2014 Marathon Must Have List

After another full year of training, it’s always interesting to look back and see which pieces of gear I continued to use and which were replaced by something new.

Admittedly I’ve come a long way in my love of testing out all new things since that first marathon where I trained using a non-GPS watch for half the time and crossed the finish line in a cotton t-shirt and mesh shorts! It never occurred to me to use gels, to carry water, wear a head band or anything else!Marathon Training Must HavesA few of this years items appeared on last years list, but as a women does I’ve changed my mind on some things! So here is what is in my bag for this weekends Honolulu Marathon.

Skins Compression Tights
You know compression and I are like BFF’s right? These are a new to me option that I’m loving because of their women’s specific fit! Personally I don’t have the hips that many of my friends do and so some women’s clothing just won’t fit right…they have a stick option, no no a athletic build option I think is the PC term. {also good for post race recovery}

Saucony Kinvara 5
When the very first Kinvara came out I was in love and even used them for a couple of marathons. The Kinvara 4 turned me off a bit as it was just a different feel, so I’m glad the 5 is back and feels cushier than ever. This is a long run training shoe for me, but over 18 miles I need just a bit more so I am racing in the Saucony Cortana.

ProCompression low cut socks
Since I often wear compression pants on race day or long runs to support my ITB and knee, I stopped needing the calf socks, but my feet still needed some love. To my surprise and delight I found low cut compression socks and now wear them all the time!

Camelbak Marathoner Hydration Pack
After years of carrying a hand held and swearing it was just fine, I was convinced to try a hydration pack during my Jackson Hole Ultra running camp and I doubt I’ll ever go back to anything else. This one from Camelbak has enough pockets to take of a light jacket or store gloves and makes grabbing a gel or my phone for a picture insanely easy.

TomTom Runner GPS and HR Watch
This one surprises even me. I have been stead fast in my decision that the Garmin 910XT was the best training watch for me due to the battery life, the screen display and my need for HR. BUT after just a few weeks with the Tom Tom I’m kind of in love. A full review coming Friday, but hello no HR strap needed!

Sweaty Bands
Such a simple addition to our running attire and yet it’s been a lifesaver for this crazy haired gal. I can finally get a picture during a race or post run without looking nutty. Also an easy way to fix my hair when being lazy.

People who see me in the winter in Florida might assume I literally own about 4 long sleeve shirts, which I wear when I’m not running. I’m obsessed with the fit of my Fabletics hoodies because they are just so comfy and they just hang on the body in a great way! Not too tight, not too baggy, just right. {and at my price point!}

Vega Pre-Workout Energizer
Everything Vega makes my training life easier. Post workout protein for recovery, electrolytes before, during and after workouts, all of it, love. The pre-workout energizer though is one of my favorites and I’ve gotten many friends hooked on it. I only use it before long runs because I like feeling that extra boost which comes not from caffeine or stimulants but from rhodiola which is a natural herb. {learn more }

SaltStick tablets
No more calf cramps here and I can truly thank the inclusion of these little tablets for that.

Shower Pill Athletic Body Wipes – consider this a bonus recommendation from someone who lives in a place that involves year round heavy sweating to do long runs. I love being able to clean up post run before hoping in the car for a long drive home.

A giveaway might just be coming up soon and I’m reaching out to stock it like you wouldn’t believe so tell me:
What is on your must have list??

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2013 Marathon Gear Must Have’s

Runners LOVE to talk gear and nutrition and paces and well all the little details. I think part of us is hoping that the more information we gather the easier it’s going to one day get. Barring that magical thing happening, I still love to talk about it and it’s one of your favorite questions!

After 18 weeks of build up for the NYC marathon here are the things I am loving in 2013 and will definitely have in my carry-on for race weekend. While some products may have been provided to me by sponsors, this is not a paid post, these are the products that I have used throughout training and love!
Click on any item in the image for additional product details:

Find the Timex Run Trainer Vega Sport Learn more about Sony Wireless Headphones CW-X Stablyx compression pants for IT Band Charity Runner Training for Life Shirt Electrolyte tablets CamelBak handheld bottle Asics Gel Excel 33 Image Map

Asics Gel Excel 33: These are a low profile shoe which I have found works for keeping my form at it’s best, but they have a nice cushion so I can use them for 26.2!

CW-X Stabilyx Compression Tights: The first reason to love these on race day is the compression which helps to keep blood flowing and for me can ward off some calf cramping. The second reason is the style of the pant provides additional support around the knee which provides support to the IT Band. 

CamelBak Handheld: I’ve tried using a fuel belt and I just can’t. This handheld has been with me on every long run this season to carry a mixture of my Vega Electrolyte and Pre-Workout Energizer, plus one or two gels and my house keys. I love that it helps keep things cooler and is a good fit for my hand.

SaltStick Electrolytes: I sweat. I don’t glisten, I SWEAT, especially in Florida. Once I started using these I stopped getting calf cramps and getting light headed.

Timex Run Trainer 2.0 – I was introduced to this watch recently, so a full review is coming soon. But I like the vibrating alerts, display and it’s so easy to use. Previous I’ve been using the Garmin 910XT and you can read my full review on this watch if you want more, but the short and sweet is awesome battery life means I know it won’t die and I like the vibrate at each mile.

Sony Wireless Headphones: Again I have a full review on these, but the short and sweet is no chords and waterproof!

Training For Life Shirt: Ok so I’m totally biased, but I love my charity shirts. The grey one I wear to keep me focused and the blue one I wear for training!

Additional Items:
Asics Quick Lyte socks (may go thicker on race day)
Champion Sassy Seamless sports bra
Mission Athete Care Anti-Chafe Stick
Sony NEX 5R – Ok I’m not carrying this, but it will ensure David might actually get a good picture of me!

What gear have you discovered in 2013 that is now on your MUST have list?
Gratitude JournalRunning_motivation
Oct 30
I am grateful for feeling good as race day approaches.

Workouts And Gear: 2XU Compression Tights

Good runs are a blessing…bad runs are also blessing, you just have to dig a little deeper to find it! This week started out with more great speed work and ended with some runs that left me a little bewildered. As I said yesterday though, I know they are great reminders to enjoy the good one’s and that if I want this goal it’s going to require digging deep.


May 21
AM: 3 Miles Intervals (27:15) 1 min @8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 90 sec recovery; hills before and after – only had a short time available to me. 15 min walk
Lunch: 45 min Gita Yoga
PM: 3 miles of hills because this morning didn’t feel like enough (27 min)
— Due to all the yoga I could really feel my hips on these runs. Not painful, but almost a loose feeling…very strange.

May 22
AM: 6 mile easy run – easy is the wrong word, my legs were tired but my mind was determined so I did throw in a 2 min walk between miles 3, 4, 5; 20 min walk
PM: Restorative yoga

May 23
Rest day – yes you read that right a whole complete day of rest

May 24
AM: 7 miles in intervals -picked up the speed from last week!!, 20 min walk
1 mile w/u, 2 miles @ 8:20, 1 mile recovery jog, 2 miles @8:13, 1.5 mile recovery
PM: 30 min yoga

I found this fun new app on my iPhone and since I’m trying to do better at VLogs I figured I would give it a go post run when I was all excited…yeah I loaded it up to find I may have gone overboard with the toys.

May 25
AM: Mixed up workout – 1.5 mile run total, 20 min walk, 30 min bike, 10 min body weight exercises
Lunch: 45 min Jivamukti yoga – intense class didn’t finish due to work, 10 min walkIMG_0444
Headed out with David’s boss to a game at the new stadium. I’ve never sat quite so close!

May 26
AM: 10 miles….tough from mile 1. 30 min walk, 30 min yoga

May 27
AM: 6.3 miles, picked up the pace from Saturday, 25 min walk, 10 min stretch

Overall: I continue to be surprised at how much I’m enjoying speed work and I’m really loving the benefits of consistent yoga! I will totally be doing it beyond the challenge as many days a week as I can…however, I really want to get some weights back in the picture.
Nutrition: Still doing great, but I am going to try to dial it in even more the next two weeks. Eliminating the last little bit of dairy, much lower wheat/gluten/sugar…the goal is reducing inflammation in any way possible.
New Gear: 2XU
If you’ve been reading very long then you already know that I am huge fan of compression gear. I fully believe it has helped me with recovery and has been an important factor in eliminating calf cramps during and post race.

2XU surprised me when I slipped on the compression pants because they are so thin and light I have been able to wear them in the hot Miami weather lately without feeling weighed down or overheated. Yet for being so thin they are still providing great compression.  They also provide SPF protection which is why I believe so many Florida runners have been sporting them…that’s right the sunshine state has one of the lowest skin cancer rates cause we know to protect it.
I have worn them on two long runs and for a couple recovery mornings. Fairly certain these will be slipped on under my jeans post race so I can go about the day with no one being any the wiser to my on going recovery!!

While these do provide muscular support they do not have the thicker ITB panels like the CW-X tights that I wore in Houston to help with IT Band issues. These are providing more uniform support and again being a much lighter tight can be work in any race condition while keeping you feeling cool.

All right keeping this one short and sweet to enjoy the holiday…but you’ll be seeing much more of these compression tights in my upcoming races!

Gratitude Journal
May 28
I am grateful for three day weekends that are filled with down time, go time and friend time.

HBBC Week 4 + Aspaeris Shorts

Tis the season for merriment…for fun with friends….for eating joyful things…
When I posted on Facebook that this amazing Ghirardelli sundae was my dinner, I was totally serious. I had eaten 9 serving of fruits and veggies, run my 7 miles and this is what I wanted…so I enjoyed every delicious bite and didn’t feel even an ounce of guilt.  A few years ago, I might have eaten it but then berated myself for days afterwards.  The difference now is a mental shift that I have learned from so many of you…perfection isn’t the goal…making continual forward progress in my goals and enjoying life to the full THAT is the goal.

Total Participants:
513 (yup I cleaned out the sheet)
Participants up to date: 363 or 70%
Top 3 Advanced: Victoria, Marlene, Shelly (last year’s winner!), Tina Seech
Top 3 Doer: Carolyn, Jennifer, Penny, (kelly less than 1 point behind!!) 
Top 3 Builder: Sarah, Natalie, Sabrina

NOTE: One of the requirements at the beginning was some kind of public ongoing post of your workouts. Please do not be angry with me when asking for that information…we have had people cheat and I’m doing my best to make sure it remains a fun and inspiring challenge.

Week 3 random winners of free Annie’s Homegrown Organics goodie bags: Corey, Jill Rybarczyk, Stephie  


Kari was kind enough to bring these shorts to Philly for us to try out. I have now worn mine so much that I ripped a hole in the seem…hey they are TINY and so it takes a little work to pull them on…but mmm mmm good!!DSCN4918

We created Aspaeris™ to help protect female athletes from injury and enhance their performance with advanced compression apparel. As a female-centric company, we believe that the performance demands female athletes make on their bodies are unique. Our goal is to develop a deep understanding of those demands and create products that specifically elevate performance and protect her from non-impact injuries.

You know I am a fan of compression gear, but truly these have made my hips feel so good! I am excited to give you a chance to win a pair!  You will notice when you get these that they look like they could fit a barbie, but I promise once you pull them on it will be worth all the wiggling it takes!!! They are soft to the touch compared to a lof the other brands I have tried that have a rough texture.

Gratitude Journal
Dec 18
I am grateful for quick typing skillsSignature
I am grateful for spreadsheet filters
I am grateful for good photos
I am grateful for easy meals
I am grateful for fun weekends

IT Band Treatment Plan

I have posted previously about the methods I used to recover from a serious bout of ITB syndrome in 2010. I continue to follow all of those items, but frequently after a hard speed session or race I have a little flare up…and this week is no exception.

I took a short walk with David on Sunday and knew immediately it was time to take quick action.  Step one was to head home and hop on my new SUPER dense foam roller from Trigger Point.  My first foam roller was a big red one from Target and it is a great starter, but as you get used to it you really need something more dense to keep digging in to those muscles and breaking up the tissue.
DSCN4580The first time I used this it hurt…that’s how I knew it was working.  I also like that it comes with a quick fold out sheet for how to pin point some of your major areas.  I am rolling in the morning and after every workout right now.
Next up for me was an appointment with my chiro. My neck hurt, so I knew something was out of alignment and he did adjust me…but then he seriously BEAT on my leg.  Some people might call it a sports massage and pay a lot of money to have someone do it for up to 30 minutes, but personally 2 minutes of his fist in my leg was plenty.

BUT FINALLY the most important thing keeping me mentally ready for Sunday’s 26.2…these CW-X Stabilyx Tights! I know you can probably find 6,000 references to compression on my site because I love it…but these are like a whole new level.
Not only do they provide compression, but the specific design also provides muscle support. These are the gems that allowed me to run 20 miles two weeks ago feeling great and recovering quickly…and these are the gems that will be rocking Philly with me! 

X – Support web creates a band around the knee for support
X – The support web is similar to kinesiology-taping which creates that feeling of support
X – Abdominal panels provide extra core support
X – Compression minimizes lactic acid build up

You will be hearing much more about these after the race, but if you need to get you own IT Band tools…and really who doesn’t need more compression gear to make them run better and recover quicker?  You can find the CW-X Stabilyx Tights and Trigger Point Therapy the Grid Foam Roller on Amazon. 

Gratitude Journal
Nov 15
I am grateful for CW-XSignature
I am grateful for ice bags
I am grateful for new ab exercises
I am grateful for Florida Grapefruit
I am grateful for seeing progress on my pull ups