Exciting CLIF Chat With the Pros and PRIZES

Hey Runner Friends, guess what?! My friends over at Clif have put together a cool live Facebook Q & A chat with professional runners Scott Jurek and Ellie Greenwood. If you’re an ultra runner, yes, THE Scott and Ellie of trail fame. Both are wold champions and indomitable trail running forces.

The event will be Wednesday, April 30th at 12pm ET or 9 am PT. It’s open to everyone, runners of all distances and levels, all you need is a question!

clif bar chat

In addition to having questions answered, Clif will be doling out prizes [info provided by Clif]:

* One winner will receive a 30-minute 1:1 consultation with Scott Jurek to discuss how to prepare before, during and after race day. Scott will choose his favorite question at the end of the Q&A.

* Several lucky participants who ask questions during the Q&A will receive a CLIF SHOT Toolkit featuring CLIF SHOT products, gear for training and race day and CLIF’s marathon training and nutrition guide.

So put your thinking caps on and start brainstorming which questions YOU’D like answered. I’m giving you the chance to get a head-start even!

Leave in the comment sections here what question YOU would like answered and plan to submit at the event. And if you do Clif will send you out a CLIF SHOT Toolkit packed with goodies: products, training and nutrition guide, and run gear.

Clif kindly sent me their invitation and gave me free reign to bring along as many other awesome runners as I wanted. Info and toolkits supplied by them but opinions are all mine, and I don’t share anything on my site unless I feel it cool and worth sharing! :)

To Tote or Not to Tote: Running with a water bottle…Clean Bottle Review and Giveaway

Seems like the hot topic of as late is hydration. You can revisit my post earlier in the week about hydration tips for runners and wouldn’t you know that when I popped on over to the Running Times website there was an article just posted about the very same thing. Great minds think alike, maybe? I’ll kid myself into believing that even if it’s not true…hehe.

friend running

That's Running Times and me running with the same great idea...it's a stretch but roll with that. :)

Their article got really scientific about the whole ‘weigh yourself pre and post-run’ and then take the percentage of sweat lost from your entire body weight and apply that to the amount lost…etc. I sometimes feel that getting too wrapped up in these calculations and conversions may be a little much; certainly more knowledge can be better but at what point is it just over complicating things? In the end the article sums up that even outside of the fanciest tests, scientific equations, lab results and simulations everyone is different and should get to know their body and how they react to certain stressors. Isn’t that pretty much across the board in anything, hydration and training alike?

Athletes, the longer they are at it, become incredibly attuned to subtle nuances that the ‘average person’ probably wouldn’t think twice of. The thing is, when you’re constantly asking your body to perform at it’s best, you can sense those small degrees of deviations from the norm. Feeling 10% off of your best may not mean much if the most physical thing you do all day is stroll around the block, but in the quest for a PR 10% in a HUGE difference. Just some food and drink for thought.

Back to running and hydration, I’m not someone who carries a water bottle with me. I never have and unless I embark on marathon distance-plus training I don’t really plan on doing so. I’m a less is more type of runner and get annoyed if my watch is too big and bulky. Everyone is different and I know my body, I can make it through my runs without needing water or gels…that’s just me.


Taking hydration to an extreme.

But there are lots of runners who DO prefer to carry water and gels; there are the fanny-packs, the belts, and other similar contraptions. With today’s tech age I’m seeing runners taking their phones along like they are just as vital as the actual running shoes. Again, I’m a less is more person, but whatever floats your boat. It does make for some more interesting blog trolling as I can see the pictures other people post of them getting all sweaty with it. :)

I was contacted by a new company, Clean Bottle, who have come out with ‘The Runner’ and wanted me to share my thoughts on it. Even though I’m not a bottle-toter myself I’ll give my opinion on it to help runners who do carry hydration and other items on their runners.

The Runner Run-Down: Clean Bottle’s ‘The Runner’ is pretty neat in that it’s been able to combine a couple of different things in a smaller package. It’s a handheld water bottle with a mesh strap to hold onto; attached is a clear, pouch where you can slip in your phone or iPod in through a side zipper. There’s also a little cinch strap on the side that can hold some gels or other fuel. So it’s able hold quite a number of items that a fanny-pack would but it’s a lot less bulky.

The Pro’s: Like I said it can hold a lot of things and it secures them safely. There are loops where you could fasten your keys into as well, even a pocket behind the phone/iPod holder to stuff some money or identification. The strap to hold onto while running is tight enough that it’s not slipping around, and as for a water bottle that’s pretty much self-explanatory. It gets the job done. I don’t usually run with a bottle but I do carry one around other places and I’d take this guy along with me just in everyday life.

The Con’s: Personally I just hate holding onto things when I’m running and a filled water bottle could be a pound or two, but I know you drink it down and it gets lighter. It’s also a little tough to manage your watch or Garmin if you’re taking splits or something; hitting a button while still clutching a tote can be a little tricky. Other than that though, I can’t really say anything bad about it. If I did take hydration on my runs I’d think this would be preferable to a fanny-pack just because I really can’t stand those.

The Company: Clean Bottle actually really impressed me on the whole and not just because of their products; I like the start-up stories and this is one of them. As to their Clean moniker there is a strong tie to being eco-friendly, for which all of their items are, and 10% of their sales go to an environmental related charity you can choose from. They are currently on the Kickstarter website and if you’d like to help support their burgeoning business check it out and support.

Clean Bottle also gave me one of ‘The Runner’ bottles to give away to a reader, so if you’d like to score one leave a separate comment for each of the following:

1) Follow Clean Bottle on Facebook or Twitter.
2) Follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
3) Tweet, blog about, or Facebook about the giveaway
4) Visit Clean Bottle’s Kickstarter fund and if you sponsor them leave two comments and get a double entry there.
5) Tell me, do you carry water, gels, your phone, etc on your runs?

Deadline will be next Tuesday!

Until later, keep on sweating and swigging…water, that is. ;)
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I’ll Give You The Shirt Off My Back – Let’s talk running clothes and a Zensah giveaway

I’m really picky about my workout clothes. I’m the kind of person who will keep my favorite pair of shorts, shirts, sports bras, etc until they are so threadbare they are wisps that eventually float away into the wind and force me to buy new ones.
runner in forest
I don’t like things that are too loose, but they can’t be too baggy either, I hate long shorts (and my definition of long is still runner shorts style skewed…lol), I wish more running shorts had splits, I don’t like the skinny straps that slide around…you get the picture. I’m like the Goldilocks of running attire I suppose.

The right fit for running clothes is important though, the last thing you want on your mind during a race is, “Gosh darn-it these boy-cut racing shorts are riding and giving me a major wedgie!” The same goes for any other run. I actually hate the boy-cut trend, in my mind the bunhuggers are the way to go when it’s GO time on race day. But of course I’d only bring them out when I’m in good enough shape and I’m not going to embarrass myself out there. Tempo shorts are my everyday pick.

We’re finally getting some sun poking through which I’m happy to see, and it will soon be time to bust out the running tanks. I get hot quickly so tend to go the less is more route; even in winter it has to be BAD out for me to wear a jacket. It took me a long time to be comfortable enough to wear just a sports bra, but when the temperatures got to be over 110 degree I chose to don the bra over melting into a pile of goo with a shirt. ;) In the end I got over my mental hang up of thinking, “Are people going to think I’m trying to show off or that I think I’m the shiznit and in my mind think I’m so hot looking I should just wear a bra?” The truth is, that’s not how I feel but I can’t control what others will think of me. To be honest they probably don’t even care enough to think of me, it’s funny how in our minds we can unintentionally feel that they world revolves around us, when in reality nobody even notices such things.
running graffiti
Back to clothes though, I also admit to being more than a bit brand loyal, but every now and again a girl has to step outside of her comfort zone and try something new. I’ve been reading about Zensah and their new line of running and workout clothes, heard lots of good things, so I decided to check them out.

Zensah’s capitalized a lot on their compression sleeves and socks, they even have compression shorts and capris, but they do have tops and sports bras as well. I am a backer for compression attire, especially when used for recovery, but I wanted to get a feel for one of their tank tops.

I got the Racerback Tank, brace yourself for the sweaty monster:

zensah racerback tank

Post-workout stunner...I think the hair is in my finest hour. ;)

Pro’s: The material is uber-soft…I won’t lie, it’s something that I wanted to curl up and sleep with. The Racerback Tank only comes in two sizes: XS/S or M/L and because I hate that it seems all of the workout tops these days are cut really tiny or the material fits me like a cased sausage, I was afraid that the tank would be tight in the XS/S that I went with. I was happily surprised that it’s not sausage casing tight and the fit was nice and comfortable; I was able to breathe but it still wasn’t too loose that I was annoyed with extra fabric flapping around. I liked the cut on the top, it didn’t slide around at all and I even got to show off my major guns. ;)

Con’s: It’s a little longer than most running tanks, but that actually didn’t really bug me. To be quite frank the really only big con in my mind is the price. Did I mention I’m kind of a cheap-o (read as dirty poor runnerchick…hehe) and I cringe when I have to plunk down the necessary money for shoes even though I know how important they are! The Racerback Tank is $43 each, so I will keep mine locked away in a safety deposit box between uses. ;)

Overall: I’m a fan. There are four colors to choose from: black, purple, pink, and blue and if I could I’d get all of them if for no other reason than to be covered in that nice, soft material. (Triple points to anyone who thought of George Costanza wanting to drape himself in velvet.)

Here’s the fun part…the kind folks over at Zensah are going to give you an opportunity to win one of the Racerback Tanks yourself…yay! The contest in kind of unique in that it’s through Pinterest, so here’s the deal on how to enter:

1) Go check out Zensah’s Racerback Tank
2) Pin it to one of your boards
3) Send an email to: customer@zensah.com telling that you did the pin

Then you’re set. The fine folks at Zensah will then pick a winner and let you know if you’ve scored the lucky prize. ;)

Questions for you guys!

1) What kind of runner are you, do you keep the clothes that you love until they are worn into nothingness or do you continually love to shop and get new running clothes? Are you pretty picky when it comes to workout and running attire?

2) How about shorts, what’s your style? When it comes to racing do you don boy-cut shorts or bunhuggers?

3) Summer weather clothes, do you wear a sports bra?

4) Have you ever tried something from the Zensah line, if so, what and what did you think?

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Motivation and Self-Deception: Sometimes it’s a matter of talking yourself up or lying yourself into a run

Running and getting sweaty is tough business…it’s hard work to get out there and consistently kick your own tush. Don’t get me wrong it comes with plenty of rewards, (nothing can beat the feeling of shaking legs and a new PR and the perk of inhaling unholy amounts of sweets isn’t bad either!) but keeping pace with the motivation factor is an ongoing battle.

sunset runner

Hey, motivational pictures count too! :)

Sometimes you need to remind yourself WHY you are doing this and that in the end it’s worth it. This is where motivational quotes can really come in handy:

“An athlete who tells you the training is always easy and always fun simply hasn’t been there. Goals can be elusive which makes the difficult journey all the more rewarding.” – Alberto Salazar

“It is true that speed kills. In distance running, it kills anyone who does not have it.” – Brooks Johnson

“Just do it.” – Nike

“Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.” – Paul Tergat

“One thing about racing is that it hurts. You better accept that from the beginning or you’re not going anywhere.” – Bob Kennedy

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.” – PattiSue Plumer

“We may train or peek for a certain race, but running is a lifetime sport.” – Alberto Salazar
own it
Mantras can also work wonders if you’re in the middle of a race or brutal interval session. They help you zone out…focus on the words, not the pain:

“Stay the course.”

“Smooth and relaxed.”

“I am strong.”

“I got this.”

“I’m better than them.”

“Think of Pop-Tarts.”

Other times though it’s more a matter of self-deception and straight up lying to yourself:

“Only five more minutes” – Reality check is you’ll say this about 6 or 8 times more, maybe more depending on how long the run/workout.

“It’s okay, I don’t really feel it today, I’ll just do a mile and see how I feel from there.” – Reality check usually after that initial mile of blah you get into the run and keep on rolling.

“Last one.” – Reality check, you might be saying this as early as your second repeat…it’s okay, keep lying and repeating.

“That really didn’t hurt THAT bad.” – Reality check…the race/run/workout probably did but you have to force yourself to block out just how bad it was to a degree so that you keep going back for more. I’ll liken it to a lady who just popped out a kid; I’m sure she has to forget how not fun that was in order to feel compelled to maybe have another. ;)

The truth is, running and being consistent takes a lot of motivation and in the end it has to come from within. Self-motivation and dedication isn’t something you can necessarily teach or force someone into…you either have it or you have to learn it yourself over time. Sometimes it takes quotes, mantras, and lies…but it gets the job done!

The winner for the BIC Bands giveaway:
So Dana, glad you found my blog, email me and I’ll get you your bands! :)

1) What are some of the things that help you stay motivated either to get out for a run if you’re not exactly feeling it or in the middle of a tough run or race?

2) What are some of your favorite quotes or mantras?

3) What lies do you tell yourself?

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