I ventured into Fairfax and into my first Pacers running store. I was curious about the packet pickup, since some of the Pacers races have simultaneous packet pickup at multiple locations. I couldn't imagine how that worked. Now that I know it seems pretty obvious. They have computers at pickup and assign you a number when you check in. So your bib number doesn't have to be at the "right" store - wherever you are and whenever you get there determines your bib number. The race sweatshirt is awesome - love the art deco logo! I did have a glow stick fail - I bumped my glow stick while trying on shoes. They were kind enough to give me a replacement glow stick...which I promptly bumped on the door frame on the way out. I did *not* ask for a third glow stick. I figured at that point they would have made me for the high-risk klutz that I am, at least when it comes to glow sticks!
I tried on some shoes there. I was running in Merrell pace gloves for the past two years, but my running coach and sports chiropractor both suggested that I might want to move away from the minimalist shoe given my recurring achilles pain. I've been running in Saucony Guide 6 (conveniently on sale when I bought them because of course the Guide 7 was a week away from making its debut...). I do like them, but they feel so substantial compared to the pace gloves. And I suspect my form is regressing to the heel strike now that I'm out of the minimal shoe.
Shoe shopping was a bust at Pacers because apparently they start at women's size 6. I am a size 5, very rarely a 5.5. I tried on some kids' shoes, but they felt clunky. Now I know how lucky I am that Potomac River Running carries such a large selection of size 5 shoes. Although I may venture back into zappos.com to try some other styles. They have a great selection and it is so easy to return things to them.
I did find a couple of things at Pacers - a Brooks "run happy" t-shirt that I've been coveting for a couple of months and an elusive pair of XS balega socks. Did I mention my feet are tiny?! Most places don't even carry the XS socks. The Marine Corps Marathon Expo was the first time I ever saw them (thank you, Fleet Feet)! I also found some of the yummy chocolate mint gu that tastes like chocolate frosting. I know it would make Rick sick it is so sweet, but it sure hits the spot for me!
I saw a shirt while I was out that said "running is cheaper than therapy". I love the message that exercise is great for your mental health. The contrarian in me could think of many scenarios where running is actually not cheaper than therapy. The gear, the race fees, the training...it all adds up! And we don't even travel to races (yet?). So maybe not cheaper than therapy. But perhaps a healthier choice nonetheless.