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Don’t Run Alone: Review of Sabre Self Defense Products for Runners

*Disclaimer: I received Sabre Self Defense Products 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!*

Things have been a little scary here lately. People are getting assaulted, chased, or worse while out on a run. A time that’s supposed to be stress revealing, is turning into quite the opposite.  We don’t like to talk about the bad things that can happen while out on a run, but I think it’s smart that we do.

Last week, even my boyfriend got assaulted on a run.  So if you think that this is a girl’s problem…think again. When BibRave Pros got the opportunity to test out some Sabre Self Defense Products, I quickly opted in! I like to run alone, and I don’t want anyone telling me I can’t.  But I can be smart about it.

Sabre sent me several products to test out and share:

2 – Personal Alarm with Clip and LED Light

2- Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Strap

1 – Runner Personal Alarm with Adjustable Wrist Strap

The Personal Alarm took me by surprise the first time I tested it out.  I was messing with the buttons to see how loud this alarm really is. Well, it is LOUD! It scared my pup into the corner and my boyfriend heard it outside. I used this on a super foggy run with my pup that same day. It was nice having both features on such a small clip. It fit comfortably on my running belt. I did test to see how it would do clipped onto my dog’s leash, but I would not recommend this since the leash tends to thrash back and forth too much for the clip to handle.

The Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Strap worked well on my run as well.  It was very easy to hold onto, without having the fear that my finger will trigger the spray. I’m lucky so far I haven’t had to test out the actual spraying of the gel. But if I do, I’ll keep you posted.

The Runner Personal Alarm with Adjustable Wrist Strap was also easy to wear.  It wraps comfortably around my wrist and has a very durable material.  The reflective brand name is also a great touch. To activate the alarm I would only have to pull the ring off, and the alarm can be heard up to 1,000 feet!

I’m very happy with the extra features each item fits into such a small product.  I feel safer already when I’m using them out on a solo run. I’ve even put the Personal Alarm with LED light to use on my bike.  The flashing mode is perfect on the foggy days when I bike commute to work.

At the end of the day, I’m choosing to take control of the situation.  I won’t let the threat of others scare me into missing a run. I just have to be smart about it. And Sabre = Smart.

 

 

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Kickin’ it 90’s Style

*I’m promoting the I Love the 90’s Run Chicago as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!*

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get a little board of the typical week day run or long run. I put on the same running clothes, listen to the same music, and run the same routes. I’m thinking it’s time for a change up!

The new I Love the 90’s Run Chicago is my inspiration this week! Time to wear #allthecolors on my run.  I’m talking bright yellows, greens, blues, and maybe I’ll even sneak in some pink.

I’m also loading my iPhone with all my 90’s favorites. I know, disappointing that I no longer have my totally rad Walkman, but an iPhone will have to do. Since I’m a Wisconsin girl, you know that Jump Around by House of Pain is on my mix! I may even throw in some Ice Ice Baby.badgder

Last but not least, you MUST accessorize. That means wearing the cool shades, maybe a snap bracelet or two, and a scrunchy.

What else would you do or wear at the I Love the 90’s Run Chicago?

 

 

Kicking off the weekend at Soldier Field 10 Mile

 

*Disclaimer: I received free entry to Soldier Field 10 Mile 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!*

It was a long week of balancing recovery and prepping for Soldier Field 10 Mile.  I did not have any expectations for myself, especially with the forecast of high temps for the race.  One thing I did know, is I was going to enjoy myself.  Less pressure and more fun. Because I live about an hour away from Chicago, I chose to have the packet shipped to me.  This was the best decision, since I worked 8am to 7pm almost every day the week before the race. The tech shirts this year are great! They are nice and long too, which is always a perk for a tall girl.

Day of the race, I carpooled with some friends from the Kenosha area.  It’s always a better race when you have friends joining in the fun.  Unfortunately we were all in different Corrals. We arrived at Soldier Field and found parking very easily, and it was FREE!!! We had a bit of time before the start so we walked around the post-party area and picked out a meet up point.  Then we went our separate ways to find our Corral.  I migrated through the lower level of Soldier Field until I walked out on the field.  What a sight!!!img_8942.jpgBefore the start of the race, there was a short Memorial ceremony.  This ceremony put a tear to my eye and truly helped me remember what this weekend is all about.

I was placed in a late Corral, so I had a bit of time standing around before the start. Finally it was our time to start.  We rushed through the start line and exited Soldier Field onto the Lakefront path.

Right away I could feel the humidity and was determined to take the first 5 miles nice and easy before even thinking about picking up the pace.  The water stops were spaced out every 2 miles, which was fine but could have used a few more. Was happy to run into several of my friends along the course. These moments perked me up as the heat started to intense. At mile 5, I made the decision to just keep the pace steady and not try to push it.  This decision paid off, because I got to relax and enjoy the Chicago skyline view the last few miles. The last mile the course did more winding around as we approached Soldier Field.  The crowd started to build which raised my excitement.  Then as I entered soldier field and ran through the tunnels, I saw a bit of light ahead.  All of a sudden the space opened up and the Finish Line was right on the 50 yard line! Such a great experience!

After the race, I found my way through the halls of Soldier field.  I quickly grabbed a couple cups of Nuun water to rehydrate after a warm run. I also really appreciated that the post-race goodies came pre-packaged in a baggie.  No need to fumble around with a water bottle and 5 other things. The post-race party was a great addition to the whole race experience.  The band was awesome and enjoyed Revolution Brewing giving out free beers.

At the end of the day, no, I didn’t PR.  I wasn’t even close.  But I got to kick off the Memorial Day weekend with a  a great race in Chicago with friends.

Recovery and Prep for Soldier Field 10 Mile

*Disclaimer: I received free entry to Soldier Field 10 Mile 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!*

It’s been a bit of a slow transition going from my Ice Age 50 to Soldier Field 10 Mile in just 2 weeks.  One thing I’ve learned throughout the years of running is not to rush the recovery.img_8866.jpg

I know it’s probably not the smartest thing to sign up for races so close together, but it sounded like fun! Here are a few things I focused on to recover and prepare for Soldier Field 10 Mile.

 

Take time off of running. Don’t rush the recovery.  I felt physically fine after the 50 miler, but mentally I was drained. Mental recovery should be just as important as physical recovery.  The last thing I want is to go into Soldier Field 10 Mile not wanting to run at all. Because guess what – if you don’t feel like running, you probably won’t run well.

Eat good carbs. Don’t just pile on the sweets and pizza (though that sounds wonderful). Make sure to eat healthy and good carbs like sweet potatoes, quinoa, oatmeal…..whatever your heart desires. This has only helped me more with recovery and to get my legs moving again.img_7388

HYDRATION! This is a major one for me. I tend to slack the week after big races because I’m not running as much.  But this is not the time to slack.  Gotta get all that inflammation out and get ready for a warm run this weekend.

Sleep, sleep and more sleep. This part is vital for muscle recovery and mental recovery. I could have probably slept all day after my 50 miler. And it was nice pressing snooze for an entire week. I think my pup enjoyed the extra snuggle time as well.

I’m definitely not a doctor, so I can only say for sure what works for me. But hopefully these tips help you too if you’re crazy enough to pack your summer with races like me! Hopefully you are joining me for a great fun packed race this weekend at Soldier Field 10 Mile.

Review of Turtle Flip-Mittens

*Disclaimer: I received a pair of Turtle-Flip Mittens from Turtle Gloves 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 running can really drain me, mentally and physically.  The trails are filled with ice and snow, making the miles take twice as long to cover the same mileage as in the summer. The sky is dreary and the wind rips right through your clothes.  So why do we still run during the winter? For some, because we don’t have a choice if you have a spring race.  For me, I still think there is beauty to be seen out in the woods on a cold winter day. Whatever your reason for running in the winter, having the right gear can make or break a run.

I received a pair of Turtle-Flip Mittens to trial this past month.  I have some circulation issues, so keeping my hands warm is a MUST for winter running. Turtle-Flip Mittens are marketed to be the all-in-one convertible mittens

  • Fingerless Gloves
  • Arm Warmer Sleeves
  • Wrist Band
  • Layer

They definitely fulfill all of these function but here are some extra benefits of the Turtle Gloves:

Comfortable and Easy to Transition

This may not seem like much, but when you are trying to use your hands in the winter, comfort and adjustability can be game changers.  It can be difficult to grab nutrition or fix something on your pack if your fingers are numb or your gloves are too tight.  The Turtle Gloves keep my hands warm and make it easy to transition and use my fingers.

Easy to Share with a Friend

My left hand tends to go numb first – bad circulation issues.  But my right hand often feels just fine.  My friend’s hand was feeling cold from carrying his water bottle.  Because the gloves’ design, you can easily wear the glove on either hand. So I got a glove and he got a glove!

Winter Soft = Breath-ability

Some gloves are really warm, but don’t offer a way for heat to leave.  This causes sweat, and sweat causes your hands to freeze. With Turtle Gloves, the winter soft fabric is breathable, fast-drying and wicks moisture away.

Long Mittens Cover it All!

I have many, many gloves and mittens.  One thing that drives me crazy is when gloves or mittens are too short and don’t cover the entire wrist. I end up with a bright red skin around my wrist and a lot of discomfort. Turtle Flip-Mittens are nice and long and cover your hands and wrists.  Love this feature!

If you are on the fence about trying out these gloves….don’t be.  Winter gear is important, and it’s nice to see a product that has it all! Check out my discount page for a discount on a pair of Turtle Gloves!

Heading Back to Chicago, Soldier Field 10 Mile

*Disclaimer: I received free entry to Soldier Field 10 Mile 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!*

It’s about time! I’m finally getting the chance to run the Soldier Field 10 Mile Race on May 25th.  I lived in Chicago for a couple years and it never fit in my schedule.  No I’m not a Bear fan (GO PACK GO!), but the setting of the race always appealed to me. After reading reviews about the race and scouring the Soldier Field 10 Mile website, here are a few things I’m looking forward to:

  1. Free Parking – THIS IS UNHEARD OF! Yes, they have complimentary parking for runners. This saves me at least $10 and a lot of hassle of figuring out which ParkWhiz lot to use.
  2. Beautiful Race Venue – Even though I’m a Packer fan, I still appreciate running through Soldier Field. I’ve also read that Soldier Field offers a reprieve from the hot sun at the end of the race.
  3. Great Race Swag – The tech shirt and medal look awesome! I’m looking forward to adding these to my collection.
  4. Well Organized Race – I’ve run a few Ram Racing events (North Shore Classic, BigFoot Tri) and every one is very well organized and thought out.  They always have great volunteers, vendors before and after the race, and the aid stations fully stocked. I expect nothing less at this event.
  5. Post Race Party – As a Wisconsin girl, I always appreciate a free post-race beer! The party setting with music, vendor booths, and friends to hang out with are also a perk.

I hope you consider running this race with me! Check out my discount page for the code to get a surprise FREE item with your goodie bag!

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!

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!

Lessons Learned Accomplishing the Scoobtober Virtual 10k

*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!*

Cooper and I completed the Scoobtober Virtual 10k with a sturdy training program throughout the entire month of October.  Cooper was put through rigorous long runs and strength training….I’m just kidding.  We just had fun with it! We got out and ran about 2-3 times a week on roads and trails. It was great to have a running goal that involved my pup.

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One thing I learned throughout the training is that just like humans, dogs aren’t always 100% ready to run. Cooper is definitely not a “Morning dog” so all our training runs were primarily late mornings or in the evenings after work.img_6953

By the end of the month, we were primed and ready to run the race! Cooper did so well, I think he could have ran another mile with how much energy he still had left! By the beginning of November we were happy to celebrate with our awesome new swag and finisher medals for accomplishing the ScoobyDoo Virtual Run Series!

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!