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Okay, so I love gadgets but I hate wasting money. I have found some things that I LOVE, some that didn't work for me, and I am still looking for the perfect solution to some of my frustrations...
In the interest of saving my friends some time, frustration, and money I am going to try to review some of my favorite things. If you find something that is AWESOME then please share the secret to the rest of us!
I LOVE compression gear!! Once you get used to it...how awesome is it that it helps you jiggle less? Add to that the recovery benefits and it seems to be a win/win. So, here are my favorite running pants, bike shorts, and socks.
CW-X Women's Pro Running Tights:
I love these! Make sure you read the instructions for how to put them on correctly. After a few tries you will be a pro and love the support it provides through your long days. I have started wearing these even for my short races because I love the way they feel. The only cons I have found is they are too expensive to have enough pairs...and they still have seams in the crotch. Why do companies not make athlete gear without seams in between the legs??
Make sure to check the version you are getting so that it matches with the support you need (bone versus muscle). I have these in capris and in full length. Very happy girl! UPDATE: As your bike skills improve your calf muscles get bigger...this can be a little annoying with the capris at the start of your run but I soon forget it and keep running.
Louis Garneau Neo Power Fit Bike Shorts:
I am still looking at bike shorts but they are too expensive on my pennies budget to try many. So far these are my favorite ones. 2015 UPDATE: These are STILL my favorites. They come in two different lengths and they hold up great!
They are compression with a very long inseam, gripper at the bottom that doesn't cause sausage legs, and a great chamois pad. Everyone recommended to order a size bigger and I did. The waist band is not constricting at all! They hold up well and I have worn them comfortably on several 100+ mile rides.
CEP Compression Socks:
I only wear compression socks for my longer runs (8 miles plus). I love this brand. Again, as with the compression pants the key is reading the instructions to learn how to put these on. If you master turning them inside out and rolling them on then they are easy to get on and off. I really feel that they have helped my IT band issues and faster recovery. I have also worn them for recovery after my marathons and my iron distance race.
Louis Garneau Tri X-Lite Cycling Shoes:
Another Garneau product I love. Fortunately these have less UGA colors! I love how light these are, the two soles to use for winter/summer, the single velcro strap, and the back hook. The single velcro strap has a little flap to use to hold the shoes open in transition so that it is easier for you to slide your foot in. The hook on the back is perfect to pull the shoe on/off. So far I have worn these for 56 miles without socks (working on faster transitions) without issues. I did add some body glide to potential rubbing spots on my heel. I also wore these in my first iron distance race.
aquaman bionik Wetsuit:
I love this wetsuit for cold water swims. It is warm (I felt great during the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon waters of 56 degrees F). It is comfortable and not too tight in the neck area. My favorite part...the zipper. This is their Express Opening System. Most wetsuits have zippers that are at the neck when closed. This drives me INSANE during the swim. This suit is setup with the zipper at your waist when closed so no neck annoyance and it is ergonomically easy to unzip in transition during a race...when stripping out of it quickly is important. LOVE IT!
I have mastered zipping this up on my own but if you are single then this is your PERFECT opportunity to ask some super hot fellow competitor to zip you up!
I have now worn this at 3 races (Escape From Alcatraz, Ironman Timberman 70.3, and Beach2Battleship). I would also like a sleeveless version for those races where the water temperature is borderline.
Do NOT forget to put on your RoadID or whatever version of ID you prefer. In the event of an accident you want the EMS to be able to treat you quickly, to identify you, and to contact your family. This simple ID saves lives. Do yourself a favor and protect yourself!
Take some time to read my article on why EVERYONE should wear a RoadID!
Giro Air Attack Shield Helmet:
I finally broke down and got an aero helmet. I had heard enough about how it was the best bang for your buck (after an excellent bike fitting and good coach) that you could get. I was riding with a mountain bike helmet...kinda not cool. This helmet is AWESOME! The shield is held on by three VERY strong magnets. One warning I have is that if you have an aerobar water bottle with a tube that sticks up...watch out! I almost knocked the shield off when I looked down quickly at my pedals during a race. I only wear this for races since I don't really need to be super aero during training. I am convinced I am a badass wearing it!
Headsweats Hats and Visors:
These are THE bomb!! Yes, our heads sweat and yes these hats and visors help to catch that sweat. They are also super comfortable and durable. I have washed mine (in the washer) many times and they still look great. They are cool and "cool" at the same time. I highly recommend these!