Category Archives: giveaway

review: BrightLife Go for all your compression-sock needs

I was contacted a few months ago by Catie at BrightLife Go to let me know about their new site selling compression socks, sleeves and stockings, for both athletic and everyday use.  In exchange for a review, I was sent my choice of socks or sleeves. I’m a huge compression fan already, and already own socks and sleeves from many of the popular athletic brands they carry, such as CEP, Zensah and 2XU.

I decided to try something both functional and fashionable, and chose a new-to-me brand, Sockwell. I chose the Chevron Sock in Teal.


I love the colors, and the design is so cute. They are a blend of Merino Wool, Bamboo Rayon, Stretch Nylon and Spandex. I’ve only just worn them around the house right now, but I imagine they’ll keep me toasty warm in the winter.  I actually had to postpone this review a number of weeks — my air conditioning was broken all summer, and I couldn’t give a proper evaluation. Finally, many thousands of dollars and a new HVAC system later, it is now chilly in my house.

I’ve had a chance to test them out a couple times now. I like that they offer two sizes for women’s socks, Small/Medium for sizes 4-7.5, and Medium/Large for 8-10.5. As a size 6, one-size-fits-all socks often have extra material at the toes, or the heel doesn’t line up in the right place. These are a perfect fit!

I haven’t tried running in them yet (it’s too warm for that!), but they seem like they should be suitable for active use as well. It was definitely a touch choice picking socks, as there are so many great styles at BrightLife Go. Check out the cute VIM & VIGR everyday compression socks!

Want to win a pair of Sockwell socks for yourself? BrightLife Go will give one of my readers a pair of Chevron Socks too! (Your choice of color / size).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a pair of socks for free in exchange for my review. Opinions are my own.

review and giveaway: energybits

If you spend any time in the Twitter athlete/healthy-living circles, you’ve probably seen people talking about ENERGYbits. I know I’ve been reading about them, and I’ve been curious. I’ve definitely been focusing on eating cleaner (most of the time!), though I still struggle with running fuel. I’m still pretty stuck in my Gu ways!

I was doing some chatting on Twitter a few months ago and scored myself a sample of ENERGYbits to try out.


From my contact:

ENERGYbits is a new Boston based sports nutrition company. Our “bits” are rapidly becoming the fuel of choice for athletes and people looking to lead active lifestyles. ENERGYbits have the highest concentration of protein in the world and deliver a steady stream of energy, all naturally and all without sugar, caffeine, chemicals or stomach distress. Even better, ENERGYbits are the only protein in the world that also contain natural antioxidants and Omega 3 which reduce muscle inflammation, iron which prevents fatigue, chlorophyll which builds the immune system and electrolytes which replenish mineral imbalances, all for just one calorie per tab. No other protein offers all this.

ENERGYbits are all natural too, because they are a food, not a supplement. They have just one ingredient – 100% organically grown spirulina algae. Algae has been used by Olympic athletes for over 50 years, but is still virtually unknown in the USA and Canada. We are the first company to bring algae to national attention as a high protein, high performance snack food for athletes and active consumers.

I had a small sample (about two and a half servings), which I saved for the Rock ‘n’ Roll VA Beach half marathon I ran Labor Day weekend. I know they say nothing new on race day … but I was mostly treating this race as a training run, anyway. I’m not totally a stranger to spirulina, either.

Let me start off saying I didn’t plan properly for my pre-race breakfast (mistake #1). I forgot to pack something, and had hoped to find Larabars at the expo … and when that didn’t happen, I hoped Rite Aid would help me out. Nope. I settled on some peanuts and figured I’d grab a bagel at the start line. That’s close enough to my usual peanut butter sandwich.

I ate some peanuts and swallowed 30 ENERGYbits while I got ready to go. Since I needed more distance for marathon training, I left my hotel early enough to get in some miles before the race. I ran up and down the boardwalk, and stopped in a public restroom (yay! they’re open early!) before heading to the race start.  I felt great during my warm-up, and finished four miles by the time I got to the start line.

I had a little time left before I needed to line up, but I wasn’t feeling hungry. I decided not to seek out any more food (mistake #2), so I just walked around a little bit and headed over to the corrals.

I started out feeling OK, running a decent but not-to-fast pace. It was fine, I was planning on keeping this fairly easy. By the second mile, I decided I needed more fuel. I didn’t have any more bits with me, so I was fueled by my old standby Gu for the rest of the race.

And … I wish I could say that handful of bits I ate led me to a fabulous race … but, that’s not the case. The heat and humidity was rough that day, and I just couldn’t hold a good pace. I ended up walking through water stops in the second half, and finished in one of my slowest half marathon times in years. Not awesome, but looking at everything else that day, I can’t really blame that on the bits. I was asking a lot from those 30 calories!

I used the rest of my sample on a shorter workout day. Two days post-race, I had my bits for breakfast and hit the boardwalk for a run before we had to check out and drive home. I was starting my run on the late side (8:30am), and would be running in the sun. Oh, and of course I had a few beers the night before. I gave myself the option of an easy, slow run, three miles minimum.

But then I read the workout my friends would be doing on the track that evening. Eight minute warm up, then 2 minutes on at 5k pace, 2 minutes at recovery pace. Ten repeats total, 8 minute cool-down.

I decided I’d start that workout. Maybe I’d do five repeats. I did have a lot to deal with making this more difficult than it would be on the track at night — 79 degrees, 88% humidity, ocean wind, concrete path, and having to pass trucks emptying porta potties (several times)!

But I stuck with it, only cutting the cool down a little bit short when I hit an even 5.5 miles on the Garmin. My paces may been a little shy of my 5k pace, but the effort was there.  I felt great about sticking with it for that run!

Was it the ENERGYbits that gave me the power to push through that workout?

Nutritional Comparison Chart

Even with mixed results, I think I could really become a fan of ENERGYbits. I’m definitely interested in adding them to my diet, and will likely look into making a purchase. It’s a bit of an investment, but I think it’ll be worth it.

ENERGYbits are only available at, and Jonathan (their Brand Manager) has shared with me that he’d be happy to connect anyone with a current ambassador to share a discount on a bag of bits – you can email him at

A lucky winner will get to try a sample of ENERGYbits for themselves. Enter below! (US, sorry International friends!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

sportline watch winner!

Oh hi! I’m home from Jamaica (oh, did I mention that?) and am ready to announce the winner of the Sportline Solo 965 Heart Rate Monitor watch!

By the ever-scientific method of picking a scrap of paper out of a hat, the winner is …

Congratulations, abblylbrown!

I’ll be in touch to collect your info.

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:”  (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.