The Best Running Shorts

Over my nearly 25 years of running, I’ve worn a lot of running shorts. A LOT! A lot that I didn’t like, but some that rose to the top and have become my favorites that I wear time and time again. The best of the best are all lightweight, super comfortable, don’t ride up or fall down, and a piece of clothing that I don’t get distracted by when running.

The Nike tempo shorts had to of been the first pair of shorts I really loved. I loved them so much I ended up with 4 pairs of them! And they were really great shorts. First and foremost they did not ride up, the liner was comfortable, lightweight, sweat-wicking, but can we say diaper-butt?!?

Thankfully I’ve moved on from these shorts, and I have now found practical, comfortable, and CUTE shorts!

These are my all-time favorite running shorts. Like I said, I’ve tried a lot out there, so these have risen to the top, and they are always the first pairs I pull out to wear.

Oh, and be forewarned, I like my short shorts because let’s be honest, I don’t need a couple extra inches of material to get in my way.

Brooks Greenlight Shorts

This is one of the few pairs of compression-style shorts that don’t ride up so much that cause me to yank on them every 0.25 mile and readjust them. These Brooks Greenlight Shorts have a pocket in the waistband and stay very comfortable over the course of a run.

Lululemon Hotty Hot Shorts

These Lululemon Hotty Hot Shorts are a new purchase last month, and I have already worn them more times than I can count. Not only do I love the bright, fun color, but I also love the waistband, the multiple pockets, and the flattering fit. This is the 2.5 inch version and they also make a 4 inch version as well.

Oiselle KG Shorts

I have purchased more compression-style shorts than I care to admit in order to find a pair that doesn’t ride up so much. These KG Running Shorts by Oiselle have a longer inseam to begin with, so even when they do ride up a little, they are still covering all the essential parts. The drawback to these shorts are the fact they do not have a pocket, which is not necessary but definitely a nice feature. I still love them and wear them all the time.

Oiselle Mac Roga Shorts

I absolutely love the Oiselle Mac Roga Shorts. They are so comfortable, and I love the shorter 1.75 inseam. The one thing I would change on these shorts is to move the zippered pocket on the back right butt cheek to the center of the body. It feels a little odd to be carrying a GU in the pocket and have the right side of my butt feel a little heavier. Otherwise I absolutely love these shortsthe waistband is nice and wide and they do not ride up while running.

Lululemon Speed Shortss

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. . . . .HANDS-DOWN my absolute favorite running shorts. There is nothing about these Lululemon Speed Shorts I do not like. These shorts are pretty similar to the Mac Roga with improvements: the continuous drawstring, so it can’t fall out in the wash; a back, zippered pocket centered on the small of your back; two additional pockets in the front of the waistband, and probably the one feature many other shorts are lacking: the backside of these shorts comes down lower, so if they do ride up, your horizontal butt crack is still covered.

I own three pairs of these shorts and wouldn’t be opposed to buying more.

Happy Saturday and weekend! I’m off to race the 5K and 10K at the Alaska Distance Classic this morning!

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Downtown Pass: All your questions, answered. Plus: reader discount!

Pistachio gelato Cool, refreshing, flavorful, FREE pistachio gelato from Originaleenjoyed by my friend Candice. AKA, the first perk I received from my fancy new Downtown Pass. What’s the Downtown Pass you wonder? Well, it’s a new-ish offering from the Anchorage Downtown Partnership. Basically, you buy a pass that lasts the duration of a calendar year Continue reading “Downtown Pass: All your questions, answered. Plus: reader discount!”

74 Miles . . . .and so thankful!

Woohoo! 74 miles this past week in 6 days! (A few weeks ago I ran 67 miles in 7 days.)

There was a lot of mileage, but I just take it day-by-day to figure out how to get each run in. It’s a high enough of a priority that I make it happen each day.

Here’s how my workouts looked this past week.

Monday

AM 7 miles, easy | 8:57 average pace

Easy miles pushing Cullen in the stroller. I enticed him with all sorts of things: trains, the ocean, birds, the playground, etc. Luckily he still really loves the stroller.

PM 5 miles, easy | 8:37 average pace

Easy run on the Chester Creek trail where a guy asked me for a cigarette, and I saw Kikkan Randall running.

Tuesday

16 miles, tempo workout | 7:18 average pace

2 mile warm-up

4 miles @ 6:30

(actual: 6:29, 6:31, 6:33, 6:27)

1 mile easy

1 mile @ 5:40

(actual: 6:08)

1 mile easy

4 miles @ 6:30

(actual: 6:32, 6:32, 6:37, 7:06)

1 mile easy

1 mile @ 5:40

(actual: 6:20)

2 mile cool-down

Oh boy! Nichole really had me working during this workout! I don’t know that I have ever done a harder workout. I really had to fight hard for these splits, and even then I didn’t get all of my goal times. I was still happy with my results and the effort I put into it.

Wednesday

6 miles, easy | 9:35 average pace

I ran this one on the Campbell Tract trails, which is one of the few actual trail runs I’ve ever done. It was definitely nice to get off the pavement, but it seemed like it took forever since my pace was quite a bit slower.

Thursday

AM 7 miles | 8:40

Keeping the easy runs truly easy these days as I posted about on Instagram. Too many times I see people doing their easy runs at paces far too close to their race paces. My pace for this workout is about 2 minutes/mile slower than my half marathon pace and nearly 3 minutes/mile slower than my 5K race pace.

PM 5 miles, easy | 9:57

Another very easy trail run around the Campbell Tract trails.

Friday

8 miles, easy | 8:32 average pace

My upper hamstring/glute is still not quite healed from the half marathon almost two weeks ago. I know I didn’t recover the days after the race since I was busy traveling around the state, and I’m still paying the price. Nothing painfuljust stiff, and it takes a little while to warm it up.

Saturday

20 miles, long run with hard miles

2 mile warm-up

4 miles @ 6:30

(actual: 6:32, 6:27, 6:31, 6:25)

10 miles, easy

2 miles @ 6:15

(actual: 6:21, 6:24)

2 mile cool-down

This was a good run in the fact I remembered that even though I didn’t love everything about every mile during this run, I was out there doing a long run pain-free. After 10 months of struggling with my hip injury, these are the runs I live for!

Total: 74 miles

Follow me on Strava to see updates every day. Find me under: Michelle Baxter.

This week is a little lighter in terms of mileage, and I am running the 5K and 10K at the Alaska Distance Classic on Saturday!

My Picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Holy moly. . . everyone is talking about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

I did not have early access to the sale (i.e. I do not have a Nordstrom credit card.), so I had to wait a week to shop the sale. Oh well. But since all of the fashion bloggers I follow have been talking about it, I naturally had to see what it was all about because if you know me, you know I love a good sale. (And apparently I have been living under a rock since this is the first year I knew about how big it was?!)

So here are my picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, which is still going on until August 6th (prices go back up on the 7th)!

These are my favorite running clothes or activewear. (Click on the picture to be taken to each item’s page.)

  1. Zella Sweatshirt This sweatshirt just looks so cozy.
  2. Brooks Greenlight Tight I own the Greenlight Crop and love them! These tights would just be the longer version of the cropsame material, same awesomeness!
  3. Zella Live-In Tight Check out the reviews on these tights700+ reviews with an average 5 stars. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about these tights.
  4. Brooks Greenlight Crop They don’t slip down on my thighs and they don’t slip up over my knees! Love them! And they have a couple storage pockets for carrying items.
  5. Zella Pullover What a cute, fun athleisure piece.
  6. Zella Hoodie I have a similar hoodie from Gap and wear it all the time.
  7. Nike Crop The idea of wearing a cropped top is growing on me, and I think I’d start with an athletic/athleisure one before I ever bought a cropped casual top to wear with high-waisted jeans.
  8. Zella High Waisted Crop I love the pattern on these and the high waist (when done right) is very comfortable.

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For my top picks, I (per usual) kept things very neutral and plain. I am loving the more simple look in tops these days.

  1. Free People Sweater I’ve heard great things about the brand Free People, and this sweater looks so cozy!
  2. J Crew Ruffle Tank I think this tank looks so classy and could be dressed up or down depending upon the situation.
  3. Caslon Long Sleeve A great layering long sleeve, and the sleeves actual look long enough for those of us who are on the taller side.
  4. Caslon Tee Cute rounded v-neck and a ton of different colors.
  5. Lush V-neck I have seen this v-neck on several different fashion bloggers raving about how cute and reasonable it is.

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I am a sucker for a good pair of jeans, and if I had all of the money in the world, I would buy all of these.

  1. Rag & Bone Jeans I tried a pair of Rag & Bone jeans on at Nordstroms one time, and they fit like a glove. So amazing!
  2. Kut from the Kloth Step-hem Another fashion blogger was raving about these, and for $60, that’s a pretty good deal for a nice pair of jeans.
  3. AG Boyfriend Jeans I have been on the hunt for a pair of boyfriend jeans, and these look amazing! Just the right amount of distressing and a great color for summer.
  4. Paige Jeans For those of you from Alaska, did you know the designer of these jeans grew up in Wasilla?! How crazy is that! I own a pair of Paige jeans and they are great for muscular thighs.
  5. AG Skinny AG jeans just look like they fit so well. I love the wash on these, and they are the next brand of jeans I want to buy.

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I did not used to be a shoe person, but I have accumulated quite the shoe collection. Maybe it is because I work at a shoe store now, but I love having a good shoe selection.

  1. Brooks Launch No, these are not on sale, but for an amazing pair of running shoes for less than $100, they might as well be on sale. I own 3 pairs of the Brooks Launch, and I am already on the market for another pair.
  2. Frye Slip-on I purchased a pair of Frye slip-ons last summer and LOVE them! They are so comfortable, cute, and I know they will last a long time.
  3. Hunter Boots I also own a pair of Hunter boots that I love. They are cute and practical, which I am all about. The buckles on these are fun and classy.
  4. BP Bootie How can you go wrong with a pair of cute perforated bootiesand for $70?! My BP booties from several years ago are still holding up well.

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And you know the best part of shopping online at Nordstrom: shipping is FREEeven to Alaska!! That’s hard to come by, and I know all of you Alaskans out there have horror stories of trying to get things shipped up here!

So don’t wait because the popular items are selling out fast. Sometimes they restock items, so if a favorite item is sold out, check back again. Remember, prices go back up on August 7th, so don’t wait!

Free Beautycounter Samples

I finally feel like I am getting back in the swing of things, which is always a good feeling! After a week showing my sister and brother-in-law around Alaska, I hardly had any time to update the blog, stay on top of social media, and share the new things Beautycounter has come out with. So let’s get started with a Beautycounter update!

I love that Beautycounter is constantly coming out with new products! There are new products that have recently been released, some that have been restocked, and others that were brought back. There are also new products that are slated to come out soon! (As consultants, we sometimes get a preview, but we can’t share until they are actually released!)

This month, the big highlight was that the Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion is back in stock! When it was first released, it sold out in 24 hoursthat’s crazy! This moisturizer adapts to your skin and gives moisture where it needs it and doesn’t where it doesn’t. (That was more confusing than it needed to be.) Anyway, just know that this is an amazing product that you can also be assured is safe for your skin!

Secondly, Beautycounter brought back the Rejuvenating Face Cleanser. I have heard nothing but amazing things about this product and can’t wait to try it once I run out of my Nourishing Cream Cleanser. I love the Rejuvenating Night Cream, which stems from the same line. This cleanser foams, soothes, and leaves your skin moisturized. A win-win-win in my book!

This Bare Shimmer Lip Gloss used to be a holiday-only color, but now it is available year-round! I definitely like a little shimmer in my lip gloss color, and this is going on my ‘want’ list right now.

The Protect Sunscreen Stick is also back in stock. You can’t go wrong with safe sunscreen this time of the year. I am learning about all the toxic ingredients that are in lotions and specifically sunscreens. Beautycounter uses anon-nano zinc oxide that is safe and blends well into your skin without the white residue. This article has more about how harmful the traditional ingredient in sunscreens: oxybenzone is for humans and the coral reefs.

I don’t know about you, but I love free samples and for the remainder of the month, I’m offering up to 3 free samples of various Beautycounter products with your purchase through the end of the month. (You don’t have to purchase the products I featured aboveI was just highlighting some of Beautycounter’s new products.) Feel free to buy whatever you would like, and if you need advice, I’d be glad to help!

A Beautycounter purchase of any amount = one sample

$75 Beautycounter purchase = 2 samples of your choice

$100 Beautycounter purchase = all 3 samples

*These totals are before taxes and shipping costs.

**Only available to those in the US.

Sample option #1: Charcoal Cleansing Bar

Sample option #2: No. 3 Balancing Facial Oil

Sample option #3: Rejuvenating Radiance Serum

Purchases must be made by Monday, July 31. This is a promotion I am doing myself, so these won’t appear in your cart when you check out. Make sure you are shopping under me as your consultant and under the July Blog Social! Comment below on which sample(s) you would like!


Shop Beautycounter Now!


Kristy & Nick’s Alaska Trip

I had been looking forward to Kristy (my sister) and Nick’s (my brother-in-law) trip since they booked their tickets last fall. I was anticipating their arrival so much, and now I can’t believe it is already over. I didn’t know a week could go by so fast.

We ran, hiked, camped, fished, explored much of south central Alaska, and bonded during our adventures.

Craig, me, Cullen, Kristy, and Nick hiking Portage Pass Trail in Whittier, AK

As you know, our first full day together (Sunday), Kristy and I ran the Her Tern Half Marathon and tied for second place. Afterwards, there was no time to rest, we were off to Whittier for the afternoon.

Craig and I really like bringing tourists to Whittier because it is not your typical destination, so they get to see a part of the state most people don’t go to. There isn’t a ton to do, but it makes for a fun afternoon.

We first hiked the Portage Pass Trail. Somehow I got stuck carrying Cullen in the backpack up the mountain, even though I just ran a half marathon that morning! After our descent, we went into town to Swiftwater Cafe (the best place to eat in town) and had halibut, clam chowder, and salmon cakes. So good!

Monday morning, we had breakfast, got packed up, and then headed north to the Willow area to my in-law’s cabin. This is a pretty bare-bones cabin, but the big news is that they got running water in the cabin . . . .just cold water, only one faucet, however still no indoor plumbing.

We chilled the rest of the day, I attempted to take a nap with Cullen, I went for a second run, and then had s’mores around the fire. I don’t love s’mores; it’s more about the nostalgia.

Tuesday morning we slept in, Kristy and I went for a run, and then we headed to Talkeetna for the day. We stopped at a lake and threw rocks into the lake (One of Cullen’s favorite pasttimes.) with float planes around us. We then headed into Talkeetna. Tourist note: if you want a taste of some real Alaskan-ness, head to Talkeetna.

We had lunch at the Denali Brewing Company, and I had THE BEST salmon ever! I’m kind of over salmon, but if this is how salmon was prepared every meal, I would not get sick of it. It was perfectly done with an incredible rub/seasoning on it. The rest of the salad was awesome as well.

We walked around Talkeetna, checked out the shops, threw more rocks into the river, and then headed back to the cabin for the night.

Wednesday morning we drove back to Anchorage, unpacked, did laundry, repacked, and then headed down to the Kenai Peninsula for a few days of camping and fishing.

We camped in Soldotna and fished in the Kenai River for salmon. Kristy was successful and caught one fish! Nick helped her net it.

On Friday everyone went on a halibut fishing charter, however, we didn’t know how Cullen would do on something like that, so I drove down to Homer with Cullen and met up with Whitney at the beach, had a bit to eat at Two Sisters Bakery, and then did a little shopping. It was a gorgeous day, and Cullen had so much fun he didn’t want to leave.

Saturday we had to head back to Anchorage to take Kristy and Nick to the airport. Before we left, Kristy and I did a 21 mile long run with the last 3 miles at 6:50 pace. I didn’t hit the 6:50 pace, but it was still a successful run in my book. It was a warm, sunny day, and I wish we hadn’t had to spend the second half of the day driving. But at last, the trip had to come to an end, and we dropped them off at the airport.

Come back soon!!

Her Tern Half Marathon 2017 Race Recap

I don’t think words can express how happy I am about this race! I literally could not have asked for it to go better, and it was everything I secretly hoped it would be!

Eight months ago, my sister, Kristy, and her husband, Nick, made plans to come to Alaska mid-July. I convinced them to come for the Her Tern Half Marathon, which is my favorite race all year! By the grace of God, I overcame my hip injury, and we were both able to be healthy for this race. (This has not always been the case; often times one of us is injured.)

Training leading up to the race went really well for me. I’ve been running mileage in the 50s and 60s and topped out at 67 miles one week. But then I had a 7 mile workout just two days before the race where I was supposed to run 3 x 2 minutes at goal half marathon pace, which Nichole said was 6:40-6:45 pace (1:27-1:28 finish time). This pace-for just 2 minutes-should have come very easily for me, but I was majorly struggling! The 6:40/6:45 pace felt so hard, and I kept thinking, How am I going to run this pace for nearly 90 minutes in two day?!

But you do what you can, and put your best foot forward. I knew I was capable of a 1:27/1:28 finish time, but I also secretly hoped that I could run 1:26-something. This was my ‘A’ goal, which I usually don’t share with anyone. I tried to rest as much as possible on Friday and Saturday, but it was hard because I was getting ready for my sister and brother-in-law and their trip here to Alaska: cleaning the house, doing laundry, prepping food, while watching Cullen all day.

Kristy and Nick flew in the day before. I ended up spending more time on my feet than I wanted to with coaching the training group in the morning, working at the Expotique that morning, and then getting ready for their arrival. Finally, after dinner, I put my feet up and tried to give them a break. I also took an ice bath Saturday night, which I am definitely going to be keeping in my pre-race ritual.

Sunday morning, I got ready, had half of a bagel with vegan cream cheese for breakfast. I never eat anything before running in the morning, so it is hard to get myself to eat something on race mornings. I also had a few sips of decaf coffee with non-dairy creamer, my Generation UCAN pre-workout drink mix, and a GU right before the race started. Kristy and I left for the race and had about 40 minutes to warm-up, which was the perfect amount of time because I felt ready to go by the time the gun went off.

Kristy and I had strategized quite a bit before we ran the race. We decided we were definitely going to run the entire race together. We have run a handful of other races together, but we have ended up running them at our own paces: Twin Cities Marathon and Boston Marathon. We could only think of 3 other races we have done together and all 3 we weren’t as competitive because either I was doing it as a workout or one of us was injured. We talked about what pace we were aiming for, the course profile, running the tangents, how much we were going to talk, etc. So when the gun went off, we pretty much knew the plan, and now we just had to execute it. Starting out, I felt really good (unlike Friday’s workout!), so I was optimistic I could maintain a pace closer to 6:40.

One of the faster girls took off from the start leading the rest of the way. (By the way, she is only one year postpartum and is wicked fast! Congrats Mandy!) That left Kristy and I in 3rd and 4th place behind another runner. We followed her for about 5 miles. I kept trying to read whether or not she was going to be able to maintain this pace or if she was going to drop off. I wanted to be competitive and pass her sooner, but I knew that wasn’t smart, so we stuck with her for about 5 miles. We finally gained a little ground, but I knew she was still hanging on. The turn-around is at mile 7, and she was still on our tail at that point. I kept thinking I needed to put more distance between us and try to lose her for good. (In the nicest way possible!) Luckily I never heard her behind us again, so I knew we had 2nd and 3rd place secured.

The majority of the race is out-and-back, so on the way ‘out’ there isn’t much else going on, but on the way ‘back,’ we get to see all of the other people racing, which was fun because I was able to cheer for friends or for ladies from the training group. (Sometimes all I could do was smile or wave though because I was too out of breath.) It was also encouraging to get cheers from other people running.

The way ‘back’ is every so slightly downhill, and I can always feel it. By the last few miles, my legs were pretty beat up, so they appreciate this decline. However, then last half mile of the course is a gradual uphill to the finish with a steep one-block hill the last 0.1 mile. This is when things get really tough. I hit the bottom of that hill, and I had to tell Kristy to wait for me because my legs were beat. I felt like I was walking up that last hill, but then I saw the clock-1:36:xx, and I knew I had to book it to get under 1:27 because it was about to turn.

Kristy and I stayed side-by-side (and even stride-for-stride) through the finish line and tried to cross at exactly the same time. I glanced down at my watch and saw 1:26:56, and I was so incredibly happy! I had gotten my ‘A’ goal!

I knew the computer would have to pick one person to be 2nd and one to be 3rd, so when I saw I had beaten her by one one-hundreth of a second (0.01), I burst out laughing and told her I would split any prizes with her because really we had tied for 2nd place.

I think it’s funny that it looks like she beats me in this photo, but from a different angle it kind of looks like I inched her out.

Other notables:

Throughout the whole race, I think Kristy and I exchanged a total of 10 words. Of course we weren’t going to do much chit-chatting since we needed to conserve our energy for running, but she told me she doesn’t like it when people talk to her when she’s running, so I kept quiet. It was fine because we have ESP, so we pretty much could read what the other was thinking anyhow. I pushed at the beginning a little more than I know she would have, and I could tell by her breathing she was struggling a little, but I also knew she would hold on. Then I felt she wanted to pick up the pace at mile 10, but I didn’t have much left in the tank, so she hung with me.

We saw 2 moose right off the trail during the race. Luckily they are pretty used to people, so they didn’t bother us.

I didn’t take any energy gels while running. You have enough glycogen stores for 90 minutes, so I know I don’t need anything. More recently my half marathons haven’t been much more than 90 minutes, so I haven’t been taking an calories in mid-race, and I haven’t felt a dip in my energy while racing. I think the Generation UCAN really helps me have sustained energy throughout the race.

Local newspaper (Alaska Dispatch News) article HERE.

I am still on cloud nine from this race, and I am so glad Kristy was able to run it with me!