Tag Archives: gear

My Watch Never Hits Pants O’Clock

27 Oct

Apparently we both wear the same brand of watch.

So my water bottle froze just a bit today on my morning run. I noticed when I tried to wash down a gel only to choke on ice chunks. Maybe where you live, this wouldn’t be surprising. But we don’t really get winter here. The dog’s water bowl only freezes about twice a year and it’s a pretty big deal when it happens…  although poor dumb Ruby doesn’t usually notice. But it shocked the hell out of me, especially considering I was only decked out in a (thankfully long-sleeved) tech shirt and shorts. I’m still thanking whatever is was that made me decide to bring some gloves as well; otherwise I’m sure this typing would have caused some rotten fingers to fall off. Just last week I wore the same long-sleeved shirt and was so hot I rolled the sleeves as far up as they would go and tucked the bottom into the band of my sports bra (you’re welcome construction workers).

Please pleeeease don't follow me home.

And then I nearly froze my ass off today, which is saying a lot, because god knows I’ve got some insulation around them parts. So I guess winter is here. And I have no idea what I need to keep warm. So I did some research and thought I’d share with you.

Gear-wise:

So apparently, you need to wear pants. Some of you may be more okay with this than others. Basically, you need to layer up that body of yours like a lasagne. The degree and type of cold (dry versus wet, like ours) is going to vary, so use that life experience of yours to judge how many layers to wear. Gloves are a necessity. Maybe two pairs. Maybe a scarf. Hat yes, your grandma’s mink coat, no. Synthetic materials that will wick sweat but keep heat in will go a long way.

But what if you just HATE pants? First off, been there friend. Let’s just say jeans have not touched these gams of mine in a long time. I’m okay with leggings though and today I’m going to go buy those Lululemon ones I was talking about.

But MOOOMMMMM no one else is wearing pants!

And sir or madam, you’re just going to have to make yourself like pants (and long-sleeved shirts and gloves and ear warmers and everything) because if you don’t, and go run around like an idiot with cold muscles, your chances of injury will sky-rocket. Remember how everyone ever has recommended you warm up by walking or jogging before your start your run? Yeah, there’s a reason. Cold muscles do not adjust well to a sudden increase in effort. Sometimes they protest, like a little Occupy Your Body, except instead of disorganized chanting, they BREAK. AND IT HURTS. So… probably a much more effective protest than an Occupy Whatever…

So effective. I really feel his message.

So just do it.

Shoes-wise:

Don’t wear your old shoes. They are old. This means that the treads are going to be pretty worn down. You’ll only need one patch of black ice to end your training for a couple weeks. So unless you really enjoy broken bones, or at the least skinned palms, wear your newest pair, even if they’re brand spankin’ new and you don’t want to mess them up with mud or snow.

There’s another option which I think I might try out… which involves driving screws into your old shoes so you can dig in best in ice and snow. If I end up doing this I’ll keep you updated, with photos of the massacre of course.

That’s it I guess. I’ll let you know how my layering goes, and maybe detail any frostbite I get. Look forward to it.

Happy winter running everyone! Try not to lose any body parts this season!

I would also protest about this.

Basic Running Gear

23 Oct

To begin with, I’ll let you know that I jinxed myself with that post about running while sick. The fates stepped in blessed me with a head cold so now I get to put all my advice to good use. Booyah.

But what I’d like to focus on now is basic running gear. I figured this was a good topic because so many running people like to debate the wicking abilities of different brands of tech shirts… and most new runners are still trying to figure out when cotton turned into a bad thing.

Oh yeah right. Awkward.

When I first started running, I wore an old pair of leggings (that boasted only three holes) and a cotton tank top. I had a fancy Lululemon jacket that I wore on top that had, until that point, never experienced anything remotely similar to exercise. My first shoes, as I mentioned before, were those Pumas that everyone was buying because they looked cool. Like most things that look cool, they didn’t work so well.

I’ve since upgraded once I learned what I needed and what I didn’t. So if you’re looking to get a new outfit for your runs, I’ve got some tips.

Tops:

Ladies, please disregard what everyone says about cotton. Yeah, it doesn’t breathe so well, and probably doesn’t look as cool, and when you sweat, it’ll show. But it’s cheap. As in free. Because I would bet a $500 Nike gift card that you have old cotton tshirts laying around that would be perfect to run in.

Possibly the most appropriate shirt I've ever seen.

So what’s all the noise about tech tops? Usually these tops are made of special fabric that wick away sweat, keeping you cooler and more comfortable. If you got the cheese, buy ‘em. But if you’re poor like me, just use the cotton tops. I do fine wearing them.

Gents… uhhhh… go for the tech top. Just do it. And invest in some Vaseline. All I’ll say is chafing. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

No I won't! You're welcome.

Bottoms:

Everyone seems to understand what to wear on their legs. Shorts for warm weather, leggings or jogging pants for winter. Ladies, please god, make sure your shorts aren’t too short. No one wants to see your junk, especially first thing in the morning. Same goes for guys actually.

Chances of junk showing must be equal to zero. Punishable by death.

I’ll admit that I tend to splurge on bottoms for running. I have a couple pairs of fancy shorts from Lululemon (sense a pattern here?) because I like the way they look.

They also have very handy pockets that I use for my iPod when it’s raining and for my gels. I’m also planning on buying a pair of their running leggings PURELY because they make me look buff. What? At least I’m honest. Here’s the link.

Miscellaneous:

And then there’s the rest.

Ladies, do yourself a favour and buy a good sports bra. Yes, they’re expensive. But your girls are going to hurt more than your bank account will. Mine is from Lululemon (duh) but they don’t actually make them any longer. I’d recommend hitting a sports store for a wider selection and cheaper prices.

What about rain? I live in a temperate rainforest. Rain is a part of my daily life. I wear a ballcap to keep the water off my face, and maybe a jacket if it’s raining hard enough. It’s an old shell of my mom’s that doesn’t fit either of us but I only use it when it’s really pouring.

That's what a raincloud looks like when it's feelin mean.

Socks? Wear the ones you have unless you’re running 15k or more, or if it’s especially hot and/or humid out. The distance increases rubbing and so does the heat and humidity. Rubbing equals blisters. Blisters equal pain (and unsightly flesh wounds that scar young children). If this sounds like something you want to avoid, buy a pair or two of tech socks from your local sports store. They’ll cost you $15 bucks a pair but it’s worth it.

For cold weather, I wear a thick headband that keeps my ears warm without making my head too hot. I also wear Lululemon gloves (god I have a problem) that boast handy pockets and finger holes.

What to do about hair? For the ladies and the male hippies only. I put mine in a simple ponytail at the back of my head and wear a Goody hairband ($5 for three) to keep the wisps away.

Of course, wear good shoes. I cannot emphasize this enough.

These things are going to be the foundation of your running. The main theme I’m trying to get across is that for most things, you don’t need to get the latest and greatest tech designs. Splurge on what’s important to you if you can. Otherwise, save the cash for race registration.

Wait what? They make you pay to run around in a giant circle, risking being rundown and/or mauled by the crowds? They make you pay $75+?

You'll pay for the mauling and you'll like it.

Yeah, life sucks.

Utterly Necessary Information

16 Oct

I didn’t write yesterday because of some serious emotional trauma that I endured. I came home too emotionally drained to write hilarious things for you all to enjoy.

“But oh beautiful Margaret, how can you be so sad when your hair is so pretty?” you ask.

Well, yesterday I had to let go of two people who mean very much to me. Meet Left Saucony and Right Saucony:

It hurts to look.

Notice the faded colours that once glowed so brilliant against the pavement. The cushioning, once so comforting, gone, leaving me at the mercy of the road. Shoelaces so muddied they look like muddy shoelaces.

It was time to replace the runners.

You may call them sneakers or running shoes or maybe you’re a freak who doesn’t always wear shoes (yes I’ve seen you guys out and about) but don’t deny you develop a certain attachment. Maybe you don’t go so far as naming your shoes but… they’ve been through a lot with you.

Those Sauconys were my first pair of runners. When I started running I wore a pair of athletic-looking Pumas that were not meant for athletes at all. When I decided to actually do this running thing, I bought my first pair at a running store on the North Shore. Of course I’d had shoes for gym and once a pair of cleats for field hockey, but those were the $40 ones from Payless. These babies were the real deal. Arch support, shoelaces that stayed tied; features I’d never experienced before.

We were fast friends. We would go out and run and play but mostly run. We ran through two summers of blasting heat, and two winters of pouring rain and snow. The Sauconys came with me on my first race, the Vancouver Sun Run 10k. We proceeded to run three more 10k races and two half-marathons. We survived shin splints and runner’s knee with only each other for support. If I took a few days or a week or a month off, the Sauconys would be right there waiting for me.

Soon we added a new blessing to the family. The Nike+ device for my iPod. We were too cheap to get special shoes to hold the device so we bought it a pretty purple blanket and tied it haphazardly to Right Saucony’s laces.

With Nike+, we were the perfect team. We destroyed the road, one slow stride at a time. Nike+ took care of the numbers (calories, pace, distance and all) while Left and Right and me too sometimes did the grunt work.

It was a beautiful thing. But like all good things, it came to an end. Left and Right were getting too tired. They couldn’t keep up on the long runs. In the end they were causing me knee and hip pain. It was time to let go.

So I bought these babies!!!

The hot homewrecker.

Check that neon out. Look at those swoops and glides. Hot shoes guys.

I bought them because the guy at the Running Room told me to. Well, he gave me a bunch to try on based on my style of running and I chose these as they felt the best. I just went in there prepared to depend on their expert knowledge and I think I came out with a great pair.

My advice on buying runners? Simple. Invest and make sure that you get shoes that are right for you, not just shoes that look good.

Even though mine are sweet as all hell.

Check back for more advice on buying good shoes for you. In the meantime:

Haha ridiculous.