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Big news: I finally feel comfortable calling myself a runner!

I’ve always wanted to be into running, but never really have. I’ve had stages where I’ve run some, but have never particularly enjoyed it, despite desperately wanting to. And then more recently my legs started getting insanely itchy when I’d run, which made running even LESS awesome. (Has anyone else out there experienced this? It’s seriously not fun. Seems to be something related to capillary expansion, according to what I could find online, although there are a few theories.) Thankfully, le Google helped me find a solution to the itchy legs (an allergy pill an hour before running for a few days), and eventually, as I got used to running regularly, the itching has totally subsided even without that cure.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been running regularly (read: 4-6 times per week) and eventually, to my great delight, started — gasp! — liking it. LOVING it, even! Craving it. And I have a great running buddy in Fulton, who is good motivation to get up and run in the morning, because he’s awesome at guilt tripping. Come on — those eyes!

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We’re to the point where we run about four miles each morning (four relatively slow miles, but still), and now my day doesn’t feel quite right if we haven’t gotten our run in.

Now that I’m running regularly, I think it’s time to upgrade some of my running equipment and accessories, and that’s where you guys come in. I need your help picking new running shoes and also a GPS watch to track my runs. My birthday’s coming up, and I’m thinking I might add some running gear to my wish list.

For the runners out there: What shoes have you found to be the best in your experience, and why? And if you have a GPS watch you love, what kind is it, and what do you love about it? (Any other tips for this newbie runner — both gear-related and not — are also quite welcome!)