Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Training

The Gamification of Treadmill Running – A Zwift Review

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Pod 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 don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I used to spend quite a bit of time playing video games. I would go through really intense phases. Friends would introduce me to games (mainly MMORPG – massively multiplayer online role playing game), I’d get hooked, my friends would stop playing the games, and I’d still play for an additional few months all by my lonesome self. LOL. Ask some of my friends. This has happened more times than I’d care to admit.

So when BibRave gave me the opportunity to test out a running app that also seemed like a game, I was all for it.

So What is Zwift? 

It’s a mobile app/game that is essentially an interactive training app. Using your phone, tablet, or smart treadmill, you can connect to this app and watch yourself (aka your avatar) run through various virtual courses that they have. They have their own fantasy world called Watopia that you can run through or if you prefer to run through virtual routes inspired by Central London or Central Park in New York, you totally can.

IMG_2455

What do you Need for Zwift?

You will need access to a treadmill, a particular foot pod, and a device to run the Zwift app on (ie iOS/Android phone or tablet).

IMG_2560

Does it Have a Social Component?

Yes, it does. There are virtual group runs every day that you can join. You can look for group run events that occur that day or within the week and schedule a virtual group run. Then, at that time, you get on a treadmill and hit start and your avatar will be transported to the start line along with everyone else that signed up. You are then off to run with the other people. And as you run, you can chat with the other runs via text.

If you prefer to just run with people that you know, you can also do that. You can choose to run with friends from all over the world. They would just need the Zwift pod and app.

IMG_2453

My Experience with Zwift

I tried my first Zwift run a few days after my marathon. I know, I’m insane. I wasn’t 100% recovered, but I really wanted to get a feel for it before a scheduled group run. The app was easy enough to install. The Zwift pod was a little tricky to open and attach to my shoe, but a quick little search on google resolved the issue.

When I first logged into the app, I got to customize my avatar. Then I started my run. Pretty easy, right? I had every intention to run 1 mile, but in order to calibrate your pod, you should anticipate on running 1.75 miles. I am a completionist so when I found out 1.75 miles was the goal, I went for it. I ended up with 2 miles because it was so fun. It gives you instructions as to how to run – easy, medium, or sprint. Make sure to correctly calibrate your pod for more accurate future runs. During the run, it gave me the option to take certain routes. I could continue straight towards the city or go right towards the beach. This gives it a more interactive feel to it. And the further you run, the more achievements/points you get, which gives you more options on customizing your avatar. I actually just unlocked a new outfit for my avatar and am super stoked to put it on my avatar. LOL. It’s the little things, right? 🙂

IMG_2922

Misc Zwift Things

Zwift started out as an app for cyclists and they’ve since integrated their app to include both runners and cyclists. This means that if you go out for a run in virtual Central Park, there will also be cyclists zooming by you. My avatar unfortunately got run over by a cyclist and for whatever reason, my avatar stopped running despite me still running. It may have been a glitch or it may have been simulating real life. I mean, if a cyclist ran me over, I’m pretty sure I’d be stopped too. LOL.

So there you have it, my review of the new Zwift running app. If you have any questions about how this app works, please let me know. Also, read what other BibRavePros thought about the Zwift app below.

Jenn S. – Steph B.  – Vanessa – Jessica – Corey

Also, you can use Code ‘BibRave15’ for 15% off the Zwift footpod. 🙂 

Question for you: Are there any apps that you use for running? Strava is a favorite of mine and Zwift may start becoming another one that I use more frequently due to its gaming aspect. 🙂 

Advertisements
Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Training

Running on Tired Legs – The Secret to a Course PR at the RNR Vegas Half

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the RockNRoll Vegas Half 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 don’t want to bore you with another Marathon Monday training post so today, I will be forgoing it and just share with you all my Rock N Roll Vegas half experience.

Just know that I have been struggling with keeping up with the mileage as it’s been increasing. My legs have been a bit fatigued with 10+ mile long runs, but I know this fatigue is pretty normal and it’ll better prepare me for the full in a few short weeks. The target this past week was 20 miles during the week with a 20 mile long run totaling 40 miles. I was able to get in 16 miles during the week and a 19.3 mile long run totaling 35.3 miles. I was short 4.7 miles, but considering that *SPOILER ALERT* I beat my course PR on the Rock N Roll Vegas Half, I’ll still call it a win.

And with that, my race report of the Rock N Roll Vegas Half.

Health and Fitness Expo – Rock N Roll expos are large. If you’ve never been to one, be prepared. There a TON of vendors so choose wisely when deciding what to purchase or else you’ll rock around having dropped $100+. Bib pick up was extremely easy. I took a Lyft from the airport and was at the Convention Center in 15 minutes and then picked up my bib with no wait time.

I had a lot of fun talking to vendor reps that I had met at other running events. I’d like to give a shout out to the reps at the Oofos, HoneyStinger, and ProCompression booths for keeping me company as I waited 4 hours for my friend to arrive so I could check into my hotel. LOL.

Race Day (Pre-race) – Preparing for a night race is always tricky. Things to take into consideration:

Meals: Last year, I made the mistake of eating too early (10 am) and by the time I finished the race, I was starving and was grabbing anything the volunteers would give me to stuff my face with. This year, I tried to eat lunch a little later (12:30 pm) and hoped that whatever I ate would digest quick enough and not give me GI distress during the course (like during my Chicago marathon. Sigh). Fortunately, it worked, but I might have also upchucked a LITTLE bit of food during the course so I guess I will need to refine this a bit more. LOL.

Time on your feet: Time on your feet should be minimized for a night race. Knowing that, I still went out and ran 6 miles in the morning because I had a scheduled 20 mile long run for marathon training. LOL. In my defense, I did run much slower and tried to take it as easy as I could. After the run, I went back to the hotel and rested until it was time to get lunch and get to the start line. Even at the start line, I sat down and tried to rest and since I beat my course PR, I’d say it paid off.

IMG_0841
If you must go for a run on the Vegas strip, go at 7:30 am. Very few people are out.

Hydration: Holy moly is Vegas dry. I come from a fairly humid city so being in Vegas completely shriveled me up no matter how much water I drank (and I only drank water; no alcohol was involved). If you are going to run in the desert, drink up. It may be cool, but your body will thank you.

Gear Check: It’s a night race. It’s going to be COLD when you finish. You won’t feel it when you cross the finish line, but give it 10-15 minutes. You will feel it. So packing a jacket is a must.

Race Day (Actual race) – All day, I had been debating whether to race it or treat it like a training run. Since I ran 6 miles in the morning, I was worried that I’d hit a wall at mile 7. So I told myself to take it easy and run by feel. And crazily enough, I actually felt fine. I hadn’t raced a half since June so I was stoked be around other runners and was ready to cross that start line.

IMG_0855
At the start line

As soon as they sent off my corral, I took off. The course itself is fairly flat with a few minor ups and downs and you hardly notice them as the Vegas strip lights are pretty mesmerizing. I had seen them the night before, but running through the strip was another type of experience and you can bet I took it all in. The air was also cool and refreshing as I started to heat up. I hit my groove at mile 4 and at mile 5, I saw some BibRave peeps, which fueled me for another few miles.

IMG_0851
Before heading into our corrals

The bands and DJs that were set up along the course also really helped my energy levels. I would hear a Bruno Mars song and I’d just start dancing, which gave me more energy to run faster. LOL I also really like Bruno Mars. LOL. At mile 12, I was losing momentum. The dry winds combined with the sweat stung my face and I was struggling. Then, I ran into fellow blogger, Jim, and with some encouraging words, we pushed each other towards the finish line. (Hi Jim!!!).

IMG_0860
Immediately after crossing the finish – holy smokes, we’re sweaty

Honestly, I crossed that finish line feeling like a million bucks. I finished strong despite having run a total of 19.3 miles that day AND I beat my course PR. So maybe the secret is constantly running on tired legs?!?!

IMG_0865
My Shiny New Medal

Official time was 1:54:45 and now I’m just waiting impatiently to claim my results on Athlinks. LOL

Honolulu baby, I’m coming for you!

IMG_5605
Catching up with BibRave Founders: Tim and Jessica!

Question for you: Have you ever felt like a million bucks crossing a finish line? If so, which race was it at and why?

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

So close, yet so far – Carlsbad 5000 Race Report

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. 

Going into this race, I had all of the typical jitters. I hadn’t had any really good runs this week and I was still recovering from last week’s race. I still had some tightness in my calves during my shake out run so I decided to join some friends at a spa day. I have no idea whether this was a good idea or not, but I spent a good hour and a half alternating between a dry and salt sauna room. LOL. I made sure to drink lots of water and I tried stretching out my legs a bit in the dry sauna.

The revelation I got from this experience was that I need to stretch. A LOT. God, I was hoping I’d never have to pick it up, but I think I will have to start doing yoga if I want to keep running and getting faster.

Anyway, Saturday went and I called it an early night at 8 pm. LOL. My race didn’t even start until 9:10 am, but the more sleep the better. 🙂 I’m not getting any younger, am I? 🙂 I woke up got to the race around 7:45 am. My race was at 9:10 am, but since I had to pick up my bib, I decided to get there a little earlier. Parking wasn’t too terrible. I parked maybe 4 or 5 blocks away and easily made my way to the start line where the bib pick-up was. If you time it just right, try arriving 30 or 40 minutes after the wave before yours and you may be able to get a spot from someone who just ran and is leaving. IMG_5514

Also, if you live in San Diego and Carlsbad is a bit of a drive for you, pick your bib up the morning of the race. There are still vendors at the expo so you’re not missing anything if you don’t show up on Saturday for bib pick-up.

This 5k race is different in that it breaks up the divisions into 6 different start times. For the 30-39 year olds, the start time was at 9:10 am and the time will sometimes change based on the train schedule. You don’t want to start a race and then get stopped by a train, do you? I don’t. Despite them adjusting for the train schedule, there are times that you can get stopped by a train so my advice is to run fast until you pass the tracks. There are also no corrals in this race. There are min/mile signs and everyone essentially self selects into their pace group.

I started out at a 6:45 min/mile and was able to find a nice clear path fairly quickly. Unfortunately, because I started out so quickly, I was having issues regulating my breathing and my pace quickly dropped to a 7:30 min/mile. This wasn’t bad, but because my breathing was getting very irregular, my calves started tightening up. I tried my very best to keep going since it was a short distance, but I couldn’t maintain. I clocked my first mile at 7:15, my second at 7:47, and my final mile at 8:29. I clocked in unofficially at 24:27, which is about 45 seconds shy of my personal record set at last year’s race. I keep checking Athlinks for my official results, but they’re not up yet so I can’t claim them just yet. Since I clocked it with my Garmin, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t anywhere close to PRing. I’m disappointed, but hey, I got a great view of the ocean along my route. I kept forgetting to look up during the course, but when other runner friends called out my name along the course, it reminded me to enjoy the process. 🙂

Speaking of friends, I ran into quite a few of them.

IMG_5523TLDR? I didn’t PR, but I still had a ton of fun connecting with my runner friends. Now, to prepare for my very first Ragnar Relay and the Big Sur 21 miler!

Question for you – How did your weekend go? Did you have a chill weekend?