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

Posts tagged ‘promo code’

7 Steps to Running a Virtual Race

“Disclaimer: I received a free virtual race entry to the San Jose 408K 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!”

Living in Japan has been pretty great, but one downfall is that there aren’t as many local races as there are back in the states.  That’s why virtual races can often be a good option for those living afar, or maybe for those who don’t want to run with large crowds.  I recently ran the San Jose 408k and I was asked a few times, “How does a virtual race work?”  Well, here are the steps to running your own virtual race!

Step 1: Choose your run – The first thing you will need to do is decided which race you want to run.  I usually look for an event that contributes to a charity that I like and that also has good swag.   I really like the 408k because the benefitting charity for the 7th year in a row is the Pat Tillman Foundation! And sign up early or look for a promo code to save a few bucks! Bibrave is currently offering $10 off with code “Bibrave”! You can still register until September 16th!

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Step 2: Find a friend – You are going to need accountability since you are doing this thing on your own.  Running a race in person provides running support and an adrenaline rush that’s hard to duplicate when running a virtual race.  So it’s good to find a virtual running partner to sign up with you or even better- find a local friend and you guys can run together in person!  I didn’t have a local friend to run the 408k with me, but a couple of other BibRave Pros also participated which kept me accountable during my training and on “race day”.

Step 3: Find a Venue – The great thing about in-person races such as the 408k is that the course is already all marked out for you and usually includes some pretty nice scenery to keep the race interesting.  For instance, the 408k ends at Santana Row (a high-end shopping/dining area) and it’s the only event that finishes there.  So you’ll need to decide on your own (or with that friend from Step 2) where exactly you will be running.  Since the 8k is kind of an odd distance (4.97 miles), it’s probably best to run with a watch so you can measure your distance either before hand or during the run.  My plan was to run my 8k on the track, but I ended up having to hit the treadmill due to rain.

Step 4: Train! – Even though you aren’t running in person and won’t win any timing awards (well technically you’ll place 1st in everything if it’s just yourself) 😉 – You will still need to train so that you can run your best race – because it’s still YOUR race after all.  So give yourself enough time to train, especially if you’re just starting out with running.

Step 5: Race Day!- Once you’re all set with your training, it’s time to prep and run!  The cool thing about virtual races is that you can pick any day and time to run.  Not a morning person?  You can run at night!  Have a busy weekend?  You can run during the week! For the 408k I tried to run on the actual day the race was happening (March 4th), but I ended up running the day after.  Also, unlike a lot of other virtual races, you can still run the 408k as a Remote Runner even though the event has already taken place. So you don’t have to suffer from any FOMO. 🙂  And here’s how I prepped for my 8K!

Step 6: Share your results! – Now it’s time to show off your hard work! Take a pic of your time and post it on your social media channels!  Some events will even have special incentives for virtual races – i.e. all virtual runners email their times to the race director or post them to the Facebook page and fastest times win a prize. The San Jose 408k didn’t offer this type of incentive, but maybe it will in the future!

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Step 7: Collect your swag! Another benefit of running a race remotely is that you don’t have to wait in any long lines or go to any crowded expos to get your swag.  Everything is conveniently mailed to you either before or after the race.  I’m still waiting on my swag, but here is what the SWAG looks like! You can also opt to add on other things such as extra shirts, a tote bag, or a hat.

And that’s it!  Congratulations! You completed your virtual race!  Now you can go celebrate with a post-race brunch (or dinner depending on what time of day you ran). Then rest up for the next one!

So what’s another incentive of running the San Jose 408k as a remote runner? It will qualify you for a bonus medal if you decide to complete the Run the Bay Challenge series and run the Silicon Valley Half! Yay, more SWAG!

Have you run a Virtual Race before?  What did you think?!

~SM

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Why I’m Sticking With KT Tape

“Disclaimer: I received five types of KT Tape 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!”

This month, I got the chance to try out KT Tape and it could not have come at a better time! My sample box came with 5 different types of KT Tape: Cotton, Pro, Gentle, Extreme, and Wide.

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Last summer, I rolled my ankle while training for the Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon and THEN I rolled it again on the 4th mile of the actual race and kept on going (which maybe wasn’t the best decision)…so ever since then, things haven’t been quite the same with my left foot. I did go to an Urgent Care the day after the race and nothing was fractured.  After RICE’ing it for a while, I wore a compression wrap for a bit, but it got kind of bulky and annoying so I pretty much gave it up.  A couple of people recommended KT Tape to me over the last few months, but honestly, I was a bit skeptical of it.  I didn’t understand how “tape” could help me.

So what exactly is KT Tape and how does it work?

Per kttape.com:

“KT Tape is an elastic sports tape designed to relieve pain while supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments.”

“When an area of the body is injured through impact or over-use, the lymphatic fluid builds up causing inflammation and swelling. This accumulation of lymphatic fluids may cause increased pressure on muscles and tissue which can cause significant discomfort or pain.
It is believed that when applied correctly, KT Tape lifts the skin, decompressing the layers of fascia, allowing for greater movement of lymphatic fluid which transports white blood cells throughout the body and removes waste products, cellular debris, and bacteria.”

In other words, KT Tape does some fancy science-y stuff in your body to relieve discomfort. 😉  Also, Olympians use it so it must be pretty rad, right?? Well let’s see!

Since I am new to any type of taping of anything, the first thing I did was watch 47 YouTube videos on taping techniques.  Okay, maybe not 47, but it was quite a few.  I also read through all of the tips and tricks on the KT Tape website.  They have some great instructional photos and videos on there!

When I first started taping, I had no clue what I was doing and made a few mistakes. I started out with the basic Cotton KT Tape…

As you can see,  I didn’t properly apply the tape…which meant it didn’t last very long.  I’ll list my tips for success a little later on.  Then I tried a bit of a different technique with the Pro tape…

This ended up lasting longer and I felt like it was a more beneficial taping sesh. And in case you’re wondering what the big differences between the Cotton and Pro are:

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Then I tried out the Gentle tape…

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Surprisingly, I actually really liked the gentle tape.  I don’t really have any skin issues, but I thought it was flexible and supportive and I could remove it with no pain or skin-pulling.  Then I went on to try the Extreme

The Extreme is a bit thicker and supposed to last longer, so I really liked the idea of using it for my feet since it’s a sweaty and flexible area.  Then something life-changing happened! I got on #BibChat (It’s like a Twitter party/Educational session for runners every Tuesday) and I discovered that you can mix up the tapes! Whaaaattttt?  I can wear three different tapes at once?  Did I mention that I’m really new to taping??  Anywho…so I decided to put the Extreme under my foot, then use the Pro on top and then wrapped the Cotton next to that one (where I didn’t need as much support)…

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Since I’m not sure what my ailment is exactly…I sort of combined the wrapping techniques from both the ankle stability taping instructions and plantar fasciitis instructions.  I have pain in my arch (first thing in the morning and then while running) and since I rolled my ankle, I like having extra ankle stability.  After messing around with some more taping, I finally figured out a good wrapping method that’s been working for the last week!

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And now, after a few weeks of taping, I’m feeling more confident in my methods!  And what about the pain?  Well, it hasn’t completely gone away and I’m not sure that it ever will…but it has decreased during and after my runs.  I think I would need to use it consistently for a few more weeks to see a bigger difference.

How ’bout the Wide tape though?  I tried out the wide tape on my hamstring because I do get pain/soreness there sometimes.  I definitely need more practice with the Wide, it was a little tricky to apply since it’s so big.  Also, removing it was pretty painful (like a lot painful).  So next time, I plan to try the Gentle on my hamstring since it’s a sensitive area and use the Wide on my lower back because I have issues there as well.

So here are my tips for beginners!

  • If you have severe/chronic pain, see a doctor (common sense, y’all)
  • Clean the area first
  • Apply 1 hour before your activity
  • Don’t pull too hard on your anchor points or else it will create an “accordion” effect and basically the strip is ruined.
  • Don’t pull too tight on the middle part.  The KT Tape website recommends about a 50% pull for many of the methods – just don’t pull 100% – you still want flexibility and blood flow!
  • Putting on too much tape is not going to help you.  Again, you want flexibility.
  • Rub the tape after you apply it because it’s heat activated.  This is a really important step to get the most out of your application!
  • There really isn’t a wrong way to apply KT Tape.  I highly suggest watching the videos and reading the instructions…but you can also test out different methods to see what works best for you!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with my KT Tape experience and I will continue to use it in the future! Here’s what I liked most about it:

  • Pre-cut Strips– The strips are already cut and easy to pull off.  The backing is super easy to pull off too, with no sticky residue.
  • Bright Colors – They are available is super fun colors!
  • Flexibility – I like the support and flexibility they provide without being too bulky, like a traditional brace.
  • Confidence – Something about wearing the KT Tape makes you feel a little bit more hardcore.  KT Tape lets people around you know that a little pain isn’t going to stop you from reaching your goals!  Also, Olympians use it, remember??  You are using something the best of the best use!  How cool is that?
  • Containers – With the exception of the Cotton and Gentle tapes, they come in reusable containers!  So when you are done, you can save them for tiny things around the house, small toys, etc…it’s especially great for travel!

What I didn’t like:

The only issue I had was that I couldn’t get my strips to last 4-7 days.  Mine lasted about 1-2 days. I’m still new to taping so it could be that I haven’t gotten the technique down quite yet.  Or it could be that my injury is in a spot that gets wet, oily, sweaty…that it’s not meant to last very long on my foot.  But if YOU know of a way to make it last longer, please let me know!!!!

Are you curious about KT Tape?  Pricing ranges from $9.99 to $45.99 depending on which product you are after.   The Pro, which was my favorite, runs for $19.99.  And as a bonus, you can score 30% off your order with code, “BIBRAVE30”!  So if you’re interested, now is a great time to try it out!

Go ahead, add a little Joy to your life! 🙂 🙂

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Have you used KT Tape before?  What did you think??

~SM

6 Reasons Why The Hot Chocolate 15k Will Give You FOMO

**Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to the Hot Chocolate 15k in exchange for an honest review as part of being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro, and check out Bibrave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

Next month, I will be running the Hot Chocolate 15k and I could not be more stoked!  I’ve been wanting to participate in this event for a while so I knew I could not miss out again this year.  In case you’ve never heard of this event, you basically run and consume chocolate for 9.3 miles…and then take a chocolate shower at the finish line.  Okay, maybe the last part isn’t true…but I assure you that there will be multiple opportunities to fill up on all things chocolate.  So here are six reasons why I think YOU should also attend a chocolate-filled running party!

  • The Amazing Cities! – The Hot Chocolate race travels to over 20 major cities with amazing views.  Some of these include: Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Orlando, and of course…San Diego!  There’s bound to be an event near you so there is no excuse for you to miss out!  Check out the full list of cities here.

 

  • Charities! – Participating in the Hot Chocolate Race Series means you get to contribute to a local charity.  One of the charities benefitting from this race is the Ronald McDonald House.  These facilities provide a comforting and encouraging place for families to eat, sleep, shower, etc. while their children receive treatment and care for difficult medical issues.  They even offer an onsite school for siblings of the hospitalized children.  And if you really wanna make a difference in your community, you can fundraise and score a free race entry!  It’s a win-win for all!

 

  • Training Plan! – Maybe this is your first 15k.  Maybe you’re coming off of a running hiatus.  Maybe you’re looking to set a new PR (personal record).  Either way, you will need some time to train.  Training for a race can seem overwhelming.  When do I run intervals?  When should I complete a long run?  When should I cross-train?  When should I rest?  Well the Hot Chocolate run takes out all of the guess work and provides you with a weekly training plan that goes straight to your inbox!  In addition, you will receive tips on hydration and recovery and advice on running gear!  You can also calculate your pace with the McMillan Running Calculator so you can customize your plan.

Here’s a little peek at how my training is going starting with a sample of my weekly training plan! 😉

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  • Chocolate! – This seems like a pretty obvious reason, but I don’t think you realize the amount of chocolate that will be present at this event!  You will literally be taken to a wonderland of chocolate!  There will be chocolate opps at the Expo as well as tons of photo opps with Chocolate mascots!  There will be sweet stations at various stops throughout the 15k! You will receive tons of chocolate goodies at the finish line followed by an all out chocolate party!  Here’s some more info on the chocolate goodies!

 

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Diagram courtesy of hotchocolate15k.com

 

And just in case you’re wondering how I’m training for the chocolate portion of the event…  😉

I gotta make sure I’m prepared, right?  Ya know… “nothing new on race day!” 🙂

  • SWAG!!!!!!!! – Okay this is where you will really want to pay attention. There will be SWAG GA-LORE at this run!  You will be greeted at the finish line with a large mug full of marshmallows, bananas, pretzels, and duh…chocolate! (see above diagram) You will also receive FREE race photos! Then there’s the medal…chocolate gold!

 

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photo from hotchocolate15k.com

You will also get a high quality finisher’s jacket!  Not many races offer this type of thing…so even if chocolate isn’t your jam, this fitted jacket alone should motivate you to register for the nearest run!  There’s even a spot at the Expo where you can switch your size to guarantee the best fit.

 

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photo from hotchocolate15k.com

  • BONUS SWAG!!!! – And the last reason you won’t want to miss the Hot Chocolate 15k is that you can receive bonus swag!  Use code “SDBRHC” for the San Diego race (check out my race discount page for more codes for other cities) to receive a sweet visor!

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And just in case you aren’t ready to commit to a 15k just yet, have no fear!  There’s also a 5k option, but less swag!  Or become a volunteer and score a little swag along with all of the chocolate epicness!

Ready to run for chocolate?  Come join me in San Diego!  Here are some quick facts:

Date: March 26th, 2017

Location: Petco Park

Pricing – 15k: $74 – 5k: $49  But hurry, the price will increase soon!

But don’t just take it from me, here are some testimonials from other Bibrave Pros  courtesy of Bibrave.com:

Haley says: “The course was very scenic and I had a good time. Plenty of aid stations, and they supplied Nuun and water which was a life saver for me because I forgot my salt tabs.”  Read the full review here.

Jenny says: “I actually really liked the course, I didn’t feel like there were any moments where I was disappointed. The finish was nice because it was pretty much all down hill from mile 8 on.”  Read the full review here.

 

See you next month!  I’ll be the one covered in chocolate! 😉

~SM

 

Look Fly with a SPI(belt)

If you’re like me, at one time or another you have tried running while juggling at least three things in hand…and not like one of those cool running juggler people either.  More than likely, you probably look uncomfortable and not to mention inefficient. Which is why I was stoked to learn about the SPIbelt!

So what is a SPIbelt, you ask?  Well the name says it all!  A SPIbelt is a “small personal item” belt designed to hold all of your essentials while on the run…and you also kind of look like a rad secret agent with your handy belt. 😉

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I’m gonna go ahead and state the obvious…yes, it kind of looks like a glorified fanny pack at first…but I assure you…they are much cuter and less bulky than a fanny pack.  And if by chance you DO love fanny packs, then I am confident that you will also love this SPIbelt.

There are several SPIbelt options to choose from. I had the chance to review the SPIbelt Performance Series in pink!  Here are a few quick facts about the SPIbelt:

  • It holds most smartphones
  • It’s bounce-free
  • It has 4 loops for energy gels
  • It fits waist sizes up to 52″
  • It’s weather-resistant, but NOT waterproof

And it came with some SWAG! Yippee!

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These stickers are great to spice up boring hydration bottles! 🙂

It also came with some instructions, which is perfect for us visual learners.

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So before I tell you about my experience with the SPIbelt, let me tell you how I lived life without one.  Now, I usually push a stroller on my runs which normally blows cause of the extra weight, uneven terrains, hills, etc.  However, the one great thing about pushing a stroller is that you always have a place to store your things.  My Bob Revolution has cup holders, zippered pockets, and a huge storage basket.  It’s basically like the Cadillac of strollers.  But a couple of times a week, I do have the opportunity to run stroller-free and this is where I run into logistical problems.  Where do I put my keys, cash, phone, etc.?  Most running shorts don’t have pockets.  At best, there is a tiny inside pocket that will hold one key and maybe some cash.  I’ve had to run many races with my key tied to my shoelaces, money hidden in my shoe, all while holding my phone. It’s awkward and annoying.  Which by the way, phones are getting bigger so they aren’t as easy to hold for 3+ miles anymore.

So I was overjoyed to finally try a SPIbelt!  It was perfect timing since I am training for the upcoming Carlsbad Half Marathon and I have been adding in some longer runs.  I couldn’t wait to ditch the kiddos so I could try this puppy out.

It was super easy to put on and adjust before heading out for an afternoon run.  It took a little time to get used to running with it the first time.  It almost felt like trying to run when your six months pregnant.  The extra weight on the lower part of your stomach feels awkward at first, but then you get used it after a mile or so. I was really surprised at how well if conformed to my body and didn’t bounce throughout my runs.  Even when climbing some pretty steep stairs!

I also liked that I had place to store my pepper spray!

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Another one of my running adventures was to Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach.  This is also a very hilly and windy area and I liked being able to store my keys and phone without the worry of my things falling off scary cliffs.

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Another great time to use your SPIbelt is when taking your dog on the run!  It’s a great place to store baggies so you can quickly clean up after your dog and continue on with your activity!

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And if your dog is big enough, they can rock the SPIbelt too! 😉

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So let’s talk about the functionality of the pocket and the loops.  I’m not a huge energy gel person just because I’m not a fan of most of the tastes and textures, but I like the energy blocks or anything that has more of a “gummy bear” texture.  The loops were kind of tight and I had to work to get anything in there.  Design wise, I imagine it’s to keep the SPIbelt as small and flexible as possible…but function wise, I wasn’t a huge fan mostly because I don’t have a ton of patience for that type of stuff.  Not a big deal though, because I can easily throw the energy supplements into the zippered pocket part.

And speaking of the zippered pocket, I thought it was great except for one thing – Getting the phone in and out was kind of a hassle.  I think if I had taken the case off (I have an iPhone 6S), it would have fit a little better.  However, due to my children I never take the case off.  I also run with Bluetooth headphones sometimes and I felt that at certain points during the run (mostly if I had to stop), the phone and the headphones didn’t sync as well – meaning the song would go in and out or completely stop.  But it was only if I stopped in certain spots and wasn’t a complete deal breaker.  The other issue is if you want to change a song or if you needed to pause your run (like when using a running app).  I typically run with a Garmin so pausing or stopping wasn’t an issue, but changing a song or declining a call was kind of a pain.  If you are going to keep your phone in there with a few other things, I suggest trying to keep it in there for the duration of the run.  Or else you will be spending extra time trying to squeeze it back in the pocket.

I think the SPIbelt Performance Series comes at a reasonable price as well – $25.99 with free shipping on U.S. orders.  And you can save 20% using code “BibChat2016” until November 18th, 2016.  There are also come nifty accessories that you can add, like a race bib holder (so you don’t put holes in your fancy race day shirts) and an H20 companion.

Overall, I really liked the SPIbelt and I know I will be using it more as the half marathon draws closer and my runs become longer.  I think it’s a great tool that all runners should check out and they make great gifts for a runner in your life! I know I’m grateful for mine!

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Don’t forget to catch #BibChat this Tuesday on Twitter at 6pm PST.  You will have the chance to learn more about the SPibelt and maybe even win one of your own!  Chat with you then! 😉

You can also read what some other BibRave Pros thought of the SPIbelt Performance series:

Erica’s Review

Carolyn’s Review

*Disclaimer: I received the SPIbelt Performance Series for free to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Can’t wait to review the next product!

~SM

2016 WOW Summit!

Last year, I had the pleasure of attending the Moms Meet WOW Summit here in San Diego.  The event was so much fun that I actually posted TWO blogs about it!  Here are the links so you can relive the fun: WOW Summit Review – Part 1  WOW Summit Review – Part 2

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Sadly, this year I am unable to attend since the event will be held in National Harbor, MD and my tiny humans denied my request to travel across the country.  But that doesn’t mean that YOU can’t go! So I’m here to give you the deets on the event and share some of the awesome reasons why you should attend this year!

So, what is the Moms Meet WOW Summit?  Well, it’s a two-day annual event that gives health-minded moms and bloggers the opportunity to network and learn from like-minded women and experts in the health and wellness fields.  The first day is all about the bloggers!  It’s a special opportunity for mom bloggers to learn from experienced writers as well as network with other bloggers and brands.  There is also a cocktail party and comedy hour following the event!  How rad is that?!

The second day is even more fun because you get to listen to awesome speakers, breakout into informative workshops and sample tons (seriously, tons) of awesome products.  Each attendee also receives a fully-packed SWAG BAG!!  So much swag!  Just to give you a better idea of how amazing this event is, checkout the video below with some sweet highlights!

WOW Summit 2015 Highlights

And there will be even more generous sponsors this year-

Solgar

National Geographic Kids

Tasty Bite

Mary’s Gone Crackers

And so many more!  Like, I’m seriously getting a major case of FOMO over here!

So since I can’t attend this year, I’m going to mentally bask in all of the swag that I scored last year.  And in case you forgot about the massive haul I scored, here is a little reminder:

Yep, that could be you…rolling in the swag dough.  So, if you or your friends will be in the D.C.area on October 7th and 8th, I highly recommend this fun conference.  It’s not only a great way to connect with other moms and bloggers, but an opportunity to learn about health, wellness and green living all from experts and great companies!  I recommend running, not walking, to register for this event because it will sell out!  Get your VIP tickets so you can score even MORE SWAG!  You seriously won’t want to miss out!

Register HERE!

And just for being one of my rad swag readers, you can use the code “SWAG15” to save 15% on your tickets!  So go register, have a blast and take pics for me!

See you at the next swag event!

~SM

 

 

 

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