Product Review: Waterfi Waterproofed Ipod.

Living in Florida, it’s really pretty warm and humid 75% of the time.

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So, as a result, my little iPod shuffles were suffering.  Seriously. I’d buy one, or ask for one as a gift and about 3-6 months later it would inexplicably die.  The cause it would seem was SWEAT.  I run with my iPod and tend to just hold it in a hand.  The shuffle is tiny so it fits easily and I can then change the music quickly.  I tried clipping it to a shirt, but the headphones cord would just flop around, so I carry it.  And they all died.  I have a little iPod graveyard.  So I tried putting the iPod in a little plastic baggie.  Yeah, humidity condensed on the inside of the baggie…making it even wetter.

I finally bit the bullet.  I was actually looking for a waterproof option, assuming it wouldn’t be an apple product. But as I surfed around… I found Waterfi the company which seems to specialize in waterproofed products.

Right away I saw a waterproofed iPod shuffle!

waterfi-waterproofed-ipod-shuffle-swimkit-silver-450x450

It does cost quite a bit more than a regular iPod shuffle.  The shuffle costs about 40.00 USD.  The Waterfi product is about 140 (the 154 is if you also buy the waterproofed headphones).  So I really thought about it for literally months.

I did eventually buy it some time I think in July.

It entirely works.  My awesome red iPod shuffle arrived, and has continued to work with no problems despite being drenched in sweat. I was delighted!!! I had music for all my runs, when I wanted it. The iPod didn’t short out, or stop mid run, nothing like that anymore. I was thrilled.  However…I am also a skeptic.  I didn’t want to write a review prematurely.  I had seen others swimming with a similar iPod at the lake, but it wasn’t me using the device.

After I got injured I was spending a lot of time doing this pool walking. After a few sessions, I was REALLY bored.  I remembered that I had this gem!  I pulled it out and have been happily walking with it in the pool for over a month now.  It may have been submerged once or twice even.  mostly though it’s been stuck to my swim suit strap and has had a lot of wet fingers adjusting volume or skipping songs.

Still working great.

A few things about the device.  With the waterproofing process the buttons are a bit stiffer and it’s a bit harder to press on them, but once you get used to that it seems natural.

They come in all the colors that normally would come with an iPod, so that’s pretty nice. I was able to get the RED one which was for AIDS awareness and was originally more expensive, but the waterfi one was the same price.  (of course, no money went to the AIDS relief either)…

Waterfi does come with a 2 year warranty, though it seems to be written in such legal terms that it seems that essentially Waterfi makes the final determination about if they want to replace a product or not.

SO… if you have a swimmer or water-exerciser on your list this is not a bad idea at all.  Not an inexpensive one, but knowing this is waterproof sure beats a plastic baggie and hope!

Rock on friends.

So now…we can all play in the rain, just like these awesome elephants!  Thanks WaterFi for a product that does exactly what it is supposed to do!

 

Win or Lose? Product review of WIN laundry detergent.

My Brother-in-Law has taken up running.  He’s pretty good.  A side benefit of this for me is that I am starting to get really super duper Awesome Christmas gifts from him.

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One such gift was a small container of WIN sports laundry detergent.

THis is what WIN claims:

WIN Detergent is specially formulated to get persistent, sweaty smells out of the synthetic materials used in today’s workout apparel.

  • Synthetics are great because they wick moisture away from your skin.  But those same properties trap and hold onto oils.
  • Those oils bond to the fabric, and that’s where the stinky smell comes from.
  • WIN is optimized to break those bonds, removing the source of the smell and truly cleaning the garment.
  • The result is your gear not only smells great, but it works a lot better without all those oils in the way!

WIN is perfect for running & cycling gear, as well as soccer, hockey, football, lacrosse, and other team uniforms.  It’s safe for all types of garments, although it’s optimized for synthetics.  We recommend washing on warm, and using tumble dry low or hanging to dry.

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I have some race shirts that I am VERY fond of.  They are getting to be 3 years old, and it seemed no matter the amount of washing, I was unable to get the old sweaty smell out of there.  I tried Vinegar, baking soda, Tide Sport, Tide with Febreeze, Arm and Hammer and Purex.  Nada.  SO, when I opened this bottle of detergent on Christmas day…my interest was piqued.

I did my first load of laundry last week with WIN.  I threw in my worst offender, which is a shirt that I LOVE from a run for the Wounded Warriors.  It fits perfectly and is flattering.  I was quite eager to get it smelling great.

I poured the little cup of WIN into the washer.  It seemed runny and watery, so I was thinking that it may not be that awesome after all.

I washed it on warm but air dried as it’s always been recommended to me to air dry tech shirts.  When it came out of the washer, I did the sniff test.  I was thrilled, everything in the wash smelled completely only like wet clothing.  No huge perfume odor, just nothing.  So I hung the tech stuff up to dry.

THe next day I grabbed that Wounded Warrior shirt.  I sniffed it agian and found that at least one area suddenly smelled again like old sweat.  I wore it for my run because it was a 5 am and I knew no other soul would be smelling it.  When I removed it, ALL the bad odors were back.  (you may have realized that fresh sweat isn’t all that stinky, it’s the stuff that sits in your gym bag for 2-3 days that gets so funky.)

Since I had little desire to be wearing this patch…

images-1I pitched the shirt.  I did love it, but given that it wasn’t getting clean, or at least smelled pretty bad, I figured I’d learn to love another.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkfsQVabUOk (Lou Rawls, I indulged.)

So….I wasn’t thrilled with WIN.  Not at all.  I decided that the shirt was so old with so much ground in stink it wasn’t a fair test.  SO..I did another load of stinky workout clothes as a test.

On the second load the clothes came out smelling OK, even after drying. They did not smell super fabulous, nor did they look brighter or whiter.

SO my conclusion after using WIN twice is that it works about as well as any other detergent. It unfortunately does NOT work any better for my stinky athletic clothing than some of the more mainstream detergents, which was VERY disappointing to me- as I have lots of stinky tech clothing, and would love for it not to eventually get all perma-stench.

Based on the web site, WIN is apparently much more expensive than other detergents, so I’m fairly sure I’ll be sticking with Tide or Arm & Hammer.

As a Note:  if it were not already obvious, I received this product as a gift.  I am not compensated for this opinion.

Has anyone ever tried WIN?  What was your opinion?  What has your solution for super stinky workout clothing been?

 

Great News!

So this week  I received an email…  See a little while ago, before my coach and I had decided on our racing schedule, I entered a contest for a free entry into Space Coast Marathon (and Half Marathon).  I then forgot about it and assumed I didn’t win.  Space Coast introduced a big fancy medal series this year.

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So, Space Coast sold out.  I was a little disappointed, because In addition to the Medal…Space Coast has some really good basic Schwag.  A T shirt of course, the medal of course, but also a lovely Beach towel, and a variety of other goodies.  It’s a fun Space themed race close to the Space Center here in Florida.  In addition the course is very flat and has been called fast.  But at any rate.  It was off the table for me.  Until Wednesday…when I got this email.

 

We are excited to have you run for Natalie’s! Please fill out the attached entry form, and scan it back in to me. Also, since you are a sponsored athlete for this race we will be providing you with a Natalie’s running shirt you will need to wear for the race. If you could let me know your shirt size, men or women’s cut, along with an address to send the shirt to I would appreciate it.

I won a sponsorship from Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company.    What is neat is that this is a company that I like, the juice they create is GREAT!  They are nice people, and we see them often at running events..The juice is available in lots of states, so check them out.  my favorite is the Honey Tangerine.  (No honey involved, but tastes like it was.)!

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This was so exciting to me.  I of course, being a total Geek got very thrilled when I saw the “SPONSORED ATHLETE”  statement.  I took a moment and reeled myself in from the feeling of reading this.  I am after all, a Registered Nurse.  I’m not an athlete.  And I’m still struggling a bit with my training for the marathon.  This statement did not make me any faster, or more qualified, or anything, I was just super lucky to win this entry.  Right before I got this email I had had a very nice exchange with my coach…about skipping my weights workout.  He was very supportive.  So of course after the elation wore off..

I was in a bind.  My coach.  our plan.

14836701-worried-face-holding-his-head-with-hands Several of my friends surprisingly suggested that I just “don’t tell him”  I admit I considered this, but then, decided that I’m not all about being dishonest.  I can always do what I want, but we have been working together for some time now.  He gives good advice and when I follow it, I tend to have good results.  It would have been entirely disrespectful of me to just not tell him.

So I headed to the gym and foam rolled like a maniac.  I was hoping to discuss it with him in person.  I never saw him.  He may have been at work, but..I didn’t see him.  Usually I see him on Thursday mornings, in passing after my speed workout.  But on Thursday morning, he wasn’t present either.  Bummer!  So I bit the bullet.  I sent off an email about my speed work times, and then explained my situation.  Spent the entire day feeling very tired from the speed effort and concerned as he didn’t reply to that email.  I returned to the gym for more foam rolling.  (My hip is bothering me.)  I saw him there, but he was working with lots of people. I could see him moving from one person to the next and they all seemed to need something from him.  I’m getting better about not bothering him at work, so I finished off the rolling, and waved very vigorously at him poor thing.  (He gave me a one hand wave back….I just for some reason needed to connect with him!).  Still no reply to the email. Later that evening I did hear back.

race. go for it.

And that was all.  Friday I got done with work early.  Did my Monster swim of 3200 yards.

lock-ness-monster-and-unicorn-swimming-buddies_originalI then went and did the arms/abs weights on the schedule.  Typically my Friday afternoon gym session is kind of lonely.  Everyone runs out of that place!  I was, however, a bit earlier than normal.  I did some weights, yawned a lot, and saw that my coach was super duper busy with patients.  He tends to scan the environment, so I know he knew I was doing my workout, but he was really SO busy, I avoided even waving at him.  I would feel better about this if we had been able to have a conversation in person, but it clearly wasn’t meant to be.  We usually have a more in depth email on Sundays, so hopefully he will have a bit more to say.  It was such a surprise.  It’s so rare that someone like me gets free race entries and such that I do want to take advantage of it…but at the same time….I never want to screw up the plan.  Still.. I just don’t see how one 13 miler will screw it up, but I do know racing too much can totally ruin a schedule with an A race.  So we’ll see!

 

Nike Lunar Racer Shoe Review (Or the story of how I came to be running in a pair of Purple crayon shoes)

Yes, I’m not really a Mizuno-girl anymore.  Mizuno has a new shoe that just came out, the Sayanora.   It is supposed to compete with a lot of the other minimal-istic shoes.  I don’t know.  It’s a brand new shoe, and so quite expensive, and really I am not so sure it will live up to the hype.  In addition, maybe I am a bit peeved.  I get emails inviting me to be a shoe ambassador for Mizuno, and my “application” is always rejected!  (As, I am sure, are hundreds of other people’s).

Anyway, 2 weeks ago, I noted much to my displeasure that my shoes had holes in the soles.  Not like enormous ones, but up at the toe…I had worn a significant hole.  From toeing off on both feet.

So what’s the big deal?  I mean it’s pretty simple to go buy a new pair of shoes.

Yeah.  These were my BELOVED  Saucony Mirages.  THe ORIGINAL Mirages.  These shoes served me so well.  I found a sale on them from 90 USD to about 35.  I bought about 4-5 pairs.  I am pretty sure Holabird Sports thought it was kind of crazy.  Eventually I decided to start transitioning in to the Mirage 2.  Oh wow.  It was like an entirely different shoe.  TO start with the 2 was HUGE.  The toe box was way bigger, and the entire shoe last seemed to be built based on big foot.

bigfootshoe01

I knew that I had to make a transition at this point because my multiple pairs of Mirage ones were starting to run out.  I continued to run in the 2’s and really to their BIG credit, I didn’t have any real injury issues, I just frankly- did not love them or even like them.  They seemed stiffer, and less responsive than my old ones.

Eventually I went to Fleet Feet Orlando and did the whole Tread mill gait analysis and such.  After trying on probably 4-5 pairs of shoes, I ended up with the Mirage 3 and actually a pair of Superfeet inserts that caused me HORRIBLE horrific pain in a variety of places.  Fleet Feet was kind enough after seeing my distress to agree to take the Berry Insoles back, but…I have not returned them..they were cut specially for me and while I am sure the guy thought they would work, even with breaking them in super slowly, they did not help me, they actually aggravated several problems. So it seems wrong to return them, they were just a bad choice on my part.  In fact, I was training for a Marathon at the time and the increased super steep miles may have also aggravated me.  At any rate, I went back to the LAST Original Mirage’s I had knowing that by now I would have plenty of time to train/finish etc the Marathon in them.  Which I did.  Post Marathon mess, I really ignored shoes or thoughts of shoes until suddenly, wham bam, there were holes in the Mirages.  When I run in the Mirage three, my heel becomes incredibly unstable.  Apparently the difference is something called Flex-film.  It’s a light type of plastic-y overlay on the shoes where stitching used to be.  For a lot of people this allows the shoe to feel more flexible, and more custom fitting. It also makes the shoe weigh less, AND I am sure costs the company less.

I actually thought I was going to go to the New Sayanora.  But It wasn’t out yet.  SO, I went to my Trusty Local Running store.  I explained my need for shoes, and instead of a treadmill evaluatione tc, the woman there really really looked at my soles.  She told me that the wear was so far out on the edges that I could probably use neutral shoes.  The next day…4 pairs were waiting in my size.  I ran in a new Adidas shoe that I adored, except the last again was designed for people with HUGE feet – and they do not make a Narrow.  Sadness. I tried the Saucony Kinvara, which felt good, some other shoe which does not warrent any memory at all…and the Nike Lunar Racer.

nike-lunar-racer-Grape-

At first glance, as I was putting them on, i was thinking, “Oh these are like tissue paper, they will never work”  After about a half a mile on the treadmill, I was thinking, Ha..How strange these shoes are surprisingly supporting.  Interestingly they also use the flex film on the heel but the heel is slightly higher or something.

Since the Adidas shoe fit me “all wrong” (and really there is no reason for the two sides of a shoe to overlap over the tounge entirely is there?)  I went with the Nikes.  The Kinvara was awesome, but…well.  Not for me.  The Sales person also mentioned the Cortana, which turns out to be one very expensive shoe which is very similar to the Mirage.  It went on sale this week, and I think it will be my distance shoe.

So.  How has the Lunar Racer been performing?

Pretty good.  It’s light, but supportive.  I’m a bit concerned as the 554683660_pink_nike_lunar_racer_3_sneaker2

Sole seems to be wearing a bit quickly on the outer area where the two white squares are.  Apparently that is not where most people land strike or use heavily.  Nike feels the black spots are the heavy hit spots.  I have some news for Nike.  But I have only been running in these shoes for 2-3 weeks, and sometimes what looks like a lot of wear is just the initial roughing up of a shoe.

It fits well.  Especially in the heel, it totally cups the heel and is not loose.

I wear Tulli’s Heel Cups- so this is really not a minimalist shoe when I use it.

The longest I’ve run in them is 7 miles.  I am thinking of using them for my Half Marathon this weekend, but nothing longer.  While they are supportive….they aren’t “that” supportive. The toe box is pretty big, my toes feel like they are swimming, but I have not had any major issues, and since it’s summer after about 2 miles my feet swell quite a lot, so I may be really appreciating that bigger toe box.  The tounge apparently had some issues with some runners, but I always wear socks, so I have not had my skin taken off by the tounge.  It’s really flat and in a lot of ways, I kind of like it better than the traditional padded tounge.

The color, well, reminds me of Harold and the Purple Crayon.   

2012-harold-and-the-purple-crayon-logoBut you know when you buy from a shop you take the color the orderer though was pretty. Still, I almost never look at my own shoes when running so who cares!

So in conclusion, I think these are pretty good shoes for races up to a 10K to a half distance.  Really I’m not so sold yet on them for a half, but if the Cortana’s don’t come soon, I can update on what it’s like to run a half in them.  THey fit well, and do somehow offer a load of support without feeling supportive.

Product Review: CARBO-PRO

So as part of my training, the guy who coaches me decided I should try some new fuels.  I think he actually just wanted me to switch over to Carbo-Pro, but…being the way he is, he told me to just experiment around.

So I tried some supplements recommended at our local Pro-Shop  UCAN.    I’m still kind of confused as to why the person would have recommended it to me, as it has very few calories, and could not be used to really replace gels.

So that week, I ran with it, and some salt tablets with caffeine.  I had a tough run and felt horrible for the rest of the day.  Gave the second sample to my coach to try out…when he came back, he stated, “Yeah, would not use that for running”.

So I think over the next weeks, I tried some other gels and gus and stuff.  I got a bunch of free samples at the Donna Race, so…I was good with Gu for a while.  I found a girl from work who wanted to try the Carbo-Pro too, so we went “halvsies” on a tub of it.  Its a powder… It comes in a 3 pound tub so…for 31.99 so being able to split it was good.  My coach had said he would buy it off of me if I didn’t like it but He doesn’t seem to be racing much so I wasn’t sure when he’d use it.

Anyway, I finally got around to trying it last weekend during a Half Marathon Race.  I used the race as a training run, so I figured why not experiment around a bit.

48163_10200234328317508_2006482843_n-1Thing about Carbo-Pro is that it really doesn’t have any caffeine, nor electrolytes.  What it has is CALORIES.  Easily absorbed calories.  Loads of them.  So I had to find something with calories.  I used the Advocare “Slam”.  It is a lot like a 5 hour energy, but maybe from a more reputable company.  Anyway I mixed this stuff all up…feeling a lot like…

The race was Fun, read about that here, but I was really leary about the mixture.  I finally had to buck at up at mile 3-4 and take some down.  Turned out to work GREAT.  Much better than the Gu’s or Gels that I had been using.  No GI upset, and no massive energy rush, just sustained energy.

This week, I tried it again.. with some different Additives.  I was still feeling kind of skeptical. But it worked Super well for my 16 miler.  Again Sustained energy…no massive rush of energy or jitteriness.

CarboPro itself has almost NO flavor.  So if you mix it with water, it tastes like water.  This week I used some Lemon-Lime HEED, tasted like Lemon-Lime.  Each scoop has about 100 calories, and dissolves easily in cold liquid.  I use 2 scoops for each little hammer flask I have.  Each holds 5 servings of gel, but for me its about 2 servings of the CarboPro mix.  Both scoops dissolve easily, and I am thinking of quadruple mixing to see how that dissolves.

Most people just use the gels, and I had never thought of using anything else until he suggested it.  I was very resistant as I have been fine with gels, but…I am so glad I took that time to learn and experiment.  Kind of a lesson again, in holding on to stuff that may or may not serve you the best!!! Most people I tell about the Carbo-Pro so far have kind of given me a bit of a raised eyebrow look…I’ve even resorted to offerring samples to friends, it is just SO good!  My friend who went halvsies with me also loved it.  She had had an issue with Nausea, which is now solved.  Mine was with occasional stomach cramps, also now resolved!

Now after I did the math, it is a bit more expensive than the gels, I think.  A 3 lb tub is 5400 calories. If I use 4 scoops, thats about 13.5 servings per container.  13.5 gels would cost about 22.00 depending on how you get it.  And I have to add Caffeine.  I gotta admit though, it works SO much better that I think it’s worth it. Plus reusing the flask makes much better sense than throwing away tons of gel wrappers.

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If you have been having any issues with gels, or other supplements, I suggest you give Carbo-Pro a try.  It might be a winner for you too!

 

Whole Lotta weird

This past 2 weeks have really been a whole lotta weird and strange.  Seems also to be a LONG post.

Work has been alright.  I am starting to actually feel pretty proficient about the job, and things look alright.  I still really really miss the 3 day a week work schedule, but that is not what I am doing right now, so I try not to focus on it.

Training has been going quite well.  I am really pleased with my progress and I am pretty sure I am getting trained up to run a fairly good Marathon in May.  There’s a lot of work to be done but I am getting it done.

SO the weirdness started over a pair of Shoes.

Now you know, I LOVE running shoes.

I’m into them.RunningShoes

So I was hemming and hawing around.  I had been running in the Mirage, a shoe made by Saucony.  I love the Mirage so much that when they did an update, and the Mirage went on sale, to make room for Mirage 2, I bought about 6 pairs at one time on closeout.

Well.  All good things must come to an end.  I have finally started in on my last pair of Mirage’s.  I switched out to the Mirage 2 that I had bought in hope of a new shoe affair.  Oh WOW.  The Twos SUCKED.  I should make use of my vocabulary, but…really there isn’t much of a way to describe it.  They were wider, and stiffer, and while I wore them I never felt like I broke them in.  So, I was feeling kind of “Off” the Mirage.  So…enter all of my dilemmas.  I thought about the new Virrata, and the Old Kinvara.  both neutral shoes, and I’m not totally a neutral runner.  I even kind of looked at the Mirage 3.  It was hot pink in my local store, pepto pink.  Not my style.  I don’t know why but I REALLY did not want to own a pair of Barbie Pink Shoes.

Collection-Of-Barbie-Shoes-In-Pink-4

 

046510_3-1See what I mean?  It does come in other colors, but the store did not have other colors, and to order them special means giving up the 10% discount I get for being a gym member.  I’m practical.  Plus, I didn’t really love the shoe.

Well.  After spending loads of time hemming and hawing and getting advice and trying to take advice, I finally sat down and asked the sales girl if I could try some on.  She lacked my size in either style that I wanted to try.  Yes they can order my size, but again that is now a “special order”  and I lose the 10% discount.  AND if the shoes come and aren’t really what is wanted, then, well…I feel like I had them do a lot of work for nothing.

So.  Fast forward a few days.  My friend invites me to go shopping at another Running Store, several miles away.  We go.  It is wonderful.  The sales guy is pleasant, takes a good long look at my 2 pairs of shoes has me do some treadmill running etc.  (All stuff they have done at the other place). He asked me a few more questions, showed me my running on the mill, and said, “Can I pull a few different things for you to try?” And try I did. I tried on Mizunos (my old love), a pair of Brooks Ravenna’s  which almost sold me!, a pair of Pearl Izumis, which really were too soft, and a pair of the Mirage 3’s.  I ran on the track they had at the store on the treadmill and outside in all of them.  Eventually I had to decide and I ended up back in my Mirages.  After watching me run a bit more, he asked about my left pronation, and suggested a wedge to help alleviate it.  It felt great.  He then gave a lot of advice on how to get used to running with the wedge…good thing because I would have tried to do my long run the next day with it.  Best thing, they had it in the Barbie Pink, the Purple, and apparently they had it in green.

MirageWI took the purple.  Love the shoes.  I was very impressed at the size of the store.  The style of the clothing also suited me better.  I’m not one to wear skin tight clothing, it does not look good on me, and this store had lots of shirts with a looser fit.  In addition, this store carried 2 brands I Love, Zensah, and Balega.  I’ve asked the local shop to carry both and got a No on both.

Fast forward to Monday, I am at the gym, kind of feeling guilty about the shoes.  The Pro Shop there had spent a great deal of time with me, but in truth, they didn’t have what I needed.  My friend says, “Ohhh you got the shoes”  I admit that I went elsewhere, and that I liked it a lot.  She asked about the store, and I just remember saying, “Well they had a lot MORE”  Personally I think the folks at the local store do a great job, they just didn’t have what I wanted.  I admit too, I appreciated the fitter at the other store a bit because he was a lot more “neutral”  than the guys at my pro-shop.

Well, the owner of the store overheard me. I heard her mutter under her breath about “Waste my time”  etc.  She has not spoken to me since. Just glared at me mostly.  I made sure to purchase my Huge container of Carbo-Pro from them, but I guess that doesn’t make up for it.  I have spent so much money there, that the whole thing annoys me no end.  Everything I said was true so I don’t feel apologetic about it, but I do feel kind of frustrated. I felt like I was at least friendly with these folks.  Not friends, mind you, but friendly.  BUt apparently all they wanted was my money.

It’s a small town and things are awkward.  Hopefully eventually everyone will get over themselves.

 

 

You’d think I’d get a discount!!!!

So….As many of you know I am a total fan of the Zensah High compression shorts.  they have allowed me to run well.

 

Today I got an email letting me know the shorts (which were out of stock), are back in stock.

Wow, I’m now Quotable!

I don’t mind, because I do LOVE my shorts.  3 months after I bought the first pair, they are holding up great, even with being washed at least 2 times a week.

I really can not recommend them enough. Both my shorts and the calf sleeves I have are perfect and do exactly what they say they will do.  The running skirt I got for 9.99 from them, well…I like it, but it’s more delicate and I may rip it to shreds.

So Cool!   Wish they had linked to my site, so I could have more traffic as well.

Still Zensah remains my favorite running brand these days.  Debating a second pair of sleeves…in boring black or white.