Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Test of Time (Follow-Up Product Reviews!)

I have reviewed many things on this blog, and I have enjoyed trying all of them.  Many of the items are self-purchases, while some are sent to me... but it has always been about informing people who randomly search "review for X" on Google, since I do that very often myself.

This blog is more than six years old, so I thought it would be fun to recap some of the items that have lasted "the test of time."  Pretend it's like "Oprah's Favorite Things," without the extravagant audience freebies.

I was planning on including items that have fallen by the wayside, but this entry is already too long.  I think I will save it for a future post.

Passed the Test

1) CLIF Builder's Bars

After years and many bars tried, I still eat regular CLIF Bars and Larabars on occasion.  Nowadays, I only have the Builder's version in my pantry.  These serve as protein-filled meal supplements (20g), airplane food, and post-race-I-don't-feel-like-eating-a-meal-quite-yet-food.  I actually like most of the flavors, including the newer ones, except lemon.  Plus, it helps that they are widely available, even at many gas stations.

2) Adidas Clima365 Hat

This hat has lasted through my washing machine and covers my head from the sun without getting as hot as a darker-colored hat would.  I dropped it in a puddle of mud during a marathon, and you can't tell.  "The Ukrainian" still wears his, too.

3) C9 Sports Bra

I still wear Target sports bras... pretty much all of mine are from there.  Sadly, I think I still wear many of the same ones I did at the time I wrote my initial review... hmmm.

4) Nike Fit-Dri Capris (and shorts!)

Purchased at the last-minute out of necessity, it's still my go-to in cooler weather conditions (e.g., LA Marathon).  I don't think I have EVER chafed when wearing these.  I think I have only thrown this in the washing machine once or twice ever (and no dryer!)-- all the other washes were by hand... just to be safe and frugal.

Another Nike go-to, which I never reviewed by wear to races often (from this year alone, click here, here, and here for some pictorial proof), is a pair of shorts that my sister got me for my birthday last year.

Finally the last of the Nike parade, my brother-in-law got me a Nike Shoe Wallet a number of years ago.  I had little use for it at the time, but nowadays, I use it all the time when I'm running around my place.

5) Almond Breeze and Silk PureAlmond

After realizing that these almond milks are NOT meant to be a protein source or a one-for-one substitute for cow's milk, I grew to like them a lot and have some with my oatmeal almost every time.  Sometimes, I go for generic versions of these from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.  To me, almond milk is just the most economical option, especially after recently finding them in a 6-pack case at Costco!

6) Sleep Number p6 Bed Set

I can't forget about this, since I still sleep in it.  I have minimal body aches from sleeping these days, except for my neck, but that's a pillow issue that I'm still working out.  Oh, and it's hard to get out of bed on the weekdays, but perhaps that is just me getting older rather than the bed being comfortable.

7) Honey Stinger

Though I'm not a big fan of the gels, and only because I don't like the taste or straight-up honey, the organic lime-ade caffeinated chews have become a race-day MUST for me.  They don't have a lingering taste, they give me a gentle burst of energy, are portable, and haven't bothered my stomach at all.  Plus, the waffles (see the newer chocolate flavor below) are good, though I admittedly don't snack on them as often as "The Ukrainian" does.

Basically, eating these chews have replaced gels during races, though if I do take them, it's usually CLIF or GU.  And while I do sometimes drink whatever sport drink is on the course, the one that I have found most effective is Vega Sport Optimizer, though I don't use it often due to cost.  I recently started experimenting with Nuun, too, but since I don't run as much anymore, it's taking me longer to review it -- so stay tuned.

8) Sunwarrior Protein Powder

This is one of the few blog-hyped things that is still worth purchasing, to me.  I recently had to replace my 2lb bag... I think I'm on my third or fourth bag.  Now that I'm more consistent with taking protein after workouts, I will probably go through this one faster.  To me, it's worth the extra cost over other proteins because it is palatable (even mixed with just water) and vegan, without extra scary stuff at GNC.  Also, I must note that I still use my Blender Bottle to mix it.

9) Jillian Michaels DVDs

Although I started doing Beachbody DVDs, I still think Jillian's workouts are more than enough for staying in shape and are really cheap to buy online.  I don't really think you can go wrong with any of them, though I mostly still do No More Trouble Zones and Ripped in 30.  On the topic of DVDs, I think it's too soon for me to say anything about Insanity, but I do imagine it'd appear in the next installment of these follow-ups.

10) Saucony shoes

After trying different running shoe brands, I have finally settled on Saucony.  The ProGrid Stabil and Hurricanes are the ones I alternate between at the moment.

11) The Happy Herbivore cookbook

Although I don't bust this out all the time, I do cook the "cheater pad thai," biscuits, and other random dishes often enough to list this on here.  I have the sequel to this book, but I find that the original is best.

12) Garmin 405

Though I rarely wear GPS on my runs these days (prefer to use a heart-rate monitor to gauge exertion, quickly becoming a new favorite), anytime I'm on an unknown route long enough for me to care, this comes along.  And of course, I've worn it to the vast majority of races I've run.  In the end, a worth investment, and I don't regret getting this model.  Even with sweaty-hand-bezel issues, I still find it much nicer than the boxier models.

13) Amphipod Handheld Watter Bottle

Anytime I'm running a lot these days, I bring this bottle with me.  I ran a marathon with it, and I don't think it slowed me down overall, since I really needed that hydration!  The little zippered pocket is perfect for storing extra fuel.

14) iFitness Belt

This is the belt that holds all my stuff during races.  It stays mostly put and holds quite a lot, so I really have no complaints about it!  Plus, it has held up in rainy weather and protected my stuff from too much moisture.

15) Water Bobble

This always comes with me whenever I stay in a hotel or have to fly.  I love that I can fill it with water from fountains and still drink clean (to me) water!  It leaks a little sometimes, but I find that's more from airplane cabin pressure than anything else.

16) Endurance Bag

"The Ukrainian" still uses his all the time.  From gym-going to trips, he brings this bag along because it really does hold everything.  Since I don't go to the gym much anymore, I don't use it, but for non-flight trips, this is my go-to bag.

17) Sony W-Series mp3 Player

On MOST of my runs these days, I use my iPod, but anytime I run a race, I opt for this one because without wires, I often forget I have it on!  Having little space used to be a bugger, but this actually keeps to my very favorite songs and thus, I stay pumped throughout my race (as much as I can, anyway)!  It has lasted through some very rainy runs and still works.  I don't use this outside of running, though.

18) Injinji Socks

At first, I didn't really see how they were any better than running socks.  However, they are great because I can change into flip-flops post-race without removing my socks.  Also, I have found they are the best socks for doing Insanity, since my toes have freedom to move more naturally than in conventional ones.

19) RoadID

I still wear mine every time I run alone (except races because the bib does the same job).  While a lack of washing it has rendered some of the stitching a darker color, it still looks the same as when I got it, and the velcro still works perfectly.

20) CEP Compression Sleeves

I will probably mention the other pair of compression socks I have in my "flops" update, but these have totally saved me from some marathon/half-marathon cramping.  They are the tightest without cutting off circulation.  While I'm not certain that I NEED these, I wear these in almost every race, if not just to protect my calves from debris.

I'm still glad I got the sleeves, since I can pair them with any sock I choose.  I've washed this in the machine a couple of times and hang-dry, but I mostly hand-wash them for longevity, since they are some of the most expensive ones out there.  For good reason!

21) Pampered Toes

Although they don't help with bunions, I still use these almost every time I paint my (bruised + recovering) toenails, so I thought they deserved a mention.

22) Aquaphor

I still use this in a pinch to prevent chafing when I *know* it's a possibility.  "The Ukrainian" uses the Mission Anti-Friction Cream because we have a lot of it, and it also works pretty well.

23) Skippy

I've been eating a lot of peanut butter lately, and although I know there is better out there, I opt for Skippy Natural.  At least I took an extra step toward health!  I like that it doesn't contain anything "bad" besides a little sugar, doesn't require any special treatment, and comes in a pretty big jar.

24) BICBands

Strangely, when I first blogged about these, I had a tinge of dissatisfaction with the fact that it wasn't quite as secure as I had hoped.  However, this is pretty much the only headband I will wear when doing an intense workout nowadays where flying hair bits would bother me.  Yes, it's still not perfect, but I love the color, and it generally does the job for now.


I'm sure there are plenty of other things I've blogged about that I still use frequently (water, lol... can't believe I blogged about that), but those are the first that come to mind.  I think this was a good time to do this, since lately I haven't really been buying a lot of new gizmos and gear and just trying to wear out what I have or rely on the tried-and-true.

Hope you enjoyed this post... it definitely made me feel like I'd blog about anything!


  1. I have the same amphipod bottle and it's the only bottle/holder thingy I've tried that I didn't want to toss in a gutter during my run.

    Interested in seeing the flops too!

  2. Thanks for revisiting the products! It is good to know what holds up.

    I too have been wearing some sports bras way longer than recommended!

  3. I LOVE the C9 Target sports bras! They are so comfy, affordable and come in awesome colors! I also use Aquaphor daily for chapstick, and I have for years.