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Posts tagged ‘running gear’

Waterproof iPod Shuffle

First, I want to say thanks to my fellow commenters and readers. Your kind words from yesterday made my Wednesday fabulous. ¡Gracias!

Now something instructive for your evening…

I’m officially on my 5th iPod shuffle. That’s right – 5th! The humid summers here in NC and the massive amount of sweat during a 20 miler, I have determined, are not helpful for the life of the shuffle. But I will also add that, if you wash your iPod in the washer and realize it before you put it in the dryer, it will still work.  I did that about 3 months ago and only recently, after a super sweaty workout, did it die.

Anyway, my Twitter friend PCinSTL suggested to me the Underwater iPod Shuffle. You can swim with it, run with it, and take it 200 feet deep in the ocean if you want. It is guaranteed to still work. It comes with special headphones for the water (or you can use regular headphones for running) and it functions just like a 2GB iPod. Yes, it’s a little pricer but 5 shuffles are still more expensive than one Waterproof iPod. You can read more about it here. Altogether, if you buy the shuffle and the headphones from the website, you are looking at $175. Or you can buy just the shuffle from Amazon and spend $165 (but you will still need the waterproof headphones for swimming.) And just so you know, out of 103 reviews from Amazon 89 are 5 star review and 9 are four star reviews. I think people really  like it.

I’m hoping the cooler months will prolong the life of my newest shuffle 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

On a side note, Monday evening I am meeting with a running coach who happens to be the husband of a friend of mine. He is a 2:25 marathoner and I think I’ve finally come to realize that I can’t do this training thing all on my own. If it’s just me and my training schedule, I’m going to push myself too hard every single time. It’s a given. I’m seeking help…

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Compression Socks

A few years ago when I was watching the New York City Marathon on television, I was quite intrigued by Shalane Flanagan’s choice of socks.  What in the world was she doing wearing those compression socks?  Since then, I have seen more and more athletes wearing these socks, and even my husband wears them for his long runs.  Recently my doctor recommended that I start wearing them to help with my lower left leg.  So now I’m curious…

My question, what is so great about compression socks and why should I be using them?

Photo Source: Zimbio

Compression socks were originally developed for people who had circulatory problems or forced inactivity.  Since then, athletes from many different sports have started using them as a way help performance and speed recovery.  The reasoning: during exercise blood can pool in the legs which leads to fatigue and muscle cramps.  With compression socks, the tight elasticity promotes blood flow which sends blood back to the heart.  With increased blood flow, there is less fatigue and muscle cramping.  There is also more oxygen being delivered throughout the body.

Not all compression socks are alike.  They actually come in different sizes (mid-calf, knee, thigh) and in different pressures gradients.  Depending on the pressure you are looking for, you can either buy them over the counter or you will need a prescription from your doctor.  (I had no idea doctors wrote prescriptions for socks!)  The over the counter socks come range in pressure from 10 mmHg – 15 mmHg to 15 mmHg – 20 mmHg.  And if you are looking for a little more pressure, your doctor can prescribe socks up to 50 mmHg.  Compression socks are tighter around the ankle and foot and then loosen up along the upper part of the leg.  In addition to helping promote blood flow through the body, some of the other benefits are increased oxygen delivery to the muscles, accelerated lactic acid removal, stabilization of the lower leg, minimized muscle fatigue and enhanced balance.

At first, I was quite skeptical about these socks.  However, if so many elites are using them, they have to be worth something, right?  In addition, the science supports the theory of increased blood flow and less muscle fatigue, which is definitely pushing me in the direction of getting a pair.  Compression socks are sold basically where you can get anything running related and the prices can range from $30 – $70, depending on the brand.  I have never worn any so I do not have any experience or reviews to share, however, Runner’s World has a nice article about the different types of socks and what they are good for.  Maybe my husband will let me borrow his so I can experiment with this increased blood flow.

Happy Trails, Happy Running, and HAPPY FRIDAY!

Tracie

Margarita Activewear: A Review

I must admit, I’m always on the look out for new running gear and my tastes have slowly moved from Target to Nike to Lululemon, and unfortunately the price continues to go up.  However, in the name of not chafing, it’s all worth it to me.   Recently, I read an awesome product review of Margarita Activewear from Live Run Yoga and was quite interested in this new brand.  For one, they claim to be better than Lululemon (which is  quite a tall order)  and two, the name of the company is Margarita Activewear – sounds like my kind of company!

As luck would have it, Kellie from ActivewearUsa.com emailed me on Friday and asked if she sent me any Margarita Activewear item of my choice, would I review it.  By Monday afternoon, I had my new tank and by Tuesday afternoon I put it to the test.

Appearance
Before going into performance, here’s a brief overview on Margarita’s style.  When I first visited their website, it was very clear they had a style all their own.  From funky colors and flower designs to polka dots and tye-dye, I wasn’t quite sure I was going to find something I would like.  However, I chose a super cute black tank with blue criss-cross straps across the back and am now considering these pants to match.  They had some other tops that were a little more revealing, but I personally would not be comfortable wearing them.

Daisy

   


Performance

When I first opened my package on Monday, I was immediately impressed with the feel of the top.  Margarita Activewear is made from a material known as Supplex in addition to Lycra.  The Supplex gives the top a super soft and breathable feel which is definitely comparable to anything from Lululemon.

I tried out my new Margarita tank for my Tuesday speed workout.  When I tried it on, I felt like the straps were cutting into my underarms.  It felt slightly uncomfortable and it had me wondering if maybe I should have chosen a different size (or maybe if I should have stayed away from Emily’s cupcakes =P).   Once I started running, however, it didn’t bother me.  It felt great and it did everything I would expect from a good workout top.  The three main things that I really liked were:

  1. The material was soft and did a great job of wicking away sweat
  2. It had great support and everything stayed exactly where it was suppose to, no extra sports bra needed (which I absolutely loved).
  3. Even with a super supportive built in sports bra, there was never any chafing.

One problem that I’ve had with other tanks is that they will move- either slide up or twist and turn.  I was really impressed at how well this top stayed put, and yet was so breathable.  This was a big plus for me.  My main problem with the top was the way I felt the straps cut into my underarms.  If you are someone with broader shoulders, you may want to stay away from the criss cross design.  Other than that, this is a great workout top.

Cost
As far as price goes, the tank cost $63, which is on the more expensive side.  But in comparison to other high end workout gear, it’s fairly reasonable.   I checked out a few other brands and Nike can range from $50 – $64, Brooks from $38-$53, Asics from $48-$60, and a comparable tank from Lululemon is $52.  However, even they have one that costs $64.  So if you are not concerned with a extra few dollars, then the price is within reason for what you get.

Conclusion
When considering high end active gear, Margarita Activewear falls right in line with other top of the line athletic companies.  The price is comparable, the material is great, and the support is amazing.  The one thing that really sets Margarita Activewear apart from the other companies is their style.  If you’re interested in adding a little spunk to your workout wardrobe, then this is certainly a brand worth trying.   Their workout  clothes are stylish, comfortable, supportive, and are worth becoming a part of your running wardrobe.

Margarita 4

Garmin 405

This past summer I went to Mexico and made the mistake of packing my Garmin Forerunner 110 in the outside pocket of my suitcase.  Needless to say, when I returned home from the airport, it was gone. For two weeks I debated on spending the $200-$300 on another Garmin, but like a miracle, Amazon sent me a message saying the Garmin 405 was on sale for $150.  With one click shopping, the Garmin 405 was on its way to my house within 5 minutes. (Sigh of relief.)  Sure, there were mixed reviews, but this Garmin did more than my previous one and it was cheaper. I didn’t see the problem.  Maybe I should have paid attention to the reviews.

When I first got it, I opened it and started playing.  The first difference I noticed was how many more options there were than the 110.  I could set courses, have a virtual training partner, transfer workouts with the ANT agent, (which I LOVE) and easily view the history of my past workouts.  To this day, the only extras I have used are the history menu and the ANT agent.

I had read a few complaints about the Bezel and wasn’t quite sure what it even was until I received the watch.  Come to find out, the bezel is the round thing around the face of the watch that allows you to switch screens simply by sliding your fingers in a circular motion.  I keep my bezel locked because it’s too difficult to try sliding your fingers with the appropriate pressure while running.  Honestly, all I really care about is my pace per mile anyway, so it serves no purpose to me.  It’s a feature that I can keep locked, therefore, it really isn’t a big deal… until stuff starts to go wrong.

I’m currently on my second Garmin 405 and will soon be on my third.  I’m not exactly sure why it goes crazy like it does, but I’m almost 100% certain it has something to do with the bezel. About a month after I had the watch, it literally went berserk.  Beeping, blinking, off, on, you name it. Luckily the battery was almost dead so it didn’t last too long.  I’ve been on my second Garmin 405 for about three months and it was doing just fine until this past Saturday.  When I walked out into my living room at 6am and heard it beeping for no reason, I knew there was a 50/50 chance it wasn’t going to work for my run.  The moment I got the satellites to lock, it went from the “Bezel Locked” to “Bezel Unlocked” screen non-stop, and beeped every single time it switched. After a pause for some water, I couldn’t get the time to start back up (it was too busy deciding whether it was locked or unlocked), and it continued to beep every single moment of my run.  When I came home, the beeping continued and I was getting quite irritated.  There was nothing I could do, not even switch screens or start the timer.

When it’s working, the 405 is great, but the bezel opens you up to the possibility of so many malfunctions, it’s just not worth it.   If you’re a runner who relies on your Garmin (maybe a little more than you should), this is not the device for you.  You never know if its going to go a little bonkers and start beeping like its a watch with a vengeance, or if it’s going to function like it should.  Thanks Amazon, but perhaps there is a reason for that super discounted price.

Garmin, I will be contacting you about another replacement BUT I would love it if I could switch models.  I don’t want the 405 anymore.  I could care less about all of the extras and the bezel.  I want the reliability of my Forerunner 110.  It never once gave me any problems, and I’m still sad someone stole it.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie