My Holiday Gift Guide for Runners and Wackos Like Me

Is is too early to post a gift guide?  I hope not, because I can’t really post anything running-related.  My peroneal tendon has been throbbing like a mother all weekend (like looking at a smoke detector light, only instead of waiting for the blink every few seconds, it’s been like waiting for the throb/shot of pain to shoot from just inside my ankle bone.)

I have an appointment with my podiatrist on Thursday.  I really can’t take much more time off from running.  I am dying inside, and meanwhile, I am growing outside, putting on my winter layer of chub.  Boo.

So, today I bring you my first annual Holiday Gift Guide, with plenty of items for runners and a few odds and ends for the non-runners in your life!  Be warned:  like Sir Mix-a-Lot, this list is long, strong, and down to get the gift buying on!

(That was so lame.)

I sort of had a holiday gift post last year where I discussed my Xmas list items, including Tifosi sunglasses (love them!), Zensah compression  leg sleeves (love them too!) and the Handana (a fail for me…just couldn’t get used to it and felt like Michael Jackson wearing it…He-he!)  I’m ramping it up this year, though, and giving it the official “Gift Guide” title, so it feels like a first, and as the wise and much-loved-by-me Sade says…

it’s never as good as the first time.

Gifts for (Mostly Lady) Runners

Here are some fun items that you can buy for your favorite runner or put the word out for if you pound the pavement…

Lululemon Light as Air Hipster:  I have raved about these before.

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If you are going to be out there in the elements, don’t you deserve a brush of silk against your delicate regions?  Your totally tight ass and rock-hard glutes will thank you once they feel the caress of this fabric and realize that you actually spent (or got someone else to spend) $18 on a pair of underwear that doesn’t show panty lines.  True fact:  I wear these sometimes when I am couchathoning, and I think I’m worth it.  Also true fact: they are extremely fragile, so wash them in cold with other Lulu or polyester fabrics and air dry.  Some reviewers have said on the Lulu web pages that theirs didn’t last, but mine have and I believe Lulu would make it right if they fell apart (but maybe keep your receipt?).

Tested tip:  Buy a size up?  Some reviewers said they didn’t cover their butts enough.  I wear a M.  Also comes in a thong, Sisqo style.

Oiselle Lux Armwarmers:  I want a pair of these bad boys.

lux-arm-warmers-fp-f_1They look so cozy and, well, lux.  Any fabric described as “buttery soft” has me at hello.   The heather flame pink color is speaking to me, and I think it wants to replace my old Nike arm sleeves in boring black.  My pink arms will totally look like ladylike flames as I whir down the streets at a solid 9:30.

Oiselle Cable Knit Armwamers:  Yes, I realize I’m repeating, but these look hella comfortable too.  Plus, I like the way she is staring at her own hand like a pubescent teenage boy who just left his first long shower (omg, did I just type that?  Sorry not sorry!)

 

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Maybe it’s because it’s frigid outside with a wind chill of 7 right now, but I think I could wear these all winter.  They would be great for a Netflix binge in a chilly basement if I can’t get back to running soon.  They could keep my arms nice and toasty while I reach for more popcorn.

Athleta Fast Track Half Zip:  I love Athleta, but I never wear their pants.  They always ride down searching for a place of less resistance somewhere below my saddlebags.  Their casual clothing is the bomb, though (just scored my some of their Metro leggings in gray with their Merino wool Soma sweater and it will be totally worth the high price since I plan on wearing the outfit every damn day ’til it drives the kids to school on its own.)

I also dig their jackets and tops, and I am coveting this half zip.  The website describes it as a great base layer, but I don’t normally like half-zips as base layers.  I don’t like to feel a zipper pushed against my skin, so if I’m layering I will usually put something compression or just zipperless as my base with a half-zip over it.

I like the ruching on this jacket…makes me think it would hold down in place and keep drafts out.  Several reviewers just wore it for the NYC marathon (let me pause to dry my tears) and said it was great with the wind.

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Speaking of Athleta, they are offering this cute little Strobe Light for $10 online and in stores.  It’s made by Nathan, so you could probably find it in your local running store too (or something similar.)

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Wish I could buy a hundred and spell “Watch the f*%k out!” on my chest.

Brooks Nightlife Essential Running Jacket III: I have no idea if this is a good jacket or not.  I include it simply because the picture is irresistible…

220783_305_mf_ZM She loves the nightlife

She’s got to boogie on the disco round

Yeah

Please don’t talk about love tonight.

iTunes Gift a Song: Did you know that you can give someone an actual song from iTunes?  This applies to my high school sensibilities…I used to love making mix tapes, and I blab all the time about my running playlists!

When you are on iTunes, just click to the right of a song under the purchase price (the down arrow,) and it offers the option to gift the song.  You can send it to the person’s email on the day of purchase or a day of your choice, and you can even customize the appearance of the “card.”

I just sent myself a song to test it and make sure it works.  It’s perfect!  You could send someone a great Christmas song or some kickass running songs as gifts.  Want to know what I just bought myself?

Dim All the Lights by Donna Summer…yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oiselle Big O Yeti: This is my favorite.  Did I ever tell you about the time last year that my sister and I were goofing around in Forever 21 and found some full-body cow snuggies?  We went into the fitting room to try them on (and yes, we bought them) and were howling with laughter.  Hello comfort, goodbye self-esteem!  What made the whole scene funnier was that a few months later my hair stylist asked me if I had been in Forever 21 once laughing in the dressing room…she had been in there and heard me laughing and thought it sounded like me.  How embarrassing…and now I’ve shared it with the internet.

Anyhoo, this full-size Yeti French fleece snuggie is just what you or your loved one need after a long run in frigid temperatures!

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Yes, it’s a little pricey at $98, but did you just come in from your run looking like this?

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You need a Yeti in your life.  Or maybe a hairy Yeti man to cuddle with.  Whatever’s cheaper.

Vintage Stamped Spoon: This is a perfect stocking stuffer.

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It’s just $16 from the Etsy site hyperlinked above.  She offers a few variations too…check her out.

Unusual Gifts for the Crazy People in Your Life (i.e, those who don’t run)

Here are a few items that you aren’t going to find at your local department store…

Celebrity Prayer Candles from Illumidol: I saw this Etsy site in a Buzzfeed article and just had to check it out.  My order of Christmas gifts for my son, nephew and sister came today, and I am pleased with the quality.  My 14-year old nephew and major baller is getting a Kevin Durant candle, and I’m not telling which one I got for my sister because she reads this blog.

Here is my son’s candle (don’t hate me, Catholics!)–Notorious B.I.G.–

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I love it when you pray to me, Big Poppa

(I hope I’m not going to hell for that, but then again if I am it’s probably for other things that are way up on the list of sins before that statement!)

In fact, I would probably be headed to hell for buying this little number–

Atheist Stocking from Archie McPhee: I bought this to give at our family’s 2nd Annual Christmas Eve White Elephant gift exchange this year, but I told my sister about it last week and she mumbled something about it not being cool and not wanting her kids to see it.  I thought it was a funny joke, but she says it won’t be a hit gift, which of course is totally unacceptable.  Never fear, though, as I have an atheist friend with a Christmas birthday who shall be excited to unwrap this beauty!

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Personalized Dog Stocking: If I wasn’t wasting my money on celebrity prayer candles and atheist stockings, I would be wasting it on these adorable dog stockings.  This Etsy shop offers a ton of different bow colors…I include this pic because I would like to have a dog named Manchego (such a delightful cheese!)

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Bottle Koozy:  I really like everything on this gal’s Etsy site.  I have one of her coffee mug cozies that says “Wrong week to quit drinking.”  She offers a ton of mugs, mug cozies and bottle koozys…some clean, some nasty (she’s my kind of gal.)

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EOS Lip Balm Ball from Target:  I think I am late to this party, but I just bought one of these (in Summer Fruit) and am a total fangirl.  Big ball balm?  This couldn’t be more fun to apply!  I bought my boys each one in different colors so we all have our own balm ball (that’s just fun to say, but I won’t take it any further.)

Jane Austen action figure:  This last one is a personal fave; in fact, I’ve already bought it for myself, and I know one of my favorite bloggers would want one for her personal collection!

JaneAustenDo I take her out of the box or do I keep her in pristine condition like my mom does her Native American Barbies (I’m serious, my mom really does that and I tease her endlessly.)

I think I have to take her out…complete with her special P&P book.  I can speak Jane all day, mostly as Elizabeth Bennet…

He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman’s daughter; so far we are equal

Till this moment I never knew myself

My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me

and (I wish)…

Go to hell, Lydia, and grow a pair, Jane!

What’s on your Christmas list?  Any good gift ideas you’d like to share?  What song would you gift?

 

 

 

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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.)

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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.

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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?

 

 

The Post Where I Discuss Ladies’ Underwear

I have friends coming in town this afternoon, so this post needs to be short and sweet (there are dust bunnies to chase and dogs to clean.)

Girls, you know it’s true (ooh, ooh, ooh)…bad underwear can ruin a run.  At least it can for me.  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s pervert kidnappers Candy Crush Level 92  having underwear issues when I exercise.

I have a friend who wears her cheap Walmart looking bikini underwear to work out in…not smart, imho.  The lines (and the occasional leopard print!) show through her workout pants sometimes, and she once got a butt rash and wondered why.

I love you, dear, but you should know why!  You’re working up a sweat in inappropriate non-moisture-wicking undies!

I have many other friends who wear thongs.  Hell no, not for me.  I don’t want those things moving around in that delicate area like a bow on a violin string when I stretch or squat.  Plus, I think you can see the…well, absence of coverage in the middle of the back.

I prefer boy shorts usually…they’re a nice balance of coverage without diagonal panty lines cutting across the ass of my workout pants, and they don’t move too much.

Still, I’m always looking for better…and for me, the answer is Lululemon’s Light as Air Hipster.

Check this out…ooh la la!

Light As Air Hipster

What you can’t see in this pic is that this underwear is paper/silky-thin and moisture-wicking.  There are no seams…hooray for no visible lines!  It’s like wearing a whisper, and that whisper is telling you that it’s got your privates cradled in silky softness.

I swear they make me faster (not that that’s difficult.)  Not plucking undies out of my nether regions or trying to stretch bikini sides out to cover the entirety of my ass saves me valuable seconds per mile (not to mention what little dignity I have.)

Lululemon, you have a winner.  Between your Cool Racerback tank that covers my torso without riding up and your underwear, I have no excuse for not running my best!

Now, in fairness, I read the reviews of the underwear when I looked up the link, and I should point out that it gets a lot of horrible ratings.  Lots of women say it rolls over or falls apart after about a month.  I’ve had my two pairs that long and have been alternating them pretty much every day and haven’t had those problems, but at $18/pair, you might want to start with just one and see what you think.

Your silky-cradled ass can thank me later!

What do you like to wear while working out?