Holiday Gift Ideas For the Men

Yesterday was all about the lady athletes. Today is all about the male athlete in your life. If your guy is anything like mine, he is impossible to shop for. If I hear, “I don’t really need anything” from him one more time, I might just put actual coal in his stocking just to prove my point that you have to give people ideas if you expect Christmas presents.

I am not a mind-reader. Even Santa Claus gets a list.

I am, however, pretty good at just guessing at cool things he might like. Here are a few that I’m considering.

Image courtesy of lululemon athletica

JB has said these are the best long-sleeved running shirts he’s every owned. He rarely wears more than this during the winter (well, until February) and wears them well into May. Oh, lululmeon, what would we do without you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Manduka

If your man is a sweaty yogi, this towel is a must. I’m a sweaty girl yogi and I cannot practice without it. My mat is like a Slip ‘n Slide otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Oakley

Awesome shades that look cool and are totally functional.

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Brooks Running

If your man would like to get into trail running this winter, these are the perfect shoes for a neutral runner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Under Armour

My aunt bought these hats for us a few Christmases ago and we found them to be cozy and warm, even on the coldest NYC winter runs.

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Etsy

House decor isn’t usually top on the list for men I know, but we have this rack and it’s a cool way to display his (and your!) accomplishments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of P90X

Does your man hate the gym? These workouts are awesome. I’m a fan. And they’re totally manly, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Sugoi

JB loves these running tights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Apple

Guys love gadgets. The iPod Shuffle is tiny and light–great for runners! No need to carry around your clunky iPhone or Blackberry on a run, these little gems are only $49!

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Garmin

This Garmin does everything your man might need it to do and he can download all of his stats onto the computer to obsess about after each and every workout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phew! Now all you have to do is click, buy and wrap them. Do that and then…

…Go out and run!

Holiday Picks for the Lady Runner/Athlete

It’s no secret that the holidays are bearing down on us. I am always on the hunt for the cool stocking stuffers and little gadgets that make my running life so much easier. Here’s what I came up with for the Lady Runners in your life.

Image courtesy of Erica Sarah Designs

Did your lady finish a marathon, half marathon or triathlon recently? Check out Erica Sarah Design’s Race Bling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Sparkly Soul Headbands

Every girl with hair needs a good headband for her runs. Why not sparkle while you run? I love these Sparkly Soul headbands and the colors are so much fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Spiritual Gangster

I wanna be a Spiritual Gangster! These tank tops are just the cutest and so soft. I’d wear it with skinny jeans and flip flops, but I guess to a yoga class for some cross training is just as comfy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of lululemon athletica

Speaking of yoga, this is absolutely my favorite yoga mat EVER. It’s not cushy or soft, but that’s exactly what I like. When I’m practicing, I want to feel the floor beneath my feet. I balance so much better that way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Asics

If you live in a cold, windy climate and your lady runner is an outdoorsy gal, she’ll definitely need a pair of these wind-resistant gloves. The woven ones just don’t compare when you’re out in the below zero temperatures that are bound to plague us from January thru March.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of luluelmon athletica

This is my favorite base-layer running shirt that I have ever owned. I have a hard time not buying more every single time lululemon comes out with a new color, but Paris Pink might my “signature color.” NEED. THIS. TOP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of SPIBelt

My new favorite race accessory from the Philly Marathon, the SPIBelt. Tiny but flexible, waterproof and light. Bonus: You can pin your race bib to it so you don’t have to ruin your shirt or wonder what to do if you need to strip down a layer mid-race. Awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Dogeared

I wear a few choice necklaces when I race. All of them are from Dogeared and are very meaningful to me. I especially love this sentiment, even if I d’y always feel this way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Sugoi

Best winter running tights I own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Athleta

Anyone who wants to buy these for me would be my bestest friend forever. Cozy, warm, slide ‘em on over your shoes post-run if necessary. Perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Brooks Running

If you really want to WOW her, get her a pair of these Cascadia Trail Running Shoes from Brooks. They’re designed for the tough runs out in nature and ideal for the neutral footed lady runner in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

Now go out and run (just as soon as you finish holiday shopping)!

Friday Fitness News: It’s DECEMBER?!?!!

I can’t believe it’s December. I can’t believe my PhD applications are in. I can’t believe it’s time to get a Christmas tree. I can’t believe I ran a marathon less than two weeks ago. What happened to November? Ready or not, here we come, December!

So, what’s news this week? Well, a lot actually. End-of-the year articles are starting to sprout up all over the place and the media world seems to universally taking stock of how fit/not fit we all are as the year comes to a close. The other stuff is pretty much all about what to buy your favorite fitness buff for the holidays. I’m going to try and get some science in here, so bear with me.

And we’re off!

  • If you’re in NYC, the free fitness opportunities abound. luluemon athletica SoHo has 12 Days of Fitness that kicked off this week and my family at the E. 66th St. store have paired with Flywheel Sports UES on E. 67th St. to offer free spin classes every week for the month of December. No excuses, people.
  • It’s not fitness, but I’m digging the Groupon for Omaha Steaks ($45!) that’s available today.
  • Rockettes have great legs (trust me, I train one of them), try some of their favorite exercises. I train my Rockette a little differently, but I’m loving that Melinda featured the clam shell and bottoms up!
  • Exercise is good for your brain. And everything else.
  • Don’t believe everything you see in magazines, Photoshop use is rampant. Some are even trying to get Congress to pass a law that would have magazines disclose their use (or overuse) of the much-loved skinnyfication tool. Thoughts?
  • Did you know the size and COLOR of your plate affects how much you eat?
  • Bondi Bands add levity to just about any workout. Great stocking stuffer.
  • December 1-7 has been declared the FIRST EVER Crohns & Colitis Awareness Week by Congress via Senate Resolution 199. Hug and IBD patient today! Hug me!
  • My professional opinion as a trained and nationally certified fitness expert is that this article makes very important and accurate points about form, or lack there-of. I’m not going to knock it entirely since it gets people moving, but enough experts weigh in to maybe make you think…

That’s all I got, guys. I hope you’re having a great Friday and have all sorts of motivating fitness plans this weekend. I’m going to probably sleep and run and study. In that order.

Now go out and run!

Philly

Philadelphia is a cool town. I like the little streets and the architecture is truly beautiful. It was even cooler at daybreak as me and 25,000 of my closest running buddies headed to the start line of the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon.

I ran. I finished.

But first, I met Bart Yasso, Editor-at-large for Runner’s World Magazine and creator of my favorite marathon workout, Yasso 800s. Yes, THAT Bart Yasso.

Hey, Bart!

He’s only the most friendly guy in the world. He’s also very gracious. He signed my book, took a picture with me and chatted with me about our mutual love for lululemon run apparel. His favorites are the Run: Response shorts. He also promised to join us for a Wednesday night run club next time he’s in the city. We’ll be ready for you, Bart!

I spent Saturday afternoon napping at our hotel before we hit up our dinner reservation for some good ‘ol fashioned pasta. Thanks, Maggiano’s Little Italy for making a special dish just for me and my stupid colitis tummy.

Success #1. Drugs. On that note, I was completely hopped up on the ‘roids on race day. Whatever. Thanks to my fabulous drugs, the quick thinking of my awesome PA and last-minute freak-out emails with Ali when I fully should have been listening in Physics class, I was basically bathroom problem-free on Sunday morning. Basically.

Success #2. Corral starts were staggered and awesome. I was put in the perfect corral pace for me and enjoyed a fairly spread-out start. I was also dressed perfectly, thanks to  my favorite lululemon apparel: Energy BraCool Racerback Tank TopRun: Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve (which I ditched at mile 5), Run: Mind Over Matter Pullover (from Spring ’11 line), Run: For Your Life Crops (from Summer/Fall ’11 line) and Run: Brisk Gloves at the start.

Ready to run!

Oh, but I totally bit it in the middle of the road at mile 5.5. Me and two other people all fell in the exact same spot, which made me feel a little better that I wasn’t he only klutz on the course. Super-cool part of it all is that I was fine and hardly spent any time on the pavement, as I was almost immediately drawn to my feet by three rather large male runners, each of whom grabbed my arms and promptly put me back on my feet. Thanks, guys!

I held myself back in the first 10 miles, which kept me at an 8:11-8:30 pace. I wanted to maintain an 8:30 as long as I could, knowing I’d probably end up slowing down in the last 6 miles even if I pushed harder. It felt slow to begin with and maybe I’ll tinker with going out a little faster on training run in the future, but I was really very ok with it yesterday. Saw JB at mile 7 (he looked pretty content with a coffee in one hand, waving at me with the other) and kept on truckin’.

Success #3. Only one POJ stop at mile 13.1. I’ll take it. I am sad that I missed seeing JB jumping up and down, waving his arms looking for me but I was probably too distracted and looking for the nearest POJ to notice a 6’2” Marine-looking dude jumping up and down, which he swears he was doing (for the record, I have NEVER seen him do this in my life so if anyone caught this on film/camera, pleeeeease email it to me so that I might see my husband cheering like a wild animal).

The scenery was really beautiful past mile 13. I know a lot of people hate an out and back and I’m normally with ya’ll on that, but this out and back was gorgeous! It was a beautiful run along the cliff-lined river on our way to Manayunk. Once in Manayunk, we were greeted by hundreds of cheering fans and a DJ nearly every mile. There was that point where they had beer shots out for runners and I almost gagged on the smell of stale beer being heated up on the pavement, but other than that it was lovely!

Success #4. Seeing my friends. I almost cried several times during this marathon. I blame my hormones. And my family. And my friends who came all the way from New York just to cheer for me at mile 24.5. And they made me my very own sign that was “3D”. They were cheering “Ab-by! Ab-by! Ab-by!” as I blew kisses and shuffled on by them and then met me at the finish with JB. I mean, seriously.

Best gals in the world. You shall remain nameless, but not faceless because you're too pretty for that. I hope ya'll don't mind.

Success #5. I did not lose it and cry. Phew. I damn near broke down when I heard several songs: “My Life Would Suck Without You” at mile 16 (weird, but there’s a reason), “Born To Run” at mile 18, “Gonna Fly Now” at mile 24, “Learning To Fly” at mile 25. When I got to mile 22, I knew I was going to finish and be just fine. This also made me want to cry, but I didn’t. No crying = success!

And then I was almost done. Since my name was written on my number as “Abigail” and not Abby, if I ever heard anyone yell “Go Abby!” I knew that they actually knew me! This was the case at the finish when I saw a friendly face from the city who had run the half marathon and stuck around to cheer us marathoners on. Thanks, AH!

I wish my Garmin hadn’t died at mile 24.7 so that I knew where I was in the last few miles, but whatever. Apparently, my computer has to be on in order for the silly gadget to charge. Whatever. It did it’s job for most of the race so I guess it’s ok. The finish line was around a corner and I didn’t see it until I was on top of it. This is a good mental note for the next time I do Philly: Finish line is around that big corner.

Success #6. I did it. Official finish time-3:56. Yippeee!

See? Told you I'd have this photo to show ya'll! Wow, JB, I really DO turn blue when I finish a race.

JB was there at the finish line (he tells me I looked great when I was finishing. Isn’t he kind? I know I probably had “the face” happening) where he helped me break the law and hop the corrals and whisked me back to the hotel where he promptly dropped my very cold body into a very warm tub. I know, I know, COLD water bath. Well, I was turning blue so hypothermia > muscular edema. Warm bath wins.

Success #7. We made our train and were home by 3:30 that afternoon. I was asleep on the couch by 8pm with a tummy full of (cheeseless) pizza and breadsticks. Mmmmmm…

All in all, a really great weekend. Thank you all who have cheered me on both near and far for the past few weeks, months and years as I truck along on this crazy journey we call life. I appreciate all the Tweets and Facebook comments of encouragement more than you will probably ever realize. I’m looking forward to lots of great races in the near future and maybe even a Spring marathon (any takers?).

Congratulations to everyone who ran the inaugural Brooklyn Marathon in Prospect Park on Sunday. I do not envy you on that course. Ouch.

Stay classy, Philly. And thanks for the memories.

Now go out and run!

Marathon Season Winds Down

First things first. Happy birthday, Obi-wan! You’re the best Jedi Master we could ask for. Thank you for sharing The Force with us. I love you.

Second, congratulations to all of the 2011 ING NYC Marathon finishers! I saw approximately all of you yesterday (I was at the cheer station until the sweep vehicle came by and the streets re-opened) and you were a beautiful mass of sweaty runners that inspired all of us in the crowd with every step you took. Well done.

I think we were all a little scared when the snow swept in last weekend and decimated our beloved trees.

Oh no! Our poor trees!

Thankfully, it was GORGEOUS outside and the sun shone on all of the marathoners all day long. They even worked night and day to got the park cleared up by Marathon Sunday for the tourists to admire our beautiful fall foliage without fear of a giant branch falling on their heads. Well done, Parks Department.

Cheering was awesome. We were up on 1st Avenue early enough to see the elites.

One of the 4 signs I made. I'm a cheerleader overachiever.

The women’s race was a nail-biter with Firehiwot Dado pulling out the win in the last 300 yards. The men’s race was equally exciting with Geoffrey Mutai setting a course record, beating his own personal best in Chicago. Meb ran his personal best, better than his own win two years ago, which earned him sixth this year. Jen Rhines dropped out of the race and the first women runners from the USA to finish were two newbies to the marathon world, Molly Pritz and Lauren Fleshman. All in all, a very exciting marathon to watch.

The elite men go zooming by us.

It’s great to watch the elites, but the warriors in the pack are the ones I come to see.

         

After the 4 hour marathoners pass, things get fun out there. People are trudging through those hard miles, yes, but I think they are also the ones having the most fun out there. Especially at mile 22 where our lululemon athletica cheer station was, complete with a DJ and awesome signs. We danced until the sun went down on 5th Avenue.

Yes, our signs say: "You're the sh*t" because you totally are.

So, for those of you who are done with marathon-ing this season, congratulations and get some rest. I suggest that if you crossed this:

Thank you, New York!

…or another finish line, you take several days of active rest and stretching before you think about getting all geared up for another race. I suggest two days of walking or swimming or gentle cycling followed by deep stretching and *hopefully* a massage or a good foam roll. Get going with running on the third or fourth day and take it easy. It’s all about the recovery run. Oh, and NSAIDs for muscle soreness is a must. At least, it is for me in the days following a marathon. Advil is my friend. And food. And water. You know, the basics.

Post-marathon depression might be something you experience, especially if you don’t have another race on the docket. Think about picking up a half or a 15K in the next two months or so to get yourself going again relatively soon. There’s nothing worse than loving every moment of your marathon training only to find yourself without any direction immediately after crossing the finish line. Find a fun run in December or January and really make it FUN.

For those of you (LIKE ME!) who are tapering for Philly, hang in there. We’ll be seeing signs like this one soon enough…

Two weeks away. Oy.

…but we gotta survive the taper first.

Again, congratulations to all who finished, especially my friends who rocked. You guys inspire me.

Now go out and run!