TRE Influencer Day

Disclaimer: I received a travel and hotel stipend and swag from The Running Event 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! No further compensation was given and as always, all opinions are my own. If something was given for review purposes, it will be disclosed.

The Running Event is a huge convention for the running industry. Brands and those involved with anything running related, from nutrition to medals to recovery to gear (just to name a few) converge in Austin, Texas for this week-long show. Closed to the general public, this is a chance for vendors to explore new products and prototypes, hear from innovators and inventors, and connect with others in the field.

Besides new products and prototypes, there was something else that was brand new to The Running Event this year was… ME. The coordinators of The Running Event partnered with BibRave to bring 20 bloggers/social media influencers into the exhibition hall for TRE Influencer Day. I was lucky enough to be chosen to explore The Running Event and it was beyond awesome.

Group A for awwwww, yeah!

The BibRave Pros were split into two groups of 10 with official Team BibRave tour guides, Andy and Steph. We were on a tight schedule with plans to visit 10 booths within a two and a half hour span throughout The Running Event. The (Vooray) swag bags we received at the Welcome Reception had goodies and gear from Addaday, Altra, Arcanum, HandfulVuori, CEP, Incrediwear, Zwift, Brooks, and Nuun. These are the brand we visited on the expo floor.

It was a great opportunity to learn more about their products, designs, and visions for each brand. Hearing the passion and excitement from each of the brands presenters made us understand the vision and thought process behind the products.

Throughout the month of December I’ll be putting these products to the test and sharing my own thoughts and opinions about them. But for now, here’s a small peek on the extremely cool morning at The Running Event.

Arcanum

Cannabidiol (CBD) is not something I knew a lot about prior to TRE. The buzz regarding it has been great so I was interested in learning more about its benefits and how it can be used during workout and recovery.

At TRE we met Lindsay of Arcanum. We learned her personal story about her autoimmune disease and how activated hemp assisted in her recovery. CBD oil can be used pre and post workouts, aids with sleep, and even helps to combat anxiety. I was interested to learn that she uses the Sarco Breeze as moisturizer on her face to help with redness and acne.

Arcanum means mystery within and in this case, it’s the activated hemp.  But don’t worry, I won’t be keeping my thoughts a mystery regarding Arcanum. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the Arcanum Sarco Breeze, Sarcho Freeze, and The Quill in the upcoming weeks.

Handful

As with anything in this world, there are wants versus needs. For me, a good bra is a need. I have a generous “handful” and it was great to hear from the ladies of Handful bras and apparel. One of their original goals was to make a sports bra NOT have the dreaded uni-boob. Well, they have succeeded!

From there they’ve added more to their line, including this Flippin’ Awesome Tank which they demonstrated at TRE.

Along with the Y-back bra, the lady BRPs also received leggings from them in our swag bag. While we visited their booth they also gave us each a sweet Handful hat, which I’ve been wearing non-stop since I got home.

Vuori

California founded company, Vuori was founded with the goal of making technical clothing for workouts that would transition to casual wear. The brand started with men’s clothes; however women began to gravitate toward wearing them and they saw the want for it, they expanded to include a women’s line too.

We were encouraged to feel the materials and check out their clothes. Incredibly soft and modern/stylish. I have my eye on the Halo pullover.

I always find it interesting to ask what the brand name derived from because I think it says a lot about the vision of the brand. In this case, Vuori means mountain!

Vooray

Hooray for Vooray! These gear bags had me at hello. The goal of Vooray is to offer great bags and a price point under $100.

The folks at Vooray were very receptive to ideas, asking for input and opinions on the spot which was awesome. I especially like the bag above has a ventilated shoe pocket for stinky shoes after a workout.

Our swag bag was the Vooray ACE Backpack (you can see many of us wearing it in top picture) and they also gifted us the Active Fanny Pack while we were there. I know that both will get a lot of great use!

Addaday

Next stop on our tour was to Addaday, which many associate with their massage rollers and therapy tools.

However, the first thing we learned about was their new full leaf runner’s tea! The importance of keep the leaves full, not crushed, is that to preserves nutrients. We were able to sample the tea and also get packets to try at home, which I’ll share more about in my upcoming review.

In our swag bag we received a muscle roller, which particularly rocks because my hamstrings have been tight lately. The Addaday booth also had a sweet set up with chair and foot massagers. I think we would have been perfectly content hanging out there all day!

Alas, there was more to see and do at The Running Event so we were on to the next!

Nuun

While some of the products and brands we were introduced to were ones I’d not been aware of previous, I’m not new to Nuun. It’s always been a tried and true for me and I usually grab a tube when I visit my local running store. I was looking forward to trying the samples but I didn’t really think I’d be hearing things I didn’t already know.

Boy, was I surprised!

Just as a quick example: I learned about the different types of Nuun (caffeinated has the colored cap, while non-caffeinated caps are write) and the Immunity boost (which I’d heard about from Ash’s review but hadn’t yet tried myself). Obviously I’ll be sharing a lot more information once I’ve tried them all in my upcoming review. Also, at their suggestion, I’m planning on trying Nuun warm and maybe even a Nuuntini. Fancy!

Incrediwear

Incrediwear is another new to me product that I’m really excited to use during my workouts. It always says something when you hear directly from an athlete that has had great success with products. World class sprinter, Manteo Mitchell, shared his story of breaking his leg during the 4x400m relay at the 2012 London Olympics. Despite the break halfway through his lap, he finished the race and helped his team get a second place victory!

Afterward Manteo was looking for something that would aid in his recovery. Incrediwear has done that for him and he’s passionate about their products. It was great to hear him speak about the brand.

While I don’t currently have any injuries, I’m looking forward to using Incrediwear products during my training and recovery. I’ve already checked out the Sport Socks during a recent run and they were great!

CEP Compression

CEP Compression was next and while I’ve worn compression socks before, I really had no idea about how and why they worked. The pressure from the compression accelerates the removal of metabolic waste as well has assists in keeping you stable while running in addition to reducing swelling.

The products are made in Germany by Medi. Medi is the brand that make compression for medical purposes while CEP is their athletic branch.

We received compression socks and Merino wool socks to try during training/recovery and I’m looking forward to trying them. In the past I’ve always fought to get compression socks on however I learned a little trick called the toe pocket so I’ll be trying that with CEP Compression!

Altra

The next stop on our TRE tour was at Altra. I’ll admit, this is a brand that I didn’t know too much about prior to visiting their booth. I think that the idea of zero drop shoes was always something that made me nervous, mainly because I didn’t know what it was or how it would pertain to me.

I was also very interested to learn about the Fit4Her technology which caters specifically to the female foot. We were able to see a number of different shoe styles as well as see a few of the new colors coming out in 2019.

Compared to what I usually wear they are super lightweight. I got a pair of Escalante 1.5 (Silver) to try and I’ll keep you posted on my thoughts when I hit the road.

Brooks

Our final destination on the official BibRave/TRE tour took us across the expo floor to the Brooks booth. I’m well-versed with Brooks apparel  but I’ve never run in their shoes before last week!

I’ve considered getting Brooks shoes in the past but have always wound up sticking with the shoes I’m currently in for fear of change. However, I was given a pair of Brooks Ghost 11 at TRE (some of the other ladies were given the Adrenaline GTS 19).

I’ve been wearing the Ghosts for my runs and training sessions since then and they’ve been working really well for me. More thoughts on those and the LSD jacket coming soon!

Final Thoughts…

We learned about Zwift the day prior at the Zwift Welcome Reception so we didn’t spend time with them at their booth however I did get the chance to wave as we passed by at the expo. We had a bit of time after our TRE tour to stop look around and stop at a few booths along the way. Unfortunately, Kim and I had to get back to our hotel to check out so we didn’t get to stay too long but it was fun to swing by StuntPuppy, PROHairTie, Untapped, MUD, and Boco Gear.

What stood out to me the most at each brand we visited was their intense excitement and love for their products. The passion for their products stand out and it’s clear that this is how they get better and evolve each step of the way.

Before we said goodbye to our group, we had to take the obligatory group selfie!

I love these people.

Thanks BibRave and TRE for the amazing experience! Let’s do it again in 2019!

Want to read more about The Running Event? Check out the BibRave Pros blogs:

Jessica, Vanessa, Kim, Teddy, Mai, Nicole, Mark, Jenna, Corey, Amy, Ryan, Gina

BibRave + The Running Event = A HECK OF A GOOD TIME

Disclaimer: I received a travel and hotel stipend and swag from The Running Event 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! No further compensation was given and as always, all opinions are my own. If something was given for review purposes, it will be disclosed.

Picture this: You’re traveling solo to the new-to-you city of Austin, Texas. You get off the airplane and your eyes bounce around the airport, in search of the color orange.

The faces you’re looking for are ones you’ve never seen in person (save for a few, whom you’ve met previously at races); You know them from social media posts, Twitter chats, and the occasional conference call. You’ll be spending the next two days with these people and it’s a bit nerve-wracking.

And then there they are, beacons of light in orange, wearing their BibRave hats and shirts and huge smiles.

In that instant, you know that you’ve found your family.

As a BibRave Pro for the past two years, I’ve had so many awesome opportunities. However, I’ve got to say, this opportunity was the granddaddy of them all! A trip to Austin for The Running Event and the chance to meet 20 fellow BibRave Pros and 5 members of Team BibRave, the staff that includes Tim, Jessica, Julia, Andy, and Stephanie.

Once I received word that I’d been selected to go, it was a pinch me, I’m dreaming moment and that sentiment continued throughout the course of two day adventure!

We didn’t have anything “official” on the agenda until the Zwift Welcome Reception that evening but it’s clear to see that you can’t keep Pros apart. After arriving and meeting up with Kim, Chris, Brenda, and Mark, we took an Uber to our hotel. Once getting settled we decided to have lunch at Moonshine.

It started with four of us and after sending out a quick text to let everyone know where we were, we ended with 14!

From there a few of us branched off to take a quick tour of the city. I’d never been to Austin before but from the brief time we took walking around, I know that I must go back!

Don’t Mess with Texas or Casey, Mark, Chris, Gina, me, Tedrick, and Kim!

After our quick walk about town (and visit to Voodoo Doughnut, natch), we headed back to the hotels and got ready for the Zwift Welcome Reception.

Zwift is a virtual game that you use on the treadmill. For those attending the conference, our representation were the “chosen” four!

A run was set up with our other Pro friends and they all “met” up in the game at 5:45 for a 5k run. Cheering them on was so much fun. Give me a pompom and let me loose!

 

I was given a footpod from Zwift (the device that connects you to the virtual game) and we’ll be doing another BibRave virtual run on December 18th so I’ll be able to give you my full review on that in a couple of weeks.

Earlier in the week, Team BibRave announced the winners of The BibRave 100, a comprehensive list of the 100 best races in America, voted on by runners. Benjamin the lion is The BibRave 100 mascot and we were excited to see him in attendance! Of course my roomie, Kim, and I had to take a picture with the lion of the hour!

The welcome reception is also where we received an incredibly generous amount of SWAG from companies at The Running Event.

Holy moly, it was honestly like Hanukkah and Christmas morning all rolled into one. And maybe my birthday too.

My eye doesn’t know where to go first!

Following the reception we went for barbecue dinner and then finished up the evening at the Brooks Party. A good number of us wore the Brooks LSD Jacket that we’d just gotten and soon realized just how reflective it is.

Jessica, Kim, and myself

Can we say awesome? That’s a lot of reflection! Check out the picture above and see if you can spot the same jacket without the flash.

Due to the early morning wake up (3:30 for Kim and myself) we decided to head out early from the party. However, just before we left, we got to meet Des Linden, this year’s winner of the Boston Marathon. What a great way to wrap up day 1!

The following morning we were up before the sun, as we prepared for a 6:30am BibRave group run. It was such an awesome experience running around Austin in a big orange pack. I might sound a little bumpkin-y here but city running is certainly different than running here at home.

Thanks to Larry Castillo Photography for the amazing shots during the group run!

Kim and I even ended up twinning in our Skirt Sports Temper Tantrum print and BibRave shirts!

Team BibRave had a great spread of food set up for us after the run, which was so awesome and appreciated. We grabbed our bagels and ran back to the hotel room to grab a quick shower and get ready for TRE Influencer Day!

TRE Influencer Day was so epic, I covered it in a separate blog post. Click here to hop over!

The More You Know

Since I’ve started this journey to find my fit self, I’ve learned many many things.  As a novice, I made mistakes.  I’ve carb-loaded with beer and macaroni and cheese.  I’ve ran a race in brand new shoes.  I’ve overestimated the length of my running shorts and skimped on the glide.  After running this weekend’s Disney Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland, I realized I’ve learned a few things.  I also realized, many things left to learn I have (Yep, I just Yoda’d you).

Channeling my inner Yoda (who sounds a lot like Meri).

Channeling my inner Yoda (who sounds a lot like Meri).

I can’t say I was feeling particularly confident.  You all know how serious I am about training (please note sarcasm) and I’ve been nursing a sore ankle since last February.  I’m beginning to think I’ve damaged it beyond repair because I’ve been waiting and waiting for it to get back to normal but it seems I’m stuck between 60-80%.  Also, once again, I’m having problems with my feet and shoes.  I’ve had a long lasting love affair with my Skora’s, but after last weekend’s Citrus Heritage 5K here in Riverside, I fear the sneaks have fallen out of favor. With only a week until the half, I was in no position to break in a new pair of shoes so I toughed it out at Star Wars.  Because that is my jam, yo.  As a toy collecting, merchandise wearing, video game playing fan, if anyone should participate in an Inaugural Star Wars themed race, it should be me.

Just a taste of my collection.

Just a taste of my collection.

Despite this business, Meri persuaded me to make a plan.  Plan you must, she said, like my own personal Jedi mentor.  So I decided to do intervals.  I mean, really do it.  Like actually stop when my phone tells me to.  And I went to bed early.  And I didn’t drink beer the night before and I got up early and ate a great, healthy snack and I wore comfortable clothes, including a pair of bright green compression socks courtesy of my chick and Star Wars roomie, Vic.  I biofreezed, KT taped, AND compressed my ankle.  And guess what?  I PR’d.  That’s right.  I never thought I cared about this until I actually beat myself.  Yes, it’s true, I love beating myself.  And now I feel like a whole new runner.  The more you know…

Screenshot 2015-01-19 15.13.06 (3)

I think I’m going to stick with this planning thing.  I bought new shoes today.  I know, I know, AGAIN?  But I went and had my feet evaluated because during that race yesterday, all I could think about was how if my feet would stop throbbing, this race would be amazing.  The race was amazing, the course was fantastic, the costumes divine, but my feet effing sucked.  So Brooks, you’ve worn me down, waited me out, and here I am, putting my poor flat feet into your big, ugly soles.  I also got orthotic inserts to try out and if they make a difference, I’m seriously considering having some customized ones made.  Something has to be done or I won’t be able to run much longer.  And we all know that CANNOT happen.  I can barely stand the fact I didn’t do the Rebel Challenge this weekend.  Every time I heard the clanging of medals yesterday, I was overcome with medal envy.  Imagine if I could never again feel that sweet victory ribbon heavy with determination hang around my neck.  No.  Race I must.  And so wear ugly shoes, I must.

20150119_144725

They’re not so bad, right? And I can cute them up with socks, right? RIGHT???

My Feet are Trying to Kill Me

It’s that time of year.  In 2013, I logged a few Ragnars, a couple half-marathons, and some fun runs and my running sneakers have seen better days.  It’s widely known that I have a sick fascination with footwear.  I own  it all: boots, clogs, flats, Moccasins, Oxfords, Mary Janes, Espadrilles, and chunky heels. I have tap shoes and ballet shoes and boat shoes.  My Salt-Water Sandals, flip-flops, and Chucks come in every bright color, and my sock collection is even more impressive.  Knee socks and bobby socks and ankle socks and funky patterned socks.  My footwear is like a page out of a Dr. Seuss book.

But there is one type of footwear that I despise having to shop for.  And it’s all because of my stupid flat feet.

I’ve searched high and low for a running shoe that will not hurt my feet.  I’ve read articles and visited experts, all to no avail.  It’s always the same, it only takes minutes of running before my feet start to rebel.  It doesn’t help that I suffer from Air Jordanitis Syndrome.  It’s a side effect of growing up in the 90’s.  A tragedy really, it’s responsible for my compulsive tendency to believe that a new pair of shoes will actually increase my running speed and drastically improve my agility.  If I could only find THE pair of running shoes.  Similar to the holy grail or an easy diet, I’ve heard of their rumored existence, but I’ve yet to encounter them.

This is why I need your help, internet friends.  I don’t know which shoes to buy.  I have about 2 and a half months until my first big race of the season, plenty of time to break in a new pair of kicks.  Do I go minimalist or a trusted favorite?  Do I dare make the switch to a barefoot shoe? Do I just need to wear my inserts?  Show me the way, oh trusted internet!

I have narrowed my search to the following contenders.  All pictures have been borrowed from their respective links.

1. Saucony Omni 12

saucony

I currently own these and they’re not bad.  They worked out okay and still look pretty decent after a year of abuse.  They’re not perfect, I still have foot pain and lately I’ve been having some shin pain.  It’s unknown if this is caused by my erratic fitness regime or my flat feet but if there’s the hope of that perfect shoe out there, I simply can’t just settle for decent, right?

2. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13

Brooks

I took a little quiz on their site and this is the shoe they paired me with.  I’m not crazy about it, it seems all the flat foot friendly shoes aren’t very cute.  And we all know cuteness matters.  However, everyone raves about Brooks.  I have ran in Brooks before and they do have a more generous toe box, which I like.  But they’re so borrrrrring.

3. Mizuno Wave Sayonara

mizuno-running-womens-wave-sayonara-410536-pri-4U73

I have this good friend who writes this blog that I love and she seems to like her Mizunos.  This shoe is pretty light-weight and it looks snazzy too.  I like the mesh and it just looks fast.  This shoe definitely plays into my Air Jordanitis Syndrome.  I feel like it will shave minutes off my pace!

 

4. Merrell Road Glove Dash 2

Merrell

I love this shoe.  I have been interested in trying out Merrell for a while now, but I’m extremely nervous about this whole “barefoot” idea.  This shoe just screams my style and it weighs a whopping 6 ounces.   And it’s adorable.  Have I mentioned how much I want to be able to run in these shoes?   My fear is that I want them to be “the one” more than they actually will be.  Kind of like that guy I dated in college.

 

 

5. Newton Energy

newtonNow, I hadn’t heard of these shoes until I started researching my options.  I googled “running shoes for flat feet” and into my life these little gems appeared. I love the style, I like the breathable mesh, and they have a kick-ass tread.  And it was Shoe of the Year.  I dig how wide they are, I’m no dainty dame and my Flintstone feet need a bit of accommodating.

 

As you can see, I have quite the decision to make.  What’s a stylish, yet comfort-seeking, gal to do???