The truth is, I am a runner who hates running. I hate it so much. Because running is terrible. It is exhausting and difficult and frankly, it's boring. The best part about running is being finished with running and knowing at least a day or two will pass before I feel compelled to do it again.
I suspect there are a lot of people out there who secretly hate running but do it anyway. Why? Because of what running results in. It quickly and efficiently burns off Jumbo Slice consumed on a street corner at 3:00 AM. It doesn't require a gym membership or anything other than a pair of sneakers. It relieves stress, improves blood pressure, and lessens insomnia. And it makes you feel pretty damn proud of yourself every time you do it, because it's so. freaking. hard.
Whether you're a newbie trying it out or a seasoned runner training for your tenth marathon because you just can't get enough (PS, I hate you), the biggest favor you can do for yourself is to get a good pair of running shoes that are tailored to your needs.
With that in mind, I recently stopped by Potomac River Running in Cleveland Park on the lookout for a new pair of shoes. And I was blown away by how helpful and patient the staff was. They didn't make any judgmental remarks when they saw my current pair were so worn that the size markings had faded to obscurity (I can't be blamed for this behavior- I learned it from my father, who used to duct tape his running shoes when they became so worn that holes started to appear).
After I explained that my feet are freakishly narrow, the staff brought out all the shoes in my size that come in narrow widths or run on the narrow side. They encouraged me to try every single pair on the store treadmill, and examined my gait to ensure that I was fitted with a proper shoe. I left with a rare desire to go on a run just for fun because I was so happy with my new pink-laced kicks.
But several weeks later, I begrudgingly returned to Potomac River Running, pink-laced shoes in tow. I explained that though my new shoes fit perfectly, the arch of my foot hurt sometimes when I ran, which had never been a problem before.
"Are they Asics?" asked one staff member.
When I confirmed they were, she nodded knowingly. "They don't have much arch support compared to the other brands. A brand like Brooks would be better."
Not only did they allow me to exchange a pair of shoes I admitted to wearing a good dozen times, they didn't bat an eye when I told them I'd lost the receipt. And a few weeks later, I can say confidently that the Brooks fit perfectly and provide the exact level of support that I need.
Both pairs of shoes- the Asics and Brooks- came in right around $90, which, for running shoes, is an extremely reasonable price. The store also carries a good selection of clothes and accessories and pretty much anything else you can possibly buy that relates to running.
With reasonable prices, a wide selection, friendly and knowledgeable staff, excellent customer service, and a convenient right-next-to-Metro location, it's hard to imagine a reason to go anywhere else.
Interested in running the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler with some of the Gamma Girls? Email us at email@example.com by Tuesday, December 11 and we'll add your name to our group! Registration is conducted by lottery, so no guarantees, but our fingers are crossed. The run is beautiful- just look at the picture- and we're a laid back group that runs at all different speeds, so everyone is welcome.