Early this morning, with sun streaming through my windows and coffee, coffee, coffee on my mind, I looked to the bright sky and beautiful forecast for motivation to get my first post-marathon run on. I’ve been itching to run, yet I also have found my body has enjoyed these more restful days. In other words, it’s been easier (and more fun) to simply SIT in the sun rather than think about actually GOING for a run in the sun. My lounging has been helped by fantastic weather, allowing for outdoor dinners every night on our deck. Man, do I ever love summer in Michigan.

Taking some time off completely from running is good for me. I have needed to let me body recover from Saturday’s race. (I so appreciate everyone’s varied thoughts on returning to running after a race – if you haven’t seen these, check ‘em out on the MRG Facebook page.)

But today, with the promise of such a gorgeous day ahead, I decided to go for a nice and easy run with a couple of friends after our Pilates class. One friend confessed she hadn’t run in months, while the other was coming off of the Bayshore Half Marathon (where she snagged a 7-minute PR!). We all were fine with a verrryyy slow 4 to 5 miles through downtown and along the water. Jackie brought along her sweet dog Gus, a Golden who kept things especially light given he wanted to stop every now and again and check things out along the way.

It was a perfect first run.

I did feel a few tight spots, though, mostly in my right calf muscle. It’s interesting since this area didn’t give me any trouble during the race itself. But I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not until you take a few days off, then go out for that first run, when you notice the parts still in recovery.

Earlier this week I heard from reader Carly D., who asked about gear and clothing I wore during the marathon. She is training for her first 26.2 this summer (Go, Carly!!), and she is looking at getting a hydration belt with four bottles (rather than the one she has with two) and a few other items. She asked what I wore, and since others may be interested as well, here’s the lowdown:

Hydration Belt

Confession: I had not worn a hydration belt in a race prior to Saturday. I’ve always carried my fuel (in pockets or a waist belt that also holds my phone), and simply grabbed water cups at the aid stations. But a couple of weeks before the marathon, Katie told me she’d be wearing one with bottles for hydration, so she could drink when she wanted to and have her very own kind of hydration. This got me thinking. I wasn’t too excited about going out and buying a belt so close to race day, not knowing if I’d like it (Katie was borrowing one from a friend), and as luck would have it, Pam had one she said I could use. I took it for a test run a few days before Saturday, and was pleasantly surprised at how great it felt resting around my waist. It didn’t move around, didn’t feel strange at all. I decided to give it a whirl—and it worked out very well! I may end up investing in one. Or maybe just bug Pam to borrow it when I need it. Here’s a link to a similar hydration belt »

Compression Calf Sleeves & Arm Warmers

After last year’s Bayshore, when I experienced calf cramping in the final miles, I decided to give compression socks a try. I wore them for the first time—calf sleeves, not the full socks—during the Marquette Marathon over Labor Day weekend. I borrowed a pair from Krista and they worked great—no calf cramping and I loved that they were red. This year, I decided to purchase my own pair and found a fun hot pink color. The brand: CEP. Pam, who also wanted to buy a pair, found these at Road Runner Sports. (Aren’t running friends wonderful? They lend you gear and also use their special member discounts to buy you stuff.)

I again wore my beloved Brooks arm warmers, which I bought last year and wore for the 2013 Bayshore Marathon. Love, love, love these. When the temps are in the 40s, or even 50s, I really like having these arm sleeves. You can always roll them down to your wrists if you get too warm, but so far I haven’t felt the need to do this. You can find these at your local running store, or order them online at Brooks, if you like this brand, or at a number of different sites such as Road Runner Sports.

Testing out the new clothing. Love these shorts especially!

Testing out the new clothing. Love these shorts especially!

Running tank & shorts

Those of you who follow MRG over on Facebook know that I surveyed readers about what to wear on race day. I had picked out two tops –- a more fitted patterned one, and a looser-fit singlet-type Nike tank – and asked which one would be best. (You can see from the picture here which one got the most votes; I wore the outfit this day I took the picture on a “test” run.) I paired the winning top with shorts I found at TJMaxx the week before the race (I did a test run with these, too!). I absolutely adore these shorts, which I got for a whopping $14.99. Wow. What a deal. The brand is MPG (Mondetta Performance Gear) – can’t say I’ve heard of this brand before, but the original tag on them had a price of $48. I found the purple/black top at Target. Champion brand. $16.99. I also found a great spots bra – Jockey brand – at TJ Maxx for $14.99.

SO. Speaking of clothing. I made a mention this week of exciting things to come with MRG this summer, including collaborating with the ladies behind the Detroit Women’s Half Marathon & 5K. I’ll be revealing lots more over the next few weeks, but I wanted to give some detail about MRG products I have been working on and am excited to share soon. Truthfully, I’d love to get a little pre-sale feedback, too, if at all possible, so that I can offer the very best products possible.

The Plan: offer a few high-quality, stylish and comfortable Michigan Runner Girl clothing items, starting with a hoodie that’ll be perfect to throw on pre- or post-run, while watching the sunset at the beach, or when sitting around the campfire during camping trips. I love a good hoodie myself, which is why I thought this would be a great piece to introduce first. Other items in the works: an MRG lifestyle tee (something you’d wear doing everything things) and tech shirts that fit well and look great while running.

Please tell me this: would you like to wear MRG hoodie, lifestyle tee and tech shirts? These would be tasteful and high-quality – and they’d be another way to celebrate your healthy and active lifestyle in Michigan.

What specifically do you look for in these kinds of items? For example, I love a soft and cozy hoodie. T-shirts, tech and lifestyle, must be long enough to cover my tummy and not ride up, and I like a stylish women’s cut. I’d love and appreciate any and all feedback. [Note: I will have photos to share of product soon…stay tuned…this is a process. :) ]

Here’s the deal (a little incentive is fun, right?): For those who offer feedback (in the comment section below), you can get TWO MRG stickers for the price of one. Here’s what you need to do: 1.) please comment below with any thoughts. 2.) Head over to the MRG Shop page and choose the sticker of your choice. Just order one and you’ll get TWO sent to you. (And if you’re not interested in a sticker at this time but want to offer thoughts, that’s fine, too. Just go ahead and offer your thoughts below!).

MRG reader Courtney rocks her Michigan Runner Girl sticker like this. Love it, Courtney!

MRG reader Courtney rocks her Michigan Runner Girl sticker like this. Love it, Courtney!

Thank you, friends!

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