See it, Smell it, Feel it … Product Reviews

Over the course of the last couple of weeks I have picked up a couple of items that I feel are beneficial to many of your active people out there that might be interested on a couple of new toys, tools and apps. Now the product break down and review of each of the following three products / items will be based on first hand experiences. In other words I am not going to spend much time with the other mumbo jumbo terms that won’t make sense to me, nor do I have the true understanding of.

So the first item is the Black Diamond “Spot” headlamp. I picked this up at REI for $39.95. I have wanted to pick up a head lamp for a while now, and the time was right this time. REI had a 20% off any single item sale, so I was able to get a discount on something that I wanted to get at some point. The purchase of the headlamp also comes perfectly since the dark mornings are extending into the hours in which I typically get my morning runs. So from a safety stand point for fall running I think the headlamp is a must buy for you training for a fall or winter marathon where you are getting putting your miles in during the morning or even in the early evening after work. When I got home from REI, I was excited to show my wife my newest purchase … her response “and I thought you couldn’t get any dorkier.” Perhaps she might be a little correct on this, but nonetheless it is a safety thing that she agreed was needed since I was starting to get out on my runs while it was still dark out.

This morning was actually the first morning I ran with the “spot”. I did this last weekend pull it out of the box and adjust the sizing, which was pretty easy to do and fit nicely on my head. I also messed around with the single button that is on the headlamp to try to figure out which provided me the light I probably needed for my runs. For those of you that get one of these and have never used a head lamp … WARNING!!! do not face the head lamp towards you as you try to figure out the on/off/mode button. It was VERY VERY bright to say the least and it surprised me. So from a brightness or “spot” light stand point this head lamp had me sold form the beginning, even before hitting the streets. While figuring this all out, I found that there are several light options. The first is a “spot” light type setting, this is very bright and will definitely give you vision of a specific point in front of you while on the move. The second, is a dimmer use of the LED light, which is more of a defused setting, this provided a good amount of light without a single “spot” but rather a wider range all around. This setting allows you to have a high setting on it or dim it down a bit. The single button that turns everything on also works as a dimming switch. As you hold it down it dims the light down as needed. The third setting, is a red light, which is a a little dimmer than the spot, but I am guessing provides for a different light depending on your settings and environment.

During my run this morning, I was on a mission to see the faults of this new $39.95 piece of equipment I just purchased. How would this thing feel? Would it feel funny on my head? It has to be uncomfortable. It will probably slow me down or feel like I have a brick on my forehead. With trying to find something wrong with it, I couldn’t. The headlamp didn’t slide down even with sweat, the band didn’t loosen up during the run, the light was everything I needed. In fact outside being able to see everything in front of my and providing for cars to see me as well, I couldn’t tell that it was actually strapped onto my head. As time goes I will give a further review on the life of the equipment. But from a right out of the box and onto my head for a run, this thing is a WINNER!!!!

The second item in my review, I picked up about 2 weeks back. While venturing into Fleet Feet Sports in Stockton, CA I was looking around and came across “Sport-Wash”. It was $10, and claims to have 18-20 loads worth of detergent. I was desperately looking for something to get rid of that runner’s stench that has embedded itself into all of my technical running gear. And if your a runner, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you claim that none of your stuff has that certain odor, your lying to yourself! I have used this stuff on all of my gear that I use frequently and smells from it’s often use and sweat marinade. For most of the items within the first wash with “Sport-Wash”, took care of that smell removing the nasty odor that kept me wondering, why does my running stuff smell, I just washed it. A couple other items took 2 cycles of wash to get the smell out, but this product still did it’s job. I would highly recommend that runners or anyone that has their clothing smelling like it hasn’t been cleaned but is smell give this product a try. Even if it didn’t work, when I purchased I thought to myself I have spent $10 on running stuff that I never really used so whats another $10 on taking a chance to cleaning my running gear. The label on the product also claims to bring back the manufactures quality water proofing. I have not had any luck testing this side of the product out. Just the fact that it removes the “used” smell is well worth the $10 since other shirts previously have been “thrown” out because I couldn’t get them clean or smelling normal.

screen shot of Roll Release app

The third item in this review, I actually purchased last night on iTunes for $2.99. While on the website, I came across their blog that mentioned videos for foam rolling. This might be the best app/video/ resource I have ever come across in regards to foam rolling video. After my run this morning, I pulled out my Trigger Point Grid, turned on my iPhone and pulled up the Roll Release Techniques app. I provided a screen shot from my phone to the left. This app is very user friendly, all you have to do is click on the area that you want to roll and it brings up various options or levels of rolling from beginner to advanced. Each video last from about 30 seconds to 1:30 depending on the muscle. There is a short explanation of each movement, but the videos are done really well and provides for visual assistance for all you visual learners like myself.

I know there are some other videos, dvds and resources that many people go to or turn on when using their rollers, but this one is pretty inexpensive at $2.99 and also something you can always keep with you assuming you have your phone on hand.

I hope these product reviews provide you for some better understanding and help you with all the gadgets and goodies that are out there in the running business. Make sure to follow me on Twitter as I also provide quick recommendations on other products that I come across in running as well as all of my other “tweets” that are running and sports based. Follow me on Twitter @chrismalenab 

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