FREE SWAG FROM PRO COMPRESSION!!

Any of you who have known me for any length of time know that I’m a big fan of compression gear. Specifically, gear from Pro Compression. One of the more exciting moments so far this year is when I was selected to become an ambassador for Pro Compression. I’ve been touting their gear for a few years and now I get to share it even more with everyone.

Here is a picture of me (and The Mayor) touting my Pro Compression Neon Calf Sleeves after the Vancouver USA Freedom 5K a few weeks ago.

Medal with Bart

My first act as a new ambassador of Pro Compression is to shower everyone with gifts. OK, not everyone, just one person. And if we’re being honest, it isn’t really “gifts”. But you do get a really awesome pair of either marathon socks or sleeves. Pretty freaking awesome in my book!!

Marathon Socks

Pro Compression Sock

Pro Compression Sizing Chart

 

 

Over the Calf Sleeves

Pro Compression Sleeve Front

Pro Compression Sleeve Back

Pro Compression Sleeve Sizing Chart

You’ll notice I’m kind of partial to the neon color.  Hmm, imagine that!  But Pro Compression has quite an assortment of colors to match your outfits and personality.

So how do you get in on this? Send me a crisp, $20 bill to the address below. Just a second, have an email. Oh, my rep at Pro Compression says I can’t take money for this. I’m supposed to just do this out of the generosity of my heart. OK, stop laughing! Seriously, it isn’t THAT funny!

So, I’m going to use Rafflecopter to track all of this.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There a few ways to get entries into the giveaway.  Follow my Facebook page or Twitter account and you get 1 entry.  Follow Pro Compression on Facebook or Twitter and you get two entries.  Tweet about the giveaway via Rafflecopter and you get 3 entries.  The contest will run for one week.  You can use the Tweet feature each day.  This means you will have the chance to get 27 entries over the week…if I’m doing everything correctly.

BUT WAIT!!!!  You can get special entries as well.  In conjunction with the giveaway, Pro Compression has a special code that you can use to save 40% off your order of marathon socks or sleeves.  If you make a purchase and use code BLG14 with your purchase, send me proof of your purchase via email to teamneonrunning@gmail.com and I will give you 10 more entries in to the drawing! How AWESOME is that?!  Click the logo below to go to Pro Compression’s website.

Pro Compression Logo

So, when does this start?  NOW!!!  The contest will run from today, Tuesday July 8th through Monday July 14th.  So I’m going to stop writing so you can stop reading and go click on the link and get your entries!  Go…now…enter!!!

 

Happy Winning!

Lonnie

Running on the Wall Medal Hanger Review

We all love to get our bling on.  It is one of the perks of running the races we run.  And what’s the point of getting said bling if we can’t show it off to people when they come to visit our house.  I mean, really, that is the reason they are coming over, right?!  Recently, a company reached out to me online and asked if I would be interested in giving one of their medal hangers a test run and letting them, and you, know what I think.  Considering my non displayed medals are starting to pile up again, I eagerly accepted.

The product I have the privilege of reviewing today is a medal display hanger from Running on the Wall (www.runningonthewall.com).  They are a small husband and wife company based in Sedona, Arizona.  Both are avid runners who felt they had a great idea to fill a creative niche.  Taking a look over their website shows that they have a wide variety of medal display options.  They also have displays for bibs and bib/medal combinations.  I found the bib/medal combos to be quite appealing to the eye.  They also have other things offered on their site such as bracelets, arm warmers, shirts, water bottles, etc.

Here are the specifications for my medal hanger taken directly from their website:

Running Medals Display Features:

  • 7 Inches Tall By 15 Inches Wide
  • MDF Wood
  • Vinyl Lettering
  • Protective Satin Varnish
  • All Hardware Included
  • Accommodates Up To 27 Medals

Here is what I received:

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Now, I have to admit, when I first opened the box, I was a little taken aback.  All I knew was that I was receiving a medal hanger.  I had not even checked them out online before receiving the package.  A wooden board with a baggy of hardware.  Not exactly what I envisioned I would be getting.

For the most part it is pretty simple to put together.  You just take the hooks and screw them into the predrilled holes.  That being said, there are going to be people out there who are going to be clueless when they get this.  Some people do lead lives that are THAT sheltered.  I’ve met those people.  They scare me.  And as simple as it is to put together, ease is another issue.  I will be the first to admit I am a wimp and have sensitive skin.  There are nine hooks to screw in.  By number three I was done with wanting to put them in.  By number five my hands started hurting.  By the time I got done I was cursing.  Given the box that this was shipped in, I find it hard to believe that this could not have been done prior to shipping.  File this under customer service.  I hate paying for things I have to assemble myself.

Now that I have it all together it is time to hang it.  So I grabbed the…what the…two small nails.  I get that we are not hanging large pieces of art here, but two small nails?  Seems a little on the wimpy side to me. The display is intended to hold up to 27 medals (you know people will hang more).  Assuming each one weighs a mere four ounces, you are easily creeping up on eight pounds of weight when you take into account the display.  But other than that, it is pretty easy to hang.  Measure, make sure it is level, hammer nails, and hang display.  I hate hanging stuff on my walls…I suck at it.  But this was a piece of cake (mmm…cake…).

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Overall, this is a decent piece.  It does exactly what it is intended to do…display your medals.  The company, from the information on their website, tries to use recycled material whenever possible; a big plus in today’s world.  The display is nice looking.  They give you a wide variety of options when it comes to colors and what you would like your display to say.  I find it hard to believe that you would not be able to find a match for your current décor in your home.  Whereas a metal display might come across as cold and impersonal, these pieces are subtle yet make a nice statement.

One the negative side, this seems like a very doable DIY project.  A piece of medium density fiberboard (MDF), some paint, some stickers, a drill, some hardware and little time on the weekend and you can knock this out on your own.  I joke that I work so I have money to pay for things I don’t want to do (cook) or can’t do (change the oil in my car).  Having taken a look at this kind of makes me want to give it a shot on my own.  I did not care for having to assemble it on my own.  Again, if I’m paying for it, I want it done when I get it.

I always like to include cost in my reviews.  Everything comes down to value.  The display I received retails for $28.99.  Based on the calculator from their website, shipping would be an additional $9.50 for USPS Priority Mail.  That was the only option offered.  Total cost being $38.49.

Value is going to be relative to the person so I will go based on my perceived value.  Essentially, would I order one based on this information.  It would be a definite maybe.  Like I said, it’s a nice looking piece.  I do like the options they have available on their website.  It gives you the freedom to personalize your piece in many different ways.  The negative hang ups I have about the piece are pretty minor and can be classified as my quirky issues.  I do think the price is a bit steep for these.  If you have any kind of knack for handy work, I think this is something you can do yourself for about $10 with items from your local hardware store.  Plus you would have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.

All that being said, I will be proudly displaying this hanger in my home office!

Give Running on the Wall a look for your next medal display.  You can find them on the web at www.runningonthewall.com.  They are also on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.  Tell them Team Neon Running sent you.

Happy Running

Lonnie

Headsweats Visor Product Review

The product I’m reviewing today is the Ultra Reflective Supervisor – White by Headsweats. As with my other product reviews, I like to get the “official” description from the company and then provide my thoughts.  This is taken directly from the Headsweats website:

The Ultra Reflective hat and visor feature Headsweats® own proprietary Eventure™ Reflective fabric. Made of lightweight polyester with a highly reflective surface treatment, the hat or visor will keep athletes safe for early morning or evening training sessions.

  • COOLMAX ® Fabric shell
  • COOLMAX ® Fabric terry sweatband
  • Lightweight design
  • Machine washable

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My wife and I each picked out hats.  I went with the only hat I could find from Headsweats that had my color scheme.  My wife went with the visor.  When they arrived I was immediately jealous.  This visor is pretty freaking cool looking.  I always thoughts visors were kind of dorky but this is very sleek looking with some great reflective stitching that gives it a pretty awesome look in the daylight.  Lucky me…my wife didn’t care for the fit because of her hair.  I will gladly take that thank you very much!

Compared to other Headsweats products I have, the visor is kind of a snug fit.  It has an elastic strap that goes around your head and connects to the visor portion right about the temple.  The first chance I had to wear the visor was right when I was starting to get sick a while back and I had a terrible headache that day.  I put on this quite snug visor that grabs your head right about the temple region.  I proceeded to run the next six miles cursing at myself for wearing this thing.  I immediately hated it.  HOWEVER, I knew I was sick and had a headache before I put on the visor.  It wouldn’t be fair to write off the visor just yet.

The visor became my go to headgear whenever I went for an outside run.  I wanted to put it through as much testing as I could and give it a fair shake.  I will be honest; it was a little uncomfortable given how snug it was.  But I also knew that I normally don’t wear hats and that probably played a big part in it.  I kept wearing it and over time I have found that it loosened up.  Not to the point where it was loose on my head, but now I feel like the fit is perfect.  I did my 20 miler last weekend and felt great with the visor on the whole time.  It never once bothered me.  I’ve also worn it in my last two half marathons with zero problems.

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The visor is extremely lightweight.  It has gotten to the point now where I don’t even notice I have it on my head.  Another concern I had was that my head would get too hot given that I would be wearing this in warmer weather.  Again, no problems whatsoever.  Sure, I sweat but that has more to do with the weather than the visor.

Because of my schedule and safety concerns I have, I don’t run at night.  If I have to run when light is an issue I just go to the gym.  And I would feel a little silly wearing my visor at the gym.  So in all honesty I haven’t really checked out the reflective capabilities of the visor.  Like I noted, the reflective stitching is pretty cool looking and can only imagine how it lights up in the dark when hit by light.

The main reasons I wear a hat outdoors when I run is to keep the sun out of my eyes and keep the sweat off my face.  I could just wear sunglasses but they get covered in sweat and then I can’t see.  This visor does an awesome job of keep the glare to a minimum.  Even on the brightest of days I’m perfectly fine without sunglasses and just using the hat.  The black lining under the bill does exactly what it is supposed to do.  Couldn’t ask for more.  When it comes to keeping the sweat off my face the visor does a more than adequate job.  I know that is not exactly a ringing endorsement, but for me personally I would like a little more sopping up the sweat ability.  I know I’m a fairly heavy sweater.  Can’t blame the visor for that.  If it is warm outside (65*+) I find that by mile 7 or 8 the visor has reached its saturation point and then my sweats starts dripping off the bill, usually onto my hands.  Now I have noticed that the more I wear the visor the longer I seem to be able to go before this is an issue.  Maybe it just needed to get broke in?  And if you’re not a heavy sweater I wouldn’t expect this to be an issue for you.  I know how much as I sweat and to quote my wife “it’s gross!”

I haven’t tried washing it yet. Every time I think about washing a hat I think back to when I was a kid and how many baseball caps just never looked the same after being washed.  So I’m hesitant to do that.

Overall, this is a great product.  Like I said, this is now my go to “summer” headgear when I’m running outside.  It’s stylish and does what it is advertised to do.  I look forward to doing many more long runs with it.  So glad my wife didn’t like it!

Happy Running

Lonnie

HSAFF

Body Glide Product Review

My next product review is Body Glide.

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It was only recently that I learned what Body Glide really was.  When I first started running I don’t even think I knew it existed.  And then when I heard others mention it, my impression was this slimy, slick stuff you put on to help with areas that rubbed together.  Yeah, just a tad off the mark.

So what is Body Glide?  Here is the “official” description from their website (this is for the anti chaffing stick that I use): It’s a natural, invisible, non-wet, non-greasy barrier against irritation and rubbing that injures skin, ideal for feet and anywhere on the body. Perspiration escapes, skin breaths, and it lasts up to a day. Then, just wash it off. There are no oils or lanolin, no petroleum. Use it in all climates.  On feet, between thighs, in the groin, on arms, legs and the neck, and wherever skin is rubbed by footwear, clothing or skin against skin. It’s durable yet gentle for use in sensitive areas, and in skin folds and creases around breasts, stomach and buttocks.  In simple terms, you put it on your ouchie parts, go work out, take a shower and no nasty residue.  It seems simple enough to me, and I like simple.

Have to admit, I was a little skeptical.  I only have one, ok two, areas that give me problems.  And it only happens when I’m running in excess of six miles it seems.  I get what is called runner’s nipple.  It’s where the sweat and salt from your body dries on your shirts, making them abrasive, and then they rub on your nipples.  A tad extreme, but imagine taking fine grit sandpaper and gently rubbing on your nipples for 1-2 hours.  In fact, I normally don’t even notice until I get in the shower.  Just love the feeling of hot water flowing over raw skin.

In the past I usually resorted to some sort of band aid type coverage.  Most recently I was using the small, circular ones.  Half of the time they would end up shifting due to sweat or just not sticking.  Again, wouldn’t notice until I got in the shower. Plus you have to deal with the whole unplanned hair removal when you remove the band aid.  Never a pleasant experience, no matter how quickly you do it.

When we reached out to Body Glide to help with products for the Hot Buns Run Virtual 5K they were very excited with what we were doing.  They were more than eager to help and also offered to send us to samples to do a review on.  Given that I was in the market for ANYTHING that would help I jumped at the opportunity.

I put the body glide through a pretty thorough testing.  Any time I planned to go longer than 5 miles (which seems to be most days now) I would apply Body Glide.  The application of the anti chaffing stick is pretty basic.  It has the appearance, and feels for the most part, of a deodorant stick, so just rubbed over the area pretty liberally before getting dressed.  It goes on pretty easy, is not oily and doesn’t leave any kind of residue after I shower.  As for how it works…OH…EM…GEE…wish I would have had this product years ago.  I have not had the slightest problem with chaffing since I started using Body Glide.  I did an accidental (forgot to put it on) anti Body Glide test here recently during a six mile run.  Yep, chaffed right up.  Even with the raw spot already there, when I ran the next day with Body Glide I had no issues.  One of the main tests I wanted to put it through was the Blooms to Brews Half Marathon.  Again, zero issues.  It’s one less thing I have to be concerned with when running.

As I mentioned, the anti chaffing Body Glide has the look of your standard deodorant, right down to the packaging.  In fact, if you are not careful you could easily mix up the two…and yes, I fully expect to do this at some point knowing me.  Its compact size and hard plastic container make it great for just throwing it in your bag to take to the gym, vacation or just to your favorite running spot.

A quick look online shows that you can purchase Body Glide for somewhere between $6-10 depending on where you shop.  Even on the high end of $9.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods you are getting an excellent value in my opinion.  I’m confident that Body Glide will definitely being in my equipment arsenal on a full time basis moving forward.  I can’t imagine not having it.

As for any negatives?  Personally, I couldn’t come up with any.  I’m sure someone will have some sort of skin issues with the product but I’m guessing if they do with this then they do with several other products on the market and I would consider them the exception rather than the rule.

Bottom line; if you are having chaffing issues of any kind, do yourself a favor and try Body Glide if you have not.  Comfort and relief alone are worth the minor investment to purchase the product.  I’m confident you will have a similar opinion as me.

Happy Running

Lonnie

Product Review: Toaster Beanie by Headsweats

The next product up for review is the Toaster Beanie by Headsweats.

Several years ago, I stopped wearing hats.  Most people now days seem to wear them as a fashion statement.  Personally, I never saw the point.  They just seemed to mess up my hair, what little I have.  And I never understood the appeal of the beanie/skull cap.  They just seemed to REALLY mess up your hair with their tight fit.  Then I got into this little running thing.

Cue the cold, windy weather of Troutdale, Oregon.  It didn’t take long after the weather started to change last fall for me to realize that I needed something for my head.  A friend from high school, who now works for Headsweats and had been following along on my journey, sent me a couple products to try.  One of them was a winter, fleece lined beanie.  It took a little getting used to, but I quickly learned to enjoy having it on my runs.  It did everything it promised.

A couple months ago Headsweats was having a sale and I figured it was time to add something new.  I touched based with my friend who gave me a couple suggestions, one of them being the new Toaster Beanie.  I hopped online and read their pitch:

Headsweats® has taken the popular Midcap Beanie and combined its proprietary fabric Eventure™ Spandex with an Eventure™ Terry sweatband to offer the same great features of the Super Duty moisture management system in a light-weight beanie. A great cold weather beanie that you can customize with your team, event or store logo! Eventure™ Stretch Fabric on one side. Eventure™ Knit Fabric sweatband quickly wicks moisture away. Great mid-weight fleece item for colder temperatures. Low profile, technical construction makes it perfect for any winter activity especially for use under a helmet. Machine Washable.

Stretchy stuff, works in cold weather, soaks up my buckets of sweat, light weight and machine washable.  Done and done!

When my beanie arrived (quite quickly I might add), I couldn’t wait to try it out.  When I first checked it out I was a little concerned.  The beanie I was using before was pretty thick and fleece lined.  The Toaster Beanie was pretty thin and very light weight.  I immediately started thinking this was going to be a spring/fall/cool summer type of headgear.  One run in that bad boy quickly changed my mind.

I admit I do a lot of my running at the gym on the treadmill.  But I’m usually there around 5:00AM.  Given that it is still quite cold out I need to have something on my head to get to the gym.  And I absolutely love wearing my beanie.  I have it on my head before I even head out of the bedroom in the morning.  It’s very comfortable.  Snug without being too tight.  The lightweight material does a great job of keeping the wind and cold off my head.  But wearing it to the gym is not the reason I bought it.

I absolutely love the way the Toaster Beanie fits for my runs outside.  It’s very snug where it sits around the head; forehead, ears and back of the head.  But it stays relatively loose on top of your head allowing for the top of your head to “breath” so you don’t overheat.  It has that fitted feel without being stuffy.

I’ve done a few runs with it with the temperature in the 25-35* range.  I have had no problems with it being too lightweight.  Not once, even with some wind, have I thought I needed something more substantial.  It seems to have a nice temperature range as I’ve also had it on runs in the 40-45* range and still felt comfortable and not overheated.  I even took it out once when it was above 50* and still felt great.

The moisture wicking material is no joke!  I sweat…a lot!  You would think at some point the material would get “full” and you would have run off, but that hasn’t happened once.  You can literally wring the water out of the beanie after my runs.  I love having a product that does what it says it’s going to do when it comes to keeping the sweat out of my eyes.  When I’m done running I just hang it up and it dries pretty quickly.  It does get a little “crusty” from all my sweat as the week goes on, but that’s not the beanie’s fault.  Once a week I just throw it in with my workout clothes to wash and it’s back to new.

The only negative I have, and it’s nothing to do with the product itself, is that it doesn’t come in more colors.  As you can see from my picture wearing the Toaster Beanie (taken at the Roaring River 5K on February 2, 2013), I like bold colors.  This seems to be normal for Headsweats though.  Most of their products are pretty neutral in color.  Can’t please everyone.

2013 Roaring River 5k

The company is very reputable as they are the official headgear of both the Tour de France and Ironman.  They offer a wide assortment of headgear options allowing just about anyone to find something they like.  I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by their prices.  When you see big names like Tour de France and Ironman thrown around you can usually expect to see some artificially inflated prices but that is not the case with Headsweats.  I paid $22 for the Toaster Beanie and it has been more than worth it.  I would not have been surprised to see this priced around $30-35.  And the $22 I paid seems to be on the high end for many of their products.

If you run in cold weather, or you’re someone who is just cold regardless of outside temps, the Toaster Beanie by Headsweats is something I would definitely recommend.

Happy Running

Lonnie

Road ID Product Review

The next product I’m reviewing is probably not something most people outside of the endurance fitness world are that familiar with.  The Road ID identification and emergency information bracelet.

When I first started running I did most of it at the gym or right around the neighborhood, both pretty safe environments.  I really didn’t give much thought to needing something that would help me in an emergency.  I usually have my cell phone and figured I could just call if I needed something.  But what if I’m not able to call do to my condition, my phone is broke in an accident or because I happen to be somewhere where there is no cell reception.  If someone was trying to help me would they know who I am or who to contact?

The Road ID is so simple it’s ridiculous.  It’s a stainless steel identification tag that has designated, laser engraved information on it.   You can choose what information you want on your tag.  Basic information is the most useful; name, date of birth, where you’re from, who to contact in an emergency, etc. They provide you with six lines to put what you feel is appropriate on your tag.  When you are designing your tag online the website does a really nice job of making suggestions as you work through each line.  They even recommend what NOT to put on it.  You wouldn’t think you would need to be told NOT to put your own cell phone number on there, but I’m sure it happens a lot.  I even took their recommendation and used the last line for something inspirational.  In a nod to Ted Spiker and his big announcement for his goal this year, and plus I just really like the saying, I went with “SUCK IT UP PRINCESS” on my last line.

Road ID provides several stylish ways to wear your tag.  There are three different bracelet styles; Sport (I went with this one), Elite (has a nicer, adjustable strap) and Slim (think novelty, like Livestrong, size). In addition you can choose from an ankle bracelet, shoe tag, dog tag style or a pouch for your shoe.  They even have them for pets.  The bracelets come in a nice variety of colors as well.  I had a choice of red, black, blue, yellow, pink and purple.  Since you can swap out the tag for different bracelets I decided to pick up a couple extra and went with red, yellow and black.  Never know when you might want to color coordinate.

It took a little time to get used to wearing a bracelet just because I didn’t wear one before.  But in no time at all I was used to wearing it.  It’s a basic velcro adjustable strap that is pretty comfortable.  Now I don’t even notice I’m wearing it.  I did make the decision to wear mine all the time.  Accidents don’t just happen when out running.

This is without a doubt a must have product for anyone who does any kind of activity outside.  It doesn’t even have to be an endurance sport.  Anyone that travels for a living or pleasure would see value in this bracelet.  And if you are like me and find yourself running out in the middle of nowhere with spotty cell reception this is definitely something you need to add to your arsenal.  There is no downside to this product.  Considering the bracelet only costs $19.99, there is no reason to not own one.

Happy running

Lonnie

Gu Review

The next product review I have is for Gu.

Gu has a multitude of products geared for endurance athletes. Products to help you fuel before, during and after your workout and products to help in recovery.

I will be there first to admit that I’m a little odd when it comes to fueling and hydration. It was not uncommon for me to not eat or drink anything before going on a run. For my half marathon last fall the only thing I did was grab a couple cups of water during the race.

Now that I have had the chance to give Gu a try my habits have changed quite a bit. Before all my long runs, and most of my speed workouts, I now use a Gu product. For my long runs I’ve been using the Gu Chews before my run and then a Gu Gel during. It’s recommended that you use water (or any other fluid) when using the gels but I find they go down pretty easy without. For my speed workouts I go with a chew or gel before.

I’m definitely a creature of habit. So although there are many different flavors to choose from I’m having a hard time moving away from Vanilla Bean and Peanut Butter in the gels. I really like these flavors. I’ve also tried the Berry which was fine. In the chews I’ve tried the Peach Tea and Blueberry Pomegranate. If you like peach tea then you will like that flavor. The blueberry pomegranate was AWESOME! I could see myself grabbing one of those for a treat.

I’m not much of a recovery drink person, as I try to do that with food. I did try the Recovery Tablets. I went with orange flavored. I also have peach tea, but after the chews I thought I would play it safe. You simply put the tablets in 16 oz of water, let it dissolve, then drink. Kind of looks like Alka Seltzer. If I was in need of replenishing my electrolytes I could see myself using these, but not something I want to drink on a regular basis. The flavor was very bland.

I haven’t had a chance to try all of the Gu products, but overall I’m very happy with the product line. It’s something that is definitely going to be part of me training moving forward. I can definitely tell the difference in my energy level after a certain point when I don’t use them.

Some people are put off by the texture of the gels but I actually like them. To the point where I look forward to using during my run. Almost an incentive to get to a certain point in my run so I can use them.

If you’re thinking about adding any of the energy or recovery products to your training definitely consider using Gu.

Happy running
Lonnie