You be the judge.

I’m pretty open to advertising creative.  I really am.  In fact, I went to school for it.  Studied 3 years, and made my career out of it.  Ok, so I fell into the media area, outside of the actual creative side of things, but I still think I have a pretty good understanding of creative objectives & strategies.  However, I won’t say I am the be all and end all when it comes to judging a company’s creative.

I’ll leave that to my readers.

Today, I came home and found in my mailbox the latest edition of Canadian Running Magazine.  I truly love this magazine for the articles and awesome in depth knowledge for all running related topics.

Then I saw an ad on page 7.

Google it!  It is a picture of a runner giving CPR to a dog.

The Copy Reads as follows :

“Run Longer  Project E:MOTION isn’t for the faint of heart.* That’s because our new midsole design forces your stride into fluid submission.  This undeniable smoothness translates into less work for your legs, so you get into your zone faster and feel like your could stay there forever.  Sure, not everyone will appreciate your increased efficiency, but, ironically, not everyone was born to run like an animal.”

As a reader, my first reaction was utter shock.  From an advertising perspective I thought it was negative.  I didn’t get it.  I wanted to know more, so I went to the link above to investigate.  This new shoe is apparently so awesome that as a runner, you will run faster, quieter, longer, farther and smoother.  However, because of this, there will also be a negative side to running.  The website calls these the ‘downsides of efficiency’.  There are videos illustrating these downsides in short videos, called Runner’s Pulse.  For example, you’ll outrun your dog to the point you will have to perform cpr.  You may be attacked by wildlife if you don’t make noise during your run as the shoes are so quiet, animals may not be startled by your presence.  You’ll run so far, you’ll run out of food and starve to death or eat a plant in the wilderness that could kill you.  Or finally, because your gait has improved you might be confused for a deer and be shot by a hunter.

Obviously, now that I am seeing the videos, it’s obvious the advertiser is taking a stab at humour.  I won’t judge.

I’ll leave that to you.

Any additional thoughts welcome.

Dealing with pain and finding the right fit for you

I have struggled over the years with a lot of pain brought on through running.  Most of my pain has come from IT band issues.  I’ve done several things over the years to help, from on-going deep tissue massage, to ART; both of which can become expensive with numerous treatments, however, they do work.  Of course, I’m like most people, so I don’t have the unlimited funds to make weekly appointments with my chiropractor or massage therapist, so I’ve had to change a few things.  This past year, I’ve finally made some changes that have helped me.

Over the years, I’ve changed my running shoes about 4 times.  The first pair I owned had far too much stability.  I realized within a few months this pair was not for me.  I consulted with a foot doctor and he gave me an analysis of my feet and he recommended I wear a lighter stability shoe.  Through trial and error, I went through a couple more pairs of shoes. With each shoe I bought, I decreased the stability rating.  I consulted with my local running store when buying my shoes to get their opinion on my feet and of course, made my shoe purchase decisions based on their input.  I gave these shoes some time to prove to me, that these were indeed my proper fit.  Alas, I still had IT band issues and my knees throbbed with pain on an ongoing basis.

Did I mention I stretched?  Oh yes, I stretched.  I stretched, and stretched and stretched til I could stretched no more!

I finally said, “To heck with it”, and went back to a running store.  I consulted with yet another shoe retailer who again analyzed my feet.  He had me running in my socks back and forth across the store several times, and then said to me, “hmm….I think you need a less stability shoe.  I’d say, you need a neutral shoe”.  I was a bit dumb founded by his input, but he sat and talked to me a lot about the shoes and I really had a sense he knew what he was talking about.  He wasn’t afraid to give his opinion, despite my hesitation and previous professional input.  One thing he said to me, that really stuck with me was that “You shouldn’t have to break in a new pair of shoes.  They should feel good from the moment you start running in them.  And you shouldn’t have the pain you are currently coping with”.  He suggested a couple of different models for me and then I left the store.  I didn’t buy that day, but I decided to think about it.  It kind of ticked me off that again, another person was giving me another option in shoes.  Another option in shoes that would cost me another $150-190 a pair.  These are expensive trial and errors.  Especially since I had a brand new back up pair of shoes to wear when my current ones were ready for the garbage.

Last Fall I went to NYC, and I walked into a running store who sold the shoes that were recommended to me.  The one pair I was interested in were on sale for $109.  I knew that these shoes were sold in Canada for much more, so I made the decision to buy them that day.  Yes, it was another expensive test, but when I thought about the amount of money I spent on doctors for ART and massage, I reasoned that it was less of an investment, and I was willing to take one more kick at the ‘running shoe wheel of fortune’.

My bet paid off.  The Saucony Ride 5‘s were my shoe.  I have been using them now for 5 months and have noticed a huge difference in the way I feel after a run and on my rest days.  I won’t say my IT band pain is gone but it definitely has decreased substantially.  My knee pain too is very minimal.

I won’t say the shoe was the the only factor in helping me.  There also is another piece of equipment I’ve been using on an ongoing basis.  I would say, aside from my running shoes,  and my shrugs 😉 , this piece of equipment is a MUST have for any runner.

The Foam Roller.

Yes, this simple piece of foam you can buy at most running stores for about $30-$40 has changed my life.  I use it after every workout to roll out my IT band, quads, hammys, lower back, and my calves.  It takes about a week to really get used to it as you have to move your body in certain ways so there is a bit of a learning curve.  Since my IT band is the tightest, I definitely was in some initial pain on my first few go arounds.  One would be surprised when using a foam roller just how tight their muscles really are until they practice with the roller.  There were areas such as my quads that I rarely felt tightness, but after a good session with the roller, I knew that this was not the case.  After a few sessions, the roller over my IT band became much more bearable; enjoyable in fact.  No more sleepless nights of throbbing legs or knees.  Getting up from a chair was easy and my hip pain I experienced after any run over 10K has not returned.  I love my foam roller so much, I packed it in my suitcase when I went to run the Tinker Bell Half last month.  Yes, it’s that good!

Over the last few months, I’ve re-energized my love of running.  I can’t wait to get back on the pavement on a regular basis and train for my next race.  I really think I’m going to get stronger and faster because of these new changes.

If you are lucky enough to get the right shoe when beginning your running journey, that’s terrific.  However, if you feel like your running is struggling due to your shoe, don’t be afraid to take a chance on another pair.  It may just save you a lot of pain and perhaps some money in the long run.

Have you struggled with finding the proper shoe?  Do you use a foam roller? Tell us your story.

On a Snowy Day in February…..

Yikes!  It’s been colder than I would like since being back in Toronto. Perhaps since being in California my tolerance for the colder climate has gone down. I’ve been using my treadmill and staying indoors as much as possible. Yesterday, I managed 13K on the treadmill. I of course, could not have completed this without the help of my iphone. I am grateful that I own a treadmill, however, any run that exceeds 8K becomes boring and definitely uninspiring. I have no idea how some runners train for marathons on treadmills.  I recently have taken to my iphone to watch some TV shows and it definitely has helped to pass the time.  Yesterday, I got my inspiration from The Biggest Loser and How I Met Your Mother!

In other news, I wanted to let everyone know that Urban Running Girl has just launched a 20% off sale.  Just enter the code : URGFEB in the code box when ordering and you will receive this offer.  Don’t miss out!

Prior to leaving for California, there was a wonderful review written by Stephanie M for Urban Running Girl. She was the lucky winner of the PushPumpProgress blog giveaway. I wanted to share it here. It was a nice surprise and her review definitely made me smile.

Original link – An Essential Piece of Clothing
A few weeks ago I won my first blog giveaway ever from Michelle over at Push.Pump.Progress. When I saw the giveaway I wanted it SO BADLY! And then when I saw I won it I was SO EXCITED!

What did I win?

A running shrug!

What’s a running shrug? Well, according to the Urban Running Girl website, the company that makes these shrugs:

A shrug is a piece of clothing that’s designed to cover the shoulders and arms ONLY. Shrugs by Urban Running Girl are made of a light-weight 100% dry-wicking polyester, typical of other tech wear worn by active women. You can wear it over a tank or running shirt in place of a jacket. When you’ve warmed up enough, it’s easy to take off and tie around your waist, and unlike a jacket it won’t weigh you down.

The idea of a running shrug came about from the need to keep warm while warming up during an early morning run, particularly in the spring and fall. It’s too cool to start with only a tank top or t-shirt, but once warmed up and/or the outside temperature rises, it’s too warm for a long sleeve shirt or jacket.

So, you get warmth and cover without any unnecessary weight or flapping jackets once you don’t need the layers. Plus, the shrugs have built in mitts to keep your hands warm on colder days. Plus (!), this company is a small business based in Toronto, so if you’re interested in getting yourself this essential piece of clothing, you’d be supporting a local company instead of a big corporation. I was in Dick’s Sporting Goods a few weeks ago and saw that Nike is now making a similar product but it is twice the price and it’s Nike. Go local! (Also, I’m using the photos from the website because I have neglected to take a picture of myself wearing it. But I swear I have one!

I’ve worn my shrug a number of times and I am so happy with it. I wore it while running along the coast in North Carolina before Christmas and it was great with the wind and slight chill to the low-50s weather. When I was warmed by running and the humidity I took it off and couldn’t tell I even had it around my waist. I had to keep checking to see if it was there, which, of course it was.

I also wore it while running along the coast in Northern California after Christmas in similar, albeit slightly less humid weather, and it was again perfect for a mid-40s kind of day. After a few miles off it came. But once I was done running and was walking through my cool down it was great to have a layer to take the edge off the chill.

It’s been sub-30 degrees(F) here in Reno for the past few weeks, so I put away my running shrug, figuring I would have to wait to wear it until it warms up. BUT, yesterday I went on my long run with a wool short sleeve base layer, long sleeve tech shirt, and lightweight wind breaker. After 3 miles I was too hot and had to take off the long sleeved tech shirt and tie it around my waist for the remainder of the run. Lame.

So today, I wore my running shrug as my second layer under my windbreaker and it was perfect. I stayed warm but did not overheat. I may even layer it with other long sleeved shirts for days when it is too cold for just two layers but too warm for three.

I’ve already told some friends and family about this and I’m thinking that these shrugs will make great gifts for anyone I know who runs. Or really for anyone who does anything outside. My friends who hike and bike would probably like one, and really, it’s just a good layer for all kinds of uses. I could probably even layer it underneath sweaters to wear at work because my office has been freezing lately. Hmmm…note to self!

So, go on over to Urban Running Girl and check out the array of colors and order yours today! (Sorry, that sounded infomercial-y, but seriously, just get you one! You won’t regret it.) I love my shrug, and really do believe it is an essential piece of clothing. I am going to log a lot of miles in mine this year. Many thanks to Urban Running Girl and Michelle for hosting the giveaway and for randomly picking my name! Score!

New Addition to Urban Running Girl

Autumn is in the air.  The leaves have changed colour, and Pumpkin Spice lattes seem to be on everyone’s minds.

Meech Lake, Quebec

Urban Running Girl is also inspired by the Fall colours.  Today we have added an ORANGE shrug to our family.  I love the colour orange.  There is something so festive and fun about this colour.  Definitely one of my faves!

Urban Running Girl-Orange shrug

Our orange shrug will surely get you noticed by loved ones as they watch for you crossing the finish line of your next race.

What is a running shrug?

It’s a piece of clothing, made of a light weight 100% polyester tech wear material, that’s designed to cover the shoulders and arms ONLY. It’s worn over a tank top, t-shirt, or any other shirt.  Its purpose is to replace a typical jacket when the weather is too cool for just a shirt, but still too warm for a jacket.  Also, because it is lightweight and doesn’t have zippers, it can be easily tied around the waist, and will not chafe leggings.  Primarily for running, it can also be worn for other athletic activities as a warm up or cool down apparel item… Yoga, dancing, cycling, walking… Or as another layer of clothing to keep the arms warm while sitting at the cottage or taking the dog for a walk.  The shrug is easy to tuck away in a purse when out for the day and additional arm warmth might be required!

For more product information, please click Urban Running Girl

About Urban Running Girl

Urban Running Girl is a small e-commerce business based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  All running shrugs have been designed and manufactured in Canada.

The idea of a running shrug came about from the need to keep warm while warming up during an early morning run, particularly in the spring and fall.  It’s too cool to start with only a tank top or t-shirt, but once warmed up and/or the outside temperature rises, it’s too warm for a long sleeve shirt or jacket.

Wearing a long sleeve shirt/jacket over a tank top or t-shirt brings additional frustrations:

Wear it for the entire run and get too hot.
Take it off, and leave it by the side of the road (see this all the time in races).
Take it off, and tie it around the waist so it becomes additional baggage to carry. Also, jacket zippers/velcro could chafe against pants/leggings.

These frustrations seem unnecessary, so development started on a piece of clothing that would be light weight, and cover the shoulders and arms only… the running shrug.

Urban Running Girl shrugs can be purchased at Urban Running Girl

At this time, shipping is in Canada only.  We hope to be available to the U.S. market soon.