I received some freebies and, while I wasn't asked to review them, I thought it would be a good way to say "Thanks."
First, the minor ones. I won a couple of things from Beth Risdon at ShutUpandRun; one unintentionally:
From Chris Bailey of the Zocalo Group, I received some Salonpas Arthritis pain Pain Relieving Patches. These contain 3% menthol and 10% methyl salicylate; essentially, there's the cooling analgesic effect of the menthol and the transdermal NSAID effect of the methyl salicylate, which should be localized to where the patch applies. I ended up having neck and shoulder pain (mostly from sleeping in an awkward position and from spending 12 hours hunched over using a computer screen in my lap, instead of in front of me) and tried the patches out. They work; but so does an ice pack and a couple of Tylenol. I haven't tried them for anything else.
From Katie Scott of 2Toms (http://www.2toms.com/) I received the indelicately named Butt Shield, a roll-on lubricant containing dimethiconol, dimethicone, shea butter, calendula extract, green tea extract, horsetail plant extract, aloe vera and vitamin E. Standard skin lubricants contain petrolatum, lanolin and zinc oxide (For example, to mess with Julie Berg: her foot lube is Desitin [zinc oxide], A&D ointment [petrolatum and lanolin], aloe vera and vitamin E). Boudreaux's Butt Paste is zinc oxide, castor and mineral oils and a couple of other things. The dimethicone in Butt Shield is a clever ingredient, as it works as a lubricant at high temperatures and the shea butter melts at just about skin temperature. The plant extracts are astringents I could live without having in the formula. It worked for me, though I didn't use it under the conditions when I need it most (that'd mean waiting for several months to try it out) and I'd rather have it in a form that's not roll-on.
Jremiah Squires of The Squires Group (http://www.thesquiresgroup.org/) very generously supplied me with a shirt, shorts and socks from 26.2 Performance Apparel [See the whole line of apparel at http://www.thesquiresgroup.org/Site/26.2.html or http://www.262apparel.com/mens-running-apparel.html]
The shorts were the 6100 mens Mar Black/Pavement (size med). These may be my new favorite shorts. The construction and materials are top shelf - there's nothing more annoying than a badly sewn seam. I wondered how the ventilation panels would fare whan it was 46 degrees and windy, but they weren't a problem. You'll be seeing me wear these in a race soon!
The shirt was the 8202 mens Pavement w/ 26.2 logo (size lg). The fabric is incredibly soft and smooth, almost silky. The seams are oversewn in such a way as to be almost flat. This would be a great choice for those who have problems with nipple chafing. The wicking quality of the fabric, as advertised, is debatable. It has one major flaw: it is heavy; at first I thought I had two shirts. I wouldn't use this as a technical shirt for racing, but it would make a very good base layer for winter running (in fact, I'd like to see a high-necked version of it just for that purpose).
The socks... I haven't decided what I think of them, to be honest. I like using Wright Socks for racing short distances, as they're lightweight and I love SmartWool for inclement weather. I don't like Injinji toe socks, as they wear out quickly and are useful mostly for preventing blisters between toes, which isn't a problem for me. I'd like to try out the ridiculously overpriced DryMax [Note added: see comments], if someone sent me a pair; the one place in the Twin Cities I know that carries them is Gear West and right now I only know one person working there (hint, hint, Sperly). The Sorbtek material in the 26.2 socks is another supposed wicking material, but I didn't notice anything special about them. They have padded arches and are comfortable. The crew socks look like they won't pull up above shoe height, but the material is more flexible than one would expect and they fit well.
So what does a bad review look like? I bought a pair of Adidas tights... and they're Spanx for men. The spandex over the front makes me look like a Ken doll. The crotch hangs like a hammock or a net for a genital trapeze act. They've been relegated to wearing on long drives to keep my legs from swelling. Maybe I should just rely on freebies!
6 hours ago