fitness finds of 2013

**Disclaimer:  I received the Apera Tech Pack from the people from Apera in exchange for a review of the bag.  All opinions are my own.**

Can you even believe that there only 2 weeks left of 2013?  Only 5 days left of school this week and then it’s student-free until 2014!

This has  been a really great running year for me.  I set 2 new PRs (a 19:50 in the 5K and a 1:35:36 in the half marathon), I trained for and finished my first triathlon, and I brought home a lot of hardware this year.  I really could not be happier with how my running has gone this year and I’m hoping next year brings even bigger and better things, and maybe some new things as well!

This year, I’ve also found a lot of new fitness gear that I don’t know what I did without before!  They haven’t necessarily made me a better or faster runner, but they certainly have made my life a little bit easier.

2013 fitness finds

App:  EveryMove

I don’t even remember how I heard about this app, but any app that is willing to reward me just for running I’m all about.  EveryMove syncs with your running apps (I use RunKeeper – more on that in a second) to track your mileage.  You get a certain number of points for every mile you run, plus they give you extra points for an “active” day or for running several days in a row or for having more points than the previous week.  You choose a reward for your points to go toward and once you earn enough points within the allotted time frame, you win that reward!  Nothing like getting free stuff just for tracking your mileage!

App:  RunKeeper Elite

One of my EveryMove rewards.  And I am now considering paying for it after my year trial is done.  It’s very similar to the RunKeeper Pro app, except it will tell you where each one of your runs ranks.  For example, any run between 2-4 miles, it’ll tell me where my current run ranks in regard to my fastest runs.  It’s pretty cool to keep track of and see how much your progressing – or where you used to be.  Plus, free training plans if you’re in need of one.  They don’t really fit my training needs (very basic beginner stuff for the most part), but always nice to see the workouts they suggest.

Shoes:  Under Armour Speedform Shoes

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OK, so I don’t run in these shoes… yet.  I actually won these shoes for being in the fastest 10% of runners on RunKeeper.  If you know me, you know that I absolutely LOVE athletic shoes!  My goal in life is to have a pair of shoes to match every outfit, and I am finally well on my way!  My students ask me all the time how many shoes I own and my answer has just become, “A Lot!”

But, I digress.  These shoes are my absolute favorite!  They are light and super comfy.  I honestly forget I have them on my feet most days when I wear them.  And my feet NEVER hurt after wearing them all day at work!  I say they aren’t my running shoes right now, but I am starting to consider running in them because of how light and minimal they are.  I’m not ready to make that leap yet, but I did ask for another pair in red to add to my collection of work shoes.  Finally, I’ll be able to match my school’s colors!

App:  Fitsnap

I received an email a few weeks ago from a runner who found my blog and asked me to try out his app.  Anytime I run on the treadmill, I always snap a picture of my finish time, mostly for memory purposes (I’m not sure if I’m 29 or 79 somedays…) but it’s always fun to post my workouts to Instagram and see what other people have posted (my IG is full of runners who are so totally motivating).  Fitsnap is a free iPhone app that adds your workout information (pace, distance, time, etc.) on top of your photos to create inspirational photos that you can share on your social media platforms.  It’s so easy to use and I always get comments on how cool my pictures turn out.  Just another way to jazz up those workout photos!

Gear:  Apera Tech Pack

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The other thing I am absolutely obsessed with besides shoes is bags!  I am truly a girl, except that I’m more into athletic shoes and bags.  But, my bags absolutely have to be functional.  I have to carry a ton of stuff with me to work – my planner, gradebook, volleyball binder/clipboard, other books, laptop, papers to grade, workout clothes, etc.  Now, I don’t carry all of that every single day, but there are days when I do have all of that in one bag.  And it just doesn’t all fit into my normal work bag.

Enter in the Apera Tech Pack.  There are about a billion little nooks and crannies that you can fit absolutely everything into this bag!  I took it to school with me the day of the Turkey Trot because I pretty much had to take all of that stuff with me that day.  Running shoes are the worst to bring because you simply just can’t fit them in a bag with the rest of your junk.  Except with the Apera bag.  A place for my shoes!  Finally.  And everything is in one bag – so convenient!

Gear:  Bondi Band

I am always, always looking for new headbands.  I love no slip headbands, and while this isn’t necessarily a no slip, it stays in place pretty darn well.  My mother-in-law actually bought it for me (with a big 26.2 on it) and this is the only headband I wear when I run now.  It keeps not only my hair back but sweat out of my eyes.  Plus, it fit under my helmet for my triathlon so it was one less thing I had to worry about during transition.

Gear:  UP by Jawbone

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Another mother-in-law find.  She gave me one of these a few years ago as a Christmas present, but it was recalled and I took the refund instead of getting a replacement.  Then, I decided I really wanted one again and asked for one for my birthday.  Ask and you shall receive!  The UP band tracks not only my steps, but also my sleep patterns.  You can set goals for your steps and sleep and see how each day or week compares over time.  You can also track your food, but I don’t use that feature.  I don’t feel like it’s always accurate, but I do like seeing exactly how much sleep I’m getting (not nearly enough).