Category Archives: gear

meet ellie: my experience and review

Awhile back, I wrote about pvBody, a subscription service where you would get a top/bottom each month. The selection was random, though you could exchange/return anything that didn’t work for you. They promised big brands for big savings.

Well, you may have seen some chatter around the web about a drastic change to this program that started in February. Instead of a random selection of brands and no choice in what you got, they relaunched as a new clothing brand, Ellie.

This, of course, made people wonder. Was that the plan all along?

Well, I don’t know. It does seem a little suspicious, but I stayed despite the bad press. (Um, google “pv body scam” if you haven’t heard about them previously.)

Anyway … I decided to stick around and see what Ellie was all about. Yes, I was a pvBody ambassador, and I still am an Ellie ambassador … but I’m also a paying customer.

The experience has been less than perfect. Right after I promoted pvBody in my initial blog review, they said they experienced an influx of new customers and fell way behind on all orders. Communication was poor — I got most of my updates by reading customer complaints on their Facebook wall. My November order was so late it was apparently shipped just days before my December order.

It took over two weeks for that December order to arrive. But the November order never left the office. The Fedex label generated and I had a tracking number, but the package was never picked up. I sent several emails, only getting a couple form letters back that did not address my issues. I left a voice mail that was never returned. I only finally got help by reaching out to my ambassador contact, which is not a channel a normal customer would have to get their problems resolved.

But at least it is resolved now.  My missing pvBody clothes were replaced with my choice from the Ellie line. I also got some Ellie gear to test as an ambassador. All of it from the February collection.

I really liked the “Catch Me If You Can” top, and got it in both colors. I’m so glad I did! The shirt is so soft, and I love the thumb holes and built-in mittens!

elliegray ellieblue

elliecuffs

I’m also a big fan of the bottoms I received. You can’t really see the “My New Obsession Legging” in the photo on the left, but they are awesome. They looked small, but are super stretchy, and the waist stayed put during a run. They also kept me warm on a really windy, chilly night. The only problem I had was they were too long, but at 5’3″, that’s not a new problem to me. (Though, surprisingly, running tights are often OK in length. Most people must find their tights are usually too short!)

I also got the “Kiss Me Capri.” While not the same stretchy material as the leggings, they’re still really soft and comfortable. I wore them to yoga last week and loved them.

elliewaistband
Waist band detail

Of course, now that I’m happy with their products, it seems there’s  another hiccup in the Ellie brand. I didn’t order anything in March, but I’ve been notified that there have been delays in production of the March product line. Sigh.

Still, I’m not ready to give up on them. I’ll order from them again in the future and give them another shot.

So … I know this isn’t the most ringing endorsement, but if anybody is patient 🙂 and wants to give Ellie a try, there’s an ad in my sidebar you can click on to save 20%. (Ellie’s Fit Fashionista club gets you any two pieces for $49.95 regular price, shipped free.)

 

Disclaimer: I occasionally receive free products from Ellie as an ambassador. Opinions about the products and company are my own. I receive a commission when someone signs up through my link.

review and giveaway: sportline solo 965 heart rate monitor

Before the holidays, I was contacted by Sportline to see if I would like to do a review of a few of their latest fitness products. The Solo 965 Heart Rate Monitor caught my eye since I was interested in doing more heart-rate training. I currently have a Garmin 310XT that supports it, but it is really only good for outdoor workouts. I wouldn’t want to use it for fitness classes since it’s such a large watch.

Well … the review sample I got was a men’s version, so it’s still a bit clunky for me. They do make a women’s version which would likely be a better fit. I have really small wrists, so it probably wouldn’t be so bad on most women 🙂

From Sportline:

Solo 965 Heart Rate Monitor is the first fitness device with FitTrac and MoveTrac technologies and a built-in Calorie Genius (24 hour calorie burn tracking), is designed to track your resting heart rate over time and also record the intensity of movement 24 hours-a-day to show users how they are improving fitness condition and burning calories. Take your workouts to the next level.

Sounds good … but this watch wasn’t really what I was looking for when it comes to heart-rate training. It doesn’t use a chest strap. It relies on contact of the watch with your wrist along with placing your index finger on the front of the watch to take a reading. There is no real-time heart rate display without touching the face of the watch. When training, it won’t be easy to check heart rate while running. (In general, I had a hard time getting a heart rate reading, but I think it may have been due to the fit of the watch. When I did get readings, though, it was accurate.)

If you’re interested in monitoring resting heart rate, it would be good for that. “Fit Trac” mode tracks resting heart rate, and gives you a Fit Score noting the difference from day to day. You tap the screen to enter Fit Trac mode to record your resting heart rate each day.

That’s not really something I’m interested in right now … and actually, I found Fit Trac mode was a bit too sensitive. It didn’t only turn on with a tap to the screen. I’d find it would get triggered often as I was putting on the watch, or after I simply lift my arm to check the time. And once Fit Trac mode starts, it’s on for about 15 seconds while it waits to take your resting heart rate. Not convenient when checking the time!

In regular heart rate mode (just taking a reading), you can cancel out of it by hitting any of the buttons, but Fit Trac won’t cancel. You can also set a lock to keep the heart rate monitor from taking a reading accidentally … but again, this only works for regular readings. You can’t stop Fit Trac from turning on accidentally. It was a bit frustrating.

It wasn’t all bad. I really like the pedometer feature. Despite only entering my height, it was pretty accurate in most of my testing. I had to walk someplace that I knew was a mile and a half away, and it was exactly right. Running was pretty close too — I had it with me for my Ragnar Relay legs, though since I hadn’t tested running with it before, I just looped it to my hand-held water bottle and wore my Garmin. Despite not being on my wrist, two of the three runs recorded distance within a quarter mile, which I think is acceptable. One run it was about a mile short, though, but again I was carrying rather than wearing the watch.

The pedometer feature starts tracking once you’ve made 25 steps, so it won’t register unintentional movement. It counts calories burned based on your movements, and tracks the amount of time you’ve been active. Since I like to track per activity, like time  and distance running, this wasn’t quite as useful for me since I’d have to reset the rest of the day’s activity to isolate my run. If you’re looking to track movement and calorie burn for the entire day, it would be great.

So, this watch wasn’t quite right for me. But I can see how it would be useful. Think it might work for you?

Well, you can find out for yourself since I’m giving one away!

You’ll get one entry each for:

  • Leaving a comment telling me why you’d like to win.
  • Tweeting about this giveway. Something like “I want to win a @SportlineInc watch from @mostlyirun!  Read more: http://tinyurl.com/mostlyirunsportline”  (leave a comment here to let me know)

US residents only. (Sorry international friends!)

I’m going to keep this contest open until February 9, with a winner drawn February 10. Good luck!

Find out more about Sportline by following them on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer:  I received this watch for free in exchange for my review.  I was not compensated any other way. Opinions are my own.

pvBody: get a surprise workout outfit in the mail!

A few weeks ago I was going through a pile of stuff from Fitbloggin (that, oops, I still haven’t blogged about). One postcard was for a company called pvBody that sends you a new workout gear (a top and a bottom) each month for a much lower price than retail. You fill out a quick survey on their website so they can determine the best match for you (I am an Epic Athlete), and your new stuff is shipped free. I like surprises! I like a bargain! I signed up to give it a try.

Just a few days after receiving my first box — a cute pink cami top and black tights from Nux — I got an email from a pvBody asking if I would be interested in a blog partnership with them. Since I was happy with my box and excited about this company, that sounded like a good fit!

They offered me another box, and I was sent an offline style quiz similar to the online version. In addition to size, I made the following selections (my choice are underlined):

Style: What’s your ideal workout?
Yoga
Runner
Casual / Stylish
Gym Goer

Color Preference – Top:
Muted Colors
Bold Colors
Patterns
Black & White

Color Preference – Bottom:
Muted Colors
Bold Colors
Patterns
Black & White

Bottom Preference
Shorts
Capris/Pants
Both

I received another Nux outfit that was similar to the first one. The top is a different texture, and has adjustable racerback straps. The pants are capris with a fold-over top. I took them out for a short run today with a pullover over the top since it’s a bit chilly out!

Joey helps me model my new gear.

The top felt supportive enough, though it did ride up a little bit. I may prefer it for yoga/boot camp instead. I love the capris. They’re really comfortable, and the fabric has a great, luxurious feel.

The great thing about the program is you can keep getting new shipments every month, or you can stop/pause delivery whenever you want. I’m planning on sticking with the program for a while!

Boxes are $39.95 and ship for free. And if you order through my link — http://www.pvbody.com/try/mostlyirun — you can save 20% now!  That’s a complete outfit for under $32! If you’re interested in giving it a try, sign up soon, though. Prices are going up on December 1. It’ll be a $10 increase, but it’s still a good deal. They’re adding new brands that have already started shipping, so maybe you’ll get lucky!

Note: I’ve been informed that there’s a glitch right now, and the 20% off coupon might not be applied at checkout. pvBody is aware of this issue and are working hard to fix it. If your discount isn’t applied, they will refund your 20% within the next two weeks.

Disclaimer: I purchased my first box, and received the second for free. Opinions about the products and company are my own. I receive a commission when someone signs up through my link.

cooler weather gear

As the temperatures are getting cooler, I’m slowly pulling warmer clothing out of storage. I’m not ready to pack away all the summer gear yet, but I’m going to have to face it. We broke down and turned on the heat today — it was 59* in the house this morning!

Since I’ve been running through several winters now, I have just about everything I need. I did pick up a couple new items recently that I think will be quite useful.

I am a chronic over-dresser once the temperatures drop. I hate being cold! I’m often left tying a jacket around my waist once I warm up in a mile or so. Not too bad for a short run, but can be annoying for the long ones!

I think my first purchase will be one of my favorites:

Arm warmers — perfect for those in-between temperatures! They will keep me toasty when I’m getting started on a run, and I can push them down or stow them in a pocket or waist pack once I warm up. I got a chance to test them out earlier this week. I think it was in the low 50s when I set out for my run.

The arm warmers were warmer than a long-sleeve tech shirt would have been, yet I never felt the need to push them down during my run.  I love them!

Now once it starts getting really cold, I start to bundle up even more.

OK, it was actually 22* with a 12* wind chill that day, so I wasn’t overreacting. But I do tend to pull out that hat a little sooner than I need to!

So when I saw this in the $5 bin at my running club’s merchandise table, I knew I had to have it.

It’s really lightweight, and will be easy to modify once I warm up.

Of course I had to have a little modeling session with my new gear.

I also had an assistant. He agreed that it is quite lightweight and comfortable.

Joey didn’t mind helping me out. He almost went to sleep in his head scarf!


Are you ready for winter?

What’s your favorite cold-weather gear?

know your garmin

I’ve been running with a Garmin since 2005. I started with the Forerunner 201, and upgraded to the 205 last year. I love it and never run without it!

When I was a newbie user, though, I didn’t bother to read the manual. I was so happy to be tracking my speed and distance that it took me a few months before I realized it could also give me split times.

Now it’s one of my favorite features!

I’ve helped friends both in real life and through Twitter get their Garmins set up, and just last night a reader send me a question about mile splits. It’s easy!

Click on "Training"

Then "Training Options"

"Auto Lap"

For mile splits, set Auto Lap Trigger to "By Distance," and lap at 1 mile

That’s all!

Of course if you want your splits sooner or later, you can do that. I manually hit my laps when doing speed work on the track since I know how far I’ve gone. If you’re ever doing intervals without distance markers, it could be helpful to set quarter or half-mile laps instead.

There is a limit to how many laps the Garmin can hold. If you’re a long-distance runner, this will fill up kind of quickly! There’s an easy fix for that, too.

Make sure you download your data regularly. When you get the alert that your lap database is full, go to History –> Running (or Biking/Other — wherever most of your mileage is) –> Delete. You can choose to keep one or three months — I usually keep one month if I know I’ve synced recently, or three months if I’m a little behind.

I also want to share one more thing I just learned. I’ve always used the software that came with the watch to manage all my data. I’d heard about third party applications, but never checked any out.

But I did recently sign up for Garmin Connect. And I wonder what took me so long to find it!

This is a race I ran on Sunday — I aptly named it “Metric Marathon” since that’s what it was — 26.2K (16.3 miles).  There’s a much better map than the software. And I love the splits and elevation!

Click to see a bigger version, though I still had to shrink it to fit on the screen

Still working on that race report; I’ll type out those splits so you can actually read them!