Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Hello 5kcrate! What presents have you brought me?

 Disclaimer: I received a 5kcrate subscription box 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. 

I have always been intrigued by subscription boxes. I’ve tried Trytheworld for food and StitchFix for clothes and this month, I got to try 5kcrate for running related items.

5kcrate is a subscription box that ships quarterly (Winter – January, Spring – April, Summer – July, and Fall – October) and is tailored towards whether you’re a woman or a man. The box consists of 5 to 7 items that range from running apparel to accessories and these items come from both more well known brands and upcoming emerging brands. Each box costs $59.99 (includes shipping), but its contents are guaranteed to cost over $100 in retail value.

Without further ado, the contents of my box:

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All of the 5kcrate contents for Fall

Mission Athlete Cooling Towel (Retail value: $19.99) – This towel is meant to provide a cooling effect for up to 2 hours. After you wet, wring, and snap it, the towel activates and cools down to 30 degrees below the average body temperature. I have not used this one yet, but anything to cool me down after a run sounds awesome.

Mission Athlete VaporActive Alpha Running shirt (Retail value: $35.95) – The shirt attracts and evaporates sweat much quicker than other shirts so if you sweat a lot, this shirt is perfect for you.

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Sweating in my Mission Athlete Vaporactive running shirt

SpiGen Wireless Headphones (Retail value – $49.99) – Headphones that are wireless and allow you to listen to music while running and make calls. I didn’t particularly have very good luck keeping them in my ears while on my runs, but if I was walking, these headphones were easy to use.

LA fresh travel lite Sunscreen wipes (For a pack of 50 wipes, retail value – $24.99; I received 3 wipes) – It’s sunscreen in the form of wipes, which makes it really easy for travel and application. Seriously. I hate having to squeeze sunscreen into those 3 oz bottles for traveling. These wipes were super easy to apply onto my face and skin and I was done in a minute.

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Using LAfresh’s sunscreen wipe

Zensah no show compression socks (Retail value – $19.99) – Compression socks are a must in the world of running and I just loved the feel of these socks.

Epic Wipes (Retail value – $2.50; I received 2) – These wipes are aptly named. They’re 16x larger than your average wet wipe and so after a crazy trek up a mountain or running say a Ragnar, these would be perfect to use. I’m already planning on buying more of these for my first Ragnar relay in April. Check out my instagram for a video of me using one. Seriously. They’re huge.

Verdict? With any subscription box, you take a risk because you just don’t know what will be included in your box. You will most likely not love everything, but there might also be things you’ll never want to part with. For instance, I wasn’t a HUGE fan of using the Spigen headphones for running, but everything else proved to be quite useful to me.

I’m amazed at how many things are items are designed for runners and by trying out this subscription box, I was able to try out some of these things. Note that 5kcrate doesn’t include nutritional items, which I think differentiates itself from the other running subscription boxes. Finding some fuel that agrees with everyone would be quite tough. It instead prides itself on providing running items that can be used again and again and aside from the wipes, that’s very true. Unless you’re very particular about the items you use on your runs, I think this box would be great to try out. In conclusion, this box gets two thumbs up! 🙂

For more reviews on the 5kcrate box, check out my fellow BRPs reviews’ – Jenna – Sara – Angie

Question for you: Have you tried a subscription box before? Did you like its contents or was it not for you?

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Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Be Brilliant (Reflective) – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Brilliant Reflective strips 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. 

For the past few weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to get my hands on another set of Brilliant Reflective strips. Thank goodness too. It’s been so hot lately that I’ve been trying to run at night when it’s much cooler. I tested these strips back in April, but there are a few other things I’d like to emphasize in this review.

Multi-purpose – I have found multiple uses for these strips. In addition to putting them on my running clothes and FlipBelt, I’ve also found that they work very well on backpacks. 🙂 I have a backpack that I typically travel with and after traversing new cities at night, I realized that I’d be a lot safer if drivers could see me when the neighborhoods are not as well lit. I put these stick-on strips on both the straps of my backpack and on the front so cars could see me from both sides. (You can never be too careful.)

This would be also be a great application for families with children. Reflective strips on the little ones’ clothes as well as their backpacks could make them more visible on their walk home from school. You can also put them on helmets and bikes if you’re a cyclist or on your dog’s collar when walking your dog. 🙂

 

Visibility – I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how visible these strips are. I was filming videos (seen on my Instagram) of me and my backpack and even without a super bright flashlight shining on them, the strips still reflected back.

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Durability – The stick-on strips stay on clothes for a few washes. The iron-on strips stay on a lot longer. In April, I tried their iron-on ones and they’re still on my clothes. Note that I did have one incident where the stick-on strip fell off about an hour into my run. I think it was because I had touched the adhesive too many times with my hands before applying it to the shirt and so the bond with the fabric wasn’t very strong.

Cost effective – These strips are now $14.95 for a pack (with free shipping) and they come in a variety of colors (black, purple, blue, and red). They’re a much cheaper alternative to reflective wear, which can cost a lot more. You can also buy a multi-pack, which includes one of each color if you want to color coordinate with your gear, for $49.95 (with free shipping). If you choose to buy their multi-packs, you can use the code “BRPmulti” to get 20% off.

Final verdict – These strips really do allow me to be visible to oncoming traffic and I will definitely be using more of them on my clothes especially for the Ragnar Relay that I’ll be doing next April. Eek!

Note: If you’re part of a running group, club, or even a non-profit that may want to educate its members on staying safe in dark and low-light conditions when they’re outside, Brilliant Reflective is having a 500k giveaway where they’re giving sample packs for free (you only have to pay for shipping) for your members to try out. More details can be found here.

If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask me and I’ll also link other BibRave Pros’ reviews of the product below (when they’re posted). We’ll also be having #Bibchat on Tuesday, Sept 12th at 6 pm PST on Twitter where we’ll discuss running related things and Brilliant Reflective will be giving away a set of reflective strips. Just follow @BibRave on Twitter and tune in at that time. 🙂

BibRave Pro reviews: Paula

Question for you: Have you ever had an incident where someone didn’t see you walking/running/cycling at night? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

Hello AFC half. We meet again.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into America’s Finest City half 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. 

This year really is flying by. In only 5 short days, I will be running half marathon #17 at America’s Finest City half. This will be my second time running the race and I am definitely more prepared relative to when I first ran it two years ago. Yay for consistent running!

Anyway, I have three goals for this race.

  1. Don’t get injured – I just raced this past weekend and am still feeling the muscle fatigue from it. My muscles are sore and I’m having all sorts of aches and pains (rib pain – is that even a thing?, slight muscle calf discomfort, and some stomach pain) when I’m running. Yikes! I’m also still in the midst of training for the Chicago marathon so getting injured is something I absolutely need to avoid. I need to be in tip top shape for the marathon if I’m ever going to break 4 hours. That means taking it easy during this race.
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    AFC 2015 
  2. Beat my course PR – The first time I ran this race, I struggled A LOT. It was very humid and I wasn’t used to it. I was training in an air conditioned gym on a treadmill. LOL. This year, I’ve made sure to train in the same weather I’d be running races in. I don’t plan on beating my overall PR, because honestly I’m pretty sure I’d injure myself if I tried. I do want to try and beat my course PR though. This race holds the record for my slowest half marathon time so I do want to try and redeem myself. 🙂 BUT, if there are any signs of injury, goal #2 will be thrown out the window and and goal #1 will take priority.
  3. Enjoy the scenery and have fun – After running SeaWheeze in Vancouver, I think I have a more new found appreciation for scenic races. After living in San Diego almost my entire life, I think I’ve taken a lot of it for granted. San Diego is a really pretty city so I need to start appreciating that and what better way than by running through it.

Wish me luck!

If you want to run this race with me, you can use the code “BIBRAVEAFC20” until Wednesday, 8/16/17 to get $20 off your entry online. You can also still register at the expo, but the code will not work then.

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Shine Bright – Knuckle lights Product Review (Discount code included)

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knuckle Lights 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. 

With the summer days being so hot and humid lately, I’ve had to resort to night running more and more often. Getting up in the morning is a possibility, but honestly, I’m a terrible morning person. LOL.

With night running, there are two main concerns –

  1. Being aware of your surroundings
  2. Being seen

I love running with music so to address the first concern, I wear my Trekz Titanium Aftershokz headphones. They have an open ear design, which allows me to hear my surroundings. I reviewed them here.

To address the second concern of being seen, I wear reflective tape and I now also use these Knuckle Lights. They are extremely useful and without further ado, my review.

Weight – I don’t like carrying anything with my hands. That’s why I use a hydration vest instead of carrying a handheld water bottle. Something about the extra weight bothers me. I’ve used these lights on several long runs already (10+) and I’ve had no problems with their weight. If anything, they help me remember to pump my arms when I run.

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Presenting my knuckle lights

Brightness – This is probably the biggest factor of why you’d get lights for your night run. The Knuckle Lights come with 2 lights per set and you get 120 total lumens given off. I did a comparison of my street with very little light at night versus with my street with the lights on. There’s a very big difference. Hopefully my pictures will give you a better idea as to the brightness. 🙂

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Without and with the Knuckle lights
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Using my lights on my soon to be night run
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My lights in my unlit room

Grip – If I’m going to run with something in my hand for a very long time, I need it to be secure. I’ve been known to fling things out of my hand because my grip isn’t that great. LOL. The Knuckle lights have soft silicone straps on it that can be adjusted to the size of your hand and it fits quite well. It also doesn’t chafe my hands, which is good.

Wear and tear – Only having used these for about a month, I can’t comment too much on the wear and tear portion, but I can say that these units are waterproof and can be run in the rain. Since it’s summer and it hasn’t rained, I sprinkled some water onto the lights (LOL) and have had no issues. Hooray. Also, these particular lights are powered by AA batteries. They also have a pair of rechargeable ones if those are more your style.

Price and variety – This pair will cost you $39.99, but if you order before 9/1/17, you can use the code “BRKL2017” to get 15% off your order. Plus, standard shipping is free for all U.S. orders. Yay. That code can be applied to any product. The non-rechargeable ones come in pink, black, and blue. The rechargeable ones come in black.

So there you have it, my review of my knuckle lights. If you have any questions pertaining to the product, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can also read what my fellow BibRavePros thought below.

Allison – Amy – Lindsey – Tedrick

Posted in Running, Thoughts

It’s Heating Up – Wrapping up July

I feel like I’m writing this monthly recaps every other week! I guess time flies when you’re swamped with work. LOL. I did have a bit of fun too. Oh and running, there was a lot of running involved.

Graduate School – July will be my last full month as a graduate student. My defense is set for Wednesday, August 23rd and can I say that I’m STRESSED BEYOND BELIEF. I’m still busily writing my dissertation. It’s a bit frustrating to read pages and pages of findings only to summarize it in two or three sentences. Although I’m not making bounds of progress, I’m making progress and that’s all that matters. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. I’m also in the midst of applying for jobs as well and well, you know how that goes.

Comic-Con – If you didn’t know, I consider myself a nerd. I grew up playing video games (Final Fantasy, Diablo II, Heroes of Might and Magic, Street Fighter, etc) and nowdays, you can find me playing board games (Bang, Machi Koro, King of Tokyo, etc). I used to watch a few animes and am now more interested in super heroes. So when registration for Comic-Con came out, you know I had to try and get a ticket. Luckily, I got one. 🙂

I even cosplayed for the event. Made my costume completely from scratch (minus the wig). I started out with a white shirt, dyed it with RIT-dye, cut it up, and made my mask (on my head) with paper mache.

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I’m Nelliel from Bleach!
I had a blast walking around the exhibition hall looking at all the cool artwork and seeing all the other cosplays. I didn’t see any famous people this time around, but I did meet up with LOTS of people (even one cool community manager from BibRave who came all the way from Australia!). Below are some of the cool things I saw.

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(Left to right, top to bottom) Lumpy Space Princess aka Erin from BibRave; Liana Hee artwork; Gogo, Hiro, and Honey Lemon; Vuduberi artwork; Aku Aku from Crash Bandicoot (LOVE THIS GAME), and a lot of Yummy World plushies

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(Left to right, top to bottom) Star Lord and Mantis, Deadpool, Pikachu, Big Boy, one of the professors from Pokemon (who actually gave out miniature pokemon!), and Aladdin

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(Left to right, top to bottom) Autumn Fredrickson artwork , Mega Construx Pokemon, a Gudetama plushie, Rick and the Butter robot from Rick and Morty, and Crabapple and Pork chomp plushies from Inki-drop
Running – I LOGGED 158 MILES THIS MONTH! Yes, you read that right. With marathon training, I almost doubled the mileage I was running in previous months and never did I think I was capable of logging that many miles in a month. I would see everyone’s monthly mileage and think, wow, they’re insane. And now, I’m one of the insane ones. I kind of like it. LOL. In other running news, I ran my 15th half marathon this month at the San Diego Craft Classic. Oh, I also registered a team for the SoCal Ragnar Relay so that’s happening next April. Oh man, what did I do? Have I gone insane? Probably, but I think it’s a good kind of insane. 🙂

How was your July? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Discount Codes, Running

Staying hydrated – Orange Mud P.F.V product review & a discount code

Disclaimer: I received an OrangeMud Phone.Flask.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! All opinions are my own. 

I am in full swing of marathon training and with the summer heat, a hydration pack was something I desperately needed. I had been scouring the sites in hopes of finding one that wasn’t too heavy and wouldn’t chafe in the humid temperatures. Luckily, BibRave gave us the opportunity to try Orange Mud’s Phone. Flask.Vest (P.F.V.) and I jumped at the chance.

The basics of the P.F.V.

Like the name implies, it’s a vest that can hold both your phone and a hydration flask. On the front of the vest, there are two main pockets – one for your flask and one for your phone. The flask is a soft flask that can hold up to 450 (15 oz) or 600 mL (20 oz) of fluids (it comes witht he 450 mL one) and deflates the more you drink from it. On one side of the vest, there is a shoulder pocket that you can store gels/chews/whatever nutrition you may need. There’s also a key clip that you can use to store your key while running. On the other side of the vest is a dust cover for the bite valve in case you don’t want it to get dirty while running. No one likes biting onto a valve that’s covered with dirt. Gross. On the back of the vest, there’s another pocket for a light jacket. The vest also has adjustable straps to tighten or loosen to your liking. Its cost? $99.95.

My experience

Weight – This vest is extremely lightweight. It may look like a lot to wear, but it’s actually not. Even after runs, I would just keep it on when I ran my errands.

Bounce – When I first tried this vest on, I found that it bounced a bit. After playing with it a bit, I found that if I tightened the straps enough, the bounce was very minimal and I had no problem with it. I ran a half marathon with it on and the vest didn’t bother me at all. I will note that other people that I’ve talked to have experienced more of a bounce. I am a bit more flat chested (I’m a B cup), which might be beneficial to me in this situation.

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Wearing the PFV during the Craft Classic Half marathon

Breathability – Even with the addition of the vest, my body didn’t seem to heat up. The material (mesh) that the vest is made out of makes it very breathable.

Chafe – This was such a big concern for me. With summer comes heat, humidity, and the high probability of chafing. I am super happy to report that I didn’t experience any chafing even after running a half marathon. I will note that I put bodyglide on my neck during that race because it was my first time running 13.1 miles with that vest on and I didn’t want to take any chances. I have run 6 miles in a sports bra with no bodyglide and the vest didn’t rub on me at all. Hooray! I will mention that I did wear a necklace once on a run and the vest rubbed the necklace against my collar bone. So just don’t wear necklaces while running and you’ll be good to go.

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On SportsBraSquad day!

Hydration and fuel – I do wish that the flask was a little larger so I could take it with me on longer runs. I usually finish up the water by mile 6 or 7. However, I can easily solve this issue by running by places that have water fountains. I can just refill the flask and continue on my run. On my half marathon, I stopped by 3 aid stations in addition to sipping water from my vest and that was just the perfect amount of water for me. I love using the pockets to hide my gels. This will definitely come in handy when I start running longer distances. 🙂

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Stay hydrated everyone!

Other – There was one thing I didn’t like about the vest, which was the fact that my flask initially leaks when I first use it. Although I don’t really feel the leak, it does soak part of the pocket, making it difficult to put my phone in the front pocket. (I have never put my phone in the front pocket since I have a flipbelt and use that instead; I also don’t want to overload the front of the vest). It doesn’t seem to leak at all after the initial leak and it might have to do with me adding too much water to the flask.

So there you have it, my review on the newest Orange Mud product, the Phone. Flask. Vest. You can bet that I’ll be wearing it a lot more often as the heat increases. If you are interested in any of their products, you can use the code “BRPPFV” for 10% off all their stuff. And if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me about it or check out any of the other BRPs’ reviews below. You can also join us on Tuesday, July 25th for our #bibchat on Twitter for a chance to win 1 of 2 P.F.V.s!

Fallon – Casey – Bradley – Heather – Angie

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

The many uses of SmellWell + a SmellWell giveaway

Disclaimer: I received SmellWell pouches 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. 

Exciting news everyone! I have been given the opportunity to host my very first giveaway! I’m so excited and I hope you are too because I’m giving away SmellWell pouches! I promise you that they will make you and your stinky items smell SO much better. 🙂

You have from now until Friday, Jun 30th, 12 am ET, to enter my raffle located at the end of this post to win a brand new set of SmellWell pouches. (Each packet includes 2 pouches). I tried these pouches a few months ago on my smelly items and when asked to try them out again AND host a giveaway, I, of course, jumped at the chance.

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One of these could be yours!

The Basics

  • SmellWell pouches prevent bacterial growth by removing moisture from your shoes (No bacterial growth = no odor/stink)
  • They are non-toxic and all natural.
  • They work 24/7 and last for 3 to 4 months.
  • They can be used for your smelly shoes, gym bags, cars, travel, boxing gloves, etc.
  • They leave your smelly gear smelling really nice.

If you don’t wear socks when you wear your shoes, chances are your shoes smell nasty. I mentioned in my last review that I had a pair of SMELLY flats that I didn’t dare part with. They were my favorite pair of shoes, but because they made my feet smell so bad, I just put them into a corner and hope that the smell would go away after a few days. Nope. It took ages for the smell to go away. Now, with SmellWell, I can just slip in the pouches and leave them overnight and the smell is gone.

They work with all sorts of shoes (flats, rockclimbing shoes, running shoes, hiking boots) My boyfriend doesn’t wear socks with his rockclimbing shoes. Nasty. LOL. I put those pouches in overnight and it worked like a charm. The smell caused by the bacteria disappeared and left his shoes smelling like flowers.

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I also found that they work really well with my boxing gear too. I just slip them into my gloves or wrap the pouches with my wraps, leave them in my gym back overnight, and then the smell is gone. My wraps really have never smelled that amazing after a workout. LOL. img_0543Ever since trying these out, I’ve included them as an essential in my travel packs. I used to have to air out my dirty clothes before re-packing them into my luggage. Traveling through Europe with a backpack of dirty clothes was kind of gross. Now, I just put the pouches with the dirty clothes in my backpack and not have to worry about it stinking up my other clothes. 🙂

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I love these SmellWell pouches and I hope that you have a chance to try them out too. You can enter the raffle below. Some options allow you to enter once a day so make sure to drop by and enter every day to increase your chances. I will notify the winner on Saturday, July 1st. 🙂

If you don’t win my raffle, you can order one for yourself here. You can buy 2 and get the 3rd one free if you use the code “BIBPRO10.” 

Enter here for a chance to win your own SmellWell Pouches