29 miles of running this week and for fun, a roundup of my running gear.
Monday: an unexpected 5 miles. I set out to do my normal 4 but after the first mile the heat started to get to me. No problem, I decided to cut it down to 3 miles. I hit 3 and decided that I had a little more gas after all. Close to the 4 mile mark I saw a neighbor that I haven't talked to in a while, so I paused my watch and we spent a few minutes catching up. The pause was a total reset and all at once I found myself doing a very speedy 5th mile.
Tuesday: 6 miles: 1.5 miles warmup and 1.25 mile repeats w/0.25 rest x 2. I hadn't done this workout in a while but hit my paces and overall I felt good.
Wednesday: off, though as usual I "commuted" to work by taking a walk outside to get from the couch to our upstairs office.
Thursday: 6.25 miles. By rights it should have been speed day, but I just didn't feel like it so I didn't.
Friday: 4.25 miles, another "just running to run" workout. I headed to the historic part of downtown so it was part run/part sightseeing.
Saturday: 7.5 miles, which is the closest thing to a long run that I've done in a while. One of my running buddies tipped me off to a park a few miles from home that I didn't know about so I checked it out and was rewarded with a flat, very shaded trail. It's always a bonus when you find something new that's runable from home.
I made it to Friday evening before I finally broke down and manually exported my runs to Strava and Smashrun.
One minute of downtime for a software service is a Big Deal and every company out there has a disaster recovery plan. And a PR department. When a software service goes down for four days and counting and barely says a word about it...something is Very Wrong. Garmin, I'm a big time fan, and I hope that all of your people are OK <3
My Running Gear
All that you need is a pair of shoes and you're out the door running...said no runner ever. I try to keep to the minimalist side but over the years I've piled up a bit of gear, and just for fun I thought I'd write more about the things that I've parted with my hard earned cash to buy. Apart from the obvious of shoes, socks, clothes, and a Garmin, here's what's in my toolbox. In roughly chronological order of acquisition:
FlipBelt! I got my first FlipBelt in 2011 shortly after I got my first smart phone and I haven't found a limit on the number of things that I can cram into it. I have a smaller waist and bigger hips, and there's a fairly wide range of real estate where I can position the belt on my body from my waist to quite low on my hips. No matter what, it stays in place and I don't feel it while I'm running. I know from others that results may vary, but the FlipBelt has served me well. If it's useful, I'm 5'5" and 140# and the small is perfect.
FlipBelt Waterbottle: I have the 10 oz bottle, between you and me I don't know why anyone would get a 6 oz bottle.
Pros: it works and it's very inexpensive. 99.9% of the time I don't feel it. I don't use the mouthpiece, I just uncap the bottle and drink out of it.
Cons: You can hear the water sloshing around, which I'm sure is true for any hydration system, but it takes some getting used to. The bottle is not insulated so the water becomes body temperature in all seasons. Every once in a while the stars misalign and the bottle pops out of the belt, but this is not common.
Calling B.S. on: the Amazon review that mentions mold, which nearly stopped me from buying this bottle. I've used my bottle on practically every outside run for the past two years. I'm kinda lazy so most of the time I just rinse the bottle out afterwards and leave it in the dish drainer until my next run. Once in a blue moon I wash it properly in hot soapy water. Basically I've done everything in my power to cause mold and it hasn't happened.
Some day I will get a proper hydration system BUT I'm also not sure what to get. I'm in a fog of decision fatigue from all of the different options/negative reviews/$$$ that I see out there plus my gut feeling that a backpack is not for me (it feels natural to add bulk to my waist/hips, not so much to the top of my body). I came up with something cheap to tide me over for right now. That's right, I got a second FlipBelt and two more running bottles. I keep my phone in my "inner" FlipBelt and my water bottles in the front and back of my "outer" FlipBelt. If I ever wanted to use the 3rd bottle I could stack things up. For the distances that I'm running now, it's good enough to have gone from 10 oz of water to 20 oz of water.
The R3 Orthopedic Foot Roller. If you buy just one $30 piece of plastic off the internet let it be this one.
Once I started running longer distances, my feet went from being things that I stood on to things that I needed to Take Care Of. I don't remember how/where I heard about the R3 but somehow it got itself on my radar and I snapped it up. It's not "just" for feet, you can roll other parts of your body with it as well, but I use it primarily for my feet.
The R3 has been worthwhile for me and a game changer for my husband. He has a chronic case of plantar fasciitis and if you ever meet him you will know because the R3 will come up in conversation. It's too big a claim to say that the R3 "cured" him but it sure took the edge off. At the time he started using the R3 he'd recently had surgery that didn't seem to have worked, and he also started working with a new PT. Possibly the surgery made a difference later on, possibly the new PT helped, and possibly the R3 helped...some combination of all of the above gave him a very long stretch of relief. Safe to say that "my" R3 became "our" R3 and he got a second one to keep at work. If we go on vacation, the R3 comes with us...my husband is never far from it.
Foam rolling has been a miracle cure for the odd ache and pain and is a refresher for tired legs. But you know what? It's super PAINFUL to the extent that I was living with tired legs and only rolling if something hurt. The R8 roller gives me all of the benefits of traditional foam rolling minus the YE-OUCH. I mean, yes if your legs hurt rolling them hurts but the R8 takes things down from full blown pain to "discomfort".
I put off doing any further research into the R8 for a long time because right after someone tells you how wonderful it is the next thing out of their mouth is how expensive it is. Look, I don't know what kind of budgets people are on, but when I found out that the R8 is $129 I was like "that's it???" and ordered one ASAP. I mean, something that's so useful and beneficial that's basically the price of a pair of shoes???
It's no secret that I am not a fan of running in the dark. I've tried a few headlamps over the years which universally (1) are not comfortable and (2) just haven't been bright enough to project the light where I need it. Knuckle lights are comfortable to wear, bright enough for me to see the ground in front of me, and having them on my hands makes it easy to angle the light wherever I need it.
Knuckle lights are a great solution if you need to start your run 10 minutes before sunrise, but they aren't great if you're completely in the dark and I don't know of any product that is. There are not a lot of street lights where I live, so in complete darkness the lights let me see the ground in front of me but not what's rustling in the bushes and if a car comes by the headlights blind me. After taking a nasty fall last year I retired from pitch black dark running in favor of the treadmill. These days we primarily use them for late night dog walking.
The mission cooling neck gaiter is my latest piece of "must have" gear. You get it wet, you snap it, and it becomes very cold. While I'm running, the part on the back of my neck warms up but the front stays cold, so I rotate it as needed. After my run I take it off, snap it, and I have a nice cool towel to wipe myself down with as I'm on my way home.
What are your go-to running gear items? Any recommendations on a hydration vest? Yes, it's OK to include links