Disclaimer: I received a Hydraquiver to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. I value authenticity & honesty; all options are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Last summer, I struggled to find a way to hydrate on my long runs. I had not found a way to successfully bring large amounts of water with me. I was looking for a solution, and I was introduced to Orange Mud. Being already familiar with their products, I was excited to try out the Hydraquiver. Orange Mud hydration packs are a game changer for hydration during a run. We have had a warm Spring here in the PNW and they Hydraquiver has made those warm runs much more pleasant. It is a simple solution to a problem many runners have: hydration. Want to know if the Hydraquiver is for you? Check out my video review below, my favorite Hydraquiver features and snag an Orange Mud discount code!
Orange Mud, once again, has thought of everything. The hydraquiver has many features that are much more meaningful if I show them to you versus explain. In the video below, I demonstrate all the things the hydraquiver can do.
How I Use It
My favorite way to use my hydraquiver is on runs, especially long ones. It is easy to carry my run fuel (dried fruit usually), electrolytes and water all in one place. I can stow my keys plus anything else I may need in the back pocket, and there is also a place for my phone. I take it on any run where I am going to need hydration. Now that it is getting warmer, this means I take it on all my shorter runs too. It’s the easiest way I have found to hydrate on my runs.
Curious how it compares to the Hydraquiver Vest Pack? Check out my comparison review.
Why I’m in love!
There are lots of reasons!
– very comfortable to wear. Sometimes I forget it’s there on long runs.
– fully adjustable
– doesn’t rub
– cute colors!
– easy to clean bottle, I love this!
– easy to fill & refill
They Hydraquiver solves your hydration problems on runs. It holds much more water than a hydration belt and doesn’t take up hand space like a handheld water bottle. No matter how far I run, it’s comfortable to wear and easy to use. It’s functional and stylish. You can’t ask for much more!
Disclaimer: I received an entry to Blooms to Brews as part of being a BibRave Pro. I value authenticity & honesty; all options are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
This year seems to be the year of half marathons for me, and I am NOT complaining. I am getting more comfortable with the 13.1 mile distance and my training right now is maintaining conditioning and fitness to run 13.1 miles. Because of this I have been able to run so many races this year so far and I am loving it! In previous years, Spring races were never an option for me because I wasn’t trained enough yet by this time of year. There are so many great Spring races worth running, and Blooms to Brews is one of them.
Disclaimer: I received a pair of CloudSurfers to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. I value authenticity & honesty; all options are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
What makes the perfect running shoe? For me, it’s comfort, function & style. I strongly believe that if you look good when you workout, you workout harder, so the shoes need to be cute. I also want a shoe that is going to work for me, not against me. I need the shoe to support me and make me a better runner, not just look good. I also don’t want a shoe I can feel; I want to forget I’m wearing it.
When I got the opportunity to do a Cloudsurfer review, I was really excited. It seemed like this shoe would be all those things: comfortable, stylish, & high-tech. The Cloudsurfer definitely delivered! I can’t wait to put more miles on these shoes.
The Cloudsurfer is one of the many shoes made my the company, On-Running. ‘On’ is a Swiss company that reinvented the cushioning in running shoes. All shoes made by On feature ‘Cloud Tech‘, which is a really unique technology that allows the shoes to work for you and cushion your run in ways that no other shoe can. Cloud tech allows runners to run with lighter effort and less pounding. Check this out:
1) land soft, push off hard
With cloud tech, you get a soft and cushioned landing, followed by an explosive and firm push off. Not a soft landing followed by a soft push off. This allows you to have a cushioned yet fast ride. The Cloudsurfers have as much cushion as a Hoka shoe, it is just presented in a different way.
2) both horizontal and vertical impact is cushioned
On-Running shoes are the only shoes that address horizontal impact, not just vertical impact. The outsole of the shoe is adaptive and can address many different strides.
3) speed board
The speed board in the shoe reduces foot slapping the ground. It rolls your foot forward in the natural motion and actually propels you forward. I really felt this when I was running. I felt propelled forward even when my legs were tired and didn’t want to go!
These Shoes Turn You ON!
There really is something to the name of these shoes. The brand is called “On-Running’ because these shoes turn the muscles in your legs and core ‘ON’. The technology in these shoes engages all the muscles that should be doing the work when running. The postural muscles, the hamstrings, the glutes, they all get turned ON! You literally cannot heel strike in the Cloudsurfer! This is good because we want our leg muscles to stabilize us, not the cushion in a shoe.
Why I’m in Love with On-Running Shoes
The reason I started with all the detailed info is because these shoes are much more than just looking cool. These high-tech, light weight, performance running shoes are the bomb.com!
I was skeptical at first that the ‘bubbles’ on the bottom of the shoe really did more than just make the shoes look cool. They do add a ‘cool’ factor to your runs, but they also do so much more than that! The cushion is amazing, the response is great, and they really do propel you forward and engage the muscles for proper running form.
You can feel good about the fact that there is a lot of research and technology behind the way these shoes are designed. It’s not just a bunch of hype, these shoes are the real deal and make me a better runner.
How I Use Them
I have taken this shoe on every different kind of run. I have worn them on long runs, shorter training runs, slow runs and fast runs. I also broke the cardinal running rule and tried something new on race day. In my defense, I had worn them on at least one run prior. Breaking the rule paid off though, I ran the race much faster than last year and PR’d my 10K distance!
YAY or NAY?
YAY!!! I highly recommend locating a running store near you and at least trying a pair on. (no pun intended!) Everyone is unique and requires a different type of running shoe. On-Running makes several different kinds of shoes and there is something for everyone. The cushioning and technology in these shoes is amazing. I will certainly be buying another pair. They not only feel great, they also improve my performance and make me a better runner.
Disclaimer: I received a pair of Vectr socks to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. I value authenticity & honesty; all opinions are my own. 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 some time, you know that since I started running, I’ve fallen in love with 2XU. It all started when my sports doctor recommended a pair of 2XU compression tights. Since then, my collection of compression gear has grown. Compression is a HOT topic in the running world. There are many benefits of compression, and it’s a tool that I like to use both on runs and in recovery.
My most recent addition to my compression collection are the performance run calf sleeves and vectr socks from 2XU.
The great thing about compression calf sleeves vs full compression socks is that you can wear your favorite running sock with them. The kind of running socks you wear can literally make or break your run!
Bad socks = blisters, rubbing and painful miles. Good socks = blissful miles! I don’t want to feel my socks on my run. The best sock is one you forget you are wearing, and the vectr sock is exactly that!
To find the best sock, look for one with strategic padding and high quality material. The vectr socks feature X-LOCK technology that reduces friction which reduces the chance of blisters. The X-LOCK also supports the arch of your foot and ankle for impact cushioning.
You will notice there is a specific sock for the right and left foot – this is not because you don’t know how to put socks on. Each sock has specific padding and fit for the corresponding foot.
The vectr socks are breathable (no stinky feet here!) and lightweight making them perfect for any season of running. They are also cute & come in fun colors (major plus in my book)!
I pair my 2XU vectr socks with the performance calf sleeves. They go together like peanut butter and jelly!Could they be worn separately? Yes, but I wear them together. This allows me to get all the compression benefits from the sleeves, like faster muscle warm up & reduced muscle soreness, and the supreme comfort of the vectr socks.
The compression sleeves are also perfect for all seasons. They are made from a PWX compression fabric that is breathable & sweat wicking. They feature a seamless construction for maximum comfort and come in all different colors from neutrals to brights.
How I use them
Compression sleeves I use mainly on runs or during some sort of activity. I especially like to use them when my muscles are tired or sore. The vectr socks are great on runs too. The padding and cushioning makes for some really comfortable miles.
This combo can also be worn for recovery purposes. If my legs feel tired in the morning, I will put these on to get my legs psyched up for a run later. I also will leave them on for a little bit post run!
Wearing 2XU gear may induce jumping on runs 😛
Why I’m in love!
All my 2XU gear is extremely comfortable and really helps with my performance. That is what they are all about: human performance multiplied.
They compression sleeves and vectr socks are no exception. They are so comfortable I forget I am wearing them and they make my muscles and feet happy. These are an awesome addition to my compression collection and a great tool to have for long runs & recovery.
Get 15% off 2XU
Want to grab some vectr socks and compression sleeves for yourself? Use the discount code TRAIN15for 15% off! Valid on full price products only. Expires April 30, 2016. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other coupon or offer.
Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hot Chocolate race as part of being a BibRave Pro. All opinions are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Running + chocolate sounds like a winning combo right?! IT IS! And that is exactly what you get at a Hot Chocolate run. Whether you run the 5K or the 15K distance, there is great swag, tons of chocolate and lots of fun to be had!
I was really looking forward to this race. I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in Seattle last year for the first time and had so much fun I could not wait to go back this year. It’s a unique race and a fun experience.
Andy ran the race with me this year, so we went to the expo on Saturday. I met up with Carleeh and we had a ton of fun checking out the expo booths, busting out yoga poses and eating all the chocolate. 2XU, my favorite compression brand, is an official Hot Chocolate race partner this year. They had tons of 2XU gear at the expo. Here are some compression calf sleeves with the Hot Chocolate logo!
Since the expo is at the Seattle Center, if you have the time, you can make a day in Seattle out of it. Andy and I went over to the EMP (Experience Music Project) after to check out some exhibits and grabbed a bite to eat.
The Hot Chocolate has two different race distances, the 5K and 15K. The 5K starts an hour before the 15K; you get rewarded with more sleep for running the longer distance. 😀 The start area, corrals and gear check is really organized, so it makes race morning a breeze.
I really appreciate that the Hot Chocolate has corral starts. With so many people running, it if weren’t for the corrals, the start line would be a mess. Based on my time in last years race, they placed me in the “A” corral, the first to start! I don’t feel like I run super fast, but being in the first corral made me feel fast!
The weather was crazy. Before the race it was partly sunny and windy, then it decided to start raining. Then it stopped and got sunny again once the race started. A few miles in, a downpour started, and then it stopped. It kept cycling thru sun, wind and rain all day.
I don’t know what it was about this years race, but the miles flew by! Before I knew it, I was already half way thru the course. Maybe it was because I was familiar with the course from running last year. Or maybe it was because I have been running a lot more and my training is paying off. Or maybe it was new ON Running Cloudsurfers.
Whatever it was, I was having one of the best races ever! I went into this run with zero expectations. I hoped to run at least one second faster than last year, and halfway thru the race it was going much better than last year.
There worst part of the Seattle Hot Chocolate race is miles 4.5 to 6.2. You are running up a slow and steady incline that is a steep enough grade to be hard and you just want it to end. Once you reach the switchback, you get a nice downhill beak. I felt stronger than last year, but this part of the race is just plain hard. You are definitely rewarded for the challenge though with some great views, so it makes the climb worth it.
Once you pass the 10K mark, the last 5K goes by really quick. I don’t know if it’s because you are that much closer to chocolate or because the hardest part of the course is over. There are two more small hills, but they are manageable. You definitely earn your chocolate!
I crossed the finish line, got the super cool medal, and grabbed a few bottles of water in the finishers chute.
Andy finished shortly after I did, but unfortunately I couldn’t get out of the finishers area fast enough to see him in time.
The finisher mug is one of the best parts of the race. The chocolate fondue is DELICIOUS, I could just drink it. Last year I wasn’t a fan of the hot chocolate, but this year it was soooo good! It started raining when we got our mugs, so we took some quick pics and then went to wait for our friends to finish under cover. The chocolate was the best way to celebrate my amazing race. I set a new 10K PR and was able to maintain an 8:41/mile pace the whole race. I wasn’t sure I was capable of that, especially with all the hills, but I did it! This makes me that much more excited for the race season that is to come!
I highly recommend this race. Everything was very well organized from gear check to packet pick up to aid stations to the finish area. It is a quality race with great swag that both experienced and novice runners will enjoy. The chocolate aspect gets people excited and is a fun way to convince your friends to run or walk with you.
Are you running a Hot Chocolate 5K or 15K soon? These races are a LOT of fun! Here is everything you need to know to have a great time. The details provided here is based off information provided from the organizers at Ram Racing and my previous Hot Chocolate race experiences.
The organizers of the Hot Chocolate race series, Ram Racing, are really great about pre-race communication. As the race date gets closer, they will email event specific announcements and information to you, along with your registration confirmation, so be on the look out for those emails.
Hot Chocolate is a little different in that they do not allow you do pick up your packet on the day of the race. It makes race morning much smoother, but requires that you plan ahead. This is the norm for a lot of longer races, but not for shorter distances like the 5K. The only way around this is select “mail my packet” when you are registering and they will mail your packet to you a week before the race.
Visiting the race expo is a lot of fun. One of my favorite things is checking out new running gear & great discounts from some of the vendors. Even those not running can take advantage of this! The Hot Chocolate expos are particularly fun because there is chocolate!!! You can get your chocolate fix started early. Last year they also had an area where you could make cheer signs too which was a lot of fun.
Once you get to the expo, in order to pick up your race bib and swag bag, you must have your registration confirmation. This is emailed to you a few days before the event. A friend can pick up your bib/swag bag for you if they have a copy of your registration confirmation.
Here are the details for the expo in Seattle:
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
305 Harrison St, Seattle, Washington 98109
Friday, March 4th, 2016 – 12pm to 6pm
Saturday, March 5th, 2016 – 9am to 5pm
There are separate start times for the 5K and the 15K. Be sure to double check what time your race starts and keep this in mind if you are traveling with someone running a different distance.
As with any race, plan on arriving early. The Hot Chocolate race is a corral start, so you will need time to park, walk to the start area and find your corral.
The times for the Seattle race are as follows:
5K – 6:45am
15K – 7:55am
In Seattle, the race starts in the Seattle Center. There is parking close (see below) but you still have to walk a ways to the start area, so be sure to give enough time for that.
This information is specific to Seattle. Ram Racing does a great job at providing this information for all their race locations. Visit www.hotchocolate15k.com for parking information specific to your race. They will most likely send you an email before the race with this information as well.
From RAM Racing:The Mercer St exit both Northbound and Southbound will be highly congested. (they were VERY congested last year, almost a complete stop, so much so I thought I might miss the start line) Consider he following alternatives:
Southbound – Pass the Mercer Street exit and exit at Exit 166 (Stewart St. / Denny Way) and approach Seattle Center via Denny Way or exit at Exit 167 (Union St) and approach Seattle Center northbound through downtown.
Northbound – Exit the freeway prior to Mercer Street and exit at Exit 164A (Dearborn St. / James St. / Madison St.) or Exit 165 (Seneca St.) and approach Seattle Center through downtown.
Parking Garage:Race day parking at Seattle Center will be available at the Mercer Street Parking Garage, the 5th Avenue North Parking Garage and the 1st Avenue North Parking Garage. Parking will be $15 per car. There are numerous other parking options in the area. Here’s a map of additional garages.City parking is also available on the streets, just be sure to check all signage, I got a ticket last time 🙁
The signature chocolate fondue that you get when you complete the race is what Hot Chocolate is famous for! Guess what? You don’t have to wait until the end of the race to start enjoying chocolate! There are chocolate/sweet stations on the course. In the past there have been tootsie rolls and chocolate chips. This year they have added marshmallows! There will be plenty of aid stations on course as well stocked with water and sports drink. There will be 1 on the 5k course, and 4 on the 15k course.
RAM Racing uses a really nice timing system for both race distances. There is no chip to put on your shoe, all the timing is done via your bib, so make sure you are wearing it correctly and that it is visible. Thru this timing system, you friends and family can sign up to get updates while you run. Whether they are meeting you at the finish line, or keeping track via their warm bed, these updates are great to keep people in the loop.
There is an option for them to get free updates via Facebook, Twitter or text message as you cross specific points on the course. All you have to do is set it up:
• Visit www.hotchocolate15k.com/seattle/tracking
• Select the runners you would like to receive updates on and how (Facebook, Twitter, or text)
• Expect updates on race day!
It’s super easy and a great way for people to cheer you on from afar or to make sure you can meet up with people after the race.
That’s it!! All that’s left to do is run for the chocolate!!!! I’ll see you at the finish line!
Disclaimer: I received Luvo meals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. As always, all opinions are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Have you ever had a to-do list that was so long you couldn’t finish everything even if you didn’t sleep? Been so busy that eating is the lowest priority? Opened your fridge and realized you forgot to go to the grocery store? Got home from a workout & been so hungry you eat half a jar of peanut butter? Or had such a long day that cooking is the last thing you want to do?
I’ve experienced all of those. Every single one. I have learned a few different techniques to make sure I am able to eat nutritious food no matter how busy I am. I’m sharing one of those techniques with you today.
Nutrition is something I am really passionate about. What you eat has a huge impact on how your body works. Whether you want to loose weight or not, what you eat matters. The saying ‘you are what you eat’ is true. Eat junk and your body is gonna perform and feel like junk. I have not always eaten the way I eat now. I never realized how horrible unhealthy food was making me feel until I cleaned up my diet. If weight loss is your goal, food has a huge impact on that too. You cannot outwork a bad diet, it eventually catches up to you.
So, what do I do?
I need to eat healthy and fuel my body right with good nutrition so I can be a better runner, a better wife, and a better business owner, BUT I never have enough time during the day to get stuff done. What do I do? One of my favorite strategies to deal with this is quick & easy staple foods along with frozen meals.
Let me start by saying that I am not talking about just any old frozen meal. You need to choose wisely. There are only a few brands I will eat and stock my freezer with. While frozen meals may not be as healthy as a homemade meal, certain ones are much healthier than many other ‘quick’ options, such as fast food. Nothing beats home cookin’, but unfortunately we don’t always have time for that.
Last year at Blogfest, this was actually a topic that was discussed by a leading nutritionist, Dr. Chris Mohr PHD. He discussed protein needs and different ways to fuel our body quickly. He mentioned frozen meals as a healthier option to fast food in his presentation. I was excited because this was already a strategy I used. Some months I barely ever eat a frozen meal, but when I am busy or traveling a lot, they are lifesavers. Again, not all frozen meals are created equal so pay attention to the ingredients and nutrition facts.
One of the only brands of frozen meals that you will find in our freezer is Luvo. I had found a Luvo meal in the frozen section at QFC (part of the Kroger chain) and I decided to give it a try. It didn’t even taste like a frozen meal! So when I got the opportunity to try some additional Luvo meals thru BibRave, I was so excited!! It was perfect timing too because I had an empty fridge + the busiest week catching up after the Princess Half Marathon.
The reason I liked Luvo over other brands I have tried is because the ingredient list wasn’t super long or full of crazy stuff, it had a lot of protein, and it was actually GOOD. I did NOT feel like l was eating a frozen meal at all.
Luvo makes amazing, healthy, frozen meals with no artificial stuff. No preservatives, no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. They also use meats and poultry that is hormone and antibiotic free! I love this about them because I want to eat REAL food, not artificial crap.
The way you cook your Luvo meal is really unique. It comes in a steam bag. You cook it in the bag, then carefully dump it onto your plate. Not only does this cooking method make the food last amazing, you also get to eat it off your own plate and it looks like a chef plated it! I donno about you, but I find it MUCH more satisfying to eat beautiful food.
Luvo makes breakfast foods (my all time fav), entrees & burritos. They do have gluten free options too! My favorites are the frittata (breakfast item) and the chicken chili verde. The only one that was not gluten free was the orange mango chicken, so Andy got to enjoy that one.
Bonus: they are quick so hangry episodes are less likely to occur. 😉 Another bonus: they are less expensive than a restaurant meal or a stop at a drive thru!
These are some of the best frozen meals I have eaten. The reason this is one of the only brands you will find in my freezer is because they are healthy, not full of artificial preservatives and food that I feel good about eating. Of course it is not perfect, but it is a lot better than other fast food options or eating half the peanut butter jar (that has really happened).
Keep a few healthy frozen meals in your freezer for days you are short on time, super hangry or don’t have time to make your lunch, and you will always have something to grab!