Smartwool Women’s Double Propulsion 60 Pullover

I spent most of my pregnancy sweating in the heat of the summer and now that I’m ready to be outside and active again, it’s winter. Well, Vancouver winter anyway … which means rain, and lots of it! This normally wouldn’t deter me but I doubt it’s recommended to spend hours in the cold and rain with a newborn.

Side note: I’ve had neighbours and strangers say that they are surprised we’re outside at all, even for short walks on beautiful days.

Due this less-than-ideal weather as well as couple months of bedrest, recovering from a c-section, and caring for a newborn baby, I’m not where I had hoped to be in terms of fitness postpartum. But that’s okay! I’m not in a huge rush to return to my previous ultra running lifestyle, however, it does feel good to be moving again.

Luckily we had some sunshine this past couple weeks and there’s nothing quite like new gear to motivate me to get outside. So I put on my Smartwool Women’s Double Propulsion 60 Pullover and my 12 lb weight vest (Baby R in her carrier), and we took off on some long walks and even a short hike.

Cowl neck with asymmetrical snap closure
Subtle zippered kangaroo pocket

I’m ashamed to say with all my outdoor adventures over the past few years, I own surprisingly little merino wool. As the cold weather rolls in, I’ve been hearing more and more recommendations touting the benefits – it’s warm AND it wicks moisture away from your skin, whether it’s sweat or rain.

The Smartwool pullover has merino wool on the inside with additional layers of SmartLoft wool insulation and wind-resistant polyester with DWR finish covering most of the outside. The sides and under the arms are only the merino wool layer for venting and breathability.

When you are radiating heat and also have a baby radiating heat strapped to you, you quickly learn to appreciate a garment that can regulate temperature and moisture – especially because removing a layer is a surprisingly difficult endeavour with a baby carrier and particularly so when on your own.

A cold and foggy day by the river.
Black and grey - my favourite colours!

The pullover is super comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and the fit is perfect. It has a surprisingly convincing grey, woven print on the weather resistant fabric to give it a textured look.

It’s also easy to wash – just throw it in the machine on cold (which is how I do basically all my laundry) and then tumble dry low (yay, I don’t have to hang dry). The things you appreciate when your have a never-ending pile of laundry to be done.

… But my FAVOURITE feature is the zippered kangaroo pocket. I’ve never seen this before but I love it! I am always throwing important items in my pocket like money or my phone, so zippers are a must. And who doesn’t love a kangaroo sweater?

It's colder than it looks outside.
Love the textured look of this pullover!

I just have one question for Smartwool or anyone else that can answer. What are the bum zippers for? There are small zippers on both sides on the bottom of the back. Is this to fit the garment over bulky snow pants? Or to provide a little extra room in case my butt expands? I’ve never seen this before.

In any event, I can already tell this will become a staple for outdoor adventures. The only thing missing (in my humble opinion) is thumb holes.

BOCO Run Hat

Disclaimer: I received a BOCO Run Hat 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 was sent a BOCO Run Hat in September prior to giving birth to my daughter in October. Unfortunately between being on bed rest, being super pregnant, and then recovering from a c-section, I haven’t been able to actually try it while running. I have, however, worn it for walks while my body gets used to being active again. Below are my thoughts based on my experiences, as well as links to reviews by other runners.

Product Description

Born on the trails of Boulder, Colorado the BOCO Run Hat offers a great combination of technical fabrications to keep you focused on your run or your race.

  • Lightweight wicking woven polyester material provides a layer of protection from mother nature on the front and top panels.
  • Dry Tech polyester mesh side panels keep your head cool for the length of your workout.
  • Soft polyester mesh wicking sweatband on the inside to help move sweat away from your head keeping you focused on the trail or road.
  • Adjustable back snap buckle with tuck in pocket for any excess keeping the back of your hat tidy.
  • Updated styling with sublimated designs
  • Black underside of the bill to reduce glare
  • Curved bill
  • Machine washable

Function

I was curious to try this style of running hat because I’ve seen many runners wearing similar ones. It’s super lightweight and although we BibRave Pros tested it in the fall and winter, it would be best suited to warm or hot temperatures. It also has a great brim for keeping the sun off your face … but I haven’t seen much of that around the Vancouver area lately. It also pairs well with a hood to keep a light drizzle off your head.

Fit

My head is a tad on the larger side so not all hats fit comfortably and some squeeze my head too much. The BOCO Run Hat has an adjustable strap at the back and a bit of stretch in the fabric. These to features allowed it to fit me perfectly (and I assume most other people).

Style

I’m rather partial to trucker hats and toques personally. Those are basically the only hats I wear for running or otherwise. This hat was a step out of my comfort zone but like I said, I have seen other runners wear this style and always think it looks cool on them!

I’m still undecided about whether I like how it looks on me but I think once summer rolls around I’d opt for this over a trucker hat due to it being so lightweight and breathable. In the meantime, I will probably switch back to my favourite toque, also made by BOCO for BibRave, until the weather warms up or I start running fast enough to keep my ears warm!

Check out review by my fellow BibRave Pros!

Brenda – Stephanie – Matt M – Casey – Amy WMeridith – Jeannine – Lindsey – FrankFallon – Gina – Emily – Amanda L

Stunt Puppy Running Leash

Disclaimer: I received a Stunt Puppy running leash 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!

The Stunt Puppy “Stunt Runner” leash is the second hands-free leash I’ve owned, and is far superior to the first one I tried. The major difference between it and many others is that the main leash part is stretchy (stretches from 35 to 51 inches) to absorb pulling from your dog. This is great for controlling my sweet but unruly 70 lb. chocolate lab. Other features include:

  • Black metal D-Ring on waist belt slides to preferred running position
  • Waist belt adjusts 28”-49”, custom sizing available
  • Simple, light weight design will not slow you down

It is made in the USA and is available in five colors – black, blue, red, silver, and orange. I opted for the orange one.

While my dog, Hadley, is super sweet and well-tempered, she isn’t that well trained and can be a bit mischievous. She is typically fine running and walking on a leash as long as it’s just the two of us. However, the more people or dogs you add into the equation, the more chaos ensues. I’ve signed us up for the RunGo Dash for Dogs this Saturday, February 18 and the Stunt Puppy leash arrived just in time to get in a couple practice runs with it.

The first run we did just the two of us. I took her up to the park and we ran around through deep snow and had a blast. Hadley did well on the leash and didn’t pull too much. The second run we met a couple friends and another dog at the park to run trails. As usual, it was chaos at first but eventually she calmed down and was more or less manageable.

Pros

  • The Stunt Puppy running leash feels well constructed and sturdy.
  • I love that it is stretchy.
  • The waist loop size is very adjustable.
  • There is an extra loop you can grab for a closer hold on your dog near where the leash attaches to the collar.

Cons

The leash is a generous length if/when your dog heals beside you. However, I found that the leash was just a touch too short when Hadley ran in front of me on narrow trails. I had to run right on her heels which doesn’t leave much reaction time if she stops suddenly (which she always does). I check the Stunt Puppy website hoping that they sold some sort of extender piece, but unfortunately they don’t. They do, however, offer custom sizing for an additional $15.

Try the Stunt Puppy “Stunt Runner” leash for yourself! Use code “BIBRAVE217” for 20% off through t0 March 15, 2017.

Check out review by my fellow BibRave Pros!

Allison (& Gracie) – Mer (& Gemma) – Jen Skiba (& Georgie) – Jeremy (& Janie) – Casey – Laura (& Arthur) – Lindsey – Lisa (& Mr. Cooper)