Annual Gift Giving Guide

Now that we’re done with Thanksgiving, it’s on to what our family calls Thanks-getting.  Just kidding.  We know the holidays really aren’t about the gifts, but let’s be honest.  We’re going to buy them, so let’s make the process a little simpler.  No guessing games.  Give your loved ones a list of items you really want.  That way they’re not spending money on a blender when you really wanted some new boots.

A few suggestions for the runner/exercise enthusiast/ wife with her own website  in your life.


 Run Ink Customizable Map

A lovely reminder of a momentous race or run.  100% customizable.  Starting at $23, these are thoughtful and beautiful.  Run Ink also customizes t-shirts and mugs.  Another favorite gift is the USA Map Race Tracking Chart that allows your runner to keep track of the races run in each state.


Feetures! Socks

Making an encore appearance this year are my favorite socks.  In full disclosure, I am a Feetures! Ambassador, but that’s simply because I truly love them. I’ve tried every sock out there, but always come back to these.  From no-show socks to compression socks, they never disappoint.


Mother Runner Shirts

I’m a huge fan of the AMR (Another Mother Runner) tribe, and was featured on a recent podcast episode about milestone runs.  Sarah and Dimity have created a community of support for women in every stage of life and every level of fitness.  You don’t have to be a mother or a runner to benefit from the advice, resources, and real-life speak of these women. Whether you’re a new mom training for your first 5K, a mom running away from a house full of teenage angst, or a woman/runner of experience tackling your 50th marathon, there is a place for you here.

If that weren’t enough, their lifestyle t’s and run tanks are some of my favorite items of clothing.  My favorite t reads, “I Run Things.”  Enough said.



Back in the good old days, I could run with my iPod Shuffle clipped to my tank and put my car keys in my back pocket.  Times have changed and my iPod is now an iPhone the size of a small brick.  FlipBelts can hold phones, keys, cash, credit cards, ID, and fuel in one snug belt that doesn’t bounce or slip.  My favorite is the Reflective PT Belt for $32.99.


Medal Holder


No explanation necessary.  Many are customizable and range from $30-$50.  This one from Gone For a Run.


Lotion for Dry Winter Skin

This may not be the most exciting gift, but I promise it will be the most used.  Winter running means winter skin.  That means, dry, chapped and flaky.  This Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Favorites Set is my personal favorite skin treatment.  Only $8 for all three!


AfterShokz Earbuds

We know it’s not safe to run or bike with earbuds, but even I can’t stand the thought of a long run in silence.  AfterShokz are a perfect compromise.  With no buds in the ears, you can listen to your favorite music or podcasts and still be aware of your surroundings.  Their wireless Trekz Titanium model will cost $129.95, but when it comes to safety, they’re worth every penny.  They also have wired options.


Cycleops Bike Trainer

I am a Schwinn Certified Cycling teacher and can testify to the benefits of cycling as a cross-training exercise for running.  For the days when I can’t run or just need a break from the pounding of the road, cycling is my go-to activity.  When the roads are too dangerous, the weather too cold, or the kids are out of school, hooking your road bike to an indoor training is a fantastic option.  Starting at $129, indoor trainers are much less expensive than a spin bike (CycleOps offers those as well).  Fire up Netflix and start pedaling.


Marathon Woman

The first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon tells her story in Marathon Woman.  To celebrate the 30th anniversary of that run, she ran the Boston Marathon again this past year.  This edition commemorates that momentous race.  An inspiring and fascinating read of an inspiring and fascinating woman.

Runner Crate

Have a runner who doesn’t know what they want?  Want to give a gift throughout the year?  A subscription to Runner Crate is the perfect solution.  You can give a 1, 3, 6, or 12-month subscription that will ship directly to your loved one’s home.  Filled with 4-6 snacks and 1-3 run gear items, it’s a great way for your runner to test and sample products and discover something they love.

Laundry and Sadness


The Cowart at the Copenhagen 5K finish.

Sorry for the recent radio silence.  My family and I took a long overdue vacation to the Baltic capitals this month.  We’re all struggling with the last vestiges of jet lag and post-vacation blues.  As my daughter Ali said when our plane landed in the U.S., “There’s nothing to look forward to now except laundry and sadness.”  At least she had a good time, right?  I’ll write more about our travels including the first 5K we’ve done as an entire family.  There were highs and lows and grand epiphanies, and that was just in the first mile.  But right now, a nap.

Sharing Time: Group Fitness Etiquette

Instead of pulling something from the archives, today I’m sharing an article that was sent to me last week.  As a fitness instructor, my job and my goal is to help members make the most of their time for the 60 minutes I have them in the room. Those 60 minutes take hours of work.  Behind every cycle class I teach is an hour scouring for new music, designing drills around the music, creating a ride that is enhanced by the music.  There are hours of reading up on the latest findings in fitness, especially in regards to form and performance.  There are days of training and re-training, certifying and re-certifying.  In other words, I work hard to give you my best for that one short hour.  I come prepared to teach.  I want you to come prepared to work.  Group fitness is successful when we work together.  That’s the whole point.  The tips in this article don’t just apply to cycle class.  They work in kickboxing, yoga, Bodypump, pilates, and so on.

I don’t post this to shame anyone into better behavior.  These are reminders for all of us.  I’ve been guilty of talking during a class, so this is as much for me as it is for everyone else.

Click on the link below to read more.

My Recovery Routine


Ali’s first downward dog.

Come to my group X classes long enough and you’ll hear me say, “What you do after a workout is just as important as what you do during.”  The older I get, the truer those words ring.  Proper recovery allows the muscles to repair stronger.  We are humans, not machines.  We need to replenish the well before we drain it again.  Physical and mental recovery from tough workouts will make us stronger in the long run, and really, that’s why we move.  We aren’t getting ourselves into shape to impress old friends at a reunion or strangers on the beach during our vacations.  We are getting in shape to improve our daily lives and increase our longevity.  Recovery is a critical part of our overall health.  Click on the link below to see what I do to recover.  Take a deep, cleansing breath and enjoy.

Christmas Wish List

If you’re like me, your holiday shopping was done a month ago.  If you’re like my husband, you’ve only just begun.  Let me add to the gaggle of Christmas wish lists and give you a few of my wanted items for the season.  (No, this is not a way to sneakily give my family gift hints… or maybe it is.


Asics Kayanos-

I’ve run in these shoes since 2008.  The one time I switched, I got a nasty stress fracture.  Lesson learned.  You can find great deals previous seasons’ models right now, too.  If you live close to an Asics Factory Outlet, you can find them as cheap as $60.  Normally they run $150-180.  Worth every penny.


Feetures Socks

You need something to wear with these shoes and I’ve worn Feetures! almost as long as I’ve worn Asics.  With so many styles and options and with their perfect fit, you don’t need to worry about your sock slipping down or causing blisters.


Coast LED Headlamp 2-pack

I just bought these at Costco a few weeks ago after an old headlamp burned out.  These are super bright.  But what I love most is that they don’t have a middle strap, so if I don’t want to wear it on my head, I can wear it around my waist.  Still great visibility.  Perfect for your runner during these darker months.


Asics Softshell Jacket

I am an admitted jacket hoarder.  I have somewhere around 30, but this one has stolen my heart.  I hate the cold, but with this jacket, I really don’t mind it as much.  Fleece lining.  The sleeves are tight around the wrists to keep out the cold.  Three layers for added warmth.  Thumb holes and a longer sleeve to keep your hands extra toasty.  Tons of pockets, too.  I’m only 5’2″, so this jackets hits me below my hips, but I love that.  Keeps my bum warm!  It’s pricey at $145, but I found it at the outlet store in July and only paid $30!


Sweaty Bands

I love headbands.  Sweaty Bands are among the best.  My head is smaller, so headbands usually slip right off.  Not these.  And bonus for you, you can find a link on this page for a discount code.


Run Fast.  Eat Slow- by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky

I don’t have this, but I want it.  Hint, hint.  Written by marathoner and 4-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky, this cookbook is chalk full of delicious recipes designed to help you feel and perform at your best.  Indulgent nourishment is how they describe the recipes.  I’m dying to make the bison meatballs.  The superhero muffins already have a large fan base.  I’m not a cook, but this book makes me want to be one.  Find it at any major book retailer.

The only thing I love more than running is reading.  Why not combine these passions with a subscription to  Subscribers can download audiobooks and listen while they run.  It’s great motivation for those days when running becomes a chore.  If I’m in the middle of a juicy novel I only allow myself to listen to while running, I’m more likely to lace up my shoes and go.  You can try for free and get one free audiobook.  After that it’s $14.95 a month.


Trigger Point Foam Roller

Roll your aches and pains away with Trigger Point foam rollers.  It’s pain you enjoy.  Actually, start using these foam rollers and that pain will disappear.  Since I’ve started using mine daily, my hamstring aches have almost disappeared.


Epsom Salts

I used to be an ice bath believer.  But I’ve found that Epsom Salt baths feel just as invigorating.  During long, cold runs I find myself fantasizing about sinking into a warm bath with epsom salt and a good book.  The bath is often as long as the run.  Find them at any major retailer.


Nutzzo Seven Nut and Seed Butter

This ain’t your mama’s peanut butter.  And it’s not cheap.  It can run upwards of $12, but it’s so, so good!  And it’s the holidays, so splurge a little.  And this is a splurge you can feel good about.  Made with cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds it’s delicious and healthy.  There are a number of varieties and versions, but I have yet to find one I don’t like.  Just don’t let the family find yours.  Put it in a safe hiding spot and hoard it for yourself.


There you have it.  My 10 Favorite Things to give to the runner/health nut in your life.  Oh, who are we kidding.  Get these for yourself and don’t feel bad about it one bit.  Happy Holidays!