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5 Things I Did Wrong While Climbing Mount Fuji (and a few things I did right)

Last month, I had the opportunity to climb the majestic and challenging Fuji-San! I actually made the decision to climb it about 30 hours prior to climbing because sometimes I like to live life on the edge. ๐Ÿ˜‰ However, because I had planned to climb Fuji sometime during our Japan stay AND because my husband had climbed it previously – I did feel SOMEWHAT prepared and also had most of the gear already. So here is my story of how I survived Mt. Fuji! *Beware: it’s long. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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My daily view – so of course I HAD to go meet her in person! ๐Ÿ™‚

Pre-Fuji Prep 

  • The decision – I decided the day before that I would go with a couple of friends to climb Fuji overnight.  Climbing season is only open from early-July to mid-September, so there is a small window to knock this off any bucket list.  Since it was already September 5th, I realized that my window was closing quickly for this year so I should probably take the leap and tag along with my friends.
  • Kids – Then I had to figure out what to do with my kiddos from Friday evening until Saturday afternoon.  Luckily, my husband was able to get off work on time to stay with the kids.
  • Packing – Now I had to decide what I should actually bring on this trip. I read a few blog posts from others who had done the overnight trip to get an idea of the necessities.  I made a trip to the grocery store for some snacks and water. And then stopped by Mega-Don Quijote (it’s like a Japanese Wal-Mart) for cans of air (and score! They were only 500 yen and Buy 2-Get 1 free!).
  • What to wear – Everything I read and learned from others was to dress in layers.  The biggest challenge of Mount Fuji is that the weather is unpredictable and can change drastically during the climb.  Thankfully the weather said it would be clear with no rain and little wind.  So I wore a moisture-wicking tank, long sleeved shirt, hoodie, moisture-wicking leggings, and beanie to start the hike.  I also already had a hiking stick my husband had gotten on his last Fuji hike, but didn’t get stamped.  This piece of information will be important later on in the story.
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What I wore to start the hike.

The Climb

Okay, here where things start getting real.  So I’m giving you a raw account of my experience!

  • The arrival – We arrived to the parking lot a little before 8pm – just in time to catch the last bus to the 5th station. We got to the 5th station for the Subashiri Trail around 8:30ish and ate some snacks and adjusted to the altitude.  It was important for us to hang out there for about an hour so we could adjust slowly and not get altitude sickness.  We packed our bags, checked our headlamps, and off we went! This brings me to Mistake #1 – My bag was way too heavy!  I was worried about not being prepared, so I definitely overpacked – and paid for it later on in the hike.

Into the forest – From the 5th to about the 7th station, it’s all forest.  And since we were on a less populated trail (Yoshida is the most popular) and it was nighttime, we only saw a handful of hikers in the beginning.  The forest is very thick and SUPER quiet.  There are no leaves rustling or branches swaying to make any white noise.  So needless to say, the first couple of hours were a bit creepy – it felt like the Blair Witch Project out there. Once we cleared the trees near the 7th station, you could see every star in the sky and lights shining in the city.  It was peaceful and beautiful!

Stations – While we’re on the topic, let’s talk about the Station system.  Stations are little rest areas that begin at the 5th station and go up to the summit – 10th station.  They sell food, water, and overpriced hiking supplies. What I didn’t know was that there are duplicate numbered stations. So I would get excited and see the 6th station only to find out that there are two 6th stations – an “old” and a “new” – and this happened at each station. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ  Also, you have to pay to use the bathrooms at each station – the average was 200 yen.  You’ll also have to pay around 200 yen or so to get your hiking stick stamped – and yes, after all that hiking you will want some type of reward for your work.

Sunrise – Most people who do the overnight hike will stop at a hut and sleep for a few hours before finishing the journey to the summit.  We didn’t do this and it was probably for the best because it would be hard to get going again after resting for too long.  We decided to rest longer at each station, but not long enough for our bodies to get too cold.  We didn’t quite make it to the summit for the sunrise, but we were close and had a great view nonetheless.  As beautiful as the night sky was, hiking in the dark was starting to get depressing so I was looking forward to seeing some light.  There were a lot of people at this point surrounding us and set up with camera equipment ready to catch the first signs of morning. I couldn’t imagine carrying camera equipment around so more power to those people.

Almost to the top – Joy comes in the morning, y’all!  And viewing an amazing sunrise helped motivate me to keep going to the top.  Now we could lose the headlamps and actually see where we were going.  Our trail also combined with the Yoshida Trail somewhere around the 8.5 station so we saw a significant increase in traffic. I could see several “Caution: Falling Rock” signs along the way which made me uneasy but I tried to focus on the goal and pray – I prayed a lot.

We made it! – Woo hoo!  We made it safely to the summit and it was a joyous occasion.  It’s quite an emotional and exhausting experience to finally reach the summit.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather.  I did put on a jacket over my hoodie, but never needed by rain jacket or hiking pants (although there were some points where I could have worn them I was just too tired to put them on). We also all wore gloves – which were not just for warmth, but for the areas where you have to pull yourself up on to the rocks.  We spent at least an hour at the top just enjoying the views, eating, and resting.  Some hikers behind us pulled out a grill with bacon and eggs and I wished I had done that too. Although I wouldn’t have wanted to carry it up.  Then we headed over to grab some souvenirs – flags for our hiking sticks and of course the stamp.  The stamp at the top is red (the other ones are black) so everyone knows you made it to the top.

And we got a present! (aka SWAG!) The wooden keychain thing means that all five of the senses have been refreshed and renewed.  Which makes sense since the locals regard the Mt. Fuji climbing experience as something spiritual and sacred.

Above the clouds and the crater –  Mt. Fuji is 3,776 meters (12,390 feet) high so it is quite a feeling to be actually standing above the clouds!  We also took a look at the crater because this is an active volcano after all.

The Descent

This is where the story turns.  From my research I learned that going down was much harder than going up.  But I figured, ‘How hard can it be? It can’t really be THAT hard!’ Well, I was wrong.  Wrong, wrong. Just a reminder that we are climbing down loose volcanic rock here, which means it’s VERY slippery.  So combine steep with slippery and it’s a very challenging combination.  This is also where I made the majority of my mistakes.

Here we go – At first I thought, “This isn’t so bad.” But things starting picking up.  Mistake #2 – Not wearing gaiters.  I probably should have worn some gaiters over my boots or at the very least – put my hiking pants on to cover my boots.  My boots kept getting filled with rocks and sand which made the trek much more uncomfortable.  Things started out zig-zag, but then it was just one long, steep descent.  I also didn’t realize that the route down is different than the route up so there aren’t as many stations or places to rest/recharge.

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There are these cool, unique yellow plants that only grow on Mt. Fuji!

  • It’s so dusty – Something else I didn’t take into account was how dusty it would be.  While I did bring a Buffยฎ to cover my face and wore sunglasses, there was much more dust than expected.  More experienced hikers would run down, yes run – which would kick up tons of dust (and feelings of anger) as they passed me.  Also, my legs were shaky from the hike up and I was exhausted.  So my goal at this point was to avoid injury since I have a patella that likes to go its own way sometimes.  Mistake #3 – Not wearing goggles or bringing my glasses!  Okay, this wouldn’t apply to everyone – but more for those who wear contacts.  My eyes were dry from not sleeping and the dust. My vision was blurry and I was getting a headache. I wish I had brought my glasses or wore some goggles.  Because not being able to see definitely slowed me down!

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  • Mental Fatigue – About halfway down the descent I contemplated whether or not I was going to make it.  In addition to there not being as many stations on the way down, there also aren’t very many trail markers.  So we had no idea how many meters we had back to the 5th station.  It really was a motivation killer and tested my will power.  I just wanted to know how much longer to the end.  But nope, just more steep hills and rocks.  And my contacts were now giving me a headache.  I remembered to bring Tylenol so I could at least fix that.

 

  • Homestretch – We finally made it back to the forest which meant we were close to the 5th station.  We also started seeing more happy hikers ascending which meant they had just begun their journey.  They were friendly with their “Hi’s, Hello’s, Konichiwa’s” – however, I was not up for small talk and just wanted to not die on this volcano.  I must have looked stressed because a couple of people asked if I was okay and threw some encouraging words my way.  I wasn’t having it though.

Finish Line – “Is that a Torii gate?” We asked that question a lot on the way down.  Because we knew if we saw the Torii gate, the 5th station was only a few feet away. Then I realized my next mistake – Mistake #4 – I underestimated the importance of the correct socks.  I figured my regular ole socks would work, but it was a costly mistake.  My toes were in pain and I could feel painful blisters.  I definitely should have invested in some hiking socks. Combined with the lack of gaiters, this almost broke me. But alas, after what felt like wandering in the desert for 40 years, we made it to the Promised Land.  Hallelujah!

 

  • The last stamp – We made it back to the 5th station around 4pm, but had to wait an hour for the bus to arrive to take us back to the car.  So we rested, hydrated, and ate some food at the small diner that was there.  The station was closing when we had arrived the night before so we didn’t get our stamps then.  They happily fired up the pit so we could get our final stamp of the journey.  After they started laughing and my friend translated for me, I realized my last mistake. Mistake #5 – My stick was upside down the WHOLE time. Remember in the beginning, my husband gave me his stick?  Yeah, he had the flag at the end that I thought was the top so I didn’t even check. Also, in hindsight hiking poles would have been the better option for this trip anyways.  My sweet friend let me borrow hers for most of the descent and took my stick (and she didn’t realized the stick was upside down either so I don’t feel AS bad, but still – rookie mistake).

 

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My last stamp! #stampmystick

Okay, so what did I do right? Here are a few tips in case you’re thinking of taking the journey yourself!

  • Tissues – Mt. Fuji messes with your sinuses plus the temps fluctuate – pack tissues.
  • Yen – I brought plenty of yen. Bring extra in case you have an emergency!
  • Dressed in layers – I felt like I was dressed appropriately and comfortably.  I also brought a beanie for the cold and a hat for the warmth.  Sunglasses are a must too.  Also bring sunscreen if you burn easily.
  • Water – I brought about 5 liters of water which probably would have been enough if I had paced my hydration better. I could have used another 16 ounces towards the end.
  • Station timing – The stations DO close for a few hours late at night.  I was happy we were at the top to get our stamps.  However, it’s possible that your timing is off and you don’t make it to the top in time for your stamp.
  • September – I think going at the end of the climbing season is a better choice.  July is still rainy, cold, and windy on the mountain – it’s possible that the top could even close due to bad weather. August is blazing hot.  September is starting to cool off again and while a typhoon did come through a couple of days later, it didn’t impact our climb.
  • Air – I brought a can of air, but ended up not needing it.  I’m glad I brought it though because I’ve heard altitude sickness is not pleasant at all.  And yes, I returned the air for a full refund.  Thank you, Mega.
  • Expectations – Before climbing, we all agreed that it was okay if we didn’t summit.  We would just listen to our bodies and be thankful that we could even attempt to climb.  I read in a brochure for a Mt. Fuji group tour that “The mountain doesn’t care – about your goals, your feelings, your health.” And that stuck with meMake sure you go with willpower, but leave your pride on the bus.  Mount Fuji is beautiful and brutal.

Climbing Fuji-San is an enlightening experience, but also a very humble one.  People ask me what kind of shape you need to be in to climb.  And while I recommend you have some type of endurance, stamina, and leg strength, you also need the mental strength and courage to carry on.  We saw elderly folks & kids climbing and people wearing Crocs and jeans.  Could you climb it solo?  Absolutely.  Logically, if something went wrong there are enough other hikers that would help you.  I don’t think you would have to 127 hours- yourself or anything (ya know, cut off your arm with an old knife to survive).  But would you have the emotional and mental strength to get through without the support? That’s the bigger question.

Overall, even though we hiked all night without sleeping, I’m glad I did it.  Would I do it again?  There is a Japanese proverb that says, “A wise man climbs Fuji once, a fool does it twice. And if you don’t climb it you are destined to return to Japan.” So I think once is good enough for me.

Oh one more thing – we went to an Onsen immediately after and it was the best decision.  The hot soak helped my muscles recover much faster.  I highly recommend going to one near Fuji!

What about you?  Is this on your bucket list?!

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On top of the world!

~SM

3 Reasons to Stay Cool in Knockaround Shades!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knockaround Sport Premium Sunglasses 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!

If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only choose three things to have with me, I can say that sunglasses would definitely be one of them.  A pair of shades are a necessity in my life since they are great for days when I don’t feel like putting on eye makeup or making eye contact with strangers. ๐Ÿ˜‰  Plus they make me feel stylish and fabulous when I’m trying to accessorize. ๐Ÿ™‚

So I was really excited to try out the new Knockaround Premiums Sport sunglasses because I most definitely never go for a run without grabbing a pair of sunnies. Here are three reasons why you’ll love them, too!

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  • Cool Colors – The Knockaround Premium Sport collection comes in all types of rad colors to match all of your cute athletic wear – and, of course, athleisure wear too! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I tried the Aquamarine/Fuchsia combo and they were just right for summer activities like hangin’ by the pool and running in the bright sun. But don’t worry, they come in all black too in case you like to roll around Men in Black style. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Comfortably Cool – Not only do they come in sweet colors, they fit comfortably and stay put during long, sweaty (Japan Summers can be rough) runs and workouts. I didn’t have any issues with them sliding or moving around during any of my activities.  They also didn’t feel too tight/loose or like they were digging into my face/head.

Cool Cost – The main thing I love about Knockaround shades is the cost!  I love wearing sunglasses, but I’m not always the best at keeping up with them.  Plus, I like to keep a couple of pairs in my car and in the house so I’m never without my shades.  So at $20 a pair, it’s pretty affordable to have a decent collection. *Keep reading, for a special code. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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And just in case you’re into tech and specs, I’ve included those here for your reference! (*directly from knockaround.com)

  • Glossy aquamarine frames
  • Fuchsia K logos
  • Aquamarine rubber nose pads
  • Polarized fuchsia mirrored lenses
  • Super lightweight polycarbonate material
  • UV400 protection
  • FDA approved impact resistant lenses with laser etch logo detail
  • Protective pouch included

Still unsure?  Well, I’ll also throw in that these sunny guys also survived a brutal climb up and down Mount Fuji!  So if they can hold up while hiking the highest peak in Japan, then they can probably survive any activity! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ready to try them out?!  Use code “Bibraveknocks3” for 20% off your order!  But hurry because this code expires soon.  Also, join me on #Bibchat on Twitter on October 8th for your chance to win your very own pair! ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall, I love my Knockarounds for pretty much any activity.  I’ll probably grab some in a couple of other colors to keep it classy.  I do recommend to keep them stored in the handy pouch that’s included or else your lenses will get scratched up or worn out looking.

For the record, the other two things I would bring on a deserted island: a person good at building boats and a large supply of margaritas. ๐Ÿ™‚

~SM

Aftershokz: Aeropex/Trekz Air – What’s the Difference?

Disclaimer: I received a set of Aftershokz Aeropex headphones 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!

If you follow me on social media, then you already know how much I love my Aftershokz headphones!  I literally take them everywhere and recommend them to all my friends (and even strangers, ha!) If you aren’t sure what makes Aftershokz so special, they utilize a unique technology known as “bone conduction”.  Basically this means that the sounds travel by vibrations through cheekbones into the ear.  In other words, the device goes OVER your ears rather than IN your ears which is beneficial in many ways.

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My daughter even loves them and I love that her ears are protected.

I was previously using the Trekz Air model of Aftershokz which I absolutely loved! They stayed in place and I didn’t have to worry about anything falling out of my ears while out running PLUS they have great sound quality and long battery life.  So when I had the opportunity to try out the new Aftershokz Aeropex model, I jumped on the chance because I needed to see how much more awesome these babies could get.

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Each package contains: one set of headphones, two charging cables, ear plugs, instructions, and a sleek carrying case.

So what were the major differences between the Trekz Air and Aeropex?  I couldn’t wait to find out!

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Aeropex on the left vs. Trekz Air on the right

The first thing I noticed was the carrying case was smaller, sleeker, and also magnetic.  It’s much easier to fit into my purse or gym bag!  The other noticeable difference is the charging cable.  It is not a standard cable and it is specific to this model of Aftershokz – BUT the good news is that you get TWO of them!  So don’t worry, you have a backup!  Why is the cable so different?  It’s actually magnetic which allows for the water resistant capabilities of the headphones.  They are given the IP67 rating which means they can be submerged in water up to a meter deep for a half hour.

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Charging magnetically

After I charged them up, I took them for a spin around the track on a super hot/humid day.  Even though I was sweating like crazy, the headphones held up and didn’t miss a beat. Compared to the Trekz Air, the sound quality is definitely louder and crisper.  They also felt smoother and fit more comfortably than the Trekz Air. And “Audrey” is still there to welcome you and let you know when it’s time to charge up. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Jumping for joy over the Aeropex! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

I really like running with Aftershokz because I like to “Be Open”.  In other words, you can listen to your music, podcast, or book and hear your surroundings at the same time.  So my next adventure was to take them on a nature walk!

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Be Open – listen to your music and your surroundings.

Then it was off to the gym!  And not just any gym – the family gym!  This little gadget allows me to listen to some blood-flowing music AND my kids complaining all at the same time! HA!  But seriously, I like that I can enjoy my workout music and be aware of my kids while at the gym.

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They are comfortable to wear with a hat and/or shades, too!

The other thing I love about these headphones is the battery life!  They have an 8-hour batter life or 10 days of standby time.  And that is completely true!  I love that I don’t have to worry about plugging them in each night.  I can leave them in my bag and then charge them up once a week or so.  One less thing to remember is always a plus for me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Was there anything I felt that needed improvement?  For me, the Bluetooth range for my Aeropex was not as long as my Trekz Air.  They are both advertised to have 33ft of connectivity, but I definitely was able to wander a bit further with my Trekz Air over the Aeropex.  It’s not a huge deal, I pretty much always have my phone close – but just an observation.

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So, what’s the price?  They go for $159.95 plus free shipping AND a 2-year warranty.  Personally, I think this is a great deal as I see it as an investment.  You are saving your eardrums and you will have peace of mind knowing that you have better situational awareness wherever you go!  But wait!  There’s more! ๐Ÿ™‚  Right now you can save $50 on the Endurance bundle with code “BRBUNDLE”. So you basically get free SWAG! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Don’t miss out! Go to bibrave.aftershokz.com to save right now!

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Overall, I love the new Aeropex headphones and they will for sure have a permanent spot in my bag.

Have you tried Afterhoshokz before?  If so, what’s your favorite feature??

I’m off to review another product! ๐Ÿ™‚

~SM

My Crappy Experience at the Unko Museum

If you are looking for something fun and unique to experience in Japan – you are in luck!  A new pop-up museum exhibit is now open in Yokohama that’s all about – Unko! What is unko, you ask?  Well it’s poop! ๐Ÿ™‚  Yes, a whole museum dedicated to poop!  Sound interesting?  Here’s a little bit about my experience so you know what to expect!

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The Unko Museum is located in the Asobuild building, which is about a five minute walk from the Yokohama train station.   The Asobuild building itself is super artsy and also has a few other exhibits to check out.

You have the option of purchasing your tickets online or in person.  If you purchase on the website, you will have to create a membership account (the website is in Japanese so you will have to use a translating browser).  We went during the week in the morning around opening hours and were able to go right in with no wait.  If you go on a weekend or holiday, I would recommend to get tickets ahead of time so you are guaranteed an entry.  Tickets cost between 1600-1700 yen for adults, 900 yen for school-aged kids, and free for small children.  And the fun begins as soon as you walk in!

You are immediately greeted by energetic employees and asked to sit on colorful toilets.  After a flushing sound, you stand up to get your very own colored unko (hello, swag)!  Another person then puts it on a stick for you and you are directed to one of the photo prop areas.

There’s a light up game you can play; another game where you yell “Unko!” as loud as you can; and a couple of other digital type games.

There’s also an “Unko for Lovers” area as well as a “Dessert Unko” table!

Then you can move on to an area where you make your own “Unko Art” and take a look at popular “Poop” products that are sold around the world.

After that, you can hang out at some unko shaped tables and relax while the kids play in the “Unko Ball Pit”.

And don’t miss the “Unko Shower” that happens every few minutes!  The giant Unko will countdown and then explode tiny unko!  You can also learn how to make the Unko sign with your hands!

All of the staff were super friendly and available for taking your photos – or even bombing them if you wish!  They were super silly and helpful and interacted with all the kids!

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Once you’re “pooped out” from all the fun, grab a baggie for unko and head towards the gift shop for some fun unko souvenirs!

Overall thoughts about the museum:

  • It’s pretty small – you can get through the whole thing in about an hour.  So maybe plan something else to do to fill your day unless you’re just passing through.
  • There’s no food or snacks allowed – make sure you eat before or hit up the cafรฉ in the Asobuild building or some restaurants in the nearby mall.
  • It’s organized – in true Japanese fashion – everything is orderly, methodical, and well-staffed.
  • Lots of photo ops – the whole museum is one big opportunity to take Instagram photos so make sure you are selfie-ready!
  • Kid-friendly – I saw lots of kids, but several adults as well so it’s definitely family-friendly.  My kids LOVED this place and have already asked if we can go back!
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But first…lemme take a selfie ๐Ÿ™‚

Sound like fun?  Make sure you plan your trip soon!  This is just a temporary exhibit so the unko will be “flushed away” on July 15th, 2019!  ๐Ÿ˜‰

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~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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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~SM

5 Reasons Why I Love Mondays

Mondays get a bad rap. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ  I feel like most people are always dreading them or just surviving them.  So that’s why I felt I needed to stick up for my beloved Mondays!  Here are five reasons why I think Mondays are the best days! ๐Ÿ™‚

Setting Goals

  • I look forward to Mondays so I can sit down and plan out my schedule and write down my goals for the week. I also like to fill in my gratitude list and check off any accomplishments from the previous week.  It’s also my day to assess the mess the kids have made over the weekend and get everything organized and back in its place.

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Spiritual Time

  • Monday mornings are not only a time for reflection, but also an opportunity to get caught up on Bible Study homework, devotionals, and prayer. (with coffee of course) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Solo Fitness Time

  • If you’ve ever been through a workout program, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Never Miss A Monday”.  It’s always nice to start off the week feeling strong and accomplished by a good workout!  I often have to workout with my kids, so Monday is the one day of the week that I know I get time to workout or run solo!

Social Time

  • On occasional Mondays, I get to meet up with some other moms for coffee or breakfast.  It’s a nice little weekday morning outing and it’s so fun you forget it’s Monday!

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SWAG!

  • Okay, this should come as no surprise – but the #1 reason why I love Mondays? It’s mail day!  Which means all the swag and other goodies will be delivered! Yes, I get mail other days of the week too – but since I get no mail on Sundays it’s nice to wake up to packages on Monday! And Hello – It’s also a day to show off the Swag! aka – #MedalMonday

Obviously I think Mondays rock!  What about you?  Do you love or hate Mondays?!

~SM

8 Things to Know Before Visiting the teamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum

Right now all the hype in Japan is this museum called theย MORI Building Digital Art Museum by EPSON teamLab Borderless. Everyone kept saying how amazing it was, so I decided to check it out to see what the fuss was all about.ย  Is it hypeworthy?ย  Read on to find out!

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  • Getting there. First, let’s talk logistics (i.e. tickets, parking, etc.) The museum location is in Odaiba and an easy walk from the train station — although they have an attached parking lot as well. You’ll want to purchase tickets beforehand because they can sell out on the day of – especially on weekends and Japanese holidays.ย  You canย buy tickets online or at 7-11 (because 7-11’s in Japan rock).ย  I purchased our tickets online and paid about 7400 yen for two adults and one kid (small kids are free).ย  One thing to know is that these tickets are non-refundable and can only be used on the specific day you choose so make sure you are ready to commit! We opted for the train and went on Saturday after 4pm because the website said it would be less crowded then.
  • Lines.ย  Even if you have prepaid tickets, you may still have to wait in a few lines once you enter the museum to see different exhibits – so be prepared!ย  You’ll also spend about 2-3 hours in the museum so make sure you eat beforehand.

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  • There’s no map.ย  If you are wanting a layout of the museum to follow, you won’t find one.ย  Just like in the title, the museum is literally borderless.ย  It’s a giant building that’s kind of set-up like a dark maze with walls that you can walk through.ย  <—- Yes, pay attention, because some of the walls lift up and take you to another room.

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  • It’s dark.ย  Again, I just want to emphasize that the museum is pretty much dark and only lit up with the moving digital photography.ย  I’m mentioning this for those of you with small children because this might cause some anxiety.ย  If you have children that like to escape, you may want to invest in one of those leash things because this would beย a stressful place to lose a child.ย  The museum also has a policy that there has to be one adult for every two children – and this is for good reason.

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  • Make time for the Athletic Forest.ย  The Athletic Forest is a cool spot for kids to let out some energy.ย  There are designated areas for climbing, sliding, and trampoline jumping (although you only get one minute of jump time). My three-year-old spent most of the time in this one spot so I recommend to save some of your time for this area.ย  Another thing to note: the floors here are slanted but you are not allowed to slide or jump on them.ย  It’s a little misleading for kids, but there will be staff there to immediately stop you.
  • It’s still a museum.ย  As fun and interactive this museum looks, remember that it’s still an artย museum so there are rules.ย  In addition to the no floor-jumping/sliding, the LED lights are fun to look at but you can’t touch them (and by you, I mean your children).ย  Also, the giant balloon/balls are not for playing with, but they make a great Instagram photo backdrop. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Your art can come to life!ย  One cool thing about this museum is that you can choose a pre-made drawing to color and then watch it come to life!ย  A staff member will upload your picture and the drawing will then move across the floor and walls.ย  My five-year-old loved this and it’s a cool way to be a part of the whole art experience!
  • Appreciate your surroundings.ย  There is so much to see in this museum so try not to get overwhelmed by it all.ย  Take your time to enjoy the beauty and creativity of the whole experience!ย  And of course, check out the lantern room (but be prepared for a bit of a wait).

Have fun. Enjoy the day.ย  Hang on to your kids. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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What do you think?ย  Would you like to visit a unique museum like this?

I’m off to a new adventure!

~SM

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