Search Results for: pack vacation

Have you ever traveled for a race or need an extra suitcase for the mountains of running gear you brought to continue your training during a vacation?

That’s the theme of this week’s Tuesdays on the Run, hosted by MCM Mama Runs, My No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice to encourage runners to connect and find new runner bloggers.

We camp a lot and we’ve taken a couple of nice trips — including a cruise and a visit to Tucson, Ariz. — since I started running, so I’ve learned a few things about what to bring. Here are my favorites:

  1. Be flat.  Just because I’ve forgotten to pack key things like my running shoes or favorite socks before (face palm!), I now always lay out all of my clothes and gear the night before. I’m talking about everything I’m going to need on race day or on a long run — from my head to my toes. I’m talking about fuel. Water bottles. Hair ties. Bra. Top and bottoms. Jacket(s). Water belt and all of the things I carry with me because I just can’t live without any of it. Take a picture and share with some friends who are experienced runners. They will point out things you may not have thought about (Body Glide comes to mind) before it’s too late.
  2. Double duty. My favorite tip is to pack things for your trip that you can wear for both sight-seeing and running. I’m looking at you Skirt Sports! I already wear my Skirt Sports gear during the weekend and while camping. They have gear you can wear for all types of weather, including tops, running bras and bottoms (from shorts to running skirts to capris and long pants). Since I’m going to stink it up while running anyway, I just wear the same clothes the next day for my run. IMG_4685 (1)
    Skirt on the Glory And even though I have to undo and re-tie my laces (thanks TSA!), I wear my running shoes to travel in because they’re so bulky.
  3. Wash and wear. Tech fabrics are easy to hand wash in the sink and hang to dry. There’s something magical about them that causes them to be dry by the next day if you wring them out really well and hang them on a clothes hanger so that the fabric doesn’t touch. I turn my Skirt Sports bottoms up-side-down and clip the shorts underneath with skirt hangers to make the process go quicker.
  4. Go commando. Most running bottoms have some sort of a built-in panty or brief. No sense in getting more clothes dirty. Be free while running.
  5. Roll it up. Tech fabrics barely wrinkle so they’re also prime for rolling up in your suitcase or bag. That way, they take up a whole lot less room. I also roll my socks and hair bands and stick them in my shoes or jacket pockets.
  6. SmartWool socks. If you’re not already wearing them, buy them. Now. They are super comfortable, no matter the temperature, and they will not stink. I wear them multiple times, air them out and wear them again.

Ever since I started doing all of these things, I’ve been able to save some room in my bags and know that I will arrive at my destination with everything I need. There’s a lot to be said for planning and for being creative so that you remove one more thing from the things to stress about before your run.

Do you have any tips for packing for a destination? Have you ever forgotten anything when you packed?

Disclosure: I am a Skirt Sports embassador captain. That means I get a generous discount and gear to wear test. That all said, all opinions are my own.

Got to enjoy the Carnival Glory all of last week, with stops in St. Marteen, my motherland of Puerto Rico and Grand Turk. It was a blast.

I won’t bore you with tons of pictures of me snorkeling, eating Chocolate Melting Cake or sitting pool-side, but I will tell you that I got to run three times on the ship’s track for about 45 minutes each time. It was, well, glorious.

Between those runs and today’s run on the Michigan State University campus where it was a perfect 60 degrees, I can finally share my thoughts on the three Skirt Sports running skirts I’ve tried so far. Remember that I bought some gear myself and will note whenever the company gives me items to review/test. This is where I tell you that although they may give me the gear, all thoughts are my own.

Ready for those deep, meaningful thoughts?

Happy Girl

My favorite skirt so far is the  Happy Girl, mostly because the semi-compression shorts underneath did not move an inch. Those suckers stayed put, no matter what.

I like that the skirt is long enough that I don’t have to adjust it at all, even when I am wearing my fanny pack high-tech hydration belt. It does still feel a bit long, but I’ll take it because the skirt fits perfectly.Happy Girl skirt

This will be my go-to skirt for my longer runs because it also has big pockets and the shorts are long enough that there was absolutely no chaffing. I ran with it on the ship when it was five-gazillion degrees and I didn’t notice any significant difference in my comfort, compared to the shorter skirt.

I’m glad I got it in black because I know I’ll be wearing it a lot.

What’s not to like?

Gym Girl Ultra

This was the first freebie item from Girl Sports and I absolutely love the look and the feel of the fabric. The Gym Girl is the company’s most-popular skirt and I can see why.Free Spirit Gym Girl Ultra home Free Spirit Gym Ultra

I ordered the Free Spirit print in the jewel-tone green, which has a silky feel and a soft sheen. The skirt has slits on the sides, which means that the shorts show quite a bit as you walk/run (not a problem for me).

This skirt is flattering. Like all of the items I’ve ordered so far, I ordered this in medium and it fits just right. I’m glad I didn’t order this in a small. (Here’s where I show how deeply I love you guys: I typically wear a size 5/6 in regular clothes and weigh between 130 and 135 lbs.)

The shorts did ride up when I got in and out of my car, but that was the only time I had to readjust them. The skirt, however, just would not stay put when I wore my belt and I had to keep pulling both the front and back panels down.

I will definitely wear this style again, but probably only on shorter runs when I don’t wear my belt. They do make it in lots of fabrics, so I’ll be revisiting this beauty.

Running Skirt with Shorties

I also really liked the Running Skirt with Shorties because it was comfortable and cool. The shorties did not move at all; there was no re-adjusting.

I especially liked the red over black combination and that the fabric is so light-weight.

Only thing I didn’t like was the length. Again, it fits just right and looks very flattering, especially with the matching Reversible Flight Tank Top.  But I just don’t know if chaffing will be an issue with longer runs in the summer heat; I would definitely use Body Glide or something similar with this skirt for a longer run, just in case.

A side note on the tank top: It’s ridiculously comfortable and — bonus! — is reversible, so I’ve worn it several times already. More on this and other Skirt Sports tops later on.Skirt on the Glory

Overall, I’ve most-definitely converted to skirt. I like the more-flattering look than just wearing capris and the comfort of not having to worry about lots of pulling and adjusting like with traditional running shorts.

Remember that if you want to order regular-priced items, you can use the SSLCR20 code for 20 percent off.

Happy running!

What’s your favorite new item of running gear? How much running will you do this week? Just how nice is the weather where you are?


We just spent more than a week camping in gorgeous Indian Lake State Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s in a tiny town called Manistique on the southern part of the UP and features all of our favorite things about camping: lake views, glorious sunsets, nearby attractions, trails and, in this case, great Internet/phone connections.

Our site, E-2, is not reserve-able online; you can only walk in and request it. It’s rather large, with some big trees for good shade, next to the bathroom (more on that later) and across from a couple of waterfront sites.

While not the best site we’ve ever camped on, it certainly met all of our basic needs and was a great spot overall. The two sites across from us saw a lot of turnover, so we had new neighbors almost every day or two. As for being next to the bathroom, it really wasn’t as bad as we expected and didn’t detract from our stay.

There are several public access areas (most have steps) that served as perfect spots to view each evening’s sunset.

Pro tip: The walk/drive/bike to the first set of bathrooms is totally worth it. The water was hot and adjustable, unlike the single shower in the other two sets of bathrooms.

As for running, I got a few short (3-5 mile) runs in, plus a 20 miler and a 16 miler.

For my longest run, I wanted to stay close so I could access our motorhome’s bathroom, plus cold water and Gatorade, and snacks. I knew it would take me five to six hours, so I didn’t want to be weighed down by tons of supplies.

After chatting with the friendly park ranger, I settled on running the campground’s trails, which were supposed to give me about a mile, plus a full circuit on the campground’s loop for another mile. Doing that would obviously force me to run 10 2-mile loops. Not ideal, but do-able, and convenient.

I tried to find another, nearby option, but everything I found was at least a 30- to 45-minute drive or farther.

I headed out at 6 a.m. for my first loop, heading to the trail head, my hydration vest and trail shoes on. I had sprayed myself with bug spray, grabbing a couple of the Deep Woods Off wipes, just in case.

The trail starts with about .2 miles paved, then turns into a typical mix of dirt and sand, with some pretty lake views, lots of shade and no people.

I was particularly pleased to see the tree coverage, knowing the temperatures would rise quickly and soon.

Until, that is, the state bird, I mean, mosquitoes started feasting on me. I figured that if I kept moving, I would be OK, so I ran more than walked.

Until, that is, the trail speed bumps, I mean, the logs on the trail. And by logs, I mean lots of rather large tree branches that someone probably thought would help with erosion or mud. But instead, they tripped me over and over. And over.

Did I mention that the mosquitoes would swarm me when I slowed down?

Feeling like a mosquito buffet, I walked as fast as I could, trying to also avoid a digger face-first into the dirt.

When I had a moment, I re-applied the mosquito repellent, but it just served as a seasoning, because the suckers (see what I did there?) just kept biting.

I was glad to leave the trail, but dreaded just running loops on asphalt around the campground, so I went back through the trails a couple more times with similar results. I have to say that I just gave up; the whole ordeal was just unpleasant and even slower than normal, even for this back-of-the-packer.

Instead, I ran the 1-mile campground loop 14 more times after changing into my road shoes. And again a few days later for 16 miles. Weee!

Not a favorite, but it certainly beat running loops in my neighborhood.

Pro tip: be prepared to run 1-mile loops, or plan ahead and find a nice trail you can drive to…and bring bear spray.

Other than running, I went fishing with el husbando at nearby Dodge Lake, about a 20-minute drive northeast of Indian Lake. Together, we caught about 10 smaller bass. Most other days were too windy for us to fish, even with our new Minn Kota motor.

The Indian Lake campground is also close to a cool attraction called the Big Spring. We had been here about five or six years ago, and were happy to visit again. Basically, you get on a raft that allows you to see a beautiful natural spring with greenish-turquoise water and the biggest trout I have ever seen. We took some home video, but I think you’ll rather enjoy this Under the Radar piece instead.

Pro tip: This spot is extremely popular and there’s only one raft, so you may have to wait. The park ranger suggested we go early in the morning or at 6 p.m. We opted for 9 a.m. and didn’t have to wait long, but a bunch of people showed up as we were leaving.

We also did a ton of eating while on vacation, as one does, including a ride into town to experience Clyde’s Drive In, which several friends and TripAdvisor recommended. It’s apparently a sister restaurant to the original on U.S. 2, just west of the Mackinac Bridge once you cross over.

We all enjoyed the burgers and fries. I’m not typically a coleslaw lover, but theirs tasted fresh and was delicious. The shakes were just OK. The portions were rather generous and I was just glad that I didn’t have to cook.

Ironically, we were originally booked to camp at Lake Gogebic State Park, in the very western UP, but made a last-minute decision to swing by Indian Lake in the off-chance they had an open site. I called ahead when we were just 7 miles away, and were thrilled to learn that they had three open sites.

I should note that the park ranger, Pat Nelson, was awesome. He was friendly every single time we saw him, offered great suggestions and tips.

As I mentioned before, we parked here a few years ago and had fond memories, but had been choosing to camp at our favorite sites at Muskallonge Lake State Park. We’re glad we switched it up a bit, and are grateful for such an awesome vacation.

What’s your favorite Upper Peninsula state park for camping? What about for running? (You may have to click on the “Continue Reading” button to leave a comment.)

Amsterdam, that is. Or London, for that matter.

But I’m back from a 10-day work trip that saw me on my feet as much as 10 miles in a day despite taking various modes of transportation, including bus, boat, train and tram. I didn’t get on a bike or skates, but I did get on a jet plane and snuck in a few short runs.

Work and the early morning darkness cramped my running style in both locations, so I had to keep my runs to 5K-ish distance.

Amsterdam was by far my favorite, in large part because of its evident diversity in everything from its people to its food to its buildings. While running or walking around the city, I heard just about every language spoken, including many who clearly had a Spain-Spanish accent. Because I spent a whole week here, I also found it easy to navigate the area immediately around our hotel, so I didn’t get lost (too badly) on my runs.

Oh, Amsterdam, what’s not to love?

I made sure to stick to well-lit areas with people walking or riding their bikes on designated lanes (much unlike most Michigan roads), which meant that I stayed close to our hotel, the Kimpton DeWitt. But because the hotel is so close to the Central Station, there were lots of people around and I felt safe running by myself.

Central Station.


So. Much. To. See.

London was special in its own way, with its museum-looking structures as my backdrop, but the sidewalks were noticeably dirtier and I saw a lot more homeless people sleeping in front of stores or on park benches. There was also very little vegetation with a few small trees here and there. I tried to run to — and around — Regent’s Park because it was recommended by a fellow Bib Rave Pro, but Google maps failed me and I never did find it.

My hotel, the Nadler Soho, was near the Soho Square, but the park was way too small to run there. I did get to walk all over town and even got to enjoy a Diwali festival, street artists and Chinatown. A highlight was the beefeater giving us a tour at the Tower of London, which holds the Crown Jewels and showcases torture devices used throughout history.

Safety first at the Tower of London.


Look left and look right signs are all over crosswalks in downtown London.


The Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace.

I tried to pack as little as possible, making sure that I could wear each item multiple times, including my running gear. I stuck socks and a sports bra inside my running shoes (which took an inordinate amount of space, but were worth having), and brought just two tanks, a Skirt Sports skirt and capris. With temperatures in the low 50s, I was able to run with just my new Bolero reflective jacket. I had to wash all of the items in the hotel sink at least once, but I was glad to have enough gear for multiple outings.

For a trip I knew would entail long hours, I am grateful I got to run as much as I did. Should I ever get such an opportunity again, I’ll be sure to plan ahead better, including looking up routes and, if possible, finding a running group I can join for longer runs.

In fact, had I done that in the first place, I could have run the Amsterdam Marathon since I was already trained for the distance. I’m still kicking myself for not thinking of that before heading to Europe for the first time. Learn from my mistakes, chicos y chicas!

Have you run internationally while on vacation or on a work trip? How do you manage to find the time? How did you choose your route? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

If you’re like me and like to get a great deal on running gear either for your self or as gifts, here are a couple of options:

Skirt Sports (affiliate link): Why wait til Friday to shop? My favorite running gear is on sale for up to 70 percent off now with — bonus! — free shipping with your $40 or more order. I already ordered my favorite running skirt, the Happy Girl, in yet another pattern; this time in the very colorful Tantrum because it matches just about any of my race-shirts. I should note that it’s Skirt Sports’ longest skirt and has two pockets in the built-in shorties plus a zippered pocket on the back. I specifically bought this skirt to wear on our spring break cruise because I can wear it to go sight-seeing without having to bring a purse, then wear it on a run before I have to wash it.

The Happy Girl won’t be the only Skirt Sports gear I’ll bring on that trip. It’s the perfect double-duty option to save room when packing for a trip. Rolled up, it doesn’t take much room in my suitcase, it won’t wrinkle and I can hand-wash it and hang it up to dry to wear again. Consider Skirt Sports gear for your next vacation, or buy some for a loved one who likes to travel.

If you fall in love with something on the Skirt Sports site at full price, you can use my LCR20 discount code for 20 percent off. The Toasty Tights, for example, are on my short list for when I get some birthday or Christmas money to shop with. They have panels to prevent your thighs and butt-cheeks to keep you from getting frozen. These, too, have built-in pockets.


Skirt Sports Toasty Tights.

Road IDI’m not affiliated with this company, but I would love to partner with them. I certainly talk about them a lot on my blog and with my friends because I don’t think any runner, biker or swimmer should ever leave home without wearing a Road ID.

Road ID already has an offer this week where you can get half off a Road ID with the purchase of one at full price, plus free shipping. I started out wearing their cheapest band, the Wrist ID Slim, and loved it, but took advantage of a sale and got the Wrist ID Elite because it can be adjusted, plus has a clip that lets me take it on and off much more easily.

My Road ID in black with the 26.2 badge.

My Road ID in black with the 26.2 charm.

And remember that you can get other ideas for gifts for your friends and family from last week’s Tuesdays on the Run link-up. As I do most weeks, I’m once again linking up with hosts MCM Mama RunsMy No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice. I can’t wait to see what deals the other runner bloggers share.

Happy shopping!

What are your best Black Friday deals? What’s on your short list of things you’d like to get for yourself or as gifts?