Wish List

The nice thing about running is that you don’t need much to get started. A pair of shoes and some comfy clothes are all you really need. And for the most part, that’s all I’ve had. I did invest in a water bottle with a pouch for my stuff, Mom got me a fuel belt with even more pockets, and I always have my Sansa clip with me. I’ve picked up a few shirts (mostly from races) and some new shorts (they were on sale, I couldn’t resist), but that’s kinda it. Now, I’m also going to try out triathlons, and I’ll need a few more things for that, but again, not a ton. A bike, a helmet, a swimsuit, some goggles, and you can make a go of it.

But there are lots of things that I could have and, I’ll be honest, there are some of them that I really want.

Running Watch

Right now, I have a simple digital watch that has a stopwatch function. It technically also has a single lap feature, but I don’t entirely understand it (the instructions weren’t very clear). The downside is the stopwatch function only goes up to 60 minutes, which is slightly less than helpful for my longer races. I bought it on clearance for $3.24, so I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, and it has met those expectations wonderfully. I really just wanted to be able to keep track of my running times and distances a little more accurately. So I track the time with my stopwatch function, and I map my runs out on dailymile.com. I’ve also tried using different apps for my phone that track your running, like mapmyrun and runtastic. It works, but it’s a lot of little steps. And as we all know by now, I’m lazy. I want one-stop-shopping. So I’ve been eye-balling a Garmin.

The most important thing is that it is green. I don't want it to feel left out.

One option is the Garmin 405. From Garmin’s website:
Loaded with serious training features, Forerunner 405 continuously monitors your time, distance, pace, calories and heart rate (when paired with heart rate monitor). Each run is stored in memory so you can review and analyze the data to see how you’ve improved. You even can download recorded courses to compete against previous workouts or race a Virtual Partner®. Customize Forerunner’s data screens for instant feedback while you train.

So, it keeps track of all the stuff that I want, some others that I hadn’t really thought about yet, and it will automatically transfer all this information directly to my computer for me? Excellent! The downsides: it is only for running, and my laziness is a bit costly. This particular model sells for $220.  That green coloring must be really expensive.

If I want something less expensive, soleus has recently gotten in on the gps market:

At $99, it’s by far the cheapest, and I would still be doing the data entry myself. Which I have gotten very good at, by the way.

But wait! What about the swimming and biking? If I want to track that too, I’ll need something more like the 310XT:

Quite a bit more powerful, not nearly as pretty. Superficial, I know. Sue me.

About the 310XT:
Finally, a GPS-enabled training device that isn’t afraid of the water. The rugged Forerunner 310XT is the triathlete’s indispensable training tool — a GPS-enabled trainer that is water-resistant to 164 ft (50 m), tracks data in multiple sport modes and sends it wirelessly to your computer. This multisport device has up to 20 hours of battery life, tracks distance, pace and heart rate¹ on land, and goes from wrist to bike in seconds.

Or, if I really wanted to go all out, I’d get the 910XT at $450.

Sleek and sexy. The LBD of the gps-watch world.

Ultimately, it’s going to come down to how much Hubby lets me spend.  Anybody know a good sugar daddy?
(Dear Garmin, you’re welcome for the mini-commercial.)

New Sunglasses

Here’s another tidbit that I really shouldn’t admit to. I am hell on sunglasses. I usually have 2-3 pairs floating around because they will all end up lost or broken at some point in their lives with me. Thus, I generally don’t buy nice things. Right now, my primary pair are my ‘Hollywood’ glasses. I am totally a rock star when I wear these.

Cheap and gaudy. Just my style.

As awesome as these are, they are just no match for the humidity that my face produces while running. If there’s not a nice breeze coming through, instead of feeling glamorous, I feel like Stevie Wonder (not that Stevie isn’t glamorous). I have also somewhat recently found out that having polarized sunglasses really does make a difference. I had a pair of sport-style sunglasses that were polarized, and they were fantastic. It was kinda hard to go back to the Hollywood’s after they met an unfortunate end under my foot. Don’t ask, I don’t like to talk about it.

New Shoes

Back in May, just before Capital City, I bought a new pair of shoes. They are Asics Gel-Enduro 6’s. They were great shoes and I wore the hell out of them for almost all my running. They were replaced with the Gel-Enduro 7, which wasn’t quite as great. Don’t get me wrong, they got the job done. I just never quite loved them like I loved the 6’s. Now it’s getting to be time for a new pair. And this time, I would like something a little more flashy. Cause that’s how I roll (see Hollywood above).

With Nike and Reebok, you can do a lot of customization now, i.e. I can make them as green as I want, which will always be a bonus for me. But I really have liked the Asics, and they do have some green models. And it would probably be a good idea to have a couple pairs of shoes in rotation so that I’m not always beating down the same pair.  Not entirely sure that line of reasoning is going to convince the Hubby, but we’ll see.

Compression Socks

It used to be compression stockings were only for old people with circulation problems. Times have changed, and athletes the world over are jumping on the bandwagon of compression gear. There’s been a lot of talk about how it helps with performance, as well as recovery. Funny thing is, there’s not a lot of solid research to back up these claims. A lot of it seems to be speculation and reasoning. For example, compression socks help to insulate the muscles of your legs, and warm tissue has better blood circulation, which means better oxygenation to the tissues, which means better performance and shorter recovery periods. It is a logical train of thought, and may be correct, but the studies just aren’t backing it up scientifically. That being said, everyone that I have talked to that uses them swears by them. Can’t live without them. This has been backed up by the other blogs that I stalk follow. And I am still occasionally battling super tight calf muscles and am happy to take any advantage I can get.  And most importantly of all….

That's right...

Unfortunately, these are another costly item at around $60, though I have seen them on sale here and there.  Cute, but sadly not going to be on the top of the priority list.


Running Apparel

Dressing for a run or workout of any sort should not only be functional, but also a personal statement. The sort of statement that says “I love Green.” (no judging). There are so many options! Shorts, pants, skirts, headbands, socks, arm sleeves, and most of these in any color you want (although mostly in pink, if you’re in to that sort of thing.)  Not gonna lie, I really want to try out a running skirt, or skort, or whatever. Something that prevents my inner thighs from starting a fire and is super cute.  Functional and fashionable.

No forest fires here. Safety first, people.

Wireless Headphones

I am not a big fan of wires. Anyone that is as hard on things as I am doesn’t need extra pieces to break or lose.  The wires for my headphones are always in my way.  I can’t tell you how many earbuds I’ve lost, or how many times I’ve yanked them out of my ears, or even better, managed to throw my clip to the ground.  Sadly, I have a major obstacle to becoming free of wires. Namely, my sansa clip is not bluetooth enabled.  No sansa product is. And this makes me very sad because I very much love my sansa. It takes a beating like no other piece of equipment I own.  I hate to replace it, but the wires are making me crazy.  My other options are very limited. There aren’t that many bluetooth enabled mp3 players out there. I looked, and I wasn’t very impressed. Until I found this:

Where have you been all my life?

All in one mp3 player. 4GB for $80, and no wires!  This may be the most genius thing I have ever seen. I must have it.

Whew! That’s a lot of money I’m looking to spend, and I haven’t gotten to the triathlon end of things. Man, can I pick expensive hobbies!

Anything else you think I should look into?

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Even when you’re on the Naughty List…

… Santa still dishes out some pretty cool stuff!  It’s also really nice feeling knowing that when you’re talking about running and gear and training, your family is actually listening.

The Hubby gets top marks this year with coming through with the one thing that I really wanted(but didn’t want to ask anyone for since it is more expensive) (and had been scoping out since Black Friday):

Hello beautiful... I'm pretty sure this is the fanciest thing I have ever owned...

I'm not sure what that says about me...

Although now that I think of it, since he is the Official Race Photographer, this may not really be for me…. hmmmm

Mom gets the ‘Best Present’ award for this beauty:

Hand-made customization. Complete with stolen facebook picture...

She personally made this (and my brother wants you to know that he drilled the holes). My answer for how to hang my medals was not going to be this cool.

I also got some excellent cold weather running gear, including a new head lamp!

New running shirts? Check. In green? Double check. We won't be too mean to the purple one.

I’m also really excited about the Nathan fuel belt! As my runs have been getting longer I’ve been in need of more water and some snacks-on-the-go. This will be perfect!

Yea, sure you're just checking out the fuel belt... likely story...

Exercise-wise, last week it just didn’t happen. I was getting sick, I was constantly tired, and there were just a ton of things that had to get done before the holiday. I only racked up a measly 2 points for the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, but my weight was still down for the week, so I’ll count it as a win. Sometimes you just need a break.

Original weight -11/20- 221 pounds
Week 1-   11/27-   220.2 pounds
Week 2-   12/04-   222.8 pounds
Week 3-   12/11-   220 pounds
Week 4-   12/18-   219.2 pounds
Week 5-   12/24-   217.8 pounds

If I can keep it together for one more week, I may be able to pull out a full 5 pound weight loss in 6 weeks. Not record setting to be sure, but still notable progress and I’ll take it.

I hope you all had an equally Merry Christmas, and have an even better Happy New Year! I’ll be starting my New Year off right by running the First on the First 5K, put on by my favorite race organizers M3S.

What will you be doing on New Year’s Day?

Yay for New Shoes!

There are not many things that you need to start running. Basic athletic wear of some sort, and some comfy shoes. That’s pretty much it.

Except that it’s not. There’s much more to this whole shoe thing. There are some rules.

I got really lucky with my shoes. The week of the Capital City Quarter I bought a new pair of athletic shoes. Actually, it may have been the day before the race. The pair that I was wearing up to this was about a year old, had holes worn through the toe areas, and were generally worn for everything from work to walking/running. Mom and I had just walked about 7miles a few days before and my feet were killing me afterwards. So, I ended up at Meijer, and they had shoes on sale. I saw a pair that I liked (aka, I liked the color), bought them, and wore them the next day for a quarter marathon.

Rule #1– Don’t buy and wear brand new shoes the day of a race.

Shoes need to be broken in. I lucked out, since Mom and I mostly walked, I wasn’t doing a whole lot of damage to my feet. I didn’t have any blistering, and my feet were any more sore than normal after being on them for that long. Had I been trying to run the whole thing, I probably would have been hobbling half way through. The shoes that I purchased were Asics Gel-Enduro 6’s. They are specifically a trail running shoe, they have more grip on the sole for dealing with loose gravel/dirt/dog-poo/whatever else you might find on a trail. And (hence the name) they have a gel-based insole that is super comfortable.

ok, well, they had more grip...

Ol' reliable, my friend

You can see the current state of these shoes. I have been running in them for 5 months. And I didn’t actually use them on trails. I meant to, really, I did. I had a big master plan to go run on trails at one of the Metro Parks each week. It had promise. It’s just kinda never really saw fruition. Whoops.

Rule #2– Most shoes have a specific purpose in life. Pick the one that meets your needs.

My shoes would have enjoyed life a little more if I had followed through with that park plan. As it was, they saw a lot of time on paved walking paths, and roads. They are a bit heavier than a regular road-running shoe is, which may make a difference if you’re hard-core and speed is a big deal. Every ounce counts, right? But for me, they looked nice, and more importantly, they felt nice.

Rule #3– Make sure your shoes feel good, and fit properly.

I’m thinking that this is where most of us go wrong. We pick shoes for the wrong reasons (i.e. they’re pretty-I do it all the time, if it’s not in green, it’s not for me), and we don’t think about how those shoes are going to be used, and therefor don’t get the right size. Once again, I got real lucky. Right from the beginning these shoes were super comfortable and I never had any problems with blisters. My feet are a little bit wide, and these worked perfectly. I recently went up to Fleet Feet with Mom (she joined No Boundaries- Yay for Mom!) so that she could get her gait looked at since she had been having some foot trouble (hope you don’t mind me dishing your story out). Her doctor had ruled out major issues, and the thought was that she may be wearing too small of a shoe. Long story short, they looked at the way she landed on her feet as she ran, measured each of her feet so that she would know what size she should be looking at, and talked about about some shoes are padded differently depending on how you land on your feet. While I was there with her, they looked at my feet as well. I “toe-out” when I run. They looked at me from behind and you could see 2-3 toes peeking out around my calf as I touched down. So they talked to me a little about the kind of shoe that I should look for, something that provided more support on the outside of my foot to try and help correct that issue. Basically, if you’re not lined up right, you’re possibly going to have problems with your knees and hips. Proper alignment is kind of a big deal. As is proper shoe size. I had never specifically thought about it, but since I’ve been running, I notice how my other shoes aren’t actually very comfortable because they are probably a little too small. I have a pair of Nike’s that I usually just wear for show, and when I tried to run in them, my toes were very angry about it afterwards. I have also decided that my dress shoes should probably be another half size up as well, and then maybe we won’t hate each other so much.

Rule#4- Size does, in fact, matter

Anyway, I had gotten lucky that my impulse buy trail shoes had been working out so wonderfully for me. But they were getting worn down. Badly. I had been running a gravel trail near once or twice a week for a while, and the grip just wasn’t there. Plus I was starting to get toe-holes again (Apparently my big toe has a lot of personality and wants to be seen. Who knew?). And had gotten into the bad habit of wearing them to work everyday because they were so comfortable. Which doesn’t exactly help with their longevity. Whoops again.

Well, last week, I took a trip to DSW, which is my favorite shoe store ever. The funny part is that I was looking for a pair of dress shoes. All the ones I have now are older and have ridiculously high heels on them from back when I could actually walk on them and make them look good. Now they just punish me for my foolishness. I needed something that was a little smaller in the heel department. The trouble was, I wasn’t finding anything. I either didn’t like the look, couldn’t find my size, or they were more than I was willing to pay. It was one of the most miserable shopping trips ever. Ask the Hubby, he had to suffer through it. In a last ditch of desperation (because I couldn’t leave without buying something), I wandered over to the athletic shoes just to see what they might have, and there I found the new generation of my shoe. Yay! I was in need of a new pair anyway, the previous version had worked like magic, and they were reasonably priced. Done and done.

Rule # 5- When you find a pair that works for you, stick with them!

The New Ones!

Look at that tread! Come on trail running!

I really love these shoes. Is that weird? Maybe, but I don’t care. I only hope that the new generation of Gel-Enduro treats me just as well as the old ones.

The passing of the proverbial torch... or would it be a passing of the sock? I'm not sure that has the same ring to it...

Fit for a Diva

Last week Fleet Feet, a running store up in Westerville, held its Diva Night. It was pretty awesome. A night dedicated to pampering women with massages, brow waxing, wine, cupcakes, arts and crafts, and sales. If you’ve never been there, it’s kind of a small store that is usually jam packed with racks of athletic wear and can be sorta hard to maneuver around in if it’s busy. Last night, they had moved almost all of those racks out of the store front to make room for the festivities. Which was a good thing, since there were so many women there, it was still hard to walk around.

Itty bitty store, phenomenal cosmic shopping space... or something (it sounded better in my head)

That’s ok though, it made it easier to make new friends! Like the woman I met over the water bottles that were slightly pushed under a table, and we debated whether or not they were up for grabs, and we decided that they must be, and if not, then we would get in trouble together, cause trouble is more fun that way. Or Stephanie, who I met in line for the eye brow waxing (which, sadly, we did not get to partake in, as they had to stop because of the fashion show), and we talked about the running programs that Fleet Feet offers, No Boundaries and MIT. Stephanie runs with MIT, and I want to run with MIT to train for a half marathon next year. She was super nice, and she will be running her first marathon this weekend!

There were several giveaways over the course of the evening (of which I won exactly none), and free wine (from a local winery, Eldchrist Wine) and mini-cupcakes (from Baby Cakes Bakery). They also gave everyone a little gift bag when you first walked in.

The giftbag had a collapsible waterbottle from Brooks, some coupons from some of the vendors and a cute little "Runner Girl" sticker

All of the staff were on hand to help with your shopping needs, shoe fittings, bra fittings, whatever you were looking for. It was kinda cute because all of the men who work there were dressed up in suits, which gave it a little classier feel. Except for the one guy who was wearing white socks with his dress shoes, and the other guy that was wearing sandals. But, you know, whatever.

My favorite part was the arts and crafts time just outside the store. Sponsored by Marcy’s Clayground (awesome, I know), you could glaze your own little magnet. There were little clay squares and a variety of colors. You could paint anything you wanted on it, she would take it and fire it, and will be bringing it back to Fleet Feet for us to pick up. I love arts and crafts time. I probably spent a good 45 minutes out there trying to get it just right.

Apparently, you're supposed to layer from light to dark. Whoops..., but she was nice enough to let me have another go at it.

Honestly, it was a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be. I went by myself on a whim after work, but I still had a lot of fun. You never know who you’re going to meet, or what you’re going to find unless you go for an adventure every now and then.