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Category: Running Gear

My Marathon Training Must-Haves and a Giveaway

Now that I am halfway through my Chicago Marathon training, there are a few items that I reach for help me power through each run.

Brooks PureFlow 4 and Brooks Launch 3

I love Brooks shoes.  I’ve also worn Asics, Newtons, and Mizuno but always come back to Brooks.  I’ve run in Pure Connect (discontinued), Ghost, and Glycerin but now alternate between PureFlow and Launch.  They don’t feel heavy and are very comfortable.  

SmartWool and ProCompression Socks

The right socks are important.  Definitely no cotton socks.  I usually wear compression socks on runs longer than 6 miles.  I love the different colors and my legs/calves feel great during and after each run. I also wear SmartWool (ultra light or light elite) and even though my feet have been completely wet after a few sweaty runs, I’ve had NO blisters which in my book is definitely a winner.

Oiselle Long Roga Shorts and Tops

I love running in shorts!  I wear them as long as I can before it gets too cold.  These shorts are long enough and for the most part do not ride up.  I’ve had them ride up only when I’ve worn a Sparkly Athletic skirt (weird).  I have a few pairs and love wearing them with a Oiselle top.

I have more pairs than shown in the picture.

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It wasn’t until a few months ago that I began running in a tank top.  I’ve always worn a short sleeve shirt.  But now I LOVE and do each run in a Oiselle top.  They fit well and no chafing.

Body Glide

You definitely need to stock up on this item.  I apply this between my thighs, under my arms, and in the back of my running bra.  I did chafe big time between my thighs at the 2015 Chicago Marathon that it hurt to walk.  That was the only time I’ve chafed in that area.  It must have been the shorts with the combination of the sweat (I did not reapply at all) that caused it.  You bet I will make sure to reapply at this year’s marathon.  

Victoria Secret The Player Sports Bra

I am not well endowed in the chest area but it is comfortable when my boobs are bouncing around during my runs.  My favorite VS bra is the open back version.  Unfortunately it has been discontinued which makes me sad.  I love this bra because it provides the right amount of support.  I have 6 pairs and have worn them for over a year and they’re beginning to smell bad.  I know I need to replace them but have not found something equivalent.  I’ve also worn bras by Champions 9 (not enough support) and Moving Comfort (ALWAYS chafe in the same area).  

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

NUUN Tablets

I add these tablets to my water bottle and drink this all day and at every run.  I am not a big fan of the Nuun Energy; so I am stocking up on the previous version.  

Garmin 225 Watch and Fitletic 16oz Hydration Belt

I use my watch mostly to get the basic information (lap pace, average pace, mile splits, and distance). It comes in handy during my weekly runs as a pacer because I am responsible (with another pacer) to make sure we meet that 11:00 minute pace.  I like that it syncs with my Nike +Running App.  I know I could get more usage out of it (like heart rate) but for now it works just fine for me.

I wear my belt low on my hips and I swear it does not bounce, chafe, or ride up.  It has two 8 oz bottles and a pouch which fits my iPhone 6.

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Headsweats Hat/Visor

Thanks to Marcia’s code (TEAMARCIA for 25% OFF) I ordered two visors and hat.  I love that they’re light, comfortable, so many options to choose from, and keeps the sweat off my face.  Plus, it washes really easy.  I add it to my weekly load of running clothes and air dry it along with the rest of my clothes.

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I have an extra visor and you have a chance to win it!  To enter, click on the image below where you will be directed to Gleam and enter several different ways such as leaving a blog post comment, commenting on any of my Instagram posts, or tweeting about the giveaway.  I will also include a tube of Nuun (I have various flavors you can choose from).

Headsweats Marathon Giveaway

This giveaway will run until September 6 at 11:59 pm).  The winner will be selected on September 7th. The giveaway is open to US residents only.  The winner will be contacted via the email address associated with their Gleam account and will have 24 hours to claim their prize.  All entries are verified, so please be sure to complete them or a new, random winner will be selected.

Best of luck to everyone who enters! 

What are your running must haves?  Anything else I can add to my list?

I am linking up with Erica and Smitha for this giveaway!

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Year of Running in 2015

I am linking up with Courtney to share my year in running.

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  • Best race experience:  I ran 10 races this year.  Each one brought a different experience.  I worked hard and I pushed on through to cross the finish line.  But to pick one it would have to be the Covered Bridges Half Marathon.  It has a beautiful course with one gigantic hill around mile 8.  Still I ended up with my second best half marathon finish time.  My friend, Jaime, ran a sub 2 half marathon and it made me so happy I was there to enjoy the moment.
  • Best run: I ran 20 miles with the Chicago Endurance Sports.  They had everything set up from tents/support at the beginning of the run to even more support after the run.  It was a gorgeous day for a run and the coaches and pacers did a wonderful job.  It was definitely an amazing experience!  The only bad thing was that I lost my phone with less than two miles to go.  One of the coaches stayed with me to look for it instead of leaving me and going with the other runners from the group.
  • Best new piece of running gear: Definitely my Garmin Forerunner 225.  I had to purchase a new one in November (and thanks to so many discounts only paid $120 for it). Next year I want to upgrade to the Garmin Fenix 3.  Just a beautiful watch!  Not a running gear but I am also obsessed with Nuun Kona Cola.  Unfortunately, that particular flavor is being discontinued so you bet I am stocking up.
  • Best running advice you’ve received this year: To have fun and to be in the moment during my runs.  That is something that is hard for me to do but I am working towards actually doing it.  🙂
  • Most inspirational runner: This is a tough one.  But every runner inspires me.  I love hearing stories of how they became a runner and the reasons they run.  I never get tired of talking to them about their experiences and where they are in their journey.
  • Favorite picture from a run or race this year: This photo was sent to me by a friend.  I was on TV!!

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  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Two of my favorite races are the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th.  I love the distance.  For the former race, this year it was a cold and windy day but still fun.  Also, the race has the same start and finish line as the Chicago Marathon.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Progress.  I’ve been doing more speedwork and while it is taking me longer than I wanted to, slowly I am seeing progress in my runs.  I’ve had great and terrible runs (who hasn’t) but I am learning to not focus so much on the bad ones but to celebrate and learn from each one.

To read more amazing “Year of Running 2015” stories, go to Courtney’s blog.

Oh, and just want to let you know about my 5 days of giveaways beginning on Saturday, January 2nd.  I have items from Swiftwick Socks, MudLOVE, Momentum Jewelry, Lock Laces, and Hammer Nutrition. 

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Friday Randomness – July 31, 2015

1.  Is it weird to get excited when your coach emails you dates of upcoming long runs?  So far I have 18 on 8/22; 20 on 9/5; 18 on 9/12; and 20 on 9/19.

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Ha, it’s been a long time since I’ve done anything longer than 13.1 miles.  It must have been Spring 2014 when I was training for the Chicago Lakefront 50k.  Sigh, it’s been on my mind to do another one.  Maybe Spring 2016?  We’ll see.  Last Saturday’s run was supposed to be 14 but I managed 10.  I am scheduled for 13 tomorrow and I am sort of looking forward to it.  :=)

2.  Yesterday was my last day of summer school.  It was an interesting couple of weeks for me.  Let’s just say I have a deeper respect for special education teachers.  I thought my job was tough but now realize that my job is easier.

3.  On Monday I start my last class for my math endorsement.  It is Geometry and I am kind of worried because I HATE Geometry.  Plus, it will be intense since the class is for 10 days from 9am-12pm.  Oh well, I’d rather do this than go for 10 weeks on Wednesday from 5pm-8pm.

4. I told myself no more ProCompression socks but how cute are these?

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Do you like wearing long compression socks?  Have you ever run a 50k?

IMT Des Moines Half Marathon

On Sunday I ran the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon with my friend Jaime.  I can honestly say it was a great race!

My last race was the Disneyland Half Marathon in August.  It was that week after the race that I decided not to run anymore the Chicago Marathon.  Since then my running/training went downhill.  I went back to work and was staying there till 6pm and honestly the last thing I wanted to do was go out for a run.  I ran a couple of Saturdays with Lety but I wasn’t exactly training for a half marathon.

I began to panic as the race day got closer and almost backed out because I didn’t feel ready.  I then decided to just go for it.  I am so glad I did.

The race began at 8am.  It was 39 degrees at 7am and I decided to wear shorts, compression socks, and a long sleeve shirt underneath my Oiselle singlet.  Jaime and I left the hotel at 7:30am and headed over to the start line.  It was chilly but the walking warmed me up a little bit.  Once we got there, we took a few pictures, and waited for the race to begin.  My favorite part of the beginning of a race is the National Anthem.

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Finally it was time to run.  I had no time goal.  I wore my watch but set it to only show the distance.  I also wore my iPod.  I don’t remember the last time I wore them during a race and it felt good to hear some good tunes while running.

The first couple of miles went by fast.  There were a few hills but nothing too horrible.  It was gorgeous outside and I was warming up with the sun.  I wasn’t uncomfortable hot but just warm.

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We ran through two parks.  That was my favorite part of the course.  It was beautiful plus it was flat. Very peaceful too.  It was after running through the second park that my left side began to hurt..from the glutes to the calf.  I would run, walk, and repeat.

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I had passed the 10 mile marker when two male marathon runners passed me up.  Wow, they were speedy!

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The last two miles were back to downtown Des Moines.  Luckily it was not as hilly as the beginning of the race.

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Four more marathon runners passed me up.  I hurried on determined not to let the female marathon winner passed me up too.  But I just couldn’t with that darn pain.  Then I heard a siren and knew the female winner was behind me.  And she passed me up.  I knew I was close to the finish line but just could not see it.  There were so many people cheering for her but I pretended that it was all for me. Finally I saw the finish line and ran for it.  Finish time is 2:31:56 and yes I am very happy with it.

The best part was the post-party.  There was food and more food.  It was neverending.  There was water, gatorade, chocolate milk, pizza, cookies, protein bars, chips with nacho cheese, and sandwiches. Jaime and I talked about how we’ve never seen this much food at other races.  Hmm, not even at the very expensive Disney or Rock ‘n’ Roll races.

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I love the long sleeve shirt we got.  I am definitely keeping this one.

Overall it was a great race.  I enjoyed the course and the weather was gorgeous.  There were plenty of water stations and two Gu stations.  The spectators and volunteers were wonderful.  And let’s not forget all of the food after the race.  The medal was OK.

As for my glutes and calf?  I foam rolled at the hotel after the race and am feeling much better.  The pain could have been caused from the lacking of training/running or from wearing a new pair of Superfeet insoles.  Who knows?  All I know is that it doesn’t hurt anymore.

Next race is Princeton Half Marathon on November 2nd.  Can’t wait!