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

Posts tagged ‘running community’

Why Being a BibRave Pro Rocks!

“Disclaimer: I received awesome products and race entries to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I’ve been a BibRave Pro for a little over a year now and I really wanted to share why I love being an ambassador for BibRave. I’ll also share how you can become one too! So here are a few reasons why I’ve decided to continue as a Pro into 2018! IMG_1274

  • Sweet SWAG!  – Let’s go ahead and get the obvious reason out of the way.  BibRave provides some awesome swag for their ambassadors and this year we even received a welcome gift from RunnerBox!
  • Awesome Running Products! – BibRave also offers their Pros opportunities to test out the latest and greatest in running gear and nutrition.  I never would have discovered some of my fave running products if it weren’t for BibRave!
  • Amazing Races! – Do you have your eye on a particular race?  BibRave partners with some awesome race organizations and as a BibRave Pro you’ll have a shot at free race entries to some popular events!  This year, BibRave partnered with the Hot Chocolate 15k and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon just to name a few!

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  • Rad Running Community! – Once you become a BibRave Pro you’ll be connected with a fun group of other Pros to share all of your running-related questions, advice, and experiences!  You may even get to meet a few of them at some of your races!

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So do you love: Running? The color orange? Reviewing races? Social media? Testing running gear? Blogging about running? Networking with other runners?  Then BibRave is for you!  Apply today!

https://www.bibrave.com/bibravepro

Get Social!

See what all of the BibRave Pros are up to on social media by following the hashtag #Bibchat  – And join the BibRave party every Tuesday night on Twitter at 8pm CST!

Also learn something new each week on the BibRave Podcast!

And be sure to check out the newest BibRave Blog for all things running and racing!

So what are you waiting for!  Apply today and see where BibRave can take you!

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~SM

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4 Reasons to Download the RunGo App

“Disclaimer: I received a free premium membership for RunGo App 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 run pretty frequently, then chances are you are probably utilizing some type of device to track your running stats and routes.  Some runners enjoy using their watches while others prefer an app for their phone.  There are a few popular running apps out there so it may seem a little overwhelming especially if you are just starting out.

That’s why I was excited to learn about the RunGo App! The app offers some great features that make it stand out against the other running apps.  Here are a few reasons why you should download the RunGo App today!

It’s free! – You can enjoy many of the great benefits of RunGO with the free version, but if you upgrade to the premium version you also get premium verified routes, ability to export GPX, and interval training & live tracking (both with IOS only).  You can also create groups on the desktop as well.  It’s also compatible with the Apple Watch Series 2, so you could leave your iPhone behind!

Plan your routes! – Are you a planner?  Do you like to plan?  If you answered yes, then RunGO is for you!  You can easily create your own routes either on your desktop or mobile device!  Then you can save it and share it with your running club or friends!  You can plan out your route, miles, itinerary, etc. each week!  Then save your stats to keep track of your training.  It’s especially helpful if you are meeting up with others – then there’s no guessing about where the run starts and ends.

I live in a small community in Japan, so unfortunately there weren’t any pre-planned routes in my area.  But it was SUPER easy to create my own!

 

It’s also easy to share your run as well as customize the settings within the app!

Voice Navigation! – My fave thing about the app is the turn-by-turn directions!  Since I live in a new area and I’m still learning my way around, I really appreciated the guided directions (i.e. “turn left in 300 ft”).  But I had more fun just running and creating my routes!  The app even worked fine through the thick forestry of Japan!

Share the Love! – I really enjoyed finding beauty and interesting spots along my routes so that I could share these fun things with fellow runners! You can easily add pics into your saved routes!

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I even discovered some hills that would be great for a little hill training on a future run!

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There is one thing I didn’t like about the app – and that was the “auto-pause” feature.  There was a delay when it stopped and started which threw off my pace and distance.  It may not be a big deal to some people, but I like my stats to be pretty accurate so that I know how I’m progressing.  Fortunately, the feature can easily be turned off…you would just need to manually pause and start your runs.

Another bummer is that it seems to offer more perks for IOS users.  I have an iPhone myself, but I know many runners that you use Androids and I feel like they may miss out on some of the premium benefits.

Overall, I really liked this app! The routes are surprisingly easy to make! I think it’s especially great for running groups and travelling!  Have you ever been on a trip and wondered where you could run?  RunGo app is perfect for this! The app has thousands of routes already loaded and if there isn’t one near you, then create your own!  Not just for yourself, but to help out runners that might be running in that area in the future!

If you still aren’t convinced or just need some visual guidance, check out this RunGo App video!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjWQontKSc8&feature=youtu.be

And join me on #Bibchat on Twitter on October 31st at 6pm PST to learn more about the app and hear from other Bibrave Pros!

I’m off to write my next review!V

~SM

 

 

3 Reasons Why You Should Run the Honolulu Marathon!

I’ve read before that something like less than one percent of the population has actually completed a marathon. You can Google it if you’re a stats person.  Less than one percent though.  Let that sink in for a second.  So either those people are pretty admirable or pretty crazy, it really depends on how you look at it.  I am not part of that group…yet.  I think one day I’d like to run a marathon, but then I flashback to pulling myself over the finish line of a few half marathons and second guess myself.  But, after learning about the Honolulu Marathon I’ve decided that I may need to add this to my bucket list of races!  And here are a few reasons why:

Scenery!  I think this is a pretty obvious one given that it’s Hawaii and all.  The course goes through downtown Honolulu, through Waikiki, and up and around Diamond Head. Also it’s in December, so the weather will be perfect!

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photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org

Swag!  Swag for this event includes: commemorative shirt, finisher medal, post race festival, malasadas (yum!!), and breathtaking scenery!

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photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org

And the number 1 reason you will want to run this marathon??  No qualifying times! No entry limits!  Walkers welcome!  That’s right!  This race is for EVERYONE over the age of 7!  First timers, marathon vets, everyone!  Now you might be thinking, “Wow, this race must be super crowded since they accept basically everyone.”  Well, it is.  I asked a two-time finisher of this event and she confirmed that yes, it is crowded.  However, she also added that it’s VERY organized and well worth the experience.  She also added that the malasadas were pretty amazing. 🙂

Have you booked your flight yet?  😉  Well here are some key event details:

Date: December 10th, 2017

Location: Ala Moana Boulevard/Queen St., Honolulu, Hawaii

Start time: 5am – that’s not a typo…but no course limits, remember?

Price: $185-$265 (Military and dependents – $85)

Bonus: Use code “BIBRAVEHNL” to save 20%

Not ready for a marathon just yet?  There is also a 10k and fun run option.

So if you are looking for a RaceCation or a Christmas present to yourself, the Honolulu Marathon is where it’s at!

Didn’t qualify for Boston this year?  Cheer up!  You will qualify for Honolulu! 😉

Hopefully, I will make it to this event one day.  But until then, I’ll just dream about it…sigh…

Have you run the Honolulu Marathon before?  I’d love to hear about your experience!

I’m off to review the next event!

Aloha!

~SM

“Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Honolulu Marathon 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!”

 

Be Safe – Be Brilliant

Disclaimer: I received a free set of Brilliant Reflective Strips 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!

Running and biking are fun, but they can also be dangerous…especially if you are doing either one in the mornings or evenings.  I always try to be vigilant, stay aware of my surroundings and wear proper gear when I’m running and/or biking…even more so when I have the kiddos tagging along.  So I was really stoked to hear about the Brilliant Reflective Strips!

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They are little strips that can either stick-on or iron-on to your gear and clothes.  You can also choose between a few different colors!  I chose purple cause it’s my fave color. 😉

I wasn’t sure what to expect with these guys.  When you pull them out, it just looks like big pieces of colored tape.  So I didn’t think they could really do a whole lot.

Well I was wrong!

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They lit up my BoB like a Christmas Tree! 🙂  *Full Disclosure: the two shiny spots on the very top of the stroller are part of the stroller itself.  But everything else is all the Brilliant Strips!

I also added them to my kiddos’ bikes!

I couldn’t believe at how bright these strips were!  Even though we don’t typically ride bikes early in the mornings or in the evenings, we have lost track of time a few times and headed home during dusk.  I really liked having the strips on the kids’ bikes and helmets for added safety and peace of mind.

Then I headed for the trails! 🙂

The trails are great for running because you don’t have to worry about getting hit by a car.  However, while running or hiking alone is peaceful and refreshing…it also means that your safety is at a higher risk.  The Brilliant Reflective Strips could literally be a lifesaver in the event that you get lost or injured.  Most rescue groups would be searching for you with a flashlight or spotlight so they would find you much more quickly if your clothes/shoes are lighting up within the brush.

So during the time of testing out the Brilliant Reflective Strips, I moved to Japan. (Say what?!)  Yes, I know, this seems a bit out of nowhere…but have no fear, there will be a follow-up blog post explaining more on that.

Anywho, over here in Japan cars are driven on the left side of the road.  This is something that I am still getting used to as by reflex I want to run on the left side of the road – which would be against traffic in America.  So I’m trying to train myself to run on the right side of the road over here.  Also, while there are sidewalks in most areas, sometimes I am forced to run on the side of the road.  And the roads are pretty narrow here so I’m adjusting to that as well.  In addition, it’s hot as Hades over here so I have run in the evening a couple of times to avoid melting in this summer heat.  I think after living in San Diego for so long I forgot what actual humidity was like.

So I was thankful to have my Brilliant Reflective Strips with me since I’m out here running on the wrong side of the road and whatnot.  Also, manhole covers in Japan are artistically amazing.

And here are a couple of other #seenonmyrun pics just for fun.

I didn’t try out the iron-on strips because I was able to reuse the stick-on strips just fine and I wanted to see how I liked them before I permanently adhered them to anything.

And that was something else that I loved about the strips – you can cut them how you like and reuse them to customize all of your outdoor gear!

Pricing: $14.95 and free shipping

Overall, here is my conclusion about the strips:

Pros:  1. Added safety and increased visibility – The Brilliant Reflective strips allow you to be seen 500 ft. sooner.  (according to brilliantreflective.com)

2. Easy to use – I like that you can easily cut the strips and reuse them for different clothes/gear

3.  Pricing – I think the product is well-priced since it saves you from having to buy all reflective clothing – which can get pretty pricy.  Plus free shipping!

4.  Colors – I like that they come in different colors, especially purple!

Cons:  1.  Quantity: Really my only con is that you are unable to choose the quantity that comes in the package.  Each package comes with 8 strips which I felt wasn’t enough in my case.  I would like to add the strips to my shoes, bikes, helmets, strollers, and clothes.  I think there should be an option to purchase the strips in various amounts – Maybe an option for  4, 8, 16, or 24 strips and offer them at different price points.

Other than that, I really think these strips are a great concept and I hope to see more people using them!  Especially with the combination of distracted driving and people running/biking in the dark. I think the Brilliant Reflective Strips could save lives!  I know I’ll be adding more to my jogging strollers for sure!

Want to try some for yourself?  Head over to bit.ly/BRforRunners and use code “BRP35” save 35%!  They would make a great gift for your active friends and family!  And you may even save their life. 😉

Join me on #Bibchat on Twitter July 11th at 6pm PST for your chance to win some of your own!  See you there!

Check out #BeBrilliant on social media to see other ways people are using these handy little strips!

Sidenote: I’ve been singing “Shiny” from Moana the entire time I’ve been writing this.  Go ahead, look it up and take a listen. 😉

~SM

 

 

Feet in the Clouds

*Disclaimer: I received a free pair of OOFOS footwear 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!

“Your Feet Earned This!” – That’s the motto from OOFOS footwear. These little babies are not like any other type of footwear you’ve tried in the past.  These will literally change your life.

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At first glance they look like foam-platform sandals. Then, you put them on your feet and the magic happens.  It immediately feels like you are walking on clouds. On. Clouds. For real.  So what exactly are these magical cloud sandals?  Well here are some quick facts:

  • They absorb more shock than other foam footwear
  • They reduce stress on knees and back
  • Extra arch support to relieve pressure from hips, knees, and ankles
  • Soft and flexible so your foot keeps a natural stride
  • The OOfoam cushion lasts the life of the sandal
  • Machine washable and safe for showers
  • Super light – they even float!
  • Get more details here!

When I first received the OOFOS sandals, I thought they would be great for recovery after long runs…especially while training for the upcoming Hot Chocolate 15k.

 

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Recovering in my OOFOS and LEGend Compression sleeves!

But then I realized that I never wanted to take them off!  I wore them all around the house and they were great for folding laundry and doing the dishes!

 

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Dishes aren’t so bad in my OOFOS!

I have high arches and occasionally experience lower back pain, so slipping these sandals on felt like a dream!  They especially saved me after a grueling hike up to Potato Chip Rock (Elevation: 1800-2000 ft.)

I don’t think my back and hips would have recovered as quickly without the OOFOS! They were even light enough to throw in a bag for a little relaxation time to soak up some vitamin sea. 😉

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It doesn’t get better than beach time with some OOFOS!  Clouds! Really…Clouds!

I also took them along on a trip.  They were perfect for foot recovery after a long day of sight-seeing (almost 6 miles to be exact).

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As a bonus, I liked having comfy sandals to protect my feet from questionable hotel carpet. 😉

As you can see I’m wearing a pink pair of OOFOS with a ribbon.  That’s because they are from the Project Pink line.  For every pair sold, $10 will be donated to Dana Farber Breast Cancer research.  How amazing is that?!  You can make an impact on the world while reducing the impact on your feet. 😉  Check out the Project Pink collection here.  And don’t worry guys, there are plenty of options for men too!

Pricing ranges from about $45-$65 with free shipping/returns and they are also available in select countries.  There is also a 6 month warranty.

So if you are experiencing any foot issues such as plantar fasciitis, hammer toes, bunions…then I highly recommend giving the OOFOS a shot!  Or if you just want to experience the feeling of walking around on clouds, then order a pair and see for yourself.

They feel just like clouds!

#FeeltheOO and your feet will thank you!

~SM

Running for Food

I recently participated in the John Hancock – Cooking Light & Health Fit Foodie Race Weekend in San Diego.  This year, the event occurred in Fairfax, VA; Austin, Tx; Tampa, FL; and here in San Diego.  It’s a full weekend filled with fitness demos, cocktails, parties, and a 10k/5k with celebrity appearances.  The Fit Foodie Race also proudly supports the American Diabetes Association.  The event ranges in price from $55-$160 depending on how involved you want to be with the weekend; however, there are usually Groupon deals with significant discounts.  I actually participated in the 10k for free!  But more on that later!  Let’s move on to the review…

Packet pick-up was at Road Runner Sports the day before the race and I got in and out pretty quick.  I received my bib and t-shirt, but they were also selling some cuter t-shirts and tanks.  Then, the best part happened!  We got to meet not one, but two race legends – Bill Rodgers and Meb Keflezighi!  Bill was super friendly and chatted about his time running through the streets of Boston.  Meb was also quite gracious and his daughters were even sprinting behind him on the treadmills!

The race was held downtown and the course ran through the Embarcadero and Seaport Village.  It started around 7am, but I got there a little late and ended up parking almost a mile away.  Oops.  I was a little confused on exactly where the start line was, but that was just the beginning of my confusion.  But it was actually a very beautiful day and even got pretty hot later in the morning.  I also ran with a fellow Stroller Warrior and friend as well as my 4-year-old – whom my friend helped push along the way.

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Now, let’s talk about the course- The 5k course just did one loop around Embarcadero and was pretty simple.  The 10k course, on the other hand, was a bit of a cluster.  First, there were a couple of splits during the course where the 5k runners went in one direction and the 10k runners went in another.  Then, at one point, the course took you down a not so glamorous part of San Diego – filled with graffiti-covered industrial buildings and glass in the streets.  I also had the pleasure of running by a homeless gentlemen who was yelling out obscenities and threats to us.  I am not normally bothered by the homeless, however, for a moment it slightly took away from my fun race experience…especially since I had my daughter with me.  Anywho, I digress.  My biggest complaint about the course was that after a while it just became a bunch of confusing and never-ending loops.  I even encountered a woman who had run an extra 3 miles because she got misdirected on the course.  However, I will say that the course was filled with a good amount of friendly volunteers who were directing the runners as well as passing out water and keeping the energy flowing.  I just didn’t like having to ask, “Is this the right way?” at every turn.

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Then came the post-race fun and food!  We were greeted at the finish line with a tote bag of goodies and medals! There were a lot of live demos, raffles, contests, samples, and the chance to test drive a Lexus.  Now, since we started the race a little later than everyone and got confused along the course, this meant that we ended later than most people and ended way later than the 5k runners. Many of the sample areas had pretty long lines by the time I arrived and I didn’t have the patience to wait at all of them.  Also, some tables had run out of things which was a little disappointing.  Then there was the big “food area” that was really hyped up leading into the event.  But I was a little let down to discover that this was nothing more than a tiny plate with two tiny food samples on them. 😦

The DJ was good at holding everyone’s attention and kept the party atmosphere flowing.  I was also thankful that I got my pics and autographs from Bill and Meb the day before since the lines to meet them after the race were pretty long.

So what was the SWAG?!

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I will say, there was actually quite a bit of swag and I like the phrase on the back of the shirt.  If I had more patience, I would have waited for more swag but I felt that I received a good amount! My two favorites from this haul are the Country Archer Beef Jerky and the Jambu full-size notebook with pen.  There was also a beer garden, but I didn’t check it out because I had a little one in tow.  I also loved the medal, especially the pink ribbon! (The 5kers received a medal with a blue ribbon).

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Overall, I enjoyed the event – although I don’t think I would pay the full price for this one, at least not for the 10k.  Next time I would do the 5k to avoid the confusing course and so I could get to the post-race party quicker to score more samples and swag.  I’m not sure what the Friday and Sunday festivities were like, but I guess I was expecting a little more food on race day since “Food” is what the event is supposed to be all about.  I also recommend running it with a friend so they can join in on the party fun.

There were also free race photos!  Bonus SWAG!

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So how did I run this race for FREE??  Well the Fit Food Race Series offers ambassador  positions for each of their locations.  The ambassadors offer giveaways on their blogs for free race entries.  I found one of the ambassadors on Instagram and ended up winning a free race entry!  You can find her blog at Runs and Roses.

Have you run the Fit Foodie 5k/10k?  What did you think?

See you at the next event!

~SM

UCan Do It!!

Well it’s the holidays, y’all!  We are all running around fighting traffic and crowds, making ourselves exhausted, and probably eating quick meals.  So because of this busy season, I will make this review short and sweet!

This time I had the opportunity to review Generation Ucan protein powder in vanilla and chocolate.  It also came with some swag – a little recipe booklet! 🙂

Ucan also makes other products including snack bars and hydration supplements.  Ucan (see what I did there? 😉 explore their other products here.  Ucan is unique in that they include an all-natural SuperStarch that helps to stabilize blood sugar and energize your body.  Ucan also comes along with a heartwarming story about the founders’ son Jonah.  Because of Jonah’s hypoglycemia, his parents committed to fundraise and bring awareness to this life changing SuperStarch.

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So how does it taste?  Well I’ve tried many different protein powders in my day and I can say that Ucan has it’s own unique flavor.  Depending on what you mix it with, this can be good or bad…but more on that later.  First,  I flipped through the recipe book  and bookmarked a few recipes that looked appealing.

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I slightly modified my smoothies a bit, but they were pretty close!

I made both of these as breakfast smoothies and I felt fulfilled with sustained energy levels until around noon, so I can say that it did its job.  The flavor isn’t too sweet, but I couldn’t drink it with just water alone.  Although to be fair, I can’t really drink any protein powder with just water.  Mixing it into a smoothie helps to disguise the flavor a bit.  I think next time I would add in some veggies, like spinach and kale for some extra nutrition.

Then I mixed the Ucan with hot water to create a pudding.

The chocolate was pretty good with strawberries. I think it would be even better with a mixture of fruits and granola.  You could even make some pre-made parfaits by putting the pudding, fruit, and granola into some jars and storing them in the fridge for a couple of days.

The vanilla pudding with the bananas and cinnamon was a different story.  It was an odd combo of flavors.  I think this mixture would be best as a smoothie rather than a fruit dip.

Overall, I enjoyed the Ucan protein powder.  I probably wouldn’t use it as a meal replacement just because I have a hard time drinking my calories (I need to chew something up to feel full, I guess it’s a mental thing.)  But I would use it as a recovery smoothie after long runs or a hard training session.

What are your thoughts on protein powders?  Would you give Ucan a shot?  Ucan leave your thoughts below.  I would love to hear!

And right now you can save 15% on all Ucan products by using code “BIBRAVE”.

~SM

**Disclaimer: I received the Generation Ucan protein powder to review as part of being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro and check out Bibrave.com to find and write race reviews.

 

 

 

 

 

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