Amphipod®️ PureRun™️ Minimalist Hydration Vest

Amphipod®️ PureRun™️ Minimalist Hydration Vest – Gear Review

“Disclaimer: I received a Amphipod®️ PureRun™️Minimalist Hydration Vest to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I have run many miles, and many of them with some sort of pack. I am familiar with bladders, bottles and flasks. What intrigued me most about getting a chance to try this vest was the versatility to adapt to bottles, flasks or bladders.

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The vest arrived with two, 12 oz Hydraform™️ bottles, one for each front drawstring pocket. There are 3 front buckles with adjustable straps. There are two front zipper pockets. The back is like a back pack with two separate zipper compartments, one large enough to house a bladder. The front even has a clip for the hose. There are also cords to carry a light weight coat or something on top of the pack. I also received a fun light up smiley face too.

When I received this vest, I was in the midst of training for my 25th marathon. However, I wanted to make sure before I took it on a long run, I would have no problems. The maiden voyage was just across town and back. I stuck my phone in the front zipper pocket and it fit! I have an iPhoneX. I also just carried the bottles with me, so I could get the feel.

Everything fit fine and was easy to adjust. I should note the vest does come in two sizes, so check your measurements before ordering. The only thing that is strange, as a woman, the placement of the bottles just looks “strange.”

I  ran next with the vest to a race day volunteer job. I was going to be directing runners at a corner. It was also very cold that day. The vest fit over many layers of clothes and when it warmed up, I was able to easily stash the extra clothes in the pockets.

I take gear testing seriously! I brought the pack along for a group training run. I was going to run at least 13 miles, and the route was along the highway. The one thing I appreciate about this is the bottles that come with it. It’s easy to bring water and an electrolyte on your run. I did find out that if you don’t tighten the drawstring on the bottle pocket, it will bounce and/or fall out! The vest was also great to hold the treasures I found along the way.

Then it was time for my last 20 mile long run before the marathon. I didn’t hesitate and grabbed the vest, filled it with all my snacks and drinks.

I also packed it full of warmer clothes, and an empty flask and deodorant on my way to the Iowa spring football practice. I didn’t even get checked in the security line and I was able to be fresh when I got there.

Up until this point all the runs in the vest were in cooler weather, meaning I was wearing multiple layers or a long sleeve top.

On race day, the Run Crandic marathon, I choose to wear this vest. The race course had many aid stations, but it wasn’t my first race and I wanted to have my snacks and at the least water when I wanted it. Race day temps would end up near 70 degrees, so I ran in a tank top with the vest. While it was nice to have everything I needed, I was happy to see Vaseline at an aid station as the chafe around my neck and arms was not pleasant. Maybe it was the necklace, sports bra and fresh hair cut…no clue, it just wasn’t pleasant. I am also of the school where basically all gear chafes, or all glasses fog up. I am sure if I gave my vest some adjustments, it would have fit better and I wouldn’t have any chafe. (at mile 17.5, I had no time for that) I will also note, I didn’t feel extra hot or extra sweaty due to wearing the pack.

If you are looking to finally get away from a hydration belt, I would recommend this vest. It’s not complicated, and easy to use and adjust.  The material breathes and you can carry just about anything with you because of it’s versatility. It is available online for $100 – http://www.amphipod.com/products/hydration/purerun-vests/purerun-minimalist-24

Check out what other BibRave Pros had to say: Andrea – AlastairMeridithRenee 

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Grandma’s or Bust!

Grandma’s or BUST

“Disclaimer: I received entry into Grandma’s Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

That’s right, I am headed back to Duluth! If we are getting technical it’s my sixth time to Duluth. I took a family vacation as a kid in 1993, I ran the half marathon in 2014, and then the first Great Grandma’s challenge in 2015, the black flagged 2016 marathon, and the almost as hot 2017 marathon.

2018 is the year for perfect weather, you heard it here first!

Why am I returning?

  1. I want to eat at Grandma’s Saloon and Grill. In all these years I have not done that, and it’s located at the finish line.
  2. I am going to run the 5k on Friday night too. I will be in town for packet pickup, might as well do the Great Grandma’s challenge again.
  3. The lake – Lake Superior! I have never jumped in post marathon – GASP! My first half was cold, the 2015 marathon was rain, the 2016 marathon I had to find my husband in the medical tent, and in 2017 I met my friends at the beer tent.
  4. It’s a great event. I feel this needs no blurb, great events keep people coming back.
  5. The medal! GM Medal Reveal FB 2018

I feel those are my top 5 reasons to get back. I hope to cross all those things off the list.

What has you returning to a race? Why would you travel to something year after year?

Bibrave Partners with Athlinks

BibRave has a new partnership with Athlinks.

“Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

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What is Athlinks?

  • An online collection of your race results. Find, share and claim your race results up to the last 10 years
  • Connect with friends – meet at a future race, have a friendly competition or cheer each other on.

I have been an Athlinks member since 2009 – it’s cool to have your race results all in one place. However, when I originally joined, I found myself having to add all my races to the database, and due to so many races, I gave up, it was a lot of work to search websites for results and wait to see if they were added.

Periodically since that time, I would check in and some of the bigger races would show up on my profile to claim. That is easy, the system recognizes your name and you just hit the “claim results” button.

Now, I am willing to give the website another try. There have been many changes to the site to make it more of a community.

You can follow friends, when you follow them you can see if they raced the same events as you. This stat also tells you if you won or lost against them in that event. It’s a nice friendly competition, but when you are a slow runner, seeing all the losses on your profile isn’t a great feeling, ok so maybe it’s a little motivating.

I also am having an issue following accounts that are private. They can follow me, but I can not follow them back. I can also not see who my followers are, unless I go through my emails. *Maybe I am just missing something?

You can also add future events to your profile to see who will be there, complete with a countdown. This allows you to put in your time goal as well.

There were a few other things I am still struggling with:

  • My PR’s are not accurate. I have a couple marathon relays on my resume and they are counting that as my marathon PR.
  • I signed up 9 years ago, I can not change my email address to the one I prefer to use today. *I am working on getting this changed

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Moving forward – I am curious to see what incentives and discounts will be available. The website has grown, and in fact before January 8, 2018, those who sign up for a new Athlinks account or existing members who claim a new race result are eligible to win great prizes – from race entries into the Leadville Race Series and the Life Time Tri Series, to a one-year premium TrainingPeaks subscription. To learn more and “Win 2018”, visit https://app.athlinks.com/win2018/

As I continue to get email notifications, I will keep up with my Athlinks account just as I have in the past. Who knows maybe a giveaway will entice me to actually add the races that are not in the database.

You can get your free account online at Athlinks.com or get the app on your phone. If you want you can follow me too – https://www.athlinks.com/athletes/114826986

 

 

 

A Visor For All Conditions

Product Review – BOCO Gear 360° Visor®

“Disclaimer: I received a BOCO Gear 360° Visor® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aBibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Whether it’s to keep my hair under control, the sun off my face or my head warm; I can easily be spotted running with something on my head.

In fact you might have seen me in a BOCO trucker hat or a Boco stocking hat. BOCO (as some of you Coloradians might know) is short for Boulder, CO – where the company was “born.”

All this rambling brings me to the newest addition to my BOCO Gear collection, the  BOCO Gear 360° Visor®!

What makes this visor so special? Well I will tell you:

  • Terry cloth liner across the forehead to reduce sweat from dripping on your face
  • elastic band on the back, no readjusting
  • machine washable
  • black under the brim to reduce glare
  • the bill is curved and fits like a normal hat – no crazy flat brimmed nonsense
  • dry tech polyester

Now – how did I make the most of this visor?

While I have been wearing it from time to time on my runs, to shield my face from the sun (which is important all year round.) I put this to it’s first test as I wore it during the Detroit Marathon, in wind gusts close to 40 mph. The visor never budged, I never worried about losing this as I ran the last few miles in a head wind.  It’s a pain if you have to worry about keeping your hat on, and uncomfortable to run with your hand on the top of your head, to keep your hat on.

Second… I have been enjoying this as an addition to cold runs. I need my head and more importantly my ears covered when it’s cold outside (insert dramatic story of my ears being frostbit as a kid.)I prefer to wear a stocking hat or multifunctional head wrap. However, those items do not block my face from the sun. It’s sooooo easy to just throw the visor on, on top of the hat – BAM, sun protection.

I think if there were a downside to this visor, it would be the sizing. For my head size, it’s fine. I like that there is no extra adjustable strap to deal with. For others it could be too big or too small.

My favorite thing about this – it’s machine washable. I don’t have time to hand wash stuff, and the running gear that requires that treatment gets neglected. This just makes taking care of my visor so much easier.

The pros may have additional thoughts on BOCO Gear, so check em out: Amy WMeridithJeannineLindseyVanessaFrankKolbeStephanieMattCaseyJessica FallonGinaSamantha

BOCO makes a lot of products – check out their website, or maybe get your own custom order.

Follow BOCO Gear on TwitterInstagramFacebook.

 

Health Warrior Chia Bars – review

Review of the Health Warrior Chia Bars

“Disclaimer: I received 2 boxes of Health Warrior Chia Bars 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 can’t resist a good bar, with that being said I have also had my fair share of disgusting bars. With so many options out there, I was happy to try out the Health Warrior Chia Bars.

I ripped open the brown cardboard box, when it arrived, to find 2 boxes of Health Warrior Chia bars inside. I received the chocolate peanut butter and vanilla almond. In addition to the bars, there was a cool surprise – The Coloring Book, Marathon Training.

What the heck is chia, and why should you eat it? Well it is that plant seed that grows into a pet, but it’s also a superfood – the most nutrient dense food on the planet!

chia boasts more omega-3s than salmon, more protein than an egg, more calcium than milk, and more fiber than flax

This superfood is combined with other ingredients to make a gluten free, soy free, dairy free and vegan bar, yet only 4-5 grams of sugar. These are near 100 calories and help you feel full as they contain protein, fiber, fat and omega-3.

How do they taste? This is where I am always skeptical. I love all the benefits these provide, but I am not going to eat them if I don’t like them. I am here to say, these are good!!!! They taste like a granola bar…the flavors I received, taste just as described. You get a whiff of vanilla before you bite into the vanilla almond and you just can’t go wrong with peanut butter.

I think my favorite thing about these are you can see the ingredients that are listed on the label. They are not a mushed up, dried out, chalky square.

I found myself taking these with me to work. They are the perfect snack to hold me to lunch time.

I also snuck them into Camp Randall, Kinnick Stadium and Carver Hawkeye Arena. Who wants to pay concession stand prices for bad for you food?

I have my eyes on the new sea salt caramel flavor and I would like to try their line of pumpkin seed bars too. Ok, who am I kidding, I would like to try them all as all my boxes are empty!

I think the only bad thing about these bars is when the chia seeds get stuck in your teeth.

I mentioned a coloring book – that’s right!!! If you place an order through this link – http://healthwarrior.link/colorbookbr you will be sent the Marathon Training coloring book. It’s funny and filled with the truth about marathon training.

I was able to stay in the lines!

I know the other pros were sent other flavors so make sure to check out their thoughts: CaseyBrendaJessicaPaulaStephanie MattAmyJanelleLindsey Emily Samantha 

Stay up to date with Health Warrior by following along on their social channels – TwitterFacebookInstagram

Half Marathon #47

Half Marathon #47

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

It’s amazing how things start to add up over time, hard to believe I have completed my 47th half marathon, my first was in September 2011. This was my 6th half marathon in Madison. Find out if I will be back…..

For my no nonsense review – check out bibrave.com

Where shall I begin… I think I will fast forward through Saturday… originally when I signed up, I was excited as it was the day after the Iowa / Wisconsin football game in Madison, I would be in town anyway…why not run a marathon? Well, you can read again about me switching races…but still Hawkeye football and running, what is better?

Well as I write this we all know that game did not turn out well for the Hawkeyes, so why should we relive it…no need….I will say I got to spend more time with new friends, and I did enjoy that.

Sunday, November 12 – RACE DAY!!

Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Bibrave long sleeve shirt, 2xu Hyoptik tights, Zensah compression socks, BUFF® ThermoNet™, Pearl Izumi gloves, Hawkeye hat, xx2i sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Forerunner 935, Road ID

I was up early for a short drive to Madtown. I was staying just south in a town with a Kwik Star – I love those stores!  So, I stopped for some coffee and a bagel. The weather was also a little crappy, the temp was near freezing and it was spitting rain. I did make it to Madison without incident, and checked the weather map, it looked like I was just out of it and the race would be dry.

Oh – I forgot to tell you all about the packet pick up and stuff – but as I said – check out my bibrave review…the blog is for the rambling. Anyway, unless you pay for race day packet pick up, you have to get your bib the days before at the Monona Terrace – it’s easy and painless…and I did that before the game.

Ok, back to race day – One of my favorite things about this event, it’s on a Sunday, so all the on street parking just blocks away from the start / finish is FREE. I pulled in around 6 am for the 7:10 a start, and found a parking spot 2 blocks away.

I had time to use one of the many port-o-potties and get back to my car and sit and stay warm and relax. No standing in a corral for an hour before you start, no wondering where you need to be… just sitting and scrolling social media.

With about 15 minutes to go, I left my car and walked to the starting line. I could hear the National Anthem in the distance, so I stopped walking and listened. I arrived to the starting line to hear them announce the wheeler start at 6:55 am, then it was the full marathon start at 7:00am. I looked for my friend Dan, and kept an eye out for Steena, but didn’t see either.

After a selfie or 2, I found myself lining up into the backfed corral. These are kind of annoying, if you are fast, it’s hard to get to the front. Anymore, I just get in the corral and move forward…I try not to worry. There were pacers with signs you could stand near too.

There was a wheeler start for the half marathon, then it was time for me to start. I have never run this course in Madison before…. well as a half marathon. The course is the second half of the full marathon, which I ran last year.

There was some construction in the first mile or so of the race, so the streets we were running on were quite narrow, and at one point it was sooo narrow that we all just stopped… I can remember the collective sigh I heard from everyone at this moment… (thanks to my Aftershokz Trekz Air) the sigh was like something you hear from a crowd at a sporting event. However, after this point… the course widened again and we finally started to thin a little. Most of the participants must have been running the half marathon.

The first 5 ish miles were on some boring roads, passing businesses and gas stations. In all the races I’ve run in Madison, this course is my least favorite. We finally got closer to the lake and there were views of that.

There were parts through residential neighborhoods and a short out and back section. Each mile was marked with a sign, and I didn’t notice any timing mats. *The RaceJoy app was the tracking app suggested by the race, which is based on the participant using their phone GPS on course. This just burns my battery, so I do not use it. I should have set it up though as I think there is a way around it – really I should just look into it, lol

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Around mile 8 was a HUGE hill with a cool look over the lake… I actually checked my heart rate at the top – as a Bibrave Pro I have been testing a Garmin Forerunner 935 with the wrist HR monitor, and I noticed it was only about 173 at the top of the hill, so I happened to keep pushing the pace into the finish line.

On course there were many aid stations. At first I was confused as water was first, then Gatorade, but that was followed with water again. Also as the stops went on, the mixing of cups happened – water wasn’t always in the white cup – but the volunteers shouted what they had to offer. There were also a couple of gel stops too.

There were also a lot of law enforcement volunteers along the way. There were a lot of busy intersections. I made sure to thank them when I could. Near the finish is a hill (of course – it wouldn’t be Madison without hills) I said thank you to an officer and he made some remark instead- something to the effect of keep going or don’t give up, like your Hawkeyes yesterday.  UGH this did not encourage me at all, in fact I was mad!  I am fine if a friend lays down the smack talk, but I didn’t know this person. He should have also just been making sure runners are safe, and given the time, clap or say good job. I compare this to “good job but the things you like suck!”  Anyway, I didn’t let this cloud my thoughts on the overall event…just do your job.

I came into the finish as the announcer said my name. My Garmin had a time near 2:15 for 13.3 ish miles. I am not made about the distance… I understand that GPS gets off and I probably didn’t run the tangents.

I jumped and the photographer captured it!! Oh and the pictures were posted that night and sent to me via email for a FREE download!!

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After I crossed that finish line a volunteer placed a medal around my neck and a bottle of water was made available to me. Then I waited in line for a photo with the back drop.

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After that, a kid ran out of nowhere and placed a mylar blanket on my like a cape! I wasn’t super cold, but was grateful and took it with me as I grabbed a couple of orange slices. There were some halved bananas too. The next stop was the choice of a bagged Panera lunch – turkey, ham or veggie. I chose the turkey one and made my way to my car.

On the way I passed by a results tent, I could have had my time printed out, but passed. I could have also purchased some race merchandise and turned in the tag on my bib for a free Michelob Ultra. *I am not sure it’s necessary to mention this again… but come on, it’s Wisconsin, how about a craft beer? LOL

Alright…I made it back to my car and did a quick change in the back seat. Pro tip – get the sweaty layer of clothing off when it’s cold outside. Once that wet layer is gone, add some warm dry layers. (you can thank me later.)

With warm dry clothes and a big fluffy coat, I was headed back to the finish line to cheer on the runners. I did stop for a peppermint mocha on the way since I passed on the beer.

I made it to the finish line to see Dan finish his 32nd marathon! Then Joanne came in to finish the half. WAHOO!! Congrats!!!

I needed to get on my way, as I was headed to a men’s basketball game in Iowa City. I did meet up with Dan and then Joanne, used one of the 230948209347 port-o-potties and was on the road.

Ok…so I made it as far as the grocery store…I wasn’t leaving without beer and cheese curds.

I made it to the basketball game, but I was late…

I enjoy running in Madison, but I am not sure if I will be back when the Hawkeyes are in town. Also even though this is not my favorite course, it’s nice to have longer distance races late in the year.

I received an email after the event that there will be 4 medals that fit together to form one big piece with a center piece, looks like I will be back!

Meet Dan

Introducing Dan … the man…who keeps returning to run in Madison

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon Half Marathon 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!”

By this time, you know I run a lot of races in Madison, WI and I am ready to head back this weekend for my 47th half marathon. (Hopefully after a great football game at Camp Randall – GO HAWKS!)

Dan is in the pink, photobombing us – in front of the Capital


However, I don’t have much more to add to what I have already told you about running in Madtown. I didn’t really train specifically for this either, and training recaps (IMO) are boring, and you can find lots of the race day info on Madisonmarathon.com – so what’s a girl to write about?  Never fear….  I reached out to Dan – who also is from the Iowa City area and runs a lot of races in Madison, WI.


Who’s Dan? I know him through Corridor Running as a fellow board member. He is also a RRCA coach and leads a small group of runners in Iowa City, called Run 319. (I am still convincing them to start their runs after 5 am.)  You might have seen him around town with his dog Phil, or read about him in the newspaper, as a proud organ donor.

Here we are at a beer run, with Phil – Dan is in the yellow.


I had the chance to catch up with him before he heads north:

What brings you back to Madison?

 “Since I have a cousin who lives in Madison, I always have a FREE place to stay.
And because Madison is only 3 hours from home, I’m always looking for races in the area.
BONUS: Within the last year, my cousin moved her parents (my aunt & uncle) to Madison in order to help care for them…
This Saturday, there’s a celebration for my uncle’s 80th birthday and my aunt & uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary…
So my mother, 4 out of my 6 siblings, and numerous in-laws & cousins will also be in town.
 And I’ll get to see my other kidney as per the following.”

Can you remember how many races you have run in Madison?

“Sunday will be my 10th

1) 2014 Madison Marathon
2) 2016 Goulish Gallop 10K
3) 2016 Haunted Hustle 5K
4) 2016 Haunted Hustle Marathon (Pacer)
5) 2016 Madison Marathon
6) 2017 Run Madtown Twilight 10K
7) 2017 Run Madtown Half-Marathon
8) 2017 Haunted Hustle 5K
9) 2017 Haunted Hustle Half-Marathon (Pacer)
 
(And I’m already registered for next year’s ‘Conquer the Capital 45.5 Challenge!’)”
What number marathon is this for you?
“No. 32”
What are you looking most forward to at this race?
“Seeing my relatives along the course — My cousin knows the city of Madison so well that last year, I saw her 6 different times during the race!”
Do you have a race day routine?
“Not really — Eat a lot of trail mix & fig newtons starting tomorrow!”
What is your favorite post race treat?
“Chocolate Milk & Pretzels”
I don’t know about you, but now I want a Fig Newton. Join me in wishing Dan good luck this weekend. Maybe you will see him at packet pick up – which is Friday from 4-7pm or Saturday 10 am – 5pm at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center located at One John Nolen Drive.
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 Also, Dan is reuniting with his kidney this weekend. I feel it’s appropriate to post about organ and tissue donation. If you are interested in becoming a donor, sign up!
So – Dan and I will be returning to Madtown, and I know my friend Joanne is running too. Will you be there? What keeps you returning to run?

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