Monday, June 26, 2017

Get Into Gear

When I started running, I was pretty bare bones. I had some custom NikeiD Free Run 5.0 shoes that I'd paid for with gift cards. They were several years old and hadn't been used for much running, though they had been used for working out. Other than that, I didn't have a lot of "running" gear. I had activewear, but much of it wasn't necessarily meant for running. My yoga pants, which had only been used for yoga a handful of times, did not stay up when I ran while wearing them. No one wants to constantly be yanking their pants up while they're running. I didn't have fancy sport headphones or a fancy GPS—just my Fitbit and my phone. But, I didn't have any place to put my phone while I ran. I didn't have any weather specific running gear, either. So, I was out of luck when it came to running in snow or rain. I did have a reflective belt from my military days, which I could use for running in low light.

When I started training, I would usually carry my phone in my hand. For my first race, the Fit2Fight, I wore a pair of longer shorts (I've never really been a short shorts kind of adult) and a wide strap sleeveless shirt. I used my phone for music and GPS tracking, but I kept it in my pocket, which is the reason I wore the shorts—they were my only active wear bottoms with a pocket.

The more I ran, the more I realized that I didn't like having my phone in my hand or my pocket. I learned that if I wanted to be able to increase my mileage, I might want to have a way to have water with me. I also learned that iPhone earbuds are not exactly running friendly. Basically, I learned that I needed to get some gear.

My first purchase was made from Steals.com. It was an inexpensive running waist pouch called a BAND-ITO. It claimed that it stayed put and it had three individual pockets for all of my necessities.

When I ran the Torchlight 5K, I was amazed at all of the different gear people had. Running skirts?! Running belts that you can attach your bib to so you don't have to use safety pins?! Sleeves that you wet with water to keep you cool?! Not to mention the GPS watches. And then there were the people who ran in costumes, which isn't necessarily qualified as gear, but is still pretty awesome to see.

I wore the BAND-ITO when I ran the Torchlight, but I ended up using safety pins to hold it down. It rode up more than I liked. It held my phone well enough, but the phone pocket was just a little too snug for my phone plus case so some of the stitching ripped. At least it was super inexpensive.

For my next race, the costumes were more extreme. The race was the Super Run, so the costumes were understandable but impressive all the same. It was pretty incredible to see the lengths that some people went to in order to look the part! I personally could not imagine running in some of the costumes I saw. For the Super Run, I was running with a jogging stroller, so I didn't bother wearing my waistband. I just kept my phone in the stroller.

After the Super Run I used my BAND-ITO for one more race, The Esprit de She. I was still irritated that I needed to use safety pins to keep it in place, but since I didn't have a lot of extra money to spend on a more high-tech belt, I was content with what I had.

I think it was around Labor Day that I saw a deal posted on Instagram. My friend, a fellow mother runner over at The Thrive Blog, was a SPIBelt ambassador and shared a special that SPIBelt was having. I researched SPIBelt and learned that I could use one of their H20 Companions if I wanted to run with water. I learned that they had bib toggles to hold race bibs. I liked the options, so I jumped on the deal. I've been using my SPIBelt for training runs and races ever since. For training, I rarely keep more than my phone in the SPIbelt. For races, I usually have my phone, lip balm, my ID, keys, and some cash. Once in awhile, I'll keep some running fuel in my SPIbelt, too. I don't generally put a lot in it because I don't need a lot. But as I train for longer distances, I know my SPIBelt will be there to keep my necessities close. I LOVE it.

I got some new shoes around that time, too. My NikeiD's were looking pretty worn. I ended up getting a pair of Nike Flex Runs. They were the best shoes I could afford and were pretty similar to the shoes I had, so I didn't have to worry about my gait being changed too much, which might result in injury.

It wasn't until earlier this year that I got new headphones. The iPhone earbuds hurt my ears and didn't stay put very well, but I lived with it because good running headphones are expensive, right? Wrong! Cue The Thrive Blog again. She posted a deal about her favorite headphones, Yurbuds. The price was so low, I was able to order a second pair as a gift for my neighbor. I loved how they stayed put while I ran, and I was super impressed with the sound.

I've used them for many training runs and a few races. I only recently upgraded to bluetooth headphones. My neighbor got a new pair of bluetooth headphones as a gift from her husband (apparently my gifts aren't good enough for her. Ha ha.) and she sent me a link for them. The deal was too hard to pass up. I'll still use my Yurbuds once in awhile, but for now I'm enjoying the cord free life entirely too much.

As far as running clothes go, I've gotten a handful of new running capris since I started running. My neighbor gave me a few pairs of hers that she no longer wore. I've lost enough weight that those no longer fit me. I enjoy running in capris but I'd like to try running skirts. I'm actually looking into making a sparkle-type skirt. Sparkle Skirts is a company that makes really fun running gear that is great for costumes. But, they are way out of my price range. I found a tutorial online, and since I'm handy with a sewing machine, I think I can make my own for much less money. I'm running a virtual race for Independence Day, and I would love to dress the part. There are prizes for posting on social media for the run and I figure a costume couldn't hurt my chances of winning something.

I'll need new shoes soon. Maybe I can ask Santa to bring me some. It's hard to believe that my shoes are only a year old, but you can only put so many miles on a pair of shoes before you start getting injuries due to worn out soles.

Running itself is a free sport. But, if you get serious about it and you want to have comfortable gear and avoid injury, it's going to cost you. In the near future, I'd like to apply to be an ambassador for a few different companies in the hopes that I'll get to try some new brands and maybe get some sweet swag. And, I'm always on the lookout for deals, whether on running gear or races. Someday, I'd love to run Ragnar or maybe even a marathon, and I'll probably have to set up a GoFundMe page to make that happen. I guess I've come a long way from the girl who thought people who paid to run were crazy.



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