New Trail, 14 Miles, & a Biker Bar…All In a Day’s Work, Folks!

Road trip! RB, ME, Husband, and I headed to Charlotte yesterday. We had two objectives: run 14 miles and find some new shoes. The new shoes thing was just to add legitimacy to the outing—most people will think we’re crazy for DRIVING to find someplace to run, so we added “and to buy running shoes” in an attempt to turn our crazy trip into a plausible errand. It wasn’t a totally plausible errand of course…as we do have two perfectly good running stores here in Greenville.

Plausible or no, we failed miserably at the errand of finding shoes. Store 1 had a very small selection, and most of the shoes on the shelf were size 8 or higher. I instantly noticed this because I’ve found that the policy in most stores is to put the smallest size on display. My size 5.5-6 feet were preparing  themselves for disappointment. RB and ME noticed that there were no price tags on the shoes. RB asked the salesman for the price on her shoe (she’s worn the same brand/type several times in a row) and he told her—grudgingly—and then explained that their policy is to fit someone to their “perfect” shoe, not have them come in and pick one out based on price. It’s a nice pitch, but it doesn’t account for those people who are convinced they have to have a specific shoe based on color. Or brand. Or style of shoelace. You should probably hide all the shoes, just to be sure. But then, of course, you go to all the trouble of finding them the perfect shoe, and what will be their first question? “How much is it?” Drat those customers! Price matters, fella.

The cool thing I learned in that store, however, is that there’s a potential for a size 5.5 Adidas Supernovas in stock. I used to wear Novas (back when there was only one type—pre-Nova Control, Classic, Glide, etc.) but there was a redesign several years back, after which a size 6 was too big. I was intrigued by the prospect of getting back to Adidas…the shoe in question, however, was pink. Enough said. Moving on.

We had only planned on hitting one store before hitting the trail, but since we were in and out of Store 1 so fast we had the ever-helpful GPS direct us to Store 2. Store 2 also had no prices (so weird) and my inner running snob took issue with the salesperson. I should have been more assertive to keep her from going into full-on sales mode, but I’m just not so I settled for being passively rude as she tried to find my “perfect shoe” instead of bringing out the Supernovas (blue this time) that I wished to try on. I feel a little bad about that (the passively rude part), because she was just doing her job, but the inner running snob wishes her radar to differentiate between “experienced runner, knows what she wants” and “novice runner,  needs lots of help” was a bit stronger. As it was, I’m pretty sure we were mutually annoying each other. She kept trying to get me in support/control shoes, and I kept trying to convince her that the shoes she was bringing out were too big. The inner running snob almost escaped when she looked at my Vomeros and said in disbelief, “oh, you’re not wearing those to run, are you?” Why, yes. Yes I am. In fact, those shoes have 500 miles on them and the only grief they’ve ever caused me was some heel blisters when I first broke them in. But thanks for asking.

Back in your cage, inner running snob. Oh, well.  Better to support the local businesses who support the races I run anyway. I believe a trip to Augusta Rd is in order.

Hey…was that a rant? I do believe that was a rant. I haven’t had one of those in awhile. How refreshing! Anyway, we learned our lesson after Store 2 and hit the trail. This week, it was the Campbell Creek and McAlpine Park Greenways. We parked in approximately the middle of the trail. Two miles up, two miles back, a loop around the 5k cross country course, two miles down, two miles back, another loop around the 5k course, and…a mere two hours and six minutes later…done! It’s starting to get long, and it’s nearing the point where long run “fuel” begins to be an issue. The next couple of weeks will be tough on me—my stomach particularly—as I struggle to find the balance between “not enough” and “too much” and hope to learn what precisely I can keep down while on the run.

The trail itself is great. It’s well-marked and popular enough not to feel isolated. Parking in the middle was a great idea, too, because it provided the opportunity to swing back by the car for a quick drink.

After the run, we high-tailed it to RB’s favorite biker bar. (It, um, may be RB’s only biker bar…I don’t believe she’s in the habit of frequenting them. 🙂 ) According to her, the food is amazing and it’s somewhere that four sweaty runners can go without causing a scene or disrupting anyone else’s meal. Sounds decent, right? When we found the place, it looked like it was going to ruin RB’s day. Saturday was probably the nicest day we’ve had for a long while, and the biker’s were out in full force. The entire parking lot was crowded with motorcycles and the outdoor seating area was covered with their riders. Uh-0h. It’s after 2:00 in the afternoon and we’ve all run 14 milesstarving is hardly an exaggeration. RB,  how disappointed would you be if we didn’t eat here?” “Extremely. Let’s at least see how long the wait is.” So she calls, and tells us 15 minutes. At that moment, as if by magic, a parking space opens up. In we go, where we’re immediately seated. RB is a happy camper, and we learn that her devotion to the place is well-deserved. Mac’s Speed Shop in Charlotte, if anyone’s interested. We can vouch for their pulled pork sandwiches and veggie burgers. 🙂

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