Today was my first day out with my new gear from a recent trip to my running haven, Aardvark Sports Shop. When I was there this past Friday, I picked up my very first pair of compression sleeves (pink tie-dye because I knew my daughter would love them), two pairs of Balega socks (on clearance!), new earbuds (my old ones are busted), and a mint chocolate Clif bar (I was hungry). I also had my new Columbia base layer and a Buff head/neck wrap from Sunday’s trip to Cabela’s. That’s a lot of sampling to do. And here’s what I thought of my new stuff.
1. Zensah Compression Sleeves
I’ve been dealing with some slight shin pain for a few weeks now, and while it never lasts for more than a few hours, it makes me more than a little paranoid. I’ve had full-blown shin splints before and it’s not something to which I’m partial. So I’ve been running a little slower, stretching a little more, and worrying pretty much all the time. My Type A brain is obsessing over missed mileage while practical me is thinking rest is best. So I took the question to my SweatItOut Facebook page and the response was unanimous: compression sleeves. Now that I’ve worn them overnight for three nights and through my run today (8 miles), I am firmly in the sleeved camp. Not so much as a twinge. My sweet little shins feel fantastic! I highly recommend snagging a pair if you’re planning on any serious mileage increase. I wish I would have known about them at this time last year.
2. Balega Socks
These are quite simply the BEST SOCKS IN ANY TIME, ANY UNIVERSE – EVER. I love them even when I’m not running. Soft and cushy, they keep my feet comfy and dry through any run. When I found them in the clearance section, I couldn’t resist bringing home a few more pairs. Get some now. Thank me later.
I have always had difficulty with earbuds. They consistently fall out and/or leave me with sore ears. As I detest working out without music or audiobooks, this has left me in quite a quandry. I thought I’d found as good as I could get with my last pair (can’t recall the brand, but they were of the wrap-around-the-ear variety), which stayed put, but still left me with some discomfort. As I was checking out at Aardvark, I noticed the display and asked my favorite sales guy if he had used them. Turns out he had and was quite enthusiastic about the brand. One of the things I love about the local running shop is the my ability to try everything in the store before I plunk down my cash. Even earbuds. He measured my ear canal and recommended a size, which I inserted and twisted to lock (check the link below and it’ll all be clear). I jumped in place, swished my head back and forth, did a light stationary jog. Lo and behold, they remained just where I’d put them. And did the same through my run today. Bonus – no soreness! I love them. I love their hot pinkness and their incredible functionality. I have found my brand.
4. Cool Mint Chocolate Clif Bar
I don’t always eat prepackaged protein bars, but when I do, it’s usually a Clif Bar. And from now on, if I can get my sweaty paws on it, it’ll be of the Cool Mint Chocolate variety. Tasty. Filling. Five stars.
5. Columbia Base Layer
As I seem to have misplaced my Under Armour shirt from last winter and I prefer not to wear Hubby’s camo for every run, I was in need of a new base layer. This was within my price range so I bought it. I love it. The thin fabric belies its warmth on wintry runs, and today’s run was particularly wintry what with its blustery winds and frigid temperatures. It has something to do with the little heat reflective dots on the inside of the shirt. The dots work. It’s also moisture wicking, so there’s that added plus. The fit was great; it was comfortable; it lived up to its claims. Another five stars.
6. Buff HeadWrap
I had checked this out on several occasions, always stopping short of purchase because, quite frankly, I didn’t like the patterns or colors offered. It looked like something I could certainly use (keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter, has multiple ways it can be worn, and is moisture wicking), but they’re downright ugly. When the price dropped below $12 and I still hadn’t found anything elsewhere, I decided I no longer cared how unpretty it was. Turns out, it was another fantastic buy! I settled on the least offensive of the sale-priced wraps, a drab army green, and thought with what with that icy wind, today would be a fine day to test it. I was correct. And it held true to the advertising. My neck (and lower half of my face when the wind got truly cantankerous) stayed warm and dry. Despite having a weird phobia about my breathing, I got over my slight panic when I first covered my mouth and nose when I realized the fabric was so thin, it didn’t feel obtrusive in the slightest. I am actually going to purchase more of these to have on hand, that’s how much I like it.
So that’s it, folks. There’s my review of my stuff. I loved it all. And I’m still in love with my Newtons.