My Under Armour Spine Review, Plus a Little Something For YOU!

At the end of last year, I was contacted by Under Armour (eeek!) to review their Women’s Spine RPM Running Shoe.

(I know, I know, don’t judge a book by it’s cover color) I was in love from the start when I excitedly opened the box delivered promptly to my doorstop and saw these beauties-

I have always wanted a pair of brightly colored shoes so I was excited from the start to try the Spine, which also includes these awesome Under Armour features:

  • Built to log some serious miles
  • Lightweight, seamless upper delivers support at mid and forefoot for unrivaled comfort
  • Unique UA Spine chassis delivers the ultimate in lightweight structure mile after mile
  • Ultra-lightweight Micro G® foam midsole turns cushioned landings into explosive takeoffs
  • Full length molded sockliner and collar conform to your foot for customized fit
  • Provides cushioned comfort and is lightweight at only 7.375 oz.

I was hesitant about these shoes at first because they indeed felt like next to nothing on my feet-

I ran a few 3-4 mile runs in these shoes and really liked the way they felt on my foot. They were lightweight and ultra comfortable. I found my foot was fully supported and I have to admit, I felt fast in the Spine (it must be the color because I am all but fast). The only trouble I had with them was keeping the laces tied because they are kind of silky, and I eventually double-knotted them to keep them tied so if that bothers you, you may want to change the laces or tie them a different way.

I will also say this shoe seems to run a little large. I usually wear a size 9.5 in running shoes and actually ordered the same size, but ended up exchanging them for a smaller size (9). I was impressed with Under Armour’s customer service, they were helpful when I called to check on the status of my return and I did not have to wait on hold at all. They emailed me once the return was processed and when it shipped again.

I normally would not think of Under Armour for running shoes, but after wearing the Women’s Spine, they are a top contender in my book. I would purchase and wear their shoes again. Since I have heard you should have training shoes and racing shoes, I think I will keep the Spine for racing since I like the color (and don’t want to get it too dirty in the winter slush) and the speed (although it may be perceived) that comes with them! Overall, I really like this shoe.

After processing my return, Under Armour was kind enough to send me a gift card for the difference in price from the time they were ordered. I am passing that on to you! The card totals $21.35 and is redeemable online at and at any of the Under Armour Factory House or Under Armour Owned Specialty Store locations. All of the store locations can be found HERE.

Be sure to enter by March 17, 2013 when the giveaway ends and the winner will be announced here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until the next mile marker,

Thank you to Under Armour for providing me with a pair of the Women’s Spine RPM Running Shoe for review in exchange for my honest opinions. I was not compensated for this review or giveaway. I was given a gift card by Under Armour after making an exchange in shoe sizes and have chosen to give the gift card away to one of my readers. Winner will be announced via Rafflecopter at the time this giveaway closes. Thank you for entering!

My Favorite Things: Winter 2012 Edition

It hasn’t felt like winter here the past few days. This weekend, it was near 70 degrees, which is usually unheard of in Columbus this time of year. Yesterday it poured most of the afternoon and cooler weather settled in, but I’m not complaining because it could have been snow! I don’t like cold weather so I would be happy if the entire winter stayed like this, but I don’t think that is going to happen – it is Ohio, after all. Still, a non-white Christmas would be just fine with me.

So, even though it may not feel like winter, welcome to the Winter 2012 Edition of my favorite things. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Old Navy Moccasin/Sherpa Lined Shoes

These were only $19.99 at Old Navy and came in a variety of colors – brown, back, glittery, neon pink, navy, sequined, etc. I love them. They are surprisingly comfortable and really warm (okay, so I kind of wish it was colder here so I could wear them). I saw similar shoes at Target too, if you don’t have an Old Navy where you are. Perfect for winter!

Spoiled Steel the Show Nail Polish by Wet n Wild

Just about the time I decided to stop biting my nails and grow them out, I also decided to work in a winery and be really hard on them. I found that keeping polish on them is the only way to keep from biting them and I also found that it is hard to find polish to stay on when I am constantly dealing with water and chemicals. I picked up a bottle of Spoiled Nail Polish at CVS for something like $2.99 because I liked the color and it has turned out to be the best nail polish I have ever owned. It rarely chips, never peels, and I can wear it for about ten days with only minor touch ups and re-application of top coat periodically. Love this – get some!

The Retro Metro Tote by Thirty One Gifts

I may have found the perfect tote (which kind of turned into an everyday bag for me because I lug around so much stuff). I have the Patchwork Paisley and I love it. It is loaded with pockets inside and out, making it an ideal bag to carry everything you need – laptop, books, notebooks or you could even use it as a gym bag. With Thirty One, you can also get it personalized. I really like this bag when I need to carry more than a few things and can’t wait to see what the new spring colors are. It is $62 and Thirty One offers regular specials and discounts so find your local consultant to learn more.

AwesomeNote Lite iPhone App

I go back and forth between using an electronic/online calendar and a paper planner. I love to write things down and sometimes carry multiple notebooks (and pens) with me at one time, however, I also love the convenience of having everything in my iPhone since I use it all the time anyway for communicating, social media and blogging. With my iChameleons case, I can literally grab my phone and my keys and have everything I need, especially now that I downloaded the free AwesomeNote app. It has everything and so far, I have been using it instead of a paper calendar. It syncs with your Gmail or iPhone calendar and has a quick note place where you can type or use your finger to write a quick note, which appeals to my note-taking side. You can also create folders and different note layouts to keep in the app. I can keep track of appointments quickly directly from my email with the quick calendar feature too. So far, so good!

Homemade Cinnamon & Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

While I am not supposed to be overdoing it with seeds, these have been a nice treat this fall. My mother-in-law made them. They are lightly spiced so the Cinnamon is not overpowering, but just enough to put a smile on your face. 🙂 The recipe is pretty simple-

Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

  • Take the seeds out of the pumpkin and let dry overnight. Remove any leftover pumpkin skins.
  • Put Cinnamon and Sugar to taste in a large (gallon-size) Ziploc bag to your tastes and shake the desired amount of seeds in the mixture.
  • Add about 1/4 cup melted butter to the mixture and shake well to coat.
  • Put the coated seeds on a baking sheet in one layer.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let cool and enjoy!

Camelot Cellars Hot Mulled Wine

A large number of holiday wine drinks in this country stem from the spiced wine tradition of northern Europe. Mulled wine is a term used to describe wine, usually of a red variety, infused with spices and served warm. Serving mulled wine is prominent throughout Europe and has been served there and elsewhere during the winter for centuries. It is traditionally sold by street vendors during cold weather and also during holiday celebrations. It was made popular by author Charles Dickens in his short story A Christmas Carol and was infamously referenced in the holiday cinema classic It’s A Wonderful Life. A traditional favorite in colder locations, mulled wine goes well with the various celebrations that come around the end of the year. The mulled wine we are serving at Camelot is specially made with Australian Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend and simmered with fruits and spices –such as citrus and cinnamon –to create a delicate balance of warm and spicy flavors that many proclaim is the best they have tasted. The wine is a deep red in color and delivers a savory aroma from the moment you enter the winery. Mulled wine has become a favorite during the winter months because of its warming qualities and if you have the opportunity to try some – make sure you do!

Surprise Care Packages that feature Key West Green with Envy Jalapeno Key Line Hot Sauce

Send me hot sauce and we are friends for life! 😉 I’m only joking (kind-of). The wonderful Stephanie over at Kitchen Kilometers sent me a surprise care package with some goodies that meet all of my dietary restrictions. Thank you, Stephanie – it made my week and you are so kind to do so! The Jalapeno Key Lime Hot Sauce is fantastic and would go perfectly with any Mexican dish. I can’t wait to try it on eggs. It is hot, but also savory because of the jalapenos, which are not overpowered by the hotness. So. Good. If you don’t read Steph’s blog, you should. She is a constant source of inspiration to me!

What are your favorite things right now? Is there anything you can’t live without? Have you tried any of these products for yourself? Let me know in the comments!

Until the next mile marker,

Pace Points: You’re ready to run, now what should you wear?

I’m getting really excited because this Saturday is the kick-off of the Marathoner In Training (MIT) 2012 Winter/Spring Session! If you’re new to my blog and don’t know, MIT is my passion! It was created here in Columbus in 2000 by a group of individuals who wanted to pursue their passion for running. Since then, MIT has grown to become one of America’s foremost leaders in endurance training. Today, MIT utilizes 45 dedicated coaches and trains runners and walkers from all levels of experience towards the successful completion of their goal race. MIT is not just for marathon training, whether your goal is a 5K, half or full marathon or even a multi-sport event, MIT will provide comprehensive training in a supportive atmosphere that will enable you to meet your goals and make plenty of friends along the way.

I trained with MIT in the summer of 2009 and went from being inactive to completing my first half marathon with my friend and training buddy Chrissy. Since then, I have made countless friends and companions through MIT, some of who have helped carry me though one of the darkest times in my life. Now, running has become my lifestyle and the people I train with have become my family.

I can’t wait to welcome all of the new faces (and welcome back the old) at our first workout on Saturday! This year, I am once again coaching the 13 minute per mile group with co-coaches Duane and Judi. We have a lot of great things in store for our runners, and I know I will have awesome stories to share with you.

Part of my job as a Pace Coach is to help newer runners find and navigate the wealth of information that exists about running and answer questions. I also hope to blog about some of this information in hopes that it can offer advice to my readers and followers.

So, without further ado, let’s get this thing going!

One of the most common questions asked by cold-weather runners is what to wear for your workout. Below are some tips that I have found helpful to dressing smart for wintery workouts.

One of the most important things to remember is not to overdress. Even though it is going to get cold outside and snowy, you should keep in mind to dress as of it is 15 – 20 degrees warmer outside than it actually is. You should be a little chilly outside when you first start running. If you are hot before you even leave the house or take a step, you are overdressed. A lot of mornings, I will get dressed to run and then take my dogs out. If I am warm just walking to the yard, I have on too much!

To stay warm and dry in winter weather conditions, be sure to dress in layers of breathable fabrics. Do not wear cotton – it is not breathable and holds in moisture. When you sweat, the moisture stays against skin, potentially making you uncomfortable and cold. Instead, you want to wear what are referred to as technical fabrics. These are breathable fabrics that wick perspiration and moisture away from the skin. You should look for fabrics that are 100% Polyester or otherwise described as “wicking” or “technical.”

It is also important to dress in thin layers. This allows moisture to be removed from the bottom layers and away from the skin, keeping you warm and dry. Dressing in layers also allows for freedom of movement when you are running and you can remove the outer layers if you do get too warm. In terms of the top half of your body, the minimalist approach is the way to go, especially with milder temperatures like we have been experiencing. For example, you may wear a long sleeve technical shirt and then a windbreaker or similar running jacket. You can find technical fabrics at specialty running shops or regular department stores like Target, Old Navy and Kohls. Champion makes a good, inexpensive technical line with a variety of styles that you can experiment with if you are just starting out. In terms of the bottom half, leggings or tights can be beneficial because they are not too suffocating and allow for increased freedom of movement. I have a pair of Brooks thermal running pants if it is going to be extremely cold outside. You do not generally need to layer up on pants because it can be cumbersome. Keep in mind to look for technical bottoms as well.

Also, don’t neglect your feet! I highly recommend getting fitted at a specialty running shop for footwear. I shop at Fleet Feet Columbus. Generally, a running store staff is experienced at assessing your gait, pronation and running form to fit you in a pair of shoes that will keep you not only running comfortable, but help to keep you running injury-free. In addition, you should wear technical (non-cotton!) socks to keep your feet warm and dry when running through snow and water. You should not double up on wearing socks, which can cause chaffing and blistering. Ladies, I have also found it beneficial to get fitted for a sports bra, which most running shops can also do.

You may also want to wear a light pair of gloves; many runners prefer the fingerless type so they can still use their hands without too much hassle.  I found fingerless gloves at Target in the dollar bin and bought a bunch of pairs. It’s great because I tend to lose them or ruin them and for $1, I don’t have to worry about it.

A hat, ball cap or headband that covers your ears is also beneficial in winter weather to keep you warm and keep moisture out of your face and eyes. In the case of extreme cold (less than 40 degrees) be sure to cover your head with a breathable hat and wear gloves because you lose most of your body heat through your extremities. If it is windy, you may want to invest in a neck gator to keep the wind off your face. You can also put Vaseline on your skin (around your mouth, nose and cheeks) to keep from wind chafing.

As with many topics in running, it’s all about what works for you! Try different things during your various runs to find the combination of clothing and footwear that you prefer.

Happy winter running, friends!

Until the next mile marker,