June Training Update – Global Running Day

In June, I set out with a simple goal: to beat my May mileage total. Well, within the last week of June, I beat it… but then work got in the way and I took an unexpected week off.

Here’s what June looked like for me in terms of running.

Total miles run in June: 23.3

Week of June 25:

Body Pump | Yoga | 3.1 mi.

These 3.1 miles were technically part of August; however, it wasn’t a total loss, as I got in some cross training via classes. I find yoga to be an important part of my running schedule because it helps me tap into that zen frame of mind.

Make sure to try out Acai Hut if you’re in the Austin area.

Week of June 18:

3.5 mi. | Yoga | 2.5 mi.

Between a day trip to a family reunion and a weekend trip to Galveston for a wedding, it felt like there was no down time in June, but I got a few quick workouts in this week, which felt good.

Week of June 11:

3.6 mi. | 2.1 mi.

Again, one of those weeks where getting close to 6 miles in felt like an accomplishment. I will say, though, that one of the highlights of my summer has been running as close to dusk as possible in the downtown area. It’s amazing because of the bats (and now I’m kicking myself for not having a good photo from June). At dusk, the bats that live under the bridges take flight, which is kinda gross if you really think about it, but mostly cool because it looks like smoke coming out of the bridges. This is the week I first discovered it (and had a chance encounter with a water moccasin that was terrifying as well). Good times. 

FYI – my favorite coffee these days is Cafe Nena’i, because they have amazing Argentinian pastries to go with it!

Week of June 4:

2.4 mi. | 3.9 mi.

This week was super fun – I celebrated Global Running Day with a local group run, sponsored by the Austin Half Marathon. While it was 96 degrees out, it was awesome to get a little reminder of what racing feels like on a regular ‘ole Wednesday. 

Tired at the end of the run, but I made it!

How has your summer been? It’s hard to believe the downhill side of summer is here.  

FREE TO RUN is a participant in the Amazon Associates program, which allows me to make a small commission on products you purchase and keep the lights on, at no cost to you. All opinions are my own.

 

Top active wear picks from Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale!

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which allow me to make a small commission on products you purchase at no cost to you. Basically, if you find something you like, it helps me keep the lights on. All opinions are my own.

Alright, who’s excited for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? As many of you may know, this sale is an awesome way to stock up on clothes and shoes for fall, and it comes just in time for back to school shopping! I set aside a little money each year to stock up on some fall clothes, because there’s nowhere else you can find next season’s clothes at last season’s prices.

This year, I wanted to explore what’s in it for the active gals like myself. I’m always on the lookout for multifunctional pieces that are great for running and can be worn outside of the gym. Selection of athletic wear in store is actually somewhat limited, so I’ve scoured the website to find the best pieces (so you don’t have to!).

Side note: some of these products may be temporarily sold out, but I’ve noticed that after the first week, stock tends to be replenished when things get returned. Especially because a lot of these items are pretty niche and don’t have as much stock as the mainstream stuff, I’d check back if you don’t see your size right away – that’s what I’ll be doing, anyway!

Yoga to Brunch

Okay, this outfit is going to be my new Friday morning yoga outfit, because I will not feel like a complete slob putting Women’s Bp. Stitch Curve Hem Cardigan and Women’s Adidas Gazelle Sneaker on as I roll into the office. I admit, these Women’s Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Print Ankle Leggings are a splurge, but they are so pretty and I don’t have anything like them. I can’t wait for them to get here. Smartwool also makes uber breathhable socks, and these Women’s Smartwool ‘Hide And Seek’ No-Show Socks, Size Medium – Black will look nice with the sneakers. Oh, and the Women’s Zella Crop Swing Tank comes in three different colors, so I may have to buy them all. It looks really lightweight and perfect for summer and spring (even though it’s a fall item)! The Women’s Brooks Just Right Seamless Racerback Sports Bra will go under it perfectly.

Run around Town

I’m swooning over this Madewell scarf, and just had to find a way to take it with me to the gym. I think it’ll complement these running shoes (which are a neutral, if that’s your correct fit) and these tights that I LOVE. I actually recently got the capri version in my Mercury Mile box and can’t stop wearing them. The bomber jacket is very trendy right now and so comfy. I think it will go perfectly over this adidas tank and Brooks sports bra (make sure to check out the details on each one – the Brooks’ back is awesome, and the logo on the tank is very subtle, which I love.).

Form and Function

This collection was put together with both pieces you’ll find me running in this winter, and items that I plan to take with me when I travel to Europe this fall. Killing two birds with one stone is essential when you’re traveling, so it would make perfect sense to use these when you’re traveling for a race or something like that when you don’t want to pack multiple outfits for one day. This Zella top is so flattering and feels very breathable, and the sports bra looks super comfy if you don’t need a lot of support, while these trainers would be perfect for long days of walking or going to a class. I can’t wait to try these new socks and I’ve had my eye on a Hershel backpack for awhile. And, on yeah, it’s tough to find a good technical pair of leggings for less than $75, so these Brooks leggings are a pretty good deal (and I love the quality of their gear).

What pieces caught your eye? Let me know – looking at this post during the preview period has made me so excited that I’m dying to chat with people about it. Cheers!

 

Currently Wearing: Mercury Mile Review

Disclosure: I received a complimentary styling fee for Mercury Mile and a discount on any items I kept as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.[/caption]

I’ve been toying with the idea of trying an in-home styling service (think Stitch Fix or Trunk Club) for some time now, and when I saw Mercury Mile on social media, a similar service specifically for runners, my interest was peaked (shout out to Runny Legs, because I distinctly remember her review). To my pleasant surprise, BibRave partnered with them just a couple of weeks later, so I knew it was something I had to try.

The Craft shorts and Kari Traa top went so well together.

My experience!

The whole process, from start to finish, was easy. Since this was my first trial, I got to fill out a fun style profile to give my stylist a sense of what I was looking for. Then, I selected my shipping date and I was finished.

Let me just tell you that I love ordering boxes when I don’t have to shop for their contents. Something about getting a surprise in the mail feels a little like Christmas or a treat-yourself-day. I checked tracking repeatedly as soon as I got the notification that my box was in the mail, which was super prompt. The day finally came when my first Mercury Mile box arrived!

Checking out my stylist’s notes.

Mercury Mile sent me a total of five items (there’s a star by the one’s I kept):

  1. Craft Eaze Jersey Shorts 
  2. *Kari Traa Nora Singlet
  3. *Adidas How We Do 3/4 Tights 
  4. Run Janji Uganda 4″ Middle Shorts
  5. *Body Glove Pali Tank

Everything I kept.

They nailed it.

My goal was to refresh my running wardrobe with some pieces that I’d feel great about wearing running around town as well as during my runs/other workouts. 

The stylist, Helen, threw in a lot of pieces that seemed really versatile, but had a little something special about them that made them unique. I felt like Helen really tried to anticipate what I’d be interested in – she included a brief reason why she picked each item for me. In the future, I think this will even give her a better sense of what my preferences are.

View of the back details!

The other thing I loved about this services is that I got to try a variety of brands that I wouldn’t have known about. I LOVED the Body Glove tank and Adidas pants that Helen picked out, and I didn’t know they made anything quite like these really athleisure-friendly technical items.

Side note – if you feel like you really like something and feel like you need a different sizes, I ran into this with the Adidas tights and the return process was quick and simple. I just emailed them and they were on it!

Daisy was over it, but I was not!

A note on what I didn’t keep:

While I felt these were all high-quality products, but I discovered I am pretty picky about the shorts I like. The Craft shorts didn’t have built in underwear, though I almost kept them just because they’d be cute for casual wear. The Run Janji shorts were adorable as well, but the fit was a little off on me and I didn’t think it would be solved by switching out sizes.

The Body Glove top and Adidas tights go so well together!

In conclusion…

I’d absolutely recommend this service to anyone who wants to try something new and refresh their running style. Like I said, the stylist really listened to my runner profile and tried to get me out of my comfort zone a bit.

You can try the service for yourself by visiting MercuryMile.com. The code “BibRave10” gives you $10 off styling fee, and the remainder will go towards whatever you decide to keep. So for $10, what do you have to lose?

Have you tried Mercury Mile? Let me know what you thought in the comments. 🙂

9 Texas Girl Tips for Hotter-than-Heck Summer Running

This post contains affiliate links, meaning FREE TO RUN receives a small portion of proceeds from your purchase, at no cost to you.

Independence Day is tomorrow, which means it’s officially summer! Since Texas temps get up into the 100’s on a regular basis for three months of the year, I figured it was high time I shared how to stay cool when all you want to do is bathe in Chick-fil-A lemonade.

Especially if you have your sights set on a fall race, those summer miles have to get done somehow. Here are nine practical tips to help you beat the heat if you can’t stand having an exclusive relationship with the treadmill.

  1. Work up to it. Like any good training plan, it all starts with a mile. You can try running the same distance once a week, then graduate to a longer distance when you feel better about it, or you can see how long you can run outside and add on a little bit each week. If you can only take one mile, maybe you run more frequently than normal, but run shorter distances.
  2. Hydrate. All the time. As a lifeguard, we were always told that if we were thirsty, that meant we were already dehydrated. I try to drink at least a full 8 cups of water each day. I overheat much less easily/see a HUGE difference on the days when I meet my goal. If you get sick of water/want more electrolytes, nuun and Ultima are two of my favorites (full review of Ultima here).
  3. Invest in some key lightweight apparel pieces. I’m not someone who feels comfortable in a sports bra and shorts, so this also makes a huge difference. Here are some of my favorite tank, short, sports bra, hat and sock options.
  4. Time your run with the sun. If you must run outside, try to run as close to dusk as possible, or go in the morning before the sun gets too high (pre-9 a.m.). I prefer the evening because it’s less humid and I’m not a morning person. Even when sweating buckets, I appreciate the cooling effect of sweat evaporating (gross, I know); it somehow feels less muggy.
  5. Bring a towel. Especially if you’re running in the morning, wiping that sweat off of your body will help add to the cooling effect.
  6. Wear sunscreen. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You need sunscreen! Don’t put yourself a an increased risk for cancer. Here’s my favorite facial sunscreen, and here’s a zinc-based option if you prefer that.
  7. Sunglasses. Not only do sunglasses make you look and feel awesome, but blocking the sun from your eyes is helpful for your vision. I also find that it helps keep the sweat out of my eyes. I’m currently loving these from Shady Rays!
  8. Eat lighter. I enjoy eating lower carb/less heavy foods during the summer, because it helps me avoid that really sick feeling when you’ve eaten too much. Feeling better helps motivate me to power through a workout.
  9. Face the inevitability of indoor running life. At least some of the time. Finding a gym with good equipment has really helped here; one of my prerequisites is finding a gym with a track specifically, and second is working TV screens on the treadmills.

That’s everything I do! Let me know if you have any other tips in the comments.

P.S. If you’re planning to do some shopping this holiday, here are a couple of good promos that run through the 4th:

New Balance will give you $10 off $75 + Free Shipping with code FIRECRACKER (some exclusions apply). Runs through 7/7!

Lorna Jane is offering 30% off when you buy 3 or more items with code BUYNOW30. Runs through 7/8!

May Training Update – Amping Up the Cross Training

After the Cap 10K, I really felt like I needed a little bit of a mental break. I had a great race, but I’ve been training for one thing or another for quite awhile now. Even if you’re not perfect with training or staying on a consistent schedule, it’s still mentally taxing.

However, for my birthday, my husband got me the new Garmin Forerunner 735XT, which I absolutely love so far. Just having this updated piece of gear has helped me stay motivated without having a goal race in mind, because I’m able to learn more about my running with every workout. I feel like a completely different runner in a good way. I originally had the Forerunner 220 (newer model is here) before making the switch to the Vivosmart HR+, and liked the Forerunner with the exception of no activity tracking. Now that I’m back with the Forerunner series, I’m remembering how intuitive it is to use. There are so many more robust features (intervals, specific workouts like biking and swimming, recovery times, etc.) that I took for granted when I made the original transition to the Vivosmart series.

Basically, I’ve been playing around with different combinations of cross training (CT) and running, trying to rethink what schedule works for me to keep a little bit of variety in my life. Burnout is a real thing – I love running, but I don’t like it when I feel burned out, and CT helps with that.

Here’s how May shook out.

Total miles run in May: 20.2

Week of April 30:

2.1 mi. | yoga

I had a great run this week. I’ve been feeling strong on each run (even on the treadmill, I’ve been averaging 5.8 mph), and it’s been helpful to have my new watch. It assesses the perceived effect that each workout has on your cardiovascular training, so I can keep pushing myself to the next level.

Beautiful flowers from our Mother’s Day brunch with my MIL. Happy belated Mother’s Day to all of the amazing moms out there.

Week of May 7:

1.6 mi. | 2.1 mi.

I may have only clocked 3.7 miles this week, but I made each one count by pushing it a little bit with some speed intervals. Sometimes you just have to do the best you can to make it to the gym and make each workout count. Quality seems more important to me than quantity of workouts, and so far the data from my watch is backing that up.

My outfit: Tank | Tights | Shoes

Week of May 14:

3.1 mi. | body pump | 1.9 mi. | 3.1 mi.

Felt like I was getting back in the swing of things, and capped off my fit week with the Beef Team retreat over the weekend. It was a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed our 5K Sunday morning (even though the humidity was killer). Everyone is so encouraging.

Have I also told you guys how much I LOVE body pump? Talk about a killer workout. My arms have gotten so much stronger (even though I can barely make it through a class sometimes) since starting body pump.

Week of May 21:

2.9 mi.

I guess 8 miles the week prior was too much? I had some major elbow soreness from body pump that persisted for a week, so I definitely skipped out on strenuous CT. And then it was just a really busy week – I was on call for work, had to travel one evening, etc. and that didn’t leave much downtime, much less, workout time.

If there’s one thing I love about warm weather running, it’s the scent of honeysuckles/jasmine/whatever this is in the evening. It is intoxicating.

Week of May 28:

3.4 mi. | 5.4 mi.

3.4 miles in the 90-degree weather wasn’t as bad as you’d think, and it was awesome to be back outside for a run. Or at least, that’s the story I’m telling myself. Getting back home afterward, my face definitely told a different story. A coworker even saw me during my run as I looked like death, I found out the next day. Technically, this is June news, but I also put in my longest run since the 10K over the weekend, which felt surprisingly easy. Every time I have a good run like this, I wonder if I could qualify for Boston. Anyone else do this?

Cool graffiti on the trail last week.

The highlight has definitely been the last week, and it has reminded me how much I enjoy distance running. I don’t think I could be a strictly 5K runner – they’re just not long enough.

How did your month shake out? Cheers to warmer weather (and learning to tolerate it).

FREE TO RUN is a participant in the Amazon Associates program, which allows me to make a small commission on products you purchase and keep the lights on, at no cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Currently wearing: FlipBelt Crops (& promo code)

Disclosure: I received a pair of FlipBelt Crops as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

Clumsy girl confession: I’ve come to hate carrying things in my hands on my run. Holding onto something like my phone became such a pain after a while, because I constantly drop it.  A lot of leggings provide some sort of key pocket or temporary solution for this, but due to the ever-changing sizes of phones, I feel like there’s always something that doesn’t fit in comfortably, or there’s something to carry. And, of course, other options have a tendency to cause chafing on my hips or bounce.

No more, I say! No more.

Sure, you can just suck it up with these things, but if a seamless solution existed to mitigate these issues, why wouldn’t you try it?

When I was given the chance to try the FlipBelt Crops, I was initially just drawn in by their looks – they seemed like a cute, high-quality pair of black running tights with a decent amount of storage. If they didn’t work out for me, I felt like I’d still come away with something good. After trying them, I realized how thoughtfully-crafted they were.

Not too running-focused, not too gym-focused… just right. 

The FlipBelt Crops are the goldilocks of workout tights. 

The FlipBelt Crops are perhaps the first truly successful multi-functional workout pants I’ve ever owned. I wore them to yoga and had zero issues with them being flexible enough (yes, this can be an issue with other running capris). I was even able to get in a couple of warm-weather miles beforehand wearing the same outfit. So convenient.

With a full waistband of pockets, including a zippered pocket on the back, they’re just so freaking functional. I realized this especially on Cap10K race day, because I wasn’t constantly worried about dropping something. I could slide my things into the handy pockets; they felt incredibly secure, while remaining easily accessible. 

Down dog? No prob.

Here’s everything else these fancy pants have to offer: 

  • The material is a breathable, moisture-wicking, stretchy material. It’s not unlike the material dance leggings are made out of. 
  • I ordered a small, per the sizing chart, and they fit like a glove WITHOUT BEING SEE THROUGH! Hip hip, hooray.
  • The actual design is really flattering, with stitching detail around the calves and a mid-rise waist. Even with my phone in the pocket, I didn’t look like I had a big pooch.
  • I was worried the tights would ride up or down because there was no drawstring, but they stayed in place during my runs.
  • Even though there was no drawstring, my sisters with love handles will rejoice, because there was no unflattering elastic waistband!
  • There’s also a subtle reflective logo on the shin – good for safety purposes.
  • While I generally didn’t worry about my belongings falling out, because the waistband felt perfectly secure, I found the additional key clip on the right side gave me added peace of mind. 

I don’t know how they did all of these things, but these pants are magical.

No more chapped lips during races.

 

The only thing even slightly disappointing is the lack of color options and lengths. Speaking of lengths, I’m 5’2″ and these fit like a 3/4-length tight, which I prefer.

However, I believe they are a fairly new addition to the FlipBelt line up. My selfish hope is they’ll expand this product line, because I can’t keep these washed often enough and am ready for my second pair.

The FlipBelt Crops are comparable to other running tights in terms of price, at $89.99, and with the code BIBRAVE, you’ll get a 25% off discount on the Crops at flipbelt.com.

What’s your goldilocks, can’t-live-without running item?

Cheers to looking and feeling stylish and comfortable at the same time!

Statesman Cap 10K 2018 Recap and Review

Disclosure: I received a race entry to the Statesman Cap 10K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

Just two weeks ago, I capped off my 2017/2018 training season for the summer with the Statesman Cap 10K here in Austin. It’s the largest 10K in the great state of Texas, at 23,000+ attendees, and it takes place in April of each year.

Personally, it’s my favorite way to stay motivated through the end of spring, since the best running months in these parts are roughly September through April. The crazy Texas weather has been different each year I’ve run it, which is part of the adventure, in a way. This year, it was quite chilly (between 40 and 50 degrees is RARE for this area, especially after February), but still amazing!
Hey there, Leo Manzano! 

Pre-Race

Per usual, signing up was easy, and I really appreciated that the Cap 10K provided a $5 off discount code for friends to use.

I was also impressed by the expo this year. In years past, it’s been smaller, though still significant when you consider it’s just a 10K. However, the quality of vendors at the expo was even better than in previous years. They had a lot of natural product companies with samples, a fairly expansive Cap 10K store, races later in the year providing discounts and running stores offering great deals (Garmin products were $50 off at one booth). It’s a fun opportunity for someone who’s dipping their toe into races to see all a race weekend has to offer.

Packet pickup itself was line-free and simple. Swag this year was a women’s or men’s tech shirt in a pretty blue color, sweat towels from one of the sponsors and finisher’s medals. Obviously, you don’t receive the last one until you cross the finish line.

Race Day!

Parking is tough every year. Last year, we lucked out and found some of the free parking in the TxDot lots, but we had to get there quite early. This year, when we pulled up at 7:30, parking was nearly gone. They ended up opening the stroller parking to the public (which also felt kinda weird) and we got a free spot. Moral of the story: take public transportation or get there about an hour early if you are wanting free, close parking 2 blocks from the start. And if you get there less than 45 minutes early, prepare for lots of traffic to find paid parking spots.

Race start time is 8 a.m., so it’s not a super early morning (yay!). Finding corrals is also easy, and there’s a staggered start. Corral B started on time at about 8:10, which they controlled effectively.

 

The Race Itself

If you’re looking for an awesome crowd and awesome music at at least every mile, this is the race for you. If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge with a whole lot of scenery, this race is also for you. The course is lively, and goes through some of Austin’s most scenic areas, like the Capitol and Lady Bird Lake, with some tough hills! I’ve said it before – look back at the SEA of people at some point – it is an incredible sight.

Great aid stations are just under 1.5 miles from each other, and they had Nuun on the course this year.

I clocked in this year at 1:02:27, which was pretty awesome! It wasn’t quite a PR, but I was still proud. I’ve improved my time by more than four minutes over the years.

Post-Race Party

The Cap 10K finish line festival was another Texas-sized party in 2018. Food trucks were lined up with delicious post-race meals and coffee. Auditorium Shores had a lovely view of the skyline and more live music to enjoy. We sampled a few things, but it was quite chilly out, so we headed back home sooner than usual.

I’ll be back again and again and hope you’ll join me next year. You can sign up right now for just $35!

What’s your favorite race distance and why?

Cheers to keeping at it through the best and worst of the weather!

Austin Half Marathon Race Recap & Training Update

It’s hard to believe more than a month has passed since my unexpected PR at the Austin Half Marathon. As I write this post, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come, and how much the sport of running continues to both inspire and humble me.

What happened?

I woke up the morning of the Austin Half Marathon fully complacent with whatever outcome awaited at the finish. I resolved to give it my best. The day before, I’d analyzed how closely I’d kept up with my training plan, and the conditions (humid to the max) that awaited the next morning.

As I entered the fray, I realized my headset wasn’t paired, so I had to pair it before starting the course. I also wore my Beef Team jersey for the first time during a long distance, and newish pants.

I did so many things that I probably wouldn’t recommend,but in the end, my mental grit is what allowed me to get past the finish line more than five minutes faster than I had ever completed a half marathon.

Only my training mattered.

The more I run races, the more I am reminded of this.

I almost psyched myself out though into thinking the times I made mistakes were what would come to define that day, and ultimately that wasn’t true. I get off track, I move around my schedule. Sometimes, I eat things I probably shouldn’t, or I work too late and don’t get enough rest. But I’m more than my weaknesses, and I can still challenge myself and overcome obstacles.

My new PR was 2:16:27, from 2:21:59!

If you want a full review, my analysis of the race really hasn’t changed much, so you can check it out here. It’s definitely a race I’ll come back for again and again. Something about the hills gives me the ability to surprise myself.

I still loved the course (minus the ‘stairway to heaven’ as it’s called – the huge, steep hill above within the last two miles of the race) and all of the course support. It seemed like there were even more people out this year than the last time I ran it two years ago.

Additionally, this was my first race as a Beef Team member, and I definitely felt the love. There were some Beef Team members spectating/cheering on other runners, and the encouragement definitely lifted my spirits when I wasn’t sure how I would do.

What’s next?

Next up, the Statesman Cap10K (aka the largest 10K in Texas) is coming up this weekend. I’ve been running a pretty consistent 12 or so miles, and incorporating cross training like Body Pump when there’s time. Running has finally become such a part of my life that I don’t feel as much of a need to map out a specific schedule quite as much as I used to. I just push myself during the short workouts, and go at an easy pace for the long ones. It seems to work and I’m enjoying this renewed sense of the unknown.

By the way, it’s still not too late to sign up, and you’ll get $5 off with the code “BibRaveRunsCap10K.”

Now bring on the hot temps of summer and ask me how I feel in a month. 😉 Looking forward to sharing with you all how the Cap10K goes.

The definitive guide to getting your carb on: Austin

Austin is known for being weird, which makes for some pretty amazing food. However I’ve learned firsthand that navigating Yelp reviews can be a bit difficult (especially with such a specific goal like carboloading)!

Eat like a local while you’re here for your race, and definitely say hi after you’ve killed it on race day at the Cap10k finish line!

Holy Roller

509 Rio Grande St.
Austin, TX 78701
512.502.5119
 

Yellow cake pancakes? Check. Chicken biscuit? Check. Holy Roller has an indulgent variety of southern fare, serving breakfast all day. They’re even open late, and the ambiance has that fun, quirky vibe that is quintessentially Austin.

Cenote

1010 E Cesar Chavez St.
Austin, TX 78702
512.524.1311 

Good coffee, an array of gluten-free carbs, and easy parking: this is surprisingly hard to find all in one place in Austin. Plus, you get a nice taste of the east side of I-35 and can sip your latte on the beautiful porch if the weather’s nice.

Pinthouse Pizza

South Austin location
4236 
S. Lamar Blvd.

Austin, TX 78704
512-502-5808

North Austin location
4729 
Burnet Rd.

Austin, TX 78756
512-436-9605

What list would be complete without pizza? Pinthouse has my favorite pies – in particular, I love the honey pear pizza, but the armadillo and cannonball are also tasty if you want a little more protein.

Juliet

1500 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78704
512.479.1800

Italian is also a popular carboloading option, and Juliet has been my favorite place for Italian in Austin. The linguine and clam sauce is on point and they serve the most wonderfully buttery, garlicky foccaccia bread as an appetizer.

Trudy’s

Three Austin locations

Trudy’s is the place to go if you are craving Mexican food. Their menu has everything from fried avocados to beef tinga quesadillas to fried chicken, so it’s also good for a group/have a lot of different appetites to satisfy.

Galaxy Cafe

Four Austin locations

Galaxy is basically a diner with an Austin twist and a lot of variety. Everything at Galaxy is good (their breakfast menu is served until 4 on weekends), but you’ll find me noshing on the Chimichurri Steak Wrap and Sweet Potato fries.

Bao’d Up

1911 Aldrich St.
Austin, TX 78723
737.717.3002

For an Asian flair on carbloading, try this steam bun-dedicated eatery in the Mueller neighborhood. Their juicy pork bao and egg cream bao are two of my faves. Their bubble tea also makes a delicious takeaway (if you are watching your sugar intake, ask for the lower sugar level because it’s quite sweet).

Easy Tiger

709 E 6th St.
Austin, TX 78701
512.614.4972

Easy Tiger is carb heaven. They serve sausage on homemade pretzel buns, sweet and savory pastries, and have an extensive beer menu. And the Biergarten atmosphere makes it a great place to relax before a big race.

Not quite a carb:
Summermoon Coffee

Six Austin-area locations

For better or for worse, Summermoon’s moon milk is my jam, and is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before in a latte. They also have pastries and breakfast tacos available while supplies last. Get your caffeine fix here if you’re looking for a good cup of Jo.

If you try any of these places I would love to know what you thought and if you tried something else, let me know how it turned out.

Cheers to eating well because of running!

SKINS’ DNAmic Review: the Beauty isn’t Only Skin-Deep

Disclosure: I received a sample of SKINS’ DNAmic Compression Long Tights and Speed Sports Bra as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

One of my goals for the year is to talk more about life both inside and outside of running/fitness, so to test SKINS’ DNAmic line of compression pants and sports bras was a great opportunity to try something new that fits into all aspects of my life. Serendipitously, I was getting ready to replace my one pair of full-length running tights (because it’s rarely cold enough to wear them, I only have one ill-fitting TJ Maxx pair).

The Style.

The sports bra itself is really well made, incredibly flattering and super comfortable. The actual look of it and the details are adorable – I opted for the plum “Exotica” print, which matches perfectly with the “Merlot” pants. The bra also has a very cute translucent detail on the straps, which adds a little extra something to it!

To be honest, I’m actually a reluctant fan of the mesh sportswear trend; when your whole pair of leggings end up looking like they’re all mesh, it seems they’re no longer functional and you might as well just wear shorts. However, I LOVE that these leggings have a super cute mesh accent that makes them trendy, so I can be hip and stylish without detracting from the functionality of wearing a pair of compression pants.

The Substance.

The greater news is that what’s awesome about these products doesn’t just stop at how pretty they are.

Both the pants and the bra have done what they are supposed to do. When I’ve worn the pants, I’ve noticed a difference in my post-workout fatigue; I definitely felt less fatigued, less quickly when running in these pants, and didn’t experience some of the typical soreness after a hard workout. I really do think compression makes a difference in recovery, or at least it does for me.

Additionally, the bra straps are really thick and supportive. For reference, I typically wear size small shirts and am a size 4 in dresses; I ordered the medium per the size guide, which fits perfectly (my band size is a little wider than the average 5’2” person).

The Fit.

I mentioned the fit of the bra, so let’s talk tights.

The size guide recommended a small, and while they’re fine in the length, and they fit tightly. Yes, that’s how compression pants are supposed to fit, but I still think I could have fit a medium because of the waist band. It’s a bit tighter than I’m comfortable with and I am not the biggest fan of elastic waistbands (I prefer the combination of an adjustable waistband and a bit of elastic). The fabric is also a little bit sheerer than I expected, so I wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable wearing these for activities other than running.

Both pieces can be found on here in the US at skins.net/usa. $99.99 for the leggings is actually pretty comparable to other luxury athleisure brands, and I really like that these marry both form and function. The matching bra is $49.99, and you can use the code “20BIBRAVE” for 20% for both (as well as any other full priced items).

How has compression factored into your routine? Let me know in the comments.

Cheers to gear that is both cute and functional!