Archive | Gear Love Affair RSS feed for this section

Chicago Marathon Expo with Nuun!

7 Oct

The last few days have been a whirlwind! I know I keep saying that, but I feel like I am in this time-space hurricane where the days are all just swirling around me. I flew into Chicago last Thursday afternoon to work the Nuun booth at the Chicago Marathon expo. When I arrived in the Windy City, I immediately noticed how cold it was. I had been so busy in the days before the trip that I had not even thought to check the weather report. Since I would be spending most of my time indoors at the expo, I did not really think to bring heavy layers, but I should have. It was stupid cold. (Note: To me, “stupid cold” is anything below 45 degrees.)

After I grabbed my bag, I hopped in a taxi and headed over to our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Okay, I know this is going to make me sound like a country bumpkin, but all I could do when I arrived was look around with my mouth agape. It was beautiful! And HUGE. The last time I was in a hotel that big was when I was traveling back and forth to Japan for work. (Everything is big in Japan…well, except the people.) Check-in was a breeze and I quickly made my way up to the 16th Floor to meet my friend, Kim, who works for Nuun. She had a fancy-shmancy Chicago Marathon social thing to go to for a little while, so while she went to that, I was in charge of picking a restaurant for dinner.

Chicago Marathon

Pre-marathon prep!

Let me just say, I super suck at picking restaurants. I don’t discriminate much when it comes to food, so I am pretty easy-going when it comes to eating. Since it was cold as you-know-what and raining outside, we decided to go somewhere quickly walkable. We settled on a place called Houlihan’s near our hotel. It wasn’t anything fancy (which was fine by me), but the service was good and the food was tasty. (I had the buffalo blue cheese salad.) After that, we made a bee-line back to the hotel since we knew we had a long day ahead of us.

On Friday morning, we were dressed and ready to head to the Chicago Marathon expo at the McCormick Center around 7:30AM. Working an expo is pretty fun because you get to go in, walk around, and check out all of the booths without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of other people. Kim had a system down for setting up the booth, so she said I could take some time to check out the expo floor. I walked around and looked at just about every single booth. By the time I was done, the expo was just opening up, so I headed back over to the Brooks booth.

Let me just say this…Brooks Running does it up right. They always have the most fun and interactive set-ups and their marketing TOTALLY works on people like me. If you have ever had the pleasure of seeing their Cavalcade of Curiosities exhibit, you know what I am talking about. Those folks know how to have fun!

Carb Happy! Run Happy!

They were doing free gait analyses and since I had not had one since Baby Key was born, I wanted to make sure my gait/stride had not gotten too wonky since being pregnant. Luckily, the analysis confirmed that I was running in the right shoes for me (neutral, non-stability shoes). For racing, I really like the Brooks Pure Connect. For longer runs, or for when my feet are feeling fatigued, I really like the Brooks Pure Flow. Anyway, I digress…

After the gait analysis, they gave you a scratch off card to win a prize. You could have won a free pair of shoes, a bag of Brooks custom runaroni pasta, or a CD of accordion jams. I won the CD of accordion jams. At first I was like, “Eh. Great. Accordion music.” Then I turned the CD over and realized it was a kick-butt running mix! SCORE! Don’t worry, I’ll make sure all of the songs get added to my running music page.

Coolest pasta EVER!

Brooks Runaroni Pasta!

On my way back to the Nuun booth to start working, I passed by the Mizuno booth. They had a monitor up and they were showing a company video. Out of the corner of my eye, I see my friend, Pat, on the screen! I knew he worked for Mizuno, but I didn’t know he was in their company promo video. I was like, “Hey! I know that guy!” It made me feel all big time knowing a guy who was in a fancy company video.

Mizuno Running. Stepping up their game!

Once I got back to the booth, the CRAZY set in. We were busy slinging Nuun all day. I got all warm and fuzzy when someone would come up and say, “I LOVE Nuun! It’s the only thing I will drink other than water!” or “Nuun helped me get through my training runs!” Lots of Twitter friends came by to say hello, which I super loved! As I have said before, I always love it when online friends can become in-real-life friends. I finally got the chance to meet Gene from, since he was working at the Arctic Ease booth. I got to reconnect with old friends like Valerie, and I also got to see one of my old #RunLA buddies, Ed!

After the expo, we headed back over to the hotel where we met up with Jocelyn, who had come in town to participate in the race. I heart Jocelyn. I really do. I swear she has a smile that can light up a room. She is so kind and funny! I met Jocelyn when I went to run Hood to Coast with Nuun. While she wasn’t on my team for Hood to Coast, she was on my team for some of the activities we did the day before the race. I loved getting to know her then and was thrilled to get to see her again. (PS – Check out her blog, Enthusiastic Runner!)

Since we got back late, and since Kim and I were EXHAUSTED, we just ordered room service and went to sleep. I know it sounds pretty uneventful, but after working a 12-hour day and visiting with Jocelyn, there has no gas left in our tanks.

Saturday was pretty much the same, only busier. Much busier. Jocelyn even joined us in the booth for the first part of the day! It was really fun when people came by and said that they had followed our Hood to Coast adventures on Twitter or via our blogs. Sometimes I wonder if people ever really read this blog, but…it seems as if they do! (Thank you so much for reading, peeps!)

I snagged these! Limited edition colors! Available online late Nov 2012!

Even though 99% of what I did while in Chicago was work and sleep, I did get to have an awesome experience. It seemed like every time I took a break to grab a bite to eat or run to the restroom, I was seeing someone famous! I have never been to an expo with so many famous folks! Literally, in two days, I found myself within a few feet of Dean Karnazes, Hal Higdon, and Deena Kastor! Crazy!
Dean Karnazes!

Dean Karnazes!

On Saturday night, Jocelyn just picked us up some sushi from Whole Foods. I was glad not to have to get back out after we got “home” from the expo. There was a huge football game going on (Notre Dame vs Miami) and football fans were EVERYWHERE. It was nice to just grab a quick bite, and again, head to bed early.

On Sunday morning, we all got up early to help Jocelyn get ready for the marathon. She had all of her stuff laid out the night before, so getting ready was pretty quick. Since it was so chilly, she made these homemade tear-away pants out of a pair of navy blue child-size sweatpants from Target and white duct tape. I wish you could have seen these things. They were pretty…special. But, hey, they worked, and that’s all that mattered! Kim and Jocelyn put on their trash bags for warmth and they were off to the race!

Jocelyn was ready to race!

And that’s as close as I got to the actual Chicago Marathon…unless you count watching the live news coverage while I was packing my stuff up or being able to look out of my hotel window and see the elites pass by. I wish I could have stayed to see all of my friends finish, but my flight left Chicago at 10:30AM. With all of the street closures, I had to start making my way over to the airport shortly after Jocelyn and Kim left. Boo.

Although I wanted to stay in Chicago, I was glad to be heading home to my guys. I missed my husband, baby boy, and pup so much. I landed at GSP around 1:00PM and Brent and Baby Key were waiting for me! Oh, and did I mention that Baby Key started WALKING while I was gone?? C’mon! I was gone 24 hours and he started walking. What the heck! Being home was nice, though brief. All I had time to do was unpack, wash my clothes, spend a little time with my guys, repack for Kona, and head to bed. Before rolling over to go to sleep, I set the alarm on my phone for 3:00AM. I can’t remember the last time I got up at 3:00AM for ANYTHING. 6 hours of sleep won’t be much, but I probably won’t be able to shut my brain off anyway.

I’m heading off to Kona tomorrow and I am PSYCHED. I’ll be putting in a lot of time on the airplane, but it will SO be worth it! So many thoughts are swirling in my head about this trip that I can’t even start on that now.

More tomorrow! The next time you hear from me, I’ll most likely be in Kona, HI for the Ironman World Championships! What what!!

My Running “Stuff” Drawer

2 Oct

I have always heard that near the end of their pregnancy that women start “nesting”…you know, cleaning things out, getting clothes and closets organized, doing all the last minute details before the baby arrives. My impression of nesting is that it is sort of like spring cleaning…on steroids. From what I have heard from my friends (and their husbands) is that when the nesting vibe hits you, husbands had better just stay out of the way.

These days, energy hits me in waves and throughout the day my level of energy can literally go up and down like a rollercoaster. One minute I feel like I have been hit by a semi and I can do nothing but lay down and clothes my eyes, and then half an hour later I am up bopping about my house as if it was just any other day. After the LSU game yesterday, I got another one of these bursts of energy. Since I am never sure of when the next one will come, I have to take advantage of them. You know what that means…off to the bedroom to clean out my running gear!

(I realize that some women would take this opportunity to clean out bathroom closets, kitchen cabinets, etc., but you can clearly see where my priorities are.)

I decided to start with my running “stuff” drawer. Think of it as the equivalent of the kitchen junk drawer…but just for my running/cycling/triathlon stuff. I dumped it out on my bed and got to work. It took me about 3.7 seconds before I realized that I had a lot of stuff…maybe too much stuff? Just for kicks, I decided to take inventory of what has been hiding in the three drawers of my nightstand. It’s a doozy! This is all stuff that I have amassed over the years, either by purchasing, picking up at race expos, or in race goodie bags. In no particular order, here is a list of what I found…

1 x ASICS arm warmers
1 x Zensah compression calf sleeves
1 x CEP Compression calf sleeves
1 x Running Skirts RunLove compression socks
1 x Tommie Copper compression calf sleeves
3 x Nike running gloves (No, not 3 pairs, just 3 gloves. Hmmm….)
1 x ToeSox Grip Gloves
1 x Tommie Copper compression ankle sleeves
2 x fleece ear warmers
2 x running headbands
2 x stay cool neckbands
3 x fleece winter running hats
2 x dri-wicking running visors
1 x dri-wicking running hat

3 x cowbells (Gotta have more cowbell!)
2 x headphones
1 x winter running gaiter
2 x mp3 player (Sony and iPod)
1 x Sony mp3 player charger
1 x Camelbak Chill Jacket Holder
1 x Garmin Forerunner 405
1 x Garmin Forerunner 405 charger
1 x Garmin Heart Rate Monitor
1 x Garmin Foot Pod
3 x race number/personal item belts
4 x running sunglasses
1 x KT Tape
2 x swim caps
1 x bike seat cover
1 x swimming goggles
1 x runDisney Princess Team in Training tiara (essential to running, of course!)
1 x TrekWomen bike pouch
1 x Succeed! SCaps
2 x vitamin/capsule holders (for long runs)

1 x Princeton Tec head lamp
1 x LAVA magazine
1 x DLO iPod/iPhone arm band
3 x DVDs (marathon photos, cycling tips)
1 x blinkie light for night running
1 x carrabiner
2 x race koozies
3 x race/awareness bracelets
1 x head sweatband
1 x wrist sweatband
1 x GO Sport ID
8 x GO Sport ID silicone bands
7 x GO Sport ID fabric bands

2 x Nuun tablets
4 x Clif Bloks
3 x Gu Brew
3 x Gu Brew tablets
2 x Gu Chomps
1 x Nutrilite Endurance Cubes
1 x Cytomax Performance Drink
4 x Nutrilite ROC2O Powder
2 x PowerBar gel
1 x Hammer gel
6 x Gu Energy Labs Roctane gel
17 x Gu Energy Labs gel
…and more stickers and decals than I even cared to count…

This is not normal, is it? Surely it can’t be. I mean, really…this is a problem, right? I am convinced it I expose myself, maybe I can get this thing under control. Oh, and this does not even scratch the surface on the number of water bottles I have. More on THAT can be found here. Is there any hope for me??

Do you have a running “stuff” drawer? What kinds of things do you keep in there?

It’s Baby Jogger Day!

8 Sep


I get that some of you may not quite understand how super fantastic this is for my husband and I, but let me start at the beginning.  My love affair with the Baby Jogger begins here…

This past April, I was registered for the Gulf Coast Half Marathon in Pensacola Beach,FL.  This event was held a few weeks after we found out we were expecting and I decided that I was feeling good enough to race anyway.  Well, I didn’t so much “race” as I did “run” but that is beside the point.  Either way, I finished. 🙂

Brent and I got there a couple of days early to enjoy the beach and pick up my things from packet pick-up.  This event was sponsored by a local running store, called Running Wild(On a side note, let me just say that I LOVE going to running stores in different cities.  I love seeing different gear, brands, and how trends vary from city to city or region to region.)  The employees at Running Wild were super helpful and I think I talked to one of the guys for literally an hour about the New Balance Minimus Trail Shoes.  But I digress…

On the way out the door, I spied the Baby Jogger in the corner.  In my many trips to what feels like a billion different running stores, I had never seen a store that actually carried running strollers.  Even though we had many months to go before Baby Key was to arrive, I couldn’t help stopping and ooohing and aaaahing over it.  The owner of the store must have picked up on my interest.  Before I knew it, he was by our side, telling us all the wonders of the Baby Jogger.  Seriously, it was love at first sight.  This is a picture of the one we saw in the store.  I mean, really…could it be any more fantastic??

Baby Jogger 25th Anniversary Performance Jogger

When we found out we were expecting, I immediately started scouring the internet and local baby stores to find THE BEST running stroller. (C’mon, does this surprise you?)  Once I laid my eyes on this one and took it for a test spin around the parking lot, I knew it was the one for me.  I love that it truly is a running stroller, not just a stroller that you can run with.  The no frills, no drag aspect of it is really appealing.  This stroller is definitely not built for a day at Disney World, but it is perfect for getting Baby Key and I out the door and on the road…marathon training together!

The owner of Running Wild went on and on about how durable the fabric was and how easy it was to care for (just get regular tune ups from a local bicycle shop!).  Oh, and did I mention that this sucker can hold a child up to 100 pounds!?  That’s a middle-schooler!  (Another side note…do not think for one second that I will be pushing a 100 pound child around.  If my kid is that big, he will be running WITH me…NOT in a stroller.)

I was sold…until I saw the price tag.  Then I frowned.  While awesome, I quickly realized that the Baby Jogger would be an investment.  With its substantial price tag (let’s just say that it cost more than our whole stroller travel system that we had picked out), I just knew we could not afford it.  Currently operating on one family income, we just knew that getting a Baby Jogger would not be feasible when we have the necessities like baby furniture, bottles, clothing, hospital bills, etc. to pay for.  Disappointed, we left the store.

I resigned myself to the fact that post-baby runs would be totally solo, without my sweet bundle of joy.  I continued to pull up the Baby Jogger website at least once a week, ogling the beauty of the Performance jogger.  (And c’mon…its even BLUE…perfect for my Future Ironman!)

Then fate stepped in.  Through an odd twist of fate and meeting the right person at the right time (though I truly feel these things are NEVER coincidence), a Baby Jogger presented itself to me!

Several months back, ultramarathoner, Paul Sibley, came to Baton Rouge to run 50 miles around the LSU Lakes to raise money for Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.  One of his aid assistants was his sister, Wanda.  I went out to the lakes to congratulate Paul on this wonderful thing he was doing and watch him get started on his journey.  After he took off, I hung around a while and started talking to his sister.  We talked about running and children and then she casually mentioned that she used a Baby Jogger with all of her children and how great it was.  I sighed longingly and told her of my desire to have one but that it just was not a possibility for us right now.  And then she said those magical words…

“Oh, I don’t need mine anymore!  You can just have mine!”

WHAT DID SHE SAY?  HAVE IT?  Are you kidding me!?  I offered to pay her something…ANYTHING…but she insisted that she just wanted it out of her garage and into a good home.  I gladly took her up on the offer.  I have been warned that it is pretty old, needs a serious tune-up, a good cleaning, and possibly a new protective cover.  However, considering that it is free, I think I can figure all of that out.

So, today is the day we get to go pick it up!  It’s Baby Jogger Day!  Who knows, maybe it is one run away from falling apart…but hey, I appreciate Wanda’s generosity from the bottom of my heart and, if nothing else, it will at least get me and Baby Key out on the road at the beginning.

And maybe if I keep my fingers crossed and keep wishing and hoping, maybe Santa will bring Baby Key and me a NEW Baby Jogger for Christmas.  A girl can dream, can’t she?

Have YOU ever run with a running stroller?  Which brand do you have and what do you like/dislike about it?

I Ran on the Moon – My Anti-Gravity Running Experience

18 Aug

Okay, so while I didn’t *technically* run on the moon, I did get to experience anti-gravity running on an Alter G treadmill. There isn’t a whole lot in life that leaves me truly speechless, but after getting off this treadmill, all I could do was smile. I felt like I was back in the game…even if that feeling was only temporary.

The pants you wear feel like a wetsuit!

A couple of evenings ago, after a long conversation with my husband, I conceded to start cutting back on my outdoor runs. At almost 29 weeks pregnant, I am thankful for the time that I have been able to run outside, but it is just getting to hard. My options? The treadmill at the gym (which my husband found to be an acceptable alternative since the gym at least has air conditioner) or only walking outside. For me, walking is an almost painful activity. While not physically painful, the slow pace is mentally painful. I so badly want to be at full stride and going FAST!

Getting the instructions! It even goes in REVERSE!

“Fast” is something I have not felt in MONTHS…until last night. To be able to supplement my body weight and remember what my body felt like at my pre-pregnancy weight was AMAZING. The pressure on my ankles, calves, and knees was totally gone. The best part was the ease in pelvic pressure from the baby belly. I can’t even begin to tell you how this has improved my attitude about running through the rest of my pregnancy. To have that brief reminder of how easily my body moved only months ago was just the encouragement I need and will certainly motivate me to work hard post-baby to get my training body back. The Alter G anti-gravity treadmill is officially a game changer for me.

I am RUNNING and it feels so GOOD!

Before my anti-gravity experience, I literally could not fathom how my running idols elite runners like Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliffe were able to run, no TRAIN, throughout their pregnancies. (You know, other than the fact that they are super humans.) After hearing that they used this equipment, I can definitely see how it helps elites train through pregnancies and recover from all types of injuries.

The advantages of the Alter G extend WAY beyond just helping this mama-to-be runner prolong her running routine. In addition to all of the medical applications of the anti-gravity treadmill, the Alter G is having a MAJOR impact in the sports industry.

According to their website, the Alter G can help with the following:
• lower body injury and surgery rehabilitation
• aerobic conditioning
• weight control and reduction
• sport specific conditioning programs
• neurological retraining
• overspeed training
• interval training
• lateral movement training
• backwards running drills up to 10mp in reverse
• hill training at up to 15% incline

This is the face of one HAPPY (and very pregnant) runner!

The biggest benefit for me personally is that it helps maximize fitness retention during sports rehabilitation, or, in my case, during pregnancy. Using the Alter G, I will be able to match the aerobic intensity of my previous workouts while lowering the impact on my body by using a combination of adjustable variables (weight – 100% to 20% supplementation, speed – up to 18mph, and incline – up to 15%). I have been so worried that all of the training I had done before getting pregnant would be GONE. Running on the Alter G as close to my delivery date as I can will only help me get back to my normal running routine (and marathon training!) as fast as possible.

As of yesterday, I had resigned myself to walking…but not anymore. My attitude and happiness towards running have been restored and I am completely positive about adding this new tool to my workouts. There is a new plan in effect as of right now!

Monday: 30-minute Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill
Tuesday: Happy’s Running Club
Wednesday: Yoga, slow bike ride, or rest
Thursday: 30-minute Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill
Friday: Walk around the neighborhood
Saturday: Walk around the neighborhood
Sunday: Rest

This is a schedule I think I can live with. I will still be running three times per week (HALLELUJAH!) and walking once or twice.

Over the years I have learned that running is more than the physical. The mental and emotional benefits that I get from running outweigh any amount of fat burned or inches lost. I am a firm believer that running keeps me sane and grounded. And thanks to the Alter G, I can look and FEEL like this after running again…

Four thumbs up from me and Baby Key!

Now I just need about $50,000 so I can get one of these at home. Any takers??? No? Okay, well…any suggestions…bake sale? Garage sale? 🙂
Have YOU ever tried an anti-gravity treadmill? Are you interested in them?

Holy Roller! Me and My Human Rolling Pin

7 Aug

After my 6-miler on Friday and my “pushing it pace” 2-miler yesterday, my legs needed some serious stretching and attention. I will have to say that, in general, I am one of the “lucky” ones when it comes to running and leg pain, aches, and injuries. Ever since I corrected my form a few years ago, I have had little to no issues with my legs. The few bouts of soreness and aches I suffered required little more than some good stretching and compression calf sleeves. However, once I started training for my first half marathon, I started experiencing slightly more muscle pain (as opposed to joint pain) and I needed some relief.

A running buddy of mine suggested The Stick. Wanting to immediately ease my quad aches, off to the running store I went. I politely asked the store employee for The Stick and he pointed me over to a wall where rows of brightly colored torture devices were displayed. I picked out the brightest green human rolling pin I had ever seen and limped/waddled/hobbled home to put it to use.

This thing was a miracle product!! I swear you could feel every dimple of each golf ball busting up all those little pockets of lactic acid build-up in my muscles. It was phenomenal! Seriously, you could almost hear the pop-pop-pop of my muscles being worked out and relaxing. I had a new best friend named Stick.

It was not until months later did I realize that I never actually purchased The Stick. I bought the local South Carolina (where I was living at the time) version of The Stick…called an Eddie’s Roller. I cannot officially compare it to The Stick, as I do not own one of those, but I can tell you that the Eddie’s Roller is an amazing product. Have you ever put a golf ball on the floor and rubbed your foot over it after a long run? (If you haven’t, you are missing out! Try it! Best cheap foot massage EVER!) Well, it feels like that…except you can get that same deep massage action on your legs, arms, and back. Seriously, it’s GOOD.

I bought this thing several years ago, so I can’t remember exactly what it cost, but I think it was around $30 or so. Plus, if you order one direct from Eddie, you can even pick/customize your colors. If I had known that, I probably would have made a purple and gold one (LSU colors) but I really like my lime green one. 🙂

Do YOU use an Eddie’s Roller, The Stick, or other human rolling pin device? How often do you use them? Do they help with your muscle pain?

Break out the credit card, the lululemon show room is OPEN for business!

24 Jun

The lululemon athletica grand openingthis morning was FANTASTIC!  The showroom looks really amazing and my friends, Beth, Andrea, and Amanda have really done an amazing job on getting it ready!  This morning, they hosted their first community yoga class on their back deck.  It was beautiful out there!  Even though it was early, it was still pretty warm!

Photo courtesy of Claim Your Journey.

This was my first official yoga class…and, man, that’s some tough stuff!  I always knew yogis had hard bodies for a reason, but that class was no joke!  I had to modify some of the abdominal work and positions, but I had a great time and would definitely be interested in trying it again!

My friend, Brandon, from Claim Your Journey Magazine and I were lucky enough to get some cool gear to try (not that I wasn’t ALREADY in love with lululemon athletica) and we wanted to tell you a little bit about it.

I was lucky enough to get to try out the Scoop Neck Tankin Heathered Sand Dune.

Photo courtesy of lululemon athletica website.

Photo courtesy of lululemon athletica website.

(I realize the photo is of the model and not of ME in the tank. After yoga class, I started making lunch for the husband and…yadda, yadda, yadda…now there are red beans and rice down the front of the tank top. Keep in mind that pregnant ladies are not exactly known for their grace.)

I have both run and done yoga in this shirt and it is SO comfortable.  First of all the way the scoop neck is cut on the front really holds the girls in and still (you know what I’m sayin’).  I find that most shirts with built-in bras are useless, but this one is a bit thicker and really does the job.  While running, I still had to wear a sports bra under it, but during yoga, I was fine in just the shirt.  Another thing I love about the shirt is that it didn’t ride up when I was running in it.  A lot of fitted running tanks start riding up and having to keep tugging your shirt down gets pretty annoying.  This one stays put and that’s a major advantage in my book.  Lastly, I LOVE the cut of the back.  It is a totally different style in the back than most of my running tanks and I can totally tell the difference. This cut allows me to have a better range of motion with my arms (I pump my arms slightly when I run) and I was able to move around freely in this morning’s yoga class.  The Scoop Neck Tank comes in LOTS of color combos and I will definitely be making it a staple in my running wardrobe.  Now if only it came in neon… 😉

Brandon was given the Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeveshirt.  Here is his review:

Photo courtesy of Brandon Williams.

Photo courtesy of Brandon Williams.

“Lululemon is a very unique activewear company that focuses on developing great products for individuals that participate in Yoga and Running. The Lululemon Metal Vent Tech short sleeve is just one of the many products they have available for men. The shirt featured is a heather, charcoal color and features additional stitching on the shoulder for detail. This color is great if you like to stick to neutral colors and keep it simple. The shirt is a very lightweight, seamless performance top with mesh venting in high sweat areas. If you’re living in Louisiana or anywhere near, that information is very important to you. So far, the heat this summer has been extreme, so the mesh venting comes in very handy during your running. There is also a Silverescent fabric that Lululemon included in the construction of this shirt that has properties to prevent odor and static. The inside of the shirt features two unique quotes. The first stating, “Visualize your victory, realize your goals, believe in yourself.” And then a little more laid back quote stating, “And make sure to drink a beer or two along the way.” We all need a little encouragement.”

To read more about the grand opening on the Claim Your Journey site, click here! Brandon took some GREAT photos of lululemon’s newest team members!

Lululemon athletica makes some really awesome apparel, so I’m officially putting it in my Gear Love Affair category.  I had so much fun at the grand opening of the showroom this morning, that I’ve come home, changed, and grabbed my husband for some more lululemon shopping!  I hear that Southern Dawgz is going to be there with their snow cone truck.  You know this pregnant lady isn’t passing up a snow cone on a hot day.

I hope your Friday is rocking as much as mine is! Happy running!

Update:  I did get my snow cone…a spearmint one.  I got most of Brent’s strawberry cheesecake one too.  😉  And they were divine!  Thanks, Stuart!

If it isn’t neon, it shouldn’t be on.

23 Jun

If you were following my Tweets today (and if you’re not following me, you should…just sayin’), you’ll know that I spent most of my day in training for work. At the end of the session, there was this “awesome” safety training rap video. Oh yes, you read that right. It had to have been STRAIGHT out of 1984.

While watching it my mind started to wander about all the cool things about the ‘80s. And then my mind jumped over to my FAVORITE thing about the ‘80s…NEON. When it comes to running clothes, if it isn’t neon, it shouldn’t be on. Yeah, I said it. That’s my motto and I’m sticking to it. No one is going to tell me neon isn’t cool. No one.

Here is just a sample of my neon running wardrobe. Its pretty spectacular!

Caution: Colors are brighter than they appear!

I firmly believe that dressing the part can aid in success…sort of how you can feel totally prepared for a work meeting in a new dress or a freshly pressed suit. For me, neon makes me feel fast (like lightning!) and when running a race, fast is always good.
Another reason I wear bright or neon running gear is because it makes me feel like I have to perform…like people might be watching. Think of it this way, if you show up to a race in head-to-toe neon yellow (which I have been known to do), you better not be coming in last. If you do, you will just look dumb. When you have the nerve to show up to an event rocking this look, you better be ready to crank out your best.

Last but not least, neon colors just make me happy. If I am going out to a sunny race, my neon makes me feel on my game and ready. If I am going out to a rainy race, my neon makes me feel like I am my own personal running sunshine.

Here are some new things that are on my wish list…

Brooks Nightlife Infiniti 1/2 Zip

Saucony Women's ProGrid Kinvara 2

CEP Running Compression Socks (Pink)

Call it tacky (lots of people do…you won’t hurt my feelings) or whatever you want, but my love of neon is here to stay. It works for me.

Is there something that you wear that makes you feel “on your game?” Do other people generally like it or do you get flack for it?

Running Shoe Tier System

20 Jun

I’m not going to lie. I have an unhealthy, obnoxious attachment to running shoes. While I love 5″ stilettos too (I AM a girl, after all!), walking into a a running store and seeing the great big wall of squeaky clean running shoes is my equivalent to the heavens opening up and hearing angels start singing!

The number of pairs of running shoes I have could easily enter double digits. I hang on to running shoes far longer than I should ever admit. I don’t know why, maybe it’s a little bit of a sentimental thing going on, or maybe I’m just nuts. (Probably the latter.) Don’t get me wrong, I am not like a shoe hoarder like the doll lady on the latest episode of Hoarders. I just like unique shoes, that’s all.

But of course, no matter how many shoes I amass, I can’t keep all of them as my primary runners…materials degrade, soles wear thin, and eventually it just gets time for a new pair.

Here are my top five pairs and a little bit more about my “Running Shoe Tier System.” Whenever I get a new pair of running shoes, all of the current shoes get pushed down a tier. Once a pair gets pushed past Tier 5, they get cleaned up and donated to a worthy cause like Soles 4 Souls. (By the way, my husband thinks the fact that I rank my running shoes is a little weird. I can not possibly be the only one that does this, right??)

Tier 1 - Tier 4

Tier 5

From left to right and then below…

These shoes are Saucony Women’s Grid Fastwitch 5 in Blue/White/Citron. They are my newest pair and I have grown to love them. They have more stability than my last two pairs and I can totally feel the difference. While I love the citron laces, I have recently been considering trading them out for Yankz! locking laces.

These shoes are Saucony Men’s ProGrid Kinvara in Citron/Black. Yes, I know they are men’s shoes. My previous pair of Kinvaras (see Tier 3) were amazing so I knew I wanted another pair. I could not pass up the awesome color! In the future, however, I would not buy men’s neutral running shoes again. From the very beginning, the arch of the shoe never hit my arch in quite the right spot and they definitely were not as perfect of a fit as my previous pair of Kinvaras. They got me through my first marathon, though, so I might hang on to these for a while! In Tier 2, these shoes will be mixed in on short runs and worn when I go out on my bike (I don’t clip in).


These shoes are Saucony Women’s ProGrid Kinvara in White/Pink. This was my first delve into a neutral running shoe and I have no idea why I didn’t try them sooner! They are so light and it made running so much more enjoyable! Tier 3 shoes are shoes that, while they have more than enough running miles on them, are still cute and clean enough to be worn to the grocery store, mall, etc.


These are Saucony Men’s ProGrid Ride 3 in Gray/Blue (model obsolete). In Tier 4, running shoes become “shoes I’ll allow to be seen on my feet at work.” Working in a chemical plant, I don’t want anything too fancy (as they are likely to get dusty, muddy, etc.) but I need something comfortable enough to get me through the ½-mile walk from the parking lot to my office. Once I get to my office, I change into my steel toe boots for the rest of my work day.

These are Saucony Men’s ProGrid Ride 2 in White/Silver/Red (model obsolete). I can not even begin to date these shoes. Once a pair of shoes makes it to Tier 5, they are literally one foot out of the door. Theses are the shoes I will wear to traipse around in my yard, wash my car, or take my dog for a walk. Or even more fun…these are the shoes that get worn on mud runs! I can not do mud runs right now because I can’t risk falling, but next year, when I am back in action, its ON!

Okay, so please tell me I am not the only one that ranks her running shoes? Please tell me you do this too! (You DO, don’t you!) How many tiers are in your ranking system?

Swim class #2 and Athleta IronGirl NOLA!

12 May

Swim class went well today. I feel like I understand a little bit better what I am supposed to be doing with my body. Now whether or not I’m actually doing what I am supposed to be doing is an entirely different story. But hey, I can honestly say I’m trying.

Today we learned more about how we should be moving our arms through the water. It felt VERY awkward and uncomfortable…so that probably means I was doing it more correctly than incorrectly. We used the kickboards again, and today we added the pull buoys. Technically, I didn’t use a “real” pull buoy because we ran out, so I used an aqua fitness barbell between my legs instead. This was pretty uncomfortable, so I ordered my own Speedo Pull Buoy to use next time. While I was feeling frisky, I went ahead and ordered my own Speedo Kickboard as well. I figure this would be a good idea since I need a lot of help on my kicking. In addition to adding the pull buoys, we also added a couple new drills called the catch-up and the 12+3.

I am also still having a hard time keeping my head down and face in the water. Coach Anne said the 12+3 drill would help this, so I better get used to doing a lot of those. Because I can’t seem to keep my head down, I just can’t get my breathing figured out. I am just so afraid of running out of air or something. I know I’ll get this, I just have to keep practicing.

Coach Anne says she’d like us to get in at least one other swim outside of the two times we meet each week. I’m going to shoot for two other times. Hopefully swimming four times a week will get me on the path to improving. Oh, and she also said the swimming will improve my running and cycling (BONUS!), but unfortunately, the reverse is not the case. Oh well…

In other news, I have signed up to volunteer at the Athleta Iron Girl New Orleans! I am really excited about this event. Last fall, I set my sights on competing in this event, but because of the holidays, moving states, starting a new job, and the surprise of Baby Key, I just haven’t had the chance to obtain the gear I need and train properly. Besides, a mass start open water swim (even if I was at that swimming ability) is probably a bad idea for a pregnant lady. Getting kicked in the stomach in Lake Pontchartrain isn’t real high on my priority list these days. I figured that this year, if I couldn’t get in on the action, I could at least be near the action. So until then, I’m working up my best high fives and “good luck” cheers to give the competitors on the big day!

Iron Girl couldn’t have gotten a better sponsor than Athleta. Their clothing rocks and ranks super high on my Gear Love Affair list. C’mon, have you seen how awesome their running skorts are?? (This pregnant lady has officially retired her running shorts until her pre-pregnancy, trim, toned legs return. Until then, I am loving me some running skorts! Don’t worry, I am sure a future post will be dedicated to them entirely.)

Gear Love Affair: Water Bottles

11 May

This is just a very small sampling of the water bottles I have in my cabinets. Is this obsessive? I mean really, who has this many water bottles?? People who run and people who ride bikes, that’s who.

Just a "few" of my water bottles...

I love water bottles. I love free ones you get from different running events/races, I love the ones with insulation, and I love the ones with pretty shapes and colors. I love plastic ones. I love stainless steel ones. I even love glass ones. I love narrow-mouthed ones, and I love wide-mouthed ones. I love ones with hand-holders and ones without. I love them all.

I also have these that didn’t make it into the photo (thanks to the dishwasher/washing machine).


I also just ordered this little number from Fleet Feet of Baton Rouge and it should be in any day now!

Amphipod Hydraform ThermaLite 20oz

When you live in Louisiana, and you know it is going to be 95 degrees on your afternoon run, you also know that being well hydrated is a non-negotiable. If you don’t hydrate properly, you will most absolutely feel it on your run. Headaches and fatigue will set in, followed by the muscle cramps.

Yesterday, I’m not going to lie, I drank the hell out of some water and Cytomax (approximately 100oz) because I knew I’d be running last night. It must have worked in my favor at the Happy’s Running group run, because I knocked out 4.77 miles in 51:42 minutes. (10:50min/mi is a-okay with me at 4 months pregnant!)

I’ve always wanted to be one of those runners rocking the Fuel Belt. While I love them, they just don’t work for me. God blessed this curvy girl with boobs and hips, and a Fuel Belt never stays in place (neither do race number belts). It always rides up and bounces around my waist…which is one of the most annoying things EVER during a race.

Just remember that whatever your distance (short or long runs), staying hydrated is important. Your performance will decrease by 2% by being only 1% hydrated. That’s a big impact, if you think about it. Drink up and keep that pee clear!

How do you stay hydrated during the day or during long runs? How much water or sports drink does it take for you to feel hydrated?