Category Archives: Not a Fashion Blog

Up the (fake) creek

So the rowing machine at my gym is a piece of shit.

That’s not a commentary on the facility’s condition generally. I go to an L.A. Fitness that is pristine by big-box gym standards: it’s bright and clean with new equipment that is always in working order. The clientele consists of midtown professionals and polished residents of the surrounding gayborhood. The drinking fountains dispense ice-cold water. Really, who needs more than that from their gym?

I rarely find reason to complain, but today…well, there’s only one rowing machine in the building. And today, when I strapped my toes in and gave a tentative tug on the wooden handlebar, the screen spit out a mess of random pixels. Cue me trying to explain this to a front-desk gym person who was probably hungover from last night too, and didn’t really care about my cardio issues.

Anyway. In general, I’ve been digging the rowing machine as a quick-and-dirty cross-training device during this training cycle. Honestly, I’ve never been big on XT. Usually, it either:

(a) Takes too long. As in: cycling. I’m sure there are varying opinions on how cycling miles translate to running miles for comparative purposes, but going with what my college coach used (4 cycling = 1 running), I’d need to pedal for at least an hour in order to have a meaningful workout. Plus, I might hit a patch of gravel and fall over or get a flat tire or get hit by a car and die. Too much risk for not enough reward. I’d rather just run.

(b) Requires a whole mess of logistical effort. As in: swimming.  I don’t hate the act of swimming itself, but good lord, I have to practically pack an overnight bag in order to make it happen: goggles, cap, shampoo, conditioner, hefty moisturizing lotion to placate my dry skin, makeup bag with under eye concealer to patch up the mess left by the goggles. Ugh. I prefer a workout where I can take a 30-second rinse and blow-dry the sweat out of my roots, thanks. I’d rather just run.

(c) Is similar enough to running that I feel like I’m not really giving my legs a break from running. I’m looking at you, Elliptical. You’re just contrived, lower-impact running. Unless I am injured and looking for a gentler running substitute, I see no point. Assuming I’m healthy and just looking to give my legs a break, I’d rather do something that gets my heart rate up in a totally different way. If not…I’d rather just run.

So that’s how my butt landed on the padded saddle of my gym’s (busted, as of today) rower. Oh okay, I’ll admit: I was nudged by the devotion of Crossfit and similar style workouts to this machine. Obviously I’m not a Crossfitter (although I remain simultaneously humbled and skeptical, a la this post) but I’ll admit that CF workouts seem to be, if nothing else, highly efficient. And that is what I value in my cross-training.

Anyway. When I use the rower, I typically crank the resistance almost all the way up, and pull hard on that thing for like 20-25 minutes, which is usually about 3K. At that, I feel like I’ve gotten a great little burst of cardio and am all-over warmed up for my strength workout.

Of course, I could have just dealt with a wonky screen today. I could have set my phone’s timer for 20 minutes and pulled hard for that time, in spite of the lack of feedback on my strokes per minute (heh) and average stroke length (double heh) and all of that garbage that is just computer generated anyway because it’s not like this machine is on an actual river, right? It would be like running on a treadmill without knowing MPH. Or pushing up on a random loaded bar without knowing how much you were benching.

Um yeah, not appealing. One thing I like about gym workouts is having that feedback and information. If I wanted to exercise without parameters, I’d go for an easy run sans watch. Which I do fairly often. Because it’s fun.

So I headed to the treadmill (which I hated doing, because if I’d planned on running, I could have run outside) and knocked out two fast miles: the first at 7:45 and the second at 7:10. Efficiency on the brain, I guess.

Then I did an upper body weight circuit:

  • Bench press: 3 X 12 @ 75 lbs
  • Low row: 3 X 12 @ 75 lbs
  • Bicep curls: 2 X 15 @ 15 lbs, 1 X 10 @ 20 lb.
  • Shoulder press: 3 X 15 @ 15 lbs
  • Head bangers: 3 X 15 @ 30 lbs
  • Lat raises: 3 X 32 (4-position circuit) @ 5 lbs
  • Lat pull down: 3 X 12 @ 75 lbs
  • Push-up ladder, 10 down to 1, all on toes (yay!)

It was a good session overall, but I was most excited about the last one. This push-up ladder has been an on-and-off part of my routine for years, and being able to easily complete the whole thing without dropping to my knees at the end of a workout has always been something of a personal benchmark…for me, it’s like running a 6:00 mile. It means that I might not be in the best shape ever, but I’ve got something going.

(And believe me: I am not in the best shape ever at the moment. I’ve definitely put on a layer of fat since my boot-camp shape-up this summer. It comes and it goes, I guess. I’m okay with it.)

On that note, since this post lacks pictures, I’ll leave you with a glimpse of our first day of 2013.

cat_pajamas

 

This is appropriate attire for making a stay-the-hell-in-your-car beeline to the McDonald’s Drive-Thru. (Chicken McNuggets. With Sweet Chili Sauce. McAwesome. McAlways.)

Is the fast-food drive-thru attendant judging you? Yes, of course. Have they seen worse in the last twelve hours? Absolutely.

As for 2013 goals, I don’t really have any that I’m ready to share, but I’ll say this: I am absolutely looking forward to the first new year in several years where moving to a different state isn’t on the table. Staying put is a huge relief.

Two new pairs

For the couple of years that my husband was in business school in Boston, I suffered from an off-and-on inferiority complex. (Warning: #firstworldproblems ahead.)

It didn’t really have anything to do with the fact that I was a mere “partner” in a social set of highly intelligent and ambitious people, most of whom scored about a zillion points on on their GMAT and had probably made more money in their pre-MBA working years than I’d make in a decade.  Nor did it bother me to be – as I was, having moved to Boston from Cleveland – an odd-out midwesterner in a sea of New England pedigrees.

Nope…my husband’s classmates were charming and delightful people, and although I kind of wanted to hate them for being so smart and attractive and successful, I just couldn’t. I made fast friends with many of them.

(It probably helped that I could totally hang when it came to drinking. When there’s a race to the bottom, I’m usually a frontrunner.)

Anyway, no, my occasional bouts of insecurity stemmed from the silly fact that my jeans were all…bootcut and shit.

Come back to 2007 with me, please. Bootcut jeans and pointy pumps. That’s what the cool kids were wearing in Ohio. (Well, actually, in Ohio it was considered perfectly acceptable to wear a hoodie and sneakers out on the town…a sentiment with which I still don’t entirely disagree.)

But in Bahhhhston, it was all skinny jeans and ballet flats and leggings and tunics and other trendy things that I did not, at the time, own. In my shorter fitted shirts and flare-leg pants, I felt like kind of a relic.

“You look great,” my husband would tell me, as we got ready to head out to any one of the countless social functions we attended each week.

“I look like a fucking antique,” I’d moan. And then I’d give up and slip into a good old hoodie and sneakers. If I was going to look like crap anyway, I might as well be comfy.

Looking back, I kind of roll my eyes at myself. Obviously, I wasn’t as comfortable with myself back then. Now, five years later, I’ve owned the fact that I’m just not a fashionista; on most days you’ll find me in a sports bra and running shoes. It’s fine. It’s sporty…or something. It’s me.

But occasionally, the complex returns.

This weekend, I’m headed to Vegas for a reunion weekend with my husband…and fifty of this MBA classmates.

Today, I thought about starting to pack. I stared at the small clump of dresses hanging among the hoodies and sweaters in my closet; I eyed the dusty little pile of scuffed-up “fancy” shoes, pretty much abandoned these days, but for the occasional wedding.

It was time for a little something new.

Nude pumps. Shiny nude pumps. With just a little bit of that stripper-platform thing going. Apparently this is what the cool kids are wearing now. Hopefully they are also wearing Ace bandages, because that it what I’m going to be sporting after I sprain my ankle.

So just in case, I’m also packing these…

New Brooks PureFlow colors! Now, you can’t tell me that’s not a hell of a pretty shoe. And functional, too!

Remind me…what’s so wrong with hoodies and sneakers?

Velma or Daphne?

Tonight, in conjunction with our shopping center’s OMG CHRISTMAS IN NOVEMBER (cue: me hitting things) Open House, we had a “Human Highlighter” Fun Run at the store. For which we asked all of our participants to wear as much highly-visible clothing as possible. All at once.

For as much effort as I put in to planning and promoting the event, this caused something of a problem for me. Because I don’t have a ton of high-vis stuff. I probably should. I mean…yes, I should. It’s stupid to run at night without one of those crossing-guard-style vests, even if they’re totally dorky.

But I still wanted to set a good example for all of our customers. So I adorned myself with every neon-colored item of clothing I owned. And, for good measure, put a defunct light-up ankle-band around my neck.

(Me on the right; co-worker Alli on the left)

But instead of being all neon-awesome-lisciousness, all I got was: “You look like that chick from Scooby Doo.”

To which I replied: “Um…which one?”

I mean…Daphne was the one with the headband, and obviously the hot (although vapid) one. But she was a blonde. Velma, like me, was brunette and was clearly not as cute, but brought way more to the table in terms of actual crime-solving skills, and didn’t rock the headbands. So…what the hell does the Scooby Doo comment mean? Does the headband make me hot and stupid or dowdy and brainy or what?

(Don’t answer that.)

I’m going to go with MODERATELY ATTRACTIVE AND HIGHLY VISIBLE TO PASSING CARS, as that was the point of tonight, anyway. Running in a big pack of runners theatrically adorned with glow sticks and high-vis running gear definitely brought that home. We were unmissable. And I need to get better about making sure I’m seen when running in the dark.

Anyway. Since the temperature here has dropped thirty degrees in the last twenty-four hours, how about a holiday beer?

I actually reviewed this Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale last year, too. And my impression of it remains largely the same: I get a bit of the gingerbread, especially on the finish, but mostly it tastes like a lighter and bubblier version of Guinness. Which isn’t entirely a bad thing, but…definitely more mellow on the holiday flavor than I expected! 6% ABV.

Bottom line: Honestly, I enjoy this beer, even though I don’t think it tastes particularly gingerbread-y. It’s dark and satisfying without being thick. (Received in a beer exchange, goes for about $2/12 oz at specialty shops)

Time for me to pack my shit and go to bed. Tomorrow morning brings a 20-miler (I SWEAR FOR REAL THIS TIME) and then a road trip down to the lovely state of Georgia for the weekend.  Good night!

Chicken

Well, how appropriate.  After spending yesterday writing all about how much I love the food down here in the South…today, I get an impromptu lunch date.

Beasley’s Chicken + Honey just opened a couple of weeks ago.  It’s a new casual restaurant from the chef-owner of Poole’s, which is my favorite restaurant in Raleigh.

Like Poole’s, Beasley’s lacks menus.  It’s all written up there on that board:

Yesterday, Beasley’s had three entrees: a quarter chicken with honey, a chicken biscuit, or chicken and waffles.  (Well, actually two, as the waffles are only available late nights and brunch.)

Some people might balk at the lack of selection, but personally, I love it when restaurants choose to do one thing and do it exceptionally well.  (And, well…if you don’t like chicken, don’t go to a chicken restaurant!)

The hubs and I split a quarter chicken.  Adios, unfried summer!

Along with a side of some sort of mac-and-pimento-cheese-spicy-custard-thing:

And a butter lettuce salad with smoky tomato ranch dressing:

Chicken: perfectly crispy on the outside, tender and juicy inside, delicious.  It comes drizzled with just enough honey to make your fingers delightfully sticky.

Mac thingy: OMG.  I don’t know what they put in there or why it’s a “custard” but it was a damn fine slice of homestyle mac and cheese.

Salad: OMG AGAIN.  I lobbied hard for the inclusion of this because I love tender butter lettuce, but it was the smoky ranch that made the dish.  Wonderful.

Bottom line: Yes, I will absolutely return.  The food is excellent, of course, but it’s the value that makes Beasley’s a home run.  Entrees are $6-10, hearty sides are $3.50, and although we didn’t imbibe, I did notice there were many bottles of wine in the $25 range.  Perfect for a budget date night!

Okay, so that was lunch.  But I’m not done talking about chicken.

Because I am one.

In the hours leading up to my Big Important Hair Appointment this afternoon, I hemmed and hawed and finally made up my mind: chop it like it’s hot.

Then, I got in the chair and lost my nerve.  I went to say the word “chop” and the word “trim” came out instead.  However, I did decide to mix things up a bit…

Goodbye, mousy brown.  Hello, red! I haven’t colored my hair in years.  But the persistence of a single gray hair along my part-line has been irking me lately, and since I wasn’t gonna change the length, I decided to go for it.

And I. Love. It.

You know what?  That’s another great thing about living in a place like Raleigh as opposed to New York or Boston.  Things are cheaper here.  A cut + color here costs less than a plain old cut at my old salon in NYC!

Anyway.  Thanks so much for all of your input on my post the other day! Ultimately, I think it came down to the fact that long hair really is easier for me to deal with.  I have a shit-ton of hair and it HAS to be styled when it’s short.  Maybe someday I’ll grow some balls and chop it again, but for now, I’m pretty happy.

Well, that’s more than enough vain posturing and posing from me for a day. Make that a month.

Off to try to do something productive with what’s left of the evening.  (Ahem, filthy apartment.)

Chop it?

Some days, you just don’t have much to say.

This morning, I got up early and went to HEAT class.  I got home at 7:15 AM to only to remember that my morning meeting had been cancelled, leaving me with a couple of hours to kill before work.

I’ve been sitting here for 90 minutes now, dinking around on the internet and trying to think of something profound to write about.  But I’ve got nothin’.

So instead I’m going to ask for your assistance in making an Important Life Decision.

Namely: I have a hair appointment on Thursday.

I love having longer hair and I think that long hair looks better on me than short hair.  But this shit is becoming kind of a pain in the ass lately.  Even though I usually only deal with washing/blowdrying it every couple of days, it’s still getting on my nerves.  There’s just a ton of it.

Ahem, #whitegirlproblems.

Anyway, a couple of years ago (I think this was summer 2009?) it was much shorter, and I actually liked it okay, although I look royally pissed about something (not my hair) in this pic:

Cut?  Don’t cut?  What would you do?

(And I’m not doing some half-assed midway just-below-the-shoulders cut.  On principle.  It’s either getting trimmed or getting chopped!)

I’ve been stressing about this all week.  You can understand why it’s difficult to focus on anything else.

I think I need a beer.

Maybe I can blog about that tomorrow.

Knockout knockoffs

Have you guys heard about the Costco tank tops that are supposedly the same thing as Lululemon tank tops?  But of course, waaaaay cheaper?

I hadn’t, until today.  And I happened to be in Costco’s neck of the woods today.

For the love of cheese, it’s not like I need any more running shirts.  But at $12.99 a pop, I decided to give these a shot.

I’ve never owned a Lululemon tank so I can’t speak to the similarities and/or differences.  I’ll leave that to these lulunuts.  (Hat tip to Brie for that link!)  But I will say that I’ve been wearing this soft little thing all afternoon – including on a rainy run and to a core class! – and I am loving it so far.

Nice and long; fitted and flattering, without being skintight on the belly; cut low enough to be feminine, but not so low that you can’t actually work out in it.

Is there anything that Kirkland Signature doesn’t do well?

Anyway.  Worth checking out if you have a Costco in your area.

Exciting running stats from last week:

M – 45 min easy (~5 miles, ~9:00 pace)
Tu – 3 X 1 mile on the TM (6:44, 6:39, 6:37), 5 miles total (38:25)
W – 40 min easy (~ 4.3 miles, ~9:15 pace)
Th – OFF
F – 35 min easy AM (~ 4 miles, ~9:00 pace) + 25 min HEAT intervals PM (~3.5 miles total)
Sa – 50 min easy (~5.5 miles, ~9:00 pace)
Su – 60 min easy w/hubs (~6 miles, ~10:00 pace)

 

Okay, not so exciting.  But I did get a couple of quality workouts in!  Total: 33.3 miles.

And the soreness is finally fading!  Last night, my arms felt strong enough to operate a corkscrew.

This 2010 Toasted Head Untamed White is a blend of Viognier (70%), Chardonnay (37%) and just a splash of Moscato (3%).  Very light and brightly flavored with lots of juicy peach!  Very easy to drink and should please those who like a sweeter wine without annoying the palate of those who…well, don’t. Which is to say it’s a nice, fruit-forward wine that’s not at all sticky or cloying.  I happened to be eating a sandwich wrap packed with fresh peaches, honey mustard and Brie while sipping this and it was a perfect combination!

Bottom line: Get it!  A very pleasant and versatile wine at a reasonable price (Purchased at Fresh Market, $10.)

Okay…off to snuggle my new tank top in bed.

(What?  It’s dry from my workout…mostly…)

Well, that worked out well

The dress drama concluded happily today.  I went back to the little boutique where I first went dress shopping return one of the dresses I originally bought, and saw this hot little number hanging on the rack:

It’s freaking perfect.  Done and done.

Also, here’s a better picture of the strapless one from The Limited that I picked up yesterday:

I actually ended up taking back both of the original dresses.  Lesson learned: go with your gut when it comes to what looks good on you and what doesn’t.  I’m short and musculo-curvy and I really don’t think I can pull off tit-curtain-belted-sacks, no matter how cute and trendy they are.

So that’s that.  And because unless we’re talking about skid marks on Tempo shorts, this is the farthest thing from a fashion blog on the planet…so I promise I’m done playing dress up now.  Thanks for all of your help along the way!

Moving along.  Let’s talk about how it feels to go for a run after a week off.

Um…I guess that’s all there is to say about that!  It was both by accident and design that I ended up taking a long stretch of rest days after the Brooklyn Half last weekend.  This week has been crazy busy, and the weather has been shitty, and well…if there’s ever a time to take a little break, it’s after the last long race of the season.

A couple of people have asked if I’m planning on running while on vacation next week.  Yes!  Most definitely!  Nothing too long or hard, but I’m going to try to get out there each morning, even if it’s just a couple of miles.  Gotta do something to flush the previous night’s Mojitos out of my system!  I’m excited to do some beach running and I’m totally packing my Vibrams.

Okay…laundry calls.  Happy Friday night, y’all!

Today’s EAT: I needed to stop for lunch today between meetings.  And at that exact moment, the skies opened up and released a torrent of rain.

So I hit the drive-thru:

I don’t even pretend that I don’t like McDonald’s.  I love McDonald’s.  I think it’s delicious.

But obviously I know it’s crappy for you.  To keep my Mickey D’s splurges from being total gut-bombs, I usually get a happy meal (or, in today’s case, a Mighty Kids Meal.  Two extra nuggets for only $0.60!)

It came with two Batman figures, one of which did not stand up on its own. Lame.

Today’s DRINK: Leftovers from Wednesday night’s party!

Boxed wine on a Friday night.  Classy.

Today’s RUN: On the dreadmill for 40 minutes, which was good for 4.6 miles. Definitely not my favorite, but better than getting struck by lightning!

Today’s QUESTION: Do you have a favorite fast-food splurge?  Mine is definitely McDonald’s fries.  Suck it, Burger King.

Feast in the furnace

Well, I do declare.  It’s hot.

How low can the gas tank go?  I got it down from 29 miles to 11 before I filled ‘er up today.  Life on the edge.

My tank was empty from driving to the beach and back earlier this week!  We had some guests in from out of town and it seemed like a good excuse to explore a part of the state I hadn’t seen yet.

Wrightville Beach is pretty clean and only 90 minutes from Raleigh.  And home to stingrays that play tag!

I’m not sure if “cute” is an appropriate adjective, but those frisky little fellas were fun to watch!

Anyway, it’s freaking hot here and I had a little dinner party to host last night.  I was thrilled that we’d decided to make it a grill-out affair.  Because 96* + hot stove + apartment full of people sounds like a sweaty mess.

And when you’re cooking for a crowd, it’s hard to beat the simplicity of grilled food.  Salt, pepper and a little olive oil provide plenty of flavor once the grill works its magic!  We had steak and shrimp galore:

Asparagus.  Taste it today, smell it when you pee tomorrow!  Bonus.

And for a hearty side dish, I assembled a delicious salad with red quinoa, grapefruit, arugula, apples, walnuts and cubed gouda.

Recipe: Red Quinoa Salad

It was quite a little feast for a random weeknight dinner party.  And no sink full of dishes to deal with!

This week has been a little hectic, what with all of the guests and mini road trips and dinner parties!  I can’t believe it’s almost Friday already.  I’m leaving for that beach wedding/vacation in just a couple of days…yikes! (Oh hey #firstworldproblems.)

I haven’t decided what to wear.  I’m still kinda torn about the orange dress.   The whole tit-curtains/sack-with-a-belt thing….I’m still just not sure about it.

I did snag another little dress on sale at The Limited today…

Love the cut.  Not entirely sure about the print (in general I like it, but it’s not exactly beachy.)

Gah.  Now I’m even more conflicted.

Can I just wear my adorable new swimsuit to the ceremony?

From WHBM.  On sale, too.  LOVE.  I cannot wait to spill fruity tropical drinks all over it while getting sloppy at the pool bar at 10 AM.

And here’s a fruity tropical drink for you, too, if you made it through this completely random and discombobulated post!  I promise, I’ll be back to whining about my track splits soon.

Cheers!

HALP PLZ

God, I never thought I would do this on my blog.

But whatever.  I don’t have many lady friends here, so….

Do we like Dress A…

…or Dress B?

B actually has these odd cut out sleeves…I tried to get a picture but the flash attacked me:

(B would also need a different belt.)

Neither of these is actually the dress I had in mind when I stopped by the store today.  That dress (which was a hot one-shoulder number that made my waist look the size of a freaking pixy stick) was apparently sold out.  Bummer, but my fault…I should have bought it when I first saw it.  It’s a small local boutique and it’s not like they can just order more from the Old Banana Gap warehouse.

Anyway, the sales girl talked me in to trying on both of these.  I never, ever would have picked them out on my own, just seeing them on the hanger.  I’ve never done the whole belted-shift-tunic thing.  (Because why buy a freaking pillowcase and put an belt around it when you can just buy a dress that already has a waist?  I like waists.  Waists are flattering.  Pillowcase dresses, or tit curtains as the inimitable Maddox called them, are not.)

But I tried them.  And I kind of liked them.  And I couldn’t even decide which one I liked better and they were fairly inexpensive so I bought both.

So, what say you, readers?  Which dress should curtain my tits at this wedding next month?  A, B, or neither?  You can be honest, I’ve got my big girl panties on and I can take it!

(If it matters, and I’m sure it probably does, it’s a beach wedding.  It’ll be held as an upscale resort but in my mind that still means a little more casual than the average outdoor wedding.  The hubs is an usher and he’s been instructed to wear khaki-colored dress pants and a blazer, but no tie, if that helps.)

And then also: what shoes do I wear with these?  When I was whining about shoes earlier this week many of you suggested wedges, which I think would work here?  Or maybe cute sandal-flats of some sort?  But I’m only 5’3″ and I don’t want to be too stumpy?

HALP.

Today’s EAT: Continuing my no-cooking streak, I ordered pizza for dinner tonight.

And not even good pizza.  Chain pizza.  From a place that rhymes with Pete’s a Slut.  Because that’s all that delivers here.  I miss NYC.

Today’s DRINK: We have a little beer swap thingy going at work, and one of my co-workers passed this on to me:

I’ve been sipping this Founder’s Centennial IPA for an hour and a half now.  I’m digging it!  The flavor is bold and heavy on the citrus and pine, but totally drinkable if you like IPAs.  Which I definitely do!  7.2% ABV.

Today’s RUN: No speed-work, but I did get some decent mileage in.  I ran a little on my own then headed over to the store to meet some people and logged a few more miles before running back home.  Total: 8.5 miles.

Today’s QUESTION:  ZOMG WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

Those are not wedding appropriate

Staring at my half of our closet today, it occurred to me that I have not purchased any non-athletic footwear since…um, 2009?

I have two weddings to go to this summer and I’m already slightly dreading the attire selection process.  I have one nice dress that I bought about a year and a half ago, but at this point I think I’ve worn it to one too many weddings.  People are starting to recognize it, I’m sure.  It’s the same group of friends in attendance, for the most part.

So I’ve pretty much decided I’m going to get an (inexpensive) new dress for this next one.  I even have my eye on one.

But shoes?  I just have no idea.  What are the kids wearing these days?  Halp.

In the spirit of getting rid of the old to make room for the new, I decided to tackle this disaster tonight:

Oy.  No one needs twenty-plus pairs of running shoes.  Although many are freebies obtained through running-store employment, and from being a wear tester for Brooks, it’s still rather ridiculous.   So I combed through the pile and chucked several old pairs in a bag to take to the recycle bin at work.

And then I thought it would be fun to share a few of the newer additions with you guys!  (Running shoe nerd alert.)

Mizuno Wave Rider 14

(M 10.6 oz, W 8.7 oz, retail $100)

I want to love this shoe so badly.  I love that it’s relatively lightweight.  I love that it’s not squishy.  I love that the ride is a little stiffer, but still flexible enough to feel the ground below.  I love the no-nonsense design.

But…it’s just a little too narrow for my foot.  And the high collar gets all up in my ankle bone’s business.  (I mean, seriously?  Even though we are in the heart of boat-shoe country here, I’m not about to let my husband wear popped collars, and I don’t like my running shoes to sport ’em either.)  I hope they lower the profile of the upper a little next time they update this shoe.  A lot of people have complained about this, so I have to think they will.

Overall, though, I think it’s a great shoe and will continue to use it for shorter distances.  My foot is just a little too fat to put up with the narrower cut over longer stuff, though.

Brooks Launch:

(M 9.3 oz, W 7.5 oz, retail $90)

I actually picked these up at the Chicago Marathon expo last year.

But I haven’t worn them very much.

Because I don’t really care for them.  I’d hoped they’d be a good lightweight trainer for tempo runs and racing shoe for longer races, but they’re just too damn squishy.  I am not a squishy-cushion person and the Launch just feels too much like a pair of bedroom slippers.  I’ve relegated them to a recovery-day shoe and they work fine for that purpose, but…meh.  It’s not like I need an entire shoe dedicated to three-mile shakeout slogs.

Compared to my regular trainers, the Ghosts, the Launch weighs in almost two ounces lighter but they honestly don’t feel like they do.  I want a lightweight trainer to give me a little feeling of the road beneath me and keep me up on my forefoot.  The Launch does the opposite, with its thick cushioning, especially in the heel.

Marshmallows.  Good for S’Mores.  Bad (for me) for running shoes.

Brooks ST5 Racer:

(M 8.6 oz, these are unisex so there’s no standard W weight, but they’re light.  Probably 6.X.  Retail $90.)

Crisco-coated blue shoelaces of death!  Yep, that’s the sucker that came untied – in spite of the fact that it was triple knotted – during my race on Saturday.

That issue aside, I adore this shoe.  I had the ST5’s predecessor, the ST4, and literally wore them until the bottoms were smooth.  It feels like a true racing flat (and it is!) but I don’t grow weary of it as quickly as I would a waffle flat.  I have worn this shoe (the older model) in distances from a 5K up to a half marathon and it’s been great all the way.

I love that the updated model is this sweet orange color, too.  If I’m not going to run fast, as least I can look like I should be running fast.

And if I have to swap out the laces so they’ll stay tied, that’s no biggie.

New Balance 890:

(M 9.7 oz, W 7.6 oz, retail $100)

New Balance has been hyping this brand-new addition to their line for months.  And it looks like the sort of thing that would coast by on its good looks.  I admit, I was skeptical.

And I’ve only run in them a couple of times so far, but…I’m going to tentatively say that I actually really like this shoe.

They’re not as light as I thought they’d be.  I was thinking they’d be Kinvara-like, but they’re more substantial than that.  The collar is nice and low around the ankle, the upper is utilitarian in spite of its stylish look, and they’ve got just enough cushion to give a little bounce, but still allow you to connect with the ground.  I could see making these an everyday-rotation trainer…ooh, Ghost, might be time to get a little scared!

Shoes that are recycle-bin-bound:

  • Two worn-down pairs of Brooks Ghost 3
  • One worn-down pair of prototype Brooks Ghost 4 (cannot wait for this shoe to come out!)
  • Two well-loved pairs of Brooks Adrenaline 11 (even though I don’t really need the stability, I still think this is an awesome shoe and love it almost as much as I love my Ghosts!)
  • My old Brooks ST4 Racers (RIP, you guys did me good)
  • A pair of Adidas Ride Something-or-others that was a freebie that I never really got in to
  • A pair of Nike Span 6 from like three years ago (I don’t know why I still had these)

So that shoe bin is now only slightly overflowing.  I think I’ve done well.

And I totally think I deserve to buy a new pair of fun, non-running shoes for this summer.  Right?

Um, seriously…any suggestions on that?  I feel like I am so out of the loop on this stuff.  Slightly dressy sandals for a pair of outdoor summer weddings?  That don’t have ankle straps or loops, because my legs don’t need any help looking stumpy?

And are we sure that my sweet orange ST5 racers won’t go well with a cocktail dress?  Sigh.  Because they really are awesome.  And they’d make trips to and from the open bar much more efficient.