I would like to welcome any of my new readers that found me from the Louisville Sports Commission Half Marathon f/b page! Yay! For those of you that are new, I thought I would explain a bit that I have been thankful to be a sponsored athlete with Active.com for the past 7 years. As a result, most of my races are done in a "uniform" of sorts. This means I don't usually spend a ton of money on clothing for training or racing. I usually spend the little money that I allocate to clothing purchases on socks, shoes, and winter apparel (it is rarely provided anymore), and things that are more considered running "needs" compared to running "wants". Wants would be things like properly fitting shoes that are replaced on a regular basis, socks that don't blister your feet, a good sports bra (for the ladies), and weather appropriate gear. Needs to me are things like the latest gadgets, cute coordinating outfits, destination or racecation races, and things of that nature. If you have good shoes and socks, there is a lot you can do with those things alone. Running and triathlon (especially triathlon) can get super expensive, so in order to do a lot of races, I try to utilize my sponsor's kits as much as possible, for both racing and training, as well as the shirts from races (wish they would give out shorts sometimes though!) However, after year and years of wearing something that someone else picks out, sometimes it is nice to pick out some things for me that I get to select. You know that if I pick something for me, it is either something that I want very very badly, it is just so reasonably priced that I can't pass it up, or one of those items that you HAVE to buy, like a Boston Marathon jacket or Ironman finisher's gear.
This year, I decided for my birthday, I wanted to get a SOAS tri kit. (photo from soasracing.com)
I like a shorter short and I prefer a top with a built in sports bra, and no zippers. The SOAS kits fit the description of this, and my friend Amy is one of their ambassadors, so they came highly recommended. They also have a very steep price tag. I haven't ever spent this amount of money on a tri kit ever before! I had been looking at them online, and I loved the designs and all the technical features that they offered. Between the top and bottom, there are 5 rear pockets. Three are small on the shorts, and two are large on the top. I have lost things out of my team kit pockets before on the bike, so the roomy rear pockets are great. Since I am small, I ride a bike with 650cm wheels, and frequently need to pack additional tubes if that size is not supported by the event. I can pack a rolled up tube and cartridges easily in one pocket. I can also fit my phone and bars in the other. I usually wear a fuel belt with my GUs in it even when biking, but I do like to have pockets to put my empties in after I have used them. I can do this easily with this top. (sorry for the bad picture!)
The tri top:
I already went into the pockets, but it has an internal shelf bra. Even though the tops are light colored on the outside, the bra portion is black so that it does not get see-through when it is wet from swimming or sweat. I have not had any problems with chaffing from this top at all while running, and I have run pretty far in it while marathon training. I think I did at least one 20 miler in it, but I can't remember. I ran 11 in it today. I ordered a size small since I have a broader back, and it fits very well. It isn't super tight through my waist, which means it stays down and doesn't ride up like some of my more snug tank style tops. It is also plenty long to meet up with the short.
The tri bottom:
I got an XS in the shorts. They are a bit snug through the thighs, and I feel like the fabric gets stretched more on my legs than it does on my top, but the waistband of the shorts fits perfectly. I felt like if I went up a size on the shorts, the waist would be way too big. The great thing about these shorts is that the waistband doesn't squeeze you. It isn't some tight elastic band cutting into your midsection, but a wide flat fabric band at the top of the shorts. It helps to avoid the unattractive muffin top look that you get when from elastic. The leg openings have grippers inside them to keep them in place, and the chamois is fairly thin, but sufficient. I use Aquaphor with them, and all is well. I like that I can put a little sample tube of Aquaphor into one of the short pockets for a ride and have it if I need to reapply. I had planned to ride my 100 mile rides in them, but due to my crash, that didn't happen. Also, similar to the internal bra, the rear panels of the shorts are lined in black fabric for additional privacy. They are a 5 inch inseam, which is shorter than some people may like, but I really like this length since I am short in the first place.
This is my go to outfit to wear when riding or running. I have not had the opportunity to swim in it, but I think I would prefer a wetsuit swim with it because of all the pockets. I don't like anything that causes extra drag when swimming because I am already so paranoid about swimming. Both Ryan and I were amazed at the durability of it after my crash. Up until the crash, I had always washed it on either normal or hand wash cycle of our machine, but with the level of dirt and blood that I had on it, we washed it on heavy because of the theory that it couldn't be damaged much more than it was by all the stains. We soaked it in resolve stain remover, and for the most part, once it came out of the washing machine, there was very little evidence that it had been in an accident. There was one seam that had gotten scuffed on it, and one small spot that remained on the white, but it was completely wearable! Also, through continuing to wear it and wash it, that small spot is pretty much gone now too! This was a very expensive outfit, but it is holding up very well. I have been careful to make sure I wash it right away after wearing it since it is white, and I have been fortunate to only get one additional spot on it since (chain grease!!!). I am very happy with my purchase and would love to purchase an additional outfit in the future. They also make running singlets, shorts, and cycling jerseys. The running singlets do not have a built in bra, but they are a fraction of the price of the tri top, so I definitely see one of those in the future.
Also, so far this week I opted to run the same workout from last Tuesday again this Tuesday. I did 1 mile warm up followed by 6 miles at 8min/mi pace intead of a track workout. With the grand slam race over the weekend, I wasn't ready to push the pace hard. I also felt really tired during it. Yesterday was a trainer ride, and today I ran 11 miles, 1 mile warm up and then 10 at 8:20/min. It felt hard in the beginning, then I got all warmed up and great for the middle. The last two felt hard. These were all indoors at the Y. Thankfully, I only have a couple really long runs scheduled for indoors, and Soren will be at preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays after Labor Day, so I can get outside more. He asked for me to push him in the stroller today, but 11 miles just seemed too long for the stroller. I think I would have struggled, and he would have been bored. Hopefully during the month of September, I can do several longer runs, and build up to 16 miles or so before I need to taper back down for the Iron Horse Half Marathon, and then get a couple more long runs of 12 or so done between that and the Louisville Sports Commission Half Marathon. I'll also need to be biking while Soren is at school, so I may drop the running back a little, just to get my biking in. Usually, if I can run 10-11 miles for a long run, I figure I am good to run a half. I haven't been as fast lately with this method, so I am just hoping to be a little stronger this time around. Both of these races have some hills in them, so if I can go in stronger, then that is a good thing.
Thanks for reading and I hope you are having a great week of training!