Running Gear Review (with Giveaway!!)

(Scroll to the bottom for the giveaway link!)

In the last few months, I’ve collected some new gear for my little hobby. Not a lot, mind you, just some little things to make running more enjoyable.


No idea where this image came from. I just saw it on Facebook and loved it immediately!

I thought I would share some new finds I’m really liking, plus see what totally unnecessary goods you’ve collected that you now can’t live without 😉

Mizuno Wave Paradox

New ShoesIn my recap on the Valentine’s Day 5K, I mentioned a pain in my calves/shins that I couldn’t explain. Well, that pain got worse and worse. It actually got to a point where it felt as though my legs were actually falling into each other as I ran. I did some research and basically decided two things. One, my shoes were about ready to be retired, and two, I needed more support.

I was running in Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s, which I really liked, but needed something with way more arch support. The last few weeks I could actually FEEL my feet over-pronating, and I wanted something with a stronger hold. Enter the Wave Paradox. I’d tried them on before and really liked them, but ultimately chose a different brand that time. This time I wasn’t going to let these pass me by. Currently there’s a new version of the Paradox, but I wanted to save some dough, so I called FIVE different running stores before I found one with this version in my size! And I’m so happy I did, too! These shoes are incredible. I’ve already put many miles on them and can’t wait to add more.

C9 Power Core Sports Bras

I’m a member of Influenster, and sometimes I get great deals on new things. Recently I got a 40% off coupon to use towards sports bras at Target. Now, I have a LONG history of having a chest far too large to by bras from anything other than a specialty store. Years of un-fun colors in un-fun sizes and un-fun materials. That’s not to say I haven’t had good luck with sports bras. I CANNOT say enough good things about Moving Comfort bras. They are AMAZING for the larger chested among us. But over the last year I’ve lost some inches in my chest region. Enough inches that I though maybe, just maybe, I could buy “off the rack” at Target and have a sports bra with great support.


Not the greatest picture, but you get the gist.

My hopes and dreams came true! I ended up with FOUR bras (two different kinds) and I could not be happier! They are cute, supportive, and best of all, AFFORDABLE! I took the cute purple/orange one for a 6 mile run this weekend, and it held up wonderfully (literally!). I HIGHLY recommend these!

Running Belt

A month or so ago I was given the chance to try out a new running belt from SLS3 called the Dual Pocket Run Belt. I was intrigued by the concept of two pockets, so I thought “why not?”

Dual Pocket Belt

When I first took it out of the bag, I wasn’t sure how it would fit. The pockets are folded up small, but expand in a big way!

Filled Dual Pocket Belt

The pockets are lined with a vinyl coating, which keeps my phone from getting gross and wet from my sweaty back. Plus, the dual pockets makes it nice to keep my important items like my ID and phone separate from things I need more frequently like my lip balm or fuel. I never liked stopping to get a fuel packet out while also panicking that would somehow drop my keys or driver’s license. Having the two pockets cuts down on that worry!

I was concerned that it would be too big all loaded up and would bounce like crazy. However, I found that as long as I kept the belt nice and tight and didn’t bring more than I needed, I barely noticed it! I have a SPI belt, too, but I find myself reaching for this run belt more often, even for shorter runs when I don’t have to carry more than my phone with my. This will definitely be my go-to belt for races or runs where I don’t need to also carry water.

Now the good news! I was given a chance to give away a dual pocket belt to one of you! Just enter the rafflecopter giveaway below to win! And for the rest of you who don’t win, or don’t want to wait, use the code BLOG40 to save 40% off the entire site at

CLICK HERE FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!! –>> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I purchased the shoes on my own and the bras on my own (with a coupon from Influenster). I was given a Dual Pocket Belt in exchange for a review, but I was not otherwise compensated.


Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Training: Weeks 1-2

Since the last time I wrote here, lots of things have changed! I started my next training cycle, got some new gear (more on that later this week), AND hit a major milestone!


That’s right! I hit 100 miles for the year on February 28th! It took longer than I wanted, but I still hit it and DANG did it feel good!

Also, I MAY have signed up for another half marathon. And it MAY be the race I swore I’d never do again. In my defense, it’s on a day I already have a 13 mile training run scheduled, so it will be supported. And my sisters are running the race as a relay, so I’ll have company for the whole thing. But yeah. I’ll be running the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon as a training run for my half marathon. I don’t get it either.

Might as well get to the training log!

Monday, March 1
3 miles slow
Actual: 3 miles in 35:41 (11:54 pace)
Started this cycle off on the treadmill. I honestly have no memory of this run, so yeah.

Scheduled: 3 miles slow
I just didn’t do this run. No reason. Just didn’t want to. Great way to start a training cycle, right?

Saturday, March 5
Scheduled: 3 miles slow
Actual: 3 miles @ 12:15 pace (plus .64 cooldown)
I was texting my sister all morning about how little motivation I had to get out of bed and actually do the run. I was coming up with all sorts of reasons why I shouldn’t run. Then she told me she was headed out for 3 miles with our other sister, so I drove all the way across town to join them. Totally worth it!

Sunday, March 6
Scheduled: 5 miles @ 11:19-11:40 pace
Actual: 5 miles @ 11:21 pace
This was an incredible run! I felt so strong and like I could run 5 more miles! Ok, maybe not THAT strong, but honestly, this run reminded me why I do this!

Tuesday, March 8
Scheduled: 3 miles slow + strides
Actual: 3 miles @ 11:56 pace + 3 strides
I’d never done strides at the end of a run before, so this was a new challenge. I like it though! Strides are bursts of 20 seconds at 95% effort with a full 2 minute recovery after. They are at the end of runs to teach your legs how to keep turning over even when they are tired. These made me feel like a super fast runner, even though my stride paces were around 8-9 minutes/mile which isn’t all that fabulous, BUT STILL!

Thursday, March 10
Scheduled: 4 miles slow + strides
Actual: 4 miles @ 11:31 pace + 4 strides
I switched my run/walk intervals to one that would have had me going slower (2 run/1 walk) only I ran faster. So. Yeah. And the strides were around 9 minutes/mile.

Saturday, March 12
Scheduled: 4 miles @ 12:10-12:40 pace or slower
Actual: 4 miles @ 12:43 pace
Nice slow, casual run. I like these runs. They help lead me up to my long run but I can take my time and just enjoy myself. Plus the weather, again, was phenomenal!

Sunday, March 13
Scheduled: 6 miles @ 11:19-11:40 pace
Actual: 6 miles @ 11:31 pace
You know what I like best about the run/walk method? I don’t feel like I want to die at the end of my runs. I hit my pace goal but still don’t feel like I worked too hard. I will say I wish I had water with me. I’ll have to remember that for runs longer than 5 miles, I need something to drink! At least I think I figured out pre-run eating. Before this run I had two pieces of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and an apple. I had no feeling of crashing and burning. I had plenty of energy to keep me moving! I’d like to work on hitting the lower end of my pace goal, but as long as I stay between those numbers, I’m sure I’ll be fine!

How was your week? Run anywhere fun? With anyone fun? Race plans for the year?

Weekly miles: Feb 29-March 6 = 11.9, March 7-March 13 = 18.8
Yearly miles: 130.8
Team miles: 356.63

Galloway Method Review

Now that I have a bit of distance between the race and my time spent training with the Galloway Method, I thought it might be a good idea to go over some of my thoughts about it.

I found the training plan on Runkeeper as one of their 5k training plans. I’d used a different one before, but this plan was specifically for a sub-30 race. The Galloway Method is pretty common in the running world. It’s a run/walk program, with different amounts of time spent running and walking, depending on what pace you want to run. As someone who has NEVER completed a race without walking and only had one or two training runs without walking, this seemed like the program for me!

However, I was hesitant to like it at the start of the program. It felt like I was walking far too much. The last year I’d been working on going farther without needing to take a walk break, so it was frustrating being “forced” to walk when I didn’t feel like it.

But now that I put 8 weeks of training into it, I have to admit, I really like it! The whole concept behind the run/walk/run method is that you purposefully plan your walk breaks, and you start them right away BEFORE you become terribly fatigued (here’s a much better explaination). I really think that it allowed me to run faster during the running parts knowing that if I could only stick it out for 4 minutes, I’d be “rewarded” with a full minute walk break. Breaking runs into 5 minute increments makes the time pass by quickly!

The plan had three days a week of running: one week day with the 4/1 minute run/walk plan, one weekday with speed intervals, and a long weekend run with .5/.25 run/walk intervals. I really liked the long run intervals. I have the WORST habit of just running every run exactly the same way at whatever pace my body decides it wants to run. But keeping to the .5/.25 cycle kept my pace low and slow, the way long runs should be. And the 4/1 minute cycles helped me kick it in gear to get those legs moving a bit faster.

My training for the half marathon is starting next week, and I am absolutely planning on keeping the run/walk concept going. Again, my training plan is coming from Runkeeper, but each run has specific paces I’m supposed to hit, including very slow runs. I’m hoping that by sticking to the .5/.25 for the slow runs, and a timed run/walk for the faster runs I’ll be able to increase my stamina for the half. I don’t know if I’ll stick to the 4/1 intervals, though. My time goal is sub-2:30, which is about 11:27 pace. According to the Galloway Method, I should be running intervals at 2:30/1 to maintain that pace, rather than the 4/1 I was doing in attempting to sub-30 in the 5k (according to what I read here). Considering I’ll be running a heck of a lot further during the half, it might not be a bad idea to shorten up the running segments. Well, I’ll try it out for a while, and see where it takes me!

So, in conclusion, I really like the Galloway Method. It helped me stay focused on the goal at hand (increasing speed AND stamina) and helped me actually feel good at the ends of my runs!

In other news, I did some running this week. I’m only 12.76 miles short of 100 for the year, and I’m hoping I’ll get that this week!

I look superbly weird in this picture. I blame the hat. And the scarf. At least the view behind me is nice!

I look superbly weird in this picture. I blame the hat. And the scarf. At least the view behind me is nice!

Weekly miles: 16
Yearly miles: 87.24/1000
Team miles: 245.58/2016