Friday 5: 5 Gift Ideas for Runners

The holiday season is officially upon us! Meaning I can finally listen to holiday music (who am I kidding – I’ve already started) and start decorating and baking!

That means it’s also time for holiday shopping. As someone who likes to run, I consider myself easy to shop for this holiday season. When in doubt- just get me something running related! (or baking or cooking related … but that’s another list for another time:) ) Here are some thoughts on some gifts for every runner in your life.

Their Favorite Pair of Shoes

Runners go through a lot of shoes – and we often aren’t that great about replacing them. So why not get him (or her) a pair of her favorite shoes before she needs them? I personality swap out Nike shoes with Saucony Rides. I’m currently wearing Saucony Ride 6s but the 7s are super cute as well aren’t they?

The newest Saucony Rides

b and i at packet pickup rnr savannah half marathon

Current Saucony Rides (yes, that’s a pic from our Savannah race and there’s a beer between my shoes)


PRO Compression Socks

I was lucky enough to be given a pair of PRO Compression socks to try out and I’m hooked. Seriously hooked. I wear these socks anytime my shin is bothering me even if I’m not working out (yes, even to work! I hide them underneath boots).

PRO Compression socks sticking out of my boots - see, I wear them to work too :)

PRO Compression socks sticking out of my boots – see, I wear them to work too 🙂

 

I’ve been known to wear my marathon socks on long carrides, on long runs, over my spandex in the winter to keep warm (sometimes my leggings reveal my ankles and if I wear these knee high socks I don’t get cold ankles!), and more.

Winter-ready with PRO Compression socks (and Yaktraks!)

Winter-ready with PRO Compression socks (and Yaktraks! See # 5 on this list)

Not familiar with compression socks? They’re a runners’ best friend (well one of her bffs). According to PRO Compression, “True graduated compression promotes circulation by pushing fluid up from your feet and ankles to toward your knees. This design also helps reduce swelling and inflamation while providing critical support to muscles and tendons.” All I know is that when I’m feeling sore or tired, I really believe these socks help.

Wearing my new black PRO Compression socks during my recent Turkey Trot

Wearing my new black PRO Compression socks during my recent Turkey Trot

Buying some PRO Compression socks? Enter the code PINK2 at checkout for a 40% discount through December 15! If you’re running any holiday races be sure to check out the fun holiday-themed socks they have too!

Rocking my neon PRO Compression socks with shorts at a race this summer

Rocking my neon PRO Compression socks with shorts at a race this summer

 

Some Reading Material (like a subscription to a running magazine or a few running books)

It took me years to finally “splurge” and buy a subscription to Runners World magazine – and only after my niece was selling magazines for a school fundraiser. But I love the magazine and would’ve gladly taken it as a gift! Same with running books – I love What I Talk About When I Talk About Running but have heard great things about Born to Run, Running Like A Girl, Marathon Man and so many more books.

     

 

 

Arm Candy – an Activity Monitor and/or GPS watch

Runners like stats. We like to know how many miles we’ve run, how many minutes we’ve been active, average pace, steps taken, and so on – during and outside our workouts. I personally have been wanting a Fitbit and a Garmin for more than a year now but saw that the new Fitbit Surge is coming out next year which looks like a great solution for a runner who wants a Fitbit plus a GPS watch in one. Now the hard part – do I wait for the Surge to come out to wait for reviews and see what it looks like? OR just get the traditional Fitbit I’ve been wanting that’s stylish but doesn’t provide my mileage/GPS needs?

Which fitbit should I get?

Winter Running Gear

If you’re in my part of the country (midwest and northeast, depending on when you read this post), it’s starting to get cold, snowy and well, sometimes it’s tough to get out for a run. Do you want to know a secret? Cute and comfortable winter running gear! When I know I have warm (and fun) clothing to put on it’s so much better! Some of my favorites?

A running vest. B got me a running vest a few years ago for Christmas and it’s been one of my favorite pieces of my running wardrobe ever since. It has zip away sleeves (so it’s also a jacket!), three zipper pockets and is waterproof. I will wear this thing until it wears itself thin.

A bright running jacket/pullover. If you’re running outside in the winter and you have a day job, chances are you’re running in the dark. It’s dark in the morning and dark at night. One way to combat this? A bright colored running jacket. See the above photo for my obnoxiously bright yellow warm running pullover. Bonus points if it has thumb hole sleeves and a zipper pocket for keys!

Running gloves. I’ve actually found that those $5 gloves found at every single drug store/dollar store/convenience store does the trick unless it’s reallly cold. Plus, I don’t feel bad if I lose one or need to throw them away during a race.

For $4/pair, you can wear these only a few times and still feel good about the purchase! Plus you can text – or check your nike+ app on your phone – with them on!

YakTraks or other winter running shoe gear. Snow can’t keep you indoors all winter; that’s why I’m so glad I purchased YakTraks last year. I just pull them over my shoes and poof – they’re good to go in the snow and ice! I found the Yaktrax Pro work really well and I don’t feel nervous that I’m going to slip and fall during a run. Plus they look kinda cool – don’t they? Oh hey, this photo shows you my Yaktraks, PRO Compression socks AND a bright colored pullover:

Wearing my PRO Compression socks over my spandex

Wearing my PRO Compression socks over my spandex

Okay, I know I added more than 5 because of all the sub-gift ideas in the last category. But come on – there are just so many ways to make the runner in your life have a happy holiday season!

Some questions for you (answer in the comments):

  • Runners, what did I miss? What would you add?
  • Have you done any holiday shopping yet? Not yet … yikes, but I guess it’s time to get started!
  • Tell me the truth – when did you start listening to holiday music? Do you wait until after Thanksgiving?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links AND I received a complimentary pair of PRO Compression socks to review. Still, all thoughts are my own in the post. I loved PRO Compression even before they sent me a pair of socks 🙂 I don’t have relationships with any of the other brands in this post, I just love them all!

Another Carnoski Thanksgiving in NY and Cleveland

I really love this time of year. I love the food, the holiday music, the traditions, etc. But really, I just love seeing my family. B and I swap Thanksgivings, spending pretty much every other holiday with my family, and this was one of the years we spent in New York so I got to see my family and friends.

A few highlights from my Thanksgiving:

A few homemade meals (I still love my mom’s cooking):

Chicken with mozzarella and spinach

Chicken with mozzarella and spinach

Quinoa with Apples and Pecans - i crashed the web

Quinoa with Apples and Pecans – recipe here!

A scenic train ride into New York City:

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Walking around the city with B and then dinner with one of my bffs, Jane:

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Sorry, no food pics (it didn't come out) but we enjoyed an awesome Mediterranean meal!

Sorry, no food pics (it didn’t come out) but we enjoyed an awesome Mediterranean meal!

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge with B:

halfway up the bridge!

halfway across the bridge!

Our approach from Brooklyn

Our approach from Brooklyn

Sushi with my parents:

Does anyone know what the raw egg on top of the fish on the top left is ? It was amazing...

Does anyone know what the raw egg on top of the fish on the top left is? It was amazing…

A surprise day-before-Thanksgiving Noreaster – so pretty! (it had been 70 in the city the day before!)

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A Thanksgiving morning 5k and a too brief reunion with my other bff, Melgar:

<3 the two Melissas

❤ the two Melissas before the Turkey Trot (with matching headbands of course)

Melgar's husband, B and me post-run

Melgar’s husband, Jon, B and me post-run

Me and Melgar and her sister with our medals!

Me and Melgar and her sister with our medals!

Thanksgiving dinner with family

so many appetizers!

so many appetizers!

Family picture <3

Family picture ❤

Post-Thanksgiving Chinese (What does this fortune even mean?!)

I have no idea ...

I have no idea …

B’s family’s post-Thanksgiving celebration – annual bowling tournament

B - the bowling all star (he made it into the finals this year!)

B – the bowling all star (he made it into the finals this year!)

Cousins-in-law!

Cousins-in-law!

Final score of my best round - 81!

Final score of my best round – 81!

And made it back to Cleveland just in time to catch the end of Winterfest and the lighting of downtown!

Love the Christmas music, the tree and chandelier lighting and all the people!

Love the Christmas music, the tree and chandelier lighting and all the people!

fireworks and a tree lighting

fireworks and a tree lighting

Okay, off to listen to some Christmas tunes (finally!!!!!) and get into the holiday spirit. Only a few weeks until Christmas!

 

Some questions for you:

  • Did you do a Turkey Trot?
  • How do you spend Thanksgiving? What’s a fun tradition you have?
  • Do you wait until after Thanksgiving to listen to holiday tunes?

Meatless Monday: Quinoa with Apples and Pecans

Happy Monday! How was your Thanksgiving holiday? Did you overdose on stuffing, turkey, pie, and so much more good stuff?

I certainly did. I mean, it’s only natural, right? Thanksgiving for me means food, family and friends – and a lot of all three, if possible. So now that I’m back to work and back from a Carnoski celebration (my family AND B’s), I’m ready to get back in the groove. Back into relatively healthy eating (with room for plenty of dessert added in as well 🙂 ), including plenty of veggies and a few meatless meals. So in honor of the first Monday after Thanksgiving, I wanted to share with you a meal my mom and I made when I was in New York last week. She had copied this recipe out of a recipe book and we made a few tweaks and I really liked it. So today, I bring you Quinoa with Apples and Pecans!

Quinoa with Apples and Pecans - i crashed the web

Quinoa with Apples and Pecans

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 green apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 c toasted, chopped pecans
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme

Here’s what you do:

  1. Melt 1 Tablespoon butter over a pot (you can use the same pot throughout –  use this for quinoa later so make sure it’s big enough) on medium to medium-high heat. Add in diced apple and sugar and cook until apple is lightly browned. Make sure heat is high enough so apple starts to brown and doesn’t just get mushy. Remove apple from bowl and set aside – or even better, add it to your bowl of toasted pecans.
  2. Reduce the heat somewhat and add remaining butter. Once butter melts, add in the chopped onion  and cook until onion is translucent and just starts to brown.
  3. Add the quinoa and toast for several minutes until starts to smell somewhat nutty (about 3ish minutes). Add in vegetable broth and bring quinoa and onion to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until quinoa is softened and broth has reduced, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the cover and increase heat to medium and continue to cook quinoa until the broth has pretty much evaporated, about another 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in apples and pecans. Add in thyme and parsley and serve!

Some suggested variations:

  • Add chickpeas, cannelloni beans or another bean for additional protein
  • Like more fruit in your quinoa? Add in dried cranberries, blueberries or dried cherries as well at the end
  • Serve quinoa over a salad, such as kale or spinach greens.
  • Add in some cheese! I think it would be great with a soft cheese like goat, or even a gouda. Yum!

 

Quinoa with Apples and Pecans - i crashed the web

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like fruit in your salads?
  • How do you get “back in the groove” after the holidays?
  • What would you add to this dish? Or serve it with?