Monday, December 15, 2014

Gifts for the Runner in Your Life

As I shop around for some running friends + blends + fitness enthusiasts in my life, it always amazes me how many new things show up every year - new technology, new shoes, new everything that I always want to buy for them... and myself. As you're shopping for the runner in your life, bear in mind that every runner has their particulars when it comes to shoes, type/brand of clothing, and even their prefered kind of headphones! Know your runner... but also know that gift cards to their favorite local running store or online shop!

But if you want to get them something 'real' and not just a card, here's my fave ideas for your favorite runner this year.

1. Runners World Subscription
RW was one of the best gifts I bought myself a few summers ago. Full of tips, tricks, and some pretty amazing stories, it's a great resource and source of motivation and inspiration. Right now, a 2-year subscription is just $32 - a pretty freaking sweet deal, if you ask me!

2. Bulk Run Fuel
Again, this is when it's pretty crucial to know their fueling preferences - beans? Goo? Chews? Snoop in their kitchen cabinets, find their fave, and buy it in bulk for them! I know I'd sure love someone who saved me $40 and stocked me up for most of the next few months' worth of marathon training!
3. Road ID
These days, I feel like it's more and more important to have some sort of identification on your person while you're out and about. While I now run around streets I know, I also run when no one is home, so if I were to have a problem, I'm not sure who would get information first. Road ID is an awesome (and pretty customizable!) ID band in a few forms - and now there's a new electronic tracking version too! Make sure your runner is safe and sound as they're out and about around town!

4. Runner Ornament
I absolutely love these and think they're beyond adorable. Especially if your runner is celebrating a first big milestone like their first 13.1 or 26.2, this is a great way to commemorate that! Gone for a Run has some super cute ones, both men and women, and are customizable with hair color and bib on the runner!

5. Medal Rack
This is actually one of the things that's on my list this year! I made my own medal rack a few years ago, and once I pull all my medals out of storage, that rack is going to be way overloaded. There are shops all over Etsy and the interwebz, and tons are customizable with names, phrases, or inspirational quotes. Below is one of my faves from Strut Your Stuff Sign Co. on Etsy. LOVE.

6. Sparkly Soul 
I know I talk about these all the time - but I seriously mean it when I say that Sparkly Soul is the only headbands I wear and the only ones that work for me. It's just a super added bonus that they're sparkly - but if your runner isn't into the whole sparkly game, there's a satin line too! Follow SS on all social media, as there are regular deals and extra special packages out there. Holiday packs are new as of a few weeks ago and I'm beyond tempted to buy myself a few combinations...

7. Pedicure Package
Runners have ugly feet. That's a fact of life. We attempt to keep them pretty, but that really only hides bruised toenails, if we have them at all. And best yet, this isn't limited to just women... any runner would appreciate having their feet get a little love for a bit.

8. Race Registration
You will blow the socks off your runner if you surprise them with a gift to that race they've been eye-balling and have been oh-so-casually talking about. (Dear whoever's reading this: I haven't registered for Surf City 2015 yet). If there is a race you know they'll love, have been waiting to register for, you'll get bonus points for paying that much attention and doing the registration - no better gift!

9. Pro Compression
Especially for those running long distances regularly, compression socks are a must-have. Pro Compression happens to be my personal fave - while they started with solid, bold colors, they've released some pretty adorable patterns and designs lately that I am loving. Bonus: through 12/19, use code "2014" for 42% off everything. Yep, everything. Do it. Now.

I hope I've provided you at least a few ideas to check someone off your shopping list! Happy shopping!

Have other ideas? Share them below!

Monday, December 1, 2014

November Recap

Total run mileage: 91.71 miles
Highest weekly run mileage: 28.5 (woo!)

# Runs: 17
# Rest days: 10 (five of those were sick days in bed)
# Cross-training workouts:  6! Look at me... finally doing something other than running. These were walks and hikes, but at least different! 
# Races: Just one... Doug's first 10K! 
     - Dino Dash 10K 

Favorite run: 70 minutes, 7.8 miles. I nailed this run more than I ever thought possible. On a Wednesday morning, our training called for 70 minutes, so I figured at the least, I'd knock out 7 miles and if I got to more than that, that'd be a super duper win. Of all my usual routes around here, the longest is 5, so I knew I'd need to change it up a bit and find some extra distance. I even went and ran the hill that I've thought for a long time would be a sweet hill training place - it kicked my butt pretty hard, but didn't knock me down, that's for sure. I've never felt that good on a decently long run in a long time, especially considering I didn't fuel at all. It was a perfectly gorgeous, sunny, and cool morning and I couldn't have asked for more! 

Most hardcore run:  I really wouldn't call it all that hardcore, but it's been awhile since I've run 13 miles without wearing a bib on my shirt and without getting a medal at the end. The fun of marathon training has certainly begun (erm, sarcasm) and we're gearing up for some realllly long runs. IERC does this right, though - especially for the newbies who had literally never gone so far. So they celebrated with (milk chocolate) medals and a finish line! 

Current need: Good vibes for my interview on Thursday, please! I'm really excited about this one and am hoping it turns out to be the thing looking for me, too. 

Current favorite: I'm super excited Sparkly Soul released gift cards, just in time for all the holidays - because people know I love them, and have a billion, so what on earth color to choose? Well, now you don't have to decide for me, kids. You can just gimme the card and I'll decide for myself! 

You can order gift cards here for your favorite sparkly runner or fitness enthusiast in your life! (Hint: I'm one of them)

Current triumph: Knocking out almost another 100-mile month, despite not running for 6 days because of that damn cold. It is beyond helpful that IERC is starting to rack up those long runs for LA Marathon training, otherwise, I don't think I would have gotten as close, considering compared to past months, I only ran 17 times this month. Pretty amazing. 

Current goal: One more 100 mile month to wrap up 2014, please. If I can knock out 100 more miles in December, that'll put me at almost 5 100-mile months in a row: August, September, October (98.5), November and December. Which means that in the last 5 months of the year, I ran almost double of what I did in the first seven months (282). I call that a victory, don't you?

Looking forward to: Christmas, all things December, my sister coming home for a few days, Vegas for Doug's 30th birthday... and wrapping up 2014. Looking forward to saying good riddance to this year and kicking off 2015 with a hopeful bang! 

What are your biggest accomplishments from this month? Goals to wrap up the year?

Friday, November 28, 2014

{Guest Post} Cold Weather Favorites

As cold weather is hitting everywhere else in the US (except, you know, Southern California), I asked a few Sweat Pink sisters to share their favorites, tricks and tips for beating the ice and still staying on top of their fitness game in the winter. They'll be featured here this week! 

Last, but not least... Ivanna, from Petite Heartbeat!


Cold weather running can be challenging. When I first moved to Denver in winter 2011, I knew my running life was over, at least for the season! :) Not only was it cold, I also couldn’t seem to adjust to the altitude. Being 5280 feet up was not agreeing with me.

I would usually run about 3-5 times a week before moving to Denver and that dropped to 1 time a week. Not cool! Well, certainly cool as in cold but not so awesome...  well you get the point. 

Needless to say I needed to do something, so first I stocked up on cold weather running gear. I purchased a breathable jacket, some gloves, hats and a balaclava to cover my mouth, thick socks also came in handy. My favorite cold weather gear came from Nike. They have a great selection of items my favorite being their compression leggings. These items helped me deal with the elements. 

Like these Nike ProHyperwarms! And the patterns are just fun.
Aside from staying warm, now I just needed to get my breathing down. In order to get into running shape in the altitude I would build my endurance by doing run/walk circuits. I ended up running more than walking in order to stay warm.

I now run 3-5 days a week, and when the temp is very cold and icy I just take it to the treadmill in my basement. This is probably my favorite cold weather running item!

Stay Warm and Run Fast!

xx Petite Heartbeat


Make sure you follow Ivanna on  
  • Instagram: @petite_heartbeat
  • Twitter: @petiteheartbeat

Are you a "dreadmill" runner in the winter, or do you bear the temperatures (and weather) outside?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I Am Thankful

I can't lie. It's been a hard year - heck, it's been a hard last half of the year, at that. The first half was actually pretty amazing, between running, trips to Florida for fun and San Diego for work, weddings, and all kinds of other randomness! And then the second half happened. But despite the difficulties the year has shoved my way, I have a lot to look at today and realize that I have it pretty okay - and I do, in fact, have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Beyond having the basic needs met - I have a place to live, I'm fed and cared for, and despite being job-less, I still have a lot more than a lot of people have, and for that, I am so very lucky.

My family is always first and foremost. With the year we've had, I think we've pulled together better than ever. Our family cruise in April was beyond wonderful and despite saying goodbye to Papa and all the difficulty that has brought since, we're still together. Small and mighty (there are only 6 of us!), but we've got it good.

Family pre-cruise shenanigans.
Beyond just my family, my parents get an extra bit of love this year on their own. They've given me the opportunity to move home before, when I left  my job in Texas and before I got the job in Georgia. But here, having been laid off on that Friday, had my last day on Monday, and I was moved home to open and welcoming arms by Tuesday afternoon. Sure, parents can do this for their kids, but they certainly don't have to, and I am so beyond grateful my parents allowed me (and Molly!) to come back home while life sorted itself out for us. Thank you, mom and dad, for being so loving and willing to let your 29-year-old come back home and figure this mess out. If I knew any way to thank you for all you've done for me, I'd do it in a heartbeat... but this is all I've got for now! <3

Doug - my love. We had a pretty exciting year - not just as I've been back in California for over a year now, but finally got ourselves some trips and adventures to Florida, San Francisco and San Diego for a long weekend away. Between all the fun though, there were some messes, and as much as I know losing my job has impacted us and how we work (not always for the best), he's been the most supportive person out there. He gives me pep talks when I need them,  gets me to stop self-bashing on the rough days, and is my biggest cheerleader. I'm so thankful for this past year, am excited for more, and know there's better stuff coming our way. Thanks, babe, for all you've done for me, especially as we get through this... it'll end soon!

Epcot, March. 
Running, especially as it relates to unemployment, has been my sanity, my escape, my focus for the last five months. I'm thankful, grateful, happy that I'm healthy enough to maintain 100-mile months since August, that I've been able to keep up with my goals and plans, and follow through with my fitness commitments. I'm healthy, taking care of myself physically... and mentally, as much as possible.
Ready to rock! Rock 'n Roll LA, 2014.
I'm blessed with some of the best friends anywhere. My bestest friends are a little bit of everywhere - my sister in New York, San Francisco, Phoenix. Though we're usually hours apart, I know I've got them all at a phone call away, whether I need to cry (again) about job searching (again) or need a good laugh. But beyond them, I'm super thankful I've started establishing my own community here in LA, mostly via the NYR crew and/or the IERC and/or other running people in other circles. I'm thankful that I have some folks to rely on around here and that they're my growing running family too!
Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas, 2013.
This year, there are only 5 of us in my family that would have come together (originally at Mimi's Cafe), but Doug's family invited us over to join their feast! I am so excited, and nervous, as it's the first time our families have done any sort of holiday thing together! Excitement! Have a great, great, day friends - eat up and be thankful!

What are you thankful for? How are you spending your Thanksgiving? I hope it is amazing!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

{Guest Post} Winter Running: All the Small Things

As cold weather is hitting everywhere else in the US (except, you know, Southern California), I asked a few Sweat Pink sisters to share their favorites, tricks and tips for beating the ice and still staying on top of their fitness game in the winter. They'll be featured here this week! 

Next up... Christine, from Run Out of the Box!


Long-sleeved shirts and fleece-lined tights are important, but I’ve learned (the hard way, in some cases), that it’s the little things that make a difference when you’re running in the winter. A good cold gust of wind here or a slippery spot there, and running becomes painful at best, especially in below-freezing temperatures and on snowy days. 

Christine rockin' that winter running look!
Here are a few things I can’t live without when I’m braving New England winters for an outdoor run:

Neck gaiter: These nifty neck warmers are over in the ski department of the sporting goods stores. As someone who had avoided skiing all her life, I was delighted to discover these. They can sit around your neck or, in really cold weather, pull up over your mouth and nose to warm your breath as it enters your lungs.

Vaseline: My running buddy advised me to slather Vaseline on my face and lips before running outdoors in the winter. She was very, very right. In addition to not breaking out from it, it’s kept my face warm and guarded against windburn. As a bonus, Vaseline also comes in a cocoa butter scent (and I think a baby powder scent, too), a far cry from the petroleum odor I remember from my childhood.

Hats/gloves/mittens: If you’re balking at wearing a hat, you can totally take it off mid-run and stuff it in your waistband (as you can with gloves), or you can get a headband that covers your ears instead. On super-cold days, I’ve been known to wear gloves AND mittens, which makes manipulating my Garmin and iPod difficult but keeps my hands toasty. I usually pick up performance fleece hats and gloves at Old Navy on sale.

Bright jacket: I have a lightweight, bright orange running jacket from New Balance that I wear when I run on snowy days. Not everyone has their headlights on, and not everyone is paying attention, and the more visible I am, the less likely I am to get friendly with someone’s front bumper.

The Heads Up
The other small thing about winter running is that, even though it’s beautiful, it can be dangerous. In the early winter, fallen leaves can obscure patches of ice. Throughout the rest of winter, black ice is definitely a concern, especially since not everyone is meticulous about shoveling sidewalks. 

Basically, if it’s a shiny spot, I give it a wide berth, and I avoid running through patches of shade.
Also, I’ve tried running with metal treads on my shoes after the snow is done falling, but I find them bone-jarring. I hate to admit it, but I’ll end up heading to the treadmill on icy and slushy days.
Still, winter running can be beautiful, and it’s worth it to get a few small pieces of gear and take a few precautions to get out and enjoy it.


Christine blogs about running, fitness, and healthy food at She trained for her first half marathon in the dead of winter in Massachusetts and owns more pairs of running tights (including fleece-lined) than she cares to admits. Find her at, on Twitter @cparizo, or on Instagram @cparizo.

What are your winter running must-haves?