Gear, Glorious Gear!

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It’s Christmas up in here!

There are few things greater than receiving all of the items you’ve recently purchased online on the SAME day. What are the odds, right? Ok. Maybe getting all the items you’ve ordered for free would be better, but alas, I am still like a 6 year-old on Christmas Morning who dances with glee on the fireplace hearth when she sees the UPS guy walk up the driveway. With the VT50 slowly creeping up on me (like an itchy, irritating rash), I needed some new gear. More specifically new socks, new visor, new hydration vest, and new legs a new pair of trail running shoes. The new kicks weren’t a part of the recent order. I got them weeks ago and LOVE running in them.

IMG_1184.JPG The Product: Injinji Performance 2.0 RUN Light Weight toe sock. After the Great Toenail Revolt of 2014 at the VermontCity Marathon, I decided to look into Injinji toe socks. I had heard wondrous things about them. The fit. The comfort. The lack of issues associated with wearing them. People seem to love them. Seeing as how I only had 7 toenails left, I figured I had not much left to lose. I decided to give them a go.

The Verdict: I really dig them! I am going to be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to love them at first. I put them on and they felt weird. And I looked like a Hobbit. Or Jack Johnson. After several runs, I am really liking them! You lose the- there’s something between my toes- feeling pretty quickly. They are super comfortable and had zero issues with rubbing or blisters. They feel snug and supportive without being tight and restrictive. I bought the lowest profile sock. And they didn’t budge or bunch up during any of the 5 trail runs I went on. Thumbs Toes up!

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The Product: Nathan Zeal Women’s (2L) Hydration Vest Pack. If there is one thing I am paranoid about during long runs it’s running out of water. Camel, I am not. I usually wear a hydration belt, drop water bottles along my route or use a hand held bottle. While all of them are perfectly reasonable, I figure tackling a 50K with longer stretches between aid stations might require something more substantial. And more comfortable. Enter the Hydration Vest.

The Verdict: I love it. Really love it. It fits. It doesn’t bounce or chafe AT ALL and I used it all oppressively humid week. I was impressed. There are plenty of straps to fine tune adjustments and also plenty of zipper pouches to stash Gu, keys, your iPhone, real food, whatevs. It has a 2L bladder which I found plenty huge. It’s also really easy to clean and invert. I’m not all that big (a GIANT 5″2) and the Women’s Zeal fit just right. The other nice thing is the strap across your Lady Bits adjusts (it slides up and down) so you don’t wind up feeling like you’re wearing a push-up bra and running in the Lady Marmalade video. Again. I was impressed. Add another 18oz SpeedGrab bottle in the front for your performance drink and you’re golden. The bottle also does not hinder your movement. I had no issues whatsoever. Oh. And another thing. She’s got a whistle attached. Of course I blew it wildly.

IMG_1186.PNG The Product: Betty Designs Signature Visor. I’ve never been a visor girl- always a full on hat. But sometimes full on hats can get hot, so I figured I would try a visor and let my head breathe and my ponytail flip freely.

20140904-215031-78631932.jpgThe Verdict: In the interest of full disclosure I will admit I bought this visor because IT’S FREAKING BADASS. I love Betty Designs, their logo, their whole philosophy. They make fantastic cycling kits which I have, love and recommend. See? That’s me being a Badass Betty in my rad kit which fits like a glove. They’ve got great designs—not super girly girl. Just super badass. The visor is made by Headsweats and embroidered with the Betty Designs logo. It has this awesome elastic band which is super comfortable and FITS without cutting off the circulation to your brain. There is also a terry band near the brim that keeps the sweat out of you eyes. I may have purchased this initially because it was beyond cute, but I found it’s super functional. LOVES IT.

IMG_1189.JPGThe Product: Pearl Izumi Women’s EM Trail M2. I wasn’t happy with the trail shoe I had been running in and I expressed my disgust with my Blogger Friend Carly @ The Next Finish Line who suggested I take a gander at the Pearl Izumi’s. Happy Feet! Happy Feet!

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If I had to sum up how I feel about this trail shoe I would have to say: Smooth, smooth like a buttermilk biscuit. They also feel extremely secure. Like I’m not going to roll an ankle or slip and fall on my ass, secure. They grip without feeling like your stuck in a glue trap. I know- I am SUPER technical. They have a wide toe box, allowing you to freely wiggle your toes which I desperately need to do at all times. I also think there is a pretty good chance my feet will be swollen like sausages during this 50k, so I figured the more room I have, the better chance of retaining my 7 remaining toenails. Let’s hope I’m right. They are really well cushioned, not quite pillowy, but definitely cushioned.

20140904-214001-78001399.jpgStep on a rock and it doesn’t feel like it’s slicing your paw open. They also have a toe guard to ward off stubbing. I am flat-footed and the stability they provide is more than adequate for me. Shock of all shocks, they’re light. They also have these super cool shoe laces which stay tied. I feel much more sure footed in these babies. And they’re purple. I swear they make me run faster. Leon James loved them too. Thus the Happy Dog Photobomb.

What is one piece of running gear you can’t possibly live without? How much cash are you willing to drop on running sneakers? And while I’m on the topic, how often do you replace them?

All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I purchased the items with my own cash. If I didn’t like them, believe me, you would know. ๐Ÿ™‚

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30 thoughts on “Gear, Glorious Gear!

  1. Oh, I need to replace my shoes DESPERATELY. But I have one more month til the marathon and so it is just too late now, and it is all my own darn fault. And I must live with that. My shoes are typically between 100-125, but I try to go lower if I can. It’s just a really expensive investment, and with my injury-laden past, it is hard to justify dropping $150 + on something that might bite me in the ass.

  2. I can’t live without my garmin… I literally will not run if I don’t have it. I will spend up to about 200… but I have to really like them and they have to really be good. I replace my kicks about every 300 miles… I used to do 500 but honestly, after 300 my legs can feel it!

      • I know my legs will start throbbing during and after runs… my question is why are they sooo expensive… I love my sneakers and I am willing to basically sell my soul for a good pair ..lol.. and I guess at 200 I basically am….smh

      • I mean unless they’re a cute pair of Tory Burch leopard flats (which I may or may not have acquired recently) it pains me to spend TWO BILLS on sneakers. That has GOT to be an absurd mark-up. SMH is right. Hard.

      • fashion is a whole different ball game… don’t even get me started! I have spent a large amount on jeans.. I could probably buy 5-6 pair of normal jeans for the amount I pay for my “fancy” jeans. Plus, Tory is a league of her own! love her!

    • I’ll join in on the TB madness, I just bought my 3rd pair..thankfully my husband and I have separate “fun” accounts so he has no idea what I am spending! Eek! For running shoes though, the most I’ve ever spent was $135…and even then it hurts to think about since I have to replace my shoes every 300 miles!

  3. First off, thanks for making me laugh. It’s been a really crappy week without much levity, and the humor in your post (as usual) made me laugh out loud. Still giggling about the Jack Johnson and Lady Marmalade video references.

    Anyhoo, I love my Oiselle Distance Shorts. I talk about them quite a bit on my blog because they’re perfect for me–they don’t ride up, they’re light (perfect for hot weather, and don’t weigh down with rain), and their huge pockets can stash enough Gu for 2 people’s marathons. (I was not paid for gushing about those shorts.)

    As for running shoes, the style I wear costs around $120 at full price. I replace them about every 4 months.

    • I am glad to have tickled you. Wait. Not like that. That sounded dirty. But I do know what you mean. It’s been a heavy week here too. Everyone needs a good hard laugh. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I have read about your Oiselle Distance Shorts!! I need to get my paws on them!!! You have me with the carrying capacity of those bad boys….I will DEFINITELY give ’em a whirl!

  4. Love this list! I definitely need my own hydration pack – Jesse always carries one for the two of us when we run together, but I will definitely need one. Which trail shoe were you using before? One thing I will splurge on – good sunscreen. I’m a pasty white girl who burns SO easily.

    • I had been running in Adidas and I think the particular shoe was just far too narrow for me. Loving the hydration pack! And I never thought I would. I’m a sweat hog. And I thought it would “choke” me. This just doesn’t feel that way. And it’s cute. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sunscreen is key! Even for an olive skinned Italian broad like me!

  5. I may have to test out that visor myself. I have very thick, relatively long hair, and I wear this old-ish Nike hat that drives me crazy. My hair has to be in a really low ponytail or braid to wear it, which means that the ends of my hair are hitting my back. I sweat enough to fill a small pool, so my ends are drenched and dripping before long. It’s gross. I’ve been on the hunt for a visor with a stretchy back that will likely fit my small head, I think you’ve found it for me!

    As for shoes, I replace them whenever I feel like it really. There’s no rhyme or reason….yet. Replaced my New Balances because I did my first half marathon in them and found out after the fact that they were the totally WRONG shoes for me. I did my next half-assed round of training and half marathon-ing in my Asics, which I loved, but when they tweaked the new version, I didn’t like them as much. Soooo then I got my Nikes, which are amazeballs, and then a month later found out they’re being re-vamped. Ended up buying a second pair of those just in case I don’t like the new version. My max total on shoes tops out at $120. After that, you crazy!

    Oh, and I cannot go without my Nathan arm band for my phone and my Garmin. Those little things are the bees knees.

    • Oh Corinne. I sweat a large kiddie pool. My pony tail is SOAKED no matter what. That visor is really great. I will warn you- you can’t adjust it. So if you have a tiny lil’ melon it may or may not work for you. But you do have 100lbs of hair so it might work. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Finding out you are running in the wrong shoe- MID RACE- is just plain criminal. You were robbed! Sold a bad bag of goods! I am incredibly happy with the Newtons although after really enjoying these Pearl Izumi Trail Shoes, I might see what the road ones are all about. I think it’s safe to say we’re all pretty damn crazy! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • If the stretchy band on the visor is equivalent in strength and size to the Under Amour version, I’ll be in the clear ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Also never ever going back to the running store that sold me those New Balances. I was pissed. That particular shoe was designed for people with little to no arch and no flexibility in their feet. I’ve got a ridiculously high arch and some “freakishly flexible” feet (to quote the owner of my favorite running store out here). You’ll LOVE the Peal Izumi road shoes. I almost got a pair but they were out of my size in-store and I was anxious to get moving! The stretched out slightly too small display pair still felt amazing!

  6. Yay for all your running gear coming in on the same day, totally better than xmas!! I LOVE my Injinji run socks too, they are awesome! Your trail shoes look awesome, I love the bright colors! I run in the Brooks Cascadias for my trail runs, I love them but your colors are way better!!

    • Is that NOT the best day ever?!?!? I mean really! I was thrilled!!! I was even more thrilled that I would give all of my gear a 9.5/10 so far! I’ve never run in Brooks although I always hear good things. So much gear, so little time! And money! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Looks like you got some awesome stuff! I just got a flip belt and am loving it! I was taking way too much with me on my long runs and needed too many pockets to keep it all together! Now I just throw in all in my belt and away I go! Enjoy your new fun stuff!

  8. I’m just realizing how awesome the injinji socks are as well – foot in mouth after making fun of friends wearing them for a while… whoops. I’ve heard great things about that vest as well. I’ve got the UD Jenny Vest which I am a HUGE fan of, but they’re pretty similar. Good on you for going for the VT50! Are you doing 50k or 50 mi?? I’d love to come run that some day.. grew up in Upstate NY close to the VT border, so I love that area ๐Ÿ™‚ good luck!!

    • Thanks, Lady! I’m testing the waters with the 50k. All this shit started because in a moment of euphoria post Vermont City Marathon, I signed up for the 50k. Why not, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m excited. And freaking out. And maybe rocking in the corner…..

      • Haha you will be fine! Just really take your time early on.. trail races are NOT road races, its normal to walk at some point and you experience WAY more highs and lows. But if you’ve got strong will power you can definitely get through! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Thank you for the tips Trail Running Yoda! I was thrilled to have found your blog. I plan on creeping on it later to soak up all words of wisdom from you. Road Running does not equal Trail Running. That’s for damn sure. It’s been quite the experience training for it. Definitely a “show me what you’re REALLY made of” experience. Love it. You wind up learning so much about yourself. They journey has been epic. ๐Ÿ™‚

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