Saturday, January 18, 2014

I can BREATHE!!.....and run outside in the heart of any inversion OR more aptly titled "I'm in love with my new running mask"

As many people know who live in smoggy cities or like the Salt Lake Valley (soup bowl), winter brings with it inversions where the cold air is trapped in the valley, along with all the pollution.  It makes for difficulty breathing when outdoors and usually most people suffering with asthma, emphysema, Cystic Fibrosis or other lung conditions are left to while away the winter stuck in their homes with hepa filters.

For a runner?  Well since most of us are crazy anyway, we tend to go out and get our miles in regardless.  We know that NOT running is not acceptable so we fight through the yucky air and end up sounding like a 'pack a day of camel unfiltered cigarette" smokers.  This winter I have really forced myself to avoid the outside.  As much as we all hate the "dreadmill" or even better named by a running buddy "Satan's Sidewalk" it's what I've been stuck doing my training on since we've lately had pretty bad air days.

A couple of months ago, I heard about a mask that had a filter in it, that would keep the harmful air particles out.  It was designed to be worn while active outdoors and sounded like the perfect thing.  I just didn't know if it would ever be coming our way, or if it was just talk.

Then Friday at work, guess what got delivered????

This bad boy!

I literally yelled across the store  "I WANT ONE OF THOSE!" and as soon as I was free I was exploring and figuring it out.

Looks good no?

I had a long run on my training schedule today, so I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to test it out.

A quick and easy assembly, and tightening the loops to fit snugly,  then layered for warmth, and I was off.

I was a little curious to see if it would be comfortable.  Sure, it's lightweight and not even noticeable when just wearing, but how would it feel running?


This product lived up to everything I had anticipated it to and then some.

A couple of miles in, I noticed it wasn't as snug as I preferred, but I simply slipped off my gloves, and pulled the strings to snug it up to where I wanted it to.  All while on the run.

The mask is extremely light and other than me REALLY thinking about it, I didn't even feel it on.  It also creates some humidity so instead of breathing dry cold air, I was breathing warm, moist air.  That in turn helped me to stay warm all through the 8.5 miles I ran this morning.

There are minimal pieces to the mask and all but the filter itself can be handwashed.

This is the filter piece with the two exhale vents.  Those vents can be removed and washed with some mild dish detergent and dried by hand.

This is the outer netting piece with the ear straps.  This can be handwashed and drip dried.

The packaging states the filter will last as long as conditions and use permit.  It gives some guidelines as to when you might consider replacing it, but it's really basic common sense.

I expect to get an entire winter season out of one filter, and then would likely replace again next winter when January strikes and our air quality goes in the tank.

I've had several people ask questions about the use of the mask, and while the mask shown is the Sport Kit (I'm told the company offers a variety of masks for a variety of uses), I believe that this one can be used in virtually every situation.  

Need a run outdoors?  Check
Taking the dogs for a walk? Check
Just want to protect yourself while you wait for the bus or train? Check
Heck, in a crowded area to avoid air borne illnesses?  Check and Check.

I really LOVED my mask.  More than I thought I would.  It's light, easy to assemble, easy to wear and adjust.  Not difficult to run in, I felt like I was getting all the air that I needed.  In fact, I maintained the exact training pace (and faster for the first 4) that I needed to, so it didn't inhibit my running goal for the day.

Any downsides to it?  
I only encountered one.
We all know our noses run in the cold.  It's not feasible to lift the mask every minute or so to swipe at my nose with my glove so I discovered that just letting it run (don't be grossed out) worked just fine.  After a mile or so, I didn't even notice.

By the time I was done with my run, the mask was soaking wet.  Sweat, and humidity will do that.  I removed the filter from the exterior netting and laid both out to dry.  Within an hour they were, and then later tonight for kicks and giggles I put them back together and then took a big sniff to see if it was stinky.
Nope.  Nothing at all.  It evaporated the moisture off quickly enough that there was no time for 'stank' to build.

One additional thought I had was this:  While I'm not huge into essential oils, I could see putting just a drop or two (of very diluted) eucalyptus  or peppermint oil.  Something invigorating.

We carry these at Wasatch Running Center and they retail for $36.00.  Worth every penny if you ask me.  It was easy and comfortable to wear, allowing me to run outdoors, and most importantly, protect my lungs from the harmful inversion air particles.

Out of 5 stars?  The "I Can Breathe" mask gets all 5.


DesertHen said...

Sounds like a great product! Dr. told me I had to exercise more, but I hate walking or biking in the cold because the cold hurts my chest when I breathe. Maybe one of these masks would help that. Going to check them out. Thanks for the review!

Flat Tired said...

Too bad you weren't there yesterday when I went in to get some new shoes.....I can tell I would have left with more than I expected!

Brittany said...

While we're on the topic of products...any suggestions for those of us with short hair not quite long enough for the sides/top to stay in a pony tail while working out. So annoying!