Speaking in front of others is hard for me to do. It’s not that I stammer or say ‘um’ a hundred times, or even start to sweat. My fear is not coming across authentic and then people will stop paying attention. So, when I decided to do an impromptu presentation about my experience from attending the 10th anniversary of PHXDW earlier this month to the design team at my work, I didn’t practice. The strategy behind that is I wanted to speak from the heart and not from a memorized script. Also, I didn’t want to bore my team with photos from the conference, we’ve all seen those before. Instead, I compiled the best quotes from my live tweeting that I felt would be relevant to everyone. Took those words and made them visually interesting in the PHXDW black notebook/itinerary that came in our swag bags. Photographed the pages, placed them in Keynote and simply talked through the slides and explained why each quote was important to me.
We did it, again! Wally and I both ran the Scooby-Doo Doo Good Virtual 5k for the second time this month. The gains we had when we first took on the challenge were so fantastic, we decided to do it again. Here is the top 3 gains from our Round 2 of the Doo Good Virtual 5k.
Gain 1: Brought Us Together
My dog Wally and I are pretty close. I adopted him when he was about 3-months old. He’ll be 9-years-old on October 1st. Before kids, my attention went to Wally and our other family dog Rusty. Then things changed when baby arrived. Walks & playing became scarce to non-existent. It’s sad to admit this reality, I was barely petting my dog on a daily basis. Still, I was unmotivated to do anything. A month ago I discovered that I could opt-in to the Scooby-Doo Virtual Race Series. This was my chance, our chance, to get closer again. Wally could never participate in a regular 5k race. He doesn’t have the body for it: flat face, short legs, small airway. But a virtual? Oh, yes! Wally could finally run his race, his way, and get the bling to prove it. This meant we had to start slowly. He can only last about 15-20 minutes on a fast walk. Every morning we went out for a walk, just a half a mile to help us get used to the motions. Remember, Wally is almost 9-years-old which means he’s about 56 in human years. Even with training, I realized he couldn’t do a full 5k all in one shot. So, I broke it up in 6-doggy-bite-sized chunks for him. Breaking up our 5k meant more time together. It was wonderful. Sometimes I allowed him to lead on his favorite half-mile route and other times I guided him down new streets to explore. Glad how the training and race process brought us closer together.
Gain 2: Snoring is Gone
Most brachycephalic dogs snore. It’s because of their short muzzles. Wally was a loud snorer. Once we started our training then completing the Doo Good Virtual 5k twice, his snores are pretty much gone. When he does snore, it’s quiet. I believe the Scooby-Doo Race Series is helping Wally get in shape. Excess weight can make breathing more difficult, worsening the snoring. I didn’t weigh him before and after our training and racing cycle during the month of September but he surely made gains in the health department.
Gain 3: Sweet Bling For Doggy
Medals motivate me to run races. Would they motivate Wally too? I never seen bling for dogs until I saw what was offered with the Scooby-Doo Virtual Race Series. Doo Good Virtual 5k and Scoobtober Virtual 5k/10k add-ons gets your pup a bandana and collar medal for each race. Can’t wait for Wally’s Doo-Good bling to arrive so he could show them off to you.
Grow Your Bond With Your Pup
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.
"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."
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.
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 & 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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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!
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
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
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!
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.
Pacing the Craft Classic With Beast Pacing
Hills are going to be my breakfast for the next few months and I'm totally excited. I'm one of the two 2:45 pacers for the Craft Classic Half Marathon this coming October with Beast Pacing. The Phoenix (or you can say the Fountain Hills) Craft Classic is one of the prettiest halves I've paced. But don't let the beauty make you blind. The hills are relentless and show no mercy. I paced this course last year. The elevation is about 986 feet (according to my Garmin fénix 5s.) Check out my Strava activity below:
Conquering a Hilly Half
Hill training was essential for pacing this race and I'm glad I incorporated into my training. I followed a hill plan in the August 2017 issue of Runner's World magazine and I plan on doing that same plan again. It was a tough training cycle and I followed it about 85% last year because it kicked my butt. But, it worked. I had zero issues running up the hills and pacing my 2:45 group, I even chatted with fellow runners, motivating them up, while pushing myself up those hellish hills of Fountain Hills. You can view the plan on the right. I can't find it online, so if you'd like to follow it too, please enlarge the image. Since this plan was in print, I had to manually plug in the training days in my Google calendar. I do like plans that automatically sync online.
Run with Me?
If you are yearning for a challenging fall half marathon, then consider the Craft Classic. The price is $70 until July 4th, then it goes up to $75. All participants will receive a commemorative pint glass, an official event shirt, a custom finisher medal, and runners 21+ will receive one voucher for a free beer from Huss Brewing. Go local! There is also a 5k option if the hills in the half freak you out. But don't let them! Hope to see you there.
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.
- 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.
- Electrolytes. With 300mg of sodium and 140mg of potassium in each serving that helps you stay fueled and hydrated during your activity.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
3. Project Pink & OOfos
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The technology behind the sunglasses are pretty cool but the glasses simply look cool. Here are closeup shots of my favorite pretty details:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
Here are technical and important info on the five products I tested in easy to understand chart format:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Flashy, smiley, happy, mouth-open, grinning from ear-to-ear, arms up, bright, sparkly, patterns.
These are adjectives that describe me on race day runs. Running didn't come easy for me. I worked hard to get faster and go longer distances over the past four years and I'm proud of what I achieved. Expressing myself on race day is important because it reminds me to think positive during the tough times. This is why I was tickled pink to test out BibBoards as a BibRave Pro. Not only does BibBoards save your favorite race shirts from holes and rust, they actually look adorable and are another way to express your personality on the run.
You better believe it that I went with the Heart Eyes BibBoards. Look how cute they are! They would go perfect with my race day outfits. I officially tested them out during the Runner's Den Pancake Run last weekend.
Quality: Overall the quality of Bibboards is great. The plastic is tough and rigid and the printing of the graphic looks crisp and bright. They felt good in my hands. Not too light but a bit heavier than a safety pin. They reminded me of a rivet or a snap fastener.
Application: Putting them on was much easier than I expected. I noticed that the back fastener part of the BibBoard has a flat side. 1️⃣ Grab the opposite side of the flat side, lift up and the backing will quickly pop off. Repeat for all 4 fasteners. 2️⃣ While your race shirt is on, position your bib to the exact spot you want it on your shirt. With one hand, push the front piece stud through the one of the top race bib holes. Snap the back piece onto the stud from the inside of your shirt fastening the shirt and bib between the two pieces. 3️⃣ Finish up by fastening the other three corners of your bib.
In Action: For the first time I raced with a flat bib. Not only do safety pins ruin shirts with rust and holes but I never was able to position my bibs correctly. They would be on my shirt crooked, flap, bunch, get crinkled and sometimes tear away. Also the sound of a floppy bib while racing is enough to make me pull my hair out. BibBoards solved those problems during my 10k.
Expression: Remember how much I love to express myself on the run? BibBoards is another fun way to do that. I choose the Heart Eyes graphic because I love running and hearts look so darn cute. But did you know that BibBoards takes custom orders? This would be perfect for track clubs, run teams, Ragnar runners or anyone who wants to show off a little bit of who they are while they are running. Check out my dream set of BibBoards. Remember that this set would be one order of Heart Eyes and three custom orders because you have to order custom BibBoards in a pack of four. I thought this set would be perfect for my 50k run squad friends. No race? No problem. I discovered that BibBoards could be placed anywhere if the fabric is thin enough. I think of them as buttons on non-race days and apply them to my shirt in a creative display.
Do you like to express yourself on your runs and also like the idea of not ruining race shirts? Oh good! BibBoards is offering 20% off orders with code #BibChat. Please let me know what you think and send me a photo of you on race day or of your custom order.
Simple and monotone was the look of the Runner's World Jan/Feb issue's Run Outfit of the Day. Too bad that's not my style, I'm afraid I'd blend into the streets and sidewalks. See, I want to be seen! My running wardrobe consists mostly of ultra-bright colors, neon accents and — when possible — reflective details. I need to be seen because my miles happen mostly during the pre-sunrise or post-sunrise. This is what we call working-married-mom-life. Family comes first and I need to run while they sleep or after dinner during down time.
Not all clothing or shoes for that matter have the reflection that I yearn for. Um, hello Brooks Levitate? Running shoe purchases are big purchases in my world. I didn't bat an eyelash when I paid $150 for my silver Levitates back in October 2017. When I got home I noticed something that was different from the other Brooks I've owned in the past. Where was the reflection details? I knew they weren't going to be as bright as my Altra Impulse Flash, but these didn't give one bit of reflective detail! Still, I wore them during the dark hours and honestly I didn't feel all that safe in them.
As a BibRave Pro I get the opportunity to test, try and review new products. When the team was asked to test Brilliant Reflective, I jumped on the opportunity. This was my time to make my Levitate's shine! Application was easy, their instructions were straightforward, and the results are brilliant.
Here is my step-by-step process for applying Brilliant Reflective iron-on to my Brooks Levitates:
The Brilliant Reflective strips have been holding up well on my shoes. I've put about 30 miles on them so far and they have been sticking great. If lifting occurs, all I need to do is re-iron that area. It is a product for me because I need to be seen during my low-light runs and this is an easy way to achieve that. The other areas I applied the iron-on strips to were my Foxelli headlamp (see my application process on IG) and the stick-on to my face! If you too run in the dark, I recommend that you give Brilliant Reflective a try. Save a few dollars by applying code BRP25 to save 25% off of all Multi/Assortment Packs. Shine bright friends!
My 2018 Rock n Roll half marathon recap in storyteller mode. This is totally out of my comfort zone so enjoy!
It was Sunday early morning when I turned off my 3:30 a.m. phone alarm. Thankfully I did a flat runner Instagram post the night before because all of my gear was set up and ready to go. I’m pretty good at knowing how my tummy reacts to race day so having a small cup of coffee didn’t bother me. I poured hot water on my steel cut oats and left them to cool. Next up was applying pjuractive 2skin and putting on my race clothes. I was proudly wearing my bright orange BibRave shirt and trucker hat. I had to represent team orange, I wouldn’t have ran this race without them. Tucked my ID and one credit card in the back zip-up pocket of my running tights, grabbed my oats, water bottle belt and car keys and I was out the door at 4:40 a.m.
The drive to Katey’s house was quiet besides the bumping music coming from my trucks stereo. I know I shouldn’t but I had to eat my oats while driving. Totally not safe but very efficient. I arrived at her doorstep a little after 5 a.m. I had some jitters but mostly I was pumped for running my second RnR with Katey. See, last year I helped her PR and this year I wanted her to PR again. She wanted me to PR too and that means we would have to get faster than 2:22. I wasn’t sure that was possible. I did the training but I was just getting over a cold and I had my doubts with myself. Still, I was committed to run the 10:30 pace and see where it would take us! We loaded up in her SUV with our friend Deborah and jumped on the I-17 to make the 45 mile trek from Anthem to Tempe.
In the past I never raced with friends, we would meet up at a race but then run our own paces. Gosh, it felt good knowing that I would be running with Katey. My pre-race jitters were getting more intense on the ride into Tempe. It was about time to find a parking spot and since we arrived so early we decided to try to park as close to the starting line as possible. Thank goodness ASU was offering structure parking for free! We got a spot that was steps from the start line. It was perfect. We waited for Katey’s husband Ray and our friend Fine to park. Once they arrived, we all squeezed in Katey’s SUV to keep warm and chat, laugh and get even more pumped for the race.
Our Garmin’s told us it was getting close to 7:30 a.m. so it was time for potty breaks and stretches and getting in our assigned corrals. It was a nice touch that the RnR crew had bananas and water for us runners at the start line. That was a huge help for me cause my 4:45 a.m. oats were pretty much digested and my body needed more fuel. I quickly ate one and we all headed to the dreaded bathroom lines. The lines were awkward. The potties were lined up parallel to each other, maybe 25 on each side. There wasn’t much space in between them so people were lined up facing east for the east potties and facing west for the west potties. Lines moved quickly but when it was my turn a man jumped in front of me and was about to snatch my potty. I looked up at him straight in the eye and said “Excuse me?” and he backed down. Bathrooms were stinky but clean and stocked. Did my business real quick and headed out to find Katey and the rest of my run crew.
The corrals were getting jam packed at this point. We had to get in there now! We found an open spot and that’s when I was getting super pumped! The emcee was fantastic, they were playing music too. The garbage bag I was wearing to keep warm was just overheating me so I took it off. Next came off my long sleeve tech tee. I was sad to see it go but RnR donates the tossed clothes, it will be recycled. Holly and her husband Antonio arrived and we started our selfie ritual. It was obvious I was happy cause in every photo I have my mouth wide open like a goofball.
The count down was on. GPS signals were found and start buttons ready to be pushed. Katey staring happily at me, we were ready to RUN! We were off and past the start line. Our goal was 2:20 and we each had our pace bands on. Gosh we were feeling so good. The first two miles flew by, like seriously flew by. Then mile 4 hit and that’s when we started to feel the slight uphill. This is the deceitfulness of this course. It’s a hard race. There is approximately 226 feet of elevation gain. That doesn’t seem like much but it is when you are trying to PR. Even though the slight uphill was eating away at us. The roars from the spectators helped tremendously. At every turn of the road, the crowds were there with their bells, signs and screams. It felt good to hear them.
Our pace was slowing down a bit. We knew what was ahead of us. Were we in denial of the big hill? No, we trained for it. It was going to kick our butts and we were ready.
Katey told me her goal was a 12 minute per mile pace up and we started trucking up. Where were the drummers? I was counting on their beats to get me up and I didn’t have any music on me so I was wondering if they weren’t there this year. Boom, boom, boooooom, boom. Finally, they were there and it was just what I needed. We bounded up, did the u-turn and started heading down. I wanted to fly but I knew to save my legs so the pace was only dropped down a bit. This is where the rest of the course gets deceiving. You think you are done with hills but another baby one appears. I was getting grumpy. Where is the huge blow-up Brooks man? That vision got me motivated to keep pushing along. Katey told me she wanted to make up some lost time earlier. We actually picked up the pace on mile 10 and mile 11. We were pushing our bodies so hard. The sun was shining brightly and I could tell my arms were turning from being sun tanned to sun burned. And the salt on our faces! That was proof this race was kicking our butts. At mile 12.2 we started to slow down and we started to walk. I didn’t mind. We were still going to get Katey a PR. I could tell something was bothering her. I had a feeling it was because she wanted us to both PR at the same time. I understood that. I told her this was her race! And it’s all about her PR’ing. It was obvious that this point that she would get close to a 30 minute PR which is huge IMO over the course of year.
Let’s start running again. Our Garmin’s told us we were at mile 12.7, getting close to the bridge that goes over Tempe Town Lake and the finish chute. Our legs were heavy, the crowds around us screaming. It was now or never. We turned the corner and there was the glorious chute and that finish line. We gave it all we got and ran it in. It was magic. Running is magic. We finished at 2:30:54. That was a 28 minute PR for Katey and I am so proud of her. Running is hard. I used to think it’s for everyone but it really isn’t. It’s for the dedicated and focused and is something Katey is. We proudly took selfies and scarfed down snacks. I was craving chocolate milk since the expo. Chugging it quickly is not a good idea after running 13.1 miles, ugh, I had a tummy ache.
Where was the family reunion area? My brain was foggy, I didn’t know where I was. A volunteer shouting in a mega phone near my ear was yelling at us finishers to get out of the finish area and keep on moving. I plugged my ears and followed Katey. She was able to get some information from a helpful volunteer at the info tent and found our letter A and dry patch of dead grass. Sitting never felt so good. I was on cloud nine.
Ray and Deborah met up with us and we chatted a bit before deciding to make the trek back to the parking garage. Where exactly was the parking garage? It was actually a long walk. My phone told us 30 minutes. Seriously? No. Yep! The lactic acid in our legs thanked us. Katey got a call from Fine, she was lost. We ended up meeting with her at the parking garage at last. This was the perfect moment for us to sit in Cupz Coffee for tea and carbs.
Our ride home consisted mostly of girl talk and race memories and talk of what’s next on the race docket. One thing I know for sure is that racing with Katey is the best. I never knew racing and running with someone could be so wonderful. I’m thankful for her. And thankful for BibRave to give me the opportunity to represent them.
As a runner I noticed topics that used to be embarrassing to talk about —snot rockets, potty habits before a run and spitting — were not so uncommon to discuss in the running community. Except for… um, chafing. Yuck, that word even feels icky to type. But the rubbing of skin and blistering (aka, chafing, ick) is a reality to many runners! It was only when I got closer to my squad of Sunday Runner gals that I felt safe enough to talk about it.
A New Product To Try
I thought I found the perfect product a few months ago. It’s a lanolin based cream that is mostly used for nursing mothers. I had some left over from when my son was a baby and tested it out for the 50k I did in September 2017. It worked well and I didn’t chafe, but my clothes were stained and pretty much ruined and it left my body greasy.
This is why I was thrilled to test a new product just in time for the Arizona Rock ’n’ Roll half. Just a week ago I got the opportunity to test 2skin by pjuractive as being a BibRave Pro, They are actually a 20+ year old company, I had no idea. 2skin is quite an innovative product because it’s gel based and that means it doesn’t have the gunk in it (wax or oil) that will ruin your clothes but is strong enough to aid against chafing.
Here are some of the technical details:
- It's gel/silicone based
- It's sweat and water resistant and forms an invisible film. That’s what protects the skin.
- It doesn’t block pores
- It’s dermatologist approved
Putting It To The Test
2skin came in the mail the same day I was headed out to the Rock ’n’ Roll Arizona expo and I was excited to meet the pjuractive team, introduce myself and ask questions. Jon Hughes was helpful and even knew me by my Instagram handle and that impressed me a ton. He asked me what distances I ran and what other products I used for skin issues during running. I told him about the lanolin staining issue and Jon reassured me that staining is not an issue with 2skin. Also he gave me a helpful tip: a little goes a long way and an example of that is a dime size amount is enough to cover an entire foot, toes and in between toes. I’m thankful Jon let me know and I applied that advice to Sunday’s RnR half.
The high for Sunday was going to be 78 and that means I was going to sweat a bunch on the course. That morning, on clean skin, I applied 2skin pjuractive around the area at the bottom band of my sports bra, under the waist band of my running tights and my inner thighs. It took about 2 dime sized amount for each of these areas and 10 seconds for it to dry. I ran hard at the RnR half and wasn’t able to shower for a while afterwards cause of the 45 minute walk back to the car and 32 mile drive back home. When I got home I didn’t chafe or blister on areas that I applied 2skin! I’m pleased to report that there were no ‘Psycho’ screams coming from the shower. I did get a blister on one of my baby toes but that’s my fault. I didn’t apply pjuractive 2skin there. I should have taken Jon’s advice and took care of my feet. I usually never blister there so boo to that! And my clothes didn’t stain. This is also important to me because tech clothes are expensive.
Overall, I recommend pjuractive 2skin. It’s actually sitting in my running wardrobe now as one of the products I will use on every run, sitting right next to deodorant and sunblock!
Here is my pros and cons list for pjuractive 2skin:
- No chafing whatsoever even after 2 and a half hours of running in 70 degree Arizona temps.
- Easy to apply and no weird residue after
- No scent while in use. Some anti-blister creams and waxes that have nut butters in them usually give off a funky smell once mixed with sweat, it’s gross.
- Removed quickly in the shower with soap and water. I didn’t have to scrub it off like the lanolin.
- Since the product is so smooth and silky, it kinda comes out of the packaging fast! So be careful and work with small amounts so it doesn’t get all over.
- It’s clear so it was unclear for me if I put too much on or not enough. With practice, I’m getting better at application. And I’m using the ‘dime-size’ rule for one foot from Jon as guidance.
- Packaging is not female friendly-looking. I know this isn’t a biggie. But when I Iook at the packaging I think this is just for dudes. So if I were in the store, I might have passed this up thinking it’s just for men. Not asking for florals, but maybe something with a more simple design, I’m not sure! The design is modern though.