Running product review: SPIbelt Personal Item Belt

The SPIbelt appears to be a handy solution for toting a smart phone, a driver’s license, a credit card, car keys, gel snacks, or a small stash of cash on the run.

Plenty of running enthusiasts laud this little belt, which has enjoyed airtime TV talk shows and running programs. This trim-sized pack won’t hold a larger pair of sunglasses, or a regular wallet. Still, it can accommodate smaller stuff.

This lightweight elastic web belt boasts a super-stretchy zippered pouch that expands to fit an iPhone, iPod, or similarly sized device. The adjustable waistband is easy to operate, as is the sturdy plastic buckle.

Hand-washable, the SPIbelt is made primarily of elastic and spandex. It weighs less than a pound empty. It comes in lots of colors, including black, blue, olive green, pink, red, turquoise, or even with polka dots.
NOTE: Written by this author, this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author holds all rights to this content. No republication is allowed without permission.

Here’s a bonus. Many runners pin their race numbers to their SPIbelts, instead of poking holes in their favorite race shirts.

But there are a few reasons I’ve found why the SPIbelt isn’t so swift.

The SPIbelt isn’t waterproof, so items carried inside it may become damp, if the runner sweats more than a little.

Also, the zipper tends to catch, if it’s not aligned just right, or if a zippered baggie is placed inside (to keep items dry).

Once fully loaded, the SPIbelt doesn’t stay put during a run. It jostles and wiggles and bobs and slips and shifts and thumps with every step. The Texas-made belt is advertised as non-bouncing, but I beg to differ. I half-expected to find an iPhone-sized bruise on my hip after running a recent 5K.

This product reviewer purchased the product described and evaluated here, and the reviewer has no prior or existing relationship (either familial or professional) with the creator, manufacturer or marketer of the product.

Also, the SPIbelt inches its way upwards, if it’s not placed exactly at the waistline, which isn’t all that comfortable with most running attire. And it tends to flip over, while the wearer is in motion.

Personally, I’ll use my SPIbelt for bike and horseback rides. It’s great for gardening and yardwork too, if I don’t happen to be wearing pants with pockets. I may also wear it to keep valuables secure while traveling. I’ll wear it for shorter races, when I don’t want to strap on my Camelbak or my waist pack. But I’m not using it again for daily running or long hauls. I have enough bouncing of my own, without having to endure a pounding phone on my midsection.

Adapted from production promo image /
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Running smarts: 7 ways to keep warm before a race

How can a cold-weather runner stay cozy and comfortable in the starting chute on a brisk race day without wearing too much clothing for a 5K, 10K, or marathon?

Veteran runners know the secrets. Here are seven popularly shared tips for maximizing comfort and minimizing shiver-induced pre-start muscle tension on chilly race days.

 NOTE: Written by this author, this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author holds all rights to this content. No republication is allowed without permission.

7 ways to keep warm before a race

  1. Take a tie-around. A stretchy lightweight jacket is ideal for holding in body heat before the run. Knot it around your waist, once you’ve warmed up. This option is ideal when a runner may need a warmer garment after the race as well.
  2. Tote a trash bag. In a pinch, a simple oversized garbage bag makes a handy poncho. Snip the bottom corners to make armholes, and cut an opening in the center of the bottom seam for a head hole. Then tear it off and throw it, as the race begins, when the plastic poncho is no longer needed.
  3. Test your tired togs. Why not clean out the closet before a race day? You may be surprised to find old jackets, button-down flannel shirts, faded fleeces, or other warm items you no longer wear. Even if these garments are stained or torn, they can make handy pre-race warmers, which can be shed along the way and collected for donations.
  4. Try thrift shops. Look for cheap sweatshirts, fleeces, parkas, and jackets at second-hand stores or yard sales. A $3-$5 cardigan or warm-up top is well worth it on a cold race day, and it doesn’t hurt to drop it as a pass-along on the course.
  5. Twist on a towel. Have a dingy old beach towel or bleached-out bath sheet? Why not wrap up in it in the starting corral and leave it behind when you run?
  6. Tuck into a throw. Old blankets, sleeping bags, and even snuggle-wraps work well before a race. Runners have even bundled up in ratty tablecloths to await countdowns before race starts. And these may also be discarded for donation.
  7. Toss extra tops to a trusted friend. Taking a pal along to cheer you along from the sidelines? Ask him or her to hold your jacket or sweatshirt while you run. After your friend shoots your happy finish line photos, you may be glad to have your warm garment back.

Here are two top tips for runners trying to stay warm before race starts.

Pre-race garments should be open in the front, so they won’t cover bib numbers, especially if these items may be worn past the starting line. Also, smart runners shed their extra layers before they start to sweat, so they won’t chill and cramp.

What happens to clothing and other items that runners toss along the race route?

Crews pick up thousands of pounds of discarded garments and wraps after a major race, such as the New York Marathon. Most of these items make their way to shelters, charities, thrift shops, or textile recycling outfits.

Adapted from public domain image

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Rescue pup's first 5K is a solid start

Two weeks shy of her first real cani-cross event, Crosby the Rescue Pup has racked up a reasonably successful outing in her first actual 5K race. And she did pretty well, especially for such a young dog. 

This process has been more than a little challenging. Crosby is a two-year-old Lab/Dalmatian/Collie/etc. Her energy levels generally have two settings:  warp-speed and full-stop. But we’re working on that.

We’ve gone running together plenty, logging miles on both trails and roadways. She’s learning to listen better, adapting her paces to my steadier jog and staying on-task (even as trucks rumble by and as bunnies hop across the trails).

We’ve tried out our cani-cross equipment, which includes a dog harness, a bungee leash, and a sturdy utility belt for me. It all seems to work well.

LAN/Runderdog photo. All rights reserved.

So it seemed to be a good time to test the waters, so to speak.

With Crosby in tow, I lined up for race-day sign-up at a small running event nearby. The course included back roads, sidewalks, and a paved pathway.

We kept a fairly steady pace throughout the 5K race, with the exception of three brief stops. These included two puppy relief pauses (for #1 and #2, if you must know) and the halfway water station, where we shared a cup of water. Even with these brief sidelines, we managed to finish respectfully (and about 30 seconds slower than my current usual solo racing pace).

Crosby surprised me with her attentiveness, staying mostly on-track when we passed oncoming runners (and a few dogs) on the out-and-back course. 

The field was small, totaling less than 100 runners. We managed to win my age division, although I think there might have been just one or two other contenders in our chronological bracket.

The wonderfully supportive race staff even gave my dog a medal!

Let’s call it a success for the young pup. Maybe Crosby can actually become a solid running buddy.

One thing is sure: Her enthusiasm is a given. Just say the word “running,” and she’s raring to go.

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