Road Tested: Garmin Forerunner 935®️

Disclaimer: I received a Garmin Forerunner 935®Multisport GPS Watch from Garmin 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!

Little known fact about me: when it comes to transporting things, I like to make things as difficult as possible for myself.

No, no, really. I do. It’s very hard for me to condense. My husband always laments that I’m the least efficient when it comes to packing.

This applies to running too. I have… a lot of things. An iPod. My iPhone. A FitBit. An interval timer. Headphones. Watch. Gels. Belt. Hydration vest. You name it, I probably have it somewhere on my person.

Or… well, I did.

After six years of running, I’ve realized the error of my ways. When I’m running I should carry the least amount as possible, not the most; I’ve been trying to par down my running gear. While these things are all extremely useful unto themselves, there’s gear that can pull double, even triple duty!

Cue the Garmin Forerunner 935®️!

Since getting the watch last month, there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I’ve not worn it. I don’t wear it to sleep (but I could, and perhaps should) because it has sleep tracking.

The Garmin Forerunner 935® has so many features that if I were to include them all, I’d be writing a novel that rivals War and Peace in length.

As such, I’m going to share the top three features that I use and as blog posts go up, I’ll be sharing links at the end of this post to other BibRave Pros blogs so you can read their highlights too.

The Garmin acts as my step counter, so the first thing I shed was the FitBit One. My FitBit hadn’t been working well recently. And since I’m trying to par down, making the decision to switch over to the Garmin was an easy one.

My goal is to hit 10,000 steps every day and I do check on this number throughout the day (more than I care to admit). I’m a stay at home mom so on the days that I don’t have a run scheduled, I use the step counter to keep me honest and motivated throughout the day.

Additionally, the Forerunner 935® has a move alert. If I’ve been sedentary for too long, a vibration reminds me to get up and move!

I’ve also said goodbye to the interval timer that I used to clip to my belt because I can just use the one on my Garmin! You can easily set the intervals for distance, time, or open (which means open-ended intervals).

I’m a fan of the Galloway method for longer races, meaning that I use set intervals to pace myself throughout a workout or race.

One of the main reasoned I used a separate interval timer was that it allowed me to change my intervals mid-race. This is slightly more challenging using the Garmin.

For example: Occasionally I begin a run or race at 2 minutes/walk 1 minute and decide that I’d like to switch to a run 1 minute/walk 1 minute. Changing intervals run on the Garmin breaks a run into segments, rather than a continual overall distance.

However, I feel like I’ve gotten better over the past few years about gauging what type of timing I’ll need on a particular day so I’ll continue to use the Forerunner 935® for this feature. The interval timer is getting moved to the back of the running drawer.

Speaking of moving, the third feature that I’m loving on the Garmin Forerunner 935® is its wrist based heart rate monitor. This is a new to me feature; my old watch had a chest strap heart rate monitor, which I rarely used.

I’ve been keyed in on this data the past month. I’m always interested to see my resting heart rate compared to my heart rate when I’m doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or running.

While this is a multi-sport watch, I haven’t had the opportunity to use it during a different type of workout yet. However, the fact that I can use it while swimming has piqued my interest! Without a doubt, I’ll be trying when we open our pool again in 2018.

I could go on and on about the other things that I love about this watch.

The long battery life is unparallel to any previous devices I’ve had.  The texts/app alerts so I’m not constantly grabbing my phone are so convenient. The ability to change music directly from my wrist so I don’t have to constantly take my phone out of my belt is awesome.

The Forerunner 935® stops just short of cooking and serving my family Thanksgiving dinner. (Oh, how lovely that would be!)

I have everything I could ever want or need in one spot and that spot is the Garmin Forerunner 935®.

Reviews from other BibRave Pros:

Jenna

What are your must haves during a run? I’m a reformed pack-rat and I’m doing good with the paring down on items that come with me on long runs/races. Do you have any specific questions about the Garmin Forerunner 935®? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer from personal experience and if I don’t know, I’ll ask around to my fellow BibRave Pros.

Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving!

Recipe Box: The Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know when you have weeks that feel like they’re never going to end? How about when that week is capped off by having to take your car to the shop AND going to the dentist to get shot up with novocaine?

Those weeks are not so great.

My favorite way to fix weeks like this one has been is to bake. Not only does baking do positive things for my mental health, it also results in delicious treats, which are generally good for my soul. I don’t subscribe to feeling guilty about food anymore, either, so making cookies or brownies or some other treats every once in a while is great – and definitely not something I feel like I have to earn or work off later.

Probably the most-loved recipe in my collection is my great aunt’s recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. It’s the most popular cookie in our family – my sister has perfected it – and we made a ton of them for my wedding to share with our friends and family.

And now I’m going to share it with you. Love this recipe, bake it with care, and most of all – enjoy it.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Auntie Joyce)

1 cup margarine (or butter)

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

 

2 eggs

Dash of salt

1 1/2 cup of flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp hot water

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups oatmeal

1 package chocolate chips (or however much you want)

 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream together margarine and sugars. Add eggs and salt and mix. Add flour, baking soda, water, vanilla, and oatmeal – mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake for 12 minutes. Eat your face off.

Road Tested: Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel

Disclaimer: I received an Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel 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!

When you think of Fall, what do you think about? For me it’s all about getting outside as much as possible – fall racing, fires in the fire pit, hikes, crunching through leaves, you name it!

That’s why I was excited to be picked to try the Eagle Creek Duffel through BibRave. Because while we’re running around, getting outside as much as possible, a do-all bag is key.

Check out how small the duffel is able to fold up! I love this not only makes storage easy but it’s also a great way to pack an extra bag if needed. When we go on vacation, we usually need an extra bag for the things we pick up along the way and having one that can be packed on the way there and then expand to a full duffel works out really well.

I thought the Eagle Creek Duffel would be great to bring to races, and it was.

My family joined me for the Run Inspired 10k in Delaware and I knew that I’d want to bring a change of clothes and (perhaps more importantly in the eyes of my husband) we needed to brings things to entertain my children while I was running. We packed everything in the duffel, with room to spare.

I was very grateful I had that change of clothes because it was lightly raining during the race and I was thoroughly soaked by the time I finished.

By the way, the bag did great in the misting rain. I had everything in the main compartment and it all remained dry. The bag is water repellent but just keep in mind that if it’s really raining hard, you’ll want to get your bag to a dry spot.

The bag is super lightweight, weighing less than 2 pounds total which does matter when you’re packing a ton of stuff in it! And that’s exactly what my 12 year old son, Lucas, did this past weekend.

He’s a 2nd class rank Boy Scout and this past weekend went on a camping trip to Annapolis. After he was wearing the bag around the house and looking at it with interest, I thought it would be a great way to really put this bag to the test.

This weekend was the first cold snap we’ve had, with temps down in the 20s overnight. For the camping trip, the 60L bag fit all of his clothes, from thermals to sweatshirts.

He had a great time sleeping in a tent, taking a tour of the Naval academy, and watching the Navy football game. Once he returned and after he got settled, I asked him what he thought of the duffel.

“It was great! You were able to stuff a lot of things in there and it fit a lot. If I couldn’t use it as a duffel bag, I could always sling it over my shoulder. The zippers worked great. I’d use it again if I got the chance.”

(And then he gave me the puppy dog eyes.) (Which I think means that it’s no longer MY bag, but OUR bag.)

A few of the other BibRave Pros have flown with the Eagle Creek Duffel 60L and they say that it’s the perfect size for a carry on, which is awesome too! I’m looking forward to taking it on future trips with me.

Check out reviews from my fellow BibRave Pros: JennaMaiLaura – Fallon

Join us for the Eagle Creek Twitter #bibchat on Tuesday, November 21st at 9est! I’ll be there and it’s always an awesome time!

How to Cheer at the Philadelphia Marathon

The Philly Marathon is this coming weekend and I have cheered at this race more than any other. I was recently chatting with a few folks that will be cheering for friends and family this year and trying to explain my location strategies for maximum viewing potential.

While I was drawing with my fingers on the table and explaining my route, I thought it might be easier if I just wrote a blog post! And here we are!

source (with added stars from me)

When I’m cheering, it’s usually for a friend staying with me, so I end up being there super early to escort them to the starting area.

If time is on your side and you’re chilling on the streets of Philadelphia (please sing along with me), my suggestion is to visit the Starbucks located at 16th and Arch Street. It opens at 6:30, which is a half hour before the elites begin and leaves you plenty of time to grab something yummy before staking out your spot on the street.

Make sure you’re standing near cool people, get comfy (dress for the weather and have comfortable shoes on), and get ready to CHEER!

I start off right by the purple star, just past LOVE Park. There’s some construction in the area but you should be able to grab a prime spot to catch your runner just after they hit the mile mark of the marathon.

Cheering for Victoria during mile 1 in 2012 (this was when the half and full were on the same day/course)

I like telling my runner what side of the street I’ll be on so they know where to look for me. For the first area, I like being on the runner’s right. That way I can easily cross through to my next cheer zone AND I don’t have to run across the street in front of athletes.

Also, remember that this is a big race with lots of corrals. Tracking your runner is always a great way to know where they are on the course. You can also look at their bibs for corral placement so you know that when you see your runner’s corral color, you know it time to look for them in earnest.

Swoop, the Eagles mascot cheered with us too!

Mile one you’ll see lots of smiles and everyone is looking strong! As both a spectator and someone who’s run the half course I can tell you that the energy here is fantastic.

After your runner passes, you can cut through the couple of blocks to line up with the yellow star. I usually walk down a bit so that I’m just past the 10k mark.

You can hang anywhere from miles 5.5 to just before 7 and it’s minimal walking so you do you!

Cheering for Kyle in 2013

The crowds are THICK in this area, sometimes a few people deep. Bring a bright sign, a cowbell, and your best yelling voice. While you’re waiting for your runner, you can cheer on other runners because they’ve got their names on their bibs. Show them what the city of brotherly and sisterly love is all about!

Brooke made this sign in 2011

After you see your runner during this stretch, you have a couple of different options. If you’d like, you can go shopping for a bit. Depending on how speedy your runner is, you might have some time to get some food before they come through the finish line.

Or, if you’re crazy, like I know many of you are… you can make the long trek to cheer for the runners along Kelly Drive (red star).

This is where the course gets a bit quieter. It’s hard to get out there and cheer and there’s nothing that’s too accessible for a cheerer. BUT THAT DOESN’T SCARE YOU, DOES IT?

No. I didn’t think so.

So what you’re going to want to do is head toward the finish line… and just keep walking. That’s right, keep on going. The marathoners are doing it and that means that you are too, if you want to cheer for them.

When I was cheering in 2013 my Fitbit informed me that from start to finish, I traveled 10 miles. TEN. This isn’t for the faint of heart! A lot of people bring/rent bikes to cheer, by the way, and that’s always a great option.

This section of the course is an out and back so if you’d like, you can see your runner on the way out, cross the street (safely) and see them on the way back too. Or, if you’re like me, your runner can see YOU as they run by.

Try really hard not to be like me.

Thankfully I caught her on the way back, at around mile 24.

Runners at this point might be in survival mode. I usually adjust my cheering to fit the situation. If someone looks like they’re hurting, I’m more subtle in my cheering. If someone is looking strong, I’ll tell them just that. That stretch of road can feel like forever to a runner so I always want to be compassionate.

If you station yourself at mile 24, then you miss out on seeing your runner cross the finish. I *just* missed Kyle! Sure, I could have run there but I didn’t. Having experienced both, I think that I’d rather see my runner come across the finish line (or be right before it).

But honestly, I think that anything you do, you can’t lose because your runner will just be so happy to see you every single time. It really does make a difference that you’re out there, supporting them!

2010 Vic’s a marathoner!

2013 Kyle’s a marathoner!

I’m still trying to see if I’ll be able to make it into the city this Sunday to cheer on those running the marathon, but if not, I’ll be hooting and hollering from here. Guaranteed!

What races do you like to cheer at? Have you ever done the Philadelphia Marathon? (Or any marathon? Not me!) BibRave Pro buddy, Joe, is running his first this weekend!

2017 Goals: Revisited

It may seem a bit premature to be revisiting my goals for 2017 and beyond, knowing we still have a month and a half left of this year. However, I like to think of this review as a last-ditch effort to accomplish as many of my goals as possible before 2017 ticks away and we welcome a new year.

TO REVIEW. I wrote about my goals in this post.

“We hear so much talk about #newyearnewme that is almost seems like a requirement that we all resolve to be skinnier or stronger or whatever. I have a hard time with that, because 1. The me that I am right now seems pretty okay, and 2. Shouldn’t we focus more on being a better human being and making meaningful changes in our lives than just the superficial?

Similarly, I don’t think the beginning of the year has cornered the market on when we’re allowed to set goals. Who says you can’t make resolutions at the end of January, or in May or in August? No one, that’s who.”

My mindset now is pretty much the same as my mindset back in January. I’m still working on being a better human in general – a process that I’m pretty sure should never end. It’s always a work in progress.

Some of the goals I set for myself are super easy to measure. Others are a little more subjective. But, let’s see where I’m at, so that I can see what I can work on through the holiday season.

Goal #1: Get More Sleep

I would love to say that this has been a rousing (or not?) success. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. I haven’t been terrible at sleeping, but I haven’t been nearly as dedicated to achieving 7+ hours of sleep a night as I probably should be. I’m always working on this – this weekend for example, I was in bed at 8pm on Saturday night. Mind you, I didn’t go to sleep until around 10, but I was allowing my body to relax and that felt good. As it starts getting darker earlier, getting to bed earlier will be easier. I will do my best to use this to my advantage.

Goal #2: Read More Books

Going hand in hand with getting to bed earlier was making time to read more – I used to be a card-carrying bookworm as a kid, but since college, I haven’t made as much time for reading as I should. I had a goal of reading 30 books in 2017. I think I’ve read… *counts* eight or nine. Fail. Well, maybe not a total fail – I still technically have read more books in 2017 than I read in 2016, so that’s a win. Of those eight books, three were Game of Thrones books, and honestly those should count for at least three books… each. They are effing long. Great, but long. Oof. I’m in the middle of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere right now and I’m really enjoying it. Happy to be back on the book train and totally riding it into 2018.

Goal #3: Balance My Workouts

I definitely worked on this one all year – mixing up my weightlifting with running and Kaza, and now making the jump to CrossFit. CrossFit has definitely given me balance without my having to think about it. Since each workout incorporates cardio work along with strength, I feel like the hour I spend in the gym nearly every day is well-spent and I feel a lot less guilty about missing a workout or taking a rest day (or two) because I know that my body needs the break.

Goal #4: Get More Involved in My Community

Ugh, you guys, this one is a hard fail. I hate admitting that. After the election last year, and after the Women’s March, I was so jacked to fight back through activism and involvement. But, aside from keyboard activism, and voting in my local elections, I have yet to really get involved locally. I can make excuses, but that’s all they’d be. I’ve been educating myself a lot in the last year. Time to turn that outward.

Goal #5: Adjust My Five Year Plan

This goal just makes me laugh out loud. Literally. I think I’ve changed or adjusted my five year plan about four times, significantly, in the last 10 months. Some of that has been because my priorities have changed, but mostly it has to do with external factors dictating some of that five year picture for me. Military life, you guys, it’s a bucket of surprises. Planning anything becomes an exercise in extreme patience and flexibility – something I’m not always good at, but am constantly trying to improve. Perhaps a new goal would be to work on being more tolerant of things that are not within my control. Yes. I think that’s it.

As I said in my post from January, these goals aren’t necessarily time-stamped, and they certainly don’t have an expiration date. I’ve just been trying to mindfully working on them little by little all the time. I will continue to do so through the next month and a half and as 2018 begins, I will have more goals to add, I’m sure.

Did you set goals for 2017? How successful have you been at keeping them? What challenges have you faced?

Cold Weather Running – Bring It On!

Disclaimer: I received BUFF® ThermoNet™ 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! Applications are open now through November 15th for the 2018 year. As always, all opinions are my own.

The weather here in New Jersey has been cooling down considerably and I have to admit, this is my FAVORITE weather to run in!

Why? Well, primarily because when I’m running I find that my body temperature mixed with the cold air makes it perfectly comfortable. I’d much rather run in layers than be sweating all over the place.

My go-to clothes for colder weather runs are a long sleeved moisture-wicking shirt with my running jacket layered on top (seen in above picture). That jacket has been with me since I started running and it’s done more than its fair share of training runs and races with me.

I usually opt for running capris or pants, depending on the level of coldness. Gloves that are touchscreen compatible are a must, too, for all my picture taking/social media posting needs.

Recently, I got the BUFF® ThermoNet™  Multifunctional Headwear and Hat to add to my cold weather running gear arsenal. Having reviewed the BUFF® Pack Run Cap in the past, I knew I’d be getting a quality made product and looked forward to trying these out in the cooler fall/winter temps.

ThermoNet™ in Crash Berry

However, when I got them in September, it seemed like we might never see the cold weather here in New Jersey! Summer decided to linger a bit longer than usual and it made me concerned how I’d accurately get to try and review the BUFF® ThermoNet™ gear.

You see, the ThermoNet™ isn’t just a regular BUFF®. It’s actually made with a special material (PrimaLoft®) which is 4 times warmer than the microfiber of the original BUFF®!

Additionally, it pulls the moisture away from the skin so you don’t feel all gross and sweaty.

Thankfully it’s cooled off considerably over the past few weeks so I’ve been able to get out there and use both the headwear and the hat.

I love the versatility of the Multifuctional Headwear and the fact that I can use it thirteen different ways. Most often you’ll find me sporting it neckerchief or face mask style.

It’s perfect for the coldest of weather running and I already have big plans to wear it during my next run, The Light Run.

I know, I know… I said in one of my recent blog posts that I was done for 2017! However, The Light Run is an non-timed, fun run through a nearby town to take in all of the holiday lights. A lot of my local friends will be there and it’s always a great time! How could I not?

What are your must-haves for winter running? Besides clothing, I always make sure that if I’m running at dawn/dusk/night, I have my Knuckle Lights and noxgear Tracer360 vest.

Be sure to join us for the BUFF® ThermoNet™ #bibchat on Tuesday, November 14th at 9 est! There are always some great giveaways during #bibchat, just sayin’.

If you’d like to save money at the BUFF® website and gear up for winter running, you can receive 20% off your entire order at www.buffusa.com when you purchase at least one product from the ThermoNet™ collection. Includes ThermoNet™ Multifunctional Headwear, Hats or Balaclavas. Enter code: *BIBRAVETHERMONET20* at checkout. Expires: 11/21/2017

Want to read more about BUFF® ThermoNet™? Swing by my fellow BRPs blogs: AmyAngieMattJessicaCasey