From Dread-mill to FUN!

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Footpod to review Zwift 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!


Wintertime is here and for many of us and that makes it all the more hard to get outside and get a run in. This is the time of year where a lot of us, reluctantly, turn to the indoors and the dreaded treadmill, or the dreadmill, as I like to call it.

The treadmill is not my favorite but I also don’t like running in the frigid cold. It’s a conundrum and thus, Winter is really hard for me to keep my motivation for running and exercise. I’ve learned a few tricks to keep me on the treadmill for a decent run and now I have another trick up my sleeve… Zwift!

This is the footpod!

Zwift is a digital platform that matches your speed on the treadmill to an avatar of you in a virtual world. You can run on your own, touring the virtual world of Watopia (the Zwift world), while other people, real people, are also running or biking in the same world. You can also join a run club or group run.

What you need:
-A treadmill (nothing special needed)
-A foot pod (Zwift makes their own) or supported blue tooth treadmill (like these)
-A device to connect to Zwift (Computer, iPhone or Ipad – right now Zwift is not compatible with Android devices.)
-Optional: a separate device or phone to connect to the companion app, which makes it easier to chat while doing a group run.


My Experience

The first time I tried Zwift was for the BibRave 5k group run. All I had to do was to sign up for the event by clicking it and then when it was time, you join the event and it stages you at the virtual starting line while everyone else pops in. When it’s time to start, you start running on your treadmill and your avatar runs your same pace in the virtual world. If anyone else is running your pace, you’ll see them next to you or if they’re faster, you’ll see them pass you, just like in the real world. You can wave to them or give them a thumbs up while they run past. It was pretty cool to run with fellow BibRave pros from across the country.

The second time I tried it, I just picked from the pre-made courses/worlds (I chose running through a volcano) in the Zwift app and did my own thing. There were other people running and biking at the same time and you would see them zip by in real time.

My footpod and the iPhone I was using paired really well; I had no problems (I know some of the BibRave pros some difficulty getting their footpod to stay connected while in the run). I do really hope Zwift will soon be compatible with Andriod products. I use an Android phone and tablet and the only way I could connect to Zwift was on my boyfriend’s tiny iPhone. I think having a larger device that I could bring to the rec (like a tablet) would make Zwift even more enjoyable. Zwift does work with a computer, but I thought that would be really weird to bring my MacBook Pro to the rec center and set it in front of the treadmill.¬† ūüėõ


Innovation

I think Zwift is really on to something.¬† I think it is really cool that you can organize a group run with people from across the country and actually run with them at your own speed. This could mean meeting new people, spending time with friends and family that don’t live near you, and even connecting like-minded communities from around the world.


Practicality

Besides connecting people, I also love the idea that this brings new motivation for running and exercise. Like I said in the beginning, I have such a hard time getting outside for a run in the cold months and the treadmill never sounds appealing either. Zwift takes the dreadmill and makes it fun (or at least bearable for those that REALLY hate the treadmill). Instead of counting down the tenth of each mile, I spent the time watching my little avatar running through different, beautifully crafted scenes.

Right now, the Zwift Run platform is free. Zwift did start as a cycling platform and I know they have a monthly membership but I’m not entirely sure what is included. I don’t know if the run platform will eventually move to a paid membership but I definitely think that it’s worth the cost of a footpod to give some more motivation to running on a treadmill.

I know there are a ton more features that I have yet to discover, but I’m excited to have this in my so-called “bag of tricks” to keep me motivated this winter.


Get started:

Visit Zwift online to learn more.

Get a footpod! Use coupon code BibRave15 to save 15% (available for the first 1000 sold).


See what the other BibRace Pros think:

RunNerd Girl | TmilesandRunning | The Running French Prof | Running with Log | The Marathon Lady | Running Through Life | Run Katy Run | Elbow Glitter | With Purpose and Kindness | Bluegrass BAMR |

It’s Go Time With Shady Rays – A Gear Review

Disclaimer: I received Shady Rays Sunglasses 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 LOVE sunglasses. But not just any type of sunglasses. I love that classic style; you know what I’m talking about (cough ray-ban cough cough)! In fact, I have a huge collection of all different colors; one for every single outfit I could ever possibly imagine. The best part is, I haven’t spent any money on this collection. For real, I collect the cheapo ones, the giveaways you get from booths at festivals! Seriously, I just love them! But they have to be that classic style.

I was super bummed when I started needing glasses because at first, I didn’t have contacts and could only wear my prescription sunglasses. Now, I wear contacts and my sunglasses possibilities are endless!

When I was selected to try the Shady Rays sunglasses I was ecstatic! They were quality sunglasses that met my collection standards AND they had a color I didn’t yet own! Ahhh yeah, check it out…the Emerald Ice Polarized Sunglasses. Ah.. aren’t those just B.E.A.U-tiful!?

These beauties are from the Shady Rays Signature collection and are designed for the active person. These glasses are super durable, 100% UV Protection, shatter proof, and fit comfortably. They’ve been great for running and don’t bounce on my face or slide down. Shady Ray’s message is, “It’s go time! Live worry-free out there in the sun. We’ve got your back.”

The great part about Shady Rays is they come with a “Lifetime Craftsmanship Warranty & Free Replacements if Lost or Broken.”¬†If you need a replacement pair, you just pay shipping and handling.

Another unique thing about this company that I find very cool is that whenever you purchase a pair of Shady Rays, you provide 11 meals through the Feeding America program! I thought that was pretty neat!

My pair of Shady Rays have entered into my regular rotation and I wear them as a fashion piece and for running! I’m seriously thinking about getting another pair and I have my EYES on these ones:

And yes, the pun WAS intended.


Get yourself a pair (or two):

Use coupon code BIBRAVE for 50% off 2+ pairs: https://bit.ly/2rk7Hor


See what the other BibRave Pros are saying:

The Late Runner |  I Run For Many Reasons |  Running with Log |  The Marathon Lady |  Run Nerd Girl |  Run Bigfoot Run |  Organic Girl |

The CTM Band – A Screen Play (Product Review)

(Disclaimer: I received the CTM Band to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!)

CHARACTERS

WHITNEY – a busy, multi-job runner that needs more time and less to do
BIB RAVE Рa place to read and write race reviews
CTM Band Рa recovery tool
WHITNEY’S ATHLETES – the Green Mountain HS track and cross country teams
BEN – Whitney’s unsuspecting boyfriend

ACT I

SCENE 1
EXT. FRONT OF HOUSE, END OF DRIVEWAY

MONTAGE: We see a series of video clips of a girl running over trails and streets followed by her rubbing her aching muscles….

We all know that you don’t become a better runner by JUST running. You have to change up your running workouts, add some strength training in there and maybe a stretch or two (or 20). Ah, that generic RECOVERY term that we all hear and know we should do more of but it’s time-consuming and maybe a little boring. It’s usually the step that most runners skimp on or even skip altogether. Personally, I’ve added little tricks to my routine to keep that recovery in there, but honestly, I could probably be better about it. I usually stretch, wear compression clothing while going about the rest of my day, and try to eat the right things after completing a workout (i.e. protein). For years, I’ve struggled with plantar fasciitis, tight hamstrings,¬†and shin splints. It’s definitely time to change it up.

SCENE 2
INT. THE LIVING ROOM – DAY
Enter CTM BAND

I have only been a Bib Rave pro for about a month now, and the first product I got to try is the CTM Band. So what is it? This stretchy band with golf balls looking knobs attached to it looks like some sort of medieval torture device, but The CTM Band is a tool to help you recover faster from running and exercise in general. It can help relieve muscle spasms, knots, speed up muscle recovery, ease muscle soreness and increase range of motion. And let me tell you, it works!

How do you use it? Luckily the CTM Band website has plenty of informational videos on their website, but basically, you just adjust the band if needed by removing one or more of the knobs, place the knobs on your afflicted muscle (never on any bone), wrap the strand around, tightly, and then move around, stretching the muscle while it’s wrapped for no longer than two minutes. Easy-peasy!

SCENE 3
INT. THE LAB – NIGHT

For the science nerds out there like me: the CTM Band is different from other recovery tools like foam rollers and compression bands. Foam rollers only apply tension¬†and compression bands only squeeze. But the CTM Band uses Compression, Tension, and Movement…hence the name…as forms of Self-Myofascial Release or SMR, to help break up the muscle adhesions you get after working out.¬† Once the CTM Band is removed, blood rushes back to the area bringing nutrient-rich fluid and recovering ensues! Bringing compression, tension and movement all together¬†can help increase range of motion and decrease pain. You’re essentially combining the use of foam rollers, trigger-point bands, compression tools and stretching all in one.

SCENE 4
INT. THE LIVING ROOM
Enter WHITNEY

Like I wrote earlier, I regularly struggle with plantar fasciitis, tight calves,¬†and tight hamstrings. If this product can help with those, we’ll have a winner. I was also intrigued by the idea that it could help with shin splints, sore muscles and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) for those times in my life when I experience those things.

The week following the arrival of the CTM Band, I purposely went out for some harder workouts. I ran the hills in my neighborhood, worked out at Red Rocks Amphitheater (think LOTS of stairs) and upped my mileage on “long run” day. In general, I just wore out my legs.

After watching all the “how to” videos on the website, I was ready to try it. Being a science nerd (I do have a Zoology degree after all), I performed an experiment on myself by only using it on ONE SIDE of my body so I could compare.

The results came in fast and STRONG! Literally.¬† The moment after taking the band off different parts of my body, my muscles felt relief. I felt like there was definitely more range of motion, I could stretch them further and the pain and soreness were significantly less. I don’t know if using this tool by itself saves me time, but it definitely reduces the amount of equipment I need to bring out to recover.

ACT II

SCENE 1
EXT. THE TRACK AT GREEN MOUNTAIN HIGH SCHOOL – AFTERNOON

Overall, I’m extremely happy I got to test this product. It will be making a regular appearance in my training and recovery. I can’t wait to try it out on my high school athletes when they complain of shin splints at the beginning of the season or sore muscles as the season is well underway. I’ve already tried it on my boyfriend after he told me his shoulder hurt from climbing. The CTM Band now travels with me when I travel and comes with me when I meet my clients.

I think this product is genius, unique and effective. It is definitely a game changer. I’d like to see other personal trainers, athletic trainers, and physical therapists add this to their repertoire.¬† While it should never replace a doctor’s visit when the need arises, I think this can help aid in faster recovery time and maybe prevent some serious injuries from forming. It is a much-needed invention for our running community.

Trying it on my boyfriend


ACT III

Check out the CTM Band for yourself: WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER
Use coupon code: CTMBIBRAVE to save 20%!

Check out BibRave where you can Find & Review Races! Join us on Tuesdays at 8pm CT for #BibChat, a twitter chat with running-inspired conversations.


Check out the other BibRave Pro’s Reviews:
Jessica’s Re-Inventing Recovery | Mary-Jo’s Opinion | Lindsey’s Review | Amanda’s Post | Danielle’s Blog | Amanda C’s Writing |¬† Drrunner |

Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon – Race Review

At the end of October and into the first week of November, my boyfriend Ben and I took a much-needed vacation to Florida and then got on a cruise. While the cruise itself seemed to be more stressful than relaxing since we were involved with a wedding party, we are really glad to have gotten a few days beforehand in Florida to check out the National Parks.

Also while we were there, I decided to check off a state in my 50 states running goal. I ran the Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon the morning of the day we were getting on the cruise.

The night before, I tried to relax a bit and not stress about the race the next morning. Ben was off on a bachelor party with the other groomsmen and I planned my outfit and tried to get to sleep was the band outside the window played on into the night.

I woke up for the race just shortly after the groomsmen were done with their night out.¬† I got dressed in my “costume,” dressing up like one of my high school runners I coach. Since I already knew I would be unable to attend¬†State before the season even started due to the Cruise Wedding, and I told the girls team that if they qualified, I would dress like them at my race. I did as promised, braids and everything, and I think I did pretty well!

The race was set to start before the sun rose, and for good reason, as it usually gets pretty warm, even this time of the year. I hailed an Uber to go to the race while others climbed in their awaiting cars to go home. #runnerslife.  I made my way to the starting line and joined in with all the costume glad runners to wait until the whistle was blown.

Overall – 4/5 – I did enjoy this race for the most part. I could really see the locals having a blast at this event with all their friends and spectators cheering them on. A few things took away from my general experience; some race management related and some personal, as described further on. However, I did love the theme, the participation by the racers as most people dressed up, and the support along the course.

T-shirt/swag – 4/5 – The shirt was high quality and fit well. The artwork was fun, I just didn’t like the BIG plastic feeling of the sublimation. The medals were¬†HUGE and had a unique Halloween design.

Aid Stations – 5/5 – They were great! Each one had water and Gatorade. There was one about every mile with plenty of volunteers.

Course Itself/Scenery/Difficulty  Р5/5 РThe course was easy with only one tiny hill. It was fun to run along the bridge where the cruise ships were pulling right into port. After the bridge, you wound around to a concrete and boardwalk trail that was along the beach with beautiful views as the sun rose.

View of the road I ran on from the cruise ship!

Miami Beach

Expo Quality – 1/5 – If that. There was not a real big expo beforehand (like those of Rock n’ roll and such), but even at the finish line, there was barely anything except the food. Now, I didn’t go to the after party that was at the local bar, so maybe there were some booths and vendors there. For most people, this probably isn’t a low point, but I like expos and booths to see new running gadgets/trends and the local businesses.

Parking/Access – 3/5 – I stayed at a hotel right in Miami Beach. It was about two miles from the finish line and about 4 miles to the start line. They did have good instructions for parking on their website and in emails as well as a shuttle service from the¬†finish area to the starting line (and vice-versa). I had already returned our rental car the night before (on purpose) and took an Uber to the finish area to catch the shuttle. I’m glad I did it this way because the Uber car would have gotten stuck in traffic trying to get me to the starting line.

On the bus

When the bus dropped us off, we had a tiny walk to the starting line. Now, the starting line was right outside a parking garage that was open for parking. People were warming up and waiting in the chute while cars were¬†driving in. SUPER DANGEROUS! There were a few police officers just telling cars to turn into the garage but no other way to block cars from runners. I found it super curious the way they had an¬†open lane of traffic next to so many racers. I know people aren’t driving fast, but still!

Race Management – 3/5 – This is where I get to be the pickiest and only because I am a race director myself and notice things that not everyone notices. In addition to the parking/access situation, there were a few other things that took away points from this rating. First, I read online and in the emails that there was a bag drop. I had brought a bag that I placed my small jacket and my cell phone in. Upon getting to the start line, I could not figure out where the bag drop was. I couldn’t even see any booths for registration tents and there were no¬†signs or any sort of communication. I asked the DJ, other runners and the kids at the water station. No one knew. I was starting to get concerned I’d have to run with my phone with nowhere to put it (my costume shorts did not have pockets). Finally, I overheard someone say they got their bib in the parking garage. To get there, the ONLY way to get there, I had to cross traffic, while police yelled at me to stay out of the way, walking alongside driving cars pulling into the parking lot, and around the corner were the tables for registration and alas… the bag drop!

That was a huge thing that made me give lower marks to the race management. Second, was just the advanced packet pick up. There were a couple of location and date options, and I chose the one that was closest to our hotel the day before the race. For a non-Miami beach resident, the traffic is HORRENDOUS. We had a hard time finding the Dick’s Sporting Goods store even with the navigation on my phone. Then once inside the store, there was no employee or race person directing us to where to get my stuff (which was way in the back of the store). I would recommend investing in a lot more signage for ALL areas of their race from packet pick up to race morning.

And the third reason I score this part pretty low is that I had emailed the race directors about a month before the race to ask a question. I never got a response and found my answer, not on the website, but searching the visitor posts section of their facebook page.

MY RACE – 3.5/5 – I’m super frustrated with my personal race. I didn’t really have any goals except, always in the back of my mind, I have a sort-of goal. You know how it is. This time, my sort-of goal was to finish around two hours. Now, I wasn’t really doing any specific half marathon training but I was running with the cross country team I coached and hiking long miles for my 10hikes.com job. I actually felt pretty fit.

I started off with a 2-hour pace group and was keeping up just fine. I felt good! I wasn’t struggling to stay with them, the pace felt great and the pace group leader was very nice. It was around mile 3 that I started noticing the dreaded chafing. Dun, dun dunnnn……..

Now, I’m aware that this does, in fact, happen in humidity. I’m not a completely naive Coloradan that’s used to the dry climate. However, I totally thought the shorts I was wearing for my “costume” were plenty long enough. Oh boy was I wrong and oh man did it HURT. I had 10 more miles. TEN.

So, I did what I could, constantly pulling down my shorts, looking completely foolish, praying that my thong wasn’t showing in the back and pretty convinced I looked like Burt in Mary Poppins.

I was altering my running form to try and avoid the chaffing (unsuccessfully). This led to really sore muscles and back for the following couple of days. I was kicking myself for my outfit and not bringing any “glide.” I was super upset that I felt so good cardio wise and couldn’t finish right with that pace group!

I managed to finish just seconds under a 2:15. Which put me at 12/59 in my age group. After checking the results, and wondering what I would have placed had it not been for the chafing, I decided not to go to the after party and called an Uber to bring me back to my hotel. No way was I walking the short two miles with caffing legs. I still have scars.

Besides all the running stuff, I think one of the most memorable parts of the race is that right after I dropped my stuff in the bag drop, I came out of the parking garage to see a HUGE cruise ship coming into port. It was looming over the bridge that the race was queuing up on. It was enormous, beautifully lit up and sure enough, I saw the words, “The Escape” painted on the side. That was the boat I was going to be getting on later! It was pretty intimidating to a newbie cruise goer that wasn’t so sure about the whole idea.

After the race and returning to my hotel room,  I showered, packed up our stuff and checked out of the hotel. We caught a ride to the cruise ship and I hobbled around the decks in my new Halloween Half T-Shirt.


Race Website