Sunday, February 18, 2018

Shoe Review - Under Armor's New HOVR

Disclaimer: I received a pair of the Under Armour HOVR Sonic Shoes 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! 

For the most part, I am a creature of habit. When I find something that I like, I tend to stick to it. This counts double for my running shoes, or at least it did until recently. I had been running in the same brand for basically the last 3 years, just re-upping the model. When I was given the opportunity to test out a brand new pair of shoes that Under Armor was introducing, at first, I almost didn't. But a part of me thought - Be brave, try something new and most importantly, THESE SHOES SOUND SO COOL! And boy and I glad I tried them.

First, let me tell you a little about the HOVR Sonics.

Here's the info from the Under Armor website -

Product DNA 
(for Women's model)

  • UA HOVR® technology provides ‘zero gravity feel’ to maintain energy return that helps eliminate impact step after step
  • Compression mesh Energy Web contains & molds UA HOVR® foam to give back the energy you put in
  • Microthread upper dries fast & provides a breathable, compression-like fit that delivers lightweight directional strength & unmatched comfort to help you go the distance
  • Ventilated midfoot panel increases breathability
  • Unique tongue construction is attached to the footbed by stretchable support wings to maintain a snug fit throughout the foot
  • External TPU heel counter for additional support & structure
  • Removable, anti-microbial Ortholite® sockliner molds to the foot for customized comfort & cushion
  • Blown rubber under the forefoot is lightweight yet incredibly responsive
  • High-abrasion rubber placed under the heel to help absorb ground contact
  • CONNECTED: These shoes are equipped with UA’s Record Sensor™ & will pair to your phone
  • Offset: 8mm
  • Weight: 8oz/225g


Cool, right?

So the first thing that I noticed when I received my shoes was just how crazy bright they are. I mean, as a rational person, I know that shoe color has no impact on the performance, however, there is just something crazy fun about running in a super bright shoe. And let me tell you, people notice them. I have yet to wear them without getting some kind of comment about how bright/pretty they are. 


They were really easy to set up the connection to Map My Fitness (they connect to either Map My Run or Map My Fitness, I just happened to already have Map My Fitness). Basically, you just open up the app next to the shoes and like magic, they connect. They are able track all kinds of neat things while you run. The data nerd in me just loves that. 


I mean check out all this neat data collected on my run. And this was all gathered with just the shoes on. I didn't have my phone even with me during the run. When you are finished with your run, simply open the app and it will automatically sync. Now, I will say, that the tracking seems to be slightly off from what my Strava reports. For example, I will put in a 4 mile run and typically my shoes will track around 3.8 miles. If you are wanting exact stats, I would recommend also using a GPS form of tracking, but the data from the shoes is still really neat and really useful. 

My first impressions were that the shoes were super comfortable and had some really amazing cushioning. I was more used to wearing a heavier shoe and really could tell the difference. Another first impression was how thin the mesh on the shoes is. Now at the time of my first run, this wasn't the biggest positive ever since I first tested them in January on a really cold and windy day. The wind whipped right through the mesh and my feet were pretty cold, but I thought to myself how great these will be in the middle of the South Carolina summer! 

I wore the shoes off and on (mostly on warmer days) and each time I wore them I liked them more. After a while I realized that all of my recent runs where after I thought to myself, wow, I ran way faster than I had expected, I was wearing my HOVRs. This includes one run where I was with friend who is quite a bit faster than me. We had gotten to chatting while we were running and I was thinking to myself that he must have slowed down so as to not leave me behind, but after 3 miles, I checked my Strava and my average pace was a full minute faster than I usually run for the same difference!

Armed with this knowledge, I decided to wear them for the AllState Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte. Actually, the decision was based on not only the speed that I had been displaying in them, but also how light they were. See, there was rain in the forecast for race day and the previous week when I ran in the rain, my shoes (a different pair) go SO soaked they became SO heavy! I figured since the HOVRs were so light to start with, if they got soaked, they would still be much lighter making the run easier. Luckily, the rain mostly held and while my feet got a bit wet, the shoes didn't retain water and become any heavier. I ran a great race in them and scored a new 15K PR! 

Yesterday in fact, I did my longest run ever in them - 15 miles. And guess what? Today, I feel great. 

I am 100% sold on these shoes. I plan to wear them next month for the Tobacco Road Half Marathon where I am confident that they will score me a new PR.

The Under Armor HOVR Sonic shoe is priced at $100 for non-connected or $110 for connected versions and is currently available online and at retailers all over. Also, be sure to follow Under Armor Running on social media to keep up on the latest news - 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/UARunning 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uarunning

Super light and super fast! I love my HOVRs! 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Be Safe, Be Seen

Disclaimer: I received a multicolor assortment pack of Brilliant Reflective Strips 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! 


Well it's winter. Still. And that means that I am still running mostly in the dark. Running in the dark offers several challenges, but one of the biggest is that it is less safe for runners due to lowered viability. And I don't just mean what you can see, but also the ability of others (drivers, bikers, other runners) to see you.

There are several safety options out there for dark-thirty runners. Some use blinky lights that clip onto your gear, some use safety vests and others use clip on or wearable reflectors. I've used all these in the past, but have had issues both with bulk, weight and things simply falling off - seriously, I have lost more than a few blinky lights out there. But perhaps my favorite way of being seen out there are Brilliant Reflective Strips.


Muti-Color Assortment Pack - Black, Purple, Blue and Red

Brilliant Reflective Strips are pre-cut sticky reflective strips that you can either stick on or iron on to your clothing and/or gear. They are made with 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material and really light up when the light hits them.



You can get the strips in either iron-on or stick-on. Either as super easy to apply. For the stick on (recommended for non-cloth items, but can also be used on cloth) simply peel off the backing of each strip, apply onto a flat, dry surface and press down firmly.  That's it! Easy-peasy. The whole process takes literal seconds. (Note: depending on your individual situation, you may have to also add an extra step - remove cat from application area). 




For the iron-on, there are just a few more steps, but equally as easy (and this from a girl who is practically allergic to using an iron). Here's what to do:

1) Lay out your materials, 2) Heat test your garment, 3) Place the strip where you want it

4) Place paper towel between iron and strip & iron, 5) Please off plastic, 6) Enjoy new shininess!
That's it! It's that easy. I did up a few darker colored outfits that I love to run in, but due to their darker color are not the safest to run in when the sun isn't out. 

       

I have even added some to my shoes. 

The weather forecast coming up is looking to start getting warmer and before you know it, I'll be hitting the road in tanks and shorts again. To prep for this, I plan on having a Brilliant Reflective Tank Top Application party later this week. When the temps and humidity creep up into the ugh range I'll be glad to not have the extra weight of a vest or wearable reflector on!

Want to purchase some for yourself? Follow this link to the Brilliant Reflective website where a 25% discount on Multi-Color Assortments will automatically be added to your cart when you check out - http://bit.ly/BRP25 . If you visit the site on your own later, use code " BRP25" saves 25% off of all Multi/Assortment Packs.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte - Second Verse, Better Than The First

So I have always wanted to do a Hot Chocolate 15K and had been dismayed that there wasn't one near me. I finally bit the bullet and signed up for the closest one, which was Atlanta, determined to get my chocolate on. Well, to my surprise, shortly after signing up for Atlanta, they announced that the Hot Chocolate series was coming to Charlotte!! Could I handle double the chocolate? I knew I could!


Scenes from the Expo



Having done Atlanta the week prior, I kinda knew what to expect for the most part, however, each city has their own way of doing things and their own charm so it did not feel like I was doing the same exact race twice in a row. The Expo was much smaller, held in the ball room of a hotel just on the outskirts of Uptown Charlotte. It was pretty easy to get in and out of and if you stayed less than 20 minutes, your parking was free. I didn't stay long so I wouldn't have to pay, and was in and out easily while still getting everything I needed - the Bib system is like magic - they scan a QR code from your email and print a sticker to put on your bib - and exchanged my shirt (it was a bit on the tight side), picked up some Nuun, got some goodies (Hot Chocolate, chocolate dipped marshmallow and 2 small chocolate bars) and still was out in time. There was also a retail store set up with both Hot Chocolate gear and Charlotte gear.

Decided to rain coat up after all
This race was a local one for me so I knew the area and set out to arrive and get parked and settled with about 30 minutes or so to spare. With the horrible weather I had in Atlanta the week prior I had been obsessively watching the skies and while it was by no means a dry race, it was not terrible. Mostly it was damp and misty with a few minutes here and there of light rain. The roads were a bit puddled and my feet ended up fairly wet after, but I was just glad there was no downpour. I had planned ahead and wore a light waterproof jacket just in case and I am glad I had it, but would have been OK without. 


Just look at those shoes POP
Another pre-race decision I made was to do my run in the Under Armor HOVRs that I have been testing since January. Last week when I ran Atlanta, my shoes got so wet that they gained about 10 lbs each worth of water. The HOVRs are a remarkably light shoe so I figured they would retain much less water if they got soaked. And, while I hadn't raced in them yet, I'd put about 40 miles on them and really liked the way they were performing for me. In fact, the week before I had done a 3 miler in a 8:45 pace without even realizing it until after, I beleive due to the advanced energy return that reduces foot impact. At a minimum, I thought having such bright shoes on such a dreary day would make me feel happy. I am happy to say that all of the above were on point. My shoes were bright and happy and my feet were much lighter which I know contributed to my pace. 

There was lots of parking options around the area as the race was held just outside of Uptown Charlotte on the campus of a local community college (CPCC). I would have liked to see more signs directing parking options, but once you parked, there were lots of signs pointing to the start line and even with parking almost a half mile away, I knew exactly where to go. There were tons of port-a-potties available near the start and corrals were well marked with signage.

This pic was taken literal seconds before the start
Now the start was where you could tell that this was a first year race, as it was a bit confusing. The race was slated to start at 8:05 and I was in Corral D, so I thought that meant I had an actual start time of 8:21 as they said that waves would be released every 4 minutes. Well, joke was on me as Corral D was actually the first one (Apparently A-C were the 5K Corrals which started at 7:45). By the time I found a place to park almost a half mile away (it's a downtown area after all), used the ports, said hello to a few friends and got into position, I literally had 15 seconds before starting!! I was a bit frazzled but took off.


Official race on-course race pic. I'm super focused!
As for the actual course, there was a lot of volunteer support at the 4 aid stations. Each had some kind of yummy treat first - chocolate chips, flavored marshmallows, candy hearts and M&Ms - followed by Nuun and Water. There were port-a-potties at the halfway point and a few others throughout the course. A full lane of traffic was closed over the entire course. It wasn't the most scenic run I've done, but to be honest, once you leave the Uptown area of Charlotte, there isn't too much to look at. The course was basically a loop to the Southeast of Center City. It would have been nice to run through more of the Uptown area - the big buildings and stadiums, but it was a typical suburban course - neighborhoods and retail areas. It was pretty darn hilly though so I can't say I was ever bored on course. 


That finish time is a lie, oh well, still a PR
With the conditions being better I convinced myself I should have a faster race this week despite the fact that it had been only 6 days since my last race. I pushed myself pretty hard on the super hilly Charlotte roads and found myself in trouble around mile 7. I knew it was coming too. There was a pretty big hill on mile 6 that I said to myself on that I should have pulled back some and I paid the price. I had a horrible side cramp that I had to slow to a walk to manage. I walked about a quarter mile to get back where I could manage and somehow was able to get myself back in it. I finished not nearly as strong as I started, but still pulled a PR at under my goal of 1:30 with a 1:29:15 finishing time. I had initally thought I had done better as the timing clock was wrong at the finish (it read 1:27 when I crossed) but a PR is still a PR!









Coming into the finish, there was an announcer that called everyone's name as the crossed the finish and kept up some awesome encouragement. Thanks to him, everyone crossed with a smile on their face. After, I was given my awesome candy bar shaped medal with a hornet key chain to represent Charlotte and there were cups of Nuun, full water bottles and Nuun tablets available in the finisher chute. I hung out at the finish cheering on runners until my friends finished up and then we took a walk over to the post-race area to get our goodie bowls. There were lots of cool inflatables for photo ops and of course the finisher mugs full of Hot Chocolate and goodies were amazing. And before I had even left the race, I had received an email with a link to my free race photos. So that's really cool! I will for sure return again for next year's race!


And as for the shoes, I will for sure race in them again! My feet felt 100% better after the Charlotte race than they did for the Atlanta one. While my feet did end up wet (again) being so much lighter and not retaining the water made a HUGE difference. I can't wait to see how they race in perfect conditions. I have a half marathon coming up where I will find out because I will for sure race in my HOVRs for Tobacco Road.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Save the Shirt!


Disclaimer: I received three sets of BibBoards 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!


Is there a shirt that you regularly race in? Maybe it is lucky or maybe it is a team shirt. Either way, if you do have a favorite race shirt, you can bet your buns that if something happened to it, you'd be hurting. I mean gear, especially tech gear isn't cheap, right? 

Can you tell I race in this shirt a lot?

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

With that said, I always cringe a little when I have had to purposely poke holes in my shirts to attach my race bib. Eventually, even with being careful, I would end up with little holes in the front of my shirt. My poor Fleet Feet Fort Mill Race Club shirt didn't stand a chance after so many races. 



I decided to try out a bib belt to see how that worked for me, but I found it slid around a lot while I was running. Plus I usually race with a belt so having two things around my waist was kind of a pain. So what's a girl to do?

Well, when the opportunity to test BibBoards arose, I jumped on it.

What are BibBoards? According to their website, "BibBoards have a flat surface on the exposed side for company logos or other content. A second piece works by pushing part of a racer’s shirt into a recess, providing a secure fit. When the race is over, they pop off. BibBoards can be reused, and their special shape holds down a bib MORE secure than dangerous safety pins, without the fuss or holes." So basically, they are cute little clips that work to secure you bib to your shirt without creating holes. Yes please! 

There are tons of choices on design including running mantas, emoji, race and race distances, or, if you are feeling creative, you can design your own custom ones. This is a great features for companies or races that may want to do some fun branding. I choose the "I ❤ Running" ones because sometimes I need to be reminded. 

I received my BibBoards about 3 weeks before the next race that I was having, but I was anxious to use them. First, I tried clipping them on and off a few of my shirts to see how they would fair. They were easy to clip, but clipped super secure. When I removed them, no damage was left behind. So far so good. 

Next, I took them for a spin around my neighborhood as they say that you should never use anything on race day that you haven't testing in training first. So I bib-ed up my planned race day attire and ran a couple miles despite a few crazy looks from the neighbors (seriously, they should be used to that crazy running girl by now) and everything again appeared awesome. Bib was totally secure, no rub from the backs of the boards and my shirt had no damage after 3 miles of running. Again, so far so good. 

Nothing like a solo 5K around your neighborhood to get a few strange looks

But how would they perform in a race?

Before and after. I look a bit rattled, but my BibBoards aren't
And as much as I'm whining, I did get a PR so... 
To answer that, let me set the scene. Atlanta, GA. 7 am. Race Day. 15K. POURING RAIN. 34 degrees. 20 mph wind gusts. My BibBoards were going to get a serious testing. These were not optimal race conditions to say the least. But here we were, me and my BibBoards waiting in the dark, cold rain ready to go. If I ever needed a reminder that I loved running this was it. Once my wave was released to run, I booked it as fast as my rain-soaked body would allow me without a single thought about my bib for the next hour and a half. And that is how it should be during a race. No worries about it slipping or moving, or tearing your shirt or adjusting. I trusted my BibBoards to do their job and they did. 

By the end of the race, despite all they had been through, my BibBoards were still holding strong, which is a bit more than I could say for myself. They served me well. And when I returned to the hotel, changed out of my soaked gear and removed my bib, my shirt was still as good as new. We have a winner! 

I have another 15K this coming weekend and my BibBoards will be joining me again. Let's just hope that we have a bit better conditions this time.

And if not, I always have this reminder... 



Want to try out BibBoards for yourself? Use code #BibChat to save 20% off your BibBoards purchase at https://www.bibboards.com/products/ and #SaveTheShirt

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Things We Do For Running (And Chocolate)

I received entry into the AllState Hot Chocolate Atlanta 15K as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out BibRave.com to read and write race reviews. 


What a beautiful day
So let me get this part of of the way right at the beginning. This year's Hot Chocolate 15K Atlanta had some truly terrible weather. As a winter themed race, cold is to be expected, however, in addition to cold, the 2018 race was wet as well. As in pouring rain wet. With that said, of course that was in no way the fault of the race organizers and honestly, the race did everything within their powers to make the day as enjoyable as possible, which I really really appreciated. While rainy, it was just rain, no thunder/lightening so, as clearly communicated, the race went on as planned. The management company kept awesome communication about the status of the race right up until the start and even sent out a special email the next day thanking participants for their commitment and offering a discount code for next years race, which they in no way had to do. They really went above and beyond if you ask me.

With that out of the way, here's how it went...
Pre-race, the communication was great. In addition to periodic updates, every Sunday participants receive an email with a training plan. Pretty awesome. Like I said previously, the race was engaging participants on social media right up until the race time due to weather concerns. 

ROAD TRIP!
This race was an out of town one for me and me and my run-besty drove up the day prior to hit the Expo. We stayed in a hotel that was in walking distance of both the Expo and the start line so we had no parking concerns (unless you consider the standard Atlanta hotel parking rate of $30 per day which is a bit steep, but standard large city rate). We walked over to the Expo which was well organized and picked up our bibs within minutes of walking in. They have a really cool system where you give them a QR code that was emailed prior to the Expo and it auto prints out your details on a sticker that is placed on your bib. Genius and quick. Then you head over to get your HC jacket which is SUPER nice! I am doing another HC race, so I actually opted for the Men's shirt for the Atlanta race so I could have one of each color. There is a try on area next to the pick up so you can switch out if they sizing is off, but it was perfect so no need. 
The rest of the Expo featured your standard vendors - clothing, hydration, nutrition, other races, and so on plus a station where you could get a yummy sample of the treats that would be waiting for you on race day, a shot of hot chocolate and a marshmallow with chocolate sauce. YUM!
A Sample of What's to Come
After the Expo, Kim and I wandered around Centennial Olympic Park for a bit as it was right across the street. I love it when there are cool things to do in the area in addition to the race. The park was beautiful and it was nice to walk around after being cooped up inside a car for several hours prior. While Kim was posting pictures online, we found out her mother had purchased a commemorative brick in her grandfather's name, so we went on a hunt to find it. With some help from the park's website, we did and that was a really cool unexpected adventure. 


After, we checked into the hotel, grabbed some dinner laid out our race day gear. I secured my bib on with my handy dandy BibBoards instead of the safety  in the packets because who wants to put holes in their nice tech gear? Not this girl!  Want some BibBoards of your own? Order online at www.bibboards.com and use code #BibChat for 20% off! 
Another essential item for me on race day are my Aftershokz bone conducting headphones. I was worried about wearing them and went back and forth several times because I didn't want to ruin them in the rain, but I needed not worry as their water resistance held up like a charm. I honestly do not think I could have motivated myself through 9.3 miles of rain without music!
After getting all settled, we then hit the hay early. Since we were within less than a mile of the start line, we didn't have to leave too early, but you never know what can happen on race day, so it's better to be ready earlier than you think you need to be. 

Do we look excited? 
As for the actual race, again, wet and cold, but for the stuff that actually was under control of the race management, everything was as great as it could be. The start waves were well organized and bibs were checked upon entering your corral. I was assigned to Wave 1, Corral B, so I didn't have as long to wait to start as some of the others. My race goal was 1:30 which would be a PR of just over 2 minutes. I quickly found the 9:30 pacer and tried to distract myself from the weather by chatting with her and others in the area. The race started mostly on time (a few minutes due to Atlanta PD closing the roads) and we were off. I stayed in decent pace with the 9:30 pacer for the first few miles, but stopped at a water stop for a quick pause and was left behind. No worries, I was still well within my goal time. 

The aid stations were well spaced and had both Nuun and Water and plenty of it. The first station around mile 1.5 also had marshmallows and I think something else, but I didn't stop for them. Other stations also may have had treats, but I will be honest, I did not notice if they did as that was not a priority for me. I trying to stay focused because I knew I was shedding seconds. This was due to the course being hilly. I mean really hilly. But that is part of the Atlanta race charm. Most people know this going in. I've never shied away from hill training, so I didn't think it was too bad, but it def slows you a bit.
Before and after the race. I looked a little shocked after
The only exception was the hill just after mile 9. Not gonna lie, that one about did me in. There is a huge hill (full disclosure, it is not even the largest one, just it SEEMED bigger since it is literally in the last .25 mile of the race) and when I turned the corner and saw it, it about did me in. On a better day, I think it would have been okay, but that day, right then, that hill was it for me. I stopped, took a deep breath and then pushed myself over it though and ended just shy of my goal with a time of 1:30:51, but still a 15K PR so overall I can't be too upset. I was given my awesome candy bar shaped medal with golden peach key chain to symbolize Georgia and a race photographer snapped my picture. Photography was provided to participants for free and was available pretty much immediately after the race online.
After the race, Kim and I met up in the Mech tent and headed over for me to pick up my finishers mug full of Hot Chocolate and goodies. I chugged the HC straight down and held onto the goodies until I got back to the hotel to dry off and warm up. The race handed out the goodies covered in bags to keep your yummies dry which was just another super kind thing they did for us.
YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM

Overall, it was a great race on a terrible day. Everything the race had control over was really great. I really appreciated their efforts to make the event as enjoyable as it could be. Despite the weather, everyone seemed to still have a great time.

I also want to give a special shout out to all the volunteers who were on course both at aid stations and as marshals including the Atlanta PD. Despite the conditions, every single volunteer I ran past had a smile on their face and a cheerful thing to say. I tried to thank everyone I ran past and all said the same thing - it is my pleasure. People at aid stations were cheering for us, marshals were encouraging, several of the Police were actually singing even. As ugh as I felt running, they had to have felt worse standing still and I can't tell you how much their attitudes helped me along. Thank you race volunteers, from the bottom of my heart!

After we were warm and dry and back home, all that was left for me to do was head over to Athlinks and claim my race results which, because this was a new PR for me, I wasted no time in doing! 


It was so much fun, I think I'll do it all over again next weekend in Charlotte. But this time, let's hope for better weather. I'm going to start singing "Rain Rain Go Away, Come Again Another Day" now just to make sure. 


Monday, January 29, 2018

Hot Chocolate 15K Atlanta Race Week

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Hot Chocolate 15K Atlanta 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!

Gonna get my chocolate ON! 
It's race week, and not just any race week, but a Road Trip Race Week!! Me and one of my running besties, are hitting the road for Atlanta this weekend for the Hot Chocolate 15K. This will be my first BibRave sponsored race and my first time doing a Hot Chocolate 15K (and only my second 15K ever). So needless to say, I am pretty excited about the whole thing. Add on top of that the fact that I do not go out of town much, let alone without the little one in tow, ya'll I'm gonna be a mess. 

So how has training been going to prep? Pretty good actually. I've more or less hit all of my training mileage goals leading up and feel pretty strong. As I said, this will be my 2nd 15K with my first being 2 years ago, so I am hoping for a 15K PR. The last one I ran in 1:32 so I am shooting for a 1:30 time. The big concern right now is the weather, which I have been obsessively stalking. The first time I checked it, 10 days prior race day, the forecast actually said SNOW! I bout lost it. Snow in the South is no laughing matter peeps. We are not cut out for that stuff. Anyway, the temps have raised slightly and the S-word is no longer in the forecast, but at T-minus 6 days and counting, it is saying rain instead. Really hoping if it does rain, it is light. I keep telling myself if I did a race in 13 degrees recently, I can run in anything. Plus, if I really blow it, I have another Hot Chocolate 15K the next weekend in Charlotte to try again. Gonna try to be optimistic about it though. Think warm/dry thoughts!!


I wasn't sure what to run this weekend since I am actually in the middle of Half Marathon training for Tobacco Road in March also, and technically should have done an 11 miler this weekend, but since I do want to push for a time, I thought I should do some kind of minor tapering. Well, I split the difference and did a leisurely 9 miles of trails at Anne Springs Greenway with a friend. Super slow pace, but you know, the challenge of trails. It was really pretty and I swung by the Grist Mill which was pretty cool since I'd never been there before. I will for sure go back though. The rest of this week I am going to take it kind of easy - did 2 miles this morning and am planning three more runs this week, two for 3 miles and a 4 miler. 


Seriously, say hi if you see me!
So what's left to do. Saturday we will drive down to Atlanta and hit up the Expo. Hoping to meet up with a few of my Run the Rock/Burn Boot Camp girls while there too. I'm planning to wear my comfy cozy BibRave Hoodie, so if you see me (and it is BRIGHT ORANGE so I'll be hard to miss, be sure to say hi! I already added myself to the Start List on Athlinks. The race is bright an early Sunday morning and I pre-qualified for a Wave 1, Corral B start. 

All that is really left to do is to pack! I am the worst at deciding what to wear for a race, especially when the weather is questionable. For now, I am planning of course a BibRave and I am thinking I will wear a thermal under it. I am planning to use my new BibBoards (super stoked about not putting holes in my BibRave shirt) and I typically race in CW-X tights, but haven't decided if I will go full or 3/4 tights. Guess I need to wait a few more days for a more definite weather forecast. I am an over-planner and over-thinker. 

I guess that is it! What about you? When is your next race and how do you prep? Tell me in the comments. And please, think warm/dry thoughts for me. 

And there is still time to sign up for the Hot Chocolate 15K Atlanta if you want to join me. Need a bit more incentive... use code “BRHCATL18” for a super cool HC hat!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Athlinks - Something For Every Type of Racer

I'm writing this post as a BibRave Pro. Check out BibRave.com to read and write race reviews!




Before I tell you a bit about Athlinks, the largest database of competitive endurance athletes in the world, and why I love using it, let me give you a little insight into what kind of racer I am. 

I'm All About that Place
  
When I decide that I am going to run a new race, do you know what the first thing I do is (after checking the date and price that is)? I scope out the competition. I go straight for the results page, sort by age groups and try to determine if there is any chance in heck of me placing. See, I am what I would consider a solid mid-pack runner, but sometimes, just sometimes I can pull off a placing depending on the size of the race. In 2017 I managed 4 placings, all 3rd place (one was 3rd Overall Masters, so there's that) but 3rd place is still placing! I also managed several 4th places, which let me tell you is just the freaking worst. I'd rather be ANY other place than 4th. But I digress... 


So what does this have to do with why I adore Athlinks? Well, Athlinks does all the leg work for me when doing race results research. When I sign up for a new race, I can simply log onto Athlinks, pull up that race and bam, prior year results are listed. Plus, you can easily filter the results right there in Athlinks in order to check out your particular age group. So much easier than having to go from race site to race site. It's all here in one place for you! 



Results for the 2017 Tobacco Road Marathon.
Drop down menus let you search specific distances and age groups easily


Not only that, I can follow my friends on Athlinks to keep track of how they are doing comparatively as well. For example, I have a friend who she and are both pretty competitive. We have a very friendly rivalry going on as we are similar paces and run a lot of the same races. Maybe, just maybe I suggested that she join Athlinks for the sole reason of setting her up as a rival to compare our records for races. And maybe, just maybe it's so I can brag about that time I beat her by 10 seconds. I mean, if I was the type of person who would do that sort of thing. 

 
Turns out I am that kind of person... 

And while being able to easily stalk results is my favorite feature of Athlinks, it is by just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cool things the site offers. 


Maybe you the kind of racer who likes to keep track of their PRs? Athlinks tracks your Personal Records for each distance for you. 

Stay tuned... Many of these numbers will be changing this year!


Maybe you're are a more social racer who likes to know who will be at your upcoming races or where your friends will be racing. You can join and view the Start Lists for all of your upcoming races. Athlinks will even suggest people who you may know to follow based on your location and race history. 

The Start List for my next race - Hot Chocolate Atlanta. Planning to be there? Add yourself.


You can access Althinks both online on your computer or via app available both on iOS or Android. All of the features mentioned here are available on both formats. Not only does Athlinks track and post results for running, but also a variety of other endurance sports such as, triathlon, swimming, cycling, mountain biking and more. Like I said, truly something for ever type of racer.


So what kind of racer are you? What feature of Athlinks do you find most intriguing?


And make sure to follow me here - https://www.athlinks.com/athletes/273600089