Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Posts tagged ‘running gear’

Hats Off to BOCO Gear!

“Disclaimer: I received a free BOCO Gear Run Hat 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!”

If you scroll through most of my running photos, you will find that I am almost always wearing a hat.  Why is that?  Well a few reasons.  1.  I have a ton of hair.  2.  I don’t usually have a lot of time to properly style said hair (thanks kids).   3.  Hats offer protection from the daily elements (i.e. sun, wind, rain).  4.  They are stylish!

So you can imagine my excitement when I had the chance to test out a new run hat from BOCO Gear!

IMG_8577

If you’ve never heard of BOCO Gear, they are a company based out of BOulder, COlorado (clever, huh?)…and they create performance hats, headbands, and other accessories for athletes.  You can browse their online shop or they will even create custom orders for your organization, team or event!  They created custom hats for BibRave and I love the look of this product!

IMG_9162

Since moving to Japan, I’ve been faced with some “challenging” weather conditions that I haven’t been used to.  San Diego spoiled me with it’s annual perfect weather, so I had to quickly adjust to various temperatures, humidity, rain, and even some crazy wind.  When I first received my BOCO Run Hat, it was typhoon season.  I didn’t even know that was a thing until I moved here.  BTW –  the height of typhoon season is like September/October so beware if you plan to travel to Japan during those times.  😉  Anywho, I didn’t want to let any little typhoon weather get me down so I thought, “What the heck – I’ll run outside anyway.”  Well the wind was no joke.  Running against the wind will really test your strength and it’s also annoying.  But I survived, and more importantly – My BOCO Run Hat didn’t budge!  I was shocked!  In fact, I kinda forgot I was wearing it at one point because it’s so lightweight!

IMG_8673

The good news about typhoons is they don’t last long.  After about 8 hours, it was all over and the skies cleared.  In fact, the next day was absolutely beautiful and I had to run again so I could see Mount Fuji in all of her glory!

IMG_0394

Not only did I like how this hat protected against the wind and rain,  I also liked knowing that my face was being shielded from the sun.  But for real – wear your sunscreen, kids!

IMG_8845

I also took my new hat friend for a ride in spin class, for some posing in yoga, and some stretching in pilates.  Obviously I didn’t need any protecting from the elements here…I just didn’t feel like doing my hair. 😉

IMG_9125

Overall, I think this is a great hat that all runners should own!  I love how light it feels and the way it stays put without squeezing my head.  The inside features a soft sweatband to wick away the sweat and it’s totally adjustable with a snap buckle (Velcro pulls my hair so I especially appreciate this feature).  It also folds up really easily so you can stick it in your pocket or bag when you’re travelling.  And throw it in the wash when it needs to refresh!  Super easy!

I was really impressed at how much this hat could withstand!  It even stayed put during play time with the kids and speed work on the track!

If you are looking for a new running hat, then BOCO Gear is the way to go!  Or if you are an organization or have a team looking for a custom order of hats, BOCO will hook it up!

Prices range from $23-$35 in their online shop and there is a minimum of 35 hats for a custom order.  So go create some great SWAG that anyone would love to have! 😉

Already own some BOCO Gear?  Snap a pic and tag #BOCOGEAR on Instagram for your chance to be seen on their website!

I’m off to review the next product!

~SM

Advertisements

Be Safe – Be Brilliant

Disclaimer: I received a free set of Brilliant Reflective Strips 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!

Running and biking are fun, but they can also be dangerous…especially if you are doing either one in the mornings or evenings.  I always try to be vigilant, stay aware of my surroundings and wear proper gear when I’m running and/or biking…even more so when I have the kiddos tagging along.  So I was really stoked to hear about the Brilliant Reflective Strips!

IMG_7084

They are little strips that can either stick-on or iron-on to your gear and clothes.  You can also choose between a few different colors!  I chose purple cause it’s my fave color. 😉

I wasn’t sure what to expect with these guys.  When you pull them out, it just looks like big pieces of colored tape.  So I didn’t think they could really do a whole lot.

Well I was wrong!

Processed with MOLDIV

They lit up my BoB like a Christmas Tree! 🙂  *Full Disclosure: the two shiny spots on the very top of the stroller are part of the stroller itself.  But everything else is all the Brilliant Strips!

I also added them to my kiddos’ bikes!

I couldn’t believe at how bright these strips were!  Even though we don’t typically ride bikes early in the mornings or in the evenings, we have lost track of time a few times and headed home during dusk.  I really liked having the strips on the kids’ bikes and helmets for added safety and peace of mind.

Then I headed for the trails! 🙂

The trails are great for running because you don’t have to worry about getting hit by a car.  However, while running or hiking alone is peaceful and refreshing…it also means that your safety is at a higher risk.  The Brilliant Reflective Strips could literally be a lifesaver in the event that you get lost or injured.  Most rescue groups would be searching for you with a flashlight or spotlight so they would find you much more quickly if your clothes/shoes are lighting up within the brush.

So during the time of testing out the Brilliant Reflective Strips, I moved to Japan. (Say what?!)  Yes, I know, this seems a bit out of nowhere…but have no fear, there will be a follow-up blog post explaining more on that.

Anywho, over here in Japan cars are driven on the left side of the road.  This is something that I am still getting used to as by reflex I want to run on the left side of the road – which would be against traffic in America.  So I’m trying to train myself to run on the right side of the road over here.  Also, while there are sidewalks in most areas, sometimes I am forced to run on the side of the road.  And the roads are pretty narrow here so I’m adjusting to that as well.  In addition, it’s hot as Hades over here so I have run in the evening a couple of times to avoid melting in this summer heat.  I think after living in San Diego for so long I forgot what actual humidity was like.

So I was thankful to have my Brilliant Reflective Strips with me since I’m out here running on the wrong side of the road and whatnot.  Also, manhole covers in Japan are artistically amazing.

And here are a couple of other #seenonmyrun pics just for fun.

I didn’t try out the iron-on strips because I was able to reuse the stick-on strips just fine and I wanted to see how I liked them before I permanently adhered them to anything.

And that was something else that I loved about the strips – you can cut them how you like and reuse them to customize all of your outdoor gear!

Pricing: $14.95 and free shipping

Overall, here is my conclusion about the strips:

Pros:  1. Added safety and increased visibility – The Brilliant Reflective strips allow you to be seen 500 ft. sooner.  (according to brilliantreflective.com)

2. Easy to use – I like that you can easily cut the strips and reuse them for different clothes/gear

3.  Pricing – I think the product is well-priced since it saves you from having to buy all reflective clothing – which can get pretty pricy.  Plus free shipping!

4.  Colors – I like that they come in different colors, especially purple!

Cons:  1.  Quantity: Really my only con is that you are unable to choose the quantity that comes in the package.  Each package comes with 8 strips which I felt wasn’t enough in my case.  I would like to add the strips to my shoes, bikes, helmets, strollers, and clothes.  I think there should be an option to purchase the strips in various amounts – Maybe an option for  4, 8, 16, or 24 strips and offer them at different price points.

Other than that, I really think these strips are a great concept and I hope to see more people using them!  Especially with the combination of distracted driving and people running/biking in the dark. I think the Brilliant Reflective Strips could save lives!  I know I’ll be adding more to my jogging strollers for sure!

Want to try some for yourself?  Head over to bit.ly/BRforRunners and use code “BRP35” save 35%!  They would make a great gift for your active friends and family!  And you may even save their life. 😉

Join me on #Bibchat on Twitter July 11th at 6pm PST for your chance to win some of your own!  See you there!

Check out #BeBrilliant on social media to see other ways people are using these handy little strips!

Sidenote: I’ve been singing “Shiny” from Moana the entire time I’ve been writing this.  Go ahead, look it up and take a listen. 😉

~SM

 

 

Shocked by Aftershokz

Before I get into my review, let me tell you a little bit about my relationship with headphones.  Our relationship throughout the years has been, well…a bit complicated.  It’s usually hard to find a set that fits consistently and doesn’t die out quickly.  I’ve also had issues with some not jiving with my iPhone – for whatever reason, some headphones will activate the voice control on my phone and interrupt my music.  This is the most irritating thing to ever happen on a run.  You get into a zone and then suddenly your music stops and Siri asks, “What Can I Help You With?”  Annoying.

This has led to a graveyard of headphones in my junk drawer.  It’s quite sad, but I don’t really know what to do with them.  I feel bad just throwing them out like garbage when I know they meant well and they tried, they really tried…but the relationship just wasn’t working out and we had to part ways.  So I just keep them there for emergencies in case my first string headphones (a popular wireless brand that used to be endorsed by a certain music producer) get injured and I need to call upon a backup pair.

So when I heard there was a brand of headphones that don’t actually fit inside your ears, but rather go on the OUTSIDE of your ears, I was intrigued.  I originally thought, No way these will work at all!

Allow me to introduce you to…Aftershokz!

img_2388

Aftershokz headphones are different because they are bone-conducting.  What does that mean?  Basically the sound is transmitted through your cheekbones to your inner ear via vibrations – avoiding your eardrums altogether.  Pretty sweet, huh?  No more worrying about killing your eardrums with all that loud music and most importantly, you can listen to your music while staying aware of your surroundings.  That second part was especially important to me since I run alone sometimes or while pushing my kids.  Whether I’m running on a scenic path or around the neighborhood with a lot of traffic, I like the idea of being able to hear everything around me while still enjoying my tunes or a Bibrave Podcast.

img_2175

You will first have to charge up your headphones even though they’re wired, but don’t sweat, it doesn’t take too long.  The first thing I noticed about the Aftershokz headphones was that they fit really well!  Even during a 5-mile run, they didn’t budge!  And I could hear the music loud and clear! Now, if you are used to listening to your music at an obscene volume level, these will take a little getting used to…but your 50-year-old eardrums will thank you later.  😉  I could also hear my surroundings, which is great for trails!

Processed with MOLDIV

Then I took my Aftershokz for a spin on the bike in the gym!

Processed with MOLDIV

This was both good and bad. The good – I usually watch a Netflix show while I’m on the stationary bike and these headphones really bring your shows to life!  If there was a train or a car in a scene, the sides of my head would vibrate – so it almost makes your favorite shows interactive. 😉  The bad – I could hear my surroundings a little too well.  As in…other people’s conversations in the gym.  So that part was a little distracting as I like to kind of zone out while I’m cross-training or strength training.

So what about that microphone part?  Well, I put it to the ultimate test.  I took it outside and made a phone call to an automated service.  Gasp!  Yes, and guess what?  I didn’t have to repeat myself one time and I was transferred correctly the first time, every time.  I was…Shocked.  Also, when I received a notification on my phone I didn’t get an alert tone through the headphones, but the music did lower briefly and then increase again.

img_2316

Can you hear me now?  Just kidding.

How much does it cost?  This model – the Sportz Titanium with Mic runs $59.95 and comes in 2 colors.  You can learn about their other products here.  And they always offer FREE shipping!  They also offer a 45-day return period and a 2-year limited warranty.

So here is my overall impression:

Pros:

  • Open-ear concept – I liked being able to hear my surroundings while outside
  • Sweat-resistant
  • Good fit – lightweight and comfortable
  • Reasonable price plus free shipping
  • In-line controls with options to play, skip, and pause
  • 12 hours of music on one charge
  • Good quality microphone

Cons:

  • Being able to hear conversations in smaller areas
  • No option to adjust the headband – while it worked fine for me, I’m not sure these are one-size-fits-all
  • The power source is the heaviest part and is at the bottom of the wire, close to the headphone jack…which makes it a little cumbersome
  • Wired – I’ve sorta gotten used to the wireless life so it takes a little adjusting to go back to wired headphones.  However, it’s nice to know that these won’t automatically die after about 2 hours of play.

Overall, I was literally SHOCKED by the Aftershokz headphones!  I’m now a believer in bone-conducting headphones!  I’ll definitely be using these more often when I’m in an area where I need to hear my surroundings.  I think I would invest in a pair of the wireless ones in order to use them ALL the time since the wire gets in the way sometimes.  I also didn’t use the microphone feature a whole lot as I prefer to text or just ignore calls altogether while I’m running so it’s not something I would need right now.

But wait!  There’s more!  My headphones came with….you guessed it!  SWAG!

img_1669

Yep, they came with a sweet water bottle that I use all the time!  I love that it’s stainless steel so it doesn’t hold all the bacteria that plastic bottles do.  It also has a screw-top, leak-proof lid and keeps my water super cold all throughout my workout!  It’s sleek and fits in most cup-holders and well, I think it looks pretty snazzy. 😉

Want one for yourself?!  Order a pair of Sportz Titanium w/mic and score a FREE water bottle (a $14.95 value) of your own!  But you must use this link! —>  http://bibrave.aftershokz.com

Don’t you want to fall in love with your own pair? 😉  Happy running!

img_2237

And catch me on #Bibchat on Twitter every Tuesday at 6pm PST!  You may even win a prize! 😉

***Disclaimer: I received a set of Aftershokz Sportz Titanium headphones with microphone along with a water bottle for free to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro and check out Bibrave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

~SM

 

Look Fly with a SPI(belt)

If you’re like me, at one time or another you have tried running while juggling at least three things in hand…and not like one of those cool running juggler people either.  More than likely, you probably look uncomfortable and not to mention inefficient. Which is why I was stoked to learn about the SPIbelt!

So what is a SPIbelt, you ask?  Well the name says it all!  A SPIbelt is a “small personal item” belt designed to hold all of your essentials while on the run…and you also kind of look like a rad secret agent with your handy belt. 😉

img_7298

I’m gonna go ahead and state the obvious…yes, it kind of looks like a glorified fanny pack at first…but I assure you…they are much cuter and less bulky than a fanny pack.  And if by chance you DO love fanny packs, then I am confident that you will also love this SPIbelt.

There are several SPIbelt options to choose from. I had the chance to review the SPIbelt Performance Series in pink!  Here are a few quick facts about the SPIbelt:

  • It holds most smartphones
  • It’s bounce-free
  • It has 4 loops for energy gels
  • It fits waist sizes up to 52″
  • It’s weather-resistant, but NOT waterproof

And it came with some SWAG! Yippee!

fullsizerender

These stickers are great to spice up boring hydration bottles! 🙂

It also came with some instructions, which is perfect for us visual learners.

img_7263

So before I tell you about my experience with the SPIbelt, let me tell you how I lived life without one.  Now, I usually push a stroller on my runs which normally blows cause of the extra weight, uneven terrains, hills, etc.  However, the one great thing about pushing a stroller is that you always have a place to store your things.  My Bob Revolution has cup holders, zippered pockets, and a huge storage basket.  It’s basically like the Cadillac of strollers.  But a couple of times a week, I do have the opportunity to run stroller-free and this is where I run into logistical problems.  Where do I put my keys, cash, phone, etc.?  Most running shorts don’t have pockets.  At best, there is a tiny inside pocket that will hold one key and maybe some cash.  I’ve had to run many races with my key tied to my shoelaces, money hidden in my shoe, all while holding my phone. It’s awkward and annoying.  Which by the way, phones are getting bigger so they aren’t as easy to hold for 3+ miles anymore.

So I was overjoyed to finally try a SPIbelt!  It was perfect timing since I am training for the upcoming Carlsbad Half Marathon and I have been adding in some longer runs.  I couldn’t wait to ditch the kiddos so I could try this puppy out.

It was super easy to put on and adjust before heading out for an afternoon run.  It took a little time to get used to running with it the first time.  It almost felt like trying to run when your six months pregnant.  The extra weight on the lower part of your stomach feels awkward at first, but then you get used it after a mile or so. I was really surprised at how well if conformed to my body and didn’t bounce throughout my runs.  Even when climbing some pretty steep stairs!

I also liked that I had place to store my pepper spray!

img_8028

Another one of my running adventures was to Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach.  This is also a very hilly and windy area and I liked being able to store my keys and phone without the worry of my things falling off scary cliffs.

img_7857

Another great time to use your SPIbelt is when taking your dog on the run!  It’s a great place to store baggies so you can quickly clean up after your dog and continue on with your activity!

img_8253

And if your dog is big enough, they can rock the SPIbelt too! 😉

img_8165

So let’s talk about the functionality of the pocket and the loops.  I’m not a huge energy gel person just because I’m not a fan of most of the tastes and textures, but I like the energy blocks or anything that has more of a “gummy bear” texture.  The loops were kind of tight and I had to work to get anything in there.  Design wise, I imagine it’s to keep the SPIbelt as small and flexible as possible…but function wise, I wasn’t a huge fan mostly because I don’t have a ton of patience for that type of stuff.  Not a big deal though, because I can easily throw the energy supplements into the zippered pocket part.

And speaking of the zippered pocket, I thought it was great except for one thing – Getting the phone in and out was kind of a hassle.  I think if I had taken the case off (I have an iPhone 6S), it would have fit a little better.  However, due to my children I never take the case off.  I also run with Bluetooth headphones sometimes and I felt that at certain points during the run (mostly if I had to stop), the phone and the headphones didn’t sync as well – meaning the song would go in and out or completely stop.  But it was only if I stopped in certain spots and wasn’t a complete deal breaker.  The other issue is if you want to change a song or if you needed to pause your run (like when using a running app).  I typically run with a Garmin so pausing or stopping wasn’t an issue, but changing a song or declining a call was kind of a pain.  If you are going to keep your phone in there with a few other things, I suggest trying to keep it in there for the duration of the run.  Or else you will be spending extra time trying to squeeze it back in the pocket.

I think the SPIbelt Performance Series comes at a reasonable price as well – $25.99 with free shipping on U.S. orders.  And you can save 20% using code “BibChat2016” until November 18th, 2016.  There are also come nifty accessories that you can add, like a race bib holder (so you don’t put holes in your fancy race day shirts) and an H20 companion.

Overall, I really liked the SPIbelt and I know I will be using it more as the half marathon draws closer and my runs become longer.  I think it’s a great tool that all runners should check out and they make great gifts for a runner in your life! I know I’m grateful for mine!

Processed with MOLDIV

Don’t forget to catch #BibChat this Tuesday on Twitter at 6pm PST.  You will have the chance to learn more about the SPibelt and maybe even win one of your own!  Chat with you then! 😉

You can also read what some other BibRave Pros thought of the SPIbelt Performance series:

Erica’s Review

Carolyn’s Review

*Disclaimer: I received the SPIbelt Performance Series for free to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Can’t wait to review the next product!

~SM

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: