Monday, August 6, 2018

AfterShokz Trekz Air Colors (Canyon Red) Review

"Disclaimer: I received a pair of AfterShokz Canyon Trekz Air Colors 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 started wearing wireless headphones about 8 years ago while working out and I have been a fan ever since. Wires are a distraction I do not want. The Aftershokz Trekz Air in Canyon Red have been the best model I have ever worn.

Initially when my wireless journey began, I wore a pair that covered my ears AND I had to put electrical tape around to hold the ears pads on, it worked, but I kept for wishing for a better option. Yes, I am a sweater! πŸ˜‚ Eventually I sweated them to death only to find that model had been discontinued, so I began the search for a new model. I went through a phase where I tried several different models that all ended with me frustrated at the lack of decent options on the market.

As I searched I found the perfect option!
Aftershockz was the solution I was looking for. I ordered a pair of Trekz Titanium Mini’s and fell in love. I could HEAR what was going on around me like never before! I have been running happy for several years with my Aftershokz when I was given the opportunity to test Aftershokz Trekz Air Colors in Canyon red.

They arrived and I couldn't get over how lightweight they felt! Way lighter than I expected and the fit over the ear was incredible. The band around the back does fit a little different than my other pair but it doesn’t budge. I put them on and they stay in place. I fell in love all over again. I was awed by what a positive difference the thinner ear piece on these made...not a bit a of pressure on your ears or head. Somehow, Aftershokz made great even better.
  • comfortable fit
  • easy to use
  • ability to fast forward songs on the run
  • awesome charge life
  • includes a great carry case
  • awesome sound quality
  • still hear the sounds of nature and approaching cars
                             If you don't like to read, πŸ‘†click and watch...less than two minutes

The sound through bone conduction is awesome. I am a fan of not directly blasting your eardrums, and they look great as well. Of all colors πŸ’— canyon red is my favorite.

Aftershokz Trek Air is a design that makes sense, is truly ingenious and not just for runners! Cyclists, gym dwellers, or anyone who commutes and travels will love how long these hold a charge and how comfortable the fit is.

Thank you Aftershokz for filling what was a huge gap in the wireless headphone market and for continuing to be an innovative leader in the industry with quality products.

The website has great resources if you have any questions and great customer service. Be sure to check it out! 

.... and   Related image I have a deal for you! 

GET $55 off the Trekz Air Bundle

Use code BRBUNDLE at checkout


Thanks for stopping by!
Karen 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Run Wild Missoula ~ Missoula Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Missoula Half Marathon 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’ve been visiting Montana the last 10 years and it really is my favorite place to be. I have passed through Missoula before but never actually stopped to run there, so I felt very thankful for this opportunity.

Overall this was an awesome race experience. It is apparent when you arrive, organizers have the weekend down to a science and everything runs like a well oiled machine. There is also a great app, powered by Mylaps, that offers live tracking, text finish results, the weekend schedule, travel info and a few frames to add to your pictures!

I could not participate in the Beer run Friday night or the 5K Saturday morning, but from all the participant feedback I heard, both events sounded like a great time. Missoula offered a Big 3 challenge for the weekend, but I still have no idea what the surprise gift was! I chatted with runners, who had done the Beer run or the 5K, but not all the events.

If you did the Big 3 please comment below and tell what the special gift was!

I drove from Whitefish, which is north of Missoula, Saturday morning and arrived mid afternoon at the expo which is held in a great outdoor location.


The river path is nearby and it is a great place to shake out your legs and enjoy the views. 


I had a great conversation with a volunteer about her move to Missoula and the local running scene.  She made a very strong positive impression on me and it made me realize how important it is to volunteer and greet out of town and new runners at a local event.





The expo offered a variety of vendors and you were in good shape if you needed running fuel, event commemorative gear, or brightly patterned running skirts, shorts, and shirts. The local running store is just a short walk away from Caras Park Pavilion to add more shopping opportunities. 























After I retrieved my bib, walked the river path, checked into my hotel, and walked the route to the race shuttles to make sure it was a good option for race morning; I went to eat some dinner and get some sleep.

I woke up early!  The last shuttle to the start line leaves at 5:15 a.m. so I was walking by 4:40 a.m. The bus ride to the start reminded me how far 13.1 miles really is. 

























I did a half mile warm up run and the typical porta-p-stop (and yes they were plenty), and ate a Panda licorice bar after my shuttle ride.  I only had about 10 minutes to wait till the 6 a.m. start. A beautiful rendition of  the national anthem, followed by a few fireworks and off we went at sun up! The sun is strong as soon as daylight cracks, and I wondered how I would hold up.

On a personal level, it was feeling just a tad too warm for me, it was about 10 degrees warmer than it had been in Whitefish, but hey it is summer, and mid 60's this time of year for a southern gal is way better than anything I have run in since April. I trotted along with high hopes I could have a strong run. As the miles clicked off, I was feeling thankful for the shade on the course. The temperature probably rose by 10 degrees during the first hour and my splits slowed as things warmed up.

10:33, 10:17, 11:04, 11:05, 11:03

11:16, 11:45, 11:16, 11:41, 11:51

I wore my own hydration belt and stopped 3 x’s to refill my bottle with Gatorade. It eats up the clock, but I am past PR days, so I’d much rather run and be comfortable, enjoy the views, and soak up the atmosphere. Every water stop was well stocked and had plenty of Gatorade. Along the course, I passed a fantastic bagpipe player, and a man who sits in his yard in a tuxedo and plays his grand piano for runners.

During the early miles the course carried you along rural roads with wide opens spaces. A large part of the later miles later were through Missoula's neighborhoods. A lot of folks put up sprinklers so you can cool off, which is a very nice touch. There were also a few neighbors who had over 21 hydration stops, but I did not partake. 😏

My runner’s instinct kicked in after mile 10 and I tried to pick up the pace and finish strong. I couldn't pick it up as much as I hoped, but it was a solid effort.

11:26, 11:01, 11:04...last bit 9:15 ish pace across the line 2:26:57
I am very content covering 13 miles at this pace.

The finish line area is on the bridge over the river. The announcer enthusiastically calls out names and where people are from. I heard a lot of out of state runners being called in front of me, but I was coming in simultaneously with a local man on a very strong marathon run, so I did not hear my name called.  The local with a sub 2:30 marathon had the focus and rightly so!
One of the frame options from the app 


I was handed my awesome medal, and proceeded to the food area. I replenished with a banana and some tasty pasta salad. Shuttles seemed to be steadily running, but I opted to walk the mile back to my hotel because I was feeling some stiffness in my legs and I hoped walking would help. The distance has been a challenge for me the past few years no matter what pace I run, hence my decision to not worry about trying to “race” anymore.

There are many options within walking distance for food and drinks if you want to explore downtown.








Oh and haaaaeeeeyyy! Free race photos...mine did not come out all that spectacular but still, you can't beat free. They actually took a finishers photo after the race and printed it out, a really nice touch!

LOL 


I had hoped to meet Juan, a fellow BibRave Pro at this event, but he was not able to make it to Missoula.
Here is a little bio info from him:
"I live in Cypress, Texas and have been a runner for 18 years now. I am a married father of three boys with a fourth one on the way. I work as a Digital Learning Specialist in Aldine ISD in Houston, and am thoroughly enjoying my first year as a BibRave Pro. You can find me on social media as @3dotjuan and on my blog, www.3dotjuan.com."
Juan wrote a nice Q and A blog post you find here. Give him a follow! He is a great inspiration.

Overall, run wild Missoula was a fabulous running experience and it is a great event to add in during the summer months. I would recommend flying into Kalispell (FCA) and enjoying the drive to Missoula. The changing landscape in Flathead Valley will not disappoint and be sure to stay a few days if you can! There are so many great kayaking, rafting, and hiking opportunities near by it would be ashamed not to take advantage of all Montana has to offer.

Thanks for stopping by πŸ’ž
Karen 



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Run & Ride Kings Dominion


This DAY πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ˜ƒ

The skies opened up with torrential downpours a few times as we went running though Kings  Dominion. We dodged puddles ankle deep, tiptoed over muddy spots, and took in the quiet of the park before it is packed with people. 

Running and smiling...
Okay, maybe we hammed it up for the camera just a bit, but my slowest half marathon is definitely at the top of my favorites list. 

It was so awful out you just had to laugh,
AND laughter is good for the soul, 
AND so is running with friends!
 
Yep, we were excited to cross the finish line because that meant it was time to go ride some roller coasters, and ride them we did! 
We almost had the park to ourselves because it takes a special kind of 
nutty to hang out and get pelted all day in the rain πŸ˜ƒ

Run and Ride is genius, miles and smiles all the way. 

I will miss my run buddies at my next half marathon, but I'll be back with my sweat crew soon. 
We got plans ☝πŸ˜€πŸ’“πŸ’¦

Take care and run happy!
Karen

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Run Wild Missoula! Yes, Please :)

I am so excited Bib Rave has granted me the opportunity to run the Missoula Half Marathon this July!

My first visit to Montana over 10 years ago is still vivid in my memory. Stepping off the plane in Kalispell, smelling that fresh mountain air, feeling the cool breezes in summer, and seeing the beauty of the mountains surrounding the valley hooked me. I started to travel around the state each visit so I could take in the views and really enjoy all the beauty the state has to offer.

One particular visit about 9 years ago, I drove from Portland, Oregon to Whitefish, Montana and passed through Missoula along the way.  I was awed by the relatively flat land surrounded by steep mountains, the views were stunning. The convergence of several different mountain ranges;  Rattlesnake, Bitteroot, Garnet Range, and Sapphire Mountain Range make Missoula a pretty unique place in the Northern Rockies.

Being an east coast gal, I have a deep appreciation for any place the dew point stays out of rain forest range and the heat of the day actually cools off overnight.


I hoped I am blessed with some of those cool morning temps on race day, but rain or shine I am going to enjoy every step where Lewis and Clark once travailed.

My favorite thing to do in a new town is take a good long walk or run in so I can really experience it. 13.1 is going to be the perfect way to take in all Missoula has to offer!

















Use my discount code and join me July 13-15!

Use code “BibRave18” to save $5 on race entry! Price increases June 16th
http://www.missoulamarathon.org/
This event was ranked #1 on the Bib Rave Top 100 

BibRave

Read some great race reviews here

Thanks for stopping by! 
Karen 
"Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to review the Missoula Marathon weekend of events 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!"

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Rock n Roll Raleigh


I made the decision I wouldn't formally train for this event for many reasons, but I did have a plan that would hopefully increase my fitness level enough to make it an enjoyable day.
In the end, the race held some awesome memorable moments along with a few tough ones, but I could not contain my smile at the finish of half marathon #21.

In case you are wondering, I did not receive a free entry for this event from BibRave, I paid for my bib during a holiday sale. πŸ’–

In March my long runs went pretty well and I felt particularly strong on the last few I did.
(March long runs)

10 mi (11:37 avg)

10 mi (11:04 avg)

11 mi (10:44 avg)

9 mi (11:00 avg)

I ran 93 miles in February and 90 in March and I made an effort to vary hills, paces, and intervals. My average pace for all my runs in March was 10:50 so I felt like I was ready to hold a 10:30ish pace for Rock n Roll Raleigh...spoiler alert,  I didn’t! 😏 Heading into this I found it hard to go to a race and not have some kind of goal in my mind, BUT maybe I am cured of that now. πŸ’•
I was pretty far off from what I hoped to accomplish.

Saturday it was rainy, cold, dreary and gray. Thankfully it cleared up overnight. I was thrilled Sunday (race day) was a super sunny, dry chilly day!

I stayed in a hotel 1.7 miles from the start line. I was thankful I found a nice young military guy to walk with since it is a bit dark in the mornings and I was not familiar with the area. We chatted the whole way and it felt like we arrived in a blink! I do wish the photographer would have caught him in this photo!

This captured the dim morning skies as I was approaching the start line. I did a terrible job putting on my bib, look how lopsided it is! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I wrapped a hotel towel around my back and it actually kept the breeze from cutting straight to my skin and I was plenty warm.

I got a million comments from people…”is that really helping” “you are brave for wearing a tank top” “do you know it is 30 degrees?” (I think it was 32) but honestly I felt like my wardrobe choice was perfect the whole race. It is only hard when you are waiting around in the cold and I didn't have much standing around time.

Race start was 7 a.m. and my corral was off by 7:06 a.m.

I wore homemade arm warmers and they were the greatest thing ever! You can see them better in the picture below. I used fleece lined tights and cut the feet off and they were sooooo comfy,  they did not squeeze my arms at all and stayed in place, and were super warm.  My dollar store gloves were a little lightweight and my fingertips were cold in the beginning, but after mile two I was plenty warm. The sun came out and I enjoyed the run.
I never gave up my towel. By the end it was only tucked in on one side, but I figured it would be nice to return it to the hotel.


About every two miles there was a band or a DJ along the course. I was impressed by the musical talent :)

I ran the first few miles and then turned on my timer (gymboss) which is always set for 4 x 1 intervals, but I skipped the walk break a handful of times early on because I felt good.

I felt my energy slipping a little at the half way point. I tried to rally a few times but I just started running out of juice. The only thing I ate during the run was a delicious Girl Scout S'more cookie during mile 7. It was handed to me by an enthusiastic little troop member. I hoped that cookie would carry me to the end because my belly was rumbling with hunger by that time.
I did carry my own handheld and started with a tablet of Nuun and I refilled my bottle with Gatorade twice on the course. I am soooo hydration dependent now! I can not believe the first few years I ran I never drank anything, even on longer runs.

Two things really impacted how the day went for me...
First, it was a hilly course and I have felt weak on hills since last year. I keep trying to work on my hill game, but I can not seem to make improvement. Not sure which is causing me the angst, my heart or my feet, probably a combination of  both, but even in the cold weather I have struggled to find my strength running uphill.
The longer the issues continue, the more I realize I just need to accept where I am at.

Second, I did not sleep well the night before the race. I woke up about 2:00 a.m. and was tossing and turning, despite the big comfy hotel bed.  This went on for a few hours until I finally got a good solid hour of snooze time, between 4 and 5 a.m. In the wee morning hours sleep felt more important than food, but sleeping until 5 a.m. meant I didn't have time to go and get breakfast. The hotel didn't put food out before 6 a.m.and we left to walk to the start line about that time.
My breakfast was a small bag of goldfish on the way.

I should have planned better, but even so, I felt really good for about 10 miles and it was a beautiful running day!

The last few miles I felt a sharp cramp very low in my gut. When I tried to push the pace a little towards the end it made for an unpleasant feeling. A little GI distress is nothing new for me on longer runs and ultimately, I felt better within an hour of finishing, but it was enough to slow me down a bit. Maybe munching the cookie was a bad idea, but honestly, I've had the same tummy reaction whether I've run fasted or with a meal/meals in my system.

Here is how it went down
9:38, 10:33, 10:25, 11:19, 10:43, 11:48, 11:04, 11:38, 11:06, 10:51, 12:35, 11:11  - the hills ate me up
The last .31 there was 54 feet of elevation gain (13:00 avg) LOL I was over it!

This photo cracks me up! My over it shines through.
I wanted a banana! and a shower πŸ’¦πŸ’¦πŸ’¦πŸ’¦πŸ’¦πŸ’¦πŸ’¦πŸ’¦πŸ’¦πŸ’¦πŸ’¦πŸ’¦ πŸ˜…


So I went to Raleigh hoping to run a 2:18 half (10:30ish avg pace)
and I ended up running a 2:27:58 (11:17 pace) and honestly, I am fine with that.

I loved the festive feel along the course.

I loved every minute of the cool air and sunshine.

I love the cheering squads and music.

I loved the changing scenery.

I enjoyed my walk back to the hotel.

I loved my sting free shower compliments of  pjuractive, the best anti-chafing product ever.

I loved 34,000 steps by 11:00 a.m.

I loved that I finished 13.1 miles.

At the finish line, some friendly smiling soul shoved a medal in my hand, another person handed me a bottle of Gatorade, then water, then a space blanket, then a bag of pretzels, till my arms felt like they were overflowing and when I finally got a hold of my banana I couldn't peel it! I was hungry 😜

I wish I would have planned for breakfast better the night before.
I wish I could have slept better.
I wish it wouldn't have ended uphill! For real...

But most important, I think I really came to an acceptance that races will not be anything like they were for me a few years ago. I really don't care to push my body to its limits anymore and chase a time. I am content  to run and feel proud of crossing the finish line!

I think I am going to become an advocate for finish line bags. LOL 
What is the first thing you want when you finish a race? 
Tell me about a time you walked to a start line? 
Have you made home-made arm warmers? 
Ever have your fingertips hurt when they are cold? Mine hurt during the first mile. 
Does your GI tract get irritated from running? 

Thanks for stopping by and reading! 
Karen 




Monday, April 9, 2018

Cool Running Stuff

If you haven't joined Smashrun yet, you should :)
See your current monthly goal, streak days, and your yearly goal all in one glance. 

It is easy to upload your informtion and you can import from multiple devices :) 

I was excited they picked my Glacier Half marathon photo for the current color picker picture. 
Currently all my graphs are in pretty Montana sky blue. 

I didn't receive a thing for this, I just think it is a cool way to check your stats!



Happy Trails! 
Karen



Monday, February 12, 2018

The Wrap That Won't End

So much happened this past week I am not sure where to begin.
Maybe I should try to stay in order by day! πŸ˜…
Tweek!
 
Here are some tidbits...
I decided to switch my training sessions to one upper and one lower session each week, I do some core at all of them. We did 13 sessions all body and I was feeling so spent, I stayed sore...some of that was due to the fall I took in January but I needed to see if more recovery time helped me battle the fatigue and sore.
I was much more energetic at each workout, so I am going with it for a few weeks. I will probably switch back to all body in March. 

I still have one spot on my backside that is getting tight and achy when I run and a spot on the outside of my foot continues to burn every so often...these have been present since the day after I fell in early January. Every time I think I am healed up, that burning shows back up.

Okay now I will try to stay in order.

Monday 
Afternoon Four - 4.31 mi 0:41:58
Training #15 - 0:47:47
Monday, nod to Ice Cube. It was a good day! Sun and lots of working out. I went for a quick run after work, showered and headed to the gym for my upper body work.

I was breathing hard but I nailed it :) 

Tuesday 
Wake up - 2.50 mi 0:25:13
Tuesday after work I was scheduled to get a spot on my neck cut off. I had it done before and it grew right back. It is very different characteristically from the Basil cells I had  removed so I am not worried it is cancerous, it is just an eyesore.  The lump sits right where my sports bra goes so it was constantly getting irritated and bleeding. I woke up to freezing...well below freezing temps, but I bundled up and went for a short run because I knew I wouldn't be able to go after the appointment.

2.5 miles was enough to make me smile! I am 100% out of the habit of early morning runs now.

My Doc decided to try zapping it with freezing stuff I think (?)...and then she zapped like 6 more all around my neck. WHY am I growing so many weird lumps!!??! She said I could workout and sweat as long as I didn't feel any stinging.

Wednesday 
Feisty Four - 4.01 mi 0:39:42
Wednesday night I covered the bumps and went running in the evening...in shorts. Could the weather be anymore back and forth. I was on it :)  My runners high was the best of the week!

The next morning my spots puffed up a bit, so I decided to take Thursday off.  I had a good workout streak going and it was actually hard to take a day and I regret not taking a walk or something to keep my streak going. Oh well...

During my zapping visit I had to face the scale and see I have packed on 8 lbs. since my last visit, which was only a few months ago. My middle is expanding exponentially...even the Doc said all the things she would normally tell someone to do to battle the menopausal muffin top, I already do.  Still in the process of what to do next...
She told me my protruding belly was concerning considering how much I work out and that my calorie intake hasn't really changed much. The girls at work expressed the same concern, especially since I eat a lot of egg whites, carrots, and other healthy things and rarely snack. That led me to see the OB later in the week.

Thursday  - NOTTA!!

Friday 
Pain in my Side - 4.01 mi 0:45:19
Walking - 2.10 mi 0:36:41
Friday I was in the Doc's office after work and we made a discovery - my PH levels are way off. I've had this issue in the past along with very low Vitamin D and potassium, but I have been making progress with the deficiencies...not sure why I can not get in balance. I have some medication and this is also in the what to do next pile...more tests coming. I could say tons more on this, but I guess I will leave that for another day...

Friday evening I wore a thin shirt with my sports bra over it and that worked wonderfully (to protect my neck bumps) No irritation...the problem was my side. I had a horrible side stitch and it would not let go. I had hopes of getting a long run done, but even with intervals I was in so much discomfort I called it and walked. 
There is a sweet spot to eating and running in the evenings. 
1. Eat just enough so you feel a little hungry, never full. 
2. Wait a full 3 hours between. - I have tried  a few times to go 2 , 2.5 hours out and it never goes well. Live and learn.
Saturday 
TM miles - 3.01 mi 0:32:18
Hill repeats - 0.89 mi 0:27:37
Saturday, it poured rain and I wasn't going out in it!

The treadmill is a total mental battle for me. A few years ago, I got to where I could handle 6 miles or so pretty easy, but right now I have to self talk just so I won't stop the entire time.
Mentally exhausting lol and OMG, my gym is so flipping hot!
After I got my steady 3 mi run done I did a few hill repeats, four to be exact, just a minute each with 6 incline and I was feeling them Sunday morning.
HA! I wonder if I am ever going to get into shape.

Sunday 
Dew point 3 - 3.01 mi 0:31:20
Strides - 1.18 mi 0:13:13
Walking - 1.06 mi 0:20:06
Training #16 - 1:16:04
Walking and Talking - 3.40 mi 0:58:08
Sunday the humidity was tough and I was reminded I have zero desire for summer to show up.

3 very warm miles - I couldn't hang on for 3 more - I knew the heat would drain me.
 
I did a mile of strides on the way home for 4 miles total.  I love strides :)
Those quick bursts will make you feel super hero like and I find them to be very effective at fighting off the stiff feeling. You engage different muscle fibers during those speedy  25-30 seconds and it always seems to leave me feeling more energetic....and 90% of the time I walk my recovery. I have done them at the end of the run, but for me, there seems to be more benefit after I give my self a few cool down minutes and then begin.
There is no exact science or timed recoveries it is just off feel.
I could not wait to shower! It was a sweat fest!
Then I put more workout clothes on and went to the gym
After my hour session I showered and put on more fresh clothes and went to meet my run buddy for a walk in the park.
3 more (walking) miles and another shower...my laundry is out of control. 


I get A for showering this week!

6 runs - 22.9 miles

I had 3 pretty amazing runs in a row...Mon, Tues, Wednes, but all short in miles, so it surprised me how used up my legs felt from it.

I fell short getting my long run done (65 minutes) but it really doesn't bother me much. I am not trying to hit paces, just increase my overall fitness. Hopefully I can get my long run in this upcoming week :)  I haven't had a week this strong since December.
 
Actually there is more to tell but I don't want to drag this any longer. Thanks for stopping by!
I am linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly wrap! Join in the fun! Click here for more info


Tell me how your week went.
Did you get your cross-training done?
All your runs?
Ever have a PH balance problem?
Do you break up strength sessions or do all body work each time?
Do you know your sweet spot for eating and running?
Have you done any strides lately?
 
Take care,
Karen