The Versatility of the UV Reflective Half BUFF®

Disclaimer: I received a UV Reflective Half BUFF® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I have so many running friends who are BUFF® fanatics. They love their BUFF®. But being a Southerner, it’s always so warm for us. I wasn’t sure I would use a full BUFF® very much. The opportunity popped up for us to try the UV Reflective Half BUFF® recently and I wanted to check out what all the fuss is about.

One of the first things I really liked about this Half BUFF® was that it has reflective print. This is all the rage right now in a lot of active wear and I LOVE it. I love, love that added safety feature. It lights up like a Christmas tree with the BUFF® logo and reflective stripes when you shine a light on it.

The half length was perfect for me. I could easily wrap it around my wrist for an nice little cloth to wipe away sweat on my brow and  hankie to wipe my nose. The thin, sweat-wicking material  was great when I used it as a headband on several runs. It kept the sweat from running in my eyes and was so lightweight I totally forgot I had it on.

Here is the description from the BUFF® website:

Half the length of original UV BUFF® headwear, the UV Reflective Half BUFF® option offers efficient thermal properties, built-in sun protection, moisture management and reflective strips that are ideal for runners. Able to dry quickly and control odor, this sweat-wicking layer fits easily under a helmet. It’s a versatile, go anywhere piece wearable at least nine different ways. 

  • Blocks 95% of UV rays*
  • Reflective strips
  • Multifunctional
  • Exceptional Moisture-wicking with its 4-channel fibers
  • Soft, breathable Coolmax® Extreme fabric
  • Cool in the summer, extra layer of warmth in the winter
  • Polygiene® Active Odor Control
  • Quick drying

All of the above is totally accurate! I even used it at a recent race to keep my hands warm before the race start. It worked like a charm!

The BUFF® is so versatile. I have really enjoyed bringing it on my runs. I swear it’s the MacGyver of running gear. Every runner should have have one.

 

LEGEND® Compression Leg Sleeves Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of the LEGEND® Compression Leg Sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I swear by my compression gear. I collect compression socks and sleeves like some people collect rare coins. I LOVE my compression gear.

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The first thing I noticed about the LEGEND® Compression Sleeves when I put them on is that they feel thinner than several other brands. They’re thinner, but they still offer an excellent amount of soothing compression. I wore these during several runs and after for recovery to test them out in both situations. I really, personally liked that they were thinner, especially for all of the warm, humid days we’ve been having. This also means these are going to be much more comfortable to use during our sweltering summer heat.

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LEGEND® sets itself apart with their background in medical compression therapy. The sleeves use medical grade graduated compression to help stabilize muscles and reduce soreness.

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Some great things about LEGEND® Compression Sleeves:

  • Relieves shin splints, calf cramps and pulled muscles
  • 15-20 mmHg Graduated compression for increased athletic performance
  • Greater power output
  • Enhanced endurance
  • Increase oxygen levels and blood circulation
  • Reduced muscle fatigue, exertion and soreness
  • Faster recovery time
  • Promotes healing
  • Reduce vibration
  • Maximum blood flow for muscle performance
  • Reduction of lactic acid
  • Moisture wicking
  • Breathable, seamless construction for comfort
  • UV protection

I also really liked that they are MADE IN THE USA and LEGEND® values their quality assurance. They come in a wide variety of colors with a sleek, simple design that can be integrated into any training outfit.

 

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Check out their website http://legendcompressionwear.com/ and browse the many different types of compression wear they offer. Use code rave20 to save you 20% off your order while you’re there!

Rudy Project Fotonyk sunglasses review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of the Rudy Project Fotonyk sunglasses  to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

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I’m a big sunglasses nut. I have sensitive eyes and almost always wear sunglasses when I’m outside be it playing, walking, or running. I’m always looking out for a good pair that fit comfortably and don’t slip down my face. I’ve heard great things about Rudy Project, especially their cycling helmets and sunglasses. So, I was anxious to try them out.

First of all the Fotonyk glasses look so fierce. They really look tactical to me. I was almost a little intimidated by them. Am I badass enough to wear them??? 🙂 The first thing I noticed about them is how lightweight they are. They fit my face snugly but not to the point where I felt they were squeezing my head or nose. The lenses are also crystal clear.

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Some of the really great things about the glasses:

  • They come with an adjustable nose piece. This was good for me because I have a fairly narrow nose bridge. Some glasses slip on me.
  • They also come with rubber bumpers on the bottom of the lenses for added comfort and safety. They are removable if you want more of a streamlined, clean look on the bottom of the lenses. I personally liked them. And they come in several different colors to customize your glasses.
  • The frames are made from Grilamid® which is a “shock-resistant, hypoallergenic, high-quality, light thermoplastic”. They were definitely very, very lightweight.
  • There are Vent Controller™ controls at the lenses to allow airflow to help prevent misting and reduce thermal shock.
  • The lenses are interchangeable. I like all the different colors you can get in the glasses.

I recently wore these during a hot half marathon with high humidity. The glasses were so comfortable during the race. They completely stayed put and they did not fog or mist on me at all. I was really surprised. I think the vented lenses really help.

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We’ve been having a lot of really warm, steamy, humid days here in New Orleans. The Fotonyk sunglasses have held up like champs. I usually have some lens fogging with a lot of sunglasses while running in our 90%+ humidity. With the Fotonyk I’ve had no fogging issues so far. No slippage. No pinching at my nose bridge or at my temples.

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Overall I gotta say I really, really like these sunglasses. They are a good product made for the active person. The design was thought out and executed well. They are comfortable and functional and look good at the same time.

 

Learning to fly with the AMPLA FLY

Disclaimer: I received a pair of the AMPLA FLY running shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

For the last month I’ve been able to test out these really cool looking AMPLA FLY running shoes. When I saw the design, they were so different I had to try them out! They look so space age and technical!

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AMPLA was founded by Harvard trained sports scientists who developed and designed the shoes. They engineered them to “amplify athletic ability.” They are designed to efficiently use force and promote better running mechanics.

The most noticeable thing about the AMPLA FLY shoes is the carbon fiber plate on the forefoot sole. It works almost like a little springboard to maximize force at toe off. It also helps align the foot for better ground contact position.

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These shoes are designed for shorter, faster distances. I did not run in these exclusively for the past four weeks. I used them for speed work and shorter tempo runs to break them in and see how they felt. My notes on the shoe:

  • I immediately noticed a difference in my running stride. I’m a chronic heel striker and these shoes really made me shorten up my stride and increase turnover. I loved this about the shoe because it did it in a way that I didn’t have to overthink my stride. It just started to feel more natural. This translated into actually learning, if you will, how to run more toward my forefoot in my other running shoes as well.
  • I felt a little speedier with these shoes. I’m not sure if it was a placebo affect or the promotion of a more efficient stride, but my tempo runs with these shoes were some of the  quickest I’ve seen in the last two months. And my legs felt good at the end…I was just out of breath.
  • They are definitely more “shoe” than I’m used to. At 9.8 oz they’re heavier than a lot of my other shoes. It took a few runs to break them in and get used to how they felt.
  • The sole is more rigid than my other shoes. Again, just took a few short runs to break them in and get used to the feel. Now I really don’t notice it so much.
  • The sizing is on point with other shoe brands. I wear an 8.5 in Saucony and HOKA and the 8.5 in the AMPLA FLY fit great.
  • I like the seamless upper toe box. It is lightweight and stretchy and I felt like I had a lot of room to let my toes splay out naturally.
  • The 4mm heel to toe drop is a really good drop for me. I really like around 3mm to 4mm.

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This was a really, really cool shoe to test out. With so much thought and research and design put into it I almost felt like the bionic woman running in them. I’m going to keep using them for my shorter run days because I really feel like they promote a more efficient stride. The more I wear them, the more I’m re-learning how to run. I just recommend you break these shoes in slowly since they feel different than a lot of other running shoes.

Feeling the “OO” with OOFOS

Disclaimer: I received a sample of the OOFOS Ooriginal Sport Sandal to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I have heard many runners and triathletes talk about OOFOS sandals for a while now. I’ve been really curious about them and even checked them out at a few expos. Now that I’ve had an opportunity to try them out through BibRave I can honestly say I’m on the “OO” wagon. You could even say I’m not OObsessed! 🙂 These things are like magic. I’ve had them about a month now and I’m practically living in them when I’m not wearing running shoes.

These sandals are made with the specially engineered OOfoam footbed that have made OOFOS so popular. They are soooo squishy and sooo comfy. Your feet seriously go “Ahhh” as soon as you put them on. It’s like walking on a bed of pillows. And the pillows don’t compress. They STAY FLUFFY and SQUISHY all day!

The technology behind the OOfoam allows the foam to absorb 37% more impact than traditional shoes, reducing the stress on your feet and body. This helps your joints and feet rest, relax, and recover. They also provide superior arch support and just really cradle your feet.

I keep mine by the front door and wear them heading out for errands and I throw them in my car to slip on right after a run. I’ve been dealing with a nagging heel (early plantars I’m afraid). I swear, wearing these sandals has really helped with that initial “just got out of bed”heel pain. I slip them on for a few minutes and my heel stretches out and relaxes.

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I’m totally kicking myself now. Why, WHY didn’t I get a pair of these sooner?? Living in South Louisiana I can practically wear these things year round! And I’m sure I will. They come in a nice variety of colors and styles too. There are several sport slide styles as well as some clogs that would be perfect for more of a work appropriate shoe.

I highly recommend the OOFOS OOriginal Sport Sandal. Your feet deserve a little OOh-la-la and pampering. You won’t regret it.

Therapydia NOLA – physical therapy with heart

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary run assessment from Therapydia NOLA in exchange for this blog post. However, all views and opinions are my own.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Therapydia NOLA physical therapy clinic in Metairie, Louisiana to check it out and receive a run assessment. Being a runner with a history of knee issues, I’ve been through my fair share of physical therapy clinics. I know what I like and don’t like in a clinic and I know what will get results out of me. I immediately connected with the staff and atmosphere of Therapydia NOLA. They’re definitely one of the “good guys”.

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One of the first things you notice upon entering the Therapydia NOLA clinic is the friendly staff and the warm, inviting environment. I wasn’t in the door two seconds before I was greeted cheerfully by Heidi Ferry, the office manager. I was immediately offered a bottle of water and introduced around to the therapists in the clinic. They have a nice, little waiting area to sit and relax while you wait for your therapists to work with you.

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But, you won’t be waiting long with the way they schedule their patients. Each patient is scheduled personal time with a therapist and evaluated and re-evaluated for every visit. There’s none of the, “Go start your exercises over there and I’ll be with you in half an hour” mess that you often get with the large physical therapy clinics. It’s very, very personal and one-on-one at Therapydia NOLA. I witnessed therapists standing with and over their patient for that hour, giving them instruction on proper form and getting feedback from the patient on their progress and how they felt. It’s this personalized touch that gets patients to work harder, improve, and gain a greater quality of life back. They have a vested interest in that patient/therapist relationship. The therapists care about each patient’s quality of life.

They consistently have the patient in mind. They will work with your schedule to fit you in when it’s best for your busy life. Want to come before work? No problem. They open early several days of the week. Same thing goes for after work. They often adjust their hours to fit the patient. Heidi works with most insurance companies to take all of the headaches out of filing and paying via insurance. And now you no longer have to have a doctor’s prescription for physical therapy. You can call and schedule with them directly if you develop new (or old, familiar) aches and pains. They will perform a full assessment on you and put together a plan to get you back on track.

I loved too that every therapist was an athlete. They were a well rounded group with a CrossFit coach, triathletes, and runners. I know going into a therapy session with a fellow runner that they’ll understand my concerns and my drive to get back out on the road as soon as possible.

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As part of the assessment I had a change to sit down with the therapists and interview them about the clinic. Below are a few Q&A from the Therapydia NOLA team of physical therapists: Clinic Director Jonathan Burke, DPT, Whitney Braswell, DPT, and Jessica Hernandez, DPT

  1. Tell me a little bit about Therapydia NOLA and the services you offer?

Therapydia NOLA is a physical therapy and wellness clinic that focuses on treating all types of musculoskeletal and nervous system dysfunctions and injuries. We treat a variety of issues ranging from injury rehabilitation to sports-specific conditions as well as long-term chronic conditions. We also do injury prevention screenings to prevent future injuries from happening. Our goal is to work with you to create a unique treatment and wellness program that is designed for you and your body.

  1. What sets you apart from other physical therapy offices?

Treatment at our clinic is provided one-on-one by a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) throughout your entire treatment. We don’t use physical therapy aides or techs, you’ll stay with the physical therapist you’re working with throughout the entirety of your rehabilitation. Manual therapy, or hands-on techniques, is also at the core of our treatment program. Manual techniques are highly specific to the part of your muscle that’s injured and are used to treat soft tissues and joint structures. We use manual therapy as the foundation for treatment and complement it with guided corrective exercises. Our clinic also specializes in offering customized physical therapy services for Women’s Health and Trigger Point Dry Needling.

  1. What would a typical therapy session at Therapydia entail?

We’ll treat your injury by assessing your body’s biomechanics from head to toe. For example, having an ankle injury doesn’t simply mean treating your ankle. You’d have to assess across your lower limbs and core to see which instabilities could be putting extra strain on your ankle. If you come in for an initial evaluation, we’ll perform a screening and depending on your condition look at your range of motion, strength, flexibility, posture, and movement patterns. We’ll take baseline measurements of your movements and use that data to drive our treatment program. We’ll assess and reassess and tailor treatment to your needs throughout the process. For subsequent treatment sessions, exercise-based rehabilitation will be used alongside manual therapy to heal any injured muscles and joints.

  1. What is a run assessment and what are the benefits?

A run assessment is a screening specifically designed to apply to running mechanics. A physical therapist will put markers on you and you’ll run naturally while they observe and take a recording. Afterwards, they’ll use a video analysis coupled with a movement assessment to look at your angles and how you move through the 4 phases of running. We can identify any joint and soft tissue restrictions as well as strength and motor control deficits. The goal is to see how joints across your body move through their necessary ranges of motion and see what injuries you might be at risk for. It’s not just about how your feet hit the groundyour knee, pelvic, and trunk positioning all come into play to when considering your gait. It’s all about getting you to train correctly so your body processes force efficiently as you run. That way, you can prevent future injuries you’re at risk for and prevent joint and muscle overuse.

  1. What advice would you have for a runner dealing with a nagging injury?

Do not continue running through the pain in hopes that it will just go away. Seek out a medical professional that assesses movement to find out what’s at the source of any pain you’re feeling. For example, a nagging and achy knee may be the result of a limitation at the ankle or hip. I would also suggest trying out cross-training. Swimming, cycling, and rowing are great ways to improve cardiovascular endurance. Choose an activity that allows you to perform without pain and supplement this with your running until you are able to run without pain. Often times, athletes say, “I was feeling pretty good so I went for a 3 mile run today” only to end up discouraged because their pain came back. Make sure you have a solid return to a run program following an injury as well. Make sure you work with your movement specialist to work out a training routine that effectively gets you back into running without putting you at risk for injury. At Therapydia NOLA, we use a return to run program that is evidenced based from the University of Maryland.

  1. What’s the number one mistake you see new (and old) runners make?

Blaming any pain or injury on their running shoes or changing shoes to fix the problem. Not having the right type of shoes can contribute to discomfort while you run but the overall source of the pain will have to with your form and biomechanics as you run. Working on your running form and technique will guide you to have a better and injury-free training program.

  1. What is your best advice to prevent common running-related injuries?

I always tell runners to keep to the FIT principle: do not increase frequency, intensity, or time of running too quickly. Your body needs time to adapt to the increased amounts of force that you’ll be putting on your muscles and joints. Keep to proper running progression when increasing distances and keep up a cross-training program on non-running days.

In terms of form, you’ll want to shorten your stride and increase steps per minute (cadence) to reduce stress to your hips and knees during running. Try to land directly under your center of mass to eliminate breaking motion when your foot hits the ground. Make sure you stay upright but lean slightly forward at the trunk with a slight bent knee when your feet land. The hips are an essential area of the body for runners to work on. The musculature of the hips help to stabilize the pelvis during running. The muscles around the hips like the glutes especially keep the pelvis from dropping in single limb support. If this muscle has trouble stabilizing the pelvis then the knee will move inward and the arch of the foot will collapse. This results in improper running form that will be setting putting you at risk of injuring yourself.

Therapydia NOLA was a great physical therapy clinic. I really connected with the staff there and would highly recommend it to anyone seeking physical therapy for an injury or even a run assessment to see where they can improve weaknesses in their form. I’ll be writing up another post shortly on my run assessment and everything it entailed (*hint* it was SUPER interesting!!)

Stay tuned!

Therapydia NOLA is located at 2701 Airline Drive, Suite L in Metairie, Louisiana. You can call them at (504) 507-9375 or email them at hello@therapydianola.com to set up an appointment.

Review of the XX2i Australia1 Polaraized Sport Sunglasses

Disclaimer: I received a sample of the XX2i Australia1 Polarized Sport Sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

It’s time for another XX2i sunglasses review! This time I got to try out the new Australia1 Polarized Sport Sunglasses.

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I gotta say, these are probably my favorite XX2i sunglasses so far. They are so lightweight and comfortable. It’s been raining like crazy here in Louisiana this past month and rain + heat = mega humidity and mega sweat. They’ve survived through all of that without budging. They didn’t slip down my face at all when I was completely drenched during my run. The nose grips kept the glasses in place but were still very comfortable.

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And the lenses on these glasses are superb! They come with polarized lenses with 8K optical technology. The wraparound style fits my face really well. My eyes are very sensitive to the sunlight but when I put these sunglasses on they just go “Ahhhhhh!” Everything is so crystal clear, you can say “buh-bye” to the glaring sunlight.

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One of the cool things about the Australia1 lenses is they come with a removable padded insert. It snaps in easily for extra protection from wind, rain, dirt, etc. if you’re going to play extra hard. I slipped them on with the extra padding and it was really comfortable. It made them fit my face more snugly and I could feel the padding create a nice seal around my eyes.

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As with any XX2i sunglasses they came with a hard zipper case, a soft cloth case that can be used to polish the lenses, and a sport strap you can place on the ear pieces.

Some other great things about ANY sunglasses you purchase from xx2i Optics:

  • Sunglasses come with a LIFETIME replacement warranty on the lenses and frames!
  • They have a 365 hassle free return policy. That’s right, you have a FULL YEAR to try them out and return them if you don’t like them for any reason.
  • Shipping is always free to the U.S.

If you’re interested in trying out a pair of the NEW Australia1 style or any other XX2i sunglasses you can get them for 50% right now with the Bibrave code XX2iRocks! To find out more about the Australia1 casual sunglasses or any of their other sport sunglasses, go to xx2i.com.

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Staying hydrated with Ultima Replenisher™

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Ultima Replenisher ™ to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

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Summers in south Louisiana are brutal. The humidity regularly stays above 80% and the heat index is at least 10 degrees higher than the actual temperature. So, that 96° temp actually feels like 106°. Running and training in the summer is tough. It’s hot. Your pace slows a lot. You routinely sweat 2 to 3 lbs. of water weight off during a run. I am a sopping wet mess after a simple 3 miler. With the heat and added loss of fluids through sweat, hydration and electrolyte replenishing become extra important.

This is precisely why I was really excited to try out the Ultima Replenisher™ Electrolyte Powders.

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Ultima Replenisher™ was founded by a nutritionist and long distance runner and was created for the USTF athletes for the 1996 Olympic Games. The combination of electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals was essential in keeping the runners hydrated and aiding performance.

Ultima Replenisher™ Electrolyte Powders are:

  • vegan,
  • gluten-free,
  • contain no processed sugar,
  • carb-free,
  • zero calorie,
  • contain no artifical flavors or sweeteners,
  • caffiene-free, and
  • made with plant-based colors and real fruit flavors.

The powders are sweetened with stevia leaf. Compared to other sugar laden sport drinks, Ultima Replenisher™ has 3x more potassium, zero sugar, and five other electrolytes and support minerals that are key to performance and hydration: magnesium, chloride, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, and zinc. Replenisher™ also has 167% of your % daily value of Vitamin C in each serving. It’s almost like drinking a multi-vitamin!

What I noticed immediately about the powders is the flavor. These drinks TASTE GREAT. Really. I didn’t notice any of the strange aftertaste you experience in some sugar-free drinks. I tried several different flavors out and really enjoyed every one of them. My only issue is the full scoop was a little sweet for me. I like my water flavored subtly. Cutting the scoop in half was perfect for me. But my husband and kids liked the full scoop flavor better.

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The powders come in two sizes of bulk tubs: a 90 serving and smaller 30 serving canister. You can also get the stick packs (shown above) which are great for on-the-go and travel. I keep a couple of the sticks in my purse for work and in my hydration vest to put back in my water as I drain it repeatedly on my longer runs. The individual serving size package makes them really convenient.

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My whole family loves these powders. I even bought the toddler formula for my kids to get them away from the sugary sport drinks. They love it! They love making their “berry drink” themselves. I’ve actually been drinking a lot more water because of it. The great taste makes it so much easier to get in my water consumption for the day. Before I know it, I’ve downed 80 oz!

I highly recommend trying out the Ultima Replenisher™ Electrolyte Powders. Ultima Replenisher™ and BibRave have partnered to offer a great discount code.

You can receive 35% off your order plus FREE shipping with the code BIBRAVE2016!!

I’ve already used that code twice to re-order. Ha! Guess I’m kinda obsessed with the stuff.

 

Stay Hydrated with the Orange Mud Hydraquiver

Disclaimer: I received a sample Orange Mud HydraQuiver to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I have several runner friends who have an Orange Mud Hydration Pack and they rave about them constantly. I had already been eyeballing them online. So I jumped at the chance to use and review The HydraQuiver when BibRave presented the opportunity!

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I already have a bladder hydration vest that I’m pretty fond of. I love all the pockets it has for all my stuff. So, I was a little skeptical before receiving the HydraQuiver that it wouldn’t be able to hold my stuff. Boy, was I wrong! One of the first things I noticed was all the pockets designed into vest. There’s a large zipper pocket in the back, behind the water bottle storage. It has a key clasp which is a big plus for me. I’m paranoid about losing my keys after losing one at a race.

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There are two expandable, spandex pockets up front that secure with velcro. They expand quite a bit. One pocket will hold my huge phone easily. I put a couple of gels in the other pocket without any issue. I like that my phone is easily accessible on my shoulder. I can get to it quickly with the velcro release if I need it. But, the velcro secured it snugly in the pocket. I never had an issue with it falling out.

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The water bottle is BPA free and holds 25 oz. of liquid. I chose to use a NUUN tab in mine each time since I could easily clean the bottle. I loved having my NUUN on the run! It was also wonderfully simple to pull out the bottle and re-fill it when I found a nearby fountain. No pulling out the bladder and hassling with the cords. It was super, SUPER easy to reach while running and even easier to put back into the holster. Someone asked me if I heard the water sloshing around. Honestly I didn’t! I hear the water in my bladder vest all the time but I don’t remember ever being distracted by any sloshing with the Hydra Quiver.

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I was also concerned that the vest wouldn’t fit my frame or that it would bounce around. Neither of these were an issue. You simply put on the vest, and cinch it up until it’s snug and fits comfortably. I never had a problem with bounce or the vest shifting around on the run. Chafing was also not an issue for me. I’m assuming because it was secured well, and didn’t move around. I used it on several 10, 12, and 13 milers with zero issue.

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One of the other things I really liked about the vest was how lightweight it is! It’s 10 oz with the bottle. Also, the footprint of the vest is much smaller on my back than my bladder vest. That means less back sweat and more body cooling air flow.

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I used it during the Destin Half Marathon. I loved having it with me during the race!

My only complaint about The HydraQuiver is that I have used it so much this last month that it’s now a little stinky from running! Ha! But Orange Mud even has you covered there! They have a handy page on their website discussing the proper way to wash your hydration pack.

This is probably my favorite running item I’ve reviewed so far. Believe all the hype behind the Orange Mud Hydration Packs. They’re designed well, with runners in mind. Since getting my HyrdaQuiver my poor bladder vest has been sitting in the corner collecting dust. Sorry dude.

You don’t need no stinkin’ wires with Aftershokz

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

If I’m out on a training run by myself, I often carry music with me as a motivator and to offset the boredom if I’m running in a place with no scenery. I usually run with an iPod Shuffle and a pair of in-ear earbuds. The first 15 minutes before the run I am constantly untangling the wires for the headphones, no matter how much care I take to coil them up nicely. Then, I’m tucking the excess wire into my bra because I cannot stand wires flopping around as I run. Such is the life of a wired runner.

So, when I got the chance to try out a pair of Aftershokz bluetooth wireless headphones I jumped on it. I’ve been curious about trying out a pair, but was hesitant to switch to wireless for fear of losing sound quality.

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The interesting thing about the Trekz Titanium headphones is that they are completely open. They do not go IN your ears, but rather slightly above your ears. They use bone conduction technology which delivers the music through your cheekbones. This allows your ear to be open to ambient sounds around you, providing a much safer listening experience. wkyjmimjuk7pgwhzric3.jpg

The first time putting them on, it took a little adjustment until I got them where they needed to be and where they sat comfortably  above my ear. They immediately connected with my phone’s bluetooth (I have a Samsung Galaxy S5). And I started playing music from  one of my Pandora stations. I was shocked. The music quality was GREAT!! AND I could hear everything going on around me! As I ran around our old downtown area, I could easily hear people talking on their front porches. I heard cars approaching, dogs barking, birds chirping, without losing music sound quality from the headphones. It was amazing!

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They are extremely lightweight and flexible. There is a micro usb charging port right next to the volume buttons behind the earpiece. It didn’t take long to charge them fully and they’ve held a charge for weeks! Aftershokz says they’ll stay charged for up to 6 hours of continuous music play.

One of the other features I really liked was the connect and fast forward button. This button sits on the outside of your left earpiece. You hold it to connect and Audrey Says™ “Connected” in her lovely voice. If you’re not feeling a song while running, just hit that same button twice and it will fast forward you to the next song. This worked great with my playlists and Pandora. I couldn’t ever get it to work with Spotify.

Now they are IP55 certified to repel sweat and moisture but I, again, was reluctant to believe that. I sweat like crazy in our humidity and I’ve waterlogged a few headphones and electronic devices. These things performed great! Several sweaty, sweaty, SWEATY runs plus a rainshower run and they are no worse for the wear.

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I only had two issues with these headphones.

  1. The wraparound headband in the back sticks out quite a bit on my head. I have very thick hair and when I would wear it in a braid, the braid would knock the headband around and knock them off my ears. Aftershokz immediately replied (SUPER responsive people!) to my comment on this stating that they will be coming out with a smaller version for ladies like myself with smaller heads and big ole ponytails. The headband on the smaller one will be shorter.
  2. With these fitting over the ear, I would quickly run out of ear real-estate once I got my sunglasses and hat on (a necessity in our sun and heat). While I didn’t mind all this gear on my ears for a shorter run, it would start to get uncomfortable for the much longer runs and I would have to adjust everything periodically.

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All in all I was really impressed by these headphones. As a safety professional I applaud the open design. I feel so much better going on open roads with these things than I do with my earbuds (I usually have one in and one out – but lose a lot of sound quality that way!)  They’re lightweight, easy to use, great sound quality, and sweat/water resistant. You can definitely see where Aftershokz designed these with athletes in mind.

Join us for #Bibchat tonight on Twitter at 8:00 p.m. CST to discuss running aware and you could win a free pair of these Trekz Titanium wireless headphones!!