Category Archives: Athletic Apparel

Running Through 2012

So many bloggers that I follow regularly have posted this fun Q&A, originally started by Miss Zippy, and I loved reading every single one! I’ve heard you’re supposed to write about things you’d like to read, so I took it as a sign to write one of my own. So let’s take a look back at this whirlwind of a year, shall we?

Best race experience: Country Music Half-Marathon in Nashville

run 7

It’s shocking that this is my answer, I know. Even though this was my worst race of the year time-wise (and my second slowest half to date), I learned so much from this experience. I finally realized what it felt like to give everything my body possibly could and leave it all out on the course. I went through a whirlwind of emotions while training for this race, which Abby graciously put up with, and learned just how much I love this sport.

Best run: Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half-Marathon in Washington, D.C.

This was the first time Dustin ever saw me race, so it holds a special place in my heart. I also really enjoyed the course, my body felt great and it was the first time I ever felt confident enough to think that going after a sub-2:00 half-marathon time could be possible for me.

Best new piece of gear: My Lululemon Run: Speed shorts! I’m obsessed. The fit is perfect, they don’t ride up, the wide waistband makes them flattering, there are a ton of pockets and the patterns are to die for. They’re my official good luck race shorts.

Best piece of running advice you received: “Stop comparing yourself to others and just run the best you can.” Paraphrasing from my fabulous running coach, Abby. I really started beating myself up during spring training this year, when I was originally training to complete the full marathon distance in Nashville. She talked me off a ledge many times, but really helped get it through my head that I’m only hurting myself if I keep measuring myself against other runners. Everyone has a different background and I should never be ashamed of my own capabilities.

abby

Most inspirational runners: I’d have to say Abby, Jocelyn, Laura and Theodora. They’ve all dealt with a lot this last year and are overall rock stars. I love going to their blogs on a regular basis whenever I’m in need of a good kick in the pants.

Most exciting (running) moment of 2012: Traveling to more states! I’m slowly working toward my goal of running a half-marathon in every state before I’m 30, and this year I was lucky enough to have Dustin cheering me on in Washington, D.C., Nashville and Disney World. I’m stepping up my game for 2013 and aiming for six states in the new year. Fingers crossed I can make it all happen!

Your turn! Answer any, or all, of the questions and fill me in on your exciting running discoveries of the last year. 

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Favorite Fitness Finds & Holiday Wish List

‘Tis the season for gift giving and let’s be honest: workout gear is expensive. If you’re a big fan of sweat, or know someone else who is, then think about gifting any of these top picks during the holiday season. The recipient may just give you a big ole’ sweaty hug full of love (Family: if you give me any of these, that sweaty hug is guaranteed. Pinky promise).

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 Sneakers

brooks

These are my sneakers of choice. I overpronate a bit, so these are a great stability shoe that keep my feet healthy and happy. Ever since I ran the Disney Wine & Dine, I’ve been in need of a new pair. The 10K I ran this past weekend (recap to come, I swear) only proved it even more. I’m holding out until the holidays are over, and if I don’t get a pair, will quickly be snatching up another (or maybe 2). I really like how the pink jazzes ’em up a bit.

NOTE: If you don’t know your runner’s shoe choice, I recommend getting them a gift card to a shoe store instead.

Lululemon Women’s Brisk Run Glove 

Baby, it’s cold outside. And some of us are crazy and like to run in the chilly weather. These pretty little things keep my digits warm and have that cool technology everyone wants these days – the ability to use your touchscreen device without taking the gloves off.

iPad Home

ipad home

OK, this is a wish list item of mine, but I think it would be awesome to help launch me back into my yoga practice. I simply can’t afford to regularly hit up a studio on top of gym fees and SoulCycle costs, so owning this would help pump up the volume on my iPad and really get me in that “om” mindset that tends to occur in a studio. Plus, it’d be cool to have when people come visit and we want to play music. Multi-purpose win.

Under Armour Must-Have Bag 

I’ve been drooling over this baby since FITNESS featured it in last year’s holiday gift guide. Dustin, bless his heart, tried to get one for me for Christmas, but it sold out too quickly. They’ve re-stocked, so maybe the second time’s the charm?

Sparkly Soul Headbands

sparkly soul

Every runner has their go-to headband that they swear by, and Sparkly Soul does it for me. It never moves, despite my oddly-shaped noggin, and it’s cute. I like sparkle.

Erica Sara Designs Custom Jewelry

Because her stuff is awesome. It’s a wish list item for me personally, but I’ve seen enough of her jewelry in person to know it’s totally worth it and something people will comment on all the time. And Erica is an amazing person to work with.

Lululemon No Limits Tank

karla

I. Love. This. Top. It’s so comfy, cute and lightweight. There’s a wide array of colors (I have it in pink, above, and a baby blue) and it’s versatile. I go Spinning in it often, but know it’s also great for yoga practice or just lounging around. It’s nice and long, which is great for my torso, and the cinched bottom helps it stay put while I’m partying on a bike. No more worrying about shirts riding up and showing off my back and stomach in the middle of my ride.

iPod Shuffle 

I personally don’t like to run with anything big strapped to my arm, so this small version is perfect for my runs. I only have my running music on it, so it eliminates the need for a playlist. I have more than 6 hours of pumped-up tunes on here and there’s still plenty of room for more songs. The downside: I can’t scroll through if I’m craving a specific song at a certain moment, but for the small size and equally small price tag, it’s worth it. And if you don’t want to get your fitness fanatic an iPod (or they already have one), iTunes cards are always a great choice.

Believe I Am Journal

Believe Journal

I recently acquired one from winning a giveaway over at Sarah’s blog (woohoo, I finally won something!) and am already obsessed. I love all of the motivational tips, the organization (for the type-A obsessed) and the pretty designs. Great for those setting new goals in 2013.

Lululemon Run: Speed Shorts

I know I’m showing the Lulu love, but they have some great products. These shorts are no exception. No chafing, no riding up and a wide waistband to keep things flattering. There are also three small pockets, so there’s plenty of room for storage, and the designs are adorable. I’m lusting after the burning yellow and chevron patterns.

What fitness gear are you lusting after this season? Or giving to loved ones? 

Sharing the Birthday Love (Giveaway!)

November is a very important month. Fall season is in full force, Halloween has passed, Thanksgiving is here, Black Friday scares everyone and then Christmas season bears down on us. Despite the crazy schedules that everyone almost always has during this month, it’s my favorite month. I just love the energy that always seems to be around when November is here, the weather is perfect and people just seem happy.

Plus it’s my birthday month. That’s always a plus 😉

Celebrating my 20th birthday...in a tiara and sash.

As the years go on, my birthday seems to be less and less of a big deal. I didn’t even realize how close my birthday was until last night (10 days away!) when Dustin asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted. We’re going on a New Orleans trip with Libby for the weekend to celebrate (we were supposed to be running a half-marathon but it got canceled), so I think that’s celebration enough!

However, I knew a while ago I didn’t want my birthday to pass by without sharing the love with all of you! So all of that behind-the-scenes work I was doing before? It’s finally coming to fruition. Enter the month of birthday giveaways! For the rest of the month, I have some fun giveaways lined up each week, so make sure you’re tuning in and entering for some fantastic prizes to help keep you on the healthy living train.

First up: Bondi Band!

I love these headbands so much it’s not even funny. The designs are cute, the phrases fit my personality perfectly and the thing stays put. I have an oddly shaped head (I guess?) because it’s so hard for me to find a headband that stays in the right spot when I’m running. Bondi Band is perfect. I’ve taken it on the Fifth Avenue Mile and it stuck through my sprinting efforts, and I’ve treked through the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon with it and again, it didn’t move an inch.

I recently got a second one with an even cooler saying. “Sweat is my fat crying.” Come on, isn’t that awesome? I wore the band yesterday morning while I was lifting weights and it was definitely motivational for me — I stared at it while performing my reps in front of a mirror.

In honor of my birthday celebration, Bondi Band has generously offered to give one of you lucky readers a Bondi Band of your own! You can pick out whatever design you like and it’ll be shipped over right away 🙂

To enter the giveaway, you can do one (or all) of the following:

  • Check out their designs, then come back and leave a comment here letting me know what one you’d pick!
  • Follow me on Twitter & leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • “Like” me on Facebook & leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • “Like” Bondi Band on Facebook & leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • Follow Bondi Band on Twitter & leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • Tweet something along the lines of, “I entered @samanthaxrachel’s birthday giveaway of the week for a @BondiBand!” with a link to this post & leave a comment letting me know you did so.

That’s six ways to enter, giving you a whole ton of chances to win! Just make sure you leave a separate comment for each thing you do because each comment creates a new entry.

This giveaway ends Friday, November 11 at 12:00 midnight EST. Giveaway is open to U.S. readers only.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Long Run Fun

Well, yesterday’s long run definitely made up for last Saturday’s. I didn’t get bit by a dog, so that automatically made it ten times better. But I have to admit, I was skittish every time a little mutt came near me. Yet another reason why I’m not a huge fan of small dogs (except for Penny, Nina! I love her).

Anyway, I kicked off yesterday’s 9-miler in Central Park, covering three miles with Under Armour for their Power in Pink: On the Run in NYC event. A bunch of us headed out in a pack, but quickly separated as there was a good mix of people at different fitness levels. Libby joined me on the run, so I stuck with her and we stayed between a 10- and 10:30/mile pace. My legs felt fantastic the entire time and I was more than excited for the next six miles I had to cover.

Under Armour gave us these fancy headbands for participating. I think its cute, but not something I would wear on a regular basis. It stayed put more than other headbands I’ve tried, but the material wasn’t lightweight and I found myself adjusting it more than I’d like. But hey, I’m not one to turn down a free headband for participating in a good cause.

The next six miles went by fast. I focused on my breathing and made sure that my form was right (trying to stop all the heel-striking I do), which made me forget about the time. I took a shot block at mile six and it kept my energy up the entire time. I even made negative splits on the last three miles! Check it out:

  • Mile 1 – 10:09
  • Mile 2 – 10:14
  • Mile 3 – 10:18
  • Mile 4 – 9:20
  • Mile 5 – 9:41
  • Mile 6 – 9:58
  • Mile 7 – 9:51 (negative split!)
  • Mile 8 – 9:44 (negative split again!)
  • Mile 9 – 9:26 (negative split one more time!)

I came home hungry as a beast, so I quickly refueled with a giant cinnamon raisin bagel with triple berry cream cheese from Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company. But I wasn’t in Brooklyn — the shop is in Queens. This makes no sense to me, but it was delicious.

Dustin caught me spreading the love.

What can I say? It was that good. I contemplated a second one, but decided that might be a little much. Le sigh.

To make up for my behavior, I ventured out with Dustin in search of a puzzle. Don’t ask me why, but Dustin loves these things and he’s been dying to buy one for the last week. We ended up going all the way to Barnes and Noble in Union Square, where he picked out one of the city skyline. At least he was smart enough not to pick the one of Yankee stadium. Yuck.

He refused to stay still so I could get a non-blurry shot. “I have to do this puzzle right now!” Yes, sir.

In non-puzzle news, I headed out for five recovery miles today thinking my legs would feel heavy and be a little sore. I credit all the stretching and light walking I did yesterday after my long run because I felt great! I’m really happy with my times and couldn’t have asked for better weather. I finished in 46:41, with splits that looked like this:

  • Mile 1 – 9:22
  • Mile 2 – 9:30
  • Mile 3 – 9:25
  • Mile 4 – 9:26
  • Mile 5 – 9:01 (what?!)

I’m really glad I was able to keep my times consistent, especially because I usually shoot out way too fast and don’t save my legs for later. Apparently I had something left in the tank this time around, eh? I’ll take it.

And now, I have an announcement! A few weeks ago I told y’all that my birthday half-marathon in New Orleans had been postponed until 2012 (still super bummed about this) and that I was looking for a new fall race. Well, I find one! Instead of running a race in six weeks, I’m now running one in two. Yeah…on October 14, I’m headed to California!

Source

San Francisco, more specifically 🙂

I’m super pumped to be participating in the Nike Women’s (Half) Marathon, despite my training plan being  cut drastically. Luckily, I had been pre-training beforehand and I’m confident I can still cross the finish line strong. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this race, and well, I get a Tiffany’s necklace at the end. Which is handed to me by a fireman dressed up in a tuxedo. What’s not to love?!

I’m off to stretch some more. I need to go buy a foam roller, for real.

How was your weekend? Congrats to everyone who rocked a race!

Workout Clothes Rewind

A big virtual high-five goes out to anyone who did laundry this week! Why? Because this girl did it!

I always feel so accomplished after.

As you can see, I was in desperate need of some clothes-washing fun. Is it sad that the majority of my laundry is workout gear? The two piles on the left are workout tops and bottoms only…

Anyway, all of this laundry-washing prompted a debate inside of my head and I thought it would be fun to bring it onto the Internet. After all, you guys don’t know what’s bouncin’ around in the old noggin, and it’s a little one-sided, so it’s time to mix it up!

Do you re-wear workout clothes?

I’m not made of money, so I can say that I definitely do. When you’re an unemployed recent college graduate, you do whatever you can to save the dough. Plus I’m trying to be as money-conscious as possible before I move to the city in 10 days (!), where things get expensive fast.

But don’t worry, I’m not gross and never wash my clothes.

I’ve proven that already in the above picture! Basically, these are my guidelines:

  • If you barely sweat in it, re-wear it.
  • If it doesn’t smell awful, re-wear it.
  • Always wear sports bras at least twice before washing (explanation to come)
  • If it smells like a sweat-tastic workout, wash it.
  • Never wear underwear twice (see, I have boundaries!)

So let’s break it down with a little more explanation. If I barely sweat in the clothes, I’m sorry, but they’re not dirty enough for me to wash them. Laundry costs add up, especially when you have to pay at least $1.50 to wash and $1.50 to dry because washers and dryers are off-site. Not to mention workout gear is expensive and the more you wash it, the faster it wears out.

How do I tell if it’s ready for a wash? I simply smell it. If I have it right up in my nostrils and I don’t smell anything (or barely anything), I’ll re-wear it. But if I smell the sweat, I’ll wash it. I perform the sniff test after I’ve hung the clothes up to air out. There’s a good tip for ya: air out your workout gear. I hang them up instead of tossing them in with regular laundry. This way they’re less likely to be odor-rific.

This morning's gear ready to be hung.

I don’t think I need to explain the underwear guideline, but let’s look at the sports bra one. I always wear a sports bra at least twice before washing it. But I don’t wear them twice in a row; I have a pretty good rotation cycle going on so that each bra gets plenty of airing out time before its next use. Bras in general are expensive, but sports bras are extremely expensive. And just like any other workout gear, if you wash it a lot, it wears a lot faster. Cue the poor college graduate excuse again, and you really see why I don’t wash them after every use.

Lots o' bras.

I hope y’all don’t judge me and my clothes-wearing grossness. Is it even that gross? I know at least another handful of people who don’t wash their gym clothes after each session, so I can’t be the only one out there.

Tell me, what are your guidelines to re-wearing workout clothes? Do you wash them every single time or wait a little while? Should I have never told you my dirty little secret? 

Nike Swift U-Back Bra Holds Up to the Test

It’s true, girls usually love to shop. Hand us a credit card and tell us we have free reign and you’re likely to see yourself crash into debt so fast you won’t even have time to blink. However, there’s always one thing that a girl never wants to shop for: a sports bra.

No matter how many times I try (and manufacturers try), it’s so difficult to find a sports bra that not only conforms naturally to my body, but also provides enough support for my girls. Because let’s be honest, people — it hurts when I don’t have support up there and I’m trying to work out!

Alas, Nike has come one step closer to finding the bra of perfection that will make all other bras hide on the back of the rack and cower in shame (I like to think the clothes come alive when the store closes, much like Night at the Museum). Nike spent over 15 years studying running bras because studies show that a sports bra is the most important piece of running gear to a woman. After all that time and energy, they have come out with their latest product, the Nike Swift U-Back, featuring adjustable straps and a back closure that allows you to have a customized fit.

Nike Swift U-Back Sports Bra will be available for purchase July 2010

I tested this bra vigorously over the last two weeks because I needed to be sure I really supported this product before giving it a good review. After a lot of running, stair climbing, hill climbing, various circuit training and superset strength training routines, I have decided that this bra gets four out of five stars.

The most important thing that I look for is ventilation and support, both of which I get with the Swift U-Back. The Dri-FIT mesh inserts increase ventilation in the back, as does the U shape that cancels out unnecessary clothing irritating my skin and clogging my pores. The Dri-FIT fabric also soaks up sweat in all the right places, leaving me dry and comfortable. This may not seem really important, but the last thing I want is a pool of sweat forming between my ta-tas.

The support with this bra is the best I’ve ever received. I’ve shopped a lot at Nike for my athletic apparel; the vast majority of my sports bras are Nike because to me, they provide the best support. But this support system was like no other. The back closure allows me to adjust to the specific width of my body and makes it easy to put on and take off. The Spandex allows the bra to stretch and conform to my curves for a personalized fit, as does the ergonomic seaming, which allows me to still have the appearance of breasts! Comfort and style, who knew?!

Comfort and style comes with the Swift U-Back. Buy it in stores for $50.

The one negative comment I have, and the reason it doesn’t get five out of five stars, is about the adjustable straps. I love the idea of them being adjustable so the bra can be customized to the full extent. However, I would have preferred if the straps had the slide technology that regular bras have, rather than the Velcro straps. The Velcro irritated my skin so much that I had a huge red spot on my chest by the time my workout was finished. Not exactly the most attractive image.

So there you have it, my friends. Nike Swift U-Back is definitely a keeper, and it will be available in stores for $50 by the end of July 2010. If you like Velcro, then you’ll have no problems at all. As for me, Nike, if you swap out the Velcro then my heart (and chest) is yours forever.

Check out this video where Brenda Funk-Danielson, Design Director, Global Running Apparel and Debra Talbert, Product Creation, Global Running Apparel explain the research that went into developing the Swift U-Back and another new product, the Swift X-Back.

Nike Runs Wild with LunarGlide + 2

On June 23, I laced up my Nike sneaks and headed for a run.

My new Nike sneaks, that is.

Nike LunarGlide + 2 Women's Running Shoe

I attended Nike’s latest press event at 555 West 18th Street to test out their latest gear, from the LunarGlide + 2 sneaker all the way down to their latest sports bra, the Nike Swift. Everything I could possibly need to have a successful workout was given for me to test, and I did just that. The first two-mile run went well, but I knew I really needed to give these a good workout so you knew whether they’d be a worthwhile purchase. Here’s what I found:

LunarGlide + 2 Women’s Running Shoe

This shoe is sleek, sexy and gets the job done. I’ve already covered about 20 miles running with these puppies, plus add on the many miles on the elliptical, treadmill and stair climber. The shoe was designed for daily training use, with a fantastic combination of breathable mesh on the forefront and Nike’s supportive flywire technology along the midsole and heel. Nike also utilizes the Dynamic Support platform, BRS1000 carbon rubber and Lunarlite midsole in this shoe, which essentially adjusts the shoe to my stride. It provided extra comfort throughout my run and molded to my gait along the way. I didn’t feel the usual pain in my knees that I often experience while running (a result of a torn ACL) and my toes didn’t go numb from lack of blood flow (something I often experience due to a blood disorder — I’m a big medical mess).

The LunarGlide +2 is now selling for $100 in stores.This shoe also comes in a variety of colors and you can design them to fit your personality. Mine came in hot pink and grey and I can’t help but notice people staring at my vibrant shoes amongst the pack of dull, dirty ones I often see at the gym.

Stay tuned for my review of the next Nike product I tested. For now, it’s time to hit the ground running.