Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running

Lucky Half Marathon #13 – The La Jolla Half Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the La Jolla 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. 

That’s right. You read correctly. I just ran my 13th half marathon and it just happened to be on one of the most challenging courses I’ve ever run – oh lucky number 13. If you didn’t know, I was pretty nervous heading into the half. I pushed myself into not running too much during taper week, which I think I succeeded more or less. I logged 8.6 miles going into the race and with the race, I totaled 21.7 miles this week. Not bad at all. I will definitely have to increase my mileage starting in June when I start training for Chicago though. Ack!

Anyway, here’s my race report on the La Jolla Half marathon. *Spoiler alert* I am actually considering running this one again next year. 🙂

Expo – The Expo was held in Del Mar at the Hilton hotel right next to the start line. It was nice that it gave people from out of town an idea of where to go for the start. I dropped by Saturday afternoon and the expo was packed. I picked up my bib, my shirt, and browsed the vendors. The San Diego Craft Classic was there promoting their July race. Run for beer anyone? They even had free beer at their table. LOL. Also, got to try a phenomenal acai bowl from Sambazon. That was probably my favorite vendor of the day. Saw vendors from Nuun, CycleBar (a new cycling gym opening up in Hillcrest), KT tape, and a few other companies. I left after 20 minutes or so of browsing and decided to head back and rest up for the night.

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I don’t really eat hills for breakfast, but you know what I mean.
Night before race – You know how you tell yourself that you’re going to go to bed by a certain time and then it doesn’t happen? Yeah, that pretty much happened to me. I planned to head to bed at 9 pm so I could get 7 hours of sleep, but I actually went to bed closer to 11 pm, which meant that I only had 5 hours of sleep. Eek! Considering that I hadn’t been sleeping well that week, I was really nervous about how I’d do during the race. Sleep is so important the week of your race and I managed to scrape by with the bare minimum.

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Set up my flat runner for the night and passed out.
Morning of race – Woke up before my alarm hit 4 am. My body always seems to know when I need to wake up the morning of races. If only it did that for every other day. Grabbed all of my gear and headed out the door. Got to the finish line by 5 am and took the shuttle to the start line. (They sent out emails saying that we must be in line to board a shuttle by no later than 5:30 am so I panicked and got there early). It was about 5:30 am when we got to the start line. To anyone running this in the future, DO NOT GET TO THE FINISH LINE AS EARLY AS ME. I ended up on the first shuttle that actually left for the start line, which meant that I got up way too early for the race. I ended up waiting 2 hours for the actual start of the race. Sigh. Luckily, I met up with a lot of people during this time. Met some people from Twitter and had friends running it too!

Race time – I was in wave 4, which was the same wave I was in 2 years ago. When I signed up this year, I put a pretty conservative time down for myself: 2 hours and 10 minutes. I figured I’d be right around there. I know I’ve improved since then, but since this course is super hilly, I didn’t want to chance it. Only when I got to wave 4 did I realize my mistake. I had planned on following the 2:00 pacer this race so to conserve energy when needed only there was no 2:00 pacer in sight. The 2:10 pacer was in wave 4 meaning that the 2:00 pacer was probably in wave 3. Shit. At that point, I figured I’d just go out and try my best. If I could at least keep ahead of the 2:10 pacer, I’d be happy.

Mile 1 to 4: And off we went…just in time for the sun to start coming out. LOL. I clocked my first mile in at 7:40. Oops. The adrenaline of the race definitely got to me. Pacing is something I will need to work on later. At mile 2, we headed up our first hill with an increase of 75 ft for maybe a 1/3rd of a mile. Then, we headed back down and a little before mile 4, we ran on flat pavement for a mile or so before heading up our second hill. This hill lasted a little more than a mile and was more of a pain because we were turning a lot and we couldn’t see the end of the hill. With most turns, we’d just see another hill. Looking back on it now, it definitely foreshadowed our trek up Torrey Pines hill, which has a similar path.

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The elevation map for the course.
Mile 5 to 8: Mile 5 is where the pep talk started for me. I started taking a lot more deep breaths and tried to conserve my energy as much as possible. At mile 5, we got our glimpse of the massive Torrey Pines hill. At mile 5, we ran downhill and ran by the beach and at mile 5.5, we started our trek up the hill. The highest point of the hill measures in at 445 feet. It does have dips in elevation before it gets to that point, but there are only a few. The first dip we hit was at 318 feet. Although, I didn’t run up the hill in it’s entirety, I am proud to say that I ran up 302 feet of that hill before I had to take a 10 second walking break. This is HUGE because two years ago, I struggled HARD on that hill. The balls of my feet went numb and I had to walk up a lot of that hill. This year, there was none of that and I made it out of that hill feeling like a champ. 🙂 It also helped A LOT that I actually saw the 2:00 pacer a few hundred feet away during this trek. Since the pacer started in the wave ahead of me, that meant that I was on pace to finish within the 2 hours I wanted. That kept me going.

Mile 9 to 11: Having lived in La Jolla for a good chunk of my graduate school career, this stretch felt at home to me. I’ve run around the area for years and I just imagined myself running it like it was any other day.

Mile 12: Flat. Suspiciously flat.

Mile 13: This mile contains what I heard someone describe as the “F*** you” hill. I think that’s it’s a very accurate description of that hill. The hill increases in elevation by about 150 feet and takes almost everyone by surprise because honestly, who designs a course that has a hill at the very end? LOL. The organizers of the La Jolla Half do. That’s who. Even though it was my second time running it and I knew about it, I still wasn’t well prepared for it. I took one more walking break here and once I hit the peak of that hill, I made a break for the finish line.

Finish line – As soon as I crossed that finish line, I immediately took out my phone and stopped my Strava app. And wouldn’t you know it, I finished it under 2 HOURS! Hooray! I knew I wasn’t going to PR this race, but I wanted to at least redeem myself and redeem myself, I did! 🙂 My official time was 1:59:10 meaning that I beat my course PR by 17 minutes. Holy moly, does that feel good! 😀

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I definitely do run for bling.

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Those acai bowls were really good.
I grabbed my medals, all the my goodies (banana, Tru Moo chocolate milk, coconut milk, boxed water, another acai bowl from Sambazon), picked up my gear bag to put all my stuff in, took a photo in front of the La Jolla half marathon sign, and met up with some BibRave Pros who also ran the race.

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Meet fellow Bib Rave Pros Jeremy (top) from Phoenix, AZ, and Amanda (below) from San Diego, CA.

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Also, ran into Ted from Twitter. He’s a speedy one finishing his half in a few minutes over 1:30. So fast.
The overall experience was fantastic. It was a challenging race, but it pushed me out of my comfort zone and I came out a stronger person for it. I wish it was a bit cooler and less humid during the race, but that’s weather for you. You can never depend on it when you need it most. LOL. Anyway, that wraps up my race report. Hope you enjoyed reading it!

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Yay! I did better than expected.
So about how you? Did you run this weekend? Race? How did you do? 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Road ID – Product Review ($5 gift-card included)

Disclaimer: I received a Road ID Wrist ID Elite to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

Call me naive, but I never really thought about all the safety issues that came with running until recently. Sure, I’ve heard “stranger danger” and carry pepper spray with me, but I never really thought about other precautions I could take while out on my run.

Recently, I came across two products that I’ve attributed to safer runs – the first being Brilliant Reflective strips and the second being Road ID wrist IDs.

First, what are Road IDs? They are a form of ID that you wear on your wrist like a bracelet. They contain whatever information you want it to contain – your address, emergency contact(s), allergies, etc. FullSizeRender

And why do I need one? I’m a runner. I don’t carry ID with me when I run. Why would I? It’s just another thing to carry and then there’s a chance of losing it. I almost lost my ID during the NYC marathon when I was shuffling things in and out of my Flipbelt and you can bet, that would have been a nightmare to find/replace. With a RoadID, you can easily slip it on for your run and slip it off after. If have an allergy to a medication, a RoadID or other medical bracelet is SUPER important to have. If you collapse and need help, first responders will need to know what NOT to administer to you. The wrong move could be bad.

Ever notice that there’s an emergency contact form on the back of your race bib? I am SUPER guilty of not filling these out when I race. With my RoadID, I won’t have to anymore (as long as no one has ripped off my bracelet during the race). I won’t be a Jane Doe anymore. Yay! That’s definitely a plus for me.

Okay? But I’m not a runner? Even if you’re not a runner, there are a few other reasons to wear one. As stated before, if you have an allergy to medication, wearing a RoadID would definitely help you if for some reason, you were unable to speak for yourself. Also, if you have children that are too young to remember crucial information like your number, you may want to grab one of these for them. When I was younger, I would ALWAYS get lost at a supermarket. I even got lost in Vegas. LOL. With a RoadID, if someone had found me back then, they could have just called my parents (assuming they had cellphones back then).

What about the fit? You don’t have to worry about choosing the correct size because the wrist IDs come with a lengthy band that you can size yourself. All you need to do is cut CAREFULLY. I say carefully because once you cut, that’s the size. You can’t reattach it so make sure you are sizing yourself correctly. IMG_8488

From the picture above, you can tell that I was nervous about cutting my band. They recommend that you cut one section at a time and the closer I got to my size, the more hesitant I was about cutting it. LOL. I succeeded in the end though so not all was lost. The Wrist ID elite was pretty comfortable to wear. I think I could have left a little more wiggle room for the band, but now I know. I would recommend to anyone cutting these to leave a little wiggle room for band length and test it out on a run. You don’t want your wrist ID to cut off your circulation so trial and error is best. 🙂

What if I want to be fashionable? The great thing about these RoadIDs is that they come in all different flavors. If a bracelet isn’t your thing, they also have colors, band widths, and BADGES. Oh man. Badges are one of my favorite aspects of these IDs. Think of them as accessories. You can choose one of their designs or customize one to add to your RoadID. As you can see from my picture, I chose two badges that represent me well. Although I’ve run a marathon, I don’t quite consider myself a marathoner just yet. For now, I am Mai, half marathoner extraordinaire. 🙂 Also, telling my legs to shut up is a common occurrence nowadays. IMG_8586

There is one last thing. Customer service is a difficult job. I understand that. RoadID’s people skills have been nothing but phenomenal. And I’m not just saying that. They kept me informed of when my Wrist ID was shipped and the moment it arrived. Their emails are witty and a lot of the things you read from them are pretty funny. See below for example.IMG_8313

Okay, you got me. Where do I order one? Use this link, right here. That link will provide you with a $5 gift-card that can be used towards your RoadID purchase. The $5 gift-card will be valid for 2 weeks after you sign-up (a copy of the gift-card will be emailed to you). For $5, you can add a pretty badge to your Road ID.

For reviews on the Wrist ID from other BibRave Pros, click below and feel free to ask me any questions regarding this product.

Meridith – Matt – Jeannine – Vanessa – Heather

So tell me, what will you use your RoadID for? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Brilliant Reflective and Running Safety

Disclaimer: I received Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips to use and review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave to review, find, and write race reviews.

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I am not a morning person. The only way you can get me to wake up in the morning is if you tempt with a race and a medal and even on those days, getting up is a struggle. Because I can’t really get up early to run, you can guess that I’m primarily a night runner. Night running is very calming for me, but at the same time, it does pose some safety risks. One of the main safety issues is being seen. Neighborhoods are not always well lit and cars may not see you until it’s too late. I recently bought a dinky little red flashing light that I attach to my flipbelt on my runs, but it’s not extremely bright and sometimes, I’m not sure cars see me.

Running with the Brilliant Reflective strips has put me more at ease. I’m still really cautious running by cars (and everyone should be), but at least I know that I’m shining bright like a diamond and that cars will see me. I was able to try both their stick-on strips, which are removable, and their iron-on strips, which are permanent. These strips, when shined on, ARE EXTREMELY BRIGHT. You can see for yourself below.

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Left: without flash; Right; with flash
The strips come in various colors – black, blue, red, and purple. When a bright light source like a flashlight or headlights from a car shines on the strips, the reflected light doesn’t just scatter and appear diffuse to driver. Some materials do this. These strips do not. The reflected light from these strips will shine directly back at the source. This phenomenon is called retroflection. Because light scattering isn’t occurring, the brightness is a lot stronger and will allow me to be seen from 300+ meters away. Hooray!

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The purple strips blend in well with my top during the day and will shine bright when I need it to

Pros

High visibility – Like I mentioned, these strips are extremely reflective and will allow you to be seen from far away. You want to be seen if you’re running at night. If you don’t want to be seen, you’re probably a burgular. 🙂

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Be Seen. Be Brilliant.

Easy to put on – Both the stick-on and iron-on strips are relatively easy to put on. For the stick-on ones, you just have to peel the material off the back and stick them on like a sticker. The iron-on strips require a little more equipment, an iron. I actually didn’t have an iron and had to borrow a friend’s to put mine on. Each strip takes 30 to 45 seconds to iron on and can be re-ironed on if the ends start to curl, which mine haven’t (yet).

Lasts long – I’ve used these strips for a few weeks and have had no problems with them. The stick-on strips, even after washing, stayed secure. I’m not sure how long they’ll stay on for, but I was definitely impressed they stayed on after a few washes. I did turn my shirt inside out when I washed so maybe that made a difference? If you’re worried about them falling off, you can always opt for their iron-on ones, which are permanent and exactly the same price. I would suggest using the stick-on strips on helmets, leashes, and other things that aren’t made of fabric and using the iron-on strips on your clothes.

Price – For a set of strips, it will cost you $9.95 (free shipping). You can probably light up two articles of clothing with one set. This is a great price if you’re worried about not being seen at night. Buying brighter colored clothes can cost a lot so why not just light up your darker clothes for $9.95?

Cons

None

If you are a night runner and need more reflective gear, this may be the way to go. If you are unsure or have more questions, feel free to join in our #BibChat on Twitter 6 pm, Tuesday, April, 11th, where we will be discussing the product and giving a free set of reflective strips. Woohoo! You can also ask me about them as well. See what other BibRave Pros have to say. Use the code BIBRAVEPRO25 for 25% off the already low price of $9.95 + free shipping! This code is valid from now until Tuesday 11:50 pm CT.

Sarah – Jeph – Jessica R – Lindsey – Jen – Gina

What kind of reflective gear do you wear on your nightly runs? Any safety precautions you take? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

The Carlsbad5000 – Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock N Roll’s Carlsbad5000 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 happened. I didn’t think it could, but it did. Today, I beat my personal record of 24 minutes and 36 seconds with a time of 23 minutes and 47 seconds. Yay!

I genuinely believed that I couldn’t beat my personal record going into the race. For the past few weeks, my motivation to run dramatically decreased. Remember the plan I had for last week? Yeah, I barely did any of it.

Monday – 5.5 miles

Tuesday – 4.5 miles 3 miles

Wednesday to Friday – 2 to 3 miles a day zero miles

Saturday – 2.6 miles

The plan was to get the bulk of my miles in on Monday and Tuesday. Everything went according to plan on Monday and I was feeling good. I ran out of time on Tuesday and only managed 3 miles. I had some unpleasant news drop on me Tuesday night and I was out of commission emotionally Wednesday through Friday. I guess you could call that tapering in a way. Saturday, I came to the realization that despite encouraging others to sign up for the race, I, myself, hadn’t signed up for it. Wow. I couldn’t believe it. Luckily, there was race day registration and I decided that I would just sign up the morning of and it’d be fine. I managed a 2.6 mile shake out run that day as well in hopes that I wouldn’t feel too terrible on race day.

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Race Day Essentials

Race morning came. I ate an organic HoneyStinger waffle for breakfast and got myself to the race. Parking wasn’t too bad and I found a spot within a few minutes and made my way over to the registration area. Note that parking isn’t too big of an issue for the Carlsbad5000 because of the way the 5k races are spaced out. You only really need to show up an hour before your start time and by the time you get there, other runners will have already left giving you parking space. 🙂

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Ran into a HoneyStinger Truck on my way to registration. Yay HoneyStinger!

Registration was a breeze. I just walked up to a computer, swiped my driver’s license, swiped my credit card, and got my bib. I have never come across an easier registration process. Because registration was a lot faster than anticipated, I still had about an hour before my start time and decided to stay and watch the race before me (Master’s Women Ages 40 and Over).

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A successful jumping photo on the first try!

While I was waiting, I heard the announcer say that the fastest time achieved on this course for men was a 12 minutes and 59 seconds and the fastest time for women was a 14 minutes and 46 seconds. I kind of stood there in disbelief that there were people that fast out there. It definitely put me to shame.

Anyway, after the women ages 40 and up started their race, I ran into a friend from college. We caught up and as the sun came out, I started to feel a bit better about the race. I started to believe that maybe I could do it, but also believed that it’d be okay if I didn’t PR. The goal was to just enjoy the race and not quit.

The race itself was awesome. I’ve been really fortunate to be able to repeat a few of the races that I first ran 3 years ago. Back then, I only concentrated on finishing. That was the goal. I was so set on proving that I could do something that I forgot to “sit back” and enjoy the course. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still set on finishing each race, but I’ve found that taking in all the sights is a really a great way to see a city (and enjoy the race), even if I’ve lived in it almost all my life. We started the race by crossing some train tracks, then turned left on Carlsbad Boulevard and headed towards the infamous Carlsbad sign. I was moving my little legs as fast as I could, dodging people left and right. There was a bit of a bottleneckat the beginning, but once we were on Carlsbad Boulevard, it cleared up a bit. Mile 1 had passed easily and my strava app announced that I was running at a 7:23 min/mile. At that point, I had an “oh crap” moment. I started out way too fast. I somehow reasoned to myself that if I could just keep the pace for another mile, maybe it’d be okay. If I gassed out during the last mile, maybe it wouldn’t matter as much and I could still PR. So I kept going and pumped my arms as fast as I could. While on the course, we got to see views of the Pacific Ocean and I thought that it was a shame I didn’t visit the ocean more often. I assure you, that will change this summer. We then made a U-turn and made our way back up the street. This is when I started to gas out. I was having a hard time breathing and people were passing me, but I just told myself to give it everything I had left and ran to the finish line. At the finish line, I was greeted with this pretty medal and post-race goodies.

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I was also one of the first 250 finishers. 🙂

I was so happy to get that medal that I had almost forgotten to stop my Strava tracking. When I did check my Strava data, I was in shock. I had PRed again! Hooray! Maybe it is all in my head? I don’t really know. I’m just eternally grateful for this fortunate event.

Anyway, back to the medal. If all medals were like this, I’d run all the races. It’s a smaller medal, but I don’t mind it at all. I think the size actually adds to its appeal. Post-race goodies included an orange, water, gatorade, crackers, and some other refueling items I didn’t get. After finishing, I skipped the beer garden and caught up with some friends that came to cheer me on.

The Carlsbad5000 was a great way to kick off April and with the way that March ended for me, this was something that I desperately needed. Maybe next year, I’ll be crazy enough to do the all day 20k. IMG_8527

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? Run any races? Or just tell me a random fact about yourself. 🙂 

 

 

 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Do you Smellwell? – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received SmellWell to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

Do you remember the lyrics to “Low” by Flo Rida? It came out a decade ago and I still remember the iconic lyrics

“Shawty had them Apple Bottom Jeans (jeans)
Boots with the fur (with the fur)
The whole club was lookin’ at her”

Why bring that up? Well, I hate to admit it, but I was one of those girls. Yes. Me. I had the boots with the fur. LOL. In my defense, I got those boots a few years before that song came out. I thought I was so cool. LOL. Anyway, I brought those boots with me to college freshmen year and boy, did those boots cause some fights among my roommates, but not because of the physical boots. It was because of how they made my feet smell like CRAZY after a few hours of wearing them. My feet would sweat and all that bacteria would stay in my boots. I would always have to wash my feet thoroughly to get rid of the smell and I’m pretty sure that the smell just got worse overtime because I couldn’t wash them.

After trying out SmellWell for a few weeks, I now know that I could have easily solved the smell/bacteria issue in my boots with these pouches. Damn’t! Ten years too late. I could have avoided so much drama back then. LOL. IMG_8070

Anyway, Without further ado, here’s my breakdown of the pros and cons.

Pros

Removes moisture and odor – If you know anything about bacteria and fungi, you’ll know that they LOVE a moist environment. These pouches are designed to remove moisture and prevents bacteria from growing in your shoes. It might not be as obvious in running shoes since socks are used to wick away moisture, but it’s very obvious in ballet flats. I actually stopped wearing my flats and put them away in a corner of my desk hoping that the smell would go away. A few weeks would go by and the smell would still be there so I just gave up. I put them away in a corner and forgot about them.

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When I got these pouches, I remembered my flats problem and decided to give the pouches a shot. I wore the flats for a few days and of course they started smelling again. I would put the pouches in at the end of the day and by the next morning, they’d smell great again.

Versatility – These smellwell pouches don’t have to be used in just shoes. I do cardio kickboxing from time to time and sweat A LOT in my gloves. I just put the pouches in my gloves after a sweaty one hour work out, let them sit there for a night, and ta-da, I had really nice smelling gloves. LOL. I know it sounds silly – making my gloves smell nice, but I actually throw my gloves, wraps, and clean clothes into one bag and if I can decrease bacteria exposure, I will. I haven’t been traveling lately, but you can bet that I will DEFINITELY be using these in my travel bag. 🙂

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They fit great into my kickboxing gloves
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To keep the dirty clothes smell to a minimum; also, because I sometimes don’t do laundry in time and I need to re-wear a smelly top

Shelf life – These babies last approximately 3 – 4 months depending on what you’re putting them into. The more moisture these pouches soak up, the shorter the life span so unless you absolutely need to put them in wet shoes, don’t. I haven’t personally tested them in rained on shoes, but I have a feeling they probably work fine.

Variety: These pouches do not come in varying sizes, but varying colors! They have zebra patterns, camo, and if you just want a plain one, they have black, which is the one I chose. Each order comes with two pouches, one for each shoe, glove, skates, etc.

Cons

Size: They only have one size, which could be a problem if you have something larger that needs a lot of deodorizing. Maybe a spray would be better in that case?

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me about these or come talk to the rest of the #bibchat (Twitter) crew on Tuesday, April 4th at 6 pm PST. They also have a Spring promotion right now where you buy 3 and get 1 free! 🙂 Get them for all the smelly people in your life. Haha. Just kidding. Sort of.

Also, here’s what other BibRave Pros had to say about them.

Lindsey – Katherine

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Luvo Comes To Save The Day

Disclaimer: I received some Luvo frozen meals 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!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to try a variety of Luvo frozen meals and honestly, they couldn’t have come at a better time. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been sick with what I can only describe as an inconvenience to breathing. Having to spit out phlegm every hour or so has not been fun, but it’s okay, I’m getting better. With the Luvo meals, I was able to easily pop one into the microwave and within minutes, I had a healthy meal that was piping hot, smelled delicious, and tasted great.

Here’s an excerpt from Luvo’s website:

“Where your food comes from makes a big difference—not just to your body, but to the world as well. So we’re making every effort to support farmers and suppliers by sourcing responsibly. We use antibiotic-free meat and poultry, and non-GMO, organic ingredients whenever possible. Of course it’s a work in progress, but we’re constantly working to bring you the highest quality, most delicious, nutrient-dense food at the best price. Learn more about our practices in our FAQ.”

Without further ado, my review of the Luvo frozen meals I got to try out in order from least favorite to OMG, PLEASE GIVE ME MORE. 🙂

5. Chicken Enchiladas – This meal also comes with black beans and brown jasmine rice. On the front of each of the packages, it will usually indicate how flavorful it is. I’ve found that what they say pretty much rings true. The chicken enchiladas were marked as “on the mild side,” and this was right on. I love spice and personally do not prefer mild tasting food. However, as someone who had a really sore throat two weeks ago, this was actually pretty good for me. The chicken was moist and the flavor didn’t worsen my throat. Woo!

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4. Kale Ricotta Ravioli – This comes in a fire roasted tomato sauce, which I really appreciated. I found the ravioli to be a bit on the blander side, but the sauce totally made up for it. It was really flavorful and I am a little ashamed to admit this, but I licked the plate clean. IMG_8099

3. Turkey Meatloaf – This comes with mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, and cranberries. Do the ingredients sound familiar? If it doesn’t, you clearly don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. This meal is practically Thanksgiving in a box. The mash potatoes tasted fresh and the gravy was so rich in flavor that I forgot for a second that these meals were actually healthy. The meatloaf was moist and not dried out at all even after 7 minutes in the microwave. IMG_8184

2. Turkey Vegetable Lasagna – The lasagna consists of whole wheat noodles, kale, and spinach. This was my very first Luvo meal and I was over the moon with this dish. I kept telling my boyfriend that he had to try it and after some skepticism, I got him to try it and he liked it too. I’m not even a huge fan of kale, but this lasagna mix was delicious – extremely savory. IMG_8077

1. Orange Mango Chicken – This one was my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. It comes with whole grains, broccoli and kale and is smothered in a delicious orange mango sauce. Think regular orange chicken but healthier because it’s not deep fried. I really didn’t think I could like orange chicken that wasn’t deep fried, but I was wrong. The chicken soaked the sauces in. The whole grains and veggies were a bit on the blander side, but just dip those into the sauce and you’re good to go. IMG_8243

Too long? Didn’t read? In that case, here’s a pros and cons list for you. 🙂

Pros 

Healthy – Their meals consist of antibiotic-free meat and poultry, and non-GMO, organic ingredients whenever possible. Their meals have a full serving of fruits and veggies. This is HUGE for me since I’m a terrible eater. In N Out anyone? 🙂

Smells – The meals, once cooked, SMELL INCREDIBLE. Seriously, my colleagues always wondered what I was eating because it would always smell really good.

Taste – I’m a person that loves to eat. I mean, I live to eat. That means that taste is really important to me. Out of the 5 that I tried, I really liked 3 of them. Even with the other two, I could have added a little more salt or spice to it and it would been just great to eat.

Environment friendly – Their packaging comes from recycled paper! Woo. Every step towards being more environmentally friendly helps, right?

Cons

Portion size – This one is not actually a con for me, but may be a con for others. I have a tendency to overeat so I love just taking one of these to work with me and eating just that and nothing else. Their portions are perfect for me, but may not be for you.

Variety – Luvo actually has quite a bit of variety (boxed meals, burritos, bowls, vegetarian, non-vegetarian), but since they are still starting out, it’s sometimes difficult to find the meal you want. A lot of the stores around my neighborhood would only carry three different meals so I went around to different stores hoping to find some new ones to try.

If you’re interested in trying any of Luvo’s meals, they have this little search engine that tells you where to find specific meals. They also have some promotions on their site if you want to save a few dollars. 🙂  I would definitely recommend the Orange Mango Chicken, Turkey Lasagna, and the Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. Stores in my neighborhood didn’t carry the Mac and Cheese meal, but fellow BibRave Pros raved about it.

And finally, here’s what fellow Bib Rave Pros thought about Luvo:  JeannineLindseyAngie, and Jeremy

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

How do you BUFF®? – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a UV Reflective Half BUFF 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 know what you all are thinking. What the hell is a buff? Well, in short, a buff is a tube of lightweight, stretch material (pictured below). IMG_7893_sRGB

Because it’s lightweight and stretchable, it can be used for a variety of purposes. A lot of people wear them when they hike because it captures sweat really well and also protects their face from the harsh conditions that is nature. There are multiple ways you can wear them and I’ve highlighted a few of the ways I’ve worn my BibRave Buff®.

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Note that this is not the buff I’m reviewing. 

BUFF®, the original company that sells these, has a wide assortment of buffs. The one I got to try this time around is the UV Reflective Half Buff®. Like the name implies, the Half buff is shorter than the Original Buff® and also has a reflective strip that will allow you to be seen at night by cars. I’ve been able to test this out for a few weeks now and I actually wore it in my last half marathon to see how it’d fare in race conditions and I have got to say that I like it quite a bit.

Pros

Shorter than the Original Buff® – Because I live in Southern California, I don’t really need all the extra material that comes with the full length buff. It is nice to have when it gets cold out, but for running purposes, the UV Reflective Half Buff® does the job just fine.

Wicks away sweat – The material wicks away your sweat really well. I unfortunately sweat a lot when I have a hard workout (Who doesn’t?) and this particular buff was able to absorb all of it. In my last half marathon, I wore it around my neck and I was able to use it to wipe all the sweat off my face. Bonus effect – the wet buff was able to keep my neck cool while I ran.

Reflective – The strip is a nice touch for when you run at night. I’m usually a night runner so I feel a little safer knowing that I have some reflective gear on me. As an aside, I am extremely terrible about wearing reflective strips/bringing lights with me on runs. I’m working on that though!

Versatility – I really like the versatility of these buffs. It’s stretchable meaning you can wear it multiple ways (like I demonstrated in the above and below photo) and there isn’t a sizing issue. With the half version, it’s a lot easier to wear it underneath a hat or a helmet (for cyclists) without it bunching. Also, like all of their buffs, they’re really useful in keeping you warm. I used mine to cover my ears and neck when it got cold out. It’s also surprisingly good at keeping your headphones in too. 🙂

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The UV Reflective Half buff

Cons

Not the original length – This again is me being extremely nitpicky, but I found that the original BUFF® snuggly fits around my head a lot more than the half version. I have bangs and need the buff to keep the baby hairs out of my face and this one doesn’t quite do it. This can be easily remedied by using bobby pins to secure it though or just ordering a different type of buff. They have LOTS. They even have an UV Insect Shield version, which I may end up picking up if I decide to ever go back to a mosquito infested area. 🙂

Have you ever tried BUFF® products? If so, which ones and how do you like them? Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this product. I’d be happy to answer them. 🙂 

Also, here’s what other Bib Rave Pros had to say about the product:

HaleyTedrickJeannine JessicaFrank Janelle