08 07 2014.

things on thursday

Over the past two years I’ve accumulated, tested and worn out lots of gear. It’s only natural that I’ve come to love certain products. This is my favorites list: gear that functions correctly, makes working out fun, improves the experience or otherwise motivational items!

(I just want to note that I am not being paid to write these reviews. My statements are entirely of my own opinion and not incentivised.)

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Garmin Forerunner 210
Website

I love this watch. I transitioned to the watch from my phone and the Map My Run app. Though I love the app, I hated carrying a bulky phone around in my armband for the sole purpose of recording my run. I no longer listen to music during a run – opting for the harmonious sound of my thoughts instead. The watch syncs seamlessly with Map My Run (which was a plus because all of my running data is on there) and holds a charge quite well. The only downside is that unless you charge the watch right before your run, it can take up to 2-3 minutes to find satellites to connect to. I skirt around the issue by allowing it to connect while I’m changing into my running clothing.

 

FlipBelt
Website

Since I moved into my new apartment a few months ago, I’ve been running everywhere. If I’m meeting friends out to dinner, I’ll run to the restaurant. If I’m meeting up for trivia, I’ll run to the pub. I even ran to a local cafe to do brunch with some friends. That means, however, that I need to carry my phone, keys and some cash. I ditched my armband because it wasn’t the right fit, but was skeptical about getting a waist pack because, well, they look like fanny packs! The FlipBelt doesn’t move once it’s on you. I have an iPhone and the weight and size of the phone seems to actually tighten the belt (comfortably) to reduce any bounce. I can wear it three ways, too – with the pockets facing outward (for easy access), pockets facing upward, or pockets facing inward (for more secure storage). There’s also a clip inside of a pocket that you can attach your keyring to – for even more security! It’s comfortable, inexpensive and fashionable – as far as running waistbands go.

 

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Bondi Band Headbands
Website

I have bangs. I’ve had bangs for two years. I love my bangs, but they are a runner’s worst enemy. (My bangs bother me more than running into the wind!) I use, on average, a minimum of 6 bobby pins to secure my bangs during a run and I still have fly-aways! At the Tri for a Cure Expo, I walked past a tent with a 2-foot tall pile of latex headbands. Caught up in the moment, I bought three. One for myself, one for my mom and one for my sister. I figured that I would give them out as thank you gifts – for coming to support me at my first tri. I used the headband for the first time a few days later and it changed everything. I hand-wash it after every run because I can’t fathom going for a run without it anymore. I wish I had bought more! If you happen to cross paths with a Bondi Band tent, buy one!

 

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Born to Run
Website

This book is the runner’s bible. I’ve read it twice already and want to pick it up again for a third read. Christopher McDougall is a very talented writer. It’s tough for a non-runner to find interest in runner’s stories – yet when I first picked it up, I was a non-runner, and I was intrigued. I actually learned a lot about the sport of running and apply that knowledge (running form, picking out new running shoes, preserving my energy on longer runs) every time I go out for a run or buy new equipment. This book inspired me to start running and has inspired me to continue to run. I would not only recommend that runners read this book, but that they own this book.

 

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Thule 910XT Passage Two-Bike Carrier
Website

Since I installed this rack on my car (in June), I’ve traveled over 200 miles with 2 bikes on the back and over 50 miles with a single bike on the back. No issues at all. The rack is very stable. I can secure and remove my bike from the rack very quickly! I also love that I can switch the bars to angle downward when I’m not using it. It’s made transporting my bike so much easier and I no longer have to remove a tire and stuff it in my trunk!

 

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New Balance 550v3
Website

I can’t stress how much I love these running shoes. On a whim, I went to TJ Maxx to check out their activewear selection and spotted this beautiful pair of New Balances. For $35, I couldn’t really pass them up. Almost immediately, the ankle/heel pain that I had been experiencing went away. Something about the shoes really helped me run. They’re so comfortable, lightweight and made in Maine! I wish they still made these.

 

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Nathan Fire and Ice Insulated Water Bottle
Website

After a series of rather upsetting events, my Aladdin water bottle fell out of my bike at some point early-on in a 25-mile bike ride. I made a quick trip to L.L.Bean with my gift card one evening after work to find a new one – and this is what I picked up. This one is perfect for what I need it for. I can leave the nozzle open (for quick, easy access while biking) without worrying about dust or dirt getting inside. It also fits perfectly in my holder. The best part is that I can squeeze it to release the water quickly and then get on my way. The only problem I had with this is that the water had the “new water bottle plastic taste” for about a week after I bought it – despite continued use and cleaning. It had been about two weeks until the water tasted crisp and clean. I bring this to work every day and on hikes because it’s one of the only water bottles I have that doesn’t leak when inverted.

 

Runner’s Pepper Spray
Website

This may seem like quite a strange item to make the list. However, when you live in a city it’s a good idea to bring something to defend yourself. I often go on trail runs and find myself completely alone much of the time. I’m also wary of destructive dogs that may cause me harm. I have yet to run into a situation that warranted using the spray – so this review is based solely on the ease of carrying it around. It’s got a strap that you wrap around your hand and it’s so light and comfortable, that I’ve forgotten that I was carrying it. The strap material also absorbs a lot of your hand sweat, which I found to be an advantage of the product. It’s got a range of about 10 feet. I sometimes carry the pepper spray in my bag when I’m going for a hike – in case I have a run-in with any dangerous animals.


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