Friday, May 18, 2012

Product Review: Endorphin Warrior Training Bracelet and May Giveaway

I am not a "pretty" runner. If you have ever run with me, you probably know what I mean. If not, one look at my race photos will show you that I normally look either pained or just plain frumpy. My running clothes seldom match. My hair is usually flying all around, even when pinned down or stuffed under a doo-rag. Basically, I am a running version of What Not to Wear, greatly in need of a style intervention. One of my goals for this year is to be a "prettier" runner, both by addressing my problems in form and by investigating the idea that I could take an extra minute or two to look good on the runs.

Since I can't afford a whole new running wardrobe, I decide to start small, with my accessories. To that end I was taking a look at the running jewelry available. One day on my Facebook page an ad for Endorphin Warrior popped up. I saw their Warrior Training Bracelet, and it was love at first sight.

The Warrior Bracelets are 5/8" wide leather cuff bracelets with a nickel-plated metal tag with an inspirational word or phrase stamped into them. Their site says that the nickel plated tag will not rust or tarnish. When I first saw them, I loved how shiny the tag appeared, and I especially loved the inspirational words stamped on them. I am a big believer in mantras and use them when I run to help me stay focused, relaxed, or to keep going when things get tough.

Some of their best sellers are phrases like "persevere," "relentless," and "focus." They also have distance braces, such as "13.1," "26.2" and for the triathletes out there "swim, bike, run," and "70.3."  The site said they are meant to be worn during training and racing.

I finally made the leap and contacted Endorphin Warrior to find out if they would send me a bracelet to review and donate one for our May giveaway. They graciously agreed, and referred me to the sizing instructions. The warrior bracelets are sold in sizes to ensure a good fit. Instructions are on the site for measuring your wrist, basically you measure the circumference of your wrist and add a half inch. I measured, sent a message, and soon my Persevere bracelet came in the mail.

When I opened the envelope, the first thing I noticed about the bracelet was that it was more lightweight and supple than I expected it to be. I had in mind some of the leather cuff bracelets I had bought in Mexico back in the 70s, which were heavy and course leather. This bracelet is nothing like that. The leather is very soft and of good quality. The shine on the nickel plate was as beautiful as pictured on the site. The snap was of good quality. The letters were stamped in nicely, crisp and even.

I slipped it on my right wrist over a week ago and have only taken it off to shower. (I am not sure that I need to do this because they are made to be worn during training, but I love it so much, I didn't want to take a chance.) It sits comfortably on my wrist and still looks great. I was worried that it would bother me when I run, but amazingly, it doesn't, which is saying a lot considering how irritable I can get on a long run.

After Gnaw Bone, Warrior Bracelet still on wrist
My initial concerns with the bracelet would how it would hold up if the leather got wet when I was sweating. I was afraid it would get unsightly sweat marks in the leather. So far, this has not happened. I wore the bracelet for a very warm and  muddy 50krace last weekend at Gnaw Bone that included a very wet and splashy run up the middle of a stream, but it still looks as good as when I took it out of the package. Occasionally the metal plate gets a fingerprint or loses its shine a little, but it buffs right back up to a like-new shine with a soft cloth.  I panicked the first time I got a scratch on the soft leather, but amazingly just running a damp cloth over the leather band removes the superficial scratches and makes it look like new again. After a week of wear, I have not yet put any deep scratches in either the metal or the band itself that I could  not wipe off, although I am sure eventually that may happen.

As I said, I am partial to mantras, and I did use the "persevere" idea several times during the race last weekend. When I was scrambling up the steep slopes on all fours or climbing some of the steeper climbs, I would glance down and see the "persevere" and smile. Ultrarunning is all about perseverance, and I liked having that little reminder that all I needed to do is hang on and keep moving forward to triumph.

The bottom line is that I love my Warrior Training Bracelet, and I am already thinking of my next one. I think it will be "Relentless" to help me step up my game a little for some of the more competitive events I hope to have later in the summer.

I also feel good about the company itself. Here is their mission statement:

"At Endorphin Warrior, our aim is to help you train, perform and live with greater strength of body and mind. We make products with positive and powerful messaging to wear while running, cycling, working out, sweating, racing - or all day long - to help you stay strong-minded and focused...and help you train harder, improve performance, overcome challenges, achieve your goals and live stronger."

They donate 1% of their sales to various non-profit organizations that "help young people learn how to live stronger and healthier through running, exercise, and athletics." This year, they are donating to Girls On the Run. The Warrior Training Bracelets are made in the USA.  Besides the bracelets, they have a wide variety of other items, including some very nice pendants and leather cord bracelets, that you may want to check out.

One interesting thing to note (Corey, are you out there?) is the company also sponsors an annual Haiku Poetry Contest for athletes, which is kind of an unusual thing for a company to do, but it fits with their philosophy. It is worth checking the Home page on their site just to take a look at some of the previous winning entries. It will having you composing them in your head on your long runs (some of my trail running friends are way ahead of them on this one).

Which brings me to the information about this month's contest!! If you would like to enter to win a Warrior Training bracelet of your choice, here is what you need to do:

2. Take a look at the Warrior Training Bracelets and decide which one you would like to win
3. Go to the Through a Running Lens Facebook fan page, "Like" the page if you have not already done so, and post a comment to the Warrior Training Bracelet Giveaway post letting me know which Warrior Training Bracelet you would like to win.

The contest will end on Friday, May 25th at midnight. One entry per person. The winner will be announced here and on the Facebook page on Sunday, May 27th. What a great way to celebrate your triumph at Bayshore full or half marathon, or any other race you have planned for Memorial Weekend! Good luck!!

(Just a reminder, if you decide to purchase any Endorphin Warrior products, now or at a future date, please click on the links either here, at the top of the blog, or on my Facebook page to help support the blog and to show the company that their support of this blog is appreciated.)

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