Guest Post: Have Your Best Run Yet!

I love Clever Training (send me an email to get a code for 10% off!) and buy lots of my training gear from them. Many people know about their awesome selection of running, triathlon, and training gear, but most people don’t know that Clever Training also hosts a great blog with training tips, fun stories, and information about the latest gear. When Ron, the CT Blog guy reached out to me about doing a guest post, I was super excited. I love reading the CT Blog and thought that you would, too. Here’s his post, a set of great tips for having your best run yet. Thanks, Ron!

Have Your Best Run Yet

Any dedicated runner knows that the key to having an amazing run depends on many factors. Perhaps most importantly, it starts with your mentality. Here are a few ways that you can pump yourself up and prepare yourself for your best run yet:

Recognize Negative Thinking

Many runners know that the body can be perfectly capable, but if the mind is not thinking positively, it can have a huge impact on the quality of your run. The trick is to recognize negative thoughts and remember that you have control over them. When a negative thought wanders through your mind, call upon a cue word or song that replaces the negativity with something positive. Focus on the pumping of your arms or your breathing, and you might be surprised at how much easier your run becomes.

Wear the Right Gear

Those shoes you bought for 20 dollars may have been a steal, but you aren’t doing your feet any favors. In order to keep your feet going for long distances, you will need to spend a little more to find the right shoe that is properly insulated. In addition, consider switching from cotton shirts and shorts to moisture-wicking workout clothes. This will help keep the sweat from sticking to your body and turning cold quickly. Having the right workout gear for your runs will allow you to go further distances in comfort.

Learn Proper Breathing

Many long-distance runners make the mistake of breathing too much. This deprives your lungs of oxygen because you are not getting all of the CO2 out of your lungs. Your lungs need oxygen to power you through those distances, so slowing down your breathing will relax you and fully give your lungs the oxygen they need, making running slightly easier. If you get a stitch in your side, matching your stride to your breath will help ease the pain.

Stop Setting Rigid Goals

Setting goals can be good for running, but if your goals are too rigid, then it can fill your mind with a defeatist attitude when you know you are failing to hit that goal. If this happens, don’t focus on the failure to meet your goal. Instead, have back-up goals. For instance, if you set a goal to run nine miles and know that you won’t make it by mile four, set a mini-goal of reaching eight miles instead. Change your self-talk be more positive, and it will help keep you motivated rather than having you want to give up in frustration.

Use Others as Motivation, Not Comparison

Theodore Roosevelt once said that “comparison is the thief of joy,” and this is true in the running world. There is always going to be someone faster than you or who can go longer distances, and this is something that everyone should accept. Instead of getting down about this, use that person as a source of motivation for your next run. Acknowledge that you are only competing against yourself, and that’s all that matters for your enjoyment.

Review: Bulu Box (and coupon code!)

Sometimes, being a fitness blogger has some awesome perks. Recently, I was asked by the cool folks over at Bulu Box to try a sample box, and review it for the blog. I was delighted to have been asked, as I had heard of Bulu Box and had been interested in trying one. This was the perfect arrangement. I was provided one box to review.

Bulu Box is like many other subscription “box” services. Each month, the people at Bulu Box send you a box full of sample sized goodies to try. Bulu Box is the first health, nutrition and weight loss box. Each month, subscribers get a custom box filled with a new mix of 4 to 5 premium samples from top brands to try. Every sample is sufficient enough to decide if the product is right for you and there is a wide variety of products included in each box.

Here’s how it works: You sign up, filling out a profile of interests. Each month, Bulu Box sends you a box full of goodies. You try the goodies. Each month you can earn up to 100 Rewards Points ($10!) just for subscribing and sharing your thoughts via their online review system. Log in to your account to fill out your sample surveys about the products you tried to earn points. At any time, you can use cash or points to purchase full-size versions of the items you like.

I got my first box about two weeks ago. There were so many goodies in the box that it actually took me these whole two weeks to try everything – which is awesome.

Bulu Box

First, the Bulu Box is cool. My box was bright red and covered in inspirational quotes. I loved seeing it in the mailbox and spent a few minutes reading and enjoying the packaging. Seriously.

When I opened my box, I found it was full of awesome products to try. In fact, I used three of the products that very moment!

Bulu Box contents

I got chicken jerky, tea, vitamins, sport jellies, and an itch soothing cream. I made my tea, ate some jerky, and smoothed some cream on a huge mosquito bite within five minutes of opening the box. I was very impressed with not only the quality of the products, but the range of products included in my box. Each product was oriented toward a healthy lifestyle, but each was diverse. I liked that my box included food, tea, a product to use while exercising, and a skin cream.

The box was packaged nicely and the inserted pamphlets had more information about various products. Each product sample was sufficient to determine if I liked the product. I am still using the skin cream and I’ve had it for weeks. Confession: I ate all the jerky in one sitting (it was good).

Overall, I enjoyed my Bulu Box and will be heading over to their website to get my self some more of that jerky. I enjoyed sampling new products and think that Bulu Box is a wonderful addition to the bevy of sample box subscription services.

Interested in trying Bulu Box yourself? Use discount code SWEATPINK for 50% off a 3-month subscription to BuluBox. Happy sampling!!

Thinking Spring

Spring is coming. I know it. As I look out at the piles of snow, and shiver in -10 degree temperatures, it doesn’t seem like spring will ever come. I dutifully count down the days until the first day of spring (less than four weeks!). I plan my spring training and register for spring races. If I keep thinking about spring, maybe it will come. Spring is coming.

Spring is a great time for running – for renewing running patterns and starting new running habits. My annual springtime tradition is a big running gear cleanse.

One of my favorite spring traditions is spring cleaning. I love clearing out old things, donating my unwanted items, and getting organized. My love of spring cleaning extends to my running gear as well. Each spring, I go through my running clothes, coats, shoes, and accessories to assess their usefulness and determine what needs to be retired or replaced. Use the spring to wash all running coats, jackets, outerwear, and accessories. Zip up zippers, place mittens and other small accessories in a garment bag, and wash everything on gentle with a sports-specific detergent. Hang coats, match mittens, and organize each item. Look carefully for signs of wear and take note of things that need to be retired or replaced. Spring is a great time for good deals on winter apparel and if you know what needs to be replaced, you can stock up at lower prices. Carefully go through anything that has stretchy fabric and look for signs of wear – tights that don’t quite hold their shape, or socks that slip. Retire those items that are showing signs of wear. Keep your new gear fresh by washing in cool water with a sports-specific detergent following my handy instructions.

Ladies, spring is an excellent time to sort through sports bras. Each spring, I go through sports bras carefully and replace any that are more than one year old. The life expectancy of a sports bra depends on a number of factors, including intensity of exercise, how you wash it, and how often its worn, but most sports bras last 75-100 wears, or about 6-12 months, depending on your usage. After that, the bra is likely not providing effective support, or could be providing uneven support. Replace older bras, and replace any that were purchased when you weighed more or less, or that were around before a change to your breast shape (like childbirth, nursing, or treatment for breast cancer). Indulge in a new bra and feel supported during each run.

Gear Review: Link Laces

Recently, I was approached by the people at Link Laces to review their product. Always willing to try new things, my mom and I reviewed the laces. I found them easy to use and install, but, being a regular shoelace person, didn’t have a strong opinion. So, I asked mom to review them. Mom regularly uses LockLaces and likes the elastic shoelaces. Here is what she had to say:

Link Laces are a elastic laces for shoes replacing standard laces.  The package comes with simple instructions to lace, cut, lock, and clip.    The laces were shorter than I was accustomed to, but I do not use the last hole on my shoes.  The tight spring loaded lock keeps the laces in place.

Link Laces

The shorter length meant a tighter fit when I slipped on my shoes, I tend to pull the tongue out a bit more than these would allow.  The clip cinched up nicely and I was ready for the first of several trial uses.  On the short walk, they were perfect, keeping the shoes firmly secure but not putting undo pressure on the top of my feet.  The next longer and admittedly warmer walk I had problems with the tight elastic laces. As my feet swelled, the laces remained firmly unstretchable.  I had to stop several times to adjust the tension for a more comfortable fit.  The main reason I want a product such as this is to keep from frequently stopping to readjust my laces as my feet change during my walks.   Finally I used the laces on shoes I planned to wear all day.  I encountered a similar problem, as my feet changed, the laces did not. It was not a comfortable fit.  I continued to try the Link Laces under various conditions and length of time worn, thinking it was just me or the shoes.

Link Laces in shoesI gave the Link Laces a fair chance to work, but for me, not so much.  The ease of slipping on shoes and cinching up got me out the door quick, but the trade off was stopping to adjust the laces on longer walks or warmer conditions.  It made my shoes just too tight for the long haul.  I will pass on adding these to my footwear.

Note: We were provided with complimentary product to complete this review, but were not compensated for the review.

Amazing Holiday Gifts!

If you’re anything like me, holiday shopping is a little bit of “one for you one for me”. I love to find great gifts and this year I’m on a tight budget. Most of the people I shop for are runners, so I’ve collected lots of great ideas for runners. I you need a Christmas gift, a stocking stuffer, a small gift for one of the less-important days of Hanukkah, or a great little Festivus present, look no further.

If you’re shopping for the runner in your life and looking to save a few dollars, head on over to Clever Training, my go-to shop for running gear and accessories. Use my handy Clever Training discount code (Email me for the code!) for an additional 10% off!

Here are my top ten small holiday gifts for runners.

1. Lock Laces – Lock Laces are a great gift, and one that I’ve profiled before. These nifty elastic laces make tying shoes a thing of the past. They are secure, comfortable, and easy to use.

Lock Laces

2. Believe I Am Training Journal – This beautiful training journal was created by professional runners and features quotes, cute drawings, and helpful notes to inspire the female runner in your life. Check out the beautiful jewelry and clothing while you’re on the site.

Believe I Am

3. Win detergent – Keep your runner smelling fresh all year round with detergent specially formulated for technical fabrics. Special detergent is the key to getting your running clothes clean.

Win detergent

4. Oofos sandals – Oofos are seriously the best recovery footwear ever. They are soft, supportive, and come in fun colors for all runners. They’re available on Clever Training – use the code above for a 10% discount!

5. Add A Day Roller – For rolling tight muscles on the go, nothing beats an Add a Day roller. I love mine!

Add a Day Roller

6. Handheld water bottle – Eventually, your runner is going to need to take in some water on the run. I love my handheld bottles and have found a couple great options. Consider the Nathan Quickshot, or the one from the Amphipod line. Both are secure, small, and useful. Get one with a pocket for more storage. Side note – here are my tips for cleaning the bottle once you get it.

7. Pace band – Does you runner have a goal race coming up? Get them a pace band. These nifty little bands list the splits required to hit a selected finish time. They come in half marathon and full marathon distances.

8. lululemon accessories – I love all things lululemon and their winter running accessories are some of the best on the market. Wicking, comfortable, and chafe-free thanks to flat seams, your runner will love a beanie, headband, or gloves from lululemon.

9. Mantra band – Mantra bands are a fun accessory for the female runner. Featuring inspirational statements on a delicate sliver band, the Mantra Band is a great small gift.

Finally, for those of you looking to spend just a bit more, consider #10. A Garmin Forerunner. With low holiday prices, you can’t beat a Garmin. Tracking runs is easy and the new web-based Connect platform makes viewing runs, and learning from their data, a breeze. Hop on over to Clever Training and use the discount code above for a 10% discount!

What are your favorite running gifts?

Janji Projects Launch!

My friends over at Janji are simply amazing people. Aside from designing, producing, and managing a popular clothing line, they are always looking for ways that runners can tie back. The Janji line donates a percentage of proceeds from the sale of every item to amazing charities across the world. Now, they’re taking it one step further by launching Janji Projects.

Janji Projects is a crowd funded giving platform that allows runners to help others. Here’s how it works – the Janji guys will post a campaign to Projects.RunJanji.com and works kind of like KickStarter. The campaign will feature a particular apparel item that is linked to a specific cause. If the campaign is funded 100% the apparel will be manufactured and the cause will be funded.  It’s that easy. Anyone who backs the campaign will get one of the limited edition shirts and will know that their money went to an amazing cause.

The first Janji Project is the Uganda Run for Another shirt. The shirt is made of performance blend of polyester and rayon and features a pattern inspired by Ugandan basket weaving. The linked cause is the construction of water access points in rural Uganda. If the campaign is funded 100%, production of the shirts will begin along with parallel construction of the water point. Awesome! The water point will give 350 rural Ugandans access to clean water. Backers will get their limited edition shirt, and the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to make a real difference for Ugandans.

Clean water dispenser

The crowdfunded project launches at noon EST on October 27th on Projects.RunJanji.com. The design is exclusively available for preorder and, once the 100% mark is reached, the project will be taken down from the site. The shirts are expected to ship before December 20th.

Clean water dispenser 1

A little background on Janji from Dave:

The idea for Janji began at the DIII Track Championship meet, where Mike Burnstein and Dave Spandorfer raced the 10k on a stifling hot day. Needing copious amounts of water to just finish the 25 lap race, they were inspired to use their sport as a way to give people access to something they too often took for granted: clean water. After the meet, the two college teammates launched Janji. Now sold in over 100 stores around the country, every piece of Janji apparel has a design inspired by a country and, when a runner buys it, the runner gives clean water to that country.

“Our goal at Janji is to help inspire runners like ourselves to give back and run for another,” Spandorfer says. “By launching Janji Projects, the giving is direct. A runner can head out for a run knowing the shirt on their back provides access to clean water to 350 people in Uganda.”

Troy Conquers 26.2: BaNa Review

Dr. Rachel’s Note: My awesome brother, Troy, is training for this first marathon. You can read about how it started here. As part of his training, he’s trying new fueling methods and learning more about nutrition, hydration, and running. Recently, we were approached by BaNa rehydration with an opportunity to try their new product. Being the helpful sister I am, I offered the opportunity to Troy. Here’s his take:

BANa  – Review

This is not a new slang term for the delicious, ubiquitous post race treat of a partially green Banana (gre-nana?) but a sports drink I was voluntold into trying.  Sample bottles and pamphlet arrived at my door in the most unassuming of brown boxes.  BANa – ‘an IV in a bottle’ – so claims the pamphlet.  The drink is advertised for runners, outdoor workers, and those suffering from hangovers.  With a composition falling between Pediasure and a saline IV bag, the drink promises to replenish and refresh.  I am an engineer by trade and quickly devised an experimental plan to test this new concoction out.

BaNa

Test 1 – First Impressions

Rather than test BANa out on a long run and risk GI issues, I tried it at home and not even after a particularly grueling day.  The first sip caught me off-guard.  I had been expecting a tart and artificial berry flavor but instead was greeted by a mild berry taste.  The berry flavor worked but along with it came a strange sweet and salty mixture best described as very light syrup.  I struggled a bit and felt like I needed a water rinse when I finished the bottle.  I felt hydrated and continued to feel that way for a much longer time than I thought normal.  With no GI distress, the first bottle seemed to be ok … just a little syrupy. So, after this initial test, I had reservations about being able drink this without a water rinse (could be problematic during a workout) but was pleasantly surprised by the tasty berry flavor.

Test 2 – The Short Run

Basics out of the way, it was time to test BANa out during a workout.  My Tuesday training involves running 3 miles and doing 4 rounds of calisthenics for about an hour long workout and I thought this would be a great first test.  I wanted to try BANa in what I knew would be a tougher situation where I would really need to rehydrate.  I can’t explain what changed and I am not sure how or why it did, but my opinion of BANa drastically improved during that workout.  It was fantastic.  That sweet/salty syrup taste was gone completely and instead it was replaced by that pleasant berry flavor combined with fast hydration.  The consistency was not an issue at all.  Maybe it was my body craving the simple carbs and salt, but the BANa completely hit the spot.  One 12 oz bottle got me through the entire workout and I still felt hydrated when it was over.

Test 3 – The Long Run

I headed out for a 6 mile training run with a bottle of BANa and expectations of good things again.  As with the short run, BANa hit the spot.  The flavor, the mouth-feel, the hydration – all were perfect during the run.  Small sips were all that I needed to feel hydrated and keep me going through my workout.  I finished my run feeling hydrated and with BANa to spare.  Most importantly, no GI disturbance.  Additionally, when finished I wasn’t gulping down water which helped to avoid that “sloshing” feeling that everyone is so familiar with.

BaNa review

Overall

I am mixed here.  I don’t think BANa is something I would grab as a run recovery or hangover recovery when lazing about the house. The taste and texture just didn’t come across right to me when I am not in the middle of intense physical activity.  However, on a run or a workout, this stuff just hit the spot and was great.  I can’t explain it, but it was like a whole different experience while on a workout.  It was refreshing, mild on the stomach, and quenched my thirst completely.  Maybe next time I race, I will take a BANa water with me to keep from eating that gre-nana on the other side of the finish line.

Find them on social media at @BaNaRehydrates

Note: Free products were provided to make this review possible. No other compensation was provided and the opinions are our own.

How To: Travel to a Race

I love travel and I enjoy traveling to destination races. If you’re been following along, you’ll see that I run practically everywhere I go and I’ve been all across the country for races. I get a lot of questions about how to travel to a race. Specifically, what runners can and should pack to ensure race-day success is a source of confusion. Here are a few of my best travel tips for runners.

What can I carry on? Tips for air travel.

Bring a small roller or a stick. You can carry on your Stick. You might get some questions from the TSA about the Stick and it’s purpose, but you can bring it in carry on luggage. The travel size Stick is perfect. It fits in standard roll aboard bags and can be placed along the supports in the back of the bag, or on the side of the bag for limited TSA scrutiny. The TSA might ask to see it (and one agent once asked to try it), but generally, it passes without a problem. Another option is a travel sized roller, such as a the Grid travel roller by Trigger Point. The travel Grid roller fits easily in a carry on bag, and is easy to pack around. This one generally results in more questions from the TSA, but putting it in a visible spot in my carry on has resulted in easy passes through security. I use my travel roller to roll out as soon as I get to my destination and again before and after each run. Rolling helps loosen muscles that have tightened from travel.

Gels count as liquids, gels, and aerosols. If you’re flying, they’re subject to the 3-1-1 rules. This means you’ll have to put your gels in your checked baggage, or in a quart size resealable baggie in your carry on. Remember to take it out when passing through security for separate inspection. Chews, and things that are the consistency of gummy bears or jelly beans (think Clif Blocks, Sport Beans) are not a liquid, gel, or aerosol and can be carried normally, as you would any other food. They do not need to be separately inspected.

Body Glide can be carried on separately like deodorant – it isn’t a liquid, gel, or aerosol, so feel free to bring the big stick.

You’re allowed to bring food for your personal consumption. Bring your snacks, race day bars, and any food you like. As long as it doesn’t look like your important protein bars, you’ll be fine through security.

If you’re planning to bring a hydration belt or handheld bottle, make inspection easy for the TSA to speed time at security. Be sure the bottles are empty and separate them from the belt if possible. Remove the caps from the bottles so that it’s clear the bottles are empty. I bag my bottles and caps in a resealable gallon size baggie so that can just grab one bag and toss it in a bin. It also ensures that I don’t lose a cap along the way.

After the race, the easiest way to transport your medal home is around your neck. Just take it off at the security checkpoint and put it in a bin. Think that’s uncool? Wrap your medal in a napkin or sock and place it somewhere accessible in your carry on. If you’ve traveled to a big race and practically everyone in the airport is a runner, you’ll be safe to leave the medal in the carry on. The TSA will be familiar with its size and shape. If you’re traveling from a smaller race, or aren’t sure, remove the medal from the bag and place it in a bin to be separately scanned by the medal detector. Don’t be surprised if the TSA officer asks to see the medal and offers you congratulations. If you’ve earned multiple medals, like during runDisney challenges (Dopey or Goofy), keep your medals separate. A big stack of metal is going to attract TSA attention. Separate the medals into separate wrappings and lay them out in a row in the bin for xray inspection.

General packing tips.

Wear your running shoes. That way, you ensure they make it to the destination with you. Not only are they the most important, they’re also the hardest to replace on short notice in an unfamiliar area.

Before your race, experiment with different combinations of gels, hydration drinks, and  foods. You’ll be in an unfamiliar area and may find yourself without your familiar foods, gels, and drinks. If you have more than one go-to solution for fueling, you’ll be much more likely to find what you need. Believe me, it’s very difficult to find a specific flavor or a particular brand of gel at a small race expo. Know what works for you, and what will do in a pinch.

Bring Immodium or other product for digestive upset. You never know when you might need it.

Bring ear plugs, an eye mask, and a sleeping pill. All hotels aren’t equally quiet or comfortable. Be ready.

Consider wearing compression calf sleeves or socks during travel. Not only will the compression provide relief for stiff legs, but it will lessen lower leg swelling and discomfort. Some also say that wearing compression socks or calf sleeves reduces the risk of blood clots during air travel.

Pack your race day outfit together. I use two gallon resealable baggies for this. I put everything I need for my race in one baggie, label it, and zip it up. Then, I pack a second, back up baggie that includes a second full race outfit and associated accessories. Finally, a pack a third baggie that includes incidentals I might need like a rain shell, or a warmer option. I never assume the weather forecast is right and bring extras. This technique ensures that you have everything you need handy when you need it – and that you don’t have to think about it early in the morning. It’s also especially good for multiple race events, Ragnars, and other overnight relays like Hood to Coast or Reach the Beach. Once you’re done with your race, just pop the sweaty clothes back in the baggie and zip it up. Perfect to avoid contaminating the rest of your luggage.

Be sure to pack something else to wear immediately after the race. While you may use the race’s gear check, not having to sort though all your luggage to find something is a wonderful thing.

Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water during your travel. Pack your own snacks so you don’t have to rely on fatty or salty travel snacks.

If you’re traveling internationally, plan ahead for how you will use your cell phone, charge your devices, and eat your meals.

Bring hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and extra paper towels. Sanitize your hands before eating and use wet wipes to clean your travel area.

If possible, travel to the race location before the actual race. Take the route you will take before the race. Estimate and record how long it takes to get there, get organized, and get ready. Look around. Find landmarks, parking, and other important necessities.

Bring small accessories you wouldn’t mind throwing away in case it’s cooler than anticipated. I buy magic gloves (the stretchy cotton kind) in bulk and toss them once I warm up. I also like to use socks as throw away arm warmers. Get some knee high socks and cut the toes off. Instant arm warmers. Finally, a black trash bag makes a great cape/blanket/seat cover in bad weather. I always have one with me.

Finally, remember that luggage gets lost. Make sure your race day essentials are snug in the overhead bin, or in a bag near you.

Looking for a list of things to bring for a relay, race, or other endurance event? Check out my packing list.

Happy travels!

Review: Drip Drop ORS

If you’ve been a long time follower of this blog, you’ll know that I reviewed Drip Drop ORS a while back. I enjoyed Drip Drop in its original Lemon flavor. Recently, the nice folks at Drip Drop contacted me and asked me to review their latest creation, a berry flavored version of the classic ORS.

Drip Drop is an interesting company – evolving not from a beverage company but from a desire to provide an effective rehydration solution for medial uses. The developer hoped to create an effective hydration solution to help solve the crisis of dehydration in developing nations. Through scientific testing, their product line was developed. The sports drink is an extension of their mission to provide great-tasting hydration to everyone.

In the years since my last review, Drip Drop has grown. Now used by the US Special Forces and a variety of elite athletes, its profile as a company and as a hydration solution has evolved. Drip Drop is now available across the country in most Walgreens stores and is becoming a preferred electrolyte drink.

Drip Drop

It worth note, as I said in my last review, that I dislike most salty-sweet electrolyte drinks. I generally don’t like salt and find most all sports drinks a disgusting combination of sweet and salty. Drip Drop is different. It doesn’t try to be sweet. It’s lightly flavored, but in a natural way, not in a “let’s dump in a ton of sugar to cover up the taste way”. The berry flavor Drip Drop is actually quite tasty. Drip Drop contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives and is 98% natural thanks to their proprietary blend of electrolytes and sugars. I enjoy knowing that I’m getting my hydration needs met, but without sugar, coloring, and flavors like “blue ice” added to my drink. The berry flavor is light, more cherry flavored than blueberry flavored and easy to drink. I enjoyed the flavor and found it refreshing. It actually tastes like berries, not sugar pretending to be berries.

Drip Drop is highly effective. I’ve used it during workouts, after workouts, and even when I had the flu. It’s easy to drink, gentle on my stomach, and provides effective hydration. I find that a relatively small amount works well for me and effectively prevents cramps, the first sign of dehydration for me. Given that Drip Drop is a powder that’s easily mixed in water, it’s easy to store, transport, and use on the go. I can slip one foil packet in my race supplies and mix in just what I need – a whole packet for a whole bottle of water, or smaller amounts for cups of water. It’s a great solution.

Overall, I enjoyed my sample of Drip Drop’s berry flavor and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a hydration drink that’s simple, effective, and has a fresh taste. Buy your own on Drip Drop’s site, or at an authorized retailer.

Review and Giveaway: My Race Ragz

When the nice folks at My Race Ragz contacted me about doing a review, I was thrilled. I’m a huge fan of personalization and I think that a personalized anything makes a great gift. Their offer was perfect timing for the holidays – and for me to get some awesome DrRachelRuns gear for winter racing.

My Race Ragz is a custom apparel company that offers printing and embroidery services. What makes My Race Ragz unique is that they will do your printing with no minimum order. Seriously. You can print just one shirt, 10 shirts, 100 shirts, with no small order penalty (if you order more than 10 you do get a nice discount). What’s even better is that all the printing isn’t your average screen printing, it’s done through a dye sublimation process in which the dye is applied directly to the shirt. This ensures that your shirt retains its sweat-wicking properties and that the design never peels off. Super cool.

All printing is done on technical, wicking shirts made of microfiber performance polyester. They offer a wide range of styles for men and women and three fabric types: a 100% Microfiber Performance Mesh, a 100% Smooth Performance Microfiber, and a stretchy 88% Microfiber/12% Spandex blend. The My Race Ragz website has a variety of standard designs available, and users can upload custom art for that one of a kind shirt. Never again will I apply my name to my shirt with electrical tape. When my brother runs his first marathon and I want a shirt that points him out, I won’t have to write on myself in permanent marker. My Race Ragz makes it possible to have just the shirt I want in just the quantity I need.

Creating my custom shirt was easy. I went to the “Create” tab, uploaded the art, centered it, and submitted it. In less than 10 minutes (no kidding), my shirt was off to the printer. I was delighted with what came back.

My Race Ragz shirt

The design was exactly what I had uploaded. The colors are vibrant and the edges are sharp. The design looks exactly as I had hoped it would. The graphics were clear, crisp, and have so far withstood repeated washing in warm water and several trips through the dryer.

My Race Ragz close up

The shirt itself is excellent. It’s a nice quality, a normal thickness, and wicks well. It’s comfortable to wear and easy to layer. The feminine cut and sizing were just right for me. Just a note – the shirt I selected isn’t seamless, so if you’re someone who’s bothered by seams on your running gear, be forewarned. I didn’t find the seams noticeable, but it’s worth note just in case. There are a variety of styles to choose from, including singlets and short sleeve shirts. Overall, I was very impressed with My Race Ragz and will definitely order from them again. The whole process was easy, the shipping was fast, and the shirt is a nice addition to my running wardrobe.

Want to win your very own customizable shirt? Enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: The folks at My Race Ragz offered my a free, customized shirt for the purposes of writing this review. Despite that, the review is honest and the opinions my own.