Gifts under $100 for a New Runner

I won’t claim to be an expert runner, or an expert to what works for everyone, because we are all different, but I thought I would put together a little list of items for a new runner.

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I think its great to be supportive of the runner in your life, but running can be an expensive sport. Every item on this list is under $100. I will forewarn you now, I am not including any types of shoes, because the right shoe is so personal. I would give the runner a gift certificate to a local running store, one where they check gait and stride, not just a local store that sells sneakers. My favorite running store is Marathon Sports.

So here are a few of my favorites!

Lululemon Cool Racerback – $42

Lululemon

I actually prefer the extra long length, although they no longer exist on the website… I hope that doesn’t mean they are getting rid of them. This is my favorite tank, hands down. It comes in a bunch of different colors and also is a flattering fit and cut. It is lightweight so you can use it as a base layer and not once have I had chafing issues.

Reebok Skinny Capri – $39.99

Reebok

I have these pants in black, black/pink and the gravel/teal. These are my favorite capris, especially for long distance runs. They fit on my hips and don’t ride up or down while I am running. They are also comfortable for every day wear. I love to wear dark bottoms, but love the pops of color. Although, unfortunately it looks like they aren’t making more of these. Check out the Play Dry Skinny Capri ($35), I have these also, and I do love them, I just prefer the above pair.

Pro Compression Marathon Sock – $50

Procompression

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, compression is KEY when recovering from running. Just because the name of the sock is marathon sock doesn’t mean they are only for marathoners. I have worn them after a tough 5 mile run, after a half-marathon and to bed before a race. The swelling and soreness is seriously reduced if not gone because of this. Just know that sizes aren’t based on shoe size, but the customer service is top notch and can help you out.

The Stick – Travel Size $27.50

Another key part to recovery is stretching and making sure your muscles are nice and loose. Again, this is personal preference, some prefer a foam roller others prefer The Stick. I have the travel size because I used to drive to my running group, I travel for a fair amount of race and I run at my in-laws. It’s easier for me to throw the travel size stick in a bag.

Sparkly Soul Headbands – $15 or $17

Sparklysoul

I don’t think its any secret that I love these headbands. The colors are bright and the glitter doesn’t fall off, you know what I am talking about. They also work for thick hair, a blessing and a curse, no headbands would ever stay, except these! I love them so much that I sometimes accessorize non-running outfits with them. I prefer the thicker width, but that’s my personal preference.

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Kona Kase – $15 a month

You can read my review here, but this is a great way for new runners to test out new types of fuel and find what really works for them.

Yurbuds – Inspire $29.99

I have reviewed these also, but I have used them every single day since I got them. I have small ears and these never fall out and they don’t give me a headache. Bonus, you can hear noise around you.

ShowerPill Athletic Wipe – $16.50

Once more, I have reviewed this product, but it is great for those who are on the go, the hardest part of being busy is fitting in time for a workout and shower, with this you can delay your shower without offending those all around you.

What would you recommend for a new runner?

Disclaimer: No one has compensated me for this post all product reviews are my own.

Black Friday Deals

I hope all my American friends had a great Thanksgiving and all my other friends had a great Thursday!

I am sharing with you a few of my favorite companies that are having Black Friday deals!

SHOWERPILL

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You can read all about the product here, but here’s the nitty gritty. Go to Amazon, when you buy TWO (2) boxes , you get ONE (1) free! Put THREE (3) boxes in your cart and enter code: SPFRIDAY to receive the third box free. This Offer valid from 11/23/12 – 11/25/12, boxes are $9.99 each.

SPARKLYSOUL HEADBANDS

If you follow me on instagram, you’d see at least one photo of me in a sparklysoul headband once a week.

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The white (thick size) is one of my favorites!

You can get 20% off your ENTIRE order with the code BLACKFRIDAY, this deal is effective until 11:59 pm EST on Friday, November 23, 2012. The thin headbands are $15 and the thick headbands are $17.

NUUN

I can’t drink a lot of the sports recovery drinks out there because they are frankly just too sweet for me. I tried Nuun at the recommendation of another fellow runner. These are my go-to beverages for hydrating. You just put the tablet in your water, the suggestion is for 12 oz, I put mine in 24 oz.

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Their booth from the NWM Expotique.

A box of 4 tubes is usually $24.00, even more if you buy the tubes individually at your local sporting goods store. The box of four is $19.99 and the website is all set up, no promo code to enter.

This deal ends Tuesday, November 27, 2012 and is only valid for Nuun Hydration and Nuun All day.

PRO COMPRESSION

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wearing hot pink marathon socks post NWM

I am a huge proponent of compression socks, I wore these on the plane to the Nike Women’s marathon, I wore them to bed every night and on the plane home, and my leg soreness was typical of a long run. I have heard horror stories about runners flying post-race and having serious swelling and pain in the legs.

Also, the customer service is beyond great at Pro Compression, they will answer any questions, make sure you have the right size, etc…

The Black Friday deal is on the Marathon Calf Sleeve, it is usually $45 and is now $30. Compression can be expensive but is worth it, grab your pair now.

WHOLE FOODS

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Of course I had to include my favorite grocery store.

My friends at River Street sent me the ONE DAY SALE flyer. There are a lot of BOGO deals for you.

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You can get a ton of your Christmas or Holiday goodies on sale, Gingerbread House Kits, Candy Canes, Cider, Trees, Wreaths, etc…

So now you tell me, what companies that you love are having Black Friday deals?

San Francisco: Day 3 – The Half-Marathon

Check out where I shopped and what I ate before you read about how I raced!

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It’s here, it’s finally race day. Decked out in my favorite reebok capris, sparkle skirt, lululemon tank, TNT tank and of course no outfit is complete without a sparkly soul headband or garmin ;)

I may have a big smile on my gave but I was a wreck. My sister made me coffee while I showered and dressed. I drank about half a cup and choked down an english muffin with some peanut butter. I met the rest of my Team In Training group in the hotel lobby, we took some group photos and headed to the start corrals together. I took a banana with me so that I could have something to eat, but ended up eating it before we left the hotel. We got into the corrals around 6ish, the race didn’t start until 7 am.

Let me start by saying, I did have race goals, ones that I kept to myself, the first was to finish and be happy, but what I really wanted was to finish in the same time as my first half or PR. So when I bird pooped on my head on Friday I thought, hey this race is going to be awesome and I am going to ROCK IT.

Unfortunately, this is not a happy tale. As I mentioned before we went to our start corrals about an hour before the race started and because it was such a large race and my corral was so far back, it took our group about 30 minutes to even cross the start line. I ended up starting my fuel earlier than I usually do.

The race started in Union Square and made its way down towards the Embarcadero and the Marina, Christine managed to find me in the crowd and I actually heard her, thanks for the encouragement! The first 4 miles were relatively flat and I was under my goal pace for those miles, but I still felt like I was not really pushing myself, I wanted some energy in the tank for the hard miles.

I made a bathroom stop around mile 3 and around mile 3.5-4 was the first big hill, but I just powered through it and got to the top, I saw my sister at mile 4…(sorry to anyone I sent this too, she took this pic at mile 4 NOT the finish line)

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I wish I had remembered to grab the extra fuel that I packed for her to take but I forgot, problem #2. I had my fuel around mile 4.5 – 5, these areas were fairly flat, I remembered that there were going to be shot bloks at the aid stations so I thought I would be okay. Mile 6 was were it started to take a turn for the worse. It was a winding hill that I thought was going to never end. I trained on some hills but they were nothing compared to this. I ended up power walking about halfway through, but I was starting to feel woozy at the top. I started walking when it flattened out and grabbed as much water and nuun as I could carry and hoped that I was dehydrated, but the fluid was not helping either. Around mile 8 a girl that I talked to earlier in the race noticed that I had slowed down, and maybe saw the desperate look on my face. She offered me a pack of sports beans, black cherry flavor, and I was so grateful, I wish I had caught her name or something, she saved me from a DNF, I am quite certain.

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This is what desperation looks like

I call mile 8 – 9.5 my dark miles. These are the ones I was alone and all I wanted to do was quit. It was an internal battle. I started secondary fuel way too late and I just wouldn’t be able to recover. Which meant walking the last 5 miles, I ended up on my feet for much longer than I ever had been before and that really hurt my knees and hips.

I was texting my sister and told her that she was going to have to wait longer than we had anticipated, but she was awesome.

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Honestly, I was not feeling it, I just wanted to finish. My time was 03:56:45, a full 38 minutes slower than my first half-marathon. I ran through the finish line, determined to have a smile on my face, it didn’t hurt that the commentators were discussing my awesome sparkle skirt over the speakers.

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FINALLY

I grabbed my necklace, finishers T, food and bag! I just wanted to eat and go shower, so I only stuck around long enough to snag the last long sleeved 13.1 finishers shirt.

NWM

Caty and I hopped on to the TNT shuttle back to our hotel and showered & changed then proceeded to Boudin and Ghiradelli for my post-race treats, and unfortunately I forgot my ID so no post-race beer for me

48 Hour Fundraiser

Saturday morning I am running my longest run to date and my longest run before the Nike half-marathon. In honor of that I am holding a fundraiser, the catch? It is for 48 hours ONLY.

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I am in the final push to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through my Team In Training efforts. I have FOUR great gift packages. For every $13.10 donation you will receive one entry in to the raffle.

First, donate here! Again, $13.10 gets you one entry, for each additional $13.10 you receive another entry. Example $50 = 3 Entries.

Let me tell you a little about where your money goes before I tell you about the great prizes.

✷76.2% of all funds go to research projects, grants, financial assistance to patients, producing educational material and videos and run support groups.

✷$25 provides patients and their loved ones with FREE booklets that contain up-to-date information on their disease and help them make informed decisions about their treatment options.

✷$50 makes possible a Family Support group with a trained facilitator where comfort can be found and experiences can be shared among patients and family members.

✷$100 helps supply laboratory researchers with supplies and materials critical to carrying out their search for cures.

✷$500 could provide patient aid to THREE patients with Leukemia or a related cancer for a year.

✷$1,000 makes possible one-on-one conversations with health care specialists who provide patients with information about their disease, treatment options, and helps prepare them with questions for their health care team.

WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Now onto the prizes!

First ($140 value):

✷Gift card to Lululemon

✷CASE of Carb Boom gels

✷Team In Training NUUN

✷Water Bottle

Second ($130 value):

✷Gift Card to Starbucks

Sparklysoul Headband and Fit Approach SweatPink shoelaces

✷CASE of Carb Boom gels

✷Team In Training NUUN

✷Water Bottle

Third ($130 value)

✷Gift Card to Johnny Cupcakes (apparel)

✷CASE of Carb Boom gels

✷Team In Training NUUN

✷Water Bottle

Fourth – The local package ($125 value)

✷Gift Card to Marathon Sports

✷Gift Card to Emack & Bolio

✷CASE of Carb Boom gels

✷Team In Training NUUN

✷Water Bottle

I will contact all the winners on Wednesday! Good luck and GO TEAM!

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SparklySoul Giveaway Winner

Hey All!

I know it should have been done weeks ago but I finally vlogged the winner of the SparklySoul giveaway. Thank you everyone who purchased a headband!

I know I have talked a lot about my fundraising but I haven’t given you any facts, so before we get to the fun stuff here is some serious stuff.

The Facts:

  • Approximately every four minutes, someone new is diagnosed with blood cancer. Approximately every 10 minutes, someone dies.
  • Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children, adolescents and young adults under the age of 20.
  • Lymphomas are the most common blood cancers and incidence increases with age. The survival rate for myeloma is only 41.1 percent.
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has invested more than $814 million in research aimed at helping all blood cancer patients live better, longer lives.

If you would like to make a donation (and any donation is going to be considered in the next giveaway (it’s a good one involving lululemon) Every penny counts and I appreciate all donations.

  • A donation of $25 provides patients and their loved ones with FREE booklets that contain up-to-date information on their disease and help them make informed decisions about their treatment options.
  • A donation of $50 makes possible a Family Support group with a trained facilitator where comfort can be found and experiences can be shared among patients and family members.
  • A donation of $100 helps supply laboratory researchers with supplies and materials critical to carrying out their search for cures.
  • A donation of $500 could provide patient aid to THREE patients with Leukemia or a related cancer for a year.
  • A donation of $1,000 makes possible one- on-one conversations with health care specialists who provide patients with information about their disease, treatment options, and helps prepare them with questions for their health care team.

TNT Update, PDR & DNS

It’s been awhile since I did a Team In Training update, 2 months actually, so I thought I would let you all know how the running is going. I also want to thank everyone who purchased a headband through my SparklySoul Fundraiser, I will be posting a video of the winner by the end of the week, if you already told me you purchased one that’s fine, if you haven’t then let me know.

In the past two months I have made a conscious effort to go into every run with a good attitude and mentality. The run may not end well, but I am far more unlikely to be grumpy at the end, regardless of the outcome.

My long run is now up to 9 miles! A new PDR (personal distance record) for me. Before training, the longest I had ever run was 5 miles and it was hard, and now I have run 9 miles. It was definitely hard, but I know that all the time and training I have been putting in is definitely paying off.

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Before my run with some of my favorite workout gear. Lululemon tank & socks, Reebok capris, Asics sneakers and of course a SparklySoul headband. I also didn’t realize how much pink I was wearing.

I have made our informal team track workouts a necessity for me. We do a different workout every week and I can see the improvement in my speed on my long runs. My breathing is more even and less labored, and the hills, while still tough, those are getting a tiny bit easier. My first 8 mile run only took 5 more minutes then my last 7 mile run, if that’s not improvement I don’t know what is.

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How I relax after a long run…compression socks, the pink strikes again.

With a PDR their has also been some bad runs and a DNS (did not start) and a shortened training run. Lets talk about the DNS first, I was signed up to run The Color Run, I decided not too. I am definitely bummed I didn’t run the race, but it was also important to me to run my first 8 miler and to do it with my team. I am sort of glad I didn’t run because there were A LOT of race issues, mostly because an accident shutdown major roadways and the point to point race relied heavily on shuttling.

I also recently had to cut an 8 mile run to a 5 miler, and a 5 mile run isn’t something to shake your head at, it is still a wonderful accomplishment, but I was a little frustrated, I had some stomach issues going on, and the humidity was insane, I drank 20 oz of water during my run and I still felt completely dehydrated.

Then of course the 9 miler, I went into the run feeling super confident and I was doing great, until mile 7.5. My lower back started aching and it was painful to run. My awesome coach walked with me, and every time we tried to run, it would be okay at first and then slowly the back pain would creep in again. I am going to try to add a banana to my morning routine, she said that might help. Have you ever had any lower back pain? What did you do? While these things certainly stink, I am also glad I am dealing with them now and I hope that I can get over them before the half!

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The rest of my Saturday was spent relaxing and hanging out with my two favorite guys. The little one was caught trying to steal daddy’s bagel.

I have to add, while I was reluctant at first to dedicate myself to Team In Training because of my own fears of finishing a half marathon or even the ability to run one, I am so happy that I have decided to run Nike with TNT. I have found a wonderful support system of runners, and strangers who have become friends, totally cliche but true. If you are on the fence I would highly recommend you at least try running with your local chapter!