Product Review: Saucony Swift Armwarmers

I am a hot runner.  Literally.  No matter what the air temperature, I always return absolutely dripping in sweat (sexy, I know).  I hate starting a run freezing but I know that if I layer too much, I will be regretting it within 2 miles. There have been many times that I have worn a long sleeve shirt and really regretted it.  I would love to wear a short sleeve shirt or tank with arm warmers but I have a long love/hate relationship with arm warmers due to the size and shape of my arms.  Any that were large enough to accommodate my size were fugly (and usually men’s) so I would just mutilate my husband’s tube socks and make my ghetto warmers.  Serviceable but looks horrible in pictures!

Enter Saucony Swift Armwarmers!  I snagged a pair of these after Thanksgiving. I was super excited because they have real sizes (not just “one size fits most”) and the colors are sharp!  I opted for just the carbon, for easier matching.

From Saucony.com
From Saucony.com

I tried them on right away but didn’t get a chance to use them until this past weekend.  For my long run (14 miles) on Sunday, the weather was overcast but in the low 40s by the time I started at 7:30 am.  I knew I would be too hot with a long sleeve shirt so I decided to try a short sleeve an my arm warmers.  They were absolutely perfect!  I did not have any weird “muffin arm” at the top and there was absolutely no chaffing and they didn’t budge a bit.  I am very sensitive to any little irritant when I run and I honestly forgot I was even wearing them!  I did not try out the “mitt” feature because I forgot it was there 🙂  I can’t wait to wear them again!

If you place your order by January 4, 2015, you can save 20% off from these or anything else from Saucony with the code “newyear20” – just sharing the info., no benefit to me.

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RnRDC Training: Week 7

Sunday– I was hosting a holiday light run in the evening so I broke up my miles for the day.  I ran 6+ with an early morning crew and then 3 as part of the light run. It was quite a bit of fun!  And the treats at the end were nice, especially the rum fudge!

Monday –  Rest! Little Runner and I decided to brave the cold and rain and headed for the zoo.  We had a good time and the place was empty!

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One of the zoo’s 5 (? or 6?) elephants

Tuesday – I had the day off so I met up with the 5am Muffin Run crew – named because the hostess for this run always bakes yummy treats.  You would think that an early run, right before Christmas, and in the drizzling rain would not be appealing but we had around 20 women out there! It was funny because there were two police cars meeting in the school lot where we meet up.  I’m sure they were wondering what the heck we were doing!  It was nice to get my four out of the way.

So much awesomeness!
So much awesomeness!

Wednesday – Still home and the weather is crummy so LR and I headed to the gym so he could hit the kids’ gym and I could use the treadmills. I ran 4 miles of hill intervals and I was able to hit 8:40 for a few of the intervals!

Thursday – Merry Christmas!

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I will never have to hunt for gloves again!
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I think this hoodie is my favorite present! It’s actually dark blue. From http://teespring.com/262run

After a relaxed morning with the family I met up with a few other stir crazy Mommas for a group run.  I was surprised to have any takers on my run request!  The weather was absolutely fabulous for my 7 miles!

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Tanks and t-shirts at the end of December! Crazy!

Friday– The pool is closed for repairs at my gym so I decided to try a PiYo class with some of my running friends.  Oh. My. Goodness!  I almost died!  So many one legged downward dogs!  Obviously, my core needed this.  I wish I could figure out how to make it a regular feature in my workouts.

Saturday – I’m still sore from Friday so I quickly jumped on the “flat 7” run!  I’m very lucky to live in an area with a lot of trails and water.  As we ran on a paved path through the woods, we were able to watch the sunrise and it was at it’s peak as we reached the lake for the turn around.  It was so beautiful!  The view was totally worth setting the alarm on a Saturday!

Miles the week: 31

Total training miles: 172.2

 

RnRDC Training: Week 6

Sunday – The family did a local 5K today.  We are preparing for our five miler next week so I decided to play around with intervals.  We did a 5:1 interval with a 12:40 average pace.  It seemed to work well for us!  Oh, and both my husband and Little Runner placed in their Age Group 🙂

3rd and 2nd ! And they deserve an extra prize for allowing me to dress them as elves :)
3rd and 2nd ! And they deserve an extra prize for allowing me to dress them as elves 🙂

I was supposed to do 3 more but my legs were killing me from Saturday and I needed to get up the Christmas tree so… crud.

Monday – Rest and taekwondo. I hope to make it twice this week but we’ll see.

Tuesday – 3.1 speedy miles.  I took 20 seconds off from my 5K PR!  My goal is to get it down to 28 minutes by spring.

Wednesday – The plan called for 5 but I miscalculated my turn-aound and only did 4.5.  Since it was 5 in the morning and I knew my coffee was waiting for me, I absolutely COULD NOT keep going past my street for the last half a mile!  I also threw in an extra taekwondo session with LR.  I’ve been avoiding the Wednesday night sparring sessions for far too long…

Thursday – Intentional rest day.  We are doing endurance testing tomorrow in our last swim session for the fall so I want to be well rested and (relatively) pain free.

Friday – Swim! My 300 yd time is 7:16. I have a lot of work to do!

Saturday – Our participation in Surfin’ Santa was nixed due to weather concerns so I ran 5 solo miles and then the family joined me for a MRTT holiday family run. LR ran a mile in 10:20 and then went back out for another one! This is the same kid who was complaining bitterly during the first mile on Sunday…,

Miles for the week: 16.7 -way too short!!

Total training miles: 141.2

Sweat and Tears

**I found this post languishing in my drafts so I thought I’d go ahead and hit publish**

I was recently paid two very unexpected compliments. One person described me as “bubbly” and another said that I am always so calm and always have everything together. I felt like saying “are you kidding me? Do you know the freak show I always have going on in my head?” It’s a wonder that I’m able to fully operate most days.

In addition to my mental neurosis is the fact that I am a “crier”. I can, and do, cry at the drop of a hat. My emotions have always lived very close to the surface and they often get the better of me, much to my chagrin. My brothers used to say that it was never difficult to tell how I’m feeling and I suck at poker.  The quick temper isn’t as egregious, at least I don’t think, as the crying. I hate being perceived as a weepy woman who can’t keep her act together (please note, this is MY perception of ME. I am not casting judgment on any of my friends or readers who are more sensitive).

So, what’s the deal? If I am the walking disaster that I proclaim, why don’t (more) others see it more often? I credit running. I remember a Gidget episode where she has her heart broken over something and goes surfing, saying that nobody notices a few tears with all of the saltwater. I often think of that when I’m running. It’s like my body is expelling the tears through sweat and it helps me keep things under wraps in my “normal” life. If I miss more than two days of hard exercise, I can feel the crazy steam building and the tears getting ready. I have been known to cry while running – usually occasionally not when others are around* –  and sometimes certain songs will trigger a really ugly episode on the trail.

It’s very hard to cry and run, let me tell you!  I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can have a quick cry, pull myself together, and actually pick up the pace for a really good finish.  I don’t know if it’s endorphins or just allowing my body to physically work though my mental shit storms but I think I’m a better person, more calm and even-keeled, when I just … cry.

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*my one running friend is probably thinking “What the hell? I see her cry All. The. Time!” Yeah, sorry about that… 🙂

RnRDC Training: Week 5

Sunday – I had my first run over ten miles since…I think May!  It was windy and chilly so I was dreading the run but it really wasn’t too bad!  11 miles at a 10:40 pace and I felt like I could have easily kept it up for much longer.  I felt like my legs were moving so slow but I was almost a minute faster than my target pace.  I don’t even know…  I think I’ll have a better idea as to what my marathon pace will be when I get to the 18/20 milers.

Monday – A real rest day.  I have a heavy week this week so I decided to not even do taekwondo.

Tuesday -Hill night was canceled due to weather so I did 3 miles of hill intervals on the treadmill.  I actually enjoyed it – even though I fell off the treadmill when I was trying to wipe my face off while running… I’m pure poetry in motion! 🙂

Wednesday – Another rest day.  I kinda messed up my planning so I had 11 miles on Sunday and will have 12 on Saturday.  That spikes my weekly miles by too much so I decided to cut this one out. While this was a planned cut, I still feel bad that I missed it.

Thursday – Another 3 miles on the treadmill.  I didn’t fall off this time but I did pop the circuit breaker about a mile into the run!  I was really getting into the groove of the interval and then *poof* everything went dark.  LR was running a space heater in the other room and that’s what shut me down.  I finished my run but wasn’t too pleased about the incomplete data.  Oh well!

Friday – Swim!  1800 yards of sprint intervals.  Intervals in the pool suck just as much as those on the track. Next week is our last session for the fall and we will be checking our endurance times.  I know I’ve made some real progress so I’m looking forward to comparing times! I’ll have two weeks off before the winter session begins but I hope to still do my swim (albeit at a more sane hour) on Fridays.

Saturday – 15K (get it? 12/13/14 15K!) +3 miles. This was a race put on by the local running store. It was their first time using this particular course and their second time using timing chips. My run keeper said it was almost 10 miles with an 11:06 average pace. The chip time says my pace was more like 13 minutes per mile. Now, I know what 13 feels like on that path and there is no way I was doing that! I’m sticking with my distance/time, which means I ran a half marathon without realizing it 🙂

Miles for the week: 30

Total training miles: 124.5

The Power of Positive Thinking

I was listening to one of the Another Mother Runner‘s podcasts the other week.  In this one, Sarah was talking about her successful BQ at the Victoria Marathon (episode #133 if you go through iTunes).  This was a big, huge goal for Sarah and she has been working really hard to make this race a success.  After the first 13 miles, she was feeling good but knew she couldn’t slack off so she spent several miles talking to herself in the third person.  Kind of like a sports announcer, “And here comes Sarah Bowen Shea, looking strong and reeling in one runner after another” (I’m paraphrasing, I can’t remember exactly what she said but it was along those lines).  And she said it totally helped!

The other week, when I was running in the rain and decided to see what I could do, I used the same trick and finished my third mile a full minute faster than my first (despite rain and dark and impenetrable glasses – and don’t forget the hills!). I thought it might have been just a fluke so I tried it again yesterday on my long run.  The wind was in my face for miles 9-10 and I was a bit tired and sore my run the day before and just wanted to be done.  So, I started doing a little announcer spiel, with many lines about “Unexpected Runner’s strong quads are really helping her to power through this wind!” etc.  Totally worked!  I kept an almost even pace for the entire run and had zero walk breaks.

I was musing with one of my friends about why it worked and she thought it may have something to do with the idea of “being observed” and wanting to perform well for an, albeit imaginary, audience.  I personally think that it’s not that difficult to trick our mind when it’s just being whiney bitch 😉

So, the next time you feel yourself starting to flag or need an extra boost, try talking positively about yourself in the third person and see if it helps! (I’ve heard it helps if you have a fast nickname you can call yourself) And then report back because I need more anecdotal evidence! 🙂

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RnR DC Training: Week 4

Sunday – This was supposed to be my “long” run for the week and, therefore, slow.  But, running with my favorite bunny buddy around one of the local lakes changed that!  We wound up doing 6 miles with a 10:14 average pace!  Whoops!  What really shocks me is that I have run this trail many, many times and it wasn’t too long ago that I was lucky to gut out a 13 minute average.

Monday – Rest and taekwondo.

Tuesday – My hill repeats were rained out so I just did 3 solo miles instead.  I have decided that I really like running in cruddy weather!  I had my fastest 3 miles with my last mile a full minute faster than my first and it came in at an even 9:00 pace!  This is despite the rain, hills, slippery leaves, and being unable to see much through my wet glasses 🙂

Wednesday – 4 miles.  I won’t lie, the mid-week miles are the toughest for me.  Add in PMS and stomach distress and, well, let’s just say this wasn’t pretty.  I needed 6 but 4 is going to have to do.

Thursday –  Hill repeats!  I only have a few more weeks of 3 miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I don’t know what I’ll do when that jumps to 5…

Friday – Swim!  I didn’t want to get out of bed and was considering bailing but I went and I’m so glad I did!  Some form work with a tough ladder interval at the end made for a very good but tough mile.

Saturday – 6.2 miles. My friend thought we were running 4.5 mile, I thought we were running at a 10:30 pace (no watch) but we were both wrong!

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Do you see that sub 9 mile?? Seriously, people, I feel like some switch has been thrown and I’m finally finding some speed! I’m so excited, I’m almost giddy!

Week 4, and month 1, has been awesome and I am very proud to say that I have stuck to my training plan for an entire month!  I know this is early days yet but I was already blowing off workouts by this time last training cycle. (bad runner!) I’m looking forward to the challenges of month 2!

Miles for the week: 22.2

Total training miles: 94.5

Review: Fabletics

I heard about Fabletics (affiliate link) a few months ago.  It is a membership program for exercise apparel.  You sign up, complete a survey, and they recommend outfits for you.  You can can review their choice for you before it ships.  You can skip a month (or many!) or choose to have it ship. If you decide you like it, you are charged $49.95 but you can easily return pieces if you don’t like them.

I was very curious to try this service.  I tried one once before but the sizing was rather… severe.  XLs fit like Ms and it was clearly geared to the yoga set.  Fabletics offers up to XXL and seems to be more my speed.

I had an Active discount so my first outfit would be $25.  I love a bargain so I decided to give it a shot!  I chose the Eureka top in L and the Camacan capris in XL.

Very nice, vibrant colors. Capris are not see-through!
Very nice, vibrant colors. The top is soft and the capris are not see-through!
The capris had fun detailing on the sides and along the waist.
The capris had fun detailing on the sides and along the waist.
Pre-run
Pre-run

Pros: The capris fit well and did not fall down!  The waist and abdominal area was a bit loose but I still had no problems keeping them up. I couldn’t have gone smaller because my calved definitely maxed out the stretch at the bottom.  The top fit well and had very long arms that could easily cover my hands (see above!) and could cover my butt when pulled down.  The sleeves were easy to roll once I warmed up.

Cons: I wish the capris had a draw string and a small pocket – but few at this price point do.  The shirt rode up when I had it pulled all the way down but stayed put when I kept it just below my hips. The long arms were nice but I would have liked thumb holes.

Overall: I was very happy with the outfit and kept it!  I feel the quality was just right for the price (even minus the discount) and I didn’t feel like a fashion reject 🙂

If you’re looking for a fun update to your running duds, I recommend you check them out!