Chick Chat – Where We Play

Growing up in Alaska taught me a lot. Primarily that being outside is better than being inside about 98% of the time. Like, inside is literally only better when its so cold outside your body parts freeze, but even then… just put on warmer clothes. I don’t know.

Alaska is full of so many cool things.

Consequently, I enjoy being outside for nearly all of my fun activities. Hiking, running, working out – you name it. If I can be outside, I’m a happy camper, in some cases literally. There’s really not a better place to start a conversation about where we play than The Great Land. In Alaska, I was lucky to have a mountain to climb literally out my front door and plenty of other trails to explore just minutes away.

In fact, one of my favorite training runs ever was back home. I did a 20-miler around Eklutna Lake, a glacial-fed body of water not far from my parents’ old home and a frequent recreational area for us. The park has a campground, biking trails, hiking trails, cabins, kayaking… you name it. I did my run in late August (early Fall in Alaska) and the weather was absolutely perfect. Sunny and cool but not cold. My parents rode their bikes alongside me. I put my feet in the icy water when I finished.

20 miles around Eklutna Lake? #AlaskaFTW

In Virginia, I tried to take advantage of our proximity to Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge mountains. Clay and I went hiking as often as we could when we still lived out east.

Having recently moved cross-country to Southern California, I’m finding myself taken by how beautiful this area is. We are maybe 15 minutes from the beach and I can see the coastline from our house. We haven’t been able to get out and hike here at all yet, but we have gotten to workout outside, which is something new!

Lifting barbells and doing burpees outside in the sunshine (when it’s not oppressively hot) is pretty amazing! I’m looking forward to exploring more of what SoCal has to offer in the years to come.

As a born and raised Florida girl there are a ton of places where I love to workout and play in, but also a lot of places I’ve yet to see! Most days I tend to be a homebody. I like the comfort of my couch, books, and cats. When I’m training or need to go for a run, my neighborhood works pretty well. I lived in an apartment for over ten years, but bought my first house almost two years ago. My neighborhood is a quiet little place that’s perfect for late afternoon runs. It’s fun getting to know new routes and waving to all my neighbors. And also meeting new friends.

I love this guy.

I spend a lot of time at school, teaching and coaching, and the rest of the time commuting. I live in Southwest Florida and, well, snowbirds. A lot of the time I get home too late to run so I like to find little parks or areas to pop into for a quick couple of miles. It’s fun and gets the job done. Also, when I’m out in “in the wild” I can’t just walk home. I’ve got to finish what I started.

  

 

Palm trees and sunshine for days.

School is definitely another place I workout and play. I play everyday with my students, but also with my Girls on the Run girls. They keep me young and I get to yell at them and pretend it’s motivation!

My classroom is one of my favorite places.


I try to always be on the lookout for new places in the area to workout or play in. My family frequents Disney and Universal parks, too, though most of the working out there is walking, dodging other park goers, and standing in line. Oh, and eating ice cream. Obviously. (Okay, and posing for silly pics.)

With Grete in Epcot.

I try as hard as I can to take advantage of all the amazing places to play near me. The Intermountain West has SO MUCH TO OFFER that it’s sometimes hard to choose where to go. Whether I’m running or hiking, I’m all about scenery and luckily scenery isn’t a problem here in Colorado. Most recently, I hiked a few miles of the Sourdough Trail with my sister as part of our #52HikeChallenge goal.

It was a perfect day for a hike. The temp was around 42, and the trails were not too snowy, icy, or crowded. Even though I had my microspikes sitting by the door I forgot to grab them, but I was fine with snow shoe poles.

The view from the top.

It is always so quiet and peaceful, and that is what I love about being on the trails. All you can hear is the wind blowing through the tops of the pine trees. It’s incredibly therapeutic. So much so that I forgot to turn on my GPS until we turned around, so double this and reverse it. Technology seems out of place here.

I love playing in the mountains because sometimes you also see cute animal butts and jaw-dropping sunsets.

When we first started discussing this “where we play” post, I was excited! During the warmer months, you’ll find me outside more often than not. I’m a fan of fresh air and the wind in my hair.

In my neck of the woods, New Jersey, I’m really lucky to live in a development that’s surrounded by farmers fields. If you walk out my door and head down the road a quarter of a mile during the warmer months, we have corn, squash, and a variety of other crops.

Not even two miles away is a vineyard. I have yet to run there but that is on my bucket list. (Maybe I’ll Uber home.) Good Day for a Run holds a Run the Vineyards race there each spring and I either run or volunteer each year. With it being so close to home, how could I not?

Last winter and this one, I’ve been hibernate. I actually love running in the cold weather and one of my favorite places to run is the boardwalk. But I’m still a bit of a Nervous Nelly with winter and ice after breaking my arm last January.

So yeah, lately where I play has mainly been inside. I’ve been sticking to treadmill running in my basement and training at the gym. It doesn’t produce nearly as interesting Instagram photos as the great outdoors but it works for me!

Tell us about where you love to run/hang out!

sNOw Problem

Disclaimer: I received free entry to 305 Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I knew it was too good to be true. Here in New Jersey, our mild winter has shifted right into the cold weather we are used to having this time of year.

Not only did we have snow over the weekend but this coming weekend’s forecast predicts not one but TWO more snowstorms headed our way.

No, thank you.

What’s a girl to do? Oh, that’s right, have a warm weather contingency plan!

As Ash alluded to in her post, it was not very difficult to talk me into coming to Florida to run this race. In fact, I think she just said, “I’m considering the 305 Half Marathon in Miami with BibRave.” That’s all it took; I immediately started looking at travel plans.

My parents live in South Florida so it’s very convenient for me to fly down there and stay with them (And they love having me – even though I’m not bringing my kids along.) (…I think).

I’ll be down there for a long weekend and back in time for family activities up yonder way. I’m hoping that I get the chance to visit with some of my Florida family as well. Even though it’s a short visit, I have a ton of extended family down there.

Registration was quick and easy through Athlinks. I’m automatically added to the start list, which is pretty cool and I’m looking forward to getting my results through them as well. Always nice to have things organized in all one spot.

Of course this means that I probably need to start getting some more long runs in. I’ve been running every day between 1-4 miles. But I’m thinking a couple of longer runs will only help matters when it comes to a half.

Ashley and I are ready to PR in fun with this one and with a generous 16 minute mile pace, I’m more than confident in our abilities.

This was the last time we ran a race together but we didn’t actually run together. It’s been a hot minute!

Want to escape to the warmer weather too? You can use the code BIBRAVE305 and take $10 off the half or $5 off the 5K!

Are you a fan of snow or would you rather be basking in the sunshine on the beach?

2019, Let’s Do This!

2018 started of with a bang and a whimper. The bang was me hitting the icy ground as I took out the recycling, one January morning. And the whimper was when I quickly realized that my arm really, truly hurt.

My 2018 goal was to focus on shorter distance races and while I did that, I feel like my training was somewhat derailed after the first couple of months were a wash. Simply put, my heart wasn’t really into racing. Yes, I was doing races but my level of of pushing myself was not there.

I was okay with that then.

I’m not now.

I’m ready to train harder and make achievable goals that I can hit. Not every race is going to be a RACE for me, but I know what I’m capable of and 2018 wasn’t it. I suppose my 2019 goal is to try diligently and train better.

I have a (surprise!) run streak going right now. I didn’t start on the first of the year because hey, why be normal? Instead I started on December 28th and for the past 11 days I’ve run at least a mile a day. I have a good feeling about 2019!

So far, here’s what’s on the race calendar. Of course, I have my eye on a few more races so this could/will need to be updated soon.

february

This will be my 3rd year returning to The Chili Run. It’s a hilly two mile race (you read that right, two miles!) and it starts/finishes at a restaurant, Carolina Blue.

Run out a mile, run back the same mile. Chili and beer await at the finish line!

Good Day for a Run is a local NJ race company and they always put on quality events. Last year runners got a hat, the year before the swag was a chili bowl and spoon. This year it’s a medal and shirt.

If you’re near me and considering this race, register soon because the January date is already sold out and February is close to being capped. (And then let me know so I can look for you!)

april

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Philadelphia Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This is yet another race that I’m returning to for a three-peat. What’s not to love about the Hot Chocolate series? You get a run, awesome swag (I can’t wait for this year’s jacket), and at the end of the race, a big ol’ mug filled with treats and hot chocolate! The 15k runners also get a medal!

This race draws new and old runners alike. It’s a big name, the distance options are appealing, and the swag is fantastic. Plus, there’s chocolate on the course. Yeah, that’s right!

If you’re registering for the Philly race, code “BRHCPhilly” will get you a free armband like mine.

Or, if you’re looking at a different Hot Chocolate race, swing by the discount codes page and grab the code for your location.

Next up on April 13th is the Atlantic City April Fools 7k.

Usually I run the half marathon during this event. I skipped 2018 and this year I’m running the 7k for the first time ever. Instant PR! My son, Lucas, is registered for this one too and I have a couple of friends who plan to be there as well.

The 7k and 11k are on Saturday. With my Healthy Kids Running Series program running through April on Sundays, it just makes sense that I opt for Saturday races. I’m looking forward to returning to AC and running a familiar route.

Disclaimer: I also received race entry to the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon 5k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Intrigued? Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This has been a bucket list race weekend for quite some time! I live in New Jersey but have yet to participate, which just seems silly! Therefore, when the opportunity came through BibRave to sign up for the 5k, I knew this was the time to get it done.

The 5k is on a Saturday, which once again, works really well in my schedule for the spring. I’ve heard good buzz about this race from friends and on Twitter. While the BibRave reviews mostly focus on the marathon and half marathon, it seems like a fun, well organized event.

Want to join in the weekend events? Use code “NJMBIBRAVE19” for $5 off any distance (5K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Marathon Relay).

june

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to AC I go! I’m sure no one is surprised that I’ll be returning to Atlantic City for the Bungalow Beach Run!

2018 was the inaugural year and I’m looking forward to getting back and stretching my legs out on the boardwalk. Last year was a bit overcast but I’d much rather that than hot.

The finish is on the beach and I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about that portion. Thankfully it’s a short distance!

Registration for the Bungalow Beach Run is currently $45. Not bad for a 5 mile race that includes a medal, shirt, and beer.

Crazy to think that brings me through the first 6 months of 2019! What else is in store? Only time will tell but I’m ready for whatever comes my way!

Zwift Runpod – Interactive Treadmill Experience

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Runpod at The Running Event 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!

It seems that there are two types of runners in this world: those who HATE the treadmill and those who don’t.

While some people find the treadmill to be monotonous, I’m actually a big fan of the treadmill. I’m not sure why I don’t consider it the “dreadmill” like most people do – maybe it’s because I became a runner on the treadmill. From my very first mile to my first long run, it happened in my basement, on the treadmill.

Which is why I was beyond stoked to learn about the Zwift Runpod opt in through BibRave. Well, actually, my first thought was: What the heck is a Zwift Runpod? 

But as soon as I found out, I was really pumped!

Zwift was originally a cycling trainer program, released in 2014. At the beginning of 2018, Zwift introduced a running experience to the virtual game and it’s been gaining traction ever since.

There are a few ways to participate in Zwift’s treadmill game.

  1. A fancy Bluetooth treadmill that connects to the app. (I don’t have said treadmill, mine is standard regulation.)
  2. A Runpod which has Bluetooth to connect to the app. This is what was provided for the BibRave Pros who opted into this experience.

Additionally you’ll need iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac/PC to run the Zwift app and Zwift Companion app, if taking part in group runs.

I received the Zwift Runpod just before leaving for The Running Event in Austin, Texas in November so I didn’t have much time to play with it before then.

However, the folks from Zwift hosted a Welcome Reception for the BibRave Pros at The Running Event and it was there that I got a full understanding of the capabilities of Zwift.

Four BibRave Pros in attendance at The Running Event were chosen to run in a Zwift BibRave group run. The rest of the virtual people participating in the 3.1 mile group run were BibRave Pros across the country (and maybe even the world – we have a few Pros in different countries).

At this event the treadmills were Bluetooth enabled. As you can see, Chris and Brenda’s have iPads in front of them, which were hooked into big screens so everyone in the room was able to see the game.

The four runners took turns on the treadmills, making their way through the virtual world of Watopia along side of the other BibRave Pros.

We had the opportunity to chat with the Zwift representatives and ask questions. They suggested calibrating the pace of yourself, the treadmill, and the Runpod so that the game could get a sense of metrics.

It was so much fun to cheer Vanessa, Brenda, Chris, and Lindsay at the event and see how the app worked. It’s gave me a good sense of how the virtual running world worked and I looked forward to trying my own Zwift Runpod out once I got home.

We had a BibRave Tempo Run workout scheduled for mid-December but I wanted to get used to the app so I tried out the Zwift Runpod a few times prior.

Unfortunately, I had trouble with the connectivity of the Runpod at home. I was able to calibrate it but then mid-run my avatar would stop running and either stand there or stretch.

I wasn’t sure how things would go during the 2.62 BibRave Tempo Run but I planned to at least start with the group and try.

While I was running during the Tempo Run, the same thing happened. I jumped out of the Companion App and over to the regular Zwift App to see if re-calibrating would help but when I returned to the Companion App, I was locked out of the run.

Waittttt for me!

I was bummed that the BibRave Run was a bust for me but more determined than ever that I would get this to work for me. Type A personality shining through, I know.

The Zwift app has a figure 8 course that you can jump right on or you can choose a session that you’d like to run. I decided to try different things with the Runpod, including switching it from my left shoe to my right, making sure that it was facing a certain direction, and also focusing on shorter runs.

While my runner stopped a few times, I was usually able to get her back moving again by stepping off the belt and back on.

With all the stopping and starting, it doesn’t give me a true sense of time it takes for a workout so I don’t feel like my pace is “true”. Over the past three days I ran in “NYC” for a half mile, did an “easy walk/run” session, and did “The Hills Are Alive” workout.

I was two hills down, one to go during “The Hills Are Alive” when the pod lost the signal. Frustrated, I called for my engineer husband because I thought he might be able to assist me in figuring out what to do.

We took the Runpod off my shoe and found that it was blinking red. We switched the provided lithium CR-2032 battery and I was able to finish my workout.

Speaking of my husband, I was telling him how difficult it was to see everything on my phone screen while running. Staring down at the tiny screen perched precariously on the ledge of my treadmill wasn’t cutting it. He was able to hook it into the HDMI TV I have over my treadmill. This is a game changer!

There is chat capability with others on the course but I’m in no way skilled enough to run and type.

In summary, I love the concept of the Zwift Run app and I really want to get it working consistently for me. Once I do, I’d like to plan a few virtual runs with fellow BibRave Pros (or anyone else who has a Zwift account). I have so many friends that are not close by in proximity but who I love running with and this would be a great way to run “together.” If you want to give it a try, code “BibRave15″ to get 15% off the cost of the Zwift Runpod from Zwift.com.

I’ll keep you all posted on how things go as we head into 2019!

Zwift BibRave Pro Reviews: Matt, Jenn, Steph, Mai, Lissa, Lisa, Andrea, Tedrick, Corey, Jen, Jessica

 

Recovery: The Running Event Product Reviews

Disclaimer: I received items from Addaday, Arcanum, and Nuun 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. 

Ahhh, recovery days. It’s a time for my muscles and body to relax and to recharge in both the physical and mental sense.

Once upon a time (aka when I first started running in nearly 8 years ago) I didn’t embrace the recovery mindset as much as I should have and I wound up with overuse injuries and overall fatigue. I’ve learned from my past mistakes and now I love recovery days as much as I do a good sweat.

In fact, I’m using the time between Christmas and New Years to settle deep into the recovery. Sure I’ve been working out but the balance is finally resetting. It’s the first time in at least a month I haven’t had to be at least three places at once and I’m taking full advantage of this down time. I’ll say it again, ahhh!

I received a few products at The Running Event that I’ve been using to aid my recovery. Read on to learn about each!

Arcanum

Sarco Breeze 4 oz: $40, Sarco Freeze 42.5: $35, The Quill: $50

I’ll be frank with you, I knew next to nothing in regards to activated hemp/CBD oil before meeting Arcanum representative and fitness professional, Lindsay Minz, at TRE Influencer Day.

Through Lindsay’s presentation, I learned the different uses and benefits for each of the products we were given and I’ve been putting them to the test since returning home from Austin a month ago.

The Sarco Freeze soothes sore muscles when I’ve been a little too overzealous at the gym. It occasionally happens! Additionally, this month has been full of wrapping presents and that means sitting on the floor, stretching, twisting, and generally doing things the “difficult” way instead of the easy/smart way. The Sarco Freeze is my go-to to help ease my aching back.

(Yes, I feel old when I complain about my aching back.)

The Sarco Breeze is not only a sports massage oil but also a moisturizer. Lindsay shared that she uses it on her face and it’s helped her skin significantly. This intrigued me and I don’t have any set skin care regiment so I went for it – applying it before bed every night. I’ve been really pleased.

No make up, no filter!

A few years ago I was bit in the face by a dog and I’ve been using Sarco Breeze on my entire face but paying special attention to my scars. It’s helped break up some of the scar tissue, so that’s an added bonus.

Finally, I’ve been using The Quill which is a gel pen that releases just the right amount of activated hemp through the skin. Applied to the wrist or anywhere there is thin skin, it helps with recovery and boosting your system with natural ingredients. This assists in regulating inflammation.

All of the Arcanum products have a very light, mild scent. I’m learning more about CBD every day so if anyone is knowledgeable and would like to share information with me, please comment!

Addaday

Type C Massage Roller: $42

Addaday Type C Massage Roller is touted as a “runners favorite massage roller” and after just one month of use, I can see why.

I’ve been using this roller after tough gym sessions, especially on my lower body to help with recovery and muscle soreness. This roller has the small red gear that helps is good for shins and calves while the larger grey/blue ones are good at helping with lactic acid buildup.

This particular Addaday roller is a little over 18″ long, which makes in easy to pack in a bag for traveling. I love my huge foam roller but it’s not very easy to transport.

When it comes to using the roller it’s definitely a “hurts so good” mentality – sometimes rolling hurts more than the actual muscle soreness but it also assists in healing faster. Pairing this the products from Arcanum has taken me to the next level in terms of fast recovery. When you’re not able to get a massage, the roller is a fantastic substitute.

Nuun

Nuun tubes: $7 each, Nuun hydration bottle: $7

We here at Scoot a Doot are not new to Nuun Hydration, in fact I think we first reviewed it way back in 2013.

I use it during my workouts for hydration because Nuun helps you absorb fluids and nutrients faster and contains the optimal blend of electrolytes. In addition to that, I’ve also been dipping into my abundant Nuun supply on recovery days.

Nuun Vitamins are a newer product that provides 11 vitamins and minerals and are good for any day of the week. I capital L-O-V-E the Blueberry Pomegranate flavor!

Nuun Immunity I was excited for the opportunity to try this one after reading Ashley’s review in September. Nuun that gives my immune system a boost? Absolutely, sign me up.

I was raving about it to my husband and then (wouldn’t you know it) he got sick with a gross stomach bug that’s making the rounds in this area. My blueberry tangerine Nuun Immunity quickly became his because, without going into too much detail, it was literally all he could stomach for a few days.

At the suggestion of the Nuun folks at TRE, I tried the orange citrus Immunity with hot water, making a “Nuun tea.” Not something I would have ever thought to do but it was tasty and really nice now that the weather here in New Jersey is chilly.

I hope that your days are filled with relaxing and recovery, especially now that the holidays are winding down. Just a few more days until New Years and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I can’t wait for 2019 to arrive. I’ll be back on Monday with a review for Zwift’s Running Pod.

In the meanwhile, be sure to swing by Jenn’s 2019 goal post – she plans to do 52 hikes next year! Ash just had a great first Girls on the Run season! Kyle has been busy with her move across the country (gulp!) but I’m sure we’ll get a life update once she’s settled. 

Inside Out: The Running Event Product Reviews

Disclaimer: I received items from Altra, Vuori, and Incrediwear 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. 

No sooner did I write about having a mild/nice weather in December did it rain. I feel like I might have jinxed things and if I did, I do apologize.

However, I also mentioned that I’ve been using some of the products that I received more inside than out… so now is the perfect opportunity to share my thoughts on Vuori, Incrediwear, and Altra!

Prior to attending The Running Event I didn’t know much about these brands so it’s been a “getting to know you” experience.

Incrediwear

Sport Socks Thin, No Show: $14, Active Socks: $13.55, Sport Socks Thin, Knee High: $18, Women’s Performance Capri: $70

Incrediwear’s line focuses on healing, recovery, and performance. I love the feeling of the Women’s Performance Capri and they’re great for lifting weights. They fit great however while I was running they were sliding off my hips; I found myself stopping to hitch them up. Because of this, I plan to wear them on gym days and for recovery.

All runners know just how important the right socks are and I can say with confidence that Incrediwear socks are the right socks for me. They fit well and I can go for miles without any sort of irritation or blisters occurring.

I was surprised at the thin material of their knee high sock; I was expecting it to be more like compression socks I’ve used. I love the feel of these socks and they’re now my go to socks when they’re clean. (I know you all know what I’m talking about, the ones you grab first from the sock drawer!)

Incrediwear, you are incredible!

Vuori

Omni Performance Short: $58

While at The Running Event we were able to visit the Vuori booth and I absolutely loved the look and feel of their clothes.

Unfortunately, I got the wrong sized shorts in my swag bag so I wasn’t able to personally try these. Sadly shorts cut like these don’t work for me because the chafing struggle is real.

Whomp.

But hey, there are still a few days before Christmas! I’ll just put it out there to Ol’ Saint Nick that I wouldn’t mind getting Vuori under my tree. (I know he’s obviously reading my blog.)

Halo Performance Pullover: $86

Omni Legging: $78

I’ve been mostly good so I expect to find these on Tuesday. Okay, thanks!

Altra Running

Since I started running I’ve had two bouts of plantar fasciitis, so naturally I hear the words “new shoe” and I’m a bit leery. That said, I absolutely love Altra’s Escalante. They’re super light, breathable, and I love the look of them.

Escalante 1.5: $130

I took these for a spin both on the road with my best running partner and at the gym. I usually do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and weight training workouts and the Escalante has been my go-to shoe for gym time every Tuesday/Thursday morning.

Nothing like a brand new set of weights and shoes!

Yet, after a few runs outside, I felt a twinge in my right foot. It could be nothing but I don’t want to risk taking myself out of stability shoe. I’ve decided to use the Escalante at the gym for lifting and for running short distances. I think overall it’s the right decision for me and my feet!

I know a lot of the other Pros are enjoying putting miles on their Altra Running shoes so if you’d like to check out their thoughts, be sure to visit my friends. Corey did a great vlog review and he believes the Altra have helped his plantar fasciitis, so it just goes to show how different shoes can work for different people.

2018 is nearly over and while it’s gone quickly, I am looking forward to 2019 being even better! So many good things ahead.

What’s some of your new favorite workout gear?

1, 2, Meet Me Outside: The Running Event Product Reviews

Disclaimer: I received items from Handful, CEP Compression, Brooks, and Vooray 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.

Wearing all the gear in this review: Brooks LSD Jacket, Handful Bra and Leggings, Brooks Ghost 11 shoes, CEP socks (one of each!), and the Vooray backpack.

 Oh, the weather outside is frightful.

Actually, that’s not true. Other than a random snowstorm in November that we were not expecting and a teeny tiny bit this month, December has been fairly mild thus far here in New Jersey!

I don’t have a deep-seated hate for my treadmill by any means but I do have a bit of self (and husband)-diagnosed SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) so I’m happy to get outside as much as possible.

In my TRE Influencer Day post I mentioned that I’ll be trying out the products I received for review purposes and sharing my thoughts throughout the month. There were many; it really was the ultimate runner’s swag bag!

Over the past weeks I have been trying these products out and I’d say that they fit nicely into three categories of my fitness: Outside, Inside, and Recovery.

Obviously some of the products fit in more than one category, which I’ll mention as I go along. My Type A brain likes to break things down into bite-sized pieces when it comes to blog posts.

Since Mother Nature has been blessing us with the good vibes, let’s kick this party off with some of the products I’ve been using OUTSIDE.

Handful

The ladies at the Handful booth gave us the camo hat, and I love it because the orange matches so nicely with my BibRave orange! Y-Back Bra: $56.00, Squeeze Play Legging: $70.00

Let’s talk about bras, baby.

There are a lot of things that I’m open to trying but new bra brands are not usually one of them. Why? Well, let’s just say that I’m not lacking in the chest area. Years ago I found a bra that works for me so I’ve stuck with it.

However… Handful’s Y Back Bra is ah-mazing. I’m seriously mad at myself for not giving them a chance sooner. The material is so soft and I’m a fan ruching in the middle, giving a more defined shape.

Handful Squeeze Play Legging has been in my rotation since I got them! The high waist works well with my hips and I’ve worn them for running (both inside and outside). The folks at Handful have a love for ruching as seen on the top panel of the leggings in the back. The front of the panel has a pocket where I keep my car key.

I usually don’t put my workout gear in the dryer, to make it last longer. These are made from a light-weight spandex that dries incredibly fast.

I don’t have particularly long legs so the length is a bit long for me but it’s suggested on the website that the pant can be worn stirrup-like. In the picture above I cuffed them under so you can see my CEP Compression socks.

CEP Compression

CEP Compression Socks for Recovery: $50.00, Trail Merino Socks: $60.00

Before going to The Running Event, we supplied BibRave with our calf measurements so we could get the perfect fit for the CEP Compression socks.

I chose to wear the Trail Merino Socks during The Light Run. They’re warm and cozy and I like the cushioning on the bottom. Compression wise, they weren’t too tight and felt good on my calves; when I took them off after a few hours of wearing them I didn’t have ridges on my skin.

My trainer has been having us doing a lot of step ups on the box, skips, lunges; you name it, we’ve been doing it. I’ve been rocking the Compression Socks for Recovery after particular challenging workouts (read: all of them) and they’ve been a big help helping with soreness and quicker recovery.

I mean, if they’re good enough for Meb Keflezighi to wear during his Boston Marathon win, I suppose they’ll work for me!

Brooks

LSD Reflective Jacket: $105, Ghost 11 Shoes: $120

While CEP Compression and Handful are both new to me, Brooks has been on my radar for what feels like as long as I’ve been running. I own Brooks apparel and when I get shoes at my local running store (Mullica Hill Running Co.) the Ghost model is always a contender.

Supportive and comfortable, I wore them for the BibRave 3 mile run in Austin, on the plane, during The Light Run, and on the treadmill while checking out Zwift. They’ve been fantastic and I can see myself running happy with them for many miles.

But, of course, Brooks is more than just shoes! Can we discuss the LSD jacket? This light-weight, reflective jacket is perfect. I layered it over a long sleeve during The Light Run and in 32 degree weather I was comfortable and cozy.

If you watch the time-lapse video above you can see how easy it folds up into a small pouch so that you’re able to shed a layer if you happen to be too warm AND there’s an arm band for easy carrying!

There are only two things that I could envision making it slightly more perfect – a hood and thumb-holes!

Vooray

ACE Backpack $39.99, Active Fanny Pack, Metal Glam $19.99

This little black backpack packs a huge punch! Packed away in there is everything that I reviewed in this very blog post and then some (including the Nuun bottle in the water bottle pocket, that review is to come).

I wore this backpack all around The Running Event, as did many others in the BibRave Pro group.

Group A for awwwww, yeah!

Since being home, I’ve been using it non-stop. If there’s one thing I love, it’s a lot of pockets and this one has a small laptop pocket inside the larger zipped area and an inside small zipper pocket with mesh, two side bottle pockets, and front pouch packet.

The outside is made from nylon, making it easy to keep clean and the adjustable straps are padded, making it comfy to wear.

The ACE backpack is versatile and I can tell you that I have a few family members that are already eyeing it up. I just might have to invest in a few more Vooray bags and with a price point of under $100, I won’t even feel a little guilty about it. The VooCrew also gifted us the Active Fanny Pack while we were visiting their booth.

I am loving trying these products out and sharing my thoughts on them with you! Let me know if you have any questions on what I’ve posted so far. And be sure to watch here for more reviews coming throughout December regarding Arcanum, Vuori, Addaday, Nuun, Incrediwear, Altra, and Zwift!

#GiveGoodVibes with AfterShokz

Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Trekz Air and Titanium wireless headphones through the #GiveGoodVibes campaign 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! All opinions are my own.

Real talk: I’m overwhelmed at the moment.

I was just perusing my planner and every single day is busy, busy, busy. No tiny square is left untouched. December is filled with holiday concerts (we have three in the next two weeks), wrapping presents (we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas), parties, cookie exchanges, company dinners, the list goes on. There is not enough room to hold everything that needs to be done, neither in writing nor in hours of the day.

All of those things are piled on top of the every day things such as work, laundry, meals, cleaning, karate lessons, piano lessons, Scouts.

My husband makes the comment each year that I seem more high-strung during the holidays and it’s supposed to be FUN. I am fully aware it’s supposed to be fun but man, sometimes fun can feel like a lot of work. There are so many moving pieces that have to all fit together and if one small thing changes, it throws everything off. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Which is why when I’m feeling particularly stressed out, I like to swing by this:

Do Good December.

Granted, I love doing good deeds all throughout the year but right now this little calendar is helping me bring a bit of joy into every day of the month. When I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed, I get ideas on how to have a more balanced day and it really does help me feel better and bring a smile to someone else.

The AfterShokz #GiveGoodVibes could not have come at a better time because it ties so well into Do Good December and also the spirit of this time of year.

During the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, the AfterShokz team had a special Buy One, Get One deal on their bone conduction headphones and as a BibRave Pro I was fortunate enough to get the Trekz Air for myself and Trekz Titanium to gift.

#GiveGoodVibes tag on the AfterShokz gift.

It’s safe to say that I’ve been a huge fan of AfterShokz since first trying the Trekz Titanium wireless headphones a year and a half ago. I use them often and not just during running.

Going to the gym in the morning helps me reset throughout the week and clear my overwhelmed feelings better than anything else.

It stands to reason that the person I chose to spread holiday cheer is a big part of my morning gym routine.

Sarah is my trainer’s wife, an avid runner, and an awesome friend. She’s a beast in the gym; she works out with my husband on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and while she’s petite, she is seriously strong. On her “off” days (when I’m there, Tuesday/Thursday) she’s either running around town at 5am or she’s on the treadmill.

She’s also incredibly giving. Sarah is the one who organizes our Giving Tree at the gym and she works mentoring youth; she’s an all around incredible person. As soon as I heard that I’d be able to gift AfterShokz to someone, I knew it was going to be her. I did a few Instagram stories leading up to the gifting and as you can see, she was so excited to try out her new AfterShokz!

Additionally, now that I’m the proud owner of the Canyon Red Trekz Air, the Trekz Titanium that I received last year were looking for a new home. My 13 year old son, Lucas, has been consistently running for nearly a year and has borrowed them in the past.

I knew that he’d be stoked to have them and put them to good use. He’s already in his room with them on, but he can’t ignore me because I know he can hear me. Mwahahaha!

I’m loving my Trekz Air thus far. They’re amazingly light. I didn’t think it was possible to make them lighter than the Titanium’s 1.27 oz., and yet… here we are at 1.06 oz.

I can’t wait to spend many miles with them; they’re perfect for music, podcasts, and even the occasional dreaded phone call (I try to avoid those as much as possible). You’re also able to skip tracks, pause, mute, from the headphones. No need to fumble for the phone, which is very convenient.

I hope the holiday season makes you feel more joyous and giving than it does overwhelmed! What types of things do you turn to when you’re feeling like things are a bit too much? I obviously am a big fan of connecting with others and also, writing blogs. It helps me relax and gives me a bit of perspective.

Check out other BibRave Pros giving the good vibes:

Virjinia

Stephanie

Erica

Megan

Matt

Jeff

Bridget

From Philly to Austin, With Love

Whoa whoa whoa. How is it November 28th already? This month has been filled with running, food, family, running family, more food, and lots and lots of Philadelphia pride.

Over the past 10 days, I’ve spent about half of them in Philadelphia.

It kicked off on Friday, November 16th at the Health and Wellness Expo for the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. I chose to run the Rothman 8k this year so I had to get into the city to grab my race packet.

Time was NOT on my side because I (stupidly) scheduled a doctor’s appointment for my son that afternoon. So rather than enjoying the city and visiting Reading Terminal for lunch, I took a train in, ran over to the Convention Center, grabbed my stuff, and ran back to catch the train out of the city… all within an hour. A new travel PR!

The race was on Saturday and started at 10:45am. I didn’t need to be up before the sun, which was nice but I was also totally thrown off by this turn of events. What train should I take? What should I eat? Who would I meet up with for the 8k?

Thankfully I got into the city with at least an hour to spare, naturally, so I took my time walking to the race village. Then I stationed myself in between the finish of the half marathon and the start of the 8k.

And nearly immediately found people I knew!

Larry and Amy from the Sub-30 Club were also running the 8k. Hooray! Larry is a pacer and offered to help pace me through the miles, which was awesome.

The 8k course is along the river, so it’s a standard Philly race in that respect. The distance makes it special though and it’s a nice way to be involved with the Philly Marathon weekend.

We did 30/30 intervals and he stuck with me through the entire race. I wanted to finish under an hour but with self-seeded corrals and the course being congested nearly the entire time, we finished at an hour and one minute. Ooof. So close, yet so far! There was a finish line for the kids race that faked us out, which was cruel but finally we crossed the actual finish line with smiles on our faces.

I did this race in 2011 and it’s grown up in the last 7 years. 2011 there was 1,460 runners, a cotton t-shirt, standard bib, and the knowledge that you ran the race as the awards for your achievements. This year there was nearly 3,500 runners, a tech t-shirt, personalized bibs, a beautiful medal (and the knowledge that you ran the race).

In between this and my next Philly adventure, it was Thanksgiving! We hosted this year and I think we might finally be seeing the light at the end of the leftover tunnel.

Since we were hosting, there were no Turkey Trots for us this year. Instead my son Lucas and I opted to take part in the #TotheStarbucks run.

I heard about this awesome, free event from Rachel and I was immediately drawn in because… well, just read part of the description of the run.

Join us for a morning fun run, the Saturday after Thanksgiving! We run (or walk! That’s ok too!) we have fun, and then we eat some donuts outta a trunk (oh and there’s Starbucks nearby if that’s your jam!) the route is TBA but always has a short 2.5mi and Long 5min distance. 

A given, am I right?

Through the years of running in Philly and going to City Fit Girls retreats, I’ve met lots of people and many of them were at the #ToTheStarbucks run. My son started out running with us and nearly immediately took off to run ahead. I knew that he was in good hands because these were all good folks and I’d meet him at the Starbucks, of course.

Let’s review. A run, handmade medal, donut, photos, and being cheered on. CAN EVERY DAY BE LIKE THIS?

Not to be outdone by Saturday, on Sunday we went to (you guessed it) PHILLY for the Eagles/Giants game. I grew up in central Jersey so I was mostly surrounded by Giants fans, including my dad.

However being in south Jersey for nearly half my life, I now know the “error” of my ways. My son is an Eagles fan which means that we are all Eagles fans. My first game ever was as insane/fun as I expected it to be. And the Eagles WON (it was looking a little dicey at the beginning).

I’m sure it’s not a surprise that I’ve got more Philadelphia fun on the agenda for 2019. My first scheduled event is the first weekend of April, I’ll be running the Hot Chocolate 5k, representing Team BibRave!

Speaking of BibRave, I’ve got some exciting news to share!

Tomorrow I’m off to Austin, Texas for The Running Event‘s TRE Influencer Day! This is an amazing opportunity that I’ve been given (along with some of my fellow BibRave Pros) as a perk of being a BRP.

I’ve never been to Texas before and this will be a short, jam-packed trip. I can’t even properly articulate how pumped I am. I’ll work on that before tomorrow since I’ll be sharing a lot of information on Instagram Stories and maybe I’ll even try my hand at the live feed (gulp, I’ve never done that before!).

What are you looking forward to in the next day/week/month? Have you been to Austin before? Anything I MUST do? I can’t even promise I’ll have the time to do it but I’ll try!

Take Me Back to Colorado

Disclaimer: I received a New Original BUFF®️ to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I realize while I wrote a race recap for Vacation Races 5k, I never wrote about the second half of the Elk Double, the half marathon.

It was absolutely incredible; in fact, the whole weeks vacation was one that I’ll carry with me always. Being able to run and spend road time with Jenn is something that I always enjoy.

Jenn wrote about the details of the 2017 race. Words can’t express just how glad I am that I got to experience her hometown race with her and just spend time with her and her family. It’s hard to have friends that you don’t get to see all the time but it makes the time you DO get to be together that much more special.

Instead of focusing on the details of the race, I would like to narrow in on one of the things I appreciate the most about Vacation Races.

They are very tuned in to the “Leave No Trace” mindset. Their races are cup-free, which means that they have hydro-pouches available with registration or you can bring your own hydration pack (as seen above).

After running a few other races recently where I’ve had to wade through smashed paper cups on the ground (oh, the woes of being a back of the pack runner), it really stands out to me just how much of a difference using a hydro-pouch or carrying a pack can make.

I’ve been trying to be mindful about my global footprint and the small chances I can make that may make a lasting impact and trying hard to implement them whenever possible.

I am by no means perfect and there are some things that are so convenient to do (paper plates, plastics, etc.) but I want the beauty of our earth to last a long, long time. This isn’t a new concept or even a unique one, but I do want to create less waste and reuse when possible.

Which leads me to the New Original BUFF®️ I’m testing through BibRave. BUFF®️ is a huge part of all my runs, whether using it to wipe sweat away, keep my neck warm, my hair back, the list goes on.

I’m particularly stoked because the new BUFF®️‘s microfiber is made from 2 recycled water bottles that have been removed from oceans and landfills. A little less plastic floating around out there in the world works for me!

As is always the case, there are a ton of designs to choose from. However, I’d just gotten home from my Colorado trip and realized that I didn’t get anything souvenir related for myself. Problem solved!

I’ve used my New Original BUFF®️ on a few training runs during some absolutely hot and humid days and most recently at the Bird-in-Hand half marathon last weekend. With a UPF 50 I’m protected by the sun during those sunny runs.

Bird-in-Hand was anything but sunny however, there was still a bunch of sweat. What can I say, I’m a sweater!

With my previous half marathon being in the mountains of Colorado and this one in the hills of Pennsylvania, it was a nice way to transition from point A to point B. Good memories were made at both with my rock star friends and right now I’m just enjoying life and feeling fortunate that I’m able to have all these incredible experiences.

What small (or large) things are you doing to help the environment?