Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: AfterShokz Sportz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Aftershokz Sportz Titanium Headphones 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!

Do you run listening to music or podcasts? Or are you prefer to be able to hear your surroundings? Do you try to do both? 

I always listen to something. On slow days or long runs I listen to podcasts but for speed days I love listening to music. The only time I might ditch the headphones is on the trails.  I pride myself on being aware of my surroundings but I know I've been caught off guard with a car passing or a dog barking when I've been in the zone.

I've been wearing Yurbuds for woman for the last few years. I've had a serious love/hate relationship with them. They fit in my ears ok until it gets hot out and I start sweating. Then it's a every few steps, I'm adjusting the earbud. Then I've lost the silicon earbud covering and replacing them is nearly the cost of what paid for the headphones. I've been wanting to try something new but wasn't sure what would work. 

Enter AfterShokz Bone Conduction headphones. What?! Bone Conduction? Here's what Aftershokz webpage says:

Transducers guide mini vibrations through the cheekbones to the inner ears, delivering sound without plugging or covering them.


Here's a picture of my son wearing them:
Not "in" your ear, so you can still hear around you!
 They are one piece that is connected by titanium frame that, of course, is super light weight. When I wore these I could hardly feel them. That was such a nice surprise after always messing with my normal headphones.  

Positives:
  • light weight
  • sound quality was good- but I'm not terribly picky about that
  • you could hear around you
  • no one could hear my music -at least when I asked
  • no earbuds falling out
  • plugged in with no problems with my Otter Box case
  • no interferences with my sunglasses by my ears
  • You can hardly see them!
Negatives:
  • you need to turn them on and off- I forgot once but they were still good for the next days run.
  • extra little battery pack attached to the end of the cord was awkward, I used my FitBelt so it was tucked away but if I had an arm strap that would be swinging around.
  • I tested these in the winter. Anytime I had a hat on the headphone frame would pull the hat out, so my ears did not stay covered. I ended up having to use the headphones when I didn't need a hat. 
  • I could hear things that I previously could tune out. Examples: my keys in my pocket making noise, other runner's weird breathing in races, etc. also at the gym all the grunting and conversations that you kinda want to tune out. 
    cold ears :-(
    Do I recommend them? I do. I love them and the price for them was a reasonable $59.95. They also carry a wireless version which is $129.99 (I might be asking for those for a mother's day gift). Overall, it's really a win, win. You can hear what's going on around you and still listen to music!
Click here to buy and get a free stainless steel water bottle. Plus free shipping!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Runner Box Review

Disclaimer: I received the Runner Box 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.


I'm sure you've all seen the subscription boxes that basically send you a surprise every month. You tell them what you're interested in or sizes and they send you a box of goodies.  Everyone likes a surprise.
My husband got a 6 month subscription from Cairn.com from me since he loves to hike and camp and I'm always at a loss at what to get him for Christmas. Now he gets goodies every month according to his likes.  It's always fun when the box arrives, we are all curious what he's going to get. I've always wanted to try Stitchfix but my wallet says no and to be honest, I like hunting around at TJ Maxx to find a deal.  Also, I'd prefer for it be something I really could use.  Like, things for running...

Enter The Runner Box. Here is what their website says:

What is The RunnerBox?

The RunnerBox is a subscription based box full of products and discounts which have been hand-picked to enhance your active lifestyle. The RunnerBox has everything from gels, chews, protein shakes/supplements, nutrition bars, energy boosters, healthy snacks, personal care, and other running accessories! Many products will be brand new to the market while others will be tried and true favorites. With so many new products claiming to be the next best thing – leave the trials and testing to us – we’ll search out the finest and send them right to your doorstep!




My runner box came with 10 items.


1.The first thing was Louva Shorties. I haven't gotten to try these out yet. When I got my box, it was bitter cold. I wanted my fingers completely wrapped up. I think these will be great in the early spring, when you go for a run in a tee shirt but still want gloves. These are so cool since you can push them up on to your wrist when you don't need them on your hands anymore. No need to have pockets to stash them! Win!😍

2. Pasta? I got a box of pasta? Not any pasta...but Banza is pasta made from chickpeas. It was a win from my picky eater boys. They hardly gave us a bite. It boasts of having 2x the protein and1/2 the net carbs. The pasta had an unusual first taste (definitely not regular pasta) but it grew on me. The cheese tasted the same as the popular brand of mac and cheese. 3 complaints: the pasta foamed like crazy, I had to keep stirring and blowing on the water so the foam wouldn't go over...it still did. Now I have to clean my stovetop. The other minor complaint. It was just enough for a small serving for each of my family of four, the box included a coupon but it was expired. :-(I'm on the fence if I'd get it again.😐 

3. Zest Tea- I got 2 teas to try, Blue Lady and Cinnamon Apple. These were high octane teas which boasted to have as much caffeine as coffee. I'm not much of a tea drinker, but I've been fighting post lunch sleepiness so these would be great. I, honestly, didn't care for the taste of the cinnamon apple tea much. It was very mild. I did get a gentle boost and managed to skip my coffee after work that day. I'm a coffee drinker and I wasn't completely sold on this. Not my thing.😞

4.Runa- is energy drink made from Guayusa, a tea leaf from the Amazon. I liked this. It was a nice berry tea flavor with some carbonation. I tend to drink coffee if I need a lift but this was a nice change. This was handy to have in my lunch and it was just a pleasant taste. Win!😍

5. Chosen Foods Mango Chia bites- This made a wonderful snack before lunch. I ate them up. Light and crunchy, the only bad part was that some of them fell apart and I had a whole bunch of crumbs at the bottom of the bag- great stir in for my greek yogurt. Win! 😍

6. Oatmega bar- my husband took this out of my box since he was starving. He liked it but he mentioned that it was on the dry side and very minty. It was chocolate mint flavored. It had 14 gm of protein and low sugar. On the fence. 😐

7. HyperIce- It's an essential oil-infused soothing cream for sore muscles and joints.
 According to the website :
    Peppermint oil to cool, Aloe and Nettle to soothe, Lavender and Chamomile for calming, Coconut Oil to moisturize and nourish, Sweet Almond Oil to soften skin, Tea Tree Oil to disinfect and purify. 
I will say- it was a very pleasant smell, easy to rub in and lasted for about an hour. This was perfect for my sore, tight hip. Win!😍

8. Hotshot - I'm really intrigued by this. It's a sports shot with a kick that's scientifically proven to prevent and treat muscle cramps. You can take pre workout, during if you cramp or post workout to deal with cramping. I, knock on wood, haven't cramped when running. I haven't tried this yet since I'm on the injured reserve right now. I'm on the fence.😐

9. biPro- all-natural whey protein isolate.  I haven't tried these yet. I'm not a big protein drinker/smoothie maker. I have a bag of whey protein from 2 years ago in my pantry.  I generally don't like the taste. Not my thing.😞

10. R.e.d.d. is a superfood energy bar and advertises to give you 3 hours of positive energy and be a "meal bridge". I ate this after work before heading to the gym. It did get me to 5 pm without needing anything but I was hungry after working out. I had the chocolate bar. It tasted like a brownie. I thought it was just too rich. I don't like the idea of eating something so sweet. On the fence.😐


 My overall review:  
The Runner Box is bi-monthly for $22. You can do a 6 month or year subscription. If you are new to running or looking for new nutrition than this is definitely worth it. All of the nutrition seemed to be socially responsible companies. The box comes with a card with what each product does and a discount code so if you find something that you really like you can buy it. I can say that I'm pretty set on my nutrition. I have what works for me and so having all these new options were not was I was looking at in subscription box. 

πŸ‘ Positives: 
  • nice selection of snacks that are healthy and/or can be used before a run or after.
  • discount codes for everything in the box
  • decent price point at $23/box for a 6 month subscription, boxes are every 2 months- plenty of time to try things out.
  • they have options of a 1 time gift box for $25 and a birthday box for $30...perfect for the runner in your life when they seem to have everything! 
  • the website has TheTriBox and TheCycleBox as options for multisport athletes
  • exposure to products that your local running store might not have and you may not have seen reviewed anywhere.


πŸ‘Ž Negatives:

  • no way to customize your box (i.e. allergies, caffeine free or diet restrictions)
  • I'd like to have had a few more options for equipment (reflective, recovery, clothes, socks, etc.)
  • ordering page is not as clear as other subscription box companies

Overall I'd say: I'm on the fence. 😐This has potential but I'd like it be more customized to me.

Want to hear what other BibRave Pros had to say about the Runner Box? Join us on Twitter with BibRave and the Runner Box on Tuesday, January 17th at 9pm EST. Just look for #bibchat



Saturday, January 7, 2017

Bump in the road

Training for week of Dec 26-Jan 1:

Monday- 80 min progression run- I ran 20 mins at 9:15 pace, 20 mins at 8:45 pace, 20 mins at 8:15 pace and 20 mins at 9:15 pace for a total of 9 miles.

Tuesday- rest/core

Wednesday- 5 miles at 8:53 pace + strides

Thursday- Speed day- 10x 400 with 1 min recovery for a total of 7.15 miles This was a horrible workout for me. I got locked out of the good track, had to use a lumpy, frozen cinder track then as it warmed up it was more the texture of packed sand. I felt like I worked for each 400. Then a darn Weiner dog chased me (don't judge, he was super fast!). Leashes, people, leashes. I had to cut the cool down to get to my dentist appt. I haven't had a bad workout in awhile. I assumed it was the track and wind. (and possibly the holidaze).

Friday- 3 miles at 8:23 pace

Saturday- rest day!

Sunday- Long 90 min run. 10.2  miles at 8:58 pace

Week total of : 34 miles and change

Sunday and Monday after my long run. I was starting to feel the effects of running harder than I have in awhile. I just felt stiff. My back was stiff, legs stiff, ankle really stiff, hip sore, then my knee started getting sore (runner's knee) going down stairs, and my foot was starting to get hints of plantar fasciitis. (Not again!)

I went to my chiropractor and he said what need to be said. "You're over training. You need to take a week off." Yep. I guess I need to admit it. I love doing speed workouts but my Master's runner body needs more time to recover. So, this frigid week I got to do some Xtraining (which is the silver lining...no freezing cold runs this week)!

Week of Jan 2- Jan 8
not injured, just taking a break
Monday- Ran easy 5 at 9:10 pace
Tuesday- off- Chiro appt.
Wednesday- Spinning class with my son, Cub, who now is old enough to participate.
Thursday- lap swim for 20 mins, aqua jog for 30 ( 4 x 3 mins hard, 4 x1 mins v. hard, plus easy minutes in between)- I hate having to do this in the lap swim area. As a "swimmer", I hate when I have to go around others who are aquajogging. Alas, they won't let you aqua jog in the other side of the deep end that's cordoned off for the diving board (even when no one is using it or even going to use it.)
Friday- rest (skipped elliptical 30 min workout)- no excuse other than I was tired.
Saturday- swimming and aquajogging on the schedule

So, I'm hoping a week of rest prevents injury in the future. My coach is already adding in more cross training days for me for this marathon training cycle begins.

Monday starts 16 weeks til the Glass City Marathon. BTW they released what the medals will look like this year. 
Join me with the discount code: brpsavings for $5 off.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Goals 2017

My goals for 2016:
1. Run under 1:40 for a half marathon
2. Run under 3:40 for a full marathon
3. Work on core
4. Eat clean
5. Run 1600 miles



What really happened:

1. Run under 1:40 for a half marathon  I ran 1:42 at the Cincinnati Flying Pig Half. I have excuses though- it was humid (and hilly - but I'd prepared for hills). The humidity was too much for me. My sub goal was to be in the top 10 in my age group - which I was 5th. I don't like to count that is a goal since I couldn't control who showed up. But it did help lessen the sting of not making my "secret goal" of 1:35 (which I know I had in me!)

2. Run under 3:40 for a full marathon  I knew this goal wasn't going to happen in July when my hip started giving me such problems that I had to cross train only for weeks. I wasn't even sure I'd toe the line in October for the Chicago Marathon. I did recover but my training was not intense as planned. I ended up running 4:04 on race day. My mini goal was around 4:15 so I beat that AND the biggest thing was I finished with a smile because my race nutrition worked. Tailwind Nutrition is the nectar of the running gods! 

3. Work on core I definitely worked on my core but I need to do more.

4. Eat clean I worked on this but I wouldn't say that it was a complete success. More work needed this year.


5. Run 1600 miles So close, as of today I'm 1512 miles in this year. I have 2 more days but no way I'll be running enough to meet that goal. 


My goals for 2017:


1. Run a strong marathon at the Glass City Marathon (In a perfect marathon day, I'd run 3:40 for a BQ +5mins)

2. Run under 45:00 for a 10k (early fall race)

3. Run under 1:40 for a half marathon (late fall)

4. Xtrain more- swim or bike/spin once a week

5. Sleep- Get 8 hours of sleep at least 5x a week

6. Participate more within the Oiselle Ohio VolΓ©e

7. core x3 week/ yoga 3x week

8. Listen and respect my body's need to recover better

9. Continue to work on clean eating as an individual and creating healthy options for my family

10. Run 1500 miles next year. (I needed a 10th goal- lower the goal for next year but I'm also going to xtrain one day)



On the family side of things:

Our family goals this year:

1. Each kid will be in charge of 1 night of dinner per week. They can pick their sous-chef to help them. All meals must include a protein and veggie/fruit. (We might be having some pretty basic foods for awhile but I think that letting them have a chance to pick the dinner and fix it is important).

2. Family reading challenge- we'll record the number of pages we read. I need this motivation. I've gotten so bad with using the ipad and reading things online that the kids never see me read anymore.

We shall see how it goes. I'll post here.



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Break Training Week

Christmas BreakπŸ’š....ah, finally. Time to sleep in, eat too many sweets, and promises of all the things that you keep meaning to catch up with during the 2 weeks you have off but somehow they tend to slip away from you.

I am excited to say that I did keep my training for Glass City Marathon for this week in checkπŸ‘Š.

Here's what my training looked like for the week of Dec 19-25:

Sunday: Treadmill for 90 mins: 10 miles @ 9:00/mi (That was tough!)⛄
Monday: 5.12 mi @9:07 
Tuesday: Fartlek intervals: 2 mile warmup, 5 mins hard, 4 mins, 3 mins, 2 mins and 1 min hard each with 2 min recovery jog between for a total of 5.58 miles 8:12/mileπŸ’ͺ
Wednesday: Xtrain- Spinning class🚴
Thursday: rest
Friday: 6 miles easy with a teammate! Hey, @countryrdrunner, that was fun!
Saturday (Xmas eve): 3 miles easy
Sunday (Xmas day): postponed until Monday.🌲 

Total Mileage this week: 29.71 miles!


Glass City Marathon's entry fees go up on Jan 1. If you ever wanted to run a marathon, here's a great chance. Plus, they have a special 1st time marathoner package! This is the 1st marathon that I've run that has this! 

Discount Code: brpsavings
for $5 off


Anyone running a spring marathon? Which one(s)? What is the best or worst thing about a spring marathon?


Follow me on twitter @runmomdiary


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2016 in a nutshell

Apparently, it's been a busy year. In addition to chasing my BQ this year, my youngest is doing select soccer. I now have to take him to soccer 3 nights a week plus games on the weekend.

It hasn't been too bad. The soccer complex is a nice 1.15 mile square with nice even grass or blacktop so I've been training there. I have 2 hours to kill, I might as well run! :-)

I divided my year into two seasons: half marathon PR attempt and BQ at the Chicago Marathon in the fall. I ran a few other club races but those were my BIG races of the year.
My favorite flying pig. 

Finish at the Pig
I decided to run the Flying Pig in Cincinnati in May. I've done this race at least 3 times so I knew what I was getting myself into. I hadn't focused any energy on the half and I wanted to improve my old PR of 1:49. I trained with the Hanson's method again but this was my first try with their half marathon plan. It was definitely as intense as my full marathon plan. I ran over 700 miles in 18 weeks. I PR'd with a 1:42. I know I could have gone under 1:40 if it wasn't so humid that day.  I managed to get 5th in my Age group so it was a good consolation prize. 

I'd hoped my speed training in the spring would translate to more speed in the fall marathon.  

In hindsight, I needed more time between training cycles. I took two weeks off. Then started for three weeks before I had to start my training plan for the Chicago marathon. My hip had been tight all spring but I chalked up to getting older. About five weeks in, it seized  up so much I couldn't even walk. My chiro recommended a few weeks of cross training. So for 4 weeks, I Aqua jogged and ellipticaled it. I went to a PT who was able to get my hip even again, finally no pain! I had nine weeks at that point to get ready for Chicago. 
Mile 23 at the Chicago Marathon
Training 4 days a week during soccer practices with a long run on the weekend. I let go of all my time goals and decided I was going to just have fun and enjoy the experience of Chicago. I'm so glad I did. I was so relaxed even up until the race morning. I had planned that I'd run around 4hrs15 mins. I surprised myself with 4:04.  

Now on to new adventures!

I've hired a coach. Coach Becki knows a bit about marathoning. She won the Akron Marathon this year and ran the Olympic Trials this past Feb. I don't planning on winning any marathons but I know I have some life still in these legs.



Also, I've been selected as a BibRave Pro. I get to help review races and products for runners. I'm super excited to join them.

In 2017, my Spring goal race is the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon in Toledo. I wanted a smaller race, flat and close to home but something new. Also, being a soccer mom, I had to wait to see what the spring soccer tournaments were going to be before I could commit. We still might have a league game that weekend but less of disruption. I'm totally looking forward to it. Check out the BibRave reviews of Toledo. Here's a discount code for $5 off the entry: brpsavings 

What was your year like? PRs? Races to remember? Let me know!



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Digging this tri business

I have finished week 3 of triathlon training and I'm really digging it. I look forward to the different workouts.


Sundays and Wednesdays are my swimming days. Sunday, we meet with our swim coach, Jeni, who goes over basic drills with us, for example, streamlining our push off the wall. I'm not a swimmer (unless you count that one summer in 7th grade I did swim team) so this has been really useful. I'm getting more comfortable in the water without feeling like I'm holding my breath. I just need to relax more and probably should add another day in the pool for more practice.

Mondays and Thursdays have been cycling. Monday is with the group from Up and Running (UAR). We meet at a bike path and cycle for 7 and turn around. It has been good to get more comfortable on the bike. I still hold on with a death grip but did manage to change gears this time. Last week I stayed in the same gear the whole time.  I haven't wiped out with the clips since the first time. Thursday, I've ridden the trainer and discovered the world of YouTube trainer videos!  I still need to practice gear shifting more and getting my water bottle out and drinking while riding. ( seriously, It's hard (for me at least)). This week we're starting brick workouts. I can't wait! 

Tuesdays and Saturdays are running days. This can be an easy run but I'm making it Track Tuesdays. I'm using Lauren Fleshman's workouts of the week on Strava. They are amazing! Love a good speed workout. Saturdays are more about distance and easy pace. I'm still working on my IT BAND Issues so I'm only up to 5.5-6 miles before IT band lets me know that's too much. I want to incorporate more days running but I haven't yet. I guess that will change with the brick workouts...


Anyone doing their 1st triathlon this spring?