My Favorite Running Stuff

(This post contains Amazon affiliate links)

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SPIbelt, ASICS running shoes, RoadID app, Hyathletic gloves

I’ve been a runner since I was 13. I’ve gone through dozens of pairs of shoes and probably hundreds of t-shirts, shorts, tights, socks, hair ties and who knows what else. I’m not super particular when it comes to my workout gear. I’ll wear a 10 year old ratty race t-shirt just as often as a $50 technical shirt. I don’t care. But, there are some things over the years that I’ve come to love and run with more often than not. Here are a few of my favorite things…

ASICS running shoes. I’ve had more Asics shoe models since high school than I can count and they have all worked well for me. I’ve avoided major injuries for 30 years and have always had comfortable runs so I see no reason to change my routine anytime soon. I’m currently wearing the Gel Kayano 22s and they give me just the right amount of cushioning without too much bulk. I’ve always been a fan of ASICS and would recommend them to almost anyone. I even recently made a convert of my husband!

Road ID app. The Road ID app uses GPS to track your run (or walk, bike ride, hike or whatever) and send eCrumbs to up to 5 people that you designate so they can keep track of you from any web browser. They don’t even need to have the app. I use it to let my husband know when I’m going out for a run alone or when I’m running a race so he knows when I finish. The app also has a Stationary Alert Notification feature that would let someone know if you stop moving for a preselected amount of time. A fantastic safety feature, in my opinion! And, it’s free!

SPIbelt. I don’t run with headphones so I’ve never had a need to carry my phone on my arm and frankly, I find armbands annoying anyway so I wear a SPIbelt. A spy belt is like the sleek, rich cousin of the 80s fanny pack. It’s big enough to hold my phone, keys, ID and a small snack or energy gels but not so big to be bulky or get in the way when I run. It’s usually hidden under my shirt or jacket so no one can even tell I’m carrying it. Another safety feature!

Hyathletic Flux gloves. These are a new addition to my stash of running gear. I’ve only worn them a few times but they’re quickly becoming indispensable. They’re thin and light as a feather. They keep my hands comfortable without making them clammy. In the past, I’ve tried gloves that are too thick and I end up taking them off halfway through my run. I’ve also tried using the thumb holes in my running jackets instead of gloves but they don’t quite keep my hands comfortable. I’ll admit these gloves look crazy when you take them out of the package (you’ll think there’s no possible way they can fit you) but, trust me, they work!
What are some of your favorite running gear items?

Happy Exercising!

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I bailed on a race…

20 years ago I ran a race while I was recovering from bronchitis (not the smartest thing I’ve ever done!) I’ve run races after very little or no training. I’ve run races with various injuries. I’ve run races in horrendous weather and on terrible courses. (My sister likes to remind me repeatedly of a 5K I “forced” her to run with me that was seemingly uphill the entire way despite it being a loop course!!)

Once I pay a registration fee I find it very hard to NOT participate in a race. I know in the big picture, it really doesn’t matter whether I run or not. The organization already has the money and in most cases I already have my T-shirt or whatever other giveaway is involved. Although, I do have issues with wearing a T-shirt for a race that I did not actually complete but that’s a blog for another day!!

My point is, that despite having a number of legitimate reasons for not running a scheduled race, I very rarely bail out. Even when, sometimes, I really should.

However, I bailed on the five miler I’ve been training for that was supposed to happen two weeks ago. The Celtic Solstice 5 Miler takes place in Druid Hill Park in Baltimore about an hour from where I live and is a great race. The course is hilly and it’s usually very cold but overall, the race is just a great atmosphere during and after the run. There’s a heated tent at the end with cookies and hot spiced wine! What could be better than that! And this race offers beautifully designed, high-quality jackets with registration. Not a thin, cheesy looking t-shirt but a running jacket.

But the morning of the race, my friend and I would have had to leave at 6 AM and at that time my driveway was a sheet of ice and there was a “wintery mix” coming down. We decided to skip the race for our own safety. We knew the weather was probably better in Baltimore but our current location posed some problems. And let’s be honest, it’s not like this was an emergency. I’m not a doctor, police officer or other emergency worker that needed to be out. There was absolutely no reason for me to be on the road. And yet, I felt this ridiculous need to run because I put my name on the list and paid money. I run this race every year. How could I not go this year?

I know, logically, we made the right choice but it drives me crazy that I had to miss that race. It’s still bugging me almost two weeks later. I ran 5 miles on my treadmill to make up for it and have decided in my own mind that justifies me wearing the jacket even though its not really the same!!

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Celtic Solstice 5 Miler Premium Jacket

My point in all this is that one of my goals for 2017 will be to lighten up a little bit when it comes to racing. Or any other fitness endeavor really. I don’t have to prove anything to anybody but myself and my personal health (and safety!) are my priority. That being said, I already have several races lined up for 2017 so stay tuned!

Let me know in the comments what you have planned for the new year.

Happy Exercising!

Have You Ever Run a Virtual Race?

I know, it sounds weird and pointless but I promise, there are lots of pluses to virtual racing.

First, what the heck is a virtual race, you ask? Well, it’s a race you can run anytime, anywhere at your own pace. You can run (or walk!) your usual route around your neighborhood, do laps on a high school track or run the whole race on a treadmill. There are lots of organizations that host virtual races of all distances and many of them use the race fees to support various charities.

When you register, you may receive a downloadable race bib, a window of time to complete the race, a t-shirt and a finishers medal. Not all virtual races offer these things but it’s more fun if they do! When you’ve completed the distance, you can upload photos and results to the organization’s website or social media sites to share your achievement. You can challenge friends or family who live far away to a race and still have the experience of doing something together.

I love virtual races for so many reasons…
You can run them when YOU want to. You can pick races where you ALWAYS get a medal! That’s reason enough for me and exactly why I did the “Race to Oz”.

Look at this beautiful medal!

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The Race to Oz Virtual race hosted by MakeYesHappen.com

You can do a “group” run and it doesn’t matter if there are faster or slower runners in the group. If you’re self conscious about what you look like when running or how slow you run – it doesn’t matter. Some races even let you run the distance cumulatively so if you haven’t run far in training, you can still do longer races. You just complete them over time instead of all at once.

Virtual races make you feel like you’ve accomplished something without the stress, nervousness and hassles of a large race. You don’t have to get up early (unless you like running in the early morning). You don’t have to run in bad weather or park 5 miles from the starting line. You don’t have to deal with crowds or worry that the finish line table will be out of bananas by the time you get there. Most importantly, you don’t have to use porta-potties! Yay!

For me, virtual races help me stick to my training plan. I don’t travel out of town for races but I like having a goal I’m always working towards so virtual races help fill in the gaps when I don’t have a regular race on my schedule.

Here’s a few other medals I’ve gotten for virtual races. I love the uniqueness of them! The Day of the Dead medal glows in the dark and the blue portion of the Department of Mysteries medal is see-through.

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More virtual race medals

Don’t get me wrong, I love real races too, for different reasons, but virtual races definitely have a place in my fitness plan.

Here are some organizations that offer virtual races that I’ve done in the past:

Gone For A Run
Make Yes Happen
Agent Outerwear
WillRunForBling.com
Active.com
Hogwarts Running Club

Comment below with any other organizations that I missed.

A Beautiful View…

And it just happens to be during the 6th largest 10k in the U.S.

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The Chesapeake Bay Bridge

I’ve lived all my life near the East coast and driven (or rode when I was too young to drive) over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge hundreds of times.
The view while crossing the bridge is amazing. As a child, I was giddy in the backseat as we approached the toll. I couldn’t wait to see the water and smell the air. No doubt I was excited but the bridge itself was just a means to an end. A way to get across the great Chesapeake Bay and to the beach beyond.
In 2014, a close friend told me about the inaugural Across the Bay 10K race. I loved this idea and signed up the first chance I got. It was such a great racing experience that I immediately registered again for 2015 (and have already registered for 2016).

Register for 2016 here

My friend and I talked 3 others into joining us this year and we stayed together the night before which made for interesting race prep!
Because my little running group was staying on the eastern side of the bridge, the shuttle ride to the start gave us the perfect view of runners in earlier start waves already crossing over. So energizing to see before our own start! The weather was perfect this year. Sunny and just warm enough to really enjoy it.

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Our Little Running Group

The first quarter mile or so is on solid ground as runners spread out en route to the bridge. I know its silly, but I was giddy again, like a kid, as soon as I stepped on to the bridge. Being on foot gives you a new perspective. You see so much more when you’re not speeding by in a car. This is definitely not your average road race. I’ve never seen so many people stop in the middle of a race to take pictures. (Admittedly, I took pictures too, but I never stopped moving!)

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As far as the actual run, it was pretty uneventful. Basically, a really big hill and a straight line. The last mile was tough but I could hear the finish line music long before I could see the finish so that helped me push to the end. Our small group had split in two during the race but none of us crossed the line alone. The finish chute was packed shoulder to shoulder and slow moving but the after-race expo had lots of food and drink options to help celebrate our accomplishment. Another note: the cell service in the finish area and expo was terrible so be sure to arrange a meeting place in advance so you aren’t wandering aimlessly!
Running across the bridge allowed me to look at it differently. This time it wasn’t just a means to an end. It was exciting being up that high and looking out over the Chesapeake Bay. I highly recommend this race to anyone who can make it! Maybe my little running group will be a bit bigger next year.

 

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Did you run this race? Tell me what you thought of it.