Showing posts with label gear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gear. Show all posts

November 22, 2017

10 Awesome Holiday Gifts for Runners (Under $50) 2017

Disclosure: I am Lily Trotters and Momentum Jewelry ambassadors and receive complimentary & discounted merchandise from both brands. I love both brands and did not receive any compensation for inclusion in this post. I also am a coach at Charm City Run. All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. 

So I've got lots to update the interwebs on, like how I ran the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday. Say what?! This week on the agenda I just have some rest, recovery, Thanksgiving and leftovers eating, and of course holiday shopping. Can you believe it's already that time of year again? I have been resisting getting into the holiday spirit, but really we only have 5 weekends until Christmas so the time is now! Here's 10 awesome holiday gifts under $50 for the runners in your life (::hint::hint:: to all the special people in my life). 

10 Awesome Holiday Gifts for Runners (Under $50) 2017

10 Awesome Holiday Gifts Under $50 For Runners

1. Runner X4 Pint Glass ($10) and 6-pack of beer (recommended: Union Craft Brewing Duckpin Ale, price varies)

Union Craft Brewing Duckpin Ale

This is a perfect gift for that fellow runner and beer-lover in your life. Grab this super cool pint glass for $10 (that I was lucky enough to receive during the RW Half weekend) and a 6-pack of your favorite local beer. 

2. Pair of Lily Trotters compression socks ($48)

These comfortable, stylish compression socks are a local Baltimore business and are the perfect gift for the runner, traveler, or any professional who spends a lot of time on their feet. Plus these socks are easy to get on and off! Compression socks increase circulation which can decrease muscle soreness, prevent blood clots, and keep your veins healthy. Check out the special holiday styles that are now available and perfect for this time of year. 

Save 15% on Lily Trotters all year round with code BREATHEDEEPLY 😍 

3. Momentum Jewelry WISH Wrap ($24.99)

Momentum Jewelry WISH Wrap

Momentum Jewelry just launched their new WISH wraps with beautiful new shimmery leather colors including bronze, platinum, or my favorite-stardust which is a light blue. These cuffs are sparkly and beautiful. You can choose a motivating saying or customize with your own saying or wish for a special runner in your life. 

4. Janji men's Renegade tee ($42.00) or women's Raquel tank ($46.00)

Janji men's Renegade tee or women's Raquel tank

Janji is a great company that connects running apparel to international water access. 10% of each of their sales goes to help fund clean water projects in various countries. Their gear comes in unique patterns and colors inspired by the countries their purchase helps. For instance the Raquel tank gives a year of clean water to someone in Peru.  I also got the scoop that for Black Friday weekend Janji is offering: $25 off $100, $50 off $150, and $75 off $200; and Cyber Monday will have 40% off all past seasons gear. I've had some of Janji gear for years because I love the look and the mission. 

5. Gift certificate to local running store like Charm City Run (price varies)

Support your local running stores and give your runner a chance to treat themselves to some new running fuel or gear or put it towards new running shoes for the new year. Marylanders, definitely check out Charm City Run for all your holiday runner shopping. 

6. Knockaround Sunglasses ($15-30, depending on style)

Knockaround Sunglasses
After grabbing a few pairs of Knockaround sunglasses at November Project Summit last year, they have been my favorite sunglasses to wear all the time and when running. I am currently oogling these glossy tortoise shell/green moonshine Fort Knocks sunglasses. I always get compliments on them, and they are inexpensive enough to pick up a couple pairs in different styles. They are high-quality and durable plus don't slide on my face during races. 

7. Run Fast. Eat Slow cookbook ($14.58 on Amazon) 
Run Fast. Eat Slow cookbook
This cookbook by Olympian and recent NYC marathon women's champ Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky is full of delicious and nutritious meals to fuel runners and non-runners alike. Their second cookbook is coming out this summer so the price has dropped a bit on this one. 

8. I'd Rather Be Running tee from Sarah Marie Design Studio ($30.00) 

I'd Rather Be Running tee from Sarah Marie Design Studio

Isn't this how all runners feel? I love mostly everything from Sarah Marie Design Studio. This unisex, comfy tee is a great addition to a runner's wardrobe. 

9. Stance run socks ($15-36)

Stance socks is another cool company with a cool mission mixing performance with art and self-expression. I currently have these R2D2 socks on my wish list ($22) because I'm a huge Star Wars nerd. I have a pair of their run socks which are quality and comfortable. They also make more casual socks with cool collections such as Disney and a Rihanna collaboration. You can also snag these silly Bart Yasso Stance socks ($18) from Runner's World. 

10. StrideBox gift subscription (1-month gift subscription is $24.95)
StrideBox subscription

StrideBox is a curated subscription box for runners that is fuel of running accessories, fuel and fun each month. StrideBox is one of the only subscription boxes I have tried where I actually use many of the products and have at least a couple products in each box that I actually really like. Subscriptions are on a month-to-month basis and can be cancelled at any time. Their gift subscription options are a unique gift for the holidays.

If you are looking to spend a little more money, you can save 10% off 3 month and 6 month gift subscriptions with code BreatheBlog10 through 12/24/2017.  

Now that I've shared some of my own personal favorite runner gifts, I also need some help building my own holiday wish list.

What are your favorite running gifts to receive or give? 

October 31, 2017

10 Favorite Things from the Runner's World Half Festival 2017

So I've been stalling writing any blog posts about the Runner's World Half Festival because I had such an amazing time and there is so much to say. It was an absolute honor and pleasure to be invited as part of the RW Half Run Crew. I left with sore legs, sweet bling, and new running friends! Since I love lists, I figured I'd start out my post-race weekend recap the way I blogged about what I was most excited about pre-RW Half Festival! Spoiler alert: some of the things I was excited about beforehand DID turn out to be amazing.

10 Favorite Things from the Runner's World Half Festival 2017

My Top 10 Favorite Things from the RW Half Festival Weekend (not in order!) 

1.  The people: The RW Half Run Crew and all the Runner's World employees I met were so nice (Oh and RUNNING WITH RYAN HALL WAS PRETTY FREAKING COOL TOO). We had a such a great group of people in the RW Half Run Crew. 

RW Half Run Crew with Ryan Hall

2. Meeting Ryan Hall: See above re:running with Ryan Hall. It was great to hear him talk about his kids and biggest tip about marathoning is to relax! He said he races best when he is relaxed. 

RW Half 2017 Ryan Hall photo

3. Meeting Bart Yasso and hearing him talk: So apparently everyone likes Bart Yasso because he is actually an awesome and super nice guy! He gave a little talk after our lunch with him that brought me to tears as he read letters from young kids who were inspired by him and "wanted to be Bart Yasso, without all that running crap". Runner's World isn't going to be the same without him when he retires! 

He also said something was really inspired me-"you never know who you're connecting with or influencing, so keep doing it". This relates to me on a professional, personal, and social media level!

Lauren_2017_RW Half-Bart Yasso

4. The dog "race": It was just as amazing as I imagined and the best run of the weekend. I spectated and then got to pet SO MANY DOGS after the race. A few people were serious and ran the 1 mile race with their dogs. Some weren't born for racing. 

RW Half 2017 dog race1

Some decided that 1 loop or 0.5 miles was enough and needed a break. 

RW Half 2017 dog race2

5. The half marathon on Sunday: Doing the grand slam (4 races in 3 days) I was kinda dreading how I'd feel on Sunday for the half marathon and last race of the weekend. I started out slowly and was going to use it as a marathon training pace run but ended up running around 8 minute miles. I was so happy and full of gratitude running. I had so much fun stopping for a couple photos, stopping for some beer from spectators, and taking in all the beautiful scenery.  Running along the tree-lined streets of Bethlehem with perfect weather was absolutely beautiful. 

RW Half Marathon 2017_race1
Photo on the run

RW Half Marathon 2017_race2
Post-half marathon happiness

 6. Free race photos:
Because all races should have them. Seriously though I got a few nice photos during and after the races like this one below after the 10K on Saturday. 

RW Half Marathon 2017_10K-racephoto

7. Exploring the city of Bethlehem (on foot!): As I mentioned before, Bethlehem is a beautiful city. I had only visited once before so seeing a lot of the city on foot via the races. 

I mean look at this sunrise on Friday morning:  

Having all of the races start and finish at the SteelStacks was really cool too. They are really stunning and massive. It's a cool part of history of the town. 


Running over this bridge over the Lehigh River multiple times over the weekend was a highlight as well. 

 8. Learning about Altra Running company and shoes from founder Golden Harper: Golden Harper, the founder of Altra Running gave a whole talk about how the company was founded and how the idea of zero drop shoes came about (you can read a little bit of the story here).  He then gave a very informative seminar about efficient running form (information also available on their website-check it out!). I love trying out the Altra Running HIIT XT shoes we were given before participating in a tough HIIT workout as well as a trying pair of the Escalantes that I ended up running the half marathon in them!   




 9. Pizza at the end of the trail run: A beautiful site to see after the 3.6 mile trail run on Friday afternoon-that was super fun! 

I repeat, finishing a trail run and seeing all of these boxes of pizza: 

This is the look of true happiness on my face right here. I couldn't even wait to take a photo before taking a few bites. Shout-out to Lehigh Pizza! 

Oh, and this view after the race was nice too. 

10.The Bling & Swag: The Grand Slam was my first running challenge of doing multiple races as part of the same event. It was definitely exhausting but was a really fun experience. All of the medals were cool and SteelStacks-themed. It was EVEN COOLER that the Grand Slam runners received a larger half-marathon medal that 


As part of the RW Half Run Crew, Runner's World hooked us up with an awesome bag of goodies from the vendors including The Stick, Janji, Balega, MoJo Socks, and Altra Running

I also like the long-sleeve Altra race shirt we got as well as the blue backpack I received for registering for the Grand Slam. 



So the Runner's World Half Festival gets two big thumbs up from me. Running the Grand Slam was a blast, and I loved the other challenge options for doing multiple races. Everything was well-organized and the race courses were fun. 

Thanks to Runner's World you have the chance to win a sweet RW Tote full of running goodies too. Just enter using the Rafflecopter below. U.S. residents only. Giveaway open until 11/7/2017 12 AM. 

July 17, 2017

Be Open with AfterShokz TrekzTitanium Wireless Headphones {Review}

Disclosure: Through my partnership as a SweatPink/FitApproach ambassador, I received a complimentary set of AfterShokz TrekzTitanium wireless headphones from AfterShokz in exchange for my review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I love me some tech-free, music-free runs. However especially as I've had some rough runs lately as I try to rebuild my base mileage or when I've needed to give myself a big pep talk to attempt 3-4 mile runs in this heat and humidity, I've been relying more on my Spotify playlists. I'm also highly annoyed by my headphones staying in my ears and dealing with headphone cords getting stuck to me. I'm a super sweaty person so even the "sweatproof" earbuds" I find myself adjusting and pushing back into my ear throughout a run. I seriously don't know what took me so long to try some wireless headphones. 

I'm super grateful I jumped at the chance to try out the AfterShokz TrekzTitanium bluetooth headphones.  


On the website you can choose from 4 color combos with black, and pick what measurements you want. It offers a mini size in addition to the regular, based on the length of the space between your ears. It took me 5 minutes to set-up after charging my headphones with a USB cord, mostly involving connecting the Bluetooth on my phone to the AfterShokz. 

I took them on an inaugural sweaty & humid Baltimore summer run and was pleasantly surprised. 
AfterShokz advertises the TrekzTitanium headphones as IP55 sweat resistant. They also use PremiumPitch+™ technology which gives a great sound with nice bass levels. I haven't let them run out of charge yet, but these are advertised as lasting for 6 hours of continuous music and/or calls on a single charge. Any weird blips in your music are related to your Bluetooth connection, not the headphones. 

SUPER SWEATY but headphones just chilling in place. 
I also REALLY love that these headphones use bone conduction technology which delivers music through your cheekbones so that your ears are open to hear all the sounds and noises around you-super important for runner safety! 

On my first run it was amazing! No cords to manage! Even better was in the gym when I was lifting, I didn't have to worry about getting tangled or pulling the cord out of my phone which happens ALL the time to me. 

The only thing that takes getting used to with these headphones, at least for me, is where I have the titanium wraparound headband part to sit on my head. The bone conduction headphone pieces sit just in front of your eyes on you cheekbones and then wraparound part either sits around the back of your head or for me, sits lower on my neck. A couple times during runs I re-adjust, but I think it's just a comfort thing because they don't actually seem to be slipping down or anything.  It also takes a little adjusting when I wear them with sunglasses which overlap the headband part. Anyways, it's way better than ear discomfort or having headphones clogged with sweat and earwax (kinda gross, but it happens to me!). 

Another downside for some runners is the price tag which sits at $129.  Yes it's expensive but these are nice headphones, and it comes with a 2 year warranty which is nice. I'm also SUPER excited because Charm City Run in Locust Point just got these in stock so you can go check them out and try them on in person if you live in the area. 

You can enter to win a pair of your own from FitApproach here! Also if you purchase from the SweatPink link here you will receive a free stainless steel water bottle with your purchase with code SWEAT. 

Overall I am completely sold on wireless headphones in general and more specifically these AfterShokz TrekzTitanium headphones. They have great sound quality, allow for my ears to be free to hear ambient noises around me, and stay in place on sweaty runs. 


Have you ever tried out wireless headphones? What is your favorite song to listen to when working out lately?

May 11, 2017

What to Pack in Your Marathon Gear Check Bag

Disclosure: I received complimentary product from ShowerPill. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

When you cross the finish line of a half or full marathon, the first thing you are thinking is YAY, glad that's over. If you are me next you are thinking where can I get a beer, water, banana, and sit down, PLEASE. If it's a big event or one where you plan on hanging out around for the post-race festivities that so many races have now, it might be a good idea to pack a gear check bag. I find this especially true if you're running a big race where it's going to take you a while to get back to your hotel/lodgings/house or you'll be hanging out in your post-race clothes for a while. 

After the Chicago Marathon the past 3 years the weather has been nice, and I've been feeling good so I hang out with friends, have a couple beers, and listen to the music in Grant Park. 
Post-Chicago Marathon 2016 with a beer in one hand and my gear check bag beside me
Now, I'm the type of person that is usually cutting it close to getting to a race start or at least isn't giving myself much time beforehand. Even with marathons which are big deal to me, I still feel like maybe I should give myself some more time to get around. This is particularly true if you're running a huge race or one with security checkpoints. 

I usually hope that I have a friend or my boyfriend to carry some stuff for me until I finish. If not then sometimes I'll quickly navigate the pre-race area and drop off a gear check bag, if available. For some of the bigger half marathons and marathons I've run bag check is usually offered, and the process is pretty organized. Races give you a clear plastic bag at packet/bib pick-up (security reasons nowadays!). Then you can drop it off before the race with your bib number attached, and pick it up after finishing the race. It's not recommended to store valuables in there, because it's not like locked-in-a-safe secure. 


Here are 5 items that I always pack in my gear check bag

The type of clothes is dependent on you and the season, but I think having something not damp with sweat or smelly is a post-race must have. Even if it's summer I like to have at least a dry shirt to change into. If the weather is cold, I love having a comfy sweatshirt, dry shirt, and possibly extra pair of tights to change into. After hanging out in my sweaty clothes I usually feel extra chilly once my body starts to cool down and some fatigue sets in. 

2. Socks
This kind of goes along with clothes, but having a nice pair of clean, dry socks to change into after logging some race miles is great. It gives my feet some relief. Often I pack a pair of compression socks to wear to get a head start on recovery and to aid with circulation. 

3. Wet wipes
Having a travel-size pack of wet wipes is great to just wipe off my face and arms of sweat or dirt after a long run, particularly if I'm hanging out post-race for a bit. 

Since I discovered them a year or so ago, I've been loving ShowerPill wipes which are a thick washcloth-sized body wipe which kill 99.9 of germs and also contain hydrating vitamin E, witch hazel, and aloe vera. They come in single packets and are perfect for travel or gear check bags. 

You can save 20% off any ShowerPill order through 6/15/2017 with code LAUREN

4. Sandals
Oh yes, I've been known to rock some socks with sandals post-race. Actually my beloved Adidas sandals from my high school soccer days are falling apart and need to be replaced (not shocking). Again like the socks, it's nice to get my feet some relief and a chance to air out. Besides for comfort, I also like having sandals or even a spare set of shoes if the race has been muddy or wet. 

5. Favorite snack & drink
I always usually eat something offered post-race after I have my go-to recovery snack of a banana. If it's a long distance race or I'm not sure what post-race fuel will be available, I like to pack a small snack or drink that's a favorite of mine. That way I'm positive I have something that my body can easily handle and that I'll be able to quickly refuel with. 

For me this means a tube of Nuun Hydration that can easily be mixed with water and a Honey Stinger waffle. The gluten-free salted caramel  waffles are my favorite! 

6. Hair ties 
These are always just a good thing to have (for us longer haired gals and guys anyways). Possibly for pre-race if I (or another runner!) realize I've forgotten them or had one snap when fixing my hair (it's happened). Sometimes it's nice to pack some extra hair ties or a headband if I take out my sweaty pigtails post-race and want to look a little less like I just ran 13 or 26 miles 

Do you often gear check a bag? What's your must-have item to pack for post-race?

December 19, 2016

8 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Fitness Fans

I seriously can't believe it's the week of Christmas. SERIOUSLY. Between moving, bouncing around between doctor's and physical therapy appointments, plus finals, this past month has moved crazy fast. Luckily I have done some online shopping plus braved the crowds at Target this weekend so I only have a couple gifts left to purchase.  

If you have been mostly shopping deals to buy presents for yourself and now need to finish all your shopping in T-7 days, here are some great last-minute gift ideas for you! 


I shared lots of products that you can purchase on Amazon because I'm an Amazon Prime addict with that free 2-day shipping. You can't beat getting things in 2-days if you are short on time!  Check out some of my favorite items for runners, yogis, and any other fit fans in your life. 


8 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Fitness Fans

1.  Believe or Complete Training Journal and Believe Logbook

I have been using the Believe Training Journal for the past two years to record my weekly workouts, log my miles, and write down my goals and progress.  I love that it includes articles on different topics like goal-setting and nutrition. This year I was given the chance to review the Complete Training Journal and Believe Logbook


The Complete Training Journal is a souped-up version of the Believe Training Journal and focuses more on competitions and tracking progress towards goals and races more in-depth. The Believe Logbook offers an open and customizable, minimalist workout logbook with an annual calendar. 

All three are also available on Amazon with Prime shipping: Believe, Compete, Believe Logbook

2. Namast'ay in Bed candle

The Brooklyn Artists and Fleas Market is open Saturdays and Sundays in Williamsburg, BK and carries this cheeky 100% natural soy wax candle from the 125 Collection. The candle is hand-poured in NY and features one of my favorite quotes-perfect for the yogi (or sleepyhead) in your life.  

If you're not near Brooklyn, you can order the candle from the store's Etsy site

November 18, 2016

{Friday Favorites} Grilled Cheese, BCAAs, and StrideBox

Disclosure: I received 3 complimentary boxes from StrideBox. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Happy Friday! It's been a while so I decided to share some of my favorites from the past couple of weeks. I haven't run at ALL in 2 weeks, and it's been okay. I am letting myself rest and recover while I'm in the boot. 3 weeks of no exercise won't kill me. Besides I have a LOT of studying to occupy myself with this weekend.  Be sure to enter my blog birthday giveaway

Favorite Easy Cause to Support: Tab for a Cause


So I I'm one of those people who always has tons of tabs open in my Google Chrome Internet browser window. I can't help it. I've always have a few tabs I'm actively using, a few that I am saving to work with later as a reminder, plus constantly am clicking on things. My friend Kate suggested checking out Tab for a Cause, an internet browser extension that replaces your tab page with a beautiful page that raises money for charity. It's free and for every tab you open, you earn hearts which you can choose to give to your favorite charity. The extension's sponsors provide money to charity divide all the money raised amongst the charities based on the number of Hearts donated to each charity/cause. 

 It hasn't slowed my internet down, and if my excessive internet browsing can help a charity that is awesome! 

Favorite Snail Mail: StrideBox

October's StrideBox goodies

October 3, 2016

Running into Fall with Lululemon {gear review}

Disclaimer: Lululemon Baltimore offered me a complimentary outfit for review purposes. As always all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

As much as I love lots of different running gear, there are always some pieces that end up being worn the most. The couple Lululemon tops and tanks I have are an example of that.  I have only splurged on pieces from Lululemon every so often, but have been impressed in the comfort and quality I've found. I've actually worn Lululemon capris or skirts for all of the 4 marathons I've run-no chafing at all!

Running the 2015 Chicago Marathon in a Lululemon Cool Racerback tank and PaceSetter Skirt 

I dare you to go try things on in that store and leave the store empty-handed! However I gained a lot of respect for the brand after running Lululemon's Seawheeze Half Marathon this summer and seeing what an amazing event they put on.  

post-Seawheeze Half Marathon 2016 in a (tagged) Lululemon Run Swiftly tee and Speedsport shorts

When I was asked to review a couple piece of running gear for my local Lululemon store, of course I jumped at the chance. By the way, the Lululemon in Baltimore, Harbor East is a great store with fabulous employees and local ambassadors, in case you were wondering. 

With the Baltimore Running Festival coming up and the weather still a little bit variable, it was tough to choose what outfit I wanted to review. I run 'hot' (#thesweatylife) and am still loving wearing tanks so I chose out a Run Swiftly tank (MRP $58) in one of the newer colors for Fall, a mixed black/sapphire blue shade . I always think warm colors for Fall but since blue is one of my favorite colors, I love adding this almost midnight blue shade as a Fall favorite. 


I love the Run Swiftly material because it feels soft, lightweight and comfortable as well as wicks sweat well. 


One of my favorite features is that it is prevents you from smelling bad due to the X-STATIC® which inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. The color is a deep blue that is perfect for Fall plus it has that Swiftly tech that I love.