8 (Totally Imaginary) Must-Have Running and Triathlon Gear, Apps and Accessories

8 (Totally Imaginary) Must-Have Running and Triathlon Gear, Apps and Accessories
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In the February issue of Triathlete Magazine, Jesse Thomas wrote about the most awesome, totally imaginary tri products he wished were real. He crowdsourced ideas from his fans on social media, so the collective tri geekiness came up with some great stuff — like a business casual tri suit (for seamless transition from training to work); or a laser helmet attachment that tells you if you are in the draft zone (red) or out (green). And my favorite:

“An automatic spouse-appeaser option when you sign up for a race: You click the box and on race day she gets flowers and a babysitter.”


(Or for the husbands: a case of fancy local brew to drink with the bros. Cheers to that.)

As a runner and triathlete, I often find myself daydreaming of things that would be so cool to have – if only they were real. (Because no triathlete is ever in possession of enough gadgets, you know?) So if I may, here are a few of my humble additions to Jesse’s master list.

First, as a runner, I wish for:

1. The one magic shoe.

I wish there existed only one single brand and type of running shoe in the whole world. It would magically mold itself to our feet and become the optimal shoe for our weight and gait, thus enabling each runner to run efficiently and injury free, in perpetuity. The best part? You could get your shoes 100% personalized with your favorite colors, patterns and inspirational quotes.

2. The app or device that syncs with my belly.

I wish there was an app or Garmin-like device that connects to my stomach via bluetooth and tracks all calories I take in, along with macro and micro-nutrients. It would then sync with Strava, RunKeeper or any other fitness app, to match those against the calories I burn in training — and alert me whenever I’m off my ideal nutrient intake for optimal training and race performance. As a bonus, it would make dinners suggestions based on my daily data, complete with easy recipes and one-click ordering and delivery options for all ingredients (or meals).

3. A self-cleaning, odor-free porta potty.

Self explanatory.

4. Self-cleaning, odor-free running clothes?

Or any kind of clothes, for that matter… but who are we kidding. Running clothes are the only clothes we have these days.

Now, as a triathlete, I’d like to add a few more things to the list:

5. The one magic saddle.

That molds to every cyclist or triathlete’s butt, for maximum comfort without compromising aerodynamics. So we don’t ever have to worry about reapplying chamois butter, ever again.

6. A 1.2-mile long swimming pool.

To enable the perfect time trial for your 70.3 or 140.6.

8. A bike with self-pumping tires.

Because I always forget before a long ride!

8. A self-cleaning house.

The trick is this. It only cleans itself while I train and the area cleaned is commensurate with time and quality of training. The smarter you train, the cleaner your house when you get home. Bonus: extra-special self-cleaning service happens during races, but is independent of race performance – because no matter where you placed, you gave it your best!

–> What are some imaginary products on your wish list?
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Show Off What Running Gave You in SkirtSports’ Cougar Skirt!

Show Off What Running Gave You in SkirtSports’ Cougar Skirt!
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First, if you haven’t seen Lauren Fleschman’s Keeping It Real yet, check it out now — and learn to love your thigh cheese.

Because let’s face it: who hasn’t hated their cheese. Thigh cheese, arm cheese, knee cheese… all kinds of cheese. And the thigh jiggle. How about that one?

One reason I fell in love with Skirt Sports’ running skirts – besides the irresistible hot pink color, of course – was that they hid my jiggle. (To think that this was almost nine years ago, by the way, when I didn’t have anywhere close to the jiggle that comes with your 30s and kids…)

Today, I’m still a Skirt girl — but I’ve accepted the jiggle and, honestly, could care less about it. As long as the legs take me from start to finish without chafing: you lose, jiggle – I win.

Of course, my favorite skirt is still hot pink, and it just happens to be long enough to hide the jiggle:[Feeling badass in a hot pink skirt? Priceless.]

So when SkirtSports rolled out the Cougar Skirt — notably shorter than the Gym Girl Ultra I’m used to wearing — I thought: perhaps it’s best to leave this one to the young ones. The ones whose legs look like this: And that was going to be the end of the story. But then they asked me if I wanted to try out any of their new-line items and review here. And I thought.. What the heck, why not!

I may have thigh cheese, I may have jiggle. But underneath the cheese (that jiggles) are strong muscles that go for miles and miles. I will show off my cheese and jiggle in this cute little skirt, and be proud of it!

So here I am, on a recent sunny day, about to go for a run:And what better way to test new running gear than try it out, for the very first time, on a casual 11-miler?I love the Cougar skirt for many reasons, not least because it’s made of incredibly light and soft material that doesn’t bunch up, get in the way as you run, or do anything other than flatter your bottom and hide the top of your thigh cheese (if you still care about that). But what I like most about it is the typical attention to detail the ladies at SkirtSports have yet again given to their product: the little things that truly show that this is gear made for athletes, by athletes. For example:

1. The top of the skirt is elastic, but also has a drawstring to help you further customize how tight you want it. My other skirts tend to slide down in the beginning of a run, so I end up having to pull them up every now and then, until I’m sweaty enough that the skirt stays. With this one: problem solved!

2. A back pocket with a zipper, to store car keys, ID, money, or even your phone.

3. If you’d rather have easier access to your phone, you’ve got two pockets on the sides of the shorties that are perfectly sized to fit an iPhone, or two gels.

4. The bottom of the shorties is lined up with silicone, so they don’t run up as you run. Case in point: 11-miler done with not a single adjustment!

5. This is the one thing I found missing on this model: the little hole on the side of the skirt for the earbuds cable. (Imagine my phone in one of the side pockets, the cable then goes up, out through the little hole and up to my ears.) This isn’t a problem if you don’t listen to music as you run, but I do like my tunes. So I just cut a small hole and secured it with some nail polish. It’s not the prettiest, but oh well. I used glitter.

Without a doubt, the Cougar skirt will be making a regular appearance at the races and trails in the next months — and, knowing the high quality of my other SkirtSports stuff – perhaps years! (And yes, I know you didn’t ask for a closeup of my thigh cheese (is it accurate to call the part where the short pinches the thigh fat “muffin top”?) #KeepingItReal

The Foam Roller, Reimagined

The Foam Roller, Reimagined
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A couple of weeks ago, a representative for EvoFit contacted me, asking if I’d be interested in testing their product, the ensō Muscle Roller.

Ugh, foam rolling. It hurts! But I do it anyway, wincing and screaming, because I know full well the need to stretch and massage tight and tired muscles. Don’t do it, and you end up with a medically confirmed tight butt, which then turns into lower back pain and a whole host of unspeakables that I’d rather not remember.

Especially now that two-a-day workouts have become a nearly every day sort of thing and getting injured is really not on my Santa list. So rollin’ it is!

I’ve had this nifty li’l thing for a week now, and I’ve been pretty impressed with the kind of hurt it can instigate on tight muscles — calves in particular!

You see, unlike a foam roller, the ensō roller is made of eight different “rings” that can be re-positioned on a metal rod to have very little to no space between them — or enough space to fit your calf muscle quite tightly and squeeeeeeze through: Or you can space the rings out evenly and use the thing like a normal foam roller. Except you get more of a deep-tissue massage, because the rings (with their soft rubber covers — think of a barely inflated bike tire) go deeper into the muscle than a regular foam roller, which tends to put more evenly-spread pressure: And don’t let these photos fool you, the roller is pretty small, light and very easy to carry around:The foam roller looks so… long, doesn’t it?

KidRuns tested it, too. Here is his detailed review:Yup. It feels good. But it hurts. Sums it up well.

I’m not planning to retire the foam roller any time soon, but this one’s definitely going to get lots of use — especially when we’re traveling.

Disclaimer: I received the roller for free, for testing/ review purposes. Opinions are my own.