Sunday, January 24, 2016

2XU Hyoptik Thermal Pants

Disclaimer: I received 2XU Hyoptik thermal compression pants as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Every runner that lives somewhere with 4 seasons needs a good pair of running pants.  Even if you don't like to go out much in the elements, there will be times that you need to or have to wear them, say a late fall or early spring race, it can be quite chilly.  I, myself, try to get out for most of my long runs all year long unless I feel like it's unsafe (super icy, very extreme cold).  I'd rather be safe on the treadmill than be sorry because I got sick or injured, just not worth it to me.  Anyway, as a result I have worn many a pair of running pants over the last few years.  I struggle with two major issues.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Buff USA -- Thermal Hoodie

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

last winter's attempt to stay warm while running
I think it stems back to my days on the winter swim team because I hated the feeling of a cold, wet head not to mention the frozen hair but I am OBSESSED with winter head gear.  The crazier the better in fact.  I get excited when the temps start dropping below 45 so I can start wearing my hats. 

So as you can imagine, I never go for a winter run without a hat. I also finally realized the amazingness of a buff last winter. That combo of a good hat and a buff definitely was great at keeping me warm and protected during those harsh runs but at times it was really annoying. I like the buff to be over my ears and chin and occassionally over my face but I like to move it up and down. I just can't stand having it over my mouth and nose for long periods of time but I need to warm them up periodically. The buff while great at protecting me, just doesn't stay put the way I would like. I find myself having to fix it constantly, pulling it back over my ears when it slides down, trying to get it to stay in that perfect spot. 
I never really found a great solution.  Then a couple weeks ago the Thermal Hoodie Buff arrived for testing.  It was love at first glance.  I'm not even exaggerating.  I could just tell by looking, it was the perfect solution. 

The Thermal Hoodie is a Polartec hood with 100% merino wool collar which is actually a double layer, one of which is a buff that you can pull up over your ears and face.  When I tried it on, it felt very soft and comfy.  Apparently, it also looked very appealing to the kids as they were fighting over it the rest of the night, running around the house pretending to be ninjas , oh and kylo ren made an appearance too.
Ninja Niko
Kylo Ren
Now for the real test, how would it be to run in?  I personally loved it.  I cinch the hood a little bit but not much and it stays in place for me without having any issues.  The buff part that goes over the face, stayed put wherever I wanted it.  I would move it up and down without much fuss and the entire thing, hood and buff kept my ears nice and toasty.  I also really love the wool around my neck.  When I wear just a regular buff, my neck never feels completely warm, I can feel breezes through that area.  The buff hoodie keeps everything nice and toasty.  I also really like the look of the buff.  It looks cool with my running gear but is stylish enough to wear with regular jackets and clothes.  They also mention on the Buff site that it can fit over a helmet, which I would definitely use it for skiing and look forward to testing it out on the slopes. 
buff on the trails
out running errands with Una
I honestly, myself, did not find any negatives about the hoodie but some of my fellow BibravePro friends had some issues that I would be remiss if I didn't mention them.  One of the main concerns are the strings or tassles that are used to tighten the hood.  There are leather toggle like things to secure the string at whatever length you choose.  I thought these were not only handy so you don't have to tie the strings but also really cute.  I think they actually add a lot to the look of the hoodie.  For some reason they did not bother me while running, but many of the other testers said they were swinging around and hitting them while running.  It is super easy to just tuck them in so if they bother you that's easy to fix.  Some people also had issues with either the hood not staying put or the buff part falling down when they tried to keep it over their ears and face.  I really didn't have any problems with this so I'm not sure what the difference was for me versus them. 
looks cool for casual wear too
Since I'm a #dirtbagrunner I haven't washed it yet but at the same time, it doesn't smell yet either which is pretty good since I wore it on several 3-4 hour long runs.  It does say hand wash which might be annoying to some but I don't do the laundry in our house so doesn't bother me ;-p  #brf Angie said when she washed hers, it dried within 24hours. 

I'll be wearing mine at the PHUNT 50K this weekend!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

XX2i -- USA1

Disclaimer: I received XX2i USA1 sunglasses as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Full USA1 kit
I have to be honest, I was already in love with XX2i glasses before they sent the USA1 to us #bibravepro's to test.  About a year and a half ago, the members of #teamwickedbonkproof received a discount code for XX2i which I jumped on immediately.  I almost always run in sunglasses even if it's somewhat overcast and at that point I had been through a number of cheapie glasses.  As I've mentioned before, I just don't like spending on high ticket items and I thought I could get away with any kind of sunglasses.  As it turns out, running ultras isn't too kind to glasses.  I broke many of them and I had trouble with many of them fogging up.  There were even a few that were just so uncomfortable and I would end up with a headache.  That combined with an excellent discount and return policy(you have a full year to return the glasses if you aren't satisfied & all glasses have a lifetime warranty) helped me to decide it was time to invest in some good glasses.
USA1 in action