Saturday, September 7, 2013

Yay, I Won A Flipbelt From!

If there's one thing I love even more than finding and buying a useful product, it's winning one in a contest. Because trying new running-related products can be extremely expensive. $25 here, $50 there, before you know it, you're talking real money. Particularly when we're talking about all the various hands-free "I need to wrangle some stuff while running" products on the market.

Like most runners, I like some tunes while I'm on the move, partially to get that famous psychological and performance boost from up-tempo music, partially to drown out my pathetic and sometimes distressing huffing, puffing and wheezing. Seriously, I have no idea how people could miss hearing me coming. Also, I like knowing how far I've gone, running from imaginary zombies and being able to phone the office for a pity pick-up if need be. Obviously, this means taking your phone along. Having accidentally drowned my iPhone 4S in my own sweat while on a 14-mile treadmill run (I'm dainty.), I sprung for a Lifeproof frÄ“ case for my replacement iPhone 5. The case is pretty awesome, bar a minor complaint or two, and Lifeproof also sells an armband that's compatible with said case. 

The armband is... considerably less awesome but serviceable. But then, I've never gotten on well with armbands in general. It often seems to be so tight that you're pinching your arm or bouncing down your less-than-manly biceps and swinging wildly around your elbow. The earphone cord is in the way a lot of the time. It's easy to pinch said earphone cord in the cradle meant to... well, cradle your phone. After a certain point, the neoprene band picks up a case of runner funk and has to be washed and dried, which is easier said than done when there's a padded portion that goes behind the hard plastic cradle. It works, but it can occasionally be annoying and adjusting it for comfort is not easy, is what I'm saying.

Not too long ago, I ran across a mention of the Flipbelt. It's basically one long, stretchy pocket belt with several slits for easy access and a single short seam that eliminates the need for a buckle. You pull it on over your head or step into it and let it grip around your waist or hips. If you want to make your items more secure, you simply flip the belt over and put the slits next to your body, making it difficult for the items to fall out. If that's not enlightening enough, the Flipbelt site has a video demonstration.

I was somewhat intrigued, and put it on my "maybe someday I'll check this out when the thing I'm currently using either gives out or sufficiently annoys me" list. I also, as is my habit these days, did a quick search to see if said thing on my list was maybe being featured in a current giveaway or sweepstakes. Goodness, it was, over at and I was lucky enough to win one. 

After a bit of debating about size, I went with the Small. I figured if it was a bit snug for the hips, it would still fit my waist. For reference, I usually wear a size 4 pant/skirt. I'm somewhat kicking myself that I didn't get the neon yellow when offered a color choice, but the carbon/black combo seemed like a nice, under the radar color for those cross-training days at the gym. The neon yellow would have offered visibility and also been a great accessory for all your Wonder Woman running costume needs. Seriously. I bought a running skirt from SV Forza just because it looked like Wonder Woman's costume. I'm now on the hunt for a suitable red top.

The folks at Holabird got my choice out to me quickly and I gave it an trial run (hah!) during a race, but not during a road race. I was a participant in The Dantastic Race, a Boyle county version of The Amazing Race complete with clues, puzzles, physical challenges and driving/running from spot to spot. We didn't have the chance to coordinate the elaborate group costumes that some of the other teams sported, being late entries, but hey, The Fast And The Curious were in third for a bit (even without a challenge skip in hand) and we had a great time, which is the most important part. I'm pretty sure we had more per capita fun than anyone else.

And more awesome purple mustaches.

Participation required registering one team member's smart phone, and needless to say, mine rode in my Flipbelt when it wasn't currently in use. It was out of the way but accessible, comfortable, and not bulky at all. It was a slightly tighter fit than a naked iPhone because of the Lifeproof case, but still tucked away fairly easily. After that success, I wore it on outdoor runs ranging from 4 to 5 miles and found it equally comfy and there was zero annoying bounce. I also found the earphone cords were much easier to wrangle when they're plugged in near your waist as opposed to your bicep. You can likely get several runs in before the belt needs a wash. I'll certainly continue swapping the armband out for the Flipbelt when the belt is in the wash, but let's just say I was quite happy to see the belt make its return from the washing machine.

And I'm already enviously looking at the bright yellow one to go with that skirt and looking to see if Holabird might have a nice, bright red running top.

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