2011, A Year of Halfs… Halves?

With 2011 coming to close, I wanted to take look back at this year's events. This was the first calendar year (since I began running in 2006) that didn't include a Full Marathon… hence the title: A Year of Halfs. Let's take a look at my journey down the 13.1 mile road. Enjoy.

Half Marathon: 2:29
Quick Recap: I ran this purely for fun dressed as the Incredible Hulk. Loved all the photos (see below), but those hands got super heavy after a few miles.

Half Marathon: 1:51* (12.2 miles due to course error)
Quick Recap: Other than being on pace for a PR and missing a whole mile due to a mistake by the event, it was fun. I was "all in" once I heard it was a night race with a glow-in-the-dark shirt and medal.

Half Marathon: 2:06
Quick Recap: After some technical errors with my garmin and bonking around mile 10, my day was pretty much over. Highlights include high-fiving Brian Wilson, finishing inside Giants' stadium, taking a finishers photo with my mom and friends, and of course the Tim Lincecum bobble head.

Half Marathon: 1:59
Quick Recap: Thanks to Alyssa, I was able to run this race for the 5th year in a row. I gave it my all and finished with my first official sub 2-hour time.

US Half (1), November
Half Marathon: 1:58
Quick Recap: A solid time on a challenging course. Also shaved a minute off my finish time from a month earlier, met some great runners and snagged the first half to my 2-piece medal.

5k: 50:25 (PR)
Quick Recap: A great way to spend Thanksgiving morning. Walked the course with my mom and enjoyed every minute of it. Although I was sore afterwards… walking fast sure does a number on the calves.

Half Marathon: 1:54 (PR)
Quick Recap: A great end to a busy 3 months. With PRs in October and November at the half distance, it made sense to do it again for December. Shaved 4 minutes off my time on another challenging course and concluded my journey in the Northern California Half Marathon Series.

As part of the Northern California Half Marathon Series, by racing 4 (pre-selected) races, I was awarded an extra medal. They've expanded the series for 2012, adding in Southern California races and including many that participated in the inaugural 2011 series.

Thank you to everyone that gave me the extra motivation, inspiration and support that I needed to make 2011 a successful running year. I'm enjoying the newly found speed at the shorter distances and hope to carry that into 2012. Cheers.

I'd love to hear how your 2011 running year went in the comments.

What was your favorite race of the year?


Running with an iPod: yay or nay?

On the radio this morning, they were talking about the iPod and how in 2009 it was named the "Decade's Top Music Moment" and it got me thinking: How has that affected the running community?

When I was training for my first marathon, all of my long distance runs were without music. I was going to be running the event without headphones, so it made sense to prepare for race day. However, on my shorter mid-week runs, the ear buds were busy bumping The White Stripes and 30 Seconds to Mars. Since then, I have trained and ran events with a predetermined play list going through my iPod shuffle.

Time to show your age:
Who remembers running with a Walkman? Was it yellow?

Time to show your age, AGAIN:
Who remembers running with a discman? That "anti skip" button never really worked and you were left trying to hold that thing as still and flat as possible as you bounced up and down the street.

Placing safety aside, and yes, I understand that is a huge factor to take out of the equation. Has the iPod (and sister products) benefited the running community? Has it provided motivation for those less likely to run, to strap on their mp3 player and log some miles to Kid Cudi?

How has the iPod affected your running? For the better? For the worse?


Happy Birthday Bart Yasso

This weekend is Bart Yasso's birthday and I wanted to pay homage to the man himself with a post.

In 2008 I was at the San Francisco Marathon expo and doing what most of us do, I was wandering around looking at the booths. I came across a gentlemen sitting at a table selling a book he had written about running. I stopped at the table, said hello, looked at the book and moved along. About five minutes later I thought: "I should go back and get that book." I'm not really sure why I was drawn back to that table, yet alone back to that book. I had never seen the book before, or met the man that wrote or heard anything about him.

So I went back and bought the book: "My Life on the Run." He asked me if I would like him to sign it... i said sure, thanked him and went about my day. Little did I know that I had just interacted with a running icon. A man, that I'm, ashamed to admit, I had no idea about or who he was to the running community.

Later that year I read the book and learned all about the legend that is Bart Yasso. His adventures, how Yasso 800's came to existence and was instantly motivated. I wanted to do those things. I wanted to experience that same excitement on my running adventures. I friended Bart on Facebook assuming (like most celebrities) we would get updates and not much interaction. I posted this photo (above) and tagged Bart, saying that I was enjoying the holiday season with a good book and coffee. Little did I know, that I would get this response from Bart in my comments:

Running, books and coffee that is the trifecta. Bart

Blew my mind. The cool thing about Bart is that he is always accessible and interacts with the running community. You can ask him a question, tag him in a post and (usually) you'll get a response back or a 'thank you.'

In early 2009, my sister was training for her first marathon and raising money for Team in Training. I wanted to host a raffle to help her raise money and since I had enjoyed Bart's book so much, I wrote Bart an email to see if I could buy a couple of his books and asked him to autograph them. He kindly donated the two books to the cause and shipped them my way. Amazing. He made two winners extremely excited.

I then met Bart again later in 2009 at the Big Sur Expo. This time I was ready. I had my camera, wanted to thank the man in person and was prepared for celebrity interaction. Down to earth as usual, we chatted and he wished me luck on the race and snapped a photo with me. He even made a comment about thinking my handle Pavement Runner was "pretty cool" considering most people go by trail runner, road runner... he liked that I used pavement. A comment he has since made to me on other occasions. We always smile about it.

Here is a blurb from my 2009 Big Sur Race Report:

Random moment of the race: being escorted by a motorcycle cop, a Lexus SUV was making it's way past us (slowly). The license plate said RUNHER 1, so I made way to see who was in it. The car wasn't traveling fast and hanging out the back seat window was one Mr. Bart Yasso talking with runners as the car made it's way down the road. The car's speed was slow, so he was holding casual conversations with runners who were willing to chat. Pretty cool moment. I think I stayed within ear shot for maybe a half mile.

That was one of my favorite moments in my race history. It really doesn't get much better than running the beautiful Big Sur course, next to a running icon chatting with runners from his car. A moment that might never repeat itself.

Okay, one more photo. Here is Bart and I in 2010 at the San Francisco Expo. He usually attends that particular expo and of course was willing to snap a photo with me. Bart and I were working on a radio/podcast project earlier that year so we chatted about some ideas we had. Sadly we eventually left the program, but it was great to interact with him on a regular basis on a side project. Who knows, maybe we'll work together again in the future. (Runner's World office in San Francisco? I know a great graphic and web designer willing to make that dream come true... hint hint)

Thank you for all that you do Bart. You continue to motivate and inspire people simply by being who you are and sharing what you love. Happy Birthday and may all your wishes come true. Cheers, to many more birthdays and many more miles.

Share your Bart Yasso experiences below. What was you favorite moment with him?


Oakland Marathon Giveaway Results

I'd like to thank everyone for participating in the Oakland Marathon giveaway. I'd also like to thank the race for offering not one, but two entries for the community.

Overall we had almost 146 entries spread out among almost 25 runners. Everyone deserved to win, but unfortunately, there could only be two. I listed all the entries on an excel spreadsheet and labeled each entry, wether it was a follow, a tweet, or a comment. Then through a random number generator, the winners were selected.

Congratulations Paulette, @paulettezf, you won the first entry.

Paulette also can be found through her blog at: SoJustKeepRunning.blogspot.com

Also, congratulations to Beth, @Boston2Berkeley, you won the second entry.

Beth can also be found through her blog at: boston2berkeley.wordpress.com

I'll be reaching out to you both via twitter and give you further instructions on claiming your prize.

As for all the other entrants, thank you again. I'm working with the Oakland Marathon to make sure that you don't go away empty handed. Please keep an eye on your twitter DM inbox, or FB message board for additional information.

I'm hoping to see you all out there on race weekend March 24-25, 2012. I know plenty of people that will also be running the event and there has been discussions of a massive tweetup happening, so stay tuned.


Project: Birthday Bart

Fantastic idea... well, I came up with it, so of course I would think it's fantastic. Let's see if you agree with me.

Bart Yasso, Runner's World's Chief Running Officer, is celebrating his (insert number here) birthday this Saturday, Dec. 17. As a birthday present, we should let Bart know how much he means to the running community.

Challenge for Bloggers:

Schedule a post on what Bart means to you. It doesn't have to be long, it can be a quick write up on how Bart has affected your life. Maybe you met him at an expo, maybe he sent you a congratulations after an event, or a good luck message before. Perhaps you read his book and it motivated/inspired you to run a few miles. Or, more than likely, you have screamed his name (in frustration or excitement) while running Yasso 800's during your training. If you have one, include a photo of yourself with the running icon.

Challenge for Readers and non-bloggers:

Leave a comment on my post Friday (or below now) on how Bart has affected your life. Bart has done so much for the running community, let's take a few seconds and let him know how much we care and appreciate him.


Twitter users: So that we can all enjoy your stories, please use the hashtag #BirthdayBart when sharing and also be sure to tag him. @BartYasso

Facebook users: Tag Bart in your post or share it on his wall for all to read. Bart's FB page

I'll have my post up and ready to go Friday morning. Let's help promote this so we can show Bart how much he means to us. Please RT this or share on Facebook.


Walnut Creek Half Race Report

With the Walnut Creek Half Marathon as my final race of 2011 and my fifth half for the year, the expectations were different from most events. Recently my legs seem to have developed a little bit of speed and my pace has quickened by almost a minute per mile.

With the course covering a route that I regularly run as part of my training, the mystery of the route was instantly removed. The good: I know what to expect on race day. The bad: I have zero excuses to fall back on if my race is a disaster.

Four other friends that I regularly train with joined me at the start as this race was the final event of the Northern Ca. Half Marathon Series. We had all participated in four (pre-selected) half marathons throughout the year and this was the culmination of our hard work. Oh ya, and we got an extra medal at the end.

We met up before the race and walked about a mile to the start. It was in the low 30s and was a great way to get the blood flowing. The starting line was pretty low key. There was plenty of room for the runners to line up, but there were no corrals and the porta-potty situation was less than desirable (only 6 available). Apparently there was a mix-up with the vendor. Luckily, our group was all fellas and we were able to "water the bushes." Not ideal, but I'm sure the 85 ladies in line appreciated us not taking up a spot in line.

I ran into (figuratively) Katie and Laylaat the start line. We exchanged well wishes, good lucks and high-fives. Layla was pacing the 2:10 runners and Katie told me she would be cheering at the 5/10 with the LuLuLemon crew. Of course she told me this while whacking me with Layla's pacer sign and calling me a baby. She is a ball of energy and it was awesome.

I met back up with my group, snapped a photo together and all of a sudden everyone started running. From where we were, we didn't here a "Go" or a National Anthem or any indication that the race was starting. I was fine without the bells and whistles at the start. I'm sure the neighbors appreciated it as well.

I ended up coming upon Layla and her 2:10 runners. As I ran by, I screamed out some jibberish to cheer on the 2:10ers... crickets. I guess I'm used to larger events where you can shout out to a group and everyone around joins in. Nope. Luckily Layla gave me some shouting back, otherwise I just would have been that weird guy screaming at mile one.

Subconsciously, I think I ran the first 6 miles at an easier pace than I had originally planned for. Knowing the course, means I knew how giant that hill was near the turnaround. Taking it easy on the way out would set me up for flying towards the finish line. Here were my splits for the first half:

Mile 1: 8:13
Mile 2: 8:42
Mile 3: 8:56
Mile 4: 8:43
Mile 5: 8:42
Mile 6: 10:39 (up the hill)
Mile 7: 8:03

There was a decline going down during mile 7, but one that we would soon have to climb again on the way back. At the halfway point, I was on pace with some downhill portions coming.

Mile 8: 9:05
Mile 9: 8:53
Mile 10: 8:01 (down the hill)

At the base of mile 10, I came across the LuLuLemon cheer crew again — the first time around at mile 5, I made sure to slowly maneuver to the right so I could spot Katie. She cheered like a crazy-energetic runner the first time and it totally fueled me to make the climb. I also got to high-five from Courtney as well. On the return trip, they spotted me again and showed lots of support. Thanks ladies, I was really looking forward to feeding off your energy. Aron, Kerry, and Kristin were also there, but they are ninjas, so I didn't recognize them on the course.

For a full spectator report and photos, check out Aron's blog here.

Also a major shout out to Beth, who ran the 5k — read about it here.

Oh ya, I also came across the 2:10 pace group on the return trip. At this point, I had been running for an hour, so my support was much more mellow and I didn't want to frighten the runners... AGAIN. I gave Layla a shout out and she returned it right back. She ended up leading her group to a 2:09 finish, which is amazing on her pacer debut on an unfamiliar, challenging course. Kudos.

For the final three miles, I decided to put the pedal to floor and see how long I could hold it. I knew the route coming back was mostly flat-to-downhill, so I was going to give it my all. There was a small climb at 12, but it was manageable.

Mile 11: 8:13
Mile 12: 9:26
Mile 13: 7:47
Mile 13.1: 6:40/pace

Finish Time: 1:54:18 — a 4 minute PR

Overall, I was really happy with my time. I was aiming for 1:55, but had 1:53 in the back of my mind as a "I will go absolutely nuts if I finish that fast" goal. I gave it my all and if you didn't notice, my final mile was a sub-8... holy moley. I didn't know I had that in me after 12 miles. That gives me incredible hope and confidence that I can keep getting faster.

After the race, I met Brent and a co-worker that dressed up in costume. I'll let you guess which one is my co-worker. Congrats to Brent and Gerry on a great race. Gerry was the star, I saw other runners asking to take a photo with him at the start and cheering him on the course. He ran CIM last weekend and was back for more!

I also took advantage of the podiums they had at the finish line area with my friend Paul. Clearly we are enjoying our TWO medals.

After the race, we all gathered at Katy's Kreek for a post-race brunch. If you know our running group, you know that we can easily take over a restaurant pretty quickly. I'm glad I made reservations a week in advance. We celebrated, ate, drank and enjoyed each other's company. It was the perfect end to a great race and a wonderful 2011 race year.

Thanks again for all the support and congratulations on Facebook and Twitter. You definitely provided some extra motivation to strive towards a fantastic finish.


Dear 1:55

Dear 1:55

I honestly didn't think I would be writing this letter so soon. It was just a few months ago in San Jose that I met your older sister 1:59. She was incredible, but sadly, the time to move on came rather quickly and unexpected.

It came out of nowhere and I'm going to be 100% honest with you... I've been flirting with you for some time on my training runs and I keep finding myself drawn towards you.

I have a race this weekend. The Walnut Creek Half Marathon and I'm anxiously waiting for the opportunity to meet you. I'm going to do my best to make your acquaintance this Saturday. My race plan is to maintain 8.5 min miles, which would draw me towards your much younger sister 1:51, but with some pretty significant elevation changes I'm factoring in four 9+ minute miles.

I'm not going to lie to you. If I have the opportunity to trim those 9+ minute miles, or find myself flying at low 8 minute miles, I may have to introduce myself to 1:53. It's the reality of the situation and I wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't say I was intrigued by that challenge.

But 1:55, I am looking forward to looking at my garmin and seeing your beautiful face. If you wait for me at the finish line, I'll do my best to get to you as quickly as possible.

See you soon?


Becoming FitFluential

If you are on twitter as much as I am, you've probably noticed hash tags that say #fitfluential or seen the official twitter handle @fitfluential

It's not just a clever way to tag your workout, athletic lifestyle or nutritional recommendations. It's a nationwide network of fitness enthusiasts called FitFluential. It was founded by Kelly Olexa in April of this year to help motivate and inspire others. A lot of us bloggers got started looking to not only reach out to others, but to catalogue our journey and self-inspire from current and past experiences. We put our thoughts or challenges down and embrace the community that welcomes us as we share stories similar to theirs with motivation and inspiration flowing both ways. Better to give than to receive? Yes, but it can be both.

I'm proud to announce that I was asked to join the FitFluential Ambassador team. What does this mean? It means I'm joining a network of highly influential people with various areas of interest. From runners, to bloggers, to nutritionist, to yogis, to people interested in keeping a fit lifestyle. I'm happy to join the team and look forward to additional opportunities (through working with brands) and information (through working with other FitFluential Ambassadors) I'll be able to share with you in the future.

Here is my official page. Yep, that's my name and photo. Weird, right?

So, does this mean my holiday list just increased 10 fold?

Feel free to share in the comments how you maintain a fit lifestyle or ways you wish you could improve upon it..


Win an entry to the Oakland Running Festival

What are you doing on March 25, 2012? Wanna experience the Oakland Running Festival?

I came across the Oakland Running Festival in 09, its inaugural year and the return of a full marathon to Oakland in 25 years. Compared to other Bay Area events the distances may be the same, the runners may also be the same, but what makes the Oakland Running Festival unique is the community and fans along the course. With a 97% saying they would recommend the race to a friend (from post-race surveys) there is clearly something going on with this growing event.

When I run other events I always notice people along the course cheering on specific runners: "Go Suzy!" or "Go Team in Training!" Such signs are popular and motivating. But what I noticed the past 2 years in Oakland is that although there are similar signs, there are also members of the community that aren't cheering on "specific" runners. Rather they are cheering on everyone. They are cheering for the city and happy to see thousands of people participating. It's people stepping out of their homes and business and clapping, simply because they were moved to do so.

The race has sold out each year in its existence, but I've squared away two complimentary entries for the 2012 (Full or Half Marathon) and want to share them with you! I'm running the event again and want YOU to join me!

I'll draw two names at random on December 15 at noon (PST). That gives you two weeks to enter. Here are several ways to throw your name in the proverbial hat:

  1. Follow my blog. 1 entry per person

  2. Follow @PavementRunner on twitter and/or "friend request" on FB. 1 entry per person — (let me know you've done this or already do this in the comments)

  3. Follow @OaklandMarathon on twitter and/or "Like" on FB. 1 entry per person — (let me know you've done this or already do this in the comments)

  4. Tweet out this contest (tagging @PavementRunner and @OaklandMarathon) and/or share on FB — tweet/share buttons at end of post. 1 entry per person — (let me know you've done this or already do this in the comments)

  5. Leave a comment below telling me "Why you think you should win the entry." Also, if you've done any of the ABOVE, let me know here as well. This is the easiest way for me to keep a reliable count. 1 entry per person

That's a total of 5 entries per person, but here is the bonus part:

BONUS: Each day you can send out a tweet (tagging @PavementRunner and @OaklandMarathon) about anything. (Running related is encouraged. Negative tweets disqualify you entirely. Sorry, I am judge and jury on this.)

That's up to 15 additional entries. 1 per day, per person will be counted. If you @tag me, I'll see it, so no need to notify me on these daily tweets through the comments. Sorry, this *bonus* is a twitter only opportunity.

That's it! If you do it right, you can enter the contest 20 times. Wowzers. Good luck everyone. Any questions, let me know.

The entry forms will be mailed to the winners to be filled out and returned to the Oakland Marathon. Postage and a return envelope will be provided to each winner. Travel and hotel expenses will not be provided to or from the event. The entries can be transferred PRIOR to filling out the entry form. Once the form has been mailed to the Oakland Running Festival, all information is final. Entries must be filled out and received by the Oakland Marathon prior to 1/15/2012.


A Turkey Decision, Recap and PR

I recently made one of the best decisions of my running career. It may be a simple one, but at the same time one I'm ashamed to admit that took a bit longer than it should have to pull the trigger.

This year I decided to do a local turkey trot in Walnut Creek (Ca). It's a small 5k/10k that benefits local education. Which is great. I've done it once in the past and enjoyed it. I've only run a couple 10ks so it isn't a distance I typically do. That last time I ran a 10k I pushed myself to a 51 min. finish, which at the time was challenging. I'm trained for long distances, not fast paces over smaller distances.

The decision was this:

  1. Register for the 10k and see if my recent increase in pace allows me to push myself even further for a faster time.
  2. Walk the 5k with my mom who has been walking a lot over the past year and is getting excited about improving her health/pace.

Seems like an obvious choice, especially on Thanksgiving. But being competitive with myself and always trying to improve my time over any distance made me think, shamefully, longer than I should have.

I thought about it for a couple days, already knowing which was the right decision to make. But that little devil on my shoulder kept whispering: "Your mom won't mind if you run the 10k." Which is true, Moms rule that way.

Although the devil kept whispering, I didn't let that little red bastard get the better of my judgement and registered my mom and myself to walk the 5k. And I couldn't have been happier.

We made our way to the start line decked out in our running gear, my mom wearing her race day tech shirt, which I think may be her first. We started at the back to avoid becoming jammed in a bottleneck on the course and allowed the speedy folks to start ahead of us. We weaved through other walkers, strollers, dogs and even these guys in turkey capes:

My mom has become pretty fast at the walk. I definitely felt the burn in my calves. Funny, right? But I'm built for running, not speed walking. Different muscles are emphasized.

We walked and talked and grabbed a couple photos together. Laughed at some folks taking short cuts over the sidewalks, easily shaving .1 off the course. Disqualified. We talked about running watches and how my mom could start incorporating some running into her 3 mile walks. I was pretty proud. Yep, son was watching his mom start to get the race bug. This was her third 5k and now that she is seeing the differences in events, starting to discover what she likes and doesn't like.

It was a great way to start Thanksgiving Day and I'm glad that I decided to spend some extra time with my mom. She has done so much for me and I was happy to experience the event with her. I would make that decision 10 out of the next 10 times. Oh ya, and since this was my first 5k, I set a PR!

Thanks mom for a wonderful day and kicking my butt on the 5k. You go girl!


A photographic run

With my this weekend's run, I decided to have some fun and photograph my journey. Sure that meant taking a 1-2 minute break mid-run to dig out my phone, snap a photo, tweet it, then resume running, but my I was willing to make that sacrifice for the sake of twitter-dom.

And I haven't run over 13.1 miles since February, so striving for 16 was going to be a journey on it's own.

I used a hash for those that wanted to follow along, #Sunday16, but I also want to share with my non-twitter readers or those that may have missed it. Here we go. Text below the photo's is what I Tweeted out with the photo.

"If I sit by his running shoes, then he has to take me, right?"

Couldn't resist the pup's face, so I took her for 3 miles, dropped her off, heading for remaining 13

I always see this hill, parallel to my normal route. Today I'll go up it.

Mailbox! How long will we still be using these? Timeless? Something to think about over the next few miles.

Where I married my wife a little over 6 years ago. Heather Farms Rose Garden, Walnut Creek.

Still Thanksgiving on my run. 11.38 miles, home stretch. Gobble Gobble.

Up the hill. Pay attention WC Half Marathoners, this is your future. It goes higher after the bend.

Sometimes you have to listen to the signs and your body. 15.5 miles and done.

There is my photo journey. I fell short, which gives a little humor to my #Sunday16 hashtag, but it was too late to change it to #Sunday15.5 — which looks funny, so forget it. Thank you to everyone that responded along the way. I definitely recommend giving this a try on your next run. Most cell phones have cameras, so it's an easy point and shoot. I found myself looking around a lot more as I ran.


All black everything

In honor, or perhaps protest, of black Friday, I'm going to write about something that has nothing to do with black Friday. So for poops and giggles, here are all the black running items in my closet:

Adidas 3-stripe pants
These are my favorite running pants in the world, better yet, universe. I have 2 pairs, the one shown and a gray pair with orange stripes. They fit well, are light and keep me warm. They also have zippers on the pockets that come in handy when holding shenanigans. The also have reflective piping towards the bottom and slight ventilation as well.

Adidas 3-stripe 1/4 zip Bruce Lee 'thingy'
This is also one of my favorite running tops (not a jacket, not a t-shirt, a 'thingy') in the fall/winter. It totally gets me in ass-kicking mode, Bruce Lee style. Mid-run, I've been known to confront the Korean underworld gangs, fight my way up the levels of a pagoda and kick a seven-foot basketball player in the face. It happens — like I said, one of my favorite tops. (the colors are inverted, but let me have my childhood moment)

Champion running shorts
Clearly Adidas makes super-duper running clothes, but not everything has to be three-stripe gear. Here are a pair of cost-friendly running shorts by Champion. They have reflective piping, light weight and comfortable. Draw string keeps them comfortable and they are (for me) a proper length since I don't rock the 70s jogging shorts. Not pretty.

Asics running socks
My feet are sponsored by Asics. Well, they are sponsored by my paychecks, but they prefer Asics. I have been wearing Asics Kayano's since 2006 and is the only shoe I run long distances in. But those are typically white, so screw them. However, my socks are ALWAYS black Asics socks. I've bounced across a couple styles, but they are always black, low cut Asics. These are hydro.

Road Runner visor, Nike arm sleeves, Nike gloves

Visor: I purchased the visor after seeing them popular in the ultra community. It made perfect sense. When wearing a hat, at some point in the race my head became too warm. Perfect solution: a convertible hat for my head.

Arm Sleeves: I like these because they are made of dri-fit material. They breathe really well and keep me warm. Perfect for the beginning of races and if it becomes too warm, they easily roll down or fit nicely into your pocket. Definitely not bulky, but effective. Downside? The upper arm is too tight. If I flex, it is uncomfortably snug. Luckily I don't make bodybuilder poses mid-race.

Gloves: these rock. I have 2 pairs, both Nike. The ones shown are lighter and all dri-fit material with reflective swoosh. My other pair has a bit more warmth to them, which can help. Not too heavy, but more in comparison. It also has a terry cloth thumb and outer, inner-hand section for wiping sweat. Important especially if it's misty and you have a mustache. Sorry ladies, well some ladies, but that was a boy perk.

Finisher shirts
I have two black finisher shirts. One is a RNRSJ shirt which I wear often and the second I just received from yesterday's Walnut Creek Turkey Trot. It has a fat turkey on the front wearing a race bib and running shoes. Silly turkey.

There you are. That's a peek into my running closet, your black Friday is complete.

Any of you have these also in your closet? I was surprised at the lack of black running gear I have, but I guess brighter colors benefit us in the morning or at night.

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