All posts by Jan Shim

Photographer and Recreational Endurance Athlete

A December to Remember Elevation Challenge 2021

Last year end, together with a group of like-minded trail runners, we signed up for the Buff Epic Ultra Trails of Penang virtual race that required participants to complete 40km trail distance with a total elevation gain of 2400m. This year, I created the #RememberDecember2021 challenge as follows:

Trail Running and Cycling with the Under Armour Gen 2 Sportsmask

Although masks aren’t required during exercise, I’m not taking any chances when I am trail running and cycling. We’re breathing harder than usual when we exercise—more so during intense workouts—a COVID-19 positive individual spreads the virus through exhaled aerosol particles. I get it, a mask often makes breathing more laboured and ruins the pleasure of exercising, I used to wear a fabric mask that would start off ok but as soon as it gets wet from sweat, the mask would completely collapse making breathing close to impossible.

With the Under Armour Sportsmask (I’ve never used the Gen 1) I was able to keep my mask on for the entire duration of my workout except when I took it off to hydrate or chew on an energy bar. At no time did I feel uncomfortable even during intense uphill runs that I had to rip off the mask to breathe. Even when the piece is completely soaked with sweat, I was still breathing OK. I haven’t tested this mask in the rain and I think there’s a reason the outer shell is waterproof.

There is one caveat I think that’s not mentioned in the reviews that I’ve read about this mask. So far I have feedback from two friends who found breathing difficulties during a hike and mountain biking (separate occasions) when they were doing climbs and breathing was more laboured. Being unscientific here, I think that has to do with their normally low VO2max. I have a VO2max of 52 according to my Garmin Enduro and a Resting Heart Rate of 47.