Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Product Review: WholeYou Dynamover

This is a sponsored post. I received a free product and compensation for my review. All opinions are most definitely my own.

A few months ago I noticed a little click in my right knee. It wasn't enough to prevent me from running or even walking normally, so I took no issue continuing to travel and train on it. It felt more like a joint that wouldn't crack, yet it would crack constantly. I could stand still and bend my knee. Snap. I could sit with my legs propped on the coffee table and flex my foot. Crackle. I could lunge across the gym with the lightest handweight. Pop. 

But all talk and no pain. Ok then.

After running a 50k in New Zealand followed by a great walk across humbling alpine terrain, my knee wasn't so happy and I knew that rest might be on the books. Shortly after I took that time off, the fine folks at WholeYou asked if I wanted to review their Dynamover product. With nothing to lose and so much more running on the horizon, I figured I'd give this a go.

Let's get down to business. 
Dynamover

The Good (5/5 stars)
Dynamover is an extremely lightweight rubber + fabric knee brace that doesn't discriminate which knee it's for. It's got a snug fit thanks to five specialized "zones," and it doesn't feel itchy when wearing it for a short amount of time. I was shocked at the support it offered -- it felt like it was hugging my knee in place while I ran, and even if I tried cracking the joint, it wouldn't allow it.

More about the design:
There are 5 "zones" built into this tiny package of a brace. 
  1. Zone 1 provides good stretch for compression to support the knee entirely.
  2. Zone 2 offers a little less of a stretch that acts as stability for the knee, but offers flexibility around the thigh without sacrificing fit.
  3. Zone 3 is an elastic weave that prevents the top from slipping own and the bottom from inching up while in motion.
  4. Zone 4 is on the back of the knee, and it is comprised of a very dense weave to stabilize the knee. This is the zone that I found most noticeable and uncomfortable. 
  5. The last zone is a honeycomb weave that allows for really great flexibility all around. 

More about care:
Each zone of rubber and fabric is seamlessly connected, making the entire brace breathable, stretchable, pretty stink-proof after a couple wears, and hand washable. 

Even more good stuff:
It's easy to remove and put on (very unlike compression socks or neoprene knee braces!) and wasn't noticeable when wearing for short periods of time. I'll happily give it a few stars for short-term comfort and a couple more points for offering amazing knee support in the tiniest package. It's so lightweight that when I first opened the box, I thought they sent me a sock!


The Bad (3/3 stars)
This isn't the prettiest brace around, but then again, none really are, amirite? I had the fine fortune of wearing this brace under leggings for most of my testing, but imagine that it looked a bit like a robo-knee under my tights. It's not heinous, but it's also not glamorous. I wouldn't dock any points for this factor and keep its rating high.

The Ugly (1/2 stars)
Size up! My knee brace felt uncomfortably tight enough that it pressed on the back of my knee tendons (zone 4) after a while. It wasn't painful, but I couldn't to stand wearing it for more than an hour at a time without starting to shift and move it around out of subconscious discomfort. Even after guidance on my sizing (I measured everything and still had them recommend a larger size), it felt small. Luckily there are 6 different sizes to choose from, so something is bound to work eventually!

I will dock the Dynamover a point for minor irritation over long stretches of time, but bonus points for the Dynamover rep telling me to size up without compromising fit.

The End
Dynamover gets a 9 out of 10 rating from me. I wholly recommend it as mild knee support for minor twinges and aches, but can't speak to it beyond any injury more substantial. It offers good support in a tiny punch, is easily hand-washable and breathable, and is simple to take on and off. When it comes to all the training and sweating we do, this brace is a welcome addition to any runner's wardrobe. 

50% off + free shipping means you're saving more than $35 on this little gemI have no idea how long this code is good for, so use it until the internet breaks! Order limit of one per person (so sorry).
 go to link http://lbx.la/JN3B & use code AVERUN

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Promo Code: Whole You Dynamover Knee Brace

If you're anything like me, a detox from all the Christmas cookie consumption involves hitting the trails and sweating the sugar out. 

I'll talk about this in an upcoming post, but I've been battling a bit of a twinge in my right knee. As a result, I've been wearing a product from Whole You that's supporting my knee from all the pounding I put it through -- and I cannot wait to share my experience with you.

Before I get into what I'm training for and how I'm taking care of my bum knee, take some of your Christmas loot and grab this Dynamover brace for yourself -- spoiler alert: you will be amazed at the comfort, ease, and lightweight support it offers. 

And at 50% off (use code AVERUN and say I sent you!), you'll be saving a bunch of coin AND kicking off your New Year's exercise resolutions on the right foot.

 http://lbx.la/JN3B, use code AVERUN

Stay tuned for my upcoming review & have a safe and festive New Year!


This is a sponsored post.

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Moving Celebration

This post was written for Marathon Tours and Travel


One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to long-distance runners’ motivations. The reasons we run vary as widely as our body shapes and personality types. There are the Seven Continent Club members, the Abbott World Marathon Major doers, the Runner’s Country Club enthusiasts, the elites, the speedsters, the BQers, the enjoyers, the maniacs, the charity raisers, those who run for new a PR/bling/dessert/stress relief/in memorandum/to prove they can/who lost a bet, and the list goes on.

The great thing about our sport is that there’s space for all.

The bad news is that the largest races don’t necessarily agree.

I fall somewhere between a Runner’s Country Club enthusiast and a marathon enjoyer -- one of my greatest motivators is packing my bags and traveling to see 26.2 miles of a new place on foot. I’ve run 3 dozen marathons and ultramarathons in places as close as my local trails in San Francisco, as quiet as the rainy streets of Reykjavik, and as remote as the islands of Antarctica. I’ve even checked an Abbott World Marathon Major and a BQ off my list when I qualified for the Boston Marathon in Chicago.

And yet running on varied terrain at different paces around the world left me unexpectant of what I was to experience at my most recent international race.

What I found was a race that made room for everyone on a joyous weekend of celebrating a storied city.

A race that said one size can fit all.

That race was the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON.

The pre-party
Marathon weekend began on a high note: A Saturday morning breakfast run from the Charlottenburg Palace wound its way through the old Westend neighborhood and finished with a victory lap in the 1936 Olympic Stadium, where Jesse Owens forever changed the sport of running.
Olympiastadion
That note kept ringing loudly when a mini-marathon (4.2 kilometer) footrace and an inline skating marathon screamed through the streets of downtown Berlin in the evening, inviting everyone to glance at a course that welcomed different activities and all abilities.

The big event

Then there was the marathon. The energy in Berlin was palpable as hoards of individuals from around the world marched toward the great Reichstag lawn -- the front yard of Germany’s Parliament during the late 19th century. This expanse of grass acted as a meeting spot for friends; allowed runners an area to stretch; and offered efficient signage for drop bags, port-o-potties, a warm-up area, and the walk into the lush Tiergarten to find our starting corrals.

As we lined up on Straße des 17 Juni, it was impossible to miss all the shirts representing various countries and hear countless languages being spoken. Even though we weren’t from the same area and we didn’t talk in the same tongue, the expanse of heads gazing toward Siegessäule, Germany’s victory tower, focused on the same goal.
Siegessäule
The sites

The marathon itself winds through 10 neighborhoods filled with jagged spires, old cathedrals, gothic architecture, patina statues, tree-lined streets, and a million cheering faces. History buffs can’t ignore passing through Potsdamer Platz (a former gate on the Berlin Wall), the Berliner Dom, the Symphonic Konzerthaus, the German Chancellery, and an emotional finish through the Brandenburg Gate. 
Brandenburg Gate
The sounds

There’s no shortness of creativity bursting from Berlin’s seams, from artists to architects to designers to chefs to musicians. In true form, each block had no less than one band playing. I’m not talking commissioned bands performing in a quiet corner of a race -- I’m talking corner after corner of folk bands, punk bands, boy’s choirs, marching bands, mini orchestras, jazz bands, solo trumpets, solo drums, solo accordions, solo alpenhorns, and of course the beautiful song of human voices cheering on their loved ones. The audio presence of the race was enough to amp anyone up.

The scoop

The BMW BERLIN-MARATHON is the third largest marathon in the world, and it earns every bit of its deserved fame. Unlike other large marathons, anyone can run it. You don’t have to run a qualifying time to enter and you don’t have to be fast to toe the start line, even though this course attracts the fastest runners year after year. 

It’s one of the only races where you can run with the greatest athletes in the world, sightsee your way through hundreds of years of history, watch world records being set, and join your fellow friends in a celebration of unity and peace.

Finishing the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON

                     

Alyssa Yell is an avid ultramarathoner, adventure enthusiast, & lady of athleisure. When punching the clock, she plays with words & fights with grammar. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Solitary Liberation: El Calafate, Patagonia

This post originally appeared on SAANO Adventures.


After a life-altering adventure to Antarctica, the choice was easy to take a side trip to Patagonia while I was at the southernmost point of South America. Who would pass up the chance to see two more countries on their way home from the least-visited continent?

But the truth is that this was my first big trip I’ve taken, and I was doing it by myself.
As an introvert in a cramped city and a thinker at a busy tech company, solitude is something I find myself craving daily—the vast, lonely expanses of Patagonia were calling.

And I had no idea what I was doing.

The months leading up to my trip were filled with me shaking the nerves of getting to the bottom of the world and gathering the supplies needed to succeed there. It didn’t help that the number of times I heard, “I wish your boyfriend was going with you,” or, “Why do you want to do this solo?” in preparation of my travels had me questioning. Being asked, “You’re here by yourself?” during my journey was uninspiring. It’s hard to explain to people who won’t understand that being by myself is something I’m great at doing—and is something I even welcome. But I wondered whether that time and place in the world was the best opportunity to test my resolve.

If taking myself from San Francisco to Antarctica to Patagonia wasn’t enough, my luggage got lost via the Ushuaia airport, and I showed up in El Calafate, Argentina, with nothing but the clothes I was wearing and a book in my bag. The moments of emotional distress and the panic of what to do without my things tried desperately to reinforce the question of why I was there solo.

But as it turned out, the day I waited eagerly for my luggage before busing across Chile ended up being one of my greatest memories of Patagonia.

While I waited impatiently for my bag, I took myself to Glacier National Park for an ice trek.
Ice Trek on Perito Moreno, Patagonia Argentina
Ice Trek on Perito Moreno, Patagonia Argentina
Perito Moreno, Patagonia Argentina
As a single traveler, I didn't often get pictures with me in them, and I used strangers as props when the moment struck. At one point, I saw a woman standing on her own on top of a rock, and—as it felt fitting—I took a photo of her looking at Perito Moreno. As I was taking the photo, the glacier calved with her looking straight at it, and I switched my camera to video.

I went up to the woman and offered to share my video with her because we both caught a great ice show at an ideal time.

Shayli was also traveling by herself and understood my lost-luggage woes. We ended up chatting together for a few more hours that day, and I truly learned that when traveling solo, one can be on their own and never be alone.
Perito Moreno, Patagonia Argentina



                     
Alyssa is an avid ultramarathoner, adventure enthusiast, & lady of athleisure. When punching the clock, she plays with words & fights with grammar. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Antarctic Expectations

This post originally appeared on SAANO Adventures
Chinstrap Penguin - South Shetland Islands, Antarctica
“You came for a marathon but discovered something much more important.”

Those were a few of the words I received after uploading my first attempt at a highlight reel from my most recent vacation. The comment was left by a race director who conducts 26.2-mile races on all 7 continents, and his words stopped me in my tracks.


There’s a growing group of crazy people who are running a marathon on every continent, and while I haven’t officially committed myself to that asylum yet, I figured I might as well get the “hard” continent done before it becomes too popular to enter.

So I etched my name on a 3-year waitlist to run a marathon in Antarctica and patiently waited my turn.

My trip to Antarctica turned out to be about so much more than running. In fact, I venture to say that the marathon was the boring part of the trip. I love running -- but the race was no more than a check in the “I ran a marathon in Antarctica!” box. I’ve run less-than-ideal weather races, but none in below-freezing temps, 50 mph winds, or ankle-deep sticky mud and wet riverbed rocks. (And we had good weather by Antarctic standards!)  


However, I can say I’ve now taken a zodiac boat from a ship to get to a race. And I can also say I had a penguin greet me at the starting line!


It was everything after the race that was truly spectacular. I got tossed around in a tiny ship sailing the world’s most violent ocean. Mountains of pristine blue glaciers towered over our deck. Bellowing humpback whales spouted air outside my cabin window. I kayaked next to icebergs, a leopard seal chewed on our zodiac, skuas and storm petrels soared effortlessly overhead. I jumped in below-freezing water and listened to the thunderous crack of glaciers calving into deafeningly silent harbors.


Each day in Antarctica was my new favorite day. As we sailed the Gerlache Strait down the peninsula -- ducking in and out of coves and navigating around 10-story tall ice cubes in an ocean that more closely resembled a Slurpee than a body of water -- the only words I could utter were clichés: “Is this another planet? Is this for real?"


What took my breath away was the abundant wildlife surviving in the harshest place on Earth.
Leopard Seal - Turret Point, Maxwell Bay, Antarctica
Leopard Seal - Turret Point, Maxwell Bay, Antarctica
The stunning sunsets contrasting against a black and white world.
Paradise Bay, Antarctica
The delicate balance between marine life and mountain life that’s easily upset by a degree drop in temperature.
Gentoo Penguin on Brash Ice - Neko Harbour, Antarctica
Antarctica is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.

And what’s more were the friendships. There was no WiFi or Internet or movies or TV on the ship, so I talked to people. Actually talked. I’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like to not have someone look at their phone or flash their eyes to a screen at some point during a conversation.


For 10 days I played cribbage with like-minded polar travelers, heard stories about peoples’ home lives in countries around the world, talked about places traveled to and places yet to be seen. I gained a greater appreciation for the beauty of unplugged interaction and absolutely no noise. (Except for maybe some camera shutters clicking at whales in our periphery.)


I experienced the awe, the grandeur, the majesty of a continent that none of us can find adequate adjectives for. We established a bond based entirely on the humbleness of seeing a land where we felt so tiny and so powerless.


I left Antarctica with the knowledge that I can travel to the most remote corner of the world on my own, dream bigger-than-life dreams, and do really scary shit that people find excuses for. I learned that whatever I put my mind to, I will make it happen.

Indeed. I came for a marathon, but I discovered so much more.
2016 Antarctica Marathon - Winner of 0-39 female age group - Alyssa Yell

                     

Alyssa is an avid ultramarathoner, adventure enthusiast, & lady of athleisure. When punching the clock, she plays with words & fights with grammar.