sidles up and breathes into your ear: “You want shoes, do ya?” Your creeptacular radar, usually reserved for happy hours at The Big Hunt, goes into hypermode.
Fast-forward to 10 minutes later, when he is foisting 10 brightly colored boxes onto you.
“Uh…some of these are high heels,” you will say.
“Yeah, and they look ballin‘.” he will respond.
“…but they’re stilettos.”
“AND they’re made by Adidas.”
Well, in that case…
Point goes to: Running store.
Category: Salesperson pressure
Schmitty Schports: OK, so you’ve decided on a pair of shoes that you’re pretty sure might work as running shoes, if you throw in a few Kleenexes for extra padding and duct-tape the velcro tabs down.
Salesperson tails you to the front of the store, where you are met by cashier lady.
“IFYOUBUY50GELSWEWILLGIVEYOUONEFORFREE!” she blurts.
“No, thanks, I th-OOF!” and suddenly ol’ ear-breather is back on top of you. Quite literally.
“Hold still!” he screams, maneuvering you into a Half Nelson. “Let me tell you about our membership club!”
And with your face mashed into the carpet, you whimper, “Uncle!” Those crafty bastards win again.
RunningMart: These people, on the other hand, have their own ingenious plot: if they can get you to run more, then you will naturally be back to buy more. Most often this occurs as part of the running store pissing contest.
Employee: So what’s your next race?
You: Oh, I don’t know. Maybe a 10K…
Employee: Oh. Because I have a half-marathon next month, and then two 10-Ks tomorrow. <checks watch> Oh, and a 20-mile funrun in like, oh, 5 minutes. But, you know, I’m doing it for fun, not time. <chuckle>
You: Oh wow. Yeah, I was thinking about doing one of those.
Employee: Do them with me!
You: Well, gosh, I suppose that if I up my training…
Employee: Great! Oh, and you need to replace your shoes every 30 miles, right?
Employee: Good. Oh, and I subsist entirely on gels and Powerbars. You should too. They’re by the register.
You leave, bag filled with an assortment of shoes and goodies, feeling inspired. That guy was a real runner and real, real fast, and he wants to run with you! OMG! Slurping on a $5 super-octane-go-juice gel, you wander home, ready for your new super-running lifestyle with your new best buddy, whose name you are going to tattoo onto your neck.
Point goes to: Capitalism.
Category: Non-Running-Shoe Purchases
RunTopiaLandStore: Shorts — $90. Shirts — $45, sleeves not included.
SchmittySchports: Same prices, except sizes limited to XXS and XXXXL. (And hey — no shame. There are plenty of wiry runners and Clydesdales out there.)
Point goes to: Target.
…a category I only include to point out the fact that my particular running store is situated on the block that has for like 3 consecutive years won the Guinness World Record for the most yuppie block ever. In this particular block, there is a yoga studio, a Whole Foods, a Lululemon, a combination hair salon/spa/gym, an upscale wine store, two permanently installed Greenpeace-clipboard-holding-recruiters, a steady rotation of ethnic restaurants hailing from obscure places (eat like a native Swazilander!), an organic hemp farm, 5 NPR stations, and a satellite campus of Oberlin. No joke. Come hang out.
Point goes to: Liberal arts colleges.
GRAND TOTAL: Huh. Looks like a 4-way tie. So…
TIEBREAKER: Every running store employee — ever — is just wicked hot. Girls and guys alike. Like slap-your-mother-and-take-some-shots-and-perfume-your-bra-and-high-five-a-penguin hot.
Point goes to:
Running stores. Humanity as a whole! Put on your skivviest skivvies and let’s go shopping!