Quick Review on My December Fabletics Order

Last week I posted about how I broke down and ordered not one, but two, outfits from Fabletics.

They’re here!

Shipping was lighting fast. I think it only took 2-3 days from order to arrival, and that was without any expedited shipping.

I was super happy with my picks. The first outfit had a pair of leggings with a metallic trimmed top.

If you look carefully at the leggings, they have a striated part at the back of the calf. What you can’t see is that they also have a zipper at the bottom and are high waisted. For leggings, these are really high quality. I was excited about these. The shirt is of a more ordinary quality; it’s also slightly cropped but not to the point of being revealing.

The second outfit was another pair of black leggings and a tunic.

Here, the tunic was the star. I’d sized up to get a looser fit and also because my size was not available in this soft pink. This was a risk, but ultimately it was the perfect call. The larger size fit exactly the way I wanted and the color is great. The leggings, on the other hand, are pretty basic.

Something that I’ve noticed about Fabletics: the outfits are typically sold in two (or sometimes three) piece sets, and one piece always seems to be the hero item, whereas the other seems to be of significantly lesser quality. With the above outfits, I’ll probably wear the leggings from #1 with the tunic from #2. I would NOT do the reverse with the cropped tee and the basic black leggings.

Another major reason I bought two outfits this month was for the free gift with purchase, an option to select any of the bags Fabletics had on their website. I chose this one:

Again, this was a pleasant surprise. The nylon fabric is thick and the details are cute. I was going to use this as a gym bag but it is so nice that I am contemplating swapping it out as a work bag.

It’s been a while since I ordered from Fabletics, but this was a success.

 

 

The Post Where I Broke Down and Ordered Fabletics

I’ve been a member of Fabletics for about two years.

If you’re not familiar, it’s a subscription site for athletic gear, ostensibly designed (curated?) by actress Kate Hudson.

Kate Hudson, via some random site

I signed up for Fabletics due to a great deal where you could get a complete workout outfit for half price – $25 – for the first month. This was over two years ago, and the outfit I received was only meh. I think there were some knee length pants made of t-shirt fabric but cut like sweatpants along with a tank top that had ridiculously oversized arm holes. I wore the pants sometimes at home but the tank top was so gross that it got tossed.

Since then, I’ve been diligent to check out their new styles every month but I usually skip buying something. If you skip the month (pretty easy to do with a few clicks on their site) within three calendar days, you’re golden. If not, they charge you $49.95, which you can store as a credit and use in a future month to buy their gear, which now includes workout clothes, coats, bags, etc.

The few times I’ve bitten and ordered new items, I’ve been only moderately impressed. Out of the 24+ months I could have selected new outfits, I probably only ordered four times. I can recall a pair of navy joggers (Sidenote: where are they, anyway? I would wear these if I knew where they were. Sigh) that were of ok quality, although straight up Fruit of the Loom t-shirt cotton fabric. There were also two recent (meaning last year) pairs of workout pants, both of which were low-ish quality (limited stretch, thick enough to not be see-through but faded quickly when washed) that paired with un-usable tops (that oversized armhole problem again).

Suffice it to say I haven’t been impressed with Fabletics but I’m still Me, meaning that I can’t resist a deal, especially when there is a Gift with Purchase.

When the December Fabletics outfits were released, I was *thisclose* to clicking “Skip This Month,” but I lingered.

And saw this:

This outfit is called the “Rory” and has a long sleeved tee with a pair of black tights with a cute detail at the ankle.

Can you see that above? It’s striated. The top also has metallic accents at the neckline and on the side.

With membership, the Rory is $59.95, not bad for a two piece outfit.

And then: I saw the offer for a free bag with an $89 order.

Free bag. As in Any Of Their Bags.

And this one looked so cute:

So I looked some more, and the “Tara” outfit caught my eye.

The Tara ($89) consists of an oversized funnel neck sweatshirt with leggings. It comes in three of the most popular colors of the season: millennial pink, off white and gray. Oh, boy, I was hooked. The stock was very limited, so I had to size up but I was able to order the pink top with non-special-but-functional black leggings.

And the (above) bag was mine – for free!

I’m still waiting for these to arrive, but it’s with anticipation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brooks Running Apparel Review

I’ll be honest: I was really, really bummed a few weeks ago to have to miss my favorite running event of the year.

So much so that I backed off of my running, which is so not me.

Compounding that wave of sadness was seeing happy social media posts from countless friends who had recently completed races while I moped on the sofa.

I was feeling left out. Left over. Left behind.

And then I knew I needed to pick myself up, dust myself off and hit the road, one foot in front of the other.

Cute clothes never hurt that mission, either.

I’ve been wearing Brooks running shoes for several years, faithfully rotating out worn pairs for new ones, but inexplicably, I don’t think I’ve ever owned any other Brooks running gear.

I saw this outfit on another blog and was able to track it down on sale:

The shirt is called the “Streaker.” I’ve now seen it in both short and long sleeve versions, as well as tanks.

While I purchased the pink/cobalt combo above (and the colors are so gloriously bright in person; I love this shirt), it is also available in a red/orange pairing and a seafoam/turquiose one.

Here is the last one on sale at Sierra Trading Post:

This is a close up shot that shows the color gradient:

The shirt is moisture wicking and made of antimicrobial fabric, so here’s hoping that it wards off perma-stink for the entire summer and fall running seasons.

And let’s talk about those capris. The “Go-To Running Capri” comes in this awesome hot pink color (boringly called “641” on the Brooks website), as well as black and navy. The fabric is really smooth and these capris have two pockets in the waistband to hold money, keys, etc. I love this feature. The pockets are also trimmed with fluorescent yellow fabric, which is a cool contrast IMHO.

While I ordered the above directly from Brooks (the shirt was on sale but looks like it might be sold out now), I also found some screaming deals on Brooks gear at Sierra Trading Post, Amazon, 6PM.com, REI, and even Nordstrom.

At Sierra Trading post, I was able to get this cute pair of capris for over 50% off retail and also score this tank for less than $10.

Here is a screen shot of the capris, which are called “Greenlight SE.”

There is a cute ruching detail on the leg:

And here was a surprise: they are reversible! I like the striped side better, but the pink/navy is also nice.

Since they are reversible, the capris are also just the right amount of thickness. Not too bulky to be hot, but also not too thin to venture into transparency. Nobody wants that look.

The fabric is the same silky smooth knit as the first pair of capris. They  have a wide waistband that I appreciate and also come with a pocket for essentials.

I am hoping this new gear gets me set and in the right frame of mind for fall marathon training. I ended up hitting the trails three times over the weekend, so I am feeling positive and off to a good start.

What is your favorite brand of running gear?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orangetheory Fitness and Me

I recently started attending classes at Orangetheory Fitness.

Here’s a description of the workout from the Orangetheory website:

Our heart-rate monitored, high-intensity workout is scientifically designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that spikes metabolism and increases energy.

Here’s my take: This is a killer workout that uses heart rate monitors to force you to your breaking point.

The ostensible goal is to get 12-20 minutes per workout in the “Orange Zone,” where you are working at 84-91% of your maximum heart rate.

Ok, this is really hard to do.

The hour-ish long workouts combine running (or walking) on a treadmill, rowing and calisthenic exercises, usually with hand held weights.

Participants spend about half of the workout on the treadmills and rowing machines, and the other half in the weight area. The cardio time consists of stints of working at Base Pace (which is what I would consider my normal running pace, maybe 6.3-6.5 MPH, or a 9:30-9:10 minute pace per mile), Push Pace (1-2 MPH over Base Pace), and All Out Intervals, where you just go nuts and run until you feel like your heart will explode.

Why I decided to try this:

  • I love running and have been working hard for the past six months or so to get faster. Speed work – which the Orangetheory workouts naturally include – are a necessary pain to achieve that goal.
  • I secretly have always wanted to be a rower. Spouse was on the crew team in college and later taught me to row. I regret not trying it earlier, especially in college because I think I would have been pretty damn good at it.
  • While I love to do cardio, I hate to lift weights. Without the pressure of a personal trainer or a group, I just won’t do it. And I know weight lifting is important to overall conditioning.

Here’s a dirty secret about Orangetheory: if you’re already in good cardiovascular shape when you join, it’s going to be really, really challenging to get 12-20 minutes in the magic Orange Zone during the class.

For me, getting to the Orange Zone requires running on the treadmill at a speed of at least 7.5-8 MPH, which is waaaaaaay faster than my normal pace.

And it is super uncomfortable to do so.

On the flip side, if you’re not in good cardiovascular shape, you could easily get to the Orange Zone just by briskly walking on the treadmill at a modest incline.

I routinely see people get 20+ minutes in the Orange Zone, whereas it is a struggle for me to reach 12. This is humbling. It is hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that while I am working extremely hard, I need to work harder. Part of me always wants to throw in the towel and feel Good Enough with what I’m doing, which is often a lot more treadmill work than the person next to me.

But I guess that’s the whole point of Orangetheory. Push. Push. Push.

Yesterday was particularly humbling: I went to a class and got zero Orange Zone minutes.

My heart rate monitor read a steady 112 BPM even when I was running 8 MPH at a 5% incline.

Something was not right.

At the end of the class, I approached the (very fit) front desk worker and said that my heart rate monitor did not seem to be working. He asked me to show him how I was wearing it, which prompted lifting my shirt and providing an embarrassing display of my abdomen to the entire studio.

Turns out, I was wearing the heart rate monitor upside down, and it will definitely not work properly that way. Whoops.

Big sigh for my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Declare It Day 2017

Declare It Day 2017 is in the books!

Knock on wood, my running’s been going well lately and I’ve been kicking around the idea of a fall marathon, most likely the Twin Cities Medtronic Marathon given that the course is  going to be (practically) in our new neighborhood and it’s a course I’ve run four times already.

This will also be my tenth marathon, which seems like a cool milestone.

Putting something out there for everyone to see has usually been an effective motivator for me in the past, so here’s my Declare It Day goal for 2017:

16473960_10154279395545267_3663531742610550963_n

And yes, I want to go for a PR!

 

Color Stripe Workout Pants

On Friday I mentioned that for the races I’m doing this weekend, I bought a new pair of running tights from the Gap.

Here they are:

picture4These striped leggings caught my eye due to their retro appeal. The fabric also features blackout technology, which is designed to be opaque and avoid the dreaded see-through Lululemon effect.

What I liked the most about these pants – aside from the fact that they look cool – is the rear zip pocket, which is critical for holding gels, lip balm, hotel keys and other necessities for running a destination distance race.

Since I got these for 40% off (during one of Gap’s nearly ubiquitous deals), I added a matching space-dyed half-zip pullover.

picture5(As I was putting this post together I saw that this pullover was listed as one of Oprah’s Favorites for 2016, which apparently means I have excellent taste. Ahem).

These pants retail for $64.95, but since Gap routinely runs deals ranging from 25-40% off, you could realistically get them for a lot less. I paid about $39, which was an acceptable number to me.

An added bonus is that these pants have a similar feel to these Tory (Burch) sport ones:

picture1 picture2

The major difference (besides width) is that the Tory sport pair retails for $135, which is a price I equate more to items in my work or special occasion wardrobe than things I will get sweaty.