Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dear Running Santa: My Run and TRI Wish List

Ahhh...my favorite time of year.  In theory, work has slowed down (it hasn't for me quite yet,) and you're wrapping up your last minute shopping, relaxing (before turning up the training for a Spring marathon,) and enjoying the holidays.  If you haven't bought your runner or triathlete their healthy Santa (Kwanzaa or Hanukkah) gifts, here's the holiday wish list from SBM.  Some I have, some I want, and some are more like visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.


Balega Running Socks

As a kid you hated getting clothes for Christmas, but as a marathon runner you have a high appreciation for the "right" running sock.  I've written about socks here before (Fox in Sox, Socks that Rock,) but this is my newest love in the sock world; Balega running socks.  I prefer something with a bit more weight; translation = cushion.  The other obvious variable is the sock's content; cotton = bad, and wool and synthetics will have your little piggies thanking you for not adding too many blisters along the training path. $9.50 and up. (US.)

R8 Massage Roller

My love for my foam roller is well documented as it travels with me to all my marathons and even made Runner's World Facebook infamy.  As a runner far from my 20's, I have had my share of injuries and "aches and pains."  Run over 500 miles in four months training for a marathon and you will be sore.  I don't have an in-house masseuse or chiropractor so having something you can use every day will help smooth out the tight IT band, sore quads, hammies, etc.  The newest "kid on the block" is the Roll Recovery system from runner and cyclist Jeremy Nelson out of Boulder, Colorado.  Tired of "The Stick" and other products that are sometimes more painful than the pain itself, Jeremy consulted with his elite marathon wife and the result was the R8 massage roller.  Elite marathoner engineered...(running mecca) Boulder-based company...nuff said. $99 (US.)

iPod Nano

While I have personally shifted back and forth between Apple and Android for my mobile phone, my everyday running music belongs to Apple.  All my music is in iTunes and Apple continues to dominate the digital music space.  I have worn out many an iPod and tend to lean towards iPods vs. iPhones for my solo training runs.  My previous iPhone was just too plain big and heavy without pulling down my run shorts and the iPod shuffle doesn't give me the playlists that help get me through my runs.  The new Nano is damn sexy...about the size of a credit card and barely over an ounce it packs all the features I need and adds a color touch screen and bluetooth capabilities.  My faith in Santa would be restored if this showed up in my stocking. $149 (US.)
Radar Love

As long as we're building a dream list of gifts, you have to have a good pair of Oakleys for all those training hours in the sun and looking good for your race pics when you log your next PR.  Last year was an expensive year for me as I had to replace a pair lost on a training run in Philadelphia (doh!...I'm hoping I paid it forward and someone deserving is sporting my pair of Oakley Flak Jackets.)  I replaced them with the same exact pair which includes a dark lense for sunny days and a lighter one for cloudy days.  The later helps keep the wind out of  your eyes (which would imply that I encounter a lot of natural wind or run fast enough to create it.)  In the same year, I was fortunate enough to have one a raffle prize from my local triathlon store, Kompetive Edge which added a pair of polarized Radarlocks to my arsenal.  You can't go wrong with either, but the Radarlocks are the top-of-the-line.  They have a much easier system for swapping out between the two lenses (also comes with two shades,) boasts a larger lense, and their polarized High Definition Optics (HDO.)  I use both, but tend to use the Radarlocks for triathlons and my Flaks for everyday use and shorter races.  Flak Jackets; (starting at) $150 (US.) Radarlocks (shown below;) $300 (US.)
Bling is the Thing

I am not a girl, but I have been told that I run like one (not true as far as I know,) and I did dress up in drag for Halloween this year.  In other words, I have no qualifications nor do I know anything about women's fashion when it comes to the run world. What I do know is my virtual run world digs the stuff from Erica Sara Designs.  Using the same logic as the R8 roller development, Erica is a runner trained in fashion, lives in New York, and designs jewelry; so you can't go wrong here.  Aside from her main line, she has the perfect "stocking stuffer" for the female runner in your life with marathon-specific necklaces (Chicago, Philly, MCM, etc) and bracelets.  Based on my twitter, DailyMile and Instagram female run peeps, they all seem to rave about her goods.  She's added cufflinks to her site for the guys out there, but I'm hoping she expands to add some more manly stuff---perhaps "skull and crossbones" with  "I killed it" etched on dogtags. $98 (as shown) (US.)

Zen Living

As I mentioned above, and often complain about here, I have all sorts of aches and pains from training and during a race.  I have raced in Skins (in fact my first BQ I wore a pair,) and tried a variety of compression products.  I am not a Dr. (but I do play one on T.V.,) but I can personally attest to the benefits of wearing compression for runners.  Compression increases circulation and aids in recovery.  In fact, I'm wearing a knee length pair as I write this from my desk.  While there are many to pick from including Balega (above,) my current favorite is from Zensah.  I am currently dealing with some lower left leg stuff so I've been sporting either leg sleeves or the full calf sock for before, during, and after races. (as shown below) $49 (US.)
Sporting Radarlocks and Zensahs at the Denver Rock and Roll Marathon in 2012
Freak of Nature

Okay, so this one is a "little over the top" but magazine wish lists always have something that's a stretch for anyone's budget.  For my triathlete homies out there, here's the one I've really been lusting over; the Tyr Freak of Nature wetsuit.  I've only had three open water swims in my short triathlon career and I've rented or borrowed for each one.  I have to admit, I was green with envy when I spotted some fellow athletes at the Denver Triathlon sporting these bad boys.  You have to put in the training to excel on race day,  but there's something about having the right gear to give you a mental boost of confidence at the starting line.  From what I've read, it's one of the best suits on the market with amazing flexibility and buoyancy while looking just plain bad ass.  Video review from Triathlete.com below. $1,199 (US) (I better only order two at that price.)
Have you been naughty or nice this year?  Are any of these on your list or what should I add to the list?

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine