Running in the Cold

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Found on the Jeff Galloway Facebook page.

Found on the Jeff Galloway Facebook page.

As I am doing my final prep for my first half marathon of 2015, it occurs to me that this race, the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon, is going to be my coldest half marathon to date. And as I am frantically looking at the weather reports, and considering how much to bundle up, I come across a post from Jeff Galloway’s Facebook page. It is a handy, straightforward chart to refer to for cold weather running. Runner’s World has a nice reference for weather related attire as well. So, enjoy this chart and stay warm out there while pounding the pavement!

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FlipBelt Review and GIVEAWAY

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A couple of weeks ago I was presented with the opportunity to test the FlipBelt out on my runs.  I was also given one FlipBelt to giveaway to a lucky blog reader, but more about that in a few moments.  What is the FlipBelt exactly?  It is advertised as “the world’s best running and fitness belt workout belt.”  I cannot with 100% accuracy say that it is the world’s best running belt, but I can say with 100% confidence that it is the best running belt that I have ever tried.  Currently, there are eight colors available on their website and five different sizes to help guarantee a perfect fit.   I have included the size chart so you can get a better idea about the fit of the belts.  As you know, I am a larger runner, so finding a good fit can be a bit of a challenge for me.  I went with the extra size option and it fits perfectly.  For reference, I wear a size 36 in pants and I have had zero issues with the belt.  I chose black because it is a basic color and since the belt would be concealed by my shirt most of the time anyway, I did not need a color that would standout too much.

*Unisex Size Guide
Belt Circumference Unstretched
**Max 
Stretch
Circumference
 
Waist
Womens
Mens
XS
22”-25”
0
23-26
25”
33”
S
26”-29”
2-4
26-30
26”
36”
M
29”-32”
6-8
30-32
28”
38”
L
32”-35”
10-12
32-36
31”
43”
XL
35”-38”
14-16
36-41
34”
48”

Shipping was lightening fast from the FlipBelt.  I ordered my belt on a Tuesday afternoon and it was at my house by Friday of the same week!  It is hard to top that, especially since shipping is free inside the United States!  I went on a run with the belt on the first day that I got it and I have used it in the bulk of my runs since.  In fact, one of my first runs with it was in the Midsouth Championship Half Marathon, and it definitely did not slow me down in that race!

This is what it looks like

This is what it looks like

The belt is very comfortable and you barely know that you are wearing it.  My first run in it, I had my house key, iPhone, and three GU packs (just to see how it felt) packed into the belt.  After five miles of running, nothing had fallen out or shifted into an uncomfortable manner.  Furthermore, the belt did not bounce up or slide down once during my run.  And that is still true to this day.  I have run several times now with some hefty items, and the FlipBelt still stays securely in the place that I place it in.

An idea of how it works (taken from their website)

An idea of how it works (taken from their website)

The belt has slits around it in which you slide your items into it.  You can then flip the belt so the slits face your body, thus further securing the items inside the belt.  There are no snaps, ties, Velcro, or any of the such fasteners.  I have not had any issues with hot spots or chaffing from the belt or stored items as of yet either.  This has been true for a 5K that I have run in it as well as a half marathon and a sixteen miler last weekend.  The only issue that I have had with the belt is that my iPhone 5, in its Otter Box, is very snug in the belt, which makes it difficult to use during a run without stopping to pull out the phone.  Also, when running with your phone, place the screen of your phone so that when you are wearing the belt, the screen will face outwards.  This helps with condensation and allows you to use it a little easier as well.   And since the belt is a spandex-Lycra blend that is worn close to your body, you might want to invest in two belts unless you want to do laundry a little more frequently than you current belt.

Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • No bounce
  • Stores several items
  • No chaffing (as of yet)
  • Items stay secure
  • Multiple sizes & color options
  • Cheaper than several other options out there

Cons:

  • My iPhone with its case fit a little snug into the belt
  • I am curious to see what happens with the belt in the extreme heat and humidity of the Memphis summer

The Bottom Line:

I wish that I would have bought this belt months ago.  It is very comfortable and performs as advertised every time.  I am going to purchase at least one more so that I can wear a FlipBelt on consecutive days without worrying too much about its cleanliness.

The FlipBelt has been kind enough to offer all of my readers a 10% on the FlipBelt by simply using the coupon code RunLrg upon checkout.  They have also been kind enough to allow me to give one lucky reader a FlipBelt of their own.  You can enter the giveaway here.

I was not paid or compensated in for this post besides being provided one FlipBelt for the review.  All opinions and observations are my own, and have not been influenced by an employee of FlipBelt or any other outside sources.

Runner’s Christmas List

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It is that time of year again when my family and friends inquire about what I might possibly want for Christmas.  I usually shrug and say “I don’t know.”  But, this year, I have decided to actually reflect on some items that I use almost daily and some items that would be more of a luxury.  I then decided to throw this into a blog post so there would be a place to refer my loved ones and I thought that it might be a helpful post for other runners out there as well.  So, here it goes!

7″ Running Shorts

Runners can never have enough pairs of shorts.  I currently own pairs by Under Armour, Nike, and The North Face.  All three companies fit virtually the same and perform fairly equally.  I prefer the 7″ length because being a bigger guy, the 5″ or shorter length exposes a little bit more skin than I like.  The 7″ length gives a nice range of motion for my runs.

XL Tech Shirt

Jut like with the shorts, runners can never have enough running shirts.  Nike and Under Armour are my preferred brands simply because they seem to be generously cut.

Under Armour Alter Ego Shirt

Superman Alter Ego Shirt

Superman Alter Ego Shirt

Not the compression variety, but rather the loose, graphic tee variety that is for sale.  I currently own the Batman version, but there now is a Superman and Captain America variety, and both are on my wishlist.

Brooks Glycerin 11, Size 11.5

Side view Brooks Glycerin 11

Side view Brooks Glycerin 11

I currently own a pair of these shoes and they have been treating me well, so I am going to need a replacement pair eventually.  Why not ask for another pair for Christmas?  I have the orange pair now, which would be great again, but the blue pair are great as well.

New Balance 1080 V3 ans/or Asics Gel Nimbus 15, Both Size 11.5

New Balance 1080 V3

New Balance 1080 V3

I have never worn either pair of these shoes, but both are recommended for supinators, which I am.  The color options are not overwhelming, but as any shoe store will tell you, buy your shoes by function, not color.

Asics Gel Nimbus 15

Asics Gel Nimbus 15

Pro Compression Marathon Socks and Sleeves, Size L/XL

My 1st attempt at using Pro Compression socks

My 1st attempt at using Pro Compression socks

I own a pair of each, and I love them, so obviously, I need more.  Red and blue are the two Pro Compression colors that I currently own.  I have a pair of black compression socks from a different company and a pair of neon green sleeves from another company as well.

Brooks L.S.D. Lite Jacket II, Size XL

Why this jacket?  Well, it is the highest rated by Runner’s World and that is about all of the knowledge that I have about a running rain jacket.  Honestly, I need a light and breathable jacket that does a good job of keeping me dry.

Warm Headgear, Size As Big As It Comes

For my winter runs, I need headgear to wear that keeps my head warm and repels sweat.  I currently run in typical beanies and they become consumed with sweat very quickly.  The biggest issue is that my head is rather large, 24+ centimeters, so finding a via option is tricky.

Socks, TBD

As I previously mentioned, I need so new socks to help battle my blister issues.  Once I discover that sock, they will be in this slot.

GoPro Hero3+, Black Edition

Hero 3+ Black

Hero 3+ Black

Do I need this? No.  Would the Silver or even the White edition work? Probably.  But if I am asking for one, I might as well as for the top in one.  I go back and forth on wanting one of these because I do not know how it would work for me during an event, but the idea of wearing this for the WDW Marathon, Spartan Sprint in Tampa, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, and several of my local races is quite enticing.  This is definitely in the why not ask for it category.

The Flipbelt, Black or Blue, XL

My Armpocket is great, and it has served me well, but I have been having some arm pain after my long runs, so I need to try some new options on these runs.  After some research, I think that the Flipbelt will be my first trial.

Reflective Gear

I need any variety of gear for safe running early in the morning or late at night.  Knuckle Lights or a non-chafing vest are what I am thinking here.  On colder runs, maybe some reflective sleeves.  I will give almost anything a try here.

RoadID Elite Band

I currently refuse to run without my RoadID Elite, but my band is taking a beating, so a couple of new bands would be great.  I actually have two name plates, so I could rotate bands very easily.  My current band is black, but a red, blue, or orange would be great as well.

Race Registrations

If it is a race that you think that I would like, it does not conflict with my schedule, and does not create too much of a traveling conflict, it  would probably be welcomed.

Running Gear Repping My Favorite Sports Teams

Can be found on the Grizz team site

Can be found on the Grizz team site

I have a Braves running shirt, Red Wings shirt, and Braves workout shorts, but I would welcome gear from any of my teams to utilize in races as well as training.  Dallas Cowboys, Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis Tigers are a few of the teams that I still need to represent. 

Yurbuds Inspire Duro, Ear Size 4

Cobalt/Black Yurbuds Inspire Duro

Cobalt/Black Yurbuds Inspire Duro

I really need a new pair of headphones for my runs.  I love the fit of Yurbuds, even if they do not stay in as well as advertised (they start to have issues after a couple of months of use).  I have a random ear hole size of 4, so it is not easy to find these ear buds.  The red, black, or cobalt ones all would be welcomed.

Stocking Stuffers

All runners need small items like Run Guard/Run Glide, fuels (GU, Chomps, Energybits, ect), Nip Guards, KT Tape, Lock Laces, and similar items.  They are little things that runners use, but do not get much attention when compared to the bigger ticket items.

Blisters, Blisters, Blisters

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Blister – noun: a small bubble on the skin filled with serum and caused by friction, burning, or other damages

I have been having some issues with blisters on the outside of my big toes, especially on my right foot.  I have had some issues in the past, but the current issue is directly correlated with one pair of shoes, my Saucony Triumph 10’s.  I at first thought that the issue was because I was trying to break in the shoes, but I now have over 100 miles in the shoes, so they should be sufficiently broken in.  When I wear my Brooks Glycerin 11’s, I have no issues.  The problem arises after roughly four miles of running, and progressively gets worse from there. The issue has gotten so bad at this point that I do not have a blister on my right big toe, but rather a callus.

Callus – noun: a thickened and hardened part of the skin or soft tissue, especially in an area that has been subjected to friction

My first inclination for the cause of the friction was the type of socks that I was wearing.  I have some cotton socks that I wear on occasion, but that is very rare, and honestly, I probably wear them more often with my Brooks.  I have completely eliminated that over the past few weeks, and the problem has not subsided.

I have also tried covering up my hotspot with a band-aid, which helped delay the issue, not solve it.  I have also started to apply Run Guard to my foot, the inside of the sock, outside of the sock, and interior of my shoe to help eliminate the issue.  This has provided some relief, but not much.

Side view

Side view

I talked to some of the experts over at Kindrunner and they relayed to me that they have received some similar complaints from other customers.  They seem to believe that there is a piece of fabric in the toe box that causes the extra friction.  After inspecting the shoes further, that seems highly plausible.  I was also recommended to try a sock from Feetures, which I will be purchasing sometime this week.

Also, I wear a size 10.5 in my normal shoes, but in running shoes I wear an 11.5.  If I continue wearing shoes in the Triumph line, I will probably bump my size up to 12 or go with a wide variety since they are tighter on my foot than the Brooks.  This also might be contributing to my issues.  I am a supinator, and the selection of shoes available for me is slim.  Add in the fact that I am a heavier runner than most, finding a reliable and durable shoe is quite a chore.  Hopefully I can work out the issues with the Saucony Triumph.  Or maybe this issue will be rectified in the next shoe update.

How do you deal with blisters?  Have any certain shoes caused more blisters than others?

Make a Quick Ten Bucks

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Be A KindRunner

Be A Kindrunner

As you all know, I am an ambassador for Kindrunner.com.  Yesterday I received an email that was sent to all registered users from them that I thought you might be interested in.  They are currently offering $10 in Kindness Cash for anyone that registers or updates their information on their site.  There is no purchase necessary and it will take about a minute to complete.  Simply follow this link, and enter the required information.  If you already have a Kindrunner account, just log in prior to submitting this form.  If not, simply register for the site and enter the requested information.  And then, boom, ten dollars deposited into your account, good to use on any item on their site.  It could not be simpler.  The deadline for this deal is Friday, August 23, 2013, at 8:00 pm EST.  The information that Kindrunner is looking for is your current running shoe, days a week that you run, your favorite race, and your favorite place to run.  Very quick and painless.  Once again, that link is here.

Full disclosure here, I am a Kindrunner Ambassador, but this is not a paid position, and I am not being compensated for this post.  I just wanted to share this opportunity with my readers because we all could use an extra $10 towards our running addiction.

Another Pair of New Shoes

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I mentioned that I got a new pair of running shoes a week or so ago, but I never shared much info about the shoes besides what they were, Brooks Glycerin 11.  This was the second pair of new shoes that I have bought in about a month span, but I would not consider the purchase of the frivolous variety.  Susan would probably disagree.  But my rationale was simple, I need to have a minimum of two viable running shoe options at any given time.  I rotate my shoes from day to day to help the rubber soles recover from the beating they take.  This helps me squeeze every mile possible out of my shoes.  I am already at a disadvantage since I am a heavier runner (my own doing, I know) and I supinate severely.  If I get 250 miles out of a pair of shoes, I think that I have gotten my money’s worth.  And thanks to my new shoe knowledge as well as my Nike+ watch, I can keep a fairly accurate odometer on each pair of my shoes.

I do not have many miles on these shoes yet, nine to be exact, but they are comfortable.  I wanted a different pair of shoes to rotate with my Saucony Triumph 10’s so I could subtlety work different muscles in my legs and vary my run, slightly.  The Brooks Glycerin 11 has a 12 millimeter heel-to-toe drop versus the 8 milometer drop on the Saucony Triumph 10.  I am not going to get into the shoes hurt your feet or you should run in a barefoot shoe or minimalist is the only way to go debate on here.  I am just sharing my thought process.  Maybe after my marathon in January I will explore some of these other areas, but for now, I am going to not be too radical.  But I will say that the 8 milometer drop on the Saucony’s was one of the reasons I went with the Saucony in July over the Brooks.  I also had also tried out a pair of the Triumph 10’s in a  running event here in Memphis in April, and most of the reports seem to indicate that the Saucony is a little more durable than the Brooks.  We shall see.  They are slightly more expensive than the Saucony’s were, but the $20 difference did not factor into my thought process in the least.

Top view Brooks Glycerin 11

Top view Brooks Glycerin 11

Rear view Brooks Glycerin 11

Rear view Brooks Glycerin 11

Bottom view Brooks Glycerin 11

Bottom view Brooks Glycerin 11

Side view Brooks Glycerin 11

Side view Brooks Glycerin 11

 

If my opinions change on the Brooks Glycerin 11 after logging some miles, I will post them here.  But for now, I must say that the shoe is light and comfortable.  They seem to fit true to my size a little bit better than my Saucony Triumph’s do.  Again, that will be tested once I log some significant miles in them.  But for now, I am satisfied with the purchase.

Drink Water. Stay Motivated.

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The summer is nearly over and I am just now tackling the issue of hydration.  My timing is impeccable, I know.  There are numerous articles about how much water you need to drink, hydration rates, temperatures, and such, and I will not get into those specifics here.  They seem to change the recommendations with each article and whatever I post here will be out of date next week.  Instead, I will share with you some ways I stay hydrated.  I am not a doctor, I do not play one on TV, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night.  Rather, I am a larger fellow that runs, an the slower side, and I do whatever I can not to fall out on the side of the road during a run.

Drink more water

Drink more water

For anyone that I see on a regular basis know that I am constantly drinking water.  My daily water intake goal is 128 ounces.  I have been striving for this number daily since March 2010 when I was doing Nutrisystem and trying to shed one hundred plus pounds.  Nutrisystem calls for eight glasses of water a day, but I am an overachiever!  Most days I find it easy to reach the 128 mark, and in fact, most days I eclipse it.  As I am writing this post, I have already consumed around eighty ounces today.  I have never been a coffee drinker so that was not a barrier for me to overcome.  I used to drink several carbonated beverages, but I rarely do that anymore.  And honestly, I very rarely drink alcohol anymore either.  In the past week, the only liquids that I have imbibed have been water and chocolate milk, which is my go to recovery drink.  I even refrained from having margaritas for Susan’s birthday party since I knew I was scheduled to run the following morning.    The downside with drinking this much water is that I constantly feel like Forrest Gump when he meets JFK, “I gotta pee!”  This can be annoying on road trips, busy days at work, and long runs, but not unmanageable.

I use several vessels for my water consumption throughout the day.  While I am at home, I primarily use a twenty-four ounce Tervis cup.  I am addicted to these cups, and have over a dozen at the house.  They have excellent insulation for cold and hot beverages, and fit perfectly in my truck’s cup holder.  The only problem with them is that Beau really wants to share my drinks with me in a Tervis.  At work, I use a thirty-two ounce water jug, a twenty ounce Tervis water bottle, or my twenty-four ounce Polar Bottle.  I try to rotate them to help keep them clean.  Everyone on my floor are accustomed to seeing me walk to the water fountain throughout the day, and probably would call the authorities if they did not see me coming down the hall for a couple of weeks.

Tervis 22 oz, Nathan Quick Draw Plus 20 oz, Polar Bottle 24 oz, CamelBak 3L

Tervis 22 oz, Nathan Quick Draw Plus 22 oz, Polar Bottle 24 oz, CamelBak 3L

On my runs, I use three different vessels.  I have a twenty-two ounce Nathan Quick Draw Plus handheld bottle.  The bottle comes with a pouch that is advertised to be large enough for your iPhone.  This is a rather bold statement, and at least for the iPhone 5, this is not a true statement.  The pouch is, however, great for storing running gels, keys, cards, and the such.  There is also a reflective stripe on the bottle that is nice, and you can adjust it depending on how large your hand is.  The bottle is ideal for quick runs because it is not well insulated, and gathers quite a bit of condensation during a run.  Within thirty minutes, your water is warm.  I also run holding the Polar Bottle, and despite not having a strap, it is very easy to carry on a run.  Water stays cold longer in the Polar Bottle, and there is not as much condensation as the Quick Draw Plus.  The Polar Bottle is perfect for a run of about an hour.  After that, the air temperature and your body heat significantly warm up the contents of the bottle.  If you are in an environment in which you are not constantly holding the bottle or in extreme heat, the contents stay cooler longer.  The third option that I use is a CamelBak Military Hydration Pack 3L.  This is by far the easiest option to run with since you wear it versus carrying it.  When full, you are adding a little bit of weight, but it honestly is not that noticeable.  The water in the pack stays cool for over two hours, which is great for my longer runs.  I have only had two major issues with it in the three years that I have had it.  The first is that I get soaking wet wearing it due to heavy sweating underneath it and the fact that the pack produces a fair amount of condensation.  Of course, when I go on a long run, I end up soaked anyways.  Second, the Velcro on the adjustable straps wreak havoc on my running shirts.  I noticed this one day when I was washing my laundry.  At first, it was my older shirts and I thought that they were just wearing out from use.  It was after noticing some fabric on the Velcro as well as rough spot on a new shirt that I put two and two together.  I have since reversed the straps, and last weekend I did not notice any damage.  I am going to keep a close eye on it.

I also feel compelled to admit that I enjoy the taste, or lack thereof associated with water.  I get that this kind of makes me a freak, and most people cannot stand drinking the amounts of water they need daily due to this.  For these people, I suggest that you use Nuun tablets or Crystal Light or some other water flavoring product that is not full of sugar and calories.