Product Ho: Spending My Money So You Don’t Have To

Running is an incredibly simple thing.  Put on some shoes (or hell, skip ’em and be trendy) and head out the door.  Carry your body weight.  Step forward with one foot and push your back foot off the ground before the front foot hits.  Continue this pattern until you are tired.

That’s all you really have to do to run, right?  That’s the beauty of it.  But we complicate things.  We add our preferences for clothes and gear in an attempt to enhance the experience and/or make it more enjoyable (and beginning runners might read that statement and ask, “Now when does it become enjoyable?”).

As my darling HH could tell you, I have mastered the concept of muddying the run waters with accessories.  My moisture-wicking gear, laid out end to polyester end, could reach further than Hands Across America.

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I have drawers, bins, and hidey holes filled with running accessories.  You name it, I’ve tried it, with the exception of the CamelBak backpack, because I just can’t bring myself to do that.   Some have been big successes, and others have been donated or pushed to the back of the closet.

So what works for me and what doesn’t, and can I save you some money?  Here is a lowdown of what I take with me on my runs…which as I strapped on and geared up before my 10-miler on Sunday, is a ridiculous amount of stuff.

Let’s start with the essentials…clothes.

Lululemon Cool Racerback Tank

This is BY FAR my favorite running top.  It’s tight but not compression.  It doesn’t have a built-in bra, because I hate those things.  It’s long, so it doesn’t ride up and stays under running belts or waist leashes.  I love that feature because I am long-waisted, so most running tops (especially Nike) are way too short on me.  It’s pricey ($42), but lasts FOREVAH.  I have these in three colors, including the hot pink that I wore in my last half marathon (including the fun pic from my last post where I look like an angry giant Photoshopped in amongst tiny happy people thanks to the gal next to me.)

TWTC14AidStation

Athleta Presto Shorts

Well, we are in summer, when I fervently wish I had the bod to run in just a bra and some ridiculously cute runderwear, but alas, I am aware of my physical limitations and don’t want to scare people.  I would love to wear the cute basic running shorts I see in all the stores (for their ass-covering ability), and I have a few pairs, but they always move around on my inner thighs and rub me wrong, so I always return to the staple–compression shorts.  Yes, I would rather show off my assfold than chafe in the inner thigh.  Let someone else suffer.

Lately I have worn the Athleta Presto Short with the 7″ inseam (they also offer 10″, 4″ and 2″, I believe, like penis sizes…pick what you prefer, but the 2″ might be a little short!)  If I remember right, Run Far Girl mentioned these in a previous post because she wore them in her last marathon and wrote that she love the three-pocket feature.  I left a comment saying that I needed a pair–then realized I already owned them.  Yes, that is how much gear I have.  It might be a sickness.

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Feetures Socks

Runners are picky about their socks, and I am no different.  I wear custom orthotics in my running shoes due to my ever-present plantar fasciitis, so I am extra particular, as the orthotics raise my feet up a little in my shoes.  I want no-show socks, but many brands slip below the shoe and cause the back of my heel to blister.

That’s why I love Feetures No Show socks (in Ultra Light for summer.)  They have a tab on the heel that prevents heel blisters and rises up just the right amount behind the shoe.  Me likey.  You would likey too.

Now for the accessories…the accoutrement!

Garmin Forerunner 220

After ten+ years of running, I finally broke and got my first Garmin this year.  She’s a hot little number, even if she constantly pisses me off by telling me I’m running slower than I think I should be.  She’s a heartbreaker, she is, but I love her anyway and bring her on every run.

Waist Leash

When I bring Oscar the running coach (though in this heat he’s more Oscar the 60-pound anchor that I drag along behind me), I wear a waist leash, as I’ve discussed before.  I don’t know the brand, but I love it because I can adjust the length and control him with my body weight (my arm is not strong enough when he sees a squirrel!)

SPIbelt

In the winter, I love my Armpocket, which works great for twig arms like mine, but summer means tan lines, and so I’ve switched to my SPIbelt.  This sucker doesn’t move, I swear.  Just strap it on and it stays in place.  It’s remarkably expansive too.  They come in different sizes, colors, prints, etc., and just now as I browsed the site I saw a new offering…the SPIleash!  Hot diggity dog…I need this!  I am usually wearing the SPIbelt plus the waist leash when I bring Oscar, and it’s a bit of a mess…much like me!

Sweaty Bands

I have a big head.  No, really…it’s literally large (see above photo.)  I have trouble finding headbands that will stay in place, and I’ve spent more of HH’s money than I care to admit looking for one that will hold my hair back and not move.  Sweaty Bands are the answer for me, but only in the super thin 3/8″ version shown in the link.  They don’t move, and they hand wash well.  I have them in the pink and white stripe and in a couple of blingy colors, which really isn’t my style but does look sassy.

Lululemon’s Bangbuster headbands work well, too, but they make me look like I’m undergoing chemo.  Why do they look adorable on other women but not on me?

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Yurbuds Focus for Women

I’ve blathered on endlessly about my search for the perfect earbuds, so I’ll keep it short (read my previous post for a detailed bitch session on earphones.)  These are the best, even when you’re sweating copious amounts into your ear canal.  Warning, though—the behind the ear piece itself detaches, and I’ve lost one despite my best efforts to keep all the pieces together between runs.  Luckily, the bud still stays in place even without the earpiece.  Lucky me!

Outdoor Tech Adapt (Bluetooth Audio Adapter)

I’ve talked about this too, but it’s worth a mention.  I got it on sale for $20, and I love it.  It does glitch out occasionally, but the combined price of the Yurbuds ($30) and this ($20) is still less than I would pay for behind the ear Yurbuds with mic control.  Warning—if you attach the Tech Adapt to your SPIbelt and then lean over to tie your shoes, your muffin top will block the Bluetooth signal and you will lose your music momentarily! 😉

Ultimate Direction Handy 20

I have a Nathan Fuel Belt with 2 bottles, but I’ve always hated that thing.  It bruised me after my marathon last year, it leaked all the time, leaving me with Gatorade-drenched legs, and I never thought it was easy to drink from.  I recently bought the Ultimate Direction Handheld 20 oz. water bottle and haven’t looked back.  It is so easy to drink from—just pull the valve open with your teeth and bite on it a little to drink or squeeze the bottle for a burst.  The pocket holds keys, gel, whatever, and it’s comfortable to hold.  Winner winner.

Tifosi sunglasses

Love these things.  They keep the wind from drying out my contacts and camouflage the look of pain oozing out my eyeballs.  Plus, they make you look hardcore.  Bonus.

Nuun

All the electrolytes without the sugary carbs?  No Gatorade belching?  Sold!

Honey Stingers Energy Chews

Because gels make me sick.  Even looking at a gel packet makes me sick.  From both ends.

What have I spent money on that doesn’t get my MaybeMarathoner seal of approval?  The Nathan belt, any Nike top (too short!) or any top with a built-in bra (not comfortable!), many Athleta capris (hate to bag on them since I love their stuff but most of their capris slide down in the waist looking for a path of least resistance!), Gatorade (causes inhuman amounts of burping and also induces nausea), most race t-shirts (they say they wick, but they don’t breathe and are often too short!), Bic Bands headbands, and the Yurbuds Inspire Series (slip out once you sweat).

I should note that these are solely my opinions, and since I am a tiny lowly blog, I am not sponsored by anyone (though to quote Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone, “I ain’t cheap, but I can be had!”, sponsors!)

What works for you?  I’ve listed the obvious, but do you wear/bring anything that you can’t live without?

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Product Ho: Spending My Money So You Don’t Have To

  1. Wow!!! I could write a post about my running gear in one small paragraph. Shirt, shorts, shoes and a white hat. Now I’m feeling underprepared (or is it because I’m a guy?)!

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  2. Love reading your recommendations. Unlike you, gels do not hurt my tummy, but I am interested in trying energy chews. What flavor do you recommend and how often during long distance running should I eat one?

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    • I like all the flavors, but Orange Blossom might be my favorite. It tastes kind of refreshing. If I’m racing, I will usually eat 2-3 every three miles or so, starting at about the four mile mark and chased with a few ounces of water. If you try them, I hope you like them! I know a lot of people use them.

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  3. Oooh, I’m liking the SPIbelt. I may have to get one of those. I still love my little iPod shuffle, but sometimes think I would feel safer if I could carry my phone with me. But, never thought I would like the feeling of having it strapped around my arm. Thanks for the heads up on that one.

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  4. I’m with Tom on this – running gear is simple – the simper the better. I don’t wear anything I don’t need and I never carry anything. No shades, hats, belts, MP3, earphones. What I love most about running is the simplicity of it. Shoes, short and shirt for this simple guy!!

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    • I completely understand! Most of my clothing decisions are made because I am easily distracted by clothing and don’t want to feel anything moving while I run–shirts, pants, hair, etc., but I do carry excessive stuff because I have to have my tunes, unlike the purists 🙂

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  5. Thank you so much for all of this!!! I definitely spend way too much money on running related gear, so it’s always nice to read about other’s trial & error before I go out and grab everything I think I want. First of all – I didn’t know there was a waist leash!! I need one so bad when I run the dogs as they tend to like to rip my shoulders out of the sockets at the slightest distraction. Good looking out on the headbands. I spend way too much on them because they are “cheap” but I’ve only found a few that I really like.

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    • You’re welcome! I know it’s an individual thing, but if it helps someone I am happy. I got my waist leash at PetsMart and love it…it’s saved my arm, and I have it adjusted so that my dog can run a few steps in front of me. If he stops, I have enough time to stop myself and not trip over him. If he slows down and runs beside me, the leash naturally just moves. It’s great! The SPIleash looks wonderful though and may be my next purchase.

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      • I can’t believe I had no idea such a thing existed. I had a geriatric arthritic dog for the last 6 years though, so running wasn’t really her jam. Now that I have young ones that just want to go, I am trying to learn as much as possible about how to run properly and comfortably with them. I have to go to pet smart this week, so I will definitely be checking that out!!

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      • My dog loves to run (except in the heat), but he loves to be in front. The waist leash has made all the difference for us. Good luck running with your dogs…I love having Oscar with me!

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  6. I lobe the utility and feel of my SPIbelt, but I hate how it looks in race pictures. When did I get so vain?

    I just bought a RooSport pocket and used it for my last half and thought it was awesome. I also have a Simple Hydration bottle that I can either use in a lightweight strap for a handheld or tuck it into my SPIbelt or waistband.

    It’s funny, but I’m trying to carry as little as possible the more I run, yet I still keep thinking some new product will make me race better. I don’t even use my fuel most races, so I’m thinking of not bothering carrying anything except my bottle and some gum. I must have gum.

    Oh, and I always wear my RoadID. Hopefully it’ll never need to be used.

    I’m going to try those Athleta shorts!

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    • I think part of the reason why I am particular about my clothes and gear is that I also am always trying to make my runs and races better (and the more I can zone out or not focus on what I am wearing/carrying, the more I enjoy my runs, which is why I wrote this post.) I hope people will read your comment and check out the RooSport pocket…I’ve never heard of it!

      Oh, and I just downloaded the free RoadID app, which I love, because it lets me set my lock screen with contact phone numbers and any necessary medical info in case I get into trouble…luckily I don’t have any medical issues, so I’m thinking of setting the info field to “Please pause my Garmin!”

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      • You mean living in the Midwest affords me a cheaper price on Lululemon gear? Finally, there’s an upside (he-he!) I really do love the Nuun and drink it during or after all my runs lately. Glad you like the Feetures socks too…they really are the best, I think, although I like SmartWool in the winter too. And I think you’re right…there was a Hands Across America song, I believe, but when I think of it all I can see is Lionel Richie and We Are the World. Have we just dated ourselves?

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  7. You found something in Lulu that only costs $42?!?! I think they have a different price structure in the Dallas stores. Not to name drop, but I met a Nuun rep the other day on a run, he gave me some free samples, I did like it! I have some honey stingers, but I’m not sold on them yet. I am also a convert for features socks. Holy crap they rule! I’ve had spibelt on my radar for years, but never pulled the trigger. Sorry that’s all I have to offer here, I only read the reviews of products that interested me. Didn’t hands across America have a song associated with it? Or am I thinking of something else?

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  8. I have a huge head also, and I’ve been on the search for a hat that doesn’t look like a child’s on my head when I run. I recently discovered Honey Stinger Waffles, and they are perfect for me and my stomach. And I have a Nathan handheld bottle that sucks (could have been why it was on sale), so I’m going to try Ultimate Direction next time.

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  9. I use Nuun and Honeystingers too for the same exact reasons! Gels are awful and gatorade upsets my tummy… this is a great compilation and I may just have to try the Lululemon tank you wrote about as I’m in the market for finding a good tank. For some reason, I’ve also worn cotton tanks in the past and that is not going to fly with the heat of summer coming… Thanks for the reviews!

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    • You’re welcome! Lululemon puts out new colors every week, I think, if you’re particular. They really do wash well and last forever, as long as you don’t wash them with anything cotton, apparently.

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  10. Awesome awesome awesome list. I tried Honey Stinger chews for the first time at my marathon and LOVED them. So they are a new fave for me too. Also I have just become obsessed with the purple Tifosi sunglasses. I’m in the market for running glasses since getting a bug in my eye the other day and I think these might have to be it! I get all the best ideas from you! (See also: Yurbuds.)

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    • Hope you get the Tifosis…I love mine! My eyes dry out from the wind, and they don’t fog up like some other cheap pairs I’ve tried. I wear them when I golf too, so I feel like I’m justifying the price 🙂

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