So, week 9 got done. This week was pretty good fun. It was an odd week that included 2 pretty long runs (a 14 and 16 miler). A 14 mile run mid-week that isn’t even your long run messes with your head a bit, but with the help of a tag team of girls I nailed the miles in before breakfast. I saw a train crossing the busiest road junction in Mason (OK I was a bit more excited about that than it probably warranted but hey.. TRAAAAAIN!!!). I also managed to get in a couple of firsts for routes. When you are notching up the miles as you do on marathon plans it’s refreshing to do that. I managed to conquer this urban myth known as Eagle Ridge (it ain’t no myth, that thing is REAL) and for the 16 found a local entry to a looooong bike trail that I didn’t know was there AND was next to a spooky old derelict building. Exciting!
Anyway, in this week’s entry I thought I’d lighten up from recent weeks and talk about good running “stuff”. By this I mean things I’ve bought over the years that have worked/stood the test of time and changed my game. Note: none of these mentions are incentivised or in any particular order, its just what I think AND there is A LOT of stuff believe me that hasn’t made the list.
- NOXGEAR Visibility Vest
These for me just hit the spot for hi-vis. I’ve messed about with all sorts in the past, jackets like bin men wear, things that go round your arm and clip on your shoes. They all take you part of the way there. A Noxgear vest however says here I am AND looks like a disco and you barely know it’s on you. It wins.
2. LULULEMON Shorts and Tights
For a long time I filed Lululemon as expensive yoga things for posh yoga ladies. Then my friend Crystal LEARNED me. It was a moment of glorious epiphany. For the first time in nearly 30 years of running I was wearing running shorts and NOT looking like a bag of raked leaves tied in the middle. These shorts (specifically Real Quick Short *SE Perf and Run Times Short II) were THE best. They had a flat front, no ruched elasticated band. (*this might be TMi but those kinds kind of pulled over my belly and gave me rather horrible foot of the desert humped beast). Also, they had a phone pocket! Blissful! No longer was a Spi-belt required.
The tights are also loved because they stay up, have a phone pocket, feel all slinky and in them I think I look 6ft tall (I’m not). The ones I wear are Fast and Free 7/8 Tight II.
3. GARMIN FORERUNNER 235
I’ve had this 3 years now and it’s been a proper faithful friend. Only one little wobble in -12 temperatures when I think it was trying to tell me to put it under my sleeve. I know there are now fancier and better versions but I actually feel a bit disloyal even thinking about it.
4. TAILWIND (nutrition)
Tailwind is a powder you mix with water and it gives you magic properties. It contains caffeine, salt, carbs and basically everything you need. And it’s really just served me well. With running nutrition the learned wisdom is to experiment (never on race day) and see what works for you. I ran Columbus marathon on 24oz of tailwind (not at once) a banana and 2 mini Paydays (see below). It doesn’t taste that nice. I don’t look forward to drinking it in the way I do a cold Gatorade (Arthur Craig), but it sort of seems to work and if that ain’t broke, I ain’t fixin’.
5. PAYDAY BARS
So, as per above these are a regular source of run fuel to me. Another world changing suggestion from my friend Crystal (oh how much I owe this girl). When you think about it, this regular American “candy bar” does pretty much have everything you need: Protein, carbs, sugar, salt AND it tastes soooo niiiiiice. OK you are sometimes picking peanuts out of your teeth for several hours after but that can be a welcome distraction.
I sort of misguidedly and arrogantly consider the buff to be my running trademark. (Evidence: A friend’s 2 year old put one on the other day and said she “wanted to be like Jackie” – so….). Other than when a full woolly hat is needed I have run wearing one for 3 years now. I first got one in the finisher’s goodie back for the Fleet Half Marathon 2016. I was about to put it in the bin when I momentarily decided to amuse my kids by imitating a pirate. Then I liked pirate me and never looked back. To me the buff warms when cold, absorbs sweat when hot, keeps my ridiculous hair out of my face always and of course looks piratey (you scurvy dawgs!).
7. BROOKS FIONA sports bras (not pictured, *laughs)
I am neither big nor small in the “this” department, but they definitely need strapping up. This bra just sort of does that. I don’t know I’ve got ’em when wearing this. Guess that’s all that needs saying.
8. NEW BALANCE & MiZUNO hoodies
I guess we all have clothes we feel good in. If anyone were ever to look back at my winter running pictures, they will see these 2 items worn about 80% of the time. The NB one is so beautifully pink it’s almost ethereal and the Mizuno one is so badass it looks like it would save you in a zombie apocalypse.
9. CHEAP KIDS GLOVES from Target
I’ve been on a right old glove journey since living in Ohio. But this is where I’ve netted out. You don’t actually need running or techie gloves to keep your hands warm. You actually just need – any old gloves. One day when I couldn’t find my fancy ones I just grabbed a pair of the kids $3 ones and wore those. They were excellent. (sorry kids, your gloves now smell of cheese).
10. AWESOME SENTIMENTAL MEMORABILIA
And finally, just a collective spot for all the things that you collect in a runners life that make you happy. Oh so many things; My Queen Bee top, my winner’s jacket, the KL marathon Brooks vest, Hampshire Hoppit beer glass, my Ohio State woolly hat from Sally, Columbus ’17 Memorable top, now used for yoga, Cocoa Classic Hoodie, Turkey Trot winners plastic cup, medals… oh all the things!
And finally my little Flying Pig that I got training for the 2019 race. This is the week I went down injured in training for that, so I’m passing this week joyfully with my faith in this little guy all over.