Sunday, December 20, 2009

Training Update: Swimming is Lolz

Oh hai, I'z back now.

I've been back in training for a few months now, and starting to see some results. My trainer has been easing me out of 'rehab' mode and back into regular training mode. This means I can't whine my way out of doing something quite as easily and he is enthusiastically finding new ways to hurt me every Monday morning. We've been adding more weight to leg presses, and doing lots and lots of squats and lunges. This is still kind of amazing to me, because all I can remember is that I couldn't do ANY of those things just a few months ago. I have been able to jog slowly for short distances on the treadmill, but there will be no road running until March.

I've been swimming about twice a week, and while I'm mostly in the pool to do stroke drills, my trainer and I have been working on upper body weight training to get me ready for when I start my endurance & speed workouts. I HATE HATE HATE upper body weight training. I hate shoulder presses, I hate chest presses, I hate pull ups and I hate push ups. I was a strict girl push up kind of lady until I realized that this was for sissies and now that I am an athlete, I need to cut that shit out. I heard about the 100 Pushup Challenge and I was a bit intrigued; train for 60 days to be able to do 100 consecutive push ups...OK, MAYBE. Then I saw that the running nerds at Flotrack were upping the ante by doing it for time: 2:47 to be exact. Check out the video to see how hard it is to beat this time (set by a GIRL, BTW).

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Currently I can knock out 1 set of 10 full push ups (well, 8 good ones, 2 iffy ones) comfortably. That's pretty weak sauce. Lets start the challenge on Jan 1st, and see how far I get before I want to die.

Anyway, I'm doing a lot of upper body training, and it hurts bad. So bad, I am RELIEVED when it is time to go do abs, and given the choice, I'd rather do a double ab workout than upper body. Hey...wait a sec. I've NEVER been happy to do abs, but all that pilates, all those crunches, wood choppers, sit ups and leg raises...must finally be wurkin'. Yay me!

I�s in Ur Gym Swetin To Tha Oldiez

You know this swimming thing I've started doing? Its hard. I started a tri-swim class 9 weeks ago with a vague notion of how to do a free style stroke, and the idea that this would just be kind of like when I used to swim in the lake at Girl Scout Camp. My stroke was sloppy and my breathing was uneven. I sucked. Every week we would focus on a different element of the stroke, and I would do my best to not look like an idiot as I swam my lengths. Once I got over the fear of looking dumb, I started to pick it up a bit, but I needed to practice more than once a week. My gym has no pool, but there is a City Parks & Rec pool just 10 minutes away from my apartment. 2 outdoor pools, 1 indoor pool, lap swim times thrice daily, and its only $75 per year. 7am lap swims are getting hard to roll out of bed for now that the weather is so cold and dark, but the payoff is a mostly empty pool, and the time to wake up and clear my thoughts before a full day of work. And the chlorine smell doesn't really wash off, so my anti-social side kind of enjoys inflicting it on a crowded L train in the morning. Hey, if you're not going to voluntarily move to the center of the car to make room for the people getting on, I'll give you a reason to at least move away from ME.

For 9 weeks, I'd do drills, and at the end of every session, I'd try a few continuous swim laps, but I was always wiped out by about the 3rd lap. I was getting pretty discouraged, but at the last class, I had a breakthrough.

Swimming is so much about technique. You can be physically strong, and have a great cardio fitness level, but if your technique is off, you will be swimming in wake and physically spent before the race is over. I still wasn't rotating enough, and compensating by powering through the bottom of the stroke too much. My instructor had me do a few laps with closed fists - this forced me to use my forearms, extension and rotation to power forward, rather than pushing against the water with my hands. Then we did a few laps of catch up drills to remind me to keep one arm extended at all times to keep a long lean line in the water. Then he told me to cross the pool with as few strokes as possible. Just relax and glide between slow strokes. After half an hour of that, it was time for our first pack swim.

Spacing everyone out in the lane is great for workouts and drills, but doesn't really give an idea of what a tri-swim is like, so we all crowded into the far left lane of the pool, and started in groups of 4 with 2 seconds between each group to zig zag our way across the pool and back. There was a lot of accidental kicking and hitting, but after 3 or 4 lengths, the pack broke up, and I was able to find a pocket to swim in. But THEN there was the added challenge of swimmers turning at the other end of the pool and coming back up the lane to zig zag to the start, made timing breathes more difficult. It was much more challenging than the lap swims I was used to doing in class and on my own, but...I swam 7 continuous laps! The light went on, and I realized that once I just relaxed into a steady cadence and didn't try to muscle and sprint my way down the pool, I could swim longer.

The drills definitely helped my form, but I still wasn't feeling confident that they were really imprinted on my muscle memory, and when ever I got thrown off my rhythm by a kick or a gulp of water when someone passed while I was turned to breathe i found it hard to recover, so the instructor and I decided that I was going to take the level again. Which is fine, as apparently EVERYONE takes level 1 twice. Also, I will be joined next time by Nixta, so please check back in when we start in January. There will be much rivalry, taunting, and support between us, so it should be great fun. For me. When I win. Not that its a competition, but still.

I will be spending my New Year's Eve at the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park with my teammate Mark, so if you're there, please say hi!

Enjoy the off season, and I'll see everyone next year.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Music Monday: Fever Dreams

I was hoping to have more training related things to talk about after this long weekend, but the universe did not cooperate. This weekend I was sicker than I have been in years. It started the morning of Thanksgiving Day and by the time I went to bed that night, I knew I was in trouble.

Two days of fever sweats, pounding headaches, stomach cramps and indescribable misery followed. I slept when I could and had many crazy fever dreams. I swear this could have been one of them.

Check out Jimmy Fallon singing the theme to 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air' as Neil Young.

Feeling better now, planning on seeing my trainer tomorrow and getting some laps in at the pool later this week, so I will have more training related updates soon.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Media: Nike says 'Change'

5 years ago I was telling friends that I would never start running. 2 years ago I would run a mile here and there at the gym, but I still had my doubts about being able to run long distances. Once I started meditating, I was finally able to see all the limitations I was placing on myself and ask; Why?

Watching a friend run an amazing sub 3 hour NYC Marathon in 2008 was the kick I needed to finally go for it, and this year, I feel like I am light years from where I started. The physical training and the meditation have altered the way I see and respond to the world. Both have had times of great progress and times where I thought I would just give up because I felt worse than I did before I started. Sometimes it gets uncomfortable; running faster and longer hurts, holding my mind still enough to see through my own bullshit hurts, breaking old destructive patterns hurts.

The Voice in my head tells me to stop and find a comfortable space to hang in; that I've worked hard enough and I 'deserve' to take a break. The Voice is sooooo convincing. The Voice is afraid and trying to trick me into sticking with her because change hurts. The Voice has ruled too much of my life and now...the voice isn't in charge anymore.

I really love this Nike commercial. This is all about how The Voice bullies you...and how you overcome it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Music Monday: Feed The Bears

Its been a big week for musical bears.

These bears were in a tour bus accident (all are A-Ok).

Cheerleader - Bear, Grizzly

This bear will be going on a rare (though short) solo tour in the new year. *unrelated-I played this album nonstop while cooking Christmas dinner last year until my dad said to 'turn off Enya already'. heh.*

Good Girl/Carrots - Panda Bear

These bears just released an AMAZING album called Beast Rest Forth Mouth. Its kind of electro synth psychadelic. I've had this song on repeat all day, though I think I need to get some big music nerd headphones to truely appreciate it.

You Do You - Bear In Heaven

They have a free show at Zebulon this Friday. I think I need to go.

So speaking of musical bears-is Teddy Bear's Picnic not the most sinister children's song you have ever heard?

Teddy Bears Picnic - Bad Manners

UPDATE: OMG, how could I forget my 8 year old self's favorite bears of all time? Here are the Rock-afire Explosion puttin' some Love In This Club. Also check out MGMT's Electric Feel.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Media: Book Learnin'

Got caught in an Amazon k-hole last week. I will see one book I want, and then keep click-click-clicking. Amazon's customer recommendation system is the devil.

Duel in the Sun: The Story of Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon

Apparently, a Duel in the Sun means different things to different people. Most people think of David O' Selznik's western Gone With the Wind. Some people think of the book on which the movie was based. Apparently there is a Harlequin Romance with the same title (though after reading the description, I'm not sure how it relates to the title, other than some of it may take place outdoors), and those who enjoy the Golf channel can now relive the fast paced excitement of the sport in a book about the 1982 Open (British) Championship.

To runners, it means the race between Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley and their short shorts at the 1972 Boston Marathon. Drug addiction, depression, 80's running gear, and the Boston Marathon...I'm in.

Pre: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine

Steve Prefontaine was one of the most popular athletes of the 1970's and is credited with inspiring the running boom of the the decade. Trained by future Nike founder Bill Bowerman, he was the first Nike sponsored athlete. Known for being stubborn, pissy and hard to train, he also fought for sponsorship rights for Olympic Athletes, and at his peak held every American track and field record from the 2,000 to the 10,000 meters. He was the first athlete to win four consecutive NCAA track titles in the same event. He held eight collegiate records and his three-mile and six-mile records are still standing today. During his career he broke his own or other American records 14 different times.

I don't have jokes for this one, just really looking forward to reading it.

Rome 1960: The Summer Olympics That Stirred the World

This one was suggested after I searched for a Jesse Owens book that was currently out of stock. About the Games as a whole, rather than just running, I was drawn to the idea of seeing how the current political and social change played out at the most viewed international sporting event of its time. American Cold War propaganda, the beginning of athlete doping, Aparteid, and social inequalities all factor into how the world saw these athletes.

I was thinking I'd try running again in January at the Central Park New Year's Eve Emerald Nuts Midnight Run. My trainer has told me he doesn't want me to even think about running until March at the earliest. This is incredibly frustrating, but hopefully these books will keep me occupied as I wait to get back on the road.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! NYC Marathon '09 Race Report

So it is now over a week later (apologies), and I'm still obsessing about the business that went down on the morning of November 1st. I had a post written and ready to go, but it was just so long and so dense (and probably only interesting to ME), I decided to rewrite it as a series of photos with long-ish captions. There are some great race reports HERE if you want to read more in depth accounts, otherwise, enjoy the pics (courtesy of Nixta), and go HERE if you want to see more.

I almost lost my voice while introducing Cait to the joys of cheering on complete strangers. Whoo! Go Everyone!

I had three tickets to the Team For Kids seating at the finish line (NYRR takes care of its fallen soldiers), so I hustled Nixta and Cait out the door by 8:45am to walk up to Central Park and watch some runnin'. The night before I predicted that at least two people were going to leave Central Park inspired to hit the Marathon next year, one of those two being me. I wasn't sure who, but I knew there was going to be a conversion at the park. It was the Marathon that got me to make a huge change in my life last year, and I knew it was going to hit someone hard again today. Both Nixta and Cait were happy to be there, but made it clear that they were there for novelty more than anything else. Right. Okay.

We got there at about 9:45, as the top hand bike and wheelchair finishers had already come blazing through, but we got to see many of the middle pack finish. Those guys are TOUGH.

The NYC Marathon is one of the toughest in the world for wheelchair and hand bike athletes. There was a small incline where we were sitting just before the finish line. By the time they got to this point, these guys were feeling pretty destroyed, and many had trouble making it to the top. Dig deep, Wheels! You are almost there!

When I kept hearing about the slow pace for the ladies and saw Paula came limping in at 4th, I was pretty surprised. Paula leads early, Paula sets a fast pace, Paula WINS. ALWAYS. She collapsed as she crossed the finish line, and Mary Wittenberg and Deratu Tulu were there to help her off the course. Later found out she had tendonitis, and had set a slow pace throughout the course to try and battle through it. Ladies won’t try to surge on Paula. Paula will see your surge and raise you, and then BURY you if you try to pass her again, so for 15 miles, no one wanted to question the slow pace she had set. Daunay finally made a move on the Queensboro Bridge and Paula didn't cover it. After that, it was over. Poor Paula, I hope she recovers soon and I hope she comes back next year, because watching her run is pretty incredible.

1st (Derartu Tulu): This lady has a wicked finishing kick. I would not like to be chased by this lady.


2nd (Ludmila Petrova): This lady won NYC in 2000, and came in second last year. This lady will CRUSH you.

3rd (Christelle Daunay): The close up shots we took came out a bit blurry, but I love the message of this one, because frankly, this lady is lucky Paula wasn’t feeling too well because otherwise she would not have placed, but she did pretty great for her first NYC Marathon.

4th (Radcliffe): This lady was in blinding pain for the majority of the race, and STILL finished 4th. This lady is a machine! This lady also looks like she has been carved out of stone. Sorry no front pic (Nixta was so distracted by Lady Paula's pain, he was a little slow on the draw), but this one is pretty great anyway, right?

So all I remember from the finish line when the male elites came through was looking for the Americans; Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall. When Meb came charging through in his USA shirt, The crowd went BANANAS.

Meb's finish!

1st (Meb Keflezighi): This guy is the first American man to win the NYC Marathon since Alberto Salazar finished a 3 year streak in 1982. Was very powerful to see the emotion on his face as he ran towards the finish line. Have seen him interviewed a few times since Sunday, and I don’t think it could’ve happened to a nicer guy.

2nd (Robert Cheruiyot): This guy has won the Boston Marathon 4 times. This guy knows how to run a Marathon, and is known for dropping the pack HARD on the First Avenue stretch. You can’t roll against him (unless you are Meb).

3rd (Jaouad Gharib): This guy only started running when he was 22! He won silver in the ‘08 Olympic Marathon, and is kind of erratic. During the race you would see him breaking out of the pack frequently to set a pace that the rest were just not interested in holding, and then he’d let himself be reeled back in, only to bust out again.

4th (Ryan Hall): This guy is only 27, and is relatively new to the distance, but is being hyped as the next big thing in American running. He has a beautiful stride, and is another contender for ‘nicest guy in the world’. He and Meb train together at Mammoth Lakes, Ca.

So after the pro racers were done, the rest of the field started streaming in. And this is where it gets REALLY fun.

I caught a few of my TFK teammates came through, but the only one I knew personally from the NYC practices was this guy! Evan is a seriously good Marathoner, and I know he has 2 more planned in the next year. I hope he runs NYC with TFK again next year, because I’d love to learn from his experiences. Go Evan!

The ‘cheering section’ I was in was pretty quiet. Cait says it was a lot of polite Midwestern relatives waiting for their runners to come through before they started showing some love. This guy was one of many who asked the crowd to hurry up and make some noise, because he was at mile 26.2 by god, and he wanted his just reward; ‘Lets hear some love, you assholes! I just RAN this bitch!’

Edward Norton ran with several Maasaii warriors to raise awareness for Maasai Marathon project. No sign of Norton. I'm sure this guy got tired of him and ditched him around mile 10. I'm just kidding, Ed Norton. You aren't semi-irritating at ALL.

There were a LOT of costumed weirdos. Some costumes were great, some were creepy. I personally don’t see the point, but if this guy thinks that dressing as an Incredible will make him go faster, well....ok.

This guy has ruined Minnie Mouse for me for life.

After hanging around for about 4 hours, we had to leave; Nick and I were both recovering from a nasty case of the flu, and I couldn’t feel my toes. Of course MANY of my friends came by right after we left, and I apologize for not being there to cheer for them. I hung in as long as I could guys, and I am so proud of you all! I am a little sad I didn’t get to run with you, but next year...its on!

PS-It is now over a week later, and Cait has started working her way up to running 5 milers and Nixta has all but signed up to run the NYC half and maybe full Marathons next year! Can I get a whoop whoop?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Music Monday: Electro Pop Don't Stop

I am still high on all the Marathon goings on from the weekend, so while I get my spectator race report together, here is a band that needs to hit bigger than they have; Solid Gold.

I've had a few of their songs on my radar for a year or so, but didn't buy the whole album until recently. It is amazing. It is absolute pop perfection. The band are from Minnesota, but their songs have so much poptastic crack in them, you'd think they were full on Swedish. Unfortunately imeem won't let me embed full songs, so I have to go with the YouTubes. The videos aren't all that remarkable, but the music is.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Are You Ready?

Hey sports nerds! We are halfway through Marathon Week! Everyone has finished tapering and started carb loading. The Expo opened today, and the chance of Marathoners thinking about anything beyond Sunday morning is absolutely nil. Work is left undone and families are neglected as thousands of runners get their names printed on singlets, email info for Athlete Alerts to friends, and watch the standby motivator; the ING NYC Marathon Inspiration Video. I've got one more thought for you.

My favorite part of every race is the anticipation. The night before, I lay my gear, my chip and my race bib out on the dining room table, set my alarm for 6am, and try to get some rest. The next morning I head to the park with breakfast in hand, listening to my pre-race playlist to get me pumped up for the run. At the park, I take half an hour to warm up, check out the sponsor tents and chat with friends. Then its time to grab a prime spot on the outside edge of my corral and wait. We go through the announcements, the pro racer intros and the national anthem. Then I hear my favorite words of the day;

'Lead vehicle, are you ready?'

This is the point where it all stops for a moment. You are hanging in limbo between preparation and execution. In the seconds before the start horn is sounded, all the prep work has been done, no action has been taken to undo it and decide the final outcome. You are at the top point of an inhaled breath. When you throw a ball in the air, it is the split second it seems to pause before its descent. It is the moment of pure, infinite possibility. It gives me chills every time.

In large races, I am usually too far back to hear the lead vehicle answer back with a 'ready', and I usually have to wait a few minutes after the horn before I cross the start line and begin my race, but I try to hold onto that feeling. I can imagine that my friends and teammates running the Marathon will have an even longer wait and no chance of seeing the lead vehicle, but the anticipation will still be there.

NYRR captured that moment quite well in the Healthy Kidney 10k 2009 race video. At about 35 seconds in, you see the start. There is also some great race footage shot from the lead vehicle, showing how it becomes the rabbit that you chase; telling you how far you've come and what you can still achieve.

Runners-Good luck on Sunday. I will be cheering for you all.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tri Harder

So. After 8 weeks rest, here is where we stand; I can finally put my pants on while standing up. Trust me, this is a big deal and a good milestone in my recovery. It means the fracture is healing and I can start doing some light strength training and cardio. I can also walk long distances without pain, and I can make it through light resistance exercises without muscle spasming. I'm ready to go, which is good, because after 8 weeks of no training, I'm feeling like I need to send myself to fat camp. No running, but I can bike and I can swim, which means I can try my hand at triathlon training.

Everyone says the running leg of the triathlon is the hardest, so the rest of the training should be easy for me to pick up. It'll be a breeze! Well, after tonight I can tell you with certainty that everyone is a liar, because tonight was my first swim class.

I can swim, but by swim I mean lazy breast strokes on a waveless Aegean sea interspersed with lots of floating on my back, contemplating clouds. Or maybe some light body surfing followed by sun downer margaritas on a Mexican beach. I'm pretty good at not drowning, but I am the most candy-ass swimmer you are likely to meet.

My class is part of a series designed to get people ready for triathlon swimming. There are 3 pool based, 9 week levels that build you up from your stroke, to endurance, and then speed work. The final class offered is an open water swimming class, which really should be called 'Advanced Non-Drowning'. I can't even let myself think about that class right now, because after trying two lengths of the pool, I realized...I have absolutely NO idea how to do a freestyle stroke correctly. I am one of the worst swimmers in the class. Which is exactly where I want to be, because that makes it easier to harness my shoshin and truly get down to the business of becoming a good swimmer. After 8 weeks off, I am weak and have no cardiovascular endurance. I don't know at what point in the stroke to breathe, I can't even remember the correct rhythm and body position for more than a few strokes at a time. Awesome! I have no preconceived notions, no bad habits to unlearn, and I'm completely open to being taught. Beginner's Mind is like always coming to a lesson with the mind as an empty vessel; you can accept more of the teaching if your cup is not already full, so stop thinking you know it all, and maybe you'll learn more.

I am sucking so much water and struggling so violently through my pool lengths, maintaining my shoshin is not a problem. Whatever you have to teach, I will gladly take. My ego is taking a back seat on this one. What my body is having trouble accepting is that this is damn hard for me, and I'm going to have to suck a lot more water, and suffer through a lot more pool lengths before I get good at this. My lungs hurt, I'm panting, and there isn't the effortless joy that I get from running. I don't feel like I'm gliding along, I feel like I need to stop every few strokes, lean on the rope, and quietly die. I tried my best to rally, and towards the end of the lesson, I was doing a little better. I pushed myself to not hang back out of fear or laziness, and be the first in my lane to go out and do my laps. By the last set of out & backs, I was getting the stroke rhythm down, and I wasn't so afraid to breathe.

I still need to work on being more comfortable with my head in the water for most of the stroke, and not pull up so much for the inhale. Unfortunately, I will be out of town next Friday and will have to miss class, but I'm going to work on my cardio fitness for the next two weeks, and hopefully sneak into a pool somewhere for a little more practice.

The Comeback...its not building a wall, its making a brick.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Donation Update

FINAL donation update!

We did it! I got to my goal, and not only do I now have guaranteed entry into next year's Marathon, but TFK has more money to fight the good fight.

Thanks to all of my donors; whether you gave $5 or $500, I appreciated every generosity. Thank you thank you. Most were friends and family, but quite a few were more distant acquaintances and even a few complete strangers were kind enough to support me. Some of you gave TFK fake email addresses in your donation forms, so I couldn't send you my own personal thanks. I'll do that now; thank you thank you thank you!

And thanks to those who couldn't give money, but helped in other ways; keeping me company on a run, going out for brunch or a movie when I needed a break, and listening patiently while I obsessed and freaked out. These were important things. Don't think I didn't notice.

If you would still like to donate, there is still time, and TFK would definitely appreciate any extra help they could get. I will leave the thermometer and donation buttons up until December 1st, so maybe if you feel like you are having a fat day, you can remember to help the fat day epidemic and throw a couple of bucks in the donation jar. Or go to the gym. Ideally both. Be healthy AND generous. :)

So, I will have my first training comeback post up this weekend, I will be back on the road in the new year, and I have many races I'm hoping to run leading up to my new Marathon date. Please do keep reading!

Its a thank you...I run road races...whatever. thank you!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Music Monday: Uffie 'Pop The Glock'

This song is a few years old, but the video was recently rereleased with some great graphic animations. The rest of the video is just predictable Cali hipster nonsense, but I do love the new additions.

Also check out the Laundry! website to see storyboard style shots of the animated sequences.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Donation Update: Down To The Wire

So even though I am deferred until next year, I still need to finish my fund raising THIS year, and my time is running out! The big board at the right shows...I got a bit more to go. Any help would be MUCH appreciated! And hey! After 8 weeks of rest, this weekend will be my first time back at the gym to begin my comeback training! I'm gonna swing around on the Pilates Reformer and the Gyrotonic machine tomorrow afternoon, so lets make it rain! Throw me a few dollahs if you can. Many thanks, my friends!

Design: 1972 Munich Olympic Poster Art

I love vintage advertising posters. I started collecting a few years back, and I have a little collection that I am quite proud of. One of my posters is an amazing ad by Ferenc Pinter (take a look at the website. AMAZING artist and designer). I can't find an image of it on the Wide Wide World of Web, so check out this crappy pic I took on my iphone. doesn't begin to do it justice, but it still manages to radiate AWESOME.

This is another one for the same client that I think I need to get for Nixta (OK, its for me, but he can look at it too).

I started poking around for cool Marathon related posters, and they were mostly uninspired. However, once I expanded the search to include the Olympics, I found some beautiful art that reminded me of the Pinter work I have been obsessing over.

Otl Aicher was the designer who created the visual identity of the 1972 games. He created the pictograms that are now used as standard for all games following, and his clean, graphic style translated beautifully across all media.

I found a little info on the Marathon poster in a feature that Wallpaper magazine ran on Aicher's Olympic work. Much like the degenerate artists at Disney, Aicher's team wanted to leave their signatures on the project, and so got a little self indulgent with the last poster to be produced. If you look closely (please do, and report back, because I can't see it), MAYBE you can see that they incorporated their profile photographs into the foliage artwork.

There are more images from the project here, as well as a look at the branding across all promotional media here. Definitely go check it out, the work is just stunning.

Going through all of these amazing posters...I think I need more walls.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gear: Running Is So Hot Right Now

Every time I'm in the market for a new tri-top or some shorts, I go to the runner's shop thinking; 'THIS time I'll branch out from plain black. THIS time they'll have a windbreaker that doesn't make me look like I am leading a 3rd grade field trip to Niagara Falls. THIS time there will be interesting stuff that isn't covered in some awful floral print or (god help me), is pepto pink.' And every time, I am let down and I start looking for the plain black gear. For a while, I decided it would be a fashion choice, and then I just got bored with it and starting thinking about all the awesome stuff there SHOULD be on the market for runners.

Yoga gear is making a killing these days. Lululemon makes a cute yoga pant, and their sports bras are seriously hot, but their running gear (while getting better) is still lacking. They had trouble getting the cuts that runners and triathletes need for function right, and the prints & colors they favor swing too far into the 'girly' camp for me. Shakti has some seriously hot cuts and they SAY they use performance fabrics (I am fast becoming a connoisseur of performance fabrics, and I am sad to report that 'yoga performance' and 'running performance' don't often match up), but again, a lot of the prints are heinous. The sports bras and tops are even hotter than the ones at Lulu, but I doubt they would hold up to strapping you down for even the shortest of runs. There's gotta be more out there, and I can't be the only one thinking about this. Well, I'm not.

Splits 59 is an athletic wear company started by triathletes. The styles are road tested by athletes, and while they are still a little boring, there is a better variety of cuts in the tops and the color palette is a little more sophisticated. And I like the way they styled their promotional shots.

Stella McCartney for Adidas has been around for a while, but she seemed to focus on tennis and light gym workout gear (for what Mr. Petes over at Runners Write calls The Treadmill Walkers), and what little running related gear she did was not only insanely priced, but barely functional. She's put out some new styles, and I have to say, this windbreaker is pretty hot. But it is also $210 flippin' dollars. Stella does the best prints of the bunch and her color palette is always interesting.

Hussein Chalayan was named Creative Director for Puma this summer, and I have to say that this is the work I'm most excited to see. Rather than producing a collaborative secondary line, Chalayan will be overseeing ALL of Puma's design; from shoes, to apparel, to accessories. Puma isn't really a performance gear go-to, and in the last few years their apré wear has veered a little too far in the wrong direction for my taste, but I'm v. excited to see what happens next.

So I've also had to adapt my personal style outside of training and post workout gear; everything had to change once the possibility of wearing heels and shoes without arch support went out the window. I needed to be office and socially appropriate, but when you are dealing with spasming muscles and have to stretch regularly throughout the day, you can't be in restrictive clothing and hawt shoes. I got a pair of Puma speed cats, and started working my wardrobe around sneaks. It was pretty easy, though I do spend a lot of time in American Apparel leggings. I am getting towards the end of my exile on jersey knit island, but I don't really want to leave all of this behind. I'm really starting to look at the Y-3 line that Yohji Yamamoto produces for Adidas. I could do without all the big logos, but I love the iconic stripes, and if I had the $$$, I think I'd start with a few pieces like this and this. Considering that I'm spending more and more time with my sneaks, I think these might be a necessity, don't you? Check out this beautiful promo spot to see how Y-3 takes the sport to street. wear design're doing better...we gotta tackle those accessories next though. Have I mentioned I'm an accessories designer? Call me.