Thanks gawck for creating the amazing decals!
Sadly my orange nailpolish with white Ragnar logos would never made it to our teammates' toes.
Due to a busy production schedule, the Endorphriends decals were almost literally hot off the presses for the race!
Thanks gawck for creating the amazing decals!
2017 Ragnar trail Cottage Country runners may remember these! We decided to create new cards and re-purpose the leftover puffball packs as an alternate to van tagging magnets!
I couldn't resist putting together some little bonus items for my teammates. Monster decals, team logo decals, monster buttons and an Endorphriend wrap bracelet for new team members!
This year we were able to make the shirts ourselves at gawck!
Gift packs made! And another little surprise, a monster for each van to help navigate.
In an effort to keep fueling close to normal, I prepacked my peanut butter sandwich breakfasts.
Sadly my orange nailpolish with white Ragnar logos would never made it to our teammates' toes.
When I started running in June 2013 I used the gear I'd used for the gym or walking the dog, which wasn't much: wide-leg yoga pants and cotton t-shirts (insert giggles). When I realized this running thing was here to stay in my life, I started to acquire running specific items, many initially purchased on sale from discount clothing retailers because I realized I actually needed a lot. I didn't want to do laundry more than once a week and each time a season changed I needed new warm weather / cool weather pieces. Admittedly I didn't pay much attention to perfect fit or how the items would perform when running.
Over my five years of running I've been able to try on many brands and products and I've discovered that not all run gear is created equal. I've discovered a few items that have truly become my favourites which I'm going to feature below.
But before I do...You may be saying, okay, I know you're sponsored for the upcoming Ragnar Niagara by Reebok, so of course you are going to say you love everything Reebok. Anyone having read my blog for or who knows me knows that I rarely post about products and really, am I the sell-my-soul for a blog type? Nope. I think what I honestly like best about being sponsored by Reebok for this race is that I've had the opportunity to try items I wouldn't otherwise tried. And in the process, I've legitimately realized I really, really love Reebok's running line. Technically the pieces do what they say. The fit is always exactly perfect--no wondering if a medium is going to fit like an extra small or extra large. The colours and styles are on trend yet don't get in the way of my running comfort. They are priced well and I love the online shopping option.
So yeah!I AM going to say I love these pieces!
Reebok Activ-Chill Capris
When I received the first pair of these capris from Reebok last spring, I initially held them up thinking they were long shorts. Then I tried them on and found them to be the most perfectly fit pair of capris I have ever put on.
I am not just saying that.
Or that they are my absolute favourite capris or maybe running bottoms ever.
It’s as if they were made exactly for my shape (hey Reebok, did you sneak into my house and take measurements while I was sleeping? If so, that’s really okay because I love them!) They fall near my hips (I continue to have a hard time feeling the high waisted trend is all that flattering) and even with the tied drawstring provide a flat belly. They are tight enough to feel supportive and smoothing but not too tight to be like compression or revealing. The fabric has a slight texture making them slightly off-black and a couple swirling patterns in the stitching add visual interest. These factors make them unique from ‘every other pair of black running bottoms’ in your closet. They stay where I put them at the waist and knee. I love that they are a little shorter than most capris making them a truer in-between shorts and tights option than many other pairs of capris that are a couple inches above the ankle. Admittedly I keep them at the ready in my closet for those warmer runs or races where there there may be a camera. Who needs to feel self-conscious about wearing shorts when sprinting to the finish of a race or doing a jump shot with friends on a group run? My thighs are ‘that spot’ that I’m always conscious of in photos. Although those same legs power me through my runs and make me feel strong and graceful, I’ve seen enough not-so-flattering photos of them that make me uncomfortable. Who needs that? Last year’s capris have washed well and still look new each time I pull them from my closet. I am excited for this new pair to see a bunch of finish lines in 2018! Seriously, what else can I say about how much I love these? Click for details.
Reebok Activ-Chill tanks and shirts
The first thing you’lll notice about this fabric is how light and flowy it is. Rest assured it’s not ‘that’ kind of flowy that clings and enhances every single roll or bulge. I have a couple race shirts that are like that and I never wear them. Last year’s bright blue tank and short sleeve tee saw me through the very hot first and third Ragnar Niagara midday legs. I truly believe that special fabric kept me cooler than if I was wearing another fabric. This year I was happy to find a new tank and tee in my Reebok Ragnar kit. As a graphic designer who loves typography, I especially loved the repeated fun ‘run’ graphic on both. Admittedly, I was initially hesitant about the white. I’ve never bought white race gear. Alas when recently racing a spring 10K where everyone was wearing the charity race shirt, I chose this shirt and my friends were immediately able to spot me as I approached them cheering on the side lines. When I posted a photo of this race on social media I think more people were asked about the shirt than congratulated me on my race! I think the biggest plus for both of these will be the light colours in the heat. Not only do they have the 'Activ-chill', they have the perk of reflecting the sun away instead of soaking it up like darker colours would. Click for more details.
1/4 zip long sleeve
I think the only time I ran in my grey 1/4 zip long sleeve from last year's Ragnar was...during Ragnar. Why? Because I always wear it casually! It isn't even with my run gear in the closet. I love this shirt. It fits so nicely and goes with everything.
This year Reebok provided us with a peachy / orange colour 1/4 zip. Admittedly when I first saw it I thought, ugh, peach? I think my least favourite colour is peach...
Then I wore it to a recent trail race:
"Oh that looks great on you!"
"I love that shirt!"
"I love that colour!"
All day I got comments about the shirt. Alas, I have a new shirt that is rarely going to get run in! Okay, I promise to run in it at least once, Reebok Canada! Click for details.
Ask my husband what item of clothing I'm always buying and he will immediately say socks. I am extremely picky about socks. I literally have two drawers of socks (this is not counting the drawer in the basement dresser, shh!).
Ask my friends and Ragnar team mates Maria and Kate one of the most important deciding factors in choosing which socks to wear, and they will say colour. I agree, I think I have a gene that makes me need to match what I am wearing. But what do you do when you have complex colours or your blue, purple, green or pink socks are in the laundry? White. These thin white socks quickly became a favourite last year. They are perfect on a hot day and are just high enough to not get eaten by my shoes.
I'd seen others wearing versions of semi-transparent running jackets and always thought they looked so cool. I was so happy when I saw it this one in my Reebok gear!
So much about this jacket I like for what it is NOT. Let me explain. So many jackets have TOO much going on. This jacket doesn't have a hood or a multitude of pockets to add bulk which would get weighed down in rain and wind. It is very lightweight and has a streamlined fit with simple hems. Someone actually really thought about this design and how a runner would use it. It's water resistant yet breathable with a vented panel on the back (don't ask me about the time I wore a jacket that wasn't breathable...let's just say it was raining inside my jacket). Even the tags were on an easy to remove string (having designed tags in a previous job, I am always aware of tags and labels!) The reflective stripes and bright colour make me feel good about wearing this jacket in darker conditions. I have a couple running jackets with hoods, but most of the time I don't use the hood as I find it restricts my view and hearing in weather conditions I need to be more aware. Pair this jacket with a hat and I would be good to go in a good downpour. I actually can't wait to try it out on a rainy day. Click for more details.
A note of thanks to Reebok because without you sponsoring our team, I never would have found these amazing pieces which have become by go-to items and wind up in the laundry each and every week!
*Ragnar Niagara blog posts sponsored by Reebok, however, all opinions and expressions of fun are always my own.
Around this time last year, I wrote about the 'FOUR 'Rs' which were, running, relay, Ragnar and Reebok. Now I get to add one R. Can you guess what it is?
That's right, the Endorphriends are back and ready to tackle Reebok Ragnar Niagara again!
What is Ragnar?
It's a relay race where twelve runners trade off each running three times each for a total team distance of just over 300 kilometers. For this one and only Canadian version, runners start in Cobourg (yes that's the one past Pickering, Oshawa, and Bomanville...) and finish in historic Niagara Falls. Each team is supported by their teammates who travel in two vans to each exchange point. You won't likely sleep, eat, drinking much, and you may lose your voice from cheering but all of that won't matter when you and your teammates cross that finish line and piece those 12 medals together.
Who are the Endorphriends?
Team Endorphriends evolved in early 2017 when a group of friends learned that Ragnar was bringing their relay series back to Canada! We came up with a lot of names, but no one could resist 'endorphriends' especially when our superstar graphic designer (okay, yeah, that's me) came up with branding for the team including a logo and monster characters for each team member. You can read about our 2017 Ragnar experience here, here, here and here.
In the fall the team added a few new members who then tackled Ragnar Trail in Cottage Country. You can read about that here, here, here and here...and okay, here too. Hey, these are long races, I'm allowed to write a lot!
And now, again with a few new monster members, it was an easy decision to race to the Falls again!
Team Endorphriends recently found out that Reebok Canada will be kindly sponsoring our team again for our upcoming race! I'm extremely happy about this because many of my pieces from last year remain my go-to's. The capris are the only capris I will race in I wore them for my recent 5Peaks and Mississauga races. The 1/4 zip rarely gets out for a run since I'm often wearing it casually. The comfy joggers and sweat shirt are my lounge wear of choice on a Sunday afternoon following a race. The 'ActivChill' tank do work to keep me chilled.
I recently received some amazing new gear for training and the race. Stay tuned for details on these items as I get to try them out! Below is a sneak peek of some of the items that people have endlessly commented on! Okay, one more sneak peek...I wore several pieces at the recent Sporting Life 10K!
A very special thank you to Janice, Nancy and Lisa who have very generously given their time to volunteer for the race that weekend on behalf of our team! Also to Nanlee for will be driving our van #1!
Stay tuned Endorphriend fans!
Over the past three years I've admittedly been a bit bitter because my favourite race / also my PB course, TYS10K had been axed while the Sporting Life 10K continued. Somewhere along the line I'd heard that the race was too crowded, not attended by elites and very focused on the charitable aspect. I'm not against charitable races, but I try to limit my participation so I am not constantly asking my friends and family for donations. Last fall I bit the bullet and decided to give the race a try.
With my injury, the last time I ran a 10K or more was January 14th, four months earlier. Last week I did the Mississauga 10K, but I'd run 3K straight and finished out the race with walk breaks. My hope of a PB was definitely long gone, so I went into the race hoping to at least be able to run pain free and to try to remind myself to be happy that I was running again.
On race day I was repeatedly surprised.
I managed to run the entire race (with the exception of hug breaks) and had almost identical 5K splits. Every kilometer was a full minute faster than anything I’ve run since January. I was incredibly pleased about this. Even better, I was pain free for the race.
The organization of the race was incredible. There were volunteers everywhere and despite the incredible numbers of runners and walkers (I've never looked back to see that many runners as in the photo below!) I always had a good buffer of space around me. I managed to see friends at the start, along the route and finish.
So, yes, I really liked this race! Of course it felt a bit more like a comeback race than last week, and although I mentioned in a previous post that I doubted I would be focused on goals and PBs in the future, it would be neat to see how I could do on this course had I not have been just coming back from injury!
Maybe next year.
At the end of last year, waaaay before my injury, I was registering for a bunch of races in the year ahead. I snapped up the 5Peaks season's pass and did the double half marathon special for Chilly Half and Mississauga Half.
Cue my injury in January, and my race bibs started being given away. As the time before Mississauga approached, I knew I wouldn't be able to race it. Then I knew I wouldn't be able to run it. Then I knew I wouldn't be able to walk it. Bib transfers were not allowed and it would cost me extra money to get a doctor's note and defer. I decided I was going to drop down to the 5K which was the top distance I had run once the previous week. I contacted the race organizers a couple weeks out and they said no problem, but I had to do this at the expo.
Cue the race expo. I picked up several race kits for friends the afternoon before the race weekend. I went to make the swap to the new distance to be told the 5K was sold out. Alas, the only other option was the 10K. Sign me up then. Eek. I hadn't run anything over 5K in almost 4 months.
I should also mention that due to a crazy storm we had earlier this spring, the first 5Peaks race of the season was rescheduled...for the same day as the Mississauga race.
Let me recap for you. Highest distance run in almost 4 months: 5K once. Race plan for Saturday, May 5th? A 6K trail race at Kelso (aka a ski hill) and a 10K road race later that day. This was truly going to be a Ragnar practice day!
Hmm. No wonder family and friends were looking at me with that stunned wide-eyed emoji look.
The gang's (well, some Crazy Eights, Endorphriends and a giraffe) all here!
Lisa and Mei were doing their first trail half marathon! This would be their longest trail race ever. I remember when they each tried their first trail races just last year!
I decided a good plan would be to walk the whole course of the 5Peaks race. Given Kate was doing the half marathon the next day, she said she's walk with me!
This was the view from the top of Kelso. Yes, a ski hill. Yes, snow. Walking this course was a great idea. I still kept my heart rate up...especially when Kate mentioned the moving stick...er...snake.
Some amazing finishes!
Enjoying some sun. Spring has been a long time coming!
A yummy patio lunch with a bunch of Crazy Eights.
Starbucks is always required in a time killing situation.
After parking at Clarkson GO and catching the shuttle, this was our home for the next hour and a half before the race start.
Clouds had started to roll in as we sat there. The forecast was for 30% chance of rain. Hence the sunglasses.
With 10 minutes to go the rain came down and drenched everyone. It stopped for a bit before starting again during the first couple kilometers of the race. Note to self: ALWAYS wear a hat if there is ANY chance of rain. Contact lenses love to float around in rain drenched eyeballs. I ran about 800 meters with one eye closed. When the rain stopped the midges came out. I'll save your eyes from the photo of a dozen of them stuck to my skin towards the end of the race.
I got so pumped standing in that starting corral, I decided to start the race as an actual race. I ran 3 kilometers pretty much as hard as my current training allowed. After that the long day and my minimal training hit and I ran and walked the remaining 6K. I still managed to finish with a pace under what I'd been running in my recent training runs.
The smile below was genuine. I was back to running. And that was worth celebrating.
Thanks to my Maria and Kate for joining me for a full day of racing and pretend Ragnaring!
Running. Design. Family. Dogs. Gardening. Food. Crochet. Canadian.