Salivating at the Opportunity to Taste Test Luvo

Disclaimer: I received a Luvo Vegan Essentials Bundle 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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I have no shame by telling you that 50% of the food my family and I consume comes from the frozen section. It’s the ease and minimal prep that appeals to me most. When BibRave put out the opportunity for their pros to test Luvo Foods, you know I was champing at bit to get on board. There are four huge reasons why I’m thrilled to taste the Luvo Vegan Essentials Bundle, and here they are:


1) A Good Pair:

My family loves how I prepare chicken. It’s quite simple, I bake chicken breast dusted with lemon pepper seasoning. Problem is, I’m never sure what to have as a side dish. Usually it’s the same ol’ thing; can of green beans. I decided to try the Luvo Vegan Essentials Bundle because it has the variety of flavors that I hope would pair perfectly with my mild flavored chicken. 


2) Low on Sugar:

During the summer, I decided to cut back sugar from my diet. So far, doing so helped me loose 20 pounds and curb my sugar cravings dramatically! I’d like to help my family curb their sugar cravings too. I chose the Luvo Vegan Essentials Bundle because of the low sugar content per serving. Their Great Karma Coconut Curry and Chana Masala bowls only have 2-5g of sugar per serving.


3) Right Balance:

Finding food that is fast and nutritious is tricky. It makes my heart warm to know that Luvo has guiding principles when it comes to their products. They feel food should be nutritious while limiting sodium and added sugar. Also, they so no to artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. Also, the meals I chose are gluten free and vegan. 


4) Fast Foodie:

My time is simply limited. Swim team lessons for my son 3x a week, my running 3x a week, school, packing lunches, making dinner, husband & wife time, oh and me working full-time; it all adds up. Frozen food has been my go-to. I love how each of the bowls in the Luvo Vegan Essential Bundle take only 4-4 1/2 minutes in the microwave. And since I cook up a bunch of my famous chicken ahead of time, I can get dinner on the table in less than 10 minutes, with a veggies that actually taste fantastic. 


Dinner is Served

My order just came in tonight! The Luvo Vegan Essential Bundle comes with 2x of the following flavor bowls: So Cal Kale & Bean, Hawaiian Un-Fried Rice, Great Karma Coconut Curry & Chana Masala. Which flavor should I try tonight with dinner?

Self Motivation

"Ability to do what needs to be done, without influence from other people or situations. People with self motivation can find a reason and strength to complete a task, even when challenging, without giving up or needing another to encourage them."

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Other athletes inspire me but they don't motivate me. I realized this early on in my running journey. Lately, I've been a lazy runner. Not sure why. I want to run. Even though I schedule my runs on my G cal, set out my clothes and charge my devices, still, I can't get up in the morning.

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In the past, I was a Strava Premium member. Didn't have to pay for it because I got promo codes through My New Balance Rewards. That benefit is gone and Premium changed to Summit. I'm so frugal and that is the #1 reason I didn't join Summit yet. Seriously scoured the internet for a promo code this morning for one hour! Found nothing!

Pulled out my CC and now I'm on Summit on their Analysis pack only. Hoping that checking my Power Analysis, Workout Analysis, Relative Effort & Fitness & Freshness will give me the self motivation I need to start waking up early again so I can crush my training for my lofty MESA-PHX Half Marathon goal.

Scooby-Doo Virtual Run Series With My Pup Wally

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Scooby-Doo Virtual Run Series 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!

 Andrea Heser ©

Andrea Heser ©

Scooby-Doo & Wally Too

Have you heard the notion that people tend to look or act like their dogs? My face might not be as squishy as my Wally’s but we both have short legs, both have breathing problems and both don’t go very fast. Still, both of us are determined and we both adore the outdoors! As a BibRave Pro, I’m always given opportunities to run new races and test out new products. Pretty much all of these opportunities benefit only myself. I knew I had to jump up and not sit on the opportunity to run the Scooby-Doo Virtual Race Series. These 2 runs would help my furry friend and I get outdoors, get in shape and bring us closer. It will also get us both (yes both!) some medals and swag to reward ourselves for the hard work we put in for these runs.


Scooby-Doo Virtual Run Series

Jinkies! Scoob’s First Virtual Run!

The Scooby-Doo Virtual Run Series is a two-parter, the Doo Good Virtual 5k in September and the Scoobtober Virtual 5k or 10k in October. Both virtual runs could be done on your own time and your own speed. Thank goodness, remember, Wally and I have short legs! Another thing my pup and I have in common is we love challenges. The Scooby-Doo Run Series has a special commemorative challenge medal for signing up and completing both races! Yep, we are doing the challenge. But, it’s not all about the swag. Both runs help support the Scooby-Doo “Doo Good” campaign and a portion of the registration will be donated to the Best Friends Animal Society. Aw, good dog!


Doo So Good, Doo It Again!

In September, Wally and I both ran the Doo Good Virtual 5k. We broke it up in 6 parts, which equaled out to .5-.6 a mile each day. Wally loves to go on walks and runs, but because he’s a brachycephalic (aka smooshed faced) breed of dog, we had to take this run slow and in bite-sized chunks. As the days progressed I noticed his pace got faster! At home, his snoring wasn’t as bad. We both loved being out with each other so much that we are doing the Doo Good Virtual 5k again and will start this Saturday the 15th. Will you join us? You must register by September 20th to get in on the Doo Good Virtual 5k or to do the challenge! If you only want to the Scoobtober, then register by October 20th.


Throw Me a Bone!

You like treats right? Wally and I will throw you a bone: 10% off registration. Apply code BIBRAVE for 10% off which comes to about $10 off if you sign up for the challenge series with the dog add-on. Register here!

Gear Review: Knockaround Sunglasses

 Andrea Heser ©

Andrea Heser ©

Disclaimer: I received two pairs of Knockarounds 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!

Last month I had the opportunity to test another cool product with BibRave. On the review docket for the month of August were two pairs of Knockaround Sunglasses. These sunnies really have it all: superior quality, adorable colors, awesome for activities and they are crazy affordable. I put in my request to test their Premiums in Pool Blue with Sunset polarized lenses and to my surprise they mailed me those and a more modest pair of Premiums in Glossy Tortoise Shell with polarized Amber lenses. Let’s get to the nitty gritty on Knockarounds. 


Superior Quality

These shades hold up! I’m rough and tough with sunglasses. That’s why I don’t purchase sunnies with a triple digit price tag! I have been careful to keep these in their soft carry case while transporting from my laptop duffle to purse to running vest and they are holding up. Also dropped them a few times, lens down and no scratches. Check out the annotated infographic I designed to see some of the great quality features Knockarounds have:

 Andrea Heser ©

Andrea Heser ©


Adorable Colors 

 Andrea Heser ©

Andrea Heser ©

From themed running races, to favorite sports teams, to everyday looks, Knockarounds has a color for you. I choose Pool Blue with Sunset lenses because I know how good the blue would look against my skin tone and against my BibRave orange singlet! I had no idea they would send me a Glossy Tortoise Shell which looks fab with my natural hair color. They also design limited edition pairs that are seriously super cool. If I were to set myself up with Knockaround entourage, these would be the colors I’d choose. 


 Andrea Heser ©

Andrea Heser ©

Awesome for Activities

No bouncy bounce for me when I ran a fast 5k in my Pool Blue Sunsets. They fit my face perfectly. I like how the frames are wide. It’s like they were made for my wide round face. No glare from the polarized lenses either. Check me out at mile 2.85 at the StartLine Racing last race of their Sunrise Series in Glendale, AZ. Happy runner indeed!


 Andrea Heser ©

Andrea Heser ©

Crazy Affordable

You heard me mention this before. I’m on a budget. NBD though cause Knockarounds are crazy affordable. They range from $15-35 a pair. You read that correctly. No triple digit price tags. Low double-digit price tags here! That means I can sign up for more races and continue to keep my son on swim team. Every penny counts in my household. 


Happy Shopping

You know that pretty much all of my gear reviews come with a discount code, so here it is! Apply code BibRaveKnocks20 to your order for 20%. Good till 9/30 and one code per person. https://knockaround.com/ Happy Shopping!

 Andrea Heser ©

Andrea Heser ©

Run-life to Work-life, AfterShokz TrekzAir Has Me Hearing Clearly

Disclaimer: I received a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Air in Canyon Red 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!
 Photography by Andrea Heser©

Photography by Andrea Heser©

The idea of having a go-to pair of headphones always sounded so cool to me yet I couldn’t find the perfect pair. In the past, I’ve seen those people with their headphones/buds on planes, in their car, running at races and at work and just happy as can be. Maybe they have a specific pair to wear at work to chat on video calls, and a different pair to down out noises while on a plane and then another pair for when they work out. That’s annoying because that is what I was dealing. I had a pair of earbuds for running, over-ear-headphones for work and nothing for hands-free video or regular calls. This is exactly why I decided to opt-in to test the Trekz Air by AfterShokz, Could finally have it all with one product?


What’s in The Box?

UPS My Choice just alerted me that my package will be delivered. Next thing I know, there is a knock at the door and here are my Trekz Air! This was during one of my remote days and I was working from home, so opening up the box had to wait till after work.

You probably know that my background is in graphic design and my degree is in visual communication. All design intrigues me, especially package design. AfterShokz didn’t disappoint. At first inspection, the design is clean, modern and crisp. The words Trekz Air are foil stamped on the front in shiny silver. Same with some product points on the left side. What’s not clean and crisp? The real model photographed on the front. She looks like she just finished working hard with sweat droplets on her face and messy hair. She’s diverse. She looks like me (well sorta!) I want to be her. Or at least put in the work like she did. Hmm, things are looking pretty authentic, and I like it. 

The package opens from the right by pulling on a small folded ribbon and separating the hidden magnet closure. BE OPEN is seen on the inner flap. Then I see another photo of a focused dude who actually looks like he’s working out. My eyes light up when I see the beautiful Canyon Red’s behind the plastic window on the right of the box. It was kinda tricky opening that window — I don’t like to ruin any product packaging. I’m with this with all packaging, even for food! 

Carefully, I removed the Trekz Air, placed them aside, and checked out the accessories that came with them. Included in the box are:

  • Trekz Air in Canyon Red
  • Micro-USB Charging Cable
  • Silicone-like zip-up storage case
  • Earplugs in a clear storage box 
  • User guide  

 Photography by Andrea Heser©

Photography by Andrea Heser©

First Impressions and Step Up

If you closed your eyes and touched the surface of the Trekz Airs, you’d notice how smooth their texture was. The construction of them is built well. Nothing sharp or awkward sticks out. There isn’t a place where stray hairs could get caught. They are beautifully designed. That super soft smooth texture extends to the silicone-like zip-up storage case. It’s lined with mesh and holds the headphones perfectly. 

First, I made sure to charge up my Trek Airs completely. They had a little charge on them already, but the user guide specifically says to charge first. Once the LED light turned from red to blue (about 2 hours), I was ready to pair. Pairing was simple. I made sure the Bluetooth was turned on in my smartphone settings. While the headphones are powered off, I put them on. At that moment I realized how incredibly light they are. They only weigh 1.06 oz! I entered pairing mode by pressing and holding the volume+ button on the right bottom. The LED light flashed red and blue. Once I heard Audrey say ‘pairing’ I went to my smart phone’s Bluetooth menu again and selected Trekz Air by AfterShokz”.  She said ‘connected’ and the LED flashed blue one time. I did this same sequence when pairing to my work laptop. 

Most of the buttons are on the under part right side. Those include the power and volume control as well as the charging port and LED indicator. Those buttons control the volume up/down, power on/off, mute, EQ setting and battery status. The left outside houses the multifunction button. That button can play/pause music, skip to the next song, answer/end a phone call, answer call waiting and put the current caller on hold or hang up on the current caller, reject a call, prompt device assistant and redial the last number. The power/volume+ button has a nice embossed bump on it so it’s easy to find when your headphones are on. 


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The Tech Behind the Tech

Trekz Air is truly a remarkable technology product. It's insane how we can listen to music with bone conduction technology. Although, Beethoven was using this tech in the 1800s. He found a way to hear music through his jawbone by biting a rod attached to his piano. 

According to AfterShokz, Bone conduction is a natural part of the hearing process—sound travels through our eardrums and bones simultaneously. They took the concept to the next level through the development of a suite of proprietary audio technologies and design patents. The result: headphones that deliver unrivalled situational awareness and comfort. Transducers guide mini vibrations through the cheekbones to the inner ears, delivering sound without plugging or covering them. They also implement PremiumPitch. They say that it doesn’t seem sensible that audio travelling through your bones instead of your ears could be so finely tuned. It wouldn’t be possible without our PremiumPitch technology, which assures the finest in bone conduction audio, with a range that suits music and voice. Gosh, I love tech!


 Photography by Andrea Heser©

Photography by Andrea Heser©

Workout or Work They Work!

They became my favorite headphones after my first test. While sweating it out on the run with my 90s Dance Jams Spotify playlist, I was still able to hear the outside world. Heard my neighbor & his two dogs bark hello while '2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted' blared. Heard a covey of quails call out while 'I Like to Move It' roared. Heard many of my neighbors start their engines for their morning commute while 'Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg' boomed on. I never, ever experienced this with over-ear headphones or earbuds. Also, no ear pain from stuffing earbuds into my ears. 

During a work trip, I brought them with me to the hotel gym and did a treadmill workout with my FitBit Coach app. No cords got in my way, which freak me out around treadmills, and I could hear my coach and my new-to-me environment. 

 Photography by Andrea Heser©

Photography by Andrea Heser©

They didn’t even fall off my head during planks, downward facing dogs or jumping jacks when I wore them during a FitBit Coach strength session. In the past, I would do my FitBit Coach strength sessions at home and listen via the speaker on my phone. Then, I would worry if I was disrupting my family. Thankful for the Trekz Air lightness and stability during these sessions and how I don’t wake anyone up.

My job has me on calls and video chats at least 2x a day. What?! You thought all I do is run and review products huh? By day, I work full time as a sr. art director for Manifest. They are an agency that has locations around the nation. I really didn’t consider AfterShokz as a brand that could help me with my day job. Well, they can and they did. Trekz Air helped me so I could participate in calls AND take notes AND do design work all while my team hears me clearly, hands-free. I felt confident when my teammates told me they could hear me while I took a call through my headphones. Trekz Air is so beyond just listening to music! 

 Photography by Andrea Heser©

Photography by Andrea Heser©


 Photography by Andrea Heser©

Photography by Andrea Heser©

Beautiful Tech

One of the 2018 Fall/Winter Pantone colors is 19-1536: Deliciously deep red, whose luscious depth entices. It resembles the Trekz Air Canyon Red color so well and believe me, they do entice. I love how deep muted tones are making a comeback. According to Pantone, the deep muted hues are a comforting classic. I even matched my lip color and nail color to the Canyon Red. It’s pretty cool how Canyon Red goes with my skin tone so well. It’s the Canyon Red color that makes me feel so comfortable to wear them out and about and to work. Nothing flashy, just a classic and signature look. 


Final Thoughts

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I found my unicorn of headphones, Trekz Air by AfterShokz. They really can do it all. For the past month, they’ve taken me from run-workout to strength-workout and to work. I’m honestly surprised that a headphone could do all that seamlessly. If you are curious and would like to try a pair for yourself, BibRave partnered with AfterShokz with $55 off of their Trekz Air Bundle. Apply code BRBUNDLE for a package that includes: your choice of Trekz Air color (Slate Grey, Forrest Green, Midnight Blue or Canyon Red), BibRave Trucker Hat, Shoe Bag, Sport Towel and Cell Phone Power Bank. 

Read what other BibRave Pros had to say:
Run Bigfoot Run
Fitful Focus
LiveLaughExplore
I Run On Beer
Once Upon A Run
Run Katy Run
This Old Runner
 

DISCOUNTS ON YOUR FAVORITE NATIONAL RACES & Brands

Running races and buying the gear for them is fun and more fun when you can save money. Below is a list of a plethora of race discounts BibRave is offering on Races from California to NYC and everything in-between and gear to help you cross the finish line:

Top 3 reasons I’m Pumped to Test the AfterShokz Trekz Air Next Week

Disclaimer: I will receive an AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones 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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Listening to music while running is a necessity for me. The beat gets me energized and keeps me going. Music helps me with both focusing in on my run (during speed training days) and with letting go (during easy runs.) I prefer to listen to music on my phone with headphones. In the past, tried just using the phone speaker, but I broke the speaker on my last phone. Can’t do that again! It comes at a perfect time that I was chosen to test out the new AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones as a BibRave Pro. 

These are the 3 big reasons I’m excited to start testing the Trekz Air:

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  1. Safety: When earbuds are nestled into your ears, all you hear is music. That’s good for some, maybe gym goers or if you using headphones at home while cleaning. But I run outside and I need to hear my surroundings. AfterShockz Trekz Air has bone conduction technology that delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring my ears remain completely open to hearing ambient sounds, aka coyotes and cars.
  2. Comfort: I’ve noticed that my corded earbuds hurt the insides of my ears. Also, the volume control jumps and bumps my face while I run. The Trekz Air wraparound titanium design provides a flexible fit for unnoticeable all-day comfort and stability. They are also a 20% lighter build than their counterpart. I’m looking forward to happy ears!

  3. Sound: I’m motivated by the deep bass and sweet sounds of my Disco Spotify channel. The Trekz Air offers PremiumPitch+™ that guarantees a premium audio experience, including wide dynamic range and rich bass. Also, I could enjoy six hours of continuous disco beats (and calls) on a single charge. Bonus!

Next week can’t come soon enough. I’ll be starting my hill training plan for my Craft Classic pacing half. Trekz Air are going to help me plow through those hills and keep me motivated. 

Gatorade Endurance Welcomes Summer with New Watermelon & Mango Flavors

Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance 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!
Heser-andrea-gatorade

The big black box couldn't have arrived at my doorstep any sooner. Triple digits are the new norm here in Arizona and it's only June. I knew was was in the box but had no idea about the other surprise I'd find inside. My mouth was salivating as I was carefully opening the box. Gasp. Gatorade Endurance Formula in their new Watermelon flavor. I love watermelon. It's my favorite flavor. Refreshing, sweet, throw-some-salt-on-a-slice and my taste buds go wild. Now I can drink it. OOH! What is this?! A Purist Specialized brand water bottle with the most adorable watermelon-Gatorade combo graphic on it. Oh, yes, more goodies. Six pouches of their new Mango flavor Energy Gel. I quickly snapped up an IG story and I was ready to test that night. Look below to see what I posted.


Watermelon Endurance Formula is For Salty Sweaters

After every run either in the summer or winter, I'm a sweaty mess. No, I don't sparkle. I sweat. It impressed me that the Gatorade Endurance formula has twice the sodium and more than three times the potassium than traditional Gatorade. This made my pores sing because, after long runs, I'm that person with salt all over their face. Gatorade Endurance will help me get that salt back into my system. Although, I'm hesitant to drink performance drinks on the run because I can't seem to get them down easily. All the ones I have tried in the past are too thick and too sweet. Not sure how Gatorade did it, but they made their watermelon flavor have a light taste. Believe me, the melon flavor is all there, it's just lighter to get down. 

Heser_andrea-gatorade

Watermelon Pros

  1. Amazing flavor. It really tastes like a slice of watermelon with sea salt sprinkled on top. It's a perfect flavor for summer sweat fests. 
  2. Electrolytes. With 300mg of sodium and 140mg of potassium in each serving that helps you stay fueled and hydrated during your activity.
  3. Easy to Drink. Gatorade wasn't not kidding when they said light taste although they should have said light texture. I didn't choke when I gulped down their Endurance Formula during my night speed intervals. The drink was thin and easy to get down.

Watermelon Opportunities

  1. Lower carbs? Would it be possible for Gatorade Endurance to offer a lower-carb option? I count my sugar intake and it made me nervous that I was consuming 13g of sugar in one serving. Still, I was running hard and Gatorade Endurance helped me.  I will stick with drinking Endurance during hard runs.

Mango Energy Gel is Perfect for Quick Energy

How did Gatorade do it? Their Energy Gel is so smooth! Let's back up a bit. If you have been following me on Instagram for a while, you would remember how I'm into natural fuel sources. I'm just trying to keep all the icky ingredients out of my body. Gatorade Energy Gels are naturally flavored. The Mango flavor was a happy treat for my taste buds. It was refreshing and tasted like a real mango. I even bought a mango to do a taste comparison and Gatorade was spot on. 

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Mango Pros

  1. Perfect flavor. It's like I was eating a mango. The smell was perfect too. Closed my eyes and I was transported to the tropics. 
  2. Smooth. I never ever ate a gel quite like Gatorade Energy Gel. The gel was extremely easy to get down. No choking, to sticky mouth, no reaching for water. See the above photo for texture. I feel it's in-between the consistency of simple syrup and maple syrup.
  3. Easy to Open. This is a biggie. Runners don't have time to dilly-dally with their fuel. It must be quick. The notches and small opening is perfect for getting your fuel down fast.

Mango Opportunities

  1. Lower carbs? Again, would it be possible for Gatorade Energy Gel to offer a lower-carb option? I count my sugar intake and it made me nervous that I was consuming 20g of sugar in one serving. Still, Gatorade Energy Gel helped me on my run.

Ready for Summer With Gatorade Endurance

Simply impressed with Gatorade. Finally gels and a performance drink I can actually consume on the run without choking! If you would like to try these new flavors, please go to Gatorade Endurance.

• Endurance Thirst Quencher Powder in Watermelon is $28.99 for a 32oz canister.
• Endurance Energy Gel in Mango is $21.99 for a 21 pack of 1.3oz pouches.

Walk on Clouds With OOfos

Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOfos OOlala Sandals 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.

 Head-to-toe in Orange! Photo by Andrea Heser

Head-to-toe in Orange! Photo by Andrea Heser

On a Facebook post three years ago, I read about how a fellow mom runner was raving about these sandals she purchased. I never heard of them and they had a cute name: OOfos. She said these are perfect for people with high arches and who needed recovery shoes in-between running. On a whim, I ordered a pair online and now I am an OOf-er for life. Just last month I was chosen by BibRave to test the OOlala sandal in Orange. This is my 3rd pair of OOfos sandals, but my first OOlala. I currently own two pairs of the OOriginal Sport Sandal in Navy and Cranberry. I’ll explain my top three reasons why OOfos never leave my feet, except to sleep and run!

 

1. OOfos Make Me Say OO

Have you ever laid on a pillow and you instantly said Oooh-Ahhhh? Yeah, that’s how I felt when I slide on a new pair of OOfos on my feet. I beat up my feet with running and by wearing heels and wedges to work. OOfos gives my feet the support they need, actually, they give my entire body support. According to OOfos, they are scientifically proven to help people recover faster and feel better. It’s all credited to the OOfoam. The foam is a recovery technology that absorbs 37% more impact than other footwear foams. OOfoam impact absorbing recovery technology has been proven to reduce stress on all the body while walking, allowing the body to recover faster after a workout and feel better all day. It’s true. I try to wear my OOfos during all walking activities from cleaning my home, taking my son to swim, walking my dog, watering my plans to going grocery shopping.

I have high arches and they need support. OOfos are the only shoes that cradle my arches correctly. They massage my feet and create more blood flow. I wear them before I run too. Pre-workout, wearing OOfos help warm up my feet with reflexology. 

2. So BeaOOtiful 

My previous pairs of OOfos were the OOriginal Sport Sandal. They are simply styled, match with everything and are 100% matte foam. I didn’t realize that the OOlala has some pretty styling until my Orange test pair arrived. They have glossy uppers (that my son absolutely loves) and are more slimmer and streamlined than the OOriginal, yet they still have the same tech as the OOriginal. Some of the colors and styles I’d love to add to my cOOllection would be these below: 

HeserAndreaBibrave

3. Project Pink & OOfos

 Photo by Andrea Heser

Photo by Andrea Heser

I believe that people make the brand, either the people behind the brand or the people purchasing the brand. It impressed me how the OOfos brand stood behind one of their employees so diligently that they set up a fundraising campaign to help others like her, those with breast cancer. Their director of marketing, Duncan Finigan, was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer in 2014. OOfos stood behind her and started Project Pink. 3% of every pair of shoes sold from OOfos.com will be donated to Project Pink. According to OOfos, this contribution goes directly towards to the critical work the Dana Farber Cancer Institute is doing in their research department to increase the survival rate of women with breast cancer around the globe. If you purchase a pair from the OOfos Project Pink Collection through OOfos.com, then $10 from that sale goes to Project Pink! 

Other cOOl Features

Other cool features are they are completely waterproof, washable, stink-proof and they hold their cushion. I’m still holding onto my old pairs of OOrginals, but I’m not wearing them regularly. I just can’t bear to let them go! OOfos recommends replacing OOfos approximately as often as you replace your running shoes. They recommend replacing approximately every 4-6 months with regular wear. 

 

 I wear my OOfos OOlala's before strength workouts to help warm-up my feet. Photo by Andrea Heser.

I wear my OOfos OOlala's before strength workouts to help warm-up my feet. Photo by Andrea Heser.

As I wrote this review, my OOfos OOlala’s were on my feet. They simply are the most comfortable shoes for me that are also proven to help me with running recovery. I do plan to update my OOfos collection soon and hope to get their OOmg Low shoe during the fall when the weather cools down a bit. If you would like to feel the OO and support Project Pink, please visit them online at OOfos.com.

 I quickly slide on my OOfos OOlala's then take my doggie out for morning walks. Photo by Andrea Heser

I quickly slide on my OOfos OOlala's then take my doggie out for morning walks. Photo by Andrea Heser

Be Visible, in Everything You Do

Disclaimer: I received Brilliant Reflective 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.
Be Brilliant Andrea Heser

A few weeks ago my manager and I had a chat. She wants me to be more visible within the company we work for. Over the past year and a half, I have been with helping teams across our offices. I’m pushing it a bit further now, so I could truly be visible to all. If you are seen, you are noticed. Right? 

Be Seen, Be Safe

Being visible is not only important at work, it’s also important in everyday life. Especially for active people, it can save your life to be seen better when outdoors during low-light conditions. Summer is here where I live in Phoenix. Temps are already at triple digits. Lunch runs are a thing of the past. I don’t own a treadmill or am a member to a gym so the streets are the only places I can get my miles in. Thing is, I have to run when the sun is either set or before it comes up. It’s a no-brainer that I prefer the early mornings. It’s typically the coolest part of the day. But it’s scary out there. No, I don’t mean the coyotes or rattlers. I mean the morning commuters. It is essential that I stand out and am visible to everyone driving. Thank goodness Brilliant Reflective helps me with this. 

 Super easy to customize and apply. Photo by Andrea Heser

Super easy to customize and apply. Photo by Andrea Heser

Easy to Apply a Custom Look

I wish more clothing manufactures applied reflection on their activewear. Not all is lost if they don’t because that’s where Brilliant Reflective comes into play. I can apply the strips — stick-on or iron-on — wherever I want. And I could put as many as I want on my clothing. According to the Brilliant Reflective website, when you outline the human form with Brilliant Reflective, the light reflecting back to a driver will be in the shape of a human. Studies show that drivers react more quickly when they know they’re approaching a human rather than an unknown object. 

Application is simple. I tried both the stick-on and iron-on. Both products have similarities in that they are super flexible. 

Stick-on:

I would have assumed the stick-on would be rigid, that isn’t the case. It bends, moves and has a cloth-like feel to it. It’s a bit thicker than the iron-on. Also, it’s sticky! There is a reason for all the cutaways in the backing. Use that to help you so you don’t accidentally stick your fingers to the back. Here’s a tip: I tried to peel apart the middle backing, lay that down first, then remove the top and the bottom so my finger oils wouldn’t touch the sticky back. One package of stick-on Purple was used for my dogs harness with two large strips left over. 

I thought the stick-on would be perfect for my doggies harness. Totally pleased with the results. It’s also easy to trim in smaller sizes, although just know that if too small, the backing is hard to remove. Check out my Reviews Highlight on Instagram to see my dog in action.

 

Iron-on:

Pull out your irons cause it’s time to light up your clothes! I’m pleased with the customizable look you can achieve with Brilliant Reflective iron-on. I was lucky to be able to test a new color, Orange. That color works perfectly with all of my BibRave gear! I applied some on my visor and singlet. Here’s a tip: with the iron-on, you can get away with small custom pieces. Just note that the smaller the pieces are, the more likely you are to burn your fingers when applying, so be extra careful! One package of iron-on Orange was used for both my visor and singlet.

 

You Too Can Shine!

What do you think about the products I applied Brilliant Reflective to? If you are curious, BibRave and Brilliant Reflective partnered up with a BOGO deal. Apply code: BIBRAVE18 at checkout. 

Catching Rays with Rydon

"Disclaimer: I received a pair of Rydon Carbonium sunglasses by Rudy Project 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!"

Steps for Vets 5k on May 5, 2018. Photo by Michael Smith Photography

When I get ready to go out for a run, I make sure l have all of my essentials: visor, sunblock, Garmin fénix 5s, phone and sunglasses. Since I live in one of the sunniest states in America (hello, Phoenix), sunglasses are key. For the most part, I'm down with wearing the cheapest $5 pairs I could get my hands on at Walmart. Most of those sunglasses break after a few wears, bounce while running and break after a few wears. I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to test out some new-to-me sunglasses by Rudy Project. Honestly, I probably would have passed up a pair of Rudy's in the past. At first glance, they appear to be masculine, too techie for me and I tend to purchase the cheapest sunglasses, even though I know cheap = poor quality. Thank goodness I opted in to test the Rydon's because they are by far one of the best sunglasses I have ever worn while running.

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Who is Rudy?

Rudy Project was founded in 1985 in Treviso, Italy (North of Venice) by Rudy Barbazza. They pride themselves on research for innovative materials, attention to detail and passion for sports to produce some of the most technologically advanced sunglasses, helmets and goggles. They make products for many athletes from runners to skiers to cyclists and rowers and many more. According to their website, Rudy Project uses athlete feedback to produce unique products with the latest technology and design.

Photo by Andrea Heser

Helpful Technology

I love all things techie. You can't get me to take off my GPS even after I run. But techie looking sunglasses, I just wasn't sure. Thankfully I let my guard down. The Rydon's are by far some of the coolest yet helpful sunglasses I ever wore while running. Here are the ways the tech helped me while on the run and racing:

  • Ultralight: The Rydon's didn't let me down or slow me down. The lightness of them felt good, I don't notice them during my Steps for Vets 5k race because they are so lightweight, they didn't bounce on my face while I ran. The frames are made from Grilamid® and Kynetium which help them to be shock-resistant and super lightweight.
  • Adjustable: To add to helping the frames stay on my face, the temples are fully adjustable. It was easy for me to apply gentle pressure to bend the terminals in a bit. The nose piece is also adjustable in height and distance. The setting they were at out of the box fit my face just fine. This helped me feel confident that my sunglasses were not going to fall off if I needed to bend my down for any reason.
  • Photochromic ImpactX 2 Lenses: This is my favorite helpful feature! It's annoying to me to take sunglasses on and off while walking from indoors to outdoors. When I'm ready to run, I just want to get out the door and go. The photochromic lens transition from laser red to clear dependent on the brightness of your surroundings. I love how I put them on inside and they are clear. Then once I'm outside, they quickly activate to laser red to protect my eyes against UV rays and from those dreaded 11's. Those are the lines you get in between your eyes if you squint too much and no way am I getting this soon in life! The laser red color are designed for action optical performance (aka running fast or racing) and stimulating color contrast. 
  • Storage: I'm hard on my things. Rudy makes it easy to keep your Rydon's ready for your next race by including a sturdy case and cleaning cloth with their sunglasses. The hard case even includes pouches for extra lenses to swap out for different conditions.

Aesthetic Technology

The technology behind the sunglasses are pretty cool but the glasses simply look cool. Here are closeup shots of my favorite pretty details:

 Carbon fiber-like frame details. Photo by Andrea heser

Carbon fiber-like frame details. Photo by Andrea heser

 Photochromic ImpactX 2 Lenses in Laser Red. Photo by Andrea Heser

Photochromic ImpactX 2 Lenses in Laser Red. Photo by Andrea Heser

 Logo and adjustable temple details. Photo by Andrea Heser

Logo and adjustable temple details. Photo by Andrea Heser

 Adjustable nose piece in height and distance. Photo by Andrea Heser

Adjustable nose piece in height and distance. Photo by Andrea Heser

 Secure hard storage case and cleaning cloth. Photo by Andrea Heser

Secure hard storage case and cleaning cloth. Photo by Andrea Heser

Thumbs up for Rydon

If you are looking for sunglasses that not only look technically cool but are technically cool then Rydon's are for you. Rudy Projects is offering a 30% discount with code GODSPEED entered at checkout. 

Follow Rudy Projects on social:
Facebook 
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For other BibRave Pro reviews of the Rydon:
Linsey Amy Barb Jenn Michael Brad 

 

 

Amphipod Knows Hydration Vests

"Disclaimer: I received a PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest by Amphipod 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!"

 Photo by Aravaipa Running

Photo by Aravaipa Running

It’s crazy that a hydration pack actually makes me feel safer on the run. I’m like a pack-rat runner, I like to carry everything with me and find stuff while I’m out. There was a joke amongst my girl-run-squad that my running spirit animal is a hamster because I ran all night once. This is why I pounced on the opportunity to test out the PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest by Amphipod. I had a 13k trail run coming up with Aravaipa Running and I knew this vest would be perfect for the race and for upcoming training. Also, ever since my ultra, I’ve just come to love to run with a hydration vest. My last vest was a no-name knock-off and I can tell you that I feel like a big girl now with my Amphipod.

Carrying It All

I love to take it all with me when I run: whistles, pepper spray, my phone, a knife, fuel, my iPod (yep, it’s 13 years-old!), water, mini-tripod (for action photos), sunblock and my keys. I get that running with all that stuff can slow you down, especially on interval speed days. But the PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest never let dragged down. I can carry it all without discomfort, the vest is light as can be. When empty the PureRun weighs 7.7oz. 

 Photo by Andrea Heser

Photo by Andrea Heser

My heart did a happy dance when I saw all the storage pockets and space and then it did a flip when I realized the chest stash pockets expand! There is room for everything on this vest, you could even store a 2L hydration bladder in the back. The PureRun comes standard with two 12oz. bottles for hydration. Those are great, although I prefer drinking water from a hydration bladder. I did pack in a bladder from a previous purchase and it works great. Amphipod doesn’t tell bladders (yet), so I recommend finding one on eBay or Amazon.

 Photo by Andrea Heser

Photo by Andrea Heser

Custom, For Me?

So, could a vest really be custom for everyone? PureRun most definitely is. The 360º CinchFit Stability straps helped me cinch the vest tightly around my waist to ensure no bouncing while I was running the 13k race at the Dam Good Run. The 3-Lateral Stabilization System straps are great but the 3rd strap was a bit awkward around my chest (lady-runner problems.) Thankfully the PureRun is so customizable that I was able to slip off the strap and run comfortably with only two. The vest comes in two sizes: Size 1 for a 24”-40” torso and Size 2 for a 36”-50” torso. I am a size 10-12 in women’s clothing with a 36 D bra size and I chose size 2 because of my bust. 

 Photo by Andrea Heser

Photo by Andrea Heser

All Gains, No Pains

Extra gear on your body means extra sore spots and chaffing, right? Nope. Not with the PureRun. The vest is LIGHT. My 13k trail run took me a little over 2 hours to complete. That’s 2 hours in the full desert sun and the temps were approaching 90 degrees at the finish line. I was covered in salt at the end. But the minimalist design, custom fit for no bounce and free-flow Air Mesh cooling construction of the PureRun left me chafe-free! I didn’t sunburn either. I was able to pack a full-size of sunblock in the front storage pocket and I applied it 4x during the race! 

 Photo by Aravaipa Running

Photo by Aravaipa Running

Conclusion 

Watch-out vest competitors, Amphipod did a terrific job with their PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest and people are going to turn to them now for their vest needs. Amphipod is a leader when it comes to waist hydration-belts and visibility (I’ve owned and run with the Xinglet Pocket in Hi-Viz for over 4 years) so it’s a no-brainer that they would lead with a hydration vest. If you would like to learn more about the PureRun and purchase one yourself ($100), please check out the Amphipod website — http://www.amphipod.com/products/hydration/purerun-vests/purerun-minimalist-24.

Follow them on social:
Instagram @AmphipodRunning
Twitter @Amphipod
Facebook

See what other BibRave Pros have to say:
RunnerGirl1612
TrailRunningFaith
Alastair Vance
I Run For Many Reasons
Scoot-a-Doot

 

 Photo by Andrea Heser

Photo by Andrea Heser

Reflections from Godspeed: The Race Across America

"Disclaimer: I received access to a special viewing of "Godspeed: The Race Across America" 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!"

 Jerry Schemmel and Brad Cooper. Photo by RAAM

Jerry Schemmel and Brad Cooper. Photo by RAAM

What does a documentary about two cyclists, trekking across the US in a 3000+ mile race say to non-cyclists? Lots. Godspeed: The Race Across America spoke volumes to me and I don't own a bike. The movie taught me how important camaraderie, teamwork and family are when it comes to competing. 

What exactly is The Race Across America? The Race Across America (RAAM) is one of the longest-running ultra-endurance events in the world and is celebrating its 36th year. It starts in California and finishes in Maryland. That’s over 3000 feet of crossing 12 states. The elevation gain is brutal with travels over America’s three major mountain ranges (Appalachian, Rock and Sierra.) This might be one of the most challenging cycling races in the world but it doesn’t happen to no avail. Racers raise on average over $2 million per year for charities of their choice. Racers can complete solo or in teams and have to finish the race in a set number of days. Learn more about the race and its history: http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/about.html

As a BibRave Pro, I was able to view an early release of the Godspeed. The most important takeaway from watching the documentary is racing really isn't all about the competitor. This is what the movie taught me:

 Brad and Jerry.  Photo by Ryan Schemmel

Brad and Jerry.  Photo by Ryan Schemmel

Camaraderie 

When signing up for RAAM, you could choose to run alone, in a pair, team of 4 or team of 8. Godspeed followed the journey of sportscaster/ultra-cyclist Jerry Schemmel and IronMan/CEO Brad Cooper in their 2-person team. It was incredible to watch the trust these men had for each other. Just weeks before the race, Brad was injured in a terrible bicycle crash. Jerry was concerned but still had hope for his partner. There were times where weather went from extreme heat to pouring rain and a detour that took them in the wrong direction. Still, these men were there for each other. At night they alternated four-hour shifts so the other could try to sleep. They not only had a common goal of winning the race but also to raise money to build an orphanage in Haiti through their team, Team Enduring Hope. You’ll have to watch to movie to see what they placed in the race. They did end up raising $50k for their charity. 

 The Crew. Photo by Ryan Schemmel

The Crew. Photo by Ryan Schemmel

Teamwork

When I race I usually race alone and don’t rely on aid stations, I prefer to carry all of my fuel and water. Would I perform better with a team? Heck yes, I would. I was blown away by the support staff Jerry and Brad had along their entire race. There is so much that goes behind the scenes to keep Jerry and Brad on the road. They had an up to 20-person support crew that included a crew chief, safety experts, doctors, navigators, drivers, bike mechanics and nutritionists. During one white-knuckle scene, a back wheel needed to be replaced on a cycle. But where was it? This is where their team was needed to backtrack and find that wheel somewhere on the side of the road with hopes it wasn’t damaged. The team was there for every moment. There was one moment where they delivered fuel during a quick pass from the side of the road. The bike never stopped! 

 Jerry's wife & son. Photo by Ryan Schemmel

Jerry's wife & son. Photo by Ryan Schemmel

 Brad's children.  Photo by Ryan Schemmel

Brad's children.  Photo by Ryan Schemmel

Family

I teared up quite a few times during the documentary. Each time was during the scenes where Jerry and Brad’s family came into the picture. Both of these men had major support from their wives and children. Brad’s three children and Jerry’s daughter were with them at the starting point of the race, riding in the support vehicles. There was an emotional moment where Jerry’s wife Diane and son Ryan were waiting for him with a sign. The tremendous support from both their families made me realize not to take for granted the support my husband and son give to me during my running journey. 

Go see the film!

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but if you want to watch a motivating and inspirational movie about two men working together with the help from their families and crew to ride the race of their dreams, then please watch Godspeed: The Race Across America on May 22 in theaters nationwide. Tickets are available at Fathom Events

Put Some KT Tape On It.

 Photo by Andrea Heser

Photo by Andrea Heser

Disclaimer: I received KT TAPE 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.

Staying injury-free is important to me. Another way to put it is preventative maintenance! Running is repetitive and over the course of 4 years of running, my left knee has been feeling, well, kind of floaty.  It doesn't hurt but doesn't feel super either. 

I was thrilled when I found I was chosen to test and review KT Tape. I have already been a user for 3 years. My husband surprised me with the tape a few Christmases ago. Now I was able to try most of their popular lines:  PRO, Wide, Extreme, Gentle and Cotton.

Technical info

Here are technical and important info on the five products I tested in easy to understand chart format:

 Chart design by Andrea Heser

Chart design by Andrea Heser

KT-screenshot_instructions.jpg

Getting old or...

I am not accepting the fact I'm getting older. LOL. My left knee doesn't hurt but feels floaty. All strengths of KT Tape has helped me by supporting my knee during running and other daily activity, but my favorite to wear is the PRO because of the adhesion strength. I recommend starting with clean skin and hands. Even using hand sanitizer on the skin after washing helped me get the best adhesion and remove excess oils on your fingers if you accidentally touched the adhesive. The paper work instructions in the box were helpful, but I recommend going to their website and watching their how-videos. That helped me the most. 

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Helping me on the run

The first time I used KT Tape during a race was September 9,  2017. It was 1:30 am and time to check into Jangover Jeadquarters. We were done with the first loop and had 15 miles left to go. I was nervous as heck to take off my Brooks Cascadia to check my feet. Were they going to be totally battered and blistered from 5 hours of running and hiking over 700 feet of desert elevation? Nope. Not a single blister. Before I laced up at the start line, I taped up my feet with small cut strips of KT Tape Pro. I wasn't aware of other blister prevention products or aware that KT Tape sells blister prevention strips, so this would have to do. And it worked. I give a big thank you to KT Tape for saving my feet during my first ultra marathon. Also, that night I taped my right foot using the Ankle Stability wrap. For some reason my right ankle felt shaky for months. I must have injured it. KT Tape helped me feel confident to handle the 1,500 feet of elevation gain and decent without fear. 

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Light as air

One of the things I love most about KT Tape is that I don't notice it's there. The fabric is breathable and stretchy but supportive as heck! Racing is hard enough as it is and having to fight a product while trying to PR isn't efficient. I love how KT Tape helped support my left knee during my most recent half marathon race where I PR'ed at! 

all in the family

My family was curious about my KT Tape. Even though my husband bought me my first roll in 2014, he never tried it. A month ago he tripped and fell on his right elbow. I nudged him and offered to tape him up. I used the General Elbow method and he kept on his tape for 3 days and that helped his healing process. 

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Just last week my son complained about achilles pain. I quickly went to the website and applied the Achilles Tendonitis wrap. He wore his for 3 days and told me the pain was gone.  The cute thing is, he told me he felt like a robot! The KT Tape website didn't say their tape wasn't for children. I would use your own discretion and monitor your child closely if you apply tape on them. Also consider that tape is made for adult sized limbs, so the tape on my son was a little long. Still, this worked great for him in relieving his achilles pain.

My Aching Back

A few weeks ago I went on a turnaround work trip. It was brutal. Hours and hours of either sitting in my car, an uber or a plane. Then 3 solid hours of standing during the photoshoot. My lower back ached when I got home. Thankfully I had KT Tape Pro Wide in my arsenal. My husband helped me apply it after reading the paper instructions and my aches went away. I kept the strip on for 3 days. It held up during my usual runs and showers and I hardly noticed it was there. 

Part of my running regimen

I'm pleased with KT Tape and now I consider it a permanent part of my running regimen. It's great that I can relieve pain and support my running muscles without taking medication. That means a lot to me. 

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If you are interested in trying KT Tape, visit them online at www.kttape.com and use the promo code BIBRAVE30 for a 30% discount.

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Different points of view

The BibRave Community is fierce! If you're curious about reading what other BibRave Pro's have to say about KT Tape, please look here: 
AZ Sun Goddess
Girls Got Sole
Adventures by Katie
Run with no Regrets
The Swag Mama
MDRunning
RunNerd Girl
Organic girl runs
Miles of Sunshine