Posts Tagged ‘shoes’

For years I’ve struggled to find a sports bra that was supportive and comfortable. I’ve been able to find one or the other, but not one that fit both requirements. I’ve tried a lot of solutions to limit the bounce: two different sports bras at once, the regular bra/sports bra combo and tops with built-in bras. You name it, I’ve tried it in the name of getting the support I needed.

A few weeks ago my most supportive (aka – uncomfortable) sports bras did me wrong for the last time. After a long run on the treadmill I ended up with a blister in the middle of my chest. So, I went in search of a new solution. That’s when I found Fiona by Moving Comfort. She’s great – lots of support and lots of comfort.

I was skeptical at first because the Fiona doesn’t have an underwire, but believe me when I say that the Fiona offers even more support than her underwired peers and is much more comfortable. The adjustable back closure lays flat and doesn’t rub where the hooks connect and the straps adjust in the front so you can actually adjust the fit once you have the bra on. What a novel idea! The straps have a velcro strip to make it very easy to get the perfect fit, and the closure doesn’t scratch or rub at all. The Fiona has made it through three weeks of workouts, and she’s quickly made it to the top of my list of favorite gear to pack in my gym bag. This sports bra gets a 5 out of 5 on fit, comfort and functionality.

Next on the list of undergarment essentials for a focused, fantastic workout is a good pair of undies. Granny panties give you the dreaded line, and who can really stand to wear a thong during an intense work out? My no fail, stay put option is a pair of drawers that come from Soma. This is the only pair of undies that I can wear to the office all day and know they will still stay in place for an hour-long Zumba class after work. They are laser cut so you don’t see a line AND they have silicone coating on the edge so they stay put. Fantastic!

Number One Shoe
Hip-hip-hooray for the Saucony Pro-Grid Guide 2. My new running shoes were voted the number one running shoes for 2009. I have loved mine since day one, so I was very pleased to hear everyone else loves theirs too!

What are your favorite undergarments that make your workout easier?


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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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My mom and I were recently discussing how overwhelming it can be to try to be healthy, because there is so much information out there, much of it conflicting. Do you drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, or half your body weight in ounces, or something else entirely? Is soy a great veg source of protein, or does it screw with your hormones? The influx of information can be mind-boggling and often paralyzing. Even if you have the best intentions, it can sometimes feel impossible to know if you’re actually doing and eating the right things.

Here at F2BT, we attempt to wade through the unreliable information, bring you the most up-to-date advice, and deliver our real-life results, good or bad. Here are just a few places I regularly turn for health-related info and ideas. There are hundreds of others out there, and we’d love to hear your suggestions as well.

Runner’s World and Women’s Health magazines. I’m a magazine addict anyway, and these two (both by Rodale) are high-quality, info-packed reads every single issue. Both have great websites as well. I especially love the Newbie Chronicles by Mark Parent in RW for it’s honest, hilarious take on being a beginning runner. Warning: Runner’s World may inspire you to do crazy things, like run a marathon.

MapMyRun.com. This site allows you to plug in any starting point and map a running route which you can save, share, etc. You can set up a profile to track your runs, search for other runs in an area and more. Sister sites include mapmyride.com and mapmyhike.com.

Dr. Andrew Weil. I’ve referenced Dr. Weil several times before, but this Harvard-educated physician has proven to be one of the most reliable sources I’ve found for all things health. He believes emotions and spirit play a bigger role in our well-being than most people acknowledge, and he believes some things are best treated by conventional medicine, and other things are better treated in a more natural manner. I always check out what he’s written on an issue before I take any action.

Self magazine. I had to include another mag, since Self has topped my pile for years. The print issue covers everything for cancer survivors to fashion and celebrities to the best new gear, and I love the editor, a triathlete and mom with a great blog of her own. We at F2BT also check out the Eat Like Me blog at self.com, where a registered dietician photographs and posts every single meal she eats. Great stuff!

iTunes. This isn’t very original, but I check out iTunes for inspiration for workouts, both music and podcasts. I love the sports mixes that include “coached” workouts. I own Lance Armstrong’s and Kara Goucher’s. It’s also inspiring to see the top Power Songs (“Eye of the Tiger” anyone?). And I’ve gotten some great podcasts with workouts, yoga and meditation, etc. Check out Mayo Clinic and Dr. Weil there for medical advice, and listen to interviews with top athletes to keep you motivated.

Ken Combs Running Store. This of course will vary depending on where you are, but your local running store is a great resource. For the most part, the people working there love to run, bike, or whatever, and they want to help the endurance community grow (read: free advice). All running stores I know of also get involved in putting on races, are very active in giving back to the community, and generally have ties to running groups (or coordinate their own). I love Ken Combs in Louisville as well as Swag’s and the Trail Store.

– albledsoe

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Shoe Shopping

My current running shoes are much older than I care to admit. The last pair of running shoes I bought were Nike+ compatible to go with my ipod Nano. I’m ashamed to say it, but two years later, I’m still wearing the same shoes for running, workouts, spin class, etc. Yep, I know how bad that is.

Seven weeks ago I kicked off the C25K running plan. After completing two of my training runs last week, I woke up with a sore ankle. By the end of the day my ankle was tender and swollen. What have I done?! I knew I couldn’t put off shoe shopping any longer.

Amanda, my go-to fitness gal and fellow F2BT blogger, suggested that I leave it to the professionals and go somewhere that would give me a proper shoe fitting. She said my ankles would definitely thank me for this. I knew she was right, but I was a little nervous about going to a store that specialized in helping runners. I don’t feel much like a runner. I’m just a newbie at this sport, and I was sure I would get laughed out of the store. Also, I was nervous that they would insist that I needed to buy a pair of really expensive shoes.

So, last weekend I hit the stores. I gave myself a budget of $100 and intended to embrace the help of some footwear professionals instead of just picking the prettiest running shoe off of the rack. I started out at Dick’s Sporting goods and I lasted about 5 minutes. There was a giant wall of shoes, about 10 other people browsing the shoe department and no workers anywhere in sight. I scoped out a couple of displays and realized I needed to head to a specialty store if I wanted to find the right shoes.

Off to Fleet Feet! Several friends recommended Fleet Feet for their service, and the promises on their website sounded nice and welcoming. “Whether you walk, run, or simply need a good fitting pair of shoes, the experts at Fleet Feet Sports will work with you to evaluate your foot’s gait and natural biomechanics to help you select a shoe that offers the best fit and function for you.” And, I must say that is exactly what they did.

The shoe expert who helped me took me through the fitting process step by step. He analyzed my foot and found out what my running goals were so I would end up in the right type of shoe. He really took the time to figure out what I needed and he came up with a match. As it turns out, I’ve been buying my shoes a half size too small for years!

My new gear and October event calendar.

My new gear and October event calendar.

After a test run around the parking lot, I was sold. Not just on the shoes, but the whole experience. I found out about some social running clubs available in my area and an upcoming midnight 5K run that sounds like a lot of fun. I left the store with new shoes (the Saucony Progrid Guide 2) and socks, the October calendar of events and a renewed desire to hit the trails.

I definitely recommend giving the professional fitting a try if you are looking for new running shoes. It was an experience that I unfortunately put off for much too long. I can’t help but think that all of my previous running endeavors might have stuck if I had found the right shoes years ago!

Do you have a favorite running shoe? Have you ever had a professional shoe fitting?

– Sara

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