Oiselle Wednesday: The Scantron Strappy Bra

It’s a little bit odd that I’m writing about a running bra, but when you run as much as I do, you realize how important this piece of clothing really is. A bad running bra can be painful. Finding the right running bra is like finding a four leaf clover – except you can order a bunch of them online once you find the perfect one (you know, in case they get discontinued, it’s the end of the world – or something like that).

On my quest for the perfect running bra, it didn’t surprise me that Oiselle would be the maker of the one I fell in love with. The Scantron Strappy Bra – coincidentally on sale right now – is my go to running bra. I had regular, cheap sports bras that would lose shape, were too big and lacked support. They just didn’t cut it.

After having my son and once I was done breastfeeding, my quest for the perfect running bra began. The Scantron Strappy Bra (SSB) was the first one I bought from Oiselle and I was immediately in love. This will forever be my go to running bra.

TMI alert – breastfeeding took a toll on certain body parts, so I didn’t have a lot that needed to be supported, but I like that the SSB was tighter in fit, the material doesn’t stretch out or sag over time, and the double straps were a nice change from the standard thicker straps commonly on sports bras. The double straps are also nice because I clip my iPod onto one of the straps, because I’m one of those people that needs music when I run.

The straps don’t slide around and there’s no chaffing (even when running a half marathon in the pouring rain and not wearing any glide). I consider myself to have broad shoulders, and found the bra to fit true to size (I wear a small comfortably).

I love pairing the SSB with the Winona tank from Oiselle:

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Oiselle Wednesday: The Shorts that Started it All

Anyone familiar with my blog likely knows how much I love the apparel company Oiselle. I’m also a member of the Oisele Flock, which is overflowing with amazing ladies. Last week on Twitter I came across a blog series called “Oiselle Wednesday” on fellow Flock member, Cecilia’s blog, Mommies Run. I tweeted to her about how this was such a great idea for a blog series, and voila, I’ve stolen the idea and will also be doing some Oiselle Wednesday posts!

This week I’ve decided to review the Roga Shorts. Since it’s the first week of Oiselle Wednesday, the Roga Shorts were one of the first Oiselle pieces in my running wardrobe – and the are the short that started it all for Oiselle, the Roga Shorts seem like a great starting point.

Oiselle Roga Shorts

I love the waistband on these shorts. The shorts have a yoga-paint inspired waistband, making them very comfortable and flattering. The waistband doesn’t shift or bunch up, which is always an added bonus. I’m not very tall (5″3’ish) and the length suits me.

Oiselle Roga short

There are two other members in the Roga short family – the shorter Mac Roga shorts and the Long Roga Short – to suit a variety of preferences. There’s a back zipper pocket, which is always a crucial feature. I prefer my zipper pockets on the back, so these are perfect.

The material that the shorts are made out of is super soft and the shorts aren’t poofy. Another thing I like about these shorts is that they stand up to the elements. Running in the rain? Not a problem. The material doesn’t become heavy and they don’t chafe.

Price-wise, the shorts are $46 USD per pair, which is a price I’m willing to pay for a good pair of shorts that are going to last – and these definitely do. I’m a quality over quantity person and when it comes to my running gear, I’m willing to spend a little more to get something that’s of high quality and is going to last me a long time.

Stay tuned to the blog each Wednesday, where I’ll review some of my other favorite Oiselle items 🙂

Stocking Ideas for a Mother Runner

Depending on the person, gift giving can be a difficult task. I’m the type of person that buys for someone based on their interests. As a runner and a mom aways on the go, I’d be satisfied if my stocking contained Starbucks gift cards, some Oiselle arm warmers and tubes of Nuun. With the holidays quickly approaching, I decided to round up a few things for the ‘mother runner’s’ stocking.

1. Gift cards – these are an obvious stocking stuffer, but they offer a picky person (like myself) some freedom. Gift cards for someone’s favourite stores are a great idea, as it demonstrates that you know what they like, but that there may be something specific that they have their eye on.

2. Picky Club Membership – The Picky Club from Picky Bars is a service that sends Picky Bars to your door each month (in the US) based on your membership level. This membership is a great idea for a mother runner on the go, in need of healthy fuel.

3. Oiselle Arm Warmers – Perfect for in-between season running, arm warmers are a great solution for weather transitions. The flow arm warmers from Oiselle have been on my mind for months and maybe this Christmas they will be in my stocking 😉

4. Oiselle Rundies – This underwear set is practical for a mother runner, but also adds a bit of humour – a little laugh is always a good thing 🙂

5. Nuun – Nuun is a great hydration product for every mother runner (and every runner in general). Nuun tubes are perfect for those on the go and fit neatly into any stocking.

6. Handmade running jewellery – There are a lot of great Etsy shops that sell handmade jewellery for runners. One particular shop, The Run Home, has a wide variety of hand-stamped jewellery that any mother runner would love.

These are just a few ideas that I wanted to share. What are some other things you would put in a stocking for a mother runner?

 

A Very Delayed Vacation Recap: Boston

In October we went to Boston for a few days. Upon arrival in the Boston area, we drove out to Newton, where my husband dropped me off so my running-obsessed-self could go run the Newton Hills and Heartbreak Hill section of the Boston Marathon. It was glorious, but I also know that those hills are not so glorious when you’ve already run 25+ kilometers. The neighborhood and the Boston College campus are so beautiful!

After my run, we went to Wahlburgers for dinner, but there were no Wahlburgs there that night 😦 I’m seriously hoping that the people who opened a Wahlburgers in Toronto open one in Ottawa asap. We checked in to our hotel and got settled. Odin played with blocks and then we all passed out. We spent the following day touring Boston. We walked all over and went to TD Garden to take pictures for Ryan’s dad who is a Bruins fan, walked through Beacon Hill, the Boston Public Gardens, Cheers and Copley Square. I took a zillion photos of anything that had to do with the Boston Marathon, and my drive to qualify for it (and run a full marathon) went into overdrive.

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The people in Boston were soooo friendly! We ventured into a lot of running stores and all of the people in there chatted about different races and products – I was in heaven.

The following day we drove out to explore Cape Cod. We did the entire Cape, stopping to take pictures at the Cape Cod Light and then spending the rest of the day in Provincetown. We picked up some delicious salt water taffy and enjoyed being outside. Odin loved playing in the sand. there were quite a few places that had already closed for the season which was unfortunate, but we had a great time!

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Thursday was game day. The main reason for the trip. We are HUGE Patriots fans. We’ve always gone to see the Patriots play in Buffalo because it’s easier to get tickets and slightly closer to home, but this was our first time to Foxboro and Gillette Stadium and it did not disappoint. We purchased tons of Patriots gear, and even scored free hats. It was the Thursday Night Football game, so it was cool to be there to experience the live broadcast – where we got to be steps away from Robert Kraft, Deion Branch and Ty Law. We went closer to the field to take some pictures.

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At half time there was a ceremony to celebrate Ty Law’s induction to the Patriots Hall of Fame that happened over the summer.

The Patriots won, keeping us on the edge of our seats until the last minute by blocking a field goal that could have resulted in a loss.

It was such a great trip and we accomplished a lot when we were there. We will definitely be back!

Maintenance Mode Motivation

I’ve always struggled with maintenance mode. I do well when I have a race scheduled and a goal to work towards, but it’s unrealistic (among  other things) to keep up intensity and certain training patterns all year. From mid-November until the beginning of April, I tend to be in maintenance mode, as the winters in Ottawa aren’t always runner friendly – especially at 4:30am, which is my designated running time.

I don’t want to risk getting injured and I don’t want my level of fitness to decrease, so I need a plan and some motivation for maintenance mode.

In order to do this, I’ve decided to treat maintenance mode like a race, in the sense that I’m going to develop a schedule and stick to it. The distances and paces will be much different than when I’m training for a race, and there will likely be more rest time than a typical training cycle. Instead of a desired finish time, my goal for my ‘maintenance cycle’ Is going to be to listen to my body, stay healthy, avoid injury and keep a good foundation going for my next training cycle.

I hope this will help me get through the next few months and will pay off in the spring when racing picks up again. Hopefully having a schedule will keep me on track and I won’t use this time to slack off. For the past two weeks I’ve already slowed down my paces, which, given a fixed running time on weekdays, means my distance has been shortened too.

It’s difficult to slow down sometimes, but then I remind myself that it’s even more difficult to have n injury, or be unable to run for other reasons.

What are some of the things that help you out when you are in maintenance mode?

A Look Back at Running in 2014

Looking back on 2014 (from a running perspective), I would never have expected anything that happened this year – it seems too surreal. From joining the Oiselle Flock to running a 1:34:01 half marathon, I’ve surprised myself and have been so thankful for what running brought to my life this year. Personally, 2014 was one of the toughest years of my life. Running helped keep me focused and even keeled when times got really tough.

This year I started to truly love running. Getting up at 4:30am almost every weekday sounds terrible to many, but that’s what I did to get my runs in. I can’t recall a single day this year where I felt that I didn’t want to run or that I didn’t like it. When I started running back in 2006, all I wanted to do was run a 5k. Then quickly I wanted to run a half marathon. When people asked me if I wanted to run a full marathon, I usually said no, or that I would run one eventually just to say I did.

In 2014, I made the decision that I will run a full marathon, and would ideally like to qualify for Boston on my first attempt. It’s a lofty goal, but I feel like I can achieve it. When I ran my first half marathon in 2007, I was happy with a 2 hour finish. I decided then that My ultimate goal would be to break 1:45. After a few attempts and two finishes around the 1:47 mark, I felt like breaking 1:45 had become my ‘ultimate goal’ for the half marathon.

I took time off from racing to have my son, and got back into running as soon as I was cleared by my doctor. I ran with no expectations. My runs were fit in between feeding sessions and naps, which also meant that most of my runs were done with a jogging stroller in front of me. Being on maternity leave for a year enabled me to run quite a bit. Upon my return to work, I wasn’t sure how much running I could expect from myself (see the 4:30am wake up time above), but as time went on and my passion for running continued to expand, I realized I would be able to properly train for another half marathon. I also got exposed to an amazing community of female runners this year through Oiselle and the Flock. Being connected to such a passionate group of runners has kept my spark shining.

I remember a day in April when I was in a bad mood, wasn’t feeling the greatest, and I went for a run. I had no plan for my run, no distance or pace expectations. I just kept running. Before I knew it, I was approaching 20km, and I couldn’t believe the numbers I saw on my Garmin. I finished 21.1km that day in 1:37 and change. This number is significantly lower than the 1:45 time I had set as my goal for the longest time. A few months later, I went out for a run, similar in the sense that I had no expectations, and finished 21.1km in 1:34:57. I couldn’t believe what was happening. These paces were the fastest ones I’d ever run in my life.

The Canada Army Run half marathon was in September and I finished with a time of 1:34:01, which probably would have been a bit faster had it not started to downpour once I got to kilometre 15. I was ecstatic when I finished, but of course, I started getting my mind wrapped around running a sub 1:30 half marathon – which has become my new ‘ultimate running goal’ (for half marathons).

All of these results are part of my running journey, and even though I started running 8 years ago, I feel like I’m just getting started. I can’t wait to get started on my journey to a full marathon, and ultimately Boston. For now, I will be satisfied with the opportunity I had to run the Newton Hills/Heartbreak Hill and visit the place where I will one day run:

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It’s Our 4th Wedding Anniversary!

It’s super hard to believe that Ryan and I got married 4 years ago. Time, as usual, has gone by way too fast.

Life has been so much fun being married to my best friend. We are beyond fortunate to have Odin in our lives. We’ve accomplished so much in 4 years (8 years together) and I can’t wait to see what the future hold for our little family 🙂

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What’s In My Running Drawer

Aside from the two drawers in my dresser that are overflowing with Oiselle gear, I also have a running drawer, which is where I stash my must-have running accessories and other goodies.

Credit for this idea goes completely to fellow flock-mate Emily Hess – you can find her blog here and find her on Twitter at @profhesser.

Here is what my running drawer consists of:

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  • Picky Bars – I’m part of the Picky Club, which means I get my bars mailed to me every month. When my shipment arrives, all of my bars go directly into this drawer. As you can see, my supply is a little low (since there are none in the picture), but my bars for this month will arrive this week 🙂
  • Nuun – Nuun is my go-to for hydration and electrolyte replenishment. I can’t do Gatorade or other ‘sport drinks’, so I’m thankful that I found Nuun! Simply pop a tab in your water bottle and it’s ready.
  • Hand held water bottle – I’m not a fan of fuel belts, so for my long runs, I take this with me to stay hydrated. I’d rather carry the small bottle as opposed to having the extra weight of a fuel belt around my waist.
  • Jelly Belly Sport Beans – These offer a little something sweet for extra long runs. I love the raspberry ones!
  • iPod charger, Garmin charger, Garmin – I leave all of my gadgets in this drawer so that I always know where they are – and this way they are out of Odin’s reach. He likes to hear my Garmin beep and pull my headphones out of my iPod repeatedly.
  • Hurraw lip balm – This brand has become my lip balm go-to. I have a bunch of different ones, including one with SPF in my drawer.
  • Bib belt – I only use this on race day and it was given to me by a coworker who also runs. I love this belt because it holds my race bib in place without having to put holes in my shirts. It’s also easy to wear and I tend to forget it’s around me.
  • Oiselle tattoos, buttons and stickers – With every order I place directly with Oiselle, there are a few of these items included in every box. My son ran away with the ones I had taken out of my drawer for the picture.
  • Spare inhaler – I have asthma, so a backup inhaler is important.

I had also kept some winter running accessories in my drawer, but I hardly run outside in the winter anymore because my awesome husband bought me a treadmill two years ago when I was pregnant with our son. I thought he was crazy for spending so much on the treadmill, but I think him everyday, as it was seriously one of our best investments.

The next thing I’m going to have to make room for in my drawer is my Believe Training Journal, co-authored by pro-runner and Picky Bar co-founder Lauren Fleshman. You can preorder yours here (and they’ll send you some Picky Bars to hold you over until the journals ship!).

What’s in your running drawer?

This is 50: My Mom’s Surprise Birthday Party

On October 4th, it was actually my dad’s 51st birthday, but we used that as a decoy for having a surprise party for my mom’s 50th birthday which is actually on October 15th. We did our best to keep the party a surprise, and it worked, because our mom was super shocked when she arrived.

The plan was that my dad was going to tell my mom that he didn’t want to make a big deal out of his birthday and that he wanted to go out for dinner just the two of them. It was an easy story for everyone involved to commit to and was very realistic.

After a long week, my mom texted one of her friends (just before arriving) that was at the party and mentioned that she didn’t really feel like taking my dad out for dinner because she was exhausted from everything that was going on. Little did she know, but the dinner was actually for her. When her friend showed us the message, we knew she was still in the dark about the surprise. We saw my parents pull into the parking lot and my sister and I took Odin to meet them at the door. Her reaction was priceless, I wish I had recorded it.

I was so happy to surprise my mom with this party. I know it meant a lot to her to have friends and family with her to celebrate her birthday. We had lots of yummy cake and Odin provided hours of entertainment for everyone. Here are some of the pictures from her party:

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Moms Should Never Be Underestimated

One of my favorite runners is Kara Goucher. I’ve been following her career for a really long time, and even held onto a copy of Runner’s World when she was interviewed about running while pregnant, which I still have. At the time it was for future reference, then when I was pregnant with Odin, I probably read the interview a few hundred times.

If you follow Kara on social media, you know how much running means to her, but you also know how much family and being a mom means – something that really hits home with me. Earlier this week, the trailer for Flotrack’s Driven was released, with Kara as the main subject. There are so, so many things I love about those 2.5 minutes. Kara is so real and honest, and she comes across as someone you could meet in real life and be friends with immediately.You can watch the video here:

http://www.flotrack.org/embed/OTkyNzUxNjA2?related=1&autoplay=false

Watch more videos on Flotrack

In the trailer, Kara makes reference to a stereotype that many people think you aren’t serious about something if/when you have a baby. Like Kara, I feel like these people are so wrong. For many moms that decide to work outside of the home, they encounter similar criticism or assumptions (they won’t focus on work because their mind will be at home, home priorities will interfere with work ones – those types of things).

Since having Odin, I feel like I care more and am more serious about a lot of things. My goals still matter and I’m still driven. I want to be the best mom to my son, and at the same time I’m also serious about my job, my family and about running, among other things. The way I structure my life is different than it use to be. For example, I’m done my morning run before my son and husband are even out of bed. I plan ahead and multitask like never before in order to get things done. When I started running again, I blew through my pre-baby pace times and am running faster than ever before. I want to run a full marathon someday, and eventually Boston. Being a mom isn’t going to hold me back from any of that – it just means I need to be a little creative to make it all happen 🙂

Thank you Kara for showing the world that women and moms shouldn’t be underestimated.
PS: Kara – you aren’t crazy or old. You are awesome.