Wednesday, May 25, 2016

So Lightweight Your Bound to Run Faster! My review of XX2i Hawaii1 Sunglasses

Disclaimer:  I received the XX2i Hawaii1 Sunglasses to 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. 

I have been lucky enough to test out my second pair of XX2i sunglasses.  This time, they were the super sleek and sporty Hawaii1 sunglasses.  They are different from the USA1 Polarized because they are frameless on the bottom.  I think this is a cool feature as it gives these glasses a more sporty feel!  

These beauties come with a lifetime warranty, have a 365 day return policy and are so lightweight I forget they are even on my face!  

The Hawaii1 sunglasses are made of carbon fiber and have 8K optics!  They adjust to any face shape with easily adjustable nose pieces and have polarized grey/blue lenses.  I love the white frame because I feel that they are more feminine than most sport sunglasses. 

We have been blessed with the fantastic sunny weather in Minnesota so they have really been handy for me the past few weeks.  I wear them everywhere!  I am a fan of XX2i because of the adjustable nose pieces.  They are so easy to just squeeze to adapt to your face!  I have a narrow nose bridge so I rely on nose pads to keep my sunglasses up!  These glasses do not slip and are very comfortable!

When I initially took these lenses out of the nifty case, I was blown away at how light they were.  And, seriously.... aren't the blue lenses cool?? 

I ran one 17 mile long run in them recently and they did very well.  My only slight nuisance was that the rubber temple arms pulled my hair if I needed to pull the glasses off and adjust.  No big deal, we lose tons of hair per day.  I did find that if I was wearing a headband I placed the sunglasses on top of the headband just above my ears and I had no snag.  Crisis diverted!  You can see what I mean in the picture below.  The shades rested on top of the headband and then no pulling! 

From activity to relaxation, these sunglasses get the job done.  You know the feeling that you get when you're wearing a "not-so-nice" pair of sunglasses and your squinting in the sunlight even with them over your eyes?  No squint with these!  

I may have been enjoying a nice craft brew at the lake last weekend!  Sssh.  Don't tell anyone! :)

If you're on the fence about whether these sunglasses are for you!  Don't hesitate to check them out!  With the stellar 365 day return policy you have nothing to lose!  Better yet, use CODE:  XX2iROCKS for 50% your very own pair.  Can't beat that!  

Make sure to join our #bibchat on Twitter this Tuesday, May 31st.  8PM CST.  XX2i will be giving away these sunglasses to some very lucky chatters!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Your Go-To Hydration System. The Spibelt H20 Venture Series!

Disclaimer:  I received the SPI H20 Venture Series Hydration Belt from SpiBelt as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro ( ambassador ), and check out to review, find and write race reviews.

If you are looking for a light-weight, bounce-free hydration belt this one is for you!  I really love the SPI H20 Venture Series belt!  It has many great perks and is overall a solid belt at a great price.  You won't regret this purchase.  

One of the best features about this belt is the wide waistband.  It is made of strong and stretchy elastic and is amazingly comfortable.  I have run several long runs of 10 + miles with it and never even knew that I had it on.  It comes with 2 - 8 ounce bottles that perfectly contour to your body and can be placed anywhere on the belt.  Don't worry, if you want to have more than 16 ounces during your run this belt can easily accommodate more bottles.  They can be purchased for $9.99.  


One of the most impressive benefits of this belt is the "no-bounce" technology.   I am serious when I say these bottles did not move when I was running.  They have a contoured clip on the back that slides down onto the belt and they stay secure.  The bottles are BPA free, wide enough to fit ice cubes and are top rack dishwasher safe. 

Typically, I only run with hydration when I'm running over 10 miles.  Currently, I am one month away from my first marathon, so the miles keep adding on!  In order to perform at my best I also need to carry fuel.  My favorite energy is the Honey Stinger chews and the front pocket on this belt holds them great!  It is a tad difficult to access while running because once the belt is secure on your waist, the zipper pouch is tight against your body.  It takes a bit of practice to get used to accessing your chews, but all in all I am happy with the front pouch access.  There are also two bands on each size of the belt that will easily hold energy gels if that is your preferred fuel choice.  

The downside to this belt is the space inside the pouch.  It absolutely is big enough to fit my iphone5. But, only if I'm not planning on carrying fuel with me.  Because I like energy chews, I need to have them in the pouch and not much else fits during my runs if I need to carry the chews.  It would be great to have an extra add on pouch that clips on like the hydration bottles.  This pouch essentially would be strictly for energy chews;  much like the loops on the outside of the belt that hold energy gels. 
Another very cool feature of this belt is the toggle clips that come with it.  You can place your race bib right on the belt and you are all set.  When needing to get into the pouch, I would place the race bib on the back, but it absolutely could be worn on the front if you're not needing access to the pouch during a race. 

Let's talk hydration access.  Because the water bottles are adjustable to anywhere that is comfortable to you, it's a breeze to use the bottles during your run.  I love to place mine on the front of each hip for front access.  I have  also had no trouble using the bottles, as they clip back on the belt very easily.  In addition, I have a habit of taking post-race jumping photos and seriously, even after several attempts to get that perfect jump these bottles do not slip!  

This may have been take 282.... but who's counting. :)
This belt is inexpensive and a great addition as your newest running accessory.  It's great price at $44.99 makes it affordable for nearly everyone and if you use CODE:  "gina10"  you will save 10%.  Spibelt always offers FREE shipping in the U.S as well.  That's a great perk!  Who wants to pay for shipping; not me!

For the first time, I'm thinking up with Smitha for her TRY OUT THURSDAY blog.  Another fellow pro Jessica gives her review of the Spibelt too! Make sure to check out what she thinks!!

Want to win one?  Make sure to join us at our twitter chat where we talk all things running!  It's coming up on Tuesday,  May 24th at 8PM, CST.  Just search bibrave or #bibchat.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Encourage - The Power of the VRF!

The "VRF" - virtual running friend.  I have many.  I look forward to their posts.  I look forward to their workouts.  I look forward to their words of encouragement.  I look forward to their friendships!

It's hard to say where I'd be as a runner if it weren't for my virtual running friends.  Honestly, so much of who I am as a runner comes from the encouragement and friendships from people that I've met online.    While I work out, I think often about what my VRF's are doing.   Even though they are not with me,  they push me to go that extra mile.  Take one more step.  Go just 5 seconds faster.  I look forward to their day and their progress.  I look forward to encourage them as well! 

This summer I will run my first marathon.  It's just 4 1/2 short weeks away.  I'm shaking thinking about it as I type this.  

There really is no person who understands the emotions of a runner other than another fellow runner.   We help to build each other up.  We encourage each other daily.  Even though we are miles and miles apart, live completely different lives, are completely different ages, we all have that one commonality:  running.  Running is a part of our lives.  We breath it, we think it, we love it.  We learn to love each other in our own little corner of the internet.  Some of us get to meet each other in person.  Others do not.  It doesn't change our bond as VRF's.  

Wendy sent this to me to encourage me to that finish line at my first marathon! 

I am a better mother.  I am a better runner.  I am a better wife.  All because of running and my wonderful support I have on the internet.  My VRF's are like none other!  I am forever grateful for their friendships.  

My VRF Wendy, who I so hope to meet in person one day, said to me last week, "it's about finish lines, not finish times. "  She has been encouraging my marathon from the start.  From it's infancy, to my injury, to my final long runs before the big day.   It's takes an army to finish a marathon.  She is but one ant in my crazy journey to that finish line and I so appreciate her.  But, she may never know what her support has meant to me. 

I hear so many negative comments about what the women post on their personal social media accounts.  If they want to post selfies - so be it.  If they want to post about their run - so be it.  If they want to post about their new outfit - so be it.   Their promotion - so be it.  Their adorable kids - so be it.  Let's lift each other up.  Let's be each others encouragement and support.  We need to build each other up instead of tearing each other down.  

Love.  Encourage.  Befriend.  Smile.  

Thank you to all of my VRF's.  You know who you are.  I love you all.  I am grateful for you.  You lift me up.  I thank you.  Now.... let's go kick some asphalt! 

It's been FOREVER since I've linked up with Deb for her Wednesday Word.  Thanks Deb for the link-up! 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Bedazzled by Colors - My Review of the UV BUFF

Disclaimer:  I received a UV Buff from Buff_USA as part of being a BibRave Pro.  
Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro ( ambassador ), and check out to review, find and write race reviews.

The secret is OUT!  I love my buffs!  I now own three and I am eyeing the Buff headbands for my next purchase for sure! This review focuses on my newest "buff-love".  The UV BUFF.  I think what I love most about this buff is that it comes in 189 different colors and patterns.  You read that right!  189!  I could hardly decide which buff I wanted to test!  There is surely a buff for every need.

My UV buff is featured above as a scarf!  Minnesota springs are cold and windy, so I appreciate the added warmth it brings me!  It's a HUGE bonus that it's so fashionable.  Ladies, these are not just for exercise!

These are all the creative ways I've been wearing my collection!

What makes buff famous is its versatility.  These little buggers can be worn 12 different ways.  I'm pretty boring, so my two favorite ways to wear my UV BUFF are as a scarf or as a headband.  And, what sets the UV buff out from the rest is that is blocks out 95% of the suns harmful rays.

If you're anything like me, you hate how sunscreen runs into your eyes during a run.  I like that I don't have to put on any sunscreen on my forehead because the buff protects me!  In fact, I know the UV BUFF is a favorite among some of my male friends who have less hair than me!

Buff is part of my everyday running attire.  As you can see below, "Flat-Gina" is sporting the Bibrave Buff AND the UV buff.  This particular race was great because right now through the end of May, BibRave and Buff_USA are doing a crazy awesome giveaway!  If you find a bibrave pro at any race in May and post a "BUFFIE" you are entered to WIN $215 in FREE buff gear!  Hurry - go to this link

Flat Gina is ready to ROCK her half marathon!

This picture was taken at my last race with a great friend.  I think I may have converted her into a buff lover! 

Buff is always doing free shipping on any order over $40.  Head on over to their page and get a buff for yourself!  And don't forget our Twitter Chat where we talk all things buff! 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Grandad's Half Marathon Race Recap

This was the 2nd year in a row that I completed
Grandad's Half Marathon in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Those cute little heads on the bottom left are my chicklets cheering me on! 

This was my first race back after my femoral stress reaction.  I hadn't run more than 10 miles since late February.  In my head, I was going into the race with no expectations.  I was going to just finish and have fun.  To be honest,  I was doubting my ability of my leg to stay quiet.  It's been tremendously better since the injury 7 weeks ago, but it's not been perfect, so my runs have been cautious and few and far between.   I read up on injury recovery rate and symptoms almost daily.  I think I'm out of the woods or any real danger at this point so that is great news. 

Nonetheless, this race was meant to be somewhat of a last wake-up call before I hit the pavement at my first marathon in June. Could I make it?  Will my pace suffer? I've noticed over the last few weeks that I am a bit slower than my pre-injury pace.  That of course, is to be expected.  My cardio was severly limited during my time off.  I made a strong effort to keep up in the gym and work on other areas that were weaker.  But, truly nothing compares to the miles on the road.

It was another absolutely fantastic year for this race.  I love running this race because it's in my hometown and I know exactly where I'm running!  62 degrees at the start with clouds.  Perfect running conditions!  I started out at a great pace with the first two miles completely downhill. This race starts on top of Grandad Bluff and ends at the park along the Mississippi River.  It's truly a great run!  I was able to keep a solid pace at 8:25/mile for the first 5 miles.  I frequently drank and fueled, but at about mile 6, I knew that I was just out of gas.  Maybe it was because I started out fast.  Maybe it was just too much time off.  Maybe I didn't eat enough the night before.  Maybe.  It's ok. I know that not every race is going to rock my socks off.  It stings a bit to not perform my best, but all in all I'm happy with the way this day turned out!

My legs felt so good the entire race!  To tell you the truth, they weren't bothering me at all! What WAS bothering me were the monster blisters that formed on both feet.  Damn new shoes!  I broke out my "marathon shoes" a few weeks ago, and man... I have a blister to show for it.  I don't remember getting blisters when breaking in new shoes.  Does that mean I need to start looking for another brand?

The route at mile 7 runs right in front of my parents home.  I loved being able to see my boys and parents and give them hugs.  My mom immediately was concerned and asked me if I was limping.  I wasn't, but my blisters were starting to bug me a bit and I was just tired.  I shrugged my shoulders gave her a wave and just said "I'm tired."  That's just what it was.  It wasn't my day today. I struggled for my race mojo all the way through.

Mile 8 was my first walking break.  The wind was fierce!  At times, it alsmost felt like I was standing still anyway!  The walk felt good.  At first, I cursed myself for needing that break.  I actually said to myself, 'come on Gina, you're better than this.'  One things for certain.  Running is NOT easy.  Running sucks sometimes and it requires you to pull strength out of yourself that you don't even know you have!

For the next few miles I would run about 3/4 mile and walk about one minute. Just enough to catch my breath and carry on.  Since I know that route well, I knew where the water stops were and what was in store for me at mile 11.  It was at that water stop I told myself that this didn't have to suck, I could enjoy it one way or the other.  I threw my goal of beating my last course time out the window and had a ton of fun the last 2.5 miles! 

At mile 11, the local hockey rink always puts on a grand display.  They haul out a TON of snow and make snowballs to throw at runners.  No, not to hurt runners, but to give them a bit of a cool down.  Instead of just running on by, I jumped up on the snowpile and laid there for a bit while they threw snow on me.  I got several laughs from the crew and fellow runners and it felt great to be silly in that moment. 

Along with the snow, there were also few dancing bananas at that water stop! HA!  Just a few women handing out bananas in banana costumes, so I snapped a picture with them too!  I told myself this was going to be fun, so I made it fun! 

I needed a few more walk breaks before the end of the race but somehow managed a 2:01:18.  I'm happy with that time.  Sure, I absolutely could have been faster.  I was 7 minutes off my 13.1 PR, but I also had a very memorable race to boot!  

Take a look at this race medal.  Isn't it sweet? 

There are two blue bridges crossing the river coming into La Crosse and this medal is made after that landmark.  You can see the bridges in my photo below.  I tried several pictures because I got a jumping photos that I thought was cute!  I know we've all been there. Trying to get that perfect race photo.  I like this one, so I went with it.  I can't believe my legs let me leap! 

This race is amazing!  I think it's going to have to be my yearly tradition! 

Another great addition to this race is that my children get to come as well!  I want to make them proud and I just love seeing them at the finish line!  There faces brighten my day! 

It's been a while, so I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap!  Happy to be back!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Flattering and Comfortable - My Review of Zensah Well Rounded Shorts

Disclaimer:  I received the Zensah Well Rounded Shorts as part of being a BibRave Pro.  
Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro ( ambassador ), and check out to review, find and write race reviews. 

As a mom and thirty-something woman, it is important for me to portray a fairly modest attire when at the gym.  Don't get me wrong,  I work hard for my body and I do want to be able to see my physique progress,  however I've never owned a pair of compression shorts until I was given the opportunity to test them for Zensah and BibRave.   

Compression shorts have always scared me a bit.  My impression was that they were very tight and somewhat revealing.   I certainly am not 16 anymore.   Those opinions changed when I first put on the well rounded shorts.  They come in 4 different colors.  I chose the heather grey so that I'd have just a bit more versatility when wearing them with different tops.  

From the moment I put these on,  I noticed how soft and comfortable they were.  I also really love the high and wide waist band.  It holds me in in all the right places and is very flattering.   If you're struggling to lose a bit of "baby-belly" you will likes these shorts!  Suddenly, all of that extra baby-belly disappears! 

The sizing appears to be right on.  I did struggle with the decision between the small and the medium.  I am a pretty true size 6.  The medium states they fit size 6-8.  I decided on the medium and I'm very glad that I did.  They seem to fit nicely in my thighs and do not squeeze.  I was worried that I'd have sausage legs.  You know what I mean?  When they are so tight around your legs you buldge out a bit?  Nope.  Not these.  However, I do think it's because I sized up and ordered the Medium.  

Let's talk about these shorts when working out!  I had the opportunity to wear these shorts several times at the gym as well as running.  I also used many different pieces of gum equipment.  Ie:  elliptical, treadmill,  rowing machine, and stationary bike.  I also use free weights regularly and have a circuit that involves burpees and the weight bench.  NOT ONCE did I have to adjust these shorts.  I never pulled them down or pulled out the dreaded "wedgie." They fit just right!!

Ok ladies! Let's talk underwear. I know its sometimes hard to talk about our "unmentionables" but here goes.  Zensah developed these shorts to be worn commando.  Yes... you heard me correctly: sans panties.  Excuse me? This is the part in the blog post where you hear the mic drop or the record screech. Or, in the words of my niece... "Hold the phone!"  Going commando while working out or running? No way! That's the thing? I guess so.... as this was news to me! 

I had never gone commando. EVER. I did give it the old college try though.  It's just not for me. BUT.. I wore these plenty of times with my underwear and I had no problem with panty lines. So, if you're like me and like to have a bit more coverage, rest assured you absolutely can wear them with your panty of choice! 

If you're on the fence about these shorts.  Go for it.  They are inexpensive and you can get 15% off with CODE:  ZENBIB15.  Definitely give them a shot.  I dare you to find a more comfortable pair!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

BUFF in the WILD! HUGE Giveaway you WON'T want to miss!

“Disclaimer: BibRave and BUFF have partnered up for a BUFF prizepack giveaway, and as part of being a BibRave Pro, I am giving you a chance to win!. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

I have been able to test a TON of Buff products, and I'm super excited to tell my followers about an exciting opportunity to win great Buff Gear!  During the month of May, through an amazing partnership between Bibrave and Buff, I am giving you a chance to win a Buff prize pack.  It is valued at $215 and you WON'T want to miss it! Here is what's included:

1 Shirt
1 Sweatshirt

Here are just a FEW of the photos of how I have been wearing all the buff that I currently own!  My two favorite ways to wear them are as a scarf or headband! 

I bet you're wondering how you win such an awesome prize pack!  The official rules are posted below!  
  1. Find me at a race, and take a BUFFIE!! What is a BUFFIE you ask?  It's a Buff +selfie = BUFFIE 
  2. Post your photo on your IG and/or twitter with #bibchat & #buffie
  3. Tag @bibrave & @Buff_usa
  4. Use hastags #buffie & #bibchat
  5. Contest runs May 1–31, 2016
  6. For US residents only
  7. Photo must be snapped at a race.
  8. Participants can enter #buffies from multiple events
  9. One #buffie entry per race
Voila!  That's it!  I don't have a super busy race calendar for May.   If you want to strike a pose with any other Bibravepro feel free to do so!  I have some of the pros listed below that are participating in this campaign!  Feel free to track them down if they are in your area! 

My race is:  

Grandad Half Marathon in La Crosse, WI  
Saturday, May 7th, 2016 

Here are the fellow pros!  May the odds be ever in your favor!