Apple has disappointed me for once.

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that Apple revealed their new Apple Watch yesterday. I had been super excited for this announcement. My hope was that the watch would allow me to ditch my Garmin and my iPhone while I run and also do tracking like a FitBit, which I’ve been holding off on buying until after the Apple Watch announcement.

Apple Watch

I’m sad that they did not deliver from a runner’s point of view.

While I love the look of the device, and it has some nifty features (“We can sketch hearts to each other!” I texted to Jonathan during the reveal), it doesn’t do most of what I actually wanted it to do, in order to be useful to me–especially for $350+ price tag.

To replace my Garmin, it would need GPS. It does not. It has to use the GPS from your phone. Thus, it obviously doesn’t replace my phone, which I don’t normally run with now unless I want music. (I hate running with my phone, and with phones getting bigger–that’s another topic for me to rant on–it’s really starting to look ridiculous having them strapped to your arm.) It can play music, so that is a definite plus, but without GPS, it is basically worthless for running. I’d have to wear it AND carry my iPhone. Or, more likely, end up wearing the Apple Watch and the Garmin together. Goofy.

I also wanted it to have FitBit-like abilities, which it does, but it was alluded that you would need to charge it every night. This means no sleep tracking, which is really why I want a FitBit! Argh!

One BIG positive is that it includes a built-in heart rate monitor. I hate wearing the chest strap, so I would love it in my watch!

I’ve never been much of an Apple early adopter anyway (never had a proper iPod though iTunes was built into my Motorola Rokr, first iPhone was a 3G, still no iPad, Apple TV 3rd gen, and just got an iMac last year), but I think I’m definitely going to be waiting for version two of the watch. The device shows great promise, and I really hope they choose to include GPS in it and figure out wireless charging, so it won’t need to be removed while you sleep.

Anyone out there thinking of getting one?

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Running Skirts

If you know me, you know that I can be very girly girl at times. I love dressing up and looking cute. But I also like to be comfortable. When I first started running, I was annoyed by most of the bottom options of running clothes. While I like my winter tights, once it started warming up, I found that running shorts loooove to ride up. I just couldn’t run in them. But tights were impractical for warm weather. Sure, I could have gotten some tight compression shorts, but I felt self-conscious in those.

Enter, the running skirt (or skort). Running skirts are basically compression shorts covered by a skirt. So you get shorts that don’t ride up, plus something cute to cover them up with. Perfect! I’ve tried many brands over the last year, so I thought I would sum up my thoughts in one post.

Brooks

Deb and I at the Law Enforcement Memorial 5k

Photo by Michael Reyes.

PR Mesh Skort II ($34-$52)
Glycerin Skort ($30-$46)

The first running skirt I ever bought was by Brooks. It’s the blue one in the photo above, the PR Mesh Skort II. This is the skirt that made me fall in love with running skirts and soon after I bought a second Brooks running skirt, the Glycerin Skort.

The main thing that makes me love these skirts is they have a pocket on the right leg of the shorts underneath that perfectly fits my iPhone. I can put my phone there and know it won’t move. I wish there was another one on the other leg, though I’m not sure why, since it’s not like I carry two phones. This pocket has spoiled me, as you will be able to tell from my next reviews.

The shorts also have a little grip on the bottom hem that holds them in place. I’ve never had an issue with them riding up. I will say that they did shrink a bit after washing, so it may be a better option to hang dry if they are already a good fit.

I don’t know the exact differences between the two styles I have, but I generally enjoy wearing the Glycerin slightly more. I don’t know if I just like the color more or the way it fits, since both skirts are pretty similar. I bought both of mine on sale (Brooks generally has some colors on sale and some not), which makes them a great deal for training.

Lululemon

Team Aching Bad

Pace Setter Skirt ($58)

For the marathon relay, I wanted a black skirt, since we were color coordinating. Brooks didn’t have any black options that looked appealing, so I decided to try out the popular Lululemon brand, since their Pace Setter skirt had a cute ruffled back.

I really like the fit of this skirt and the length. But the weirdest thing about it to me? It has a tennis ball pocket on the left leg of the shorts. That means it’s an upside down pocket. That is completely useless to me, and I don’t understand why they would put that on something marketed as a running skirt. I’m contemplating seeing if I can remove it and flip it right side up, so I might be able to actually use it. However, the skirt does have a couple small waistband pockets that hold things like gels and keys, as well as a back zippered pocket. There’s just no place to put my phone, so I have to resort to an armband or waistpack if I want to carry it with me.

Since the brand is so popular, you will also notice that practically everyone who is wearing a running skirt will be wearing the same one you are. At the relatively small marathon relay (around 150 people total), I saw two others in the same skirt I was wearing. Same style and same color.

RunningSkirts

The Color Run - after

Runbow Athletic Skirt ($69)

For the Color Run, I wanted a colorful skirt that matched the vibrant colors represented on the Color Run shirt. RunningSkirts had just the item. The only thing is this particular item does not come in “running skirt” length. This is the “athletic skirt” length, which I found a little long. Also, the skirt seemed to run a little big, as it fits a little looser than my other running skirts. While it does have two pockets, they are located on the sides of the skirt itself and not the shorts. They also do not comfortably fit my phone, so I can’t put it there without worrying it’s going to fly out while I’m running. They have some cute designs, but being one of the most expensive options on the list, I tend to like some of the other skirts better.

SparkleSkirts

Sparkle Skirt at the Mo Run

DressMeUp Blue SparkleTech ($75)
SoftPlum SparkleTech ($65) with Rapunzel embellishment ($10)

I own two of these, though I’ve only run in one of them so far. One, of course, is the Rapunzel skirt for my costume for the Disney half. The other I bought because, while I don’t want to run in something new on race day, I also don’t want to wear my Rapunzel skirt ahead of time because of the glitter. So I bought a non-glitter but very cute skirt I can see myself being able to wear a lot over the years.

On trying on these skirts, my impressions were that they seemed to fit slightly smaller than the others I own. But not too much; I wouldn’t go up a size unless you are already kind of inbetween sizes. The skirts are swingy and around the perfect length. And…guess what? My pocket dreams have come true! They have TWO pockets (one on each short leg) that are more than roomy enough for my phone and other items. They also have a zippered pocket that you can wear in either the front or the back. They also come in super cute designs, but since they are some of the priciest, I would save these for specific outfits for races. The Brooks skirts are better for regular training for the price.

I wore one at The Mo Run, and, while I wasn’t running, I had no issues with it riding up and was perfectly comfortable over a pair of running tights.

K Swiss

Accomplish Pleated Skirt ($50)

I haven’t run in this one yet, but I thought I would include it since I own it. I actually bought this for my Halloween costume (Velma from Scooby Doo), but figured I could get some use out of it as a running skirt. It’s super cute and looks like a normal skirt, but does have a distinct lack of any kind of pockets. I imagine it would make a cute skirt for a 5k. I didn’t have any issues with the shorts riding up when I wore it with my costume, and the fit and length seems spot on.

It’s finally fall!

I have been monitoring the weather for tomorrow’s 5k all week long. Now, with less than 24 hours to go, here is what it is looking like:

fall weather

I really have no idea how to dress for this race, and I’ve got a few outfits packed in my bag. Runner’s World’s What to Wear guide suggests a short sleeve tech t-shirt and shorts. My constantly cold body says, “Brr!”

On my run yesterday evening, it was about 64. I wore a tank and skirt, which felt cold heading out and felt okay while running. I definitely think that I’d be too cold wearing that with a ten degree drop.

I’ve packed a long-sleeve top and a short-sleeve top with shorts. (I know! I just had the urge to wear shorts, which I will probably regret.) They have a bag check next to the start, so my plan is to wear one, bring the other, and switch out if I think I need to before the start of the race. I’m leaning towards the long-sleeve, though that might have something to do with the fact that it’s cuter. Although I’ve never run in it before (since it’s been 80-90 for the past month), so I’m therefore breaking cardinal rule number one of racing: never wear anything new. I did wear it to a concert, though, so maybe that counts?

Winter Gear

I stopped by Fleet Feet on Monday to check out some cold-weather gear. (I know. Wishful thinking with the 90 degree heat we’ve been having lately!) I wasn’t planning on buying anything (unless I found a good deal), but I just mainly wanted to know what was out there. While I started running in the winter last year, I did almost all of my runs on a treadmill, so I lack anything to really keep me warm on my runs, except for one pair of running tights.

While I was browsing through the women’s section, the owner, Christi Beth, came over, and I told her what I was looking at. She was so helpful! She said that since I already had a pair of running tights, the top things I would need are a pair of capris, a long-sleeved shirt, and a half-zip pullover. I asked her if I needed a jacket, and she said that she didn’t think it was necessary if I had the pullover and the shirt, since I could layer them as the weather dictated. I told her of my love of thumbholes and pockets, so she showed me a few options that she thought I would like from Brooks and Nike. I asked about headbands/ear-warmers, and she said they didn’t have any in yet, but to check back in a couple weeks.

I haven’t bought anything yet, but thought I would ask you all what cold weather gear and brands you guys liked.

Shoes are a Girl’s Best Friend

Running shoes

From left to right: Pearl Izumi Road N2, Saucony Kinvara 3, Skechers GoRun 2

I’ve always been a shoe lover, and that’s no different when it comes to running. I’ve alluded to the fact that I have multiple pairs of running shoes in several posts, so I thought I’d go over why I have each of them and their pros and cons.

Before I really started running, I was wearing some monster Adidas sneakers that I bought my freshman year of college. That’s 13 years ago, by the way. They were clunky, heavy, a half size too big (I swear my feet are shrinking), and did nothing for my running. When I decided to actually become serious about learning to run, my first step was to buy a pair of actual running shoes.

Skechers GoRun 2

Skechers GoRun 2

Weight: 5.2 oz
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
These were the first pair I bought, back in February. I’ve put about 150 miles on them since then. I adore these shoes. They are lightweight and easy to run in, no matter the distance. I’ve done every race so far this year in them. They are a minimalist shoe, which means they have less cushioning in them than traditional running shoes. Their drawback? After only 150 miles, the bottom tread has worn down considerably. Typically, running shoes should last you between 300-500 miles. I still run in them for now for distances between 3 and 6 miles.

Saucony Kinvara 3

Saucony Kinvara 3

Weight: 6.7 oz
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
These were my second choice when I bought my Skechers. I read somewhere that your shoes would last longer if you alternated pairs, so I bought these in May right after the Kinvara 4s came out, so the 3s were put on sale. However, they have a very narrow toebox and come up higher on my heel, so they give me blisters on longer runs. Now, let me just say, that I’ve got narrow-to-normal width feet, so this is not an issue of my foot being wide. I’ve remedied two of the three blisters I get by wearing Injinji toe socks (you can see them in the photos below): I get the mini-crew length so the shoes don’t rub my heel and the separate toes eliminates the blister I get on the inside I get of my left big toe. I still haven’t figured out how to stop from getting a blister on the outside balls of my feet, just due to the toebox being so narrow. They also aren’t as breathable as my Skechers, so my feet get hot in them (also might be due to the narrowness, since feet swell when you run, so they might just be closing off the air path). If I could exchange them, I would go up half a size; I think that would make a huge difference. I typically use these on shorter runs under 3 miles to keep the blisters down.

Pearl Izumi Road N2

Pearl Izumi Road N2

Weight: 8.5 oz
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
My newest shoe purchase! After I got injured, I decided I should have a gait analysis done at one of the local running stores and see what they suggested I wear, just in case my shoes were contributing to my injuries as I increased my mileage. I went to the Nashville Running Company, where they have a machine that photographs your feet from various points of view. The consensus? I have high arches with normal pronation, so a neutral shoe should work fine. I tried on a couple pairs of Mizunos (which I actually really liked and might try out after these wear down) and then these. They have a pretty seamless construction, so you don’t get any rubbing on seams within the shoe. They have more cushioning than either of my other pairs, so I plan on using these mainly on long runs of over 6 miles. (Lately, though, I’ve been wearing them on most runs until I get on a set training schedule.)

Bendiness comparison

As a minimalist shoe, you can see how much flexibility the Skechers have in them than the other pairs. Also, I love my Injinji socks. If anyone needs any gift ideas for me, I will happily take more pairs of them (especially in fun colors!), since I only have the one.

How long did it take for you to find the perfect running shoe?