Get Your Shine On

Disclaimer: I received Brilliant Reflective to try 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!

With Fall coming, runners often rejoice in the much better running temps.  However we also creep ever closer to the end of Daylight Savings time and the sun sets so much more quickly.  For an evening runner like me, that is not great.

A road running runner’s number 1 priority is being seen by traffic.  I have lights so I can see but how do I ensure that driver’s see me?  As a local safety add espouses “pedestrians don’t wear armor” and I would lose in a battle with a car.

I have a one of those basic “Hi-viz” running vests but it never seems very bright to me.  Some of that fancy running gears goes for more money than I would spend on a race.  I see those light up, fancy flashing ones online but let’s be real- that’s just one more thing I would need to remember to charge and I know sooner than later I would forget.

Brilliant Reflective to the rescue!!  Brilliant Reflective offers Iron on and Stick On strips by the pack that you can add to your regular clothing, running gear, cycling gear, dog leashes, etc to let drivers know that you are there.  Brilliant Reflective is super bright and works via retroreflection.  Which means it returns more reflection back to the driver than standard gear so they can better identify you as a person.

BR Info

Not only does Brilliant Reflective help keep you safer, it super easy to use.

Pick out the running clothes you want to apply Brilliant Reflective to, get your iron, iron on.  Done!  It’s that easy.  Now your standard running gear, which if you’re like me you wear the top 4-5 shirts in the drawer over and over, is safer and visibility friendly.   You can wash and dry like normal.  This is not my first time using Brilliant Reflective, I have the iron on strips on a couple of pairs of crops and tanks from over a year ago and it’s still going strong.    In fact the crops just ripped but the reflection was just as strong as when I first ironed it on.

Still shining a year later

I rarely run without my pack or trucker hat, so I took the stick on strips and went to town on them.   Now you see me- every time I run.  And what’s super cool is that when I want to wash the hats, I just remove the strips, let them hang from my hamper and then put them back in place later.

 

That might not work with my pack (haven’t tested it yet) but that’s where the price point comes in handy.  A pack of Brilliant Reflective strips is only $14.95… and they have colors and fun shapes!  I just could just change up my color scheme every time I wash it.  Which I need to do more often but that is not the point here.

I love this product because it easy, it’s affordable and it helps keep me safe. I’m still on alert when I run but at least I know drivers have a better chance of seeing me now.

Want your own Brilliant Reflective?  Use code BRP30 for 30% off your entire purchase!  I think I need to go buy myself the shapes pack.  😛

How do you stay safe and visible when running?

Still Loving It

Disclaimer: I received Watermelon Gatorade Endurance and Mango Energy Gels 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!

The calendar tells me that fall officially starts this weekend but I think it lies.   We may not be hitting 100* days at the moment but it is still hot out there.

Yet the heat didn’t make me any less lazier.  If I was given the option to run in the morning when it was a little cooler or in the afternoon when I would melt, I usually chose the stupider option.  That said, I made it through a summer of stupid, hot running with no hydration issues and no headaches due to running in the heat.

I give credit to my watermelon Gatorade Endurance Formula and Endurance Energy Gels.  It’s been a few months, I’m calling it a committed relationship.   I am still in love.    I don’t know how I ran without it.   I now have a tub of the Endurance Formula powder at home and one at work.   I tried a little travel size tupperware thing for a while but that just didn’t work for me.  Then for awhile I was just carrying the one back and forth. 🤦‍♀️ No worries, just get another canister!

Gatorade

Now- you may be thinking- do you really need an Endurance Formula for a 4 mile run?  When it’s 90+ outside, yes I do!   I also dilute it- so a little less powder in the scoop and a little more water.👍

I admit that long run fueling is still a work in progress.  I am getting better at it- the ease at which the Mango Gels go down helps- but I seriously need to a set a reminder for myself. ⏲   Every run where I actually fuel usually ends on a better note than when I don’t but I struggle with the actual remembering to do it.

I’ve also actually branched out to trying actual mango things which I never had before.  I always assumed I disliked mangoes.  But now I can’t remember why.  So, thanks for broadening my horizons Gatorade!

Do you have a fueling plan in place or do you struggle like I do?

Watermelon? Yes, please!

Disclaimer: I received Watermelon Gatorade Endurance and Mango Energy Gels 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!

Fueling and I have a bit of a rocky relationship.  I have a tendency to run with just water.  Want to know a little secret?  I ran Big Sur on zero fuel.  I realized a few days before that the pack of gummies I shove in my pack every race day but never touch was actually expired.  Oops!  I don’t eat breakfast before races either.   Part of it is because I am always concerned about my stomach acting up and part of it is that it has never seemed to hinder me.

Yet, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t missing something.  So, occasionally I try to step outside my tiny box and try new things.

Enter Gatorade Endurance Formula and Endurance Energy Gels.

Ok, though- in truth- on the rare occasion that I ran with pumped up hydration- it was good ol’ Gatorade- the orange flavor is my jam.  Mix a bottle with some water and that would be my “last minute” race prep.   The Endurance version was new to me though and the flavor even newer.  Just in time for the heat of summer, Gatorade is introducing a tasty Watermelon flavor to the Endurance line.

And tasty it is.  I was actually super concerned about the taste, I Love watermelon but hate watermelon “flavored” things.  No worries here!  I love the taste!  It does not taste like it is watermelon flavored, it just tastes like watermelon!  I was hard pressed not to drink it all at once.  Also, I generally run with luke warm water so I was curious what it would taste like when ice cold.  The answer?  Even better.  I had a migraine while at work recently  and I was trying to hydrate well.  I had the Gatorade Endurance Formula with me at work so I figured why not?   Ice cold Watermelon Gatorade Endurance was kind of amazing.

So what makes Gatorade Endurance different?

Gatorade
Along with no artificial sweeteners or flavors

I love the taste and it makes me actually want to drink more while running.  Which is great as summer has made its presence known and it’s over 95* most days in home town.   That’s half my struggle right there- making myself drink the hydration when I know I should.

How about the Gels? 

gel desc

I am not a huge fan of gels.  I normally can’t choke them down even with water which is why they have never been my fuel of choice.  That is so not the case here!   In fact on first taste, I wondered if I even managed to taste any it was so subtle and smooth.  In fact I had, it was just so easy and the new Mango flavor was tasty, I just couldn’t believe it.  I didn’t even need to drink water after it.  Who knew??

As for energy- I haven’t run a real long run since San Diego.  So I used the gels more as a pre-run boost.  Which considering how tired I’ve been lately was probably a good idea.    At first I didn’t think it was making any difference, then I noticed I was holding a 10 minute flat pace on 100* runs on my running portions without trying.  These days, that’s fast for me but we’ll leave that for another post.  Hey now, maybe there’s something to this fuel thing?  I am looking forward to trying it on my long runs.

Ok, so some potential downsides-

  • If you mix the Endurance Formula powder with super cold water it tends to clump. I’ve noticed this with most drink mixes though, it’s probably why I drink mostly barely cold or room temp water.
  • I wish the scoop was a little smaller for smaller mouthed bottles.  I made a little bit of a mess when I forgot my soft flasks and had to use a plastic water bottle one day.
  • Right now they are both only available to buy online or at a few specialty retailers.  Ok- this actually isn’t a drawback for me- I live in tiny town, USA, so would be ordering online anyways but this could be a factor for someone else.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I like the new Watermelon flavor from the Gatorade Endurance line and I am going to continue to work on my fueling with the Mango Energy Gels- I have big race goals this fall.

How do you hydrate?

Want to hear more thoughts on the new Gatorade Endurance Formula?

Lindsey Karen Lissa –  Katy –  Jessica –  Kevin –  Amy –  Jenn Vanessa –  Ang

Levitate My Way

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Brooks Levitate 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!

Shoes!!! I love shoes!

Even when they don’t love me.  If you’ve been around the blog for a while then you might know that I’ve been having shoe issues for a few years now.  My favorite shoe ever went through a massive overhaul back in late 2016/ early 2017 and I hated the changes.  Ever since then I’ve bounced around from shoe to shoe and varying brand.   Somebody help!

Brooks introduced the Levitate into it’s lineup in late 2017.  It looked pretty and I was hearing good things but I was hesitant because it looked like more shoe than I was used to.   Yet, I kept hearing good things.  Then I started training for Big Sur and I was a mess when it came to my shoes.  Where were these??? I really shouldn’t have been afraid to try them.

So when I had the chance to try them post Big Sur, I said Yes, Please! Then I waited impatiently for them to arrive.    Once they did, I did a little happy jig and every mile run since has been in the Levitate’s.

Ok let’s get the technical stuff down-

  • Energized Cushioning-With the most energy return of leading performance running shoes, Levitate’s DNA AMP midsole technology gives energy nowhere to go but up, straight back to you.
  • Quick Transitions- A flexible, arrow-point pattern on the outsole helps you move from heel to toe quickly, without losing energy.
  • Intuitive Fit- The 3D Fit Print and FitKnit upper comfortably accommodates your foot as it moves and expands.
  • Quick Transitions-The Midfoot Transition Zone and Segmented Crash Pad provide quick heel-to-toe transitions.
Levitate Specs
all data from brooksrunning.com

Ok, so how did they feel?

Not gonna lie, the first few runs took some getting used to, it’s been a while since I ran in a “normal” running shoe- I went from a zero drop to these so I had an adjustment period.  A couple of runs and a shoelace adjustment and things were feeling much better.

In fact the more I wore them, the better they felt.  I was really liking the cushioned feel they offered.   They made me want to keep running!  I also threw down some of my fastest mile splits in over a year.    Which might not have been the greatest idea as my back/glutes haven’t been 100% since Big Sur which I partially blame on my poor shoe choice there.  By mile 20, I was considering running barefoot.  I wish I had the Levitate’s then!  But that also shouldn’t surprise me- my first marathon was run in Brooks.

Now- full disclosure- I’ve longest run I’ve run is 13 miles in the Levitate so far.  However there were zero hot points or pressure spots so winning!   I’m also don’t see another marathon in my near future so I doubt I’ll be going over 13 miles any time soon.  😛 I am notoriously hard on shoes but so far these still look fairly new other than some dirt and there’s nothing wrong with a little dirt.   I wore significant amounts of tread off my last pair of new shoes (different brand) within 30 miles so right now that is a huge plus in the Levitate’s favor and I have almost double the miles on them.   Some online reviews expressed thoughts that they felt heavy but they felt perfectly fine to me.

All right, slight down point- they are a little pricey.  However, I think they are worth it- I’d rather pay a little more for a good shoe then buy something just because it’s on sale.  That’s a quick way to end up hurting something that wasn’t hurting before.  And yes, that’s the voice of experience talking- been there, done that, lesson learned.

I am loving the shoes so far and am looking forward to putting more miles on them, I think these and one pair of my zero’s will make the perfect shoe rotation.   I will check back in if something changes in how I feel about the shoes but now I just want to #runallthemiles.  When’s my next race?

What do you run in?

Want to hear more? Check out other Pro’s thoughts-
Amanda

Flipping for Luvo

Disclaimer: I received Flipped Bowls from Luvo 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!

Food! My second favorite subject after running!

Except, real talk- I can’t cook.  And I am lazy, I eat out way more than I should because by the time I get home from work I just don’t want to do anything else.  As for lunches? I usually only get 45 minutes and sometimes that doesn’t happen uninterrupted.  I like my lunch to be something that is easily prepped, easily cleaned and I can eat quickly.  Anything that fits my issues doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy.   I’m the first to admit I need help.

When I read about the new Flipped Bowls– where 1/3 of the protein comes from plants- that Luvo was rolling out, I was intrigued.    Pasta, chicken meatballs and good mix of veggies?  I could get behind that.  Plus, the convenience factor was so up my alley.

So I went online on a Monday, placed my order and by Friday, a big white box showed up at work.    Everything was nice and frozen, in fact the dry ice was so cold I almost burned my hands.  😛  Which would not be the first time I’ve burned myself with ice so maybe it’s just me.

So what did I get?

  • Chicken Meatballs in Creamy Pesto Sauce
  • Chicken Meatballs in Stroganoff Sauce
  • Chicken Meatballs in Garlic Wine Sauce
  • Chicken Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce

Beef Stroganoff (my mother’s recipe) is actually my favorite meal ever so I really high hopes for that meal but it also had really standards to measure up to.😛

I loaded them all into the work freezer and planned for some healthy lunches the following weeks. So what did I think?

Like I said, the Chicken Meatballs in Stroganoff Sauce was my prime choice- in fact I ordered more of that one with high hopes and just paid extra.   I followed the directions on the back and less than 5 minutes later, I had a steaming bowl of pasta and veggies in front of me.    I liked the taste of the sauce, the chicken meatballs had a good kick to them and I was eating kale!  The only downsides were that I realized I needed to add about 15 seconds to the cook time for the noodles and Luvo adds legit mushrooms to their Stroganoff.   *My mother does not- I hate mushrooms!  So I was eating around those.  😛

Next up was the Chicken Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce.  Holy, yumminess.  And my 5 year old palate didn’t have to avoid any ingredients.  I adjusted the microwave time and the whole wheat penne pasta noodles were perfect.  Plus I was still eating veggies!

The Chicken Meatballs in Garlic Wine Sauce is pretty good too but like I had to avoid the mushrooms in the Stroganoff, I have to avoid the white beans.  I did mention I have the taste buds of a 5 year old right?  As for the Chicken Meatballs in Creamy Pesto Sauce?? Well, those juvenile taste buds are too scared to try it.  I’ve eaten everything else-only have 1 left of the Tomato Basil, which makes me sad- but I can’t bring myself to push that far out of my comfort zone yet.   Why am I writing this review before eating it?  Well… I am hoping for some good old online encouragement to make me branch out.  So…help?!

Overall, I am definitely ordering more.  The Chicken Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce ended up being my favorite which made me glad that I had ordered more of those as well.  I loved that I could pop one in the microwave, go the restroom and get a few things done while my lunch was preparing itself.    Plus, I was getting protein and more veggies than usual.

Now, there were a few downsides–  Mushrooms.  Sorry, I hate mushrooms so to me that’s a downside, but I’ll keep eating around them.    Lastly, I never received an email notification that my order had shipped so I had no idea when it was coming.   As I was having these meals shipped to work, that could have been problematic as there is no one there to receive packages on Saturdays or Sundays.   I was surprised when they showed up on that Friday- glad but surprised.  Right now the Flipped Bowls are only available to order online but I am hoping that they will soon be in stores too.  That said, shipping is very reasonable.

Have I made you want to order yet?Use code BIBRAVE to get 1 free when you buy 7.**This works for everything on their site!