It’s a bonanza of a gear-review today, as I’m reviewing three products that helped me get through the MDI Marathon and which I plan on bringing with me this weekend to Marshall.
First up is the Level Flip Belt – I discovered this item from another blog but then found the product at my local Jackrabbit store, so I could try it on for size. Lucky I did, too, because I was going to order the large online but ended up with the medium in person, and I’m glad I did – for my size 8 and typical “medium” size in CW-X tights, medium is indeed the right size in the Level Flip Belt. The belt is basically a tube of material with strategic openings that you can slip items through – the items do tend to shift around inside, since there is no divider stitching, but no worries on anything accidentally falling out through one of the holes (the holes have no zippers or anything, you just slide the items in and flip the belt over to lock the items in against your body).
I wore it for the first time on the MDI breakfast run and didn’t even notice it was there, safely carrying my phone and cash. Then I wore it for the full marathon and did notice it – basically, any belt or bag is going to annoy me over 26 miles, and wearing nothing is always better than wearing something, but it still worked pretty well. The best part was that the belt swallowed my phone with its giant, rubberized case, and kept it fairly snug over the miles. My tube of Shot Bloks definitely took a little tour around the inside of the belt, and smaller items like my handi-wipes were even more difficult to find in the recesses of the belt, making it difficult and slightly time-consuming to find those items during the race itself. But the bounce factor was really minimal, and the design allows for a lot of storage without a lot of bulk. I’d say it’s a good buy if you’re still unsatisfied with your current race-belt situation, and if you don’t need the race bib toggles or water holders that other belts have. Basically, the Level Flip Belt is good, no-bounce option to carry medium-sized items or any item you don’t need to access quickly during a race.
You’re probably familiar with The Stick massage stick, and might even own one yourself (like I do), but don’t let that stop you from upgrading to a Tiger Tail massage stick. It’s a solid tube roller covered in a thin foam. I found the solid design doesn’t pinch as much as the separate beads on The Stick, and the foam is overall more pleasant than the uncoated, hard plastic of The Stick. It’s also a lot more compact (although I know both brands now make multiple sizes, but if you have an old, original The Stick it’s probably really long and difficult to carry in your luggage). I don’t love using massage tools (oh foam roller, how you pain me!), but the Tiger Tail is making me a convert. It was small enough that I could apply good, strong pressure, and the foam-covered tool itself didn’t hurt more than it was supposed to as it rubbed out the knots and broke up the scar tissue in my legs. I used it before and the many days after the marathon, on both my thighs and calves as well as my shoulders (as a pummel, not exactly as designed, but still effective). I think it helped, although I won’t be running a marathon and not using the Tiger Tail anytime soon to do a comparison. It’s already packed away in my bag for the weekend, and I’m almost, just almost, looking forward to using it again.
Finally, a little bonus item review, the Sprigs wrist wallet – I picked this up at the Century 21 store because, well, I’m a gear junkie. I didn’t really know what I was going to use it for, but I liked that it was bright yellow with a reflective stripe and had a secure, zippered pocket. I ended up using it on every leg of my Ragnar relay, to hold little plastic baggies of blue meth candy to pass out to volunteers and other runners. I’ve also used it to hold my key, credit card, a gel pack, lip balm, and money (at separate times). It’s turned out to be a surprisingly versatile little piece of gear! I’ve also machine-washed and air-dried it several times now, and it still looks like new. They have different versions of the Sprigs wrist wallet, like one with an additional pouch pocket, but I like the one I have in yellow with the reflective detail (it flips over to plain black, too).
Have you discovered any new running gear you’d like to share? Anything you’d like me to include in my upcoming “Runners’ Christmas Wish List”? Share in the comments!