I’ve never done a gift guide before. Hell, I’ve never even gone holiday shopping before December 23rd before. But this is a year of firsts (first time mom, first time finger nail grower, first time using a calendar) so it is evident the winds of change are upon us.
Below you will find my favorite things for gifting this year. This list is based on things that I have personal experience with, except one, which I intend to use for the first time this year. To my family and friends reading this, I may or may not have purchased one of these for you. And you may or may not like one of the other items better. Dammit. Just stop reading if you are expecting a gift from me this year and focus on what you’re getting me and make sure to put it in this.
Food: THEO CHOCOLATE: $4
This is going in every stocking in the house, and will be my gift of choice for something small and thoughtful for everyone around town who makes my life a little more awesome…dentist, postman, you name it. Every flavor I’ve tried is good but this one is the best, even given that I’m generally a dark chocolate enthusiast.
Started by two college girls out of their dorm room, these chicks now have a full spectrum of gourmet nut butters to choose from. My favorite is the cinnamon raisin, but they are all really good, and if you order the six pack, shipping is free. In Jesse’s case, this is DAYS worth of nut butter.
Picky Bars 10 Bar Mixed Pack: $23
Ok yeah it’s my company and I make the recipes so of course I like them. The ingredients in these bars are top notch, and the people that make them are paid a living wage, so they don’t come cheap at $2.50 a piece, BUT good food is worth it. That’s what I think at least. This 10 pack would make a great gift for the athlete you know who cares about their health but rarely has the extra dough to invest in the best fuel.
My Top Oiselle Picks Flyte Long Sleeve in Charcoal: $66
It comes in three colors but this one just out-leans bright pink for my favorite. It’s beautiful, obviously, but what I really love about it is that it makes people smile when I wear it. Another big bonus is that I don’t have to wash it every wear because it’s anti-microbial and therefore doesn’t get the insta-stink that drifit gets. Anything that reduces my laundry these days, I’m a fan of.
Time Out Sweats: $79
I was going to pick the Lesley Tights for my #1 pants pick but it looks like a lot of sizes are out at the moment. Check back for those later. The time out sweatpants are insanely soft. I don’t know what the hell they are made out of but I want bed sheets made of it. And an area rug. These replaced my oversized, paint-stained college sweats. The waistband is fuzzy soft, and the ankles are gathered. I got mine a size too big so I could tuck my feet inside the ankles and wear them like foot pajamas around the house.
Podium PJ’s: $64
“Fortune favors the bold and the well rested. Sleep now and make every step count tomorrow. The finish line awaits you.”
Just like my race day uniform or racing shoes gets me in the mindset to perform my best, these PJ’s are designed to chillax and focus you the night before. They feel like you’ve already worn them a thousand times right out of the box. Even without a race coming up, they make me feel like an athlete before I go to bed, motivating me to sleep like a champ. A nice idea for someone who has trouble winding down at night.
Flyte Shorts: $32
It’s not exactly shorts season in Bend right now, but I use these shorts as a base layer to keep my cheeks warm under my tights, and they’ll get plenty of wear in warm Arizona when our team travels there for training camp in January. They are also my go-to for the massage or PT table. These shorts are seamless, soft, slightly higher waisted, and don’t cut in to your stomach at all. They are flirty but not hoochy if you know what I mean.
Technical Gear Juggler Knickers with Ice: $150
These capris are a compression garment with strategically placed pockets for you to put ice packs (or heat, depending on the problem). 110% Compression has compression + ice solutions for every limb and joint individually, but I like the knickers because I can address just about everything with one piece. The 110% stuff compresses the ice onto your body while you are on the move. Translation: there is no excuse not to take care of yourself.
Patagonia Prow Jacket in Teal: $229
Best downy I’ve owned. Very warm. Awesome zippers. Snap neck opens up in a cute, asymmetrical way.
Turtle Fur Neck Warmer: $12
If you live in a cold place and don’t have a neck gaiter, you’re making it too hard on yourself. Turtle fur has a bunch of colors and different weights. I’m partial to my Earth brown fleece one.
If you grew up like I did with your feet crammed into shoes all the time with very little barefoot walking, your toes probably function like one unit rather than several moving parts. Correctoes were recommended by my PT, Jay Dicharry at Rebound, and they have helped me develop individual motion and strength, which helps distribute force up the chain more effectively. I’m really happy with the results so far.
Mercury compression Sox: $50
There are a ton of compression socks on the market right now, and a lot of them are junk. These are made extremely well and have held up for an entire year so far with no sign of slowing down. You can get them with the overdrive sleeve to hold the ice or heat in place if needed. I wrote a blog about these if you’re curious how to use them.
Garmin 910XT: $400
Do I really need the $400 version? Probably not. But I like geeking out on all this stuff. It’s a helpful tool so long as you remember it is only that: a tool. Heart rate data helps me do tempo runs properly, as well as keeps me from pounding my easy days, so I got the strap as well. I got the expensive watch this time because my cheaper Garmin kept breaking, mostly due to water problems. This one is designed to work for triathletes which means it is designed to handle water. I bought mine at REI (even though it wasn’t the cheapest there) because REI replaces things when they break for free. If I’m going to invest this much money, I want a guarantee.
On those tweener days when it’s not that cold, but not yet warm, arm warmers are awesome. I don’t like wearing anything more than absolutely necessary, especially on hard workout days, so I’ll wear a short sleeve shirt with these. It’s easier to push these down while running fast than it is to take off a long sleeve and awkwardly tie it to yourself. Plus they kind of just make you feel fast.
Fun Stuff: Trucker Hat: $22
Walgreens Photo Book: $19+
Upload your photos online, arrange them digitally into a book, and you can pick them up the same day at many Walgreens locations, or else have them shipped in 3-5 days. Great gift for family, a coach, or a teammate! Thanks to a fellow tweeter for the recommendation!
Lauren Fleshman Is My Homeboy Tee: $35
Yep. It’s freaking rad. In men’s and women’s sizes! Homeboy Shirt comes with a hug if I see you wearing it.
Sexy Mustached Pro Triathlete Charity Calendar: $25
Jesse and his competitors/friends in the Pro Triathlon world took over-the-top sexy photos proudly featuring their movember staches in a spoof calendar, and it’s amazing. Each shot is truly spectacular. All net proceeds go to the Movember Foundation. I’m not sure if they are still selling these in time for Christmas, but get one if you can.
Spoil a Runner Completely Massage: $50-$100
No photo can capture the bliss of a massage. When I polled twitter for suggestions, this one came up over and over again. If you’ve got the dough, get a runner a massage. Even better, get a pack of massages. A lot of times you get one free when you buy five around the Holidays. Ask a therapist what their holiday special is.
Biomechanical Analysis: $350-$400
My team hit the jackpot when we moved to Bend because there is one of the best biomechanics labs in the world right here. For a pretty dang good price, you get Jay Dicharry, author of Anatomy for Runners/Run Like an Athlete and big time biomechanics and footwear guru to put you one of the only force plate treadmills in the country and pick you apart. Then he helps build you back up. If you know someone who has had a lot of injury problems, or someone who wants to take their running to the next level, this is an incredible gift idea. Jay is the man. Incredibly smart, caring, and practical.
Stand Up Paddleboard: $599
Oh wait, that’s on my personal gift list.