Friday, December 27, 2013

Gear Report: Bracelets

It's been a long time since I've written a review of new products I'm trying, but over Christmas I received two I immediately wanted to talk about.

(I'll pause here to mention that all my runner friends, IRL and in blog-land, have gotten new Garmins, and I still don't have one! I am just sentimentally married to my Nike+ app, I guess, and a Garmin seems pricey and redundant. But I know if I had one, I'd fall in love. And even though I don't need one...man alive I'm jealous of all you lucky ducks!)
Check out that awesome blackout job I did in Paint.
The first bracelet is my Road ID. If you recall, Matt and I both won raffle prizes of gift certificates for Road IDs at our SUP n Run race. They were waiting for us in the mailbox when we got home from Christmas vacation.

Matt's Road ID is just a precaution because he doesn't have any medical conditions or allergies. Mine is a little more necessary, and it's insane that I haven't had one before now. As you can see, the etching is very clear and easy to read. I was able to list my allergies and chronic illnesses, name, birth year, and emergency contacts without any issues for space.
The packaging in minimal but hugely important.
I got the Wrist ID Slim in a small, and it's tight going over my hand but then fits perfectly on my weirdly tiny wrists.

The best thing about Road ID is the lifetime guarantee. As it states in the "manual" the bracelet comes with:

"If you are not satisfied with our products for any reason, simply return them for a full refund or exchange. NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Additionally, the laser engraved, stainless steel ID carries a LIFETIME GUARANTEE. If you are tough enough to wear it out, return it and we'll send you a new one."

To me, this is one of the biggest perks. Their customer service is really unbeatable.
I got the Road ID in red so that it's clearly recognized as a medical bracelet.
The second bracelet I received was a gift from my in-laws. I had mentioned on Thanksgiving, as I flipped through the various sale catalogs around the house, that I was interested in the Fit Bit Flex. Sure enough, Christmas morning rolls around and they had remembered!

I haven't had a chance to use some of the more detailed aspects of the Fit Bit yet, so this review is going to be surface-level. The Fit Bit is basically a glorified pedometer that also links to an app and allows you to track food and water consumption, sleep patterns, and activity levels.
Clearly I haven't really set it up yet, but here are all the features for tracking in the app.
One of the main attractions for me was the "silent alarm" feature. When you wear the Flex to bed, you can set an alarm and it wakes you up by vibrating. This is less jarring than a typical alarm, and allows for a more gradual and natural wake-up.


My favorite feature at this early-date is the "How did you sleep?" menu. Once the Flex has been put into "sleep mode", it tracks how often you move around. There are two settings for this, so you can have it set to "ultra sensitive" or "normal". I kept mine at normal, and this was my result from last night:
You can scroll along the lines to see what times you were "restless" and for how long. Although a normal clock would show that I slept 9 hours last night, the reality is that only 8 of those hours were quality sleep.

I'm hoping this feature really comes in handy when school starts back up, and that I'll begin to see a pattern between what I eat and when I eat and my sleep patterns. (Once I start logging food.) I also haven't taken it for a run yet, and I'm interested to see how it tracks my steps and miles.

My only concern is that the app is so detailed that I (and many women like me) may toe that slippery slope of tracking myself to a point of obsession. The more you use the Fit Bit, the more accurate it is. The biggest "con" I've noticed so far is that you need to go into the app to put in food/water consumption, so in a way it's just as inconvenient as any other calorie-tracking app when it comes to that aspect.

Other cool features: the Fit Bit Flex is 100% water resistant, so it's safe to use in the shower; you can buy bands in different colors; the original bracelet comes with two sizes in the box (I'm wearing the small size); and the app syncs wirelessly using BlueTooth and is designed for both Droid and iPhone.

Have you ever used the Fit Bit before?
Do you wear Road ID or another kind of emergency notification while running? The Road ID app is pretty awesome and free, but I always forget to turn it on before a run!
What fitness gifts did you receive for the holidays?

ABK

23 comments:

  1. I have to totally agree with your "Road ID customer service" comments. Holy cow- I wore my nylon band once and it seemed to warp a little. I emailed them to ask if that's normal, I got a personal email back within an hour, and the NEXT DAY I had a new band in my mailbox. Crazy. I love those people. I also am fond of wearing it while not running, because it makes me feel super-awesome. Enjoy!!! Keep giving fit bit updates- It looks interesting.

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    1. Wow! I wish all companies had such great customer service.

      I'll write another update in a couple weeks!

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  2. I also have a Road ID and I love it! I feel good knowing that my allergies are listed on it along with contact info.

    The Fit Bit sounds very detailed. You can definitely use this as a good training tool! I think I may be too 'lazy' to input all of the data....lol.

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    1. I'm definitely having to combat laziness to use it to its fullest. But my resolutions revolve around making better choices for training, so I think it'll help!

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  3. I am a big fan of the Road ID company. Not only do they have awesome products, but they support local races. I help plan a kid's adventure race at the school district I work at and they donate all the race bibs for FREE. You just have to put their pamphlets out for people to get. I think we just end up putting them in the race bags. I used to have a Road ID bracelet, but then I moved and my address changed, so I stopped wearing it. I really should get a new one. I am known to go out running on back roads alone and sometimes I don't take my phone. I am stupid, I know!

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    1. Yes, I totally forgot that they're awesome race sponsors!! No wonder we always have coupons etc in our bags from them!

      But yes, definitely get one! Sounds like you need it hehe

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  4. Wow - the fitbit is so cool! Like you said, I would be worried about crossing the line, given my history with food.
    And I just got a Garmin - I can't wait to try it! I loved Nike+, but the fact that it tracked my footsteps (iPod) not distance was annoying.

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    1. Oh, have fun with your Garmin! Are you running again?!

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  5. I need a road ID. That is a really great idea. Also, thanks for this FitBit review. Now I have something else I need to ask the boyfriend to buy me. ;-)

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    1. haha, I'm always happy to add to a runner's "wish list"!

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  6. I'll have to look into the road ID since I currently don't carry any kind of ID. I think the fitbit is cool, but yeah I think I'd be come too obsessed with numbers.

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    1. I can't recommend Road ID highly enough!

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  7. I've seen the FitBits and am totally into anything like that...I may have to keep my eye on them and perhaps pick one up sometime! I am one of those that got a Garmin this holiday season... ;)

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    1. The Flex's price has dropped since the Force came out, so it's a great time to pick one up!

      Enjoy your Garmin!

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  8. Heather from Girl Goes Running bought me a Road ID tag for my sneaker for Christmas. I feel much better having it on my footwear as my wrists are child size and it would have just flopped around!

    I'm seeing more and more of the gadgets like Fit Bit, including the Nike Fuel band that one of the runners in our group has. For todays runs, she calculated we did over 10,000 steps...it seems like so many!!

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    1. 10,000 steps is about 5 miles, so it makes sense! Isn't it cool to see what a run really breaks down to??

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  9. I have a FitBit and I love it! I don't use it to track my food as I have other apps for that, but it's still really useful for showing me how active (or inactive!) I am throughout the day. My favourite feature though is definitely the sleep tracker.

    As for a Garmin ... I got sick of having to take my phone with me whenever I ran, but didn't want to lose all my nike run history and have to start all over again so I bought a Nike+ GPS Sportswatch instead of the Garmin. It's not as fancy and I'm sure it doesn't record half the stats a Garmin does, but it does track what I need - distance, time, average pace. I think if I had a Garmin it would be information overload for me :-)

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    1. I like the idea of the Nike+ GPS watch, especially because most of the Garmin stats are over my head! But I also like to carry my phone for emergencies, so if I'm going to have it on me anyway, I may as well keep using the normal app haha.

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    2. Yeah I still take my phone if I'm going on a long run, but if I'm just going out for a run around the park I don't take it. I also found trying to take it out of my pocket and unlock it in order to stop it slowed me down and took extra time so I don't take it on races any more either. Much easier to work something in my wrist.

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  10. Thanks for the review on the ROAD ID. I have been thinking of getting one :)

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    1. It's definitely worth it, especially if you have any chronic health issues.

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  11. Fan of Road ID too, I just replaced mine since I had lost my first (or so I thought - found it a couple of days ago). I wear the small too and it's a tight fit over my hand but perfect for my wrist, my other one in medium was a bit big. I don't have medical stuff but I don't run with any other ID and just a good idea.

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    1. Yep, even for people with no medical issues, having phones numbers and your name right there is so smart!

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