Disclaimer: I received a Amphipod Handheld 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!
If you have been reading my blog for sometime, you know that somehow I managed to survive half marathon training last summer without a good hydration strategy. I tried a hydration belt & didn’t like the bounce. I desperately wanted to use a handheld water bottle, but I didn’t like the feel for long distances. This winter, I found hydration packs, which I love; however sometimes you don’t need a pack, but you still want to bring water on your runs. Enter Amphipod Hydraform – the first handheld that I love!
The Amphipod hydraform is the first handheld water bottle that I like to use. The other handheld water bottles that I tried were awkward and uncomfortable to carry and didn’t have any storage. The Amphipod bottles are ergonomically shaped, which makes it very comfortable to carry for short to long distances. The design allows it to fit better in your hand and the thumb/hand strap is very comfortable. You won’t get a hand cramp carrying this bottle!
The water bottle cover has a huge pocket that holds my iPhone 6 with enough room for keys, a snack & some tissue. I tried putting a iPhone 6 Plus in the pocket and it fit too! I love all the storage the bottle has. You can take this on your run and not have to bring anything else with you. I love that I can take this water bottle with me & leave my running belt at home. I stay hydrated & can carry all my running essentials.
How I use it
I have taken this water bottle with me on short 3 mile runs, middle distance 5 to 7 mile runs, and I even ran a half marathon with it!
It was so pleasant to use during the half. I carried fuel, my phone, keys & Ultima (electrolyte powder) along with my ID and some cash. So convenient and easy! I was glad I had the handheld with me that race as there were not as many aid stations as I would have liked.
Why I’m in love!
Extremely comfortable to hold & run with
Insulated sleeve, keeps water colder longer
Huge, expandable pocket to hold phone and other running necessities
Squeeze & squirt cap makes for easy drinking while running! No need to open or close the bottle to get a drink.
Very easy to carry despite size & storage. Holds 20oz of H20!
BPA free bottle (no chemicals leaching into water)
Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
Wide opening on bottle for easy filling + adding ice
Lots of storage!
BONUS: they are made in Seattle!!!
Hands down, this is the best handheld water bottle I have ever used. There is enough room for storage & plenty of water.
Where to Buy
Amphipod makes several different sizes of handheld water bottles. The one that I have is the Hydraform Ergo-Lite Ultra. It holds 20oz of water and has the extra large pocket. They also make a 16oz bottle – the pocket is still supposed to be able to hold a iPhone 6.
They have plenty of other water bottle options available on their website as well. Check them out HERE or use the store locator to find them at a running store near you!
Disclaimer: I received Luvo meals 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!
My schedule has been CRAZY lately. I am not the kind of person that prides themselves on being busy. However, there are seasons of hustle, and right now is one of them. Between training clients at the gym, working with online training clients, prepping to teach stand up paddle board classes this summer (more on that later), working some events for Quest & training for the marathon this weekend… life has been crazy!
I am ready for it to settle down a bit. The good news is, I really enjoy all the things I’m doing, so while things get hectic at times, it’s fun. One thing that can be challenging whether you are training for a marathon/half marathon or juggling a busy schedule at work is healthy eating and good nutrition. When you are pressed for time, cooking and preparing a healthy meal can easily fall to the bottom of the list.
One thing that works very well is preparing a bunch of food ahead of time – meal prep style. Cook a bunch of chicken breasts, bake some fish, make some quinoa & steam veggies. Then you throw it on a plate & warm it up for a quick meal. I love doing that, it makes lunch and dinner a breeze. However, I know that sometimes it is hard to find the time to prep food ahead of time. My back up plan for those types of situations is Luvo frozen meals. Luvo has literally saved me this last week! I have been able to maintain my nutrition and marathon training even during one of my busiest weeks. All I have to do is open the freezer & I have dinner!
Not only are they delicious, they are also the healthiest frozen meal I have ever found. Many of them have at least 20g of protein & everything is cooked/steamed in a pouch. These do not taste like a frozen meal! When you transfer it from the pouch to your plate, it looks like a professionally plated meal. Who doesn’t love eating beautiful food?!
Most of the meals take 5-6 minutes to cook. 5 microwave minutes can feel like an eternity when you are hungry haha! Unless I have ‘meal prepped’ some, I cannot make dinner in 5 minutes. With Luvo, you have a quick and healthy meal that you didn’t have to prep. Such a lifesaver! What more can you ask for?
I always have a few of these in my freezer so when life is crazy by choice or because of something that is out of my control, I know I can maintain my healthy eating habits. These are also great to curb post run ‘hanger’!! Just pop it in the microwave and within 6 minutes you are chowing down on a gourmet meal.
Due to my allergy, all the entrees I tried are gluten free, however not all Luvo meals are. The gluten free ones are clearly labeled on the box, so be sure to check for that if you have an allergy.
There can be some shady things in the frozen aisle, but Luvo is in a league of it’s own. They use real, quality ingredients, don’t add preservatives or anything fake, and focus on making nutritious meals. Use the store finder to see where you can find Luvo meals near you.
Luvo is a stand up company that makes delicious food with great nutrition. Since I have had the chance to work with them, I have seen what an amazing company they are. They care about where food comes from and won’t sacrifice quality or do anything that harms the environment. I love it when I find a company like Luvo that you feel good supporting and they make amazing products!
This Saturday, I am running my first FULL marathon. 26.2 miles. This was not a last minute decision, I have been planning on doing this for some time. If you follow me on social media, you have noticed I’ve been running longer distances and more days a week. I have mentioned it a few times, but I never really formally announced it. I’m not sure why I wasn’t shouting it from the rooftops. I am excited about it, but I think I avoiding announcing it because I was worried that I might not succeed. I wanted to see how the training went before making it official. I also wanted to keep in mind the real reason I am running this race. I’m doing this for myself, not for anyone else. I am all for sharing goals on social media & using it for accountability, but I also think that sometimes it can lead to forgetting why you are doing something. So, it’s official – on Saturday we RUN!
Why Run a Marathon?
I wanted to run a marathon to prove to myself that I CAN run a marathon. I wanted to challenge myself. I had gotten really comfortable with the half marathon distance, and decided that 2016 was going to be the year a ran a marathon. I may not run another full marathon after this, but I need to at least try it and see how it goes.
The marathon is this coming weekend, 26.2 miles of rockin’ miles at Rock N Roll Seattle. I choose Seattle for a few reasons. First, I think it would be extra awesome to run my first whole marathon in Seattle. Second, I will be running this race with a TON of my friends. Lots of them are running the half marathon, but running with amigos makes the experience that much better.
How is Training Going?
Training has been going okay! There have been a lot of fun races and a few grueling training runs along the way. Honestly, the long runs are what I was dreading the most. The thought of running anything over 15 miles is intimidating, but they have not been that bad. The worst part about them is how time consuming they are. In half marathon training the most you run on a weekend is 10 miles. Taking 2-3 hours to run on a weekend can be harder to schedule than you might think.
Unfortunately I have skipped a few runs along the way due to trips or other plans. I tried to prioritize running as much as I could. I feel like I’m going into this marathon prepared enough to finish, but not prepared enough to run it strong the whole way. I feel okay about it, but I know I could be more prepared.
If I run another marathon, I want to find a plan that allows for more cross training and other workouts besides running. I do love to run, but lately I feel like that is ALL I have been doing. I like more variety in my training, it feels more well rounded & my body is happy. Don’t get me wrong, I love to run and have enjoyed this marathon training journey, but I’m ready to run a little bit less and have more time for the other workouts that I love.
Race Day Goals
I have two goals for race day. The first goal, which I am 99.9% sure is going to happen, is to finish the marathon. I feel ready to do this! The second goal, which I am less confident about, is to finish in 4 hours and 30 minutes. I am not sure that I’ll be able to maintain that pace, we will see how things go on race day.
Running predictions are tricky; so many factors go into how things pan out on race day. When I did my 20 mile training run, I took plenty of walking breaks and maintained about a 10 minute pace per mile. My legs felt like they were going to fall off at the end, but overall it wasn’t so bad. However, this last weekend, by the end of the half marathon I couldn’t imagine running 13.1 more miles.
So, honestly I have no idea how things are going to go on race day. All I know is I’m nervous, excited and ready to ROCK! This week I will be sharing more about the marathon, like some must have accessories and the playlist I plan to use. Stay tuned for those posts & let’s connect on social media as I’ll be posting updates there first!
Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the North Olympic Discovery 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!
As I have mentioned before, June is a super busy race month for me. The North Olympic Discovery half marathon kicked everything off with a bang. The race takes place in Port Angeles, WA which is about a 2.5-3 hour drive from Seattle. I had a busy weekend with a baby shower and tickets to a soccer game on Saturday, so originally I thought I would drive over on Saturday night. I procrastinated on getting a hotel, and then looked into the drive times and found out that in the early morning it only takes about 2 hours to get there. So I decided to wake up (5:30am) and drive over on race morning. I was really looking forward to this race, and it did not disappoint!!
the start line
This course is a point to point, so you do not start at the finish line. They had options to park at start or park and finish and get shuttled to the start line. I choose the latter. Since we arrived race morning, I did not get to attend the race expo. Bibs would be available for pick up at the corresponding start line. I arrived at the half marathon start and got my bib with zero problems. If you picked up your bib on race day, they gave you your shirt at the finish line. I loved that because then you didn’t have to find a place to stow your shirt while running!
I ran into Emily, a fellow BibRave Pro, and we chatted it up before the half started. It was so great to meet her! Check out her recap here.
There were no corrals or waves with this race, however there were pacers so you could line up with them if you wished.
I was very excited about this course, and it did not disappoint. You run along the North Olympic Discovery Trail (hence the name of the race) which is beautiful! Despite it being a trail and the race not having corrals, there was no congestion on the course. Because it is point to point, the organizers have worked it out perfectly so that everyone has enough room from the marathoners to the 5K runners.
The trail is very scenic and beautiful to run on. It is paved, so you get the feel of a trail run with the surroundings, but not the terrain. You run past fields, over bridges and thru forests.
You get views of the mountains and then of the water. It is so beautiful, it really lives up to it’s reputation!
I looked at the elevation chart and knew there would be some hills, but I have to say I was not expecting them to be so intense. They are fairly steep which is good news and bad news. Good news because they are over quickly, bad news because they are so steep!
Sunday was also an uncharacteristically hot day in Washington. When we started the race at 8:30am, it was already in the 60s. While I was on the course it said it was 70, but it felt hotter. The temps just kept going up. Thankfully there was a lot of shade on the course and breezes along the way, but the heat made the hills more difficult and slowed my pace down.
Thankfully they were prepared and had plenty of COLD water along the course. They even had some damp towels and people with spray bottles so you could cool off. The aid stations were the best of any race I have run. Each had a theme and very enthusiastic volunteers. My favorites were the Star Wars stations. It made for a lot of fun along the course and a few great photo opps. I had never seen this done at a race before & I loved it!
Despite the heat and the hills, I really enjoyed the course. There was tons of community support & spectators. The scenery was beautiful and the race organizers paid a ton of attention to details. Great aid stations, each mile was clearly marked, sidewalk chalk enragement on the pavement & plenty of port-a-potties!
Crossing the finish line was so glorious. The ocean was to my right and the smell of salt water was in the air. I got my medal and had my own personal volunteer that escorted me to get water, asked if I needed medical attention and then direct me to the post race snacks. At first I thought I was in way which is why they were escorting me around, like “let’s get this girl moving” (haha) but it turns out they do it for everyone that crosses the finish line. How cool is that!? Anything you need, they will get for you. Took me a minute to figure that out while I was catching my breath haha. It was very nice, like finish line valet!
Now onto the post race snacks…. OMG YOU GUYS – they had a full on buffet. I didn’t have enough hands for what was about to come at me!!! There was tons of cut fruit, muffins, croissants, chips and salsa, yogurt parfaits, yogurt, warm soup, NUTELLA, popsicles and tons of beverages. They had lemonade, coffee, iced tea, water bottles, vitamin water & chocolate milk. I was so thankful as I was hungry and it helped replenish after the 13 miles.
One last thing…
The age group awards for this race are BEAUTIFUL. How do I know? There were awards for the top 3 in each age group for each distance. While I didn’t do horrible in my age group, I didn’t place in the top 3. However, Andy did!!! (go figure) He ran the 5K and finished 6th overall and first in his age group. I honestly don’t know how the guy does it. I super super proud of him, but can’t help but be a lil jealous.
Run it OR Skip it?
RUN IT! Well organized. BEAUTIFUL course. Finish line buffet. 😉 Great swag. PNW gorgeous-ness. Just a short trip from Seattle. What else could you ask for? Definitely a must run race.
Disclaimer: I received a pair of XX2i Hawaii1 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!
The sun is shining, warmer temps, longer days… summer is here! I am SO happy because summer is my favorite part of the year. I love to run in the sunshine, so you may be surprised to know that I never had a pair of ‘athletic’ sunglasses. I never felt like I needed them until recently, so when I was offered the opportunity to test out the Hawaii1 sunglasses from XX2i, I was very excited!
Before, I always ran in my regular shades. I never had a problem; however the shades were not designed for running. You can get away with regular sunglasses on shorter runs and even on longer runs too, but there is definitely a difference we you use sport shades. The warmer it is the more I sweat, and my sunglasses started to slip. On really bright days, I found myself squinting even with sunglasses on. Sport shades are made with all these things in mind and using them on long runs has been really great.
I was really excited to try out the newest model of sport shades, the XX2i Hawaii1 model as this company is one of the best in the industry! The frame is carbon fiber, which means it’s super light weight, and the lenses are polarized with 8K optics. This makes for super crisp vision even on the brightest days. They are extremely lightweight and easily adjustable, which means they fit any face shape and work for lots of different activities.
See it in Action
I used these sunglasses on short and long runs. I also used them for reading in the sun and they worked great! I loved that I could easily pull them back on top of my head if it got cloudy and I didn’t need them.
Pros & Cons
easy to adjust to fit your face
flexible frame + nose piece
nice case & cleaning cloth included
amazing warranty and guarantee!
With the frame being so light weight and flexible, you almost forget you are wearing them & there is no pinching behind the ears. Zero headaches with these sunglasses!
Took me a while to get adjustment right for my face
When these arrived, I was seeing the bottom of the lens & I didn’t like that. At first I thought the lenses were smaller then what I was used to, but it turned out I just had not adjusted the nose pads correctly. It took me a few tries, but I finally found a fit that worked. Thankfully these have an adjustable nose piece, so you can adjust according to your face shape & preference.
Wanna pick up some XX2i shades of your own? Use code XX2irocks for 50% off!! They have sport shades and casual shades + an AWESOME guarantee & return policy so you can feel good about purchasing from them. (see below – it’s the best I’ve ever seen!!)
WARRANTY: Lifetime Warranty! No questions asked, you break or scratch them, send them back to be replaced for a nominal shipping and handling fee! RETURN POLICY: 365 Days! We know it may take some time to try on and get comfortable with a pair of sunglasses bought online so that’s why we give you a full year to do so!
Disclaimer: I received a swag kit + free entry to The Color Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. I value authenticity and honesty, all opinions are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to review and write race reviews!
You know you’re a runner when… you jump at a chance to run a race! As you may recall, my Spring race schedule is really busy in April and June, but I didn’t have any races planned in May. There were several races I was interested in, but hadn’t committed. Now that’s changed and this weekend I will be running The Color Run in Seattle!
This will be my first time participating in The Color Run. While I love to run, the idea of getting covered in colored powder didn’t really appeal to me. I was really excited about this years theme, Tropi-Color, and was feeling adventurous, so I decided to sign up. I love pineapples and everything tropical & it sounds like Color Run is bringing the vacation to me! On the Tropicolor course we will be bathed in a tropical array of colors and delicious island scents as we run through the shade of palm trees, arches, and island-style music. I CANNOT WAIT!
Plus my friend, Carleeh, always talked positively about the Color Run the last few years, so why not run it! I am really excited to share my race day experience with you!
The Color Run
If you are not familiar with The Color Run, it’s a run that is less about your running time and more about having the time of your life! The Color Run is a 5K with only two ‘rules’:1)wear white at the starting line. 2) Finish plastered in color!
After finishing the race, the fun continues with an unforgettable Finish Festival with music, dancing and massive color throws, which create millions of vivid color combinations. Sounds like an awesome post-5k party!
Run Baltimore + Discount Code
The Color Run has events ALL over the country! The next one is coming up in Baltimore, where I just was last weekend!
It is taking place at the famous Camden Yard Sports Complex. If you are in the Baltimore or East Coast area, check The Color Run out! Get $5 off registration using code BRP16.
Next Monday, I’ll be sharing my Color Run race recap & picking a giveaway winner. Be sure to enter the giveaway by commenting below for your chance to win your own Color Run swag pack. Sign up to run a race today and if you win the swag pack, you will have even more Color Run gear to sport at the race!
Does the Color Run come to your city? Have you ever run it?
The Orange Mudhydraquiver and hydraquiver vest packsound very similar. Because of their name, it sounds like almost the same pack. While these packs are similar, they are very different. Like me, many people are curious as to how these packs compare and which one is right for them. Since I own both and have used both packs on many runs, I decided to compare them both and show you the similarities and differences. Check out my comparison video, side by side photos and my personal opinion on the best use for each pack below. By the end of this post, you can decide for yourself which one is best for you!
Both packs serve the same purpose, easy to use hydration on a run. They share a lot of qualities: comfortable, innovative & adjustable. Figuring out which pack is right for you has a lot to do with what you need, the fit you find comfortable, the distance(s) you run and personal preference.
Deciding between the Hydraquiver and the Hydraquiver Vest Pack?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!
Watch my comparison video below
You can see a separate review/video review for each pack.
In my personal opinion, the Vest Pack is great for really long distances or if you want to keep your essentials within arms reach. It is also the better choice if you want a ton of storage. If you don’t want a pack that takes up so much surface area on your body or you don’t like the feel of a chest strap, then the Hydraquiver is for you. The Hydraquiver offers plenty of storage, but the Vest Pack has even more with four pockets up front and pocket in the back.
If you need more water on runs, both the packs come in ‘double barrel’ which means they hold two water bottles. On every pack, Orange Mud has made sure the weight of the water bottle(s) is balanced and easy to carry.
Both packs are made very well. You can be sure that any Orange Mud product will serve you will and be worth what you pay for it.
Can’t decide? You could buy both and use them on difference occasions or interchangeably.