For those who are long-time readers of this blog, you know from this post that I run. It’s more accurate to say that I jog, but that sounds so boring. I think if the activity requires your knees to bend more than your butt joint, then you are entitled to say that you run. But I digress…. You also know from this post that running in Barranquilla can be hard, not just because of the extreme heat and humidity, but also because of the crazy uneven or nonexistent sidewalks and the drivers who most definitely do not believe that pedestrians have the right-of-way. What you may not know is that running in Barranquilla sent me on a quest for a product I wish I had found long ago – the Armpocket.
Before I tell you why I recommend this product so highly, let me tell you how I came to realize that I needed it. The story starts in Miami Beach, where I trained for three marathons but never ran with a phone. I wanted my daily run to be off the grid. I did, however, run with an iPod Nano since running without music is, as far as I’m concerned, some outer circle of Hell. That, and I am totally addicted to tracking my runs with Nike+. (Almost 2,000 miles logged!) I tried a variety of arm straps for my Nano – one by Nike, one by New Balance, and some others that I can’t remember. In the process, I got blisters on my arm and ruined two iPods through water damage. (Sweat, people. Lots of sweat.) I chalked this up to the price of running – after all, it’s a pretty cheap sport on the whole – and kept hoping my iPod would survive at least six months. (Don’t even get me started on earphones… no telling how many of those I burned through before I discovered that Sennheiser’s are serious troopers. But again I digress….)
When I came to Barranquilla, I quickly realized that I was going to feel more comfortable if I toted my phone with me on runs – not just because I could make an emergency call if needed, but also because of the GPS. Being the practical person that I am, I plopped my iPhone into a plastic sandwich bag, leaving the bag open just enough for the earphone cord, and carried it in my hot little hand. (I ditched the iPod since the iPhone had both music and the Nike+ app – although let me tell you, my average time per mile plummeted because if you use the Nike+ app with the GPS, as opposed to the one that goes on your shoe, then you get no credit for all that time you’re running in place at the red light. OMG, I digress again….) That’s when some pretty interesting things started to happen.
First, I caught my ankle on a dirt-colored wire that was tied across some parking spaces to prevent cars from entering. As I flew through the air in a ballet leap that I never could have produced at will, my only thought was, “My PHONE! I am going to crush my phone when I land!” By some miracle that I still can’t explain, I managed to land on my feet – or at least one of my feet – and neither the phone nor I suffered any damage. The next time I wasn’t so lucky. I was running along, jamming to my music, happy to be on an actual sidewalk rather than in the traffic, when whoa, I found myself careening sideways toward the cement. Somehow, due to my lopsided fall, I landed on the hand that was not carrying the phone. The phone was unscathed though my knee appears to be permanently scarred. Still I continued using only Mr. Ziploc. And then it happened again. A THIRD time. And I went flying. And the phone went flying. Somehow the phone still works, though it later developed a crack in the face that might be attributable to that fall or to my toddler or both. I don’t know.
In any case, at this point I decided the phone had to get out of my hand – both for the phone’s sake and mine (so that I can better catch myself). Since my iPhone 4S is exponentially more expensive than my old Nanos, and since I sweat more in Barranquilla than I have ever sweated in my life, I realized that my old armband-experimentation-combined-with-iPod-replacement-plan was not going to work. I turned to the internet to research products, and the Armpocket got consistently good reviews on all fronts – from comfort to water resistance. I placed my order and was not disappointed.
The Armpocket is far and away the best armband of any type that I have ever tried. I absolutely would have used it earlier had I known about it. It holds my phone securely and allows good access, while at the same time providing space for some money, a card with emergency phone numbers, my ID, and more. It could also hold my keys if I didn’t jam other stuff like a baggie of electrolyte tablets into it. The Armpocket’s “jiggle” is the most minimal of any product I have used, particularly given that the Armpocket provides exponentially more space than my iPod bands. Perhaps most notable is the water resistance. On this front, the Armpocket beats everything else I have ever used, including my partially closed Ziploc bag. The company does not claim that the Armpocket waterproof, and it’s not – but the water resistance is extremely high. Just over two weeks ago, I took it on a 16 mile run in Barranquilla. By the time I got back, every part of me and everything on me was soaked — completely drenched — on the outside. The money that I had inside the Armpocket at the back (the part closest to my arm) was moist, but my phone was as dry as a bone. I’m confident the conditions under which I ran were as extreme as they get, wet-wise, absent a total downpour.
The one thing that I did have a bit of trouble with was the size. Prior to ordering online, I dutifully measured my arm. The diameter of my arm fell at the top of the range for size Small, and so that’s what I ordered. Unfortunately, after a few weeks of use, the seemingly super-strength Velcro started to “fuzz up” and not hold like it should. I decided this was perhaps because I had to pull the band too tight to make it fit. I contacted Armpocket Enterprises about this, and they agreed to replace my Armpocket for free (and to allow me to do this giveaway along with product review under no obligation). I sized up to the Medium, and the problem was solved. I’ve now been running with my Medium Armpocket for several weeks and it’s great. I am convinced that the Velcro problem was due to the size. So, like those old instructions for pantyhose (yes, I am dating myself, and I realize my male readers have no idea what I’m talking about – count your blessings, guys), if you’re at the top of the measurement range for a given size, size up.
I once read on some other runner’s site (apologies that I don’t know which one!) that that runner judged products like armbands and waterbelts not by whether he could feel them after they were on – you can always feel them – but by whether he forgot he had them on a few minutes after starting to run. The Armpocket passes that test with flying colors, and allows me to feel secure in the fact that I have all the essentials with me. I can’t recommend it more highly.
Now for the (more) fun part!
You can win the Armpocket model of your choice — they have them to fit even the biggest phones like the Samsung Galaxy — and you can win it NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE. That’s right! Armpocket Enterprises has assured me that this giveaway is international. Here’s how you enter:
1. If you haven’t done so already, follow this blog. This helps ensure that regular readers have the best chances of winning!
2. Like, follow, and/or share the Armpocket Facebook page or Armpocket Twitter page. Tell them that Barranquilla or Bust sent you! Then add a comment below to let me know you did so. In your comment, be sure to include the Armpocket model, color, and size that you want(I have the i-10 iPhone 4S compatible, size M, in Splash). You can check out all the models here.
Enter by Saturday, September 26th. I’ll put the names of all entries into a hat and draw the winner randomly by October 3rd.
Do you have running/fitness products that you can’t live without? Be sure to share those with all of us too. Happy running!