Confession: After running the More/Shape Women's Half-Marathon in April, I took a solid week-plus off running. I wasn't totally inactive—I took a trip to Jacksonville, FL at the end of the week, and snuck in some kayaking, surfing, and yoga there. But I didn't even think about running. Even once I hit the trails again, I stuck to short distances and ran slow. It wasn't even that my legs were so tired; mentally, I was ready for a break.
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No matter how hard you're crushing your goals, we all inevitably have to deal with moments in life that make us feel like last kind picked for the team in gym class: totally ostracized and self-conscious. And those moments where that feeling of shame and isolation are tied to your body image can feel especially damaging to your self-esteem. (Check out The Science of Fat Shaming.)
Black Diamond Bbee 11 Pack
Another minimalist option, the Bbee ($50, blackdiamondequipment.com) is discreet enough to double as a workbag (it comes in a professional black or grey too) and functional enough to make your run-commute comfortable. The nylon is ultra light, and the contoured shoulder straps help minimize bouncing.
Nike Vapor Lite
Yes, there are some neon highlights on this Nike running bag ($70; store.nike.com). But they read more like a trendy, sporty accent rather than telegraphing an in-your-face rave effect. It's ultra-light, reflective (good for running at night), and has two side pockets to store things you may need to grab en route, like your phone or some snacks. Plus, both the back panel and shoulder straps are extra breathable. And despite looking slim, it fits everything you need.
Mammut Lithium Speed 15 Backpack
Just because it's bright doesn't mean it's too fitness-y to work everywhere. The Lithium Speed ($63; backcountry.com) comes in a pretty yellow. It will fit a hydration system or whatever stuff you need to bring to work. It also has side straps that let you compress it flat when it's not quite full, which helps give you a smooth ride.
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