Zwift into the New Year: Review of Zwift Runpod and App

*Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Runpod 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 a treadmill runner? I’m not going to lie to you, treadmills are my last resort. I have a treadmill at home which may very well have been made in the 1990’s. But it works and does the job when there’s sleeting rain or a snow storm outside.

As part of being a BibRave Pro I was offered the opportunity to trial the new Zwift Runpod and Zwift Run app. I figured it would be worth a shot since the treadmill experience is not super enjoyable to me. And anything that could improve my treadmill workouts is worth a shot.img_7150.jpg

The Runpod arrives in a small little box with directions on how to insert the battery and connect it to your shoe. Once I did that, I downloaded the Zwift app and Zwift Companion on my iPhone. Zwift Companion is a great way to check out who else is using the app and to look up group runs that are scheduled.

For my first run, I signed up to join the BibRave TRE 5k. They had 3 different pace groups to join. Before the race, I made sure to calibrate the Runpod with my treadmill. I also used my Garmin Forerunner 935 to calibrate the speed. The app walks you through the process very easily. Once I was calibrated, I was able to join the run.

I joined the run a few minutes early. When joining a group run they line everyone up on a start line, just like a real race. However you can either just wait for it to start or start a warmup on your treadmill, where you’ll see your Zwift avatar run in place.

When the race starts, everyone’s avatar rushes out of the start corral. I thought it was cool to see people running that I knew. I even ran along side another BibRave Pro. Running with a group of people virtually definitely boosted my competitive side and made the treadmill experience a lot more enjoyable.

Since the BibRave TRE Virtual 5k, I’ve been able to run using the Zwift app several more times. Some fun perks of running with the Zwift app:

  • You can change the appearance of your Zwift avatar
  • You can change the view that you see your avatar running
  • You are never running alone – even if you can’t make one of the scheduled runs, you can always join the thousands of people who are running in Watopia
  • The Zwift app is FREE!

Ultimately I would recommend the Zwift Runpod and Zwift app for anyone wanting to enhance their treadmill running experience.  I even bought one for my brother!

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Review of the Orange Mud Transition and Seat Wrap

*Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Transition and Seat Wrap 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!*

Factoring in work, other obligations, and a training plan is a stressful balance for me. Usually I have to pack food for the whole day, have several changes of clothes ready in my car, and keep it all somewhat organized. This past month I was asked to test out the Orange Mud Transition and Seat Wrap. I was especially interested in testing out this product because of my chaotic life.

When I first received the Transition and Seat Wrap, I thought “it looks so simple!” The materials is super soft and plush. I could definitely see using it as a towel in the summer after a hot run. It’s also very durable feeling, with a heavy duty zipper on one end, and a plastic hook belt on the other.

The first time I used the Transition and Seat Wrap was to cover my car seat.  Even though it’s cold already in Wisconsin, I still get pretty sweaty after my runs. Having this extra barrier between me and my car seat helped considerably.  I’ve had issues in the past where I drove home after a morning run, and when I got back out to my car in my work clothes, my car seat would still be damp. Or I’d attempt to keep a towel in between my sweaty self and the car seat, but it would always fall down. This product eliminated all of these issues.

Another issue I have had to deal with from time to time is changing clothes in my car.  This has always involved a lot of ducking and hiding, and awkward fumbling with clothing. But when you have lunch plans after hitting the trails, what else are you going to do? The Transition and Seat Wrap definitely helped make this process a lot smoother.  The hook keeps the towel perfectly in place around my body while I change my clothes underneath.  No more awkward car changes for me!

Ultimately I would call the Orange Mud Transition and Seat Wrap a game changer for my crazy busy lifestyle. It hasn’t left my car since I got it!

Training for Scoobtober Virtual 10k with My Pup!

*Disclaimer: I received free entry to the ScoobyDoo Virtual Run Series: Scoobtober Virtual Run 5k/10k 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!*

My pup might love running more than me….this says A LOT! Signing up for a second virtual run with Mr. Cooper was a no-brainer. Cooper did an amazing job at the Doo Good Virtual 5k last month.  This month we are shooting for a 10k! Cooper has run a 10k before, but it has been well over a year. That is why Cooper and I have a training plan. Feel free to join!

Week 1: Run/walk 2-3 miles 2 times throughout the week, Long-run = run another 5k

Week 2: Run/walk 2-3 miles 2 times throughout the week, Long-run = run up to 4.5 miles

Week 3: Run/walk 2-3 miles 2 times throughout the week, Long-run = Run 5 miles

Week 4: Run/walk 2-3 miles 2 times throughout the week, Long-run = Run the Scoobtober Virtual 10k! 

Cooper the “Raining” Champion of the Doo Good Virtual 5k

*Disclaimer: I received free entry to Scooby-Doo Virtual Run Series: Doo Good 5k race 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!*

Rain, rain, go away….that is the motto for the month of September. Mr. Cooper and I intended on running the Doo Good Virtual 5k on a specific day after work. But it seems like the weather had a different plan.  Rain got in the way, then a new roof got in the way.  Sadly, Cooper’s Virtual 5k got delayed.

But that’s the great thing about Virtual 5k’s and the Doo Good Virtual 5k in particular.  Cooper and I were able to wait a few days till the weather was perfect for a 5k.  We weren’t forced to run when it was raining Cats and Dogs! In fact, we even had a nice cool breeze, which was a nice change from the hot and humid weather earlier in the month.  We still ended our race with a nice cool dip in Lake Michigan!

Zoinks! Don’t miss out on the Doo Good Virtual 5k!

*Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Scooby-Doo Run Series: Doo Good Virtual 5k 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!*

Now that my training is starting to taper, it’s time to focus on what is important in my life, my pup! It’s been too hot to take him out on my long runs this summer. Now with September in full gear, the temps are perfect to get my pup up and running.

I was offered the opportunity to do the Scooby-Doo Run Series: the Doo Good Virtual 5k. I’ve never run a virtual 5k before, but liked the opportunity to do a fun run with my 8 year old lab, Cooper. I’ve thought about signing us up for other runs in the area, but Cooper can sometimes be unpredictable around other people and especially other dogs.  He just LOVES EVERYONE! A virtual 5k offers us the chance to train together for a fun goal without the stress of being around other people and dogs. We still get the comradery from other runners and dogs running the 5k through social media too!

Cooper and I chose to run our race on September 19th. Sign up and join us!

Nice Knocks! Review of Knockaround Sunglasses

*Disclaimer: I received two pairs of Knockaround 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!*

Ultra running and working a full-time job has its challenges.  I find myself throwing clothes into a bag early in the morning, just to get some extra miles in after work. So when looking for gear, it needs to be tough and ready to get thrown pretty much anywhere.

I was offered the chance to test out two pairs of Knockaround Premium Sunglasses as part of being a BibRave Pro Ambassador. Sunglasses don’t typically last very long for me because they usually get thrown in my car, in a bag, or stashed away in my running pack.

The Knockaround sunglasses came just in time for a true trial.

My trip to Charleston, NC

I decided to take my sunglasses in my carry-on, figuring I may need them when I get off the plane in Charleston. My quick flight turned into spending 8 hours delayed in the airport. But both pairs made it safely to my destination.

I had 3 hot and sunny days in Charleston to wear my new sunglasses. I went on tours, walked around the city, went to the beach, and even snuck in a short run on the last day.  They were comfortable for all occasions and durable enough to be thrown in my purse whenever I didn’t need them.

Marquette 50k Trail Race

The following weekend, I raced at Marquette50.  This race has 4 peaks all along Lake Superior. The weather was 72 degrees and sunny, ideal for a race in Marquette during August. My Knockaround sunglasses were perfect for climbing to the top of the peaks.  They were comfortable and kept my eyes protected from the mid-day sun.  They also withstood being thrown in my pack for when I didn’t need them in the more forested areas.

 

 

After putting the Knockaround Sunglasses to the test, they held up through all types of conditions, even through a tough ultra race. They were comfortable and could fit on many different face types, including my boyfriend’s big noggin’. Get a pair for yourself with the coupon code on my Discount Page.

More than Running: Embracing #LiveMoreNow

*Disclaimer: I received 3 Buff® products as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.comto review find and write race reviews!*

I’m taking a step back.  Running has been literally “running” my life for the past year, maybe longer.  I’ve accomplished some major goals this year alone.  But what happens when you need a break?  In the running community we almost look down on these down times from training.  When people ask, “what are you training for?” You feel obligated to have an answer.

I’m determined to not let this break from major running goals define me or depress me.  Instead, I’m opening up my options.  Buff® encouraged a few of us from BibRave to #LiveMoreNow and embrace all the opportunities around us. Here are some ways I have chosen to embrace some  non-running fun this summer!

Crosstraining – I’ve been swimming and biking primarily.  I’ve also thrown in some yoga and strength training.  It’s been nice to mix things up, especially with the hot weather. Love how easy the UV Multifunctional Buff® makes it to go from swim to bike and more.

Canoeing – this has been a great summer for canoeing.  The water has been high, which makes it easy to check out all the rivers and waterways in the area.

Gardening – I love growing my own food.  When my running mileage was high, I found it difficult to keep up with my garden. But now, it’s relaxing to dig my hands in the dirt. The UV Insect Shield Buff® keeps those pesky mosquitoes and UV rays away from my neck while I work out in the sun.

Hiking – One of the reasons I started trail running is because I love taking in the beautiful views around me. Hiking allows me to continue to recover from my ultra, but still do what I love.img_5633

Hangin’ with my pup – Mr. Cooper, my 8 year old yellow lab, has been a trooper throughout my training. Since he can only handle around 4-6 miles, I’ve had to leave the little man at home too many times. Now is the opportunity to make it up to him.  I love taking him to the beach and seeing him swim around in Lake Michigan.

Let me know how you embrace #LiveMoreNow this summer!

Training for Kettle100 #LiveMoreNow

*Disclaimer: I received 3 Buff® products 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!*

 

New adventures are what I live for. All the emotions of excitement, nervousness, and fear wrapped up into one event. I love this and hate this feeling all at the same time. It seems like every year I pick a new adventure or goal to tackle. I don’t always accomplish this goal, but I always try.

This year I’ve decided to embrace the #LiveMoreNow campaign from Buff ®. My crazy adventure is to tackle my first 100 mile trail race. To this point the furthest I’ve gone is 64 miles at the Frozen Otter Ultra in January. This was a whole other adventure of its own (feel free to read my blog post about it).

Throughout the last 4 months of training, my schedule has predominately looked like this:

Monday: Strength Train (focus on legs/hips/glutes)

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Strength Training using my UV Multifunctional Headband from Buff®

Tuesday: Hill Repeats + run = 6 miles, followed by Strength Training (focus on glutes/core)

Wednesday: Mid-week long run of 8-12 miles, plus some additional Strength Training (core/arm focus)

Thursday: Speed Work =7-9 miles

Friday: Either easy 4-6 mile run or rest day

Saturday: Long trail run (anywhere from 18-50 miles depending on the week)

Sunday: Long run (usually on the road and less than the Saturday run)

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Relaxing after Ice Age 50 miler (wearing Dorn Hat from Buff®)

With this schedule, I typically put between 50-85 miles in each week. I hope I’m ready to take on the challenge of Kettle 100 in 6 short days. All I can do is give it my all, and pray for good weather. Wish me luck!

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Sharing some watermelon with my pup after my last long run before Kettle 100

 

Review of FlipBelt Crops

Disclaimer: I received the FlipBelt Crops to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews

Once I find running gear I like, it stays in my running gear forever. I don’t play fast and loose with my gear and I like what I like. That being said, I can be a bit skeptical when I am introduced to new running gear. BibRave offered me the opportunity to test out the FlipBelt Crops.  I’ve heard of FlipBelt before, but was satisfied with my running belt so I never purchased one for myself.

I’ve had some issues with running belts in the past – either they don’t fit what I need, they break easily, or they tend to ride up while running. It’s never a fun run when you’re constantly messing with your running belt. I’ve also had some bad luck with running capris as well. But I wanted to try the FlipBelt Crops despite my issues trying something new in the past.

My first time trying on the FlipBelt Crops, I still wasn’t sold. To be honest, I didn’t run in them, I only tried them on and walked around a little. They were comfortable, but I was skeptical about the waist area. It didn’t fit very snugly, it felt slightly loose.  My running belt and capris are always super tight on my hips in order to keep my cell phone and keys in place and prevent them from flopping up and down. But they were comfortable, so that was a definite plus.

The second time I put them on was for an easy run after work. I put my keys on the key hook in the front as well as my cell phone in the front. I have an iPhone SE with a wallet case, so it’s not the lightest phone in the world. When I started running, I was very surprised to not feel my phone or keys bouncing around my waist. This was completely different from all the other running belts I’ve encountered. I didn’t have to adjust anything and I didn’t have to wear it super tight on my waist.  This will be especially nice when I go on long runs since I won’t have to worry about chaffing or rubbing.

Another plus with the FlipBelt Crops is, it doesn’t look like I’m wearing a running belt.  Running belts always looks like I’m wearing a fanny pack. With the FlipBelt Crops, the belt melds right into the capris, so it just looks like a part of the pants.  This makes it very easy to go from running or workout straight to running errands or having brunch with my running partners. Everything I need stays on me and you can’t even tell.

Try the FlipBelt Crops for yourself and find a discount code on my Discount page!

Preparing for BigFoot: Training Tips for BigFoot Triathlon

*Disclaimer: I’m promoting BigFoot Tri 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!*

Last year I ran the BigFoot Triathlon in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for the first time.  This wasn’t my first triathlon, but it almost felt like it. For those of you considering the BigFoot Triathlon, it’s a beautiful and scenic race through the rolling hills and trails of Lake Geneva.  The swim is located on BigFoot Beach, on the east side of Lake Geneva. Followed by a hilly bike through county roads. It finishes with a run through the trails of BigFoot Park. This course is definitely different from the fast and flat courses you typically find in Southeastern Wisconsin.  Keeping this in mind, here are some tips for preparing for BigFoot Triathlon:

  1. Train for Hills – Though there aren’t any huge climbs like you’ll find in Madison, the hills can take their toll on the bike and run portion.  Half way through the bike portion you’ll hit a road of rolling hills.  If you are not prepared, then you could be losing some time on the ride. The 10k run also has about 300 feet of elevation change (according to my Suunto watch). None of the hills are steep, but the constant up and down takes it toll.IMG_0010
  2. Prepare for all sorts of weatherIMG_2628Some years the race is delayed due to fog or storms. Other years the heat will sore.  Last year the wind picked up in the morning, causing some decent sized waves on the lake.  Another thing to consider is how this will affect the trail conditions on the run.  If there was a good amount of rain anytime within the last few days before the race, you might consider packing the trail shoes, or a pair of shoes you don’t care to mess up.
  3. Prepare your feet – there are two sections of running I’ll bring up here: the first transition and the trail run. The first transition, going from the lake to the bike, has a good distance run on pavement.  Make sure you prepare for this long section and how your feet will feel running barefoot on this surface. Another thing that makes this race special is the trail.  Most races involve a road run for the 10k. This race goes through a nicely groomed trail section of the park.  The trail is primarily made up of packed down dirt, gravel, wood chips, and grass.  You will also have some areas of pavement running.  Personally I do not believe trail shoes are necessary, since this is not a technical trail.  However, like I mentioned earlier, if it has rained in the last few days, it might not be a bad idea to wear the trail shoes since the course will be on the squishy side.IMG_2652

These are some quick tips to help you prepare for a unique and beautiful race.  Feel free to message if you have any questions.  I’m happy to help!