Gear, Gadgets, Equipment

14 Dreamy Gifts for The Running Mom In Your Life For Mother's Day

Yesterday I wrote about some of the simple gifts which can mean a lot to the running mom in your life.  Gifts runners really want Today, I take it up a notch and get into the gifts that cost a few dollars more than the (almost) nothing list, but are worth the money when chosen correctly.

Everyday Dreamy List

This list represents the everyday items I wish would magically appear in my house or car or running trail at just the right time to make my runs even more enjoyable.

1.  New tunes.  I always remember that my play lists are a bit stale about six steps into a 10 mile run.  And then when I get home and remember,  my iTunes account is nearly empty.   Fill 'er up!  Add some dollars to the iTunes (or other music accounts) and as an extra boost - clean up our playlists (if we ask).

2.  Hydration bottle.  A handheld water bottle or belt has been on my belt for sometime now.  Why I don't just buy it...I have no idea.  Not everyone is a fan of these or are super particular about what they might like - so this is one that requires careful questioning to pick out the right one.

3.  Stock of Gu, Powergels, Hammer Gel, etc.  We don't mind eating the kids fruit roll ups and stale Halloween candy for our long runs, but it would be nice to get a few electrolytes and all those other special powers that the real long run magically potions contain.  We just don't get to the store or online in time to remember to buy what we need.  And then stash it in a secret place so little Johnny can't find the chocolate ones.

4.  After Run Shoes.  We aren't quite as young as we used to be.  I know it is hard to tell, but we sure notice it in our feet after our runs.  Give us a soft, yet supportive, open yet somewhat structured, hip pair of shoes for post run.  I  saw a pair of Riders in the May/June Women's Running Magazine - my feet begged me to get a pair - super awesome!  And of course, I droll over the Keen Whisper ads that come into my email.

5.  Massage.  Need I say more.  Need one.  After every run.  I hear it is recommended by 9 in 10 running moms after every run. 

6.  Pedicure.  Since you are thinking about picking up those wickedly cute shoes from gift idea #4 and they are bound to show off more than the tops of our ankles, we are definitely gonna' need a pedicure.  Runners are some of the most beautiful people in the world with the exception of their feet.  They are smelly, calloused, blistered little tug boats that sit at the bottom of our shapely legs and buns.   Help us make our toes feel pretty again. 

7.  Spibelt or running belt.  These cute little spandex shorts we wear don't hold all the things we would love to take along on our runs.  We need a place for our keys, phone, tissue, lip balm, fruit rollup/GU, etc, etc.   

8.  Subscription to a running magazine.  I look forward to my monthly dose of Runners World, Running Times and Women's Running.   Give the gift that keeps giving!

Once a Year (or Lifetime) Dreamy Gifts

1.  Running Vacation.  We love to go on vacations.  We love to run.  Put the two things together and we will be the happiest running mom alive.

2.  Shopping Spree at Running Store.  Give us free rein (or at least a big gift card) at our favorite local running stores - when we don't need shoes.  Say these words, "Take your time and buy the running clothes you really WANT.....".   Believe it or not, yes we do need more socks, more running bras, a few more perfect shorts and pants for all seasons and conditions, and of course...the perfect running jacket.

3.  Full Spa Treatment after the big race.   Forget a one off pedicure or massage.  Go big and send us away for a day or two for the works.  The face stuff, the feet stuff, the massage, the special meals, the expensive wine and chocolates.   There are places that even mix spas with running vacations.  Ohhhh...

4.  Medal showcase.  Our medals, finish line cups, tshirts, etc all need a special place.  Have them framed or showcased in a way that is special to us (and goes with the decor).  If you don't know, ask an expert.

5.  Running t-shirt quilt.  We have enough t-shirts to make blankets for the Duggars....yes we know we have too many.  But they are all really special.  Help us sort through them and come up with our really special stack to be made into a t-shirt quilt.

6.  Garmin or Watch.  Runners are either technology enabled or not.  It doesn't seem like there is a lot of middle ground.  I am not a watch or Garmin person but I know so many runners who rave about how much a Garmin helps them improve and track their running.  In fact,most runners name their Garmins.  Yes, that is how much they like them.   How do you know if your runner wants a Garmin or super fancy running watch?  Trust me, you would know.  They would tell you all the time.   You would probably even know what they would name it.

High-quality, affordable socks available for every runner

During the WRIGHTSOCK Challenge launched last month, one concern that runners expressed was finding high-quality, affordable running socks.

Entirely in response to you, WRIGHTSOCK listened to your concern for affordability.

WRIGHTSOCK 2 1 After giving free socks to nearly 150 runners, now WRIGHTSOCKs are making affordable socks available to every runner.  They’ve made special arrangements with Justsocks.com for every runner to get the most from your sock purchases. 

Going beyond their standard buy-5-pair, get 1-pair-free, WRIGHTSOCK is offering:

Buy 2 pair and get 1 pair free! 

Visit Justsocks.com, choose your preference of WRIGHTSOCKs and use the code Runners’ Lounge when you check out. 

Not sure if or how you'll like WRIGHTSOCKs?  Feel free to ask any of the 25+ runners who gave up their favorite running socks for the month of August and ask them about their WRIGHTSOCK experience.

Coming soon--the wrap-up podcast where the WRIGHTSOCK Challengers talk directly with the top official at WRIGHTSOCK.  Should be a great discussion!

Gifts For Runners (That They Really Want)

Thank you for joining in the discussion last week of what gifts runners really want!  

All your tips are compiled into the article, "Great Gifts Runners Really, Really Want!"

The information you provided has been assembled into a great list of what real runners really want (and need) this holiday season.   Along with the great tips we also received some emails of well intentioned but not useful running gifts they had received in past holiday seasons.  Gifts like:

  • "Victoria Secret"-like undergarments instead of running bras because the giver thought those were too ugly.
  • A hunting orange polyester jacket instead of a running vest because if a running vest was good then blazing orange must be better, right? 
  • Gatorade.  You are wondering what is so bad about that?  It was a packet to make 12 gallons at a time - the giver thought they would always want some on hand in a jug.
  • Poster size blow ups of race photos.  Well intentioned but the runner didn't want poster size recreations of those particular red faced, sweaty moments.

It was the significant difference between the good advice in the forum and the bad gift stories sent to our emails that made us realize that it isn't enough just to tell you about the compiled article, "Great Gifts Real Runners Really, Really Want".   While it is a great list of gift giving ideas that will work for even the pickiest of runners, it doesn't go far enough.

So the next thing we did was carve out a new category in the Know How section labeled, "Gifts for Runners".  This section is devoted to sharing articles, tips and discussions on gifts for runners.  If you have a great blog post that could be republished - let us know (amy@runnerslounge.com or leave a note on my profile)!  Or if you have a tip or link to a great gift giving tip, leave it in the Advice section.  

But it still wasn't enough.  We must spread the word!  Share the link to this post or to the article with Gifts runners really want your friends and family.   Send it on to your running clubs and newspapers.  Get the word out!

Feeling a little shy or too demanding about telling others want (you and) real runners want - then post this widget on your blog sidebar.  You know your family and friends lurk about your blog toward the holidays to try to guess what you might want.   Make it easy for them - show them the way.  The widget links right to the compiled article of gifts runners want!

Heck with world peace and ending hunger, we need to unite to stop bad gifting to runners.  It is up to us people!

Help us spread this Public Service Announcement today! 

Great Runners Deserve Great Gifts!

Special thanks to our contributors for adding their tips to this list:

fivekviv, cdnrunnergal,   curlyj, dennis, eyeballrene, spartan7, runatthemouth,  momofthree, axrun262, milanorunner, marlene, glen20910, felicepd, runnindb, lauras, roobabs, boucher, piecesofme1, absamaz, blainemoore,  mamartaslbplus, coffeebetsy,  marie1010, brook31  , melanie1300, distancerunner, debbie jrt        

Runners' Lounge FREE STUFF Giveaway

At Runners’ Lounge grows, we keep connecting runners with runners and useful running resources.  That’s why there’s space to find and add articles, races, clubs, and all things running.

We also love discovering great products for runners, and the only thing better than talking about running stuff is getting running stuff—FREE.

That’s why today we’re announcing the Weekly Free Stuff Giveaway at Runners’ Lounge.  We’ve teamed up with some special partners who are bringing their great running stuff to the Runners’ Lounge community.

Drymax_rl081 Our current giveaway is sponsored by DryMax Socks. DryMax has generously agreed to award $50 of top-of-the line running socks to the winner.

Amy and I have been wearing Drymax socks for about six months—no, not every day.  And we’ve come to appreciate a sock that keeps its promise to keep our feet dry. The people at Drymax tell us that no fiber technology attracts & repels sweat simultaneously.  So to keep feet dry, they use a dual layer sweat removal system with repelling Drymax fibers on the skinside and sweat attracting fibers on the outside.  Sweat doesn't stick to these socks, so it moves completely through to the outer layer.  It's a system they guarantee will keep feet dry in all conditions.

Another reason we like Drymax Socks so much is they provide useful, easy-to-understand information about socks, including getting the right fit, odor management, blisters, and even trimming the old toe nails just right.

Anyone can become eligible to win

Since Runners’ Lounge is dedicated to sharing useful resources, just contribute advice or a tip to the Giveaway Question. Your advice or tip can be something you have learned along the way, something you have read, a link to a great post (yours or someone else’s), or a link to others’ advice on another running site. 

All Loungers who contribute to the Giveaway Question between August 13 and 24th will be eligible to win $50 of free socks from DryMax.  That’s like a wardrobe of socks!

Runners’ Lounge will select and announce the $50 Drymax socks winner on August 25th.

This week's Giveaway Question:

What is your advice, tip, mantras, tried-and-true methods, etc to getting through a tough run?

Go to the Lounge and leave your tip today to become eligible!

Even if you don’t win the socks, you will be a winner in the Lounge.  Runners’ Lounge will compile all the responses in a combined article for all Loungers to enjoy. All contributors will be referenced and linked in the article for full and proper credit.

Finally, what comes to mind when you think of running, runners, races, and free stuff given away?  A Running Expo!  So we're building the Runners' Lounge Online Running Expo.  The expo hall is open and there you'll find our giveaway partners.  And as more partners join us, they'll be giving away running stuff and useful running information.

So this week, it's been about feet and socks.  We're looking forward to hearing lots of feet tips, commentaries, and stories at Take It And Run Thursday.

Running T-Shirts - Hot Off The Press!

Thank you for your posts on Thursday of why you run.  I was so very inspired from all the I_am_a_runner_1 posts on Take It and Run Thursday of why we run and what makes us a runner.  After reading through them, I felt like I just couldn't let them just sit there.  So I compiled all the text together and sat down at my most favorite web tool - WordleHave you Wordled?   It is a simple on-line application which takes lots of text and turns it into a word cloud. I_am_a_runner_2 It's fabulously addictive!

Here are a glimpse of the the reasons you run and what makes you a runner - in the form of a word cloud.  They are really quite striking. 

So striking in fact, thaI_am_a_runner_3t I just couldn't stop.  Next, I turned to the wonderful list of "Why I Run" from each Lounger's profile.   It is quite a list - over 700 runners reasons of why they run.   I fed that list in the Wordle engine and - waalahh! - more inspirational ways to look at the reasons we run. Why_i_run_8

Since it is Running T-Shirt week in the Lounge, I did the next logical thing - I put some of these Wordle word clouds on T-Shirts in Zazzle.  It's really cool to see "Why I Run" come to life.  I couldn't stop myself after I started!  I added them to cups, cards and even stamps.

A glimpse of the Runners' Lounge gallery is below.  Without you and your reasons, the shirts wouldn't be as cool.  Heck, they wouldn't even exist.

We are looking forward to your running T-shirt sayings, ideas and inspiration on Thursday!

"New Shoes" ... such an obvious answer

My dear running sluthing friends, solve this mystery:

For the last few months, I found that it took longer to get settled into a run.  Every step was uncomfortable.  My legs felt heavy, there wasn't alot of spring in my steps.  My knees ached while running, my feet were sore.   I didn't have any specific injuries or pain after running, but my running itself was feeling less and less enjoyable.

If we were sitting across from each other at lunch and I blah, blah, blah explained this, what would have been your first or second question to me?   Oh wise ones, I am sure it would have been, "Do you need new shoes?" or some variation on that theme.   And my first response would have been, scoffing, "New shoes....ah come on, I have Dscn0982been running long enough to know and remember when I need new shoes..."   And then there would have been a long pause and a mental scan of the bottom of my favorite running pair.  And when I got home, you already know what I found.  Yep, shoes way, way, way, way, way past their prime.   

I get so busy that I forget to get haircuts, go to the dentist, and even do grocery shopping.  So, it shouldn't be suprising that I completely missed my regular scheduled trip to the shoe store.

I had a 12 miler coming up and really didn't want to run it in my elderly, beat down Addidas Addistars.  I was in a really desparate position.  So I said my Prayer to the Running Shoes Gods and ran into the store, and quickly asked for another round of the same shoe - might as well go with a tried and true friend on the eve of a long run.   And.....no luck.  They were out of both the old model and new model in my size.  So I sat down and tried a bunch on hoping for the magic glass slipper that 633422333973128798whurricane10_blue would make me run beautifully for 12+ miles.

I was very skeptical that any shoe could live up to my Addistars.  We have had a long relationship together.   But in the fitting area, the Saucony Hurricanes strutted its stuff.  I was impressed.  So impressed that with only a mile together on the treadmill, I trusted the pair enough to take them out for a long afternoon on the trails.   And it was wonderful!  It was the best run I had in a long time.  And no rubbing, no chafing, no problem being too tight here and too loose here.  And the many runs since the long one, they are still performing unbelieveably well.   

There is the refreshed feeling you have when you run on new shoes and then there is the floating miraculous feeling you have when you find the perfect shoe for your foot.   I thought I had found my one true love years ago, but I see now that he was waiting for me all this time.   

To the Saucony designers and staff who figured out how to put the stuff together to make this shoe into something that makes me more of a runner - I love you!  You are brilliant, genius group of people who I am certain are in need of a raise, a car, some jewels, a long vacation, a cold beer and a dozen chocolate chip cookies.  In the Saucony's Manifesto, you say at the end, "It is a good day when we get to run.  It is a great day when we inspire others to run."  I think your work here is done with this happy little runner. 

And back in runnerland, consider this your public service announcement to check your shoes.  It is that time of year when mileage adds up faster than think and it is always good to have more than one pair of favorite shoes.    Shoes can make the difference between good long run and a long run that is so good that you can't wait to do it all again.

And on a side note...why is it that the obvious answers are only obvious after you solve the problem?

I Luv 'Ya ... You 350 pound hunk of steel

A letter to my treadmill.....

Dear Tank Treadmill,

I know I have been difficult this winter.  I have called you every name in the book.  I have growled, yelled, stomped my feet and used your name in vain.   And for that, I am sorry.   

It's been such a long cold, icy season and we have had to spend more time Dscn2669 together than usual this year.    But it isn't your fault - you were just trying to help me.   I realize that now.   Now that spring is just weeks away - I can see now that you helped me make it through winter.  You saved me.   And more importantly, you saved my running.  This was the longest, darkest, coldest, icest, most unpleasant winter in many years.  Without you, I would have to endure the horror of winter AND give up my running.   But you were there 24 hours a day 7 days a week to give me a little relief.   You helped me log runs that were impossible outside so I didn't lose all of my fall fitness and more importantly my sanity.

At your old age of nine, I know it isn't easy to do what you do.   Many of your buddies have long since retired.  But not you - no sir - you have been a strong soldier.   It probably helps that you are 350 pounds of nonsense steel.   You don't need any of those newer models bells and whistles to prove your point.  Your motor is still stong and you never waiver from your pace.  And I appreciate that.

And with spring around the corner, we may finally have the time to look into the hotwheel that is stuck somewhere in your front end by one of the kids.  I am sure that is frustrating to be permanently stuck on a "1" incline for the last 9 months.  Only you know if it is a real "hill" or only your memory is going.

And because of your loyalty and support, from here on out I promise not to refer to you by the name of "dreadmill" or any terms of profanity or disrespect.     I will call you friend.

And now, until we meet again when the dark rainy season of spring forces me back inside -

Thank You Friend!

Note to the Lounge:  I think I have officially made it through all 5 Stages of Treadmill Running.  I have come to peace with my treadmill.

Pile on your running music and podcasts

I ran my first marathon many years ago, long before running was supported the way it is now.  We knew very little about training, racing, preparation, recovery, and all the components of endurance road racing.   For example, I wore my high school cotton gym shorts, cotton mesh top (ouch!), and a dress watch with a second hand.  Figuring out splits required a good memory and doing quite a bit of math while on the run.  It was lonely.  I don’t mean the race itself.  I mean the whole running culture.

Podcast_2 Fast forward, and I am thrilled to be part of the growing world of running where we know so much more about everything from tapering to tempo runs.  More important than the advanced technology, gear—and even more important than the abundance of information about running—is the generous spirit in which runners share what we know and have experienced, and offer our support to each other

It’s amazing to be part of a community that knows no boundaries.  Running is shared openly on blogs, web sites, in print, and actually running together and chatting about running.  My belief is that as long as people are running for fitness, for the social experience, and for competitive reasons, runners will continue to rally to share information openly and generously.  And I believe that is what makes runners unique.

Podcasts have opened another entire distribution of running information, and with such a personal, narrative touch. This week's  Take-It-And-Run Thursday is focused on podcasts and music.  I’ve never run a step listening to music, so I can’t be of any help there, but I do enjoy podcasts.  Listening to podcasts is closer to having a running friend who passes along advice, encouragement, lessons learned, and just plain interesting point of views.   A favorite podcast directory of mine for tracking down great running bytes is podcast.net.  We’re looking forward to learning about everyone’s best recommended podcasts for running enthusiasts.

After launching the Extraordinary Running Awards, friends of Runners' Lounge have already submitted stories.  We're excited to announce Brian, Christine, and Tracker have won tickets to see Spirit of the Marathon next week.  Several merchandise awards are still available for the next seven who submit stories for one of the four categories. 

We're excited to read more inspiration and great moments from running.

MP3 player on Flickr by Taniwha

I love your pants

There are 70 days left of the dooldrums of winter with few holidays to celebrate soon.   But never fear, there is something to put a little pizzazz into your runs.   I stumbled across Running Funky as I was doing some visiting across the web.   Running Funky is something fun in the gray of winter.

Polka_dots_4Running Funky is owned by Bethann Powers, operated by Julie Rock, and is a dang fun place to find colorful and creative attire for running and other fitness.  Bethann’s goal is "to help the world get more colorful and exciting while allowing each person to express themselves.”  And she’s taking cool and zany to a new level.  Bethann and Funky Running are spreading the gospel of putting funky into running.

Now stay with me before you go to the website.

Lindacolumbusmarathon Running Funky is doing to running apparel what Apple is doing to computingmaking it fun, exciting and conversational, only using spandex instead of technology!  Even their web site is novel and fun.  In addition to funky tights, the product line includes options like T-Funk, Funky Shorts, Funkitards, Long Underfunk, and Sleeveless Funk.

Bethann has thought of everything.  Want to look like a leopard?  Paisley?  Checkered?  Plaid?  Polka-dotted?  Psychedelic?  She has a style for every imagination, emotion, and whim.  Athletes can choose among hundreds of colors, designs, and patterns.

Makes me want to use words like "far out" and "groovy."

4_2 They even have funky bike seat covers so you can be wearing your favorite wild tights, get off your bike and it will look like your butt left its pattern on the seat.  My daughter, Laura, loves their scrunchies and says life doesn’t get any better than when scrunchies match your tights.

Amy, I think these would have you revise your spandex rule for Running Fashion tips?

If you’re still reading this and haven’t been swept up in their site and products—well, you’re probably an exception.

Just when you thought winter running couldn't be any more fun - surprise - fun spirits like Bethann and Julie find a way to make it even more enjoyable.

Using the great words from Adidas...

...Runners, Yeah We are Different. Snotrocket800

According to my very unscientific poll yesterday,the overwhelming best way to blow while on the go is, no matter the name, is ....

Farmer Blow

A Snot Rocket

A Hold and Blow

Whatever the name...it just gets the job done.

I just love those low tech solutions!

Wishing you the best rockets this weekend as you get in those runs through the snow and ice.

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