Product Review: Amphipod Hydraform Ergo-Lite Ultra Handheld Bottle

Disclaimer: I received an Amphipod Hydraform Ergo-Lite Ultra 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!

I don’t think I’m the only runner who has a love/hate relationship with handheld bottles. Love, because it can be simpler to carry a small bottle on short-to-middle distance runs than strapping on a big hydration pack. Hate, because they’re often ill-fitting, heavy, or otherwise annoying.

I used to have a handheld bottle, I can’t even remember what brand, but every time I used it, my hands got all crampy from having to clutch it constantly, and I had to re-tighten the strap every few minutes. The nozzle also was one of those ones where you have to pull it open and push it to close, so it wasn’t very fast or easy to get a drink. I threw that bottle away after only a few uses because I was so frustrated with it, and since then, I haven’t had anything to take with me on shorter runs.

When BibRave asked for volunteers to try the Amphipod Hydraform Ergo-Lite Ultra, I was a bit wary, but I figured, why not give it a shot? We were heading into summer, and I absolutely wilt when running in the heat, so if nothing else, it would be practical to have one. I chose the 16 oz version because usually that’s all I need for a run up to 10 miles. Unfortunately, I was unable to test this while running as much as I would have liked due to my recent tailbone injury and subsequent two week running break. I did, however, get to take it on one good 4 mile tempo run, and several walks, and I was impressed.

Ergo-Lite Ultra


  • Jett-Squeeze Cap
  • Reflective detail on pocket
  • Expandable pocket and key clip
  • Thumb-lock sleeve design
  • Neoprene sleeve acts as insulation
  • 3 quick-access gel storage slots

The Good:

The neoprene strap was tight enough to actually hold the bottle to my hand, so I didn’t feel like I had to hold it in a death grip. My natural stance with running is to have my hands completely open and fingers loose, so having to hold onto something messes me up. In fact, it was almost a bit too tight, because I could feel the seam stitching biting into my hand a bit, but after the fact, I realized that the strap is adjustable, so it was an easy fix.

The bottle is also ergonomically shaped; rather than a typical round or oval bottle, the Ergo-Lite Ultra bottle is shaped to fit naturally in your hand, which I think is another reason I don’t have to hold on so hard.

Photo Jun 08, 12 49 37 PM

The expandable pocket on the unit is AWESOME. It actually fits my iPhone 6s in its bulky, Otterbox-style case, and I feel confident that I could also fit extra gels or chews in there if I needed to. There’s a great slip pocket inside the pocket to keep credit cards or ID secure as well.

Photo Jun 23, 1 03 33 PM

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Jett-Squeeze cap. There’s no pulling or pushing the lid up, no biting or sucking–you just give the bottle a gentle squeeze, and it shoots water into your mouth, or on your head, or wherever you want it to go. I can’t stress enough how much I love this feature. When I’m hot and sweaty, the last thing I want to do is put my sweaty hand on my water bottle cap, or try to pry it open with my teeth. And best of all, it doesn’t leak. You could leave the bottle on the floor for an hour and you wouldn’t have a puddle to clean up when you came back.

The Bad:

My biggest problem with handhelds is unfortunately universal: they’re heavy and they throw me off balance a bit. Whichever arm is carrying the bottle gets tired, so I constantly have to switch off, which is annoying. If I don’t put my phone in the pocket, it’s MUCH lighter and more user-friendly, and I have plenty of shorts/capris with pockets that I can put my phone in instead. While all handhelds have the potential to be annoying, I think the ergonomic design of the Ergo-Lite Ultra makes it much easier to carry than its competitors.

My only complaint specifically for the Ergo-Lite Ultra is that the very first time I took the neoprene sleeve off the bottle, the bottle was discolored. This is probably my own fault for leaving it in my hot car repeatedly, but it still looks kind of gross.

Photo Jun 23, 1 21 38 PM


I’m really happy with this product. It offers a surprising amount of storage space in a very compact unit, and is much more comfortable and easy to hold onto than other handhelds I’ve tried. I know it’s going to serve me well this summer.

Do you ever run with handheld bottles? Why or why not?

Product Review: Zensah Well Rounded Shorts

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Zensah Well Rounded Shorts to review 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!

I’m always looking to expand my collection of running gear. I currently have an entire drawer of my dresser dedicated just to running bottoms and tops (and that doesn’t include sports bras and socks!), but I just can’t stop myself from wanting more. I’m really picky about what I wear, so I’m always looking for the next best thing. When I learned that us lady Pros would have the chance to test the Zensah Well Rounded Shorts, I jumped on it. We’re heading into summer, and I overheat really easily, so having another pair of shorts to add to my arsenal would be great.

Photo Apr 25, 12 38 42 PM

I ordered the Heather Teal color, and it’s lovely. It’s a dark teal, so it hides sweat, but it’s just such a unique and pretty color. According to the size chart, I ordered a medium, and I found that they fit perfectly. The waistband is really wide so it doesn’t dig into my spare tire, which I LOVE. I carry most of my extra weight around my middle and it can be tough to find bottoms that don’t give me muffin top. While the band at the bottom of the leg openings is a bit tighter and causes more of a sausage look than I’d like, I think it’s intended to keep them from riding up (more on that later).

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These shorts have a 4.5 inch inseam, which is quite a bit shorter than I usually wear (7-8 inches is more typical for me), because I have large thighs and I have to worry about chafing. Still, I was willing to give the shorter length a try. The material of these shorts is deliciously soft and comfortable. It’s super lightweight, and the crotch seam is a different shape than other crotch seams, so it doesn’t invade my lady bits. This may be TMI, but I have a history of *ahem* personal chafing from the seams of bottoms, so I was pumped not to have to worry about that.

Admittedly, I wasn’t able to test these out as much as I would have liked before writing this review. They were delivered while I was on my recent vacation, so my window was quite a bit shorter than the other Pros who tested them out. Still, I was able to take them for a few quick spins. The first run was an easy four miler around my neighborhood. While they stayed in place pretty well, it was a warm day, and despite a liberal application of 2Toms Butt Shield anti-chafe goo, I still had a bit of chafing on my inner thighs.

Photo Apr 29, 5 41 13 PM

My second run in them was an easy 5k while I was recovering from my disastrous 20 miler. It was a cooler day, so I threw caution to the wind and didn’t apply any anti-chafe product. I’m not sure what changed, but on this run, the shorts rode right up my thighs until they were tiny little booty shorts, and I felt incredibly self-conscious the whole run. I took a picture to show how much they rode up, but was too embarrassed to post it here–yikes! This was amplified by the fact that I was pretty aggressively cat-called by a strange man during that run. I kept having to tug them down my thighs, and honestly couldn’t wait to get back to my office and change. After that experience, I was reluctant to wear them out of the house again.

The death-blow, though, was realizing that these shorts are NOT opaque. If I wore them with underwear, I could easily see my underwear through them, especially if bending over (like to tie a shoelace or stretch out), and when going commando, you could clearly see my buttcrack. Not pretty. Many of my fellow Pros experienced the same thing, and we reached out to Zensah for some more information. They let us know that they had intentionally developed the Well Rounded short with female athletes who were looking for a lightweight short that was intended to be worn without underwear. That explains why it’s so soft, and why they probably never did an opaque-test.

I will say, however, that while they weren’t my ideal running short, I really enjoyed wearing them around the house as super-soft PJ bottoms, and loved them for at-home yoga sessions as well. I anticipate that they’ll also be great as a lightweight modesty layer under sundresses this summer. Unfortunately, they’re just not the right running short for me. I need the extra length to help me feel more secure and prevent chafing, and I need to be able to have a full range of motion without worrying that some creeper can see through my shorts. However, I know that some of my fellow pros LOVED the shorts, so don’t just take my word for it, check out their reviews too–Janelle, Cassie, JenAmy. I’m hopeful that Zensah will hear our concerns about the lack of opacity in the fabric, and use that to improve future versions of them

If you’re interested in picking up your own pair of Zensah Well Rounded shorts, use code ZENBIB15 for 15% off your purchase (only valid on Well Rounded shorts), and make sure you join our Twitter #BibChat at 9 pm ET on Tuesday May 10. You can learn more about Zensah, the shorts, and maybe win a pair for yourself!

Do you do the “bend over” test in new athletic bottoms to check the opacity of the fabric?

Product Review: Orange Mud Hydraquiver Single Barrel

Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Hydraquiver Single Barrel to review 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!

Once again, BibRave teamed up with our friends at OrangeMud, and this time we had the opportunity to test the Hydraquiver Single Barrel. I was excited to try this pack because it doesn’t have the chest strap like the VestPack1. I’m a busty lady, and having something right across my boobs wasn’t always the most comfortable situation.


I ended up getting the bright pink color, which I LOVE. The Hydraquiver Single Barrel has two very stretchy pockets on the shoulders, and a zipper pocket in back. The zipper pocket also has a headphone port so that if you use wired earbuds, you can stash your phone safely in the cushioned, zippered pocket and still get your tunes. I was able to fit up to four gels in one shoulder pocket, plus my keys and chapstick in the other, and my phone in the back pocket, which completely took care of my storage needs during long runs. I was also able to squeeze my iPhone 6s with its bulky case into one of the shoulder pockets if I really wanted it close at hand–they’re VERY stretchy!

Photo Mar 26, 1 50 23 PM

The pack itself is much more streamlined than the VestPack 1 that I tried last year. It also has a lot more cushion/padding in the back. I had the opportunity to test this pack on LOTS of long runs, and on the whole I was really happy with it. The thing I liked most is that the holster for the water bottle is sort of funnel shaped, versus being a straight tube on the VP1, so getting the bottle in and out was a bit easier. I used to use a hydration belt, and I will honestly never go back. The Single Barrel is much more comfortable and less irritating than having a belt bouncing around my hips, and carries so much more stuff! It may seem weird at first to reach up over your head to grab the bottle, but after the first run, it became a totally natural motion.

The thing that bothered me most about the Single Barrel  is that the straps don’t have any padding on them. They’re just webbing, so they’re not super comfortable. There are padded sleeves that you can purchase on the OrangeMud site which may help with that, but I didn’t have a chance to try those. I was actually afraid to try wearing it without sleeves because I was worried about chafing, although many of my fellow Pros did so without any issues. The straps are also really long and ended up bouncing around, but after watching this excellent video from OrangeMud, I found that they had already provided a way to secure them!

The other problem that I had with the Single Barrel is that because it doesn’t have the chest strap to sort of anchor it, it didn’t stay in place as well when I was taking the bottle out of the holster. I had the shoulder straps tightened pretty well, so I don’t think tightening them anymore would have made a difference, and likely would have ended up being more uncomfortable. It’s just funny that the main reason I wanted to try this pack is because it didn’t have the chest strap, and that was the main thing I missed!

Aside from those issues, I really do love the OrangeMud Hydraquiver Single Barrel, and would hands down use it over any other belt or handheld that I’ve tried (which is quite a few!).

If you’re interested in reading more about the OrangeMud Hydraquiver Single Barrel, check out these reviews by my fellow BibRave Pros:

Frank | Mark | Gina | Katie | Emily

Also, don’t miss our Twitter #BibChat on May 3rd at 9 pm ET. OrangeMud will be our sponsor, and they usually do a sweet giveaway!

What is your preferred method of carrying hydration on long runs? Pack? Handheld? Belt?


Product Review: 2XU Compression Calf Sleeves and Vectr Socks

Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU Calf Sleeves and VECTR Socks to review 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!

Ah, compression. It’s all the rage. It seems like I can’t turn a corner without someone touting the benefits of compression gear. I am definitely a fan. I’ve written about several experiences with various compression garments, and I’m here today with another review. As a BibRave Pro, I’ve been fortunate to work with 2XU several times, testing their MCS Compression tights and MCS Thermal Compression tights. As you may recall, those were unfortunately misses for me.

This time around, we’re testing out the Race VECTR Socks and Performance Run Calf Sleeves. I LOVE compression socks and sleeves after a long or hard run, so I was excited to put these through their paces.

About the VECTR Socks

vectrThe VECTR socks come in four different colors (for women), and are designed with a special “x:lock”support system to support your ankles and arches. There’s extra cushion in the heel and forefoot, but the rest of the sock is really lightweight, with mesh panels. And of course, the sock offers compression for increased blood flow and faster recovery.


About the Performance Run Calf Sleeves

sleevesThese calf sleeves come in LOTS of fun color options, and offer graduated compression (highest compression furthest away from the heart) for better performance and faster recovery. The material is sweat-wicking, antibacterial, and offers UPF 50+ protection from the sun, which is always nice when you’re out logging lots of miles.


My Experience With the Socks and Sleeves

Personally, I prefer compression post-run for recovery as opposed to wearing it during a run. I’ve tried many different brands of compression socks, and they always end up making my feet and calves crampy. I gave the 2XU socks and sleeves a fair shot with a couple of short runs, but got the same discomfort I usually get. It’s time to face facts that I’m just not someone who can run with compression on my feet. Oh well.

Photo Mar 04, 12 37 22 PM

For recovery, these items are BOMB.COM. I mostly have all-in-one tall compression socks, which are generally fine. But having a separate sock and calf sleeve allows all kinds of room for mixing and matching. It’s also easier to get them on in two pieces. Instead of having to roll them up like pantyhose, I can just put the socks on, and then slide the sleeves right over them. Easy peasy! I’m also VERY excited to be able to wear the sleeves solo with some sandals during the warmer months, so I can recover without looking like a (total) doofus. They’ll be perfect to rock after the Vermont City Marathon in May.


  • Great fit, and stay in place really well
  • Both products work really well together, or on their own
  • The calf sleeves are actually long enough! I’ve tried other brands that don’t quite cover my entire lower leg
  • Compression feels great for recovery–less soreness and fatigue after tough runs
  • I’ve washed them several times (line dry), and they still look great and fit exactly the same as when they were fresh out of the box


  • Too much compression for me to comfortably run in; I prefer to wear them for recovery only

The Performance Run Calf Sleeves retail for $39.95 per pair, and the VECTR Socks are $19.95 per pair. When you compare this to other compression socks and sleeves on the market, this is a very competitive price. I think they are well worth the money. And since summer is coming, I will probably be ordering at least one more pair of calf sleeves for warm-weather recovery with free toes.

If you’re interested in trying some socks or sleeves of your own, use code TRAIN15 for 15% off any full-priced item until April 30. If you’d like to read more about the socks and sleeves, check out what my fellow BibRave Pros have to say:

Frank | Mark | Jessica R

Also, don’t miss the 2XU-sponsored Twitter #BibChat on March 22!

Do you like to run with compression socks/sleeves, or do you save compression for recovery?




Product Review: 2XU MCS Thermal Compression Tights

Disclaimer: I received a pair of MCS Thermal Compression Tights to review 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!

Photo Jan 15, 3 34 44 PM.jpg

As I said in my Buff Hoodie review, I live in Vermont, and Vermont winters are no joke. For the most part, I run pretty warm as a person, but the one thing that always gets me when running in the cold is my legs. I can be sweaty and warm everywhere except my quads and my butt–sorry if that’s TMI, but it’s true. Many a winter run has ended with bright red, semi-frozen legs and buns.

Now that I’m training for a May marathon, cold winter runs are part of my norm, and I’ve been working on getting my winter gear stash up to snuff. Luckily for me, BibRave teamed up with 2XU once again for Pros to test some of their thermal tights. Full disclosure here, all of my fellow Pros received the Hyoptik Reflective Thermal Compression Tights, but due to a shipping SNAFU, I received the MCS Thermal Compression Tights.

I have to admit, I was bummed about the mixup. I do a lot of dusk and dawn runs, when having some extra reflective gear would have been really useful. Also, the Hyoptik tights have a wider waistband, which I would greatly have preferred, as you may recall from my review of the regular MCS Compression Tights.

Disappointment aside, I was still excited to have some new cold weather gear, and I was determined to give the MCS Thermal Tights a fair shake. My first impression upon opening the package was that the thermal tights felt of a much higher quality than the regular tights. Not thick or woolly like I might have expected, but heavier weight. The first thing I did was pull out the drawstring–I’m sorry, but I don’t see much use for a drawstring in tight compression pants. And the next thing I did was to try to stretch out the waistband as much as possible. And then some more. Unfortunately, the waistband on these tights just DOES NOT work for me. The rise isn’t high enough to come up over my stomach, so it cuts into my tummy and hips. I also found length to be an issue–I’m 5’7″ and according to my height and weight measurements I got the correct size, but the tights leave a good couple of inches of ankle exposed, and cut into my lower calf a bit.

Photo Jan 25, 6 02 18 PM

You can see that’s a whole lotta exposed ankle

Other than those two issues, these tights feel AMAZING on my legs, like a soft, warm hug. You can see the Muscle Containment Stamping (hence MCS) right in the material, and it’s designed to support individual muscles and muscle groups for optimal recovery.

I had the opportunity to wear these tights for a couple of runs in different conditions, to really put them through their paces and see how much protection they offered in the extreme Vermont weather. I found that in conditions any colder than about 35 degrees, or if it was windy, these tights weren’t enough on their own, although they would definitely make a great base layer. In middling temps (35-45 degrees), the tights were perfect. My legs were definitely warmer than with other tights I’ve worn, and the compression feels so good on tired legs. The only thing that would keep me from wearing these tights during runs of 6 miles or longer is the waistband issue–it is truly uncomfortable for me, although this might be a personal problem. Many of my fellow Pros have worn the MCS tights with zero issues.

My favorite way to wear them has been for recovery around the house after long runs or on rest days. I wore them as a base layer under snow pants when I knew I’d be standing around watching a Nordic ski meet for hours after an 8 mile run, and I was toasty warm, and my legs felt awesome.

Photo Jan 30, 10 01 33 AM


  • PWX Flex Thermal Fabric for warmth
  • MCS is targeted to the calf for ultimate muscle protection
  • Graduated compression increases blood circulation for improved recovery and reduced muscle stiffness post exercise
  • Flatlock seams to reduce chafe for greater comfort
  • Powerful Invista LYCRA® for exceptional fit, support and recovery
  • Moisture-wicking material
  • Antibacterial and UPF50+ sun protection


  • Just the right amount of compression on legs
  • No chafing
  • Warmer and softer than regular compression tights, though not ideal as a single layer below 35 degrees or in windy conditions
  • High-quality, well-made product


  • The key pocket is one of those floppy add-ons attached to the waistband, which I personally don’t like. I’d rather have nothing at all
  • The narrow waistband is too tight/too narrow and cuts into me
  • Not long enough for my legs (I’m 5’7″ and ordered the correct size)

These tights retail for $129.95, which seems expensive, but is actually pretty comparable to what’s on the market. While they aren’t a match made in heaven for me, those of you without quite so big a spare tire around your middle may find that these are just what you’re looking for. As my fellow Pro Angie said, “It’s like the MCS tights and the Hyoptik tights had a baby–the best of both worlds!”

Do you wear compression when you run, or when you recover, or both?



Product Review: Buff Thermal Hoodie

Disclaimer: I received a Buff Thermal Hoodie to review 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!

Winter running in Vermont is no joke. Temperatures fluctuate wildly, there’s precipitation of every kind, there’s wind, there can be weeks on end of below freezing temps… Last winter I completely chickened out and ran on a treadmill until spring. This year, because I’m training for my first marathon, I need to run outside at least sometimes to avoid insanity. When I found out that I’d get to try the Buff Thermal Hoodie as part of being a BibRave Pro, I was pumped, because my stash of winter outdoor running gear is pretty small at the moment.

Photo Jan 04, 10 54 04 AM

What is the Buff Thermal Hoodie?
It’s a cozy Polar fleece hood with a Merino wool Buff attached. The Buff can be worn as a double-layer neck warmer, or you can pull the top up to wear as a face and ear warmer. The hood has drawstrings so you can cinch it down for added protection. Basically, it can be worn as a hood, or a neck warmer/face shield, or both!

Photo Jan 11, 9 58 14 AM

My Experience with the Buff Thermal Hoodie
In colder weather, I prefer to run wearing a long sleeved shirt and a vest, because I overheat really easily. Keeping my core warm and my arms a bit cooler works really well for me. Unfortunately, though, most vests don’t come with hoods, and I personally really like hoods.

Photo Jan 09, 1 36 50 PMI was able to tuck the neck-warmer portion right down inside my vest for seamless wind protection, and I could pull the face portion up and down on the run easily. The hood is super soft, and the Merino wool is breathable when it’s up over my face. I wore it for a few runs, and was pleased to find that the hood is big enough to fit my ponytail in back and still stay up on my head with minimal adjustments–I did have to cinch the drawstring a bit. I think If I wore my hair down at the base of me head, it would have stayed put even without the cinching. Some of my fellow BR Pros were annoyed by the drawstrings bouncing up and down, but I had no problem with it.

I mostly wore the Buff hoodie for walking to and from work. The weather has been jumping around between 50’s and below freezing, so I’ve had a hard time adapting to the cold this year. While 90% of the time, the hood/Buff combo was more than enough to keep my ears warm, there were times when the wind was really blowing that I actually wished the material offered more wind-protection.

Photo Jan 16, 3 07 07 PM

Long story short, if you do ANY kind of winter outdoor activity (skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, running, walking your dogs etc), the Buff thermal hoodie is a versatile piece of gear that can adapt to changing conditions easily. I also love that it’s all one piece, so I can eliminate the hat/scarf combo and just have one thing to remember instead of multiples.

Make sure you join me and my fellow Pros for our weekly Twitter #BibChat tomorrow January 19 at 9 pm EST to chat with Buff USA. If you’d like to read more about the Buff Thermal Hoodie, check out what other Pros have to say:

Jen S. | Angie | Gina | Katherine | Andrew | Amy | Heather | Sarah M | Abbie

What’s your number one, can’t-live-without-it piece of cold weather running gear?

Warm Weather Running Gear (TotR Linkup)

Happy Tuesday everyone! I’m joining the lovely ladies of the Tuesdays on the Run linkup again this week. Thank you so much to Patty, April, and Erika for hosting!


This week’s topic is warm weather running gear. This is definitely a good one, as we’re (theoretically) moving into the summer months. Although, judging by the fact that it snowed 3 inches last week, I’m not holding my breath. Anyway, having the appropriate gear for any weather is important, and it can take time to acclimate to the spring and summer heat after running through sub-zero temps like we had this winter. Everyone has their necessities, and here are a few of mine, in no particular order.

Color Run 5k in September

Hat and handheld bottle in action!

1. Hat. A hat is a necessity for me for two reasons. First, it helps keep my hair out of my face. This was especially necessary when my hair was too short for a ponytail. Second, it helps to shade my face from the sun. I have a Brooks Nightlife running cap, and it’s great. I got it for $7.99 at TJ Maxx and my only regret is that it’s white.

2. Sunglasses. They prevent me from squinting in the sun, and allow me to actually be able to see where I’m going on sunny days. They also prevent bugs from getting in my eyes when running through wet or wooded areas. I currently have a pair that are too big for my face though; they sit on my cheeks and get fogged up, so I’m in the market for a new pair.

3. Handheld water bottle or hydration belt. Any time I run more than 5 miles, I bring some form of water bottle with me to prevent dehydration. For anything less than double digits, I’ll bring my Nathan handheld bottle, and for more than 10 miles I’ll wear my Fitletic 16oz hydration belt. My Nathan bottle is actually 18 oz and might be more suitable for longer runs, but I get tired of holding it in my hand after a while.

4. Nuun. Nuun electrolyte tabs help keep me from getting dehydrated on those hot days. Zero sugars, no artificial colors, and only 8 calories per tab means I’m not getting a bunch of extra crap like I would by drinking Gatorade or Powerade, and it’s much less expensive. One tab turns 16 oz of water into a flavorful electrolyte beverage with a light fizz. There are lots of flavors to choose from, so there’s something for everyone. (Full disclosure–I am a brand Ambassador for Nuun, because I truly love it. I receive a discount on their products, but do not receive any additional compensation for talking about the products).


I have these and plain black

5. Old Navy 8″ inseam compression shorts. It took me a LONG time to find shorts that I could run in. I was blessed with large thighs that rub together when I walk or run, so I need shorts that will a) be long enough to prevent chafing, and b) won’t roll or ride up during a run. These shorts are PERFECT. Not so long that they look dorky or awkward, but long enough to protect me from chafeage. The waistband comes up high enough to prevent muffin top, and they come in cute colors and patterns. They’re also very affordable.

What is your favorite warm weather running gear?

Is it warm enough near you to wear shorts yet?

Have you ever tried Nuun?

Quick FlipBelt Review

I got a FlipBelt a few weeks ago because I lost the cheapo supremo arm band that I used to use on my shorter runs.  That arm band never worked particularly well, so I was kind of happy to be on the lookout for a replacement.  I originally intended to buy a new arm band, but I’d seen a couple of FlipBelt reviews on other running blogs, so I wanted to give it a try.

The FlipBelt is basically a flat tube of stretchy fabric with 4 different slits around the perimeter for you to access your stuff.  There’s also a nice little clip for your key, so you have some extra security with that.  The whole gimmick of the FlipBelt is that you can flip the belt inside out, so that that slits are on the inside, against your body, effectively locking your items in place so they don’t bounce out while you’re running.  You can watch the company’s promotional video here.



  • Much more stylish than other fanny pack-esque running belts.  You can hide it under your shirt and no one would ever know you’re carrying your phone, keys, debit card, Gu etc.
  • Comes in lots of great colors
  • Key clip secures your key while running, and the tether is stretchy, so you don’t actually have to unclip your key when you’re exhausted and fumbling to get inside after your run
  • Lots of space for various items
  • So far, I haven’t had anything bounce out, even without employing the “lock” method


  • I’ve found that the slits are just small enough that getting my iPhone 4s in an Otterbox-type case in and out of the pocket is kind of difficult.  I can’t really do it while running, which is a bummer.  This means larger phones like Galaxy S4 may not fit well either
  • Rides up a bit when worn over slippery fabrics, but 90% of the time this isn’t an issue
  • Items shift around in the belt–when you reach for your Gu, it may not be accessible through the slit you originally put it in

I think the most important thing to note about the FlipBelt is that it is NOT adjustable, so getting the correct size is really important.  The FlipBelt website has very specific sizing information, but I would recommend sizing down if you’re unsure.  I wear my FlipBelt around my hips, and according to my hip measurement of 38″, I should have purchased a large.  But the medium I ordered fits really snugly (but not uncomfortably) around my hips, so I don’t have to worry as much about it riding up or bouncing around.  I also imagine they stretch with use, but since I’ve only had mine a month or so, I can’t really speak to that. All in all, I’m satisfied with my purchase.  I don’t think it’s the “world’s best running belt” as the company claims, but it does what I need it to do, and doesn’t make me look like a doofus, so I’m happy.

Have you ever tried a FlipBelt?

How do you carry supplies while running?

Organizing My Running Crap

One of my biggest failure scenarios going into this race is forgetting to bring something critical on the day of the race.  I have to travel to my parents’ house for the weekend, so if I forget anything, I won’t be able to go back for it, and since they live in the middle of nowhere, I may not be able to replace it.  I keep imagining that I forget my body glide, and have to drop out of the race at mile 4 because of bleeding chafe wounds on my thighs.  Or that I forget my Nuun and pass out from dehydration.  This is a legitimate fear, because up until now, my fuel, Body Glide, Nuun, HRM etc have all been living scattered around my bedroom and closet.  Whenever I needed to get ready for a run, I had to flit around like a drunken bumblebee trying to get all of my stuff together.  But now I need not worry!

Danielle over at Live, Run, Grow recently posted an awesome picture of how organized her running stuff is, with a link to her method for organizing race-day essentials.  What can I say, I’m an organizational nerd and I was totally inspired!  I spent a decent chunk of time on the Target website, debating which makeup case to choose.  I could have gotten a simple, black case a bit cheaper, but where’s the fun in that?

photo 2

Isn’t this the cutest bag you’ve ever seen?  It’s Orla Kiely Etc for Target, and I adore it.  I feel like I’m in an episode of Portlandia…


Now everything I need is packed in one compact, easy to see space.  I can throw this bag in my suitcase if I’m traveling, or throw it in my tote as I’m headed out the door on race day, and be confident that I have everything I need.

photo 1 (1)

What’s Inside:

  • Body Glide
  • Nuun
  • Gu packets
  • Mini first aid kit (bandaids, anti-bac gel etc)
  • Allergy Medicine
  • Ibuprofen
  • Pepto-to-go
  • Bobby pins (in the Altoids tin)
  • Safety Pins (in the Altoids tin)
  • Chapstick
  • Heart Rate Monitor strap and transmitter (I wear the watch most days so it lives with my jewelry)

As my hair grows out, I’ll probably add hair ties and headbands too.

Next up is organizing my drawers so all of my running/exercise clothes are together and easily accessible.  I think they need their own drawer instead of sharing space with my pajamas…

How do you keep your running gear organized?

Any suggestions to add to my kit?

Friday Free-For-All

I think I’m going to start a new Friday series called “Friday Free-For-All.”  It feels like at least once a week I have a bunch of random tidbits to share that aren’t quite enough for a post all on their own.  I know a lot of you participate in “Friday Five,” but that’s a little too restrictive for me.  What if I only have 4 things to write about?  What if I have 9??  Having a Free-For-All means I can write about as many or as few things as I need to.  And so, without further ado…


My first present of the day--Chemex pour-over coffee system.

My first present of the day–Chemex pour-over coffee system. Beautiful and functional.

1.  It’s my birthday!  Woo!  That’s right–today is the day we celebrate my birth.  I love celebrating my birthday, and this year is going to be a good one.  Already this week I’ve gotten engaged and hit my fundraising goal for Saturday’s 5k.  Still to come are dinner with Ben tonight at Vermont Tap House (wood-fired pizza and awesome beer selection), the Vermont Respite House 5k tomorrow morning (which my parents are going to come watch), and my Cinco de Mayo-themed birthday party tomorrow night.  There will be tacos and we’re getting a keg and Ben has promised to wear a sombrero.  Lots of birthday win 😀

2.  Speaking of the Vermont Respite House 5k...  I’m still really excited for this race, but not so excited about the weather.  It’s looking like 70ish degrees with a 70% chance of rain.  Booo.  Oh well.  I guess a warm rain is better than a cold, yucky rain.

3.  I share my birthday with Billy Joel.  Billy Joel has been one of my favorite musicians since I was very small.  My family used to listen to his music all the time on car trips, and any time one of his songs come on the radio, I crank it and sing along.  “The Entertainer” was on while I was driving in to work this morning and it put a huge smile on my face.

4.  I got an awesome tech shirt for free!  I’m running the Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge and State Agency Race with some of my coworkers next week, and the company got everyone in the office awesome shirts.  It’s super comfy and really light-weight.  I wore it for my run on Tuesday afternoon and I already know it’s going to be one of my favorites–it’s a really awesome blue color!

5.  Ugly Race Pics.  I had already found this Tumblr on Wednesday afternoon, and then one of my fave bloggers, Salt, posted about how her race pics from her most recent race were actually decent (which is apparently not the norm for her, which I can’t really imagine since she’s gorgeous), and I decided I had to share.  Do yourself a favor, and head on over to Ugly Race Pics.  You’re sure to spend a few minutes chuckling, while fervently praying that you never see your own face.

Click for source

Click for source

6.  My friend is applying to work for my company.  Rebecca and I met as temps a few months ago and she’s awesome, and now there’s a chance that we’ll get to work together again.  She shares my love of Mexican food, cats, and musical theater, plus she’s an extremely competent candidate for the position, so needless to say, I’m super stoked!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  I know I’m going to 😀

How do you celebrate your birthday?