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 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

Ahhhh! It’s Taper Time for the La Jolla Half.

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. 

Yes, that time has come again. Tapering. Some people love it. Some people hate it. I personally LOVE it. A week where you can decrease your mileage in preparation for a race. Woohoo! My tapering strategy has changed over the years and I just wanted to say that I am in no way telling anyone how to taper. I’m still figuring it out and it’s a lot of trial and error.

When I first started out, I was doing cardio kickboxing three to four times a week with short 3 mile runs in between. My kickboxing trainer told me to start resting on Wednesdays for a Sunday half. That sounded good to me. Less running? Hell yeah. LOL. Nowadays, my taper week goes a little something like this. I run the bulk of my miles on Monday and Tuesday. This usually ranges from three to six miles depending on how I feel. On Wednesday and Thursday, I try for shorter mile runs and on Friday, I rest. On Saturday, I do a three mile run to shake out my legs and on Sunday, I’m ready to go. I usually average 21 miles a week. The week leading up to a half, I average maybe 8 to 9 miles. *Edit* I know the total taper week plus the race equals 21 or 22 miles. LOL. Maybe it’s not a taper week at all? I’m still new at this! Only three years running. I’ll figure it out soon enough. 🙂 

Now my training for the La Jolla Half hasn’t been too bad. With all the races I’ve signed up for this year, I don’t really have a structured training plan for halfs. (The only structured training plans I’ll have for this year is for the Chicago marathon and for the Dopey Challenge too.) As mentioned earlier, I try to average 21 miles a week and some weeks, I go over and some weeks, I miss my target mileage by a lot. The last week of March and the first week of April wasn’t too kind to me mileage wise. I blame a lack of motivation, injury, and life. LOL.

All of that changed last week. Can you guess why?

A strava challenge started. Haha. I’m definitely the competitor type and the Runner’s World Boston Challenge was just what I needed to kick my butt back into gear. From April 8 to 17, I had to run 26.2 miles. Here was my initial thought process:

Run 26.2 miles in 9 days? Sure. Why not? Totally doable.

*2 days later*

Hmm. When did that challenge start again?

*Looks at challenge*

Oh crap. It started 4 days ago. I’ve skipped two days of running already. Hmm, should I still try for it? You at least ran 3.1 miles on Sunday. That’s still something. You got 23.1 miles to go and 6 days to do it. That’s 4 miles a day. That’s doable…I think. 

It is now April 18 and I’m proud to tell you that I finished that challenge two days ago! Woohoo! IMG_8848

Although I haven’t done any long runs in a month, I’m hopeful that my mileage the past few weeks will get me through the La Jolla Half Marathon this weekend. 🙂 Wish me luck!

If you still haven’t registered for the La Jolla Half marathon and would like to run it Sunday, April 23, use the code “BIBRAVE20” for $20 off their registration fee!