Tested Tough Columbia Clothing

When I was a kid/youth growing up I had many items made by Columbia: jackets, ski pants and their head to toe old fashion yellow rain suit. I used that all the time as an outdoor ed instructor until it felt apart beyond repair. I loved their stuff so I was really excited to test out some new clothing recently.

Last month I was approached by Columbia Canada to review some clothing and participate in Mud Hero Halifax, however the timing wasn’t right and I couldn’t do the event. I’ve done Mud Hero a few years back and had a blast so was disappointed when I couldn’t participate. Even though I couldn’t do it, they still provided some clothing for me to review!

Columbia Tested Tough

Tested Tough.jpg

Shimmering Light Racerback Tank (Blue/Green)

I put this tank on right away and loved how soft the fabric felt. Even my girls thought it was “so soft” too. It’s really comfortable and I enjoy wearing during yoga or hiking…actually, just around the house a lot too. It’s perfect for our hot summer days we are having lately.

Facts: It’s 94% polyester / 6% elastane jacquard, Inner Bra: 86% polyester, 14% elastane,
Outer Bra: 94% polyester, 6% elastane. It has OMNI-WICK® High-Performance Wicking Fabric {Moisture-wicking fabric moves perspiration away from the skin to dry quickly on the surface}, 4-way comfort stretch and is an active fit.

hiking with the girls tested tough

Shimmering Light Tank (Pink)

This by far is my favourite item. I’ve worn it to work, on the weekends and out walking. It’s super light and comfortable. I love that I can wear it with a skirt for work or shorts on the weekend. The open back is my favourite and I like that the opening is big enough but doesn’t show my bra. I may have worn this shirt once a week (okay twice sometimes) since I got it. I seriously love it.

Facts: It’s 94% polyester / 6% elastane jacquard; has OMNI-WICK® High-Performance Wicking Fabric {Moisture-wicking fabric moves perspiration away from the skin to dry quickly on the surface}, 4-way comfort stretch and is an active fit.

pink tank dress up down

Women’s Titan Peak Short

These shorts did not disappoint. Before kids we used to go paddling and camping a lot…something we are trying (albeit slowly)…or wanting to get back into. These shorts would be perfect for both. Again, I’ve worn them to work, walking,while coaching soccer, hiking and just every day. These have been another staple this summer, are super light, great for traveling in the car to PEI last week and dried quickly when I got them wet. The pockets stood out with the bright coloured zip and the belt was a bonus.

Facts: “This lightweight and technical performance Titanium short is crafted of 4-way comfort stretch fabric with built in Omni-Shield™ advanced repellency and Omni-Shade™ UPF 50 sun protection. Designed with the serious thru-hiker in mind, the flattering Titan Peak will become your go-to short this summer”.

green tank and shorts

Vent N Vent Slip {Shoe}

These poor shoes! I originally requested a size 8.5 since that’s what I’ve been wearing in shoes lately but they didn’t fit. I had to send them back for a size 8 which was no problem for Columbia (thank you) but there was another mix up and they sent size 8.5 again. We got it all sorted and I’m glad we did as they are really comfortable shoes not to mention lightweight and cute. I don’t own anything like them so I figured why not give them a try. I like how simple they look but fun at the same time. They are really easy to slip on and kept me comfortable all day. I’m a big fan of blue but this is my first pair of “blue shoes” and that I can wear them to work, at home or out and about.

Facts: “Classic slip-on styling and aptly placed midsole vents turn this casual, comfy low top into a warm-weather style statement. The women’s Vulc N Vent Slip-On Shoe features a soft, washed-canvas upper, a vented midsole and sockliner to keep fresh air flowing underfoot, and a soft, full-length EVA-foam foot-bed for cushy, all-day comfort”. Weight: 6.8oz or 200g.

Shoes Tested Tough

Lots of great stuff from Columbia that I’m looking forward to wearing this summer in pretty much any atmosphere. Thank you Columbia Canada for providing the clothing and shoes, all opinions are my own.

For more awesome Columbia items, check out their website here: Columbia Canada.

Do you wear have go to clothing in the summer heat?

Can you wear “workout” clothing to work occasionally, all the time or never?

Do you pair your workout clothing with work day clothing at all like me?

 

Let’s Get Physiclo, Physiclo!

Recently I was approached by Physiclo to test out a pair of their running pants. I was able to choose between full pants or capris and I figured with the upcoming spring/summer temps, capris would be best.

What is Physiclo?

“These one-of-a-kind compression capris feature built-in resistance technology to make your workouts more productive than ever. Whether you’re running, cycling, or squatting, amplify your normal routine with a pair of Physiclo resistance capris and prepare to feel the burn. These functional workout capris are sleek, breathable, and designed to make you work harder with every step. The inner elastic layers act like resistance bands around your legs, helping you get stronger, fitter, faster” ~Physiclo

april 20th run

My Thoughts

When they arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find a shirt in the box with the size Large capris, which I wore on my first run. These pants are no joke! I found them challenging to put on but managed okay. The resistance bands on on the inside so you don’t see them but you can feel them. First, they felt odd but once I got running I almost didn’t notice the resistance bands.

To be completely honest, I was running super-fast with these capris on…even uphills. It was the fasted km’s I had run in a long time. What it the pants? Or was it me? Well, after a conversation with Frank (Co-founder)– it wasn’t the pants, it was me. They are supposed to make running harder not easier.

I also wasn’t too sure about the waist band and felt like they would fall down while I was running (remember, I had received a size large). If I bent over, they kind of rolled down so I’d have to pull them up again. I also found they had too much material for me in the front and would bunch. I had a conversation with Frank and he felt that I really should have gone with a size medium and sent that size off to me. Time to compare!

 

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

The medium pants arrived (with another t-shirt) and I gave the pants a go for a second time. Now, this time the capris were REALLY hard to get on. {Picture putting on your pants with no hands – that’s how I felt}. I don’t have slim legs and have what I could call a plump butt, so I really wasn’t sure I was even going to get these things on my legs.

The key to these pants is to remember they are compression pants AND have resistance bands in them at the hip/thigh area. I felt like I was doing a dance to get these pants on…lunges…squats even. It sure was entertaining but I got them on and they fit way better, no bunching and didn’t feel like they would fall down. But, I did.

This run was harder than the first run I did. My mind and body just wanted to go but physically, I just couldn’t go any faster. The resistance bands did exactly what they were supposed to do. After my run, I felt great but the next day my legs felt more tired/sore than normal. I also found the waist-band on the medium pants “just not enough”.

I had a few more conversations with Frank and said that the waist-band seemed to short or thin. Almost not high enough on the waist. He said they had similar feedback and thought about putting more material there and a zipper on the side. I figure any company that is willing to take feedback (consistently) and make improvements is dedicating to making a solid product.

Overall, I liked these capris. They are pricey at $95-$125 US but if you are serious about using tools/equipment to improve your running, fitness etc., these would be a good addition. Will I wear them again? Yes, but not on all my runs. For me, I think I will like them best on shorter runs between 5 – 8k and will more than likely use them weekly.

Pro’s:

  • Comfortable while running
  • Provide resistance to your runs
  • Solid material (durable)
  • A company willing to work with you.

Con’s:

  • Hard to get on.
  • Sizing was a little tricky to figure out (but I find that is the case with many online shopping sizing).

For more information check out Physiclo here Please note: these are strictly my opinions and thoughts. Thank you Physiclo for providing the capris product to review.

Would you give these a try?

Do you use compression pants/capris/shorts when you run/workout?

 

Manitoba Hemp Heart Bars {Contest & Review}

Lately it seems as if I can’t get a hold on my hunger especially after I run. I’m just rungry all the time. I’ve been doing my best to eat “good for you foods” but as life goes on, that doesn’t always happen.

As part of being a Sweat Pink Ambassador with Fit Approach, I had the opportunity to test out the Manitoba Hemp Heart Bars! I can’t lie, I LOVED the Apple Cinnamon bar. They filled me up when I needed the extra fuel.

IMG_20160120_074539_edit

What are they?

They are these soft bars filled with hemp hearts and yummy other ingredients. Manitoba Harvest whipped up three different delicious flavours to choose from: vanilla, chocolate and apple cinnamon. Each 45 gram bar contains 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegas, so whether you grab one for a pre-workout snack or nutrition on the go, these convenient bars are sure to get you through even your busiest day.

IMG_20160119_173302_edit

What I liked about them:

  • Super soft.
  • Lots of protein.
  • Not overly processed with crap.
  • Great as a snack or after a workout when you need a little something
  • Loved the taste of the Apple Cinnamon bar – my favourite.
  • They are also vegan….no I didn’t let my husband try them…whoops!

What I didn’t like about them:

  • The Vanilla and Chocolate lacked flavour; kind of bland.
  • That’s it.

Nutrition Content:

MH_HH_Bar_AC_45g_NFP_2015-10-02

You can check out more at their website here: Manitoba Harvest 

PHOTO CONTEST:

You can win!!! Join this contest by tagging @manitobaharvest #hempheartbar #fuelledbyhemp #sweatpink @fitapproach on Instagram or Twitter for a chance to win a box of your favorite flavor of Hemp Heart Bars! Photos do not need to include Manitoba Harvest products, but of course it’s fabulous if they do.

Eligibility: open to US and Canada residents. Full contest details are here

Also: You can use this discount code hhbarlaunch1015 will get you 15% off! Expires 3/31/2016. 

Have you tried Hemp Heart Bars?

What’s your favourite go-to bar?

Which flavour would you want to try?

Note: I was provided this opportunity through Fit Approach as part of being a Sweat Pink Ambassador; all opinions are my own.

Also the photos taken are terrible but I didn’t realise this until after all the bars were consumed 😦 Blogger fail….apparently my eyes are failing me.

Night Runner 270 Lights {Review}

I’ve been lighting up the pathways lately 😉 Well, my feet have been with the Night Runner 270 lights I received a few weeks ago. I’m going to say this upfront – THESE.ARE.AWESOME!

NRLights on Shoes

It’s been getting dark earlier here and I’m still trying to run at night and early in the morning for my long runs. I’ve been wearing lots of reflective gear lately: vest, wrist pieces and clothing with reflective strips on them. The Night Runner 270 lights are the newest addition to my running.

The first night I tested them out I quickly put the lights on my sneakers after following the directions and was good to go! I was surprised at how easy it was to attach them to my runners. It was still fairly light outside when I started my run and I ran my normal 5k route in my subdivision. There were people out walking their dogs and children playing road hockey – can’t get more Canadian then that, eh!

When I passed the kids playing hockey, they turned to me and said “LOOK at her shoes” with surprised faces. I had a little laugh to myself and kept running. As it was getting darker the lights were making a noticeable difference in the ground in front of me. As my run progressed, so did the dark sky and I was running in complete darkness only able to see the ground in front of me with the aid of these lights.

PicMonkey Collage

A few runs later I was scheduled to do my 18k long run on my own. It was extremely dark out at 6 am and I felt like the Night Runner 270 lights gave me a little more confidence. It made running in the dark a little safer.

Now the facts:

  • Two ultra-light LED light units
  • Back-facing red lights
  • 4-8 hour battery life
  • Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • 150 total lumens (2 units)
  • 30+ meters in beam distance
  • Bi-lateral ‘wing’ design
  • Water-resistant unit
  • Secure, stable, multi-position shoelace clips
  • Free US Shipping (4-7) days
  • International Shipping – Flat rate $9.95 (7-25 days)
  • The patent pending bi-lateral ‘wing’ design features 270 degrees of visibility in front of the runner and two red ​tailights facing behind.

What I liked:

  • Easy to turn on/off.
  • They are easy to charge.
  • Easy to use (put on and take off sneakers).
  • Made me feel “seen” by oncoming traffic in the dark.
  • Charger wires and lights can be stored in a bag so you don’t lose them.
  • I like how I could see the uneven ground in front of me and what was coming up ahead.
  • Extremely light weight. I often forgot they were attached to my shoes a while after I had turned off the lights.
  • I also thought it was funny that I could see any reflective signs (stop signs, street signs) as I run. They light up far in advance to the point that I thought something else was lighting them up.

What I didn’t like:

  • To be 100% honest, there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about them. As mentioned I often forgot they were on my shoe when not turned on.
  • I wish I could buy them at a local store, however you can purchase them online.

I need to back up a bit and share this with you. When I opened the box and tried them on in my house I had many thoughts go through my head. Everything from “sweet these will be awesome when the lights go out” to “I wondering if I can use them this winter to shovel the snow in my driveway. Seriously, I even thought that I could pay night-time tag with the girls in the house – could you imagine! No, they have yet to see how they work but once they do I know they will want to try them out 😉

To learn more about Night Runner 270 lights you can find it on social media here:

What do you think about these lights for running (or walking)?

Would these lights help your running?

Do you feel safe running in the dark?

Note: Thank you to Night Runner 270 for providing me your product to review. You have definitely change they way I run now.

Cordskinz Review & Giveaway

I’m not very good at listening to music when I run outside. This could be the fact that I haven’t downloaded/uploaded any music to my little Ipod in a few years! Eekkk!!! Or maybe I just like to run and not hear anything, however at races I LOVE hearing music pumping along the course as it gives me a little extra boost that I need sometimes!

When I run on my treadmill I always watch a show on my tablet therefore I need my headphones. I always leave them on my treadmill so I don’t lose them or the girls pick them up and think they can play with them; a classic way of losing stuff.  A while back I was given a pair of Cordskinz to try out!

I don’t have fancy headphones and the ones I use are for my Ipod but they work AND they get tangled as do other pairs I’ve had in the past. It happens! They are plain white so I chose to put the violet Cordskinz on and make them look spiffy, I think!

cordz

The Cordskinz are super easy to put on – they supply a little blue skinner tool and directions on how to do so. They keep my headphones neat when I’m not using them and haven’t been tangled since I put them on!

Two thumbs up!

You can find out more about Cordskinz on their website here: http://cordskinz.com/  They are made in the USA, cost $9.99 and come in a variety of colours or colors if you are in the US 🙂

They sent me a few pairs and said I could do a giveaway with them. So, I’m going to give two sets away – specifically these set:

One is violet and one is pink!

IMG_20150526_213111

Violet & Pink

 

Fill out the rafflecopter –> a Rafflecopter giveaway  <– and two winners will be chosen on Tuesday June 2nd! Open to anyone that I can mail it to, anywhere – I must be able to email you or tag you on twitter to connect and get your mailing address. If I don’t hear from the winners within 2 days, I will pick another winner.

Do you listen to music when you run?

Ever get your headphones so tangled up you pitch them?

How many headphones, ear buds have you gone through?

Dr. Jordan Metzl’s Running Strong Book {Review}

I recently had the opportunity to read ingest Dr. Jordan’ Metzl’s new book called “Running Strong”. The Sports Doctor’s Complete Guide To Staying Healthy & Injury-Free For Life”! When this book first arrived on my doorstep, I was alone with the girls as my husband was away that day working. Once we got in the house I quickly opened the package, saw the book and opened it up to this page:

Dr. J M hamstring PR

Hamstring foam rolling exercises.

It couldn’t be more appropriate! As you know, I’ve been battling a hamstring injury that occurred in December while playing soccer. Then it got worse with running and I started my medical treatment in January. It’s been a LONG…L-O-N-G road. I’ve read this book from beginning to end and back again. It’s not only what my body (hamstring) needed but my mind as well.

Dr. Jordan Metzl is a sports medicine physician, an 12 x Ironman (finisher) a 32 x Marathon runner AND a fitness instructor of IronStrength!

THE BOOK: It’s broken up into 5 sections:  {I made notes as I was that invested in the book}

Dr. Jordan Metzl's book PR

PART 1: Nuts & Bolts

The key take away from this section for me was 1) Foam roll every day and 2) Sleep and 3) Pay attention to your pain. There was more to this section but I can’t give it all away.

PART 2: Uh-oh: What’s That Pain?

This is the largest section of the book and focuses on the body from your feet to your upper body. Dr. Metzl explains why we get hurt and how we can correct what we are doing. There are pictures with bones, ligaments etc. to show where the pain is coming from; describes symptoms and stretches and workouts to do. He then goes on to tell you what to do to recovery and then prevent it in the future. I’m currently turning the pages in the “hips, groin and glutes” over and over again as that’s my problem area. This will be my running bible!

PART 3: Getting The Most from Your Machine

In this section Dr. Metzl shares his “IronStrength Workout for Runners”.  You bet I’ll be doing this workout once a week starting very soon, I just hope I survive it 🙂 Again, this is filled with images of the workout and foam rolling/stretching techniques. He even goes into the Science of Running Physiology, which I’m 100% interested in. This is at a level that I feel I can comprehend and learn from to improve my running.

PART 4: Tools of the Trade 

What’s important for runners? Food, and equipment! I know this is a section that I can learn a lot from. My food intake is about 70% good and the rest not so good. He talks about super foods, eating to run, for races and leaves you with tips for healthy eating. Good Shoes and Cool Clothing are another topic he goes into. Good shoes are key as is appropriate clothing and SUNSCREEN should never be forgotten!

PART 5: His & Hers

Dr. Metzl talks about a little about running and pregnancy and provides 9 tips. Stinky feet and bloody nipples starts off the men’s section…I’m going to leave it at that 😉

Appendix:

He provides multiple training plans (5k, 10k, 1/2 and Full Marathon) for the beginner, intermediate and advanced runner. Going to give these training plans a test out for some future races.

Other:

Throughout the book there is various stories of athletes that had an injury and what they did to recovery from that injury. It makes it feel more real. Why? Well for me, they are true stories that I could related to from years of soccer, running and other sports I grew up playing. On top of the great information there is a Blipp APP throughout the book. Once downloaded to your mobile device, you can link from the page in the book to video’s on-line! Kinda sweet, eh!

Changes I’ve made since receiving this book:

  • I do squats every day (even when I don’t have time for my PT exercises).
  • I’m not so investing in running 100% running all the time like I was last year.
  • I am introducing consistent cross training (IronStrength, Yoga, DVD workouts that I used to do)
  • I foam roll EVERY DAY now (not just when I run).

A few other key points I learned (and yes wrote down):

  1. “It’s pure hell – physically & emotionally – when you’re injured and can’t run”. I figure this one out months ago, it sure hit home. 
  2. “Daily exercise – even when you’re injured – IS the best medicine”. Must remember.
  3. “If running is your only activity; you have strength imbalance”.

I loved the book and highly recommend it to all runners. For more information on Dr. Jordan Metzl’s you can find it on his website drjordanmetzl.com ; along with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  You can purchase the book here. Trust me, you’ll want to add this to your collection.

Please note, I was provided this book to do a review from Runner’s World; all opinions are my own. Thank you Runner’s World 🙂 

Ever have a book change your life?

Ever want to highlight the entire book?

Have you checked out Dr. Jordan Metzl’s book yet? (It will change your running/life.)

Manitoba Hemp Hearts Review & Giveaway (US & CAN)

For the last month or so I’ve been adding these little hemp hearts to almost everything I eat! Manitoba Hemp Hearts to be exact!

I add them to smoothies, yogurt and granola, salads, you name it and I usually add them into the meal! I’m not going to lie, I was a little unsure before I tried them as I thought they would be really grainy.

hemp hearts

After trying them the first time, I actually really liked them. They are soft and taste good. Not grainy or hard like I thought they might be. I liked them so much that I went and bought a big bag from our local grocery store.

I plan on using them in some other foods I make: banana bread, no bake energy bites (I’ve altered my recipe and will share soon) and in the Oh She Glow’s granola bars I make. These are definitely a daily eat for me now.

What are hemp hearts?

Hemp Hearts are shelled hemp seeds.

Fun facts:

  • At the ‘heart’ of all our hemp foods is the Hemp Heart (aka raw shelled hemp seed).
  • Hemp Hearts contain 10 grams of omegas per 30 gram serving
  • Hemp Hearts are a complete vegetarian protein
  • Hemp Hearts contain 10 grams of protein per 30 grams servings
  • Hemp Hearts are hypoallergenic
  • Hemp Hearts are Non-GMO Project Verified

You can check out their website at Manitoba Hemp Hearts and find recipes there too!

To enter the contest please…

  1. Followed @ManitobaHarvest on Instagram 
  2. Followed @ManitobaHarvest on Twitter 

BONUS entries:

  1. Followed @Piper’s Run on Instagram 
  2. Followed @Piper’s Run on Twitter 

LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY. Contest is open to those in the US and CANADA! Contest is open Wednesday March 4th until Monday March 9th, Atlantic Standard Time. 

 I was provided Manitoba Hemp Hearts as part of a review with FitApproach.