Janji Projects Launch!

My friends over at Janji are simply amazing people. Aside from designing, producing, and managing a popular clothing line, they are always looking for ways that runners can tie back. The Janji line donates a percentage of proceeds from the sale of every item to amazing charities across the world. Now, they’re taking it one step further by launching Janji Projects.

Janji Projects is a crowd funded giving platform that allows runners to help others. Here’s how it works – the Janji guys will post a campaign to Projects.RunJanji.com and works kind of like KickStarter. The campaign will feature a particular apparel item that is linked to a specific cause. If the campaign is funded 100% the apparel will be manufactured and the cause will be funded.  It’s that easy. Anyone who backs the campaign will get one of the limited edition shirts and will know that their money went to an amazing cause.

The first Janji Project is the Uganda Run for Another shirt. The shirt is made of performance blend of polyester and rayon and features a pattern inspired by Ugandan basket weaving. The linked cause is the construction of water access points in rural Uganda. If the campaign is funded 100%, production of the shirts will begin along with parallel construction of the water point. Awesome! The water point will give 350 rural Ugandans access to clean water. Backers will get their limited edition shirt, and the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to make a real difference for Ugandans.

Clean water dispenser

The crowdfunded project launches at noon EST on October 27th on Projects.RunJanji.com. The design is exclusively available for preorder and, once the 100% mark is reached, the project will be taken down from the site. The shirts are expected to ship before December 20th.

Clean water dispenser 1

A little background on Janji from Dave:

The idea for Janji began at the DIII Track Championship meet, where Mike Burnstein and Dave Spandorfer raced the 10k on a stifling hot day. Needing copious amounts of water to just finish the 25 lap race, they were inspired to use their sport as a way to give people access to something they too often took for granted: clean water. After the meet, the two college teammates launched Janji. Now sold in over 100 stores around the country, every piece of Janji apparel has a design inspired by a country and, when a runner buys it, the runner gives clean water to that country.

“Our goal at Janji is to help inspire runners like ourselves to give back and run for another,” Spandorfer says. “By launching Janji Projects, the giving is direct. A runner can head out for a run knowing the shirt on their back provides access to clean water to 350 people in Uganda.”

April Challenge: Buff & Bendy

Looking for an amazing April challenge to jump start your fitness, or to add a little spice to your usual routine? My friend from Bikram Yoga Downtown Hartford and I devised a great one for you – lots of variety and lots of yoga. I love it and you will too! Not local to the Hartford, Connecticut area? No worries! Print out the challenge board and keep track of your progress! Join me on my Facebook page for updates, motivation, and more!

Buff and BendyHere’s the calendar as a PDF for those of you who want to join the challenge! Buff and Bendy Calendar

Gifts for Runners – On Any Budget

Is there a special runner in your life? Looking for a gift for a runner? I love my gear and I love running, so I’ve prepared a list of great gifts for the special runner in your life.

Under $25

Thorolo Experia Socks – Available in men’s and women’s sizing and cuffs ranging from no-show to mid-calf, these socks have an option for every runner. Coolmax fiber and padding on heels and toes ensures a comfortable fit. $14.99 and up

Road ID – Road ID keeps the runner in your life connected to loved ones in an emergency. Interactive options direct emergency personnel to a website; the original option allows owners to print several lines of text. We all hope we’re safe on the run. A Road ID is there for you in an emergency. Gift certificates are available if you aren’t quite sure what to write. The classic slim is $17.99 and a nice shoe tag option is $19.99. For furry runners, consider the Scout ID $17.99.

KT Tape – KT Tape offers targeted pain relief for a variety of conditions. It’s stretchy, reflective, and stays put for days, even in water. KT Tape can give muscles, ligaments, and tendons the support they need for healing and recovery of soft tissue injury. $19.99 for a roll of pre-cut strips.

KT Tape for fibula

Training Journal – The Believe I Am Training Journal is my favorite, feminine training journal.  This beautiful journal has original artwork and inspiring quotations on each page. Designed by professional runners, the journal tracks workouts, races, and has blank pages for sketches, clippings, and other details. For a unisex option, consider the Runner’s World Training Journal. Both are $19.99.

Believe I Am Journal

Bib Coasters – Reproduce a runner’s favorite bib on a set of tile coasters. Thoughtful, easy, and a way to commemorate an important race. $19.99

Lock Laces – A great option for keeping shoes secure. Check out my review here. $8.99 each or three pair for $19.99

SPI Belt – Need to carry gear with you on the run? The SPI Belt is perfect. It doesn’t bounce, comes in a great selection of colors, and fits everyone. I love mine so much I reviewed it. The original version is $19.99

SPI belt

Under $50

Saucony Ulti-Mitt – I describe these mittens/gloves as the best mittens in the history of mittens. I love them so much I have them in multiple colors and have recommended them to everyone. I even wrote a review and added them to my favorites. With a wicking glove base and a wind-resistent shell, the Ulti-Mitts are simply the best for cold weather running. Unisex sizing, so ladies, order smaller. $45

Ulti-Mitt

Run with Me Toque for her – This amazing hat is made of cozy, soft, cottony Rulu, one of Lululemon’s signature fabrics. It’s perfect for cold runs and running around town. The brim can be folded up for a close fit, or down for a floppy look. A ponytail hole at the back lets  hair fly free. $32 For men, consider the Sprint Beanie ($32) or Brisk Run Toque ($28). Same great hat, but a more masculine look.

The Stick – The Stick is a fabulous invention! With little bezels on a long rod, the Stick is ideal for self massage. Options range from a smaller travel version to the Stiff Stick. $34.99 and up.

Add a Day Roller – The Stick on steroids, this amazing self-massage roller is more intense. It features an extra-stiff rod and oddly shaped knobs that simulate the pressure of an elbow. I love mine! Retail prices vary, around $40

Add a Day Roller

Under $100

Base Runner Half Zip – Made of ultra-soft Rulu (a Lululemon fabric), this wicking pullover is crazy warm. With thumb holes and a high neckline, it keeps me warm on the run. An offset zipper adds interest and keeps my neck chafe-free. $98

Run: Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve – This Lululemon classic is great for every run. It can be used as a layer or worn alone. With an amazing array of colors, it’s perfect for every runner. $68. The men’s classic long sleeve, the Metal Vent Tech Long Sleeve is a great option for the lucky man in your life. $74

Swiftly at Cape Cod

Endorphin Warrior Bracelet – Endorphin Warrior cuff bracelets feature inspirational statements stamped in sterling silver. For women ($98) and men ($108) the bracelets are not only beautiful but inspiring. A leather-and-steel version is $20.

Allied Metal Display – The original stainless steel metal display company makes an assortment of metal medal racks. Custom racks are also available in any finish, pattern, and style. Prices vary and there’s an option for every runner to display his/her race medals.

$100 and Up

Fluff Off Pullover – With down filling, cuffing, and a water repellent shell, this pullover is perfect for whatever winter weather has to offer. Stretchy side panels ensure the pullover moves with you on the run. $158

PNW Jacket – (Men’s) Softshell fabric exterior and brushed interior make this jacket perfect for winter’s worst weather. Thumbholes and a hood keep hands and head cozy warm. $198

Happy holidays!

 

Friday Favorite: Sweet Potato Chips

Loyal readers will know that I love Mexican food of all kinds. A while back, I was looking for an alternative to traditional tortilla chips. I tried all kinds of different chips and a number of different brands. When I took my first taste of Food Should Taste Good sweet potato chips, I knew I had found my new favorite chip.

 

The sweet potato chips are just one variety in their line of interesting chips, including kettle cooked sweet potato chips. I’ve tried several varieties, including the blue corn (yum!), lime, and multigrain, but the sweet potato chips are the best. I love these chips. The chips are all natural, light, crisp, and delicious. They have the slightly nutty flavor of sweet potatoes, but with just a hint of cane sugar and salt. Delicious!

The chips are sturdy, a great size for dipping, and delicious with nearly any topping. I love them with Mexican food and by themselves as a cracker. I love chips, and the Food Should Taste Good sweet potato chips have just enough nutritional value to make me feel completely justified eating chips every day. All Food Should Taste Good chip varieties are gluten free, cholesterol free, have zero grams trans fats, and are certified Kosher.  Plus, all varieties are enrolled in the non-GMO project and many varieties are certified vegan. What’s not to love?!

Looking for the perfect healthy black bean soup to eat with your chips? Try my favorite crock pot recipe (hint – no soaking the beans). Check it out on Fitness-Love.

Dr. Rachel’s Re-Launch!

I’m movin’ on up…to the East side…to a new website. To a de-luxe host in the sky. I’m moving on up and making changes here at DrRachelRuns. You may have noticed. In fact, I’ll be doing a super fun giveaway to celebrate the occasion of my big relaunch. Here’s what’s new at DrRachelRuns:

  • I have a cool new logo! Check it out. It’s right there at the top of the page.
  •  I have a new host! I decided it was time to move on from WordPress and move to my very own host. The fantastic Tara and Joann at Tara’s Web transferred all my content and got my blog all set up on her servers. This move gives me the freedom to bring more fun running content to you, my loyal readers. This change wasn’t without a few technical issues. Unfortunately, WordPress would not let me transfer all my email followers over to the new location. If you subscribed/followed by email in the past, you’ll need to re-subscribe. You also need to change your RSS feeds. Please follow me here at the new site by clicking on the “subscribe” button! Note: If you have a Mac and want to read the RSS in Mail, click on the XML version of the feed. All other feed readers are listed on the RSS page. Email is easy – just enter your email in the email box and click “subscribe”.
  • The blog has a new look! Let me know what you think. I think it looks sharp and totally worthy of my new look.
  • I was selected as a Sweat Pink Ambassador! I wanted to be involved in this amazing community as soon as I read their mission. Here it is:

We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick.

The goal of the Sweat Pink Ambassador program is simple – sweat hard, play hard, and inspire those around us to achieve their best selves. I’m delighted to be a part of this amazing group of women.

Whew! That’s a lot of changes!

And now, for a giveaway to celebrate my grand re-launch!

Enter to win one of the following fabulous prizes: one of two super cool DrRachelRuns.com performance technical shirts, one of three pairs of super fun Sweat Pink bright pink shoelaces.

Entering to win is simple. All you have to do is subscribe to my blog via RSS or email. Leave a comment below to let me know that you followed DrRachelRuns and you’ll be entered to win a fabulous prize.

I sure hope that all this movin’ comes with a piece of that pie…

Friday Favorite: Socks, Part 2

A few weeks ago I raved about Lululemon’s running socks in Part 1 of this two part series. I must admit that they are not my only sock love. I love (and feel the need to share this love with you) my Experia CoolMax Thin Cushion Mico Mini Crew socks by Thorlos.  Despite the obvious drawback of having a crazy long name, these Experia socks are amazing.

First, and most importantly, these socks hold tight and don’t shift around while running or cycling. The foot-hugging shape makes the socks stay put – even on long runs in the rain. There is a subtle drawing in around the arch and top of the foot that really holds the sock in place. Next, the Experia socks have a unique padding distribution. According to the manufacturer, the thin cushion padding is sculpted to and contoured to match the natural foot strike pattern. This means that the padding is soft and squishy only on the ball of the foot and bottom of the heel. I love thin socks, and the cushion in the Experia socks adds comfort without bulk. The padding is just right for me – it doesn’t add bulk to the sock, but adds noticeable cushioning. Finally, there is a reinforced area at the heel. As someone prone to blisters, I really appreciate the slightly reinforced point at the top of the heel. It adds a little bit of padding and protection just where I need it. I think it protects my heel from blisters and holds the top of the sock in place. Though my preferred Experia is the Micro Mini Crew and one would think that means a no-show sock, the rise on the sock is a bit higher. It touches my ankle bone, giving me ample protection from rocks and debris on trail runs. I have the Experia is lots of colors (check them out – they have great colors!) and I love every pair.

It’s in the Bag

As a detail-oriented runner, I can be counted on to have pretty much any running supply in my running bag. Need a bandaid? I have four sizes. Hungry? I have a veritable smorgasbord tucked into the pockets of my running bag. I often get questions about my running bag essentials – what do I pack and why? Here it is…the lowdown on what’s in the bag.

Rachel’s packed running bag.

Starting from the top, folded pink item, and clockwise:

  1. Pink Saucony Run Lux I shorts – I always have a spare pair of shorts with me. You never know when you might have an incident or might find the shorts you’re wearing unsatisfactory. In the winter I carry a spare pair of tights.
  2. Old race shirt – I keep a spare shirt in my bag for much the same reason as I keep spare shorts. You just never know. I also like to be able to switch shirts after a long, sweaty run. Having a clean shirt, even if it doesn’t match my outfit, makes me feel a bit more presentable at the bagel shop or grocery store post-run.
  3. Nike Element Half Zip – The weather, and air conditioning, in Connecticut can be unpredictable. Sometimes the bagel shop, my favorite post-long run location, is polar ice cap cold. Sweat + high A/C = freezing runner. I’m prepared with a long sleeve shirt. I love the Nike Element Half Zip so much that I reviewed it in a gear review. Check it out.
  4. Super special little flower bag, described in detail below.
  5. PowerBar Energy Bites in the oatmeal cookie flavor – I am hungry pretty much all the time and anyone who has raced with me will testify that if I don’t get food about 3 minutes after crossing the finish line of a long race I get super cranky. It’s best to have food on hand at all times. I love these little bites. They are tasty, they aren’t harmed by high heat or freezing cold, and they stay fresh for a long time. I don’t like chocolate (I know, I know) or peanut butter, so it’s hard for me to find something I like. When I do, I get a lot of it. I can be found with my PowerBar bites in my running bag. There are also some Sport Beans in there somewhere – at least two flavors.
  6. Band-Aid brand blister band aids – Best thing ever! I love these band aids. They are specially made for blisters with a cushy pad and super sticky adhesive. The bandage stays on for days of normal use, or about 10 miles in really sweaty conditions. They really seem to heal blisters faster. I love them. I keep the finger/toe variety, the regular variety, a safety pin, alcohol wipes, and a nail trimmer on hand at all times. You never know when a blister might turn ugly, or when a rock might jump in front of a toenail. I like to be prepared with my foot care staples.

In the pockets:

  1. Car key
  2. Burt’s Bees lip balm – I like the mango variety.
  3. Trusty levalbuterol inhaler
  4. Reflective items, Saucony flashing lights, reflective ankle strap, and Cyclops headlamp – You never know when it might be unexpectedly dark. It’s better to have reflective gear on hand than to need it and not have it. It’s worth note that I really love my Cyclops headlamp. The light is bright, the sharp is comfortable, and the lamp is adjustable in terms of direction, so runners can adjust the light to just the right location.

Note: The bag is the Lululemon Flow and Go Tote.

Little flower bag:

In my little flower bag, I keep most of my cosmetic items. It holds the following:

  1. Neutrogena Deep Clean Sport individual face wipes – Great for cleaning up after sweaty runs. They also work great for removing mud from the legs after trail runs.
  2. BodyGlide – Just say no to chafing!
  3. No Ad sport sunscreen SPF 30 – No Ad is my favorite sunscreen brand. It’s cheap, it lasts a long time, it smells nice, and it doesn’t make me itch like many other sunscreens.
  4. Tiny bag with bobby pins, pony tail holders, and the like
  5. Mini spray on Neosporin – You never know when you’ll need it. I routinely scratch up my legs with sticks and rocks on trail runs. For particularly nasty ones, a spritz of this makes me feel better.
  6. Immodium caplets – Self explanatory. I also have cold medicine and ibuprofen.
  7. More band aids

These are the items I consider essential enough to carry with me to every run. They’re my favorites, and the products I trust in my times of need. Consider your curiosity satisfied.

Friday Favorite: Handheld Hydration

It’s hot. Hot hot. Too hot for any sane people to be out running. But, being not all that sane, I have been out and about running (and some walking, I must admit) this week. I’m a weakling. I hate being hot, get lightheaded easily in the heat, and am generally dying of thirst every minute I’m hot. In order to survive my recent hot weather running streak, I’ve been relying on my water bottles. I love my little handheld bottles for short runs in hot weather. Sure, they might change my gait, but I’m pretty sure passing out would change my gait more. For those of you interested in trying handheld hydration bottles, here are my picks.

1. For short runs, and people who are sensitive to weight in their hands, try the Nathan Quickshot. Aside: I just saw that there’s an insulated Quick Shot. It’s a must try.

The Quick Shot is a little 10 ounce flask with a wicking mesh thumb/hand strap with velcro closure. It has a “race cap”, the kind that you squeeze and water shoots out, for easy sipping. It has reflective details and an ID pocket. Be warned – the only thing that fits in the pocket is the tiny ID card. Don’t plan to carry any extras. The strap part cleans up easily. I don’t know if it’s meant to be machine washable, but I’ve washed mine many times and it’s still fine. The best part about the Quick Shot is that the strap loops over the thumb and holds securely. When I’m running I can hold my hand naturally without worrying about the bottle falling off.

2. If you are looking for a bottle with a pocket, try the Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Lite (with optional thermal cover, which I have). This 12 ounce bottle has an added pocket for storage. The pocket holds a Gu plus a tissue, or a packet of sport beans with a little space left over. The great thing about this bottle is the ergonomic shape. It’s slightly curved, so it fits right in the nook of my hand when running. It stay put and is bounce-free despite its larger size. The strap is soft on the hand side and it features an adjustable strap for custom fit. The strap’s soft side does absorb sweat, so this bottle can get a little gross. I suggest frequent washing.

I use the Handheld Lite when I need an extra pocket. It’s also great for races in hot weather and I’ve been known to rock it in half marathons.

Those are my top two picks for handheld hydration bottles. Being prone to mid-run thirst, I’ve tried everything and these are my clear favorites. Stay hydrated!

Friday Favorite: Socks, Part 1

Today’s Friday Favorite is the first of a series on my favorite socks. I am blister prone and running socks are of critical importance to me. I was thinking about my socks yesterday, when I ran in 100% humidity and rain showers. Good socks are vital to foot happiness, particularly in wet conditions!

My favorite thin socks are the Lululemon Ultimate No Show Running Sock.

I love several things about these socks. First, they have a thin, soft fabric. They are body-mapped (or foot-mapped?) with special support in the arches and curves around the toes. They are foot specific and fit snugly and securely. The socks never slouch and stay put even on long runs. They come in cute colors and last a long time. My favorite feature of these socks is that they have extra padding and come up a bit higher in the heel area. As someone prone to heel blisters, this is wonderful. I love these socks.

Friday Favorite: Garmin Forerunner 610

Today’s Friday Favorite is my favorite piece of running technology. I love my Garmin. It’s the best thing ever. I had a Forerunner 210 back in the day, then, when he died, a 410. When my 410 finally died after 4 years of faithful service, I starting looking for a new running watch. I considered getting another 410, but I saw the 610 at a race expo and knew it would be my next Garmin.

I love the 610. It’s functional, it has great features, it locks on to satellite quickly and easily, and it’s small enough to look normal on my wrist. I use it on every run and I love it. I can’t imagine running without it.