Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Posts tagged ‘bibchat’

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! ūüôā  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! ūüėČ
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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! ūüôā  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? ūüėČ

~SM

 

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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. ūüėČ

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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! ūüėȬ† 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. ūüėČ

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! ūüôā

~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! ūüėČ

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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! ūüôā

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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 ūüėČ 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! ūüôā

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

~SM

Bright Future, Brighter Shades

Disclaimer: I received two pairs of Knockaround Premium Polarized 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!

Winter is finally fading away, Spring is ramping up, and Summer is right around the corner.¬† What does that mean?? It means the SUN is coming out and shining brighter than ever (for real, the sun shines bright at 5:30 am here in Japan). So it’s perfect timing to test out some new shades! I chose the Rubber Mint/Aqua Preumium Polarized¬†Knockaround¬†sunglasses to try, but I also received a bonus pair!¬† Yay for SWAG! ūüôā

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I’m all about wearing sunglasses and I feel like you can never have too many pairs!¬† Another fun fact about Japan – people here don’t wear sunglasses! That’s right, even on a bright day you’ll see most people wearing hats or holding umbrellas to block the sun.¬† If you catch anyone in shades, chances are they are a tourist, an expat,¬†or Yakuza (Japanese mafia).¬† It’s also Wisteria season here and these flowers create very whimsical scenery!

When I first saw the black frames, I kind of thought they had a masculine appearance…but I actually liked how they looked with the green lenses! I always like to have a black pair of shades in my stash because black goes with almost anything!

After “knocking around” in my black frames, I took the¬†Rubber Mint/Aqua shades for a spin! I took them around Japan and despite the light-colored lenses, these did a really great job of blocking out the sun! And¬†even though¬†the word “rubber” is¬†in the description, they are really smooth and don’t pull your hair or anything.

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Then I had to put them to the true test РHow would they do on a RUN? 

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These sunglasses are super lightweight, so I was surprised that they didn’t budge during my run – and they even held up in the wind! I also didn’t have any issues with the lenses fogging up which is something that can be super annoying.

And the best part about Knockaround sunglasses?¬† They are SUPER affordable!¬†The¬† Polarized Premiums are¬†only $20! ¬†I’ve lost expensive sunglasses in the past plus I have small children who have complete disregard for my accessories, so I don’t have to stress too much if I lose these guys (although I would still be sad).

Here are some other things I love about these Polarized Premium Knockarounds:

  • Bigger frames – I like larger lenses so it blocks out more of the sun!
  • Reflective lenses – My kids really enjoy making faces at themselves. ūüėČ
  • Polarized lenses and UV400 protection
  • Fun Colors – They come in lots of fun and bright color combos!
  • Includes pouch – This was a really nice touch – most sunglasses at this price point don’t come with any type of extras
  • Born in San Diego – The company is headquartered in San Diego and this beautiful city will always have a special place in my heart!
  • Snoop Dogg – Even¬†celebrities¬†are rockin’ the Knockarounds!

Overall, I really like these sunglasses and plan to wear them frequently!¬† The only negative I found was that the lenses weren’t the easiest to clean, but¬†I may try a different cloth and see if that works.

And just to make things sweeter, you can save 20% on your own pair with code “BIBRAVEKNOCKS”!¬† Plus free shipping on orders over $50!

And join me on #Bibchat on Twitter on 5/8/18 at 6PM PST for your chance to win a pair! ūüôā

So are you ready to “knock around” in a new pair of shades?? This guy is…

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~SM

Get Started with Athlinks in 5 Easy Steps

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

If you’ve ever participated in a running event, then you know the pain of searching for your results¬†after the race.¬† Sometimes the results are posted on the event’s actual website, sometimes there’s a link to the timing company’s website, or sometimes you may even have to look on the race event’s Facebook page. This¬†can sometimes be a¬†tedious and frustrating process, but that’s where Athlinks¬†comes in!¬† It’s a super handy tool that has all of your race results in one convenient location! Here’s how to get started:

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  • Create your account – You will first need to set up your Athlinks¬†account. It’s super easy and it’s FREE!¬† You can do this via desktop or even better, you can download the APP! You will just need to enter a few personal details and a profile pic and off you go!

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  • Claim your results – Here’s the fun part!¬† Enter your name in the search bar and watch all of your past race results pop up!¬† If you have a common name, you can filter by location but it’s still an easy process.¬† Simply find your races and click on the blue “Claim” button.¬† Note: The claiming process isn’t always instant.¬† Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks for the results to show up on your profile, but you will receive an email once it’s added.

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  • Follow your friends – Start following all of your running friends so you can follow their races and results.¬† You can also search for “Rivals”.¬† These are people who have run the same race as you.¬† You basically have a friendly competition with them since it will show which one of you finished the race first.¬† I think this is a cool aspect to ignite motivation between runners, although I’m not a huge fan of the word “Rivals” for some reason.

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  • Add your upcoming races – With Athlinks, you can search upcoming races in your area and add them to your profile.¬† This way, all your friends can see your race calendar and who knows…you may inspire someone to run a race with you!

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  • Check¬†out your stats!¬†– Once you’re all set up, you can look at all of your stats and see how you compare to others.¬† You’ll also have all of your PR’s in one convenient location!

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Athlinks is a great tool to streamline all of your race results and keep track of your running stats.  What do you think? Are you one of the 1 Million users of Athlinks?!

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Happy claiming!

~SM

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