Small Business Saturday is here!

Poppy Sports is offering 30% off store-wide with the coupon SBS2011.

This day is not just about Poppy Sports (as much as we would like it to be!) This day has been set aside for all independent companies, and as part of our pledge to shop independent, here are a selection of a few of our favorite independent stores that make our lives much lovelier!

Category:  Food and Drink

Category: Sports

Category: Retail

Get ready…Here it comes…

Poppy Sports will be celebrating Small Business Saturday on 11/26/11

November 26th, the day after Black Friday, is the Second Annual Small Business Saturday; a day when we all “shop independent”, coming together to celebrate America’s small businesses.

Pledge your support for Small Business Saturday with Poppy Sports

The 2nd annual Small Business Saturday® is a day dedicated to supporting independent businesses
on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

On November 26, American Express is asking millions of Americans to shop small at their favorite local stores and help fuel the economy. When we all shop small, it will be huge.

I can not wait…

Poppy Sports is joining the shop local, shop independent revolution and we’ll be presenting a series of special offers around Small Business Saturday to help customers get the best our of our store with some special help from us. There will be discounts (big ones, free wrapping and maybe a giveaway or two!)

We are just thrilled and happy and ready.

There are thousands of other small independent businesses out there, and they’re all walking the same journey on Saturday November 26th.

Come on folks, let’s go.

What can you do to help?

  • Share this blog post with your friends encouraging everyone to shop independent on Sat. Nov. 26th
  • Become our friend on Facebook and join our mailing list to make sure you know about our SBS special offers
  • Visit Facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturday to find out more!
  • More importantly, shop on Saturday 26th at your favorite independent stores in person and online.

What’s in it for you?

American Express will credit your card with $25 when you shop at a Small Business Saturday business. Just register your American Express card to receive $25 statement credits when you shop at a registered store on 11/26/11.
Also, shop knowing you are pumping money back into an innovative business (or online business as we like to say) who is making positive contributions to your local economy.

Finding out what twenty miles can do to a person with Laura Romeo

Poppy Sports Blogger Laura Romeo takes on 20 miles and gains many more miles of confidence

Training the mind as well as the legs

Arguably, the most important training run for a marathoner comes in the form of 20 miles. While the shorter runs are equally important to work on speed or to improve your strength on hills, a 20 mile run covers most of the distance of a marathon and its value is hard to substitute. Not only does running 20 miles prepare you physically, it prepares you mentally.

I had my first 20 mile run of the season on August 27th. I was nervous because it had been close to two years since I ran that far. My day started early at 4:20 a.m., well before sunrise. I met up with a few other runners who were equally driven to start early, and my 20 miler began promptly at 5:00 a.m. with a flashlight for the dark and sunglasses on my head for when the sun rose. I carried 20 ounces of water on my waist and a pack of Clif Shots for fuel. I ate one shot before the run for some simple carbs.

The first eight miles flew by. I ate another Clif shot after that eight and stopped to walk and chew on them periodically if my stomach panged with hunger. What a difference that made in my energy! I felt great all the way through mile 16. After that, I started to feel tired, but not so fatigued that I couldn’t finish strong. I finished this monumental run in 3:40:03. (To put this time in perspective, my 20 mile run two years ago for my first marathon was just over 4 hours.) I was euphoric and it was a real confidence boost. I believe now that I will finish this second marathon in about 5 hours, if I’m careful. This will shave 45 minutes from my first marathon finishing time, which is an enormous accomplishment. This isn’t a fast pace, but that’s not what I’m after. I’m looking for improvement from my first race and I know now I’ll be able to do it. The race isn’t until the end of October, so I still have plenty of time for at least two more 20 mile runs – or more. (I’m thinking 22…)

Marathon training with clif bloks

Not only yummy, they do exactly as it says on the packet. Thanks Clif Bloks

I attribute my success to several factors. First, I didn’t usually eat anything for long runs the first time I did this whole marathon thing. Consequently, I felt tired early into a run, likely depleting any stores of glycogen my body might have had left. The long runs felt especially long. So, eating those little shots while on the move helped tremendously. Second, I ran with two other ladies and conversation makes the miles seem a little less strenuous. Third, my personal trainer has helped improve my strength, and stronger muscles means a stronger runner.

While I have completed a marathon before, I never felt like I earned the title “marathoner” because it took me so long to finish. I learned my lessons the hard way with a particularly difficult first marathon. I worked through some staggering motivational issues. With all the running I did (I did nothing else at the time; not even cross-training), I didn’t want to run at all. I was tired of it. I felt like I wasn’t worthy to train for a marathon, let alone finish one. A 14 mile run back then was agonizing and I hated every mile. You could say I ran into a month-long “wall.” So, I took some time off after my first marathon. I didn’t run for a while, and when I could no longer ignore the calling, I took it easy. Running and I had to re-build our relationship, and that break was well worth it.

Now? I’m registered to run one of the most popular marathons in the country, at sea level no less, and I can’t wait.

LEG LUBE

Another product we love at Poppy Sports

Review by Laura Romeo—reluctant shaver and fast runner

Shaving for Cyclists

A bead is all you need!

Let me preface this review of Leg Lube by saying that I hate shaving. I always have and probably always will. I stopped using shaving cream several years ago because it was too messy, even though the result was smoother legs. I shaved in the shower using only water, and while my legs weren’t as smooth, it got the job done. I even tried those no-shave creams, and I hated those just as much because they had an awful scent. So, when I say that Leg Lube has helped me not dread shaving, that’s a good thing.

Owner Austin Baskett created Leg Lube as a triathlete who wanted a better product but didn’t see one on the market. Leg Lube is better than your average shave gel, and the fresh scent of mint and aloe is aromatherapy in the shower. It’s slick, easy, and you don’t need to use very much.

Leg Lube for fast legs

A quicker shave means more time to run!

The directions say you only need one “bead,” and admittedly I was dubious it wouldn’t be enough. I expected this gel to be like the rest; foamy and messy. I was pleasantly surprised. One bead was enough, and it wasn’t foamy at all. (Of course, you can use more if you need to, but I doubt you will.) It’s a clear gel that provides just enough lubrication on your skin that your razor glides along without leaving behind any nicks or cuts. I’m infamous for cutting myself right above my Achilles tendon, but not so when I used Leg Lube.

I first tried the gel in the shower. When compared to my normal shaving habit of only using water, Leg Lube made the process go much faster and with a much better result. The next time I hopped in the shower, I found that I wanted to shave – which is something I have never said. This gel leaves my legs feeling smooth and soft, and I’m unabashed to show them off in short running shorts.

One thing I rarely did was use traditional shave cream outside of the shower, because I hated the time it took to rinse that foamy stuff off the razor before the next stroke. While using Leg Lube still took more time outside the shower than in, the result was the same. I only needed gel the size of a pea, and I had no pesky cuts anywhere.

My only caveat with this product is that I had no accompanying Leg Lube lotion or cream for after shaving. I would love lotion with the same eucalyptus and aloe, since living in Colorado’s semi-arid climate can easily dry out one’s skin. And if it were made by Leg Lube, I know I’d be getting the same quality product.

While I can’t really say that shaving with Leg Lube made me run any faster, it made for softer skin and fewer cuts. I’d recommend to any athlete, or to just about anyone looking for a better way to shave.

Editor’s note: We hope the brains at Leg Lube will think about an accompanying lotion or cream for after the shave.  Great suggestion Laura!

Interview by Laura Romeo, fan of the Lori running short

As you know, I am a big fan of Oiselle running apparel. Before joining Poppy Sports as a blogger, I never knew they existed. It’s a shame, really, because I missed out on great products for a long time. I had the privilege to ask Oiselle founder, Sally Bergesen, a few questions about her products, her inspiration, and why she does what she does. Here’s what she had to say.

Sally Bergesen, founder of Oiselle running apparel

Q: What inspired you start Oiselle?
A: There was a clear lack of innovation and style in women’s athletic apparel. It was the ultimate combination of my two great passions: design and running. Since I did them both separately for years, I decided this was the opportunity to bring them together.

Q: How did you decide on which fabrics to use?
A: Finding the right fabric and the right manufacturer that could create something beautiful and affordable was the toughest nut to crack. I choose them based on how well they will perform and the “seduction factor.” When you touch it, does it draw you in and make you want to wear it?

Q: What inspires you on colors?
A: I believe that bright, strong, athletic colors are very important to women. And hey, here in gray Seattle, they’re needed for survival! This means stepping out of the navy blue, red, pink rut that a lot of athletic apparel brands are in. I like pink and feminine colors, but I always want it to be feminine-strong, not feminine-passive. Athletes that embody strong-feminine include Hope Solo, Shalane Flanagan, Lauren Fleshman, and all the women on our Ambassador Team

Q: I noticed in my own testing that the Lori running shorts didn’t ride up. How did you manage to solve this incessant problem?
A: The slightly lower rise is one. They sit comfortably at the hips. A lightweight fabric is also key so it doesn’t bunch and creep.

Q: Where do you hope Oiselle will be in the next few years?
A: I hope it will continue to win over the hearts and minds of fit, fast, strong women around the world! I know that if we deliver product that these women love, the sky’s the limit.

Q: And from one runner to another, why do you run?
A: In the beginning, I ran to get healthy in both body and mind. I was a bit of a lost soul in college and once I found running, it became the foundation for a better, brighter, happier life. After that, it became a competitive outlet. I discovered I actually had some speed, so I spent about 12 years enjoying fast times on the roads, cross country, and track, and being on a team, both with Club Northwest and then our own Oiselle Running Club.

For the past five or six years, it’s been a mix. I ran my fastest marathon (2:59) and half marathon (1:22:30) in the latter half of my 30’s, so I’ve experienced the longevity of competition! Lately, with launching Oiselle, running has simply become my outlet for stress and my keeper of sanity. And of course, my time to be with girlfriends where we can share stories and laughs and celebrate life’s many ups and downs. My big hope for running now is that I can help inspire others to find this great sport, and to make it a meaningful part of their lives. I want to help women move away from a culture of dieting and weight loss and toward one of ongoing health and fitness, where it’s the journey AND the destination.
And so, Poppy Sports readers, there you have it. Purchased your first pair of Oiselle shorts yet?

by Laura Romeo, our marathon-bound blogger

While I’m no official marathon training coach, I like to think I know a thing or two about training for races, especially the longer ones. I can safely say that I’m doing much better this time than the last time I trained for a marathon. So, if you’re preparing to run that daunting 26.2-mile race, here are my personal marathon training tips:

  1. Get a good pair of shoes. Ok, so this is kind of a no-brainer, but I can’t stress it enough. Good shoes are important for comfort, but the wrong shoes increase your chances of injury. Your feet will be happier in quality shoes.
  2. Start off easy. Don’t get overzealous in the beginning. Give yourself time; the mileage will come. Be kind to your running self.
  3. Hydrate. You’re not invincible. Chances are you’re already a little dehydrated if you’re thirsty during your run. Drink water for the first hour of running, then supplement after that with a sports drink; something with electrolytes and sodium.
  4. Fuel up. I know it’s hard sometimes to eat before a run, but if it’s going to be a long one, eat something anyway. Your body will thank you for it. Bring something with you to munch on just in case. Hard candy can be good for the simple carbs, or go for a gel if you can stomach it (I can’t). I find that a granola bar does the trick.
  5. Find new and different places to run. Avoid running in the same park where you go in circles for 20 miles (like I did for my first marathon), even if it’s your favorite park. It’s boring and uninspiring. Explore some new paths; you never know where you’ll find yourself.
  6. Surround yourself with support. Whether it comes from family, friends, a spouse or all of the above, make sure you know people who are ready to accept your strange tan lines, collection of water bottles, and your million pairs of running socks. They will say you can keep going when you think you can’t.
  7. Have fun! If you hate running, then you probably shouldn’t be preparing for a marathon. It will be 26.2 miles of misery. But if you’re obsessed with racing like I am (even a little bit), run while you can and enjoy the gift of two legs that can carry you over great distances.

Running a marathon takes some serious guts, determination, and dedication. When you reach that finish line and everything hurts, you can say, “I finished a marathon,” something no one can take away from you. So get out there and run!

By Dian Trompler, Poppy Sports roving reporter

Motivated?

I certainly am! Should be after the last days of the Tour de France! What exciting and inspiring battles on the epic alpine climbs, and how about the tough determination demonstrated by Cadel Evans during each and every kilometer of his heroic time trial?

I love that the ride to the Champs-Elysees was one of jovial celebration of goals attained and hard work accomplished, smiles and joyous laughter after the grimaces expressing the pain of the previous three weeks!

The Challenge

As we go through Tour de France withdrawal it’s time to put the DVR remote away, at least until the USA Pro Cycling Challenge starts on August 22nd, and take on a challenge of our own. And, as fate would have it, we’re in luck! The Deer Creek Challenge, billed as the toughest century in the country is just around the bend on Sunday, August 21!

The number of women supporting the Deer Creek Challenge in the past has been minimal. This year, though, Poppy Sports has resolved to change that. As women cyclists riding in and training for a variety of events, we have something to prove! So, pull on the team uniform, comfy cycling shorts with a Poppy Sports Team retro cycling jersey, and join with the ladies of Poppy Sports Team to up the ante and support women’s cycling!

Deer Creek, here we come

Taming the beast

The Deer Creek Challenge rides out of Denver through the foothills into the Rockies. A distance exists for every cyclist from 33 miles to 62 to 100. All of the routes climb 4,200 feet out of Littleton to City View. The shortest course returns down High Grade Road at City View, while the other courses continue climbing.

Choosing the 62-mile route, you choose to climb about 7,000 feet into Evergreen. At the other end of the spectrum, the 100-mile route continues on to Shadow Mountain for an elevation gain of over 12,000 feet.

Should you happen to bite off more than you can chew, the 89-mile cut-off of the 100-mile route eliminates the return trip to City View. Well-supplied aid stations, nutritional and mechanical support, a BBQ post-ride, and commemorative t-shirts as well as free beer and massages make this a ride not to miss!

Team Poppy

Poppy Sports is one of the few women-only teams entered in the Deer Creek Challenge. You’ll find a team member going the distance in each category. Mention that you are riding with the team and receive $10 off your entry fee. Just use the special code DCCBIKE11 when you register. After the ride, re-hash the grades that made you grimace, caused your heart to pound like a drum, and celebrate your achievement with friends and teammates in the Poppy Sports tent, complete with private drink service.

Poppy Sports women's retro cycling jersey

Going retro

Check out the team uniforms especially designed for Poppy Sports. Melanie Mitchell, owner of Poppy Sports, says, “We’re going retro with a nod to the glory days of cycling for those that recall the Coors Classic!” The limited-edition jersey will ship before the ride from the Poppy Sports online store. Stock will be limited, so reserve your retro cycling jersey today. Even if I weren’t going to ride, I’d have to add this to my cycling apparel.

Thinking that it might be too long of a day in the saddle to aim for at this point?

Still a few weeks away, you have a couple of options to help you prepare. The Poppy Sports Denver Training Group is training for the grueling climbs and distance. Fun and supportive, this group of active women with children, careers, and more encourage one another to complete their goals. When you sign up with the group you’ll be notified of when and where they ride.

The second option, a free 5-week training plan, outlines a schedule to assist riders with sufficient conditioning for a long day in the saddle. Gradually increasing your time on the bike is crucial to building the confidence to endure the 62- or 100-mile courses. The neck, shoulder, and arm muscles that support your body and the gluteal and leg muscles that transport you up the mountains will adapt to the stress with increased time in the saddle recommended by this plan. Work on your climbing form by making hills part of your rides several times a week.

Additionally, some good solid core work two to three times a week will ease the strain on your back and shoulder muscles.  Some suggestions to strengthen your mid-section can be found at this great triathlon site.

Eating for Endurance

Nutrition and hydration should also be a part of your training. It’s important to learn what your body needs and when to eat it during a ride to aid the muscles to cover the distance you desire.

The goal of fueling your body on a long endurance ride is to keep a steady stream of carbohydrates transported to your laboring muscles. Gels, blocks, Cliff minis, and sports drinks with the proper electrolyte composition are the kinds of carbohydrates that will quickly assist your muscles to efficiently sustain their work.

Ingesting the right ratio of carbs and protein post-training facilitates repair of the muscle fibers before your next ride.

Register for the Ride Today

Remember to use code DCCBIKE11

and note that you are part of the Poppy Sports team on registration

www.deercreekchallenge.com

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