Posted in BibRave Reviews, Discount Codes, Running

Escape Room x Running = A Run to Escape Experience

Disclaimer: I received registration to the Run to Escape Experience 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!

As you may or may not know, I have been a BibRave Pro for over 4 years and over the years, I’ve been able to test out interesting running products and race in really amazing cities for BibRave. Recently, they came out with this awesome concept of launching their own running/racing experience. As most things are virtual these days due to the pandemic, we needed a way to make running more interesting and motivate us to run. (Some people like myself have not run with anyone in over a year. Yikes.) The Run to Escape Experience is BibRave’s way of doing that. Even with some races starting to come back, I thought this would be a great way of motivating myself to get back into it all.

Check out my IG reel that is a brief overview of the experience. I don’t give out any actual puzzles from it as that would be spoilers, but if you enjoy solving puzzles like the one in the reel, this might be of interest.

IG Reel – Run to Escape

The Run to Escape experience obviously running and puzzles/riddles. Think of it as a cross between an escape room and running. The experience consists of 6 separate runs that will test your wits and make you laugh along the way if you’re into Greek mythology like I was in high school. In each run, you are given more and more of the storyline in an audio format. In addition to the storyline, you are given clues to solve a puzzle and after each run, you are given the puzzle. Don’t worry if you miss the audio clues. They’ll be provided to you so you can listen again and again to solve the puzzle. I say again and again because I definitely had to listen to a few clues on repeat to solve a puzzle or two. Haha. Once you solve the puzzle, you enter the code to unlock the next run/part of the story line.

Head over to the RTESeries IG page and try to solve their clever puzzles like this one!

As someone who was addicted to escape rooms a few years ago, this was right up my alley. I was dead tired after work some days, but because I wanted to progress along the challenge, I muscled up and ran so I could hear more clues. I would then spend the evenings in bed piecing together the clue to unlock the next run. I had a blast doing this since it was so unique. I can’t spoil the end, but I was so pleasantly surprised at how well they wrapped everything up.

Can you solve the What Am I puzzle? Let me know!

Right now, the Run to Escape Experience has a flexible refund policy so I highly recommend giving it a shot. If you don’t like it, there’s always that refund. If you do sign up, use code BibRave10 for 10% off the registration.

Oh! I forgot to mention this, but if you are worried you won’t be able to solve the clues, there are hints, just like a real escape room. Every run has 3 hints and you will definitely be able to solve them if you use all 3, but if you’re just like me, you’ll just be agonizing over the clues until you can solve it without any hints. Haha. Good luck and let me know if you have questions!

I’ve also included some reviews from other BibRave Pros if you’re unsure if you want to sign up.

LissaMike P.Cynthia RyanStephanie D.SarahKatie

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Discount Codes, Running

Ready Set Move – A Fitness Subscription Box

Disclaimer: I received two Ready Set Move Subscription Boxes 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!

Hi you all! How have you all been? It’s been so long since I last posted anything. 2020 was quite a year and now we’re in 2021, where things are starting to look up, at least I hope they are. I hope you’re all doing well. If you were experiencing the same 2020, I was, you’ll have maybe lost some motivation to work out. I started out pretty strong at the beginning of the pandemic, but as the months passed by, it was harder for me to stay motivated to keep active. I bet I wasn’t the only one.

Now that it’s 2021 and more and more people are getting vaccinated, we’re starting to see more in-person races happening. I’m even signed up for a 25k trail race that’s supposed to happen in June. Eeek! I’m nowhere in the shape I want to be at for this race, so it’s time to get back to it and start training.

Recently, BibRave was given the opportunity to have some of their ambassadors try out a fitness subscription box called the Ready.Set.Move Box and since I was starting to consistently run more often to prep for my 25k, I figured I’d give it a shot. Anything to motivate me to train a bit more, right? A few things about the box.

  • It’s a quarterly subscription box geared towards people who are passionate about moving towards their fitness goals. These boxes are shipped out every January, April, July, and October.
  • Each box consists of fitness related products, always valued at $100+ and can be used during workouts/training cycles.
  • Each individual box cost $49.99, but if you sign up for the whole year, you can save $20 (Total: $179.99)

I received their January and April box and have had about a month and a half to try out some of the products. Below are my thoughts.

  • Each box represented the season that it came in in a unique way. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my January box contained products that were geared more primarily on being visible as the days were shorter. The box had a Nathan Sports Hyper Bright Strobe that I could clip onto my running shoe, a SpiBeams LED cap to light up the path, and a Brooks Greenlight headband that was a reflective bright yellow I could wear around my head and keep my ears warm during the Winter runs. As someone who really didn’t invest in any good lighting during my runs even though I ran primarily in the evenings, I was pretty happy that these items arrived.
Spibeam LED cap with Nathan Sports Hyper Bright Strobe
  • Not all of the products are targeted for the season. Some of the products can be used year-round. Examples of these would be recovery products like Trigger Point’s Nano LTE, KT Recovery Pain relief gel, and Floyd’s on the Go Recovery Protein, which also came in my January box. There are also hydration and fueling products like Nuun’s Sport/Energy tablets and Honesty Stinger gels/waffles that came in one or both of my boxes.
  • Experimenting will be key. I think that with subscription boxes, you have to keep an open mind. There will be products that you’re not so sure about, but the whole point of subscription boxes is to discover what products are out there and give them a try. Not all of them will be winners, but you won’t know until you try them out. For an example, in my April box, there was a packet of Bob’s Red Mill Almond Protein Flour included. Normally, I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy this in the store, but now that I have, I’m excited to experiment with it. On the back of the packaging, it said I could use this flour to make protein almond butter. It also says I can make smoothies with it so I’m very excited to try and incorporate it into my meals.
  • Surprises are fun most of the time, right? Isn’t it exciting to receive a box in the mail full of gear that will motivate you towards your fitness goals? Personally, I love surprise packages full of goodies so this was right up my alley.
Bracoo calf compression sleeves with Brooks Greenlight Headbad

Below are just a few of my favorite items that I received within the two boxes are listed below.

  • Spibeams LED cap – I don’t wear head lamps as they bother me a bit or maybe I just haven’t found the right one yet. With the Spibeams LED cap, it’s literally a hat you wear and it just happens to have lights built into the front and back of it.
  • TriggerPoint LTE – My plantar fasciitis comes and goes, but whenever I feel it coming back, I like to use this to roll out my foot. I have a few other rollers, but this one is nice and small and I just roll it out when I’m sitting down at work. 🙂
  • La Colombe Nitro Brew – My January box had the Triple Espresso shot and my April box had the Sicilian lemons version. Coffee is a must to survive so this was such a great surprise.
  • KT tape’s Chafe Safe Anti-chafe wipes – Again, there are so many products out there and I love testing them all. I had been using other types of gliding agents that would prevent chafing, but apparently there are now wipes that do the same thing! Who knew?
January Subscription Box

The P3R company that puts these Ready.Set.Move Subscription boxes is ships out their boxes on the 25th of Jan, Apr, Jul, and October. If you’re interested in signing up for a subscription, you can use code “BibRave10” for $10 off your first box. If you have any other questions, please let me know! Thanks!

I’ve also included unboxing videos and reviews from other Bibrave Ambassadors who were able to test the box as well.

MeridithLissa (Review 1) – Lissa (Review 2) – Ken (Review 1) – Ken (Review 2) – Samantha (Unboxing) – ShannonLishaMark Box 1(Unboxing), Mark Box 2 (Unboxing), Patrick PhilLisaSamantha (Review)

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

My BibRave Exuma Getaway Experience

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Run for Pompey Half Marathon and received an amazing resort package as part of the BibRave Bahamas Getaway package and for 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.

Hello all! I’ve been having quite an adventure since the last time I blogged. If you’ve been following me on social media, you’ll know that 4ish weeks ago, I visited Taiwan for all of the food adventures. I then came back to the states for 5 days and then jetsetted to the Bahamas for 5 days for an amazing and relaxing adventure.

I swear I’ll get to my Taiwan adventures, but since the Bahamas are fresh in my memory, let’s start with that. 🙂 Disclaimer: This will be LONG and I am sorry, but there was just too much to talk about that it would not be genuine to leave things out. I broke it down by subject and included pictures to make it easier to read.

For those of you who may not remember, I was going to Exuma in the Bahamas as part of the Exuma Getaway package that BibRave helped host. That package is described in my earlier post.

Flight

Let’s start with the flight. It’s not an easy flight out of the West Coast. I caught a red eye and had a 4.5 hour flight out of LA to Ft. Lauderdale, a 5.5 hour layover, and a 1.5 hour flight finally to Georgetown in the Bahamas (Georgetown is a city on the island of Exuma). After landing in Ft. Lauderdale, I was delirious. I had some flight schedule changes and I pulled up the wrong itinerary and thought I was going to miss my connecting flight. Well, a panic attack and a sprint down two terminals later, I realized my flight was 4 hours later. Oops. LOL.

My first impression

That frown turned upside down the moment I started seeing glimpses of the Bahamas from the air. The water was gorgeous and I was beyond excited to finally land. LOL Once I landed, I quickly got through customs and the Grand Isle resort ambassador was there to help me arrange a taxi to get to the resort. Once at the resort, fellow BibRave Pro Chris and I checked in and was given the tour of our villa and oh my goodness, it was beautiful.IMG-0522

Grand Isle Resort and its many amenities

The Grand Isle resort consisted of villas, two pools, a spa, fitness center, and various restaurants (La Palapa Grill, 23 North, and one other location I cannot remember the name of). All villas are two stories and have a maximum of 3 bedrooms. The villas all come equipped with a kitchen, some kitchenware (pots, pans, eating utensils, fridge, freezer), a laundry machine, air conditioning, and amazing views from the 2nd floor patio. I could have honestly just stayed in the villa for the entire stay, but the beach and pools were calling my name. Also, I had to run a half marathon so there was that. 😛

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The resort is right next to Emerald Bay and oh my goodness, I didn’t know salt water could be so beautiful. I had a blast swimming in the waters. Beware of sand fleas (aka noseeums) though. They will nip at you and you will be itching for weeks. I didn’t think to put on water proof insect repellant and am paying the price. I have about 15 bites and it is not pleasant. So if you go, make sure to wear insect repellant. That is an absolute must.

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I stayed at the resort for most of my stay, with a trip to the convenience store to grab snacks. The receptionist at the resort can arrange either taxis or a day long car rental ($75/day). You could even arrange to swim with the pigs from the receptionist and I was even scheduled to, but due to unfortunate weather and my schedule, I couldn’t make it work. The tour groups will pick you up from the resort as part of the package, which is super nice. So instead, I took advantage of their spa services and got a super relaxing sports massage with my first ever manicure.

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The Bibrave Perk of the Exuma Getaway

As part of the Exuma Getaway, BibRave gifted those who signed up with an awesome pair of Aftershokz Aeropex. (Note: If you haven’t tried them, I’d highly recommend them. They use bone conduction technology so even the hard of hearing can experience music/audiobooks with ease). As part of being a BibRave Pro, I was also gifted things that really helped me get through the Bahamian weather.

Go Sili’s Straw Cup and straws– It’s a silicone cup with a lid where you can store your liquids in and it’s light and durable. Pretty nice for traveling and it won’t break during the shuffle.

Nuun Rest – Nuun’s newest line of hydration specifically designed for resting after a hard day of work or running.

BUFF’s Running Cap – Super lightweight and easily packable. The brim is crushable and the upper panel has UPF protection. Really nice to run with.

KnockAround Sunglasses – I’m a San Diego girl and love this local sunglasses brand. It also really helped shield the sun when I ran.

Vooray’s Pulse Active Backpack – A lot of nice pockets and straps that you can clip things to. I clipped a small sunscreen bottle to it, some hand sanitizer, and chapstick. There are two spots for bottles on the sides and held all the things I needed for a day of sightseeing.

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The Entire Race Experience

With the getaway package, there was a pre-race pasta dinner and boy was that a carb loading experience. I wish I had run the marathon so I could have eaten even more pasta. It was sooo good. It was a choose your own type of pasta ordeal. They had pesto, alfredo, and marinara sauce along with several different types of pasta and protein (Grouper or chicken).  After eating my fill, speeches were made and the race directors let us know that the race was able to provide scholarships for students to attend college and due to the hurricane this year, they also donated to those affected. It was definitely a nice way to end the night.

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Getting to the race was a breeze. We took the race day shuttle at 5:15 am and arrived shortly before the race at 6 am for the half marathon. The marathoners had already begun at 4 am. In its 5th year, there were 3 ultra marathoners (50k), 3 marathoners, 11 half marathoners, and a LOT of 10k, 5k, and 2kers. There were also cash prizes for the longer distances – $500 for the first female and male finishers. So if you were a marathoner or an ultra marathoner, you had a really good chance of winning. In fact, my fellow Pro Chris won the marathon and smashed the course record by an hour at 4 hours and 35 min.

I do not do so well in humid and warm weather so I ran a moderate 2:28:04, which actually put me in 10th place. The temperature when I finished? 83F. The course starts out around a lake and with the sunrise, it’s a beautiful sight. You’re running along the streets and it is not blocked off from traffic so staying to the sides is important. There were also some wildlife (ie stray dogs) that made the course a bit more interesting and definitely kept me on my toes. For the half marathon, there were 7 aid stations, which were greatly appreciated. I grabbed an ice cold water bottle at every station and kept it until I got to the next one. We had great cloud cover for the first half of the race, but on the second half, the sun came out and I more strategically did a run/walk to get me to the finish.

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In all honesty, I didn’t think I could finish this half. I had done a 3 mile shake out run around the resort the day before and melted. Running 4x that amount in the weather was beyond what I thought I could do. But I did it. I ran it and I completed my 30th half marathon. At the finish line, they called random bib numbers for giveaways and their grand prize was actually a week long stay at the Grand Isle Resort. That’s a $7000 value. Sadly, I did not win, but I did get a really cute swimming pig medal from the race along with a cute pig plush pictured below.

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Post Race

Another perk of the package was a post-race celebration dinner and boy did I get my grub on at 23 North. Their tempura was amazing and I’ve never had tempura as good as I had it here. 23 North is an Asian fusion restaurant at their resort and their food is delicious. After dinner, I called it an early night. As my swimming pig tour was cancelled, I ended up treating myself to a nice sports massage the next day. The masseuse knew exactly how to get my knots out. I finished the massage feeling extremely relaxed and my hands looked real cute after the manicure. I spent the rest of the day swinging on the beach because why not have swings on a beach? LOL

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Leaving Exuma

After 4 amazing nights, I left Exuma with great memories (and some bug bites LOL). The resort staff was super top notch and very sweet and accommodating. The race was one I never thought I could finish, but mind over matter, right? It was a one in a lifetime trip and I’m glad I got to experience it.

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TLDR?

The resort was amazing from its staff to its food and its accommodations. Bring bug repellent. Emerald Bay is BEAUTIFUL. The race was challenging, but definitely teaches you to run in hot weather. 10/10 would do again. 🙂

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Orange Mud Transition Wrap 2.0 – The Best Seat Saver Around

Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Transition Wrap 2.0 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!

Hello hello again! I just came back from a trip to Taiwan and boy am I exhausted! I can’t wait to tell you all about the trip, but today, I’d like to talk to you about the best seat saver around – the Orange Mud Transition Wrap 2.0.

BibRave Pros were able to try the v1.0 awhile back and I missed the opportunity to try it then so when the opportunity came to try the 2.0 version, I was all in. This wrap is hands down a game changer for anyone with an active lifestyle and I’m never going back to not having this.

As a runner, I sweat…a lot and unfortunately, I’ve begun to notice that my sweat is not the nicest smelling anymore. 😦 I’m not in the habit of changing after I run since I go home anyway to change so most often than not, I sit in my car immediately after my run and sweat in the seat. I used to keep a towel on my car seat so I could sweat on that, but the towel didn’t stay on the seat for very long and after a lot of fussing around, I just gave up and stopped using it. The transition wrap is PERFECT to protect my car seat. It has this zipper to create a little hoodie and I just slip the hoodie on the headrest of the seat and it hangs there perfectly on my seat without any fuss. And after a week or two of using, I just throw it in the laundry to wash and re-use. I’ve also used it to protect my boyfriend’s car seat when I am a passenger and he loves it. LOL.

IMG-9489It has also been super useful for swimming too. After I swim, I don’t have to worry about any residual chlorine affecting my car seats. 🙂

The transition wrap, as the name implies, is also great for transitioning into other clothes. 🙂 The wrap has an adjustable belt with a secure clip that allows you to easily slip out of your running shorts/swimsuit and into your non-sweaty clothes. 🙂 Gone are the days where you’re juggling your towel and your shorts and trying not to accidentally flash someone. 00100sPORTRAIT-00100-BURST20191012194422766-COVER

You can also use this microfiber wrap to towel off and keep yourself warm after a run like I did. LOL.

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To say that I enjoy using this is an understatement. I absolutely LOVE using this and honestly, it’s way better than any old towel I had been using previously. 🙂 I highly recommend it to anyone looking to prevent their seats from being smelly or just has trouble transitioning out of sweaty clothes. 🙂

If you want your own or are just a fan of Orange Mud products, use code BIBRAVEWRAP for 15% off your order. Other BibRave Pros have also reviewed this so if you’re interested, their reviews are below.

KelliKarenCoreyRyanRenee – Charline

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running

My Long Beach Half Race Report

I received an entry into the Long Beach 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.

Six days ago, I ran the Long Beach half and boy, I had all of the feels.

Expo

Parking for bib pick up is tricky as the expo is held at the Long Beach Convention Center and so parking is a little difficult to find. We parked a few blocks away and walked over to avoid spending $10+ to park at the center itself. Once parked, bib pick up was easy peasy. They do have metal detectors so don’t be carrying any knives with you when you enter. 🙂 I picked up my bib, shirt, some last minute supplies, found my name on their banner and out I went.

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Can you spot my name?

They also sell parking passes for the following day if needed.

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Race Day

The half marathon started at 7:30 so I was dropped off around 7 and made my way to the starting area. The full started at 6 and both the half/full courses circle back towards the start around mile 6 so we all got to cheer on the marathoners as they passed us by.

The start for the half was smooth sailing. I found myself near a 1:55 pacer and ran with them knowing full well that I haven’t been able to run that fast in a few years or so. LOL. I knew it was too fast a pace to keep with my training for this race, but I was being stubborn as usual and held on for as long as I could. Apparently that was 7 miles and honestly, it was a glorious 7 miles. I am a crazy person and love rolling hills and turns and for the first 7 or so miles, there are a lot of it. I had a blast running along the course and seeing all the sights for those first set of miles.

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Then, at mile 7, it straightens out and you’re just along the beach for 3 miles before you make your way back towards the finish. That part was brutal. Since the race started at 7:30 am, by the time I got to mile 7, it was around 8:30 and the sun was out beating down on us with no shade. Luckily, I brought shades and a visor, but yeahhhh, I was pretty drained from the sun. For miles 10-12, I was on the struggle bus. I started run/walking and beating myself up for not being faster. I also forgot my flip belt and body glide, which meant that I was holding my phone the entire race AND got some unwanted chafing. No bueno. 😦 Luckily, my friend was stationed at mile 12 and once I saw her, I quickened my pace and headed to the finish. HOORAY!

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I didn’t get to enjoy much of the post-race festivities as I was super duper tired and couldn’t reach anyone due to low cell reception. I did enjoy the coconut water, which I chugged down in a minute. LOL.

Pro tips

Bring a hat/shades for that stretch along the beach. If it’s not overcast, the sun will take a toll on your body (unless you train in a hot climate).

If you are planning on meeting anyone, make sure to have a plan before you race. That way, they know where to meet you. Due to the congestion of all the runners, cell reception is extremely poor and I didn’t get reception until I left the area.

If you are planning on getting picked up, walk a few blocks out of the convention center. Your driver will 100% appreciate it as there is quite a bit of traffic due to the road closures.

Enjoy the course! When I wasn’t beating myself up about being faster, I had a lovely time! LOL.

The Long Beach half was my 29th half marathon and in all honesty, it hasn’t felt like that many. 🙂 Every half I’ve participated in has brought up the same feelings – pre-race anxiety, pre-race excitement, on course awe, on course pain, on course “OMG I can see the finish line”, and post-race joy that I finished. And although I’ve experienced these feelings before, it’s still surprising to me that I haven’t gotten bored of them. LOL. I guess, that means that I’m in the right sport, yeah?

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Humidity, hills, and a half marathon, oh my – My San Diego Craft Classic Race report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the San diego Craft Classic 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.

If I could describe the San Diego Craft Classic in one word, it would be humbling. I had run the Craft Classic before when it was in July and I remembered it being okay. It was a bit of a challenge, but I remember doing well enough that I didn’t think about preparing much going into the race. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

A few days before the race, I had gotten a migraine that lasted about 2 days. I thought I was dehydrate or going through caffeine withdrawal so I took some advil and drank lots of water. The migraine had lessened on Saturday so I figured I’d be okay.

Bib Pick Up was at Road Runner Sports so I quickly drove down, got my bib, my cute “One a beer run” tank, my pint glass, and was on my way.  This race isn’t huge so there really isn’t an expo, but since it’s held at a running shoe store, there’s usually some type of discount given to runners at the store. In this case, it was 20% off. 🙂

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The morning of the race, I wasn’t feeling particularly confident, but thought it’d be fine. I wasn’t planning on PRing or anything and I knew there’d be hills so there’d be no reason to race 110% just to die at the hills. The humidity was high and I vaguely remember it being similarly humid two years ago when I last ran it. Although last time, I had a hydration vest, which is what I should have done this time around.

Fast forward to the start of the race. I, of course, started out way too quickly. I was at the start of the wave and since the first part of the race is somewhat bottle necked, I took this opportunity to stay ahead of the wave. Mistake #1. I clocked my first mile in at a sub 8. Shit I thought. “I need to slow down.” Only I didn’t. I was trying to push through and tell myself that it’s only 12 more miles and that it’d be over before I knew it. Mistake #2.

It wasn’t.

The first half of the course is predominantly downhill and if you don’t pace yourself, you will burn out like I did in the second half. Did I mention that the second half is mostly uphill? Yep. I knew that going in too because my bib outlined the course elevation perfectly and I was just too dumb to ignore it. Not to mention, the humidity was destroying my body’s ability to regulate temperature. I was sweating, but because it was humid, the sweat wasn’t evaporating and I wasn’t cooling down. So I tried to take it easy the second half. I walked up most hills and struggled to run even down some. At mile 12, there is one last major hill and of course, my body freaked out. My chest had tightened and honestly, I was angry as hell. I was upset I wouldn’t finish the race. LOL. I walked up most of the hill, took deep breaths, and luckily, the tightness disappeared. It was an intense moment and with heart disease as a problem in my family, know that I will be getting this checked out. I was able to jog to the finish post-hill and whew, I was exhausted. I chugged water at the aid stations and was taking in whatever electrolytes they had. I had to pass on the free beer, but was glad to see friends have their fill of it. 😛 After 30 minutes in the shade, I felt better and even took part in their free massages, which I would highly recommend post-race. 🙂

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So this race was definitely not my race and I’ve learned a lot from it. If running in humid weather, wear a hydration vest, and slow the eff down. And drink lots of water and have electrolytes the week of your race.

Question for you: Have you ever had a scary race experience? 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Garry Bjorklund 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.

It’s been almost a week since I raced the Garry Bjorklund half marathon and oh how I want to say so much about how amazing this race is, but to prevent you from having to read my ramblings, I’ll try to keep it as short as I can while also doing the race justice.

Housing: I only planned on staying a night and most places require a minimum 2 night stay so a friend told me about housing at a dorm. Luckily, Marshall school allowed for a 1 night stay and it was super close to the buses that would take us to the start. They even provided everyone with a runner friendly breakfast the morning of the race and bags of ice for those who needed to ice their legs post-race.

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Breakfast of champions available from 4 – 6 am race morning

 

Expo: The expo was held at the DECC (Duluth Entertainment Convention Center) and it’s quite an experience. They have an AYCE pasta dinner that runners can attend in the first huge room. There are tables set up with bread and you just pay, file in, and eat to your stomach’s content. You then walk through the main expo to pick up your bib and race packet. Since the race is on Saturday, they do keep the expo open until 10 pm that night. Perfect for an out of town racer like myself.

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Ready to go!

 

Course: It is BEAUTIFUL out there. Coming from the west coast, I was amazed and how green everything was. Yes, I know. I’m showing my CA roots. LOL. The half starts in the middle of the full marathon course and starts at 6:15 am, a full hour and 30 min before the full. This allows most of the half marathoners to cross the finish line before any full marathoners make it there.

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For most of the course, you’re running along Lake Superior and at each mile marker, there would be balloons flying high in the sky indicating that you had passed another mile. I loved that part about the race. When I struggled to get to the next mile, it gave me a sense of hope to see those balloons flying high.

 

The elevation of this course was a little deceiving. Going in, I honestly thought it’d be flat as a pancake. It was not. Both the half and full are full of rolling hills. They’re not tough hills, but they’re hills nonetheless and there were moments where I had to pump my arms to get through them.

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Course support was well spread throughout the course. I got water when I needed and there were enough aid stations that I could skip some and get the next one. There were plenty of spectators and even some neighbors who came out, grilled hot dogs or bacon, and were handing them out to runners. 🙂 If you checked out my IG story last weekend, you’ll know that I grabbed a piece of bacon along the course (probably my favorite moment).

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Finish line: The race finishes right next to the lake. A lot of runners (not me), will jump into the lake to cool off their legs. Once you cross the finish line, you’ll be awarded your finisher medal, your finisher shirt, food and drink, and make your way through the finisher’s festival. Everyone gets a drink ticket for beer and there are food vendors available for you know…everyone who just ran a half or full. 🙂 I came across a tent that was just giving away decently sized pork portions to runners and much smaller portions to non-runners. LOL.

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Hospitality: The Duluth community really do cater to the runners that come in from all over the place. There were signs everywhere inviting runners to come visit and I don’t think I met anyone mean. 🙂

Final thoughts: This race is not a cheap one especially if you’re a solo traveler like I was. AirBnB prices and hotels often have a 2 night stay minimum the weekend of this race so book early if you’re looking to save or plan a racecation with friends to ease the cost. Flying there is also not always the most economically friendly if you’re from the West Coast. I flew into Minneapolis and drove to Duluth (3 hours there and 2.5 hours back) to make things a bit economically friendlier for myself.

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That being said, this race was a super fun one. I flew in the day before the race and was EXHAUSTED AS F***, but the race managed to keep my spirits up and I enjoyed every moment of it. I had a great time catching the sunrise right before the race, running along the massive lake, seeing all the amazing supporters along the way, and eating all the food people handed to me. LOL. I’d do it again and hopefully next time, I can do the full. 🙂

If you have any questions about the half or the full, leave a comment below. It was honestly a great experience and I’d totally recommend it as a bucket list race.

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. 🙂 

 

 

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?