Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Winter Running Blahs

I hate being cold. Like really really hate it. I'm the girl who wears gloves inside and keeps a space heater in her office and runs it even in the summer. So let me tell you how excited I am for going outside during the winter months for a run (Spoiler Alert: NOT VERY). Seriously, I will happily run in 100 degree temps with a billion percent humidity given my choice over hitting the road close to the freezing mark. This winter has been particularly bad for me as I got rid of my Gold's Gym membership so no more treadmill option for me.

Such great advice. I ignored & wore 3 shirts and 2 bottoms
One of my biggest challenges I have is how to dress for winter running. I have no idea how to dress  myself in a way that allows for warmth without overheating after about a mile and a half. Seriously, 2 weeks ago I did a race where the starting temp was right around the freezing mark and I took to Twitter to request suggestions. And then I promptly ignored all that advice and ended up overdressing and sweating my butt off for half of the race.

I've seen numerous guides like this one that give all kinds of awesome advice, but deep down, I am just a winter running wimp.

I have to trick myself into running in the winter by signing up for races, otherwise I would talk myself into sitting out the cold. For example right now I know I need to get some miles in today. I cannot tell  you how badly I do not want to. I have some really great excuses lined up, but it comes down to I have to get some miles in or I will fail at my upcoming races. Period.

How I plan to dress for my next races
And those races are looking to be some doozies in the temperature department. Monday I have a New Years Day Trail Race - in the shaded woods - with a high temperature for the day predicted to be 36 (race time will prob be closer to 30-32). The next weekend I have a 10K that is predicted to be around 25 at the start. This is the same race that last year was postponed a week due to snow. 

So how about you? How do you survive outdoor running in the winter? Do you tough it out or wait it out? Let me know in the comments. Or, feel free to call me a cold-weather-wuss and tell me how you run barefoot in a tank and shorts in 4+ feet of snow. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Run to the Beat with Weav Run

Disclaimer: The WEAV Run app is currently free but I will be receiving a lifetime subscription in January 2018 as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

As I have mentioned previously, I am a runner that is all about her music while running. The more upbeat the better to help keep me going. Over the years I’ve tried all kinds of tricks to keep my pace pumping with the help of tunes.  Things like downloading special BPM (beats per min) mixes on iTunes to carefully cultivating special running playlists with music that I *think consists of a certain BPM. Sometimes I’m successfully, sometimes I come to a lull when a slow song creeps in and no matter what, it takes a lot of time to do.

So I was super stoked when I was introduced to the Weav Run app. It takes all of the work out of it for you and calculates your perfect run soundtrack. Basically, what Weav does is commissions dance remixes and using stems (individual instrument files) plus their special they adapt a song’s tempo to match a specific cadence anywhere between 100 - 240 beats per minute. And because they are using the individual song stems, the music always sounds great, and not just like a chipmunks version of a song.

So How Does it Work?

When I ran up this hill, I heard the music tempo slow
Pretty darn great so far. I’ve used Weav for several runs now on the Detect My Tempo setting where you just let the app track you and adjust your music accordingly. This way, I am getting some good stats on my base running BPM so when race day comes, I will be able to set a slightly faster tempo on the I Know My Tempo setting so I can try to match a slightly more aggressive tempo and hopefully push a bit faster on race day.

It was super simple to set up for the first run and walks you through the Calibration mode. It is very user friendly and provides a ton of data. You can even link it to your Apple Health data. (BTW, sorry Android uses, but the app is only for iOS at the moment).

I can attest that the tempo in the Detect My Tempo mode is pretty legit. On my regular lunch-time running route, there is a crazy steep hill. About half-way up it, I could hear the music starting to slow down – actual audio proof that I was slowing and it made me want to work even harder to keep the beat up. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something there inside me that was all like NO!! CAN’T LET THE MUSIC KNOW I’M STRUGGLING!!

I’ve been pretty successful in keeping my runs steadily in the 190 steps/min range and the more I use the app, the more consistent I feel about my running.

Some Other Insights

So far I really like Weav and will continue to use it esp for really dialing in my goal race pace. I’ve talked to several people both online and in person about this app and here are the answers to the most common questions that have come up.

Just a few of the current tracks
  • ·    Does if use your music? – No, like I mentioned above, the way the app works is by breaking down songs so they can be sped up or slowed down and still sound great, so you only get the songs that come with the app. Right now, that is 25 songs, but according to the folks at Weav, they have about 30-35 new tracks that they are in the process of licensing and will be dropping soon.

  • ·    What songs does it have? – Like I said, it only has 25 tracks, but they are enjoyable. A few popular ones, like the Imagine Dragons song, Believer and OMI’s Cheerleader plus some throwback songs like RUN DMC’s It’s Tricky (hell yeah) and OutKast’s Ms. Jackson. Overall, the music was pretty enjoyable and even for the songs I’d never heard of, I didn’t not like them and tbh, they tended to blend into the background with the focus being on the beat, which it should be.

  • ·    Can you use it on the treadmill? – Yes! They just recently released an Indoor Mode, however, I can’t tell you too much about it cause I don’t have access to a treadmill (Outdoor Runner, yo). As far as I can tell, it looks pretty similar to the Outdoor Mode for the I Know My Tempo mode (you dial up your Tempo and it maintains the beat). You can enter put in your time and milage and it will calculate a pace for you.

  • ·    Can you sync it with other apps? – Right now you can sync it with Strava and with Apple Health. I don’t use Strava (I’m a RunKeeper Girl myself) and when I mentioned this to Weav Help, they said they would look into a possible RunKeeper integration for the future (side note: Weav Help was super responsive, they want their users to love their app and it shows).

·    What else is on the horizon for Weav? – As I mentioned, they are working on an Android roll out, but this might take a bit to happen and they are focusing on perfecting the iOS version before expanding too much. Also, there is an Interval mode that is coming soon that will feature 9 different interval programs all driven by the music.

What Else?

Weav has been a really great company to get to know. They are super responsive on both social media and if you submit any feedback. They will also on occasion organize fun events like the current 30 Day Weav Run Streak and group meet ups via Facebook in NYC. You can follow them socially here-
Weav just released a new upgrade that makes it compatible with Apple Watch, which I use, but haven’t had a chance to try it out yet – the upgrade come out late last night, but I hope to try it on my next run. I did a quick trial (while in bed, lol) and everything seemed to look good.

Also, currently the Weav app is free to download and use, but they will be going to a subscription service in early 2018, so heads up on that.

Intrigued? Download it today and find out for yourself your person BPM pacing -

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Just a quick update to my previous post about being chosen as a Run & Ride Ambassador


See this totally cute Snoopy medal? 

You can receive your own in 2018 (or one of 3 other medals for your choice of distance(s) 1 mile, 5K, Qtr Marathon or Half Marathon. 

And... you can get them for a sweet discount!
Use my Run & Ride Ambassador code for 15% off at RR-AMB-LiNy

Currently the  Valleyfair, Kings Dominion, and Cedar Point races are open for registration. Carowinds (my local race) and Kings Island will be opening registration soon!


Friday, December 15, 2017

Run & Ride with Me (and Snoopy)

So typically on Friday I post a training recap, so let me get that out of the way real quick. Training went as it has been going. A few runs here and there (not as many as I had intended thanks to the day that I forgot to pack a sports bra in my gym bag for a lunch-time run), but a decent number of miles including a really steady 6 on Sunday. I hit Burn Boot Camp for my obligatory 2 days - Monday (Push/Pull Tabata) and Wednesday (Cardio Core Chopper). Pretty much same ole same ole. I do have a 8K race on Saturday, so I've kept that in mind while training this week.


What I really want to talk about is something way more exciting! 


Basically, a race that I've been doing the past several years and love that I've been talking up big time anyway (see my previous post Run Around the Park) is making me an official part of the Run & Ride Team. I just got the email this morning, so I don't have 100% of the details yet, but pretty soon you will be able to get a sweet discount from me to sign up for any of the Run & Ride races (most Cedar Fair Parks host a race) in 2018 plus, opportunities for free entries and other free giveaways. 

So stay tuned to this blog (or my Twitter - see column to the right) for more information as I receive it. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Luvo Meals - Quick, Convenient and Healthy

Disclaimer: I received Luvo Healthy Meals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Disclaimer 2: I am eating a Luvo Meal (specifically Chicken Enchiladas) while I am writing this blog post

The meals I tested - YUM!
If you've not gathered from my previous blog posts, I am a pretty busy girl. I have a full time job, a husband who works a full time plus job (he works at a university and often works weekends and nights) a 7 year old with a variety of after school activities, plus I sometimes try my hand at this running thing (sometimes for hours at a time even). So trust me when I tell you, I am a connoisseur of frozen meals for lunch. Cause by the time I've gotten through everything that needs to be done at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is make myself a lunch. Stocking the freezer with quick foods to microwave for lunch at work is how I do and I've tried them all at some point. 

Luvo is by far at the top of the list for me in terms of both taste and healthiness. I first discovered them in my brother's freezer earlier this year and was pleased to see that they consist of real ingredients unlike a lot of the other "healthy" frozen meal options out there. So when I was offered the opportunity to test these out on a wider scale, I jumped at the chance. 

Luvo recently launched an online ordering system where you can order your meals right on their website and have them shipped directly to your home. I cannot tell you how great this is for me for a number of reasons:

  • First, again, super busy. If I can shorten or skip a trip to the grocery store, I'm a happy girl. 
Me ordering from Disney - CONVENIENT!
  • Second, not having to drag my 7 year old into a store is so awesome. Don't get me wrong, she's a great girl, but I swear even on perfect behavior days, any trip to any store seems to take 4x as long with her tagging along due to the millions of questions and wanting to see/touch everything and of course - oooh, are there toys at this store? 
  • Third, this testing opportunity arose while I was on vacation to Disney World. I am not ashamed (okay maybe a little ashamed) to admit that I did not have the best eating habits while visiting with The Mouse. I mean Dole Whip, right? Anyway, being able to order online and have meals shipped directly to my house was a godsend. I ordered on my phone while waiting for my daughter and hubby to finish up a ride so they would arrive the week I came home, ensuring I could quickly and easily get back on the wagon so to speak. 

A few days after arriving home, I got notice that there was a package waiting for me on my doorstep. I came home from work to a big ole freezer box full of Luvo Meals. I had ordered a pretty wide variety of meals to try, but mostly ordered Bowls as those have the added convenience of cooking and eating in the same container. No dishes to wash for the win! 

First we run the miles, then we eat the food!
There are all kinds of options for any diet, vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy free and so on, all clearly marked and all with no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.The packaging tells you exactly what is in them with the focus on Protein, Whole Grains, and Vegetables  - just like my Burn Boot Camp trainer tells me to make sure I am eating.

So, now for the most important thing, how do they taste. Pretty darn good in fact! So far everything I have tried has been super flavorful. The meats actually taste like they are supposed to (unlike other "healthy" frozen options out there). The meals are packed with spices and taste like real food (because it is real food). My favorite that I have tried so far has been Chicken and Corn Chowder. I could eat that every single day. I also really liked the Chicken in BBQ Sauce (which also had grits and collards). They were perfect lunch meals, especially for days when I was doing a lunch-time run (#runch) and needed some quick recovery food that I could easily eat at my desk.
Love they sent me a message
to let me know they arrived!

Another thing I really liked about Luvo - they were super responsive and always let you know what was up with your order. I got several email updates and even got an email sent to me when my package arrived, which was awesome, because some days I don't go straight home, or some days I don't make it to the mail box right away (my house, parking is on the backside on a alley, so I don't come in and out of my front door) and no one wants to leave food, even if nicely packed in a cooler with dry ice, on the front porch for too long. I knew where my food was pretty much the entire process, and to a girl who kinda obsesses over that kind of thing, it was a great extra. 

I still have a few more meals left to try from my big order, but I know I will be restocking when I run out. You can find Luvo Meals in the freezer section of most major grocery and food stores or, you can be like me and order online at . To sweeten the deal, for a limited time you can use the discount code "BIBCHAT" for 10% off your purchase. They also have other deals that pop up all the time so be sure to sign up for their email Newsletter to get these deals sent straight to your inbox.

Be sure to join me for #BibChat on Twitter with BibRave and co-sponsor Luvo on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 9 pm ET for your chance to learn more and maybe win some Luvo Meals of your own!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Training Update - It's Cold and Wet and UGH Out There!

I had big high hopes of getting out there and pounding some pavement this week but OMG it is nasty with a capital N out there! So yeah, today, despite having a kit packed, I seriously doubt that it is getting used. So, what exactly have I been up to, other than whining about the weather?

 On Saturday, I ran the Christmasville Reindeer Romp 5K to benefit Girls on the Run. Usually I volunteer for this race instead of run it (I've got me a pretty cozy corner as a course marshal that I've occupied the last several GotR races that I've grown fond of). But this year, I got asked to be a Run Partner for a girl who was a bit faster pace than the rest of her team. I met her and she was super sweet and I figured, why not. So, race day morning, we line up and my girl is nervous. At the start, she takes off like a SHOT. I was told her pace was in the 10 min range. We clear closer to an 8 min mile for the first mile. I've promised this girl's family I will keep an eye on her, so I do my best to keep it up. After about 1.25 miles, she starts to slow up complaining of a side cramp. Oh, thank goodness, I guiltily think to myself. I coach her through some breathing techniques and keep her moving forward and we go back and forth fast walking/sprinting the remainder of the race. When we get to the last turn, I tell her to take the turn and just run for it. She crossed the finish line in under 30 min even with the walk breaks and it's pretty awesome. 

After the race, I pull on a Nightmare Before Christmas Ugly Sweater and meet up with my friend Kim (Barking Mad About Running) and her hubby for a pancake breakfast and to spend some time walking around Christmasville. My husband and little join me a bit later and well, I continue to wander around looking like a bit of a weirdo. Luckily, the official Christmasville photographer notices me and well, I have no shame, so long story short, I'm on the Christmasville site dressed like this - 

Sunday the plan was to head to Riverwalk for 6 miles while my little one worked on some Girl Scout Badge work with her Brownie Leader, Tish. Well, when Tish heard I was running, her oldest daughter decided she wanted to run with me instead of help out the younger girls. Who am I to say no, so my training run turned into a interval run with an 11 yr old partner. Elyn was aiming for 2 miles, but when we passed the girls, she decided that no, she wasn't interested in running (happens to the best of us) and left me after 1.5. I got in another 4 steady miles after that. 

On Monday, I worked from home due to having to get a new hot water heater installed and afterwards, I hit the road for 3 miles. The intent was for 40 min, but my Apple Watch was acting up on me and kept kicking my run out. I capped it at 3 miles that was recorded over a few Runkeeper sessions due to the bugginess. 

Tuesday was a Burn Boot Camp day. The workout was Arms & Shoulders Circuit which is frankly what I am weakest at, so of course it sucked, but getting it done helps me get better and that's why I joined. 

Wednesday, the intent was to do a lunchtime run, but I suck and forgot my belt and just do not feel comfortable doing the Airport run without a phone, so it didn't happen. I regret missing my Wed. run a lot. It was a crap decision to not do it. 

Thursday was another Burn day. This time Chest and Back Day. Again, another day that I suck at (anything with upper body I am a disaster at). I could have taken the easy route and done a Leg or Conditioning day, but I'm really trying to improve at the things I am terrible at. 

And today, well, today, things are not looking good. It is wet and cold and raining and blargh. I should run today, but I am toying with instead hitting up an evening Burn class after work. We'll see.

Overall, I am disappointed at my lack of running miles this week. I have a pretty aggressive race schedule coming up with 2 races per month in Dec, Jan and Feb (these two are both Hot Chocolate 15Ks - one in Atlanta and one in Charlotte back to back) plus the Tobacco Road Half Marathon in March. And here I am slacking off like I've nothing to train for. But, it is what it is and I'll make it work how I can. 

What about you? Have you been better than I have been at meeting your goals this week? Let me know in the comments below. Stay safe and stay warm this weekend for those you in unexpected snowy areas! 

Friday, December 1, 2017

See & Be Seen - Knuckle Lights Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knuckle Lights COLORS to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews! 

So November is typically a tough month for my running routine as the first weekend of the month Daylight Savings ends and BOOM, it is suddenly dark at like 5 pm. Not only that, but it is the first real month where it is starting to get cold. Both conditions make it just that harder for me to get out the door and go. But this year, the timely acquisition of a pair of Knuckle Lights COLORS helped me overcome the dark some. 

See in the past I've relied on headlamps, which to be honest were never a perfect solution. They seemed to either squeeze or slip, I couldn't wear them with a brimmed hat or the light would be blocked and I somehow managed to always blind my running partners when I turned to talk to them. But with my new Knuckle Lights, I have way more control over where my light points and a much wider range of beam.

So, first let's go over the stats. Here is a quick overview of what Knuckle Lights have to offer - 

I chose pink because cute matters

  • 120 TOTAL LUMENS — The extra bright lights emit a wide flood beam, providing a steady, even light in front of you that does not bounce, even with your arms moving.
  • 2 LIGHTS PER SET — The units connect together magnetically. The soft silicone straps are easily adjusted to fit any size hand and even over gloves. The units are almost unnoticeable at less than 3 ounces each.
  • 3 POWER SETTINGS — High, Low and Blinking.
  • BATTERIES INCLUDED   Each unit operates on 1 X AA battery
  • WATERPROOF — The units are fully waterproof and can be used in any type of weather, and will operate in below freezing temperatures down to -20 Celsius.
  • CUTE — Not the most important criteria, but still, it does matter. Knuckle Lights COLORS come in 3 options: Black, Blue or Pink .

Now, how do they work?

They seem me coming now!
They are pretty fantastic TBH. They give off a lot more light than I expected, way more than a headlamp, and I liked having more control over them than a headlamp, for example, I could sweep an area more easily to check for uneven terrain, rocks and so on. I used them on a group run that I was leading and when there was a large puddle on the side of the road I could easily point it out to the group behind me and leave one light trained on it for a bit so they could see it. That is huge for night-time group runs. 

And not only can you see, but you can also be seen by cars and others really well with these. One recent late run, I was doing a quick couple miles around my neighborhood on the night before trash day. I came up on one of my neighbors who was taking his trash bins out to the curb and normally (and I know because it has happened before) I would have scared the heck out of him, but with my Rudolf-the-Red-Nosed-Reindeer like hands, he saw me from half a block away. When I got closer he said to me "Wow! You can really see you, huh?" "That's the point," I told him in return.

As far as how they feel on your knuckles, another concern I had before I got them, I had no complaints. The straps are adjustable and despite the fact that I have really small hands (a mean friend of mine who I never will forgive referred to them once as "Circus-People-Hands) I had no issues with them slipping. I got used to them on my hands pretty much immediately and since they strap to your fingers, still had full range of motion with them on. You can wear them on one hand or on two depending on what feels more comfortable to you (I wear them on two) and the light beam doesn't bounce due to the wide range of overlap. 

They are also seeing a bit of non-running related play lately. My 7 year old, who has recently developed a slight fear of the dark (long story that involves a scary Halloween event, but I digress) has taken to asking me to carry them in the car if we plan to be out late. The other night she used them with her Girl Scout friends to carry out the trash after the meeting, so they are a big win with her. I mean, they are not only cool lights, but bright pink, what is not to love?

So in summary, I've really enjoyed using 

Ready to get your own pair? You can order them off the Knuckle Lights website here: To sweeten the deal, use discount code “BIBRAVEPRO” to save 15% on your purchase at the checkout.