Gifts for Runners and a Giveaway!

Now that Thanksgiving is over I’m in full blown Christmas mode! I’ve decided that unlike previous years I am not going to procrastinate and leave all of my shopping for the last week before Christmas. Today, I thought I’d share some things that would make great gifts for the runner in your life! We also have an awesome giveaway to share so keep reading!

Earbuds – A great pair of earbuds are crucial for running! We both use Yurbuds and love them! They are comfortable and stay put. While you’re at it, why not thrown in an iTunes gift card or a subscription to Rock My Run .

Fuel/Hydration of choice – Runners can go through a lot of fuel when training for races, so a stocking up on some of their favorites would make a great gift! Grab a couple tubes of Nuun and their favorite gels or chews!

Nuun

Socks – There are several different options you could go with for this category. You could get them a few pairs of their favorite low cut socks or a pair of compression sleeves/socks.

Road ID – These are an absolute must have for any road runner. I love the rubber style bands with the charms!

A Running Book The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons I run Long Distances, Meb For Mortals, or the Believe Training Journal are a few examples.

believejournal

Shoe Charms – I love these Foot Notes from Momentum Jewelry!

A Subscription Box – These are monthly boxes that come with all kinds of goodies for runners so it’s like getting a new gift every month! Some options are The Runner Box or Stride Box.

Shoes – We go through shoes like crazy. A new pair of their favorite trainers would make a wonderful gift!

A Marathon Course Map Print – If your runner just ran a goal race these prints make an awesome commemorative gift! This one looks really nice and can be personalized with the runners name and finish time!

marathonprint

A Race Entry – Is there a race your runner has been talking about wanting to run? Why not gift them an entry and wrap a copy of the registration for them to open! I’m positive that any runner would appreciate the support of their hobby!

*** None of the products above are sponsored. They are just things we use and think would make great gifts!***

And on that note, we have a giveaway! Our friends at Spartan Race have offered us an entry to one of their races to give away! The entry is good for one entry for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race in the Continental United States.

To enter: Leave a comment telling us which race you’d choose. For additional entries: follow us on Twitter (@2halfsblog) and leave a comment telling us you followed and follow us on Instagram (@taleof2halfs) and leave a comment telling us you followed. Giveaway will close Friday night and we will choose a winner at random!

Spartan Race is also offering deals on registrations!

Spartanholiday

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Father’s Day Gift Guide

With Fathers Day arriving this weekend, we wanted to share some ideas for the perfect gift. There are millions of Fathers out there, so obviously this list may not be all inclusive. Our idea was to come up with a wide range of gifts you might not normally think of.

The Runner
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– Garmin Vivoactive / Fitbit Charge HR
– Race Entry
– Marathon Print like this or this 

The Outdoorsman
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– Fishing Pole
– Game Camera
– Go Pro

The Businessman
– Framed artwork from children
– Shadow box collage with memorabilia
Homemade coasters for his office
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The Foodie
– Premium cuts of Fine Meats – try a place like Omaha Steaks to have them shipped right to you!
– Basket full of sauces, marinades and seasonings
– A nice set of grilling utensils

The Car Guy
– Vehicle Detailing Gift Certificate
– Custom Floor Mats like these
– Complete auto care kit
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We hope you enjoyed some different gift ideas.

Packing For A Racecation

We leave tomorrow for the Buffalo Marathon weekend so I’ve been working on getting all of my gear ready (packing is by far one of my least favorite things to do!). Buffalo is about a five hour trip for us so it’s important that I have everything with me for both races of the weekend. The majority of the races we run are not local to us. The closest race beyond a 5k has been an hour and a half drive, so I’ve gotten a system down for making sure nothing gets left behind. Here is the process I follow —

1. Make a List: When it comes to traveling I am huge on making lists. For race trips I make a separate list of all of the things I will need come race day. I start from my head and work down from there listing each thing that I wear. By making my list this way I can just go through and grab each item on my list and packing doesn’t take a long time. Usually I’ll write down what shirt I’m planning on wearing as well. Everything gets laid out and then double and triple checked before getting packed. 

2. Plan for the Weather: I start watching the weather about a week out from departure. Even if the weather looks like it is going to be nice I still bring clothes for cooler temperatures or rain because the weather can change pretty quickly and I don’t want to have to scramble trying to find something other than what I brought to wear for the race. Consider packing some throwaway clothes for if the start of the race is going to be chilly. Often times these clothes get picked up and donated by the race!

3. Don’t Forget Fuel: Some of the places we’ve gone for races are really small towns, so I can’t rely on the places having a store that will carry the specific fuel I use (Nuun and Shot Bloks). I plan ahead to have my fuel on hand and throw it in with the rest of my gear.
If we are driving to a race we usually each have a bag with our running gear separate from our everyday clothes. If we’re flying and space is a little more limited everything goes together, but were sure to at least keep our shoes in a carry-on bag. If an airline loses your bag it’s a relatively safe bet that you can find some clothes to wear, but shoes are a different story.

Do you pack using a list?

What’s the furthest you’ve traveled for a race?

Our Spring Playlist

It’s no secret that listening to music can boost your performance during a run or workout. I know that I’m much more likely to have a great run when I’ve got some upbeat music pumping into my headphones! While it’s my favorite means of distraction, music isn’t the only thing to listen to while running.

The Playlist: This is my main source of music while I run. I love adding new music to my running playlist. I always have a running list of new songs to add to my iTunes library. I usually throw in some older stuff just to mix it up a bit too.  Here’s a few of the songs currently in rotation. You’ll find that we both have very wide ranging music tastes!

Spring 15 Playlist

Rock My Run: A cool spin off to a  standard playlist. This is a service that I use when my playlist is a little stale. Rock My Run is an app that provides high energy, DJ created playlists that can help you achieve your running goals. Playlists can be streamed through the app for free or you can purchase a monthly subscription and download the playlists directly to your device. You can search by genre or BPM or even by race length or time goal.  Rock My Run also offers something called “My Beat” where you control the speed of the music. It can be altered manually or by using the accelerometer in your phone. The music will match your pace and keep you pushing hard.rockmyrun

-Podcasts: This is a new discovery for me. I’d listened to a few here and there but didn’t think they were something that would interest me for running purposes. I kept seeing people rave about the podcast Serial, about a murder case from 1999 and decided to give it a shot on my ten mile run the other day. I was pleasantly surprised with how easily I got caught up in the story and it definitely helped me get through some tough, cold miles.image

What’s your favorite song on your current playlist?

Running the Keweenaw Peninsula

Keweenaw 2Hi! We mentioned in our last post that we’re currently on vacation in the Keweenaw (KEY-wuh-naw) Peninsula in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Since we have an upcoming race our training wasn’t able to be put on hold while we’re traveling. The week has started out rough with a stomach bug hitting our family. It never happens when we have to go to work…only when we’re on vacation.

His Training:

So far I’ve done two runs for a total of 15 miles – a 5 miler and my final 10 miler before the Buffalo Half on May 24th. I did these runs on back to back days in an effort to simulate the fatigue I would feel in the later stages of the race. The worst part of the run was the 200 foot plus climb during miles 6 and 7. The amazing view makes up for the hill as I was running toward the shoreline of Lake Superior, which I absolutely love and often miss living in New York.

Her Training:

I’ve done two runs so far totaling only 4.5 miles as the stomach bug has claimed me as a victim. As soon as I’m feeling back to 100%, I too will be completing my final long run before Buffalo. I’m hoping to complete 11 miles. It’s not ideal that our vacation matched up with our longest training runs for each of us but we’ve been able to stagger our days and have gotten our runs in either early in the morning or in the evening after the kids are in bed. Thankfully it’s still light outside until 9:30ish here so we’re not having to run in the dark.

We would like to encourage anyone in the Keweenaw Peninsula and surrounding areas to participate in the Canal Run on July 18, 2015. We will be there and would love to meet our readers!

On a separate note, the other half and I thought we would share a wonderful article published by Midwest Living highlighting the rich history and showing some of the beauty of the Keweenaw Peninsula – our home.

The Keweenaw’s gateway towns of Houghton and Hancock, Michigan, line the Portage Canal.  Photo by: Bob Stefko (Midwest Living)
The Keweenaw’s gateway towns of Houghton and Hancock, Michigan, line the Portage Canal.
Photo by: Bob Stefko (Midwest Living)

A dash of lonesome can add a nice edge to a vacation, especially in fall. We’re talking Johnny-Cash-singing-about-trains lonesome. Rain-pelting-the-window-while-the-coffee-brews lonesome. Good lonesome. The kind Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula delivers in just the right dose.

Has anyone reading ever visited the Upper Peninsula of Michigan?

If so, what did you think?

Return to Running

I found out I was pregnant with our second baby just two weeks after running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. I hadn’t run much since the race and the few times I had gotten out felt exceptionally hard and sluggish. I just chalked it up to still feeling fatigued from the race. In reality, what I was feeling was most likely from those first few weeks of first trimester exhaustion.

My goal was to be able to continue running throughout my pregnancy. I had registered for my fall race before finding out about the baby and it was a race I was really looking forward to. Running isn’t something that comes easily to me and I knew it was going to be exceptionally difficult for me to push through while pregnant, but I was sure going to try!

With our first child I felt great right from the start and had a relatively easy pregnancy . The second time it seemed like I was sick from the minute the test turned positive. I ended up on medication to help control the all-day sickness, but by the time I finally started to feel better my conditioning was gone and starting over at nearly 20 weeks pregnant wasn’t happening. I gave up on my goal to keep running and decided to just pick up again once the baby was born.

3 days before my scheduled c-section

I had a scheduled c-section this time, so I was already anticipating a longer recovery than if I had given birth naturally. My recovery overall was pretty smooth and around the six week mark I was starting to get a little antsy to get moving again. I was cleared by my doctor for physical activity at 8 weeks minus any core work.  I have some ab separation (diastasis recti) that needs to finish healing before I can pick that up again. She gave me the go ahead as long as I promised I would take it slow and not push running if I wasn’t feeling 100%. I started out just doing some work outs that were strength training and some light cardio.  After a few weeks of that I felt ready to give running a try.

I’ve been running again for a while now, and here are a few things that I have learned so far:

Take it slow

My first run was a single mile on the treadmill. I wanted to test how my insision was going to feel and how my body was going to react before I went much farther. It was extremely slow, and I could definitely feel all of the time “off”. The second time I did a mile and a half, and slowly built up from there.

Have reasonable expectations

This has been my biggest hang up so far. My pace has been a few minutes slower per mile than I was running prior to being pregnant. Even though I knew I was going to have to retrain myself, it’s been frustrating to me that my body just isn’t there yet. I noticed early on that if I was pushing too hard that I would have some soreness around my incision the next day. Even though I’m technically recovered, a c-section is a major surgery. With each run my legs are building back up and I know that I’ll eventually get there, it’s just going to take some more time.

Find motivation

To keep myself feeling positive through the frustration, I sat down and picked my first race back. Knowing that I have a training plan to follow, and a race on my calendar helps me when I’m feeling tired, or wanting to ditch a workout. If I hadn’t selected a race, I don’t think I would have pushed myself past a few miles.

The Buffalo Half is my goal race and will be held Memorial Day weekend. I’ll be running the 5k on Saturday in addition to the Half Marathon on Sunday. While I’d ideally like to finish somewhere near my current PR I’ll be happy to just finish the race in an upright position.

Before I started up again I did a lot of research trying to find any information that might make my comeback a little easier. Here are a few articles that I read before I put my running shoes back on:

Running After Pregnancy from Women’s Running

How To Return To Running After Pregnancy from Runner’s World

What’s your favorite way to find motivation?

Have you had to make a comeback after significant time off?

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