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Running Gear

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Banana Boat Sunscreen

2012-06-22 Running Gear 005Here in Queensland you need to take care of your skin and protect it from the harsh sun. This statement is partly true. The true bit being that we do need to protect our skin, but those living outside of Queensland, Australia should also look after their skin and can sometimes get caught off guard by the cooler weather. I know I am guilty of not wearing sunscreen all of the time, and my excuses are many. One being that I don’t like the greasy feel and how it feels when I sweat. I think I have found a way around this, and it isn’t by wearing long sleeve shirts, it is by using Banana Boat’s Dry Touch Sunscreen.

I first tried their sunscreen almost 2 years ago when I found myself down in sunny Byron Bay about to go for a run and discovered I had not bought any sunscreen. So, I ventured into an overpriced corner store and found what looked like a suitable sunscreen. I figured it would do and I could make it last. It was great, as I avoided sunburn, did not feel like I had been sitting in a vat of butter after my run and it was in an easily gripped bottle. I was able to forget that I was wearing it, it was that good. Holding the bottle even felt nice and during the application of sunscreen, i did not loose my grip on it.

After that weekend away, I forgot about it for some time, and then my husband came searching for some sunscreen so I gave it to him. He is a photographer and needed something which didn’t give him greasy hands or leave smudges on his equipment. Now we have our own bottles for those times when we don’t want the greasy feel!

While it isn’t the cheapest sunscreen on the supermarket shelf and in a small 175ml bottle, it does hold a lot of benefits over the others out there so I recommend it to those who would prefer the ‘dry touch’ for playing sport, or doing anything out in the sun when greasy is a concern.

So, for this product, I give it a rating of 4 out of 5. While I love the product, for a family of 6 it isn’t the most economical option out there so we still purchase the cheaper options when covering the whole family for a day at the beach.

Moving Comfort

2012-06-22 Running Gear 014Just recently I had the opportunity to try and review Moving Comfort’s newest sports bra, the Jubralee.

The first thing I noticed when it arrived was the size of it. I thought it was huge! It certainly had a lot more material then my normal push-up style bras do, even the triumph sports bra had less material.

Once I got over the initial surprise I started to explore it in more depth and marvelled at the thought put into it. The outer material is a lycra of sorts and contained a decent amount of stretch, while the inner lining seems to be of the non-stretch variety but it contained moulding so it should fit properly. The straps themselves were adjustable and you could do this from the front (YAY! Love this feature). They were also held in place by some pieces of micro velcro, and it was very secure. The back had a 3 eye & hook closure so it felt secure when done up. Another feature on the inside was the soft velvety lining they used where exposed seams may have chaffed you during a long run. I was in love with it from the moment I tried it on.

Once all this exploring was done, and the photos were taken, it was time to take the Jubralee out for a test run of 5km. I did not run at my normal pace but was pushed along by a friend so I got to experience it a bit more then I would have if I had just plodded along. The bra felt great. It was comfortable, I felt secure (i.e. no uncomfortable bouncing) and there was no riding up. I had read a couple of reviews where these style of bras had tended to ride up during a run, so I was conscious of it and was happy to report that there was no riding up, no slippage either. It stayed in place and did it’s job.

While the price of this sports bra is a bit outside of a Kmart budget it is a great investment as it does all that a good sports bra should do and still looks good on. It comes in a wide variety of sizes starting at 8C and all the way up to 18E, and as most larger busted women can attest, the larger sizes aren’t always easier to find. You can expect to pay $94.95 for this one, but I think it is worth it.

I give this bra a 5 out of 5, as they seem to be a great make and the business itself seems to be well thought out.

So, thankyou Moving Comfort for giving me this opportunity.

Shop - Moving Comfort

Picture – Dreamcoat Photography

Fly Active Arm Pocket

2012-06-22 Running Gear 008This is the Fly Active Arm Pocket, and I received this after I submitted an answer to a question from Women's Running Magazine (Australia).

Not only does it have 2 zippered pockets, these pockets seem to be water/sweat proof. They are made of a neoprene material with thin layer of water resistant material between the pockets and on the back. The arm pocket fastens around your upper arm with a simple, but effective, strip of velcro. They are adequately encased in soft neoprene so as to ensure no unpleasant chafing. One other handy feature of this product is the little retractable ID tag.

For me, this product was a great invention and I loved the hands free, nothing bumping around my waist, option. It fit snugly and was not at all uncomfortable and it help up over a 10km course, and lots of sweating.

One thing I didn’t like was the size of the pockets. My smart phone (HTC Touch Diamond) just fit in the pocket but I felt that the material was putting too much pressure on the power button (it turned on the screen every time I put it in) and if I was to put my car/house key in there also, then it could put too much pressure on the glass of my phone’s screen. On my trial run, I kept my phone in my skirt pocket and stored my keys, some money and an ID card in the arm pocket.

The keys, money and ID card appeared to be dry and sweat free at the other end. On the run I hardly noticed it or the items inside.

It is a great product, and a great idea. For those carrying a smaller phone it would be a ideal and could take place over the bum/waist bag. For me though, it wasn’t such a great thing and I will only use it when I can store my phone in a pocket.

I give it a score of 3 out of 5

Fly Active

Photo by Dreamcoat Photography

Doozie collapsible drink bottles

IMG_9616I first saw these swinging from a lady's hand bag/nappy bag and thought it looked kind of handy, something that could be used on a hike, possibly on a run and would be an easy storage solution for when out and about. Next I saw them hanging out the front of robins kitchen advertised at $2.95 so I thought it wouldn't hurt to trial them. If they worked as I wanted them to then they would be a good and cheap addition to my running kit.
Did they work? Yes and no. They did work as intended but were a little awkward to carry while running to I used the attached clip and put it in my daughters bike. They do carry a decent amount, 450ml, so the fluid level was adequate. I was wearing a waist bag with my phone in it, and once emptied and rolled up it fitted in nicely.
While I wouldn't use this for running it will be handy for a hike, heading out to an activity or perhaps holding a post run drink. It will take up no room at all when it is empty and will fit nicely in an esky full of food as the sides are flexible.
My score - well this is one of those things you will have to make up your own mind about but I won't be using it on a run and it will be used by family for when we go out.

Triumph Sports Bras

2011-10-26 Triumph Sportsbra 022Thanks to the great people at Triumph I was recently given the opportunity to trial a couple of their sports bras from the Michelle Bridges series.

First off the block was the Triaction Extreme Moulded sports bra.

I love the colour of this one. It is bright, bold and eye catching (if you decide to show your friends during a trail run). It has wide (not too wide) shoulder straps which are padded for extra comfort, a double hook & eye closure on the back (with enough material to avoid chafing), comfortable underwire (no chafing yet again) and supportive, soft cups. I felt secure in this and was able to wear it all day long without straps falling down, or underwire digging in. I felt comfortable, feminine and well supported. The sizing of this garment is pretty spot on and you should go for the size you normally wear.

I trialled this first out on my favourite trail run, a reasonably easy 5km loop. It isn’t flat and there is hills, and there are rocks and tree roots to trip/step over. Over the course I did not feel any uncomfortableness from bouncing, the shoulder straps didn’t dig in and it wasn’t done up too tight so as to restrict my breathing. It was a very positive experience in all. The next time I went out was on a short run over flat lawn, and once again, it proved it’s worth. The final test to see how it held up was an all day wear, where we were on our feet all day long, learning to coach in different track & field events. We jumped, ran, flung, skipped and stood around. After this all day coaching experience we (friends & I) then threw in a 5.5km trail/dirt road run, where we jumped over rocks, side stepped washed out gullies and plodded along picturesque country roads. At the end of that day I was wishing I could wash it and wear it again the next. This whole day experience won me over.

Would I recommend this sports bra? Yes, definitely yes. Even with the $59.95 price tag, it is money well spent.

I hope to have many km’s with this bra.

 

2011-10-26 Triumph Sportsbra 031The second bra I got to trial was the Triaction Seamfree sports bra.

This one was quite different from the first, especially in the fit. While I was quite comfortable in the Extreme Moulded sports bra, this one felt a little too constricting. Perhaps it was my untoned abs that caused the discomfort or the large lunch I had just eaten. Who knows, but the first time I wore it I declared ‘I have a mono-boob!’  I had not worn a crop top style bra for many years. (note: the run that day fizzled and never happened so it didn’t get a work out). The next time I trialled it, it was gently raining and I felt a little bit of movement there, mostly at the neck of the bra. It was only minimal and when I finally got to jogging with it on, I was happy with it’s performance. With it’s crossed over straps at the back (racer back style) I could feel the support it gave to my back and I was less inclined to slouch forward while running and more inclined to keep a good posture. That day we completed it’s biggest run of 3km.

I haven’t had too many runs in this top but I am looking forward to the day that I can don it, and it’s gel pad (in the hook and eye closure section) and run along comfortably. It would possibly fit better had I smaller boobs too. If this was the type of thing you enjoyed wearing, I would say go for it. It has a great name and brand associated with it, and they have thought about the comfort and styling for someone who is on the go in a variety of different sporting situations. It is also at a great price of $39.95.

Would I recommend this bra? Yes, but only to those who already like this style (like my 13 year old daughter).

I do however love the ‘glitter pink’ colour, and the other colours it is available in.

 

My general opinion of Triumph Triaction sports bras – They are well worth the money you would spend on them. They take the time to know what women want (bras that work) and have some pretty exciting colours in their range of technical fabric sports bras. So, give them a go if you haven’t already and find them on Facebook, get advice and find handy bits of information on more then just wearing the right sports bra for you. Triumph Triaction!

 

Pictures by : Dreamsport Photography

Bras from the Triumph Triaction series

FUDs

First of all I need to apologize for lack of content on the site lately. I have been nursing an injury and have been missing my endorphins. Now I am back on the trail thanks to the excellent help of hinteractive physio and am slowly building back up to where I was. (and I feel like writing again)
Now that is said I think it is time to review another product.

F.U.Ds
The whiz biz, fud (female urination device ) and friend of adventurous women.
While I haven't had the opportunity to use it out on the trail I have been able to test it out. You can pee standing up! No need to squat in the bushes and risk pricking your exposed tush on sticks and bushes.
I have had one for a while but only really thought about reviewing it today when at a childs birthday party and the public toilets were a little bit unclean, and it was then that I wished I could have brought more then my phone.
This may sounds a little TMI (too much information) but it is often one of those unspoken but wanted to know questions.
How do I rate it?  8 Out of 10. While it is handy it can be a little bit bulky but it will catch all the drips and then repel them (hydrophobic). It works well and I would recommend it for those wanting to stand up to pee or those enjoying long runs/hikes from civilization. These can be purchased directly from their website or one of their stockists.

GoGirl Product

The go-girl is another FUD which I have had the opportunity to trial. While the purpose is the same as the whiz biz it’s flexibility makes it somewhat different. The go-girl is quite a bit softer then the whiz biz and doesn’t have the same amount of coverage either but it still does the job and, if used properly, with no leakage either. The best bit about it that it comes with it’s own little storage tube, a plastic bag to put it in after use and a little bit of loo paper. This one comes with a variety of carry tubes

How do I rate it? 7 out of 10. I like the softness of the silicone but this also deters me from using it as I am worried about leakage when I use this product. It is about $10 cheaper then the whizbiz which makes it more appropriate for the budget conscious. It can be bought from good hiking shops and the go-girl Australia site,

Sport Supplements

As we all know, there is a 101 and more different sports supplements, electrolyte replacements and energy foods on the market. All designed to help us perform better, have longer last energy and get through our next marathon experience. So, which one do we choose and how do we know it is the right one for us? What else is out there? Are there natural alternatives?

I know I can’t give any definitive answers to these questions, but I can hope to provide reviews on the products I have found, and my personal preference heads towards the more natural the better. Among some of my favourites is coconut water, but that is a hard one to obtain and then have ready to drink on hand, especially if you don’t want the sweetened, flavoured and already bottled sort. So, I am always on the search for an alternative, where I can read the ingredient list and know what each item is (and it isn’t a number).

Some of those newly found supplements I have found include – Elete electrolyte, and Sharkies

Photo_E1C1D5F6-F954-4F9D-165A-691D77C6607AElete Electrolytes

This stuff can be added to water and you can’t taste it. It is just pure electrolytes obtained from sea minerals. One small bottle (25ml) can make up at least 10L of electrolytes and from the various reviews I have read, this stuff works pretty well.

I had the opportunity to test it, but not in a sporting capacity (injured and unable to run right now), and I was surprised. I had spent the day out helping man checkpoints and I hadn’t drunk much thanks to the checkpoint being in the middle of the bush and no toilets around, so I was a little dehydrated upon arriving home. Usually when I get dehydrated it will take a while for my water levels to get back to a normal level but I had a bottle of water made up and ready to go. Not only did I feel better quickly but it was easy to take down, and I didn’t feel bloated at all.

Because this stuff has no taste (no after-taste noticed either), apparently doesn’t leave any residue, and can be mixed with any liquids, it makes the perfect accompaniment for your sporting endeavours. If you mix it according to instructions, you would only need 2.5ml per litre of water, at full strength, so a small 25ml bottle will not only save you money but will go a long way also. It makes carting your sports drinks around even easier.

So, from me, this gets a big thumbs up and shall be a constant in my sporting nutrition

 

Photo_836622A9-F9F2-48FC-AAFC-EF6E83517529  Sharkies for Kids

Sugary sweet and a wonderful treat, though for what you get in a packet, they aren’t that family friendly. On the weekend we joined in a fundraising walk and decided to try out the Sharkies – Kids sports chews. I personally didn’t notice any difference in performance upon having my one and I am not sure that my kids did either, but they tasted great, were great motivation, and I could have easily sat down and eaten the whole packets. (Yes I like my lollies). What was good about these sweets was the actual low sugar content, Vitamin C, and natural, if not organic, ingredients. They were also gluten and wheat free, and fructose free.

At the price of $3.50 per packet, I am not sure I would buy them again from an actual shop, as there were only 12 little sharks in the packet, and with 4 kids, they wouldn’t last very long at all. I am yet to trial the adult version, and I have heard good reviews on these, but if these perform better, and are better value for money, I may consider buying these online (approx $2.75 per packet this way) otherwise I may just skip over these as a regular energy source and trial gels. (Or bananas if they ever come down in price)

Make Your Own

jalie2796What does Make-Your-Own have to do with running?

Mum’s who run, do more then just run and be a mum. From the mum’s I know personally, who run, there are artists, home sewers, article writers, make up artists, etc. We are more then just mum’s and runners, and that is why I thought I would share this pattern review with you.

Not too long ago I went searching for patterns, as I was fed up with the high prices for buying my own ready made running skirt. I found this pattern – Jalie 2796 – and started looking around at various reviews of the pattern. The only problem with it, that I could find, was that the waistband really needed extra support and by adding elastic to the waistband the problem was solved. An easy fix!

This pattern comes in a variety of sizes, starting right down at a girls size 2, and climbing all the way up to a ladies size 22. Extra bonus! I could use this single pattern to make all of my 4 girls a running skirt! Including myself.

The pattern does all the usual stuff, it tells you which materials are best (I found spandex/swimsuit lycras the best), how to choose your size and clear concise instructions to follow (including pictures of how it all goes together). It even gave you tips on how to sew it without a serger/overlocker. You also have a few different alternatives, those being a skirt on it’s own, boy leg pants, compression shorts or the combination of the different pants with the skirt.

Having used this pattern now, a few times, I find it easy to follow, sew up and cut out. I also would recommend it to anyone who wants to make their own running skirt. The pockets are also deep enough to carry your mobile phone in while you run.

If you are handy with a sewing machine and want to give it a go, or know someone who could make it for you, you can purchase the pattern here

Here are some of the skirts I have made so far. The first I just lengthened the legs and it was my trial skirt, to work out what it needed. The second has matching compression shorts beneath it, as do the rest of them. My girls love their skirts.

2011-06-05 running skort 0032011-06-15 miranda skort 0012011-06-18 skorts 0022011-06-18 skorts 005

Ziplock Bags

Why ziplock bags? Well, they are the poor man’s (or whoever wants to use them) alternative to the pricey waterproof bags you can buy to stick your phone in while running. They are cheap enough that when they wear out you can just ‘borrow’ another of the kids’ lunch bags and keep on running.

Provided you have a good quality (these can still be quite cheap) bag, there should be no leakage into the bag. In order to minimise the chance of my bag opening at anytime I like to expel as much air, out of the bag, as possible, before hand.

They also come in a variety of sizes, double ziplock, single ziplock, with characters on the packet and in blue, green or red. There is no need to order from a specialty shop and pay for delivery, as you can simply pick up a box of 50, 75, or 150 from the local supermarket. Just don’t use the ones you get from the bank, because they have tiny holes in them.

Having said this, and recommending them, I wouldn’t attempt to take them swimming or drop them in a puddle and see how long it takes to become waterlogged, but I would just use them, in my bum bag to protect my phone from the cold winter rain as I run the paths.

Note: I had the perfect opportunity to try one out last week when I was out running and it started to rain. I was soaked from head to toe within 5 minutes. Upon getting home my phone, inside it’s ziplock bag, was still as dry as when I first put it in there. If I had needed to contact anyone, and it was raining, I would have been able to send a sms without take the phone from it’s bag. And, the rain was cold.

Ultima Replenisher

20110418_ultima_grapeUltima replenisher is one of the many sports supplements/hydration drinks out there. What is different about this one is that not only does it not contain cane sugar but it doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners either, but it still manages to taste sweet. It does this by using stevia, an alternative to traditional sweeteners. What makes this special is the fact that the sweeteners in this product (stevia) can be consumed by those sensitive to artificial sweeteners and diabetics.

Not only does it have this natural benefit but it sticks to what it advertises on the packet – no artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners. And it provides all you need in a sports drink to help rehydrate yourself. It doesn’t provide carbohydrates however, and is only available in America so far.

I wanted to trial this product before committing to a large order, or even searching around for others so we could put in a joint order, so I bought a sample pack which contains 10 sachets or the various flavours available for this drink. The flavours available include – grape, lemonade, orange and wild raspberry. So far I have only tried the grape.

The instructions on the packet say to mix the sachet contents with 8-12oz of water, which when converted to Australian measurements, equals about 300ml of water. I did this, and while it was refreshing and tasted a lot like grape hubba bubba with a slight liquorice after taste (which I like), I thought it was a little strongly flavoured. I would be tempted to water it down a little more in the future, but this is just my personal preference, and I am yet to try the other flavours so i can compare.

I give this drink a big thumbs up as it now is easier for those wishing to avoid sugar in their sports drink, to be able to rehydrate with great flavours, but a thumbs down for accessibility and shipping costs. (3 sample packs were going to cost $25 in shipping but I received cheap shipping after long email conversations with the manager)