Sunday, July 21, 2013

Recommendations From a Lifestyle Guru

Saturday workout: 5 miles, 10:30 average, Pace Gloves
Sunday workout: TBD (probably a hike)
Weekly total: 15 miles

This week was all about easing back into running. Four short runs, all easy, just enough to get the legs moving again. It felt great to be back at it, although I was surprisingly sore. Just a month ago, 5 miles was the shortest run I had done in probably three months. This week, 5 miles was my longest run! It was humbling.

Come on, Anchorage, try to be uglier, would you?

That's the airport's air traffic control tower.


I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but I seem to have acquired quite a few new running goodies recently. I think of myself as a pretty frugal person, but apparently this frugality is thrown right out the window when it comes to my hobby jogging. Whoops.

Since I have all this crap and I'm obviously a lifestyle guru, I thought I'd share some of it with you. This post could go one of two ways: mildly interesting and informative, or boring and preachy. I'm obviously aiming for the former but if it turns into more of the latter, put me in my place.

First up: Moving Comfort Momentum shorts

Of Mayor's Marathon fame.

These shorts are incredible. Or at least, relative to Nike tempos, which I've been wearing since the beginning of time, they are incredible. I bought these when I decided I'd had it with diaper butt and went to REI to buy something cool. I must have tried on ten pairs of shorts. Brooks, Marmot, Asics, Saucony... all the brands I'm supposed to love. I hated all of them. The fit just didn't work. I consider myself to have a pretty average body type, so maybe you have to be an Amazonian warrior princess to look good in those things.

I was just about to give up when I tried on the Momentum shorts. Moving Comfort's been (over-)promoted in blogland so I was reluctant to even try them on. I'm really happy I did, though, because they are actually amazing and I live in them now. In fact, yesterday I found myself near the Coastal Trail sans shorts on a perfect running day and instead of driving all the way home, I went to REI and bought another pair. What? Don't judge me! My new pair is actually a pretty ugly shade of blue, but they're comfortable enough that I don't care.

So what's so great about these shorts? Well, they're comfortable, obviously. And light. They've also got a zip pocket just large enough to fit an iPhone (although it bounces around too much when you run to actually store it there). For me, that was key. I usually put my keys in the tiny unsecured Nike tempo pocket and spend the whole run touching it to make sure it's still there. Too much anxiety.

And on an aesthetic level, these shorts are incredibly flattering. The waistband's a lot like Lululemon waistbands, if anyone's familiar with those (and possibly like those ubiquitous Rogas, although I've never tried them). They also hit a bit higher than most shorts, which for me means I don't have a little fat pouch when I wear tighter shirts. Perhaps the most important thing, though, is that they make my ass look normal. Five Jeanos up!

Next up: Hammer Nutrition Grapefruit-flavored Fizz Electrolyte Tabs

Let's not beat around the bush: I hate these. When I bought them, their success was practically guaranteed: I'm a big fan of both grapefruit and electrolyte tabs, plus ultra-runner Logan gave them her stamp of approval. But to me, they taste terrible. I wish I could compare it to something. Whatever it is, it's not grapefruit. I've tried different tab-to-water ratios and haven't found anything that comes anywhere close to acceptable. But because I'm an optimist (or just have a terrible memory), every few weeks I remember them and decide to give them another chance. Every few weeks I am horribly disappointed. I can't really say anything about their effectiveness, but they'd have to promise me, like, immortality before I'd use them regularly.

Next: FlipBelt

You guys may or may not know what these are. They're basically a tube you wear around your waist and can put things in. A slightly less offensive fanny pack. You have a totally clear picture of it from that description, I'm sure.

When it started getting hotter in Anchorage, I realized I wasn't going to have anywhere to put my stuff when I run. I knew I wanted my phone with me during my marathon, among other things, so kept my eyes peeled for a suitable device. I read about FlipBelts on a blog somewhere, and after extensive research (ie. reading the literally hundreds of overwhelmingly positive reviews) decided to buy one.

I was really excited when it showed up, but so far my opinion of it is completely average. It is an entirely adequate way to store your shit on the run. I don't have any real complaints about it, but I also haven't worn it in probably five weeks (opting instead to cram all of my stuff in my top for the marathon). When I'm excited about something, I use it constantly (see: Momentum shorts), so I'm obviously not that excited about this. But hey, it's better than a fanny pack!

Lastly: Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

Okay, this isn't running related but I HEARD about it from a running blog (Logan again! I swear I don't live my life solely by her recommendations) and the author is herself a blogger so it's sort of relevant.

This book. It is SO funny. Like, if I had any talent whatsoever, I would be her. Without the paralyzing social anxiety and other various disorders, of course. I was in a reading slump when I bought her book, starting many good books but not really being engaged enough to finish them. This changed that. I highly recommend it. Don't listen to the audiobook around young'uns.


Okay, that's enough of this.

What cool new running gadget/item/apparel have you been loving lately?


  1. Oh man Anchorage is gorgeous! I hope I get to Alaska someday to see it for myself.

    I am going to scope out some of those Moving Comfort shorts to try on. I am in the market for new running shorts, but haven't found anything I love yet. As Sandra Bullock says in 'The Blind Side' "The store is where you love it the best. If you don't absolutely love it in the store you won't wear it. So look at it and say 'is this me?'" And she was in 'The Proposal' where they go to Alaska, so it ties back to your blog, right?

    Okay I got way off track. What I meant to say was thanks for the shorts recommendation and you should show my comment to Moving Comfort for a free pair of Momentum shorts.

    1. Well, on the one hand, a free pair of shorts in return for mentioning them on the blog would be awesome. But on the other hand, that would totally blow my credibility (if I even have any to begin with, that is)! I suppose I'll remain a mere mortal for now and pay for my goodies like everyone else.

      I really hope you like them if you end up trying them! That Sandra Bullock quote is so true. I have to say, though, that The Proposal wasn't actually filmed in Alaska. In fact, most movies that "take place" in Alaska aren't filmed in Alaska. Canada's got a friendlier film tax and looks kinda sorta similar (sorry, we Alaskans always have to annoyingly point stuff like that out).

    2. What a rip off! Now I need a refund on the DVD.

  2. Yes. Jenny is awesome. She also has a blog (which you obviously now know).

    Is Moving Comfort really over-promoted in blog-land? Interesting - we must read some different blogs, because I always thought MC was sorta an underdog in the running apparel community. But I'll admit I'm guilty of promotion (as I always felt they were UNDER promoted), and I wear all kinds of MC stuff. Their sports bras (and longer version tanks) almost have a monopoly on my boobs, as far as workout apparel is concerned. I have a few pairs of capris, for both workout and "fashion" (ha, ha) - and although I don't own the Momentum shorts, I have a few pairs of tight shorts. Basically, I *heart* Moving Comfort. Although I guess that's not as unusual as I thought. Interesting.

    Also glad to read your review of the flipbelt. I've been thinking about getting one for over a year now, but anything else I've tried around my hips inches up. So here are my questions:

    1. Are YOUR hips bigger than your waist?
    2. If so, can you wear the flipbelt around your HIPS?
    3. If so, does it STAY THERE when you run?

    Sometimes I need an extra pouch to hold things when I work/coach, but if it doesn't stay in place, the thing is annoying as heck, and I might as well wear my running pack (which is, at least, comfortable).

    I just brought back 2 Moving Comfort Flex Tees, which were supposed to be used as workout gear, but were so light/soft/comfortable/cute that I decided they were actually "regular" clothes instead. We'll see how long that lasts. :)

    1. Oh yes, I was obviously talking about YOUR blog in reference to MC over-promotion. But not really. Now that I think about it, I remember you mentioning it once or twice, but I've never felt like you've been in-my-face about any of the products you've mentioned. I was definitely thinking of other blogs when I said that, many of which I no longer read.

      I believe my hips are slightly bigger than my waist, but not by much. I've typically worn the flipbelt up high, but I wore it lower (beneath my shorts waistband) once and it stayed perfectly. No movement whatsoever. You have to make sure you size down, though; I don't think it would stay that low if it were any bigger. Unfortunately, for me the tightness means that when I wear it up higher (which is actually where I would prefer to wear it), it feels uncomfortably tight. The other downside, which I guess isn't really flipbelt's fault because it doesn't advertise itself as waterproof, is that my phone is not remotely protected from sweat. I've had to put it in a plastic bag which is incredibly annoying if I want to access it during my run.

      So, pros: it stays put, isn't a fanny pack, and really does keep your stuff secure even when the slits aren't "flipped in" (which I was really worried about).

      Cons: not waterproof, and not awesome enough for me to use it all that often. Although now that it's reentered my consciousness, I might have to give it another shot.

    2. Thanks! I really just want it to hold stuff. There is *nothing* that exists and is sufficiently water-proof for Singapore, so I use multiple ziplocks, and usually leave my phone at home. [Although I just got the #1, 100% waterproof, unbreakable case for it, so...we'll see!]

    3. That's a very good point. I'd say go for it! Although I brought the thing to work with me planning to use it for my run but just couldn't do it. I'm not entirely sure why.

  3. A blogger after my own heart. I feel ethically obliged to pay for everything I mention. :) Thanks for the Moving Comfort recommendation! I've never seen those out here.

    On the electrolyte tab front - consider Nuun? (I cannot care less how much publicity they do or don't get in blogland.) I don't like EVERY flavour. Nor do they make a grapefruit tab yet (if they do I will be all over it) but watermelon is excellent.

    Random question: How do you plan your long runs? If I have to think too much about the route or cross too many busy roads along the way (are there busy roads in Anchorage? I imagine there are, like...two cross streets and one of them is Main), I usually give up halfway.

    1. Ahahaha, two roads. I'll have you know that Anchorage is THRIVING metropolis, home to a whopping 300,000 people. Well, okay, not exactly a metropolis, but not a wee village either.

      I'm not entirely sure how to answer that question, though. I typically consider two or three places that are reasonably scenic and see if any tickles my fancy more than the others. My one rule for a long run is that it NOT be next to a main road. The road in one of the photos above is actually a random road that runs parallel to the so-called Coastal Trail (a trail that runs through the woods along the ocean. It's nice, but completely flat) that's only used by people heading to and from the rehab center at its end. It's a nice place to get some mountain views and a bit of elevation.

      Wow, this is way longer than I intended. Basically, I do all my long runs in places I know I won't have to deal with cars. That said, there are many, many horrifically ugly places in Anchorage full of stoplights and cars galore. I just avoid them.
      The one place I run that gets traffic has an overpass in the only spot I would need to wait at a stoplight so I rarely have to stop for any reason.

      I'm actually a big fan of Nuun. This was my first adventure into non-Nuun territory and it was disappointing. Fruit punch is my favorite! The various citrus flavors are decent, but not quite strong enough for me.

  4. Hahaha...well I'll take my 1/2. Sorry the Fizz fizzled out. You can send your extras to me ;). Maybe you are diluting it too much..or making it too strong? Just SAYING.

    I still laugh OUT LOUD every time I think of the chapter where she's in the bathroom and thinks that someone broke into her house and is passing her notes. (Just laughed out loud AGAIN while writing that). Her blog is equally hilarious. Have you ever read any of the Hyperbole and a Half blog? I think she is hilarious, too.

    I've been obsessed with New Balance shorts lately, which I never would have bought without a gift card that I won. They are 2 for $30 at the outlet stores, so they are also some of the cheapest shorts I can find, which makes them winners in my book.

    1. Yeah, I'd say 1 for 2 is pretty good. I swear I tried really hard to like them! Maybe I got a bad batch.

      That chapter is absolutely hilarious. But so is the entire book. I can't even believe her life. I'll have to check out that other blog!

      I think I MAY have tried New Balance shorts on once, but I can't remember what they were like. That's crazy cheap!

  5. A good pair of running shorts is an amazing thing. I have only heard of MC sports bras but maybe the shorts will do me good (they look fantastic on you, btw). Can you believe (and I hate to admit this) that this summer is the first time I have fully embraced running shorts? I have always worn some sort of bike shorts because I have been terrified of chafing. I really don't know why I was so scared and I really don't remember what I wore all the time. So this year I have been experimenting a lot with shorts and have been very successful. I use body glide a lot as a preventative measure and I'm not really sure I need it as much as I use it.

    1. WHAT?!?!?! How have you lived such hot places and not embraced shorts? That's crazy talk. I'm glad you finally tried it out! I really dislike running in pants, so I make a point of running in shorts as soon as I'm able to stomach it (around 35-40 degrees). Good luck! I wouldn't think they'd chafe much more than pants, but what do I know? I don't seem to chafe that easily.

  6. Your photos are always so amazing. I clearly need to move somewhere more interesting than the Chicago suburbs. Moving Comfort makes really good stuff. I think my favorite recent running gear acquisition is the Moving Comfort Rebound Racer bra I bought at the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago expo. It's so pretty and it works really well!