Product Review: Extreme Fit Compression Socks

Disclaimer: I received a selection of Extreme Fit compression socks to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

I’m going to come right out and say from the start that I liked these socks. They performed for me the way I expected them to perform. I know that may seem like something that should be obvious with a product like this, but it isn’t a guarantee, ever. Let me begin my saying I thought the level of compression in their running-orientated socks was on the mark. The sock never felt too tight and hugged against my legs and feet the way I wanted it to do. They are also a very soft sock in the feel and it’s as if you don’t even have anything on your feet. Now, Extreme Fit does offer two levels of compression in their socks. They have socks with 15-20 mmHg compression and socks with 20-30 mmHg. Now, what those numbers represent is how much compression the sock will provide for your legs and feet; a tightness level, if you will. So, for runners you would go higher and if you were wearing the sock for traveling or standing at your job all day, the lower number would work for you.

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As someone who runs both long and short distances, I found their runner socks to be topnotch and on par, if not better than some other brands out there. Another great option in the runner’s line of socks were ones that had extra amounts of reflective marks on them. Perfect if you are the early riser runner or the dusk runner where it may not be as easy to spot you. And I’m talking some seriously good reflective material.

I’m also a big fan of how many styles Extreme Fit offers on their website. And how they package some of their socks into solo options, 3-packs and even 6-packs! So many options with colors and designs; they even offer some socks with copper-infused fibers inside of them. You would be hard pressed to NOT find a style or color of sock on their site.

And who says that their socks are only for running or walking? Do you work in a hospital? Hair salon? Travel frequently on airplanes or train for work? Do you need compression socks for grocery shopping? Daily chores? Extreme Fit can benefit you with their product. I’ve used them myself when riding my bike, and I’m just relearning how to do that after over 30 years of not riding one.

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And don’t think you’re limited to just socks with Extreme Fit. No way, no chance. They have calf sleeves. Arm sleeves. Ankle sleeves. Knee sleeves. Even specialized sleeves if you suffer from plantar fasciitis. They truly are in the business of helping their clientele feel better and perform better.

(Photo credit to https://www.extremefitusa.com/)

Extreme Fit is out to help you with their graduated compression options. Wouldn’t you like to reduce swelling and pain while energizing your feet and legs? All that and you’ll be supporting muscle recovery later. It’s worth it for your body and these socks are definitely a good option to try. And if you decide to TRY NOW, please use code BRP20 to receive 20% off your order of $50 or more. And they currently have a ton of options on sale so you will be making off like a bandit if you order now! Don’t hesitate, these are a great option if you require compression socks on your athletic journey. I’ve loved the pairs I’ve tested and have felt very comfortable in them as well as comfortable AFTER my runs or bike rides.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send them to me. I’ll be happy to answer them for you!

As always, Happy Running!

Sponsor Review: Raley’s Supermarkets, SPONSOR of the Napa Valley Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a $25 gift card to review Raley’s Supermarkets as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

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Now, that the Napa Valley Marathon is over it is NOT the time to neglect your body and all you did to prepare for that race. It’s been a week since you ran, so you need to make sure you not only rest but keep putting fuel into your body. Specifically, recovery fuel. And, yes, Raley’s can help you in that department as well. Visit their website to see how simple it is to find exactly what you’re looking for and how to spot it in the store. They have every category for you from Clean Label to Gut Health to Organic to Keto-Friendly. And everything in between too!

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Post marathon is an important time for the body. There’s a lot of recovery going on so be sure to take advantage of Raley’s nutrition strategist who provides the necessary tips and information to make your marathon experience not only enjoyable on race day but afterwards as well. I mean, you need to prep for that next marathon!

I hope you take the time to visit Raley’s website and utilize all the free information, tips and advice they offer as well as visit the store and stock your pantry with some great products that fit whatever need you may have in your dietary lifestyle.

Happy running!

Race Review: Samson Stomp n Romp 5K

It’s a little late but here it is, my review of the Samson Stomp n Romp 5K held at the Milwaukee County Zoo on January 19, 2020.

What can I say about another year of running the Milwaukee County Zoo’s Samson Stomp n Romp 5K? Well, this was the 40th year of the event and it remains one of the most popular events at the zoo even though it takes place in January, in Wisconsin. This year provided some challenges though and that’s why I will review it again. I am giving the race an overall grade of five stars for overcoming weather and construction challenges while still putting on a fun event for adults and kids.

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T-shirt/SWAG: The race always does a long sleeve t-shirt and while that may not seem exciting, this year’s version had a nice touch for the 40 year anniversary. On the back were the temperatures for the every year of the race leading up to this year. Just really cool and fascinating to see how many years have been in single digits and how many were above 30 degrees (not many, lol).

Aid Stations: There is only one station and it always has water but I have to give it at least three stars because the volunteers are out there suffering in the cold to hand out that water.

Course Scenery: Five stars, of course! You get to run through the zoo, checking out the polar bear, elk, macaques, penguins and more. You get to listen to the sea lions barking from their enclosure. And this year, due to construction making a larger hippo exhibit, the course had to be altered and it was a welcome change in my opinion. I loved that the course provided a new way to traverse the race. Great job working with what they had to work with.

Expo Quality: Not really an expo, per se. Just a packet pickup at the zoo. But the staff on hand are nice and friendly and ready to answer any and all questions you may have. Or just banter with you about how cold it will be on race morning, haha.

Elevation Difficulty: There was still the tough incline that the race always has but where it once was before you passed the first mile, not it was in between the 2nd and 3rd mile, so a little more challenging at the point in the race. There were also the same two steep declines that the course always has but, similar to the incline, their location in the race was not the same as year’s past.

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Parking: Your bib and race confirmation is your parking pass into the zoo. Easy access and easy departure. No problems.

Race Management: They did a phenomenal job with this race. The overcoming of the construction to create a fun course that still reached the right distance was impressive. But even more impressive was that the city and zoo were hit with a nasty ice and snow storm a day before and the zoo had the entire course cleared off of both. There were very few spots that had ice that was dangerous and there was zero snow on the course itself. Bravo again for the zoo’s maintenance staff for having a safe event. Packet pickup was smooth. And the post race party/spread was just as nice as always. Apples, Gatorade, water, coffee, granola bars, strawberry milk, blueberry milk, a restaurant’s homemade tomato soup and another restaurant’s chicken and rice sample dish were all part of the post race spread that led to the handing out of awards. And, no, I didn’t age place this year. There’s always next year though….

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Happy running!

The Journey to the 2020 Milwaukee Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Milwaukee Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

So, let’s start at where I’ve been and then move onto where I’m headed in my running life. Below you’ll see a pic of me just before entering double sports hernia surgery (with a faux fear face) and then a pic of me when it was all finished and I had awoken from the anesthesia. This all came about from over training throughout most of 2019 for various races, the final one taking place in November. Three days after that race, I was under the knife and being repaired.

 

The recovery stage was and has been difficult. I am not a patient man and the main restriction of no running was brutal. All I was allowed to do for the first two weeks was walk on a treadmill with zero incline. After the two weeks, I was allowed to lift weight restrictions (which were to stay under 25 lbs. total, so I didn’t lift at all) and do what was comfortable except when it came to legs. The remaining restrictions included no squats, no lunges, no core work at all and no planking. So I did a lot of upper body work and kept up with the walking on the treadmill and added slow bike riding at the gym.

 

Then after a month and half, I was allowed to run finally. No speed work but at least it was something other than walking. My goodness, was it ever a breath of fresh air to be able to run again. I started simple, on the treadmill and then slowly stretched it to the outdoors where the terrain obviously is less predictable. It was just nice to move the legs again and begin to think about training for specific goals as long as there were no setbacks with this new lifted restriction.

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Now here we are, two plus months from surgery. All restrictions have been lifted for both running and lifting. Yoga is back in my practice as is leg presses, etc. for leg day at the gym. Happiness is not enough of a word to express my feelings towards being back in the groove. It hasn’t been forever, but, I also know that this is just the beginning of a new runner version of me. I need to change my running gait to prevent this from occurring again. I need to build back up my endurance and stamina. The challenge has been presented and I am not ready to tackle it.

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So, how does that relate to the Milwaukee Marathon being held on April 11 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin? I wasn’t sure where I’d be at this point in time but I said if I was ready, I would at least make a go at a half marathon knowing I wouldn’t be ready for a full. So Milwaukee it is! Training has been going well so far as I’ve started to extend my distances in runs from 6 miles to 8 miles to 11 as a high so far. Nothing too strenuous and I haven’t pushed myself too far at this point. I can say I’m excited to be training for this half. I ran the same race last year but did the full marathon and set a personal PR by over twelve minutes! I’m really hoping to improve my half PR this time! I’m excited to race the streets of Milwaukee again at an event that was really topnotch last year. The improvements that the new group running the race implemented were huge in making it a success. Everything from packet pickup to the race to the post race party were ideal. A really great time so I’m looking for round two of fun. And you should join me if you’re looking for a half marathon or a full where you too could PR your time. If I can do it, so can you! Visit the site, pick a distance (they also offer a 5K) and sign up! Use code “RUN15” to save 15% off your entry fee! And you have time because the next price increase isn’t until March 7, 2020. Need another reason to sign up. If you do the half or full distances, here is what you will get:

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A tech t-shirt, an awesome medal, a quarter zip fleece and a beer following the race. Not to mention a great post race party atmosphere that takes place right at the Fiserv Forum, the Milwaukee Bucks new arena. I hope to see you there!

Happy running!

Product Review: Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro

Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Call me a believer in a product I didn’t think I needed and certainly never had a want for before having the opportunity to test it out. It’s a hydration vest. “Why would I want one of those?” “I can map out running routes to come across water fountains.” “I can bring a sport belt with water bottles attached to it if I want.” “This vest thing is going to be cumbersome and annoying bouncing around my body.” These are all phrases and questions I said at one time or another. This product review will explain why I was wrong and, to be frank, an idiot thinking that this was a piece of gear I didn’t need.

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I will address each of my questions above to answer why an Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro is a great item to own. Yes, I can map out running routes that take me past multiple water fountains, but wouldn’t it be nice to venture down new paths without being concerned about where necessary hydration will come from. And this vest makes it possible to carry plenty of water for marathon training runs. The included bladder fits 35oz of liquid and you can add a 500mL bottle and a 600mL bottle to the front pockets on the vest.

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Why wear this when I can wear a sports belt that hold water bottle as well as everything else I may need: driver’s license/ID, energy chews, reserve battery charger for phone, energy waffles, etc. If you check out the picture above here, you will see the answer for my ID and charger. A zippered pouch right in the middle that is out of the way but completely secure leaving me no worries of anything falling out or being in the way if I am trying to pull out energy chews/waffles. And where am I putting those items? The two pictures below show the front access pockets that can be used for those items. In the first photo, I am using one of the extra water bottle pockets to store my energy waffle. The second picture shows one of two over the shoulder velcro pouches that held my energy chews. Both easily accessible and my fuel remained intact and not mushed down.

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ADDED BONUS MOMENT: On the top clip in the front of the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro is a whistle. Yes, I said whistle. When using this vest in the early mornings or late evenings, what better option to include in the makeup of the vest itself. Scare away coyotes (or other aggressive animals) while using your pocket space for pepper spray if desired.

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The final question/concern was why would I want something bulky filled with water bouncing around as I ran? The fact is that it IS NOT bulky and bouncing around your back. Honestly, every time I have worn the hydration pack, I haven’t even noticed it being there. It isn’t on too tight but it also doesn’t flop around when running or when trying to get a sip of water. It has been the perfect complement to my runs and other gear options I take with me on long runs. I truly do love this product and am glad I had the opportunity to test it out.

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Still on the fence about trying out the Gear Vest Pro? Give them a try while saving some of your money by using code “BIBRAVEGVPRO” to get 15% off any Orange Mud product! And have faith in what you are buying! Orange Mud provides great customer service and backs their products. Manufacturing defect? Lifetime replacement. Have an accident with your pack? Leave it on the top of the car and take off? They understand and will offer a replacement at a “fair charge.” Also on their website are guidelines and suggestions for proper care and cleaning of their packs and bladders.

I hope you have found this product review of the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro to be helpful and useful in guiding you to getting your own hydration pack if you were in the market for one. Solid product, solid company!

Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll be sure to get back to you!

As always, happy running!

Milwaukee Marathon Training: Weeks 13 + 14

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Milwaukee Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This blog will be a little shorter than the others that have been meant to update any and all on my marathon training cycle. This covers the last two big weeks prior to the taper period for this race. I have to say I was pleased with most of the runs in this two-week period, especially my twenty-mile run. That was one of my best long runs in quite some time where everything seemed to be clicking for me and I was able to keep up at a pace that pleased me.

WEEK 13 – March 11 – March 17

MONDAY – Bike 21 min, Treadmill 37 min for 4.46 miles

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TUESDAY – Yoga 42 min, Treadmill 32 min for 3.89 miles

WEDNESDAY – Abs 30 min, Bike 26 min

THURSDAY – Long run 147 min for 16.24 miles

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FRIDAY – Back workout 45 min, Bike 33 min

SATURDAY – Lucky Leprehaun 7K 33 min for 4.46 miles (PR’d my time for 3rd straight year)

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SUNDAY – Rest Day

TOTAL MILES: 29.05

 

WEEK 14 – March 18 – March 24

MONDAY – Chest workout 30 min, Treadmill 20 min for 2.72 miles

TUESDAY – Yoga 42 min, Bike 22 min, Run outside 71 min for 8.40 miles

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WEDNESDAY – Abs 45 min, Bike 25 min, Treadmill 20 min for 2.62 miles

THURSDAY Arm workout 45 min, Bike 35 min

FRIDAY – Run outside 184 min for 20.52 miles

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SATURDAY – Rest Day

SUNDAY – Outside run 30 min for 3.56 miles

TOTAL MILES: 37.82

So here I am, already one week into the taper as I type out this blog and getting prepped for race week. I’ll be sure to keep my legs active but I don’t want to wear them out. I know it may seem a little slow or lesser than normal or what should be the proper method of tapering down, but, I know me and plan to train the way that will work best for me.

Now, as for any of you who may live in the Milwaukee area, there is still time to sign up for this race. Of course, perhaps not the marathon distance but there is a half marathon distance and 5K. Register by this Wednesday, April 3, and you will be good to go! Remember to use code “RUN15” to save 15% on your entry!

Hope to see you at the Milwaukee Marathon, if not running, then cheering everyone on and then partying away after the race!

Happy running!!

Race Review: Lucky Leprechaun 7K

This is the fourth year I’ve run this race and this year had the best weather, by far! Sunny skies and upper 30s – low 40s temps made for a pleasant race. Afterwards though, the wind picked up a little bit and that made post race socializing last about as long as the free beer lasted, lol! And for the third straight year, I was able to lower my time, so that was pretty cool.

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The overall feeling I have about this race is that it is pretty good with great management, but it could be better. One of the biggest reason I run it (and best reason, really) is that it supports the MACC Fund, an organization that benefits children fighting cancer. Great cause to run for! Now I’ll get into the rest of my review which will give the explanation why I give this race 4 stars and not five.

T-shirts/Swag: You get a free cotton t-shirt which has looked the same for every year of the race. Ot needs a change; something, I don’t know. But something to mix it up. The end of the race provides you with free coffee/hot chocolate, a local company’s chips, water, banana and two free beer from Miller Lite (and, yes, you can choose green beer if you like), but that’s all. And I consider post race food items to not really be swag. There’s no medal. No glasses. They do hand out green beads as well as chocolate coins, but come on. This race needs a medal. It could be great!

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Aid stations: There is one water aid station on the course approximately in the middle of the course and that’s appropriate for this distance.

Course Scenery: I like it. Some of it takes place in a park; some of it on a main street in the city’s village area; and the rest of it takes place through residential neighborhoods. The trees aren’t in bloom yet obviously, but I still enjoy where we run.

Expo Quality: Not much to write about here. I give it some stars because you pick up your packet at a local running store so there is opportunity to shop if you like, but otherwise that’s it.

Elevation Difficulty: This course has some slight inclines and declines throughout it and then one major incline you have to run up before circling around a bit and then heading down the same path on the way back, so that’s nice.

Parking/Access: Parking is easy as long as you know what you’re doing, get there early and know the side streets where parking is simple and allowed.

Race Management: They are great. Yes, they send a ton of reminders to sign up even after you have already signed up but they include plenty of updates to any possible changes in course or weather as well. They keep you up to date with the packet pickup and provide a cool countdown to race day.

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One last thing that I most assuredly should mention is the post race party. There is a DJ at the finish line blasting away and the emcee is full of energy as he yells out cheers for the finishers. Then, across the street is the main sponsor of the race, Leff’s Lucky Town, a local restaurant/bar that invites all to come over and eat, drink and listen to a band set up in an outdoor tent. The after party is pretty fun to chill out and hang with friends.

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If you should be in the Milwaukee area around St. Patrick’s Day I would suggest signing up for this fun run with a festive atmosphere. It is a good time!

Orange Mud Transition Towel and Seat Wrap Product Review

Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Transition Towel and Seat Wrap to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I have to start out by saying that I’ve seen people use these before at races and I was very excited at the opportunity to test it and review it. With high expectations, it has not disappointed me at all. 100% has served its purpose for me, with still more chances to be used in the future. I’ll start with the basics first. It’s 30″ by 60″ in size and made form Terry cloth, cotton. So soft. It uses an impact resistant polymer clip that attaches to laser cut belt when you are using it as the transition towel. And if you think about getting one for yourself, it comes with a 1-year warranty. Now for the awesome uses of the Orange Mud Transition Towel and Seat Wrap.

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Nothing worse than the post race or post workout changing towel falling or constantly slipping off your body as you attempt to get out of sweaty clothes into something more comfortable. The transition towel makes this easy and risk-free. Simply wrap it around you and use the clip to attach to the belt loops and you’re all set. And don’t feel scared that it will fall off even if it doesn’t feel like it attached properly; I double and triple checked after wrapping it around me the first time because it seemed like I hadn’t gotten it to be secure. Such a great product, I even fooled myself! Makes changing a piece of cake.

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(photo courtesy of Orange Mud’s website)

The best use, for me so far, has been the seat wrap option that it provides. Wow. Awesome. Perfect. Much needed! This probably got me more excited than it should have but I hate hate hate dealing with sweaty workout clothes, especially after going hard at the gym, and then sitting in my car and bringing the smell into the seat. Ugh! Sure, just put a regular towel in there but then you need to change it out over and over. I found that the Orange Mud Transition Towel and Seat Wrap lasts longer and the smell fades as long as you air it out some. This is been a great addition to all the running gear I own. It’s simple but so useful and needed.

And it was relatively easy to attach to the car seat. Simply zip it up and wrap it around the headrest of the seat, drape it down and over the chair and when you sit down, it stays put.

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(photo courtesy of Orange Mud)

One more benefit to the transition towel/seat wrap: it’s most simplest use of all. When in a bind or if  you’re just forgetful, it can be used as a….surprise, towel! Soft material and very effective at drying you off, as you would imagine it would be. No fibers are left behind on your skin and after you use it for that you can still wrap your seat in it if need be.

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Washing it was no problem either. Wash in cold water and dry cool. Boom. Done. Simple. You shouldn’t wait to have one of these yourself. And I have a code right now for you to use. Go to the site for Orange Mud, place your order and use code “OMTRX” to save 15% off. Don’t wait!

Any questions, please feel free to ask! And happy running as always!

In the Buff: Why This Headwear is for You

Disclaimer: I received an Buff Original Headwear to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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I’m not sure where to start with the Buff Original Headwear. I know that you might read this and think I’m just filling  your head with all positives because I’m getting paid or something (I’m not) but that’s not the case at all. I love the Buff! I used to wear hats on all my runs. Now, I hate wearing hats on my runs. The Buff prevents all sweat from dripping into my eyes which I could never say about any of my hats before. But that’s just a personal reason for me to love the Buff. So, why should you?

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One big reason to want to wear this product on all your runs, or any outdoor activity really is the protection it provides. The great material it’s made of provides a UPF 50 factor. What does that mean? Means your head/neck are getting 98% UV protection during your outdoor activity. That makes for a great product! Now you may say, well it’s only covering your head so what does that matter? Well, there are several ways for you to wear this awesome item!

 

And the Buff Original Headwear fits as tight or as loose as you want it to fit. Perfect no matter what. And protects you all over from the sun.

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And you can also use it as part of your Halloween costume! Lol!!

Finally, one of my favorite reason that you should think about owning your own Buff Original Headwear wrap is because of what they are partially made of. Every wrap includes two recycled plastic bottles in its construction. How about that?! Great product that serves your needs AND you’re helping Mother Earth at the same time! Win-win!

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Think about getting yourself a wrap today! You will not be disappointed in its performance or value in the long term. Make sure to check out their website, www.buffusa.com.

If you already own one, I’d love to know what you think. Great product or what?

Happy Running!