Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Buff: Pack Run Cap Review

As a runner, our head is always exposed from the elements like sun, rain and wind. How we protect it is more of a preference, and who am I to argue? But me personally I’m fond of wearing a cap or hat and I like the security it gives me especially when the weather seems unpredictable.

You may probably haven’t heard about Buff…it is founded more than 20 years ago by an avid motorcyclist named Joan Rojas. He premiered and innovated the tubular headwear in an effort to keep his neck and head protected at all times while riding his motorcycle. As the company grew, they incorporated some state of the art fabric technologies like Coolmax and Polygiene. Buff also carries different varieties of design, style, and gears for whatever type of activities you maybe into. I reviewed some of their tubular head wear from the past and you can read my review by clicking here.

Main Features
    Fast wick Extra Plus Fabric
    UV protection
    Moisture management
    Wind resistant
    Dries quickly
    Thermal protection
    Silver Plus Odor Control

    Bill: 90% neoprene, 10% polyester
    Hat: 100% knitted microfiber

The Buff Pack Run Cap is a one size fits all cap that is ultra-lightweight and weighs only one ounce. It’s a close fitting that wraps around the form of your head. Made of 3-panel with a beehive cell construction that provides maximum breathability and wicks moisture fast. Instead of using the traditional plastic clip or Velcro strap for adjustment, Buff utilized the adjustable drawstring which provides a better feel and fast adjustment on the fly. Similar with most caps now a day, the Run Cap is also equipped with some reflective materials (front and back) to give you the visibility during low light conditions.

On a first glance, you would probably think that this is a cycling cap. The construction is pretty much the same like the elastic form fitting, low profile and relatively short bill. But on a closer look and comparing them side by side, the bill of the Run Cap is a bit wider and it goes much deeper around the head. Runners are not as crucial as cyclists when it comes to the weight of their gears, but you’ll surely appreciate its lightness, it only weighs one ounce…yup you read it right you weight weenies😃.

But what is the main reason for wearing a cap? Well to protect that melon from direct heat from the sun during summer; it helps maintain the warmth during colder season and lastly it helps shade our eyes. I’ve worn this cap several times and also on my marathon couple of weeks ago. The temperature was within the 30’s when we started and just below 60’s when we finished. I sweat a lot during my runs but this cap easily dissipated the moisture out faster than a regular hat. Yes, it was a little bit damp but it still provided a good warmth and it helped divert the sweat off my eyes…. the best part is that it can be rolled and stowed away easily on the go. I was really impressed with it!

Here’s a short VIDEO courtesy of vimeo.

My Verdict
The Buff Pack Run Cap is outfitted with a silver plus odor control that helps eliminate the odor from sweat. It is wind resistant with outstanding moisture management that wicks moisture fast which effectively cools your head. Additionally, this cap is ultra-lightweight that packs down into almost nothing, making it extremely portable. There’s no reason to leave the house without it.

I highly recommend that you give it a try and I can assure that you’ll definitely love it. It retails for $29 and you can purchase it directly on their website or at retail stores near you. It’s a great buy and it’s hard to go wrong with this cap.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Brooks: LSD Running Jacket Review

If you are familiar with Seattle, Washington you probably know that it is the second state where it rains the most (Portland, Oregon is the first just in case you’re wondering). Washington’s average annual rainfall is 38 inches. Yes, it rains a lot on that area! You might be thinking where am I going with this. Well, Brooks HQ is located in Seattle, Washington and I’m quite sure that people living in that area have learned how to adapt with their environment. There’s probably no other companies out there that can tell you what type of gears work best on this type of condition other than Brooks.

Brooks is no stranger in the running communities and it’s one of the brand companies that I can truly rely on when it comes to my running needs. I had the privilege to review some of their shoes and never was I disappointed. You can read my in-depth reviews of the Transcend 3 (click here) and Launch 3 (click here).

Fall and Winter seasons are always accompanied by plenty of rains, but I don’t let this kind of situation deter my running. I still like to do my workouts outside despite this condition and having the right gears is a must. I guess it’s pretty obvious who I need to contact, so I reached out to Brooks and requested one of their best-selling jackets…the LSD Running Jacket.

·      100% ripstop nylon

·   Lightweight, windproof and water resistant protection
·   Full-zip with chin guard and draft flap
·   Headphone anchor zipper pull
·   Four way stretch fabric
·   Packs into back zip pocket that houses wearable, elastic band for portability
·   Soft, stretch cuffs
·   Front and back reflectivity
·   Semi-fitted

Fit and Functionality
The LSD Running Jacket is one of the lightest jackets that I have tested, weighing approximately 5 ounces. It’s semi fitted that follows the contour of the body yet offers enough room for the body to breathe. Their sizes have been updated since fall of 2015 and the fit is more runner friendly, regardless of your build. I’m not sure how much of a difference they did but comparing this medium jacket with other medium jackets I typically wear, they are almost identical. Additionally, to avoid the confusion of such many sizing (like Japan and Euro) Brooks is utilizing US sizes only.

The LSD Running Jacket is a lightweight wind breaker / water resistant that is made of 100% ripstop nylon. Most companies are using this new fabric to take advantage of its lightness yet durable enough to withstand the tearing and ripping. This is critical for trail runners since they are more expose to trees and branches that could rip their first layer of protection.  

First thing that you’ll notice on this jacket is the lack of pockets. There is only one pocket located at back right hand side that serves as a dual purpose. You can stash your running essentials like gels and some cash to this pocket. I wouldn’t suggest to put anything too much on this pocket since it will create a lot of bounce and will just probably annoy you while you run.

This pocket also serves as a sack for the jacket itself when not in use and you can easily strap it around your bicep (which I prefer) or hook it up to your carabiner in the event you do some mountain climbing or trekking.

It has full zipper that has an internal flap preventing the cold air from coming in. At the very top, is a zipper garage that hides the zipper and protects your neck and chin from rubbing. One of the cool features of this zipper is the headphone anchor that eliminates the tension of the cord from your ears. So if you like listening to your music while running then you’ll definitely appreciate this innovation.

The cuff is fully elastic around the circumference but it will not constrict your wrist. There is a good amount of clearance between the wrist and cuff that helps fresh air to get thru.

As a safety standpoint, this jacket offers a 360 degree of reflectivity that makes you visible during low light conditions.

Common to all jackets now a day is the hem portion which extends much longer than the front. This helps protect your back side from getting wet. There is also a draw string along the hem that you can access with just one hand and this prevents cold air from getting in.

For me, the performance of this jacket was really impressive. I’m very keen on my running apparels and the last thing that I want to do is stop and fix any discomfort during the runs…nope that didn’t happen. I sweat a lot and the possibility of overheating is very common when having a closed zip jacket, but not with the LSD. There is a good amount of breathability and it’s very comfortable to skin despite it sticking to my arms. The problem with other jackets is when the material rub against itself that could sometimes be noisy and annoying, well the ripstop fabric is not. I know that this is so miniscule but I really appreciate any little things that can make my run pleasant. In terms of weight, though this is not the lightest jacket that I have tested, I wouldn’t mind carrying this around if the weather seems unpredictable.

My Verdict
It all boils down to simplicity and functionality and I’m extremely pleased with how the LSD performed during my test runs, this should not be a surprise for a brand like Brooks. The LSD Running Jacket is an excellent choice to have with you when the weather seems unpredictable, it’s lightweight, windproof, water resistant and very portable.

The LSD Running Jacket sells for only $100 which is a decent price for a jacket that offers so much. You can purchase it directly on their website or at retail stores near you.

Thanks so much for reading and if you have any questions, feel free to post below.

Friday, December 9, 2016

2016: California International Marathon

The 2016 California International Marathon is officially in the books!

Wow! After four long months of training I can finally breathe and take the back seat. This is my third year of doing the CIM and it seems that I cannot get enough every time I cross that line. The feeling of “getting it done” is so satisfying. I know that most runners who toed that line never had any easy trainings at all, besides who wants to tackle the 26.2 miles (42.2 km) without putting the miles…it’s a suicide! I know for a fact that it will take a lot of luck to do the marathon training without getting injured at some point. Yes, I had some hurdles but luckily it’s not as serious compared to the previous years.

I followed the “Run Less, Run Faster” program and the main goal was to finish it under 4 hours. I learned a lot on the two previous marathons…never go too fast and never go too slow. I was more relax this time and was within the pace that I needed to be. My first goal was to cross mile 20 within 3 hours which I was able to accomplish. I got my second wind after mile 20 and I was on my way breaking that 4 hour barrier but somewhere along mile 23, my legs just fell apart. I’m not sure what happened but my muscles just tightened up (no, not cramps) and have to battle the 3.2 miles with a run / walk approach. My hope just disappeared within my eyes when the 4 hour group sailed without me…”wait for meeeeee”.  I crossed the line at 4:12:25. Though I didn’t accomplish my goal, it was a good run overall. Besides how bad it could be…I crossed the finish line standing up and still smiling. 

Thanks to my wife and kids for putting up with me especially on weekends that we could have spent some time…instead I ended up running. Thanks for picking me up at the end of my 20 mile runs.  We could have done something after that but you guys just let me sit and sleep instead (or probably you just don’t want to hear me nag about my aching feet). Those nights that my wife has to bear the smell of “Bengay or Salonpas” and never did she say a word...“Sorry momma, your man is really getting old :-)”.

To my running partners that kept me motivated on those days that I felt like crap, thanks for the push…you guys rock!

Lastly, thanks to the Sacramento Running Association for such a wonderful job in keeping this running tradition alive. Can’t wait to see you all again in 2017 CIM!