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My Feet Earned This!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOFOS 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!

Since I started running, when I go get a pedicure, someone almost always makes a comment about how beat up my feet are. I don’t think my feet look that bad, but I do get the occasional blister or bruised toenail & I get more calluses than an average person. #RUNNERPROBLEMS. When you are logging #allthemiles, it can take a toll of your feet – not only aesthetically on the outside but also on the inside. Thanks to OOFOS, your feet have some help to recover from a hard workout too. 

Post race recovery usually includes compression, self miofascial release, or even take an ice bath. None of these techniques, however, address one of the body parts that may need some attention: your feet! No matter how comfortable your running shoes are, after a long run or race, your feet need some relief. I remember when I finished my first marathon, my feet felt like they weighed 100 pounds. I couldn’t wait to get my running shoes off!

My Feet Earned This – OOFOS Sandals

I usually just bring a pair of flip flops with me to change into post race.  Now that I have a pair of OOFOS sport sandals, I make sure to bring my OOFOS instead of my everyday flip flops. Why?? Because OOFOS are so much more comfortable! They have special cushion that absorbs impact and make your feet feel AHHHMAZING! It is literally like walking on air, especially after a long run. See what I am talking about in this 53 second video: 

How I use my OOFOS Sandals

While OOFOS sandals feel amazing post run, they are also great for everyday use. Since it is summer, I try to be in flip flops as much as possible. I have worn my OOFOS to take my dog on a evening walk.

 I have worn them out and about post run. 


I have even used them to go to the lake and stand up paddling board. 

Fun Fact: My mom tried my OOFOS on and liked them so much she almost didn’t give them back to me. Now I know what to get her for her birthday!! LOL.

OOFOS are extremely versatile and not to mention comfortable. These sandals are biomechanically engineered to alleviate foot stress and soreness… how cool is that?! 

Interested in learning more?

They have men’s and women’s styles, lots of fun colors and you can even choose between a slip-on and a flip flop. Check out OOFOS Sport Sandal (the one I have). I also really love the OOlala Sandal.

I am thankful to have OOFOS as another way to help me bounce back into my next workout quicker and keep my feet a little happier! 

Want to Run on Clouds? Meet the CloudSurfer

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.
 
cloudsurfer review
 
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.  
 
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The Cloudsurfer 

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.IMG_3066
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. Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 3.09.22 PM
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! IMG_2710
 

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 β€˜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. on running 2
 

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! IMG_3078

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. IMG_3058

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. on running 3

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.IMG_3081 IMG_2924 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!  on running 1

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. FullSizeRender-1

Why I Love My Newest Gear from 2XU [Review + Discount]

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. 

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loving the 2XU booth at the Hot Chocolate expo this year. Also saw them at the runDisney expo!

My most recent addition to my compression collection are the  performance run calf sleeves and vectr socks from 2XU. IMG_2562

Vectr Socks

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. IMG_2561The 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. IMG_3129

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)!

Compression Sleeves

I pair my 2XU vectr socks with the performance calf sleeves. They go together like peanut butter and jelly!IMG_3116IMG_2709Could 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. FullSizeRender

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. IMG_2577

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. IMG_2968

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! 
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Wearing 2XU gear may induce jumping on runs πŸ˜› 

2xu jump

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. 
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Get 15% off 2XU 

Want to grab some vectr socks and compression sleeves for yourself? Use the discount code TRAIN15 for 15% off!
Valid on full price products only. Expires April 30, 2016. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other coupon or offer. 

How to Keep You Legs Warm on Winter Runs

Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU Hyoptik tights 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!

It’s January and I’m still running outside. Last year I took the winter months ‘off’ of running because I couldn’t fathom the idea of running in the cold, wind & rain. Sure, I live in the PNW, so our weather is not as extreme as some other areas of the USA, but it is certainly not ideal running weather. This year I signed up for a few winter races, so I am training outdoors. Like I mentioned last week, winter running conditions can be tough, but thankfully there are a lot of great products to make it more tolerable. IMG_1024

I have long legs and I am always cold, so finding a way to keep my legs warm in cold temps was a must. A pair of regular leggings just wasn’t cutting it, so when I was introduced to the 2XU hyoptik  thermal compression tights, they became another one of my winter running must-haves. Not only do you get all the benefits of a compression tight, these thermal tights are lined with fleece so they keep you nice and warm. The fleece is not bulky or hot, they feel like other leggings I own, yet are much warmer. Unlike some other thermal leggings I have tried, these are really comfortable and easy to move in. They also have reflective logos so you are more visible in low lights. This is super important year around, but especially in winter when the days are so short. IMG_0472.JPG

With our temps in the PNW, wearing these tights alone keeps me plenty warm. The coldest I have worn these in is 30 degrees.  Some of my BibRavePro buddies that live in colder places have used the hyoptik tights as a base layer with a pair of sweats over and stayed plenty warm. IMG_0882.JPG

For me, the hyoptik compression tights have really cut the wind chill I used to feel on runs. I really feel warm and toasty after the first half mile. Once my muscles warm up, these tights keep them insulated. It’s not a stuffy insulated, however, the hyoptik tights are still breathable. They let the sweat out and keep the warmth in! IMG_1114.JPG

The hyoptik tights are not only functional, but they are also very comfortable. They have a thick waistband that doesn’t cut in and sits very comfortably on runs & zero chaffing with the flat seams. They are also great to wear for recovery if you are out and about on a chilly day. The 2XU hyoptik tights would also be a great base layer for snow sports! Since I dislocated my shoulder the last time I was on the mountain, I have not tried this yet, but next time I go, I will be wearing my 2XU!IMG_0801.JPG

I am so thankful to have added these to my running wardrobe this season. They have made winter runs much more tolerable and allow me to get out and train on a regular basis. These will be my go to tights until the weather warms back up.IMG_1012.PNG

If you aren’t a fan of full length tights, 2XU also makes these in a 7/8 tight and a crop. Check out the 2XU Hyoptik collection HERE.

Do you take your workouts outdoors in the winter? 

XOXO
Stay Sweaty!
Sarah


 

Wanna read more? Check out what other BibRavePros thought

Frank // Mark // Cass // Jessica 

How I solved My Need for Hydration on Runs

Disclaimer: I received a Hydraquiver Vest Pack 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 Orange Mud with the sole goal of changing the way runners look at hydration” – Josh, the founder of Orange Mud. 

Josh, you were successful! Before trying this hydraquiver vest, I was annoyed with ‘hydration’.  I had a small water bottle attachment that I would carry on my running belt, but only if it was hot. I basically didn’t drink on runs. *gasp* Surprisingly, this never bothered me. I really don’t get thirsty or crave water during runs, except in the summer. My regular runs are shorter distances relatively speaking, 3 to 5 miles, but seeing that I want to start marathon training, I knew I needed a solution. I have found it – the Orange Mud Hydraquiver Vest Pack!

I get really excited when I talk about this, so to avoid rambling & lots of punctuation (!!) let me break it down. πŸ™‚  
I’ve got a super short video, pros and conspics of me using the hydra quiver in various ways & a discount code at the end! 

Let’s start with the video.

I show you how easy it is to grab the water bottle, you’ll see that the hydraquiver really doesn’t bounce, I’ll show you where I keep all my goodies & you can see first hand how excited it makes me! 

In case you can’t tell from my giddiness, I really like the hydraquiver! Let’s get into detail as to why.IMG_0468

PROS

  • very comfortable
  • adjustable
  • LOTS of pockets
  • breathable
  • easy to put on
  • super easy to clean the bottle
  • easy to refill quickly
  • ZERO bounce
  • easy squeeze bottle
  • made in the USA

CONS

  • none

I know what you are thinking, “really, not a single con??” I seriously sat for a long time trying to come up with at least one ‘con’ and I couldn’t! Orange Mud has literally thought of everything. The hydraquiver covers ALL bases. Storage, ease of use, comfort. It’s all there. 
IMG_0184BONUS feature: you can even use the chest strap to hold your gloves!

This is the best part!

All the ways I’ve used it. I have had so much fun with my hydraquiver and I can’t wait to take it on more adventures with me. 

I’ve used it on almost all my training runs. It doesn’t slow you down!

  •  

on race day
funny story, they ran out of water at this race, so boy was I glad I had AN ENTIRE water bottle for myself! IMG_0359 IMG_0368

I even took the hydraquiver snowboarding! I kept snacks in it, some extra hand warmers & gum. It really came in handy.

the adjustable straps came in handy here to make sure it fit over my coat

Get your own Hydraquiver

One of Orange Mud’s tag lines is ‘innovation from frustration’ and it is very apparent in their products. They have literally thought of everything and solved so many problems that we runners ‘run’ into. While these products were created for endurance athletes, they can be used by any and all athletes. They are high quality and you will not be disappointed. IMG_0016

Wanna shop Orange Mud?

they have lots of other cool gear too!
Be sure to use the code BIBRAVE for 15% off !

As you have probably gathered, I love my hydraquiver! I am really thankful that it is now become part of my favorite running accessories. If you are looking for a easy to use hydration system, this will be a life saver for you. 

Runners, what do you use for hydration? 

XOXO
Stay Sweaty!
Sarah

Don’t just take my word for it, check out my fellow BibRave Pros thoughts on Orange Mud

Amy // Angie // Brad // Jess // Laura M

Easy Blueberry Crisp – Gluten Free, No Refined Sugars!

I am a huge fan of breakfast, if you read my blog on a regular basis, you probably know that. It is my favorite meal of the day. I am always looking for new ideas to make my breakfast more exciting, and I am so excited to share this new creation, a gluten free blueberry crisp, with you. Also, I am giving away one of the ingredients used in this recipe & the baked apple recipe I shared earlier this week .Be sure to enter to win below! IMG_0008

Usually crisps are made for dessert, but I have recreated one that is perfect for breakfast time. What can I say, I’m a rebel. Heck, you could also have this for dessert, it’s interchangeable!IMG_9998

There are 2 things that make me particularly excited about this recipe:
1) It’s individual servings! You can double or triple the recipe to make more than one, but you don’t have to. Then when you eat it feels like you get to eat a whole crisp yourself. πŸ˜€ 
2) You don’t have to get tons of dishes dirty. It is almost a one pot wonder, but not quite. It’s really easy to throw together, and clean up is a breeze too! 

IMG_0002Using honey crystals in this recipe allowed me to be much more creative. If you aren’t familiar with honey crystals, they are “honey without the sticky mess.” They have been available in packets, but Nektar Naturals just made honey crystals available in a easy pour bottle. It’s available for purchase at Walmart, which means it’s not some obscure ingredient that is hard to find. It’s great to use in tea,  oatmeal and recipes as a natural sweetener. 

 

Image-1Gluten Free Blueberry Crisp

serves 1
(can multiply recipe to make into larger serving)

Ingredients
Filling:
1/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 T maple syrup or Nektar Naturals honey crystals 
1/2 T arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1/2 T lemon juice
dash of cinnamon 

Topping:
1/4 gluten free oats
2 T almond meal 
1 T sliced almonds
1 T honey crystals
1 T coconut oil, melted (can substitute butter or ghee)

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In an individual baking dish or oven safe bowl, mix together the blueberries, maple syrup or honey crystals, arrowroot powder or cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon.
2. In a separate bowl, combine oats, almond meal/flour, sliced almonds & honey crystals. Mix in the coconut oil. Stir until the mixture is moistened throughout.
3. Sprinkle topping over the filling until it is evenly distributed (no need to smash it down). 
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the top is lightly golden. Let the crisp rest for 5 to 10 minutes before devouring!!!!

Variations:

For a boost of protein: add 1/2 scoop of protein powder to the topping!! Vanilla flavored works best. 
Not a blueberry fan? You can use any kind of berry, would be great with blackberries or raspberries, fresh or frozen.
Not a fan of sweet?? or you have really sweet berries? only use 1T of maple syrup or honey crystals in the filling.
Can’t find honey crystals? Look for them at Walmart! Or you can substitute liquid honey. 
Preparing this for more than one? I recommend you still use individual baking dishes, it’s so much more fun to eat that way! IMG_0006

Other recipes using honey crystals:
Healthy Holiday Dessert – Baked Apple

Enjoy!!
XOXO
Sarah

I was given a bottle of honey crystals from Nektar Naturals to review as well as a bottle to giveaway thru my association with Sweat Pink. I was not compensated for this post. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Compression Benefits & Why You Need it, Runner or Not!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU compression tights 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 & write race reviews!

Whether or not you should use compression is a hot topic. You will find people who swear by compression socks and others who think compression gear is silly. Makes sense because different things work for different people right? When I started running, I had no idea what compression was, so I didn’t use it. It wasn’t until I had an unhappy thigh muscle that I was introduced to compression leggings by my sports doctor. As you will see, there are lots of compression benefits whether you are a runner or not. IMG_8803

The best compression tights

There are several ‘big’ compression brands that make all different kinds of compression gear. Hands down, 2XU makes the best compression leggings. They extremely comfortable and work very well; they feel like a second skin. Whether you wear them to exercise in or for recovery, they are very functional. My muscles are so happy after they get some time in 2XU compression tights.  

In my first pair of compression tights

When my sports doctor recommended them to me, he told me to get a pair of 2XU compression tights. They helped me recover from my unhappy muscle and get back to running. Those were the regular compression tights and they worked wonderfully. These elite MCS compression tights are another level of comfort and technology. I love these even more than my first pair. See below for what makes the MCS tights super awesome.IMG_8802

How do I use them?

I do run in compression tights from time to time; however I mainly use them for recovery. For example, once I get home from a long run or a big race, I put on my compression tights for the rest of the day or the day following the race. Post-leg day, I like to wear compression tights to help combat the muscle soreness. FullSizeRender-2
If I am up for a run and my muscles are super sore, I will run in my compression tights and my muscles feel great. I also like to run in them when it is cold. Sine the blood flow to my muscles is increased, my legs stay warmer in the cold. compression benefits

What are the compression benefits for everyone?

After any kind of exercise, we all suffer from muscle soreness to some extent. When you muscles get strained, the micro-tears cause soreness and when the muscles repair they get stronger. By using compression gear, the blood flow to your muscles increases meaning that those tears recover faster and your soreness goes away much quicker. This also means that you can bounce back faster and kick more butt in your workouts because you recover quicker. Whether you are a runner, a cross fitter, a walker, a weight lifter or you love Zumba, compression tights will help with your recovery. IMG_7675

If you do not exercise, compression is still helpful because again, it increases blood flow to your muscles. What that means for the non-exerciser is that it can help reduce swelling. If you have swelling/fluid retention in your feet or ankles, compression socks may help. (Be sure to check with your doctor first) It also helps with circulation and for people with certain medical conditions compression can be helpful.
I like to wear compression socks or tights on airplane flights as it helps with the circulation while I am sitting for long periods of time. 

compression benefits
on the airplane

Why the Elite MCS Tights are worth the investment

The new MCS tights from 2XU are the BEST. The technology is out of this world. MCS stands for muscle containment stamping. This creates a targeted compression as there is a support system traced over each key muscle group on the inside of the tights. Not only is this muscle mapping extremely effective, the felt on the inside of the tights that creates the mapping is very comfortable. The tights smooth lines so there is no uncomfortable chaffing or rubbing. This makes the tights feel like an extension of your body, you almost forget you are wearing them.compression benefits

The MCS tights also make you look like a bad a**. I don’t know if it is the black and gold that catches peoples attention or small muscle mapping details on the outside of tights, but people looked at me differently when I wore these around or trained in them. Seriously. I do not say this to toot my own horn, it’s the tights!
I have gotten lots of compliments and questions on them.  These tights make you look like you mean business. Not only are they effective and will help you become a better athlete, they also up your level of bad-assery which is a major plus in my book. πŸ˜€ FullSizeRender-1

Don’t just take my word for it 

If you aren’t already convinced that you need a pair of compression tights or of compression benefits, check out some of my fellow BibRave Pros reviews –>

Angie // Jeremy // Katherine // Kim // Laura B // Heather


Tell me: Do you use compression tights or socks? What questions do you have about compression benefits?

XOXO 
Stay Sweaty!!
Sarah