Gear, Gadgets, and Everything In Between

Lately I’ve been able to make some new additions to my running gear arsenal (also known as the Arsenal of Awesome). For starters, I finally hunkered down, took the plunge, and bought my first GPS watch. After doing a great deal of research and reading some pretty in depth reviews on several different watches over at DC Rainmaker’s blog, I decided I was going to go for the Timex Run Trainer 1.0 – lucky me it seemed as though the 2.0 would be coming out shortly, so I opted to wait for that instead. For the past couple of years I have been using my the Map My Run app on my phone to track all of my runs. It’s simple, easy, and all I have to do is start it up and I’m literally off and running. But for those of you who have smart phones know, battery life can cause an issue if you’re out on a long run. Then add to that the times when the gps tracking seems to think I’m running in rivers (don’t ask me how)…I figured it was time to invest in a piece of equipment that would last for longer than 2 hours.

My initial experience with the Timex 2.0 was not a pleasant one. However, this was largely in part due to user error…or user idiocy, lol. I bought the little guy at the Rock N Roll DC expo this past March before it was actually released to consumers to buy in stores or online. The salesman was pretty good at explaining how the watch was supposed to work, but he just forgot one minor detail – he didn’t tell me how to turn the blasted thing on when I got it out the box! So for a good 2-3 days I moped because I thought I was sold a defective piece of equipment. Finally, in doing some searches online as to how to restart the Timex 1.0, I tried to restart the 2.0 and success! Once I figured out how to calibrate the watch, and remembered to initiate the gps signal prior to each run (something I never had to do with the Map MY Run app), it has been relatively smooth sailing. It is chockful of cool little things, like the interval training where you can basically create a program/workout to follow when running. I’ve played around with the interval setting on a very basic level, a simple 3 minute running to 1 minute walking ratio, but I would like to get into it a little more and really try to maximize its ability to create workouts where I am targeting a certain zone/pace for a period of time to be followed by a rest/recovery period. The watch also has nutrition alarms which is cool for those folks who need a reminder as to when to hydrate or fuel up while running. For a runner like me who listens to music (loudly) when I run, it also has the option of being set to vibrate mode, which allows for me to still keep track of the reminders I’ve set. I’m liking this watch a lot, and for the first couple of weeks I wore it everyday – it functions as a pretty decent everyday watch too, and used the hourly chimes I set as reminders for me to drink a glass of water. Which I should probably start doing again…

quick shot of the Timex 2.0

quick shot of the Timex 2.0

I’ve added some new shoes to my arsenal of awesome (lol) as well! With my lovely Asics 2170s coming to the end of their lifespan I was in the market for another pair of running shoes that would be able to take the pounding on my long distance runs. I went to my local running store and was fitted for several kinds of running shoes, but none of them really struck my fancy. Now, forgive me for being a little vain here, but plus size runners like a little jazz and pizzazz in our running shoes too! Every pair of shoes I was shown was either in a boring color or had a massive platform to it. I get it…bigger runners need shoes with a little more cushion so as not to completely mess up our joints with the extra weight and mass we are putting on our knees and feet when we run. I don’t argue with that…not one little bit. However, I hated the fact that every shoe I put on felt unnaturally heavy and looked as though I was on platforms of sorts. I decided that I would do a little research of my own and found a couple of pairs of shoes that had a low enough profile, were sturdy enough for long distance running, and had some pretty jazzy colors to boot. Instantly I fell in love with the Mizuno Wave Creation 14’s. Super cute, super comfy, and breathable….they have this little mesh thing at the toe of the shoe which will just be awesome for those runs in the summer months. I’ve been running in them pretty consistently for the past month or so and I’m very pleased with them. So much so, that I might buy another pair in a different color so that I can prolong their life.

Fresh out the box...sadly they don't look as new anymore, lol.

Fresh out the box…sadly they don’t look as new anymore, lol.

Another pair of shoes I’ve had the fortune of acquiring were the Nike Free 5.0’s. Now, normally I don’t wear Nike shoes – most folks will tell you that they tend to run a little small in sizing. But, as these were freebies for some super bad ass volunteering I did at the recent Nike Women’s Half in DC, I had a chance to try them out. They’re super comfy, though it took a week or so for me to break them in. I like their low profile and have been able to take them out for a short run as well as use them in the gym. These will serve me pretty well as my beloved New Balance Minimus Zeroes might be approaching the end of their lifespan as well. Another bonus to the Nike Frees are that they are completely customizable. I went to the Nike site and began to play around with some of the options for the shoe and wound up with these creations:

Custom Nike Frees

Don’t be surprised if you see me in these babies soon!

I call them "Pink Lemonade"

I call them “Pink Lemonade”…One shoe says Lightning and the other Thunder. πŸ˜‰

Slowly, but surely, I’m incorporating more gear into my arsenal of awesome. I think as time has gone by, and I’ve gotten more and more into my running, I’m ready to try some new things that might help me become more mindful about my training or just allow me to have a bit more variety when I lace up the running shoes.

Nike Frees (upper left), Mizuno Wave Creation 14s (right), New Balance Minimus Zero (lower left)

Nike Free 5.0 (upper left), Mizuno Wave Creation 14 (right), New Balance Minimus Zero (lower left)

My next acquisition will be colored running tights. I bought a pair for the Nike Women’s Half that I had been eyeing and it was love at first try in the fitting room.

IMAG0585-1

Fabulously flashy at the Nike Women’s Half

Here are some others that I have my eye on as well…

Coloful Tights

*sigh* So many colors…so little time. πŸ™‚ No doubt I won’t be hard to miss at any of my upcoming races in those things, lol.

Speaking of, I ran in the Frederick, MD Half Marthon last Sunday. Why I decided that doing two half marys in a week span was a good idea is beyond me. But, it was fun nonetheless. The folks of Frederick are super friendly and you could tell that they are very proud of their half marathon. The race started at 7am, pretty early – which I loved, and I saw spectators all along the race route. Folks sat on their steps to cheer us on and one lady even offered her bathroom for runners who really had to go. Just good folks. Plus I got my own little surprise from a friend of mine right around mile 11.

Best...sign...EVER.

Best…sign…EVER.

Not only was the sign a welcome surprise and morale booster, but so was the little rest break I got to take while posing for the photo. BIG love to my friend MK for the sign. Aside from making kick ass signs, she’s an amazing photographer. Check out some of her work here and her blog here. πŸ˜€

Oh, by the by….did ya know that May is National Runners Month? Well it is! Exciting isn’t it? Go out and log an extra mile or two, hug a runner, or treat yourself to some cool running gear in celebration of runners worldwide.

Till next time! πŸ™‚

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One thought on “Gear, Gadgets, and Everything In Between

  1. Pingback: My Runner’s Evolution…or Runvolution | The Curvy Road Runner

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