Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Being a User…On Strava

Disclaimer: I received an annual Strava Subscription and Strava merchandise 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’s talk about Strava, shall we? 🙂

When I first started seriously running, I wanted a way to track my stats. I’m a metrics kind of girl and I loved seeing how many miles I could put in and seeing if I could push my limits. Seeing the mileage increase from month to month made me happy.

I tried various running apps, but the one that stuck was Strava. I found its interface to be user friendly and the fact that it was a popular app in the running community made it more appealing to me. I know I know. I’m such a victim to FOMO. LOL.

But really though, I am such a fan of Strava.

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Challenges

Not only is it free to sign up, but you can also participate in challenges and this is my favorite part of it. A few years ago when I first started training for my first full marathon, New Balance was having this challenge on Strava. Run a negative split in a marathon, track it in Strava, and get a free pair of New Balance shoes. A dream come true, right? It was my first real Strava challenge and I did end up completing it.

Clubs

Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. I also really enjoy being part of clubs where you can check your mileage with others and compete with one another. I did this for a while when I was using Hanson’s marathon method and was logging in 40-50 miles a week. Strava fed into my competitiveness. After all, if you didn’t log it, did it really count? LOL. If you want to join the Bibrave club, click here to join.

Kudos

Strava is just a great way to communicate with the running/swimming/cycling community. Facebook has likes. Strava has kudos. Who doesn’t like validation, right?

Ease of Use

When I first started running, I didn’t have a GPS watch to track my runs. So I took my phone on my runs. I opened the app, hit the record button, and started running. When I finished, I’d hit finish and the run was automatically uploaded. And you can choose to post it publicly or you can keep it private. If you do post it publicly, you can also prevent the app from mapping certain areas for safety reasons.

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My logged Hot Chocolate 15k Race

The Last Mile

Strava’s latest promotion is called The Last Mile and it’s kind of cool. Just by joining the challenge, you’ll get a 30 day free trial of their Summit, which unlocks extra features to help you train. And if you run a half or full and your last mile split is faster than any other mile in the race, they’ll donate $10 to one of the country’s leading youth running charities. Isn’t that cool? Getting a free trial with extra perks and if you work hard enough, you can get them to donate $10 to a youth running charity. 🙂

So that’s Strava in a nutshell. Now my question to you is if you use Strava, what do you like most about it? Also, add me and I’ll add you back! And if you don’t use it, what app do you use if any and why? I’m always on the lookout for cool apps. 🙂 

 

 

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Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Hot Chocolate 15k While Injured – My Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Hot Chocolate 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.

And BOOM, I finished the Hot Chocolate 15k this past weekend and oh my god, I was in a bit of pain. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

On Saturday, I did a short 3 mile shake out run in the morning. My heel was still hurting so I picked up OS1st foot brace compression sleeve. It was recommended to me by the running coach so I decided to give it a shot. I then picked up my bib at the expo, got my sweet new jacket that came with registration, and talked to my favorite vendor peeps (Aftershokz, Honeystinger). I then ran a few errands and foam rolled, massaged, and stretched my legs for the rest of the day.

Sunday morning, I woke up early, put on my foot brace compression sleeve, took 2 Advils to alleviate any potential inflammation, and out the door I went. I felt okay at the start of the race, but that quickly changed about 1 mile in the race. For those of you who don’t know, the Hot Chocolate 15k in San Diego is a challenging course. It makes you earn that chocolate and honestly, it’s not terrible if you trained for it…or aren’t injured.

The start of the race begins on a hill and for almost the entire race, it’s rolling hills. And much like the hills, my emotions were also up and down. Due to my heel issues, my legs tried compensating in other ways, resulting in overuse of other muscles. This caused way more pain than I’d like so throughout the entire race, I seriously doubted if I could finish. In retrospect, I pushed myself harder than I should have. Every time I walked, I saw my 17+ min/mile pace and panicked that I wouldn’t have been able to finish. I ended up finishing around a 10:30 min/mile pace so really, I had nothing to worry about.

I saw friends along the course and on two separate occasions, I burst into tears because I was so happy to see people come out and support me. I was mentally and physically in pain and seeing familiar faces made the race more bearable. In short, this wasn’t a great race for me and my heel is actually much more sensitive than it was pre-race. 😦 I am not currently running and I will not be running until I see a PT about the issue. Fingers crossed that it’s not a stress fracture or anything more serious. 🙂

I’ll update you soon!

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Racing in the Rain – My Irvine Half Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Irvine 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.

Hooray! Half marathon #23 is in the books and boy was it an interesting one. It was my first time racing in pouring rain and woo, was it fun! The aftermath was not. LOL

Going into the race, I had no idea there was a chance of rain. I mean, I live in Southern California. We get rain maybe 5-6 days out of the year. Apparently, this last weekend was one of those weeks.

Bib Pick-up: Bib pick up was easy peasy. The location was at a community park and was extremely easy to find. I picked up the bib, race shirt, checked out the Nuun booth, and was off to get some dinner and sleep for a 6 am wake up time. 🙂

The Race: The weather forecast mentioned 70% chance of rain at 8 am, but when I drove to the start line, there were no rain clouds in sight. In fact, it was just a beautiful morning by the lake…surrounded by lots and lots of high school kids.

A portion of the race proceeds goes back to the local high schools so it made sense that a lot of the participants would have been the high school students. Unfortunately, having so many high school kids surrounding me completely threw me off my game. LOL. My friend and I joked that we’d get smoked by these kids and I of course, being the competitive person that I am, didn’t want that. So I, stupidly started out too fast at the start.

Below are my thoughts throughout the race. Feel free to laugh at them:

#1: Oh, what a beautiful morning. Man, this race is efficient. It’s 8 am and we’re off.

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#2: Hmm, there’s the 2 hour pacer. They’re going awfully fast, but I think I can swing that pace.

#3: Woohoo! I reached the 2 hour pacer. I wonder if I can catch the 1:50 pacer. Oo, I see the 1:50 pacer. Yoohoo!

#4: Wait! SLOW DOWN GIRL! A 8 min mile this early in the race is too fast.

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#5: Oh crap, my legs feel heavy. WHYYYYYY? Stupid me. Why did I think I could PR? I’m gassing out. Okay. The goal was to enjoy the process and try not to die. I guess I’ll try and do that. Oo, pretty course.

#6: Ack. I hate my allergies. I can’t breathe. I hope no one thinks it’s gross I spit on the course. I’m trying to not hit anyone.

#7: Wow, this race is really well organized. There are a bajillion turns, but there’s someone at every turn directing. Go race course organizers!

#8: UGH, don’t walk Mai. Don’t you do it. You know the moment you walk, you’re going to keep run walking and that slows you down a lot. Don’t do it.

#9: Okay, you’re almost at 6 miles. At 6 miles, take a little walk break.

#10: Hmm, I’m at 6 miles, but that’s not even at the halfway mark. God, I’m such a wimp. Let’s just hit the halfway mark and then you can walk.

#11: Okay, I’m at the half way mark now and I think I can keep running without walking. Maybe let’s try and get to 8 miles. oO, pretty river.

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#12: Well, I’m at 8 miles and I only have 5 miles left. Maybe I can run to 10 and then take a break?

#12: I guess if I only have a 5k left, I should just keep running.

#13: Oh what? It’s RAINING? Oh well, it’s just a light sprinkle. I’ll be fine.

#14: OH SHIT. IT’S RAINING HARD. I can’t see. So much water on my face. Is that sweat or rain? I can’t tell anymore. Wait, can I feel my fingers? Nope. Can’t feel my fingers. LOL. Wait, I see a photographer! Smile girl smile through the rain! There are free race photos! Smile til you can’t no more.

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#15: OMG, I SEE THE FINISH LINE. PUSHHHHHH!

Post Race

#16: THAT WAS AMAZING. I got my pretty medal and OH HEY FRIENDS! OH AND FOOD! YASS!!! POTATO CHIPS? HOORAY!

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#17: Crap, I am freezing. Oh, you’re going to give me a free shirt to keep me warm? Thanks Kona Brewing Co. You’re the best. Okay, get to the car. OH WHY WON’T IT STOP RAINING? LOL

Too long didn’t read? I started out too fast in the race, gassed out, then played mind games with myself to prevent myself from walking, and then froze to death when it started pouring. LOL

Truthfully, the race was extremely well organized and I really appreciated the atmosphere of a smaller race. And the rain was an interesting way to end the race. Too bad, it took me a few hours to actually warm back up and regain feeling in my toes and fingers.

Question for you: Have you ever raced in the rain before? How was it? 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Apparel, Shoes, and Backpacks Oh My

Disclaimer: I received items from Altra Running, Handful , Vuori , Vooray, and Brooks Running from The Running Event 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! No further compensation was given and as always, all opinions are my own. 

I know, I know. It’s after Christmas and the last thing you’d need is more running gear, right? But hey, there’s no harm in looking. 🙂

I was fortunate enough to receive awesome running apparel and shoes and I’d love to share my thoughts on them.

Altra Running – Escalante 1.5

Handful – Adjustable Bra and Squeeze Play Capri (Mesh Side Panel)

Vuori – Omni Performance Short

Vooray – ACE Backpack, Black Nylon

Brooks – Ghost 11 and LSD Jacket

Disclaimer: This is a really long post so if you’re only interested in one or two, feel free to skip to those reviews. 🙂

Altra Running

Trying out new shoes always sends me into panic mode. My feet are pretty sensitive to shoe changes. I found that if I wear ballet flats to work or heels to work one day, I feel the negative effect of it in my run the next day.

So when I was given a pair of Altra Running’s Escalantes 1.5 in silver, I was super worried about testing them out because well, I am used to wearing shoes that have more of a drop . But after speaking to the owner Brian about how to switch from a high drop shoe to a zero drop shoe, I felt more comfortable trying them out. For reference, I have run comfortably in shoes that have drops starting from 6 mm to 12 mm so you can see why I’d be nervous about going to a 0 mm drop shoe.

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Note: The drop of a shoe is the difference between the height of the heel and the height of the toe. With a high drop shoe, most of the striking will be done with the heel. With a low drop shoe, the striking is primarily done with the mid-foot or forefoot. There are benefits to both and depending on whether you’re injury prone in one specific area, one type of shoe may be better than the other.

Brian told me that most runners can comfortably switch to a lower drop shoe, but it does take time. He suggested putting them into my shoe rotation on 3-4 mile EASY runs. For the other runs, I would switch back to my other running shoe (the Brooks Ghosts). He mentioned that over time, my feet would adapt and I could comfortable run in them for longer distances.

What was my experience?

I did a test walk in them to get used to them first and found them to be really comfy. They have a roomy square toe box, allowing my toes to be more comfortably splayed than other shoes. Once I felt comfortable enough walking in them, I took them out for a short easy 3 miler and on that first run, I had no problems. I’ve run in them five to six times now and haven’t found any really huge issues with them. I do notice that I strike differently in these shoes, which was expected, and I was a bit more sore after the initial run, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well they worked for me. I will continue to use these for my shorter runs and possibly during my interval workouts as these shoes are much lighter than my other ones and appear to be more responsive.

Handful

When I heard that Handful was one of the vendors at The Running Event (TRE), I was over the moon. Last year, I received a Handful Adjustable bra for Christmas and honestly, it’s become one of my most comfortable sports bras.

For those who may not know, Handful makes really comfortable active wear. They have a few different types of sports bras that range in support levels.

Their adjustable bra, which is the one I received at TRE, is meant for girls who are, well, like me. They provide me with the support that I need when I go running and also do not flatten the girls (yes, I did just say that).

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What are my favorite things about this bra aside from the support?

  • Resilience – I’ve had the original adjustable bra I got for over a year and it’s held its shape over the year. I’ve had sports bras that over time will lose shape over the wash and they just don’t feel the same. A year in and I feel like this bra has retained its shape a lot better.
  • Removable “Lights Out” pads – For a lack of a better way to describe what these are, I think I will just leave you with their description, which I think is pretty spot on.

“Our Handful Pads can be used to amplify what you were born with–think high heels in Vegas–or to replace what cancer, breastfeeding, or gravity has taken away. No one needs to know whether you are hot or cold!”

  • Non-restrictive – I’ve had sports bras that are supportive, but really restrict my torso and are difficult to take off. The adjustable bra is super easy to put on and take off and is really comfortable to wear even for an entire day.
  • Fun colors and names – Booya black, Lit, DeStressed, and No Headlights White? I mean, just the names of the bras are really fun and creative. They have an assortment of colors that are fun to mix and match.

Do they sell other things?

Yes! They do. I was also given a pair of their Squeeze Play Capris with a side mesh panel and really like them. They are high waisted with ruching details in the back that is fairly flattering for the backside. 😛 On both sides, there is a mesh panel, which accents the length of the leg, which I really like. Also, their fabric is moisture wicking so you can run in them without chafing or burning up. 🙂

They also have a versatile top called the Flippin’ Awesome Scoop Tank that caught my eye at TRE. Not only could you wear it to work with a blazer or just dress up with it, you can flip the tank and make it a workout tank. I thought it was also really flattering.

Vuori

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Vuori is actually a San Diego based company. Woot woot for my home town representing. They started out as an athletic wear store for men because there were limited options for men at the time. Then, lucky for me, they branched out and also started a women’s line of active wear. I was given a small Omni performance shorts in the color moss and was pleased at how well they fit me. For reference, I’m 5 ft and ~120 lb.

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Features of the shorts:

Fit: I love that the top of the shorts don’t grab at my waistline so it doesn’t bunch up my muffin top like some shorts do.

Back pocket: If shorts do not have a back pocket, it makes me sad. Lucky for me, the Omni shorts did so I just store a few gels in there when my FlipBelt gets too full of them during a race. LOL.

Fabric: It’s comfortable and moves well with running. I ran the Honolulu marathon in fairly humid weather with these shorts and there were no complaints.

Notable mentions?

I believe their number one seller is their performance joggers. I unfortunately didn’t test them, but the fabric for the joggers are SUPER soft and I know several people who swear by them. I may end up requesting them as a birthday present or you know just treat myself to one in the near future.

Vooray

Hooray for Vooray! If you’ve been to a running specialty store lately, chances are you’ve seen these Vooray bags around. Their cute bags are designed more or less for athletic use – storage for your running shoes, workout clothes, yoga mats, etc. I was given an Ace backpack, in Black Nylon, and am in love with how light weight it is and how comfortable it is to wear.

Features:

Exterior: Made of printed nylon so it’s really soft and even the shoulder straps are padded making the backpack more comfortable to wear.

Interior: It’s also made of nylon with the exception of the laptop sleeve, which is lined in some type of fur. This prevents your electronics from getting scratched.

Lightweight: It barely weighs anything so you don’t have to worry about carrying around any extra weight from the backpack when traveling. Despite it being so lightweight, it can also surprisingly carry a lot of things in it. When I first received it from TRE, it carried all of the swag I received (sans the two pairs of running shoes).

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Water bottle pockets: On each side, there are pockets that you can keep your misc objects in or maybe even two water bottles. I personally like keeping water bottles on the outside in case they spill so I think this is a great design.

Brooks Running

When I first started seriously running, my first pair of proper running shoes were Brooks Ghost 7s. So of course, I was ecstatic to see that I had received a pair of Brooks Ghost 11s to test out. Even if I didn’t always run in them, I’ve actually pretty consistently owned a pair of Ghosts throughout the years as I think they’re a pretty dependable brand and a great shoe to consider for beginner runners if you wear a neutral shoe type. Brooks also have great shoes for stability runners too (ie Adrenalines) so keep that in mind if you’re on the lookout for a new shoe.

Now back to the Ghost. The Ghost 11s are the first pair of Ghosts to have a structured mesh that wraps the foot more securely. The material is stretchy and allows your feet to fit more snugly, but also allows your foot to flex when needed. It also was designed to have a roomier toe box, but I personally found that it didn’t quite fit my foot shape as well as I had hoped. I prefer the older designs, but am still definitely keeping this shoe in my rotation as it provides a lot of support for my knees and can take on quite a bit of mileage.

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I was also fortunate enough to test out their LSD (stands for long slow distance) jacket and let me just say that this jacket saved me from freezing when it rained in Honolulu. Not only is this jacket water resistant, it’s also windproof, super lightweight, and is reflective. It even has an elastic arm band that you can bunch it up into and slide it onto your arm in case you need it. I don’t normally run in long sleeves because I heat up pretty quickly, so this jacket was actually a great solution. I just wear a tank top and wear this jacket over it. If I get too warm, I just take the jacket off and wrap it up and attach it to my arm. The jacket isn’t extremely breathable, but I found that by just unzipping it a bit, it wasn’t an issue anymore.

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So there you have it, a review of all of the products I received at TRE. If you have any questions about any of the products I’ve reviewed in this post or in my last post here (Nuun, Addaday, Arcanum, CEP Compression, IncrediWear), please let me know in the comments below and I’d be happy to answer them.

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Marathon Recovery – TRE Edition

Disclaimer: I received items from CEP Compression, Incrediwear, Nuun Hydration, Addaday Massage, and Arcanum Edge from The Running Event 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! No further compensation was given and as always, all opinions are my own. 

Oh the irony of this blog post.

A few weeks ago, I received some recovery based items from TRE Influencer Day. I was super excited to try them all out because I was running a marathon the following weekend and knew my body would be in desperate need of recovery. So post-marathon, I rested and took some time off from running. Then, I got sick. LOL. Isn’t that how it goes? You put your body under an immense amount of stress and once that stress has been lifted, your body breaks down? LOL I always got sick post-finals in school so of course I’d get sick post-marathon.

Despite getting sick, I was able to try out a few new recovery items right before getting sick and I am happy to report back on the following items.

  1. CEP – Compression socks for Recovery and Trail Merino Socks
  2. IncrediWear – Performance Capri, Sport Thin No Show Socks, Active Low Cut Socks, and Sport Thin Quarter Socks
  3. Nuun Hydration – ALL OF THE FLAVORS
  4. Addaday Massage – Type C roller and Runner’s Tea
  5. Arcanum Edge – Sarco Freeze, The Quill, and Sarco Breeze

Feel free to skip to the items you want to read about. 🙂

CEP Compression

History: CEP Compression is probably one of the most well known brands of compression socks. The company is actually owned by Medi, a global leader in medical compression manufacturing so you know that CEP Compression is not fooling around.

Technology: In the body, we have arteries and veins that transport blood towards and away from the heart. Veins transport de-oxygenated blood back to heart while fighting gravity and arteries use the heart to deliver oxygenated blood to every cell of your body. CEP is able to improve the blood flow back towards the heart by utilizing graduated compression technology. Their socks start with a 24 mm Hg in the ankle and gradually loosens to a consistent 18 mm Hg in the calf. The socks, due to the decrease in pressure, is essentially pushing the blood back towards your heart to get re-oxygenated.

My experience: I was given the Compression Socks for Recovery and Trail Merino Socks to test out. When I first received them, I was a bit hesistant about trying them out. I haven’t had the best luck with compression socks as they’re a bit constricting when I run in them, but after some assurance from the CEP representative that not all compression socks were created equal, I decided to give them a shot.

The Compression Socks for Recovery are meant for post-work out activity so after running the Honolulu marathon, I put these babies on. Walking around in them felt really nice and my calves didn’t feel as sore as I thought they would post-marathon. Hooray. I also tested them out on 4-5 hour flights and found them to be much more comfortable than other compression socks I’ve worn on flights.

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Medical grade compression socks, like these, are shown to decrease the risk of deep vein thrombosis while traveling. Apparently, 4.5% of travelers on long-distance flights, suffer from thrombosis due to a slower resting blood flow and by wearing these, it will decrease your risk for them. I found that my feet felt a bit restricted over the course of the flight, but it wasn’t significant enough to offset the refreshed feeling of my calves after I got off the flight.

As for the Trail Merino Socks, they are super soft and comfy to wear while walking around or running around. I ran in these socks for 4-6 miles and they felt great. J  Highly recommend.

IncrediWear

History: IncrediWear started out the founder Jackson Corley went through a near fatal cycling accident. The accident threatened to paralyze for life so he looked to alternatives that would heal his body. As a result, IncrediWear was born.

Technology: These products are not based on compression technology, but rather use fabrics containing semiconductor elements. When these elements are stimulated by body heat, they release negative ions and the negative ions activate molecular vibrations, which increases blood flow and speed. The increase in circulation will bring more oxygen to the target area, which helps improve the healing process and accelerate recovery.

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My experience: Their Performance Capris are some of the softest pants I own. I swear. Something about it made me not want to take them off. LOL. Post-marathon, I threw these on and wore them like no other for the next few days. I wore them during the workday as well as during runs and they move really well. It was difficult to determine whether these improved my performance or my recovery time as I only wrecked myself once prior to wearing these so it is possible that over time, I will see more of an improvement in my performance. The capris will most definitely be kept in my rotation.

I was also given three pairs of socks and the material of the sock is like no other. It’s very smooth. I know. I sound like a broken record, but it’s true. They’re light and my several runs with them have worked out really well.

Nuun Hydration

Product Lines: Electrolytes, Immunity, Vitamins, and Performance

My experience: I’ve tested Nuun out on different occasions and you can read my blog on the Nuun Immunity line here. I was given all of the flavors this time around and boy, some of those flavors are addicting. Also, did you know that you can drink HOT NUUN? A fellow BibRave Pro mentioned that she dissolves some of the flavors into hot water and drink it like hot tea. It is a complete game changer if you haven’t done it before and I honestly believe some of the flavors are better when hot. The immunity line is actually much more tasty to me with hot water, but my newest favorite is hands down hot ginger lemonade (caffeine included) from their vitamin line. It taste like a refreshing cup of hot lemonade tea and I swear, it’s delicious and great to wake you up in the morning. Their mango orange from their electrolyte is also a really yummy one. J

Addaday Massage

History: Addaday Massage started out as a blog with the purpose of writing about tips and tricks on how to add a day to your life. Cool, right?

Product Lines: Foam rollers, electronic massagers, and runner’s tea

My experience: Prior to receiving the Type C foam roller, I had used the Addaday Type D+ roller and another foam roller from a different brand. Between the three, I like the Type C foam roller the best. Addaday has different patented rollers that target different muscle groups and the Type C foam roller has a medium muscle roller that helps flush out lactic acid and muscle fatigue. There is also a little red pin point muscle roller for shin splints, Achilles, and other heard to reach areas. With this roller, I felt my muscles getting a really good knead and it felt like it was hitting the right spots. You know the phrase, “it hurts so good?” Yeah, that’s how it felt using this. LOL.

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Arcanum Edge

History: Arcanum Edge was founded by people who suffered from different types of pain and were looking for a more natural way to treat it.

Technology: Arcanum Edge uses activated hemp in their prodcuts. When hemp is heated at high temperatures, its able to enter circulation into the body more effectively and have an active effect. It would take way too long to explain here and I don’t want to bore you, so if you’d like to learn more, click here.

Product line: Sarco Breeze, Sarco Freeze, the Quill, and Arcana-lyte (Hemp based electrolyte)

My experience: I was pretty impressed with their activated hemp product line. Sarco Breeze is a sports massage oil that is designed to facilitate muscle recovery, soothe aches, and also hydrate your skin. Sarco Freeze is for a topical cooling hemp extract. If you’ve ever heard of Tiger balm or icy hot, this is essentially the same thing (cooling effect wise), but with the added benefit of relieving soreness and increasing healing. Last week, I had this ACHING ear infection and I tried to biohack myself and use Sarco Freeze on my jaw line that was in intense pain and it really did alleviate the pain so that it was more bearable. The Quill is essentially a pen that you can turn a dial on and with each turn, you get a 2 mg dose of activated hemp. This particular product is meant to be taken like a vitamin, daily, to see the effects. I found that it improved my sleep over the course of a few days, which was great since I desperately needed it.

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Whew. That was a lot of information. Please feel free to ask me any questions you have regarding any of these products and stay tuned for my apparel/shoes review coming up in the next few days.

Question for you: What are some of your favorite recovery products? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Training

The Gamification of Treadmill Running – A Zwift Review

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Pod 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!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I used to spend quite a bit of time playing video games. I would go through really intense phases. Friends would introduce me to games (mainly MMORPG – massively multiplayer online role playing game), I’d get hooked, my friends would stop playing the games, and I’d still play for an additional few months all by my lonesome self. LOL. Ask some of my friends. This has happened more times than I’d care to admit.

So when BibRave gave me the opportunity to test out a running app that also seemed like a game, I was all for it.

So What is Zwift? 

It’s a mobile app/game that is essentially an interactive training app. Using your phone, tablet, or smart treadmill, you can connect to this app and watch yourself (aka your avatar) run through various virtual courses that they have. They have their own fantasy world called Watopia that you can run through or if you prefer to run through virtual routes inspired by Central London or Central Park in New York, you totally can.

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What do you Need for Zwift?

You will need access to a treadmill, a particular foot pod, and a device to run the Zwift app on (ie iOS/Android phone or tablet).

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Does it Have a Social Component?

Yes, it does. There are virtual group runs every day that you can join. You can look for group run events that occur that day or within the week and schedule a virtual group run. Then, at that time, you get on a treadmill and hit start and your avatar will be transported to the start line along with everyone else that signed up. You are then off to run with the other people. And as you run, you can chat with the other runs via text.

If you prefer to just run with people that you know, you can also do that. You can choose to run with friends from all over the world. They would just need the Zwift pod and app.

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My Experience with Zwift

I tried my first Zwift run a few days after my marathon. I know, I’m insane. I wasn’t 100% recovered, but I really wanted to get a feel for it before a scheduled group run. The app was easy enough to install. The Zwift pod was a little tricky to open and attach to my shoe, but a quick little search on google resolved the issue.

When I first logged into the app, I got to customize my avatar. Then I started my run. Pretty easy, right? I had every intention to run 1 mile, but in order to calibrate your pod, you should anticipate on running 1.75 miles. I am a completionist so when I found out 1.75 miles was the goal, I went for it. I ended up with 2 miles because it was so fun. It gives you instructions as to how to run – easy, medium, or sprint. Make sure to correctly calibrate your pod for more accurate future runs. During the run, it gave me the option to take certain routes. I could continue straight towards the city or go right towards the beach. This gives it a more interactive feel to it. And the further you run, the more achievements/points you get, which gives you more options on customizing your avatar. I actually just unlocked a new outfit for my avatar and am super stoked to put it on my avatar. LOL. It’s the little things, right? 🙂

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Misc Zwift Things

Zwift started out as an app for cyclists and they’ve since integrated their app to include both runners and cyclists. This means that if you go out for a run in virtual Central Park, there will also be cyclists zooming by you. My avatar unfortunately got run over by a cyclist and for whatever reason, my avatar stopped running despite me still running. It may have been a glitch or it may have been simulating real life. I mean, if a cyclist ran me over, I’m pretty sure I’d be stopped too. LOL.

So there you have it, my review of the new Zwift running app. If you have any questions about how this app works, please let me know. Also, read what other BibRavePros thought about the Zwift app below.

Jenn S. – Steph B.  – Vanessa – Jessica – Corey

Also, you can use Code ‘BibRave15’ for 15% off the Zwift footpod. 🙂 

Question for you: Are there any apps that you use for running? Strava is a favorite of mine and Zwift may start becoming another one that I use more frequently due to its gaming aspect. 🙂 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Training

Motigo Marathon Training Plan

Disclaimer: I received a pair of free Aftershokz Trekz Airs and access to the Motigo Honolulu Marathon Training Plan 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’ve been following me along all these years, you’ll know that I have run four marathons and have seriously trained for three using different training programs each time. When I signed up for Honolulu, I knew I didn’t want to train as intensely as I did for Chicago, which used Hanson’s marathon method. I simply did not have the time to train as much this time around so I knew I’d be looking for more of a beginner’s plan. Enter Motigo’s Training Experiences.

First of all, what is Motigo? 

Some of you may remember that I used Motigo back in April for the Big Sur 21 miler.  Motigo is, in short, a phone app that allows people to record cheers for a runner. The people recording the cheers can choose specific mile markers for their runner to hear the cheer and all the runner needs to do is log into the app and when the race starts, hit start. The app will then track the runner throughout the course and when the runner hits the appropriate mile marker, the cheer will play. This is a super neat app as people can record their cheers in advance if they cannot make it out to race day to cheer in person.

So what does this have to do with marathon training? 

Using the audio aspect, Motigo has expanded into training plans and created “Training Experiences.” They call it an experience because it’s not just a marathon training plan. For one or two runs a week (typically during a long run) , there will be an audio component to the run. For those days, a runner can hit start on the run and as you run, the app will track your status in miles and when you reach certain mile markers, you will hear someone give you advice on how to tackle the mileage. Three to seven messages were expected for an audio run so if you typically run with music, these messages won’t interrupt your music too often. And you’ll know the message is coming because there will be an obvious beep followed by a pause before the message.

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What did I think of the training experience? 

So I signed up specifically for the Honolulu marathon training experience. For 18 weeks, I followed the plan as closely as I could and listened to the audio on those selected runs. On my particular plan because it was powered by BibRave, I heard various members from team BibRave giving me pointers as to how I should be running that day’s run.  There were also anecdotes of issues they’ve come across during their training and races and suggestions were given out during the runs.

After going through the plan, I will say that this is a solid plan for someone attempting their first marathon or for someone who isn’t looking to break a personal record. The plan itself does not include specific paces that you should be hitting during your runs and it’s more of a run by feel for the designated mileage. They do however tell you to pick up the pace at times in the audio.

The weekly mileage is fairly manageable and had I been better with time management, I think I could have hit all of those weekly targets. The lowest weekly mileage is 20, whereas the highest is 40.

Looking back at how I felt during the marathon, I think the plan prepared me fairly well for race day. I did taper a bit earlier than the plan suggested, but that was because I was bad and on the day I was supposed to run 20 easy miles, I ran 6 easy miles and raced at 110% during the RnR Vegas half only 4 weeks before the marathon. Not a smart move as my body was taking its sweet time healing. LOL. Had I not done that, I think I could have shaved off a few more minutes of my full time. 🙂

So there you have it, my review of the Motigo Marathon Training Experience. If you have any questions about it, please let me know or read what other BibRave Pros had to say about the plan. They also have a half marathon training experience too if marathons aren’t your thing. 🙂

Deanne – Corey – Lissa