Friday, March 22, 2013

Gear check: Cash in

I came home from work last to find another package on my doorstep. Well, it was actually at the foot of the stairs where Mark moved it but you know what I'm getting it. It was another friggin' package and the worst part was that I couldn't imagine what it could be.

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"What did I sign up for this time?" I thought.

As much as I love trying new gear, doing reviews and, best of all, offering giveaways, it can be a bit overwhelming and a smidge disingenuous. It's easy to think that one would like anything or support it if it was free. A blogger is bound to love a dirt-tasting cookie if it has chia seeds, flax and PB2. (Note: Read Kim's insightful post here about blogger-company relationships.)

For the record, I do not like all free things. If you were to give me a 10,000-calorie chocolate chip cookie right this second, I would throw it at  you and tell you that I loathe free cookies and all that sugar. 

It can also be easy for one to think that bigger bloggers get everything for free and don't have to drop a dime on fuel, clothing or gear. Seeing as I am not a big blogger, I have to open my wallet and pay for the things that I want. Sometimes, I'm happy with my purchases. Other times, I'm not.

But usually I don't spend money on things I won't like. And here's what I'm liking ...

Lug Life Puddle Jumper. After my first session teaching the circuit class - going from work to work, I guess - I decided it was time to invest in a nice gym bag. I looked around at various sites and was astounded by how expensive even an Under Armour duffel can be. With a little searching, I came across the Lug Life Puddle Jumper. It has a ton of zipper pouches, pockets and ample storage. My favorite feature is a separate shoe storage area. While it does take up room in the main part of the bag, there's a mesh to let the sneakers air out and keeps sweaty clothes from making them worse. I also like that there's handles and an adjustable shoulder strap for carrying convenience. It can be a bit pricey but I found my on Amazon via Wayfair for $60-ish, about the same as a name-brand bag.

Fila Cheeath Capri. I picked these up the other week at Kohl's for $24 (before 30 percent off coupon) because they were fun without being outrageous. I wasn't sure how I'd like the fit but I've worn them for running, BODYPUMP and Piloxing, and I have not one complaint. They don't sag like my oh-so-pricey lululemon capris, the waistband is wide enough that it doesn't create muffin top and the pattern doesn't look stretched. The pants really make me want to go back for the blue animal print capris.

Nike Free TR Fit. I'm pretty sure I've talked about these shoes but this style is my absolute favorite for cross-training. I have two pairs in rotation and love the functionality + fashion.

SPIbelt. I got mine when I was training for the Columbus Marathon. I've worn it for two races and countless training runs, and I can't imagine not having it. It's comfy, doesn't shift and is adjustable. I carry pepper spray, Clif Shot Bloks and a key in there and barely realize it's there. Well, except when it bunches my shirt and catch a breeze but I'm sure that's more of a user error than a design flaw. I have the Original SPIbelt in the polka dot print and totally want to add the race number toggles.

Yurbuds. And for the token "I am not sold" piece of gear. Mark bought me a pair of Ironman Yurbuds (these?), which are unisex, on a pilgrimage to REI. He knew I was in the market for a better earbud as I spent more time on the treadmill and had heard me mention Yurbuds. It was super sweet of him, and I was really excited at the thought and his good taste. The Yurbuds have been great for lower impact exercises, like the indoor bike when we had the trial Y membership, but I do have some problems on the treadmill. The right bud just doesn't want to stay secure. When I stop to take it out, wipe it off and readjust, I can't get it to feel the same. I wonder if I need the women-specific model? I will say that the sound quality is amazing. After wearing them for some time and then going sans buds, I was a bit jarred to hear just how loud our treadmill is. It's truly a miracle that no one wakes up when I'm literally pounding out miles.

What gear have you bought lately that you like?


  1. I don't go to a gym so I don't need that bag but I really want to find a reason to need it...

    1. It's also advertised as a piece of luggage/carry-on ...

  2. Thanks for the link! Wait! So what was in the box?

    I love FILA gear. One of my friends here really wants those blue capris. You should rock them :) I love wearing obnox stuff because it gets me pumped up ;)

    Hmm. What have I bought lately that I like?! Oh! So, I went to the store to get a UA hood (balaclava) and they had Asics gaitors, and I got one and LOVE it! So much that I ordered two more this morning (in case winter never ends).

  3. Cute bag! Sounds really resourceful! Glad you found one that works for you! Those capris are super cute, too! I think you need them! :0) As for me, I haven't bought anything recently so I have nothing exciting to report about! :0)

  4. I am going to Kohl's with my 30% coupon that just arrived for those cheetahs! Really? Your Lulus sag? I'm probably too chubby for that. I strongly dislike how the fit on Lulu stuff varies.
    You are a badass Bodypump mamma jamma! It's HARD!

  5. I tried the Yurbuds (unisex) and my mini ear canals coudn't hold them in for more than 10 seconds. They didn't have a women's model at the time. I was super bummed. I "sweat" out headphones usually every 3-5 months so I was hoping they would be the miracle. Glad I'm not the only one, but bummed they didn't work out for you!

    BTW, it took my like 3 years to actually put my PT cert to good use. I have been told my group fitness classes are like group personal training classes...which I take to mean, doesn't deliver the "fitness magic." I think it takes a whole lot of practice. Keep it up with the Les Mills, teaching, and studying!

    1. Oh, that fitness magic. I must have zoned out during that part of the training :) And I'm pretty sure my class was more PT session than effervescent charisma. Oh well. Thanks so much for the encouragement! I always appreciate your comments and advice.

  6. I second the Spi Belt and Yurbuds, although, I pretty much only use by spi belt during races now. I just pin the race number straight to the belt part. It's great for caring Chapstick, sport beans, and bobby pins during the running portion of a triathlon. I had to laugh though, because I. Bought mine so lo ago (2008), and it was the only thing they made, and now they have so much stuff on their site!