Monday, December 31, 2012

Fit to be tried: Gear

With the new year - and its resolutions - rapidly approaching, I'm highlighting some of my favorite fit things of 2012. 

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People like to tell you that all you need to run is a pair of shorts, shirt and shoes. You lace up and head out the door in this romantic fashion, complete with a bouncy step, midfoot strike and effortless pace. The skies will be clear, the sun out and the air temperate. You go for as long as you like, your body cooperating with every step.

OK. Now that whole scenario is just getting ridiculous.

While I'd love to be an old-school runner who would feel best in cotton,drawstring shorts and an old cotton race Tee, I'm not. I need things. Technical things. I rely on wicking fabrics to keep my comfortable, gadgets to help me test my limits (and keep me in check) and accessories to keep me fueled.

Clothing. This year, I got my first tastes of lululemon, Running Skirts  and a more minimal shoe but I think my favorite product has been the handful bra. It's comfortable, the straps don't slide and, to be frank, it makes me look like I actually have something going on.

Gadgets. Wouldn't it be awesome if I put the MOTOACTV here? Just kidding. While I'm still using the MOTOACTV nearly a year after trying it and like the interface, it doesn't come close the reliability of a Garmin. Period.

My favorite gadget has been the BodyMedia FIT armband. It seems like a bit of a luxury for me, someone who is merely maintaining weight loss, but the amount of information it provides is so helpful and motivating. You know how many calories you burned throughout the day, how many steps you took and whether any activity was considered vigorous. As long as you are tracking your calories honestly, there should be no surprises on the scale.

Accessory. I was running 12 miles through the pouring rain the morning of the women's Olympic marathon. My Under Armour hat was pulled down over my head and I braved the streets of Fort Wayne in just a pair of shorts and sports bra. On my left wrist was the MOTOACTV and, in my right hand, was a plastic baggie of Swedish fish. A baggie.

While it's definitely functional, carrying a baggie for 12 miles was no more comfortable than keeping them stuffed in my cheeks - though an interesting idea. It was after that run that I ordered myself a SPIbelt.

The SPIbelt allows runners to think a fanny pack is still cool. Made of  Lycra and Spandex, the belt has a pouch that expands to fit everything you need on a long run - phone, key and Swedish fish.

Or, if you are a badass ultra runner, some salted potatoes.

Did you try any new gear this year? What was your favorite?

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