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!


Tips for buying a treadmill

This is my treadmill.  The Pacemaster Premiere EXT.  As you can see, it’s not in use right now.  Doesn’t see much action in the Spring to Fall months.  The original box we got it in covers the running surface so our cats don’t sleep on it.



It weighs a gazillion pounds.  Ok, it’s really just over 200, but it seems like a gazillion.  I call it UGGH, because that’s the sound my spouse made when getting it down to our unfinished basement!

We took our time before buying a treadmill.  It’s a big investment, but since we don’t have gym memberships and we both loathe running in the snow, it was our personal preference to buy.  The more we researched brands, the more info we’d have to consider.  Here are some of the things we thought about prior to our purchase.

  1. Our budget.  How much did we want to spend?
  2. How often and for how long would we be using it?
  3. How much did we weigh?
  4. Did we care about other unnecessary components?  I.e. television or fan
  5. Did we want a full unit or a fold up unit?
  6. Did we care about programs?  What about incline?

Then we started reading reviews.  I like reviews.  I’ll go to several sites to read them.  If one reads enough of them, they generally can get a good overall opinion of a particular piece of merchandise.  However, I also recognize that sometimes I need to read between the lines.  For example, if a person likes a treadmill but gave it a bad rating because they didn’t like where the ‘stop’ button was, well then, I would have to consider the importance of the reviewers preference over my own needs.  Generally speaking, when I read a review I’m looking for a few things like the following:

  1. Has the reviewer had any mechanical issues?
  2. If a reviewer has had mechanical issues, did the company handle them satisfactorily?
  3. Is there information from the reviewer indicating how they treat their treadmill in terms of maintenance or how long they’ve owned the treadmill?
  4. How often does the reviewer use it and what kind of weekly mileage do they put on it?
  5. Is this reviewer biased against most brands of treadmills and only prefers one kind to the rest?  (Some reviewers, review more than one treadmill)
  6. Overall, were they happy with their purchase?

After we researched what people had to say about treadmills and compared the market place based on our own wants and needs, we narrowed down our search to a handful of brands we were interested in.  Then we started to research a bit more about the mechanics of the machine.  My spouse did more of this research as he’s the technical guy!

  1. The frame-Steel or Aluminum?
  2. What kind of rollers?
  3. Belt type? Size of belt?
  4. Running surface size?
  5. What were the power requirements?
  6. Motor type & horsepower?
  7. What is the warranty?

We went to a fitness store to try out some units.  We went back and forth on a few.  Then we left because we didn’t like the sales person.  We then went to another fitness store, and talked to another sales person who was extremely knowledgeable.  We asked a lot of questions, and he had been in the business a long time, so he definitely knew what he was talking about from a mechanical perspective.  We tried some more treadmills, comparing the ride for each and listened to the noise level of each one.  Then we bought one!  I have to admit, I was nervous.  I think I mentioned, It’s a BIG purchase!

There are other things you might consider before making your purchase.  Everyone has different needs.  I think the most important lesson I did take from this experience, is that one really must be realistic with their treadmill choice.  Many cheaper treadmills can’t endure the impact that some serious runners would put on it.  Therefore, if you are a serious runner, and don’t want to spend more than  $1,000, you’d probably be better off using a commercial gym treadmill, going outside or perhaps considering a second hand unit.   You really get what you pay for in many cases.

We like our treadmill very much.  When we got it, it was at a sale price too-bonus!  Recently, I went on some sites to do some research and I was reading there was some trouble with the Pacemaster brand this past year.  This was after we bought our purchase.  I cross my fingers, our UGGH keeps us going strong through the winter months and far off into the future.  So far so good since we’ve brought it home.

Do you have a treadmill?  What kind do you have and do you think it was worth the price?