Thursday, June 8, 2017

Shoe Review: Adidas UltraBoost X



Disclaimer: I received the Adidas UltraBoost X 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 Adidas running shoes. I've been wearing the Adidas Energy Boost 3 for about a year. I jumped at the chance to try out the UltraBoost X.

1st impression: These look like minimal shoes. They came with a sock-upper glued to a running shoe sole which definitely was not minimal (10 mm drop) I immediately worried about my Powerstep Pinnicle inserts that I've used in my shoes since a nasty case of plantar fasciitis about 5 years ago. I also worried that my narrow heel would slip a ton without being able to lace lock the laces. This was all forgotten as soon as a slipped them on!




These shoes cradle your foot in what the website calls a "Primeknit upper" that includes a "floating arch". They fit like a glove or slippers. These shoes felt amazing. I never tried these shoe with my inserts because with the arch being how it was it seemed that it wouldn't work right. The upper was supportive with out being restrictive. My heel didn't slip at all which shocked me! I felt fast, too! The Boost cushioning was very responsive. I felt like I was running clouds but not in that "floating, can't feel the road" kind of way. Kind of like when you don't normally run on a track, then you do, and it feels like it gives energy back to your legs.

I wore these with socks with the exception of one time. Even without socks the Primeknit upper was so comfortable. Adidas has pads around the opening where it could rub against your ankle bones. I have an accessory navicular bone on one foot and my Energy Boosts always rub there but the Ultraboost X didn't at all.
padding in the inside is hard to see but it's there

I think these shoes would be awesome for triathletes. You could slip on the shoe with the laces tied and be out of T2 in a heartbeat. I didn't run long distances in these shoes since I got them right after my last marathon so my runs were shorter. I think that these could be used up to a marathon without problems.

In addition to wearing these to run in, I did just wear them around and got some street cred with my high school students who told me they were "lit". In fact, numerous people from teenagers to grandmas told me they liked my shoes. Once these are "retired" they will be my go to shoes.

πŸ‘

  • Most comfortable shoes I've worn
  • superior cushioning
  • arch support is actually there (although it does take a different appearance than traditional shoes
  • responsive
  • light 8.3 oz
  • awesome styling



πŸ‘Ž

  • wear and tear seem to be showing after a month on the uppers, snagged on the side on one shoe so I have big loop hanging off
  • may not work if you must have an orthotic in your shoe
  • not "traditional" looking
  • price tag $180
Fraying starting by the big toe area

Overall, I loved these shoes. If you wear a neutral shoe and have minimal biomechanical problems these shoes are for you. Way to go, Adidas!!!!
note: you can see through my arches


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Race Recap: Glass City Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Glass City Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review and write race reviews!

I had heard great things about Glass City Marathon and jumped at the chance to run it. A flat, fast course and pretty close to home is always a plus. 

Expo: 
The Glass City marathon expo was pretty nice. They had UT Savage Area floor to use and had the usual vendors for a mid sized marathon. Lots of local services with discounts- definitely nice for the local runners. Also they had venders selling GU etc. for the last minute "oops, I forgot to pack (fill in the blank)". A local run shop had different t-shirts and 1/2 zips to supplement to your Glass City Swag. I stayed away since I already have an entire dresser filled with running clothes. (Yeah, I might have a Oiselle problem!) The packet pick up was very clear and it was very nice that they had a special section for 1st time marathoners who got an escort by the elite runners. 

Shirts are a nice New Balance short sleeve with the north coast line of Ohio across it. 

Gear drop bag with bib and shirt was missing one thing: a map of the course and starting line. Since my husband was there to cheer he didn't want to be looking at the little map on the app that tracked the runner. I didn't use the tracking feature on the app either since I was concerned about my battery life on my phone during the race and after. 

The Race:
Morning of: I met up with a friend from high school & her friend who happens to work at UT. We waited in her building where it was warmer and had flushing toilets. We walked past the portapotty line which didn't look too long but I was thankful not to have to use them! I met up with my Oiselle VolΓ©e team mates for a picture a little before race time.


Corrals were pretty lame, they might think about refiguring them. Corral A was huge and hardly anyone there with 5 mins til start. I walked in A and stepped over the tape that was already on the ground to make my way to B. They had a nice flyover of the Mercy Health helicopter before the start and it took a picture of the crowd. Although everyone around me was correctly placed, I didn't need to run around slower runners.

My goal for this race was a BQ -5:00 so for my AG 3:40. I had been doing well with training but definitely had some small over use injuries that popped up every few weeks. I knew that my training wasn't as intense as I'd done in the past but I was not nursing any injury at the start. Weather was looking ideal as well. Low 40s for a start, not a cloud in sight. My plan was to run 8:20-8:30 pace for the first half then drop down to 8:20-;25 for the 2nd half. 

The course circled around the UT campus then into Ottawa Hills (an absolutely beautiful suburb of Toledo) then through a metro park, out to Sylvania then back through the same metro park then bike path back to UT campus and finishing in the Glass Bowl stadium. I had looked on a few marathon review websites and it was common that the course was long if you didn't run the tangents. This course has a lot of turns so I tried my best to run the most direct path and ended up only running a tenth of a mile over compared to some who had run .4 over. 

mile 12
My race was going great until mile 10. My left knee which had not given me any problems during training started hurting. I have had problems with my IT band in the past and I knew that's what it was. I debated stopping and stretching. Would that mess up my pace? would it just make it harder to get moving again? I tried to run through it. By mile 16 i was slowing down, 10 secs slower every mile then mile 20 (aka the wall) hit as well. I dropped down to what felt like a crawl but really it was 10-11 min per mile pace. I knew that my BQ time was slipping away and I couldn't go any faster. It was a long slog back to the finish. My only complaint would be the bike path at the end... it felt so long and there wasn't any shade. I was hot, sad, exhausted and still had 4 miles to go. Ugh. The bright spot for the last 10k was oranges at the water stops. They were the best tasting oranges I have ever had. I've never taken food other than my own energy (Gu, etc) but wow. Fresh oranges are the bomb! 

Another minor complaint is the last 1/4 mile you turn the corner from a down hill and you see the afterparty but the course isn't very obvious (at least in my haze at the end) I actually threw up my hands like "Where the hell to do I go?" but then it became obvious as they had a cheering section leading up to the stadium. I finished in 4:01:09. I finished, got my medal (holy toledo! that sucker is HUGE), then promptly started crying. I was asked if I needed medical and I said I wanted ice for my knee but then the volunteer walked away figuring I was ok. I was, but ice would have been nice or at least walked me towards the med tent. I stopped and just sobbed for awhile knowing that I had missed my goal by 20 mins but out of the blue my friend from HS was there rubbing my shoulders. She's done countless marathons and knows it's the nature of the beast. I do, too. It still sucks though.

Jen and I waited around for my husband who was near the finish line to find me. My legs were toast and I wanted more than anything is to put my legs up a wall (thanks, Jasyoga!) we found a wall at the end zone of stadium and rested for about 10 mins with our legs up the wall. (My friend had done the half). I actually felt way better after that enough so that I could walk down to the after party and get my nice finisher's glass mug. We promptly went to the food tent, got the usual bagel, banana and pizza. I didn't have much of an appetite but wanted the beer (numb the sting of a crappy race). I'm a beer snob and I have to say they had decent beer...and then I drank a Bud Light Lime because it sounded amazing and it was. (and I hate Bud Light). 

We had an hour to get back to the hotel and check out so I didn't stick around to talk to the other Oiselle volee although I saw some from a far. 

I liked the race. I would do it again definitely. The last marathon I ran before this was Chicago so this was definitely more hometown-y and low key in a nice way. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Marathon Training midway there

I planned on blogging about every week leading up to the Glass City Marathon. Good thing I stick better to my planned workouts than my blogging!

I posted earlier that I'm working with Becki Spellman. It's been nice to not over think my training since I'm letting Coach Becki worry about that part.

I started out in January doing 2 weeks of cross training. Normally that would freak me out but I think my body needed a rest from the fall marathon. Also, I'm not getting any younger... more time stretching, yoga and foam rolling are needed to maintain this "master" runner.

We started doing a 9 day training cycle. So, instead of running a long run every Sunday, now its every 9 days. My training looks like this: rest day, easy day, hard day x3 with the last hard day being a long run. Obviously, this may not work all the time but for now I've been able to do it. The hardest thing is having my long run on a workday and having to do it after work. Since I teach, I have just planned that my long days are days where I'm not having to be up and walking around the whole time. Since, Coach Becki gives me 2 weeks in advance, I've been able to plan for the long runs pretty well. Next long run is tomorrow (yay, a Sunday!) but next week its on a Tuesday. (18 miles after work!). That might be a long week...
this could be my house

I've been feeling really good and my legs are fresh. This is the opposite of how I've felt with the Hanson's Method. I do feel a bit worried about "Am I ready?" I know I will be, I'm just not used to rest days. My chiro reminds me that I've never been healthy at a start line either since my legs are usually pretty trashed.

see the track? my new workout location...
Now that we're in March, this race is suddenly feeling pretty close. 7 weeks from tomorrow. Also that means, soccer season is starting on Monday for Buster. Time to plan those runs during soccer practices. I need to get some new podcasts on the list. I'm digging the Bib Rave podcast right now.
I'm usually a listener of Another Mother Runner, Fresh Air and This American Life. What other podcasts would you recommend?


Join me at the Toledo Glass City Marathon on April 23, 2017 Discount code: brpsavings for $5 off any race.



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.