Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Training

Amphipod PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest – Review

Disclaimer: I received a Amphipod PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

When I first started training for my first marathon in the hot summer in 2016, I realized that hydration is SUPER important. I never ran with water bottles and so when I first started running 13+ miles, I started trying to find ways to get around the whole hydration thing. My stomach was way too sensitive to drink water from a water fountain and I thought about placing water bottles along my run so that when I looped back around, I could just take a sip and place it back there and hope that no one poisoned my water bottle before I get to it again. LOL. The thought crossed my mind to also buy a belt that held water bottles, but with everything I already carry in my FlipBelt, I didn’t think it’d be feasible to carry water around my waist too.

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Enter hydration vests! These are probably the best inventions for long runs. They can hold quite a bit of water and have lots of pockets where you can keep gels for fuel. I was fortunate to try the Amphipod hydration vest recently and found it to be quite useful on 16 mile runs.

Features – The vest has four pockets where you’re able to hold fuel in. There are two pockets in the front (one on each side) and two in the back. In the front on each side, there is room for one of their 12 oz hydraform flasks. That’s 24 oz total if you’re just carrying the water bottles. There’s a cinch in the back where you can also securely store say a bladder or maybe even a light jacket. The vest also comes with a Versa-Light Clip-On LED light, which has a smiley face on it. 🙂  PureRunHydrationVest

Usability – To be honest, it took a little getting used to. The reason being is that I’ve never really carried around 24 oz of water before. The most I had ever carried was 15 oz of water in a vest. Having two water bottles sloshing around was interesting. The first time I ran in it, I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out, but after a few miles in and after adjusting the straps so it’d be more suited to my body, I didn’t have any issues. There are three straps that go across your body so you can secure it and make it fit more nicely with your body. I’ve run with the vest about 4 or 5 times by now and I haven’t experienced any problems with it. The mesh is fairly breathable and the material doesn’t rub on your skin and chafe you. I even tried wearing a sleeveless tank with the vest to see if it would rub and it didn’t in the slightest. 🙂 I’ve worn it on pretty humid days, on short runs, and long ones and didn’t experience problems with it.

The bottles that come with it are easy to drink from. They fit snugly in the front pockets so all you have to do is grab the bottle, pull the top, and squeeze the water into your mouth. 🙂

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I’m pretty happy with this product since it’s able to hold more water for my longer runs and with summer around the corner, this will be perfect for my next round of marathon training. 😉 Yes, that’s right. There might be another marathon in it for me this year. 🙂 Stay tuned.

If you’re interested in learning more about this product, please feel free to read what other BibRave Pros had to say about it below:

Andrea – Meredith – ReneeAlastair – Bradford – Barb – Amy

Question for you: How do you hydrate on your long runs? 

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Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

End of March and the Start of April

It’s been awhile since I last did a monthly recap. Oops. It’s okay. Better late than never, right? Let’s quickly recap the past 3 months and get on with April. 🙂

In January, I completed something I thought was impossible. I ran the Dopey Challenge, which consisted of a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon, and a full marathon, all in 4 consecutive days. I also finished my first Spartan race and my hands were so raw after that race that my hands were peeling for weeks afterwards. LOL.

In February, I had no races and was having crazy FOMO all month long. My monthly mileage was pretty low and I struggled to keep motivated and run. I also turned 30. Let’s not talk about that. 😛

In March, I had 2 more races, the AllState Hot Chocolate 15k, which I PRed in, and the Rock N Roll Carlsbad 5000, which I did not PR in despite my attempts. Boo. I had a rough start to March, but after I started racing, I started feeling a lot better. Maybe it was race withdrawal. LOL. Who knows? In March, I did start going to spin class once a week for cross training purposes. I don’t know how spin people do it. I’m so drained after a 45 minute class that I don’t think I could do anything else that day. 😛

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This probably means my attempt at a triathlon are probably not going to happen if I can’t bike well. I ended March with a 16 mile long run in preparation for the Big Sur 21 miler and I’m feeling a bit more comfortable with the distance. I’m still pretty worried about the hills, but let’s talk about that another day. 🙂

Now that we’re in April, let’s talk about my upcoming April race – the SoCal Ragnar Relay! Dun dun DUNNNNN! All the details have been set. Well, almost all the details. There is a little issue about decorating the van. And the issue is that I don’t have any ideas as to how to decorate the van. I’m thinking I can just grab a bunch of NON-PERMANENT markers and let my team have at it in the wee morning before the start. That’ll be a good idea, right? LOL.

But in all seriousness, I am pretty excited to do this. 12 people in 2 vans making their way from Huntington Beach to San Diego over the course of 30ish hours. Throw in a little deprivation and also that one of us will be running at all times of the day for those 30ish hours. God, I hope we’ll still be friends after this. 😛

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Will keep you updated with the race report next week. Keep your eyes peeled. 🙂

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

It’s Almost Race Weekend Again!

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Carlsbad 5000 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. 

The Hot Chocolate 15k race this past Sunday has kick started another few weeks of racing and I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty excited. I started January off with 5 races and then had no races planned for February. February drove me nuts. My Sundays were filled with sleeping in and it just wasn’t fun. LOL. I kid. I was itching to race though and even contemplated signing up for another marathon in May, but that ended up not happening (thankfully).

So now that race season has come up again, I’m ecstatic. Maybe I’m a little too ecstatic since I shouldn’t have gone all out last weekend because this week, I’m paying the price. My knees ached a bit on Monday so I rested and had fried chicken instead. LOL. I know. I make the best decisions. On Tuesday, I promised a friend I’d go to spin class with her at Cycle Bar. It was a good idea since there’d be less pressure on the joints and I walked out of there drenched in sweat and feeling like I accomplished something. 🙂 Yesterday, I had a nice 4.5 mile run with the run group at Fleet Feet San Diego, but definitely felt my sore joints. I think I might have also pulled a glute. Oops.

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Today and tomorrow will most likely be a rest day as I’m hoping to beat another personal record. I don’t have extremely high hopes for this one since I just checked Athlinks for last year’s results and I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to race at a 7:39 min/mile pace for 3.1 miles. I don’t think I’ve ever raced that fast since that day so I’m not sure I can do it again. I have been incorporating more speed work into my training for the past few months, but with my last few races, I don’t feel ready to race my heart out this weekend. I’m going to give it my all and only time will tell. Be on the lookout for my social media posts Sunday morning. 😉

Any tips to run like the wind? To maintain a 7:39 min/mile, that will mean that I have to hit the ground running almost immediately. Any tips to avoid the crowd at the beginning? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

T’was the week of the the Hot Chocolate 15k

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the HotChocolate 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. 

Soooo I’m 3 days out from the Hot Chocolate 15k and well, I’m not where I want to be. Training has been really difficult for me and I’m still not sure what the issue is. I have a suspicion that I’m not sleeping enough and that my body isn’t recovering as quickly as I’d like it to. I haven’t been running any insane distances. Last Saturday was the first Saturday in a while since I’ve hit double digits.

The plan for the rest of this week is to take it as easy as I can. My hamstring has been acting up a bit and hurts whenever I start running. It eases up a mile in, but still, the pain is a bit concerning. My left foot also tingles a bit at the bottom 3 miles in, which also is a red flag. Sigh. Maybe I need new shoes too. Hmm. So far, this week has consisted of a slow 5 miler on Monday, an interval night with 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, min intervals with a 2 minute rest in between on Tuesday, and an easy 3.1 mile run for Pi day (3.14). Nom nom nom. I have a spin class scheduled for tonight and then have a short 3 mile run on Saturday. However, if the pain persists, I may just skip the run on Saturday and just rest Friday and Saturday so I can run the 15k on Sunday.

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Running in the rain during intervals night

The game plan for race day will be to get lots of sleep the night before and to park at a lot where I can just take the Trolley down to downtown. This will save me a lot of stress from finding parking in the morning. 🙂 Then, I’ll just take it easy from start to finish. My competitiveness is telling me that I should try and attempt a PR, but since the following week is the Carlsbad5000 and that race is a goal race for me, I’ll stick to a nice easy race for the Hot Chocolate 15k. Maybe I’ll even stop for sweets along the course.

Question for you: Any suggestions to make my legs not feel like lead when I run? Also, is there a trick to eating M&Ms along a race course? Do you have any tips for me? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

Races for 2018 Coming Right Up – Big Sur 21 miler

My oh my where has the time gone…It’s already February and 5 races have already been run. 🙂 Today, I’m continuing on with my discussion of my 2018 races, the Big Sur 21 miler in particular.

“Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Big Sur 21 miler as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I signed up for this race back in November and a few weeks ago, I booked my flights and my AirBnB for Big Sur. 🙂 If you are unaware of this race and are a runner, you are really missing out. When I first started searching for bucket list marathons, the Big Sur Marathon was there near the top of my list. Many running lists have listed this as one of the most beautiful and from the pictures, I really do believe that’s true.

I wasn’t lucky enough to get into the marathon distance this year (it’s a lottery), but I was fortunate enough to snag a spot in the 21 miler distance. This course is extremely scenic. It’s a point to point with rolling hills. Big Sur is the largest rural marathon in the world and is considered to be a moderately difficult one. The course winds through redwoods (although I believe only the marathon goes through this part), alongside ranches, and offers amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. You will even cross the beautiful Bixby Bridge. If you don’t live near the beach and want to experience running by it, this is definitely the race for you. I mean, come on. Their tag line for their race is “Running on the ragged edge of the western world.” If that doesn’t entice you, I don’t know what will. 🙂

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Bixby bridge – PC: Uniqueway.com

I think this is particular race is a great one for the family. They have all sorts of race distances if the longer ones aren’t you cup of tea. In addition to the marathon and the 21 miler, there’s also a marathon relay, an 11 miler, a 12k, a 5k, and an even a 3k for those little ones just starting out.

The Big Sur Marathon race series has also partnered up with Motigo to provide a little more emotional support during that intense racing experience. Before you embark on your race, your friends and family can pre-record messages and select which mile markers the runner will hear them at! So if your friends can’t wake up at the crack of dawn to cheer you on, they can at least pre-record a message of their cheer for you to hear at mile 20 when you’re in need of that extra boost. LOL.

I’ve already started mentally preparing myself for this race. Since it’s a moderately difficult course, I will not be aiming for a personal record. However, on a technicality, because I’ve never run a 21 mile race before, this will actually be a personal record. LOL. Because the race is so scenic, you can bet that I’ll just be focusing on enjoying the course and taking lots and lots of photos.

I’m not exactly physically prepared, but starting this week, I hope to increase my mileage. 🙂 Maybe even run 10+ miles on Saturday. 😛 Wish me luck!

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Question for you: Have you ever run the Big Sur marathon? Or had a super scenic race? Which one was it? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

Races for 2018 Coming Right Up – Spartan Socal Super and Hot Chocolate 15k

It’s already midway through January and I feel like I’m already behind. LOL By this time last year, I already had a list of most of the races I’d be running. This year, I’ve only scheduled half of the races. To date, I’ve scheduled my races up to June with my fall calendar completely open. Still looking for a nice fall marathon. 🙂 Any recommendations? Maybe CIM? I need a large marathon. I can’t be at mile 20 and feel completely alone. I need other runners to keep me going. 🙂

Anyway, let’s talk about a few of my races coming up. As you all know, I already ran 4 races in 2018. Those races would be the Walt Disney World 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon. Woohoo, I’m already ahead of the game. I will have those recaps out shortly.

Next up is the Spartan SoCal Super at the end of this month. If you don’t know what a Spartan race is, think of it as an obstacle course, one really intense obstacle course. LOL. They have three types of events – the sprint, super, and beast and they vary by distance and # of obstacles. I had won a free race entry from Colby awhile back and decided to test my limits by signing up for the super, which consists of 8-10 miles of running with 25+ obstacles. TWENTY FIVE! Holy crap. And for obstacles that you cannot complete, the penalty is 30 burpees! Soooooo either I’m going to die from this event or I’m going to come out of it super buff. LOL. Let’s hope for the latter.

Spartan obstacle course
Uh, I have to do that??? 

After the Spartan, I will have about two or three weeks to recover before getting back into the grind of training for the HotChocolate 15k race in San Diego on March 18th, 2018!

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the HotChocolate 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. 

I ran this race in 2016 and I had such a blast. I mean, why not run for chocolate? The Hot Chocolate series is probably one of the most worth it races in terms of bang for your buck. Registration starts around $60 if you’re an early bird and for that amount of money, you get a sweet pullover, chocolate goodies on the course and after the course (Hello marshmallows and banana dipped in chocolate YUM), and a shiny nice medal in the shape of a chocolate bar. Nom Nom Nom! They also introduced something new this year. For people who have run a specific Hot Chocolate race multiple years in a row, they now have the legacy program! Below are the details:

3 year- legacy novelty bib, legacy beanie and 3-year legacy medal
5 year- legacy novelty bib, legacy beanie, commemorative photo frame, and 5-year legacy medal
10 year- legacy novelty bib, legacy beanie, commemorative frame including your 10-year legacy medal, a full VIP race-day experience, Hot Chocolate Legacy embroidered goodie bag, AND a free entry to the 2019-2020 season Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k race of your choice!*

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Right now, the registration is still fairly low. It’s $74 for the 15k and if you just want to get to the chocolate faster without putting in 3x the amount of work, there’s a 5k available for $49! 🙂 And if you want even more swag, you can use the code “BRHCSD18” to get a free Hot Chocolate 15k cap! 🙂 

If you’re not in San Diego or nearby and would like to run a Hot Chocolate race, they have races all over the U.S. Check their website out for a race near you. 🙂

Question for you: Have you ever run for chocolate? Or food in general? I know I have. I mean, what’s the fun in running if you can’t eat everything in sight afterwards. LOL

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Training

Weav Wednesday – A mobile app review

Disclaimer: The Weav Run app is currently free but I will be receiving a lifetime subscription in January 2018 as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro(ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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