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 |

Things I’m Obsessing Over – January Edition

This picture has nothing to do with this post. I just thought it was funny and wanted to include it somewhere in my blog.

I’m obsessing over this picture! I just thought it was funny and wanted to include it somewhere in my blog.

I’ve seen other bloggers do similar posts but I have yet to follow suit. I thought I would give it a go this year. Besides, it’ll give me more to write about which¬†means more posts throughout the year! So, here’s a handful of things I’m digging in January….

Outdoor Project’s #52AdventureChallenge:
If you’re not already following Outdoor Project in one way or another, you should be. In general, they are a platform to help get people outside and exploring by giving you the tools you need, all in one place. Based in Oregon, but rapidly growing, they have info on adventures all over, including a lot in Colorado. For 2017, they’ve created the #52Adventure Challenge. Since Outdoor Project encourages people to get outside on a weekly, if not daily basis, they’ve given us 52 ideas of things to do all year long! The first two weeks included¬†snowventure and frozen water! This week was the¬†desert!

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wanderer-bracelets-86699724Wanderer Bracelets:
I had been following this company on Instagram for awhile when I randomly got an email asking if I wanted to join their team of reps! Since their message and style fit my personality and lifestyle perfectly I agreed and they sent the BEST care package! Check them out online and save 20% with coupon code: WHITNEYVESTAL20
The bracelets are handmade in Bali, helping local artisans by creating reliable work opportunities.

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Ancient Egypt:
If you read¬†my post on my New Years resolutions, you learned that one of my goals this year is to study/learn about a new topic every month. For January, we have been learning about ancient Egypt. We have been watching fictional and non-fictional movies, reading books, made a meal with ingredients only the ancient Egyptians would’ve had and next week will be going to see the MUMMIES exhibit at the museum!

Revolution 30 Day Yoga Challenge with Adrienne:
In all fairness, I’m only on day two, but I had heard a lot about her before and decided I needed some yoga in my life. It may only be day two, but I’ve already noticed changes. Maybe it’s all in my head but I do enjoy her style of yoga. She’s funny, not that serious and not that hippyish (new word). My goals of the challenge are to gain flexibility (i.e. fix my hamstring), strengthen my core as well as get some calm in my life (all I’m asking for is 30 QUIET minutes to myself a day!). Most people in the challenge are on day 20 (obviously, it’s January 20th), but you can start at any time; they’re all on youtube! Join me! (It’s free)

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legend_2017ambassador_logoMy bright yellow compression socks from LEGEND:
Legend Compression has a full line of compression wear including a ton of stuff for runners…compression socks, sleeves, and much more! My favorite product is the recovery socks but I just got these bad boys in the mail for my ambassador perk! Check them out and save 15%!

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Book Review: “The Road to Sparta” by Dean Karnazes

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“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon. If you want to talk to God, run an ultra.”

I am far from an ultra runner. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll never do one. Although, I’m a firm believer in “never say never” (thanks, Fievel! Did anyone get that? Anyone!??) but right now an ultra marathon sounds ridiculous. I have, however, always been a fan of Dean Karnazes. His story inspires me and the way he can run and push himself for hundreds of miles is beyond my comprehension. So, when I saw a new book on the front shelf of the library, I immediately picked it up and checked it out.

51g9zn4eiml-_sx324_bo1204203200_“The Road to Sparta”¬†is the story of the 153-mile run from Athens to Sparta that inspired the marathon and saved democracy, as told‚Äēand experienced‚Äēby ultramarathoner and¬†New York Times¬†bestselling author Dean Karnazes.

“In 490 BCE, Pheidippides ran for 36 hours straight from Athens to Sparta to seek help in defending Athens from a Persian invasion in the Battle of Marathon. In doing so, he saved the development of Western civilization and inspired the birth of the marathon as we know it. Even now, some 2,500 years later, that run stands enduringly as one of greatest physical accomplishments in the history of mankind.¬†

Karnazes personally honors Pheidippides and his own Greek heritage by recreating this ancient journey in modern times. Karnazes even abstains from contemporary endurance nutrition like sports drinks and energy gels and only eats what was available in 490 BCE, such as figs, olives, and cured meats. Through vivid details and internal dialogs,¬†The Road to Sparta¬†offers a rare glimpse into the mindset and motivation of an extreme athlete during his most difficult and personal challenge to date. This story is sure to captivate and inspire‚Äēwhether you run great distances or not at all.”


I absolutely loved this book! ¬†I have read many of Dean’s books (all but one) and always enjoy his writing, but this was by far my favorite.

He combines his own personal journey, not only to discover his heritage but also his journey to running the Spartathlon, a 150+ mile race from Greece to Sparta. Mixed in with ancient Greek history of Pheidippides, and you’ve got a great read!

SPOILER ZONE AHEAD:
I learned a lot from reading this book. Things I had never really known before.¬†I learned that Pheidippides’ journey of 26 miles was not even the half of what he did. Before the famous 26 miles, he had run 150 to Sparta and then again back to Greece! No wonder he collapsed and died upon delivering the great news of the¬†Persian defeat!

Besides getting a history fix, I think what I liked the best about this book is that Dean doesn’t write about winning a race. Him doing the Spartathon isn’t about a race he has to win. It’s more about finding out where he (his family) came from and discovering what his ancestors might have gone through. He doesn’t end up winning. He pushes himself to the brink, the edge, of where his body can go to reach that finish line and says “I had set out to find Pheidippides, and in the process found myself.”
END SPOILERS

I highly recommend this book to people who love running and history. Fans of Dean Karnazes most definitely should pick up this book. It’s an easy, quick read that will satisfy any runner’s curiosity of the guy that forever changed the world of running (both Pheidippides and Karnazes).

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My Cat liked it too.


Find it on Goodreads.

Pick up a copy yourself (affiliate link):

#60HikesDenverChallenge – Westminster: Colorado Hills Trail

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If you caught my 2017 New Year’s resolutions post, you found out that one of my resolutions is to get through all the hikes in the “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles” Denver Edition book. I thought I would get a good start on this goal and get one crossed off on the 1st day of the year!¬†(I’ll be doing these posts all year-long. You can find a lot of info on the trails in the book, but I’ll highlight some things each time. The number is associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

After working a race New Year’s Day with 3W Races, I hit the trails by our work headquarters. It just so happens it is one of the trails in the book. Very convenient!

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Trail #30 – Westminster: Colorado Hills Trail
Completed: 1/1/17 | Mode: Run/walk
-Location: Approximately Simms & 107th Ave in Westminster (just northwest of Standley Lake)
-Distance: 4.4 miles (but there are a lot of other paths in and around this area)
-Difficulty: Easy (it’s pretty flat for the most part)
-Surface: Packed dirt with lots of loose rocks
-Exposure: No shade!

My Experience: 
Described in the book as a quiet, lonely trail with beautiful views. Depending on when you go, you might not get the same experience. I went on a Sunday, New Years Day to be exact, and there was a ton of people. However, most were congregated pretty close to the trailhead which is also an open, off-leash dog park. After leaving the congestion, you have peaceful double track trails surround by grass blowing in the wind and beautiful views. I ran in to a few more people, but there was plenty of room to run around them.

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In the distance you see the Flatirons and mountains behind them. It’s beautiful, even on a partly cloudy day winter day!

Pros:
-Beautiful views РI bet they are even more pretty in the summer!
-Easy and flat
-Lots of options to extend or decrease your mileage

Cons: 
-Lots of off-leash dogs! (Although, could be a pro if you’re like me and love dogs. I definitely paused my run to pet a few). Though, everyone was super respectful and I didn’t run into any issues.
-No facilities, not even a port-o-john. No water either.
-This area is prone for rattlesnakes. If you visit in the summer, be aware of where you’re stepping!
-Big, loose rocks. You can’t just zone out, you have to watch your step so you don’t roll your ankle.
-No shade whatsoever!
-Can be pretty crowded (with people and dogs)

Tips:
-If you’re just there to run (as opposed to bringing your dog) park in the southern lot.
-Make sure you bring water for this one! It’s very exposed and there is no fountain.

Overall:
I’d give this trail a 3/5. You can get decent, easy mirage but it’s really exposed and can be crowded. I wouldn’t travel to this trail, but would run it again when I’m at work since it’s literally across the street.

The turn around spot to the trail, Mower Reservoir

The turn around spot to the trail, Mower Reservoir


Check out the book: