Tag Archives: Gear

Running in 8 Degrees and Other Cold Temperatures

imageIt takes a while to get used to running year round and to figure out all the various iterations of layering needed for different cold temperatures and winter elements. I follow plenty of athletes who run in much colder climates than Maryland so in general I’m not sure I have room to complain, or give advice for that matter. That said, my last long run was in 8 degrees with the wind chill factor. I’ve been running year round with the exception of days where it seems dangerous (i.e., icy routes) or when there’s more rain than I’m willing to bear.

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Just a Little Bit of Running Gear

runninggearI enjoyed an extended holiday break thanks to my awesome employer and as any best laid plan goes, I had a long wishlist of projects and things I planned to do over the break and accomplished close to none of them. I did however, take on a “project” that wasn’t on the list so that has to count for something.

Taking advantage of my son’s nap time, I decided to go through my two and half drawers, one shelf and one large under-the-bed container of running gear and do an inventory. It was one of those experiences that by the time I’d taken everything out, sorted, refolded and put a slightly whittled down set of gear back I have no clue how it all had fit in the first place.

This was a somewhat cathartic exercise as I can pretty clearly recall the day I got some of the gear and definitely did some reminiscing of the runs and races in certain shirts, shorts, pants and even socks. I chose to keep certain things for nostalgia purposes despite being on their last life so by next season I will have to do another purge for sure.

Here’s where I netted out:

  • 17 tees: ALL from race entries; turns out I have not bought a single running short-sleeve tee just for the sake of buying one
    • I moved 2 to a donate pile
  • 6 tanks: all of which I purchased
    • I really only like two of these tanks. One gave me the worst chafe I’ve ever had in my whole life last summer so it has to go (it was an EMS brand tank); one is a North Face tank that has served me well for a very long time; one is a super lightweight Patagonia tank that is ok but rides up when I run; the best one is a newer one I got last year from LuLu Lemon (worth the investment!)
  • 7 lightweight long sleeves: This batch is a mix of race schwag, gifts and a couple purchases
    • This set is my favorite batch of gear and represents my favorite season for running, brisk weather when a long sleeve and shorts will do. I love all 7 shirts and they are a mix of Under Armour, Adidas, Brooks and standard wicking shirts.
  • 9 heavyweight long sleeves: I like all of these but could quickly see I use the same 3-5 consistently. I guess I never make it to the bottom of the pile.
  • 3 pairs tights: two Under Armour (one of which is old and really should be replaced) and one pair of Pearl Izumis for below freezing running
  • 5 pairs capris: This is a little excessive and I really only run in two pairs of them, both of which are Brooks. The others are more ‘pilates’ style pants though they do get used!
  • runninggear (2)7 pairs shorts: Some may see their last season this summer. Most of these are Brooks shorts which I’m a big fan of as they know how to put pockets in the right place.
  • 7 sports bras: Nearly none fit perfectly. I still tend to defer to my Gracie’s Gear bra though for races simply due to the front pocket.
  • Socks: I literally didn’t even bother counting. They overtake my drawer.
  • One pair compression socks
  • One pair of arm sleeves that I bought with the express purpose of using at the Steamtown Marathon and subsequently have never worn.
  • Currently have two active pairs of running shoes: Nike Zoom Vomeros and Adidas Energy Boosts primarily for speedwork and shorter runs

Of this inventory, I will always have my favorite ‘go to’ gear, gear that is best for winter and gear that is best for running at night

What about you? What’s in your drawers and what do you love best?

Weather Or Not: Riding & Running in the Rain

Weekends are perhaps one of the most integral parts of training. Saturday and Sunday are designated for long bike rides, long runs, and brick sessions. They are the pivotal point in any training week and are where time and mileage really add up. Up until week 9 of training I seem to have lucked out with weekend weather forecasts cooperating nicely with my training schedule. However, I have to admit to a minor moment of panic when I saw that rain was predicted for an entire weekend.

I’ve run in all sorts of weather. I have run through rain, snow, high winds, heat, and freezing temperatures. I know how to prepare for running in inclement weather and though it’s not ideal it’s something I know I can do and that for the most part, is nothing worse than uncomfortable. Riding in the rain, however, is entirely foreign to me. Continue reading

Old Faithful: Gear I Love

Some of my favorite running gear--Brooks shorts, capri tights, and Equilibrium shirt.

Some of my favorite running gear--Brooks shorts, capri tights, and Equilibrium shirt.

You can pick almost any category of life and chances are anyone you ask will have their favorite something in that category. Favorite food, color, car, holiday, the list goes on. As a runner and an athlete I have favorite gear and I’m sure you do too. However, I don’t think you just stumble upon the best gear for your needs, I think you acquire it through a series of trial and error with all different kinds of gear.

I’ve written before about things that I have had the chance to try out like sports bras and shorts and I have written about the importance of layers that I discovered during winter running. Any time I have the chance to share an experience that helps or improves my running or that simply makes me happy (and I’m easily pleased!) I will be doing so on this site. And if I come across things that don’t fit so well with my work-outs or training I’ll share that too. What works for me may not work for you but at least if you’re researching you’ll have one more source to confer.

I will provide links and resources to the things I love and when you see that link it is because I have used the product or like the brand (and in some cases have a relationship with them) and if you choose to check it out, that’s awesome.

I like to consider my tried and true gear as my “old faithful” gear. Even though I am perfectly willing to try new things–new socks, new shirts, Cliff Shot Bloks instead of Gu–it’s nice to know what will always work. So, with no further ado (and in alphabetical order to be fair), here is some gear that has done me right and that I will continue to buy and use whenever I have the chance: Continue reading

Putting Sprints Into Perspective

This is not me, but I hope my form will one day look like this. Photo by kimmiepievt.

This is not me, but I hope my form will one day look like this. Photo by kimmiepievt.

I have been trying to go to spin class at my gym at least once a week, twice if my body can handle the early morning wake-up; class starts at 5:30 a.m. By now I have had every instructor and they each have their own teaching style, routines, and way of motivating me to push just a little harder than I think I can. Some focus more on out of the seat drills, others prefer hills or using more gear for resistance, and now I’ve worked with the instructor that favors sprint intervals.

Her theme for the class was to “put the sprints in perspective.” At first I could not really decide what that meant but by the end of the class I liked the phrase a lot and felt as though we did indeed put the sprints in perspective. When I first started spinning I had to concentrate so hard on pedaling, breathing, and my form that I really didn’t pay too much attention to the routine, I just did as I was told. Now that I have a good chunk of sessions under my belt, I must be getting a little better because I finally retained most of the drills. Continue reading

Running in the Rain

Running in the rain. Photo by stevenjohn19.

Running in the rain. Photo by stevenjohn19.

I am a somewhat obsessive weather checker. Weather.com is almost always an open tab on my web browser and at a minimum I look at the the forecast for the day first thing in the morning and before I go to bed I check the hourly forecast for the following morning. Knowing the temperature and predicted precipitation and wind is typically what determines what running clothes I get out in preparation for the next morning.

If there is more than a 40% chance of rain I am on the treadmill. If I wake up and it’s drizzling, I’m on the treadmill. I’ve never voluntarily gone out to run when it’s already raining. I can’t even recall a time where it started raining while I was running. Snow, yes. Rain, no. I’ve not even gone out in a warm sprinkle. But I want to. I don’t want rain to stop me from running outside. A torrential downpour? Sure, I’ll stick with my treadmill routine if it’s dumping, but I am frustrated that I let a simple spring rain keep me inside. Continue reading

The Things We Carry

things_we_carryIn college I read Tim O’Brien’s novel “The Things We Carry” during my junior year when I was participating in Semester at Sea. My English class during that semester read books related to the history, culture, lifestyles, and people of the countries we visited and since Vietnam was on the itinerary O’Brien’s novel was more than appropriate. If you have read the book you know that it’s about the things Vietnam soldiers carried from tangible necessities to items for survival to intangible things like their thoughts, hopes, fears, and memories.

This may seem like a strange segue but at the kick-off to the Annapolis Zooma Run when I first saw the sports bras and tanks that are part of part of the line of women’s fitness gear by Gracie’s Gear, the first thing that popped into my mind was the title of Tim O’Brien’s book. When I met founder Gracie Updyke and heard her story behind the gear it seemed even more fitting that I associated a sports bra and its innovative Power Pouch with the title of a book that is all about survival and human nature. Continue reading

First Marathon: What Went Right

ba_marathonWhen I decided I wanted to run a marathon it was last October and I was only slightly enamored with the idea. Knowing that I might get serious about it, I continued to run through November and December but only put in 9-12 miles a week, maybe a little more on warmer days. By the end of December I had committed myself to the March 1st marathon and my running friend and I decided we would officialy start training January 3rd.

The only problem was that the training plan we picked out was a 16-week plan and we had nine weeks to prepare. Although you might not consider that as something that went right in the process, my point is that we found a training plan, adapted it to work for our schedules, and stuck to it. I wrote in my calendar the mileage that needed to be completed each day so that it was a constant reminder to me of what I needed to do. If I ran more or less on any given day, I would edit the mileage in my planner so I could adjust accordingly on the next run. The night before any run I would double check the weather as well as my route so that I would be prepared for what the next morning would entail. I don’t think there is any way I could have successfully completed a marathon if I just ran willy nilly leading up to the race. Continue reading

The Law of Layers

Cold Weather SceneI am a fairly patient and tolerable person; it takes a lot to get me riled up and I tend to like most things. There are only a couple things I truly hate: mosquitoes and being cold. I would take being hot over being cold any day. When I’m cold I feel like I can’t function, I usually scrunch my shoulders up to my ears which ends up hurting, and I’m liable to lose my usually positive spirit if I’m freezing. For these reasons, I avoided cold weather running for years.

This winter, however, I decided to buck up and power through the cold. It helped that I had set my running goals so I was already motivated. I also started reading a lot about how to properly layer and followed the blogs and tweets of runners out there in much colder climates than what we experience in Maryland. Thanks to some fabulous Christmas gifts and a mini-shopping spree of my own, I built up enough running gear that I could very easily layer up for even the coldest temps. Though the Maryland winter so far has been relatively mild I pushed myself through 30 and then 20-degrees, down into the teens, and my coldest run was in 9-degree weather. Continue reading