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Posts Tagged ‘team in training’

Last May when I started “running” I truly did not know what I was getting myself into.  I had zero gear, except for one pair of fairly old running shoes that I believed to be the right size (I later found that belief was completely false).  I walked my first 5K in an old-ish pair of Nike sweatpants, a comfy cotton tee-shirt, my old shoes and a 8 year-old running bra.  Thankfully, the weather was fairly forgiving and since my pace was mega-slow, I didn’t experience any of the grave issues that can come from having inadequate gear.  

Now, you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to participate in this sport, but there are some essential items.  But how do you know what’s essential and what’s a scam?  Thanks to my friend Shelly, and her awesome coaches at Team In Training, I learned quickly what was important.  (Check out the post about Chub Rub, for one example of these timely truths.)

Shelly gave me hints about the right kind of shoes, how I’d have to actually eat and drink during long runs, the importance of a good running bra, which socks rocked and why, and the difference between cotton (bad) and wicking fabrics (good) in running gear.  These are things that were completely off my radar.  Completely.  If I hadn’t had her advice, I surely would have quit this exercise experiment early in a blithering, whining mass of blisters and chaffed skin and dehydration. 

So, in the interest of good sportsmanship, I’ll share the tips and tidbits about gear here for anyone else who might be wanting to get started and wondering what they’re going to need. 

Please note that the information certainly will NOT be given in order of importance.  Rather, it will be given in the order that it happens to randomly cross my mind when I sit down to the computer.  That’s just how I roll.  The Chub Rub post started us off and this Mystery Gear Item will be just as random.

Cotton is evil in running-land, because although it washes up easily, it holds moisture and encourages chaffing.  Even if you’re a skinny-minny, you still will have body parts that touch when you run (assuming you have toes), so this does apply to you.  For those of you who are not skinny-minny, well, this becomes even more important. 

With cotton, sweat=wet+rubbing=ouch!  So, some incredibly smart entreprenural-type person decided to create a textile that would actually wick moisture away from the athlete’s body and hold that moisture away from the person, on the outside of the clothing.  This is my best way of describing what happens with these fabrics. 

Wicking fabrics or technical fabrics, as they’re called, are common for athletes today.  But when I decided to engage midlife as an adult-onset athlete (credit: John Bingham for this incredibly descriptive term), I’d never heard of the stuff.  Truly, my running days of old had been pre-technical fabric. 

I asked my friend Shelly if the stuff really worked or if it was just some stupid marketing scam, fully expecting to get the all-clear to continue to wear my 15 year-old tee-shirts.  To my surprise, she related that the stuff really did work and made a huge difference.

I was glad to discover that the technical fabric gear wasn’t hard to find, but not enthusiastic that it took some extra effort in the “care” department.  Apparently, these fabrics can’t be laundered with fabric softener, which means (in my world):  Separate Loads of Laundry For All Running Gear.  I indulged in a few pieces, figuring that if the stuff worked, it would be worth the hassle. 

And amazingly, it DID work.  Not just somewhat, but Amazingly.  Shelly was right and I was glad I’d listened to her. 

And who knew that so many things could come in technical fabrics:  everything from outerwear to underwear.  (No, I most certainly do not own every permutation of the stuff…I’m a rookie, remember!) 

When I was at the VA Beach Half Marathon, I discovered a great store at the expo.  Lots of Experienced Runners will be familiar with this company, but I wasn’t and spent a lot of time laughing at the things I saw there.  I’ve included some of my favorite slogans that were on their technical shirts, for your amusement.  (Too bad I don’t get a referral for sending you to them!  😉  )

The company:  One More Mile Running Apparel

What I bought/spent:  More Than I’m Willing to Admit (My husband reads this blog, for heaven’s sake!)

Some of my favorites, complete with links to the site:

motherrunnerLS[1]

Mine is in light purple.  I LOVE it.  I’m even sweating in it in my Facebook profile!  Here’s the link to the site so you can get your own: http://www.onemoremilerunning.com/long-sleeve/one-bad-mother-runner-long-sleeve/prod_665.html

 

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Okay, so the back of this shirt reads:  RACE OFFICIAL.  DO NOT PASS.  I thought this was downright hilarious.  The link:  http://www.onemoremilerunning.com/long-sleeve/seemed-like-a-good-idea-long-sleeve/prod_336.html

 

foundongroundLS[1]

If Found On Ground, Please Drag Across Finish Line.  I was so tempted to buy this, but didn’t want it to be some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, so I just giggle at it online now and then.http://www.onemoremilerunning.com/long-sleeve/if-found-on-ground-long-sleeve/prod_636.html

 

Oh, there are so many more, but the point, of course, is that fun and functional can intersect into some pretty incredible gear that does some pretty incredible things for you.  Having the right shirts has helped me to stay cool when it’s warm and stay warm when it’s cold.  And it’s helped me keep a positive attitude, a useful perspective, and a good sense of humor, which can’t be bought online or off the shelf, but, I’ve learned, is some of the most important stuff to take on a run. 

Thanks Shelly.  😀

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When starting something new, I tend to be kind of quiet about it, waiting to make Grand Announcements about my conquests until there seems like there might be some kind of potential for success.  Chris, on the the other hand, is a different kind of gal.  While I would have preferred to start my running program under cover of darkness, hiding my outta-shape self from the perceived criticisms of others, my buddy Chris was one bold cookie.  She posted and chatted and talked about our adventures until now, quite unexpectedly, I was publicly committed to this journey as well.  Back doors were quickly being closed, boats were being burned behind me.  Quitting was quickly becoming a non-option.  So we set out on a course for success.

Now, whether Chris actually knew at the time that by virtue of being her wonderful self, she was shutting down my every excuse to bail out of our running gig, I really don’t know.  But I’m really glad that she is who she is, because I wouldn’t have made it through the early stages of runningville without her.

It was through Chris that I was (re)connected with my friend Shelly and connected with my new friend Jamie.  Shelly had run a half marathon earlier in the year and was training to run a full marathon later in the year.  She was a Serious Athlete who was training for her marathon with Team in Training.  And she saved my bacon many times, with her timely advice and words of wisdom.

Without someone who already knows what they’re doing, how do you know what equipment is important and what is a waste?  How do you know which training programs work and which ones are worthless?  Shelly is one example, but I’m amazed how people in the running world share their information and their tricks of the trade so liberally, how encouraging everyone is.  (Of course, I’m no threat to anybody’s records and I have a looonnnggg way to go, so I may just be really easy to encourage, too!)

So it was that when Shelly suggested we all run a half marathon together in 2010, I said, Sure, without really thinking about it.  We are now the Capital City Half Marathon Babes and will be burning up the course on May 1, 2010! 

Since I’d barely been able to crawl 7.3 miles, I knew I’d need a training program.  Enter Dotty, another new friend and adult-onset endurance athlete.  She was full of great advice regarding midlife training and coaching.  She recommended the book that helped me figure this whole running thing out  (at least so far).  And she talked about a very cool half-marathon in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach?  Hmmm.  My brother had just moved to Virginia.   Thoughts of visiting with him and trying my first half marathon swarmed through my delusional head.  I mentioned to my brother that I was “just thinking” about coming out and running the race and he surprised me with his response: “as long as you’re just thinking about it, why don’t we run it together?” 

That’s all it took.  The matter was settled.  I was going to see my brother and run in my first Big Race with him.  Never mind that he was already an endurance athlete.  Never mind that his legs are so long that his inseam reaches up to my armpits.  Never mind that I was still hobbling from my first 5K walking and 7.3 mile trail experience.  Never mind that the race was the first Sunday in September, less than four months away.  Never mind that it was absolutely impossible. 

Somehow, after more than a decade of neglect, within weeks of getting my feet back into my running shoes, having never in my life moved my body more than ten miles in a given effort, I had committed myself to TWO half-marathons.

It was official.  I had lost it for real.  And my craziness was evidence that I was truly on my way to becoming an actual Runner.

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