Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Mercedes-Benz commercial

Just a quick post to share a neat video I ran across:

Here's a link to a new Mercedes-Benz commercial that features (and clearly focuses on multiple times throughout the ad) a barefoot runner!

The marketing connection being a raw experience and the best 'feel' for the road you can get - neat spot!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Product Review 4: Zensah Compression Shirt

Compression Shirt

This I didn’t get at all. A compression shirt? For running? Uh… ok? I’m not bench pressing, I’m not pushing people around, why do I want to wear a compression Shirt to run? But I thought, what the heck, I’ll give it a go.
(*note: some people say that wearing a compression shirt increases the blood flow in your upper body, ie your heart, and also helps with fluid retention on long runs – I am not reviewing on said basis)
Here’s what I did find: the Zensah top, just like the shorts, was perfectly seamless! No seams, no lines, no tags, nothing – it was like wearing second skin. A+. Secondly, along with the second skin fit brought the smoothest arm glide I’d ever had (just like glass - zero chafe or even resistance). Also, the top wasn’t hot. My biggest concern was that it would roast me (I’m one of ‘those’ runners who always runs shirtless), but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t. The moisture wicking was truly second to none, and everything I wear is dri-fit. The top handled moisture wicking better than anything I’ve worn to date (which, of course, helped a lot in keeping cool). The shirt was a compression fit (I looked just like one of those Under Armour models…. Or something…. ;) ), but it fit in such a way (well done Zensah) that it did not restrict body movement at all.
Lastly, I ran on my lunch break wearing the shirt, got back in my office, peeled the shirt off of me and threw it in the corner behind one of my chairs and…. Forgot it. I was already dreading the funk that would knock me over when I opened the door to my office the next morning… but it wasn’t there. I went and picked up the shirt, nothing. After sweating in it on an extremely hot day, and it doing such a good job of pulling all that moisture off me to the outside of the top, it didn’t smell – very neat trick (I wish I could say the same for my fivefingers…)

Product Review 3: Zensah Base Layer Compression Short

Compression Shorts

The shorts were the second thing I was really interested in. Following what compression is stated to do, faster recovery and better blood flow in your quads and hamstrings sounded good to me.

The Zensah compression shorts felt great! They weren’t too hot (though obviously a bit hotter than a plain pair of running shorts with a liner). What amazed me about the shorts was that there is honestly not a single seam in the entire pair. Not a seam, not a crease, not a tag, nothing. It was smooth all over – slick and comfy. What this does is provide excellent comfort, nothing rubs or irritates, and provides perfect glide between your legs (zero chafe). The compression in the shorts was by far the least intense, to the point that I wondered if it was compressing at all (and I have fairly large thighs and ordered the S/M) – the entire short is basically invisible, you just put it on and forget it’s there.
(*NOTE: what I didn’t realize at first is that the shorts I received were designed to do exactly what I just said – provide extremely mild compression while offering a zero chafe short and better temperature management. Zensah makes a ‘High Compression Short’ – the ones I’m reviewing are the ‘Mild’ short).

My other point on the short was (one that will be quite unique to me) that I ordered a s/m and, as towering presence of 5’ 6” (rawr!), they were a bit long ;) On me, the s/m length came down to my patella, completely covering the knee if I pulled them down all the way. I had to roll/bunch them up a bit to get them to sit above my knee – but again, I’m 5 foot 6 inches… that will Not be a problem for 90% of you, but worth mentioning.

Product Review 2: Zensah Compression Socks

Compression Socks

I did a couple of things with the Zensah compression socks. As I don’t usually wear traditional shoes running, I had to find a pair to run in (The TerraPlana VIVOBAREFOOT Neo – which I will be reviewing soon). On the run the socks felt great and actually didn’t have the usual negative ‘side effects’ of wearing socks: they stayed put, with no bunching, sliding, rolling, etc. They fit tight, but not restrictively (I Loved that they were compression based all the way around the foot – I hate loose socks!), and they didn’t get wet! Sweat was nonexistent (like good dri-fit); it was so dry that I intentionally ran through a deep puddle to get them wet and test out their drying and within a very short distance I couldn’t tell they’d ever been damp (90+ degree TN heat helps!).

Secondly, I washed the socks (and saw No change in elasticity/compression or fit) and then on my next long run I used the calf sleeves during the run, came home, showered, and then put the socks on and wore them for the remainder of the evening and slept in them all night. Again, compression was good, but after a few minutes, you don’t even notice they are there and they didn’t affect my night’s sleep at all. What I found was that the next morning when I got up, I rolled out of bed, stretched, and took the socks off and found myself good to go – no DOMS.

Though I did really like the socks, as I said, I don’t usually run in shoes (I usually run barefoot in my VFFs) what I think works great is the above model: wear the sleeves during the run and the socks post-run for recovery.

Product Review 1: Zensah Compression Calf Sleeves

Compression Calf Sleeves

Here’s what I found:
The calf sleeves were the 1 piece of compression gear I was most interested in as (running barefoot or in VFF) my calves often suffer from DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). The Zensah sleeve fit great! The height was perfect and I could tell that it had elasticity built in to allow for varying lengths (knee to ankle). I was very happy with the level of compression as well – it Did compress (and I could feel Zensah’s ‘gradient compression’) but it did Not squeeze. What I’ve found is that many ‘cheap’ compression companies just squeeze you to death and call it a day, which hurts, restricts movement, restricts bloodflow, etc. But in the Zensah, the fit was extremely comfortable.
Also, they stayed put! I never once had to bend down and pull them back up where they had slid down (or down to get them where I wanted on my ankle) – they fit like second skin!
Not only did they feel comfortable, but I do feel that it did reduce my post race soreness as well as DOMS, allowing me to recover quicker.

Product reviews... it starts....

As an introduction, I will periodically be posting these reviews of various products and brands.
At the end (a few months), I will publish all of the reviews in a PDF and make that available to anyone who wishes.

Note that I am reviewing products that I have done a good bit of research on First before including them in my list of products to review so I am anticipating most all of the products will receive favorable feedback (these are not 'blind' tests).
Also, all reviews will be posted here on my blog, on The Barefoot Runners Society, and on my facebook page as well (The blog will include all the pictures)

As most people know, Compression gear is meant to increase blood flow (and some say ‘squeeze’ out lactic acid) and improve performance while aiding with recovery.

Admittedly, I was a bit of a skeptic on compression gear as it seemed, on the surface, to be a bit fad driven and followed the thought I’m trying to get people away from (‘you’d run better if you Just had _X_ product!’).

With that said, I began thinking about how each time I had to have knee surgery (6 times…) I had to wear compression sleeves on my legs to reduce swelling and save me from blot clots – by increasing blood flow/circulation… so I decided to give compression a true go and put several types, brands, and lines to the test; starting with Zensah:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Product reviews update:

Over the next couple of months I'll be placing product reviews on this blog to celebrate this 2011 running 'season'.

So far I have products lined up from:
CEP (compression gear)
Zensah (compression gear)
Polar Bottles (bottles ;) )
Opedix (New "Knee saving" compression tights)
Stem Footwear (Casual minimalist 'barefoot' shoes)
Recofit (compression gear)
VIVOBAREFOOT (Terra Plana) (Neo - their newest minimalist running shoe)
Altra (Adam - their newest ultra minimalist running 'shoe')
Asics (Piranha III racing flat)
Vibram (VFF) (KSO, KSO Trek, and Bikila)
Nike (Running shorts and dri-fit tops)
Merrell (Trail Glove minimalist running shoe)
iMapMyRun (GPS run tracking app)

Each review will provide pictures, thoughts, pros and cons, how they stack up for barefoot/minimalist specific, etc.

If anyone thinks of any more brands/products they would like to see reviewed, please let me know and I'll see what we can do!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trail Running pictures!

Wow... so usually I'm a road runner, just because I've never run trails before and it's so much easier to just jump out the front door and take off.
Last weekend I had a chance to go trail running in Pickett State Park and it was Beautiful!!! Man... I think I've caught the bug!

Here are a few shots:

To see all the pictures, check out the gallery (19 shots):

all photos were taken with a cell phone (I was carrying for the GPS tracker).

Share your photos - let's see 'em!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Product Reviews:

Good morning all!

I am currently in the process of launching a product review panel for all of you.
It will include professional reviews for everyone to read over, product pictures, thoughts, etc.

The list of companies to review on the docket right now include:

Under Armour

Fuel Belt


The Daily Mile

What specific companies or products would you be interested in seeing reviews for?