Says it all.

I don’t want to jump the gun and raise my expectations too high, but Fridays are shaping up to be very nice days indeed. Who doesn’t love the end of the work week? I’m digging them even more now, though, given I’ve (carefully, deliberately) crafted this time for … me. Well, actually me and specific fun work projects that are pushed to the back burner the rest of the week, as well as some catch-up/organizing for the week ahead so that I’m not utterly buried come Monday. And maybe coffee or lunch with friends if I’m lucky, because this is the one day of the week that doesn’t feel scheduled from the time I wake up to when my head hits the pillow.

Of course, running is a big part of this day. Unlike the rest of the week when I’m generally taking routes near my house, Fridays I’m downtown, thanks to my early-morning Pilates class. It works to run from the studio through in-town neighborhoods, shaking up my normal scenery. During my marathon #1 training a couple of years ago, I ran these city streets often–everyday often–and it feels good to be back criss-crossing my way through Traverse City’s brick streets, past bustling intersections (my hometown is no metro area, but there is a nice hum to its downtown area that’s distinctly different from my quiet neighborhood) and onto some of my favorite trails behind the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.

Given my TGIF frame of mind, I wanted to share a couple of running-related things that top my favorites list these days:

One great running book. I’ve mentioned Scott Jurek’s memoir Eat & Run in past posts, and I’m going to again recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about developing your mental muscle for distance running. (We could all use that, right?) Don’t worry if  you’re not an ultra-marathoner like Jurek–I’m certainly not there now. His perspective, experience and advice shared throughout the book offer helpful insight for all runners. I’ve begun trying nasal breathing while running, a practice he encourages, and wrote about that experience in a post for Another Mother Runner. I’m especially excited about giving some of his recipes a try in the coming weeks, as I attempt to find some new foods for pre-, mid- and post-run fuel. He follows a plant diet, and though I don’t plan on going completely vegan, I do want to experiment and see how different kinds of food may affect my running performance–and just how I feel on a daily basis. I’m looking for another good book about running–any suggestions?

Feeling like a million bucks when wearing this new piece of running clothing.

New running clothing! I tend to wear my running tanks, capris and skirts until the very end…as in, they’re pretty much falling apart when I decide I’d better get some replacements. So you can imagine my delight at having the opportunity to snag some new pieces. I’ve really been loving the Brooks tanks I received awhile back as a Brooks ID member–I really like that they don’t creep up over my stomach mid-run. (I’ll always love my Athleta purple tank, the one I’ve worn during all three of my marathons, it’s that wonderful, because it also never creeps upward. It’s also lasting a long time, which makes me realize all over again that you do get what you pay for). Lastly, and perhaps most exciting, are the new sports bras I was given to try out thanks to my work with the ladies behind the Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother books (Champion Bras is a sponsor of the Another Mother Runner site). I’m not exactly, um, well-endowed in the chest area (sorry for the TMI, guys) but I do want coverage and I love the softness of these bras. They’re easy to get on and off, even when you’re drenched in sweat, which I usually am. My favorite: the Shape T-back, which features seamed inner cups  that enhance your curves and prevent show through (nice).

New way to do laundry (and not stink). I sweat when I exercise. A lot. It’s even worse during hard and long runs. I’ve also noticed I’m a bit stinkier than I used to be–lovely! Maybe it’s aging, maybe it’s my workout intensity. Who knows. I’ve been washing my running clothes in Tide Sports detergent, and I have noticed a difference. (I’m not getting paid by Tide to say this, though if the company wants to send me some free samples…just let me know, Tide people!)

Do you have a favorite running-related something? What’s making you a happier runner these days?

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