YMX Maori Dragon Shirt Review and Giveaway!

A couple weeks ago, I received an e-mail from YMX asking if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their products and hosting a giveaway on my blog.  Of course, my answer was YES!

YMX has some of the coolest and most unique workout apparel I’ve ever seen.  I tend to pick out boring, monochrome running clothes for myself, but I think YMX has spoiled me.  Now, I want to wear some fun gear.  They sent me the Maori Dragon Sleeveless Cycling Jersey and the Maori Stripe Bolero.  My first thought when they arrived was, “I need to try these on now!”  So I modeled the set in my living room like any normal person would do.

Try not to be jealous of how cool I look and how messy my living room is.

Then that evening I decided I needed to test it out on a bike ride with my favorite passenger.  I don’t currently own any cycling tops so I was so excited to add one to my workout wardrobe.  Bonus about the shirt: my passenger has this bad habit of always trying to lift my loose fitting running tops up in the back when we ride together; with the fitted cycling top, he couldn’t do that! These are the kind of issues we have :) )

Zain’s mommy rides in style

You can see the very cool design on the back of the shirt

Modeling the Bolero. I’d like to thank my photographer (aka my hubby) for letting me know that my helmet was crooked so I could look extra cool in this picture.

I loved the top! It was so comfortable and lightweight.  The MadKool fabric is super lightweight and also, very silky.  It did a great job of wicking away the moisture I was producing chugging along with my heavy passenger.  I also love the Bolero because it’s perfect if you’re starting out your run or bike ride when it’s a little cool outside.  Then once you warm up, you can take it off and it folds up super tiny.  The ample pocket space on the back of the shirt is a perfect place to store it.  Both pieces also have UV Protection – a must!

Tiny folded Bolero

If you aren’t familiar with the YMX brand, here is a little about them from their website:

YMX (acronym for YellowMan Expression) was launched in 2009 as an extension of the original, high-end tattoo clothing brand, YellowMan (founded in 2004). Built on an extensive library of original tattoo artwork collected around the globe, YellowMan offers collectible, limited wearable art prints. YMX was created to offer an alternative to YellowMan in a broader, commercial market, while still preserving the authenticity of its origins.

YMX offers multifunctional garments that bridge the gap between athletic and fashion garments. Featuring high-comfort, lightweight MadKool fabrics and detailed, original prints, YMX garments can be worn for athletic use, or for casual wear. As a matter of fact, because of the moisture-wicking properties of the fabric, many people wear YMX in both active and leisure activities without having to change!

The thing that struck me most about YMX was their celebration of cultures around the world in their apparel.  Something you may not know about me is that I have my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in International Relations with a concentration in Cross-Cultural Communication.  I love studying different cultures.  YMX uses tattoo art from around the globe on their apparel:

Understanding the value of tattoo art as a vehicle to represent cross-cultural attitudes, Peter Mui pursued the concept of creating wearable tattoo art. For over a decade he has traveled the world, personally knocking on doors of the world’s greatest and hard-to-reach tattoo masters to build up an impressive art collection representing the finest in every tattoo style, spanning Japanese Irezumi, Maori Tribal, American Traditional, New School, Biomechanical, and even rare work from a remote Buddhist monk in Thailand. These mastepieces are not only significant in their own right, but they also carry with them volumes of symbolic elements that are rich with cultural history.

Isn’t that amazing? When you wear something made by YMX, you’re not just wearing another running or cycling shirt.  You’re wearing a work of art from an artist somewhere in the world.  You’re celebrating a different culture.  That’s incredible!


Lots of storage space

To enter to win you’re very own Maori Dragon Sleeveless Jersey ($98) and Maori Stripe Bolero ($59), this is what you need to do:

1.  Like YMX and The Running Mom on Facebook.


2.  Follow @WearYMX and @thismomruns on Twitter.


3.  Visit YMX’s website and leave me a comment here telling me what gear you like or what you like best about their products.  Be sure to include that you liked us both on Facebook and/or followed us on Twitter.  (If you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, you get 2 entries, just be sure to leave 2 separate comments saying that you did so.)

4.  If you’re on Twitter, tweet the following: “I just entered @thismomruns blog giveaway for a sweet shirt by @WearYMX, enter here – http://wp.me/p1sBbl-a0″


This giveaway will run until Friday, September 2, 2011 at 12pm EST.  The winner will be chosen with random.org.  I will announce the winner here so be sure to check back!
Disclaimer: The Federal Trade Commission mandates that I tell you that YMX by Yellowman provided me with this product free of charge; however, the opinions expressed are those solely of my own.

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Zain’s Half Marathon

Tomorrow I’m supposed to run 18 miles.  Eighteen miles and we’re expecting a hurricane to hit us.  Fabulous.  Since we don’t really know when the storm is supposed to arrive, I decided it was best to try to get my long run in today.  I thought about swapping this week’s 18 miles with next week’s – a recovery week – 10 miles.  Then I thought maybe I should give 18 miles a shot – with Zain in the jogging stroller.  I told myself I should run at least 8 miles then I’d just take it from there.  I gathered everything we both would need for the long haul.

Fuel for mama

I knew I wouldn’t need as much fuel as I brought for myself, but I brought it just in case.  I ended up only having 2 gels and one Honey Stinger Waffle (by the way, those are delicious!).  I had one bottle filled with water and one with Nuun.  I also brought an extra bottle of water which I used to refill my bottles about half way through.

Fuel and entertainment for mama’s running buddy

I was well-prepared to keep Zain entertained and content with snacks and water.  I brought some of his favorite books and a few toys.  Turns out the little man was worn out by mile 8 and he fell asleep.  Then I was just able to enjoy the added weight of his gear that he didn’t need.  I guess it’s good practice for when he gets bigger or for one day when I have 2 passengers :) .

Running is exhausting!

When we started our run, it was about 70 degrees and 89% humidity – lovely! By the end of our run, it was 81 with a heat index of 84 and very sunny.  It was too hot for me and I just knew I wasn’t going to make it 18.  I decided to push myself until I made it to 13.1.  That’s the farthest I’ve ever run with Zain (my previous longest run with him was 12 miles).  I know I’ll probably never be able to run a real half marathon with him since strollers are usually prohibited so I decided at least we can run a half on our own!

Done. Not the best pace, but definitely the best I could do today.

I’m not going to lie, I’m disappointed I didn’t make it to 18 miles.  I’ve been beating myself up about it since we got back home.  I know I could have done it if it was like 10-15 degrees cooler outside, but the heat was just zapping my energy today.

Sleepy boy after just waking up when we got home

I know the 13.1 miles I did make it through were still great and I’m proud of making it that far.  When it was tough and I didn’t think I could keep going, I remembered why I’m running and why I have to keep fighting.  I’m running so I can make a difference.  I’m running for The Ulman Cancer Fund’s Team Fight.  Please support me in my fight!


When we got back inside, he wanted to get me some more water. Such a sweetie!

And now I will leave you with a sweet treat I made this week.  I was asked to make cake pops for a baby shower this past week.  It was a shower for 3 mamas-to-be – one having a girl, one having a boy and one having a surprise.  I’m putting all the money I made selling my cake pops toward my fundraising goal for Team Fight.  A sweet treat for a great cause!

Baby shower cake pops – filled with chocolate fudge cake

Pink, blue and green!

Happy running and stay safe if you’re in an area that will be affected by Irene!

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Favorite things Friday

My favorite things this week have a theme: hydration! The wonderful August heat and humidity is in full swing so I’ll share with you my favorite things this week to stay hydrated.

Nathan Speed 2

Nathan Speed 2 Hydration Belt.  I used to be a bad runner.  I didn’t usually drink anything on my long runs (up to about 12 miles) because I didn’t want to carry water and I didn’t want to come home for water.  Running with Zain though, I always have a bottle of water with me.  I could have planted some water bottles on my route, but I don’t always stick with one route so that wouldn’t work well for me.  I was spoiled when I trained for my first marathon with Team in Training because they had water stops for us every 2 miles or so.  When we started to prepare for our trip to Paris and Rome, I decided I should probably get some sort of contraption to stay hydrated in the heat when I didn’t have my handy stroller console with my water bottle.

I love the Nathan Speed 2 belt.  I can bring 20oz of water or other fluids, like Nuun, with me on my runs.  If it’s especially hot or a run longer than 12 miles, I usually come home to refill my bottles once.  Because of that, I opted to get the set of 3 extra 10oz bottles so I could quickly grab a bottle when I come home and head back out to finish my run.

Getting the belt to fit you comfortably may take a few minutes.  I had to move it around a bit to find my comfy spot when I first took it for a run.  Now that I know I prefer to wear it higher on my waist rather than on my hips, I can get it just right as soon as I put it on.

Check out the cutie in the background

Nuun.  I love Nuun because it’s not too sweet like most sports drinks are.  It has a light and refreshing flavor and helps me replenish my electrolytes.  It comes in a wide variety of flavors.  My favorites are Lemon Tea, Lemon-Lime and Strawberry Lemonade, but I haven’t tried a flavor yet that I haven’t liked.

Camelback Podium Chill

Camelback Podium Chill.  Hubby and I got these for biking.  We thought it would be worth the investment to have insulated water bottles for when we’re out for longer rides.  Turns out the bottles also fit perfectly in my BOB stroller console!

Sippy cups for my little running buddy

Tommee Tippee Insulated Sippy Cup.  This is for my running buddy.  If mommy gets an insulated water bottle to keep her drink cool, shouldn’t her sweet little man get one too? Of course! It also fits perfectly in the BOB stroller console even though it is a bit thicker than most sippy cups.

Happy running!


Disclaimer: No one has paid me or given me anything to recommend these products.

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Why I run

I love reading other runners’ blog posts about why they run so I thought it was about time for me to tell you why I run.

When I first started running, I was in high school.  I ran because I played field hockey and they made us run.  I hated it.  It was something I dreaded.  I did it anyway because I had to.  Every summer, I’d run with some of my friends from my team so we could try to stay in shape and be ready for the hell that was pre-season.

I ran on and off in college, mostly on the treadmill.  I ran on the treadmill because I went to the gym with my friends and exercise was a social activity, plus a way to keep that added college weight from creeping up on me.  I went through phases of consistency with my running, but I think I was holding myself back by staying in the gym.  It wasn’t until my junior and senior years of college, that I ventured outside and hit the pavement.

That’s when I started to run with a purpose.  I ran because I wanted to see how far I could run.  I liked building up my mileage and knowing I could come back to my apartment and day I just ran 3, 4 or 5 miles.  I didn’t try to go farther than that because quite honestly, I didn’t really know what I was doing yet to know how to build my endurance.  I remember one of my roommates (whose sister is an incredible marathon runner and Ironman athlete) teased me that she was looking forward to seeing when I’d run my first marathon.  I scoffed at the idea.  There was no way I was going to run 26.2 flippin’ miles.

Then I graduated from college and decided that maybe running a marathon wasn’t that crazy of an idea.  I went to an information session for Team in Training and signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon in the Fall of 2006.  I wanted to make a difference and I wanted to run a marathon.  I found a way to do both.  I ran to help find a cure.  When I was struggling through the marathon and a cancer survivor stopped me to say “thank you” for running with TNT, I kept running for them.

After the marathon, I needed a break from running – both physically and mentally.  I had dealt with a few injuries during my training and I was also just burnt out.  I was in my first year of grad school and decided I needed to focus more on school.  I got back into running again a few months later because I wanted to stay in shape.

After my husband and I got married, we knew we wanted to have a baby right away.  Unfortunately, things don’t always go they way we think they will.  I suffered two miscarriages.  I wasn’t running before I got pregnant each time, but I ran again after we lost our first baby.  Running was my therapy.  I was running away from all of my pain.  Did running help? Nothing can take away the pain of losing a baby, but running was an escape for me.  It was an escape from the couch in our apartment where I cried so often, it was an escape from the unknowingly hurtful comments people made to me about my lost baby, it was an escape from everything.

I started running again after my sweet little miracle Zain was born.  I ran to lose the baby weight.  Once Zain was old enough, I started running with him and running was a fun activity for us both.

So here I am now.  Why do I keep running? I run because it keeps me healthy.  I run with Zain because I want him to be a part of my healthy lifestyle.  I run because it’s still my therapy when I’m having a bad day.  I run because it gives me more energy throughout the day.  I run because I love how I feel after finishing a double digit mileage run.  I run because I love running.  And I run because I can make a difference by running a marathon for a charity (I’m running the Baltimore Marathon with Team Fight for The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults – donate here!).

As time goes on, the reason I run has changed and I’m sure it will continue to evolve.  That’s one of the things I love about it.

Happy running!

Why do you run?

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The post-long run headache

I have this problem that has plagued me since training for my first marathon.  After every single long run (8 miles and up), I end up with a headache that sticks with me for the rest of the day.  It puts a damper on my Saturday and I feel pretty much useless for the rest of the day.  Pain meds like Advil or Tylenol can’t even touch it, plus I don’t want to be taking them every single weekend.

So what’s the logical thing to do to find the solution to this problem? Ask my doctor, right? Nah, I’d rather ask my running tweeps on Twitter! I’ve “met” such wonderful and helpful people on Twitter and I immediately got a lot of great advice from them.  Their answers to my question about my post-long run headaches ranged from dehydration and hunger to the need to replenish my electrolytes and sugars.

After my (quite awesome) 16 mile run on Saturday, I was determined to figure out the solution and stop the post-long run headache before it started so I could enjoy the day with Zain and my love.  I combined all my tweeps’ advice to come up with a triple pronged attack.  Normally, I shower right after my long run before I even eat something.  I’m fairly certain that is my biggest mistake (yes, you’d think I would have figured that out by now).

This time, I forced my sweaty self to consume a multi-grain English muffin topped with almond butter and honey, with a banana on the side and a double dose of Nuun to wash it down, followed by more water.

The solution

I also drank about 30oz of water plus 10oz of Nuun during my run and a few sips of Gatorade during a quick stop at home to refill my water bottles.

Problem solved! I didn’t have a headache for the rest of the day.  I felt great and had more energy than I usually do after my long runs.  The only thing that would have made me feel even better would have been a nap :) .

It’s a relief to conquer this obstacle in my marathon training because before I’m a runner, I’m a mom.  I need to be able to take care of my sweet little running partner and not feel useless after a few hours of running one day every weekend.  If you ever have this same problem, hopefully my solution will help you too!

Happy running!

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Favorite things Friday

This summer I’ve struggled through some of my runs.  The heat and humidity zapped my energy which has caused an occasional lack of motivation to go running.  Fortunately, I haven’t let that little issue get in the way of my marathon training and I’ve pushed through even when I didn’t feel like running.  My perseverance has paid off so far and I’m up to running 14 miles.  Tomorrow, I’ll tackle the next milestone – 16 miles :) .

During the past week, I’ve had some of my best runs all summer.  I even managed some sub-10 min/miles with the stroller on Monday and Thursday; my best mile was 9:06.  Wednesday I treated myself to an early morning solo run so I could run a little harder than I’m able to with the stroller.  I was able to do 5 miles in 46:30 with my last mile being 8:50.  I was so happy that I could do that.  I had some great music to listen to (a treat since I don’t listen to music on my runs with Zain) and that is a great motivator.

My favorite things this week:

My BOB Revolution (but I love who’s riding in it even more!).  I’ve mentioned millions of times before how much I love this stroller.  This week while running with Zain, he was super excited to chat with me while we ran.  He kept looking up at me through the window in the sunshade –  one of my favorite features of the stroller.  He would point at me and I’d try to grab his finger which sent him into fits of giggles.  He’d look up at me and say, “yeah, yeah, YEAH!” and “go, go, GO!” Just to tease me, he’d point right at me and say, “dadadaDA!” and I’d say, “no! MamamaMA!” He thought that was hilarious.

“Moves like Jagger” by Maroon 5.  If you have not heard this song yet, you must listen to it ASAP.  We first heard this song on the radio in the taxi on our way to the airport when we were leaving Rome.  I looked at hubby and said, “is this is new Maroon 5 song?! Why haven’t I heard it yet?!” I love Maroon 5.  We saw them in concert in DC a few years ago and I love their music.  “Moves like Jagger” is guaranteed to get you pumped up while you’re running.

A sweet treat.  A couple weeks ago, I experimented with making some banana bread with nutella swirled into it.  It was heavenly, but I didn’t do a very good job with my swirling so it ended up falling apart a bit when I took it out of the loaf pan.  It still tasted good though! So I tried again yesterday.  It’s very easy.  You just make your favorite banana bread recipe.  I like this one.  After you’ve mixed the batter, add as much nutella as you’d like into the bowl of batter; I personally like a lot of nutella in mine! Gently swirl it around so that you can still see the nutella; avoid mixing it too much.  Pour it into a well-greased loaf pan, bake and enjoy! If you’re like me and you can’t get enough nutella, feel free to drizzle some on top of the loaf after you take it out of the pan :) .

Biking with my little man.  You already saw my cross-training with a passenger post so you know Zain is not only my running buddy, he’s now my biking buddy too! After last night’s nutella banana bread, an evening family bike ride was definitely in order.  He loves riding on the bike, just as much as he loves going for runs.  I love sharing my favorite activities with him!

Happy running!

What are your favorite things this week, running related or not?

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I am not a quitter

Although I’ve had some close calls.

I have had my share of runs where I feel like I’m struggling with every step and I contemplate giving up literally every 5 seconds or so.  I never let myself stop though.  I know if I stop, I’ll regret it later.  On days like that, I give myself a minimum mileage goal and a maximum goal that I’d prefer to get to.  Today was one of those days.  My schedule calls for a recovery week which means less mileage on my long run.  My goal was 8 miles, but I gave myself the option of only doing 6.

Since this was a “shorter” long run, I brought Zain along with me.  He was good company and kept me entertained and motivated by yelling “go, go, GO!”  However, I just didn’t feel right the entire run.  Last night’s dinner of barbeque pulled chicken, french fries and sweet potato tater tots (ever tried them? hello delicious!) must not have been the best fuel for my run this morning…shocking, I know :) .  I felt sluggish, weak and tired.

While contemplating giving up and going home as early as the 2 mile mark this morning, I thought back to my experience running the Marine Corps Marathon.  One of these days I’ll do a post about my whole first marathon experience, but for now I’ll fill you in on a big theme during the race for me – I wanted to quit.  I wanted to drop out so badly that every time I ran past a group of spectators, my eyes were searching for my hubby (who was my boyfriend at the time) and my family.  I wanted to find them and tell them to take me home NOW.  They were amazing and found their way to several places during the race to cheer me on.  Thankfully, I never saw them when I was ready to quit.  I was kind of mad about that at the time, but I think it worked out for the best :) .  I finished the marathon and I’m ready to run another so I can have a better experience.

I ended up making it through all 8 miles this morning.  I just kept having to remind myself that I am not a quitter.  I proved to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to.

Happy running!

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Stuck in a rut?

Try a new route!

Lately I’ve found myself unmotivated for my weekday training runs.  This is mostly because I’m stuck doing the same route most days since I’m limited to the sidewalk when I run with Z in the stroller.  When I’m alone for my long runs, I can try something different by running on the road when I need a change.

This morning, I decided to load up the jogging stroller and the kiddo in the car and head to a nearby park.  I don’t usually do this because it means getting a later start for my run, but I decided to do it anyway today.  It was about 75 degrees and around 90% humidity which I knew was going to make for a soupy run.  Which leads to my other reason for not being a fan of driving to my running destination: I hate getting back in the car all sweaty and driving home.  When I trained for the Marine Corps Marathon, there was literally nowhere to run where I lived so I had to drive to the park for every run.  I didn’t enjoy that so now I’m thankful I can run where I live.  However, sometimes we all need a change of scenery.

The loop around the lake at the park is 1.7 miles and I was planning on a 5 mile run.  I ran around 3 times and took a break to walk back to the car when I hit 5 miles.

I pushed myself as much as I could given the humidity and ended up with a new 5 mile stroller run PR! My time was 49:55 (previous best was 50:53) with an average pace of 9:58.  My last 2 miles were my best splits at 9:54 followed by 9:33.  Sweet! I know that’s not fast for most people, but it’s great for me, especially with the stroller :) .

A change in your usual routine and route can make a difference! If you’re feeling bored or unmotivated, try something new and you just might get great results.

Happy running!

P.S. Shout out to @ForrestGump49er for pointing out the theory to me that a change of scenery can mean a better run after reading about my awesome runs through Paris!

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