Tag Archives: running apparel

See my vest: A RoadNoise road test

Guest post alert! Loyal long-time readers (you rock, by the way) will have noticed Hubby’s influence on this blog, especially in the shopping department. I let him loose this week for his second guest post…

There have been a few times when my shopping has been the inspiration for posts at Stride & Joy: Bunny Bars; Bai; Mamma Chia.

Most of these products we continue to buy in bulk. This must concern the delivery man when he is lugging up heavy boxes of beverages from Amazon and wondering why the hell these two can’t just order T-shirts! A few months back, he got his wish – something light, something filled with music, something that is making me run to a different tune.

I had tried a number of options for headphones during runs, but the wires would always get tangled, or the headphones would slide out of my ears because of the water I douse myself with. Sometimes I think the folks at the water stops must feel they are encountering Ted Striker when I throw another cup of water over my noggin’ . Well, if those folks are of an Airplane-appreciating age …

It became more frustrating on longer runs, and there are only so many runs with bands along the route. Something had to be done. So instead of resorting to running with a boom box, or backup vocalists, I was fortunate enough to find salvation from a group of fellow frustrated runners with some product savvy.

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Shirts so good: part three

It’s that time again, otherwise known as “I keep forgetting to take photos of all the race shirts, so now I have enough to make another gallery.” The collection keeps growing. I like the shirts from the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon & 5K, the Stowe 8 Miler and the Providence Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon for an obvious reason: they fit! Also, the Marcia Lemkin 5K, even though it doesn’t look too flash, is a yellow fluorescent tee from Brooks; night running, here I come. Maybe.

But my absolute favorite from this stash, which could well turn out to be my all-time favorite, is the Shark Weekend tank top. Why don’t more summer runs give these out?

Shirts so good

When I started running, the shirts were great motivators. Never having participated in a sport of any kind, I was thrilled at every race to get a new tee proclaiming my new-found athleticism (or at least proclaiming that I pre-registered and made it to the pick-up point without getting lost).

More than 20 runs later, the shirts still give me joy, although they may have been replaced by beer as my primary motivating factor. Many of them are too big on me, and the majority will never see the outdoors again, but each symbolizes a run conquered and a challenge met. I’ll eventually donate them, but for now, they take pride of place on my shelf, and here …

Running the numbers: My story so far. In pictures

I’ve reached a milestone. In the past seven months, I’ve somehow managed to run 20 5K races. I’m wheezing even thinking about it. I know this is a jog around the block for serious runners. But for me, who previously collapsed in a heap after two minutes on the treadmill, it’s huge.

It hasn’t been pretty (my redder-than-the-sun face is testament to that). But I thought it deserved a little (graphical) round-up. Why not! …

Stride and Joy. The story so far

My tootsies roll. Apparently there’s a cure for that

I can count on one hand the pairs of sneakers I’ve owned in the past 15 years. Actually, half a hand. Up until a few years ago, my athletic shoes rarely did anything remotely athletic. (In fact, I’m not even sure why I had sneakers in the Before Time – pre-running – other than to have something to wear with yoga pants during my brief and tragic flirtation with Pilates in 2004. But that’s another story.)

Running shoes

I have owned three pairs of sneakers in the past 15 years. This is one of them. Scroll up to see the third pair, bought late last year after I started running.

There’s no denying that runners need great shoes. Expert types say sneakers should be replaced every 350-400 miles, depending on how hard you run. Considering my rate, current achievable distance, and tendency to walk when things get tough, that’s good news for my footwear budget!

But I have never had a proper sneaker fitting. And I figured if I am going to continue to masquerade as a runner, I should at least do it in appropriate trainers. I have a hunch that my old method of shoe selection – “I’ll take the pink ones” – was slightly flawed.

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Cold runnings: when it’s perfectly acceptable to dress like a superhero

It’s well documented that heat is my No. 2 nemesis (No 1: hills), so I was quite keen to give cold running a try. But there’s cold and then there’s standing-around-at-7.30am-in-New-England-waiting-for-the-run-to-start cold. Herewith, what I’ve discovered first-hand about dressing when your runs take place in a giant fridge. (Of course, my upcoming events are set to take place in a giant freezer, so stay tuned for “Part Two: What the heck was I thinking?”)

Feaster Five

My duds for the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day race. Note, fancy tights.

1. The outfit is ridiculous. Where outside of comic books is it OK to roam the streets in shorts over tights? Unfortunately, tights aren’t made to carry an iPhone, an asthma puffer, a lip balm, a hairband and a packet of tissues, so, for me, shorts with giant pockets are mandatory. One day, I’ll rule the world in them! Bwahahaha.

2. OK, I concede the tights are fabulous. Avid readers will recall the  concern I had over my new CW-X Insulator Expert Tights and their circulation-hampering properties. But the tights are genius. They are remarkably warm and indeed have many insulating skills. I’ll take the company’s word for it that they also support my muscles and help them bounce back faster.

3. Bulky gloves are unwise. It was a rookie mistake wearing heavy-duty winter mitts. Who knew hands could sweat so much? And they make it impossible to get anything out of your pockets. (Forget trying to pull the top off an asthma puffer.) Also, when your hands are on fire and you have to take the gloves off, there’s nowhere to stuff them. Disaster.

I replaced them with Lululemon’s Brisk Run gloves, which are not only thinner, they can be used to compose that crucial mid-run text message (“Forget this, I’ll meet you at the bar!” perhaps?) thanks to those smartphone fingertip dealies.

LL Bean Women's Cresta Wool Base Layer4. Merino is your friend. Wearing cotton as a base layer on a cold run is a very bad idea. Or so I discovered. Cotton lets sweat linger on your skin, turning you into a walking block of ice when you start to cool down. I bought the LL Bean Women’s Cresta Wool Base Layer, made of merino, which has serious wicking abilities (I love how the word “wicking” has crept into my life). It’s also toasty warm. And it has thumb holes …

5. Thumbs up for thumb holes.
Where have you been all my life?

I, Claus: Santa Sightings 5K Fun Run

I’ve spent more time than I would have thought necessary trying to figure out how to dress for cold runs. So I was grateful for the folks at last weekend’s Santa Sightings 5K for removing the uncertainty, although I was still in two minds about having to wear a beard.

Santa Sightings 5K Fun Run

The Santas gather in downtown New Bedford, MA.

The Santa suits were provided and mandatory at this New Bedford event. Which meant 1,600 men, women and children decked out in full jolly-fat-man regalia, including pants, jacket, belt, hat, and the aforementioned facial hair. The “Santa Run” is apparently a worldwide phenomenon – one that appeared to have passed me by in the Before Time (i.e., when the thought of running even a single block was hysterical) – and this was its New England premiere. Trust me, Santas en masse is amusing, but Santas running en masse borders on hilarity.

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