Syracuse Online


Dr. J. on Running

Christmas Shopping

Meeting Holiday Needs

Published December 24, 2001 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Runners procrastinate. We wait until race day to turn in our entry form, and gladly pay double the entry fee. We run slow the entire race, then sprint and collapse at the finish line. We wear the same pair of running shoes until the sole detaches from the top, before we buy a new pair. We ignore a little foot pain, and wait for a bone to puncture through the skin before we seek medical help.

Gift shopping is no different. It is Christmas Eve, and I am almost ready to start down my list. Internet shopping is out of the question by now, so I must limit my spree to the local economy and send some of my money to George and Nick. On the bright side, a family of runners provides plenty of gift ideas, and makes my obstacle course runnable.

A well-stocked drug store provides the ideal setting for one-stop shopping. Shopping cart at hand, I start in the drug section with iron tablets for the girls, and 500-count Ibuprofen bottles for the old folk. Behind the counter, I sign for two pepper spray canisters, a surprise present for unfriendly neighborhood canines.

Down the aisle, I pick up Vaseline and lip balm to shield sensitive skin from drying, and sunscreen lotion for those bright winter days. Adhesive strips protect the nipples from friction and cracking on long runs. I spot packages of colorful odd balls: I pick-up a selection of these sneaker odor-eaters for the boy, possibly our last hope to bring back the deer to our yard.

In the groceries aisle, I grab a six-pack of sport drinks and a dozen energy bars. A four-pound can of ground coffee for the espresso machine always comes in handy. A large box of special dark chocolate bars supplies soul food after hard workouts, except for the oxalate-challenged among us.

On to the car care and hardware section, where I pick up a can of silicone spray for the treadmill, a cup holder to replace what Flo-Jo chewed, duct tape to treat plantar warts, and a wrench to dislodge stubborn spikes.

I pick up color-coded shoe laces to differentiate among shoes, a bag of tube socks to use as cheap hand mittens and a couple of reflector vests for evening runs. I also grab a handful of hair-ties and headbands: we can never have enough of these.

The stationary aisle provides a selection of classic videos to watch while on the treadmill, a calendar to keep track of training - and double-up as a pace chart for the speed-impaired, a phone card to call home with results from away meets, and books to read on the ride back home.

Another Christmas Eve, another shopping spree completed successfully. Thank heaven for runners.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at

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