PictureI can see daylight under both feet!
First, before I begin my review, can we talk about the awesomeness that is this picture? It's the VERY FIRST running picture I have with both feet OFF THE GROUND! I'm pretty sure it was because the tights had my legs feeling so good! 
OK, now on with our regularly scheduled blogging. 

Disclaimer:
 I received a pair of 2XU Compression tights thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

Thanks to Angie's review, I figured out I was saying 2XU wrong. I was saying 2-X-U.
But really, the proper way to say it is, 2 Times You! Clever. 

Feel

Picture
I don't want to spend a lot of time telling you about the technology that is in these compression tights. The website can do that for me. I want to tell you about how I felt when I first put these on. 
A few weeks ago, here in Oklahoma, we finally had a cool enough Saturday that I could wear these on a run and from the moment I put them on, my legs just felt good. They hugged my legs in a nice and supportive way and when I first put them on my legs instantly felt an improvement in circulation. It's hard to explain that first feeling. My legs just felt alive and ready to hit the path. Clearly they were because I had my first ever both-feet-off-the-ground at the same time pic!  
I will say, that like any compression wear, getting these babies on for the first time took a little work. But hey, that's more calories burned right? ::Insert winky smiley face here:: 

I also wore these during the Tulsa Run yesterday for my longest run in them, 9.3 miles. 
Typically after a race I have the dreaded leg pain about 10 minutes after I stop running. It feels like all the blood in my body is trying to drain down into my feet and it's awful. I noticed a vast improvement in the feeling while wearing these after the race! Any product that can reduce the pain of a hard race has me hooked! 

Fit/Sizing

Picture
One difficult part about ordering any type of running gear online is that you never know how sizing works. That being said, I definitely wanted to include my sizing experience in the blog. 1. Because I agonized over what size to order for at least 15 minutes and 2. I know I'm not the only one who does that. Right? Please tell me I'm not alone? KThanks! 

The sizing chart found on the website is pretty true to fit in my opinion. It's a typical find your height and find your weight and see what size that you land in. If you land in a small, order a small, if you land just barely in the medium, order the medium.  I was borderline between sizes. Ugh! Agony ensued. (Not kidding) But I went with where my current height/weight combo landed me and I am really happy with the fit. 

Discount 

Picture
One of the perks of being involved with BibRave is that often when I get to try new products, they come with a discount code for my blog readers.

I've heard this discount code is also good on sale items as well and it doesn't have a limit on uses so stock up, get your Christmas shopping done, and enjoy! Click here to start shopping. Use code: Bibrave20 to save 20%

Other 2XU Products

Picture
Really quick I wanted to give you a quick rundown of the other products they have in case you don't feel like you need full tights.
  • Compression Sleeves
  • Shirts
  • Compression Shorts
  • Jackets/Vests
  • Socks
  • Bras
  • Hats
  • Bags

What are others saying about these compression tights?

A handful of my fellow BibRavePros also had the opportunity to try these tights out. Check out their reviews below.
Angie
Tom
Jeremy
Katherine
Kim
 
 
PicturePhoto Cred: Mizuno Running
Hello Running Buddies! How is your summer going? I know I've been a little silent lately, but I'm getting back in the swing of things.
After my last race I decided I needed a running break. I guess that means I took a break from my blog as well. I'm slowly getting back in the swing of running and blogging and what better way to do both than with a new pair of shoes?
#RunnersLoveShoes

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Enigma 5 Mizuno Running shoes thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.
PictureShiny and new!
Before I get into my opinion of the shoes, let's cover some shoe specs/facts.

The Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 is:
  • A Neutral Shoe
  • 8.8 oz
  • Available for Men and Women
  • Available in 2 colors for men and 2 colors for women
  • New sock liner for shock attenuation 
  • Built for runners who are training for long distances
  • Retails for $149.99

My Experience and Opinion

Picture
I got lucky and my shoes arrived at my house about 2 hours before The Hubbo and I left for the weekend. Whew! I was starting to get nervous that they would arrive after we left and sit on my porch for several hours. But luckily, they arrived and got to go on our weekend get away with us to Kansas City.

I think my cat, Gypsy, was under the impression that Mizuno sent her a box to play with. She would not leave the box alone. Luckily, she decided I could keep the shoes as long as she could keep the box. Lucky me. :) 

My first impression of the shoes is that, like all shoes, I needed to adjust the laces to fit my foot. I like that they are snug on the back of my foot. I have weird shaped feet. I guess all feet are weird, but mine tend to be more narrow at my heel and wider across my toes. So to make these comfortable for me, I loosened up the laces around my toes and that left the back of my foot with a nice snug fit. The best part about this fit is that I don't get tiny rocks in my shoe like I have in the past because other shoes have been too big in the back by my heel. 
I do think they might run a tad bit narrower than some shoes, so keep that in mind as you are getting fitted for your shoes.

The other thing that I noticed when I put them on is that it immediately felt like I was walking on memory foam! So much cushion and yet still supportive at the same time. 
Here's the best way I can describe it. 

Have you ever worked in retail where you stand on your feet in the same spot for long periods of time and stood on that small black mat for extra cushion? The inside of this shoe feels like you are standing on that extra cushion when you first put them on. It's seriously the best feeling.

I'm a runner that picks comfort over fashion EVERY SINGLE TIME so this is huge for me. Huge!

I've had the chance to run in them 4 times and to wear them walking around all day twice. All 4 of my runs have been my typical 3.1 mile loop that has everything from dirt, pavement, to gravel on the trail. With each run they just keep feeling better and better. 

I like that the shoe is neutral and I like that it is super cushioned. If you want a pair of running shoes that feels like you are running on a cloud, this is the pair for you. The shoe retails for $149.99 which I feel is very typical for a running shoe. 


These are a few pics I took while trying out my shoes.

The picture with the blue tile was from when we were in KC. We were walking around downtown in the Power and Lights district and I kept seeing these cute blue tiles so out came the camera!

The two pictures of me where I'm on top of the wooden beam was my sad attempt at being a shoe model. I think I'll keep my day job. 

The last picture is when I realized that The Hubbo and I wear the same brand of shoes, I immediately had to document it with a picture because that's adorable.  He's been a Mizuno fan for over a year. I guess I'm the late one to the party.

Mizuno is hosting #Bibchat tomorrow night on Twitter. It starts at 8:00pm Central Time and runs for one hour. Rumor has it that they might be doing a giveaway! See you there!

Question! How many miles do you run in your shoes before you get a new pair? 250? 400? 500? To the moon and back?

 
 
PictureMeb for Mortals by Meb Keflezighi with Scott Douglas
After reading Meb Keflezighi's book, Meb For Mortals How to Run, Think, and Eat Like A Champion Marathoner, I've decided we are exactly the same person. But we'll get to that in a minute. 

Runner's World contacted me recently and asked if I would be interested in reviewing this book and you know I said yes! I've actually never done a book review before, but it's been fun doing something different. I was provided a free digital copy of the book to review  but as always, all opinions and typos are my own. 

Now back to how Meb and RunGingerRun are the same person...

I know what you are thinking. 

Sure, he's male and I'm female. He's African American and I'm a Native American Ginger. He wins marathons and I barely survive them. But I'm pretty sure we're the same person deep down inside. 

In his book, Meb talks about a lot of things.
He talks about his mental process, his training plan, his cross training plan, how he eats, and even how he recovers from a race. 

Reason number one on how Meb and RGR are the same.
He takes time off after a race! 
"I always take a break after a marathon. In the first few days after, I don't have a choice - I can barely walk." 

Umm what? So you mean to tell me Meb Keflezighi, 2014 Boston Marathon Winner, also does the stiff-legged-shuffle the days after a race?! I bet he curses those stairwells the same way I do! I had no idea. Professional athletes make it look so easy. 

He says he make take off as much as 3 weeks after a marathon depending on "how beat up" he is. He does this to help recover and avoid injury. 
So my 8 week hiatus from running this summer just means I'm training like the pros...kinda. :)

Reason number two on how Meb and RGR are the same.
He doesn't worry about missing a mile or two on his training plan!
"It's better to be undertrained than overtrained." 
I can get behind this 100%.
Overtraining leads to injury. Injury leads to missing races and other fun stuff.
Personally, I'd rather sit out a training run or cut one short than miss my entire goal event.

Reason number three on how Meb and RGR are the same.
Meb wears sunglasses on race day! So do I! Albeit for different reasons. Until I read the book, I didn't really give much thought to his signature look. You know, the 5 S's...Shorts, Sketchers Shoes, Singlet, and Sunglasses. 

"I usually wear sunglasses in a race if it's a sunny day. This is not because of the sun but to help keep my head at the right level."
For me, it's all about comfort and to keep the sun out of my eyes. For Meb, it's all about posture and running form. He feels that if he wears them he'll notice when his head starts to drop in poor form because his sunglasses will slide down his face. Who knew?

Meb for Mortals is the title, but is it really for the everyday runner?

That thought crossed my mind when I started reading this. I expected to see crazy workout strategies, diets, and gear that only an elite athlete could come up with. Turns out, it really is a book for the everyday runner or "mortal" if you will. 

He talks about runners who wear a phone on their arm and tells us why it's a bad idea when it comes to your running form. I think it's pretty neat the this book focuses on real habits of all kinds of runners. I've certainly  been that runner with a phone on my arm and now that I see it in print that it changes your running form, I can see why. 

I could go on and on about the cool down-to-earth tips this book gives but let's do a quick rundown of the items included in this book.
  • He discusses his 9 day training cycle when most athletes do a 7 day cycle
  • He gives a list of running drills to help you with form (with pictures)
  • He shares tips with where to do certain works outs. He races on the road so a lot of his workouts are on the road.
  • Detailed 4 weeks of his 5k,10k, haf marathon and marathon training plans that lead to his PRs
  • Race nutrition - When he can't sleep at night before a marathon, he eats!
  • When to take a DNF. He's had three. 
  • Eating in general. Quick summary: No to fast food, yes to coffee sometimes!

I could go on and on with the cool tips and advice that this books includes,  but really, it's a quick, easy, and intriguing read if you're a runner or a fan of the sport. 
If you need a book for your next plane trip or day by the pool, this is a good one to have! 
You can buy a copy of Meb's book here. It's a paperback book that retails for $19.99.
You can follow him on Twitter here.
You can find him on Facebook here.
You can like his photos on Instagram here.

Also - Meb will be running in the 2015 Boston Marathon so be sure to cheer him on! 

Question! Do you plan to watch the 2015 Boston Marathon to see if Meb wins again?

 
 
PictureAt the lab and no tears!
Getting blood work done isn't exactly my idea of a good time.  Unless you're a vampire, no one really just likes the site of blood. But sometimes a few vials of blood can provide you with a wealth of knowledge you didn't have before.

That's exactly what happened when I decided to give Inside Tracker a try.

Disclaimer: I received a membership to Inside Tracker thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

Inside Tracker is a company based out of Boston that uses your own blood to tell you what habits or focus foods you need to add to your lifestyle/diet to live a healthier life and perform better. They look at several different bio-markers and tell you if you're in the optimal zone for each one or not. If you are not, they give you in-depth tips and a long list of foods to add to your diet to improve those areas. 

Spoiler Alert! I had several areas that were not in my optimal zone! 

The process sounds simple right? Here's a quick overview of the process:
  • I set up an account on Inside Tracker's website. 
  • I found a local lab
  • I set up an appointment online to visit the lab and have my blood work done. 
  • I fasted for 12 hours and went to the lab. 
  • They took my blood. 
  • I didn't cry once!  
  • I waited 2 or 3 days and got my results back. 
  • Then I freaked out...

Side Note - If you try this out, you should probably skip the freak out step. 

I ignored the email that notified me that my results were ready for a full day. I didn't want to open it. 
Turns out, the email doesn't actually have your results in it, but tells you to log into your account to see your full results. Imagine that...

I was hesitant for a few reasons. Do you remember my whiny baby post? Yeah, that. I've been struggling with running since September and failing to use nutrition to control my PCOS. So I was nervous to see just how bad things were. No one likes bad news, right? But bad news or not, I needed to know. I needed to get informed so I could take steps to get better, to get healthier. 

It's important to point out that Inside Tracker is not meant to treat or cure diseases or medical conditions. But it just so happens that the top prescribed treatment for PCOS is diet and exercise so I found it to be a helpful tool. 

This tool is something that I've wanted for a long time. I've tried to find a nutritionist before but felt that due to my hormonal endocrine disorder they would never be able to tailor a meal plan that would really fit my needs. What do I need to eat? I remember thinking "I just wish somebody would tell me exactly what I should eat." 

Then finally, I logged in.
I was surprised and not surprised at the same time.
I saw some results that I expected and a couple that totally floored me. 

I had no idea...

Let's take a quick look at the different bio-markers they test.
The ones in Green are the ones that were in my optimal range. The ones in Orange were borderline either getting close to too high or too low. The ones in red, well, those need the most work. 

Iron, Liver, ALT (Liver enzyme), Magnesium, Creatine Kinase (Muscle Health), Folate, Potassium,
Sodium, Zinc, White Blood Cells


LDL, Triglycerides, Ferritin (Iron Storage), Glucose, hsCRP (Inflammation Indicator), Total Cholesterol, HDL, Calcium

Testosterone, Vitamin D, Cortisol, Vitamin B12

My Results

Picture
Any of the markers listed above in orange or red will need work to get in my optimal zone.

I wasn't shocked to see my HDL, LDL, and Testosterone were in need of work. Those are typical results of women with PCOS. But I was shocked to see that my Testosterone had gone up 5 points since my last labs were completed!
I spent 6 months on a medication that was supposed to help reduce my testosterone and it made running almost impossible for me. Since getting these results back, I've scheduled an appointment with my doctor to talk about what's going on and my treatment options. 

The other result that I was shocked to see was that my Vitamin D level was low. Umm, hello! I'm a Ginger and that is our one and only super power! We are super proficient when it comes to Vitamin D and in fact, we need less of it than others! 

In reality, this test was done in early March and I attribute my low VitD level to it being the winter months with less sunlight available.  So if I re-test this summer, I suspect this wouldn't be an issue. 

What Now?

Picture
Now that I know which areas I need to work on, I can visit another part of the Inside Tracker Portal and start looking at focus foods that I should incorporate to my diet. It's called the Food Basket. It has over 7,500 unique foods to suggest to you and even gives you your suggested caloric needs for each day based on the information you provided. Mine is around 2160 a day based on my activity level. And yes, Dark Chocolate is on the list! 

I filled out a simple food questionnaire to let them know if I had any dietary preferences or restrictions. For example, when I'm creating a food basket I can tell it that I don't like fish, or that I'm a vegetarian/vegan, or that I want to eat a Paleo diet and it will tailor the suggested foods to meet those needs. 
It also suggested that I add a few vitamins to help out. 

Let's take one of my bio-markers and look at their suggestions to help me improve it.

Calcium

My calcium was too high. 
It gave me a quick list of foods I could add including: peaches, pears, cauliflower, mushrooms, kiwi, lima beans, lentils, squash, black beans, tuna and cod. 
It gave me a list of foods to eat less of: Whole milk, Cheddar cheese, pancakes, and ice cream. 
The tip it gave me was to eliminate any supplements I'm taking that include calcium. 

Bonus - One tip it gave me to help my cortisol level was to each dark chocolate! (70% cacao or higher) I've never heard of a diet tip that included eating chocolate! 

Is It Working?

Picture
It's probably too early to re-test and see if my levels have improved so I'm basing this answer off of my recent training runs. But I have been adding focus foods into my diet for a couples weeks now. 

My energy has been slowly getting better but the biggest results that I can tell so far is that my running is getting stronger. I just made a few simple tweaks to my diet and I've already seen a big improvement and had stronger runs lately.

I recently ran my longest run of this training season, 17 miles, and it was good! It was one of my best long runs I've had in months. I've had a few good 10k runs with my group as well. Even some of my volunteer coaches and the Hubbo have said they can tell I'm running better lately. 

Also - usually Sundays are a rest/recovery day but the last two Sundays I've found myself wanting to get out and do a fun activity. We went for a bike ride and we went on a hike. Before, I would just prefer to rest all day and work on my Netflix marathon skills. I like that my energy is increasing and helping my motivation to creep back in for fun activities. 

If you want to check out Inside Tracker for yourself you can visit their website and look at the different packages they offer. I was given the Ultimate package. 
They start at $49 and range to $499. Two of their packages are available worldwide. 

If you want to see what my fellow BibRavePro Tom thought about Inside Tracker from a male's perspective, check out his blog here!

Question! What is your favorite super food? 

 
 
PicturePhoto Cred: Blanca Zavala
Hi Running Buddies!

How is your training going? My next race is just under a month away and I have two more long runs left with my running group. But this isn't a training recap blog, this is a review of a new product I've been testing over the last couple weeks, Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves.

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Zensah Ultra Compression Sleeves thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

Picture
If you look at this picture really close, (but please don't) you can see that I have two bruised big toe nails. Gross! That is what happens to me when a race is hot and humid and my feet swell a bunch.

This tells me 2 things.
1. Running is hard
2. My feet swell

In the past when I've worn compression socks or sleeves, I've had a love/hate relationship with them. I need them but they don't make my legs feel great. My legs feel tired when wearing them. So when I got news that I would be able to try Zensah, a brand of compression socks/sleeves I hadn't tried before, I was happy to give compression another shot. 

According to the Zensah website, "Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves give athletes a tighter fit in the calves and shins to increase performance and decrease muscle recovery time by stimulating blood flow while stabilizing the muscles to help prevent injury."

If you are a runner who prefers tight compression, then these are the sleeves for you! Some people need that tight support and I feel this is definitely one of the tighter compression sleeves I've tried. 

I ended up trying these on several runs. A Monday night 6 mile recovery run, a 9 mile base pace run, a 13 mile race pace run, and my last run was a 17 mile run where I put them on at mile 8.  Yes, I sat down in the middle of my run, took my shoes off, and put these on. It's all for science and the love of testing out products! 

I ordered a medium in the sleeves based off of my calf size. After testing these out, I feel like I got the right size and the best practice for me is to go by calf size and not necessarily my height. I also feel like I may be a person that needs a lighter compression. 

What I Learned

I actually learned a lot trying these out.

I learned that I prefer tight compression sleeves for recovery.
I learned that putting compression sleeves on half way through my run is better than starting out with them on for me.
I learned from one of my fellow BibRavePros that it can take a few weeks of consistent wearing of compression for your legs to become fully acclimated to them. Who knew!?
I learned that not everyone loves compression for running, but compression for recovery is key!
I learned that not all compression socks/sleeves are created equal and if I wasn't loving these, that I may be a better candidate for the regular compression socks. 
I learned that Zensah has some CUTE argyle socks!

Zensah Discount Code

Picture
If you want to try out some Zensah socks or sleeves, you can save some $ by using the code Zenbibchat20 to get 20% off until 3/31. If you buy a pair, be sure to Tweet me and let me know what you think! 

Photo Cred: Jenn at www.thecupcakerunner.com

What Did Other BibRavePros Think?

Question! Socks or Sleeves?

 
 
Picture
Hi Running Buddies!

How was your weekend? I hope you got your miles in if you are training for a Spring race!
I'm right in the middle of my 16 week training cycle for my next marathon. After this race, I think I'll retire from the full marathon for a while and stick with half marathons and working on my 5k time. But that is a totally different blog for another day. Today, I'm going to tell you all about a new product I got to try, MESTRENGTH.

Disclaimer: I received a box of MESTRENGTH thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

What is it?

Picture
MESTRENGTH is a performance hydration mix that includes electrolytes for hydration and creatine for muscle recovery. I know what you are thinking. Creatine? The stuff teenage boys buy in bulk to get bigger/stronger for whatever sport they are into? Yup, creatine. It hast just enough in it to aid in muscle recovery, not make you bulk up. 
You can use this as a pre-workout as well. I've been using it post-long-run and the biggest thing I've noticed is that I don't get a headache like I normally do if I am just drinking water. 
Important info to note:
  • Zero Sugar
  • Zero Carbs
  • Zero Calories

I don't know if I have fellow insulin resistant, PCOS, or maybe even diabetic runners that read this blog, but I always get excited to try a new product when I find out it is not packed with sugar. So for that, this product gets an extra Ginger brownie point* from me.
Plus! I'm pretty sure drinking your recovery drink out of an adult sippy cup gives you +5 cool points on the internets!
It is pretty handy that they come in individual serving packets and you just mix it in a water bottle and go. 
*Ginger Brownie Points cannot be traded in for gingers or brownies. Sorry.

How does it taste?

Picture
MESTRENGTH has 5 different flavors to chose from. Grape, Strawberry-Kiwi, Orange, Lemon-Lime, and Fruit Punch. My favorite is Lemon-Lime.
It reminds me of lemonade I used to make as a kid. A little tangy and not too sweet. 
I will say that some of the flavors are an acquired taste/a little tart (grape). I have a MAJOR sweet tooth so I tend to prefer my drinks to be on the sweeter side. So take that into consideration when I say these aren't on the sweet side. If you are a person who can't drink other sports drinks because they are to surgary or too sweet during a run, I highly recommend you give this a try. Or if you are trying to eat/train "clean" this might be a good alternative to other sports drinks out there. My tummy handled it perfectly fine as well. No issues there. 
Also, I do all my long runs on Saturday and then sometime on Sunday it hits me that I can't drink enough water. When I drink this mix after my long run on Saturdays, I don't have that crazy parched feeling on Sunday. 

You can shop on Amazon.com and use code: BIBRVE25 and save 25% off until 2/28/2015.

The price for a box of 10 is $14.99 +shipping. That works out to be about the same price as some sports drinks or less. 

What do the other BibRavePros think about it?

Question! How do you recover from a long run?

 
 
Picture

Hi Running Buddies! 

How is your running going? Are you getting your miles in? If you are like me, you do most of your training runs after work and since it is winter that means it's dark. Lame! Today I want to talk to you about running safely at night with the help of Nite Ize. 



Disclaimer: I received a box of Nite Ize products thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

Safety Tips for Running at Night

PictureDon't mind me, just lit up like a Christmas tree...
First let's go over some safety tips for running at night.
  1. Don't run alone. Call me, I'll run with you!
  2. Run in a public place with other crazy people exercising in the dark.
  3. Don't wear all black! (The Hubbo is bad about this!) 
  4. Be seen! Wear light-up accessories so you look like a freaking Christmas tree ::Insert Christmas Tree Emoji Here::
  5. Tell somewhere when you are leaving and when they can expect you to be back
  6. Don't assume the car will stop for you.
  7. Keep your cell phone with you in case you need to call someone. 
  8. Know your route and have a backup route in case something interferes.
  9. Obviously - Don't talk to strangers! Stranger danger should still be alive and well even in your adult life. 
  10. Wear a headlamp to avoid holes and other ankle injuring obstacles. 

How Nite Ize Can Help You Stay Safe

Picture
Nite Ize (Night Eyes) has a ton of helpful products on their website that aren't all related to running in the dark. They have everything from mobile device accessories to LED accessories to hardware. Click here to see more of their products. But today we are going to be focusing on being seen by cars, cyclists, and other runners to help us train safely at night.

First let's talk about the  Shoe Lit shoe lights. I got a pink one and a green one. They have other colors as well such as red and blue. These are super easy clip to your shoe through your laces. I've had mine on my shoes for 2 weeks and I never take them off. I don't even notice them when I'm not running at night. You can order them online for $4.49 and make all your running buddies jealous, right Angie? :)  


Picture
If you were a child of the 90's like myself you will totally be super excited about this one. It's a light up slap bracelet! The SlapLit retails for $11.99 and is full of safety, fun, and nostalgia! 
(Photo bombing Chihuahua not included.)

Picture
SlapLit in the dark.
Picture
Every runner needs a good headlamp. When I first put this one and walked outside to the road in front of my house I had to be super careful because this is so bright it was shining across the street onto my neighbors house! I didn't want them to think someone was trying to peek in their windows even though I was on my side of the street! Ain't nobody got time to get arrested for being a peeping Tom-Runner! 
The STS Inova Headlamp comes in blue, orange, and charcoal and retails for $34.99. 
The cool thing about this headlamp is that you swipe across the top to turn it on. If you swipe one way it is a white light that is super bright. If you swipe the other way it is a red light! It's called Swipe-to-Shine technology and it's pretty amazing. It's also waterproof. 

The Visibility Test

I decided to enlist the help of the Hubbo and his camera for this test. I'm wearing my typical winter running outfit. Blue jacket, running tights, and shoes. All have a small amount of reflective accessories that came on them. Below I took two sets of pictures. Series 1 is with my normal outfit on and wearing all my Nite Ize accessories at different distances away from the camera. Series 2 is me just wearing my normal running outfit alone at different distances away from the camera. 

Which one looks less likely to get hit by a car?
Series 1
With Nite Ize on.
Series 2
With out Nite Ize on.

Questions! Do you wear all black when you run at night? What tips can you share to help runners stay safe at night?

 
 
Picture
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends! Things have been busy at the RunGingerRun house but I'm slowly getting caught up. I know I still need to post more about my recent vacation in Hawaii, but I'm working on something I've never done before. Videos! I want those videos to be a part of that post so it will be just a little longer. But for now, I want to tell you about my new best friend. His name is Justin's and he is delicious! Don't worry! The Hubbo is totally fine with my new BFF and even let me take him on our recent trip to Hawaii.

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Justin's thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

What is Justin's?

Picture
Justin's is an all natural nut butter company located in Boulder, Colorado. If the rumor I heard was true, Justin's company had runners and cyclists in mind when creating their products! Hence the small and portable packaging as well as jars. According to the website, Justin's started out as an out-of-the-kitchen type business and his roommates kept stealing his butters. So he put his name on his jar and Boom! his company had a name! 
The nut butters are made of all natural, high quality, and organic products.  

Why do I love it?

Picture
I first discovered Justin's at my local grocery store, Sprouts. I was standing in line waiting to check out and it just so happened that we were in the middle of one of our juice fasts. I, of course, was absolutely starving and was fantasizing about cheating on my 10 day diet. I saw Justin's single serving packets (1.15oz) of Chocolate Almond Nut Butter and I grabbed it.  During our shorter juice fasts we allowed ourselves to eat a couple healthy snacks a day. One of the approved items was eggs and the other was raw almonds. When I saw this I thought to myself, "Eh, close enough and it sounds AMAZING!" and it was! It was love at first taste! I remember eating the entire packet before I even left the parking lot! Since then I've purchased Justin's several times. When I found out I'd be getting samples to try out and review through BibRave, I was even more excited! My shipment came in and I received 3 different flavors. Classical Almond Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, and Maple Almond Butter. 

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter is my favorite! I'd live in a jar of that stuff if I could! Last week I had a left over baguette from my lunch so I put the chocolate hazelnut spread all over it and it was the perfect 3:00 PM snack! A little sweet for my sweet tooth and some protein to keep me full until dinner. 

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may have noticed I took some of it with me to Hawaii.  
If you have followed my blog for a long time you may also know that I have Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome with Insulin resistance. (PCOS) and I have a hard time regulating my blood sugar on some days. I was afraid that with being on vacation and all the activities we wanted to do that my blood sugar issues could be real annoying. So I packed a handful of these guys, since they are so portable, just in case I got caught off guard.  Luckily that never happened but I did have fun taking pictures with my packets during most of our activities. Which is where all the pics came from for this blog post. The best part about these is they are protein packed and not all carbs, which is good for me and other active runners/cyclists.

Short recap of why I love Justin's:
  • It comes in portable 1.15oz pouches
  • It tastes amazing!
  • It's all natural
  • It's loaded with protein
  • It tastes amazing! 
  • There are a hundred recipes for fun ways to eat this product

Justin's on Social Media

Picture
If you have Facebook, Twitter, or an Instagram account you have to follow Justin's! They have the best pictures of all kinds of delicious, clever, and sometimes witty ways to enjoy their products. On their website they even have the recipes so you can try these ideas at home. 
Justin's Instagram
Justin's Facebook
Justin's Twitter 
You can buy Justin's online if you'd like or you can also find it in some grocery stores. I did a quick online search and found that it is available at my local Target, Walmart, Sprouts, and Whole Foods. 

Which flavor should I pack in my lunch this week? Classic Almond, Chocolate Hazelnut, or Maple?

 
 
PicturePhoto from Addaday.com
You all may remember that about a week and a half ago I ran a marathon. If we want to be technical and slightly obnoxious about it, technically I ran the world's shortest ultra marathon coming in at 26.5 miles! 
Let's be real. 
Runners, especially myself, love to talk about running. Sometimes we talk about it to an obnoxious level. AmIRight? No? It's just me? Okay, moving on... If you read my race recap you know it was a very tough day for me. Not only did I miss my PR and goal by one hour, but I had horrible cramps in my quads and feet. Not fun. Luckily for me, I had recently acquired a new recovery tool. I had an Addaday Ultra Roller Plus Series C roller waiting for me at home. It was perfect timing and just what I needed to start my recovery process. After all, I have another marathon in just a couple weeks. Hello Honolulu Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an Addaday roller thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

Disclaimer #2: I'm a Ginger, not a Doctor. If you are having any injury issues, please go see a professional. 

Why I Chose Addaday Series C

Picture
When I was contacted by BibRave and they let me know that I had the opprotunity to try out an Addaday product of my choice, I was pretty excited. I'm an average runner with normal aches and pains after a long run, but I've also been battling issues with my feet for a while now. Hello Plantar Fasciitis! It's definitely better than before, but I have to stay on top of it or it tries to come back. 

So when I was looking over all the options I noticed a few things about the Series C first.

1. It was smaller than some of the others. I like the idea of being able to pack this in my luggage being as we plan on running a race in all 50 states.
2. It had 1 little red gear. When I read more about that specific gear, it was listed as a way to work on your Achilles area which is where my feet problems stem from. Boom! Sold!!
3. I've actually tested out the Type C before at my local running store and I knew it was good to work on my IT Band. 
4. I didn't realize it at the time I picked it, but when I got home from my last marathon I was in so much pain, I couldn't even walk, and I definitely didn't have the strength use my regular foam roller. This was a good way to start the recovery process because I could control how much pressure I put on my quads without having to hold myself up off the floor. 
5. For the guys: I can't attest to this personally, but my fellow BibRavePro, Jeremy, says the Addaday Rollers don't snag the hair on your legs. 
6. The Type C has a medium firmness to it which allows for a deep tissue massage. I didn't want something too soft or too hard. So this was the best option for me. 

How I Used My Addaday Roller After My Marathon

Picture
When I got home from my marathon my quads hurt, my feet hurt, my calf muscles were tight and everything just hurt. After I showered, I was able to sit on the edge of my couch and start using the roller on my calf muscles and quads. I started wit my quads first and got them to relax a little. Then I was able to move down to my calf muscles and then eventually my Achilles.

Once I got all of those areas loosened up, I was able to move to the floor and work on my feet. I used the regular gears and the small red gear on different areas of my feet to get the blood flow moving. Then I propped my feet up on the coach while I was laying on the floor for about 5 minutes to help some of the blood drain out of my feet. The next day, my feet, calves, and quads, were all totally fine. After all of my previous marathons, I normally would still be having trouble walking the following day. Not this time. My back was sore but I didn't roll out my back. Lesson learned! 

In the picture above, I'm rolling out my feet. I just put the roller on the floor and roll my feet back and forth. It really helps to loosen it up after a long day or a long run. 

Get Your Own Addaday

Picture
You can see a full list of their products by clicking here. They have seven different types of rollers as well as a wealth of information on how to use them on their website. 

You can also find their products in your local running stores like, Fleet Feet and Red Coyote Running just to name a couple. You can click here to find a store near you. 

The Addaday Type C is listed on their website for $40. The rest of their products retail from $19 to $45. 

They might also be the perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite runner! 


Check out what my a few of my fellow BibRavePros have to say about the rollers they picked!

Jeremy - Ultra Plus Series Pro
Angie - Universal Roller Type D
Melissa - Ultra Roller Plus Series C

Question! What is your post-race recovery ritual?

 
 
PicturePhoto from nuun.com.
If you were able to come to work with me and take a look at my desk, you'd see the normal things. Keyboard, mouse, pens, phone, chihuahua calendar, etc. You'd also see something that doesn't fit in exactly. At least it doesn't make sense to my non-runner co-workers. 
I keep a tube of Nuun (pronounced noon) on my desk. I pretty much keep one there year round as we are always running or training for something. Currently, I have the Strawberry Lemonade flavor sitting on my desk at work. It's one of my favs. 

Why Do You Have Nuun On Your Desk?

Picture
The short answer to this question is that it gives me another hydration choice other than water and it has a nice light fizzy texture. (Can liquid have a texture?) Short answer number two, is that I like the taste and need electrolytes. 

The long story is that I spend several hours a day at work. I do most of my hydrating for my runs during those hours. I drink a lot of water and I mean A LOT! I have mentioned it before, but I'm taking a medication that is a potassium sparing diuretic. (Dr. said it was ok to run on this med.) It's no big deal to me to leave work at 5:00 having already consumed over 80 ounces of water. Add that 80 ounces to the additional 30 or more that I drink before my evening run and after my run during dinner and we are looking at a ton of water each day. That being said, water gets boring real quick when you are drinking 80-110 ounces a day. 
Sometimes you just need something different. Also you need electrolytes. That's why there is always a tube of Nuun on my desk. 

What is Nuun?

Picture

Nuun is an electrolyte packed, light flavor, no sugar, low carb, very portable, sports drink that comes in tablet form you mix with water.  
The tablets are a little bigger than a quarter. You drop a tablet into 16 ounces of water and watch it dissolve like Alka-Seltzer. Once the tablet is dissolved the water is just a tiny bit fizzy but not for long. Each of the tubes has 12 tablet in it. 
Nuun has less than 8 calories per serving and no sugar or carbs which is great for me and my  blood sugar/insulin issues. 

Why Do You Need Electrolytes?

Have you ever drank so much water that you completely flushed your system and gave yourself leg cramps? No? I have and they hurt like hell!
I have also heard of runners who drink so much water leading up to race day that they flush their systems completely of all salt and electrolytes and have really bad cramps out on the race course. Sounds awful to me. 
Hydration is important. Water is good. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. 
Here is what the Nuun website says about overhydration...

Dehydration is a common concern but overhydration, or hyponatremia, can be an overwhelming concern for endurance athletes who tend to spend consecutive hours training or racing.

Drinking water is important, but too much water with too few electrolytes impairs performance and body function. This metabolic condition in which there is not enough sodium (salt) in the body fluids can be caused by over-hydrating and/or hydrating with only water, which can flush electrolytes from your body. Nuun is perfect for pre-event or during the day hydration as they contain sodium but without much of the un-needed carbohydrates many sports drinks have.


What Flavors Do You Like?

PicturePhoto from nuun.com.
I was sent a box of samples as part of my partnership with BibRave and being a BibRavePro but I've been using Nuun since I started training with my running club in 2011. They put out water and Nuun at all of our water stops on our long runs. 
Here are my favorite flavors:
  • Strawberry Lemonade 
  • Tri-Berry
  • Grape
  • Fruit Punch
  • Watermelon - It's seasonal but it is ah-mazing! 

Where Can I Get Nuun?

You can buy it online here. Or you can check your favorite running stores. There are 18 places in Tulsa that sell it. It retails for about $6.00 - $6.50 a tube. 

I was sent a box of samples as part of my partnership with BibRave for being a BibRavePro but I've been using Nuun since I started training with my running club in 2012. As always, all opinions, bad pictures, and typos are my own. 

Question! Have you tried Nuun? What's your favorite flavor?