Giveaway! – Lock Laces

Mom just ran her first half marathon (the Frankenfooter Half Marathon in New Port Richey, FL – full recap to follow) and I couldn’t be happier for her. To celebrate, the nice folks at Lock Laces are giving away three sets of Lack Laces to three lucky winners! You even get to choose the color you’d like! Super exciting!

Mom loves Lack Laces and raced in them this weekend. We love the bungee effect and the ease of wear. You can read my full review here. Those are pink Lock Laces on my mom’s feet…

Mom wearing Lock LacesHere are the entry instructions:

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Running in Portland

Last week, I traveled to Portland, Oregon for a work conference. I had been in Portland before (for Hood to Coast) and loved it, so I was excited to return. I remembered Portland as I clean, friendly city with great opportunities for fitness. My return visit only confirmed that view. I loved my trip to Portland. I’ll share my highlights.

First, the food in Portland was amazing! I love food and Portland is a great place for fun food. There were tons of great food trucks, avocado at every meal, and options for meat lovers and vegetarians alike.

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I love donuts. A lot. And Portland is donut heaven. Portland has Voodoo Donuts, the most amazing, creative donut shop ever. I had an apple fritter that was without a doubt the best apple fritter I’ve ever had. If I’m being honest, I had lots of donuts. And every one was the best donut of its kind I’ve ever had.

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Portland has a fun downtown and the Pearl District offers unique shops and restaurants. It’s a very walkable city. The opportunities for running were outstanding. Not only could I run all over town, I enjoyed several runs on the paved trail next to the Willamette River. It was gorgeous. And, thanks to being on Eastern Time, I got to see the sun rise over the river almost very day.

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All in all, I enjoyed my trip to Portland. Of course, it was a little painful Monday morning to find I wasn’t on Pacific Time anymore. But it was worth it. Portland is clean, friendly, and fun.

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Gear Review: Janji Capris

Recently, I was contacted by the lovely people at Janji and offered the opportunity to review some of the new fall line. Being a loyal Janji customer (and having reviewed some shorts in the past), I was delighted. There are lots of reasons to love Janji, and I was hopeful the new fall line would be another.

My Janji gear arrived and I was struck by how colorful and fun the prints were.

Janji box

It’s been chilly in Connecticut, so I decided to try my new Women’s Tanzania Capris first. The capris are grey, with a inset print of the Tanzanian flag at a strategically placed, body-con angle. Like all Janji apparel, a portion of the profits are donated to charity to provide valuable services to people in need. The Janji Women’s Capris give 1 year of drinking water to a person in Tanzania. I think it’s a wonderful thing to know that my purchases are benefitting others.

The capris  are 88% polyester/12% spandex sueded heavy weight jersey. The fabric is thick, but breathes nicely. It has a smooth, cottony look and feel and a good stretch. The capris are designed to be high-calf length, but on me were a bit closer to low knee length.

Janji capris

They feature contrast mesh fabric at bottom leg panel, ergonomic flat seams, reflective detailing, and cute contrast stitching at the hem. There is a small, zipper pocket at the low back.

Janji capris full view

I wore the capris for a long day of workouts. First, they went with me on an easy five mile run, then I taught Pilates in them, and, finally, I wore the capris to a weightlifting class.

The first thing I noticed about the capris was the fit. I perpetually have a problem with tights fitting in the hips and thighs, but being several inches too large in the waist. With the small waist and larger thighs typical of most female runners, I usually have fit issues and end up pulling up my tights often during runs. The Janji capris have a thick, elastic waistband that’s stitched flat. The waist actually fits! I put the capris on, and didn’t have to adjust the waist or cinch up a drawstring. They just fit. The wide, thick waistband kept the capris in place through all my fitness activities. It was especially impressive in Pilates class, when the fit of tights around my core is put to the test with lots of stretching and moving.

During my run, the capris performed beautifully. They stayed fitted and didn’t stretch or shift during the run. They wicked away sweat and felt comfortable throughout the run. The best thing I can say about the Janji capris is that I forgot that I was wear testing them. They were so comfortable, they were completely un-noticeable. Which, I suppose, is what we all want from our running clothes. The zipper pocked kept my key secure and was just the right size and shape for a key and a few dollars of a credit card.

During my weight lifting class, I subjected the capris to more sweat and lots of shifting in the form of squats and lunges. Through it all, the capris maintained their fit and continued to wick away sweat. I got several compliments about their unusual pattern and lovely, cottony fabric. By the end of my three-workout day, the capris looked fresh. The fit was great, they dried easily, and they kept me comfortable.

Janji capris on a runAll in all, I would highly recommend the Janji Women’s Capris. Not only do they fit and perform well, they benefit a critical cause. With Janji, not only do you get great gear, you help others. Perfect.

 

Gear Review: Lock Laces

Recently, I was approached by the nice people at Lock Laces about doing a review of their unique laces. In truth, I had been thinking of trying Lock Laces for some time, ever since a fellow triathlete recommended them as a way to save time in transition. I was delighted to have been offered the opportunity to try the laces.

Lock Laces are tie-free stretchy, elastic laces. The laces are one size fits all, 48 inches in length and are cut to size for each shoe. The laces are made of a polyester-covered bungee cord and the lock itself nylon with a little tiny spring inside. Lock Laces come in a variety of colors and are shipping in a little plastic baggie with the instructions printed right on the bag.

Lock Laces

I got my Lock Laces and was eager to try them. I followed the simple instructions (lace, cut, lock) and was laced up and ready to run within five minutes.

Lock Laces in use

Lock Laces close up

The laces seemed stretchy, but as soon as I got my feet in my shoes, I noticed that they felt secure. I did a few awkward, 80’s-calisthenic style stretches to see if my feet would slip in my shoes. Nothing. My feet were totally secure with the Lock Laces on my shoes.

My first run in Lock Laces was totally uneventful. I actually forgot I was wearing a test lace in my shoe. I suppose that’s what you want from shoelaces – they were so good they were unnoticeable. My feet were totally comfortable throughout the run. The next step was to try Lock Laces in a triathlon. I had seen many other triathletes using Lock Laces and imagined that they might cut down on transition time. I was right. I used Lock Laces in a sprint triathlon and shaved a few seconds off my transition time. It might not seem like much, but those few seconds can make a big difference. What’s more, as my feet started to swell from the transition between bike and run, the laces expanded, leaving my feet comfortable and secure. I was impressed.

I liked my Lock Laces so much that I sent a pair to my mom. My mom logs more than 30 miles a week most weeks and works out in Florida. She often has to stop during walks and runs to retie her shoelaces after her feet swell. I thought Lock Laces would be the perfect solution. My mom had this to say:

I replaced my standard laces with Lock Laces following the simple instructions on the package.  I wanted to give them a true test, walking and all day.  I did my walk and was pleasantly surprised, I did not need to retie my shoes.  Usually I need to adjust the laces after about 5 minutes on my left foot (arthritis), but not today.  Hmmm I thought.  I continued to wear the shoes all day and did not adjust the laces at all. Not even at the end of the day when my feet are a bit swollen and need additional room.  I am usually continually making small adjustments, but not this day.  I am not going back to the standard laces, I’m sold on the ease and convenience of the Lock Laces.

Yay! Two satisfied customers. I have been wearing my Lock Laces for about a month now and love them for humid days and conditions where I know my feet could use a little “breathing room”. They are durable and have stayed locked in place. I love not having to tie and retied my shoes.

Overall, I highly recommend Lock Laces. Whether you are a triathlete who wants to save valuable seconds, or someone who wants to stop worrying about shoelaces, Lock Laces are perfect!

Race Recap: Wineglass Half Marathon

This weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to be an official pacer for Marathonpacing.com for the 2013 Wineglass Marathon half marathon. The Wineglass Marathon Weekend events included a 5k, half marathon, and marathon. This year was the 32nd running of the marathon and the third year of the popular half marathon. The Wineglass Marathon is advertised as “flat, fast and scenic 26.2 miles starting in Bath, NY and finishing in Corning, NY on historic Market Street”. I had never been to the Finger Lakes region of New York, so I signed up immediately when the opportunity to pace the race presented itself. I love traveling and I love racing, so it was the perfect combination.

On the way to the Wineglass races, I made an overnight stop in Binghampton, NY. It was an adorable little college town that just happened to have a tiny, local 5k Saturday morning. I couldn’t help myself and signed up on a whim. I ran in the Run for Our Futures 5k. I wanted to practice my race pace for Sunday (pacing 2:30 half marathon), so I ran a quick 4 miles before the 5k at my race pacing pace to warm up. The 5k itself was in a lovely park, the Otsiningo Park.

NY park

The park had lovely paved trails, playground areas, and soccer fields. The 5k was run on the paved trails and it was a lovely, but humid fall day.

Otsingingo Park trail

I didn’t run my fastest 5k, but I did win a prize, so I was happy. After the 5k, I hit the road for Corning, NY, home of the Wineglass Marathon.

Corning is an adorable small town. With only about 10,000 residents, it’s a small town with a big river through the middle of town. The town was bustling with marathon activity.

Corning NY

I enjoyed a few hours walking around Corning’s old fashioned downtown and taking in the local sights. I ate at an excellent deli and then headed over to the race expo. The Wineglass Marathon expo was in the local YMCA, a large new building on the river. The expo was well organized and efficiently run. I got a lot of great swag – a string pack bag, a pretty purple long sleeve shirt, a wineglass, and a tiny split of champagne. The expo didn’t have many retailers, but they made up for that with Bart Yasso, the mayor of running, who was on hand to sign books and take pictures.

It rained off and on overnight before the Sunday race. Sunday morning, I woke up at 4:50am to the sound of pouring rain beating against my hotel room window. Not exciting for marathon/half marathon day. But, the weather cleared and left us with a warm and humid, but rain-free start. The races are point-to-point, so race morning involved a short bus trip to the half marathon start. At the start, gear check was well organized and there were ample port-potties. I didn’t have to wait in line for a porta-pottie for perhaps the first time ever at a race. A starting line announcer offered continuous instructions for runners. I found the start to be well organized and efficient.

Wineglass Marathon pacing

The race course itself was well marked and easy to follow. The half marathon course was a straight shot from Campbell, NY through Painted Post, and on to Corning. It is a fairly flat course. Coming from hill country, I was impressed by how flat the course was. There were only a few inclines on the course, one at mile 1.25, but it was otherwise flat or downhill.

Wineglass Half Marathon Elevation

The course featured well-maked mile markers and lots of water stops. Each water stop was staffed by cheering volunteers and everyone seemed organized and prepared for the runners. My pace group and I had a nice run through the countryside, through the small town of Painted Post, and on to a bike path. All the roads were even and the varied scenery was enjoyable to run through.

The real highlight of the Wineglass half marathon and marathon is the finish line. The last little bit of the race winds through Corning and across a large bridge. In the last half mile, the course turns on to Market Street, the anchor street in the old fashioned downtown, and finishes right in front of a cute clock tower on a little square. There are tons of cheering spectators and it’s a great finish. The finish chute was well organized and the food was amazing. There was soup, fresh pizza, cookies, fruit, and Coke products all delivered by friendly volunteers. In a nod to Corning’s glass making industry, the medal was beautiful, hand shaped glass.

Wineglass Half Marathon medal

Overall, I loved the Wineglass Marathon half marathon. As promised, it was a flat, fast, and scenic course. It was a well organized race and a friendly location. I highly recommend the Wineglass Marathon, particularly if you’re looking for a BQ or PR race!

Rock N Roll Providence, The Sequel

This weekend, I ran the Rock N Roll Providence half marathon. If you’re keeping track, I ran this race last year and chronicled my experience in the Case of the Accidental PR. I loved the race and the course so much that I signed up for the 2013 race as soon as registration opened. I love this race! Even though it had grown significantly in size, all the same amazing features were there.

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First, the course is gorgeous. It starts in a lovely older neighborhood, goes through a park, past the river, and then through the “downcity” and financial district. It ends right in front of the state house.

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The course is well marked and the whole event has amazing organization. Every detail is explained in emails and helpful volunteers are all over. Parking is simple. The start line is easy to find and well organized. Gear check is efficient – but isn’t even necessary thanks to nearby parking. On the course, medical staff are present and security staff line the roads. There see cheering spectators, lovely views, and interesting things to look at. There are great bands on the course and a huge finish line party. Even the medal is great. All in all, I love the Rock N Roll Providence series and especially love the half marathon. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a great course for a new PR…

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