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Category: Running Gear

Brilliant Reflective, my latest favorite running song, and I am still running.

Disclaimer:  I received Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips to try and 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 rarely run when it is dark.  During the summer it is bright as early as 5am and doesn’t get dark till about 8:30pm.  The few times I run while it is dark, I wear a reflective vest and a headlamp.  I was more than happy to test and review Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips.  The company sent me both Iron-On and Stick-On strips.

Brilliant Reflective 1

So what exactly are these strips?  They’re pieces of tape that you can stick on to your gear so that when light hits you, you are seen.  They’re easy to peel and can be placed on pretty much all of your running gear such as shoes, shirts, hats.  They’re available in black, red, blue, and purple so they either blend in or stand out.

My niece liked them on her shoes.

I used them in my shirt, shoes, and running hat.

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Brilliant Reflective 5

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I will admit that I removed them from my shoes to put on another pair and somehow one of the strips fell off during my race.  However, they stayed on the shirts even after washing them.

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I haven’t used the Iron-On strips but am excited to use them on my Oiselle Power Stretch Beanie and Softshell Gloves.  <<Definitely not ready for cold weather as I am enjoying the cool and fall like weather we are having in Chicago.

Join us on Tuesday, September 12th as BibRave and Brilliant Reflective will be hosting a #BibChat at 8pm CST.  Come by and chat with us about this great product and you’ll have a chance to win some of your own.

My latest running song is “Mi Gente”.  Have you heard it?  Not a big fan of the video but I do like the beat and it makes me want to dance too.  🙂

I had some great runs this week.  Monday and Tuesday was 5.02 miles.  Fall weather is here and that makes the runs much more enjoyable.  I was pleased and surprised with my negative splits!

On Saturday I ran the Run Mag Mile 10K.  It was so much fun!  The weather was perfect and it was fun running down Michigan Avenue (it reminded me of RnR Las Vegas when the strip was closed for the race).  I didn’t get a PR (old one is from 2010) but I ran faster than I thought I could and also had a blast.  I think that definitely counts more than a PR, right?  🙂

So what did you think of the song “Mi Gente”?  What is your favorite running song now?

I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap.  This week’s host is Sara @ Sara Runs This Town.  Please stop by her blog and show her some love!

Hoping everyone had a good week!

WWGuest

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Under Armour Horizon RTT shoes, back to work, and a giveaway!

Disclaimer:  I received a pair of Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Running Shoes 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 don’t normally run on the trail.  However, when I was training for the Lake Michigan Marathon, I would do my long runs on the trail.  I wanted a different place than running along the lakefront.  Also,  I realized that I would recover much faster when running on the trail.  Plus, there is a certain smell (dirt) that comes with it.  It may sound weird but it is true and I actually enjoyed it.  

Last month I received a pair of Under Armour Horizon RTT trail running shoes.  Under Armour reminds me of Michael Phelps (and his cool video) and running clothes. Definitely not running shoes nor trail shoes.  I was still very interested to check them out.

The Horizon RTT comes in 5 colors.  I picked marlin blue/neptune and I love the color .

UA Horizon RTT Trail Shoes 1

Product DNA (from the UA website)

  • Durable PU & textile upper for breathability & reliable protection
  • Reinforced welded synthetic material in critical areas for increased durability
  • Mesh heel with dual protective welds
  • Molded collar foam package for added comfort
  • Charged Cushioning® foam puck placed under the heel for responsive comfort
  • Lightweight, full-length EVA midsole for optimal cushioning
  • High traction rubber lug outsole for dependable traction on a variety of conditions
  • Offset: 7mm
  • Weight: 9.2 oz.
  • Imported

While they weren’t heavy, they felt more stiff than my regular running shoes.  My first run in them hurt my right foot.

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A few more runs in them and the shoes feel a little bit more comfortable.

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While they’re primarily trail shoes, they also did well on the road.

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I also wore them to work (in my skirt).  🙂  I like that they’re wide enough for my feet.

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Check out these lugs!  I have a feeling these will be great to run in the snow.

Overall, I am pleased with my shoes.  My only regret is not sizing up.  I wear a 9.5 and remember reading some people suggesting to size up.  I don’t know why I didn’t.  I have been wearing thin socks and no longer run more than 5 miles in them.

Monday was my first day back at work.  In the morning I worked in my room and then parents dropped off school supplies from 9-10 am.  Then meetings, lunch, and another meeting in another building.  Long day.  Thankfully we had a break to see the eclipse.  It was cloudy but did manage to see a bit of it.

Eclipse glasses

Tuesday was more meetings.  It went by fast.  I couldn’t stay late because I had a doctor appointment for my yearly checkup.  I had to step on the scale and was very surprised at the number.  No, it didn’t go down but instead went down.  I was tired so I didn’t really care.  But now I do.

My first day with the kids was Wednesday.  Some of the teachers used chalk to write messages for them.  Pretty cool!

I have 24 students in my room.  Wow!  At the end of the day I wanted to cry.  I was exhausted.  My back, feet, and legs hurt.  I have a rough group of kids.  I remember my first year and it wasn’t that bad.  These kids talk a lot and don’t know when to stop talking. They’re also distracted and looking elsewhere but me.   

Tired cat

The next two days were rough too.  Something new this year is that the kids eat breakfast in the lunchroom.  They come in at 8:30am, grab breakfast (if they want), and go to the classroom.  They have 15 minutes to put stuff in their locker and eat.  It isn’t enough time because they like to talk which in the morning is fine but they also need to eat.  In the meantime I take attendance and track who ate breakfast and who brought a lunch.  The kids need to stop eating at 8:45, throw away the garbage, and clean up because at 8:50 they have a special (gym, media, art, gym, or computers).

I know the first couple of days/weeks are rough.  I am ready for that.  I need to remember those moments that make teaching so worth it.

Teacher Inspiration

Now time for a giveaway!  The winner will receive a Momentum Jewelry inspire-ring.  I have one and love it.  

Momentum Inspire-Ring

Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter.  This giveaway will run until September 2 at 11:59 pm.  The giveaway is open to US residents only.  The winner will be contacted via the email address associated with their Rafflecopter account and will have 24 hours to claim their prize.   All entries are verified, so please be sure to complete them or a new, random winner will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you prefer road or trail running?  Or both?

I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap. This week’s host is Teresa @ Finding Fabulous at Fifty .  Please stop by her blog and show her some love!

Hoping everyone had a good week!

WWGuest

My Marathon Training Must-Haves and a Giveaway

Now that I am halfway through my Chicago Marathon training, there are a few items that I reach for help me power through each run.

Brooks PureFlow 4 and Brooks Launch 3

I love Brooks shoes.  I’ve also worn Asics, Newtons, and Mizuno but always come back to Brooks.  I’ve run in Pure Connect (discontinued), Ghost, and Glycerin but now alternate between PureFlow and Launch.  They don’t feel heavy and are very comfortable.  

SmartWool and ProCompression Socks

The right socks are important.  Definitely no cotton socks.  I usually wear compression socks on runs longer than 6 miles.  I love the different colors and my legs/calves feel great during and after each run. I also wear SmartWool (ultra light or light elite) and even though my feet have been completely wet after a few sweaty runs, I’ve had NO blisters which in my book is definitely a winner.

Oiselle Long Roga Shorts and Tops

I love running in shorts!  I wear them as long as I can before it gets too cold.  These shorts are long enough and for the most part do not ride up.  I’ve had them ride up only when I’ve worn a Sparkly Athletic skirt (weird).  I have a few pairs and love wearing them with a Oiselle top.

I have more pairs than shown in the picture.

OiselleLongRogaShorts

It wasn’t until a few months ago that I began running in a tank top.  I’ve always worn a short sleeve shirt.  But now I LOVE and do each run in a Oiselle top.  They fit well and no chafing.

Body Glide

You definitely need to stock up on this item.  I apply this between my thighs, under my arms, and in the back of my running bra.  I did chafe big time between my thighs at the 2015 Chicago Marathon that it hurt to walk.  That was the only time I’ve chafed in that area.  It must have been the shorts with the combination of the sweat (I did not reapply at all) that caused it.  You bet I will make sure to reapply at this year’s marathon.  

Victoria Secret The Player Sports Bra

I am not well endowed in the chest area but it is comfortable when my boobs are bouncing around during my runs.  My favorite VS bra is the open back version.  Unfortunately it has been discontinued which makes me sad.  I love this bra because it provides the right amount of support.  I have 6 pairs and have worn them for over a year and they’re beginning to smell bad.  I know I need to replace them but have not found something equivalent.  I’ve also worn bras by Champions 9 (not enough support) and Moving Comfort (ALWAYS chafe in the same area).  

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

NUUN Tablets

I add these tablets to my water bottle and drink this all day and at every run.  I am not a big fan of the Nuun Energy; so I am stocking up on the previous version.  

Garmin 225 Watch and Fitletic 16oz Hydration Belt

I use my watch mostly to get the basic information (lap pace, average pace, mile splits, and distance). It comes in handy during my weekly runs as a pacer because I am responsible (with another pacer) to make sure we meet that 11:00 minute pace.  I like that it syncs with my Nike +Running App.  I know I could get more usage out of it (like heart rate) but for now it works just fine for me.

I wear my belt low on my hips and I swear it does not bounce, chafe, or ride up.  It has two 8 oz bottles and a pouch which fits my iPhone 6.

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Headsweats Hat/Visor

Thanks to Marcia’s code (TEAMARCIA for 25% OFF) I ordered two visors and hat.  I love that they’re light, comfortable, so many options to choose from, and keeps the sweat off my face.  Plus, it washes really easy.  I add it to my weekly load of running clothes and air dry it along with the rest of my clothes.

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I have an extra visor and you have a chance to win it!  To enter, click on the image below where you will be directed to Gleam and enter several different ways such as leaving a blog post comment, commenting on any of my Instagram posts, or tweeting about the giveaway.  I will also include a tube of Nuun (I have various flavors you can choose from).

Headsweats Marathon Giveaway

This giveaway will run until September 6 at 11:59 pm).  The winner will be selected on September 7th. The giveaway is open to US residents only.  The winner will be contacted via the email address associated with their Gleam account and will have 24 hours to claim their prize.  All entries are verified, so please be sure to complete them or a new, random winner will be selected.

Best of luck to everyone who enters! 

What are your running must haves?  Anything else I can add to my list?

I am linking up with Erica and Smitha for this giveaway!

WednesdayGiveaway

Year of Running in 2015

I am linking up with Courtney to share my year in running.

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  • Best race experience:  I ran 10 races this year.  Each one brought a different experience.  I worked hard and I pushed on through to cross the finish line.  But to pick one it would have to be the Covered Bridges Half Marathon.  It has a beautiful course with one gigantic hill around mile 8.  Still I ended up with my second best half marathon finish time.  My friend, Jaime, ran a sub 2 half marathon and it made me so happy I was there to enjoy the moment.
  • Best run: I ran 20 miles with the Chicago Endurance Sports.  They had everything set up from tents/support at the beginning of the run to even more support after the run.  It was a gorgeous day for a run and the coaches and pacers did a wonderful job.  It was definitely an amazing experience!  The only bad thing was that I lost my phone with less than two miles to go.  One of the coaches stayed with me to look for it instead of leaving me and going with the other runners from the group.
  • Best new piece of running gear: Definitely my Garmin Forerunner 225.  I had to purchase a new one in November (and thanks to so many discounts only paid $120 for it). Next year I want to upgrade to the Garmin Fenix 3.  Just a beautiful watch!  Not a running gear but I am also obsessed with Nuun Kona Cola.  Unfortunately, that particular flavor is being discontinued so you bet I am stocking up.
  • Best running advice you’ve received this year: To have fun and to be in the moment during my runs.  That is something that is hard for me to do but I am working towards actually doing it.  🙂
  • Most inspirational runner: This is a tough one.  But every runner inspires me.  I love hearing stories of how they became a runner and the reasons they run.  I never get tired of talking to them about their experiences and where they are in their journey.
  • Favorite picture from a run or race this year: This photo was sent to me by a friend.  I was on TV!!

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  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Two of my favorite races are the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th.  I love the distance.  For the former race, this year it was a cold and windy day but still fun.  Also, the race has the same start and finish line as the Chicago Marathon.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Progress.  I’ve been doing more speedwork and while it is taking me longer than I wanted to, slowly I am seeing progress in my runs.  I’ve had great and terrible runs (who hasn’t) but I am learning to not focus so much on the bad ones but to celebrate and learn from each one.

To read more amazing “Year of Running 2015” stories, go to Courtney’s blog.

Oh, and just want to let you know about my 5 days of giveaways beginning on Saturday, January 2nd.  I have items from Swiftwick Socks, MudLOVE, Momentum Jewelry, Lock Laces, and Hammer Nutrition. 

Giveaway8

Friday Randomness – July 31, 2015

1.  Is it weird to get excited when your coach emails you dates of upcoming long runs?  So far I have 18 on 8/22; 20 on 9/5; 18 on 9/12; and 20 on 9/19.

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Ha, it’s been a long time since I’ve done anything longer than 13.1 miles.  It must have been Spring 2014 when I was training for the Chicago Lakefront 50k.  Sigh, it’s been on my mind to do another one.  Maybe Spring 2016?  We’ll see.  Last Saturday’s run was supposed to be 14 but I managed 10.  I am scheduled for 13 tomorrow and I am sort of looking forward to it.  :=)

2.  Yesterday was my last day of summer school.  It was an interesting couple of weeks for me.  Let’s just say I have a deeper respect for special education teachers.  I thought my job was tough but now realize that my job is easier.

3.  On Monday I start my last class for my math endorsement.  It is Geometry and I am kind of worried because I HATE Geometry.  Plus, it will be intense since the class is for 10 days from 9am-12pm.  Oh well, I’d rather do this than go for 10 weeks on Wednesday from 5pm-8pm.

4. I told myself no more ProCompression socks but how cute are these?

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Do you like wearing long compression socks?  Have you ever run a 50k?