Gear Vest Pro by Orange Mud and its 10 Storage Options

Disclaimer: I received a Gear Vest Pro by Orange Mud 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 explain what all of those pockets are for on the Gear Vest Pro by Orange Mud. Photo by Andrea Heser 2019 ©

I explain what all of those pockets are for on the Gear Vest Pro by Orange Mud. Photo by Andrea Heser 2019 ©

You did it. You bought your first Orange Mud product and it’s the Gear Vest Pro! Smart decision. This pack will take you anywhere your heart imagines. I’ve been running trail races and doing all of my training runs exclusively in the Gear Vest Pro. It’s my new favorite because it’s lightweight, breathable, doesn’t bounce, has tons of storage and just look at that Coyote Brown color! You are finally ready to take it out on a run or ride, but first, what the heck are all of those pockets for?

1️⃣ Rear Cargo

This open ended storage pocket is perfect for items you need to get to quickly. It’s perfect for fuel, extra clothing and gear. Since the top is open and doesn’t have a zipper, I wouldn’t store valuable things here, just items you need quick access to. Cinching the shock cord helps keep items in this part of the pack more secure.

2️⃣ Hydration Bladder

The Orange Mud hydration bladder is one of the best I’ve used and tested. It’s soft, easy to fill and easy to drink from. The Gear Vest Pro can fit the 1L/35oz sized bladder in the back and gives you hydration that is good for about 1 to 1.5 hours of activity.

3️⃣ Shock Cord

If you need to carry lightweight outerwear like a windbreaker or light jacket, then store it in the shock cord area. This is a perfect spot for extra clothing or even a blanket.

4️⃣ Zippered Pocket with Key Clip

ID, cash, keys and anything valuable should be stored in the secure zippered pocket. This is the only pocket on the Gear Vest Pro that has a zipper. You can store a ton here although it would have been a good idea to have a zippered pocket on the front for easier accessibility. Still, this pocket is easy to access by sliding the vest off of one shoulder.

I explain what all of those pockets are for on the Gear Vest Pro by Orange Mud. Photo by Andrea Heser 2019 ©

I explain what all of those pockets are for on the Gear Vest Pro by Orange Mud. Photo by Andrea Heser 2019 ©

5️⃣& 6️⃣ Shoulder Pockets

The Gear Vest Pro has two large front shoulder pockets. The openings are stretchy and they are secured by hook and loop closure. They are secure enough for fuel, lip balm, sunscreen, wet wipes and other non-valuable items that you need quick access too. Keep you valuables in the back zippered pocket.

7️⃣& 8️⃣ Front Pockets

These huge front pockets are perfect for extra Orange Mud hydration flasks. They can even fit a standard 16oz water bottle. They do have a drawstring closure so you could store fuel, phone, tripod and even your keys. Be careful though, I did have my keys slip out while bending over to tie my shoe because I didn’t cinch the drawstring properly.

9️⃣& 1️⃣0️⃣ Trash Pockets

These are handy little front pockets that are primarily used to store trash from fuel. I found you could easily store lip balm, tissues and even tuck in the valve of the hydration bladder here.


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Ready to Run

Isn’t the Gear Vest Pro extremely versatile? If you already own one, good! If not, then apply promo code BIBRAVEGVPRO for 15% off ALL Orange Mud gear.

Ultima Replenisher Recipe: Hot Lemon Bar Drink

Disclaimer: I received Ultima Replenisher 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.

Ultima Replenisher comes in a variety of flavors including: Cherry Pomegranate, Grape, Lemonade, Orange, Raspberry, Pink Lemonade and Toddler Berry Punch.

Ultima Replenisher comes in a variety of flavors including: Cherry Pomegranate, Grape, Lemonade, Orange, Raspberry, Pink Lemonade and Toddler Berry Punch.

Summer is coming. Preparation is a must! The weather is going to be sticking in the triple-digits soon and that doesn’t mean I bunker down in my A/C controlled house for the rest of the summer and wait it out. I’ll still be running, doing other outdoor activities and taking to my son to swim team practice 4x a week. Since I’ll be out in the sun so much and sweating buckets, I’ll need my electrolytes replenished. I’m thankful that I was chosen to test out Ultima Replenisher as a BibRave Pro.


All the Nutrients & no sugar

Does sugar give you a little boost? It does for me too but then I come crashing down. I hate when that happens when I consume sugary drinks. I love that Ultima Replenisher gives you all the nutrients that give you a boost, but doesn’t have any sugar that would cause a crash. I'm getting some extra electrolytes, Here are some of the vitamins & minerals that I enjoy getting from Ultima:
✨ 0 - calories
✨ 0 - carbs & sugars
✨ 100mg - vit C
✨ 65mg - calcium
✨ 100mg - magnesium
✨ 1mg - zinc
✨ 78mg - chloride
✨ 250mg - potassium


Super excited to share my Hot Lemon Bar drink recipe with you that uses Ultima Replenisher!

Super excited to share my Hot Lemon Bar drink recipe with you that uses Ultima Replenisher!

Hot Lemon Bar Recipe

I read from the Ultima Replenisher website that it can be added to hot or cold water. Usually, my mornings consist of hot coffee & cream. It's the warmness that helps me wake up, not the caffeine. I also enjoy hot tea with cream. Decided to try Ultima this morning, hot with cream to see how'd I like it. Well, this might be my new routine because I'm getting some extra electrolytes, vitamins & minerals that I wouldn't get with coffee:

✅1 scoop @GoUltima Lemonade flavor
✅12oz hot water
✅2 tbsp heavy cream or your fav dairy or non dairy creamer

😍🍋☕️Stir, sip & enjoy the benefits of electrolytes as a hot drink!


Try some and save some money

If you are curious about adding more electrolytes to you day without extra sugar and calories, then apply ULBRAVE19 for 10% off when your order on Amazon: amazon.com/shops/ultimareplenisher.

Let me know what you think and if you have any recipe ideas you’d like to share!

Put Your Paws Up for the Nano Bowl by Stunt Puppy

Disclaimer: I received a Nano Bowl by Stunt Puppy 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!

Keepy my dog hydrated during our walks is important to me. The Stunt Puppy Nano Bowl makes it easy.

Keepy my dog hydrated during our walks is important to me. The Stunt Puppy Nano Bowl makes it easy.

As a BibRave Pro, I get to test out the most innovative and fun running gear. Sometimes the gear goes to the dogs, but in a GOOD way! Every once in a while we are given the opportunity to test out a product for our furry best friends and when that happens, you know I opt-in. Recently the BibRave Pro’s were given the chance to test out the Nano Bowl, a portable dog water bowl made by Stunt Puppy. Wally and I are always out exploring our neighborhood and he doesn’t have his very own water bowl. Yes, Wally and I both jumped up and down when we found out we were lucky enough to test the bowl. I’ll go over what makes this bowl better than others and specs and two different ways you can carry it with you while out and about with your pup.


Wally took the Nano Bowl instantly. I think he knows an excellent product when he sees one.

Wally took the Nano Bowl instantly. I think he knows an excellent product when he sees one.

What Makes the Nano Bowl Better

There are plenty of portable dog products on the market so why go with the Nano Bowl? This thought honestly came to my mind. At first glance the Nano Bowl appears to be similar to others in that it’s portable, but the comparisons stop there. The Nano Bowl is a quality product. It’s made by Stunt Puppy and I know their products hold up well because I recently tested out their Stunt Runner leash and I was ecstatic over how well made it was. Here are my favorite features:

  • It’s made with Nanopore Waterproof Membrane material. It’s patent-pending and is super durable.

  • 1 ounce is all it weighs! This is a big deal because that means I can carry more things with me like toys and treats and not feel weighed down.

  • The double layering is super durable. This is what sets apart the Nano Bowl from the others. In the past, I purchased cheap-o portable dog water bowls and they only lasted about a week. The plastic dried out and ripped in days.

  • The membrane material is FDA-certified non-toxic and chemical free. My dog is like my first born. I get all of you dog dads and dog moms, you want the best for your dog and it’s great that this product is certified safe from them to eat and drink out of.

  • The 5” opening is wide enough to accommodate my Wally dogs large mouth.

  • Other good things to note about the Nano Bowl is that it holds 28 ounces of water, has American-made fabric and construction, you can hand or machine wash it and you can attach it to your leash with the elastic bungee cord.


Two Quick Ways to Attach the Nano Bowl to a Leash

One of my favorite features of the Nano Bowl is how it can attach to a leash. I discovered that it could be done two ways. Option #1 can look a little sloppy on leash, but you never have to unattach from your dog if you are using the the hands-free Stunt Runner leash. Option #2 looks very neat on leash, but you have to unattach from your dog if you are using the hands-free Stunt Runner leash.


Option 1: No need to unattach from pup, but end result isn’t pretty


Option 2: End result is so pretty, but you have to unattach from pup


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Wally’s a Stunt Puppy for Life

We are so pleased with the quality of products from Stunt Puppy that Wally decided to be a Stunt Puppy! It’s not official, but he likes to think so. If you are interested in purchasing a Nano Bowl for yourself, check the out the link: https://www.stuntpuppy.com/collections/home/products/nano-bowl

Curious about what other BibRave Pro’s think? Please see their blog post reviews on the Nano Bowl below:
http://www.scootadoot.org/2019/05/03/road-tested-stunt-puppy-nano-bowl/
https://mmaynard11.wordpress.com/2019/05/02/stunt-puppy-making-hydration-easy/
https://husbandfatherathletemarathoner.blogspot.com/2019/05/my-bibravepro-review-of-stunt-puppy.html
https://kenstandsonthings.wordpress.com/2019/04/30/product-review-stunt-puppy-nano-bowl/
https://funsizeathlete.com/2019/05/03/bibrave-product-review-stunt-puppy-nano-bowl/

13 Trail Run Necessities

Disclaimer: I received a Gear Vest Pro by Orange Mud 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!

Finish line feels!

Finish line feels!

I was so flippin’ excited about my trail race last Saturday that I made an annotated infographic on my favorite necessities to take on a trail run 🙌. I explain all 13 items just a bit lower in this post.

Last year, I signed up for the Cactus Flower Trail Series with Race Timers that consists of 6 trail races: 3 in the Spring and 3 in the Fall. Last Saturday, April 20th, was the 1st one of the season, called the Saguaro 7k in the beautiful White Tank Mountains. It's been a little over 2 years since I raced -- or even ran -- in the White Tanks park. It's was a beautiful day and I got to meet up with @sarahfaith327!! As promised, here are my trail running necessities and why:

Photo by Andrea Heser, Featherpress©

Photo by Andrea Heser, Featherpress©

7️⃣ @balega_international socks because they are the only socks that don't give me blisters. Even on my 50k with @aravaiparunning, I did not get one blister while wearing these socks.

8️⃣ @altrarunning Olympus 3 are my new trail shoes. They are super supportive and the wide toe box give my toes lots of wiggle room. The color is modern and pretty too.

9️⃣ Sunblock always and I even carry it with me. I sweat a ton while I run and I need to reapply often. Getting sunburned while running isn't good because the body will take blood from your muscles and send to the skin to help the healing process. I need my blood to stay in my leg muscles so I could run faster!

1️⃣0️⃣ @guenergylabs is easy for me to take on runs and the toasted marshmallow flavor is my favorite! I'll eat this 15 minutes before I race.

1️⃣1️⃣ @aftershokz Trekz Air will be on my head during the race. Wearing headphones is a controversial subject while on a trail. I get it. You need to hear your surroundings. The cool thing is, #aftershokz lets you hear your surroundings because they apply bone conduction technology. The ear canal is never compromised, no speaker goes in there. I won't have the volume all the way up as I listen to my running playlist just to be on the extra safe side.

1️⃣2️⃣ @buff_usa is something I keep tucked in my front pocket in case I get sweat in my eyes.

1️⃣3️⃣ A long sleeve! Yeah, I'll wear a white long sleeve tech shirt today. It helps protect my skin from the sun. Light colors are best to deflect the sun rays too.

1️⃣ @athleta Racer Run 2 in 1 Shorts are great for me because they have extra coverage, yet fantastic ventilation. Also, the Black Olive color seems perfect for a desert surrounding.

2️⃣ @Garmin feñix 5s is the watch I bought over 2 years ago as a birthday/anniversary/Christmas gift LOL. It's my everyday watch. Pretty enough for work and smart enough for workouts. It will keep my check by monitoring my HR so I don't overdo it while on the trail.

3️⃣ @Orangemud Gear Vest Pro is a new product I'm testing with @BibRave. I opted in for the Coyote Brown color because it just fits in well with the desert and because it's subtle and modern color. I love the mesh back to help keep me cool, the built-in whistle on the top chest strap and the abundance of pockets. The Gear Vest Pro makes it easy for me to carry all of my goodies. Also, the 35oz bladder is perfect for shorter distance trail runs. I'll have enough water and won't be weighed down by it. BibRave is offering a 15% off all Orange Mud gear with code BIBRAVEGVPRO. Apply it at checkout.

4️⃣ A cell phone is something I always carry with me while I run. Safety first.

5️⃣ @knockaround Fast Lane sunglasses are large enough to completely block the sun from my eyes and in my peripheral vision. I wear regular glasses and what I hate most about glasses is that I can see the frames in my peripherals. There isn't that problem with the Fast Lanes because they are bigger all around.

6️⃣ Trucker hat because isn't that what all the trail runner kids wear? Seriously though, I need the mesh back to keep me cool and the hat bill to keep the sun off of my forehead and face.


Running is better with friends.

Running is better with friends.

Who’s A Trail Racer?

What types of gear to you wear on trail? Are you trail racing this spring and summer? Tell me more! My next race is the Desert Marigold 6k on Saturday, May 11th in the Estrella mountains. I’ll be wearing the gear I have featured above and also thinking about testing out some trail shoe gaiters.

Which Knockarounds Work Best For You? Fast Lanes vs. Premiums

Disclaimer: I received a pairs of Knockarounds Fast Lane Sunglasses 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!

Slate Tortoise Shell with Sky Blue lenses Fast Lane by Knockaround kinda day.

Slate Tortoise Shell with Sky Blue lenses Fast Lane by Knockaround kinda day.

We are all a snob at something (particular running gear, the car we drive, brand of phone we have) but one thing is for sure, I am NOT a sunglasses snob! I can’t afford to be. It’s because I need my sunglasses for work, play, commute time and I’m short on cash (aka - tight budget!) There’s no time for me to baby a $300+ pair of sunnies!

So let me introduce you again to the Knockaround brand of sunglasses. I reviewed their Premium line about a year ago in a September 2018 blog post. The idea behind them is as simple as saying their name out loud: knock around. Sunglasses that you can literally knock around and they will still last. The original two pairs of from their Premium line are still with me with no scratches and holding up like a champ. Believe me, they get knocked around my duffle bag, dash of my car and side pocket of my purse daily. But, get this, they are reasonable. Their prices range from $15-$30 a pair and they even have $5 sales!

When the opportunity came along from BibRave to test out their Fast Lane line of sunglasses, I hopped on it faster than the Easter bunny. The Fast Lanes kinda look like the Premiums, just slightly different. I’m going to compare them to each other so you can see if the Fast Lanes are the Knockarounds for you.


Fast Lane vs. Premium

They kinda look alike, they kinda don’t. I don’t know which frames to choose! I’ll break down the differences and similarities of both so you could decide which pair of sunglasses pair better with your face.

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Fast Lane

  • Rectangular Lenses

  • Made for Medium Face Shapes

  • Thinner Arms

  • Keyhole Frames

  • Lens Width: 53 mm

  • Lens Height: 44 mm

  • Nose Bridge: 17 mm

  • Arm Length: 142 mm

  • Unisex

  • FDA-approved,
    Impact Resistant Lenses

  • UV400 Protection

  • Not as many color combos

  • $20-25

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Premium

  • Rounder Lenses

  • Made for Small Face Shapes

  • Thicker Arms

  • Keyhole Frames

  • Lens Width: 51 mm

  • Lens Height: 44 mm

  • Nose Bridge: 18 mm

  • Arm Length: 143 mm

  • Unisex

  • FDA-approved,
    Impact Resistant Lenses

  • UV400 Protection

  • More color combos

  • $15-20


My two pairs of Knockaround sunglasses. Fast Lane in Slate Tortoise Shell with Sky Blue Lenses and Premium in Glossy Tortoise Shell with Amber lenses.

My two pairs of Knockaround sunglasses. Fast Lane in Slate Tortoise Shell with Sky Blue Lenses and Premium in Glossy Tortoise Shell with Amber lenses.

Get ‘em Both

If you are still undecided, then get them both! Both styles of sunglasses offer no bounce while running. Each style I tested were polarized, so I didn’t experience any glare from the sun or shiny objects. Both are crazy affordable. I’m on a tight budget and can’t afford to deal with triple digit sunglasses so the Knockaround brand is meant for people like me. Here is a discount code to get you started: Apply code BIBRAVEKNOCKS1 for 20% your entire order. Good till 4/18 and one code per person. https://knockaround.com/ Happy Shopping!


So, You Wanna Do a Mud Run? 3 Tips on Doing It Right

I’m promoting the Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Run & Mud Run: Phoenix as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Cool-Mom alert.. It was my her idea! My Mom asked me if I’d do a 5k Mud Run Obstacle Course Race with her and you bet I said yes. This was at the finish line in 2015. She was 54-years-young at the time and I’m 35.

Cool-Mom alert.. It was my her idea! My Mom asked me if I’d do a 5k Mud Run Obstacle Course Race with her and you bet I said yes. This was at the finish line in 2015. She was 54-years-young at the time and I’m 35.

The weather is absolutely perfect in Arizona right now. Temps peak in the mid-80s, full sun, zero humidity. so no wonder race companies pick this time of the year for races in AZ. The people behind the Rugged Maniac Obstacle Race Series knew this too and that’s why in 6 days their Spring 2019 5k race will be going down in Chandler. Never ran a mud run before? Want to, but unsure? Don’t be scared! My mother and I ran one a few years ago. It was HER idea and she was 54-years-old at the time. Yep, you read that age right! We succeeded and had an absolute blast. Here are 3 tips from my experience on how to do a mud the right way.


Wear shorts and a tank but don’t forget to slather up your body with sunblock and anti-chafing product too.

Wear shorts and a tank but don’t forget to slather up your body with sunblock and anti-chafing product too.

Dress Less

Yep, you heard me right. There is no reason to be modest here. EVERYONE will be covered head-to-toe with mud. No one cares if you have or don’t have the perfect body for booty shorts and a tank. This was the mistake I made when I ran my first mud run. For some very odd reason, I wore a long sleeve top and leggings that were bootcut. WTF was I thinking? My problem was I didn’t look for a runner blogger to get advice from! My mom was on point though, for the most part. She did wear shorts, but she wore a very baggy unisex t-shirt. The long-sleeve shirt and long pants totally weighed me down on race day. They got soaked in mud and got HEAVY. It wasn’t bad during the parts where I was crawling in mud, or in the water obstacles. It was when I had to climb nets, go over walls and do the running parts. My clothing just hung onto the mud and water and I felt like I had a 20-lb weighted vest on! If you are going to sign up for this weekends Rugged Maniac, then dress for success:

  • Do try to find old tech clothes you have that you don’t mind throwing away. Lightweight shorts and tanks work well. Poly-blends work way better than cotton. Even though you’ll be covered in mud, the poly-blend tech clothes will help you stay dry.

  • Don’t wear a crap sports bra or swim top. Ladies, please don’t wear a unsupportive sports bra because you are thinking you’ll just end up tossing it. You’ll end up spilling out! Go to a thrift store or dig up one of your older yet supportive sports bras instead. You’ll need something that fits you tightly so when you get wet your boobs won’t fall out.

  • Do wear trail running shoes, not hikers. I had an old pair of trail running shoes that past its prime in the support department but still had tons of tread left. The tread is good for grip. Regular running shoes have a sole that is too smooth and you’ll slip. If you don’t have a pair a lightweight trailies, then again, go to a thrift store and find some on the cheap. I threw away my old trail runners after the mud run. At least they had their one last hurrah and I walked away from my mud run unscathed.

  • Don’t wear jewelry. This applies to both men and women. If you want to wear that statement coaker or motivational wrist-wrap then fine. But don’t cry if you lose it. Mud and water makes everything slippery and prone to fall off. Also, you don’t want your ring to get snagged or bent while holding a rope or monkey bars. Keep your wedding bands at home.

  • Do wear some sort of anti-chafing product and sunscreen. You might be able to race a 5k in under 20-minutes, but a mud run race is totally different. It could take you 45 minutes to an hour because of the added obstacles and mud. This means your body has more time to burn from the sun and chafe from the water and mud. Slap on your favorite products so you don’t end up screaming while taking that post shower and you only end up screaming when enter the Feed The Beast obstacle.


Don’t drink the water at the bottom of Accelerator 3.0! Instead, drink plenty of water before your race.

Don’t drink the water at the bottom of Accelerator 3.0! Instead, drink plenty of water before your race.

Hydrate Profusely

Remember, this event will take you about an hour even if you are a fast runner. One hour outside in the full Arizona sun is dangerous and more so when you are huffing and puffing during an obstacle course run. When I ran my first mud run with my mom we both realized there weren’t any water stations on course. That was shocking because we didn’t carry any water with us.

  • Do drink extra water a few days before the race even starts. Try to limit caffeine or beer before your race too. You want to stay hydrated before you run and remember, there is free beer at the finish line!

  • Do try to drink about 16oz of water before your race starts and stop at the aid stations along the course to sip extra water.

  • Do grab some water FIRST when you pass the finish line then grab that beer. You’ll be hot and you’ll want that beer, but safety first so hydrate with water before.


Have Fun

Rugged Maniac races are more like camaraderie events. Strangers are there to help each other.

Rugged Maniac races are more like camaraderie events. Strangers are there to help each other.

OMG, mud runs are a blast! To me, it’s more of a camaraderie event than a competition race. People are just out there for eachother. You need that gal to help push your butt up Mount Maniac? Go ahead and ask ‘cause she’ll need to dude behind her to help push her up. See that guy at the top of The Warped Wall with his hand reached out? Grab it! It’s just an expected notion to help one another out at a mud run.

  • Do try to do this event with a friend or a group of people. Mud runs are more like festivals. You are there to laugh, people watch and drink beer. Only a few people do them for competing. If you have to do it alone, then go in prepared to meet a new friend or two.

  • Don’t be surprised if you find mud in strange places a week after your event. You heard me right LOL! You might find some mud in the crevices in your ears, under your finger nails and hiding in parts of your scalp a few days later. Take a bath or jump in a pool after your shower the initial mud off your body.


Are You Ready For It?

Of course you are! If my MOTHER can run a mud run then um, you can too. In six short days the Rugged Maniac crew is coming to Arizona for their Spring 2019 obstacle course in Chandler. The event is already 95% full! Sign up today and apply code RUN10 for 10% off registration fees. Then tell me how you liked it!

Check out the links below if you’d like to read point of views from other BibRave Pro’s:
This Old Runner: Are You a Rugged Maniac Obstacle Racer?
This Old Runner: See the Newest Rugged Maniac Obstacles!

5 New Ways to Get Dirty at the 2019 PHX Rugged Maniac

I’m promoting the Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Run & Mud Run: Phoenix as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

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Rugged Maniac does not want to bore you. Last year you might have gotten muddy in one of the Fall Rugged Maniac races and you might be like, BTDT. Not so fast! The April, 6, 2019 Phoenix race brings 5 new obstacles to the Rugged Maniac series and I’m going to break ‘em down for you.


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1️⃣ 👹 Feed The Beast

Yep, you’re the food! Please tell me you didn’t think differently? Enter the belly through its mouth and you’ll be met with a series of inflatable challenges where you’ll have to climb and squeeze your way through to glory. 


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2️⃣ 🤼‍♀️ Barzan

Are you the queen or king of the jungle? This is like the monkey bars on steroids. Channel your inner kid and kick it up a notch. To make it across the pipes, you’ll need shoulder strength, a strong grip, and hand-eye coordination. 



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3️⃣ 👿💦 Hell & High Water

Don’t. Fall. In. Your goal is to make it to the other side, without getting wet. You better hope you did your balancing workouts prior to this obstacle. You are going to need it. To successfully make it across, you'll have to dodge swinging mats, balance on floating lily pads, and reach out to hanging ropes just to stay afloat!



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4️⃣ 🛠 Iron Curtain 

Don’t rely on sloshing through this wet pit, because there are drop-offs hidden beneath the muddy water! Your view will be obstructed so take your time… or don’t!



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5️⃣ 📉 Slippery Slope

Grab your buddies or make a new one, you’re gonna need it. You scale a slippery 8 foot wall and then traverse down the other side. Teamwork is important here! You’ll need an arm — or two — to grab to pull yourself up.



Ready for the challenge?

Sign up today ruggedmaniac.com/events/phoenix/ and apply code RUN10 for 10% registration fees! 

Cross the Finish Line in a Baseball Field, With Friends! 

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Scottsdale Giant Race 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!

Emily waited for me at the finish line! She ran the 10k and I the 5k. Check us out representing BibRave! Go team Orange!

Emily waited for me at the finish line! She ran the 10k and I the 5k. Check us out representing BibRave! Go team Orange!

I met up with my Instagram friend Anne.

I met up with my Instagram friend Anne.

If you are a fan of the San Francisco Giants, love perfect weather, enjoy people-watching, touring a town on foot and running in general, then the Giants Race is for you. My goal was to PR my 5k time at this race. That didn’t happen but I remember that “There’s No Crying in Baseball!” and I didn’t shed a tear because I met with with fellow BibRave Pro Emily, met an Instagram friend Anne and a made a new friend that was a total stranger! I’ve come to realize that races aren’t only about ‘you’ but it’s about the community. The Giant Race hits a grandslam because their race is about community and friendship and having a ball! Here is my race recap:

The people behind the Giant Race are excellent at communication. Email updates were sent regularly. If you follow them on social on either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, then you got up-to-date info and they will actually respond to you. Even if you tag them in your posts! To me, that gives a personal experience to the race that I appreciate. 

Making friends with total strangers! That’s what race day is about.

Making friends with total strangers! That’s what race day is about.

Packet pickup is on the small side. I didn’t expect an expo but it did meet my expectations with lots of volunteers, easy bib pickup, free parking and a course map. Delivery options were made if you weren’t able to pick up your bib the day before. Also, if your time was really crunched, you could pick up your bib on race day although they recommend picking it up early.

Race day was a blast! The energy was one of the highest I experienced at a race start. They had a singing cowboy, a cowboy on a horse greeting everyone and Native American dancers. It was VERY Scottsdale and I loved it. Seeing all the runners dressed in orange, black and white was surreal. 

My Strava data and the 5k course.

My Strava data and the 5k course.

Many people traveled from out of state for the Giant Race, I could tell by the locations the emcee was calling out after each racer crossed the finish line. I ran the 5k with 816 other people! The course was jam packed. The 10k had 423 entires. Although the course was beautiful and I enjoyed touring parts of downtown Scottsdale, the large amount of people made it hard to maneuver the course. Giant Race told runners that there wasn’t starting corrals and to find your spot in the corral based on how fast or slow you go. I stood in the middle of the pack at the start line because that’s usually where I fall. Instead, I should have stayed in the very front. I realized that many people walk the 5k and I had to bob and weave around other runners. Not a bad thing, but now I know to stay in the front part of the corral next year.

Running through the finish line was exciting! We entered through the back of Scottsdale Stadium and headed down the dirt part on the outside of left field. A cowboy on a horse greeted us and we crossed the finish line under a canopy of orange, black and white balloons. After we received our medals, we had the option to sit in the stands or head to the food court area of the stadium for snacks. There were lots of places to sit and eat post-race and enjoy the beautiful Scottsdale weather. 

Thank you Giant Race for the fun time!

Finish line crossing on the Scottsdale Stadium field!

Finish line crossing on the Scottsdale Stadium field!

Rock the Remix Challenge

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 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

Can’t wait to earn this Remix Challenge Medal at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Next Week!

Can’t wait to earn this Remix Challenge Medal at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Next Week!

Gosh, I love a good challenge. I live for challenges. Every year I make running goals and I achieve them. This year I decided one of my goals will be a running challenge. A series of races over the course of 3 days, something I never done before.


Running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon in 2018.

Running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon in 2018.

Love for Rock n Roll

This will be my third year in a row of rocking out at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona but this year will be slightly different. Friday, the 18th, I'll run my heart out in their 1-mile race. Saturday, the 19th will be an easy yet scenic run during for the 5k race. Come, Sunday, I'll put it in 4th gear again and run the 10k. Participating in races on two or more consecutive earns you a special Remix Medal and it's super cool. Scroll on down to see the Arizona themed race medals, the scenic course maps and tech shirts that I'll be earning next week, including the Remix Medal.


Jam Sesh, Then Chill, Then Jam Out Again

1 Miler - Jam
A strategic plan had to be developed for my 3 days of race rock out. My plan is to not go all out for each race. I need to save my strength for next month's MESA-PHX Half Marathon that I'm in training to PR at. Friday night is the 1-miler. I'll be working that day, so that means I'll be drained and I'll need to stop at the expo first to get my bibs. But I'm not letting that hold me back! Race starts at 6 p.m. and my plan is to run my fastest mile yet. It would be great to PR my mile time. The time I have to beat is 8:54.

5k - Chill
Saturday morning is the 5k. This will be my opportunity to do an easy, green heart run. My plan is to take in the scenery, enjoy the music and just chill! I need this time for my body to recover.

10k - Jam
Sunday is my jam out day — again! My plan is to PR this 10k. It will be tough. The time I have to beat is 1:02:15. That means I need to run this 10k in the high 9's. Oof. That's a huge deal for me. I've been training and I know I can do it. But is the course hilly?


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Rock With Me!

This is my opportunity to put my half marathon training to the test. My goal is to PR my 10k and 1-mile time and those times will set the tone on me PR'ing my MESA-PHX Half Marathon time. Can't wait to rock out next week and earn 4 medals!

There is still time to sign up to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona! Registration ends on January 13th. Apply code RNRBRAZ19 for $10 off the half or full distance. See you there!

I'm a Zwifter!

Disclaimer: I received an Zwift RunPod 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.

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Do you dream of running in far away places but simply can’t? I do. My husband, son and job are my number one priority and unfortunately, I can’t run or race in dreamy distant places. Not in real-life that is. BibRave recently introduced me to Zwift, a virtual platform to run and bike in with others from around the world in distant places around the world all from the comfort of my own home or gym. Now, this I can do!


Cool to run virtually & you see a real map on Strava!

Cool to run virtually & you see a real map on Strava!

What Does It Mean to Zwift

Zwift is an app that connects to indoor training gear (a bike or foot pod) that allows you to run or bike on hundreds of miles in 5 worlds with other athletes from around the world. Think if it as playing Halo on your Xbox with other people but instead of your thumbs getting a workout, your entire body is getting a workout. You can just start running on your own with Zwift or you can train with one of their structured workouts. They have training plans for 5ks, half marathons and even triathlon events. Do you prefer to run with groups? This is where Zwift is awesome. They host hundreds of events — fun group runs like the BibRave 5k I participated in lat month to intense races with real prizes to be won. On Strava? Zwift connects with third party apps like Strava and Garmin Connect so you can share your virtual runs from Zwift to those platforms and your friends can actually see the virtual map you ran! All of this got me super excited. Back in my teenager days, I was a gamer. Gosh, I wish Zwift was invented back then, I would have been getting fit instead of gaining weight because Zwift reminds me so much of playing a video game. It made running on a treadmill fun for me.


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Becoming a Zwifter

I tested out Zwift using their RunPod. It’s the RunPod that allows you to connect to the app while you are on your home treadmill or on a gym treadmill. The RunPod pairs with Zwift via Bluetooth and attaches to the laces on your running shoes. It will measure your speed, cadence and distance through the Zwift app and thankfully it only weighs less than a half an ounce, so you don’t notice it’s on. It takes a standard CR2032 battery that is easy to replace. Zwift recommends removing the battery after each use to extend the life. 

Attaching the RunPod onto your laces — as well as removing the battery — is simple: hold the bottom and top of the RunPod in each hand, twist counter clockwise to remove base from pod. Now you can see the bottom of the pod and grab a coin or flathead screwdriver to remove the bottom to insert the battery. Match plus side of battery to the plus side of the foam backing on the bottom of the pod. Use a coin or flathead screwdriver to reattach the bottom while the battery is inserted. Now, grab a pair of your running shoes. Tip: It’s easier to attach the pod onto shoes that you haven’t put on your feet yet. Slide the base of the pod under two of your laces. I attached mine on the 4th and 5th row of laces. That worked best for me. Now, place the top of the pod on the base and turn clockwise until you hear an audible click. Make sure it’s attached properly because you don’t want to lose your RunPod. Tap your RunPod a few times and you’ll notice a green light glows. That means your pod is on and ready to link up to the app.


Ima Zwifter

Now that your RunPod is attached to you, it’s time to sync up to your app. Like I said earlier, there are a few ways to sync to the Zwift app. I decided to connect through a MacBook. It was easy to download the app. Once it was launched, make sure the Bluetooth on your device — laptop or phone — is turned on. You’ll see the RunPod syncing up. I took the extra time to customize my avatar. Although, I wish it had more facial and body customizations. Like, my body isn’t skinny like my avatar. I’d like her to be a size medium versus a size extra small LOL! Also, I’d rather my person have brown eyes than the blue default. Maybe I need to run more to get more options. I did notice that there were special clothing, shoes and accessories that could only be applied if they were unlocked. 

Now that all of my settings were updated, I was ready to run! You could either sign up for a group for a scheduled group run. There is a calendar on the right to see what runs are available, or you can check your Zwift Companion App for events that will start soon. Or, if you just want to run right now, you can. Click on the orange run button and start running. Once you are in the Zwift environment, you can see other runners. Sometimes you’ll see a cyclist. I notice some people chat with each other, I’m sure I’d trip on the treadmill if I tried to chat and run at the same time! The interface shows your speed, targets you’d like to make, other Zwifters, you can even change the view of your runs. One of the difficult things I found was selecting the turns. I like to do the bare minimum while running and deciding which way to turn is cumbersome. When I participated in the BibRave Group Run 5k, I realized I was going in a different direction than the group. It wasn’t until later that I noticed I could have gone their same direction if I chose that route during the prompts. 


Zwifting is Cool

I don’t own a treadmill, but after testing out Zwift, I’m thinking I should have asked Santa for one! Phoenix weather is dreamy right now and outdoor running is where it’s at. But come summer time, treadmill running will have to be done because no one wants to run in 115 degree full sun temps. It’s great how Zwift could keep you motivated during terrible weather either it be snow or full sun. Also, I like how I can be part of a group run even though I don’t have to be in their physical presence. I’m not the only one who thinks Zwift is cool. According to this Forbes article posted last week, Zwift raised $120 million (yeah, million) to expand its platform to running competitions as well as eSports tournaments. 


Do You Wanna Be a Zwifter?

Ok, I know you do. It’s reasonable to join to Zwifting community. An account for runners is free (cyclists pay about $15 a month) and runners only need to purchase a RunPod. BibRave and Zwift partnered to offer 15% the cost of a RunPod with discount code BibRave15. That makes it $25.49 with free shipping in the U.S. Come Zwift with me and tell me what you think! 

Ready to Get the Stink Out with WIN Detergent

Disclaimer: I received an WIN Detergent 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.

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No one likes to talk about it but it happens to all of us. Stinky workout/tech clothes retain their stink even after washing. I smelled it before at many start lines. As clean tech clothes start to warm up the bacteria stored in them starts to wake up and then that stink smell starts to emit. No one is running yet, but the smell is there. WTF? It happens with my workout clothes too! This weird bacteria science experiment of smells doesn’t happen with cotton clothes but happens every time with technical or synthetic fabrics (I’ll explain later.) When BibRave gave us Pro’s the chance to test WIN Detergent, I opted in immediately! 


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How WIN Works

Your Running shorts stink.

Have you ever just put on clean workout clothes and after a few minutes of just wearing them you start to smell something funky? That smell is the bacteria waking up on your tech clothes and the gas they are releasing. YUCK! Those tech clothes you wear are made with synthetic fibers. They are great for wicking away water, keeping you dry and keeping you chafe-free. But tech clothes tend to trap oil that feed bacteria. Then those bacteria release gas and that’s that funk/sweat smell you catch a whiff of before you even start working out. Niceeeeeee? Not!

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Cotton Doesn’t Have this Problem.

Did you know that cotton fabrics absorb water. This is why cotton is perfect for towels but not so perfect for workout wear. When you wear cotton and workout, the fabric will swell and that’s when chafing happens. Also, cotton naturally repels oils, so cotton usually doesn’t small as bad as synthetics. 

Your Regular Detergent Won’t Help

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Whatever regular brand you use to wash your running clothes won’t help to get the stink out. I use a free and clear by Costco and although it’s great at getting stains and regular dirt out, it does not get that bacteria skunk out of my clothes. Regular detergent is optimized for cotton and not synthetic tech gear and not for getting the funk smell out. Ugh, this is totally grossing me out.

WIN Gets the Job Done

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The main difference between WIN Detergent and regular detergent is that WIN has the ingredients in its formula that separate the oils from the synthetic fibers. WIN will break that bond between oil and the synthetic fibers! WIN’s formula contains special detergent molecules called Surfactants. Pretty much all detergents have surfactants, but the type in WIN specifically work to get the oils out of synthetic fabrics. Want to geek out? Surfactants are two-sided molecules and one side is hydrophobic so it repels water and grabs onto the oil. The other side is hydrophilic so it grabs onto water. When the water goes down the drain after your wash cycle, so do the oils and the bacteria and that funk smell that NO ONE likes to talk about. Yay!

Since WIN removes that stink oil from your favorite workout wear, the wicking properties of your clothes are restored. So your tech clothes actually work better and smell better and now you don’t have to worry about if that gal next to you has a grimace on her face because she caught a whiff of your clothes or because she forgot her sunglasses. LOL! 


WIN helped me

I tested out WIN because I will admit, my running clothes don’t smell pretty. To get the most out of WIN detergent, follow the directions and here are a few bonus tips. 

Hot Chocolate 15k Scottsdale post-race stinky clothes and my son’s swim gear are not match to WIN Detergent!

Hot Chocolate 15k Scottsdale post-race stinky clothes and my son’s swim gear are not match to WIN Detergent!

  1. Use the hottest water possible. That will help WIN remove the oil from your clothes faster. Think of it as if you are washing an oily pan in the sink you would use hot water and not cold. It’s the hot water that will help the surfactants even better to get that oil off. 

  2. Use 2oz. I always put in a double shot of WIN during my wash. This just got the stink out better than using 1oz. Also, my wash loads tend to be on the extra large side.

  3. Double rinse. This is also important. Do a second rinse cycle. This ensures that all of the stinky oil goes away down the drain with the water.

  4. Tumble Dry on Low. High drying temps could damage fabrics. Most synthetics, especially good wicking fabrics, dry quickly on a low.

  5. Sensitive to fragrances? My entire family (including myself) is sensitive to extra fragrances in products. I was thrilled that I was able to test out the fragrance-free version of WIN Detergent. It works exactly the same as the regular WIN, but doesn’t have any added fragrance or dye!


Smell you later?

Sorry, I don’t mean to joke but if you own tech clothes then know that they smell if you use regular detergent. That’s just the stinky reality! BibRave and WIN is sweet enough to offer a discount code of 20% orders. Apply code RAVE4WIN to get 20% off any WIN purchase (individual bottle, 2-pack, or 4-pack.) This is good for orders on Amazon. Offer good through 1/15/2019. Limit one use per household.

Let me know what you think! Do your tech clothes smell better?

Check out some other reviews of WIN from other BibRave Pro’s:
The Marathon Lady
Run Katy Run

Running Safe and Smart With Sabre

Disclaimer: I received Sabre Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap 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.

Protecting myself by being smart and while carrying Sabre.

Protecting myself by being smart and while carrying Sabre.

I play the scenario out in my head. Being attacked while running. Would I fight back? Yes. Would I scream? Hope so. Would I run away? I'll try if my fighting back isn't working. This is a reality that all outdoor runners — male or female — have to deal with. Society has been talking about it more because more people, women in particular, have been attacked or killed while doing something they are passionate about, running. I am careful while I am running and do particular things that I will elaborate more on but I didn't run with protection. It was a surprise to me that BibRave was offering a unique testing opportunity. An opportunity that I couldn't pass up. Test pepper spray by Sabre. The interesting thing is, this isn't ordinary pepper spray, it's actually a pepper gel and Sabre is the most trusted brand by police. Here are ways that I keep safe while running and how I now incorporate Sabre in my running routine.


Be Aware of Surroundings

I'll only run in the dark in areas I know, like my own neighborhood. I'm constantly looking and seeing and listening. Yes, I look behind my shoulder a lot. I'm not paranoid, I'm being observant. If you are running somewhere new, think about what could be there before you hit that run. Will there be commuters, animals (domesticated or not), train tracks, alley ways, no street lights, etc. If we are aware about surroundings, then it's less likely we will be caught off guard by a sudden surprise.


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Be Visible To Those Around You

My running clothes are bright or have reflective elements ironed on them (hello, Brilliant Reflective!) You'll also find blinky lights on my head and hydro vest. I'll put one red blinky light on the back and side that faces the street on my hydro vest. I look everyone in the eye and wave. That could be others walking or running and even people in their cars driving. Tired morning commuters see me better when I acknowledge them. I always remember that a person driving is NOT looking for people on bicycles, runners or walkers. They are looking for other cars, so acknowledging them goes a long way. A coyote will always be greeted with a stomp of my feet, loud clapping hands and a yell of "GO!" They run off when I do that. I even greeted two dogs off their leash that way! Thankfully they ran off.


Hand held protection by Sabre. The Runner Pepper Gel w/ adjustable hand strap.
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Be Willing To Carry & Use Protection

I don't ever want it to come to this, but I will protect myself any way possible against harm. Lately, I've been running with the Sabre Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap. It's a gel, so there isn't blowback like from a spray. It has UV dye aids. I never thought about a pepper spray or gel having this technology. The UV marking dye aids in suspect identification. It's the #1 brand trusted by police and consumers worldwide which included county sheriff & U.S. marshals from New York, Chicago PD and Los Angeles. The spray range is huge at 12 feet and Sabra mentions that is 20% greater range than other products. I get that running with extra running gear is cumbersome. During my multiple runs with the Sabre Runner Pepper Gel, I didn't notice it on my hand. It also stayed on my hand securely because of the adjustable velcro hand strap. So I took it to my food scale and discovered It weighs only 1.4 ounces, even with the velcro hand strap and holder! It can also be used-multiple times, there is enough protection in the bottle for 35 bursts. This surprised me because I assumed that a pepper spray or gel is a one time use only.


Walking your dog while carrying the Sabre Runner Pepper Gel is easy.

Walking your dog while carrying the Sabre Runner Pepper Gel is easy.

Not just for running

For the most part, I run alone and that's a good reason to carry the Runner Pepper Gel. But I also frequently walk my dog, Wally. He's 30 pounds, so not totally a small dog but he could appear to be an easy target for a coyote or bobcat. I have both species living in the desert preserve behind my home. Sabre doesn't recommend spraying the Runner Pepper Gel at dogs, they make a specific dog spray for that, a product that won't permanently hurt the dog, just disable their attack in a humane way. If a coyote or other non-domesticated animals comes between me and Wally, I will spray it with the Runner Pepper Gel. I noticed that the Runner Pepper Gel is perfect for when you are walking a dog. The velcro strap makes it simple to keep the pepper gel on your hand while picking up doggy doo-doo. All I did was flip the strap and case around to the top of my hand, then proceeded to clean up. Once I was done, I just flipped it back. No need to put anything in my pocket. My protection was always there. Since protection is always near, Sabre built in a reinforced trigger with a twist lock. It can be turned on and off with the flip of your thumb. I'm right-handed and I found the pepper gel was easy to engage and disengage the twist lock with either my left or right hand.


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Final takeaways

I had no idea that something so small could make me feel so confident. Each mornings run now includes me running with the Sabre Runner Pepper Gel. My brain is already in an euphoric state during most of my runs so it feels good that I could let my mind wander just a bit because I know I'm carrying strong protection.

If you are interested in the Sabre Runner Pepper Gel, it can be purchased from their website or from their Amazon store.

Do you want to feel it on your hand before you buy? I’ll be at the Scottsdale Half Marathon & 5k this Sunday, December 9th pacing the 2:50 half marathon group. I’m bringing the Sabre Runner Pepper Gel to show one of my Instagram runner friends. You are welcome to come check it out! Find me holding my pacer sign or comment here!

Curious what other BibRave Pro’s have to say? Here’s a compiled list of other blog reviews:
She Runs By Faith
Runner Antics
Back to Basics
Crazy Hamster
Preston Ramsey
Elbow Glitter
The Marathon Lady
BluegrassBAMR
She Runs By The Seashore
Running Around the Boyz
Marathang
Another Half Please
Living Loving Runner