Hiking-Trails · Run!

Dilemma

A week and a half ago, I did 18 ish miles in Yosemite. This past Sunday I did 5 at a new to me trail- Riconada- in my area. Both days my feet let me know that my new trail shoes were not winning any points. Boo. Which puts me in a predicament. I need shoes! And it’s not for lacking of trying.

My first few years running trails, I had perfect shoes. First Mizuno Wave Hayate followed by a move into Under Armor Horizon HTT. Loved both of them with no issues but neither shoe is made anymore. Not only that, neither shoe company makes any trail shoes anymore. WTH? Which has started a 2ish years of trying all the trail shoes. Let’s recap-

First up- Brooks Cascadia. Anytime I say their name, I hiss a little and call them devil shoes. Pretty sure I broke my foot in the them during Spooner’s Cove back in Dec 2019. 2020 and my lack of running gave my foot time to heal and nope- I never went to the doctor. Did get rid of the shoes. Full disclosure- the rep at the store talked me into buying mens and they ended up being too big. I might like the woman’s version but can’t bring myself to order them.

Both my first trail shoes were pretty minimal and the Cascadia was a beast of a shoe so maybe that was my problem???

Next- Altra Lone Peak. Felt good up until 5 miles… and only on flat. My feet slid around like crazy when running downhill and I needed more cushion. I tend to run downhill like a 5 year old without brakes so I need my feel to feel secure. As for the cushion, I mean I am carrying 50ish more pounds than I used to so that may make sense.

3- Merrell SkyFire. Ok, ok, not bad. Nice blend of running shoe meets hiker. Ok, we may have something here. Until I ate trail going down the Grand Canyon. Son of a!

4- Topo Ultraventure. Kind of like a cross between the Skyfire and the Lone Peak. Traction was amazing, cushion felt good. Until my first 8-9 mile trail in them and I think I broke my big toe. Ok, dropping a bottle on it that night was probably what did it fully in but it was already severely bruised from that day. Returned.

5- Nike Terra Kiger– Nope. Never made it out of the house. Went back in the back and back to the Running Warehouse. For a person who wants snug shoes- this was a form fitting brick.

6- Altra Timp– Tried a size 9, felt way too small. There went that idea. Exchanged for a 9.5 (my usual size). Holy fire of arch pain Batman. Returned.

7. Brooks Caldera- good lord, that’s a cushiony shoe! It also made me about 2 inches taller and that it just too much shoe for me. Back to the store without running in them.

At what point does the Running Warehouse fire me as a customer? And before you @ me about buying from a local running store, the Warehouse is my local running store. Shout out to local businesses going big. But the storefront still hasn’t really reopened since COVID.

8- Merrell MQM Flex 2 I liked the SkyFire but wanted more traction so I searched the Merrell site for a possible other option. They started out good. I’ve put more miles on them then any of the other shoes. But I didn’t really test them until Yosemite. The path was basic so I didn’t really need to worry about traction but my feet were so damn sore, I almost tore them off. My bad toe even reared its head again. Then in Riconada, I slipped 4 or 5 times on the rockier parts of the trail. Which is most of our local trails. WTH again!

So now I don’t know what to do. What else is there to try? I know there is Hoka, but that seems like it will be way too much shoe for me. I’ve looked at Saucony but nothing jumps out at me as the answer. I have dreams of running a 50K but I can’t even begin to contemplate that if I can’t last more than a few miles or a couple of hours in a pair of shoes.

So seriously, if anyone has any tips- throw them my way!

BibRave · Product Review · Run!

Carry All the Things

Disclaimer: I received a Gear Vest from Orange Mud 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!

I don’t always carry a lot when I run but I am very particular about how I carry it.  Then there are times that I feel like I am running with enough supplies for an ultra when it may just be 10-13 miles.  Which is funny considering I rarely fuel but I carry it!   So with that being said, I need someway to carry everything right?

Enter Orange Mud’s Gear Vest.

“]Gear Vest

Look at all the pockets!!!

3 on each side plus the bladder on the back? Score!  Once I had it, I couldn’t wait to take it on a test run.  And then a few more runs.  Every run since it came in the mail has been with the Gear Vest.   So I have plenty of thoughts.

Perks

  • The front pockets are huge! My giant Iphone fits with no fears of it falling out.
  • If not carrying a bottle, I can fit a key, pepper spray, Buff, chapstick, and Honey Stinger chews in the other large pocket with room to spare.
  • My inhaler fits perfectly in one of the shoulder pockets.
  • The 1L bladder is a good size, not too big and not too small for those hot runs.
  • The bladder is much easier to wash than other bladders I have used- it is also dishwasher safe.
  • The pack seems very sturdily made- which holds true across all my Orange Mud packs- this is my third.
  • It fits a 600ML water bottle perfectly and the pepper spray fits in a trash pocket when I carry a flask.
  • I love that there are color options- like the white!
  • I have a tendency to stretch by bending at the waist and touching the ground- nothing falls out!!

Quirks

  • The trash pockets- don’t put a small body glide in one.  It won’t stay in the pocket while running.  It bounces out.  I had to chase it down 3x before I moved up the other shoulder pocket.  It fits perfectly so I really hoped it would work.
  • My back is fussy right now so the bladder comfortable as it is is too much for it.  Flasks are how I carry water but unfortunately I can’t carry 2 flasks.  If I do I have nowhere to put my phone.  Let’s be real- my phone is the one thing I ALWAYS carry on any run.
  • The fit across my umm… chest. Ok, not to put it bluntly but I’m not small up top. Combine that with the fact that I am carrying more than a few extra pounds right now (it’s the truth, I know) and the pack and I were have some disagreements. I think I have it figured out now but I wish I could get the bottom chest strap under my ummmm chest but I can’t. I think that would solve my issues. So let’s see what happens if I lose a few pounds. I’ll let you know.🤞

Overall I really like the pack. I feel it works best for me for runs up to 10 miles or anything else supplemented with water. As the temps rise here, I will need to carry more than one soft flask. So I should probably keep doing those PT exercises for my back huh? Until then I’ll keep using the back pocket for a change of socks and some emergency cash. You never know when you might need one of those right?😀

Want your own? Use BRGV15 for %15 off!

How do you carry things on the run?

BibRave · Product Review · Run!

Get Your Boco On

Disclaimer: I received a Boco Gear 360º Visor 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!

If you’ve been reading a while or following on Instagram, you may have noticed how attached I am to my hats.  That said, there are random times I don’t run with a hat even though I know I need one to keep the sun off my face.  Ok…truth moment- those “hatless” times aren’t so random.  Those are the days that I want to run but I also don’t want to wash my hair.   😜 Not gonna lie, I have my Slacker moments.

I’ve tried visors in the past but they’ve never survived my destructo girl tendencies.   I think I’ve purchased 4 or 5 throughout the years.  All various brands and the longest one lasted was about a month.  I just kept destroying them.   So I gave up.

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hen I was offered a visor from Boco Gear.  Given my track record, I was skeptical but I thought, sure why not?   And it had the BibRave logo on it??? Bonus!

Boco Gear makes some pretty sweet hats and visors.  You could own one and not even know it- they make a wide variety of custom gear for other brands and teams.  Check your label- you may be surprised by what it says.

You guys, the visor is still alive!!!  It’s been 3 months and I haven’t hurt it yet!   It’s not like I’ve deliberately tried, but like I’ve said before I tend to toss things around in my car.  I throw EVERYTHING fabric in the washing machine at some point.  I shoved it into my carry on for Las Vegas and didn’t take time to pack it carefully- just shoved it in.  It goes in my gym bag to work on days I plan on wearing it.

Little bit of visor info-

  • Lightweight wicking materials outside
  • Wicking internal sweatband to move sweat from your forehead
  • Soft brushed elastic back for comfort and fit
  • Relaxed fit front panel for a better performance and comfort
  • Black underside of the bill to reduce glare
  • Curved bill
  • Machine washable

<<
y only negative is something that I love about it as well, oops!  I love that it has the elastic back and there’s no Velcro closure.  However, while the elastic back it super comfortable and I never have to worry about the visor slipping off my oddly small head, it does fit rather snug.   For someone as easily prone to headaches as I am, it may be a little too snug.  I can only handle it for about 4-5 miles.  But that’s about as far as I can push it with the lack of hair washing anyway and not covering my ears so I guess it kind of works out!  😛

A visor that stands up to my bad habits?? Awesome!

Check out more thoughts here-

Amy – Meridith – Jeannine – Lindsey – Angie – Vanessa – Jessica – Frank – Gina – Dane – Shannon

Casey Mai

How do you cover your head?

 

BibRave · Product Review · Run!

Haul it All

Disclaimer: I received an Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel 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!

Traveling to more races farther away means carrying more stuff.   I have a tendency to over pack.  I like to be prepared for all contingencies you know? 😛  However that would usually leave me with a few bags.  I would try to fit it all in one but would generally fail.    I had no idea how I was going to handle packing for my trip to Las Vegas.

Then I found the Cargo Hauler Duffel from Eagle Creek and I had a solution to most of my problems.  I don’t think I’ll ever stop over packing.  😛

I admit I was a little confused when it first arrived.  It was so small!  I had somehow missed the part where it zips into itself for convenient storage.  Then I opened it up.   It was like a TARDIS moment- it’s bigger on the inside!!!

Some technical specs from the website-

  • ULTRA-LIGHT  (the 60L weighs only 1 lb 12 oz)
  • Made with an extra-durable, water-repellent coated Bi-Tech™ Armor Lite fabric: a fusion of technology that merges max abrasion-resistance with ultra-light carry
  • Bartack reinforcement on all high stress points for maximum schlepping
  • Carry by its removable backpack straps, padded top haul handles, or side grab handle
  • U-shaped lid for easy access to main compartment
  • Sizeable easy-access zippered end pockets for gear organization
  • Six heavy-duty lash points for attaching this bag to a roof rack
  • #10 lockable zippers with storm flap shield zipper from rain
  • Bottom is foam padded to help protect contents against impact
So how has it held up? I used it for local races where I was finally able to take a change of clothes, toiletry bag, and ALL the water in the same bag.  No, seriously, prior to that I would be lugging around my gym bag, a large lunch bag, and a reusable bag.  I mentioned over packing right?  I love that I can keep my toiletries and shoes separate from the main compartment by using the end compartments.   The back pack straps are actually super comfortable.
Beyond that, I lugged it all over airports and planes and taxis to Las Vegas and back.  And it performed beautifully.  At full capacity it is actually slightly too big to be a carry on which is why I was concerned about leaving extra space when I packed for my flight to Vegas.  Only to find out that my flight back had even tighter carry on restrictions.  Why?  The plane was TINY!  Like they were force checking baggage at the gate for free because it wouldn’t fit in the overhead compartments.  What airline checks baggage for free??  I was scared mine wouldn’t pass, I had bought a few things in Vegas and did not pack things anywhere near as tightly but I passed!!!  Whew.
Even better- for a germophobe like me, I was able to literally hose it off before I packed it up to store it for my next trip.  Now I want to take that trip.  But where to????
The only thing I wish the duffel had was some way to cinch tight the parts you weren’t using.  So if you weren’t using one of the end compartments it wouldn’t even have to be opened.
So now really, where’s my next trip?
How do you travel?
For more thoughts on the Cargo Hauler Duffel, check out other BibRave Pros-
BibRave · Product Review · Run!

Cross my Heart

 

Disclaimer: I received a Phone.Flask.Vest from Orange Mud 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!

I have a couple of Orange Mud products- the handheld and the Transition towel.  I love them both but I’ve really had my eye of their hyrdation/ gear packs.  Have you seen them?? So pretty!  You know runners love their gear right?  Then I saw the Phone.Flask.Vest and was like- wait, what?

PFV
source

I mean logistically how was that going to work?   Don’t get me wrong, looked awesome but that mannequin looks noticeably flat chested- I may not be Dolly Parton but I’m also not flat chested.   I was confused.  At the time, they weren’t any pictures of the pack on women on the site either (there are now).     I was intrigued enough to want to try it.

It arrived and it was even smaller than I thought it was going to be.  However there were plenty of pockets.  On the front side- there was the flask packet, another pocket directly in front of that, a key pocket, and a pocket on the shoulder.  The entire back was a pocket complete with an extensive shock cord.    The included flask was 450ml.  Which if you’re like me, I had to look that up-15oz.  😛


Getting it on was a little tricky- silly me forgot to loosen any of the straps, ha!    Once I did that it just a matter of finding the right fit.  Which, I am not going to lie- I have to adjust the fit every run.  However, the fault for that lies purely on my abnormal upper half- most of the time I’m a Cish cup, however there are times I’m above a D cup.  Yeah, it’s fun, but I guess you could say I tested the pack in a variety of ways?😛


Ok- now for the running with it part.  As long as I had it tightened properly- I never had any bounce.  It only moved around on one run and I think I was just too tired to get it properly situated.  Either that I was freakishly small that day.   One quirk about the straps is that they tighten towards the back- so to tighten it- you pull it to the back.  It was a little awkward at first but then I adjusted.    It’s super lightweight and I can barely feel it when it’s on.


A full flask fits perfectly in it’s pocket and it worked great but to be honest I didn’t use it much.  There were a few reasons.  I kept forgetting it, I was only running a few miles and didn’t need water or I needed more so I carried a handheld too.   My phone was also problematic.  I have Iphone 7+ and the thing is huge.  It does fit in the front pocket with flask in place but it’s a very snug fit.  I preferred to run without the flask and put my phone in the flask pocket.  Then I kept my pepper spray and chapstick, sometimes and entire body glide in the front pocket.    My inhaler went in the shoulder pocket for easy access.  The only pocket I had issues with was the key pocket.  It’s small- very small.  But then my new car key is huge- I was bemoaning that fact while buying the car.   I didn’t even have the pack yet.  😛   Instead I keep a little hook on my key and attach it to the shock cord and place it in the pocket on the back.

Not only have I run with the pack every run since I got it, it has so far stood up to my treatment of it.  I am hard on gear.  I have a tendency to toss things around and I expect them to be able to handle that.  For example- when I run after work, I am often parked in odd locations.  The only door I open is my driver side door.  I won’t open any other doors or the back of the car.  I don’t want to dump the sweaty pack on the passenger seat post run ( I need another transition towel!) so I slingshot it from my seat to the back of the car.  With all my stuff still in it.  I don’t care how it lands as long as it’s on the very back of the car.  😛  So far, this hasn’t hurt it!

So a few things that could make it better-

2 buckles.  There is only one buckle on the left side.  While I can now get it on and off without taking my hat or glasses off, it would be a lot easier with 2 buckles.  Sometimes it’s like taking off a sweaty sports bra.   I also have a small head, so this would a very snug fit for those with more of average size head.  Hmmm, that sounded odd.

I’ve got a theory (it could be bunnys) While I have plenty of leftover space on the straps, I wonder about the sizing.  I measured multiple times and ordered a S/M because according to the site that’s what I needed.  However I’m kind of wondering if the L/XL would have made the pack itself fit even better due to my ummm, upper half.  It makes me wonder if the sizing for woman should be more like S/M for those who wear A/B and L/XL for C and higher.  But again that’s just a theory and not one that I could test out.

Want to your own or anything at Orange Mud?  Use “BRPPFV” for 10% off.

Want to read more thoughts on the pack?

AngieBradleyCaseyJamesHeatherMai

Ever used a pack like this?

What do think?

Anyone catch that reference?