Thursday, January 26, 2012

Buying happiness in running stores

Bo Derek once said, "Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping." I have taken this phrase to heart in my latest quest to visit running stores in the cities where we travel. I know, I know. It's not enough to simply travel a lot AND run in all of these cities. I've now developed quite the fascination with running stores. And let me tell you - no two are the same. We should discuss a few of my favorites.

Bo Derek knows a thing or two about running
Here in the Lansing area our local running store is Playmakers. Playmakers kind of spoils me for other running stores I visit because it's pretty great. I have purchased every single pair of my running shoes there for the last six years, and their running gear is also top quality.  A lot of our local races have packet pick-up at Playmakers which is quite genius because I cannot get out of that place without buying something. It's too tempting. From shoes and gear to water bottles and running stickers, they literally have everything. I haven't even gotten to their website - I love it. I visit it every single day.  I find most of the local races I run on the Playmakers race calendar. There are injury clinics, group training opportunities, and any other support a runner would need. Other running stores have a tough act to follow.

I didn't start running until I moved to Michigan, so it's unfortunate that while living in Norfolk, VA I didn't visit Running, Etc. My apartment in Norfolk's Ghent neighborhood was only a block away from the store when I was there, and yet I never made my way in. I made it a point to stop in when I was in Norfolk in December.  The store had lots of great running shoes and gear, and they have some really good sales. It is smaller than Playmakers, but they still have a lot of inventory. I bought a great t-shirt that boasts "Virginia is for Runners". It's my new favorite.

In Boston last fall I got to visit a little store I loved - Marathon Sports. This store is located near where the Boston Marathon finishes. I couldn't NOT go in, right? It was small without a huge selection, but what they did have was awesome.  I scored a Skirt Sports capri skirt - one that had been featured in Runner's World - on sale for a great price. I love it and wore it just a few weeks later in Lansing's Capital City River Run. Marathon Sports has a pretty active Twitter feed, and I have a fantasy of visiting Boston and joining one of their training clinics. Hey, it could happen.

My awesome capri skirt during the CCRR
I try not to bore my traveling companions by insisting we go in every running store I see, but I'll admit I'm doing it more frequently. The only thing that makes running these towns more interesting is buying running gear in these towns. I'm pretty sure Bo Derek's famous quote was referring to running stores.

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