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running!?

So I’m playing cool kid in Seattle right now. I say playing because I have neither the means nor the motivation to actually become as hip as everyone here, and thus have to settle for pretending and observing.

Oh what a lot there is to observe- its like someone freed all the mannequins from all the cool stores to roam the streets. I know how they’d hate to be called mannequins, but I mean this in a “your outfit is art,” or a “you inspire me to dress like you” kind of way; not in a “you’re like a plastic person” kind of way. I’ve never had the chance to live in a place where people devote so much time and energy in fashion expression, and it’s a total treat to watch.

On the other hand, it’s also a little depressing. Having devoted about 80% of my own time and energy to things like pedaling and eating, it’s hard to spare anything for layering matching pieces in the colors of the season or finding the perfect shoes. What fashion I manage to hack together must be functional; if i can’t wear it 100 times or more at dusty race venues, I can’t justify buying it. My daily uniform has therefore dwindled to a few of the same articles in different colors- pants, tank tops, cardigans, and my purple vans. Occasionally a skirt. I don’t have any graphic tee’s, sundresses, or rompers. My booty collection is lacking, and almost none of my accessories actually “add” anything to any of my outfits- I am not cool.

So yesterday, with a little time on my hands, a nagging need for some art of my own, and a suicidal desire to spend some money, I decided to try to become cool in one shopping trip.

My first stop was a “new clothes” store. I rarely go to these any more, but the strains of some quirky music and a smell that reminded me of gradeschool crayons lured me in. As I fingered the gorgeous fabrics in colors that a) didn’t offend me and b) actually excited me, I realized with horror that none of the price tags were nearly as agreeable. I resolved to buy one thing (presumably to make me happy for years to come) but eventually just wimped out and moved on.

After the new store, I went to a bunch of buffalo-exchange types of places. All the colors were suddenly a little bit off, and the occasional thing that caught my eye was usually worn well beyond the limits of its short garment life. Depressed and empty handed, I made my way back to the car, hoping I hadn’t been ticketed for parking in the wrong spot.

My next errand of the day was to get my power tap working for the roadie. I’ve never trained with watts before, but apparently I override all the time, so I’ve decided to give it a try. I bought a setup from a friend-of-a-friend and, after covering myself in chain grease and breaking every one of my nails, had still failed to trick the computer into communicating with the hub. So I took it to Greggs, the local shop, to see what they could do.

While I was waiting for them to work their guru magic, I gazed out the window and spotted a “runners world” across the street. Like a kind of zombie, I wandered in. Here was a “new clothes” store I could finally understand. Recalling my pathetic soreness after last month’s LeMans start, I decided on the spot to start running again.

No mannequin would be caught dead in the shoes I ended up buying, but I know I’ll run the shit out of them and still love them after they’ve reached the extent of their muddy, dirty lives. And although the colors and fabrics in the running store were not exactly the most agreeable, they were colors and fabrics I realized I understood intimately. So while I’m still clueless about cool on city streets, I realized I know sport-cool well enough to make up for it. Or at least enough to relegate myself firmly to the realms of bike lanes and sidewalks where I belong.


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