Run Safe

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Handana Review

Recently, I had the opportunity to try out a pretty unique new product called the Handana.  It's marketed as a "high performance sweatband for running and other sports."  Here's the description from their website "It’s made of soft, durable wicking SupplexTM LycraTM fabric that wraps around your hand allowing you to use both sides of your Handana hand to wipe sweat from your eyes, nose, neck or forehead. Your hand and fingers are completely free to keep your stride smooth, steer your bike or to open snacks and water bottles."

I was contacted about trying out the Handana and was surprised when it showed up in the mail two days later.  My opinion, fast shipping is usually a good indicator of someone who is passionate about what they are doing and that was further confirmed after inspecting the quality workmanship of the product.  Here are some of the product highlights:

  • Made of SupplexTM LycraTM fabric that is soft, durable and wicks away moisture
  • Comfortable, glove-like fit
  • Multiple sizes and colors
  • Machine washable
  • Lightweight, natural fit around your hand
  • Perfect for allergy sufferers and people who sweat
  • Great for running, cycling, yoga, racquet sports and more!
  • Made in the USA

The Handana can also be worn on either hand.   I asked for the same size that I would normally wear in a glove. The fit was snug but not to the point of uncomfortable.  There were several factors in my testing favor on the day one of testing the Handana. Several days prior I was involved in a rollover car crash and in my effort to get out of the car I cut my hand up pretty bad. The wound was still bandaged and raw on the day I ran with the Handana. In addition to the wound I decided to go on a trail run on a day with high humidity and temps in the upper 80's.  

The Handana performed as described and then some.  It effectively provided a simple way to wipe the sweat from my face. Normally on a hot run like this a hat, headband or visor will help but short of a gutter strapped to my forehead I don't think anything will keep all of the sweat away.  I would usually take my shirt off and carry it to use as my towel. The Handana allowed me to keep my hands free. It also added a little extra protection for my booboo.  

Another benefit of the sticky hands.  I usually end up with some degree of gels and/or sports drink on my hands when out on a run.  But on my second Handana run my tactic  was to carry my handheld in the same hand as my water bottle.  Only problem here was now I couldn't use It to wipe the sweat however it did a pretty decent job at keeping my hand sticky free.  I almost wish I had one for each hand. 

On my third run I first soaked the Handana with cold water. The thought was to use it as a cooling towel. I didn't feel this worked too well. It was great at first but it didn't stay cold.  This is not a marketed feature of the product but thought it would be worth a try. 

In addition to running, I could see this being useful in other activities such as cycling, yoga and probably many more I'm not thinking of. 

One other use I'm going explore with the Handana is to use it as a way to keep my hands warm.  Don't get me wrong in the dead of winter these are going to cut it alone.  But, as an added layer under your gloves or mittens they would work great.  

In addition to my running adventures I also play the bagpipes. I told Katie, the founder of the Handana company, I think these might be an effective option to blocking the wind but still leave enough freedom of movement for my fingers. 

If you'd like to learn more about the Handana or their product line go to

Thursday, July 11, 2013

No Women Allowed!

Up until only recently that was the official position of both the Olympics as well as the world's most famous marathon, Boston. Women were not allowed to compete in the 26.2 mile distance.

Recently I was contacted by Adrian Kastelic of Tribesports who said "Over the coming weeks, Tribesports are celebrating those people throughout the history of sport who have had a truly game changing effect on their sport. Those people who's actions transcend generations and change the face of their sport forever."

As soon as I read this two game changers came to mind; Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb and Kathrine Switzer.

1966 photo of Bobbi Gibb as she ran the Boston Marathon

Prior to 1966 "it was generally believed that women were physiologically unable to run marathon distance."1 as sited in Bobbi Gibb's Wekipedia entry. After training for nearly two years Bobbi applied to enter the Boston Marathon in early 1966. She was denied by the race director who basically told her women were incapable of handling a 26.2 mile run. Undeterred, she borrowed some of her brothers clothes and snuck into the starting line crowd of runners, disguised as a male. "Although not an official entrant, Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Joining the field shortly after the gun had been fired, Gibb finished the race in 3:21:40 to place 126th overall. Gibb again claimed the "unofficial"2 title in 1967 and 1968." In 1969 the BAA officially recognized these finishes and awarded Gibb a medal for each race.

Semple finding out it's not that "simple"

In 1967 Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to enter the Boston Marathon as a registered entrant. Still 5 years before officially permitted to run, Kathrine entered under the gender neutral name of K.V. Switzer. She finished in 4 hours and 20 minutes. During the race, race director Jock Semple ran up to Kathrine yelling "Get the hell out of my race." and tried to physically remove her from the course. Unfortunately for Mr. Semple, Kathrine's boyfriend was running along side her and didn't agree with his wishes. Kathrine's boyfriend pushed Semple away and the two finished the race. "I think it's time to change the rules," said Switzer. "They are archaic." Switzer's story and the surrounding publicity had made the quest for equality in road racing for women a political issue. Coming as it did in the midst of the women's liberation movement, it galvanized women in the belief that it was time, as Switzer had said, to change the rules."3

And as crazy as all of that sounds it wasn't until the 1988 Olympics that women competed in the marathon. NINETEEN EIGHTY EIGHT! According to an article published in Runners World magazine today women make up nearly 50% of the runners in the major marathons in the United States. And, I would suspect that is true around much of the world.

So just in case any of you ladies needed a little more motivation to run a marathon, there ya go.

If you'd like to learn more about the history of women in the Olympics check out this article.

Head on over to Tribesports and join in the conversation.

2.Boston Athletic Association.