Skirt Sports Blog

The Skeleton in My Closet: MY SPORTS BRA!

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 11/28/2014 12:17:00 PM | 0 Comments Run

I'm just going to be honest…I haven't been spending enough time focusing on my girls.  No, not my daughters, my tatas!  It's been so bad that my husband bought me a gift card to buy new bras from Victoria's Secret for my birthday.  I'm not talking about the sexy push up bras or water bras or little lacey numbers, just regular ol' practical bras.  I know, what you’re thinking…"what a great guy!"

This wasn't my first clue that I needed to spend more time supporting my ladies.  A few weeks ago (before I became a Skirt Sports Kelly sports bra convert) I was digging around trying to find a sports bra when I pulled out a nice pink number that I thought would do the trick. Well, I was wrong! My pretty pink bra had been worn so many times the lining is ripping out!    

Between the gift card and the holes I clearly was not getting enough support. So, I was on a quest for a new sports bra! I wasn't looking for something with tons of bells and whistles (do they even make those?). I needed something supportive, moisture wicking, and flattering.

As a result of increased breast cancer awareness there is a great deal of information on breast health and bra support.  The best sports bra is one that enables you to lead an active lifestyle in comfort and with minimal chance of injury. Whatever your cup size, you need great support so you can focus on your sport.  

What is Your Impact Level?

The amount of bounce and movement in your favorite sport determines your impact level which helps you better understand what type of bra you need.

Low Impact
•    Walking
•    Road cycling
•    Weight training
•    Yoga

Medium Impact
•    Moderate hiking
•    Skiing
•    Inline skating

High Impact
•    Running
•    Aerobics
•    Mountain biking

As you can see, running is high-impact and I think I was wearing an ultra-low impact bra! YIKES!

No matter what the activity, impact or booby size Skirt Sports has the perfect sports bra for you.  From the super support of the high impact Kelly Bra to the Trifecta Bra that supports while swimming, biking and running and even has a built in Cleavage Ally Pocket.  

With so many bras to choose from you just need to narrow down your priorities. There are sports bras that provide extra coverage, padding, adjustable and interchangeable straps, compression and lift, simplicity, and mesh paneling. As women we are blessed to have many options so that we can get exactly what our girls need.

Skirt Sports offer terrific sports bra selections, and it's a good thing because research reveals that our breasts can move as much as eight inches-side to side, up and down, and forward and backward-as we exercise. With advances in fit, support and coverage there's a sports bra that's an ideal fit to keep our girls comfortably in place no matter what cup size or activity.

We all have skeletons in the closet, in this case it was a sports bra in the underwear drawer!  With the Kelly bra I can be happy and proud of my sports bra while getting the support I need!  Do your girls a favor and give yourself the gift of support this holiday season.

A Cold Weather Gear "Check-up"

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 11/25/2014 11:29:00 AM | 0 Comments Run

"There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." -- Sir Rannulph Fiennes

We Minnesota winter runners know this to be the absolute truth. I'd like to pass on some tips for cold weather running:

**Keep in mind that everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to temperatures. If you are always cold dress a little warmer than suggested. If you are always hot, take that into consideration when choosing clothes. Think about the layers of a house when you think about layering for winter running. Structurally there are 3 main layers of a house: drywall, insulation and siding.  Those are the very same structures you want in place when dressing for cold weather.
1- Drywall= Look for a a high-performance, microfiber, polyester fabric that moves sweat away from the body and to the fabric surface, where it will evaporate.  Wicking material that is very tight and close against the skin is your goal. It is typically very thin in nature and your first layer.  2- Insulation= A fleece, cotton type of layer where you can play around with thickness. On a very cold day you might want to wear your thickest insulation, however on a mild day a very thin layer this is your typical mid layer.  3- Siding= A weather proof material is key! This keeps the elements away from your body. It is windproof, water proof and can actually be quite thin as long as you use your insulation layer to deal with the temperature variations (think Ice Queen Ultra on those chilly, snowy days!).

Once again you know yourself and what you are comfortable with: For example if your feet are always cold, wear running shoes with little mesh or thicker running socks. If your hands are always cold wear light knit gloves when temps are freezing. If you get cold temperature headaches make sure to cover your head and ears if the temp is below freezing.  Here are some guidelines:

 

  • 30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve  or short-sleeve "Drywall" base layer and a vest or thin fleece. Tights, capris, shorts, etc (depending on your natural temperature comfort)
  • 10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops-3 tops, 1-2 bottoms. A jacket over your "Drywall" base layer (or a thin fleece for insulation too), and wind pants over the tights. Hat and mittens!
  • 0 to 10 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms. "Drywall" layer, "Insulation" layer, "siding"; Weather proof jacket.
  • Minus 10 to 0 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of mittens, balaclava (a close-fitting garment covering the whole head and neck except for parts of the face, typically made of wool) or running gaiter.
  • Minus 20 degrees: 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 extra pairs of mittens, 1 balaclava, sunglasses. And remind yourself how awesome you are!!!

A good rule of thumb is always leaving the house a little "chilly" at the beginning of the run. If you are overly warm at the beginning you will be too hot, sweat too much and can set yourself up for frostbite or hypothermia as you will take clothes off to try and cool yourself but the sweat will freeze on your skin and that is not a good situation

I like to use zippered layers so depending on the wind and direction I'm running I can open them up just enough if I need to or close them up quickly if I get too cold

Like everything, practice makes perfect. Layering for winter running is an art form. One that can only be perfected as you do it more often and gain more confidence. Just keep trying different layering and thicknesses. Believe me you will find the perfect system for you. Last year I ran a 14 mile race in -9 degree temperature and was perfectly cozy under my layers!  

And if you are still lacking motivation just think about this: When French researchers analyzed the finishing times of 1.8 million marathoners over a 10-year period, they found that a race-day temp of 43.2°F produced the quickest times overall. But faster runners, who generate more heat, benefited from cooler temps, with the top one percent (green line below) peaking at 38.9°F. mid-packers (red line) do best in the mid-40s.

You never know you just my get a PR if you embrace that colder running weather!!!

The Holidays Are Not About Avoiding Weight Gain

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 11/19/2014 12:08:00 PM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Relax

 
 

Things the holiday season is about:

-Giving thanks
-Generosity
-Humanity
-Kindness
-Sending time with loved ones
-Pretty decorations
-Snow (If you’re lucky!)
-Cookies (and all the best baked goods)
-Sharing
-Caring
-Awesome movies (A Christmas Story, Elf, Harry Potter, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation)
-Fun times with friends and family
-Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn muffins, and all your favorite foods (anything that floats your boat!)

Things the holiday season is not about:
-Weight loss
-Weight gain
-Avoiding weight gain
-Worrying about weight gain
-Your weight in general
-Figuring out how to fit exercise into your ~cRaZy~ schedule
-Stressing over how many cookies/pieces of pie/ servings of stuffing/etc. you ate
-Exercising an excessive amount to "make up for" overeating

You see the point I'm getting at right? Unfortunately, the weight loss industry wants us to believe otherwise, and it's a shame because honestly, why can't we all just enjoy the best time of the year without thinking about all those other things?!

You know what the headline on one of my favorite magazines was this month?

"Holiday Survival Guide"

I won’t even say which magazine it was because if you’re a runner you’ve probably read it before, maybe you even subscribe to it. It doesn’t matter what magazine it was though, because no publication, no matter who it’s geared towards, should be sending out that message.

Survival? Really?! The happiest and most glorious time of the year is a time to be survived? Is this like the Hunger Games or something? Whoever can eat the least cookies and log the most workouts between Halloween and New Year's Day wins? Wins what? A new home in the Capitol, the eternal glory of being crowned a Holiday Victor, and a bright, shiny Holiday Survival Trophy? Hm, that doesn't sound right to me. I don't think it works that way.

Oh yeah, that's because that's not how it works. You are not Katniss, there's no arena involved, and were not all fighting cookies to the death like they're some kind of vilified enemy. This whole "Holiday Survival" thing is a made up game that does not exist if you choose not to participate. 

undo-dinner-damage

Don't get me wrong. I get that for people who have weight loss goals or those who are working on implementing healthier habits into their lives, this time of year is tough. There's no doubt that we're bombarded with cookies, candy cake, and pie during the holiday season more than any other time of year. But just like any other time, it's OK to indulge. In moderation and maybe even a little bit more. If you have a goal and you also have the strength to employ enough will power and determination to reach it while everyone else stuffs their faces full, then more power to you!  It doesn’t mean you’re "surviving" the holidays, though. You're just doing a really good job, and that's awesome.

On the other hand, so what if you gain a few pounds before the year ends? It's not the end of the world. Plus even if you do (and chances are you won't because a few days of overeating here and there won’t cause a significant gain in weight so long as you return to your regular habits afterward), then in January you can buy into the bombardment of media telling us how our New Year's resolutions should be to lose 10 pounds and how we can do it in just 2 weeks!

I'm kidding! Don’t do that. The same idea goes for the New Year too. Even if one of your resolutions happens to be related to weight-loss, you should make it about something bigger, like your overall health or achieving some sort of athletic pursuit, that way it's not purely superficial.

My point though, is to avoid approaching the season with fear. Cookies, cake, pie, and large plates of nap-inducing foods are your friend. Food's main purpose is fuel, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate and enjoy it too. After all, most of it is pretty darn delicious, wouldn't you say? So instead of worrying about it, embrace it. Think of this time of the year not as a time to fear weight gain, but as a time to be thankful for food, and even more importantly, family and friends. Because despite what every magazine wants you to think, that's what it's really all about.

Let’s talk about how awesome the holiday season is! Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite part of this time of the year is!

Posted by Katie On December 5th, 2013

Thirteener Manifesto

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 11/18/2014 03:30:00 PM | 0 Comments Run

Thirteener Manifesto

Why the 13.1-mile race should have its own name.

Photography by Jon Jonckers

13er Image by Nate Dyer

Published February 27, 2014;  Running Times

 

Five miles into what turned out to be, in perfect coincidence, a 13-mile trail run, my friend, Dean, a week after completing a 100-mile race, said, apropos of nothing we'd been talking about, "Why is it called a half?"

And I said, "Right."

Another runner, with the dismissiveness of a speedy marathoner and the crabbiness of the mother of two small kids, said, "Because it's only a half."

Dean and I both said, "No."

We've been having this conversation on trail runs, over strawberry smoothies, and with other people during Dean's birthday celebration where we ran 45 × 200 on an old dirt track by the river in the pouring rain. And this is what we think: It's not half of something; it's a whole thing.

During the short rest periods between 200s, someone suggested finding out what place was halfway between Athens and Marathon. Turns out he hasn't been the only one to propose this. Googling brings you to Team Pikermi and this description: "A Pikermi is a running race of a distance of 13.1 miles, formerly known as a half marathon. The term was coined by a blogger named Pochero in a blog on 'The Loop,' which is a runner's community on the Runner's World website."

Nope, I say, to the more than 1,000 Likers of Team Pikermi on Facebook. We need to unlink it from the marathon. If that's the standard, the race will still be "just" halfway. Plus, no one knows how to pronounce Pikermi.

The crabby runner said, "It's just words. What difference does it make?" Humans think with language; words matter. According to Roger Robinson, the first half marathon was the Route du Vin in Luxembourg. Now, we could call 13.1 miles a "winer," but some people might hear it as the homophone and, well, we don't want to encourage that.

The next race, the first in the U.S., was the Lincoln Memorial Half Marathon in 1964 in Springfield, Ill. Maybe we could call it a "Lincoln," the way rich people and drug dealers call one hundred dollar bills Benjamins. And wouldn't it be great if Lincoln had been the 13th president? But he wasn't. I don't think either Millard or Fillmore would work. Though Fillmore could be used for bad puns.

So here's my idea. I want to change the name and start a movement. I want to lobby race directors to rebrand their events and persuade runners to call the race formerly known as a half marathon something new: a thirteener.

Let's make it quirkily American. Most other distances have a whiff of international fanciness with their kilometer measures. The half marathon is not an Olympic event; the thirteener could be all ours. The name is less precise linguistically than the metric equivalents, more colloquial. It's unpretentious. Like those tall peaks in Colorado, it's something you want to bag.

The thirteener is a beautiful distance. If you're just starting out, it's an achievement. If you're serious, it's not your Sunday morning run. It's a good and difficult distance to race, and you can race many of them well in a season, as Jonathan Beverly pointed out in these pages two years ago when he wondered whether it was time to get over the marathon. So many people are slowly slogging through 26.2-milers just to rack them up. Why not train harder and race, he asked?

Like many of my mile-hoarding brethren, something in me is attached to the mystique of the marathon, but I'm ready to get over that. I've spent enough pre-race dinners hanging my head and saying that I'm "only" doing the 50K, "only" doing the 50-miler when there are multiple races, and I'm opting for the shorter distance. That probably won't change if we shift the name of the half marathon to thirteener. But that's OK. It's a personal inadequacy. I need to grow up, to evolve, to become more secure.

No reason to mess with the distance and start promoting, say, 20Ks. It's easy to mark the course so the event can run concomitant with a, um, longer race.

I want the folks for whom finishing a thirteener is an accomplishment to feel pride in what they've done, and I'd like to see it become a more competitive event by getting serious swag behind it. Now that the Rock 'n' Roll races have stopped offering coin to draw in the rock stars of marathons, maybe they'll consider putting up some dough to lure some talent to their thirteeners.

I am always more interested in both/and than in either/or. Let's let the half marathon be its own event and have it exist alongside the marathon. Let's have it be inclusive to slow folks including–gasp–walkers and make it a chance for fast runners to run really, really fast. Let's give it a name of its own. Thirteener.

Forty and Feeling Stronger

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 11/17/2014 05:25:00 PM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Run

Our society has conditioned us to believe that turning 40 is the beginning of the end.  "Over the hill".  But these days, we are now living wonderful lives well into our 80's and 90's.  And with exercise and a healthy lifestyle these years can be strong, healthy, vibrant years.  Aging is not only a physical fact, it is a state of mind.
You’re only as young as you feel – so we gotta keep movin'!
 
As a woman who's just starting out in her forties, I decided that I wanted to have a healthy body around for a long time.  This required a change in focus for me.  Exercise used to be to either be better in a sport or maintain my weight.  Now I'm discovering the importance of a combination of workouts that are targeted to increase longevity – like gaining and maintaining muscle mass and bone density, as well as continuing with regular cardio.  In addition, I've also discovered the benefits of gaining both physical strength and emotional strength through exercise.  And it is really fun to try new things!

Why do you workout?  What’s your motivation?  The answer to these questions change depending on where we are in life.
 
Focus:


I think age gives you the wisdom to allow you to focus on what matters to you.  "Do what you want to do." I try to tell myself this as often as I can.  For the past 5 or more years I have almost solely run for exercise, but now that I am creeping into my forties I feel like my workouts and making time for workouts have become more focused.  A lot of that is because my motivation for working out has changed.  I find that I am focusing on workouts that will allow me to live longer life and keep up with my kids.  For me that means building more muscle mass (and bone density) and continuing to maintain cardiovascular endurance.  I have actually mixed in Crossfit, gym classes with emphasis on core muscles and more weights to my regular workout schedule in addition to running.
 
With regard to making time for workouts, time is now limited and I have to be organized and focused.  When you are younger, other people orchestrate your life.  Your parents keep you entertained when you are very young and determine how all of your time is managed.  In college, you have more autonomy but class schedules and required classes determine a lot of your schedule.  After that, the scaffolding of how your day is managed and guided mainly by yourself.  As you get older time gets more tight because of our ever increasingly busy lifestyles- raising kids, volunteering at school, working, managing the household, paying bills, etc (not to mention doing the laundry, grocery shopping...I don't think I need to go on!).  Sometimes an unexpected workout is just as exciting as a vacation (well, almost!).  But most of my workouts are scheduled and organized so that they get done.  This typically requires that I wake up and work out before everyone else is awake.  But this makes by whole day brighter - I think mainly because of the endorphin release (see the section about gaining emotional strength below). And I've seen some pretty awesome sunrises.

Gaining Emotional Strength Through Exercise:

Do you ever feel a release of tension or since of happiness after your workout?  
 
Exercise helps the brain release "feel good" chemicals that will almost always boost your mood.  The endorphins that are released during exercise are powerful enough that studies have shown its benefit even for reducing tension to relieve anxiety and depression.  Endorphins are actually natural painkillers that promote an increased since of well-being.  
 
Also with emotional strength comes the camaraderie of working out with other women.  We are all connected to each other and need each others support.  Sisterhood is important to mental health!  Working out in groups not only helps keep us accountable and motivated it gives us a since of community.  Group runs and workouts through Skirt Sport are strengthening in more ways than one!   
 
So, exercise can help us emotionally through the release of endorphins and through the connections you make with others.  Double bonus.


Physical Strength:
I've found that I no longer can get away with just going for a run.  I have realized that I need more to keep my body strong.  My arms and core need exercise too.   It's about doing my best to feel strong.  
 
You might have heard that we typically loose 8% or more muscle mass each decade after age 40.  And there are a lot of studies to back that data up.  But there is a growing body of newer studies that suggest that such a decline may not have to happen.   There are studies that show that you can actually rewrite the future for your muscles.  Through exercise, muscle mass and strength can be maintained.
 
For everyone, discovering what activity you enjoy to gain this physical strength is so individual.  It may be Zumba, Pilates, Bar Class or Yoga.  You can have fun with this and try new classes or activties.  For me, I discovered Crossfit and classes at the gym with hand weights and core exercises.  Mixing in Crossfit and gym classes to my runs has made a huge difference.  It is challenging because it is such a different workout than I have been used to in the past.  But I actually enjoy the challenge and feel like I am doing something for myself in a day where otherwise I am usually doing things for others (kids, husband, etc…). I may not be able to lift a ton of weight or look like a body builder, but it's more about feeling strong than looking strong or lifting the most weight.  As long as we are out there trying, that's what matters.
 
Strength in Your Forties…

A good goal is to feel strong and capable.  Strong for you…mentally and physically strong.  That matters in this forth decade.  Taking care of your body is a powerful thing.  It not just about burning calories and fat, but gaining mental/emotional and physical strength.  I now am gaining understanding of the importance of building muscle as well as endurance and embracing the experiences that come with each workout.   
 
We should be loving our forties and feel confident in the fact that our past experiences and wisdom allow us to have rich, more meaningful lives.  We can still discover what our bodies are capable of – which gives us something to strive for, reach and celebrate.  With every new experience we are gaining confidence and self-esteem.  So put on your skirt and get out there!
 
If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.    (One of my favorite phrases)

Stay on Track this Holiday Season

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 11/17/2014 02:22:00 PM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Run

5 Tips to Stay on Track this Holiday Season

We all get a little stressed and overwhelmed between Thanksgiving and New Year's. It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping and cooking that we can easily neglect our own health and fitness.

Here are a few of my favorite tips to Stay on Track:

1.Schedule a Spring Race-Having a spring race on your calendar gives you motivation to train through the winter. Write the date on your calendar and devise a training plan to take you through the New Year. You are more likely to stick to your fitness if you write it down.

2. Challenge Yourself- There are a ton of fun challenges this time of year of Instagram, Facebook and blogs to keep you accountable. Tweeting and posting your achievements to your friends and family keeps you on board with you fitness. Plus, many challenges have prizes or medals-bonus!

3. Meal Plan-Planning just a few healthy meals a week helps you make wise food choices when you are rushing around or stressed to get things done.  Creating a shopping list and purchasing the items on the weekend sets you up for a healthier week to come. Cooking soups or casseroles on the weekend and freezing them can be super helpful. Eating a healthy snack or meal before heading out to a Holiday Party can deter you from overeating on the less healthy food.

4. Try Something New- Usually run? Try a spin class or a swim. Fitness clubs and studios often have free trial classes or special events during the holidays and that is a great way to ward off boredom and stay active. Sights like Groupon and Living Social often have fun activities for great prices.

5.  Reward Yourself- Set a goal (be it a certain number of times per week of exercise or healthy eating) and reward yourself with some new exercise wear to show off all of your hard work. I’m loving running in my new Pink Gemini reversible Jacket these days! What are you loving?

For more great tips AND recipes check out Deborah's website!

Celebrate and Eat: The Hungry Runner’s Guide to Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 11/17/2014 01:01:00 PM | 0 Comments Relax

Let's talk about Thanksgiving. It's my all-time favorite holiday, and yes, it's because I absolutely love food.

But what I love even more than food itself is the experience of enjoying and sharing a meal with loved ones.

Sure, I talk about food as fuel for fitness and sustenance for a healthy body all of the time. But sometimes it's more than that. Sometimes, like on special occasions like Thanksgiving, it’s a means of bringing people together. It provides family and friends with the opportunity to sit down at a table together, converse and just enjoy each other's company.

To me, there's nothing more important than that, and it's one of the things in life to be most thankful for.

Unfortunately, when we hear about it on TV or read about it online, sometimes the above aspects of Thanksgiving aren't the main focus of the holiday. Instead, we're warned against overeating, "unhealthy" foods and the "dreaded" possibility of weight gain.

What I've come to learn, though, is that we don’t need to worry about any of that at all. First of all, like I just said, Thanksgiving is about enjoying time spent with loved ones and giving thanks. The key word here is enjoy. Just enjoy yourself. Even if you have fitness and health goals that you've been working hard towards, one day of stepping outside the lines won’t derail you. In fact, we all deserve to treat ourselves every once in a while.
Second of all, and this is something that I've written about at work for The Active Times recently, one day of eating a bit more than you normally would or indulging in extra dessert or some less nutritious foods that you would otherwise pass up isn't going to be detrimental to your health or even cause you to gain weight. (You'd have to eat way more than you could probably even imagine to gain just one pound in the course of a single day.)

In other words, don't let the food-centric aspect of Thanksgiving (and the whole holiday season) stress you out. Just celebrate and eat. That's what this time of year is for and it should be enjoyed; no guilt necessary.

Plus, even if you do end up accidentally gaining a little bit of weight, it's not the end of the world. We've all been there at one point or another (even me); as long as you recognize it and take back control, you'll be just fine. Plus, it will give you a reason to step up your exercise game!

Even with all of that said, I know that for some people it might not be so easy to feel so relaxed and nonchalant when it comes to the whole food aspect of Thanksgiving and the holiday season. If I'm being completely honest, it's not that any of it stresses me out (I'm really good at enjoying my food, winky face), but I do still want to make sure that I don't fall too far off track, because I know how easy it can be to go overboard, too.

And I don’t just mean for one day, I mean for the course of the holiday season. It's important to me that I keep up with my exercise routine and that I still focus on fueling my body with nutritious foods for the majority of the time, and I will fully acknowledge that compared to other times of the year, those are two things that become a little bit more difficult to do around the holidays.

I don't see it at as an excuse, though. I see it as more of a mini challenge to overcome. And on that note I want to finish off by pointing out some tips that can help us all have a healthy, but also enjoyable holiday season. I've done a few stories on this topic for The Active Times over the past few weeks. I talked to several different fitness experts to collect some advice and these were some of the best tips they shared.

  •     Keep up with your workout routine; even if it means small,15-minute sessions whenever you can fit something in.
  •     Sign up for a race or event that takes place after the holidays so you stay motivated to keep up with your exercise routine.
  •     Prepare healthy snacks, like veggies and hummus, to serve at or bring to parties.
  •     Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated (this is something you should do all of the time, anyway).
  •     Try not to overdo it with alcohol.
  •     Prepare bigger portions of nutritious foods, like green beans and other veggies.
  •     If you have a lot of leftovers, freeze some so you don’t feel obligated to eat them all in the following days, just because they're there. (But definitely save some because leftovers are basically the best part of Thanksgiving.)
  •     Say no sometimes. You don’t have to accept every single holiday treat that comes your way. Aim to only indulge in your absolute favorites.
  •     Engage in active family traditions, like going for a hike or a backyard football game.
  •     And finally, just relax a little. Make time for yourself to unwind every day. Start up a yoga practice or choose some other relaxing activity that will help keep you calm.

And that's that! I have nothing else to say except, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! Enjoy lots of good food and of course, the company of your friends and family!

xx
Katie

(Hungry Runner)

GGR Race Report: Skirt Sports Half Marathon

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 11/17/2014 12:19:00 PM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Run

From Geek Girls Run July 9th 2013 (edited by Skirt Sports)

One word to describe the Skirt Sports Inaugural Half Marathon: AWESOME!
A second word to describe the Skirt Sports Inaugural Half Marathon: EXHAUSTING! :D

The second weekend in June (2013), I met up with fellow GGR (Geek Girls Run) Ambassadors Janine, Amber, and Michelle in Colorado for the Skirt Sports Inaugural Half Marathon. All of us wear and love Skirt Sports gear, so when we heard about this race we jumped at the chance!

On Friday morning, we stopped by packet pickup, which was at Skirt Sports headquarters. Our race numbers were awesome!

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Janine and I completely fangirled over Skirt Sports founder Nicole DeBoom's original running skirt, which was displayed near their front desk:

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After we picked up our bibs, we went back to their sale area, where we checked out all their new gear. OMG we are in the Skirt Sports warehouse!

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While we were there, we were super excited to meet Nicole DeBoom in person! She’s been such an inspiration to all of us. She was incredibly sweet and even remembered Janine from one of the SkirtChaser 5ks from several years ago. We told her about Geek Girls Run and she was very supportive! Thank you, Nicole!

photo (6)

After we got our goody bags (in a reusable tote from Whole Foods, yay!), we stopped to sign their Wall of Words, which would be displayed at the race:

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The race was in Superior, CO, on Sunday morning at 7. Amber was awesome and got us a hotel room that was literally a stone’s throw from the starting line, so all we had to do was roll out of bed, get dressed, and walk right over. The energy around the start-line area and expo was so fantastic!

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Janine and I had worn our Thor and Captain America running outfits, and got a great response to them! Here's the four of us, pre-race:

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We spotted a guy in a Goofy Challenge shirt, and it turned out to be a friend-of-a-friend, Mike, whom I’d met at Disney World during the Princess! He ran as Vanellope during the Disney Princess Half!

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It was definitely a majority-women race, but there were quite a few gentlemen to be spotted. Two of them were even in skirts! You go guys!! (Check out the guy in pink– it was his first half marathon ever! Woooo!)

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Okay, so, the race. Well– Janine, Amber, and I are all from the level lands, far far away from mile-high Colorado. (My Runmeter regularly tells me that I'm running *below* sea level!) We knew the altitude was going to be killer, and we were going to be slow. So we just decided to take it easy, not worry about how fast we were going, and enjoy the heck out of the race. And we did! Janine and I sang and danced most of the way, hopefully amusing the other runners we saw along the way. Special props to the woman who sang along to "Living' On A Prayer" when we got to the halfway point!

And the course was *gorgeous*. Absolutely beautiful scenery. We kept having to stop to take pictures!

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There was one absolutely killer hill. Janine and I walked up the entire thing, belting out "Thrift Shop" (our weekend anthem) until we were gasping for breath. Here's looking back down…still not at the top though!

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A horse!!! (There were many horses. Also cows, which we at first mistook for horses. We are city folk for sure.)

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Heroic poses were struck!

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It was such a nice change to run a small race…there were about 300 people running the half. But we never felt alone! And a HUGE shout-out to the awesome volunteers at all the water stations, who cheered us on and kept us pumped up! They rocked!

And then suddenly, we came across the finish line! (All the mile marker signs after 9 had been stolen, so we had very little idea of where we were!) Both Janine and I felt totally destroyed– it is *hard* to run at altitude! We both agreed that we felt like we'd run a full instead of a half. We picked up our pink finisher skirts– AWESOME– and made sure to thank Nicole for an amazing race before heading back to our room for chocolate milk and a shower. Janine decided that Nicole was worthy to wield the hammer of Thor:

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We got back to the finish line just in time to cheer in Amber and Michelle!

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Amber gangnam-styled in, crazy girl.

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All of us, plus Michelle’s awesome mom, with Nicole, post-race:

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Overall verdict: Super fun, super gorgeous race. I had a fantastic time. I would love to run it again, if timing and money stuff works out. Thank you for a great weekend, Skirt Sports!

Thank YOU Geek Girls Run!  We were so thrilled to have your incredibly infectious spirit at the Skirt Sports Half! 

Check out Geek Girls Run, so much fun to be read!

The Training Plan That Helped Me “Own” 13.1 Miles

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 11/14/2014 04:15:00 PM | 0 Comments Run

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Five years ago, I sat in my newly-appointed OB's office and nearly cried as he informed me that being six weeks pregnant meant Absolutely No Running the New York City Marathon in 10 days. No matter that I had trained for it all summer. No matter the three 20-mile long runs under my belt and the weekly track sessions that were supposed to help me run an under-4.

I was looking forward to motherhood. But sob. Would it change running? Forever?

And so for the next three years, it did. Lack of sleep was exhausting. Raising an overly active baby – and then toddler – while working full time was all-consuming. There was no time to train! Hardly any time to run! The few four-mile races I signed up for, I did mostly as an excuse to watch our son do the kids’ runs afterwards. (Too cute!)

All those excuses were later used to justify running a half marathon with no training, then sleeping through the alarm for the next one. I needed a kick in the buttocks like I need those first three cups of coffee in the morning.

That kick came earlier this year, courtesy of those two books: Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother. I don’t remember how I found them, but as soon as I looked over the reviews and peeked at the first pages, I was sold.

The books are funny, inspirational, practical and hold nothing back. Want to know about potty logistics pre-race? Nipple chafing? Periods, pregnancy, post-partum pains? Weight issues? It's all in there — and if I gave myself a dollar for every time I thought "Ha! You too?" while reading, I'd have enough for a new pair of running shoes, full price.

But what really got me excited (and butt-kicked) were the training plans in Train Like a Mother. Specifically, the Half-Marathon: Own It one, which I promptly annotated with dates, then transferred to the family wall calendar, and followed religiously all summer. The result: from a 2:10 half marathon in March 2012 to a personal best of 1:59:00 1:58:58 at the San Jose Rock'n'Roll half! I am now officially as fast as I was eight years ago: pre-child, when all I had to plan, it seemed, was where to do happy hour that day.

Now, without giving away the details — because, truly, $10.19 is too small a price to pay for this book and you should head over to Amazon and buy it for yourself, your friend, mother, sister, girlfriend or wife, right now — let me tell you about the Half Marathon: Own It plan.

It’s challenging. But it’s also never boring. As most training programs, it has one long run a week, two easy runs and at least one rest day. There is also at least one speed or hill workout a week and a tempo run or – fun! – negative splits. There are even a couple of "fun" workouts scheduled, which can be anything from bike riding or dodgeball, to dance class or ice skating. (Sorry, ladies, I refuse to do aqua aerobics. Not before I have my AARP card in my hands.)

As usual, you progress from shorter to longer long runs, starting at 8 and peaking at 15 miles for the half. The intensity of speed, hill and tempo runs gets progressively higher. The track workouts are never the same week to week, so you always have something to look forward to. (After a 5+ year hiatus, the first time I set foot on the track this summer and felt the rubbery surface give extra jump to my stride, I nearly cried with joy. I am never staying away from the track that long again. Never.)

If you want to get a better idea of what the TLAM training plans look like, you can actually get their Half Marathon: Finish It plan here, free like the wind. And be sure to read more about their training plans (nine altogether) here.

Mother runners, it turns out, are a tribe. A big, ever-growing, all-supportive, funny and understanding community — and you know what, I bet father runners are equally welcome.

The Holidays Want to Mess With My Training

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 11/14/2014 03:38:00 PM | 0 Comments Run

From Confessions of a Caffeinated Mother Runner edited by Skirt Sports

Raise your hands if this is what your workouts look like during the holidays. No shame in it! And totally what I'd be doing… if I didn’t have to follow a solid training schedule.

I’m following my workouts to the T, even if that means getting up at 5 a.m. to sneak in a swim before work, or spending quality time in the garage with the bike trainer in the wee hours of the night.

[By "wee hours" I mean 9 p.m. Obviously. I'm usually in bed and comatose by 10:30.]

The problem is, the holidays are coming, we’re going to be doing some fun holiday travel… and I'm only beginning to realize how complicated things get when you mix travel with triathlon training. Nearly impossible, indeed.

You see, running is simple. Packing a pair of shoes and a few running outfits may seem complicated, but at least all your stuff fits in a suitcase! Try fitting a bike into a suitcase? (Not impossible, but difficult — and expensive to transport!)

Not to mention, depending on where you’re going, riding outside may simply not be an option. OK, OK, I realize that for most of the Northern Hemisphere, riding outside is simply not an option during winter. But where I live, winter looks like this:

 

And where I'm going for the holidays, winter looks like this:

So what's a half-Ironman wannabe to do? Here's how I plan to adjust my training for travel this holiday season:

1. Swim: Scout the area for pools

Applies to travel in all seasons, anywhere. Wherever you’re going, chances are there's an aquatic center or a community recreation & swimming complex that will not only have a 25-yard (or larger) pool, but will probably be decently priced, too. Lucky for me, the local rec center is only a few miles from where we're staying, so I'll be able to get in my two swim workouts as scheduled, without much fuss.

2. Bike: Gym? Or better?

Riding is a bit more complicated. Taking the bike (and trainer) with me isn't an option; and neither is a stationary bike at a local gym. That might be OK for some, but personally, I hate the riding position of stationary bikes. I'm sorry, but sitting upright in a chair-like seat does not help work the muscles that need to be worked when you get aero on a road bike.

So what to do? I'll sneak in my key bike workout for this week – a two-hour ride – before we leave. That'll be a fun freezing one in the dark pre-dawn hours, but so what. It'll leave only one ride (1-hour, easy) scheduled for this trip, followed by a 30-min run on the same day. That's 90 minutes of cardio, which can easily be modified into running — or, who knows… maybe even skiing.

(Would it ruin my training if I just scratched this ride off the list? Probably not. But I want to run more and I have the perfect excuse to do it. So there.)

Run: In the snow!

How do you work training into your holidays – and holiday travel?