Showing posts with label Product review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Product review. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Why You Need to Run With Heart Zones

Disclaimer: I received a Heart Zones Blink 3.0 monitor in exchange for my honest review. 

I've whined for a while now about my sudden loss of endurance. It's been the weirdest thing. In January, I ran a half marathon, followed by an indoor marathon relay. While over time, I had been slowing down, I was happy with my performances at both races. A month after those 2 races, I had a rapid decline in my ability to run anything of distance, much less with speed. Frustrated, I began looking at heart rate training. I pulled out my old Polar chest strap, bought new batteries, and prepared to start running with it.

At that very time, in an interesting twist of serendipity, I received an offer from Heart Zones Blink 3.0 to trial their monitor and join their ambassador program. While I'd never really done heart rate training in the past, the timing of this offer was perfect. I've been running with my new Heart Zones monitor for the past couple of weeks and am excited to share what I've learned.



Friday, May 31, 2019

Runfessions over Coffee

This May has felt like the longest month ever. Between the inclement weather and the never-ending cold and flu season, I am ready for summer. Since it's the last Friday of the month, it's time to runfess. Marcia hosts this monthly cleansing of the soles and I've been ready to head into the runfessional for a while now! Grab a cup of coffee and join me, Coco, and Deborah while we runfess over coffee!

Cocoa is a great listener. Plus she wants some coffee...

Sunday, February 24, 2019

RA Flare Don't Care

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Mizuno Wave Horizon 3s in exchange for my honest review.

As you might have guessed from the title of my post, I spent most of the week dealing with an uptick in RA symptoms. As much as I wanted to curl up under a blanket and stay on the couch, I tried to keep it positive and stuck to my usual routine. I was both grateful for being able to move and frustrated for not being able to move the way I like. It was a tough week for me. I can't help but believe that some of my symptoms are due to this pervasive dampness we're having.



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Foot Pain: A Runner's Search for Answers

Disclaimer: This is an update of a post I prepared in 2014. I received a pair of Oesh shoes in exchange for my honest review. 

When you tell people you are a runner, what is the first thing they say to you? Does it have something to do with ruining your knees? If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that running is going to ruin my knees, I could retire and move somewhere warm. Can I put it out in the universe and say emphatically that I've never had issues with my knees?

What I have had problems with are my feet. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Most studies report a force of 3x body weight on the feet during a run. That means for this 125 pound runner, my feet absorb 375 pounds with every foot strike. So it's no wonder that my feet sometimes beg for mercy! Actually, it's amazing that they let me run any sort of distance.

Since we ask so much of our feet, it's important that we take good care of them. That includes proper footwear. I've got some experience here, having had more than my share of issues with my feet over the past couple of years!



Sunday, December 17, 2017

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Through my affiliation with Sweat Pink and Fit Approach, I received a pair of Tabio socks in exchange for my honest review. 

The holidays are bearing down on us but that didn't stop me from getting all my workouts in. I don't know about you, but I figure that everything will somehow fall into place. Most important to me is to keep my stress level down. The best way for that to happen is to maintain my normal routine and try not to overindulge in holiday treats. So far...so good...



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Run and Be Open with AfterShokz TrekzTitanium: Product Review

Disclaimer: As a SweatPink Ambassador, I received a set of AfterShokz TrekzTitanium headphones from AfterShokz in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions are, of course, my own.

As a music lover and runner, I have been intrigued by the AfterShokz TrekzTitanium headphones. I was super skeptical and had a lot of questions about them. How could headphones that use bone conduction for sound even work? Would the music sound "tinny"? Then there was the whole wireless Bluetooth thing. I've heard people complaining about their Bluetooth headphones--connection issues seem to be the biggest complaint. That, and the buds falling out of their ears made me think twice about giving up the cords.

Over the years, I've had ongoing issues with earbuds and so-called sport headphones. The biggest issue? Even when the earbuds claim to be sweatproof, they are not sweatproof. I believe that I am the sweatiest person on the planet. I just threw yet another pair of earbuds in the garbage because I sweated them to death. I consider myself lucky if I get 6 months out of a pair of earbuds. I'm also pretty picky about sound quality--I really am all about that bass--and so many earbuds sound so tinny. There's nothing worse than my rock and roll sounding like it's playing on an AM radio from the 1970s. Not that I know anything about that.  Finally, there's that whole cord thing--the cords fray, my flailing arms pull the buds out of my ears, they tangle into knots...

Naturally, when I was offered the chance to try the AfterShokz TrekzTitanium, you know I jumped at it. I do have one pair of corded earbuds that I love, so the bar was set pretty high for these!



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I'm Springing For Prana! #spring4prAna

It's no secret how much I love prAna's line of casual clothing. From yoga clothes to everyday gear, I have quite a few pieces of their stylish, comfortable items. prAna uses sustainable materials and fair trade products so you can feel good about what you are wearing.

I was fortunate to receive several items from their spring 2017 line to try out and review for my blog! Our unseasonably spring-like weather put me in the mood to head down to my favorite running path for these pictures. I'm #springing4prAna!



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Product Review: Mizuno Cold Weather Gear

Recently, I was asked to trial and review items from Mizuno's new cold weather line. The timing was right--as soon as the temperatures dropped, I received the Mizuno Women's Breath Thermo wave crew and gloves. When I saw the colors, I couldn't wait to try them out!


Mizuno's new Breath Thermo technology claims to use "heat generating technology" to keep a runner warm throughout the run. I was, as comes naturally to me, skeptical. The shirt is really thin. My skepticism soon disappeared as I worked up a pretty good sweat on my first run wearing the shirt!

When I finished my run, I examined the shirt more closely. Inside the shirt are special fibers that are meant to generate heat and wick away moisture. Those fibers also make the shirt soft inside. The shirt was very comfortable.


I wore the shirt on a few more runs to test it out again. I wanted to see if it would maintain the warmth and comfort after washing. The Wave Crew did not disappoint. It was about 38F when I wore it this time, and I was warm, even without any extra layers.


I really really like this shirt and would buy another one. There is also a 1/4 zip option. While I liked the fit (it is meant to be a base layer), some might find it a bit snug. If you like your running clothes a little looser, I'd recommend sizing up. The shirt comes in a variety of colors. 


Mizuno also sent me a pair of gloves to try. The Breath Thermo Warmalite Gloves also have the special weave. There is a touch screen forefinger on each glove, which I tested out multiple times while taking these pictures. Both gloves have pockets on the top of the hand, which are large enough to store a key or money. The stripes are reflective.


The Breath Thermo technology worked well in the gloves--my hands were warm, even on a 28 degree morning run. My only complaint about the gloves is that they seem to run large. I received size medium--I have medium sized hands--and they were kind of loose. I would have preferred a more snug fit. Mizuno also offers a glove with a windproof lobster claw mitten.

The Mizuno Breath Thermo technology is also available in socks, arm warmers, headbands, and hats. All the accessories come in a variety of colors. I'd like to try the socks for those brutally cold winter mornings.

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for Fitfluential, I received the Mizuno Breath Thermo Wave Crew and Warmalite Gloves in exchange for my completely unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

What cold weather gear do you like? Gloves or mittens? Crew shirt or 1/4 zip?

I'm linking up with Marcia, Patti, and Erica for Tuesdays on the Run as well as Debbie, Rachel, Lora, and Susie for Coaches Corner and Nicole for Fit Fashionable Friday! Also with Best of the Blogs!






Friday, June 10, 2016

Got Compression? #SKINSornothing

Got compression?

Compression socks, tights, tops--all the cool kids are running in compression these days. I don't always run in compression but when I do, I prefer compression tights. When I'm running on tired legs or have a long run to do, more often than not, I'll pull out a pair to help my legs run faster and recover better. I really believe that compression has a place in every runner's wardrobe. 

I've tried a variety of brands of compression tights. Recently, I received a pair of SKINS DNAmic compression tights to trial and review on the blog. Did they stand up to the other tights I've worn in the past?


SKINS, an Australian company, was started when an Australian skier wanted to develop a product that would let him party all night but be able to recover and perform at his best all day. He theorized that by providing more oxygen to the muscles, he'd be able to work harder. He was right, and there has been a lot of research to support his theory. According to the SKINS website, where there are quite a few scientific studies listed, SKINS compression actually: improves venous return, reduces exercise induced muscle damage, accelerates recovery, removes lactic acid faster, increases strength and power, improves endurance, enhances muscle oxygenation, improves body temperature control, and reduces in-flight ankle edema. The DNAmic technology was developed to deliver specific levels of compression to active muscles. 

Pretty bold claims, right? Did these tights stand up to my cynical eye? Or legs?


Mother Nature cooperated with a bit of a cold spell this week so I could try out my tights. I took my tired legs out for a 5 mile run on a cool, blustery morning, wearing the SKINS DNAmic compression tights. At first, my legs felt "tight" as they always do when I run in compression. But when I looked down at my first mile split, I was pleased as I had an 8:25 minute mile. The rest of my mile splits were even faster. All good. 

I also did my pushups for Marcia's push up challenge and did some bar hangs and scapular pull-ups per Becky's homework.


Overall, I LOVED these tights. They were easy to pull on, which hasn't always been the case with other compression tights. They look great. They aren't at all restricting. At first I wasn't sure if I liked the pattern on the fabric, but as it turns out, they look great with a variety of colors of shirts. I don't know if they made me run faster, but my legs felt good while I was running. And best of all, my legs felt great after the run. I went to work, spent most of the day on my feet, and my legs weren't tired at all. Imagine if I could wear compression to work!


The only comment I would make is about the sizing. Even though I followed the sizing chart on SKINS website and ordered accordingly, I found the tights to be a little snug around my torso. The legs fit great but I would have liked a little more breathing space for my tummy. I've had this issue with other brands, so maybe it's just me. I would recommend sizing up one size. Still, I will wear these again and again. I really liked them. A lot.


One other comment: this isn't my first pair of SKINS compression. A few years ago, I bought a pair of SKINS compression shorts for running. My youngest son, who plays rugby, needed a pair of compression shorts to wear underneath his rugby shorts. I gave him the SKINS compression shorts and he just loves them. In fact, when I told him I was trialling a pair of the tights, his comment was, "SKINS are the best". He says they are really comfortable and he doesn't really notice them when he's playing, but he does think they help him run faster.

Running for a try in his SKINScompression!
Do you want to try SKINS DNAmic Compression? You can enter win an item from the SKINS DNAmic compression line! Sorry, but only US residents can enter. Only one prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won a SKINS prize from another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner.

And if you're not a winner or just can't live without the gear you chose, use the discount code SWEATPINK-SKINS20 on everything except sale items!

Do you wear compression gear? Have you ever used SKINS? What item would you choose if you won? 

I'm linking up with the DC Trifecta of Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia for the Friday Five!












Also with Nicole for her Fit and Fashionable Friday Link Up!












And with Smitha and Erica for Wednesday Giveaway RoundUp! #WinAllThePrizes












Disclosure: I was given a pair of SKINS DNAmic tights to trial and review on the blog from SKINS and SweatPink. All opinions are, of course, my own.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Product review: SPIBelt

Truth be told...I don't like things around my waist. Maybe it's because I don't have much of a waist (I've got long legs and a short torso). I've always hated pants that buttoned at that waist. When low waisted pants came into style, it was a dream come true for me. I fear the day when high waisted pants are back.

Mom jeans snl.com
About 4 years ago, at the Walt Disney World marathon expo, I was shopping for a waist pack to carry my phone and my iPod in during the race (I was running the half). I didn't have much success with an armband (chafing) or a waist clip (I broke several of them) and I didn't want to carry anything in my hand. I walked by a booth for SPIbelt. There were some cute ladies modeling the SPIbelts. The SPIbelt features an adjustable elastic band and the salesperson promised me that I could wear it low around my hips and it wouldn't move. I was skeptical, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and because I run outside almost exclusively, I purchased the Water resistant model.

My water resistant SPIbelt performed much better than I did at last year's Florida Beach Halfathon!
I'm happy to say that same SPIbelt has been around my hips on my 4 times/weekly runs ever since. I've run in the pouring rain, and my phone has stayed dry. The pouch lies flat on my lower abdomen and doesn't move or bounce, no matter how much stuff I put in in it! I've run multiple distance events, and the SPIbelt has not let me down. I use my SPIbelt on bike rides and when I go kayaking. I've even used my SPIbelt for trips to the ballpark and other outings.

If you look closely, you can see my SPIbelt, helping keep my iPhone safe!
Only once, the SPIbelt let me down and it was only because I'm a packrat. Last fall, when I ran Chicago, I needed to bring, along with my usual gear, 3 packs of Tailwind Nutrition, which I use to fuel. The problem was, I couldn't fit all 3 of them, my phone, and other essentials in the SPIbelt. I ended up wearing an old fanny pack and the SPIbelt to carry everything. The SPIbelt didn't move. The fanny pack kept rotating around my waist and annoyed me. I should have bought another SPIbelt and used two of them. I know that the SPIbelts wouldn't have budged. Live and learn.

SPIbelt stayed put and held almost all my stuff for 26.2!
Last month, I received an email from Jessica at SPIbelt asking me if I'd be interested in doing a product review for them. She told me to pick out 2 products of my choice to trial. I picked out the Endurance model, which is described as larger for longer races, and the Double-pocket model, which has 2 pouches. I received the Double-pocket model but instead of the Endurance model, I received the Original SPIbelt. The elastic on my old Water resistant SPIbelt was starting to get kind of stretched out, so I welcomed the Original. The SPIbelts come in a variety of color and patterns, but I'm a basic kind of gal, and so I ordered black. There are also multiple models and other products on the website.

The original SPIbelt
Since receiving it, I've taken the Original SPIbelt out on multiple runs. It functions similarly to my old Water resistant model, with one exception. It isn't water resistant. Over the last couple of weeks, I've run a few speedwork sessions in the pouring rain. At the end of the runs, my phone wasn't wet, but it wasn't exactly dry. The word I would use is moist. Now that I know this, and if I'm expecting rain, I'll go back to my old Water resistant model. Or pack my phone in a zip baggie. Otherwise, I'm quite happy with the Original. I have used it for my last 2 races, and was able to fit a pack of wipes, some chafing cream, my drivers license, Visa card, $10 bill, car key, and my iPhone all in the pack. Even with all the stuff I had in there, the belt stayed in place on my hips, and maintained a flat profile under my shirt.

You can't see it but it's there! Stuffed full.
The Double-pocket model has a larger pouch and a smaller pouch. I thought this SPIbelt might come in handy to keep my money, key, and license separate from my wipes and iPhone. But the larger pouch is still smaller than the single pouch on the Original, and I couldn't fit much more than my phone into it. I wasn't sure how to position the pouches, because I didn't think that would work well with them on my hips. I rotated the belt around with the large pouch in front, and the belt clip on the side, and that worked just fine. Like the Original model, the belt stayed in place throughout my runs.

Now that I have a few SPIbelts, I think I could use 2 of them on my longer runs, placing one in the front and one in the back. I love that the elastic band stays in place. The Original works great for me. I'd still like to try the Endurance model and see if its larger capacity would really make a difference. Of course, it would probably be better for me not to carry so much stuff! But overall, after 4 years of running with a SPIbelt, I can say that I'm a fan.

Do you use a waist pack? Have you tried the SPIbelt? Do you want to? Go to the website and use the coupon code LONGWAY15 for 10% any product on the site!

disclaimer: I was provided products from SPIbelt for testing and review purposes. All the opinions here are my own. And if I were Oprah, the SPIbelt would be one of my favorite things and all of you would receive one! 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Product review: Lily Trotters Compression socks

About a month ago, I was contacted by Susan of Lily Trotters, a start-up company, asking me if I would be interested in trying a prototype of their new compression socks. Previously, I had read a review of them on Salt's blog, and not only did they sound awesome, they looked super cute. And little did Susan know, but I have a bit of an obsession with running socks. So, of course, I said yes, and a few weeks later, this pair came in the mail.


I couldn't wait to try them out. The timing was perfect. Prior to my most recent half marathon, I had been struggling with tight calf muscles and the dreaded shin splints. I had been stretching and foam rolling like crazy, and decided to throw the Lily Trotters into the mix for my training runs.

I'm no stranger to compression socks, but I have been a bit skeptical at the claims I've heard. As a nurse, I know all about the benefits of compression socks for circulation, but are they any good for tight muscles? The research has been mixed, but most studies show benefits for recovery more than performance. But improved recovery should translate into better performance, right? If you believe they're helping your running, then you should wear them. That's the conclusion of all the studies I could find.

I've worn compression sleeves made for plantar fasciitis with very impressive results. When I feel a flare up of that dreaded condition, on go the sleeves. I also have a pair of compression calf sleeves that I've trialled for recovery. While they seemed to really help with muscle cramping, I read some very scary stuff about DVTs and calf sleeves, and have been a little reluctant to wear those again. The bottom line seems that it is better to wear compression socks, not sleeves.


So with all that background, I headed out the door with my Lily Trotters. Compared to other compression socks I've tried, they were fairly easy to put on. I found that if I started by putting my foot in and rolling the calf portion up slowly, they went on without a problem. The foot portion of the sock is fairly thin and there isn't any compression. I'd love some compression at the arch, having suffered from PF in the past! I have a pair of low compression socks from another manufacturer which has this feature, and I like the support that I feel from that little extra elastic.

On the first run, I still felt a little calf tightness and had to stop to stretch once to loosen up my calves. But I kept them on after my run and did my usual stretching routine. Two days later, I took to the road again, wearing the socks. No tightness. That was pretty exciting for me! I've worn them a couple times since, and my runs have been nice and easy. No calf tightness.



The days I wore them, the weather was pretty cool, and I wore them over my long tights. My feet didn't get cold, even though the foot part is pretty thin. I didn't wear my Lily Trotters in Florida, because I was worried I'd be too warm in them. Still, my legs feel good. I considered bringing them for recovery, but neglected to pack them. Mom brain.

I've washed them with my running gear in the washer and hung them to dry. The socks have maintained their compressive elasticity. They are still as cute as the day they came in the mail.  Lily Trotters is coming out with several really cute designs and I think that is going to be a big selling point for them. The pair that I was sent were black with pink and green dots on the calf portion. My favorite feature is the frilly trim at the top. At my job, I spend all day on my feet, and I'd buy some of the more fashionable designs to wear under pants. Between the Lily Trotters and my Danskos, I'd be all set!

Lily Trotters aren't available yet for purchase, but you can sign up for their mailing list to be notified of the launch!


Disclosure: I was kindly given one pair of Lily Trotters compression socks to trial and review. The opinions and pictures are all my own.