Tieks

Honestly, I am not that big on wearing flats. 

I like to be tall.

Like, really tall.

I’m 5’9″ with bare feet and my preferred heel height adds another 3 or 4 inches. On a good day, Spouse and I are seeing eye to eye, and he’s 6’3″.

So, yeah, I don’t wear flats all that much.

Except… this morning I ran 19 miles and pre-run I already had one toenail that was threatening to fall off.

Post-run inspection of my purple nail confirms that it’s definitely on its way out. Pitching my foot forward into a pointy toe box suddenly doesn’t seem all that appealing.

I’m trying to decide if I want to bite the bullet and buy a pair of Tieks, the pricey ballet flats that are seemingly cropping up everywhere I turn.

Their distinctive Tiffany blue sole is pretty darn cute:

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Tieks come in about 50 different colors or patterns and range in price from $175 to $295.

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I like the snake print ones, which unfortunately are at the upper price point. Sigh. 

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What color would you get?

 

 

Fall Style: Nic + Zoe

Last night I went out with my friends J and B – who are both totally awesome and happen to be sisters-in-law; how lucky are they? – and it felt like fall for the first time.

It was raining.

It was night.

I wore a jacket.

I wore my Rag and Bone boots.

It’s officially fall.

Beyond boots, fall makes me think of cute sweaters and coats. Lucky enough, I just saw a great ad with a Nic + Zoe coat in a magazine.

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I like the taupe color of this Permafrost jacket, but it also comes in brick red.

This was the first time this brand came into my radar. I like it. A lot of the pieces feel very modern and many have interesting asymmetrical lines.

Here are a few that caught my eye:

NICZOE1 NICZOE3 NICZOE4 NICZOE8 NICZOE7 NICZOE6 NICZOE2

Nic + Zoe is also having a good Labor Day sale this weekend: $50 off $250 with code LDAY50.

Enjoy the long weekend!

 

100 Days of Self Improvement

My recent spike of interest in all things motivational and inspirational led me to the world of 100 day challenges. 

First, a few truths:

  • Change can be hard to do
  • Making lasting change is even harder
  • It takes about 30 days to make or change a habit
  • Staying motivated is difficult
  • Making lists is motivational (at least to me)
  • Small changes over time add up to big(ger) results
  • I need and want to change a few things
  • 100 seems like a very accomplished number

Never one to miss embarking on a self-improvement project, I designed my own 100 day challenge.

I am focusing on small wellness behaviors. I made a list of 8 daily goals, all of which are do-able. Little things add up!

Here’s my list:

  1. Weigh myself every day
  2. Drink at least 8 8-oz glasses of water
  3. Do 25 sit-ups (I know this is a small amount! This is the minimum I’m going to set for myself, with the goal of doing more every day).
  4. Do 10 push-ups (see above).
  5. Record the food I eat
  6. Exercise
  7. Avoid alcohol (while this may make me seem like a huge lush, I tried to pick something that was the epitome of empty calories. It was either wine or M&Ms, and I had to go with wine. Eliminating both would have been too cruel and probably impossible).
  8. Reach out and connect with a friend every day

 For accountability, I did three things:

  • Publicly declared my attention here and to my family and friends
  • Printed out calendars with the daily 8 and the challenge day printed on them. I made two sets so I can have one at home and one at work.
  • Posted the calendars in visible places

Here’s my September:

calendar

You can download and edit your own calendar here.

Looking for your own ideas for 100 days of self-improvement? Find ideas here and here.

 Your New Self Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

 

Destination Races

Yesterday I posted about essentials needed for running a race, and I focused on local events.

Destination races are a whole different animal.

I love destination races! Combining vacation and exercise is a dream come true.

I’ve previously posted about destination events. Some of my favorite races are from the Run Disney series, but I also loved the More Fitness Women’s Half Marathon (which loops through New York City’s Central Park; how awesome is that?) and the Nike Women’s Marathon (the original 26.2 miler that featured a Tiffany necklace as the finisher’s medal).

Preparing for a destination race requires more prep work than usual. Along the way, I’ve picked up some travel tips:

  • Arrive at your destination two days before the race. You’ll most likely need to pick up your race packet the day before the event, and if your arrival is delayed for any reason, you could find yourself arriving to locked doors. Missing out at the last minute would be heartbreaking! Get there a day early, so you can leisurely cruise the race expo and get set for the Big Event.
  • Having said that, don’t get there too early and try to do too much. I’ve known several people who combined one of the Disney races with visiting the parks. Trying to run 26.2 miles after a day of walking from Adventureland to Fantasyland and everywhere in between can be a challenge you don’t need.
  • Scout out hotels close to the start and/or finish line. Popular places may sell out. Book early. Try to stay close enough that you don’t need to drive to the race or can easily hobble back to a hot shower.
  • Bring any printed registration materials you may have. You’ll need your photo ID in most cases to pick up your bib (number), but also bring any printed registration materials you may have. I went to pick up my packet at one race and the volunteer staffing the booth couldn’t find my name on the list. Fortunately I brought a print out of my registration receipt and Everything Turned Out OK in the End. Whew.
  • Pack the nutrition gels and pre-run snacks that you usually eat. Don’t rely on the race expo to sell your favorite brand. I had to walk about four extra miles throughout San Francisco before the Nike Women’s Marathon in 2012 to find a running store that sold what I wanted. I mistakenly thought there would be gels at the expo. There weren’t. Lesson learned.
  • Bring a plastic bag to stash your stinky running gear for the trip home. It will befoul the rest of your luggage if it’s allowed to mingle. Trust me.
  • Better yet: find a way to wash your stinky running gear before heading home. Many resorts have laundry facilities. Use them. If there’s none available, swish your clothes around in the bathtub along with some hotel shampoo, roll the wet clothes tightly in a towel to wring out excess water, and hang dry overnight in the shower. Still bring them home in the plastic bag, though.

My packing list for a destination race:

  • GPS watch and charger
  • iPhone and charger (don’t forget chargers!)
  • Armband to carry iPhone
  • Nutrition gels (1 for a half-marathon and 4 for a full)
  • Running outfit, plus shoes and socks
  • Headband to hold back hair
  • Toss sweatshirt. This is critical if the weather may be cool at the start. A toss sweatshirt is an old and/or cheap sweatshirt that you wear for the first few miles, then remove and throw to the side of the course. You’re not getting it back, so make sure it’s not designer wear. Most big races collect discarded clothing and donate it to homeless shelters or other organizations. Some people buy sweatshirts from Goodwill or similar places for just this purpose. I use old ones from college or pick them up on sale at Target, where they often sell Hanes sweatshirts for as low as $5.
  • Compression socks or sleeves to wear after the race
  • Plastic bag to hold stinky clothes
  • Small plastic zip lock bag to hold emergency $20 during the race
  • Sunblock
  • Lip balm
  • Some type of anti-chafing skin protectant
  • Band aids
  • Flip flops or other really comfortable shoes

Try a destination race! It’s so much fun.

 

Race Essentials

Last weekend I ran a half-marathon (my fourth this year!) sponsored by my workplace.

The fact that it was a local event meant I didn’t need to do any significant travel, and at one point the course was less than a mile from our house. I briefly contemplated detouring right back home, since the humidity topped 90% at race time, but instead I kept plodding.

Even without travel, there’s still some prep work to do before a race. (I’ll post separately about packing for a destination race. I’ve got it down).

When racing there are two ways to go: minimalist or maximalist. I’d suggest the former.

Many times I see runners in elaborate costumes at races, but I’m not one of them. I need my energy focused on running, not adjusting a rainbow clown wig (an accessory I have noticed many, many times).

I also usually won’t debut any new clothing items, lest I discover unfortunate scratchy areas mid-race. Ditto new shoes.

What I bring with me:

  • GPS watch, on wrist
  • iPhone
  • Armband for phone, secured on upper arm
  • Sport earphones (currently these)
  • Lip balm, zipped in pocket of shirt or shorts
  • One nutrition gel (half-marathon or longer distance; I usually bring Gu since that’s what I’m used to from training), also in pocket

And finally, the most important item: a $20 bill folded into a tiny plastic zip-lock bag.

One like this:

small bag

Sometimes the pins that you’re supposed to use to secure your number to your shirt come in bags like these, which you will discover upon picking up the race materials ahead of time. That’s a huge score, as these small bags are perfect for holding a folded bill. I’ll also occasionally get them with new jewelry or extra buttons, and I always hoard them for just this purpose.

The plactic bag keeps the $20 dry, and in my experience, it’s critical to have a small amount of cash if, say, you’re suddenly craving donuts on the way home or you need an emergency cab ride back to your home or hotel. That $20 is a life saver.

For me, that’s usually all I bring to a race. If I have to drive, I’ll securely tie a car key to my shoe.

If you are more of a maximalist, other items that are not necessary but may be nice to bring:

  • Clean, dry shirt for after the race
  • Compression socks or sleeves
  • Flip flops
  • Small towel to dry off, or even a beach towel to place on a car seat for the ride home
  • Extra water or your favorite sports drink
  • Post-race snack
  • Brush or comb to fix hair, particularly if you are vain about post-race selfies
  • Band Aids
  • Face wipes, baby wipes or both
  • Hand sanitizer

Many races allow you to check a bag ahead of time, and all of the above can easily be stashed. I usually don’t bother since bag drops can be pretty crowded but occasionally I will take advantage of this service. Just don’t put anything of major value in the bag! Keep your car key tied to your shoe, or you still may need that $20 to get home after all.