Tag Archive: gear

In Memorial… Giveaway

I am a military wife. A military daughter. A military granddaughter. A military granddaughter-in-law. Like for many others, this upcoming Memorial Day is not just a “day off” from work or school, or a day to fire up the BBQ grill to me. I hope people of our nation recognize this day of remembrance for what it is… a specific time to acknowledge the lives lost and sacrifices families make when their loved one dies as a result of combat (whether it is killed in action or a life lost later but in direct connection to the effects of combat).

With that being said, I wanted to do something to acknowledge this Memorial Day by sending a Survival Strap to a deployed service member so that he/she may have this tool to save his/her own life or the life of a fellow freedom protector.

but I need your help!

Although, I know a few people who are currently deployed I want to give this wonderful community an opportunity to join in the giving. On Memorial Day, a participant will randomly be chosen to have a Survival Straps Military Care Package sent on his or her behalf to a deployed loved one or a randomly chosen deployed service member. (Randomly chosen by Survival Straps not me!)

Click on photo to return to source

What is a Survival Strap?: A Survival Strap is a bracelet made of military spec parachute cord that can be unraveled in an emergency situation to save their own life or the life of another. If a Survival Strap is utilized share your story and your Survival Strap will be replaced in exchange for the cost of shipping.

{Click on photo to return to source}

What is included in this care package?: A black or OD green Survival Strap, a bag of small candies, and a personal note from YOU!

How to enter: In the comments below, leave a message about Memorial Day, a service member (or all service members) you’d like to thank, or let us know if you or a family member has served. Make sure your valid email is entered where indicated. One entry per valid email please.

Drawing held: Monday, May 27th, Memorial Day 6pm EST via Random.org. Entries will not be valid after 5pm EST. I will announce the individual on this blog and also send a congratulatory email requesting the name, address, and your personal message to your service member. The name and address of your service member will not be disclosed to anyone without his or her permission and your personal message will remain between you two as well. I am just the messenger. Your message will be sent as written so please make sure the name, address, and message are all typed as intended. If you choose to send it to a random service member you do not need to provide a name or address; just a personal note.

Restrictions: The care package will only be sent to an overseas active deployment address (APO/COB/COP/FOB). I will not disclose the name or address of your service member to anyone without his or her permission. Please do not include a message that can be misconstrued as offensive or derogatory.

Bonus!: Survival Straps donates $5 per care package to the Wounded Warrior Project.

You do not have to share this on your blog or social media (I mean you can if you want to, but don’t feel like you have to).

Please note: I have no affiliation with Survival Straps or Wounded Warrior Project. I am not receiving any kind of compensation for conducting this drawing or mentioning their product/service. I’m just a supporter. Neither my name nor blog name will be present on this care package. This is just me trying to do a small act of kindness for someone you appreciate for service of our country. This package will be of no cost to you but if you do not win I encourage you to check out the website and consider sending one yourself.


Safety First

On a day earlier this week, my husband arrived home from work which meant it was time for a run. I told him that I was only aiming for a three mile run. As it turned out…

I lied.

As I have done many times in the past I started out on a run only intending to get in three miles or so but if my legs and lungs felt good I kept going. So that three mile run turned into a seven mile run. Quite a big difference in terms of not only distance but time. I don’t carry a phone on my run. I don’t run with a partner or dog. On this particular night since I thought I’d be back before nightfall I wasn’t even wearing anything particularly reflective or bright. I run mostly along rural roads and facing traffic. Almost every one of the handful of cars I saw that night gave me more than enough of a safety cushion when driving past, after which I give the “courtesy nod” or the “courtesy wave”. The “I recognize that you are not an ass-hat and you don’t want me to fear for my safety” nod/wave of appreciation. If there’s enough of a shoulder I run in the grass off of the road because you never know when someone is going to veer a bit because they’re looking at their phone or radio. If there is a sidewalk, I use it. So not to worry. I’m not a completely naive runner who likes to throw caution to the wind.

On this particular run it was completely dark by mile 5. I had been gone for about 50 minutes and honestly expected to see my husband roll around the corner in his vehicle with our son strapped in his car seat for a “let’s go find mommy” joyride at any moment. At mile 6.2 is when it happened. A truck slowed and I knew. My husband had given in to his worry and hunted me down for fear I was in a ditch somewhere and he needed to contemplate how to continue working as a single parent. I think he was overreacting a bit but it’s nice to know he cares.

I apologized and told him I was fine and that I wanted to finish up the last mile or so and I’d see him back at home. Our son was happily along for the ride probably wondering where the final destination would be. I’m sure he was super bummed when they arrived right back where they had started a minute ago. Being in running mode, I immediately cursed myself for not stopping my watch when I stopped to converse with my worry wort husband and knew my pace numbers would be all messed up.

Upon reaching home and acknowledging that I was no longer a lonely spinster bachelorette, but a wife and mother who had responsibilities and a family that needed me, I made a deal with my husband. On my long running days I would bring my phone on an arm band and I would purchase hi-vis yellow gear or wear his military glow belt (because nothing says special like wearing one of these…) if I ran close to sunset or thereafter.

I see what you did there, Army. Touche.

Because, really, runners should do their best to be safe on the roads or trails.

  • Invest in RoadID, or a similar identification tag to alert someone of your identity, emergency contact, and pertinent medical information.
  • Run against traffic; bike with traffic.
  • Lift your knees higher when running on uneven terrain like trails or broken pathways due to roots. This will avoid trips and spills that can lead to rolled ankles, sprains, and breaks.
  • Wear reflective clothing in the evening and early morning.
  • Make sure that if you run with earphones on that they are sensitive to ambient noise, or don’t wear them at all and just let your phone’s speaker be a mini stereo.
  • Make sure you’re adequately hydrated. Nothing messes up a run/ride like lack of water flowing through your system.
  • Buy some runner’s mace and avoid known unsavory neighborhoods. Heck, take some self-defense classes while you’re at it. Probably a good way to burn some extra calories.
  • If you have the opportunity, run with a buddy or your pet. But if your pet is a short legged basset hound please let him just bask his floppy ears in the sun rather than make him accompany you on a 5 mile trek and because his intimidation factor is probably a -2 anyway.
  • ALWAYS make sure someone knows what neighborhood/trail you are running.
  • BE VIGILANT. I don’t mind zoning out on a run because it makes the miles go by faster but that’s not necessarily great for my safety. Make sure you’re looking around if something catches your attention. I always make note of where law enforcement officers live along my routes

Does anyone else have any tips to remain safe while going for a run? Or better yet do you have a story of a close call but you were grateful that you had a safety item that helped you?

Heart & Soleus Review

My new Soleus FIT 1.0 GPS watch came in the mail last Wednesday… just in time to figure out how to use it before marathon training.


My first impressions…


The watch itself is pretty big which is helpful when looking down to see your pace or distance but looks pretty ridiculous on my small wrist. On the bright side, it is adjustable enough will fit very small to pretty large wrists. Straight out of the box it was already charged 50%. If you are really impatient you could head out for a run right away but I couldn’t leave my kiddo so I attached the charging cable (came with the watch) and in 5 hours we were all set to go. I took the time to read the manual and become acquainted with all of the bells and whistles.


I took it on a week’s worth of workouts. And even my husband was brave enough to sport the fluorescent pink watch on one of his runs. Let’s just say it’s easy enough to use that I explained how to get the GPS up and running (so punny) so that my husband was out the door in literally 15 seconds.

The only thing that tripped me up is that if you utilize the back light during the evening hours you can press any button to provide the light, but then you have to press the button you want again to say…. start the chronometer. Yeah, so needless to say there was a run where I had to estimate my mileage because I ran a good distance without realizing that my timer was not… well, timing.


Overall I’d give the Soleus Fit watch an A-. Ease of use: A-. Functionality: A. GPS Accuracy: A- Durability: time will tell. I wish they included the USB upload cable instead of the USB cable since the upload cable also charges the watch (or at least give the option to have one versus the other included in your order and just pay the difference). So now I have to order the upload cable separately and have both. I wish I could compare it with similar watches by Garmin or Nike but I’ve never used them. From what I can tell the Soleus watch shares very similar functions but the Soleus has a lower price. It definitely fits my needs and accurately depicts the information I need for my type of workouts. It doesn’t, however, have an interval timer. Soleus does sell watches that have that function but it’ll cost you a bit more.

I’m definitely happy with my purchase because it’s really helped me keep focused on my trainings and it highlights my improvements. I really love knowing what my pace is so that I can make adjustments during my run rather than realize it after the fact. I feel like I should have hopped aboard the GPS watch train a long time ago! Does anyone else out there have a healthy love affair with their GPS watch or is it just me?

MCM training week one

Two posts in one day! Must be your lucky day!


Looking back on my self-made training plan makes me feel… well, nauseous. But after the nausea subsides I feel encouraged. I have a plan. That is fact alone is consoling.

Let’s see what’s in store for me this week.

Run 30 minutes for 3 days and 45 minutes 1 day. Weightlifting/cross-training to engage core 1 day.

This week is also when we move from our apartment to a townhouse. So I think it’s safe to say that my cross-training will consist of lifting heavy objects with many, many repetitions.

Monday: Run 30 minutes.

Tuesday: Run 30 minutes.

Wednesday: Concentrate on stretching. Maybe some yoga?

Thursday: Run 30 minutes.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Cross-train/Moving day!

Sunday: Run 45 minutes. (Goal is to run at least 5 miles.)

This schedule may change just because the day we move our big furniture may switch days due to weather. Improvise, Adapt, Overcome right? I’m going to see how my schedule feels on my body. Maybe I’ll find a professionally made training plan. Maybe I’ll call up my old college cross country coach and see what he recommends. Basically what I’m saying is that I don’t know what I’m doing. There is a small chance that my brain is convinced I’m in the same shape I was in when I was doing track and cross-country in my younger days. Basically, I have an outline and I’m just going to do the best I can. My goal is to run 4-5 days at an easier pace and do at least one long run a week. This is my minimum. I’m going to listen to my body and if I need to change things up to avoid monotony and injury I definitely will. Just because my plan calls for 120 minutes of running doesn’t mean I can’t do 120 minutes of repeats or a tempo run or a hill workout.

I’ll let you know how this all went at the end of the week. Plus look for a review on my brand spankin’ new GPS watch!

If anyone out there has a training plan that worked well for their first marathon feel free to pass the link along!

GPS watch

This is my last week before I start marathon training. I’m trying to keep my expectations realistic. Really, I’m just trying to get ahead of myself. If I actually think about the final product (running 26.2 miles) I get a little queasy. Right now I’m just focused on making sure I have all the tools I need to be successful at my disposal. First on my list is to acquire a GPS watch (ordered it today!!!). I didn’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on a watch I’ll wear for a fraction of my day, but I want one that will serve it’s purpose and be easy to use. I’m looking at a Soleus GPS Fit 1.0. It tracks distance, pace, speed, calories, and even has a rechargeable battery. But I’m mostly attracted to the simplicity that the site claims… “Everything you need and nothing you don’t.” Bring it, Soleus.


Soleus Fit 1.0

I don’t normally go for bright pink… well, anything… but sometimes you need to embrace your inner frilliness (that’s in a dictionary somewhere right?). It will also have the added benefit of being easy to find amidst the chaos and clutter. I really feel like this will help my marathon training. I can just head out the door and run without worrying about getting on Google Maps and planning out my run to make sure I get in a decent amount of mileage.

Anyone have any rave reviews about their own GPS enabled watch? I have a feeling that this watch is about to become my new best friend :)… either that or we’re going to be frenemies. I’ll let you know how it goes down.

Under Armour Review

Sorry for being MIA lately. I’ve been researching races to register for and fighting off one heck of a cold.

I’ve tested out some of my new UnderArmour gear that I talked about in this post. I bought each item in the discounted outlet section of their website, but they came with tags stating the original prices. This just reiterated what a great deal I really snagged. If I bought the leggings, loose capris, long sleeve, and two short sleeve shirts at their non-outlet prices I would have paid $189.99… this means I saved $62.20! This just goes to show you that if you’re patient you can find items that you love at a discounted price when they eventually move on to the clearance or outlet section of stores or websites. It may not be in the color you really wanted but that can be easily overlooked that when you see those extra dollars in your bank account.

Fit is really important when it comes to workout/running gear. A lot of it is personal preference. I personally like more fitted clothing that sits close to my skin. At the same time you don’t want to restrict circulation to areas of your body. You want to be comfortable when running, lifting weights, rocking that downward dog yoga pose, etc. No one wants to be distracted by a shirt that’s riding up your torso or a never-ending wedgie. If you’re purchasing a brand for the first time I highly recommend trying it on in person before purchasing or making sure they have a decent return policy when purchasing online. Always. ALWAYS. Try. Running. Shoes. On. In. Person. I cannot stress this enough. A good pair of running shoes can cost north of $100 which means you’re making an investment. An ill fitting shoe can actually CAUSE injuries. Most people love New Balance shoes but I can’t wear them. The toe box of their shoes is rather square and didn’t make room for my abnormally long second toe (index toe?) and caused the nail to lift resulting in losing said nail not once. not twice. but thrice! Luckily for me it grew back each time, but it took me a while to realize that it was due to my shoes and needing to ease up on my hill workouts. Lesson learned.

With my tips to finding great gear out of the way, we’ll move on to my review. You should know that I am 5’5″ with average proportions at 125lbs. (Holy smokes! Did I really just admit my weight on a public blog?!) I’m divulging this information only to let others get an idea of fit for sizing purposes.

I was able to test out the Cold Gear Fitted Leggings and UA Charm Long-sleeve Shirt on an evening run last week. It was about 8pm and a blustery temperature in the high 40s. Not bad for mid winter, but I definitely learned that the UA Charm Long-sleeve was meant for indoor use (ie. yoga). Not all long-sleeved shirts are created equal.

UA Charmed Long-sleeved Shirt

  • Size: Small
  • Color: Zone (deep purple)

Pros: Great fitted long-sleeved shirt that is great for layering. Color matched online photo. Incredibly comfortable with no chaffing or riding up.

Cons: Definitely not appropriate for extreme cold temperature workouts. Adequate for mild to warm weather or indoor workouts.

Overall: I would definitely recommend this shirt to others. At $32.29, it is a great layering shirt that will get a lot of use and pay for itself many times over. In fact, I may get another one in a different color. The shirt’s length hits at the hips and a thumb hole helps keep your hands a bit warmer without resorting to gloves.

Coldgear Fitted Leggins

  • Size: Small
  • Color: Carbon Heather (medium grey)

Pros: Tight fitting without being constricting. Able to keep in body heat and wick away sweat. Size held true to their size chart.

Cons: No pockets. I wish these leggings had a small pocket to keep a key, iPod, or endurance gel.

Overall impression: I would recommend these tights for cold weather training. $33.29 is a great price for leggings. Other brands can cost more than $100. These had the same function of being light and maintaining body heat without the hefty price tag. I think it’s safe to say my old pair of tights will be used for muddy obstacle course runs.

Note: I have no affiliation with Under Armour. Although, I wish I did.

Troop ID

I don’t like to go shopping. Crowds give me the serious willies. So often times when I’m buying new running gear (which, aside from running shoes, occurs few and far between) I prefer to buy online. I’d just rather not trudge through a store with a toddler who just wants to run around. If only treadmills were safe for two-year-olds. 🙂

New gearSo I bit the bullet recently and purchased some new running tights, loose cotton capris, long sleeve shirt, and two short sleeved shirts from Under Armour’s online outlet. I’ll do a post later when they get delivered next week to do a review and see if the quality is worth the money (we all know quality running gear costs a pretty penny). My total originally came to $141.95 which really isn’t all that bad for quality gear. But then I noticed that Under Armour offers a military discount ONLINE! That was unheard of until now because how do you prove you are in fact a member of the military community?

Enter: Troop ID. Veterans, Active duty, and military dependents can sign up with Troop ID by providing their affiliated branch and a form of verification (your .mil email address, military document upload, usaa account information, or DD214 upload). Then you can go to their partnered companies like UA and receive online discounts. As the wife of Marine I was pumped to discover this. So my new total with the military discount came to… $127.75. Score! This really makes me wish I had thought of the idea of how to verify military for online purchases. But now I wish they included first responders (EMTs, firefighters, and police officers) to receive discounts. I’m proud that we are a military family but I think other families should get the same gratitude for their sacrifices as well.

I’m passing along this information not because I’m trying to convince people to buy from Under Armour (personally I like their products, but to each their own), but because I think some people would be interested in getting a discount in a new way. This is the first time I’ve bought new running clothes in almost a decade. Yep, I’ve been sporting the same running tights with a hole in the knee since 2002. Tragic. Most of my running tees are too loose and shift around my body too much while I work out. So in with the new and the old workout shirts will find a place in my “use in case of painting or anything else messy” drawer. Anyone have any new running gear that they just love? The perfect pair of running shoes for long distances or an amazing tech shirt?

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