Handful Bra – Product Review

“Disclaimer: I received a Handful Y-Back bra and Squeeze Play Leggings 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 received a bag full of items at The Running Event, I will do my best to give each item their proper review.

I am constantly on the search for the perfect sports bra. I was excited when I saw the Handful Y-Back sports bra in my swag bag from The Running Event. Also in the bag were the Squeeze Play Leggings from Handful.

At the Running Event expo, the women behind Handful bra were exceptionally well at presenting their product. A passionate presentation makes the product more relate-able. In fact one of the presenters had lost their voice, and was still participating.

They displayed Handful’s mission well “to elevate, motivate, and support women to grab life! Our vision is that women confidently and unapologetically prioritize themselves and find their happy-active.” They also went on to let us know about their support of breast cancer survivors. Bras that fasten in the front, for those who can’t raise their arms. It was refreshing to see this presentation.

I received the black and white patterned bra, known as the ‘off the grid’ pattern. It is very soft to the touch, there are no visible metal clasps or hardware pieces. There are also removable pads. This pattern is on sale, but the y-back bra retails for $56. Online it is advertised as the top running bra for D+ cups.

After listening and talking with the women at the expo, and reading the information online, it was time to test this out for myself. They had me sold on their products.

I went for my first run on Dec. 5, I didn’t find it as supportive as I like, but it felt buttery soft and there was no chaffing and the band stayed in place. On Dec. 7, I put the pads in hoping for more support, to make the bra more tight as I do not need any extra on top, but it just wasn’t as tight as I need. I am thinking maybe it’s too big?

The bra is just so soft to not give up on it, but I need more ridgidness. The bra looks great! Great bra for everyday, no uniboob, but just not the support I need for a long distance run.

I also was fortunate to receive the Handful Squeeze Play Leggings in black. They are a nice feeling material with a higher waist band. The back of the waist band is “roushed.” These retail for $70. https://handful.com/collections/bottoms/products/handful-squeeze-play-legging

I wish I had more to say, but they do not fit me to provide a satisfactory review. I did get them on, but they were too tight and a little too long. I didn’t want to blow out a seam. I do know that some of the other female pros received their capris and wore them to the expo, they appeared to fit and enjoy them.

As much as the products may not have worked out for me, I really like this company and the passion they have for providing women workout clothing to “grab life by the horns.” I can see myself wearing the sports bra to hang out in, or as a bathing suit top. I also think maybe another bra in their line might be for me, I love the non chaffing, soft feel.

For more information about Handful, check out their website. Or keep up with them on social media – twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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BUFF® DryFlx – Product Review

BUFF® DryFlx – Not Just a Tube of Fabric

“Disclaimer: I received the BUFF® DryFlx neck warmer and headband 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!”

Here in the midwest, it’s BUFF® head wear season. I have many of these from a baseball style hat, infinity scarf, visor, and hood. I was ready to expand my wardrobe with the new bright and reflective BUFF® DryFlx neck warmer and hat.

I came home to a package with the yellow fluor color 
BUFF® DryFlx neck warmer and headband. The package also had a catalog, I was briefly distracted by all the stocking hats and knit neck warmers. 

I was ready to rock it out. I really appreciated the bright color, and when I took a photo I liked it even more as the reflective detail appeared.

As you can see this is bright and reflective (reflective 360), but there’s so much more: 

  • 4 Way Stretch
  • 100% Seamless
  • UPF Sun Protection
  • High Moisture Management

Where I run, all these factors are important. First, because it’s winter, it’s cold. I choose to run outdoors, and I layer up. I need to protect my skin, face, ears, etc. The stretch in the fabric allows me to layer up, including hiding my headphones underneath.

Also because it’s cold, moisture management is very important. There is nothing worse than your gear getting wet and being exposed to the elements. You might as not be wearing anything then. In the times I have run with this, and breathing through it, I don’t feel the cold due to the moisture in that area…if that makes sense. 

The UPF 50 and reflectivity are a no brainer. No matter how obnoxious you look, cars still never see you. And all added sun protection is a bonus.

I don’t feel I have to explain the 100% seamless, but to some this may just seem like a fabric tube. In addition to the above qualities, having no seams makes for a comfortable fit. 

I am happy to have this BUFF® collection join my wardrobe. While there are imitations, there is nothing like the original!

If you are looking to upgrade your collection, check out all the colors of the BUFF® DryFlx. 

Keep up to date with all things BUFF® on social – TwitterFacebook Instagram

Need more information, here are what the BibRave Pros are saying: JanelleKatyPreston – 

Sabre Safety – Product Review

Product Review – Sabre Safety

“Disclaimer: I received the Sabre- Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap 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!”

Safety on the run is something at the forefront these days. I recently wrote a post about runners safety due to an unfortunate local situation. This prompted me to purchase the Sabre pepper spray after a recommendation from the University Police. When the opportunity came to test the gel, I was intrigued.

I was surprised when I opened the package to find the personal alarm with clip and light, the duathlete pepper gel with adjustable arm band, and the 3 in 1 runner pepper spray with adjustable hand strap

I opened the personal alarm first, after some work to get the battery in place. I gave it a test – the light lit up green. While a little apprehensive, I also tested the alarm. It was shrill and the light flashed red. I clipped it to my belt and went for a run. It never accidentally got bumped, nor did it feel like I was wearing it.

I next opened both the spray and the gel. I was really interested in taking the gel with me, but it came with an arm band. I am not too excited about running with anything on my arm, plus seems like it would be more difficult to access. I switched the the containers. I had the gel in the hand held elastic holster, however the container was taller than the spray container.

I make the observations as to the ergo-dynamic fit into my hand. I am not sure the taller can works as well as the designed spray size. I did take it for a spin. The way the strap is designed to carry the spray works perfectly in the palm of my hand. My grip naturally fits around it, with or without a clenched fist. It didn’t feel like anything extra.

I then decided it was time to actually test the gel. The whole idea is that I will never have to use this product, however if I do, I want to make sure it works and I know how to.

“Pepper gel virtually eliminates wind blowback and only affects what it directly contacts.”

I took to the snowy trail for this task. The trigger on the container is locked, but a swivel and it becomes unlocked. I unlocked the trigger and pushed down with my thumb…nothing…I then put the opposite pointer finger and pushed really hard – an orange liquid spit out and in a direct squirt. Hmmm, it shouldn’t be that difficult. 

I was baffled, and then I thought, maybe the temperature has something to do with the gel, it was a feels like 10 degrees. I tried a few more times…ending with a situation on my glove. I was happy to be wearing gloves and happy I could easily clean it off in a snow bank.

“Pepper sprays deliver a concentrated burst of capsaicin, the chemical found in peppers that give them their heat. When it comes in contact with mucous membranes — including the eyes, nose or throat — it triggers a strong inflammatory response. Along with intense pain, the target’s eyes may swell shut and he or she may have difficulty breathing. The combined effects can incapacitate a person for at least a few moments, potentially up to several minutes , giving you the time,you need to get to safety.” – sabrered.com

I also thought that maybe due to the taller canister, it just wasn’t fitting the right spot on my thumb for it to spray. I want to be prepared, this took too much time. Or, perhaps I am a weakling and I am not strong enough to push it? I will have to wait for a warmer day to test it again.

I was looking through the FAQ on the website and it says it has been temperature tested and not to store below 32 degrees. 

Beyond this issue, I will continue to carry a Sabre Safety product with me on my runs. From the simple press of an alarm button, to a handheld gel or spray, Sabre makes safety easy. 

Sabre makes a variety of products that are tailored to specific needs, make sure to check out their website – https://www.sabrered.com/pepper-spray-and-personal-safety-products

Keep up with Sabre on  Twitter or Instagram.

Check out what the BibRave Pros are saying: GinaAmyVanessaJennAndreaEricaStephanieLindseyPreston – 

Half Marathon #50

Madison Half Marathon – 2018 Race Recap

“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!”

The day finally came and I ran my 50th half marathon. It’s amazing how they just start adding up. Read on about my experience at the Madison Half Marathon.

For my to the point review, check out bibrave.com.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, Brooks Ghost 10, 2xu Thermal tights, Zensah socks, Zensah bra, Garmin Forerunner 935, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Spibelt, 2xu tank, Nike thermal turtleneck, UA Bibrave Shirt, Hawkeye stocking hat, BUFF, Pearl Izumi gloves.

Sunday, November 11.

2 AM – wake up, grab all the coffee! While this seems like an extremely early wake up call for a 7:10 AM race, I was meeting a friend and we were driving to Madison from Iowa the morning of the race.

3 AM – meet my friend Jen, leave a car at a friends house. Drive to Madison. Stop judging, runners only do crazy things….

As you know it’s not my first trip to Madison, in fact I have road tripped the morning before a race before. There was a home Iowa football game the day before, and the logistics just made more sense to leave early morning, plus Jen was on board!

This also meant that neither of us would be able to get our bibs at the expo. While there was a pick up on race day, it was an additional $30 or something. Lucky for us our friend, Dan, was able to grab our things at the expo. Also, 5 cheers for the race for allowing others to grab our things. 

6 AM – After a few stops here and there, Jen and I rolled into Madison. What I remembered from the past was being able to park on the street, for FREE, just blocks from the start line. We circled around and put the car in a spot. We met up with Dan, who had our bibs. THANK YOU DAN!!

I was also meeting up with fellow BibRave Pros, Amy and Barb. Dan actually found these two before he found us, as he spotted them wearing orange. Dan and Amy would be running the full marathon, while Jen, Barb and I would run the half marathon. 

It was not too warm out, so after a stop at the port-o-potty I was back at the car. If it were January, I am sure we would have been warm, however we hadn’t had much for cold weather running, so we were cold! This also made it difficult to decide what to wear.

I made it back to the start line around 7 AM to see if I could find Dan or Amy before they started…nope. So, I just proceeded into the corral. It was back fed, which meant there was one entry in the back, and you could find a pacer to line up next to, with the slower paces in the back. 

I didn’t have a specific goal for this race, I didn’t specifically train for it, I just wanted to finish. I knew the course as I ran it last year. I was in it for the medal – they started a 4 year medal series last year and I had to complete it.

I had no issues during the race. I stopped to use a port-o-potty, which lead me to ditching an under layer. Taking off an under shirt while walking is a lot of fun! 

I said this last year and I can say it again this year – I really did not care for this course. It was one of the more boring routes I’ve run in Madison, just running busier roads, so I welcomed the hills as something different. There is just so much more to see and this half course does not show case it.

However, the course is well supported. There are a lot of hydration stations. This year they were even prepared for the colder weather with ice melt. I believe there are so many as parts of the half marathon join with the full marathon. There were some stops with Gu too, but no real food. 

I finished with a time near 2:20 on my Garmin, but because I used the facilities I had an official race time of 2:22, which is fitting as that is the time I ran my first half marathon.

Once I crossed the finish line I was given a medal. I found the mylar blanket and made my way to the photo backdrop. The race photos are free, so I tried to take advantage. I also caught Barb at the finish too!

I then passed by the post race food, bananas, orange slices and pre-bagged Panera meals. I grabbed a turkey sandwich and walked around the corner to the beer area. They had Michelob Ultra again and I passed by as someone handed out the last radler. 

I met back up at the car where Jen was keeping warm. We sat there for a while and checked in on the tracking app. We were following Dan and Amy. I just missed Amy, she was speedy!!! We warmed up while we waited for Dan.

We made our way back to the finish when we thought Dan was near. It’s always fun to cheer on finishers. It was strange though as the time Dan was to come in, there was some nearby bell ceremony going on, so the announcer and music went away and it was just bells ringing in the distance. 

We spotted Dan and couldn’t get our phones to take a photo, but cheered loudly! We met him in the finisher’s chute where he grabbed some post race grub and chocolate milk. I totally missed the chocolate milk the first time through, so I grabbed some too. 

We said goodbye to Dan, took some photos of the medal and called it a day ourselves.

I am not sure if it was an error on my part, but I failed to realize there was a challenge medal up for grabs for me. I ran the spring race events and the fall half marathon for the Conquer the Capital half and half challenge. I thought it was just for the fall full marathon. With the proper papers, I could have received another medal. Why is this important – I noted this on twitter and the race management sent me the challenge medal!!!

2:00 PM Crossing the border back into Iowa. 12 hours after I woke up, I was almost back home. 

I run a lot of races in Madison, they know what they are doing. I will be headed back in the spring for Run Madtown, and I need to complete the four medal set….so expect to read more posts about it.

As always if you ran add your review to Bibrave.com and claim your results on Athlinks.com.

High Five a Volunteer!

A Race Doesn’t Happen Without the Volunteers!

“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 the week of the Madison Marathon (Half marathon) and while I need to write something, I am stumped at what to say. I will be headed to Madtown to run my 50th half marathon.

I have run these events in Madison: Madison Mini 2013, Madison Mini 2014, Madison Mini 2015, Madison Mini 2017, Madison Half Marathon & 10k spring 2016, Madison Marathon 2016, Run Madtown 10k 2017, and Run Madtown 10k  & half marathon 2018.  If I have counted right, this is my 11th event, so I feel I have exhausted all there is to say about running in Madison.

I asked my friend Frank (he has a great blog with the best race posts) and he suggested why not write about the volunteers. AH YES PERFECT!!! I myself volunteer many times throughout the year.

First things first – if you have not registered to run – online registration closes 11/7 at 11:59pm – code MMRAVE18 saves you $$. WHY NOT VOLUNTEER? You can check out this link here – it looks like course marshals, bike lead, water stop, finish line medals, and gear check duties still have open spots.

If you are still hesitant on being a volunteer, here are the reasons I volunteer:

  • To Give Back – I know how hard it is to make an event happen, it takes a lot of people.
  • Be a part of race day when I can’t afford to run – Lately this is every race, so why not show up and hand out water, or take off timing chips. I can still be at the race and I might even get a shirt too.
  • It’s simple and easy – hand someone a t-shirt, give them gu packet.
  • It’s fun – give high fives as a course marshal, cheer on the runners.
  • Community – Sign up with your running club or running friends.
  • It’s rewarding – work the finish line, walk away feeling motivated and inspired.

Be sure to thank all the volunteers you encounter on Sunday. While they enjoy doing what they are doing, volunteering can be tasking. They are out in the elements for many hours so we can run for fun.

If I don’t see you handing me a cup of (frozen) water on Sunday, I hope maybe someday I will volunteer alongside you.

Scoobtober Virtual Run

Scoobtober 5k Virtual Run – 2018 Recap

“Disclaimer: I received entry in the Scooby Doo, Scoobtober 10k/5k 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!”

The time had come for Kona to try and PR her 5k, with the Scoobtober 10k/5k as part of the Scooby Doo Virtual Run Series.

I was not sure if I would be able to help her get to this goal. The race had to be completed by the end of October. In addition to being out of town in this time, I had just set a new marathon PR and completed my 6th ultra distance race. I was not feeling super speedy!

What did I do? I recruited my husband, Josh to earn Kona a new 5k PR!

Josh was kind enough to share his thoughts as he ran with her:

Kona and I went on our run the morning of Sunday, October 28th, on what was a gorgeous mid-fall day. After harnessing her, we took a brief walk to warm up before starting our virtual race. Not even a quarter-mile into the run, we encountered not only a family ahead of us on the sidewalk who had a dog of their own, there was a father and daughter that came up from behind on bicycles. Kona is very scared of anything with two wheels, so we pulled to the side and allowed the bicycles to pass before continuing. This would be our last real trouble through the run.
Kona plowed through the first mile into a strong head wind of about 20-25 miles per hour, but I could tell she was exerting a lot of energy. We stopped briefly so she could catch her breath before continuing. While she took it slow, she got through the first half, and finally we could turn around for the back half of the virtual race. With the wind now behind us, and a now-mostly downhill course, Kona flew through most of the back half. We passed the two-mile mark, and Kona was going strong.
We made it through our last uphill, and turned the corner to begin heading for home. We had a bit of a cross wind in this short stretch, but Kona knew where she was and kept on trucking. Meanwhile, I had a brief work emergency phone call to deal with, but with my AfterShokz headphones, we kept on going as I took care of the issue at hand.
As we turned off the main road to come to our neighborhood, we passed the three-mile mark and Kona was still chugging along very well. Soon, my watch hit 3.1 miles, and our virtual 5K was in the books. For hoping to see Kona through one 5K, to now have been with her for two 5Ks was definitely a treat, and I was so happy for her and her accomplishment! And to celebrate, of course she got a tasty Milk Bone.

Josh and Kona with their medals

Did she set a new PR? Kona’s time for her Scoobtober 5k was 34:50 and her Doo Good 5k time was was 33:24. She did not set a new PR, However sounds like she had some serious conditions to battle. Kona is 10 years old, she did a great job, no matter her time!

I usually do not participate in many virtual runs, mostly because I don’t have to funds to get a medal for running my usual routes. However, this one was different as I really enjoyed getting to run with Kona. It’s something I have always considered, but never made it happen. From all the swag and awesome medals, this event was a lot of fun.

Now Foods BCAA Big 6 – product review

Product Review – Now Foods BCAA Big 6

“Disclaimer: I received Now Foods BCAA 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!”

BCAA or Branched Chain Amino Acids, what are they? Well I really didn’t know, so what better time to find out and give them a try.

I received two canisters of the watermelon flavor, two canisters of the grape flavor and a shaker bottle.

Here is the information provided online:

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
  • Endurance & Recovery*
  • 6 Amino Acids / 8,000 mg
  • Vegan, Caffeine Free

BCAA Big 6 is an advanced caffeine-free sports supplement formulated to support exercise endurance and recovery from intense workouts.* BCAA Big 6 features branched-chained amino acids (BCAAs) to support muscle retention and recovery, and betaine to help maintain fluid balance during exercise.* BCAA Big 6 also has taurine, which can further support endurance.* BCAA Big 6 includes L-citrulline and L-glutamine to complement this formula.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

How did I use these?

First I read the directions and just needed to try it. I sampled the watermelon flavor first. I put one scoop to 14-16 oz of water, then I just shook it in a water bottle. The taste was good.

I went for a run and when I returned planned to drink it all. It’s recommended for before, during or after exercise. When I came back from my run, I drank as much as I could.

I then got creative and decided an easy way to consume during a run would be to eat it, so I made gummy bears! While they were fun to make, I am not sure I choose the best recipe, they were quite rubbery. Recipe – https://reflexsupplements.com/simple-homemade-bcaa-gummies/

I then tried the grape flavor, just shake with water. I preferred this flavor to the watermelon. They were both very pretty in color.

I then thought I would experiment with sour gummy bears, so I found a different recipe with less gelatin, and they turned out a lot better, but I think I added too much citric acid -which made them sour. Recipe – https://steelfitusa.com/2017/10/simple-bcaa-gummies/

To follow up, I was working consuming a drink a day for recovery purposes. I had just run the Des Moines Marathon on a Sunday, and on the next Saturday I was running the Hawkeye Fallout 50k.

Final thoughts:

While I think the product tastes great, my biggest challenge was consuming so much liquid. I do not drink a lot of water on a normal day, I really try to hydrate before a big race. So, for me it was hard to add this much liquid to my day. Perhaps, I am just not as focused as I should be with nutrition.

However NOW Foods was a great product to learn and try something I wasn’t familiar with. It’s a clean, highly-tested brand. They conduct more than 16,000 tests each month for identity, purity, strength and composition to ensure that what’s on the label is in the bottle. AND, now they’re third-party certified via Informed-Sport for added product purity assurance. The Informed-Sport program certifies that their products have been tested for more than 200 banned substances by their world-class sports anti-doping lab.

If you would like to try for yourself use code 20NOWBCAA on Amazon.com (or visit this link https://www.amazon.com/promocode/A1G65M39SCQHX5) for 20% off both varieties of BCAA Big 6. Code is limited to one-time use only, thru Nov 15.

Looking for more insight, check out these reviews: Corey KatyDanielle Amy

 

You can follow Now Foods on the internet – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Website