last saturday we went to REI to prepare for our 9 mile run and stumbled upon a 50% off clearance sale. what great luck! i'm not so secretly in love with REI. it's bursting with things i've coveted for years, and i discover new gadgets i desperately need everytime i walk in the door. what's that you say? this tent will keep me warm in the middle of a canadian blizzard and leave me feeling refreshed in an arizona heat wave? i'll take it! or so it goes in my imagination. the reality is i can barely afford to buy socks there, much less anything that can be classified as "gear". to minimize the heartache, i delete my REI emails without opening them (especially anything with the word "clearance" in the subject), and i never step foot in the store without a very specific purpose.
so the Voice of Reason and i went to the promised land in search of mid-run nutrition and blister preventing socks. the clearance bins were of course less than 30 feet from the entrance so we HAD to walk past them. as luck would have it, we actually found stuff that we needed (1 Liter water backpacks for $7), and i managed to walk out with only one unplanned purchase: fleece-lined spandex (that i'm currently wearing in my arctic living room). i normally don't give the clothing section a second glance because it's always WAY out of my price range, but with the 50% off prices, the spandex were basically free by REI standards ($17). the voice of reason talked me out of buying a bike jersey. it would have been a vanity purchase at best because i won't actually use the pockets on the back of the jersey, and i have plenty of exercise clothes that are just as good as the striped beauty that i tried on. the stripes blinded me, okay.
being surrounded by all that specialty gear left me pumped up for our 9 mile run. sunday morning we donned our new designer running socks and our generic brand CamelBacks, with lemon/lime Gu tucked in the mini-pocket, and set out for what hoped to be a good run. the route we picked was relatively flat and the weather was perfect, minus a strong headwind on the first half. things went well until mile 8 when the knee pain came out to play, making the home stretch a painful one, but overall, it was a successful outing. if you've never had energy gels (e.g. Gu or Cliff Shots), they have the consistency of a racquetball that's been melted and allowed to set until it's a semi-solid. in other words, thick, gooey (ha), and generally disgusting, but they really helped midway through the run.
this weekend it's 10 miles or bust. i'm planning to wear my ITBand strap to prevent the wonderful stabbing/pulling sensation on the outside of my knee that happened last week. if only there was a strap to prevent the never ending hunger caused by all this extra running.