Friday, March 31, 2006

The Expo Report

The race report will have to wait until Sunday (and until my psychic powers develop, it will have to remain that way), but until then there's the Expo Report.

Let's just say, it's a good thing we got paid today. Leah might have gone a bit over the deep end. Not to say the outfits she got aren't cute, because they are. Technical gear just tends to be a little pricey.

So we got up early to get to the expo right when it started. As Leah mentioned below, she was on a quest for size 10.5 shoes and the early bird gets the shoe, as they say. We left around 9 for downtown, taking the Red Line to Grand. Getting to the Red Line was a bit of a challenge, though, as we were being blown about both to and fro. The wind is definitely going to have to die down before Sunday, or I'm going to be lucky to even finish.

It was an absolutely beautiful day today. It was so warm, I actually had a little sweat on my brow. It was very exciting. I can tell you are excited too. I can feel it right through the computer screen.

After about a mile of walking, we ended up at Navy Pier, the site of the expo. It was nice getting there early and during the work day as it was not all that crowded. We picked up our chip and bib (we had to walk all the way to the low number area, a small price to pay for getting the super-cool green Preferred Start bib) and commenced to shopping.

All the local stores were really nice. We started at the Brooks booth, which was actually being run by this store called The Runner's Edge (careful, there's sound). They were exceedingly nice as Leah tried on a pair of Brooks Adrenaline and weighed the confidence of an old standby (Adrenaline) against the hope of something different (maybe something in an Asics). Well, she knows what the Adrenaline are like, so we decided to shop around a bit, although not before taking advantage of a buy 3, get 1 free sale on Wright Socks (they're the double-layered ones). We weren't spending money, we were saving money.

The next place we tried for shoes was the Asics booth. The person who helped us with the shoes was local professional runner, Jennifer Harrison (scroll down for pic). She is a tri-athlete who also trains local athletes through a place called MultiSport Madness. Leah tried on a few "beefier" shoes in case they might feel a bit more supportive, but nothing felt quite right.

We continued to make lap after lap, grabbing up all the free samples and eating whatever we could find. A brief free-sample report:
  • Clif Blocks - Delicious. We tried the lemon-lime and the Cran-Rasberry and both were awesome. Also, the texture was really good. This has been mentally added to the list of things to try
  • Clif protein Bars - unbelievably good. Try the Cookies and Cream.
  • Clif Electrolyte drink - Gross. We had some sort of Apple drink, and it tasted like water with a hint of apple, like if the ice melted after you finished a glass of apple juice. ICK.
  • Kiefer Milk Drink thing - Tastey, but I doubt I would drink it with regularity.
This continued until we hit the Nike gear. Leah has a bit of a soft-spot for Nike Dri-Fit and, as luck would have it, there was a whole rack of matching running clothes. A tank-top, sports bra, and pair of shorts later, we were checking out with the nice people at Running Away, one of our favorite local running stores. Wisely she passed on the matching running hat because, you know, that would be over the top. My assessment of the outfit Leah bought? She wears it well.

The bags were starting to pile up, but we still didn't have any shoes. So it was back to the Brooks booth to pick up a pair of ol' reliable. But wait! If we both bought a pair, they we would get an extra 4 dollars off per pair. Remember, it isn't spending money, it's saving money. I generally wear Asics 2100s, but I can do either so, so I agreed and got the Brooks Adrenalines as well. Mine were bright yellow, however, while her were the standard grey. I think the guy who sold me the shoes might have been suggesting that they were kind of girly, but I think they just look fast. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.

The last thing was that I still needed a shirt to race in. Last year, I wrote all over my good running shirt in a fit of excitement at the Chicago Marathon and I don't really want to wear a shirt that says "Go Jason" to the Shamrock Shuffle. It just doesn't really seem appropriate. So one more purchase and then home. Once again, though, the shirts were nearly half price and so we were practically minting money.

In the end, the damage:
  • four pairs of Wright Socks
  • two pairs of Brooks Adrenaline
  • Nike shirt, shorts, and bra
  • Two adidas dri-fit tank tops
Not too bad. If you total up the savings, it was really a steal. At least, that's what I plan on telling out landlords when we can't afford to pay the rent.

It was time to go before we could be further seduced by the Siren's call of the technical gear. We left the expo and braved the wind once more. We leaned into the wind and trudged back up grand in search of something tasty for lunch before we had to head home. As luck would have it, we were right near Boston Blackies, and amazing burger joint. This place has been the same since it was built and has incredible burgers at a very reasonable price to go along with really fast service.

It was the perfect end to a perfect expo day. Now I'm going to stay in my apartment until the wind goes away.


Bob said...

I tried on those brooks and liked how they felt, they are definetly a love em or hate em shoe. They were my second choice right behind my now favorite Asics Foundation. I need the stability. I might give the Gel Kayayno a try but it is a half step down in stability, I might try rotating them in when I can justify buying them.
Cool report and Go Jason and Leah in the Shamrock Shuffle. Looking forward to the race report.

LeahC said...

yeah i haven't found a pair i like better yet. I tried on the Kayayno's at the expo and didn't love them, although I could see how some people woudl like them. They just seemed a bit, I don't know flat or something to me.