Monday, October 28, 2013

Fitness Headband Review

I am so excited to write this post. I've been looking forward to it because I am a huge fan of fitness headbands and wear one every single time I workout! I've tried MANY different kinds and I can't wait to my experiences with you so you can make more informed decisions when shopping for your own headbands. 

I'm just going to jump right in. Goody headbands. You know the elastic ones you can get from Walmart, Target, Walgreens etc. I used these for several years before I started experiencing with other brands and learning what was out there. These aren't TERRIBLE, but they definitely fall on the bottom on my list. You can get a pack of several bands in multiple colors for fairly cheap so they are good on a budget or for someone who just kind of dabbles in exercise from time to time and doesn't want to commit to spending more on a hairband. I find that the diameter of these bands tend to vary, I purchased some that seemed too loose to actually hold my hair back, and others were so tight they were uncomfortable enough to give me a headache. It's a gamble, but again very affordable and a good starting place. 

Me and my sister- I'm rocking the Sweatyband

The next band I tried was a Sweatyband. I purchased a personalized one from a local running group and upon the first use I immediately preferred it to the Goody headbands. For awhile every time I ran I was in this same headband. The Sweatybands hold very well. They have a velvet interior, like all the rest of the bands I will review, and did not squeeze my head. Their website offers a good variety of patterns, colors, sayings etc so there is something for everyone. They even have sport specific bands (i.e. soccer, baseball). They are not specifically adjustable but have an elastic strap on the back to fit the average head. The only cons for me is that there are so many options on their webpage that it's somewhat of a daunting task to search through all the different styles and decide where you want to spend your $. The price seems pretty average, about $15 a band. They do offer a 6 pack option where you essentially buy in bulk and save $1 per band. Also, they are pretty thick (1") which is a little wider than I personally like, but they do hold the hair back really well, so it's just a matter of personal preference and may not be an issue for you at all. Overall I do recommend these because they work.

Post-Run with a BondiBand
I seemed to hear about BondiBands all over the place so I decided to purchase one.  Once I got to their website I saw they had a deal, buy 5 for $35 so of course I decided to take advantage of it and get the most for my money. These bands are affordable at $8/band on average. They have lots of different colors, sayings and even some Ragnar specific hands which are pretty darn cool, we all know I'm a huge fan of Ragnar! With that said these bands are pretty darn wide. So wide in fact that I only actually wear them in the winter when my ears need a layer to keep them warm. I know people who tuck the fabric behind their ears and wear them year-round but I just feel like there are better options out there so I probably won't be purchasing any more of these, 5 is enough to have in my collection. They are made of a comfortable lycra fabric though, sweat wicking and like I said good for in the winter, and they do allow you to be sassy....I have one that says "Tough Mother" ;). 

My 2 yr old rocking a BaniBand
I purchased my first 2 BaniBands at the See Jane Run Kids Race this Summer. These have an adjustable strap on the back on them, and a velvet interior so I thought they were perfect race accessories for my girls. They adjust down perfectly to fit even my 2 year old, and of course can fit me :) I haven't used these much simply because of the adjustable feature (laziness) and I found another brand I can just pull on, but I have no complaints about these bands. The few times I have used them they stayed snug and didn't adjust mid-activity (like bra straps slip!). They have patterned bands, glitter bands and then the sequined bands which are the ones I own. These are averaged priced at $15 and looking at their website I just noticed they have come out with a new braided style I'm actually excited to check out (you hear me BaniBand?!). They also offer three options for widths, skinny, medium and wide. So this brand gets a thumbs up from me. 

My friend Tabatha and I in our $6 bands

My Hood to Coast team got together and purchased some of these bulk. They are a decent band for the price. They also have a velvet lining. I've found that the wider band seems to stay on my head better and require less adjusting than the "Double Diva" band I purchased from them. All of their bands are $6-$8 and they have a line of glitter and sequined headbands that look practically identical to the BaniBands. I have not however seen them in person. These bands are also adjustable and I have not had any problems with them slipping during wear. They have some cute novelty bands like "Mustache" and sparkly rhinestone bands. I'm kind of interested in trying out their 360 degree stretch bands and for sure a reasonable price $8 you can't really lose if it lives up to the other bands I've tried from this company. Not my overall favorite, but a good option on a budget. 

Drum Roll Please....

My Sparkly Soul far!
My favorite. I'm starting to build a sparkly soul collection! Ok, cons first because then I will start raving about these. Sparkly Soul has less options than all the brands I've reviewed so far with the excpetion of Goody. Sparkly Soul only has sparkly or satin bands. There are no bands with sayings, patterns etc. It's just sparkles, sparkles, sparkles. With that being said they do have a good selection of colors and I'm hoping they continue to come out with more (I'd love to see coral and sunny yellow!).  Only other con is the price, these are the most expensive coming in at $17 for the 5/8'' band, which is my preferred width, and $15 for the 3/8" skinnies. I love that these are easy to slip on and off with no adjusting required. They fit me great and also kind of fit my 4 year old daughter. They are a little big and do require adjusting from time to time on her smaller head, but they don't immediately slip off and she has worn them in kids races several times. These bands are so comfortable I wear them while working out, cleaning the house, and I just bought a plain black satin that looks nice enough to wear to work and still look professional. I also really appreciate how fast sparkly soul ships out their orders. I always get an order confirmation right away and if I order a week day they always ship out the next morning. I ordered Columbus Day (Monday) and got the headbands in the mail from NY on Friday for the flat rate of $3.99. They also seem durable. I got my first sparkly soul in June and wore it constantly for a few weeks until I ordered another headband and have continued to wear it on and off since and it hasn't stretched out or lost any sparkle. These are easy to wash by hand, just hang to dry as I do with all my bands.

My oldest daughter and I in SparklySoul!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Just had to explain to my husband....

Just had to explain to my husband that reading my blog feed and salivating over others running experiences is serious shit! I have been catching up on my blog roll from bloggers I love to stalk follow and this computer keeps freezing, SO FRUSTRATING!

Now that that's off my chest I kind of want to fill everyone in on what I have, and have not, been up to lately. My mileage for the month of September increased slightly from the previous two months, but so far October I've been back in the slumps. As of this afternoon I've logged 14 miles this month. Picture me twirling my finger, rolling my eyes and yelling "Whoopie!" Half of it has been laziness mixed with a hectic schedule...the other half is this calf issue I've been fighting...

I went to a chiropractor specializing in sports rehabilitation yesterday. I felt like a big 'ol complainer filling out the forms. I listed EVERYTHING that bothers me even if it wasn't relating to my main concern. I'm glad I did because the Dr. spent over an hour stretching, cracking, pushing and pulling me back into sorts. I was right when I guessed that my posterior tibial tendon was flaring up again. Apparently it's tight on both sides but the right is the only one that bothers me when running and going up stairs/hills. It starts off as a dull ache and then by the end of a run my whole calf is burning and just feels tired. REALLY tired. After she addressed that with some active release method she pulled my leg back into place? I guess my hip, knee and ankle weren't aligned properly...I'm breaking down and all outta whack...good to know :( After the lower body stuff she worked on my right arm. For as long as I can remember typing for a long period of time, playing net sports, carrying heavy objects causes pain in my right forearm. I call it muscle pain but she told me that there are 4 places in the arm where nerves can be pinched...I was the lucky owner of all 4 of those places pinching! She started getting into those muscles and wowza it hurt. I didn't know if I was going to make it through the whole exercise but I was excited to see how it felt when she was done. It felt a little better but of course it will take a few treatments to be "normal". I don't think I know what that feels like for my right arm. It's ALWAYS been this way for as long as I can remember. 

Picture from today- I need a new jacket so badly. All my pics are in this one! LOL
I ditched my friends this morning on our long run due to heavy legs and a fear of getting out there and feeling miserable and slow. I know just logging the miles is all that counts but I hate that I'm slower (and fatter) than this spring/summer and as my friends get faster it's getting harder and harder for me to catch up. Every run seems to be at 90% max effort and I just can't maintain that for 8 milers right now. Anyway I ran 2 miles today, it was kind of hilly so my calf hurt. Pace wise I stayed at a 9:40 avg so it wasn't bad but just felt hard to maintain it. Hard to imagine that not even a year ago I ran a whole half marathon at a 9:35 pace. Whew. Got to get back to that. 

P.S. I volunteered at the Poulsbo Marathon last Sunday and got to hand out medals at the finish line. So much fun. Go volunteer at a local race, if you run races you NEED to give back! ;)