Posted in Running, Thoughts

RunStreaks, Ornament Exchanges, and Scavenger Hunts oh my!

I haven’t been in the best of moods to blog, but I thought I’d let you know about three things that I’ve been participating in especially since they’re a bit time sensitive if you want to participate along with me. 🙂

Run Streaks – Runner’s World, once again, has challenged all of us to do a run streak. It officially started on Thanksgiving Day and requires everyone to run at least one mile a day until New Year day. This run streak is a great idea to keep yourself motivated to run and stay in shape. I actually participated in this last year and ended up continuing my run streak for 120 days. 🙂 Since my motivation to run has been all over the place lately so I thought I’d try and give this another shot to keep me going through the holidays.

Ornament Exchanges – The #WeRunSocial group that consists of social media crazed runners is hosting its 2nd annual ornament exchange! I did this last year and had such a great time going shopping for an ornament that I would send a total stranger. I hadn’t met any of the runners participating in person, but I thought it was a neat way to interact with other runners from across the U.S. I was super excited to receive my ornament and the girl who gave me an ornament was super sweet and we ended up eventually meeting up at the Chicago marathon this past October.

Sooooo I’m participating again this year. If you want to participate and are in the U.S., you can sign up here. The deadline is December 1st so do it soon! There is a $10 limit on the ornament (without shipping) so it won’t break the bank and I bet you that you’ll meet someone really awesome. 🙂

RunChatHunt – If you like scavenger hunts and running, this is the game for you. On Twitter, @RunChat hosts their biannual #RunChatHunt. For the holiday season, they’ve put up a list of items that you need to take a picture of while on your run. Then you post those pictures on Twitter with the hashtag #RunChatHunt. This counts as an entry for prizes that are drawn later on in January. You have until January 1st to enter and it’ll be a way to keep you motivated to run. For more information, click on the link above. 🙂

RunChatHunt

So that’s a wrap for my updates. 🙂 Have you participated in any of these things? My favorite thing would probably have to be the ornament exchange. I like receiving little surprise gifts. 🙂 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Statistic Saturday – Garmin Forerunner 935 edition

Disclaimer: I received a Garmin Forerunner 935 Multisport GPS Watch from Garmin 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! All opinions are my own. 

When I was in high school, I would wear a watch from Baby G 24/7. I don’t know what it was about the watch, but I just never took it off. Maybe it was the stop watch functionality and the fact that I used it to time my miles with it when I was trying to get an A on the mile in physical education. LOL. Anyway, fast forward 14 years and I now have a fancy Garmin to play with and like 14 years ago, I rarely take this baby off.

I won’t go into the specs because you can read more about it here so I’ll just highlight some of the features that I thought were super nifty. Also, I apologize if I come off super ecstatic about some of these features, but really guys and gals, this is my first real sports watch and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. (I do have an Apple watch, but I think this one is much more versatile.)

I, as a runner, care about the statistics of running. I want to know that I’m improving in time, distance, and some of the time, I want to know whether I can push myself more or if I should back off. The Garmin 935 Forerunner helps you with that.

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My first run outside with my new Garmin

VO2 max – I’m not an expert when it comes to VO2 max, but from my understanding of it, it is an indicator of athletic performance and the higher your level of fitness is, the higher the VO2 max. In more technical terms, Garmin defines it as the “maximum volume of oxygen (in milliliters) you can consume per minute per kilogram of body weight at your maximum performance.” On your watch, your VO2 max is indicated by a number and a color gauge. Mine has been around 45 for the past month and I’m hoping to increase it over time. I gotta get Boston qualifier ready sometime if I ever hope to run Boston, right? 🙂 Give me 5 years give or take 10.

Training Status – Aside from the distance you’ve run outside or on a treadmill, it also tells you your training status. According to their website, the status is “based on changes to your training load and VO2 max. over an extended time period.” Your status will say one of eight things from “Detraining,” which means that your fitness is decreasing due to a long period of inactivity, to “Overreaching,” which indicates that you’re training too much and that it’s counter intuitive to your fitness. Each of these statuses will come with a recommendation as to what you should do. For “Overreaching,” it’ll tell you to rest for a certain amount of hours or train easy for those said hours. These days, I’ve been hovering between “Recovery” and “Overtraining.” I should probably work on that.

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Tracking my cadence

Metronome – This was a recent feature that I found to be kind of nifty. You can choose how many beats per minute based on the cadence you want to maintain. On your run, the watch will vibrate or send out a tone based on what you chose. I chose the vibrate option and thought it was interesting that I felt a vibration almost every second for 3 miles. LOL Maybe, I’ll choose the sound option next time. 🙂

Heart Rate Monitor – This is pretty self explanatory. When you wear it, the watch will measure your heart rate and you view it for the last four hours. I always like racing with the watch and seeing that I probably should have died during the race since my heart rate is so high. LOL. I mean, 183 is probably normal, right?

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My heart rate during the Rock N Roll Las Vegas

I also wear the watch at night so that it can monitor my sleep activity. It’s not extremely accurate because if you’re in bed reading a book, the watch will think that you’re sleeping and it’ll add that time to your sleeping time. A way around this is to just to edit your sleep time on the Garmin Connect app. On the app, you can see when you experience deep sleep, light sleep, and when you’re awake. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it gives you a good idea how you’re sleeping. 🙂

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Indoor and Outdoor Training – I run both indoors and outdoors. I’ve found that with treadmill training, the watch is more or less accurate. It’s typically 0.1 miles off from the treadmill, but it could also be that the treadmill isn’t calibrated correctly. For outdoor running, it is usually on point.

The Forerunner 935 is a multisport GPS watch meaning that it can track A LOT of different activities (Run, swim, bike, hike, mountain bike, ski, snowboard, etc) so if you’re a triathlete, this is the watch for you. Unfortunately, I only used this for running so I can only comment on that, but other BibRave Pros have tested out this function and can better review that aspect.

If you have questions about the watch, please feel free to ask me or click on the reviews below for more information.

Gina – Lindsey – Jenna – Heather – Samantha – Mark – Meridith – Emily – Brenda – CaseyAngie – Ryan – VanessaLisaFrank

So do you have a go to sports watch that you use or do you prefer to run without technology? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Snack time – Health Warrior Bars

Disclaimer: I received  Health Warrior bars 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! All opinions are my own.

With the holiday season among us, it is tempting to just let yourself go and eat all the comfort food in sight. I know. It happens to me every. single. year. I indulge myself on Thanksgiving and then again at holiday parties and before you know it January 1st rolls around and “Eat healthier” is on most people’s New Year’s Resolution list. LOL. Every damn year.

Enter the Health Warrior Bars. These bars are nutritionally dense consisting mostly of Chia seeds and are a nice alternative to unhealthy snacking. They come in several different flavors – Chocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla Almond, Mango, Coconut, Dark Chocolate, and Banana Nut – to name just a few.

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I got the pleasure of trying out their Chocolate Peanut Butter and Vanilla Almond and was pleasantly surprised by how they tasted. Do note that when I say that they consist mostly of Chia seeds, that is exactly what I mean. My mom would be proud. She’s been trying to get me to incorporate Chia seeds into my diet for a year now and I’ve finally found a good way of doing that. LOL. Out of the two, the Vanilla Almond was my favorite. The flavor was sweeter to me without being overbearing and it actually reminded me of sweetened soymilk, which I’m a huge fan of. The Chocolate Peanut Butter one was also nice, but I felt like I tasted the flavor more at the end, which was a little disappointing. I’ve been eating these as a pick me up when I’m at work and I’m craving some unhealthy potato chips….yum. They’ve saved me plenty of times from the vending machine at my workplace. LOL.

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Coffee and Health Warrior Bars – Perfect combo

These bars are 100 calories each with only 4 to 5 grams of sugar each. So they won’t give you a huge sugar high and you won’t come crashing down. They’re also high in fiber! Hooray! If these bars aren’t your cup of tea, they have two other types of bars. There’s one made of pumpkin seeds and a protein bar. 🙂

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Pre-race bars

HealthWarrior prides themselves on packing a ton of superfoods into each of their bars. As I mentioned previously, the basis of their bars consists of Chia, which has a ton of omega-3s (more than salmon). Chia has more protein than an egg, more calcium than milk, and more fiber than flax. Holy crap. To learn more about the superfoods they add into their bars, head on over to their website.

ALSOOOOO, when you purchase bars from their website, they’re including a free coloring book that highlights the highs and lows of running in a humorous twist. So if you want to take a break and let your inner child run loose, this is the coloring book for you. Just use this link right here if you want to get that coloring book with your bars.

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Letting my inner child out

To read more about what other BibRave Pros had to say about these bars, click below.

Casey – Stephanie – Paula – Brenda – Matt – Amy – Jessica – Janelle – Lindsey – Emily – Samantha – Angie – Nicole

So how do you curb your comfort food cravings and what’s your favorite nutrition bar? 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Viva Las Vegas – Race Report

And just like that, my last scheduled race for the year is done. Rock N Roll Vegas was my 19th half marathon and it was a fun one. I met up with a few BibRave Pros and some of the #WeRunSocial crew and even bought myself a set of heels on a whim. Without further ado, my Rock N Roll Vegas Half Marathon race report.

I left for Vegas with a few friends on Saturday morning and drove 4 and a half hours to Sin City.  We easily picked up our bibs at the Health and Fitness Expo and bonus – we didn’t even have to pay for parking! That’s always a win in my book. There were again a lot of things to see and a lot of photo opportunities. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you probably saw some of them. One of the noteworthy things I saw and forgot to take a picture of was a wall where everyone could sign in neon sharpies. They later moved that wall to the course and so we ran by it and it lit up with everyone’s messages.  Anyway, my friends dropped me off at my hotel after the expo and I met up with fellow BibRave Pro Fallon, who graciously agreed to let me crash with her for the weekend. I want to tell you that we painted the town red, but we didn’t. Fallon was running the 5k that night and all I wanted to do was just stay in my hotel room and not be saddened by all people outside gambling and going clubbing.

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View of New York New York from the hotel

Sunday was better. It was the day of the race and I had scheduled to meet up with several other BibRave Pros (Christine, Fallon, Jeannine, Allison, and Justin) for brunch at the Planet Hollywood buffet.

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Fellow BibRave Pros

That’s a smart choice, right? To eat at a buffet the morning of a race? LOL It was tough, but I controlled myself. I only limited myself to one sausage, 4-5 slices of bacon, an omelet with all the fixings, some smoked salmon, grits, hash browns, and orange juice. Nothing too heavy. LOL. Don’t worry. I made sure not to eat anything the rest of the day so I was done digesting by the time race time came.

I met up with some other social media fiends at the #WeRunSocial meetup.

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The WeRunSocial crew

We chatted, got a #werunsocial multi-use headwear thing  (the gray thing I’m wearing), took a ton of photos, and went on our merry way to our corrals when they opened. We were squished during the corrals. There was no doubt about it. A lot of us, me included, had to wait on the sides until they released the corrals to be able to get into our corral. Every wave release had a nice mini fire show at the start line, which pumped up the crowds.

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Start line

Race: This race has always been on my bucket list. Racing through the Las Vegas strip at night always seemed like an interesting concept and it was. We started off by the T-mobile arena and headed 2 miles south towards the airport before making a u-turn back towards the heart of Las Vegas. We passed by the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, which tons of people took selfies in front of, and they had lined parts of the race with the wall we had signed at the expo.

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Famous Las Vegas sign

Since the messages were in neon, they lit up the course with our messages. That was very cool. Once we returned to the starting area, we ran an additional 5 miles north of the strip.We passed by all the big casinos and I was pretty much blinded by lights when I looked up. Towards the north end of the strip, we passed by the older casinos and even passed by the famous Pawn Shop seen on Pawn Stars. At mile 9, we made a u turn back towards the finish line and passed by Downtown Las Vegas, which from the outside looks like a huge carnival with a ton of lights. There were a good amount of fans cheering us along the route, but because Vegas is so busy, I barely noticed the people. Because I hadn’t been running regularly, my legs suffered. My feet started hurting at mile 3, but because I wanted to finish so badly, I didn’t care. I pushed on and after that second u-turn, I tried my best to not burn out.

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My unofficial finish time was 2:00:18. I knew I was close to 2 hours and I desperately tried to sprint at the end, but because it was a night race and it just got colder later in the race, my body wasn’t adjusting well to the temperature difference and I just missed the 2 hour mark.

All in all, it was a great experience and a unique one at that. I’m glad that my friends as well as you all pushed me to run the race. It had been on my bucket list for a few years and now I can finally cross it off my list.

It feels bittersweet knowing this was my last race of the year. Maybe I’ll sign up for a last minute holiday race to beat the holiday blues. Who knows?

So how about you? Any more races for the year or are you done until 2018? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Traveling Adventures

Travel Tuesdays – Backpack edition

Disclaimer: I received an Eagle Creek 60 L duffel bag 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! All opinions are my own. 

As someone who’s been traveling a bit more for races lately, I figured I’d need a travel backpack or in this case, a duffel bag. Enter the Eagle Creek 60 L duffel bag.

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The packed version of the bag

This bag is crazy big when it’s expanded. It’s considered their medium size so I can’t even imagine what their large 90 L bag looks like. Despite being a bag that can hold 60 L, the bag is surprisingly lightweight. It only weighs a lb and 12 oz. A few of its features include:

  • A water-repellent coated Bi-Tech™ Armor Lite fabric: a fusion of technology that merges max abrasion-resistance with ultra-light carry
  • Carry by its removable backpack straps, padded top haul handles, or side grab handle
  • Two sizeable easy-access zippered end pockets for gear organization
  • Six heavy-duty lash points for attaching this bag to a roof rack
  • #10 lockable zippers with storm flap shield zipper from rain
  • Bottom is foam padded to help protect contents against impact

I used the duffel bag on three separate occasions – on my trip to Chicago, Los Angeles, and most recently Las Vegas.

I flew with it to Chicago while flying Spirit Airlines and was extremely nervous the attendants would make me check the bag. Being the anxious person that I am, I only ended up packing half of the duffel bag and lucky me, I was able to squeeze the bag into my front seat. I was still able to bring all of my running gear and even had extra room to bring back other items from the marathon. 🙂

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The unpacked version – the bag is packed into one of the side pockets in the packed version

Note that with Spirit, you can only bring on a personal item for free. Anything else (even a carry on) costs moolah. Their personal item size limit was 18 x 14 8 8 inches and my bag somehow made that cut off. That’s the bonus of not carrying a suitcase. I’ve always hated suitcases. They are so difficult to maneuver around airports and they’re just too rigid for me. I’m a carry-on kind of girl and if I can’t take it with me straight onto the plane, I leave it at home.

The duffel bag has backpack straps so as long as you don’t have a bad back, you’d be able to carry this bad boy on and off the plane no problem. The straps are pretty comfy and don’t chafe while you walk around. I also really liked the two side compartments because I was able to compartmentalize all of my things. One pocket held all my small little misc items and the other held my running shoes/OOFOS sandals.

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On my way to Chicago

For my road trips to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, I didn’t really need that big of a duffel bag, but again, I really liked using the side pockets for my shoes so I brought the bag along with me. It’s also just really nice to have everything in one bag as opposed to three separate ones.

In addition to using this bag for racecations, this bag would probably be ideal for backpacking and camping. I personally am not a big nature person so maybe using this for the SoCal Ragnar Relay will be the closest I get to being out in nature. 😛

For those of you who travel, what do you travel with? A suitcase? A duffel bag? Do you carry-on or check a bag? 

For more information, check out what other BibRave Pros had to say about this product or you could ask me! 🙂

Lindsay – Ryan – Chris – LauraVanessa – Mark – EmilyMeridith – Brenda – Matt – Haley – Jenna – Heather – Gina – Amanda – Joshua – Jennifer – Fallon

Posted in Running, Thoughts

To Run or Not to Run…

If you follow me on social media, you’ll notice that my training posts have scaled down dramatically. A part of the decrease in mileage is due to the post-marathon blues and yes, a huge chunk of it is due to my recent break up. Bleh.

I originally took up running almost 4 years ago as a way to cope with a break up. I was diagnosed with depression and it took me months to get the control I needed in my life. What started off as a horrible 3 miler led to what I’ve accomplished today – 2 full marathons and 18 half marathons. That being said, I find it incredibly stupid that I can’t bring myself to run and regain that control. I think I’ve only run 5 miles this entire week.

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Taking one step at a time
I have one more scheduled race for 2017 and it’s this upcoming Sunday for the Rock N’ Roll Las Vegas half marathon. I’ve been debating all week long about whether I should run it or not. My flight’s already been booked and my accommodations have already been set, but the motivation isn’t there. This race has been on my bucket list for a few years and I was looking forward to running the strip at night. However, it’s difficult to be surrounded by happy and energetic people when you’re struggling with your own self worth.

As I’m writing this, I am still scheduled to run the race, but I’ve modified my travel plans a bit so I’m not out of my comfort zone (i.e. my room) for too long. My goal for this race? Just to make it through.

I do apologize that the past few posts have not been very upbeat. If you’ve ever met me, you’ll know that I am very open about my feelings, both happy and sad. So much so that I’ve lost friends in the past over it. I will try to keep these kinds of posts to a minimum, but for now, I just needed to let it out.