I’ve been wanting to talk about my gear loves, hates, dirty comments and looks from others, and the epic battle many of us face getting to where we are when searching for the gear that we fall in love with. All you alike runners, cyclist and yogis (among other sports) know exactly what I’m talking about.
Let me start at the beginning… no no. Actually, let me start with last week. As you all know, I live in Alaska – and not in the “big” city of Alaska. But last week, I was in the city (Anchorage – or ANC, ANCtown, ANCity, Mini-Seattle…among other nicknames) for a 2 day conference for work. I heard through the grapevine that a Lululemon store had opened (THAT’S RIGHT – YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY!). SO, needless to say, I had to check it out. I have been dying to get my hands on some Lululemon gear, and being petite (5′ almost 2″), often loosing weight, and with a, uh -larger -upper chest, it makes it difficult to buy anything online that I haven’t tried on in a store first. SO, the store they opened is considered a “Showroom Store”, it’s small with a constantly rotating selection. (Btw, if you live in AK, here’s the link: http://www.lululemon.com/anchorage/anchorage). I was pretty excited to get in there and try on some running leggings which I have been in dire need of. I tried on some crops (which fit almost like pants for me) and some speed tight full length leggings. They were WAY long, however they have free hemming. Both fit like a glove and are true to size. I ended up with the crops (http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/crops-run/Run-Inpire-Crop-II-55554?cc=11718&skuId=3510454&catId=crops-run) and have since run in them and not once did I have to adjust myself while running – what a relief. I haven’t had that in awhile! Not to mention, my butt looks great in them and if I could, I think I would live in them. I tried on a jacket that I was tempted to buy and a coat that is now on my to buy list, and I ended up with a scarf that a friend of mine has that I have wanted FOREVER. You can wear it probably 35345 different ways (OK – maybe more like 12). Here’s the link, if you too must get one http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/scarves/Vinyasa-Scarf-Luon-Light?cc=11540&sli=1. It was 100% worth it – I’m currently living in the scarf, which doubles as a shirt, or triples as a cardigan. It’s kind of ridiculous(ly awesome).
BUT moving back to running gear. When I buy tights (leggings, tights – whatever you want to call them), they must first serve the purpose of running, but be able to do everything else as well. They also must have a drawstring. If you’ve ever bought running tights, then lost a few pounds, you understand this. I might spend alot on them, but I do look for sales AND use them for everything I do. I have gone through gear that I hate – include tights, tops, shoes, socks, shorts – even my first GPS watch was returned. Bad gear SUCKS. Whether its during spin class where your butt hurts, yoga where that cotton shirt is soaked and chaffing you or your pants are riding up your butt, or any gear that half way through a 10 mile training run – has just failed you. Why do we train with the gear we are going to race in? To make sure it works for us.
That being said, am I the only one who has gotten the dirty looks or presumabley “I can’t believe you spent that much” passive comments from friends, family and strangers alike when they look at your gear: whether its a gps watch, good running shoes, or “brand-name” tops and shorts? I don’t think I’m the only one (well, I know I’m not, I’ve had this conversation in real life with people). I’m not made of money, but considering I literally put on my workout clothes as much as I put on my work clothes, I put just as much effort into buying them (I’m convinced it’s the only reason I have a savings account – and for my family and friends that are reading, now you know what’s always on my Christmas and Birthday list). If you’re ever lived with shin splints, an overuse tendon injury, chaffed inner thighs, or your gps watch has gotten you home off a trail when you took a wrong turn – this list goes on and on – you definately understand this (I hope there’s at least one reader out there going “heck yeah!”).
Us runners (and the similar cyclists, yogi, etc.) have all had our trial and error with gear. I can tell you I personally hate when people try to sell me on their shoes. Have you had this happen to you? I will tell people what I (me, myself and I) swear by, yes, but it’s usually either after I’m ask or while having a gear conversation and is always followed by “it’s not a fit for everyone.” When it comes to shoes, the one thing I recommend is a gait analysis at a running store. Period. PERIOD. There is no reason not to get one – it’s free. Seriously. I went through a few different shoes, even tried minimalist (even the doc said i couldn’t do those anymore). My bf swears by Asics, personally they have too much side cushion for me – I can’t stand to even put them on my feet. My feet like to breathe. I’m on my second pairs of Brooks and LOOOOVE them. I mean I’m in love with them. I switched from the Ghost to the Adrenaline GTS when I needed to switch my support level (that’s story is for another blog) and my miles had drastically increased. Even if you have to run naked (which I don’t recommend either), at least do it with good running shoes – and when I say good, I mean they are the right fit for YOUR feet and the way YOU run. Function over fashion, my friends!
Speaking of Brooks, I have also become a huge fan of their gear in general. I LOVE their runnings shorts. I didnt think it made a big deal, until I ran in Brooks runnings shorts. I love the length and they flex and flow so good with my thighs. I also recently picked up the Brooks Women’s Essential LS 1/2 Zip II, its a long-sleeve top. For a cold-weather relay marathon I ran a couple weeks ago, I wore it over one of my Athleta Run On tanks and it was perfect. It’s a 1/2 zip with thumbholes and the hand length and shape eliminates the need for gloves (to a certain temp, of course) and has a zipper on the back right side (the pocket is pretty big actually – it fit my running gloves when my hands got hot and my clif shotblocks). I really do recommend trying out this top, ladies.
Another brand I love is Athleta – which is similar to Lululemon. They make bathing suits that are actually made to workout in – whether its just laps, triatholon, or you want something that will keep your, uh – large – upper chest, in at the beach, they are a large, cute selection! But here I am going to reach out to ask about their running tights. Has anyone purchased them? I love that they 1) Have free hemming as well and 2) Have Petite sizes – YAY! But they don’t have a store in AK yet (Let’s hope they will eventually!). I’d love to know how people who’ve bought them like them. Their running tops are incredibley comfortable. I also love their skorts! (Pictured Below: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 Shoes, Brooks Women’s Essential LS 1/2 Zip II, Athleta Run On Tank)
So you’ve heard some of my gear trial and errors and a couple of my favorites (btw – my favorte running socks are WrightSock CoolMesh II Double-Layer – it’s like a sock inside a sock!). Whats your advice? Struggles? Your favorite gear or most hated gear?