Ultra Training: The Adventure Begins!

The adventure begins. I’m officially back on a training cycle and banking runs for my first ultramarathon. My 20-week training plan started on Monday and ends with my ultra in early December. I’m already dreaming about running in the cold weather.

ass if freezing meme

Oh, if only…

So, there are a few things coming up race-wise before the end of the year that I hope not to make TOO confusing on the blog — while also still posting weekly about my training progress for each of these different races.

No, not beer (but I am drinking a delicious English style Crispin cider!). Let’s talk races! My two marathons in Fall fit beautifully into my ultra training — I’m running the Chicago Marathon in October and the Route 66 Marathon (Tulsa, OK) in November. In between those, I’ll get my first 50k distance completed with the G.O.A.T.z over in Omaha (yes, by training for my ultra, I’ll complete another ultra). And then… AND THEN, the 50-mile experience they call Hitchcock.

I LOVED the half marathon at Hitchcock last year, and I feel like that course as part of a 50-mile race is going to kick my ass and challenge me in the best possible ways (and let’s be honest, probably some of the worst ways, too). Having this race in mind will push me in training, push me on the trails, and get me into some regular hill repeat workouts. I’m already super pumped up about it — despite initially being kinda quiet about it — and having some fellow CS Turkeys running it with me has made it all the more exciting.

I’m using an UltraLadies training plan for both ultra races (my 50-miler schedule building upon the 50k plan, while still allowing for enough low mileage/recovery weeks). I’ll be running 5 days a week on this plan; so, I will be assessing my fatigue levels regularly to make sure I’m not burning out or increasing any risks for injury. 20 weeks. Let’s do this!

Fun fact: I’ve already surpassed the total amount of miles that I ran in 2016.

What’s worse than finding new chafe spots after hot races? Probably an infected hair follicle. Actually, it’s worse. Trust me.

LAST RACE: The BTN B1G 10K last weekend in Chicago.
UP NEXT: I’m not registered for any races until Labor Day… though I’m considering making myself miserable at this.

Race Recap: The BTN Big 10K in Chicago

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the BTN Big 10K race 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!

Big10k Chicago BibRave review

Most of you know that I’m originally from the Buckeye State. I did not attend THE Ohio State University (I received my undergrad from another Columbus-based college), though I had many friends who did attend. Because of that, I visited OSU frequently in my early 20s and went to games (when I could get tickets) and tailgated nearly every home game. I became something of an OSU alum by proxy. The BTN Big10k event was ALL about school spirit… and many “Go Bucks!” and “O-H!” chants were shared. I was with my people.

The BTN Big10K race overall was an awesome time, and I enjoyed expressing my OSU Love and hanging with my fellow Pros. I didn’t have the best race — once again the sub-hour 10k alluded me. The humidity once again didn’t give me a dang chance and sapped up all my energy, so I had to walk quite a bit to get my heart rate down. Ah, well. Another race down.

Big10k Chicago BibRave review

Flat Mel ready to run with the Buckeyes!

Registration + Cost: My race entry was provided by BibRave. The 10K price starts at $50 for early bird registration, and has incremental price increases up to race day registration for $60 (if spots are available). The MC said that some 10,000 people were registered — approx 6,000 of those finished the 10k (there was also a 5k option, which I don’t cover in my review).

Big10k race shirt OSU
Expo + Packet Pick-up: One of my favorite features of Ram Racing events is the option to have your packet and bib mailed to you before race day. I will happily fork over extra dollars for this benefit (which was not included in my race comp).

Weather: UGH. Over it. But sincerely, I want to know why I cannot perform in the heat AT ALL.

Big10k start line chicago

Start Line + Parking: Chicago parking is insane, so I was happy for a hotel within walking distance of the start and finish lines — with valet parking… which I found out a day later cost me $70 for one night. OOOF. Anyways. The corrals opened way late, but the mascots were out mingling before the race.

Big10k race Brutus Ohio State run

Course + Elevation: This was my first time running in Chicago. The city is pretty flat; though in the heat, the inclines felt like I was climbing Everest. It was lovely to be on the lake again (no thanks for the added humidity) and seeing the tall buildings looming around us was pretty neat. I absolutely hated running in the underground tunnel spaces. That said, I cannot wait to run the marathon here in October!

Aid Stations: Not enough! If you send out warnings on social media about the heat and the addition of fluid stations, then you need to have more aid stations. I didn’t think there was enough, particularly for a larger race that seems to draw a LOT of participants who aren’t regular racers (there were more water stops in the small race that I did the previous weekend).

Personal preference I guess, but I’d rather have an extra water stop in the first two miles than having one within the last mile of a race. Also, despite fervently hating nuun, I used it during this race. At the first aid station — which wasn’t until 2 miles into the course — the volunteer told us that it was the only electrolyte stop on the course (it wasn’t… but wtf?!).

Big10k Ohio State blog race review

Finish Line + After Party: Special Olympics kids high-fiving at the finish line OMGGGGGG. 😍😍😍

The usual bottled water (but also cupped water and nuun) and bananas were available in the finish line chute, but also ice cold towels (my line ran out, so thankfully there were more on the opposite side). The chute opens up to basically a block-long tailgate party in the street — each school had its own booth and tent, and there was food and drinks and live music. It was a lot of fun.

Big10k finish line selfie

I was SUPER pumped about eating some sausage at the finish line, especially because Sausages by Amylu are gluten-free. But the runners food box came with sausage wrapped in a bun — and there were no NON-bun options. The “hot dog” came alongside a bag of pretzels and wafer cookies (neither of those I could eat). Thankfully, Sausages by Amylu had its own tent with ALL THE SAMPLES of its product. Beer was provided by Revolution Brewing, which I gave to my husband because there were no non-beer alcoholic options (man, can a girl get a cider???).

After hanging for a bit eating sausage and taking selfies and posing with All Things School Spirit, it was time to pack up and grab my special order from Do-Rite Donuts (not affiliated with the race, but some of the best gluten-free doughnuts I’ve had ever) and drive the roads back to Des Moines.

Big10k sausage finish line food


Fans + Entertainment: The Finish Line Tailgate party was legit awesome. Though I guess that I was expecting a little bit more in terms of course entertainment. Maybe a marching band or something? Cheerleaders throughout the course rather than all smooshed in at the start line?

I did go through the first water slide, though maybe THREE people before me stopped over to do the same (one person in front of me did the second slide). More than anything, I just wanted to cool down my body temperature. But I’m glad that I participated in some silliness. There should have been a photographer there!

Lame: My Big 10 school had no swag at its booth. I thought that at the very least I would get a pair of Buckeyes sunglasses or a pom-pom or sticker or something (like the other schools’ booths). I don’t know if there were that many Ohio State fans running and they ran out of stuff… but by the time I arrived, they were only selling a t-shirt. SUPER LAME!

Big10k race Ohio State alumni

Swag + Medals: Keeping with the Team Spirit theme of the race, participants get to select a technical jersey in their school colors during registration. Likewise, at the end of the race, you visit your school’s booth to get a coin that fastens to the front of the medal by magnet. It was a lot of fun to cheer with (and snarl at) all the different schools. Because of my partnership with BibRave for this race, I sadly couldn’t wear my OSU shirt; I added in a few scarlet and gray pieces and school-branded temporary tattoos.

Awesome: Within hours of the race finish, I had an email with my race results and photos. Like this one…

Big10k free race pics


Hey, it was free!

BONUS: Picture with the championship trophy – HOLLA!

Big10k race championship trophy

The Great: I loved being able to personalize my race shirt and hang with other Buckeye fans.
The Good: SAUSAGE! This after party was legit the best.
The Bad: Not enough hydration stations.
The Ugly: Why do I keep signing up for races in the summer??????? [enter weather expletive here]

3,547th out of 5,945
66th in 40-44 age group

Big10k BibRave Pros race

Orange is the new fast!

Accountability Monday: SO EXCITE!

One week away from my official kickoff for Ultra training!

I’m really excited about my weekend road trip to Chicago this weekend — it’s been a couple years since we’ve been, and the city holds a special place for us. That’s where I officially gave my now-husband my number on St. Patrick’s Day 8 years ago after rejecting him for 10 months. Our trip this time will be brief, but I’m pumped to “tailgate” with my fellow Buckeye fans (and BibRave Pros!) at the B1G 10K. I can be cordial to my fellow Iowa fans… but I will be poo-pooing my husband and his M*chigan cronies for most of the day’s events.

I’m also VERY excited to go to Wheat’s End Café for brunch. And I already ordered a half-dozen gluten-free donuts for post-race pick-up from Do-Rite. 🙈

Running and Social Media — are you working the ‘net or caught in the web? {via Run Ultra}

LAST RACE: Minnesota Nut House Challenge — Totally Nuts! (5k, 10k, Half Marathon)
UP NEXT: B1G 10K this weekend in Chicago! Online registration is still open.

Product Review: Orange Mud Phone.Flask.Vest.

Disclaimer: I received a Phone.Flask.Vest from Orange Mud 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!

Heck. Yes. I have wanted to test an Orange Mud vest since I became a BibRave Pro, and I was positively geeked to get the invite to review their newest product: the Phone.Flask.Vest.

Orange Mud bibravepro vest review blogger

First impression: I love how small and light the P.F.V. is — and it’s awesome for when you only want to carry the essentials along with your hydration. Though it’s smallness comes with one awkward issue: I legit couldn’t get the vest over my head on my first try.

I unclipped the single latch and loosened the straps a bit and still struggled. I reached out to my fellow Pros for a little help with the “how to.” There’s still a bit of a struggle, though loosening the straps completely is really the only way to “get in.” I don’t know… maybe I have a big head?

First run: The P.F.V feels super light compared to another hydration vest that I wear. Though, I’m not used to running with something tight against my chest as how the P.F.V. fits, and I felt like maybe it was going to suffocate me (bear with me, I’m a little dramatic). I eventually got used to it; however, loosening it up only made it bounce, so I opted to wear it a little tighter. I tested the vest on a moderately hilly trail run, the provided 450ml soft flask was enough hydration for an hour (I’d probably look at upgrading to a larger size soft flask for longer distances). I was nervous the entire run that my phone would bounce out; as the water flask emptied, the phone wasn’t quite holding place in its pocket. I wish there was a little pull cinch on that front pocket. Just kidding! I realized on my second training run that it DOES have a cinch cord on the phone pocket, which helped SO MUCH to prevent any “Oops! I lost my phone in the woods!” moments.

Orange Mud phone flask vest review bibchat

Fun features: the P.F.V. has a velcro pocket that contains a key hook (which I didn’t even realize the first time that I used it — thanks to another Pro for that tip as well). Unfortunately, my car key is usually what I run with, and it while it sits in the pocket, I can’t secure it inside with the velcro closure. I also love the easy access shoulder pocket, which is perfect to fit two fig newtons or a couple of gels.

During my initial test run, I started to get warm and had to take off my long-sleeved shirt. Removing the vest is not a quick task. I had to take off my hat, loosen the straps and struggle to remove it STILL over my head (and knocked off my sunglasses in the process). Getting the vest on does get easier as you get used to how it fits. The back pocket is not large enough to hold a long-sleeved tee, but the bungie straps kept it in place, so I didn’t have to tie my shirt around my waist.

Orange Mud blog product review bibrave

On a second test run (on single track trails), I couldn’t get the fit right. The left side was completely tightened, but the top of the vest wasn’t fitting flush on my shoulder, which made it bounce. I tried loosening both straps and balancing the tightness between the two sides, but the left shoulder was just too big — and the side was all the way tightened. Did it stretch out over one sweaty use? Or did my boobs grow?

On my third trail run, I got it to fit perfectly on both shoulders. But as I drank from the flask, the fit shifted again. I can’t tighten it any further. On one side of the vest, there is a dust cover for the bite valve of the flask — it’s brilliant… when it works. Maybe as result of my fit issues, or when the bottle contents empty, but the bite valve doesn’t stay put. Also something I noticed with the flask deflating, is that the drink valve stops fitting into the dust cover (which is one of my favorite features of the PFV). I wore this thing THREE TIMES before realizing this elastic strap existed to hold down the flask tube.

Orange Mud flask phone vest blog review

For ladies wondering about sizing: I’m an A-cup, and measure 33″ around my chest.

I like the weight and “essentials-only” purpose of the Phone.Flask.Vest., but it’s not the best fit for me and running trails. Never fail — I did find the PERFECT use: trail skating. Since I can’t do a handheld over my wrist guards — and on my far-away-from-home trail skates, I need to carry my skate tools and parts with me — the P.F.V. is great for that. I usually carry a pair of flip-flops with me too (which I can secure in the back with the bungie cord), in case I’m out and my skate completely breaks or a destination won’t let me enter while I’m wearing rollerskates.

Orange Mud vest roller skating product review

Last thoughts: I feel like a second clip (so there’s one on each side) would be an easy design fix, making it so much easier to get in and out of. It was also difficult to tighten and loosen the straps when the vest is on because tightening the straps all the way to fit my small chest makes the release clips situated in the back. I hate to say make the straps longer because there’s already a LOT of excess strap to fold under when it’s tightened (there are those little plastic pieces to fasten away the fly-aways, though I found it impossible to do while on the run).

That said, every piece of gear I own has a purpose — I think this Orange Mud vest is perfectly suited for skating and biking, and I imagine it would be pretty great for my kayaking adventures, too.

orange mud vest logo

Orange Mud is sponsoring BibChat on Tuesday, July 25 — follow along with hashtag #bibchat on Twitter at 8pm CST for your chance to win your own Phone.Flask.Vest. Save 10% on all Orange Mud purchases with discount code “BRPPFV.”

Accountability Monday: Building Consistency + Trail Fun

Since coming back from my post-marathon recovery period, I’ve been getting back to a regular workout schedule — particularly with my running consistency. Without getting too far ahead of myself, when I start my Ultra training program in a couple weeks, my plan calls for 4-5 runs per week. Once I got into the rhythm of marathon training, 4 runs a week was my normal — 5 will be challenging.

Des Moines run blogger weekly group runs

But why would I be running an Ultra in the first place if I didn’t like a good challenge?

The most fun of the last few weeks has been getting out on the dirt trails. I LOVE BEING ON THE TRAILS! I’ve run at Jester Park, Sycamore, and Center Trails. I like each of them for different reasons, though I think Center is my favorite (if only because it kicks my ass). If you’re in the Des Moines area — or plan to visit — you can definitely have some fun in the woods here! Once I get into the meat of my training program, I’ll move onto trails that wreck my quads and that are a bit more technical, difficult, and with more elevation change.

Bring on the hill repeats!

I quit my gym membership, and along with that, my yoga spot. I enjoy the Yoga with Adriene videos (particularly those geared towards runners), but I’d like to find a place for regular practice again. Des Moines has some fabulous outdoor “pop-up” yoga this summer though. Rounding out my cross-training: I’m doing strength at least once a week in my home gym with dumbbells or kettlebell, and following up my easy runs with core workouts. I love this glutes workout from SELF. I also do my hip and glute mobility and balance work several times per week — if not every night. The nightly repetition just makes the movements part of a mindless routine — just like brushing your teeth every night.

I’m also participating weekly in a women’s golf clinic, which is every bit as fun as it is frustrating. Because I am NOT GOOD, it’s also challenging. So, for the betterment of my (eventual) golf game, I continue to go out of my comfort zone and learn something new every week.

des moines lady golf beginner

That said, I am NOT enjoying this summer humidity at all. The 5K that I ran on July 4th felt awful (despite still running a respectable pace), and this past Saturday’s 8-mile long run didn’t feel any better (despite it being 10 degrees cooler). I’m also feeling sore, which is not something that I usually experience. I’m hoping for a little cooler temps for my challenge race next weekend… but it’s not like Minnesota is a winter wonderland right now.

Earlham Firecracker 5k race

Did you notice that I changed the site branding? As most of you know, I aged out of my old blog name, and I honestly don’t have the energy or time to rebuild something from scratch. Given my updated goals and upcoming running adventures, this was the perfect way to carry on the ol’ URL for a bit longer (the idea came to me spontaneously in the shower, so who knows how I’ll feel about it in another month or so 😆).

LAST RACE: July 4th Earlham Firecracker 5K — Finished 4th in my 40-49 Age Group! Official Time: 28:22
UP NEXT: Minnesota Nut House Challenge — Totally Nuts! (5k, 10k, Half Marathon)

Weekly Therapy: 7.07.17

the week:
My week as told in bug bites: Sunday, after my trail run, I took off my tall socks and slipped into my OOFOS sandals. While I stood around talking with my friends, I got bit twice on my right calf. My stupidity at spraying my bug spray while my socks were on, which was rendered useless with the removal of them. Then Wednesday, while I was waiting for our golf session to start, I felt something fall down my shirt AND PROCEED TO BITE ME twice in my bra area. Then today at work, something BIT ME ON MY FACE while I sat at my desk. WTF?!

That’s it, I’m bathing in DEET from now until Winter.

Capital Striders long run on Saturday, followed by a visit to the Downtown Farmers Market. And then another trail run Sunday with the CS Turkeys. We are also going to a house concert on Sunday afternoon to hear Amy Gerhartz and hang with our fellow Rock Boat peeps (and have some Jell-O shots, probably).

seven things, seven days:
2. Happy that the 4th celebrations are over and I can return to my regularly scheduled sleep program.
3. The baby barn swallows under our deck have seemingly grown out of their nest — though they still haven’t fledged!
4. When I was on the treadmill last night, I noticed out the window that we also now have a Robin’s nest under our deck. 24-HOUR BIRD WATCH OVER HERE!
5. Chicago Marathon made a lot of effort to provide an excellent training program for its race participants… in PDF format. Would really like to see a major race do its own app that includes a training program!
6. What should you yell to encourage runners, so sayeth Science? Personally, I like to use: YOU GOT THIS! {via Runner’s World}
7. Fascinating. What cookies and meth have in common {via NYT}

My Race Calendar for 2nd Half of 2017 + Mid-Year Check-in

Today seemed like the perfect day to reflect a bit on the first half of the year (thanks, Holiday PTO!). I’ve got my tracking spreadsheet updated from January-June, and my training plan set for my first Ultra race (more on that in another post).

30 something miles iowa runner blogger

I like running and chocolate milk. I estimate that I’ve probably had at least 65 chocolate milks since the beginning of the year.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished so far:
I participated in my first Ragnar relay.
I ran my first race as a BibRave Ambassador.
I colored in 3 more states on my U.S. Race map.
I also took 2 DNS (Did Not Start) on registered races.
I added 2 more half marathons and another full marathon — bringing the totals to 11 and 2, respectively.
And I’ve run 456.2 total miles as of the end of June.

I also took THREE GLORIOUS WEEKS off running in June.

What’s Next:
July: Earlham 5k; Clive Running Festival (10k); Minnesota Nut House Challenge — Totally Nuts! (5K, 10K, half marathon); BTN Big 10k (Chicago)
August: Not registered for anything; and if Iowa is anything like last summer, I probably won’t!
September: Rockin’ Chocolate Half Marathon (Madison, WI); NewBo half (IA); Pleasant Creek trail run; Capital Pursuit (10-miler); Heartland Half (Omaha, NE)
October: Chicago Marathon; GOATz 50k (Omaha, NE)
November: Hillbilly Hike half marathon (Indianaola, IA), Route 66 Marathon (Tulsa, OK)
December: Hitchcock Experience 50 Miler (Honey Creek, IA)

I’ll also color in 3 more states (all road trips!), finish 2 more marathons — and a 50k AND a 50-Miler, and add another 800+ miles to my yearly total by the end of the year. NEAT!

30 something miles blog iowa running goals

A mix of old and new… I retired a couple old pairs of running shoes this year.

I’ll likely add in a couple of the fall trail races that I did in 2016 to this year’s calendar (Sycamore 8, To Grandmother’s House).

What’s on your schedule for the second half of 2017? Looking to add any races to your list? Check out my Race Discounts page!

Weekly Therapy: 6.30.17

the week:
I finally moved back into my office building this week, since being displaced by a fire back in February. I’m on my second week back to running, too, and it’s nice being back on something of a regular schedule (trying to get in at least 3 runs a week). A return to usual habits and familiar surroundings brings with it a certain kind of peace…

30 something miles blog weekly therapy july

Day and Night…

…but also opens itself up to some fun.

Last night, I danced my ass off to STANTON WARRIORS at Lime downtown (still kind of shitting myself that these guys were in Des Moines). Today: my ears are still ringing and I am feeling the effects of a bit too much vodka, though hopefully I find my second wind this afternoon to get some miles on the roads. Sunday Funday: I’ll be enjoying the outdoors and doing a bit of trail running in the AM, possibly biking or skating, and maybe some kayaking (and probably brunching). I opted not to use a PTO day for Monday, but look forward to having the upcoming July 4th to catch up on my hammock time.

seven things, seven days:
1. Somehow I made the list of Top 100 Running Blogs {via Feedpost} at #74. Neat, but… is this a real thing?
2. I joined a Brooks test run/social run from Fitness Sports Ltd. in Clive this week, followed by drinks at 515 Brewery. What a fun night (but holy moly, will I ever remember to use Glide this summer?).
3. There was not one – but THREE – Great Horned Owls in my backyard this week. With the owls and hawks in our area — and our house cats — I don’t think I’ll ever have to worry about field mice.
4. Three ways running changes after 40 {via Runners World}
5. And here’s 5 exercises you’ll want to do every week if you’re over 40 {via Prevention}
6. What makes us happy?, asks The Atlantic in 2009. Wonder how this would be written today, with a society so entrenched in digital communities.
7. To wit: The psychology of social media and Stoic truths for a digital world {both via Psychology Today}

10 B1G Reasons to Run the BTN Big 10K

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the BTN Big 10K race 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 BTN Big 10K and 5k is back in Chicago in Grant Park on a new date in 2017 — Sunday, July 23. This is THE race to express your serious fandom (Go Bucks!) and dress in your school colors and compete for your B1G Ten team. Since my training for my Ultra basically starts the following day, this race will be one heckuva kick-off to college football season and a fun way to kind of “end” my base building. Also, it features the ultimate post-race Fan Fest & Tailgate party!

Here are 10 B1G Reasons to Run:

1. While it’s not Ohio (O-H!), this course highlights many of Chicago’s landmarks.
2. Share your Team Pr1de on the course with fellow Buckeye fans
3. Scarlet & Gray school-specific performance race shirts…
5. AND OSU-specific finishers medals!
6. Your packet can be mailed out to you (for a small fee), so you can skip the Packet Pick-up lines
7. BTN on-air talent and former Big Ten player appearances
8. Photo opportunity with the Big Ten Championship trophy
9. Post-race tailgate with free food item and beer (21+) for runners
10. BRUTUS! (and those other mascots)

BTN Big 10k race Chicago

Bonus: BTN is looking for the most die-hard Big Ten fans at the BTN Big 10K! Post your most spirited photos on race day using the #BTNBig10K hashtag for your chance to win tickets to the 2018 Big Ten Football Championship game or the Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The BTN Big 10K takes place in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, on Sunday, July 23, 2017. For a bonus RAM Racing water bottle, use promo code BibRaveBTN17 at registration.


Product Review [Giveaway Closed]: SmellWell odor-absorbing pouches

Disclaimer: I received a pair of SmellWell pouches 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!

SmellWell odor pouches

You may have noticed my presence on social media is melliesmel. That nickname is a result of a prior online handle I used back in the old AOL days (melliemelplease) and my derby moniker: sMEL U L8R. I lived up to that derby name, and SmellWell is sort of my namesake product. Call it fate of the smelly. Where were you when I played roller derby, SmellWell?

Honesty alert: My running shoes don’t stink. I always wear socks and air them out overnight, so maybe that has something to do with it. But my sweaty skating pads and the ballet flats that I wear without socks stink.so.bad. EMBARRASSINGLY BAD. I’ve been looking for products like SmellWell that do their business to remove the root cause of the stink, rather than using sprays or powders to simply cover it up. The SmellWell pouches are advertised to last for 3-4 months and don’t contain any nasty chemicals. SmellWell removes the moisture caused by sweat bacteria and works to eliminate the smell.

First Impression: The SmellWell product is currently available stateside online via Amazon. There are several unique and fun patterns — and I had my choice of pouch to test. The smell is fresh and pleasant — not overly perfumy.

Review Period: I tried these on several different items: ballet flats, work shoes, skate bags, gym bags — even tossing them in baskets of shoes near our garage entry. They seemed to really absorb the smell and freshen the insoles of shoes (particularly from the husband’s overdue-for-the-trash boat shoes), and prevented odors from overwhelming bags.

Final Thoughts: The SmellWell pouches seem to work, albeit temporarily — or at least while in the presence of the smelly objects. These didn’t necessarily CURE the stank caused by gross sweat bacteria as I was hoping. By the next wear, the shoes developed an odor again, though maybe not as bad (at least I didn’t smell my shoes when I kicked them off under my desk at work). I wonder if with more consistent use, the odors will slowly dissipate. And noted for next time: bring on the airplane for when the husband kicks off his loafers.

SmellWell odor pouches review

Want to see for yourself how SmellWell keeps the stink out of your workout gear? Leave a comment below for your chance to win! One comment per entrant, please. No purchase is necessary. Contest ends on Sunday, July 2 and one winner will be selected at random to win a pair of SmellWell pouches. US entries only. Value of prize: $9.99

Can’t wait for the giveaway to end? Use discount code “BIBPRO10” on Amazon to get your 3rd SmellWell pouch for free when you purchase 2 (*note: must add all 3 into cart in order for discount code to work).