Friday, December 11, 2015

Gifts for runners, from a runner

The moment I saw the opportunity, I knew I was in.

The Another Mother Runner holiday challenge group, Striding Through The Holidays, would have the opportunity to participate in a Secret BAMR Exchange. Ala Secret Santa, we would be assigned a mother runner for whom we would buy a gift, spending no more than $20.

To make it a bit easier to pick something for a complete stranger, we were directed to keep the gifts in the running or self care categories. But if we were feeling adventurous, there were some mother runner elves who could get size and preference information.

Easy peasy, I thought. Any gift I give to a fellow runner will always include two things: Nuun and NAAWK. An email promoting a Sparkly Soul grab bag put another thing in the box for my Secret BAMR.

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And then I was stuck. Just what else makes a good gift for a fellow runner? Here are some of my own ideas, plus some gleaned from the group.

"Brave Enough," by Cheryl Strayed. "Wild" (nearly) inspired me to ditch my family and go hiking on the Pacific Coast Trail. "Brave Enough" will encourage you to lead a better life and do the things you want.

Tech-smart gloves. There's nothing worse than trying to fiddle with your phone or watch in the middle of winter only to have to take off your gloves when it's 19 degrees. There are affordable styles at Target that do the job or you can be awesome like the Secret BAMR who sent me a pair of wind-resistant mitts (gloves with a mitten overcoat).

Cute beanie. I lusted over a Saucony skull cup for months after seeing it on a fellow blogger and lucked out when I saw it on clearance after the holidays last year. The print I have is no longer available but Saucony still has some really cute styles, including a reversible beanie with a polka dot print.

Believe journal. For a few days, it seemed like every other mother received this treat from Lauren Fleshman. It's a great tool for documenting your running and, I have to say, the new colors are really cute.

Dr. Teal's Epsom salts. Second to the Believe journal, epsom salts were probably one of the most popular gifts. Not only does soaking in the salts relieve sore, tired muscles but using them means something else – you are (hopefully) taking 15 minutes or more to yourself. No kids, no husbands, no dog storming in. I also like these because I'm sometimes too cheap to spend money on something like this.

Kara Goucher Nuun bottle. A lot of my running friends are super friends of Kara, and the Nuun bottle with her likeness is a great add on. Or, if you are like me, you can stuff the bottle full of goodies. When my friends ran the Monumental Marathon, I gave them a race day necessity gift. Inside a Nuun bottle, I added trial size tubes of NAAWK, single-serve Nuun tabs, gels and Swedish Fish.

"Meals on the Run." Buying a cookbook almost seems passe now but the Runners World cookbooks are fantastic. The recipes are tasty and nutritious, and the pages contain tips for fueling, hydration and recovery.

A personal note. I think there is something great about an actual card, with ink smudges and uneven penmanship. Or a note that means something – and not in the cheesy Hallmark way. To my Secret BAMR, I wrote an almost embarrassing explanation on a torn piece of paper in my car, my handwriting bad and too big.

But I also made a running-related Christmas card. "Merry Miles and Happy Nuun Year," it read. And next to the letters, I tried to fashion a tree out of single-serve Nuun (though when I first showed Mark, he said it looked like condoms).

I created it using PicMonkey, and I have to say that I'm rather proud. Even if it does look like something else ...

What running gifts are you giving this year? Which would you like to receive?

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