Thursday, September 29, 2016

Five Random Things (Friday Five Edition)

So I don't have a real good topic for Friday Five so I thought I would just spew some randomness your way.

1. I just re-watched The 4400.  I watched it when it came out the first time around and it's been long enough that most of it was like watching it new again.  For those that have not heard of the show (which I think is most everyone), it's about 4400 people who disappeared over the last 50 years and all come back together through a ball of light.  I don't want to spoil things for anyone but most of these people come back with a power of sorts.  Through the show they are able to share their powers.  So my question that I have been thinking about is would you want a power?  Some of them are cool like healing or seeing the future or reading people's mind.  But others kinda suck like giving people disease or passing on debilitating anxiety.  So would you want one knowing you couldn't choose?  On top of that, people had a 50/50 shot of dying instead of getting a power.  Would you take a gamble?  Honestly, I'd be very tempted.  I'm not much of a gambler, but when I do, I usually go all in.

2.  I'm so sick of being chafed after a long run.  Because my sports bras that I have loved are coming to their end of life and if you have been reading my blog, you know my most adored shorts are coming apart at the seams, I've been having to try new items.  I have yet to find a sports bra that will get me over 10 miles before it chafes me.  And I'm tired of spending $60+ on bras that just don't work well.  And I think I've tried them all.  I do have to say that I love Brooks policy that you can try them out and sweat in them and still return, and while I love some of their bras, most are not good for me after 10 miles.  And I lather myself in Glide before every run and still have cuts on me.  Oh and why does any manufacture have to put tags in active wear?  Even if you cut them off, there is that edge of it that digs.

3.  I'm still getting used to the latest update to the iPhone.  Normally you swipe to unlock and now that just brings you to a new screen with news and calendar stuff.  I have to remember to just push the home button.  The texting has a new option to write things with your finger.  It's weird, too.  Oh and the new icons that you can send with a text.  It's sort of like adding a GIF on Twitter.  The Apple Watch got a big update too.  I do like the new face with my activity tracker.  It makes the steps and standing seen, which makes you want to move more.  But my new favorite thing is the Breathe option.  So far it has asked me twice to breathe.  What you do is for one minute you block everything out and concentrate on the watch and your breathing.  I plan on doing it when it asks unless I'm in a meeting or driving or something.

4. I'm thinking of making a shirt to wear at MCM.  I'm still tossing ideas around on what I want it to look like and say.  I want to go for some meaning that the Marines would know or something that expresses my gratitude for their service.

5. It turns out that one of my cats is afraid of thunder.  I've never seen a cat afraid of thunder before.  When I got home last night we had one strike that was close so the thunder made me jump.  It scared Aiden half to death.  The rest of the night while the storm when on he would be laying as flat as he could next to me in the kitchen and then ended up hiding in the bathroom.  No matter what I did, I couldn't seem to calm him, so I just left him in the bathroom to sooth himself.

Oh one more thing.  I just watched the second episode of Designated Survivor and I am totally in love with this show so far.  I hope it keeps up.

Are your pets afraid of thunder?  Do you like the new upgrade to the iPhone?  Would you want a super power?

Linking up with Courtney, Mar & Cynthia 

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Most Challenging Aspect of Running (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

So the topic of Tuesdays on the Run this week is: The most challenging aspect of running right now is...... for me it would be patience.

This training cycle has been hard for me.  First the heat and my slow speed.  Then one injury or another.  I have to remember that training is just that, training.  Not everything will be perfect. 

The Richmond MTT had noted that this summer was the hottest training summer they have had in 15 years.  I have also been trying to run via my heart rate and not by time.  With the weather so hot, that makes training by heart rate harder.  It may not have been the best time to start that, but I'm glad I did.  I know it has helped me get through the hot summer.  I just had to remember all summer that my times will go down when it finally cools done.

As with the heat, I have dealt with injuries.  Most small and not a huge ding in my training.  Only missing one or two runs here and there.  And then I slipped and hurt my back.  The hardest part of all of that was that I have been doing everything right and I got hurt by walking to the shower in the locker room.  It took a month before I felt good enough for a long run.  I had to make sure I didn't start things up too soon.  I've needed a lot of patience in the last couple of weeks when all I wanted to do was run. 

MCM is in a month.  I have one more 20+ training run to do.  I know that I will have to be patient over the next few weeks.  I think some fun times and yoga and meditation should help me. :)

What has been challenging for you lately?  How do you battle patience?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Heart Rate Training Week 9 (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

This week has been much better then the last few.  I actually got some runs in (with quite a bit of walking), including my long run.

Monday I decided to at least get out there and walk my miles.  I just tried to run every now and again just to see how things felt.  The few times I ran really wasn't a run, it was more like an old lady shuffle.  I'm glad it was dark out so people couldn't see it.  While the walking felt fine, the few times I tried to run my back felt tight.  My hip and glut hurt by the end, but I was happy to have a PT appointment later that day.

Wednesday I decided to try again.  I ran a little bit more and while it was a little faster, it was still a shuffle.  The back felt better, but still tight.  No real pain, just tight.  I knew that was a good that there really wasn't any pain.

Friday I decided to work from home, which meant that I didn't have to start my run till the sun came up.  Even though there was more traffic out at that time, it was nice to run in the day light.  After my PT appointment on Wednesday, my back finally really felt good.  No pain or tightness.  It was so nice.

After a good run on Friday I decided to do my long run on Saturday.  I didn't run with the MTT since I wasn't sure if I would be able to do all 20 miles.  I decided to do my favorite 10 miler and then I can figure out if I could do it again or a shorter loop after that.

I saw this sign in someone's neighborhood and I was very confused by it.  Did someone that lived there put it up or did a neighbor put it up?  It was still there when I did my second loop. 

There was a guy that saw me on a walk break and said that I had a lot of stuff for a walk (I had my vest on with my two big water bottles).  I wish I could have said something before he drove off, like it's a walk/run or that it was 20 miles.  I thought it was really kinda rude.

The first 10 miles felt good.  No back pain or really any at all.  I decided to do the second loop of 10 miles.  I refilled my water bottles and started off again.  It was starting to get more warm but I was feeling good, so far.  By mile 15 though the heat was getting up there and I was getting tired.  I haven't done anything more then 5 miles in a month so most of the last 5 miles was walking.  I thought that maybe 20 was pushing it, but I was so excited to be out there.

By the end my hips and my feet hurt, but I did it.  My back didn't hurt at all.  I bruised both of my big toe nails which sucks.  I'm very excited to be back into the game. 

How was your week?  What do you think that sign meant?  Have you ever had someone say something rude while you were out for a run?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Five Things I'm Looking Forward To (Friday Five Edition)

I haven't posted a lot recently and haven't done a Friday Five in a couple of weeks cause life has just thrown me a few curve balls.  Between my dad's situation and knowing I'll be losing my job in a few months, there has been a lot of things figure out.  That and I'm not a huge fan of this time of year.  Between the days getting shorter and colder and past haunting memories of the start of school, this is my least favorite season.  For now, I'm just happy to have things to look forward to in the next few months to get me through everything.

1. My trip up to PA to visit a friend - Next weekend I'll be visiting a friend that lives in PA.  I haven't seen her since last summer and can't wait to catch up.  This will be the first time seeing where she lives and meeting her family.  Most of all we will get to run together some.

2. MCM - While I'm getting really nervous about this marathon because of my back, this is my goal race of the year.  I am very relieved that they are changing the mileage of the "beat the bridge" which takes a little bit of stress off me.  A friend from MA will be joining me, and I can't wait to spend the weekend with her.  On top of all of the race special events over the weekend, we have requested a tour of the White House.  While I've been to DC many times, that is the one thing I have yet to do.  It will be a very fun and busy weekend.

3. Rogue One - Yes, I'm a geek.  I love me some Star Wars and this movie looks amazing!  I will be there, seeing it opening night.

4. Trip to Denver for Christmas - With my dad's dementia getting worse, my mom wants us to visit his brother before things gets too bad.  I grew up in Denver and have only been back once for my uncle's wedding.  While I'm not looking forward to traveling over the holidays I am looking forward to seeing my uncle and being in Denver for Christmas (and maybe a day of skiing).

5. Something New - I have a lot of opportunities right now.  Anything from another job in IT to selling some stock and working at Target for a little while and not have the stress of IT.  I have my job till the end of the year and then I have 30 weeks of severance, so I have time to think about what I really want to do.  It might be fun to work for a museum or do something in the parks and recs department or see what's involved in helping out and organizing a running event.  I have no clue, but I'm trying to think outside the box and not just jump into the next job that comes my way.

Bonus - I'm also looking forward to the 2-4 weeks of amazing running weather before it turns cold.  I can't wait to get out there and not be a sweaty mess before I even run.  I've never trained for a marathon in the summer and this has got me thinking twice before I sign up for another fall marathon.

And just to end on a good note, I saw this video and it is very inspiring.  Reminding me that even though things kinda suck now, I still have some other very good things in my life.

What are you looking forward to?  Any advice on traveling during the holidays?

Linking up with Courtney, Mar & Cynthia 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Heart Rate Training Week 8 (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

So this week really wasn't a good week training wise or really any other wise.

I don't have a running theme picture, so I thought I'd share one of my kitty
I think and hope my trifecta of bad new has hit me.  First was my back, which I still haven't been able to run because of.  Second, was issues with my dad and needing help while my mom is at work.  And now, this past week, I found out that I'll be losing my job at the end of the year because of outsourcing.

So my back is a little better, but it still hurts to run, so I haven't.  PT and the dry needling has helped, but I wish it would work faster.  I did a 5 mile walk on the treadmill on Monday and a 3 mile walk around the neighborhood on Friday.  Both hurt a little, but it's good to keep moving.  I did go to the gym twice this week too, but really haven't felt like I have done anything.  I'm hoping to do a long walk (and maybe a run here and there) this next weekend.  MCM is coming up and I'm getting nervous.

My dad's situation has gotten better.  My mom found a neighborhood kid (well not a kid, he's 21) to help out.  I went by on Tuesday and Wednesday to be there just in case anything happened.  Things seemed to mellow out and I think he will work out.  At least I really hope so.  We will see how things go on his own this week.  Fingers crossed.

As for my job, they are outsourcing some things and about 60 of us will be gone in 3-6 months.  I have a nice severance package which I only get if I stay till the end of the year.  I've already been looking for a new job so this really isn't the worst news.  I now have a chance to try something new in IT or get out of IT all together.  Right now the sky's the limit and I'll be trying to figure out what I want to do in the next month.

And then last night I had a dream that my car was stolen.  Really?  I don't need something else right now so I'm glad it was only a dream.

So now things can only go up and get better.  Right?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Heart Rate Training Week 7 (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

OK, so there wasn't much training going on this week.   I was still having issues with my back and a lot of other things came up.  So let's start it off.....

So the week started out with Labor Day and me on the couch icing my back.  I had taken the week off to spend some of my vacation days (if we don't use 'em we loose 'em).  My back wasn't feeling any better and I was starting to get agitated.  I didn't even go to the gym for my strength training class on Tuesday.

Wednesday I finally got in to see the main therapist.  He said I was really misaligned and my pelvis was twisted all wrong.  He said I really did a job to myself.  While he manipulated me and did some needling, I still hurt.  Hurt less, but I wanted a miracle right then and there.

Then my week went all wonky.  My dad, who has dementia, is starting to get worse.  Twice this past week he went for a walk with the dog and couldn't find his way home.  Both times the police were called to get him home.  Everything is fine with him, but we have found that we cannot leave him alone when my mom is at work.  Thankfully I was off work, so it was easy for me to head to their house to help out while my mom was at work.

Thursday I actually made it to the gym.  I felt like I didn't do anything during the class, but it was good to move some and catch up with everyone.  I headed to my parents house so my mom could teach her afternoon class.  Because the police were called, social services had to check in on him that afternoon.  We talked and she gave us some resources that we didn't already have.  Things are fine in that department too, just a routine visit.

Really, everything is good with my dad.  It was just a lot of decisions have to be made and we need to find someone that can stay with my dad while my mom is at work.  It's stressful and it sucks, but my dad is always in a good mood and happy.  We even took the dog for walks and had a nice time.  The cat even joined us on a couple of the walks.  

Friday I went back to the PT and finally started feeling better.  It's been over a week and I was starting to get in that slump when you start to think you will never feel better again.  Weather it's mental or physical there always seems to be a point where you will feel like you will never get better.  I always have to remember that the pain will eventually pass.  And by Friday afternoon, I finally started to feel better.  Which was good as I was taking a friend out to Texas de Brazil to celebrate his birthday.  Yum!

Saturday I finally felt good enough to do something.  The PT said no running, but I could walk on level surfaces like a treadmill.  If I tried to do any hills, I would feel it.  So to the treadmill I went.  I decided to use the gym at my work.  It's usually quiet and I like that.  I decided to try and do 5 miles if everything felt good.  Things were tight in my back, but no sharp pain like I was having.  I set the treadmill to 2.9 which is about a 20:40 minute mile.  To say the least, I was so very bored, even while I was watching Netflix.  They were repaving our parking lot, so I did have something to watch, even if Netflix wasn't completely entertaining me.  I finished the 5 miles and after stretching I didn't feel too bad.  I was glad to get moving some.  That afternoon I got my hair cut.  I'm keeping it short and cute.

The removal of the pavement.  Interesting process.
Sunday, I decided to do the same thing. 5 miles on the treadmill at work.  My back was feeling so much better.  It was still tight but not as bad and not as often.  I bumped it up to 3.0 which was a 20 minute mile.  I was still bored, but I knew it would pass.  They were all done with the paving, so I just had to rely on Netflix to keep me entertained.

I even two books this week.  First was was "The Silent Sister" by Diane Chamberlain.  While I guessed the end pretty quickly, it was still a fun read.  The other was "The Forgotten Girls" by Alexa Steele.  It seemed like a short book cause I flew through it, but maybe just cause it was a page turner.

So this next week will be just as busy and stressful, plus I will have to work.  I know I can have a flexible schedule and can work from home or my parent's home.  I hope that I will be back to running soon.  I will also be really looking forward to next weekend (already).  Have a great week!!

Have you missed 2 weeks of training before?  What do you do to keep entertained while on the treadmill?  Have you ever had a cat that liked to go for a walk?  Have you read any good books lately?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dry Needling (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

I have had on and off issues with my left IT Band and knee which started during my first half marathon years ago.  I have done everything from cortisone shots to PT to resting.  Last fall my ortho mentioned to me about dry needling.  I have never heard of such a thing and thought I would do some research on it.

What is dry needling?  How I describe it to others is that its like a combination between a massage and acupuncture.  Basically the therapist will stick a needle and get deep into the muscle to loosen up the knot.  Instead of doing that by massage which can cause damage, like bruising, to happen to the skin area.  It gets deep to the knot itself to loosen it up.

Dry Needling

Last fall I found a place that not only did Dry Needling, but also offered massages.  I checked this place out and decided to give them a try.  My first appointment I described the issues I've been dealing with and did an assessment of my flexibility and what hurt.  He then did some needling on my left glute.  At first I was confused as my pain was in my IT Band, but the more I went the more I understood that where your pain is, really may not be the cause of it.  I have to say that first needling HURT, like really H-U-R-T.  He then had me go to the back area and walk on the treadmill to work out the area and then ice.  All night and all the next day my glute hurt.  Hurt like a sore muscle. But the next day it felt better.

On the next visit, he worked more of my glute and had me walk on the treadmill and then added a few stretches and exercises before I iced.  I now have a page full of exercises and stretches that I do after the needling.  As time has gone by, he has worked on many other places on my body to try and help my cronic IT band issue, including the opposite lat.  As I have learned, with my very tight lat, it pulls the opposite leg out of alignment, causing issues with those muscles.  Who knew that everything was connected in our body. :)

A lot of people ask me what it feels like and if it is a lot of pain.  It does hurt, but not really bad. The closest thing I can relate it to is a very deep tissue massage.  It hurts, but it's a good hurt cause you know you will feel a lot better in the long run.

Different places give me different feelings and sensations.  When he finds a big knot in my glute it feels like he is trying to pop a big nasty bubble.  When he needles my shin, I swear I can feel each needle stick directly in my ankle.  And there was one time when he was needling my hip and I felt an electric charge go down my leg.

They also do pressure point therapy, but I personally prefer the needling.  The main reason is that I bruise easily and every time it's done, I leave looking like they took a bat to me.  But there are times they have to do the pressure point as there might be a nerve cluster in that place and you can't needle near that.  I also feel like the needling gets to the issue and works things out quicker.

I thought that after I did Dopey in January I'd be done with it.  I would be over the hump and not in high mode of training that I could stretch and exercise on my own.  Then shortly after I was walking down my stairs and pulled my calf.  It was completely out of the blue and I could barely walk on it.  A few weeks later he had most of it under control and figured out that a muscle in my shin caused the misalignment and the pain in my calf.

When I did the Star Wars Dark Side Half in April and an old pain in my right hip came back.  Making it worse was sitting on an airplane not being able to move and stretch much.  I had this issue during training for my first marathon a couple years ago and never figured out the root cause.  Within one session he knew it was my glute that was causing the issue as there was a huge knot it it.  The next day my hip felt great.  I swear this man is a genius figuring out what the real issue is.

By then I was about to start marathon training for MCM this summer so I decided to stick with the PT through my training.  It's probably the best decision I've made in awhile.  Overall my IT band pain and tightness has basically gone away (knock on wood).  My knee pain came up last month and some needling in the front of my hip ceased that right away.  Again, another nagging issue that would have had me off from running for at least couple of weeks and I was back running the next day.  He took care of my pulled hamstring a couple weeks ago.  It has been nice to know that anything that might come up during training won't linger long and I won't miss a lot of training runs. And I am hoping that he will be able to take care of my pulled back when I see him this week.

While I hope to scaling back on appointments after MCM, I do plan on still seeing him.  How often will be discussed at some point between the two of us.  Overall I have found that it has been the best physical therapy I have done.  While I wish they had more of a sports medicine aspect, I know that any issue I have will be resolved.

Have you ever done dry needling?  Have you ever had a different PT experience?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Heart Rate Training Week 6 (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

Happy Labor Day!  For me this always marks the unofficial end to summer.  I'm happy to see a little cooler temps in the morning, but this time of year always makes me sad.  

First before I get into it, I want to say how excited I am about the changes for the MCM course.  It's great to see that they took an initiative on making sure that because of things out of their control, they are still going to make it a good event.  Basically MCM announced that because of the work being done on the Metro that everyone will have an hour for the start time, instead of 30 minutes.  This will allow people to get to the start with the late opening of the Metro.  They are also changing the course so that the hard cut-offs are at mile 15 & 18 instead of 17 & 21. This is good for me as I was worried about getting to these hard cut-offs.  Now I know there is very good chance that I can officially finish the course (knock on wood).

So this week didn't go very well.  Mostly because I hurt my back on Tuesday.

Monday was a great run.  Temperatures back in the upper 60's with the humidity around 80%.  I was only in Zone 4 for 31% and felt like I ran more then normal.  It was another morning where I was very grateful to be outside on such a beautiful morning.  I know not to take those mornings for granted, especially now.

Tuesday morning I slipped.  I didn't fall, but as I was catching myself I pulled my lower back.  I decided that I wasn't going to run on Wednesday, as the last thing I need right now is to miss several weeks of training.  I went to physical therapy later in the day and the main therapist was on vacation.  While the guy that worked on me did a good job, part of me thinks if the main therapist was there I'd be doing cartwheels after the appointment (though that probably isn't true).

I didn't go to the gym on Thursday and didn't run on Friday or Saturday.  I decided to take a walk on Saturday and went for about a mile, slow.  I hoped that moving a little might help, but it really didn't.  I've tried to do some stretching, but most just hurt my back.  I cannot wait till my therapist is back in the office on Tuesday.  It may be that I don't run again till Friday or even next week.  It makes me sad, but I know resting is the best thing to do right now.

P.S. I hope those that ran VA Beach had a good time.  I know it was windy, but the temps were probably the best that race has ever seen.

Have you ever missed more then a week of training?  What do you do to keep your spirits up?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Five Running Wearables (Friday Five Edition)

Happy Friday!  Very much looking forward to the long weekend (and taking next week off from work).  Today I wanted to show off what I wear when I run.  Not necessarily clothes, but my gadgets and other things that make my run better, safer, and more fun. :)

First is my watch and heart rate monitor.  Right now I'm using the Garmin 920XT.  I got this earlier this year for a couple reasons.  First, I thought I was going to do at least one triathlon this summer, but that didn't happen.  Also, my old Garmin 610 was having issues keeping the charger connected, so it was getting very frustrating to keep it charged.  The one thing I don't like about the 920XT is the buttons at the bottom.  The two buttons are for lap and stop.  At least once a week I accidentally hit one of those buttons while I adjust my watch on the wrist.

As you see, I like to wear my Apple Watch as well.  It's part of my OCD where I want my circles and steps counted.  It's sort of like wearing a FitBit.  I also like to wear my Garmin on the side of my wrist.  It makes it easier to look down on it as I just have to raise my arm instead of turn it as well.  I know, I'm lazy. :)

I use the Scosche Rhythm Plus heart rate monitor.  I like it because it can be worn on the arm instead of the chest.  I had a hard time not only with chafing but keeping the heart rate monitor working.  No matter where I placed it on my chest, I only ever got half my work out logged at best.  You can wear the Scosche above or below the elbow.  I like to wear it on the opposite arm right below the elbow.  And so far it's been good.  I have had some on going issues in the first couple miles where it reads a lower heart rate then I have.

Second, is what I wear for safety.  I always have on a Road ID when I go out for a run or bike ride.  Right now I have three of them.  The first one I got years ago was the purple one that I wear around my wrist.  Earlier this year when I got the Scosche heart rate monitor I felt like I had way too many things on my wrist, so I got the yellow one.  This one goes around my ankle and I like the bright color of it as it reflects.  Then recently, Road ID started selling ID's that attach to the Apple Watch.  I knew I had to have that.  I don't even notice that it's on the watch.

Because these mornings have been darker I have taken steps to make sure I'm seen by drivers.  I am very paranoid about having driver see me, not only in the dark, but when it's dusky out.  Some days I feel like a dork wearing all that, but I'd rather feel like a dork then be hit by a car.  One thing I do is make sure I wear bright colors.  Right now I have a bunch of tank tops that are very bright.  When things start to get cooler, I do have that pink jacket that has the reflective material built in.  And if I'm wearing something dark colored I have a reflective vest that I wear.

I also have an assortment of lights that I use. I have a headlamp that I use when it's dark and I need something to help me see the road.  I also have knuckle lights that I hold that can either do the same thing or be light so drivers can see me.  I also have a belt and ankle light that flashes, both purchased from Gone for a Run.  Depending on how dark it is and if I'm running my neighborhood or not depends on what and how many lights I wear.

Third is wearable hydration.  When I do short runs in my neighborhood I wear my running belt by SLS3 (pictured on the left).  Next to that is a hand held water bottle holder.  I'll also use that on shorter runs if it's hotter then normal.  It's great cause I can just use one of the many plastic water bottles I have and it fits around most.  And for me it's easier to carry a bottle with the strap.

For runs shorter then 10 miles I use my Fitletic hydration belt.  It's a basic belt with 3 add on water bottles (8 oz each) and the SmartCase add on.  I can fit my GU's, phone, Sports Beans, and some tissues in there.  It's the belt I usually wear for half marathons and marathons.  It also has toggles to put my bib on so I don't have to put holes in my shirts.

For longer training runs when I need more water and GU I wear my hydration vest.  This is the PB Adventure Vest 2.0 by Ultimate Direction.  For the most part I like the vest.  It has two 20 oz. bottles and tons of space to carry basically anything.  The things about the vest I don't like is because I'm a bigger girl, the water bottles look like I have two torpedoes coming out of my chest.  Also, while it has a lot of storage, most of the pockets are hard to get to unless you take the vest off.  So I usually just use the front pockets and put my phone in the side, knowing it will take some maneuvering to get it out.  But it's nice to be able to stash a jacket in the back for when it gets warm or cold.  You can also buy a bladder to put in the back.  I haven't needed that much hydration yet, so I don't think I'll be doing that.

Forth is music.  I listen to mostly music on short runs and books on tape for long runs.  I use an iPod Nano.  I love this generation as unlike the shuffle it has a screen to be able to easily get from one playlist to the next.  And unlike the newer version of the Nano, it has a built in clip.  I can clip it on my shirt or belt and not worry about it.  My headphones are JVC.  I've tried many of them and I like these the best.  Best thing is that they are under $15.  One issue I have found is that the plastic ear pieces can fall off.  I'll glue them about once a month, but also have just bought extra ear pieces to replace them when I do loose them.  That white thing on the ear phone cord is a Bud Button by SPRK.  I have always had an issue with hitting the cord and yanking out my ear phones.  I wrap some of the extra cord in this and it clips on my shirt or jacket by magnets.  I haven't had an issue of yanking out my ear phones since.

Fifth is sunglasses.  I don't like to wear hats or visors (unless it's raining) so I rely on my sunglasses to keep the sun out of my eyes.  I really like this pair by Scattante Team because they are photochromatic lenses which change with how much light is out there.  I bought them at a bike shop and have been very happy with them.  I can wear them during races where the sun is just rising and know that I can still see when it's dark out (and don't have to carry them).  They are also very breathable and do not fog up.

There are so many other things that I rely on from clothing to my handy towel that I could go on and on.  This is already a very long post so I'll leave it here.  And a side note, I have no affiliation with any of these companies.  I have tried many things and these are the ones I have been happy with so far.

Are there anything you run with that is a must?  How do you stay safe in the dark?

Linking up with Courtney, Mar & Cynthia