Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Knock Around with KnockAround Sunglasses

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knockaround Polarized Premium Sunglasses 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!

Now that I’m a little bit older, I’ve decided that I should probably try and take better care of my eyes and skin. That means that I need to keep wearing sunglasses. I’m terribly forgetful about bringing my sunglasses with me and I squint constantly when I’m driving towards the sun and it’s blinding me.

I’ve been wearing the Knockaround Polarized Premium Sunglasses for a few weeks now and I really like them. They’re not really meant for high intensity running since they fog up after a few miles, but if you’re going out for a jog or just lounging around at the beach, these sunglasses are a great buy. I’m not going to lie. I look pretty fabulous walking around in them. LOL. Really though. Look at how pretty I am below. HAH.

IMG_6053

They’re cheap too! The Classics start off at $15 and the Premium ones are $20. So you don’t have to invest a ton of money just to look cool and it isn’t the end of the world if you lose a pair. You can just buy another one. LOL Surprisingly, with the name Knockaround, I thought these shades would be falling off my head like no other. I put my shades on my head when I’m indoors and a lot of the times, they slip and fall to the ground. Womp womp. These babies have stayed on my head without slippage. Hooray!

IMG_5975

I will note that for some reason, these shades appear to get smudgy a bit fast. I blame my oily fingers and the fact that I keep touching the shades. LOL. Nothing a fiber cloth won’t fix. 🙂

The laid back feel of these shades are really awesome. Picture yourself on the beach sipping a Mai Tai (is that what people drink? I have no idea since I don’t really drink) with these shades on. You’ll be feeling so fresh and so fly. 🙂

IMG_6096

If you want your own pair to look fly for the summer, you can use code “BIBRAVEKNOCKS” for 20% off your entire order! 

If you want to read what other BibRave Pros thought, read below:

Amanda S. – Corey – Jeaninne – Kevin – Randy – Stephanie – Janelle – Bradley – Teddy – Karin – Amanda W.

Question for you: What are your favorite pair of sunglasses? Fashion or function? 

Advertisements
Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Training

Amphipod PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest – Review

Disclaimer: I received a Amphipod PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest 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!

When I first started training for my first marathon in the hot summer in 2016, I realized that hydration is SUPER important. I never ran with water bottles and so when I first started running 13+ miles, I started trying to find ways to get around the whole hydration thing. My stomach was way too sensitive to drink water from a water fountain and I thought about placing water bottles along my run so that when I looped back around, I could just take a sip and place it back there and hope that no one poisoned my water bottle before I get to it again. LOL. The thought crossed my mind to also buy a belt that held water bottles, but with everything I already carry in my FlipBelt, I didn’t think it’d be feasible to carry water around my waist too.

IMG_6038

Enter hydration vests! These are probably the best inventions for long runs. They can hold quite a bit of water and have lots of pockets where you can keep gels for fuel. I was fortunate to try the Amphipod hydration vest recently and found it to be quite useful on 16 mile runs.

Features – The vest has four pockets where you’re able to hold fuel in. There are two pockets in the front (one on each side) and two in the back. In the front on each side, there is room for one of their 12 oz hydraform flasks. That’s 24 oz total if you’re just carrying the water bottles. There’s a cinch in the back where you can also securely store say a bladder or maybe even a light jacket. The vest also comes with a Versa-Light Clip-On LED light, which has a smiley face on it. 🙂  PureRunHydrationVest

Usability – To be honest, it took a little getting used to. The reason being is that I’ve never really carried around 24 oz of water before. The most I had ever carried was 15 oz of water in a vest. Having two water bottles sloshing around was interesting. The first time I ran in it, I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out, but after a few miles in and after adjusting the straps so it’d be more suited to my body, I didn’t have any issues. There are three straps that go across your body so you can secure it and make it fit more nicely with your body. I’ve run with the vest about 4 or 5 times by now and I haven’t experienced any problems with it. The mesh is fairly breathable and the material doesn’t rub on your skin and chafe you. I even tried wearing a sleeveless tank with the vest to see if it would rub and it didn’t in the slightest. 🙂 I’ve worn it on pretty humid days, on short runs, and long ones and didn’t experience problems with it.

The bottles that come with it are easy to drink from. They fit snugly in the front pockets so all you have to do is grab the bottle, pull the top, and squeeze the water into your mouth. 🙂

IMG_5834

I’m pretty happy with this product since it’s able to hold more water for my longer runs and with summer around the corner, this will be perfect for my next round of marathon training. 😉 Yes, that’s right. There might be another marathon in it for me this year. 🙂 Stay tuned.

If you’re interested in learning more about this product, please feel free to read what other BibRave Pros had to say about it below:

Andrea – Meredith – ReneeAlastair – Bradford – Barb – Amy

Question for you: How do you hydrate on your long runs? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Oh the Hills – Big Sur 21 miler Race Report

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Big Sur 21 miler 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!”

And BAM, just like that, the Big Sur 21 miler has been conquered. 🙂 I had a wonderful experience running Big Sur and despite my legs hating me oh so much right now, I’m sure they’ll get over it and I can start running again soon. 🙂

Without further ado, my race report:

The Health and Fitness Expo: I flew into San Jose Saturday morning and rented a car to drive down into Monterey Bay. There was plenty of parking and as long as you could get out of the expo in one hour, there were no issues. 🙂 I made my usual rounds. There were plenty of photo opportunities.IMG_6112

I found my name on a HUGE Big Sur poster and took an awesome expo photo in front of this ginormous sign. IMG_6126

Thinking about it now, I should have known. Everything was so big. That should have tipped me off that the hills would have been the same. LOL. I stopped by the Motigo booth, where I talked to one of the Co-founders Dan. He was super cool and told me to open the app prior to the race to make sure all of my cheers were downloaded. I refreshed the app like a mad woman that day. Seeing more cheers being sent my way made me happy. 🙂

After grabbing my race swag and visiting the vendor booths, I quickly made it outside to sight see a bit. Then a massive headache came about and basically spoiled the rest of the night. Luckily, I passed out around 8 pm to get ready for my early wake-up call at 3:45 am.

Morning of: I was pretty worried the morning of the race. I had been experiencing stomach cramps for the past few days and was worried they’d make an appearance during the race. I was too scared to eat, but managed to gulp down some gatorade and had half a bagel with cream cheese right before the race. Everyone met at a pick-up location and was shuttled to the start line for our respective races. Since my race was 5 miles shorter than the marathoners, we started further along the course at mile 5.

RACE! The start of the race was actually a little anticlimatic. LOL. The reason being that the start line banner doesn’t actually indicate the start. The timing mats were located 0.2 miles up a hill and that’s where we officially started. So as we crossed the banner, most of us slowly stretched our legs up the hill. I even overheard a Pennsylvanian say that “Californians were really chill.” LOL. When we hit that timing mat, we were off. I started my Motigo app, my Garmin (because if there’s no data, did you really run it?), and was off. I started off pretty quickly. I think I was so excited to hear cheers for the app that I ran faster than I should have. Hah.

IMG_6149

The scenery was extremely pretty. I took a lot of videos and pictures and was just in awe from the hills and the greenery. 🙂 We were running along the coast and I got these gorgeous views of the waves crashing against the rocks of the cliffs.

IMG_6162IMG_6163

The course was marked for the marathoners and just the marathoners so we all laughed when we started running and already saw the 5 mile marker. 😛 Hooray! 5 miles done, 16 to go, right? The first few miles were a breeze.IMG_6152

I heard a few cheers and then later found out that the app had unfortunately crashed due to really really poor reception in the area. Seriously. Plan ahead to meet your loved ones at the finish line. There is barely any reception in the area and I’m pretty sure I ran 19 miles of it without any cell service. I ended up listening to my cheers at the finish line, which was still pretty awesome. 🙂

At my mile 5 (10 for the marathoners), we began our ascent (into madness, jk, only sort of kidding) up the massive hill. We ran up maybe 600 feet over the course of 2 miles? It was this intense trek up and honestly, I had no idea when it would end because the course kept winding and so I couldn’t see the top. You’d turn and then see another hill. Seriously, I can’t believe I complained about the La Jolla Half. That race was nothing compared to this one. Also, once you got higher up, the wind got stronger. LOLIMG_6165

At mile 7, we started heading down towards Bixby Bridge, where we got to see this awesome piano player! He was playing lullabies when I ran by. LOL. I took about a million photos of the area and continued the trek. Around mile 10, the first place male marathoner passed me by. LOL. They were fast. At mile 15, it started to sprinkle, which was actually kind of fun. I kept leap frogging with another runner for a few miles, but at the 2 last miles, she passed me. At mile 17, I started feeling pretty tired. I liked to think that running down hill was my strongest skill, but at mile 17, that was not the case. My knees started feeling the the impact from pounding on pavement up and down. My stomach felt very empty at mile 17 and I worried that I had not fueled enough and I’d hit the wall. Luckily, it didn’t happen. and I managed to make it to 20.5. Mentally, I was done. I started walking, but soon after, another runner touched my back as he passed by to encourage me to keep going so I did.

IMG_6174

I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:25:56 and a big smile on my face. 🙂 I had conquered the hills of Big Sur. And I placed 80th/1010 overall. You can bet I put my results into Athlinks. 😛

IMG_6182

Question for you: What was the hardest race you’ve ever run? Mine was probably Big Sur. 😛 Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it again though. IMG_6172

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

FlipBelt Crops – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of FlipBelt Crops 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!

Let my first start off by saying that I have ALWAYS been a fan of FlipBelt. I bought my first FlipBelt (their classic) 4 years ago to store my phone and keys in and honestly, I have never looked back. Even at health and fitness expos when I see other people looking at FlipBelts, I tell them to go for it. I give them the whole spiel about how amazing it is and then I leave. LOL. I’m sure I come off as a total weirdo, but really, I love FlipBelts.

I’ve had bad luck with arm bands. They chafe my arm in really humid weather and after a few uses, my arm band actually broke. 😦 I blame the muscles. 🙂 I’ve also tried one other belt and I couldn’t store as many items in it and the items also bounced as I ran. 😦

Soooo when BibRave partnered up with FlipBelt to give BibRave Pros a chance to try out their latest product, the FlipBelt Crops, I absolutely had to try it and SPOILER ALERT, they are awesome!

IMG_5984

First impression: I ordered a size small and found that since I’m 5 feet tall, these crops are actually full length tights on me, which was actually perfect for me. The crops were really smooth and I couldn’t stop touching my legs after I put them on. LOL. They fit just right on my legs. Note that these are not compression tights so they shouldn’t be terribly tight on you.

My initial worry was that the crops would slide down my waist during my run since it was holding my phone. However, that wasn’t the case. It did take a little bit of getting used to with adjusting where I wanted the phone in my crops, but once I figured it out, it was smooth sailing. The phone didn’t bounce up and down and oftentimes, I forgot that it was on me.

Storage: The crops have a two openings in the front, a key holder, and a zipper pocket in the back. This is different from the classic FlipBelt, which just has two openings in the front and two in the back. I like the crops’ design more because I can place my more important items like my ID and credit card in the zipper pocket without fear of it falling out. I store my phone in the front so being able to slide it into one of the two openings is really nice.

I have stored multiple gels, my phone, my external charger, as well as my ID in the crops and have had no issues with any of them moving up and down as I run.

IMG_6055

Material: As I mentioned previously, the crops are extremely smooth. They’re very breathable and have not caused any chafing on my long runs. My longest run in them to date is currently 10 miles.

Versatility: These crops can not only be used for running, it can be used for just everyday wear. They are currently offered in black and what doesn’t go with black? 🙂 Also, these crops can be used for travel! I’ve used the classic Flipbelt when I’m traveling around in foreign countries and am worried about theft. With these crops, I’ll be able to hide my possessions in a stealthier manner. 🙂 Hooray!

Other bonuses: The crops appear less bulky in photos. LOL. I’ve worn my classic FlipBelt to races and unfortunately, it creates a little bulge around my waist. With the crops, it’s less noticeable.

IMG_5864
Wore these at Ragnar!

I honestly cannot stress how much I love these crops. LOL. If you want your own pair of FlipBelt Crops, you can use the code “BIBRAVE” for 25% off. 

Read more reviews from my fellow BibRave Pros below:

Amy – Lindsay – Barb – Renee – Lissa – Gina – Kate – Vanessa – Janelle – Karen – Lisa

Question for you: Do you run with your phone? If so, how do you carry it? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

So close, yet so far – Carlsbad 5000 Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Carlsbad 5000 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. 

Going into this race, I had all of the typical jitters. I hadn’t had any really good runs this week and I was still recovering from last week’s race. I still had some tightness in my calves during my shake out run so I decided to join some friends at a spa day. I have no idea whether this was a good idea or not, but I spent a good hour and a half alternating between a dry and salt sauna room. LOL. I made sure to drink lots of water and I tried stretching out my legs a bit in the dry sauna.

The revelation I got from this experience was that I need to stretch. A LOT. God, I was hoping I’d never have to pick it up, but I think I will have to start doing yoga if I want to keep running and getting faster.

Anyway, Saturday went and I called it an early night at 8 pm. LOL. My race didn’t even start until 9:10 am, but the more sleep the better. 🙂 I’m not getting any younger, am I? 🙂 I woke up got to the race around 7:45 am. My race was at 9:10 am, but since I had to pick up my bib, I decided to get there a little earlier. Parking wasn’t too terrible. I parked maybe 4 or 5 blocks away and easily made my way to the start line where the bib pick-up was. If you time it just right, try arriving 30 or 40 minutes after the wave before yours and you may be able to get a spot from someone who just ran and is leaving. IMG_5514

Also, if you live in San Diego and Carlsbad is a bit of a drive for you, pick your bib up the morning of the race. There are still vendors at the expo so you’re not missing anything if you don’t show up on Saturday for bib pick-up.

This 5k race is different in that it breaks up the divisions into 6 different start times. For the 30-39 year olds, the start time was at 9:10 am and the time will sometimes change based on the train schedule. You don’t want to start a race and then get stopped by a train, do you? I don’t. Despite them adjusting for the train schedule, there are times that you can get stopped by a train so my advice is to run fast until you pass the tracks. There are also no corrals in this race. There are min/mile signs and everyone essentially self selects into their pace group.

I started out at a 6:45 min/mile and was able to find a nice clear path fairly quickly. Unfortunately, because I started out so quickly, I was having issues regulating my breathing and my pace quickly dropped to a 7:30 min/mile. This wasn’t bad, but because my breathing was getting very irregular, my calves started tightening up. I tried my very best to keep going since it was a short distance, but I couldn’t maintain. I clocked my first mile at 7:15, my second at 7:47, and my final mile at 8:29. I clocked in unofficially at 24:27, which is about 45 seconds shy of my personal record set at last year’s race. I keep checking Athlinks for my official results, but they’re not up yet so I can’t claim them just yet. Since I clocked it with my Garmin, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t anywhere close to PRing. I’m disappointed, but hey, I got a great view of the ocean along my route. I kept forgetting to look up during the course, but when other runner friends called out my name along the course, it reminded me to enjoy the process. 🙂

Speaking of friends, I ran into quite a few of them.

IMG_5523TLDR? I didn’t PR, but I still had a ton of fun connecting with my runner friends. Now, to prepare for my very first Ragnar Relay and the Big Sur 21 miler!

Question for you – How did your weekend go? Did you have a chill weekend? 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Trail Running – UA Horizon RTT Trail Shoes Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of UA Horizon RTT Trail Shoes 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!

After running on the roads for 4 years, I thought it’d be a good idea to try trail running. I mean, if I ever hope to start ultra running (OMG did I just write that here?), I should probably start training for trail races, right? I’ve tried searching for road ultras and there just aren’t that many. 😦 But that’s okay, it’s time to improve my running ability. 🙂

Enter the Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Shoes. I’m going to be completely honest with you. These were my first pair of shoes designed specifically for trail running and I had no way to compare how these shoes would compare with other trail shoes. However, while trying these shoes out, I did end up trying another pair of trail shoes just to compare. RESEARCH for the win!

Before I delve into my experience with these shoes, note that I have worn the following running shoes: Brooks’ Ghost 7, 8, 9; Brooks Ravenna 9 , New Balance’s Vazee 2090,  and Adidas’ Ultra Boost X.  I use my Brooks’ primarily with long distance runs and my New Balance’s for speedwork. The Adidas’ are used for shorter easier runs.

Now for my review:

At first glance, the shoes look like they can handle the trail terrain very well. The bottom of the soles have great traction on them – at least more than I’m used to with road shoes. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

IMG_5118

Personally, the shoes are not aesthetically pleasing to me. I like a more sleek look to my running shoes, but if the shoes does the job and will save my feet on rugged terrain, I will still wear them.

IMG_5112

On my first few trail runs, I noticed that these shoes were way sturdier than all of my other shoes and even the other trail shoe that I tried. This was great for the trails. My first trail run was through some rocky terrain in a canyon and I had never felt safer running over the rocks. The reinforced areas of the shoe provided really good support for my ankles. The shoes were also still pretty breathable despite all the reinforcement. 🙂

I did notice that while I was running, my heels tended to slip around in my shoes while running. This happens all the time when I run on the road. I used a lace lock and voila, no more heel slippage in my shoe. Also, there were no more blisters. Hooray!

IMG_5123

I did cross a river while in these shoes too. The traction wasn’t as great here, but I never slipped so that was promising. 🙂

I’ve used these shoes for hiking, walking around, and trail running and have found them to be pretty versatile. I find them more useful on rocky trails, but flat trails are also fine. 🙂 I unfortunately haven’t gone out to trail run as often as I’d like due to other commitments, but starting in May, I should have much more time to break these in.

IMG_5277

If you’re interested in reading more about these shoes, other BibRave Pros have tested them out. Read their reviews below.

Jenn – Barb – LoganBen

Also, if you’re interested in getting into trail running, the Copper Mountain Under Armour Race Series may be a great place to start. You can use the code “BIBRAVE20” to get 20% off your registration. 🙂 

Questions for you! – Have you done a trail run? What about an ultra? Any recommendations? I’m looking into possibly doing a beginner trail race, if there is a good one. Recommendations are appreciated. Thank you!

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

So a PR Happened – Hot Chocolate 15k Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the HotChocolate 15k – San Diego 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. 

So you know how only a few short days ago, I told you all that I was going to take it easy and enjoy the race? Yeah, who was I fooling? LOL. I’m competitive at heart and the racing atmosphere just brings it out of me.

I started off my race weekend with a short 3 mile shake out run. The run was tough. My legs still felt really stiff, but I powered through and was grateful it was over. I spent the rest of the morning resting and then went downtown to pick up my bib and race jacket that came with the registration. 🙂 Walked around the expo a bit and then headed home to rest and sleep early.

I woke up the next morning with jitters. I was worried I’d get there late by trolley since it seemed like it only ran every 20 minutes and figured if I just went straight to the start line and just parked a bit further away, it’d be fine. Turns out, I was right! Parking on the street on Sundays in downtown is free and if you’re willing to walk maybe half a mile away from the start, you can find parking pretty easily, assuming you’ve also come an hour before the race starts. I had a blanket in my car and slept for a bit before walking over to the start where I met up with a few people.

IMG_5465
Jeannie, Velle, and Hugh from the Movin’ Shoes running group
IMG_5464
Fellow BibRave Pro Rory!

Then the race started. Let me tell you, this course is not easy in the slightest. I ran it two years ago and remember it being hilly. My memory deceived me. It was so much worse. LOL. 😛 I must be a masochist or something because after I finished, it didn’t seem that bad. LOL

The race starts on a hill in downtown and for the first 2 miles, it’s a steep incline. There are very short stretches where it flattens out or declines, but for the most part it’s incline. After the sharp incline, you get a short break and you start a more gradual incline until mile 4. From mile 4 to 5.5, the course plays with your emotions. LOL. It goes up and down quite a bit. You think you’re done with the hills, but guess again! LOL. After 5.5, you get a really nice break where it’s just downhill for a good mile or so. The view is beautiful here. You get a great view of the Coronado bridge and you just think you can do anything at this point. At least, that’s how I felt. IMG_5466

Then you get to the last stupid big hill, which crushes your soul (I kid), and then you’re back in downtown where you sprint to the finish and get your fancy schmancy medal and finisher’s mug. 🙂

IMG_5471
Hot chocolate, dipping chocolate, marshmallows, pretzels, rice krispies, and a banana to tie you over

I had all sorts of leg issues during the race. My ankles were hurting at the beginning and throughout the race, I was getting what I think was plantar fasciitis. It was a struggle, but I just kept breathing and pumping my arms on those uphill climbs. I also walked when I needed. It also helped to see friendly faces along the route. I saw the Movin’ Shoes running coach around mile 7 and he just gave me an extra boost of energy to finish the last 2 miles.

Despite all the leg issues, I did manage to squeeze out a PR. When I crossed the finish line, I looked my time and thought 1:20:41 was an okay time. I hadn’t run a 15k in over a year and I couldn’t remember what my last 15k time was and based on how I felt crossing the finish line, I didn’t think I did well. But LO AND BEHOLD, I was wrong! I had actually beaten my time by over 5 minutes! 🙂 Thank goodness for Athlinks keeping a record of how I did previously. I was able to find my result from 2 years ago super quickly. 🙂 Hooray! So maybe I am getting faster after all. Yay!

HotChocolate Athlinks Results
Boom! Athlinks results claimed! Wheee! I did well!
IMG_5474
My new shiny medal and pretty jacket from the Hot Chocolate race! 🙂

Question for you: Have you ever finished a race thinking you did so poorly, but in reality, you did better than expected? Or have you gone into a race thinking you’d do poorly and then you blew your expectations out of the water?