Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Athlinks – A Platform to Track All Your Races

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Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks 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!

I’ve had an Athlinks account for at least a year now. I don’t remember how I came across it, but for someone who’s run a lot of races, I have definitely come to appreciate it. Here’s why.

What is it? It is essentially a website that allows you to keep track of all of your races. So if you’re like me, who LOVES to keep track of all the races I’ve run, this is the site for you.

Do I have to import all of my race results? Nope. That’s probably the best part of this site. After you run a race, you can simply just log into Athlinks and claim your results. The result may not immediately be available to claim after the race, but give it a few days and then you’ll be able to claim them. Claiming them adds them to your race resume. 🙂 Speaking of race results, Athlinks will have more than 5 million results live on race day. Tracking all of the races on one site/app. How awesome is that? 🙂

What are some of its features? Like all resumes, the highlights are up front. 🙂 For a race resume, that includes your personal records/bests. At the top of your profile page, your best times for each distance are listed. Below are the rest of your races. You no longer have to look back on the race website to find out what your time was 3 years ago. All of your times can be found on Athlinks. Hooray!

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In addition to being able to claim your previous races, you can also look up the races you’re going to run and “Join the Start List.” By doing so, you are letting others know that you’re running the race and if you feel like it, you can also list your time goal. What is also really cool about this feature is that it’ll take all of your previous races for that distance and predict what your time will be. 🙂 If your race isn’t up there, you can also create an event for it. 🙂

There’s also rivals. 🙂 Who doesn’t love a healthy competition, right? I basically thrive off it. LOL JK. Only not really. I admit that I tend to get carried away and the trash talking ends up biting me in the butt later. I can’t back up my trash talk sometimes. LOL. Oh well. I’ve learned. Sort of. Okay, not really, but I digress.

Athlinks will recommend rivals for you. Rivals are people you follow who run the same races as you. They’ll keep a tally as to how many wins you have against that person and how many losses. Right now, I have two wins and two losses. Boo. I need more friends to compete against. 🙂

With that said, what are you waiting for? Follow me here and I’ll follow you back. It’s completely free. Seriously though. Please? 🙂 I want more friends and maybe some more rivals. 🙂 Also, if you sign up now and claim a result between now and Jan 8th, you’ll be entered to win a free race entry to one of their race partners. You can find out more here. 🙂 

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Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Training

Weav Wednesday – A mobile app review

Disclaimer: The Weav Run app is currently free but I will be receiving a lifetime subscription in January 2018 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!

If you are looking for another way to mix up your runs, you should take a look into the Weav Run app.

What is it? The Weav Run app is a mobile (currently only for iOS) app that adjusts the music you’re listening to in order to match your cadence/running speed. IMG_4173

What does that mean? Well, in short, when you run faster, the music will also get faster and when you slow down, the music also slows down.

How does that benefit me? If you’re looking to improve your mile time, beat a personal record, or just listen to more upbeat music when you run, this is probably the app for you. I don’t know about you, but when I run to music, I will dance along to it. If it’s a super motivating song, you will definitely see me run faster. Music is such a motivator for me so if the music is upbeat, you know I will be too.

I’ve been using this app since Thanksgiving and I really enjoy it. It’s super useful during my interval training runs. 🙂

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What if the music sounds weird at the pace I’m running at? The Weav Run founders have mixed the music so that even though the pace is a bit faster, the singers will not sound like chipmunks. Hooray! The transition is fairly smooth. If you are a bit concerned about the pacing, you can also set your cadence and have the music set at a specific beats per minute. That’s what I do. At each interval, I will increase the cadence a bit more and it’s really helped with my training.

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What type of music does the app have? That’s a great question. They currently have 25 songs including “Believer” by Imagine Dragons, “Basically Over You” by Alex Newell, “Ms Jackson” by OutKast, and “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC. They’re working on expanding their playlist so don’t worry about it being limited. 🙂 As a BibRave Pro, I was able to beta test some of their new features and even listen to their expanded playlist and trust me, they’re awesome.

If you questions regarding the app, please feel free to ask me or read any of the reviews written by other BibRave Pros.

MeridithLindseyBrenda – Chris – Vanessa – Fallon – Emily – Laura – Stephanie

Question for you: How do you mix your runs up? Do you run intervals? With music? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

The Winter Woes and Overcoming Them

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium 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! All opinions are my own. 

If you are just tuning in to my blog, well…I have to apologize that you haven’t come at an opportune time. Things are still pretty rough for me. My mind wanders and for some reason, it has a tendency to gravitate towards negative thoughts. And with the holidays in full swing, it’s gotten a lot harder for me to be optimistic.

I try though. For the past month or so, I’ve been listening to podcasts almost every chance I get – when I run or when I’m driving. It keeps my mind occupied so negative thoughts don’t creep in. Listening to music has been harder with all the love songs out there. It’s rare that I can find a song that won’t make me cry. Boo.

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So for now, podcasts it is. In a way, it’s a blessing. I’ve always been a creature of comfort. Even as I’m typing this, I’m in bed underneath my weighted blanket. I like the routine…almost a little too much. By forcing myself to listen to podcasts, I’m realizing that there are things worth learning. Here’s my list of the podcasts I’ve been listening to and if you have time, try listening to one. You might like it 🙂

The BibRave Podcast – a show about all things running (I recommend the Leadville 100 episode if you ever need a reason to motivate yourself to run)

NPR’s Hidden Brain – focuses on different topics in human psychology (for those thought provoking moments)

NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me –  a game show format on the week’s current events (for laughter)

NPR’s How I Built This – Interviews with entrepreneurs and their journey (I recommend the Spanx or Reddit episode)

Stuff You Should Know – super random topics, but there are a wide range of ones to choose from

Hooray for distractions!

Anyway, a huge thanks to the Aftershokz crew for making these distractions possible. Running while listening to podcasts and also being able to listen for nearby cars or bicyclists have made my runs a lot safer. Also, a thank you for making a pair of reliable and comfortable wireless headphones that don’t stick in my ear and make my ears sore. I’ve been wearing these so often that I sometimes believe they’re an extension of me. LOL. Really though. I’ve had them on and forgotten that they’re on my ears.

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For a more thorough review of the headphones, I’ve reviewed a pair of the Trekz Titanium Minis here. This time, I received a pair of the regular Trekz Titaniums and they’re in green and I just love them. I thought they’d move around a bit more when I run since they’re a bit bigger, but turns out, both sizes work on my head. Whoo.

To read more about what other BibRave Pros had to say: Ryan – Sara – Jenna – Meridith

Soooo what podcasts have you listened to? Any one that I should be aware of? I’m always on the lookout for new interesting ones. No sad ones please. The world is kind of too chaotic for that right now. Recommendations extremely welcome. Please and thank you!

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Running out in the Sun – BOCO 360 visor edition

Disclaimer: I received a free BOCO 360° Visor® 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!

If you run during the day, you need three things – a hat/visor, sunglasses, and SUNSCREEN! When I first started out as a runner, I was terrible about those things. I would just go out sans sunscreen (I know I know I’m basically asking for skin cancer) and just run for an hour. Now, I know better. Also, I’m getting a little older and turning the big 3-O next year and have to actually start taking better care of my skin. Boo.

Prior to the BOCO visor, I had been wearing an old visor from my Triple Crown Challenge days (2015) and it had been kind of falling apart. It was fraying at the top and every wash to get rid of the sweat and smell would just make it more worn down. The visor was study, but maybe a bit too sturdy. It’d look deformed after some time. Maybe it wasn’t machine washable? Oops.

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Enter the BOCO 360° Visor. This visor is awesome. It’s super soft so it won’t rub against your forehead. It has a lightweight wicking material at the sweatband that prevents sweat from come pouring down my face. This is such a plus for me. Mid-race, my eyes usually burn from all the sweat. IT’S NOT PRETTY. And honestly, everything about this visor is really soft. I love the material and even though it’s soft, after several washes, it still retains it’s shape. Seriously. It’s amazing. I’ve worn it on a LOT of my outside day runs and it saves my eyes from squinting since it shades my face from the sun. It’s also made of really breathable material so it shouldn’t cause anyone to break out in the forehead region. 🙂 Unfortunately, there’s not much more that I can say about a visor except that it’s really useful and super soft. LOL. I know. I said that already, but it really is. 😛 They also make custom trucker hats and visors too! Ah, now I want another one -_-.

So I guess I’ll just leave you with photos of me wearing it. 🙂

 

If you have any questions about how awesome this visor is, let me know! 🙂 If you don’t trust me, trust the other BibRavePros. We all had 3 months to wear this visor and the reviews are positive.

Amy – Meridith – Jeannine – Lindsey – Angie – Vanessa – Jessica – Frank – Fallon – Gina – Dane – Shannon

So what do you wear to keep the sun out of your eyes? A hat? Visor? Sunglasses?

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 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