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Posts Tagged ‘apparel’

Although the Smarty Panties didn’t win the No Skirts Allowed Adventure Race this year, we did get a sweet door prize: vouchers for a free pair of Salomon XT Wings Trail Running Shoes. I was so excited…what girl doesn’t love shoes? And free ones at that!

Salomon XT Wings

Salomon XT Wings

Within a few days of returning to Louisville at the race, I headed to the Trail Store to get fitted and mailed in my voucher. Funny enough, the staffer who helped me was wearing these shoes, and he gave a great testimonial. He said he wears them for running and casually, and loves them. Sweet! Less than a week later, the box with my shiny new shoes had arrived.

I had been running in a pair of Asics that were described as road/trail hybrids. They did the trick, but a dedicated pair of trail shoes was definitely on my wish list, and now here they were on my front stoop! The first run in the XT Wings started out great. The shoes are lighter, have great traction/tread, and I really like the cinch-style (“Quicklace”) lacing system, though it’s taking some getting used to. A bonus is that they’re pretty cute, gotta love the green and grey color scheme (like F2BT!).

A couple miles into the test run, I got an all-to-familiar feeling…blisters forming on the arches of my feet. This is a personal problem I have learned to live with, and after several years I’ve found a pretty reliable fix (or fixes): Superfeet insoles, BodyGlide, and the perfect socks (which can vary depending on the shoes, and takes some trial and error to discover).

We slowed to a walk and finished our route, I let the blisters heal, and next time time tried the shoes with my insoles. No blisters!

The best thing I’ve noticed since I started running trails in these shoes is the sturdy reinforced toe. I can stub my toe on a tree root or the dirt (yeah, I’m not the most graceful runner around) and not even feel it. I even tripped once and fell flat on my face, but my toe was no worse for wear! They’re also easier to clean, which is handy for muddy Kentucky winters.

I’d give these shoes 3.5 of 4 stars so far. If I had paid for them, I would definitely be satisfied with my purchase.

– albledsoe

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We’ve been shopping, gathering, and packing for the No Skirts Allowed Adventure Race for weeks now, but when the day came to actually leave for the event in Indianapolis, I was a little lost as far as how to pack. Heading into an event in which I’d never participated was a little daunting; I wanted to be prepared without over packing. Weather conditions were crazy, plus we were sleeping in a “cabin,” which I’ve learned can mean vastly different things to different people.

Here’s how I managed to have what I needed without forgetting anything, and without taking a ridiculous amount of extra stuff:

– I always pack as I get ready that morning. It may be risky to wait until the last minute, but it’s easier for me to lay things out as I use them.

– I made lists on paper and in my head leading up to departure day. So I had a few options for race outfits in my head, knew what bags I was taking, had compiled all my race-specific gear together. This helped eliminate last-minute oversights, since I’d really been brainstorming for over a week.

– I used the gear list provided by the race directors. Super helpful since I didn’t really know what to expect. Although it did kind of make me nervous wondering what I’d be using some of these items for…

Packed and ready to race!

Packed and ready to race!

– I collaborated with my teammates. This was essential, because the above-mentioned gear list included items that were 1 per team or required things that were 1 per person. So we Smarty Panties kept each other in check and checked in on what to wear, who was bringing what, etc.

– I went through the event in my head. This comes from my triathlon experience and mentally running through each event and transition so you can think of what you’ll need. Again, this was difficult since I didn’t really know what to expect. But I knew what the basic events were going to be (and that I’d need to pack bedding and food), so I visualized each of those and what I would need to use and wear.

– I unpacked. This is a must for me on any trip (unfortunately it took a couple extra-baggage fees before it sunk in): I throw everything I think I may need on the bed, and then thoughtfully remove about half of it. On my last business trip, this tip helped me carry on all my baggage for the first time ever!

I was confident I had everything I intended to take, but very worried I’d need something I didn’t expect. Turns out I was comfortably dressed and had everything I needed for the race. How’d we do? Stay tuned!

– albledsoe

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I’m probably going to be competing in the No Skirts Allowed Adventure Race next month with my friend Valerie. It’s a women’s-only event in Indiana, and the name made me think of the several running skirts (or skorts, I suppose) I’ve accumulated over the last couple of years.

Champion skirts sell at Target and are reasonably priced.

Champion skirts sell at Target and are reasonably priced.

My skirts come from Target, usually the clearance rack. I was a little hesitant at first to try one out, but they look so cute on people I had to give one a try. I was pleased to discover the skirts are quite comfortable. They have little “hot pant” style shorts underneath for modesty and comfort, though I have seen styles with longer shorts as well as some with briefs underneath. The skirts I have are a great length, hitting right at mid-thigh, and have little pockets for keys or extra gum. The pocket isn’t big enough for a cell-phone, but since they don’t have a drawstring, the weight of something like that could end in a wardrobe malfunction anyway!

There are now entire sites dedicated to selling athletic skirts, and many styles and designs are available. Major apparel companies like Nike have gotten in on the trend, and like anything else, prices range from my $14.99 deal to $60-$70 and up.

Nike and other top sports companies make running skirts in all price ranges.

Nike and other top sports companies make running skirts in all price ranges.

Although the skirts are generally comfortable, I still feel a little funny sometimes when I wear them. For some reason, it seems like the REAL runners are never seen in skirts. Are they just behind on the fashion, or is running in a skirt somehow disrespectful of the sport?

I like feeling kinda cute when I work out, I think any bit of confidence while you’re sweating is great. But I seem more prone to wear my skirts to volunteer at an event or during a casual day out than while I’m doing serious exercise. I do love to put a black running skirt over black running tights in the winter for a little extra coverage. They’re also great to slip on over bike shorts after a ride to make a coffee run or something.

So I guess I won’t be wearing a skirt during the adventure race, but you might catch me in one at the pre-race pasta party!

– albledsoe

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