Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Camp Buff: Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me

"Disclaimer: I received several Buff products to use and review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"


When I first learned that I was going to be able to test out some amazing Buff USA gear this Spring on my adventures, one item I was particularly excited to try out was the BUFF UV Insect Shield® multifunctional headwear. See, here in SC, the late Spring and Summer are seriously buggy, like excessively so. Gnats like to hover all around your head, mosquitoes are everywhere and the woods, where I like to escape to the trials when it gets really really hot are just chock full of ticks. Having a Buff that repels all of these creepy crawleys without me having to bath in bug spray would be AMAZING, so I happily chose one of these amazing products to test. 

I wore my new Insect Shield® Buff for several trail runs and guess what, it worked like a charm! No bites, no swatting things while running, no problems with buggy bugs at all. Not only that, it was comfortable to wear despite the heat due to the fast drying, moisture wicking COOLMAX® PRO fabric. I was so happy with the performance of this product out in the woods, it got me thinking... You know, I'm not the only one going on awesome adventures this Spring, I bet my little one would really benefit from having a Insect Shield® Buff for her week long Girl Scout Camp. 

The camp was located out in the woods for a full week of swimming, hiking, crafts and other outdoor activities. And after that camp, she was invited to a special day of activities at another outdoor camp to celebrate being a top Girl Scout Cookie seller (over 500 boxes!) And the Saturday Camp Cookie, I got to attend as well. So, not wanting to share, I headed to the Buff USA website and let her pick out one of her own. She was super excited and the day it arrived, she insisted that I take her to the playground to try it out right away. She loved it. 

I dutifully packed the Buff in her day pack and hoped that she would wear it, sometimes kids don't exactly do what you ask them, even if it is in their own best interest (flashback to younger me taking off her winter coat the second that I was out of my mother's eye-line on the way to the bus stop despite being freezing out because it wasn't "cool"). So I was super pleased when a friend of mine, who was a councilor at the camp, texted me a photo of my little happily rocking her Buff. And while I knew it had performed well for me on my trail runs, I was super excited at the end of the week, after all of her adventures, my little had not gotten a SINGLE bug bite all week! 

On Saturday, it was my turn to join in the fun. Equipped with our Insect Shield®  Buffs, we had a long full day of one adventure after another. First up was swimming and boating on the lake. I made sure that tried out every option they had for us, including paddle boarding for the first time ever. I didn't fall in even once! Next up was a hike in the woods, followed by lunch, then a visit to the crafts cabin to make hula skirts and flower leis, then bouncy obstacle courses (though I skipped the water slide one since I didn't bring a swimsuit, the little did that one with much glee), then the snack and relaxation tent for temporary tattoos, coloring and fingernail painting, and finally, archery where my little one hit the target for the very first time! It was a super fun, super tiring day filled with a ton of fun, but not a single bug bite! Here's so pictures of our adventures.




All in all, the Insect Shield® Buffs performed over and above my expectations. Not only did they repel bugs, but they also are light and cool to wear and help block harmful UV rays. Highly recommend for anyone into outdoor adventures. 

You can become a fan of Buff USA too by following them on socials here - 


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Gatorade Endurance Releases 2 New Summer Flavors

“Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance  products 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!”

Growing up I was never really much of a Sports Drink kind of girl. Part of that came from the fact that I wasn't much into sports, I started running fairly late in life. I guess I always tended to equate these types of drinks, Gatorade in particular, as some kind of vaguely salty fruit punch that the jocks drank at practice. However recently, I had the opportunity to test out the Gatorade Endurance line and I have to say, my mind has been completely changed.

When I first had the choice of whether the try out Gatorade Endurance, I'll be honest, I almost passed. But then I thought about how Gatorade Endurance is provided at the aid stations at pretty much every race that I run, and while I pretty much only take water (cause you know, try nothing new on race day) I thought maybe I was missing out on something that could be beneficial for me. I mean, there has to be a good reason every race has it, right?


Gatorade was kind enough to send us BibRave Pros a packaging containing a 32 oz canister of Gatorade Endurance Thirst Quencher powder in their new Summer flavor, Watermelon. In fact, it was so new, that it wasn't even available to the public yet (more on this later). Also, they sent us 6 of their Endurance Energy Gels (an item I didn't even know they offered), also in their new Summer flavor: Mango (now available online). Both the Thirst Quencher and the Energy Gels are specifically formulated to meet the unique needs of athletes. The Thirst Quencher has 2x the sodium and 3x the potassium of traditional Gatorade while the Energy Gels have 20 g of carbs per serving and only 80 calories.

When I first opened the canister of Gatorade Endurance Thirst Quencher, the first thing that hit me was the intense Watermelon scent. It smelled so good! Seriously, when I took my Gatorade Endurance to track night later in the week, I kept opening my bottle up and making people smell my drink. It smelled that good! I also was surprised that it wasn't a bright red like I had assumed it would be. This was me again equating Gatorade Endurance with traditional Gatorade but I was happy to see that there was no harsh coloring. The container came with a scoop inside and easy to follow directions.  We also received a super cute Gatorade bottle with a watermelon on it which I used to mix up my drink. The flavor was really light and delicious and super refreshing! But how would it perform?

So if you've read my blog before, you may have seen that I live in SC. This year, we pretty much completely skipped right over Spring and went from a late Winter straight in to Summer. There was no easing into this year. It's seriously hot already. And since I try to hit the gym for strength training in the morning, that means I've been running in the afternoons when it is well above 80 and even 90 degrees out. Hydration is VITAL is what I am saying. 

The first run that I used my Gatorade Endurance on it was 89 degrees and sunny as heck. Let's put it this way, it was so hot out, someone in my neighborhood was making some kind of jerky in the windshield of their pickup truck. Not even kidding (I did say I live in SC). I was hot, sweaty and felt wasted after my run. That Watermelon Thirst Quencher tasted so good after! And I felt really great too. No stomach issue (always a fear when trying something new) either! 

The next night I took it to the track for speed work. 4.25 milles of 400s. No shade, direct sun, 6:30 pm so it was still hot from the day, but Gatorade Endurance had my back. The flavor is light and refreshing and it really helped me replace the electrolytes that were pouring out in my sweat. What can I say, I am a total Gatorade Endurance convert. Never again will I be hesitant to grab a cup of this during a race instead of the water. 

So where can you get it you ask? I'm glad you did, it just so happens, the new Watermelon Gatorade Endurance Thirst Quencher Powder was just released to their online store TODAY! You can order it by clicking here.


So in addition to the Thirst Quencher, I had the chance to try the Gatorade Endurance Gels in their newest Mango flavor. Now I am a bit of a snob when it comes to gels. I find that most I have tried remind me a bit of something between thick pudding or that gluey slime that my daughter likes to make. I packed some for my long run this past Saturday and at the 5 mile mark, tried it out. First impression, I was pleasantly surprised just how thin the gel was, not goopy like some can be. The mango flavor was really light and really tasty. I didn't feel the need to wash it down with water like I usually do with a gel even. And I for sure felt perked up after taking it. I will happily be adding these into my future fueling plans.

So yeah, I guess I'm a Gatorade fan now. Better late than never I suppose. Special thank you to Gatorade and BibRave for the opportunity to try out these Gatorade Endurance products. Coincidentally if you are interested in becoming a BibRave Pro so you too can have the chance try out amazing new products and races, Mid-Year Applications are being accepted now. Click here to apply -BibRave Pro 2018 Mid-year Application

You can also become a Gatorade Endurance Fan by following them on on their Instagram here - Gatorade Endurance


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Warrior Dash: Train and Conquer

Until a few months ago, pretty much the only exercise I did was run. After a few years of running only, as you can imagine I reached a sort of plateau. Running had done so much for me, I lost a bunch of weight, I made amazing friends and achieved more goals than I could have dreamed possible, but I knew that strength was an area that I was sorely struggling in still, so I decided to make that a priority for myself in 2018. 

And for me, in order to keep focus, I need some kind of goal to work towards. When I first started running, I signed up for a 5K so I wouldn't be able to quit. And so I wouldn't give up on the strength training, I decided to sign up for a Warrior Dash. The Warrior Dash is a 5K set in basically a mud pit with 12 different obstacles. This year's theme was the 4 Elements, so the obstacles were things like jumping over fire, crawling through muddy bogs, scaling tall structures and so on. Find all the 2018 obstacles: hereI recruited a few of my crazy friends, who were also working on their strength training, and we registered.


I swear, this is serious and necessary training
So our intrepid little group set out to do a variety of training exercises. Mainly, we were all members of Burn Boot Camp and made it a priority to hit up as many upper body strength days (there area I was/am most seriously lacking) as possible. Also, we planned a few fun little trips to a local playground where we worked on things like the Rock Wall, Monkey Bars and Obstacles. 

In addition to the strength, I trained running on trails more than I usually do as all of the running portions (5K worth) would be on grass and/or trail terrain. I do a few miles here and there at a time on trail, but it is another one of those areas that I would like to improve on. Unfortunately there are only so many hours in the day and you can't train for everything at once. 


During my training I was lucky enough to be chosen to test out a few Buff USA items that were extremely useful to me, specifically for taking on this adventure. Mainly, I used the Run Pro Cap  when training for strength and cardio (regular road running) and the Insect Shield Multifunction Headwear was a lifesaver when it came to training on trails. It rained pretty much the entire month of May and all that standing water left little breeding pools for billions and billions of mosquitoes (which I am pretty sure are the SC State Bird) so having a Buff that repels them was amazing.My only regret is that I would not be able to wear my awesome Buff gear at the actual event due to not wanting to ruin or lose anything in the mud. Just not willing to risk that for these awesome products. 


So, finally, June 2nd, Warrior Dash Day arrives. It's now or never and me and my crew are as trained as we are going to be. So how did my first Warrior Dash go?

So Clean, So Ready...


AMAZING!! It was an absolute blast. SO MUCH FUN! 

And I am proud to say that I had no issues on any of the obstacles! All my training paid off in spades. Heck, a few of us even did several of the obstacles more than once it was so much fun! Prepare for a big picture dump so you can see how much fun we had. 

Running from Obstacle to Obstacle 

Warrior Summit, So much fun we did it 2x 

Pallet Jacked

The Crew at the top of the Filth Element

Slogging through Under the Wire

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.....

Warrior Roast






We ended up being a muddy mess afterwards. I would totally do this again and in fact, a few of us are planning to up the challenge and sign up for a Spartan (maybe). 

Again, another special thank you to the Buff USA team and BibRave for the awesome gear that I used to train with and the inspiration to #LiveMoreNow. I could not have done it without these amazing tools. 

"Disclaimer: I received several Buff products to use and 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!"



Monday, June 4, 2018

Up the Mountain: King Mountain Half


On May 5th I ran the Kings Mountain Half Marathon. This was my second time running this race, so I knew going in a bit of what I was in for, however, the course was rerouted for 2018, so it was pretty much all new to me again. And let me just say, the 2018 course was crazy harder than the 2017 one! But like the race registration page says, this Half Marathon isn't so much a race as a historic battle! And the course certainly live up to that.

The weather was pretty nice this year, which was a blessing, since it was super hot the previous year. When I arrived to the Park, the temps were in the mid-60s and the sun was hiding behind the clouds. I am super cold natured, so I knew I was going to need something to keep me warm both before and early into the race. That's where I knew my Buff UV Arm Sleeves would come in perfect. 

I love arm sleeves. Nice and cozy warm when you need them, and easy to slide off and tie on to your fuel belt when you don't. They kept me nice and warm pre-race and were actually so light and breathable, I wore them for the first 4 or so miles of the course. When I started to heat up, I was able to slip them right off and tie onto my belt without even breaking my stride. Additionally, I am sorting my new favorite running hat, the Buff Pro Run Cap, which also offers UV Protection in addition to being super light, comfortable and moisture wicking. 


Not much to say about the actual running part of the race except that it was a beast. Lots of hills, of course, but the route also was on a pretty gravelly road for a good portion (about 8 miles or so of the 13) with some pretty decent rocks to avoid. I was a bit nervous on a few of the more sloped down-hills about hitting a rock and losing my footing, but overall, I ended up navigating the course with no real issue. I will say the last mile or so was pretty up hill, which seems cruel, including the very final stretch being a pretty steep climb. I pushed through for a running finish, but I did see several people walking the finish line. I always say that this race is more than just a race, it is an adventure. It's a challenge I love to conquer.

After the race for Kings Mountain is always a great time. I knew several of the runners and stuck around to cheer them on. A Boy Scout Troop does a cookout for the race participants of burgers, chicken, or hot dogs with chips, drink and dessert. While hanging around to wait for award presentations, I started to cool down again, so back on went the arm sleeves. Not only did they warm me back up, they totally kept my bare arms protected from UV rays. 

When all the numbers were crunched, I ended up placing again this year, 2nd place in my division! Plus, despite the tougher course, I managed to knock 6 minutes off my finishing time! 
Dorking it up Post-Race!

Overall, it was a tough race, but again, a challenge I look forward to each year. I will for sure be back to conquer the mountain again in 2019. Who knows, last year I was 3rd, this year 2nd, maybe I can pull off a 1st placing then! 

(Disclaimer: I received several Buff products to use and 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!)


Friday, May 18, 2018

Live More This Summer

Well the weather is heating up and the humidity is settling in and that can only mean one thing: SC, as usual, has decided to skip Spring and jump right into Summer! And I for one am actually not going to complain about it (much). This winter was a brutal one and it drug on and on and on and on. 

To celebrate, I've been prepping for some exciting Summer adventures, some of which that are a bit out of my comfort zone, but exciting all the same. Inspired by some new amazing Buff gear that I recently got, I've vowed to #LiveMoreNow and make the most of the warm days ahead. 



"Disclaimer: I received several Buff products to use and 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 kicked off my adventures with my year's most challenging Half Marathon, the Kings Mountain Half Marathon. Yup, that is exactly what it sounds like, a Half Marathon up a mountain. I will be making a post dedicated to this race soon. But spoiler alert: it was perhaps one of the toughest courses that I've ever had the pleasure to run. Loads of fun though. My Buff arm sleeves were perfect for the cooler morning coupled with the ease of taking them off when I warmed up without breaking my pace. So much more convenient than a full extra layer and they quickly and easily tied onto my fuel belt.

Another May adventure has been the challenge of my Run the Rock running group's yearly #MileADayMay running streak. Each May, we vow to run at least 1 mile per day. It's been crazy tough - I'm a girl who loves a good rest day, but so far, I've met the daily goal. Some days it's been crazy hot, and I've even had to run a few days in the rain (the upcoming forecast looks like it might end up being a few more) but the challenge has been a fun one that the whole group has been taking to heart. I've been seriously loving my Buff Pro Run Cap on the super hot days to keep me shaded, and even more so on the rainy ones to keep the rain off my face.  

So what else do I have in store for my upcoming adventures. Well my June is pretty jam packed! 

First, on June 2nd I will be doing my first ever Warrior Dash. This crazy decision was born from delusions of forcing myself to increase my upper body strength, an area where I am seriously lacking. 


Back in November, I joined Burn Boot Camp as a way to cross train. I learned pretty quickly while I could rock out a cardio day with no problems, and even leg days were not a huge challenge for me, I stunk on toast when it came to any kind of upper body workouts. So, when I receive my weekly protocol on Sunday's I plan my week to take advantage of the days that I most need, mostly upper body and core work. For example, here's this week's protocol. I went on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week hitting both arm days and the core day. 
Serious Training, No Really! 
Anyway, a group from Burn decided to do the Warrior Dash, and crazy me, drunk on the fact that I have any arm muscles for the first time in my life decided to join them. We've been doing some crazy training like hanging out at playgrounds, rock walls and staying after boot camps to attempt pull-ups. Despite, I still epicly failed at the monkey bars in our neighborhood playground this evening. It's been a fun training process, and I trust my girls to have my back.


One of the Hiking Trails at  Cookie Camp
The next weekend, June 9th I get to attend Cookie Camp. See, I'm a leader with my daughter's Girl Scout Troop and our Head Leader is crazy obsessed with Cookie Sales. Never before we joined this troop did I ever think it would be possible to sell 500 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, but we did for the 2nd year in a row now. The 500+ Cookie Sales Reward is a day at Cookie Camp, where my daughter and I (and the other top sellers from our Council) get to go hiking, boating, do crafts, archery, eat S'mores and have an amazing day out in the woods. I can't wait. And my Buff Insect Shield Headwear is going to be amazing for this. Since it's supposed to rain pretty much non-stop for the next week, I am expecting a billion or more mosquitoes out there. Hmmm... maybe I had better get a second one for the little one. 

Next up on June 16th is a night-time trail race that I've been wanting to do forever, the Moonlight Bootlegger 5K. You run through the trails starting at 9 pm and finish the race at a big after-party in the woods complete with Moonshine. Several of my friends have done it before and it looks like a blast. Although I am a bit nervous about the trail aspect. See, I'm not the best at trails and I've never run one at night, but I guess it wouldn't be a challenge if it wasn't challenging, right?
Polaroids are still a thing?

Lastly, I will round out my June adventures with the Insane Inflatable on June 23rd. This is a super fun 5K where you run form bouncy obstacle to bouncy obstacle. It's a wonderful combination of fun and difficult (seriously, bouncing is tiring). But the best part about the Insane Inflatable is I am doing it again with my little one. We did this together in Nov and had a blast so we signed up again for the June leg. We've been going on training runs/walks to prepare for it and just been having the best time together. She's even come with me to a Mommy and Me Burn Boot Camp. Love spending time with my Mini-Me.

So, do you think that is enough to keep me busy? Whew, just typing all that out is making me a bit tired. But I'm excited too! Keep tuned to this blog as I will be updating you on all my adventures as they happen, starting with my recap of the Kings Mountain Half Marathon, which will post later this weekend. 

So what kind of adventures are you planning this summer? How do you plan to #LiveMoreNow ? Let me know in the comments.  As for me, I'm off to get some sleep. I'm going to need it! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Flipping Out Over FlipBelt Crops

Disclaimer: I received FlipBelt Crops 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've mentioned before a few times here that I prefer to run with music, and to do so requires me to carry my phone on me while I run. I've struggled over the years to find the best way to carry my phone and anything else that I needed with me like keys and gels, trying a variety of options from arm bands, belts, tiny "pockets" and even stuffing things in handheld bottles. 

Most frequently I would go with a belt as the least intrusive carrying device, but there were still a number of problems, but biggest being that no matter how much I adjusted it, but belt bounced around and would often lead to chafing. No one likes to take a shower after that! 

So when I found out that FlipBelt had introduced a pair of crops with built in pockets, I wanted in! I had heard amazing things about the roominess of FlipBelts before, but never run with one so I was excited to try them out. I'm happy to say that they exceeded my expectations! 

First let me give you a little info about the crops. Here are their features straight from the FlipBelt website - 

  • 76% Polyester 24% Spandex
  • Moisture wicking 
  • Anti microbial fabric
  • Rear zipper pocket
  • Internal key ring
  • Multiple front pocket openings
  • Large phone pockets
  • 3M reflective logo
  • Machine wash and dry

They are really comfortable to wear, some of the softest running tights I've worn. I am 5'6" and they rest right in the perfect place for a crop. I've run in them comfortably in temperatures ranging from mid-40s to low 70's pairing with everything from zip-ups, to short sleeves to tanks. Currently, they only come in black, which of course matches everything, but I hope they introduce some other colors in the future. 

But what about the pockets!?

So many useful pockets! 

These bad boys have pockets for DAYS! There's one huge pocket in the front that has access openings on either side of your hips. This pocket is great for storing all kinds of stuff that you need to get to fairly quickly while running like gels, beans, tissues, route maps, beer money (you know, for after your run) and so on. I can literally stick my arm in there! 

On the back of the crops there is also a larger zippered pocket. And when I say larger, I actually mean it. If you take in account my iPhone 7 plus the extra battery case, plus the pocket for my ID and debit card stuck to the back, I carry a pretty substantially sized phone with me. This pocket has no problem containing all of that. 

Lastly, inside the front pocket there is a clip for hooking your key on. This is a particular plus to me. See, last November right before a race I was doing my pre-run check of my stuff. I checked my belt one last time to make sure that my gels were in there and when I did, my key fell out, unbeknownst to me at the time. Luckily, I found out sooner rather than later, but enough time had past that I had moved to the starting area. When I figured it out, I sprinted back to where I was and me and two friends frantically searched the grass for my car key. Luckily, we were able to locate it, but I've been paranoid about losing my key every since then. Well not with my FlipBelt Crops. I can rummage through the pocket knowing that my key is safely clipped in. 

LUCKY CROPS FTW!!
So, in conclusion, I love these crops! I've worn them several times over the past month for pretty much every type of run imaginable, long, speed, even a race. Heck, I scored me a new 5K PR in them, so I am officially considering them my lucky pants! 

All I need now is for them to make a pair of shorts because the temps are going to be heating up here in SC soon!


Want to try them out for yourself? You can get your own pair of FlipBelt Crops at  https://flipbelt.com/running-pants-crops, and save 25% online with the discount code BIBRAVE.


Also, be sure to follow FlipBelt on their socials for fun promotions and product news:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Catching Up

See, I'm still alive... 
I've been suffering from a terrible case of the "I'll Get To It Laters", especially where this blog is concerned. Nothing in particular has been keeping me away, just life in general has been busy. Such is the case when you work full time, have a family with a very active little and run a bazillion (okay, so more like 20-25) miles a week plus cross train 2-3 days. So basically, if it's not pressing, it's been getting overlooked lately. Ugh. 

So, this is going to be a real quick update of what I've been doing and what I am looking forward to in the near future. And hopefully I can get back to a better schedule for not only my blog, but being more organized in general. 

Basically, chaos has been ruling the day, but I'm making some plans to reign it back in. Hopefully. We'll see...


What I've Been Up To

Since we've past the first quarter of the year, let's take a quick backwards glance to my 2018 goals and see where things stand. 

  • Run 1009 miles - me and a friend are splitting 2018 miles
    • I'm right on track. Have hit my first 3 monthly mileage goals with a little extra
  • Run 18 races
    • On track. I've run 6 races so far and registered for 5 more currently with several others I am eyeing
  • Place in 4 races
    • On track here as well. I've placed in 2 races so far this year (more on this in a bit)
  • 1200 Twitter followers
    • So far so good. I broke the 1,000 follower mark last month and am at 1,034 currently
  • 1000 Instagram followers 
    • This one is going a bit slower. I'm closing in on 700 so still attainable
  • Run 4 Half Marathons (Tobacco Rd., Kings Mtn, Run & Ride, Rock n Roll Savannah) with a new PR in at least 1
    • I've run Tobacco Road and got a new huge PR and have registered for Kings Mountain (next month) and Rock N Roll Savannah (Join me in Nov and register with discount code "RNRBRP2018" for $15 off the full/half marathon). Run & Ride will not be held this year (boo) so I need to find another Fall Half to replace. Considering the Charlotte 13.1 in September or maybe the Myrtle Beach Mini in October.
  • Do an Obstacle Race (Warrior Dash) 
    • Registered for Warrior Dash on June 2nd. Having our first training camp on Sat. 
  • Renew as BibRave Pro
    • This doesn't happen until Fall, but I've been trying to be a good little Pro 
  • Blog more - 4 per month at least 
    • Doing better than 2017, but missed my goal in March. 4 in Jan, 6 in Feb and just 3 in March. April is not progressing well either as this is my first post and it is half over, but I can still catch up
  • Keep a consistent training plan/journal (Using the Believe. Training Journal)
    • January I did great. Since then, not so well. Need to reset and start back up again

So I am basically on a pretty consistent track for meeting most of my 2018 goals. In addition, I have been consistently doing Burn Boot Camp with 2-3 camps per week, mainly focusing on the areas I need the most work (upper body and core). 

What else, what else... Oh yeah...  
I HAVE A NEW 5K PR!! AND I PLACED FIRST AG AT A RACE!!!

Last weekend I ran the Come See Me Road Race 5K, which was a redemption race for me of sorts. Last year, I sucked at that race. I had been sick the day before and had a pretty poor showing. Insult to injury, I placed 4th. I hate 4th place. And I placed 4th in 4 races last year. This was one of them. And for 2018 I vowed that I would right the wrong of 4th places (so far I am 2 for 2 of placing in previous 4th place, so yay). 

Anyway, I have been really working on my speed work to hit a placing for this race and not only did I place, I placed 1st and hit a new PR by 1 min 15 sec! BOOM! I swear I almost teared up when I looked at the results screen.This race was the first 5K I ever ran 4 years ago so coming in 1st was extra special to me. 

Things I Loving

In addition to making gains on some goals, I've also had an opportunity to try out a few new awesome products. I'll be writing more about these things in upcoming blogs, but wanted to mention a few things I've been loving lately. Shout outs to the following:

FlipBelt Crops* - These are my new go to running tights. Love them. They have a huge built in front pocket with a key clip, plus a large back pocket with a zipper in the back. I can still carry everything I need with no bouncy belt flopping around behind me. Get your own pair at www.flipbelt.com and use discount code to promote is *"BIBRAVE" for 25% off. I will be posting a more detailed review of these before the end of the month, but spoiler alert: I've really been liking them! 

Under Armor HOVR Sonic shoes* - I cannot say enough good things about these shoes! I love them. I swear these are like secret weapon shoes. I have PRed the last 3 races that I have worn them!! Basically, what I've been doing is running the majority of my training runs in a heavier pair of shoes, and then busting out these bad boys for my long runs and on race day. They are so light I feel like I am flying when wearing them. Plus, their zero gravity design somehow leaves me feeling like I could practically run forever in them. I'm racking up the miles on my first pair and am getting another very soon. 

Avon's Anew Skinvincible Lotion - I'm terrible about using sunscreen while running and asked a friend who is an Avon rep for a good solution and she turned me on to this lotion with broad spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen in it. It's super light, has no smell and doesn't sweat off. I used it on my face for my last race and despite the fact my shoulders got super sunburnt, my face had no issue. And, she told me last night, it's on special this month, so yay! You can hit up my friend's Avon here - http://www.youravon.com/dwood7441 

Knockaround Sunglasses - As a BibRave Pro, I often get to try out some really cool products for free. Unfortunately I wasn't chosen to test out these awesome sunglasses, but they were so cute and so inexpensive, I decided to take advantage of their partnership with BibRave and use their discount code to buy my own pair. So far I'm loving them! Haven't had a chance to run in them yet, but they seem like they are going to stay in place with no issue. Get your own at http://www.knockaround.com and use code BIBRAVEKNOCKS for 20% off (1 use/person).


What I'm Looking Forward To

So what's on the horizon? Well, on May 5th, I have my next Half Marathon, Kings Mountain Half. It's a pretty low key event and honestly, my goal is pretty much just to beat last year's time. I mean, the race has the word MOUNTAIN in the name, so this is not a PR race. I placed 3rd AG last year, so it would be nice to at least do that again this year, but really, this is a race I just hope to do okay at. The course has changed from last year, so who knows what the elevation profile will be like this year. Last year, there was a huge sucky hill at mile 11.5. Hoping that bad boy won't  be on this year's route. 
BibRave and Buff, What an Amazing Combo! 

Also, I'll be working on a campaign with BibRave and Buff in May and June where I get to try out a few amazing Buff products and take them on some exciting adventures. I've been like a kid in a candy store picking out my items and will finalize my order this week. Can't wait to show you what I'm getting and what amazing activities I have in store. Here's a hint, Warrior Dash Training is about to get pretty intense! Excited and a bit scared all at the same time! #livemorenow

So that is about it for right now. I promise I will be better at checking in here. Maybe in May I will do some kind of blog challenge to make it more of a habit. Habit setting is definitely something I need to get better at. 

What about you? What have you been up to? Life getting in your way too? Let me know and we can commiserate together. 

(“Disclaimer: I received my FlipBelt Crops and 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!”)

Friday, March 23, 2018

KT Tape Review: Finding the Support For You

“Disclaimer: I received KT Tape 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!”



Recently I was afforded the amazing opportunity to test out several different products from KT Tape. Now, I have been previously diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my left knee which is a fancy way to say it hurts to use my knee for long periods of time, so suffice to say I am no stranger to KT Tape. I have been using their Cotton Tape with what is referred to as the full knee support tape style for a while now with great success.

With some new products to play with, I began my quest to find the perfect KT Tape product and taping combination best for me.

First stop was the KT Tape website, which has tons of amazing information and tips. My favorite part, the How To Apply section. So many videos on so many different tape styles! There were 5 that focused on knees! I had been using the Full Support tape for awhile, so I decided to try something new. I decided to try the Inner Knee tape because that is where my pain primary is. So I busted out new roll of KT Tape Pro and taped up. The video instructions were super easy to follow.


Pro - Inner Knee

For my trial of this new Inner Knee tape job, I wore it for Leg Day for my Burn Boot Camp class and then for 2 run of 4 miles each for a total of 4 days of wear. The Pro lasted great and I probably could have worn it for a few more days no problem, but I decided that they Inner Knee style wasn't quite working for me. It did give me some support and I was way better than wearing nothing, but I felt there was a better option for me.


Cotton Tape - 
Modified Full Support
Next, after consulting the videos and a friend of mine that is a PT, I decided to go back to the Full Knee Support but with a slight tweak. I added a half strip on the outside of my knee in a "C" shape to kind of pull the knee cap from left to right. For this, I went back to my tried and true Cotton Tape (tbh, that decision was mostly based on how cute the pink Cotton Tape was.)

For this trial, it was long run day, 10 miles. I LOVED THIS TAPING! I ended up wearing it for 3 more days for an Athletic Conditioning class and another 3 mile run. This was it, this was the perfect taping for me!!

Gentle Tape
I then decided to try out the Gentle Tape, because, frankly I can be a wuss when it comes to removing KT Tape. The Gentle Tape is also cotton and has less aggressive adhesive for easier removal. So I taped up with my modified Full Support style and hit the gym. The tape held for my workout just fine, but started peeling off when I was changing, so I don't think it is my best option as I like to wear my tape for multiple days. Maybe if worn in a less sweaty place (my legs get pretty drenched tbh) or a place that didn't move quite as much (seriously, you knees do nothing but move when running) it would have worked better. I love that KT has this option even if it didn't work best for me. I'm sure it is someone else out there's favorite product.

WINNER!
So, I decided to try out what I considered the best of both worlds for my trials. I did my Modified Full Support taping with the KT Pro and DING DING DING, we have a winner!! I wore this taping for a Half Marathon last weekend and I'm not saying that it was 100% the reason that I hit a 5 min PR, but it certainly helped! I wore this taping for the race, then for wandering around a museum, then a for a rest day and for 2 more days of Burn Boot Camp and short runs. All in all, I wore this tape for 5 days and it kept me supported and happy throughout. This is the combo that will be my go to for now on for sure!

KT Tape also offers a Pro Extreme version with extra strength adhesive which I haven't tried yet, but I plan to use this summer when the SC humidity kicks it up a notch out there. How awesome is it that they literally have an option for everyone?

Two other quick things that I wanted to mention that I really love about KT Tape. First is that the strips come pre-cut for convenience. I've used other brands that do not do this and I can never quite figure out the right length and end up wasting a ton. KT Tape being pre-cut takes out the guess work! Also, I love that the KT Tape Pro products all come in sturdy storage cases. LOVE THESE! Makes it so easy to store and carry with you!



Want to try out KT Tape for yourself? Visit them online at www.kttape.com and use the promo code BIBRAVE30 for a 30% discount.