Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews of running related products and services. Includes reviews of gear, clothing, runner web sites and much more.

Retail Therapy: The Grip V

The Grip V is a hand strap and card holder that attaches to the back of your smart phone. I’ve had the Grip V attached to my phone case for some time now. While it is handy for running, I find I still worry about my phone getting sweaty during my runs. No matter what you are doing, it is always nice to have an easy attachment for your phone.  I’ve used mine on the bus, subway, even in the bathtub! Find out more at gripv.com.

Additional Information on the GRIP  Card Case + Hand Strip

gripVThe Grip V was designed in NYC after they found a need to create a product that would make running around the city, West Side highway, and Central Park with their iPhone and key belongings easier. Specifically they wanted to carry their smart phone, metro card, and credit card without having to worry about dropping and being able to quickly answer a phone call or change a song easily.

This versatile iPhone accessory was created with two functions in mind. To make it much simpler to bring along a credit card, Metro Card, and ID and to help secure it to your hand so you can conveniently carry these items while running. Additionally the Grip V allows one to very fluidly switch music or take a call in the middle of a run.

Both of these things are normally nearly impossible to do when running with a smart phone in your pocket or strapped to your arm. This simple attachable card case + hand strap makes life easier especially when you are on the go. It’s perfect if you want to carry all your essentials with you all securely stored with your phone.

This product actually is much more useful beyond running and after thorough testing we found that it was a huge help while traveling in airports, going out to bars or clubs, going on hikes in the mountains, and just everyday general use. No matter what type of activity you find yourself in we believe that the Grip V will offer you extraordinary functionality through its ability to carry your essential items and help securely hold your smart phone in your hand. It is a very versatile accessory and is compatible with nearly all smart phones. We encourage you to try out Grip V and to help make your life simpler and more efficient.

 

Retail Therapy: OPEDIX CORE-Tec Compression Shorts

OpedixshortsAccording to OPEDIX, through science, and in conjunction with nationally recognized orthopedic laboratories, they have patented and perfected systems to help athletes and casual enthusiasts do what they love, with less bodily wear and tear and even less pain. They say their compression shorts are scientifically designed to improve core stability and balance while reducing lower back pain and the rate of core muscle fatigue. The technology built into every pair consists of scientifically designed tensioning systems to support the core and enhance hip and knee joint function for training, recovering and participation in physical activities.

Wow. Those are some pretty big claims for a pair of running shorts.

I was happy to receive the OPEDIX CORE-Tec Compression Shorts in the mail to review for OPEDIX for a couple reasons. 1) I experience a bit of lower back pain while on long runs and 2) I have given birth AND had my abdomen slashed open for a hysterectomy – any help in containing the abdominal area is greatly appreciated.

The first thing I noticed about the CORE-Tec shorts is how high they came up on my waist – which makes sense since they are “core” running shorts – but it did take a little getting used to and I had to resist the urge to roll them down. I would compare the fit to what I imagine wearing a girdle would be like, but after a while I did appreciate the compression to my lower core area. Another feature that I wasn’t sure about at first was the rubbery elastic around the inside of the bands of the legs, but again, I was pleasantly surprised and actually appreciated not having to hike down the shorts while running.

Overall, I really enjoyed running in these shorts. Did I notice a difference with my lower back pain? Yes I did, it was significantly less – but the pain wasn’t eliminated.  And it was fabulous to have my “mommy” tummy nice and tight. Mostly what I enjoyed was the overall feeling of abdominal control through the compression. I could actually feel my torso moving in conjunction with my legs – which was nice because I wasn’t worried about the bounce belly. Also, the shorts stayed in place eliminating the chub rub between my thighs. Running here is the stupid hot heat of Texas is near masochistic at times and any product that reduces or eliminates chaffing is high on the list in my book.

These shorts are made with the best materials and their construction is spot on. They wicked perspiration well, they stretched fabulously without losing their compression and they remained breathable during the extent of my runs. These compression shorts are a very well-made product and if you find yourself in the market for a new pair of compression shorts – I would certainly recommend you give these shorts a try. But do your research first; at $165 a pair these shorts are an investment.

More details from OPEDIX:

OPEDIX IS TECHNOLOGY FOR ACTION

Founded in 2004, Opedix has been inventing technology to help active people stay active. Through science, and in conjunction with nationally recognized orthopedic laboratories, we have patented and perfected systems to help athletes and casual enthusiasts do what they love, with less bodily wear and tear and even less pain. Your body’s dynamic balance, strength and stability are our focus to keep your body in motion.

OPEDIX IS SCIENCE

Don’t let the beautiful design of our products fool you. This gear is all about science. Your body’s kinetic health is a measure of how well and efficiently it moves when challenged with injuries, fatigue, and various other factors. Our systems help your body’s natural kinetic chain stay in alignment and remain optimized throughout any physical activity.

OPEDIX IS KINETIC HEALTH GEAR

Opedix KNEE-Tec™ Tights and CORE-Tec™ Shorts have scientifically designed tensioning systems built within a comfortable, form-fitting base layer to enhance the kinetic functioning of your body. Working like an external muscle, a combination of fabric tensions help direct the body’s internal forces and optimize harmonious joint function in the body’s kinetic chain.

Product Features

  • 29-panel construction
  • 90% nylon, 10% spandex
  • Durable stretch draw-cord at the waist
  • Silicon elastic binding at the leg-openings to keep the shorts properly anchored
  • Moisture wicking to pull sweat away from the skin’s surface
  • Breathable fabric to help regulate temperature to burn less energy
  • Anti-odor fiber technology to reduce odor and preserve freshness

Fit

  • The shorts should fit snugly (similar to biking shorts) to provide the maximum benefit.
  • There should be minimal bunching.

Washing Instructions

  • Machine wash cold, gentle cycle. Tumble dry low or hang to dry. Do not use fabric softener. Do not bleach. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.

Uses

  • Provide maximum support for lower back or hip pain during the following:  post-surgical rehabilitation, physical training, running, walking, hockey, yoga, biking, Pilates, tennis, golf, daily wear, and much more.

Retail Therapy: Nabee Compression Socks

During long runs last summer, my feet would swell a little. Usually about the 3-mile mark, and not a lot, but it was uncomfortable. This spring, as the temperatures started heating up, I thought I’d try compression socks.

Nabee Socks are cute and support at 15 mmHg. (That kind of science the orthopedic doctors know better than me, but I know this … you can’t get much higher compression in products sold over-the-counter.) The toe box and wide opening at the top are pride points for the company.

Nabee Bubbles Compression SocksThe socks are thin and I wondered how they would do after a mile or two. I’m in Texas, after all. Where would all that foot sweat go without thick, soft cotton socks to absorb it? That concern was unfounded. The socks breathe and my feet never got hot.

They also compressed my feet so well that my feet weren’t quite as snug inside the shoes. I wondered, with that extra wiggle room, would I get a blister? That concern was unfounded, too.

After a run, I usually peel off my socks as fast as possible, but not this time. I kept them for an extra 10 minutes or so to help in recovery.

They did the job. My feet didn’t swell. I know I’ll be tempted to wear them on shopping days and days when I know a lot of work is ahead.

Retail Therapy: Nikwax

Nikwax ProductsIt pays to take care of your things. They last longer. When I was a kid, that was easy with your shoes. Just do like Dad — polish your leather shoes and throw your Keds in the washer.

For whatever reason, that doesn’t work as well with the way they make athletic shoes these days. The fabric and mesh of your running shoes gets stiff and seems to wear out even faster.

We went whole-hog and got a handful of Nikwax products to clean and condition shoes. The Footwear Cleaning Gel worked well cleaning running shoes that had been through a trail half (I rinsed them pretty thoroughly first). The mesh, in particular, stayed soft and breathable.

The leather cleaner did well on my leather work boots (this is Texas — everybody with a garden learns the importance of wearing work boots), which I confess to having neglected. After applying the waterproofing wax, I think I will get another year or two out of them.

The sandal wash also did a good job cleaning a pair of men’s leather sandals, which I also waterproofed.

Hey, I think I just one-upped my Dad. I don’t think he ever saw him cleaning his sandals.

Lululemon’s TaTa Tamer II

Lululemon's TaTa Tamer II
Lululemon's TaTa Tamer II

This bra is the one. I tried the BounceBreaker X years ago, and while it was comfortable, it didn’t break my bounce. The designers at Lululemon kept after it, though. No more bras that just smash and call it support (which doesn’t work for us big-chested girls anyways).

I can’t decide whether I like best the flat seams, the cool, stretchy fabric that never overheats, or the removable cups best (another way to stay cool on those long runs.) The magic really comes from the wide padded straps, which are adjustable and crossable. They provide the support that lets me run for miles and not come home with welts or chafe marks either.

The price is a little high for what I might normally want to pay for a sports bra, but they are a socially conscious company and the TaTa Tamer earns its keep. I’ll be buying more.

Lululemon TaTa Tamer II

Book Review: Brain Training for Runners

After breaking 3:10 for the marathon in June, I set my sights at the sub-3 marathon, a lifelong ambition of mine. Unsure if my present training was adequate for that level of running, I followed a recommendation from some other runners and purchased the book “Brain Training for Runners” by Matt Fitzgerald. Continue reading Book Review: Brain Training for Runners