Sunny Running’s Recommendations for Practically Everything

With all the gift guides and recommendations, I would like to redirect you to the Sunny Running Holiday Gift Guide. It’s advice is unassailable.

However, if you find that insufficient, I also have personal recommendations to make — for practically everything. Here is a complete list of all the gear I use, more or less. (Side note: None of this is sponsored. Some of it was at one point, long ago, that’s why I got it, but the sponsored stuff I didn’t like I’ve long since stopped using. And, I’ve bought plenty more. So, this is actually what I use regularly. Though I’d love to not have to spend so much money on it all.)

Swim

Suit: Jolyn — I almost exclusively wear the Brazil bottoms and the Uniform top. Two reasons: Easier to deck change and get in/out of, and it can pass for both a casual lounge suit and a lap suit. Efficient and lazy. Also, one time, these high school girls all went and bought the suits after complimenting mine, so that’s basically a win.

Goggles: I hate all my goggles currently. I have no goggle recommendations.

Wetsuit: Xterra Vortex (both the sleeveless and long sleeve) — The sleeveless suit I’m not nuts about — it feels high in the neck — but the long sleeve is my favorite, supple and smooth. Unfortunately, I tore it across the zipper this summer and had to get it patched back up. Totally worth the $40.

Paddles: Finis Agility Paddles — Since I switched to these, I swear I’ve gotten faster. Or, at least, less slow.

Bike

Bike: 2006 Cannondale Caad 8 — This Cannondale is the Camry of bikes. (OK, I actually have no idea if that’s true. I don’t know anything or care anything about cars. But, there was this Camry I used to drive around — which I consistently called a Chevy [same first and last letter, basically the same thing] — and it lasted through everything. No brakes, no headlights, no rolling down the windows, but it went. That thing was a beast.)

TT Bike: Specialized Shiv — It doesn’t get faster than this bike. End of discussion.

Wheels: Zipp 303 or the Specialized Rovals — Either work. Both are good. As long as they’re fast and don’t make me feel like I’m dragging a parachute behind me, then I am happy.

Power Meter/Computer: PowerTap — I actually use a really old wired one. But, I’m fine with that. I don’t want to be on Strava. I don’t care if my computer syncs with Bluetooth. I don’t want to put maps on it. All I want is the four things I want to know (HR, power, cadence, distance/time — ok, I guess that’s five). Sometimes, I use Steve’s Garmin head unit with his wireless PowerTap and it’s nice. You can do a lot more stuff with it. Clearly, I take full advantage of that.

Shoes: Shimano WT51 Tri Shoes — I was given these, but they’re great. I haven’t changed shoes in five years, though that may also be because I’m lazy.

Helmet: Giro Atmos (usually) and S-Works Evade (for races) — The Atmos is great, except for the small problem that it leaves two dents in my forehead. So, you know, whatever. And, I’ve been wearing the Evade for races, which I actually like a lot more than my old Giro TT helmet. It’s comfortable and airy, but still aero.

Clothes: Whatever team ones people give me for free, though you probably want to buy this jacket and these booties. And, don’t wear cycling shorts with really tight elastic bands at the bottom. It hurts at the end of the day. #protip

Run

Shorts: Mysterious Nike Shorts — So, I love the Nike shorts I am wearing in these photos. But, you can’t find them anywhere anymore. They’re not quite the classic Nike Tempo shorts — slightly different cut and wider waistband — and I bought them for $8 at the Nike outlet store, so this may just be one of those mysteries that is never solved. We all know I have massive problems with shorts and I go through a lot of them, so I can attest that the mysterious Nike ones are the best. But, in a pinch, the classic Nike Tempos are ok and the new Nike Rival shorts are my second favorite. Oiselle’s Roga shorts are also fine, but tend to make my thighs look even more massive than usual.

Shirts: Under Armour Cotton T-Shirt — I’m currently on a plain workout shirt kick and these are my favorite. (Also, see Gap tank tops and long sleeve shirts.) They’re comfortable and no one asks you questions about the races on the front. Also, you can wear them with fancy yoga pants and go to a meeting before the gym. Lazy efficiency is a theme for me.

Jacket: Brooks Nightlife Essential Run Jacket — I don’t wear jackets to run in much, but sometimes I just wear this one to look cool.

Tights: Fabletics — I was surprised, because it’s a total grab bag scammy coupon thing, but the Cala Capri tights I got from Fabletics are excellent.

Sports Bra: Target Champion Seamless or Nike Pro Classic — I live in Target sports bras. They’re cheap; they come in lots of colors; and they’re comfortable. Lately, though, I’ve splurged a bit on the solid Nike sports bras, for when you want to run in just a sports bra.

Shoes: Saucony Kinvara 4 — I’ve been wearing lots of different shoes for the last two years, since the bone spur in my foot got all messed up. Most of them were decent, but when I needed to buy new shoes last month I decided to go back to the last shoes I was told actually fit my stride/foot/etc. It’s amazing how much better they feel. I still mix it up some and the Brooks PureFlow 2 are pretty good, and I always wear my Nike Frees for gym work (though I have an old model and I don’t really like the new ones that much).

Watch: Garmin 405 — This is the first GPS watch I’ve had and it’s fine. But, I broke the band early on and now it pops open almost all the time. It’s also almost three years old and can barely talk to satellites anymore — I guess they all learned new languages. So, I’ll probably be getting a new one, or just keep wearing my basic Timex and making up the other data.

Water Bottle: Amphipod Hydroform Handheld — I don’t usually carry anything on a run that I can’t stick in my sports bra. But, for long trail runs you kind of need some water/nutrition/pocket. I’ve tried running with vests and backpacks, but they always chafe. This is a light, easy handheld that you don’t even notice much.

Nutrition

(This is seriously pretty much all I eat for workouts, plus sometimes cookies.)

Vanilla Powerbar Gels — Because they taste like frosting and have a liquid enough consistency you don’t gag. I only eat vanilla and some of the fruit flavors. Rarely caffeinated.

Clif Bars and Chocolate Chip Clif Z-Bars — I’m basically just eating Chocolate Chip Mint Clif bars right now. For the longest time I exclusively ate Clif bars. Only the chocolate-chip, peanut butter, and blueberry crisp flavors. I’ve since expanded my arsenal to include the mint chocolate-chip and, in an emergency, white macadamia nut or double-chocolate. I’ll also eat Powerbar harvest bars and those double-crunch ones now, but I still primarily stick with Clif bars, Clif Z-Bars (soooooooo gooood) and Clif Builder bars (mint chocolate only). Why? Because they taste good and are not gross. Duh.

Clif Margarita Shot Blocks — I used to only eat Gu Chomps, but they stick in my teeth and tend to get really hard when it’s cold out. (Apparently, they’re all made at the same facility in Southern California, so the difference may just be in my head.)

Gu20, which they now call Gu Brew, or Gatorade — That’s pretty much it. Definitely will not drink Hammer or Heed.

Miscellaneous

In general, I also can’t say enough good things about KitKat Minis and Bud Light Platinum (the official beer of Sunny Running). For burritos, it’s all about Sonoma Taco Shop‘s super steak without sour cream. For sushi, I don’t think you can beat Sushi 69. And, for a nice cut of meat at a good restaurant I pretty much exclusively frequent Bel Campo. And, I think we all know that if I had my choice I would eat nothing but guacamole, Sabre pine nut hummus, and homemade chocolate-chip cookies.

So there are my recommendations for practically everything. I have more opinions of course, but this seemed like enough.

What stuff do you use? Is there anything I’ve missed?

What Hitting Rock Bottom Looks Like

image

These are all the different things I made in the last few days. FYI, the chocolate-chip muffin looking things have a molten chocolate center.

I think I may be close to bottoming out in “off-season.” The cookies didn’t even taste that good.

Back to regularly scheduled programming next week.

Why Labor Day Weekend Is Actually Terrible for Working Out

See the red. Red means: this sucks.
See the red. Red means: this sucks.

I went for my long(ish) bike ride yesterday afternoon. It was totally nice, until I got back into town. I was heading downhill and all of a sudden the car in front of me stopped, because the car in front of it stopped, because the car in front of it stopped, because, see, it turned out traffic was completely stopped, backing all the way up the hill.

It was so bad that there was a couple that had set up a stand on the side of the road to sell water and lemonade and snacks — an adult couple.

Partially, this is because the Bay Bridge closed, so people have decided that instead of taking public transportation it makes more sense to drive all the way around the Bay and through our towns. But, partially, it’s just a three-day holiday weekend.

I should have known when I stopped at Swirl (the best ice cream shop) on my ride and it looked like this:

Except with kids. Scarier.
Except with kids. Scarier.

Basically, every time it’s nice out and every one has free time and suddenly gets inspired to start working out,it makes me grouchy and not want to go outside. I don’t know what I’m going to do this weekend. Probably schedule my rest days and stay inside, yelling:

Get Off My Lawn!

Do you prefer working out on holidays or when no one’s out?

Why Three Day Weekends Are Less Restful Than Normal Ones

Saturday morning, I got up around 7 a.m. for the 8:30 race (yay low-key trail racing 7′ from your house), which isn’t really very early at all — except for the whole bachelorette party the night before thing.

Sunday, I got up at 5:15 a.m. to drive to Steve’s race at Mt. Hamilton and then drive to the feed zone of Steve’s race, which actually took longer than it did to drive from our house to the start. Then, Sunday afternoon, we got Tupac the Cat.

Monday, I woke up at 6:15 a.m. to go stand around at the Marin Memorial Day 10K and direct traffic. No one got hit by a car, so I’m pretty sure that was a success. By the time I got home at 10:30 a.m. I was exhausted. I laid on the couch for the rest of the day and played with the cat, which mostly involved trying to find her after she crawled under something and watching her chase her own tail.

I am incredibly tired and possibly in need of a weekend.

Here are gratuitous pictures of Tupac:

She likes to cling to you with her super sharp little claws.
She likes to cling to you with her super sharp little claws.
Sitting inside our shoes is  super awesome apparently.
Sitting inside our shoes is super awesome apparently.

 

Back to Training After Vacation is Exhausting

Today, I was back to my regularly scheduled programming, which was tough. I suppose it’ll be tougher tomorrow, when I have to actually go back to work. But, with the whole ‘working for myself’ thing, I haven’t made any money in three weeks, so back to work it is.

I ran ten miles today and barely made it the full ten. I even tripped over my own feet more than once.

I also had to dodge 60-70 mountain bikers on the trail. That isn’t an exaggeration. On the weekends, it’s a popular mountain bike trail, so there were a good number of groups and families out. The trail is also used for a program taking inner city kids into the outdoors — on bikes. Five of those groups of leaders + kids passed me, in addition to the regular mix of weekend warriors and small children.

At that point, I’m not going to stop for every single mountain biker. That’s not bitchy, right? I just move to one side and keep running. The only problem is some of these kids learning about the outdoors don’t have amazing handling skills. Not that I’m going to hate on anyone’s poor mountain biking skills. Kettle. Black. But, still, it makes it rough.

The kids are also practicing their trail etiquette, so instead of one person yelling, “Runner Up,” every single kid yelled it. It was cute/annoying.

About halfway through, I was doing a pick-up effort at about 6:30 pace and a group of kids + leader passed me going the other way. One of the kids yelled, “Jogger Up.” If I’d been near the end of the effort I might have stopped and done some explainin’. Look, kid, this is not a jog. I am definitely going harder than you are. 

But, I was too tired. So, I didn’t.

The main reason I’m so tired is because of all the visiting, and traveling, and being a tourist with my parents for the last week, and ‘skiing.’

Steve and I on the Pinecrest dam. "Hiking."
Steve and I on the Pinecrest dam. “Hiking.”

 

This is the only photo of me actually skiing. Eat your heart out.
This is the only photo of me actually skiing. Eat your heart out.

I say ‘skiing,’ because I don’t ski. I have skiied four times in my life and twice was in the Midwest, so that evidently doesn’t count. The last time Steve and I went three years ago at Dodge Ridge, it didn’t go well. We don’t talk about that.

So, this time, I started out very slowly and worked my way up the mountain.

Eventually, I was able to do a few long blue runs all the way from the top. I would say I only fell a few times, but it might be more accurate to say I only totally wiped out a few times. I fell plenty. Still, I only got a couple blisters and no new concussions. We’ll call that successful.

I also ran a little bit in the snow (and ‘hiked’), which was also exhausting. Doing drills in a semi-plowed parking lot, I accidentally ran backwards into a snow drift. Not a peril that I encounter regularly.

Back to normal it is.

Steve, me, my sister's boyfriend, Jake, and my sister, Maggie, near the top of the mountain.
Steve, me, my sister’s boyfriend, Jake, and my sister, Maggie, near the top of the mountain.

Stomach Flu or Food Poisoning? Who cares when you’re lying on the bathroom floor.

Apparently, my phone takes panoramic pictures. Who knew?
Apparently, my phone takes panoramic pictures. Who knew?

Yesterday, Steve and I went up to Bodega Bay for fun. (FYI, the Bodega Bay Lodge is like my favorite place. Super fancy, super nice, but not that expensive and lots of deals – our deal included breakfast and wine.)

Fun was had. As you can see above. We walked/hiked — I mean, really, how does hiking differ from walking? — around the coast. Then, we got our wine tasting on. Turns out it is totally safe to walk along the side of Highway 1 to wine tasting as long as you’ve attached a bunch of bike lights to your coat. And, no the irony of possibly being hit by a driver while avoiding driving and drinking was not lost on me.

Then, we had an over-the-top dinner. And, then, I got really, really sick.

At first my stomach just hurt, which seemed logical given how much I had eaten and drunk. But, then it hurt A LOT. And, then, it quickly turned very ugly. I spent the entire rest of the night being violently ill. And, since passing out is my body’s solution to everything, at one point I threw up so hard/much I passed out on the bathroom floor.

Steve found me at that point, laying face-down on the floor.

The thing about passing out (in case you’ve never done it) is that as you come to you have some senses and can hear people and feel the ground under you, but you can’t quite put it together quickly and you can’t move. So, I could hear Steve saying, “Kelly, can you talk? Can you hear me? Should I call 9-1-1?” but I couldn’t respond and then I thought, ‘Well, no, I guess I can’t talk.’ In those 15 or so seconds while I was coming to, I also became very concerned that I might not be wearing pants. I don’t know why, maybe because I couldn’t feel them? I was wearing pants – thank God – but that story about the woman being found dead on her bathroom floor without any pants on kept flashing through my mind.

Here are other things I thought while being sick all night:

  • Besides being a terrible idea and bad for you and all that, bulimia really doesn’t seem very practical. There’s no way if you’re throwing up that frequently, you wouldn’t make a mess.
  • Ugh, maybe I’m pregnant. That would be so typical, if no one ever said how bad this whole being sick thing was. I actually feel bad for Kate Middleton now.
  • Nope, definitely not that.
  • How come Steve isn’t sick? (I then ran through a catalog of everything we had eaten in the last 24 hours.)
  • What if this is like that CSI episode a couple weeks ago where that girl died from ecoli?
  • What if it’s like that Law and Order episode where that woman was poisoned by mushrooms on her salad? Why would someone want to poison me?
  • I wonder if I can get my money back for all that expensive food and wine.

Now, I’m at home and sleeping on the couch. And, definitely no training today or tomorrow. Floyd gave me a hug to make me feel better.

Floyd the cat is the best.
Floyd the cat is the best.