Friday, August 18, 2017

Snazzy! Pizzazy! Pack Run Hat

Disclaimer:  I received the UV BUFF® Pack Run Hat from Buff_USA ® as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro ( ambassador ), and check out www.bibrave.com to review, find and write race reviews.




I do love all things BUFF ®.  It wasn't a surprise that when I received the newest product, I would love it instantly!  The pack run hat is ultra light-weight, wicking and very compressible.  It  comes in 4 different snazzy colors and if you're anything like me, you'll want the brightest color!  It also has reflective properties!  The majority of my runs are in the wee morning hours when it's dark, so the extra reflection is a huge plus for me!




I have worn this hat in very hot weather, during rain storms and during cooler morning runs and it has performed very well.  My head never felt hot and it's so wicking that after my runs the hat is actually drenched!  It washes well, although I've always hand washed it - I'm slightly OCD that way.

I do love that this hat has a bit of pizazz to it as well!  I'm not the most hip person at 37 years old.  I'm not sure that this mom of two could actually pull off the look that I went with here, but it was sure fun trying.  Can you see the BUFF ® trademark logo on the underside of the brim?




Here are a few specs:

  • Lightweight, weighs only ONE ounce
  • Packable with a crushable brim that regains its shape for reliable sun protection
  • 4-way stretch fabric for comfort
  • UPF 50 protection
  • Fastwick fabric side panels wicks away moisture and improves breathability
  • Low profile sweatband keeps perspiration out of eyes
  • Adjustable elastic cord at back for comfort fit
  • Reflective tabs

My ONLY reservation with this hat is that I just don't really like the way it looks on me.  It's absolutely fabulous with it's other properties!  Nonetheless, I do see myself continuing to wear it.  The brim of the hat is designed to block the sun from your eyes and it really does  great job.  However,  it sits very low on my head.  I know that it sounds vain, but I love my fashion when running.  Isn't that part of the fun? 





This hat is reasonably priced at $32 and would definitely be extra awesome in very hot and sunny climates due to it remarkable ability to wick and keep the runner cool! 


If you would like to win one for yourself!  Make sure to check out our #bibchat on Tuesday, August 22nd, at 8 PM CST.  We'd love to have you! 





Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Feel the OO-la-la!

Disclaimer:  I received the OOFOS Oolala Sandals to enjoy and review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave to review, find and write race reviews.


It's NO secret that I am absolutely in LOVE with these sandals.  Full - on love affair.  If you want to here more about my love for these shoes, you can read my first review here.

However, for this review, I am going to concentrate on the technology behind the OOFOS shoes. These shoes were designed for the workout enthusiast and were built to reduce stress and aide recovery to the body part that takes the most abuse during long hard training sessions.  They are perfect for any runner and of course any other person looking to have their feet feel pampered!

Oofos are 37% more shock absorbing than traditional foam.  They have a raised arch that perfectly fits your foot and I personally can feel the ultimate comfort the moment I put them on!  The technology behind OOFOS shoes absorb impact, giving your tired and achy feet some much needed relaxation!

I will speak from experience when I say that these shoes really do help with recovery; just like they say they do!  I wore them after my marathon and I definitely felt a bounce in my step.  Dare I say I had less delayed onset muscle soreness?!?!  The OOFOS shoes for SURE helped aide in my recovery.



I've gone as far to say in recent tweets that I wish I had a pair in every color.  I like simplicity and I like comfort and these two features are accommodated with this shoe!  They come in a variety of different styles and a variety of different colors. You are SURE to find a shoe that fits your fancy!

The OOFOS Oolala sandals are my go-to shoes!  Especially, since in MN, right now it's summer and the weather screams sandals!  This meme made me laugh.  I think you're a Minnesotan if you wear sandals until your toes start to freeze!   Is this just a Minnesota thing?  I guess our winters are just so cold, we hold on to every bit of summer that we can!  OOFOS to the rescue!


You will not be disappointed if you purchase a OOFOS shoe.  I have already gifted my own mother and my mother-in-law with these shoes and they have gotten glowing reviews!

If you want to learn more and win a pair for yourself, make sure to check out #bibchat on Tuesday, August 15th!  8PM CST. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Live a Life You're PROUD of!

Hey there!  It's me!  Remember me? 
I'm alive! I really am! 



Well, I guess holy cow!  Where did the summer go?  It's August 3rd?  I'm still scratching my head wondering that very question.  Between completing my 2nd marathon in June, diving in head first into my online health and fitness coaching, working full-time, and spending as much time with my kids as I can ---  nothing else has happened.  I'm enjoying every second of this summer and that's a good thing!  But, I have missed blogging.  So... here I am.  Helllloooo!! I've missed ALL of you! 

What's new with me?  Even though I'm not blogging regularly, most of you know that I've recently starting my own online health and fitness coaching business.  WOW!  I never dreamed it would be as fulfilling as it has been!  The best part of it all is that I get to join other amazing women and motivate them to their own personal successes in health and fitness!  How COOL is that?!?!

So, what am I doing?  I'm using Beachbody programs via the On Demand programs and drinking the super food Shakeology.  I haven't felt this good in years!  Plus, my heart is FULL with the good fortune that my groups have brought it's members.

What do I do?  Monthly,  I run accountability groups and we all work together to push ourselves to our limits!  We see results, we love on each other and it's as simple as that!  It's so much fun to see their smiling faces in the morning after a good sweat session!  

I'm learning so much more about myself in the process and realizing that I do have what it takes to be a great motivator!  My glass is always half full and I try to see the good in all situations.  I work hard to add value to my social messages and post content that engages my followers.  Currently, my team is growing and I can't wait to see it grow more.  I'm very excited for the mentoring aspect of this business as well.  

I really could ramble on and on about what BeachBody has done for me.  Instead... I'll plug a shameless invite!!  My next group is starting on Monday, August 14th.  We will focus on the program that started it all.  21 DAY FIX.  In this group you will learn how to portion control and lose weight while connecting with women who all want the same thing!  I'd love to have you!! 

Just check out my results from only 3 weeks on the program!  


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hot Chocolate 2018 Here I COME!

Disclaimer:  I get to run Hot Chocolate 5K/15K  in Minneapolis on April 2018
as part of being a BibRave Pro.
Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador),
and check out BibRave to review, find and write race reviews.



For the most part, my huge race season of 2017 is already over.   I know... you're saying - "wait a minute.... there is 6 months left in the year?"  But you see, here's the thing....

I had so much preparation leading up to my recent marathon a few weeks ago,  I had little time to focus on anything else.   I promised my family that after my June marathon, I would take it easy in the training department and just run for fun!  

Run for FUN!  I can't think of a better way to run for FUN than to run a Hot Chocolate Race!  I first ran this race back in 2015 and loved every minute of it.  Plus, the post-race medals for the 15K finishers were "BLING" enough for me to register.  In addition, the 15K is a fantastic distance for me because it requires little extra training, as I usually can pick up and run 9 miles at anytime.

I was disappointed in 2016 when an injury gave me my very first DNS.  Major bummer.  Then again this year in April, this race fell on Easter weekend.  In my book, family is always more important than a race, so it was a year that I again could not run it.

April 2018 is my year!  YES!  I'm coming for you Hot Chocolate and I can't wait!

If you're looking for a great race with awesome gear!  Check this one out.  Here are a few highlights!


  • Amazing medal

  • Great Finisher Shirts
  • Post race chocolate!  YES!



It might seem a bit crazy to think about running a race that is still 10 months away... but I say GO FOR IT!  It's a great race!

Plus!!  For bonus SWAG, use CODE "BRHCMINN18" for this super cute baseball cap!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grandma's Marathon - A Race to Remember!

Disclaimer:  I ran Grandma's Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro.
Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador),
and check out BibRave to review, find and write race reviews.
 


What a weekend it was.  It's almost impossible to put into words the emotion of the race!

I have so many wonderful memories from this weekend, it doesn't seem fair to only touch on a few.  But,  just so this post isn't pages long,  I will try to be succinct.

I have written a full review on www.bibrave.com and it is here  if you'd like to check out all of the logistics of the race.  Grandma's Marathon is a fantastic event and if it's not on your bucket list, it should be.

This was the first race I have ever recorded a post-race video.  I'm not exactly sure why I even decided to record the moments after the finish, but I am so glad I did.   I've played this moment back many times since the finish and I still get emotional.



Many of you reading this know that in the final five weeks before the race, my knee was hurting.  I was struggling to even finish 5-6 miles at a time, my marathon finish looked bleak.  I had trained smarter, not harder this training season.  I was doing everything right, but still my knee had other ideas.   Even going into race weekend, I had doubts on whether or not my knee would "let" me finish.

Without my knowledge, my family had already discussed how to handle my emotions if I didn't finish.  For weeks leading up to the race, my husband was very concerned that I was going to even attempt to finish.  I promised him that I would not run through pain.  When I got to the expo, I made sure to immediately seek out help with taping and stabilizing my knee. 

What made this race so unique for me was all of the fanfare leading up to it.  I had several meet-ups planned and couldn't wait to get the festivities underway.  First, I met up with some of the Bibrave crew - some I have met before, others I have not.  This is such a great organization to be a part of and I just love everyone in the group!  Here we are at the finish.  Congrats to Julia ( 3rd from left ) who smashed the race and finished 18th overall female with a time of 2:58:10.  This girl is a rockstar!!


I was also very excited to meet-up with a few other bloggers and friends you all know well!  Rachel from Running On Happy and Kim from Kim Runs on the Fly.  These girls are so fantastic!  I have met Kim once before at another race but it was my first time meeting Rachel.  Here are some of the pictures from the weekend with the girls!

 Would you just LOOK at the artwork that Kim made?  She is so artistic!  I actually was very excited that she brought her chalk as I admire her art on Instagram all the time!

The other set of feet you see belong to Kim's good friend Barb!  She was also amazing and I really enjoyed getting to know her.

I was fortunate enough to be able to room with Kim and Barb right on Lake Superior in a bed and breakfast.   How cool is that?!?





This picture was taken by Rachels' husband.  After I introduced myself to him, Rachel said he asked where I was from.   This was the joke of the weekend.  Apparently, my Minnesota accent is so thick,  I sound like I'm right out of the movie Fargo.  Hey girls..... you betcha!   And, when will I see you all again Eh??  And..... you're right Rachel - "Marathons are DUMB. "  LOL










Due to my lack of miles the last five weeks of training, I went into this race with zero expectations.  As Coach Marcia said to me " the hay is in the barn. "  I definitely had trained hard for 15 weeks leading to the race, but I also knew that my dreams of a sub-4 were a bit off base.  I modified my race plan  to.... "let's just finish. "   My typical training runs were usually around 8:50 - 9:00 min/miles.  For this race,  I wanted to start out conservative; my goal was 9:30's-9:45's.  I figured the easier pace would conserve my knee and I could play the later miles by ear.  My new race plan in the my head was a 4:20 finish. 

Remember when I said this race was emotional?  By mile 9, my knee was still feeling fantastic and this cued the first set of tears.  I was so happy that I had gotten 9 miles into the race without knee pain, I just couldn't contain the emotion.  I quickly pulled it together and kept a steady head - maintaining my pace.

By mile 15, with no knee pain, I knew this was my race.  Cue tears.  I repeated, "this is MY race, this is MY time" the entire rest of the way.   Shortly after mile 15, someone yelled you are on pace for 4:20.  I was ecstatic!  I just couldn't believe it.

Because I ran the marathon last year,  I was familiar with the course.  As I approached mile 20, I was just under 3:30.  It was at that time that I knew a course PR was well within my reach.

Approaching the last 0.2 miles of the course, spectators lining the rails - once again my emotions got the best of me!  I wanted to be done.  I seriously couldn't take another step.   But, the pure joy of that finish line is something I won't ever forget.

This race was MY race.  The deck was stacked against me.  I had my doubts.  It was my will for that finish line that got me through this race.   I would have crawled over it if I had to.

My official finish time was 4:37:00.  A 23 minute PR from last year.


Ecstatic, elated, emotional.  All the feels.   This was by far the most memorable race in my career.   I'm not sure that any other one will be quite this special.  

I do want to take this opportunity to thank all of YOU!  Especially a few of you who have supported me that little extra during this marathon training.  Wendy,  you were so missed, but you were with me every single step.  I love you from afar!  Marcia, your advice resonated with me.  Thank you for taking your time to coach me through the emotions.  I know I've singled out a few, but you all are so special to me.  My own little corner of the blogging universe.  I enjoy each and every one of you and you were all with me on race day! 

Now, will you just look at that beauty!  It will be treasured forever.   And, yes.... I wore it ALL day!  I even contemplated sleeping in it!  I should have because I was so sore, I could barely sleep Saturday night anyway!   I'm happy to report that on this Wednesday eve, I'm finally walking like  a normal person. :)


Will there be a next marathon?  That's up for debate.  Hmmmmm........?????





Saturday, June 10, 2017

Adidas Ultraboost X - Review

Disclaimer:  I received the Adidas UltraboostX from Adidas as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out www.bibrave.com to review, find and write race reviews.




Running shoes are as important to a runner as a banana is to a monkey; as white is to rice or a moth to a flame.   In fact, it's not uncommon for an avid runner to have multiple pair of running shoes in their monthly mileage rotation. 

I know that I currently have three pair in my rotation.  I am always seeking out the perfect pair to add to my collection.  When Bibrave gave me the opportunity to test these light and sleek UltrasboostX, I was super pumped! 

What makes these unique is the new adaptive arch that is designed to hug your foot.  It also allows the runner to feel supported on the run.  As you can see from the photo above, these shoes are sock-like.  They fit my foot perfectly and the first time I put them on I could feel the comfort!  I regularly wear these out-and-about without socks. 

I will admit, at first try on, they felt a bit snug.  They did require a tug and adjust to feel just right.   I ordered true to size at 9.5.  My regular shoe size is 9, but I always size up 1/2 size when I purchase running shoes.  Reading other reviews online, some comments were that these shoes run small.  I can see how they 'feel' a bit snug at first, but the toe box was perfect length for me and they were tremendously comfortable.  My big toe had ample room toe move up and down. 

The sock-like feel of the shoe is like no other shoe in my arsenal.  I do have to wear thin socks however, because if I have too much cushion, it got distracting and I felt like the shoe was too tight on the top of my foot.  

They are really a beautiful shoe.  Being the girly-girl that I am, I am very happy that I went with the orange color.   They do come in black as well as gray.




The shoe had their maiden voyage on the treadmill when I completed a one mile sprint.  These shoes had an incredible bounce to them and I really enjoyed my first run wearing them.  They are ultra light-weight and have the right amount of support for the treadmill for sure!




Throughout this last month, these shoes have been to several spin classes, some cross-fit and to the grocery store.  Because they are so comfortable, I reach for them to even run errands.   Today, I even got complimented at spin class.  I know theses shoes aren't designed for spin, but the traction control in the pedals is great!   Plus they are breathable, which I like.  I also don't have super sweaty socks when I'm done wearing them and that is always a bonus!


My sister and I at spin class


I feel as though these shoes handle well on the road and have great traction.  My only disappointment was that they seemed to bother my arch with longer runs stretching over 7-8 miles.  If I concentrated on tempo runs with shorter mileage,  they were comfortable and light.  Would that deter me from purchasing these shoes?  No.  But, I do feel that I need more cushion and rise for my mileage.  I don't necessary think that this is a shoe 'flaw.' 

These shoes are a neutral shoe; as are all of the shoes in my current running rotation.  Could the sore arch have been a fluke?  Maybe.  But, with marathon training in full swing,  I didn't want to take a chance, so I stuck to shorter mileage with these shoes. 




Here are some specs:

  • Neutral Running Shoe
  • Responsive cushioning
  • Primeknit flawless fit
  • Breathable
  • Second-skin experience
  • Adapts to foot strike
  • Great traction

For a girly-girl like me, these shoes are super stylish and comfortable.  I love the versatility that I have in this shoe because it easily goes from treadmill, to road, to spin bike and to the store.  

I do feel that these shoes are a bit pricey at $180.  Yes, running shoes ARE expensive and you do get what you pay for.  However, in a market with many shoe brands to chose from, I feel that the price tag may be the biggest deterrent of these shoes - ultimately making many consumers not even give them a fair shot when they really do have so much to offer.

If you are looking for a great, light and adaptive shoe,  certainly give these a try!  I will continue to wear these for the coming months ahead.   When they have worn out and ran their last mile, they will be placed alongside my other fallen comrades in the shoe graveyard in my closet.  :) 








Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Beat the Afternoon Munchies

Sponsored Post:  This post is sponsored by Quest Nutrition, 
but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. 





We've all been there.  It's three in the afternoon.  Our stomachs are growling.  Our energy is fading. We could sink into our covers, pull the sheets over our heads and crash for an afternoon nap.  But, who has time to do that?  Certainly not me!  I'm a busy working mother who can use all the help I can get!  I need a hero in my corner, and I've found that Quest Hero Bars are just the ticket! 

I've been in this situation so many times!  Especially in the afternoon, my mind is full with chocolate candies dancing and potato chips crunching.  Unfortunately, when I get "hangry," I don't make the best afternoon snack choices.  I find myself craving everything in sight!  Most always, in order to get me out of the slump, I reach for high calorie, sugary fixes.   Not anymore! 

I'm now on a quest with delicious protein bars!  I have found just the right balance to help me fight off the sugary cravings!  



What makes Quest Hero Bars unique?  Allulose.  But what IS allulose?  It's a natural sweetener found in some fruits and it contains almost zero calories.  It has a bold sweet taste without the calories.  Allulose is not absorbed when eaten.  From your lips, straight through and NOT to your hips.   How great is that?  Plus, they taste like a sinful decadent dessert without any guilt!  

My favorite is the Chocolate Caramel Pecan!  Just look at the yummy, gooey goodness! Each bar has a delicious chocolate coating and a satisfying protein center. 


They contain between 170-200 calories.  They also have 10-11 grams of fiber and a whopping 15-17 grams of protein.  They fill me up and leave me satisfied!  I usually eat them on my way home from work and can't wait to pull it out of my purse and rip the wrapper. 

These bars come in three perfect flavors:  Chocolate Caramel Pecan, Vanilla Caramel and Blueberry Cobbler. ( pictured below )



If you are looking for more information please visit the link here.  You will not be disappointed you gave these a try!  

If you want a decadent paradise with every bite, these are for you!  Next time that afternoon sugary craving strikes, grab your favorite hero and melt away with the flavors!