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Archive for the ‘running’ Category

4 Benefits of Using Strava!

“Disclaimer: I will receive an annual Strava Summit subscription and Strava merchandise 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!”

“Are you on Strava?” That seems to be the question I am asking folks these days and for good reason – I want to share the Strava love as well as give kudos! 🙂  I’m pretty new to Strava (see my first Strava post about my initial thoughts) so I get excited when I find new Strava friends!  Usually when I ask someone if they are on Strava, I get one of two answers: “Yes! What’s your Strava name?” or “No, what’s Strava?” Well, if you are not on Strava – it’s super easy to get started (& free) and here are a few perks of being a Strava user!

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  • Garmin Connection – You can upload your activities a few different ways, including: opening up Strava to record from the app, manual entry, or syncing your fitness watch to the Strava app.  I like that I can use my Garmin like I normally would to track a run and then it automatically syncs to Strava – easy peasy!
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Early morning run through Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World!

  • Name runs and segments – Not only can you name your run/activity, but you can also  type in a description of how you feel.  It’s like a fitness journal so you can see patterns of what works best of you.  You can also name specific segments of your route and when you make your activities public, you can sort of compete with others (and yourself) and increase your position on the leaderboard!
  • Complete challenges – Strava offers lots of clubs to join and challenges to complete each month.  You can find a local running club or join a global group.  For the month of May, I completed the Bibrave Run Club streak.  This meant that I ran or walked at least one mile each day in May.  I also completed the Strava Virtual 5k for May and June.  It’s a great way to stay motivated, find accountability, and earn some digital badges a.k.a. Swag! 😉
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Walking around the airport to keep the streak alive!

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My little one helping me with the streak!

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Strava’s May 5k done!

  • #StravaStats – Each month you can receive an email with your stats of the previous month.  It shows you the combined mileage of the month as well as how many kudos you gave/received. If you are a visual person or really into graphics, this is for you! 🙂  Don’t forget to post your image on the socials with the hashtag #stravastats! Note: You have to choose to sign up for this email within your Strava account.

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So far I have really enjoyed being a Strava user!  I like the accountability and motivation to find new challenges. Next month, I am planning to do the Strava Virtual 5k and 10k!  I hope you will join me!

*A note for privacy: You can choose who you want to see your activities: Just yourself, your followers, or everyone.  You can also turn off the heat map.

So now here’s the question: Are YOU on Strava? 😉

~SM

 

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Let the Sparks Fly!

*Disclaimer: I was provided free and discounted wraps from Momentum Jewelry in exchange for social media posts.  All opinions are my own!

Earlier this year,  I was super stoked to be chosen as a brand ambassador for one of my favorite accessory brands – Momentum Jewelry!  I discovered their products a while back and have been hooked ever since!

IMG_8250Not only are all of their accessories super cute and colorful, they also deliver an important message – Encourage yourself AND others!

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Not every run is easy, not every workout is enjoyable…and sometimes, life is just plain hard.  That’s why I love these wraps. The motivational phrases come in handy if I am having a difficult run or tough day.  It reminds me to keep going and not give up on my goals.  I try not to leave home without one!  They are so soft and comfy you almost forget you are wearing it!

And what’s better than picking yourself up on a down day?  Motivating someone else!  My favorite thing about this company is that they encourage you to #ShareTheSpark! Basically – spread the love, y’all! 🙂  These wraps and charms make great gifts and who doesn’t love to lift up their family and friends?  Or even better, wouldn’t it be great to lift up a complete stranger?  Or that lady you see killing it at the gym every week?  I loved receiving bracelets for myself, but I loved gifting them even more!  It was a pleasure to pass them out to ladies near and far, including to my own little one. 😉

There are so many great phrases and colors, it’s hard to choose just one!  There is also the option to make a custom wrap or choose from shoe charms or other fun accessories! I had the honor to promote the two newest phrases: “Keep Reaching Higher” and “Find Your Courage”.

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Momentum wraps aren’t just for athletes, but something anyone can wear on any occasion!  They may prompt a conversation with a co-worker or someone from your mom’s group.  You never know who you may inspire!

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So if you are looking for gift ideas or a just a way to encourage a friend, or maybe you are in a rut yourself – Momentum jewelry has you covered.  Your small act of kindness may make that person’s whole day! 🙂 Let those sparks fly!

“She leaves a little bit of sparkle wherever she goes.” ~Kate Spade

What about you?  Do you have a #ShareTheSpark story?! I would love to hear about it!

~SM

 

 

 

 

Stride, Streak, STRAVA

“Disclaimer: I received an annual Strava Summit subscription and Strava merchandise 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!”

Strava (Swedish for “strive”) is a popular app used by runners and cyclists.  I’ve had an account for a while but never really took advantage of the functions or interacted with the other users (I literally had zero connections or recent activity).  Well I just started using the app again and have learned a few things over the last month!

  • You can name your runs!  Once your run or activity is uploaded, you can customize the description as well as the actual title of your run for quick reference.

  Analyze your route! Once your run is added you can check out your route and analyze how you could make any adjustments. You can track your pace, distance, heart rate, and set new goals for yourself.

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  • You can see more and change extra settings on the website (not the app).  You can do a lot with the app, but you can do even more with the desktop version.  I feel kinda “meh” about this.  I prefer to be able to access everything through an app so I don’t have to switch platforms, but it’s not a huge deal. One cool thing you can do through the desktop settings is change your “Vanity URL” from a generic number to a preferred name!

You can join challenges and clubs!  Aside from connecting with other runners/cyclists, you can create or join clubs and also join challenges to help you reach goals.  You can also set goals for yourself, keep track of your shoe mileage, and earn badges!

And my favorite thing about the app so far?  Stats overlay!  Besides the ability to give kudos to other runners (who doesn’t love virtual encouragement?), my next fave app feature is the ability to upload photos and add the stats right on to your picture. Before this, I was using another app and manually inputting stats so I have definitely been taking advantage of this function.  A couple of tips here: 1. You’ll have to make your activity shareable – it won’t work if it’s marked to private.  2. Horizontal photos work better so you don’t have to do any extra cropping for the social media platforms.

What about you?  Are you on Strava?  What do you love about it?

Looking for an upcoming challenge?  Join the Bibrave crew for a streak in May! Streaking is a fun way to challenge yourself and find your stride. Run or walk one mile each day in May and track it on Strava!  It’s a great time to streak because you will have lots of support!  Post your streak on the socials with the hashtag #StravaRun so we can all cheer you on!

I’m excited to learn more about Strava so check back next month for another update!

Until then I’ll be adding stats overlay to aaaallllllll the running photos. 😉

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~SM

Why You Should Start Zwifting!

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift running pod 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!

Happy New Year!  Maybe you set some ambitious goals for 2019 or maybe your main goal is just to survive the year.  Whatever your plans are, I hope you make some time for running! 😉  And now that the holidays are over, it might be time to slide into a new fitness routine.  With the weather getting colder and the days getting shorter, this may seem like a daunting task but that’s where Zwift comes in!

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What exactly is Zwift? Zwift has been available to indoor cyclists for a while, but now it’s open to runners!  Zwift is a platform that allows you to run in virtual locations, run virtually with others, and even complete running goals!  You just attach the runpod to your shoe, download the Zwift app (and Zwift companion app to join in virtual events around the world), hop on a treadmill and off you go!

Not sure where to begin?  Here are a few tips to get started!

  • Like I mentioned before, you’ll want to download both the Zwift app and the companion app.  The Zwift app is where you set up your account, avatar, settings, etc. and also where you do all of the actual running and goal-getting.  The companion app is where you will go to browse and sign-up for group runs and other events.
  • You can use your phone, but it’s better to use a tablet so you can see the info on the screen clearly as you run.
  • Calibrate your pod so that your pace is accurately recorded.
  • Make sure your pod is securely attached to your shoe before running.  And put your pod away when not in use as the battery drains pretty quickly from any movement.

What I LOVED about the Zwift platform:

  1. The calendar. When you select an event to join, it will automatically be added to your device’s calendar.  (I’m a planner and like to be organized so I got pretty excited about this feature.)
  2. You can run with friends from around the world.  Since I live in a different country than most of my running friends as well as my Bibrave crew, I miss out on meetups and group runs.  But Zwift allows me to feel connected to my running friends from around the world.
  3. Unlocking achievements!  The more you run and surpass goals, the more achievements you can earn.  These come in the form of virtual badges or gaining new apparel and accessories for your avatar.  Running on the treadmill can get boring, so any incentive is nice!
  4. New scenery.  The main virtual location on the platform is “Watopia”, but the beach view, volcanic activity, and Santa sightings make this a pretty dope place to run.  When you join in on other virtual runs (through the Companion app) you can run in various real-world locations.
  5. Competition. If you’ve ever participated in a race then you know the increased adrenaline you feel on race day.  Running virtually gave me a similar experience and made me want to push harder so I could receive my “prize” (i.e. a new achievement, passing others in the race, or just knowing that my stats were on display wanting to do my best.)  I’m sure there’s some type of psychology behind all this – which also got me excited because I was a Psych major. 😉

With that said, there were also a few things that I didn’t like:

  1. The battery on the pod drained pretty quickly so you can’t really just leave it on your shoe, you have to take it off each time and put it away.  It would be better if there was some type of on/off switch for the pod OR if you could just bypass the pod altogether and sync your watch with the platform.
  2. You have to download two apps.  I would prefer if the platform was streamlined a bit so that everything was in one place rather than having to open two separate apps.
  3. I had to calibrate my pod a few times.  It takes a couple of minutes to go through the calibration process so it’s a bit frustrating when you just want to start running.
  4. It’s not for walkers.   My avatar would only recognize motion if I was running at least a 10:45 min/mile.  Those who are new to running would most likely not benefit from this app.

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Since the running aspect of the platform is fairly new, I do think these are kinks that can be worked out in the near future as the app develops.  Overall, I really like the concept of Zwift and plan to use it when I need some motivation on the treadmill!

Ready to try it out?!  You can download the app for free on your IOS or Android device.  You can also use code “BibRave15” to save 15% on your RunPod (regular price – $29.99) at Zwift.com. (Hurry, this code is only good for 1000 pods!)

Lastly, join me on #BibChat on Twitter on January 8th at 6pm PST where you can ask any Zwift questions and connect with other runners! You will also have the chance to win a RunPod!

Already a Zwifter?  Find me on the app under Amanda TheSwagMama!

I’m off to review another product!  Let’s crush some goals in 2019! 🙂

~SM

Light it Up!

***Disclaimer: I received a Spibeams LED hat 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 air is getting crisper, the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air, and it’s getting darker earlier.  My favorite time of year is here – AUTUMN!  However, this also means that I have less opportunities to run in the daylight. (Booooo).  But I was happy to discover that SPIbelt came out with a SPIbeams LED hat! Keep reading and you might even find a promo code! 😉

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I was even more excited about the brightness of this little hat!  Typically, if I run in the dark I run with the flashlight of my phone.  This is not the most convenient option, in fact it’s pretty annoying and I don’t recommend it.  The SPIbeams hat made my running life so much easier!  When you first receive your hat, you just pull the tab to activate the battery and you’re good to go!  Turn on the front lights with a quick click on the bill of the hat and it’s time to run!  That easy!

And there’s more!  The back of the hat displays red lights that can either stay on continuously or they can blink.  Either way, it’s also activated with a simple click of a button located on the Velcro portion.

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How does it hold up during runs though?  Well, it’s very lightweight and flexible (i.e. great for traveling). And while I used it in cooler weather, I think it would be great for summer evening or early morning runs since it’s made from a cool/moisture-wicking material. And since I usually run with trucker hats, I did have to run with it a couple of times to figure out the most comfortable position on my head.

Overall, I think this would be a great addition to any athlete’s accessory stash (hint, hint: stocking stuffers for your running friends).  I used it for running, but it would also be great for hiking, bike riding, or really while engaging in any outdoor evening activity.  I will definitely be using this on future evening runs and saving the flashlight (and battery) on my phone. I do think it would be great if there were kid versions of the hats so the whole family could be safe!

Also, the batteries are replaceable and the battery pack comes out so you can hand wash the hat and let it air dry.  The hat comes in 3 colors: Lime, Hot Pink, and Black and runs for $29.99 on spibelt.com.  Plus free shipping on all U.S. orders!

And guess what?  There’s a promo code!  Woo hoo!  Use code “BIBRAVE” to save 20% on any SPIbelt item. 

Also, join me on #Bibchat on Twitter on Tuesday, November 6th at 6pm PST for your chance to win your own SPIbeams hat.

Be safe! Be seen! Stay safe!  Light it up! Happy Fall, Yall! 🙂

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~SM

3 Reasons to Get Low in OOfos!

“Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOfos OOmg Fibre Low 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!”

Something that I’ve realized during my running experience is that you must take care of your feet!  Foot issues can lead to knee issues which can lead to hip issues which can lead to back issues. So when new runners ask me where to start, I usually recommend to go to a running specialty store and get fitted for a proper shoe.  And now that I’ve increased my running distance over the years, I’ve found that proper recovery is also an important aspect of exercise.  And one of my favorite recovery tools are OOfos recovery shoes!

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I’ve been using my OOfos sandals for a couple of years now, so I was excited when a new women’s OOmg Fibre Low Shoe was released!  Here are my top 3 reasons why you should get low 😉 in the new OOmg Fibre shoes!

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  • OOfoam – OOfoam is this magical foam technology that “absorbs 37% more impact than other footwear foams.  OOfoam impact absorbing recovery technology has been scientifically proven to reduce stress on your body while walking, allowing you to recover faster after a workout and feel better all day.” (from oofos.com)

I know this might sound too good to be true, but these little foam shoes really felt like walking on clouds!  I spent a whole day standing at a Japanese festival and my feet were dead by the time I got home.  So the first thing I did the next day was slip into my OOfos and my feet felt instant relief. I have arch issues so the cradle design was much appreciated!

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  • Socks or no socks – Another great thing about the OOfos OOmg Fibre Low shoes is that that they are versatile which means you can choose to wear them with or without socks.  I tried them both ways and overall I preferred them without socks just because I felt like it allowed the shoe to better conform to my feet.  But I did like throwing them on right after a run and relaxing in my socks sometimes, too!  They are also pretty lightweight and super flexible which makes them nice for travel purposes.

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  • Project Pink – Just to add to the amazingness of these shoes is that 3% of all sales from OOfos.com go to breast cancer research through the cause called Project Pink.  And for every pair of shoes sold from the Project Pink collection, OOfos will donate $10 to Project Pink.  So not only are you gaining an awesome pair of recovery footwear, you are making a difference at the same time!

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Overall, I was really pleased with these shoes.  Any foot soreness instantly diminished as soon as I slipped these on!  I just wished they came in more colors!

Price: $139.95 – this may seem a little pricey, but I do think it is important to invest in your feet especially if you are an athlete or just on your feet a lot (i.e. nurses, teachers, etc.)

So grab a pair of OOfos OOmg Fibre Low shoes and treat your feet! 🙂

Have you tried OOfos recovery shoes?  What did you think?

~SM

Why Disney’s Fort Wilderness is a Magical Running Destination

If you are planning your next trip to Disney World, you might be thinking…”Where will I RUN?”  Hotel treadmills are convenient, but they can also get boring and stuffy.  That’s where Disney’s Fort Wilderness comes in! At Fort Wilderness, you have the option of hooking up your RV, renting a cabin, OR you could totally rough it and pitch your own tent. – Bless your soul if you go this route cause it’s insanely humid in Florida. 🙂 So what’s the best part of choosing Fort Wilderness for your stay at Disney?  The option to connect with nature and run through some beautiful scenery!

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Fort Wilderness is actually a lot bigger than people may think.  You will need to catch the shuttle bus or rent a golf cart to get around the campgrounds, which means there is plenty of room to run! So grab yourself a map, tighten your laces, and straighten your crown because you are about to head out on an adventure!

Here are a few things you may experience during your Fort Wilderness run!

Paved and lush running paths – I loved that the paths through Fort Wilderness were paved and flat so I didn’t have to worry about injuring myself before a full day of walking around the parks.  And for all you Mother Runners and Father Runners: paved paths = stroller friendly. 😉 I also loved being surrounded by beautiful green and lush scenery!

Lakes and ponds – If you enjoy running around bodies of water, then you will like running here!  I loved watching the sun reflect off the water each morning during my run! You could even rent some boats or kayaks if you wanted to head out for some water activities.

Coffee Break – Okay, maybe you aren’t a coffee lover like me…but one of my favorite things about staying here was finishing a run and then drinking some coffee on the porch.  And if you aren’t in the mood to make coffee yourself, you could swing by the corner store during your run and grab some coffee to go.  Bonus: The magic band is a runner’s best friend because it works as a key, credit card, and a photo pass!  Also, here’s a Disney tip: If you’re looking for a Starbucks in any of the four parks, they are hidden within bakeries/shops and will not show up on the app so look closely for the signs!

Movie and S’mores – If you head out for an evening run, you can catch some campfire singing, s’mores, and a movie!

Cute Critters – Keep your eyes open because you may meet some adorable creatures along your run! Sadly, they won’t break out in song like in all of your fave Disney movies, though. 😦

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Wine and Shine – Once you’re finished running and after you’ve finished walking around the parks, you’ll want to head back to your cabin and get cleaned up.  Then pour yourself a glass of Fairytale champagne and head back out to enjoy the fireworks!  Magic Kingdom is just a short boat ride away!

Fireworks – Another perk of staying at Fort Wilderness is that you don’t have to stand in large crowds to watch the fireworks if you don’t want to.  You can view the fireworks from the lake/boating area or even on the ferry boat itself!

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Overall, I really enjoyed my stay at Fort Wilderness!  It’s a fantastic option for big families and those who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of other Disney World Resorts.  And even though it was hot, humid, and rainy…I loved my quiet morning nature run to clear my head before shuffling small children through the Happiest Place on Earth.

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You might even say it was Magical. 😉

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Have you ever run through Fort Wilderness?  What was your favorite part?  I’d love to hear because I only saw one other person out there running!  Maybe people just don’t know about this amazing running spot!

~SM

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