Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Training

Summer Training and a Gatorade Endurance Review

Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance products 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!

And boom, it’s SUMMER! Can you believe it?

To be honest, it doesn’t even really feel like summer yet. It’s been pretty much June Gloom in Southern California these days. However, there are warm ones where I regret not waking up earlier to do a long run. The warm weather will be good for me though. I will begin to train for the Honolulu marathon soon and I need to get used to running in humid weather. If you’ve followed my running journey, you’ll know that my body does not adjust well to humid weather. If it goes above 72F, I’m a goner. LOL

To prepare for summer training, I’ve started loading up on some hydration gear and fuel. First off, I purchased a 4L endurance vest from Orange Mud. This was more for my travels in the next few weeks, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to get a hydration vest that could hold more fluids for my 15+ mile runs. I already have a Amphipod PureRun Hydration Vest that holds 2x 12 oz bottles for my mid length runs, but I would use up all of my fluids by mile 15 so I needed something larger.

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In addition to the hydration vests, I was fortunate enough to be able to try a few Gatorade’s Endurance products – more specifically the Watermelon Formula as well as the Mango Energy gels. Their Gatorade Endurance formula has twice the amount of sodium (300 mg) and more than 3x the potassium (140 mg) of traditional Gatorade, but is much lighter in flavor, which I can appreciate. My stomach is super sensitive while racing and something with a lot of salts and is light in flavor is just what I need. If you’ve ever had regular Gatorade, know that the flavor is probably 5x as dilute which is nice if you have a sensitive stomach. I’ve taken it on runs anywhere from 5-8 miles with no problems to my stomach. Even though the formula is designed for on course training, I’ve also used this drink to hydrate after runs and it’s worked great for me.

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The item that surprised me the most was their mango gels. I’m used to taking sweet gels (chocolate, espresso, honey, etc) so when I took their mango gel, I was taken aback because it was salty! LOL. The taste was a bit strong at first, but after taking more of it, it actually tasted like a light mango. Also, the gel is MUCH MORE DILUTED OUT when compared to your other gels (GU, Honeystinger, Hammer Nutrition, etc). I was shocked at how easily the gel went down. I even took half of it without needing water to wash it down. That was the most impressive part about this gel. 🙂 In terms of how it sat with me, I wasn’t able to test it for long mileage, but I did take it at mile 4 and ran with it for 5 miles without any issues to that’s an bonus in my book. 🙂

IMG_7236 (1) With all of my new hydration gear and fuel, I’m basically ready to start training. Now if only my legs would get with it. 🙂 If you have questions about the product, please feel free to ask me or read one of the reviews from other BibRave Pros who have tested these products out.

BibRave Pro Reviews

Lindsey – Karen – Lissa – Katy – Jessica – Kevin – Amy – Jenn – Vanessa – Ang – Corey – Barb – Ben – Emily – Brenda – Amy P – Eric – Meridith

Question for you: What things do you need for summer marathon training? 

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Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Training

Heat, humidity, and hills oh my – RnR San Diego Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Rock N Roll San Diego Half Marathon 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.

I would like to have said that I crushed this race, but then I’d be lying. Conditions were not the best, but I conquered another half marathon and that’s all that matters. I also had a fantastic time at the expo so really, I have no real complaints. Without further ado, my race weekend report.

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Saturday – I had a pretty difficult 3 mile shake out run in the morning, but shrugged it off and headed to the expo. While I waiting to get onto the Trolley from the Old Town Trolley Station to get to the expo, I met a fellow San Diegan who followed me on Twitter and Strava. He asked me if I was “Mai,” I said “Yep,” and off we went to have a 15+ minute conversation about racing and after our talk, I’m considering picking up trail running. LOL. His name is Tim and he’s an ultra runner. You can find him on Twitter. 🙂

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After our talk, I entered the expo, picked up my bib, walked through the huge Brooks section, took some awesome photos at their photo booth and made my way over to the HoneyStinger booth where I volunteered there for 2 hours. I ran into a lot of people I knew at the booth and had a great time chatting with other runners. 🙂IMG_6670

I then met up with BibRave Pro Founders Tim and Jessica Murphy, and fellow BibRave Pros Bridget and Steph for lunch at Rustic Root. After lunch, I headed back to the expo, walked around some more and ended up dropping over $100 on this pretty little Orange Mud product for my Mt. Fuji hike in July. No way am I dying from dehydration. LOL. Anyway, that was all the excitement from the expo. 🙂 I called it an early night and passed out at 8:30 pm.

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Race day – I woke up at 4 am and was out the door by 4:15 am. I parked at the trolley station again and made my way down with very no issues. From the trolley stop, it was about a 1.5 mile and a half walk up to the start, which was a nice warm up walk. 🙂 I met up with friends and at 6:25 am, I crossed the start line. From the start of the race, I could feel that something was off. It was taking a lot more effort to run and when the sun came out around 7 am, I knew I was toast. I had forgotten my visor and my sunglasses so for a good portion of the race, I was squinting and wiping the sweat off my brow. Sigh.

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The course itself was very fun. You start off fairly flat and then head downhill. Another mile later, you get some rolling hills. I saw the mile 4.5 bar with their assortment of alcoholic beverages. I ran the blue mile a little bit later, where volunteers hold up flags and there are posters of US troops that have fallen lined along the road. By mile 7, I was pretty much toast. My left foot was tingling non-stop and the ball of my right foot felt like a big blister was coming on. I started overheating and had to pour a few cups of water over my head to cool down and around mile 9, I started doing a run/walk. At mile 10.5, we hit the last really large hill and it was mostly downhill from there. Taiko drummers were performing at the top to keep us going and goodness, I needed every little bit of it. Running downhill was easier, but I was running out of gas.

Then, an angel by the name of Vanessa, came running by. LOL. She’s not really an angel, but in this scenario, she was mine. 😛 Vanessa was someone I met through a friend and when she ran by me, she told me she’d run with me. I didn’t want to slow her down since I knew she ran faster than me, but she insisted that she would stay with me. For the rest of the miles, she stayed with my pace and kept me going with her pep talks. I pushed when I didn’t think I could anymore and was able to stay at a moderate pace. I crossed the finish line destroyed, but because of her, I was able to complete the course in under 2 hours, which was my original goal. Thanks to her, I finished it in 1:59:13, which I most definitely recorded in my Athlinks profile. 🙂

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Not every race is going to perfect and this race was a perfect example of that. But I learned a lot from this experience. I learned that some days, you just have bad runs and some of those days are during races. But even on those days, you can still achieve a lot if you have the right people beside you. 🙂

Question for you: Have you ever had a bad race and if you have, how did you recover from it? 

Side note: Today is Global Running day and the Rock N Roll Race Series is having a sale! If you want to run one of these, this is probably the best day to sign up for one. 🙂

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

COROS Pace – GPS Multi sport Watch Review

Disclaimer: I received a COROS Pace GPS Multi Sport Watch 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!

Look out other GPS watch competitors, there’s a new GPS watch out on the market and it’s made by COROS, the company that brought you OMNI, a smart cycling helmet.

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I’m pretty excited for this brand to be branching out to GPS watches and the PACE is the first of a few watches they have in store for us. I’ve been testing the watch out for 3 weeks and it’s been great for what I need in a watch. Please note that I’m not a triathlete (yet) and so I will primarily be focusing on the running aspect of this watch. Several other BibRave Pros have reviewed on the swim and cycling portion and their reviews can be found below.

GPS tracking – I was shocked by how fast my watch would be “GPS ready” once I selected the outdoor run option. In less than a minute, it would sync. It would maybe take 10-15 seconds. Even at a super crowded race like the Rock N Roll San Diego, my watch was able to get a signal within 10 seconds. This made me super happy. You don’t want to be that runner not able to cross the start line because your GPS isn’t ready, right? Or the person holding up the group run, which I’ve been very guilty of on more that one occasion. 😦

Distance tracking on outdoor runs – So how accurate is the watch on distance? 9/10 times, it’s pretty darn accurate. If you are too lazy to set your settings to auto pause and instead pause manually like I do, you’ll find that the distance will be shorter than you actually ran. I spoke to COROS and they believe this is because my manually pausing and resuming is causing the watch the lose the GPS location briefly.  Now I just put it on auto pause. Nevertheless, I have a feeling this won’t be an issue for much longer as COROS is continuing to update the software to address issues that customers have mentioned. This is a new product for them after all. 🙂

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Distance tracking on indoor runs – This is a bit more of an issue currently. I mostly do outdoor running now, but on the few times I was on the treadmill, I noticed that the distance was off by a bit. This isn’t really a big concern with me since I’ve experience this with other watches as well. It seems to be a common issue. Anyway, COROS is already working on this issue though so it should be resolved in the next firmware update.

Steps – I found that although the distance tracking wasn’t always accurate, the steps counter was pretty spot on. I was pleased. 🙂

Syncing – The data on the watch syncs really quickly with the COROS app (compatible on both Apple and Android phones) and you can also sync your data with the Strava app. Note that the outdoor runs sync to Strava, but currently, the indoor runs do not.

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Battery life – I run 4 times a week maybe averaging 3.5-4 hours and I had to charge this watch about every 10 days or so, which was really nice. When I wasn’t running, I’d still use it as a regular watch so it was being used 24/7. The battery life in GPS mode is expected to last 25 hours though.

Data metrics –  Most runners are fans of data. Pace, max heart rate, splits, distance, cadence, etc. You name it, runners want to know. This watch has a lot of statistics available for you. This was the first watch that calculated my stride length. I have no idea how it did that, but I’ll take it. 🙂 It currently does calories burned, steps, laps, cadence, stride length, pace, speed, heart rate, lap time, lap distance, lap cadence, lap stride length, elevation, total ascent, and total descent just to name a few. LOL. It currently does not do VO2 max nor intervals, but it is expected to be in the next few firmware update.

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And here ends my review of the watch. I visited the COROS booth while I was at the Rock N Roll San Diego health and fitness expo and they’re really excited about the new updates. They were really interested in user feedback so I expect their next update to incorporate lots of customer feedback. If you’re looking for a new watch, I would recommend looking into this one. 🙂 If you have any additional questions about this watch or would like me to test something out, please let me know and I’d be happy to test and report back.

BibRave Pro Reviews

Corey – Lindsey – Kim – Ryan – Kevin – Angie – Josh – Jenna – Mark – Amy – Michael

 Question for you: What do you look for in a sports watch? Any particular features? 

If you would like to purchase a COROS PACE watch, you can go here and enter the code “MAI” for $30 off the watch.

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.

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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!

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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. 🙂

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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? 

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.

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 😛

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?