I 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!
- 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?
When I first started getting into distance running I struggled to get through runs more than eight or 10 miles and after 13 mile runs I was tired and essentially useless for the rest of the day. After lamenting over this to a running mentor, I got my first insight into proper fuel and wrote about fueling up for long runs. Like so many things in running, figuring out the proper fuel, involves a bit of trial and error as well as practice. Three years later I’m still trying to figure out the best fuel formula for me.
I was recently at my first T3 event, the happy hours organized by the Annapolis Triathlon Club of which I am now a member, and I was talking to a new friend who asked me how long the buzz lasted from a marathon. He was convinced that triathlons leave a longer lasting buzz with athletes than running events. I imagine every athlete will have an opinion on this, but it’s more than a week after my second marathon and I’m still enjoying my runner’s high. So before it fizzles I’d like to recap the Richmond marathon, my second 26.2 mile experience. Continue reading
Heavy, cold rain is not my ideal running weather. Photo by AlmazUK.
I’m not a huge fan of running on treadmills. It’s also not something I’m good at which makes me like it even less. But when it’s 45 degrees outside and there is a steady, heavy, cold rain, I have to admit I’d rather run on the treadmill than in that weather. The trouble is that I’m on week 12 of training for the Richmond Marathon and I already lost one 7 mile day to the weather and my own schedule. The weekend called for 8 miles and 15 miles and I started agonizing over how I was going to make this happen as soon as I saw the forecast earlier in the week.
I had already planned to flop the 8 and 15 so that the 15 was on Saturday and the easy 8 would be on Sunday. I believe I’ve run 7 miles on a treadmill before but I literally couldn’t wrap my brain around doing 15. For the first Saturday in a very long time I did not have to set my alarm clock and I was able to just let my body sleep as long as it needed. And apparently I needed sleep; by the time I got to the gym it was 10:45 a.m.! I was headed to the gym thinking I’d shoot for 8 miles and if I could get to 15 that would be awesome; I decided to deal with the remaining miles as best I can on Sunday and if I don’t get to this week’s full 47 then I’ll just have to deal with that. Continue reading
At the Annapolis 10-Miler this year I was behind a couple girls with t-shirts that read on the back “Trained on LSD and Speed” and as a runner I thought that was cute and a clever play on those two words. It wasn’t until days after the race that I started to really consider how the blend of long slow runs and speedwork really are the core tenants of training. And then I realized it was time for me to evaluate if I had been training on LSD and speed.
I’m on week eight of Bart Yasso’s Runner’s World marathon training program as I train for the Richmond Marathon. His plan very clearly spells out Easy runs, Hills and Hill Repeats, Speedwork, LSD runs, and rest days. This is the last week of the hill work-outs and then we move on to mile repeats and a variety of other track work like the famous Yasso 800s. Up until this last week the LSD runs have been between 7 and 13 miles and I have to admit I was only doing LDs. In each of the long runs, I went out with the goal of maintaining my 9-minute, or faster, pace. Over the weekend I was working the gracie’s gear booth at the Nation’s Tri with Coach Gracie Updyke and we each had a 16-mile long run planned for Sunday, so we got to talking about long runs. Continue reading
Have you run the Annapolis 10-mile race before? Runner’s World rated it one of the top six 10-milers to run in the country. This year was the 34th annual event which is put on by the Annapolis Striders who hosted something like 5,300 runners and managed an enormous number of amazing volunteers who were integral to running a smooth event.
The gracie's gear set-up in the Fleet Feet booth.
The A10 started for me in the Fleet Feet Annapolis booth representing gracie’s gear. I got a serious kick out of the entire experience. There were about a dozen great vendors at the Expo and I honestly didn’t even have a chance to see what anyone else was selling but I do know that gracie’s gear caught a lot of women’s (and some men’s!) eyes which gave me a chance to talk to lots of runners, which was my hope all along! By the end of the day I was once again motivated and inspired–I truly do love runners. Just a few of the cool things from the day (to me anyway): Continue reading
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to volunteer for the ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon and 10K because it was not a race that I was ready to run. This coming weekend is one of my favorite Annapolis races put on by the Annapolis Striders, the A10. Unfortunately I missed registration and learned too late about the option to do a “bib swap.” Volunteering was definitely an option but then I was given yet another way to be involved with the event.
I have been a huge fan of Gracie’s Gear ever since I met the company’s president, Gracie Updyke, this spring at the ZOOMA kick-off event in Annapolis and after having had a chance to try out her tops, capris, and shorts. We’ve kept in touch and every so often I work with her on PR projects and she asked if I’d be interested in repping her gear at the A10 event in the Fleet Feet Annapolis booth. So there you go! I get to see yet another side of a run event by participating as an exhibitor in the Expo. What does this mean? Continue reading
When I first started running I used whatever sports shorts I happened to own at the time, and at the time what I had were baggy old gym shorts, some with the elastic thinning out. In college I was lucky enough to inherit from my roommate a pair of blue Nike running shorts. They were the first running shorts I’d ever owned and I thought it was brilliant the way the shorts were so light and airy and also had a handy inside pocket that fit a key or chapstick.
I still run in those shorts. Eventually I added a pair of Brooks running shorts to my collection and relied on doing regular laundry to have clean running shorts. For winter running I used sweatpants and old yoga pants until I found a pair of Adidas running pants that worked for cold weather runs. Eventually I added a pair of compression pants and then a pair of Nike capris for cool, but not cold, runs.
A couple months ago I reviewed the sports bra, tank, and pullover made by Gracie’s Gear. In addition to her tops, Gracie Updyke has a line of bottoms in her gear as well. Given my spartan collection of running shorts and the pair of too big Nike capri pants I have, I was more than happy to also review the Gracie’s Gear capris and shorts. Continue reading
My enthusiastic gear check buddy making sure runners would know where to drop their things.
Most runs start pretty early in the morning and the ZOOMA Annapolis race had a start time of 7 a.m. for runners of the 10K and half marathon course. This means that volunteers had to be there long before the sun was even up to ensure that water stations, information centers, parking lots, exhibitor areas, and the gear check station were set-up and ready to go when the first runners arrived at the start line.
I had volunteered to work gear check at the race as well as hand out chocolates to finishers as they arrived back at the Expo from the finish line. I woke up almost every hour to make sure I didn’t miss my 4:30 a.m. alarm and by the time I got to the Naval Academy stadium to meet my fellow volunteers I was remaining optimistic that the ominous clouds overhead would blow over.
Not having volunteered to work a race before I wasn’t sure what the flow of things would be and it turned out it couldn’t have been simpler, more organized, or run by the most patient and helpful people. The ZOOMA race is the brainchild of Brae Blackley and her calm demeanor and constant smile eased both volunteers and runners as she responded to a constant flow of questions. Her core volunteers are her friends, mother, mother-in-law, and husband as well as the many willing locals who came out to support her race whose mission is to empower women to live healthy, active, and happy lives. Continue reading
If you were to dig through my drawer of running gear, you’d either be shocked, disgusted, or entertained by the variety of sports bras in the drawer. I played volleyball in high school and wore only cotton Columbia sports bras probably because that is the only brand I knew of at the time and there are still a couple of them in my drawer, albeit at the bottom of the pile. I like to stick with what works and what I’m comfortable in and for a long time those cotton bras with their now disintegrated elastic served me well.
Around the same time when I realized I should replace those old bras I also started to learn of the alternatives to cotton and the benefits of technical fibers designed for wicking, compression, and performance enhancement. While I understood the need for a better sports bra, I was essentially lost in finding the next best bra. For a long time, years, I was on the hunt for the perfect sports bra and the variety of brands and styles in my drawer is evidence of my search. Continue reading