Saturday, April 5, 2008

Another hit on the running store crack pipe

Fashion seems to be the hot topic so I thought I would relate some of my own shopping excursions. 

Yes, it's true, I went shopping yesterday! My shrink will say I have regressed but who cares. I needed running gear and I needed it pronto! I was feeling somewhat depressed and actually had some free time (a rare thing this week) so I decided to give into my addiction and put some running gear store owner's kids through college. 

My first goal was to find some black running shorts. On my last 20 miler my outfit didn't exactly match. I had just bought some shorts with a neon-green stripe down the side for St. Paddy's day and wanted to wear them on the long run. I also wanted to wear my new Brooks H-Vac shirt with a zippered pocket so I could carry all my long run needs (Cell phone, Gel (which I forgot), and tissues). So what if the shirt was blue! OK so now I realize that neon green and blue don't exactly go together. Who cares after 20 miles! Actually no one said anything to me but I noticed the problem while looking at the pictures posted on the Landrunner's website a few days later. Not my best fashion day. So I went through my closet and noticed I don't have any plain black running shorts. Black matches everything so I figure I need to stock up on some to make my choices easier. 

I hit The Runner first because that is the store that sponsors all of our weekend long runs. They come out early and put water and food along the course for us. I felt the need to support them since they do so much for us. I found a pair of Adidas short with a nice pocket in the back. They were $38 but I thought I would try them on anyway just to see how they looked. When I go them on in the dressing room I found out they had those tight compression underwear in them. Ohhhh! that felt nice! I had to have them. I also found a cool poster of "Pre" that I picked up to hang in my office. It's from Nike but I have always admired Pre so I got it anyway. 

Next I hit OK Runner. They were having a sidewalk sale and some major discounts on running gear. Most of the discounted items were Small or X-Large so I didn't find any good bargains but I did find something I had been looking for a long time. The Race Ready shorts with the pockets in the back (see the picture below). I had seen these at The Runner but they only had the VERY short model which I don't have the dignity to wear outside a dressing room. Well, OK Runner had the 4" inseam model which fit good and kept my dignity intact so I bought a pair (black or course). 

Support your local running store

I did control myself somewhat in that I didn't hit my main dealer, Elite Feet. I knew that if I went there I would end up looking at shoes and probably mortgaging my children's future on everything they sell. I felt a little guilty about not buying from my friends but I also felt the need to support the other running stores in Edmond. (WARNING Soap box speech follows!) It's not that I don't like the large, chain running stores. I just feel like the little guys need a chance also. Places like The Runner that go out of their way to get involved in local groups are important to me. I would rather pay more for something from them than save a couple bucks by going to a large, discount running store. Elite Feet has donated something to every running club here in the area and the owners are so nice and helpful. How could you not want to support them? A Fleet Feet has opened here in Edmond and I have been in the store and met the owner. He is very nice and helpful but I still feel loyalty to The Runner and Elite Feet. I made a deal with myself that I will only buy things from Fleet Feet that I can't find at the other stores. So far I haven't found anything that falls into that category. This is a bit of a quandary for me. I don't dislike the big guys, I just have a soft spot for underdogs. Enough of that.

Scraping the Gu off my shoes

I have been thinking that part of my problem with hydration may be from the Gu I usually use during marathons. I always knew that Gu had caffeine but I thought that I was drinking enough water to compensate. 

After Disney, though, I have done some research on hydration and even experimented on some long runs. I have always had stomach problems during my runs so I am very careful about what I take in during a long run. Even water can irritate my stomach if I am not careful. I would like to be able to run a marathon without taking any Gel but after some experiments I believe it does help in those last miles. The thing I noticed, however, was that using the Gu gave me energy but I was still getting dehydrated and this negated any benefit from the energy. If I tried to drink more water, my stomach would ache and cause me more problems. So my decision was to stop taking the Gu and make every effort to stay somewhat hydrated hoping my training would make up for the lack of extra energy.

I discovered that I could run very well for 15-16 miles without any Gu and with my normal intake of water. After that my performance suffered. So what am I to do? Taking Gu means more water and more water means stomach trouble. 

I found some Gel at The Runner that is NOT caffeinated. I bought a couple packs and will try them tomorrow. This may be my saving grace so I am really hoping they work well. I'll let you know.


Calyx Meredith said...

Local stores - as the previous owner of a knit shop, I VERY MUCH appreciate your loyalty to your local running stores. It used to make me CRAZY that customers would come in, look at/feel a specific yarn, sometimes even knit on it, get my help to calculate exactly how much of it they wanted in which color - and then they'd leave and say they could order it online for a couple of bucks off! Grrr. Did they ever stop to think that the couple of extra bucks was what it cost to have people to help them? How long do they expect to have a local knit shop if that's they way they treat us? Anyway - off my soapbox too. Yay for local stores and community presence.

Nice gear - while I can't imagine not having black shorts to begin with - I have to say you got some good stuff. Yay for successful shopping.

Gu - last point. I know next to nothing about gels, gu, etc - but have you tried shotblocks? (Don't know if it's spelled right.) I've overheard people raving about them. Thought I'd throw it out there.

RBR said...

Hey I am with your. I have a local pet store that I go to to get my pet needs (no small thing! I can drop $300 in a pet supply shop without even trying. Give me a bad day and retail therapy there can get UGLY for Mr. Visa!)I love the personal attention and the fact that I know who I ma giving my money too. Same thing with restaurants. We are not "Big Chain" people. We go to little Mom and Pop places and get great food to boot.

I buy all my shoes at the local running store. I will have to admit that I go to the big chain for sports fuel stuff, because I am picky and the running store never has a good selection. It pisses me off when i hear about people going and getting fitted for shoes and then buying them online. Do you think their expertise and service is free? Sheesh! Alright, now I will hop off the soapbox as well.

Fuel on the run. I use the Gu with no caffeine. Vanilla Bean. In the later miles I will use the Cliff Shot blocks with electrolytes and caffeine, but usually only once. After that it is watered down Gatorade for electrolytes. I wonder if it is the caffeine more than the water that is upsetting your stomach. I worry about you running so many miles without calories.

By the way I LOVE the Race ready shorts! I have been looking at them, but was afraid because of the riding up thing, but if they have compression shorts inside maybe they would work. I think they have skirts too. You could start a new OK trend!

RBR said...

Oops! I stand corrected Vanilla Bean has caffeine too. Not much but it is still there. I guess they all do except Banana Blitz (ick!) Sorry!

Hopefully your new caffeine-free gel will work.

Southbay Girl said...

How was the caffeine free gel? Did it work? Is your tummy better? I hope so!!!!

Being a size 12, I have to order my shoes...but I order them from my favorite running store, The Village Runner! They are awesome, put on races, and can always get my size 12 Asics Gel Nimbus for me!!!

Southbay Girl said...

I have 3 packets of the Strawberry banana gu that's caffeine free...yeah I've been looking for them and just now found them-silly me

Maryland Girl said...

I found that leaving out the caffeine really helped me and all my tummy troubles that were cropping up when and I ran and post run.