A Few of My Favorite Things

I do love running, even though sometimes I simply love to hate it (e.g., when the alarm clock goes off).  But here are a few of my favorite running-related things.

My Running Skirts!

When I started running, the skirt was the logical choice.  The tight, Lycra shorts underneath helped to contain some of my jiggliness and to keep my thighs from colliding with one another.  And the skirt itself covered my ample butt, which I figured no one needed to see on the run.

Now, my Skirt Sports Gym Girl Ultras are just a comfortable part of my routine.  In addition to the coverage (which, many pounds lighter, I still appreciate), the shorts have pockets on either side that just work with the items I like to carry.

Plus, I just think they’re fun and sassy.  I have several solid-color skirts, plus one in black with a floral panel along the hip, and the purple, floral patterned one below.  I’m hoping to invest in some other funky patterned ones, but I’m going to have to save up first!

Purple, floral skirt at Race for the Cure 2012

I never run in anything besides a skirt! (And bibs always go on the skirt – you may have to change your shirt!)

My Garmin Forerunner 410
My Garmin has been a huge help to me since I got it a year ago.  I like being able to see exact numbers for pace and distance when the information (automatically!) uploads to my computer.  I know many of us use our watches to ensure that we’re going fast enough for a given workout.  But I rely on my watch to make sure I’m going slow enough to not flame out on a long run – I have a tendency to start out too fast.  The other thing I like about it is that I can program it to beep at me so I don’t have to think about time lapsed or distance run during interval workouts.

iPhone music / One headphone
When I started running, I absolutely needed music to distract and motivate me.  Even now that I’m fitter, music still beats the hell out of listening to my own heavy breathing.  I prefer the fun and distraction of running and chatting with a group of friends, but  if I’m on my own, you can bet I’m listening to music.  I love finding new songs for my running playlists, but I have a few “power” songs that I count on to really get me going (some of my favorite songs are here).  Also – very important – when I started running and was always alone, I got in the habit of wearing just one earbud so that I could still hear what was going on around me.  Even though I was typically on the sidewalks in my neighborhood, it felt much safer.  Now, even if I’m on a closed course at a safe time of day, two earbuds makes me feel too cut off from the world.

Running Blogs & Books
You can see a list of my favorite running blogs on the right navigation menu.  They’re great sources of motivation and humor, in addition to sound advice.  My favorite books include Run Like a Mother (I might have to credit this one for truly getting me hooked on running), Train Like a Mother (both by Dimity McDowell & Sarah Bowen Shea), Born to Run (Christopher McDougall), Eat and Run (Scott Jurek), and The Cool Impossible (Eric Orton).  I love reading about running and about other runners!

My Headlamp
Again, the early morning runs dictate just a couple of safety precautions.  My headlamp (a gift from my dad) clips onto my ball cap and helps me see where I’m going in the dark – and makes me more visible to drivers.  I picked out this hat (a gift from my husband) for winter because it included a brim for my light.

Safety first!

Safety first!

Island Boost
Learning to fuel on long runs is quite the adventure.  I found that I cannot chew  jelly beans or other gummy snacks and run.  Well, I can’t chew, run, and breathe, which is kind of essential.  And the only way I can down gels without gagging is to “sip” at them, which just takes too long.  Luckily, I discovered Island Boost when I received a sample with something else I’d ordered.  It’s in a packet like a gel, but it’s simply liquid.  Bonus points:  It’s made from good stuff like coconut water, it’s vegan, and it’s easy on the stomach.

My Running (and Other Workouts) Journal
Yes, the Garmin website keeps my data in handy form and creates nifty reports.  But I like to also write everything down in my super-fun journal.  I record when, where, & with whom I ran, plus how I felt & any accomplishments (e.g., “I finally made it to the top of that hill!).  I write down my overall mileage and time, plus my splits.  I also make note of the weather and what I wore – and if I was too hot or two cold. (Very helpful when the seasons change.)  Plus, I note my other workouts.  It’s fun to flip back through and see how fast (because it can seem so slow) you can make progress.  For example, last spring, I noticed that I was starting to get that ‘cut’ in my shoulder muscles.  I was surprised to see that I got those new, improved shoulders after just sixteen sessions at the early morning power pump class – Inspiring!

Journal It!

Journal It!

My Running Friends!
I cannot say this enough:  I love my running friends!  The running community creates such an upward spiral of inspiration, where newer/slower runners get all this encouragement from faster/more seasoned runners.  Later, you realize that those faster folks are equally inspired by the newbies.  It’s a giant love-fest.  My running buddies and the larger running community are probably my very favorite thing about becoming a runner!

And More
I also like my Amphipod hydration/fuel belt, a sports bra with padding, and getting a tech t-shirt as race swag.  Oh, and hardware certainly doesn’t suck, either.

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Note the handmade card from my husband: my head on Alyson Felix’s body! (He gave it to me with the medal display for Christmas!)

What are your favorite running things?

 

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