Shopping Struggles, But Running Saves the Day!

There was a time when I loved to shop for clothes.  LOVED it.  It was fun and exciting and was a way to express my creativity.  These days, however, I loathe the task most of the time.  I don’t know how many of you reading are thirty-something women, but let me tell you, the options out there for us are pretty sad.

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There is a vast wasteland of clothing for women my age who want to look mature AND sexy.  Fun AND professional.  Casual AND put together.  There are shops for professional women that veer toward dull and stuffy.  There are shops for young women who clearly are spending their nights in clubs and their days taking in (what’s left of) the summer sun.  And there are outdoor stores that would be great if I was planning on hiking everyday during my office hours.  But, a store for an almost 33 year old who still feels youthful in many ways, but whose club days are far behind her?  It seems impossible.

This has been a real struggle for me as I strive to fine tune my image at this stage in my life and it’s a struggle that is not showing any signs of easing up anytime soon.  When I work up the energy to go on a shopping trip these days, I usually end up tired, discouraged, and more than a little confused about my personal style and how to find anything that expresses it appropriately.

So, where is the bright light in this sad little rant?

Running.  Running is the bright light (isn’t it usually?).

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More specifically today, running apparel is the bright light.  I love shopping for running apparel.  Give me a rack stuffed with Oiselle and a shelf full of Adidas and I am in my shopping heaven.  Singlets and shorts and capris and jackets and base layers and, of course, shoes.

One of the wonderful things about running is that it gives you a built in, non-arguable reason to buy a new pair of shoes every few months.  And such it was this weekend that it was time for me to pick up a new pair of Mizunos.   So I headed down to one of my local running stores (Foot Traffic) with a mission.  I’ve grown loyal to my Wave Riders and I was thrilled to bring home a new pair.  New color, slightly lighter than my last pair (even better for racing), and just waiting to see me through my next round of training that will start in the coming weeks for the Holiday Half Marathon.

Aren’t they beautiful?

If only all of my shopping trips could be so fruitful.

My Weekend In Pictures

Here’s my weekend in a nutshell.  It was a lovely couple of days in Portland and I reached a milestone this weekend – first 20 mile run is complete!

photo credit: Tal Bright via photopin cc

photo credit: Tal Bright via photopin cc

20 miles, you all!  Woot!

I celebrated with a peaceful and delicious hour at one of my favorite coffee shops.

Good book.  Delicious scone.  Ultra satisfying cup of coffee.

Good book. Delicious scone. Ultra satisfying cup of coffee.

Later, I went looking for work shoes and found these instead.

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For $45!! These are my favorite Mizunos which normally run over $100.  It was the deal of a century.

I cooked up an exciting dinner (those pictures will come later in the week) and spent an hour with The Doctor.

Sunday was brunch out with my favorite people and seeing life starting to make itself known in my first apartment container garden.

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Not too shabby.

New Running Shoes! : Including A Review of A Local Running Store, My First Professional Shoe Fitting, and Joining the Ranks of Mizuno-Wearing Runners

I had an incredibly exciting weekend.  Well, exciting to me, anyway. Granted, it may not seem all that exciting to others . . . but I’m betting that at least some of you would agree that buying new running shoes is ALL KINDS of exciting.

And, to top it off there were also fantastic running clothes – ON SALE.  Actually, I would venture to say that it was beyond exciting.  The whole experience was down right jubilant!  Want to hear about it?

So let me say that as a relatively new runner still (I’m approaching a full year since I started), I had not yet bought running shoes from a proper running store before.  I’ve been shopping for other items at these shops for several months and have been patiently waiting for the right time to buy new shoes.  Having racked up many miles on my old shoes (which are great, but I bought from an outpost of a giant sporting goods chain) it was time.

Portland has several options for local running stores, but I decided to head to the Sellwood location of Foot Traffic.  Foot Traffic has four locations in the Portland Metro area and I’ve bought an item or two from them before, but never anything that required much assistance from a staff member.  I knew, though, that since I’m steadily increasing my weekly mileage, I wanted to get input from a knowledgeable employee who could help lead me to the right shoe.

My experience at Foot Traffic was fantastic and if any of you reading are in the Portland area, I highly recommend them.  There was one sales staff on duty when I arrived.  The store had a steady flow of customers throughout my time there, yet the staff person was very attentive and helpful to me while still attending to other customers in the store.  She considered the shoe I had been wearing, information about my running preferences, and took a look at my stride/gait in order to help direct my focus.  I tried on several pairs of shoes and after running around in each of them, I found myself returning to a pair of Mizuno Wave Precision 12s.  The sales person also chatted with me about the brand in general, since I haven’t worn them before, shared feedback from other customers who had purchased that particular shoe, and kindly saw my transaction through to the end.  She also made sure that I knew about the store’s 30-day return policy – if the shoes don’t seem to work for me once I log a few runs in them, I am assured that I can exchange them for another model.

Also, I mentioned sale-priced running clothes.  I was thrilled to snag a pair of Oiselle running shorts and Mizuno thermal running pants for the winter at 50% off!  All in all, I had a great experience at Foot Traffic and will definitely return for future running gear needs.

As for my new shoes, I took them out for an easy 3 mile run on Monday.  I am still breaking them in – they felt a bit snug – but I think once they log a few more miles they will be fantastic.  They definitely provide decent cushion against the pavement while remaining lightweight and flexible.  I’m looking forward to getting some more miles in them.

I also very much enjoyed the process of having some professional assistance with my running shoe purchase – it was a huge change from going to a general purpose sporting goods store.  Plus, did I mention SALE Oiselle shorts?!  It really doesn’t get better than that!

Are any of you Mizuno wearers?  What do you think of them?