Tag Archives: Half Marathon

Under Armour HOVR Sonic Shoes

I’m home from vacation now, and look what I came back to!  It was in the 50s (10s) when I left, and now look at it!  It’s the never-ending winter, I swear!

But I’m not here to gab on about how cold it is… I got to test new running shoes!  Read on…

Disclaimer: I received a free pair of Under Armour HOVR Sonic shoes 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 always, all opinions are my own and based on my personal testing experience.

Under Armour has just released a new shoe this month, otherwise knows as the UA HOVR Sonic.  I had great fun testing these out.  Before I get into my thoughts on them, let me give you the specs which were taken directly from UA’s website:

  • DIGITALLY CONNECTED: (UA.com & Brand House Exclusive!) UA’s Record Sensor™ technology tracks, analyzes & stores virtually every running metric so you know exactly what you need to do to get better
  • UA HOVR® technology provides ‘zero gravity feel’ to maintain energy return that helps eliminate impact step after step
  • Compression mesh Energy Web contains & molds UA HOVR® foam to give back the energy you put in
  • Microthread upper dries fast & provides a breathable, compression-like fit that delivers lightweight directional strength & unmatched comfort to help you go the distance
  • Ventilated midfoot panel increases breathability
  • Unique tongue construction is attached to the footbed by stretchable support wings to maintain a snug fit throughout the foot
  • External TPU heel counter for additional support & structure
  • Removable, anti-microbial Ortholite® sockliner molds to the foot for customized comfort &  cushion
  • Blown rubber under the forefoot is lightweight yet incredibly responsive
  • High-abrasion rubber placed under the heel to help absorb ground contact
  • Offset: 8mm
  • Weight: 8oz/225g

My first thought when I put the shoes on was “super comfortable.”

As they come with a sensor in the heels, they connect to Map My Run or Map My Fitness so you can track all your running data.  For us data geeks, this is a super cool techie thing.  The shoes track your cadence, stride, miles, pace, and splits.  All this data stores in the shoe’s sensors so  you don’t have to take your phone with you on your run, and it syncs up nicely to the app when you’re done.

As a lot of you may know, I’m a fair weather runner and I do the majority of my running right now on the treadmill.  These shoes are fabulous for treadmill running.  Sometimes your watch and treadmill don’t always coincide, ever notice that? But as the shoes are tracking your stride and cadence with sensors in both heels, this seems to line up nicely.

I also give them two thumbs up for appearance.  I love the “Brilliance” color I received, and the microthread upper is unique looking and breathable.

There was only one downside to these shoes that I noticed… the traction.  They do great on dry surfaces, but I went for a run a couple of times after it had rained and/or while it was sprinkling, and I felt they were a little slippy.  However, that being said, I will have no problem running in them once the rainy season has stopped in July.

In summary, these are very comfy shoes with a very comfy price point of $100, especially for what you get.  As I prefer a more cushioned shoe, I wouldn’t run further than 10 miles in them, but I think that’s more of a personal preference as everyone is different.  These shoes are definitely staying in the rotation until they wear out!

  • So tell me… have you ever heard of shoes with sensors in the heels?  (I hadn’t)  
  • Has anyone bought any new shoes lately that you’re excited about?  If so, what’d you get?
  • As I’m so behind on my blogging, anyone got a race coming up soon?
  • Is your part of the world warming up yet????

Another Year, Another Birthday

It doesn’t take much to put my family into celebration mode.  We’ll celebrate any little thing.  But this week was a full-on celebration all week long. Okay, kinda sorta.  Okay, not really.  We celebrated one night.  But the spirit was there all week long.

Yes, another birthday has come and gone for me.  Cheers to my Squad Runner teammate who told me if I ran a kilometer for every year I was alive, I would complete a half marathon.  A half marathon is just over 21K… so yeah, I couldn’t help but smile… or in reality, laugh out loud.

Jamesy surprised me with a few goodies… especially the Momentum Jewelry.  Do you all see it and get it?  “I can and I will” is the tag line for my blog!  And the “Be Awesome Today,” well that’s because I’m awesome every day, isn’t it!  (Ha! Someone is sure full of herself right now, lol.)

He also got me some new shoes!!  We all need new shoes, don’t we!!  The more, the better I say!  Twenty years ago, my closet was filled with high heels and sandals… now it’s overrun with running shoes.  My how times and priorities change.

And meet Riku, a gift from my son. Riku is a character from my favorite video game, Kingdom Hearts.  Everyone in this family loves the Funko figures; AJ has the most by far, but James is closing in on him for a very close 2nd. Me, I’m at the back of the pack with just this one (see what I did there?  Running reference, lol).

And with that, my friends, it has been a very good week.  And even after a night of karaoking, I still managed to get 4 miles in today, with the goal of a 10K tomorrow.  So, yeah… a really good week.

Happy trails!


Heart Zones HRM

A couple of months ago, I was approached by a representative from heartzones.com to try out their Blink 3.0 heart rate, step, and cadence sensor (cycling cadence).  With all the talk about heart rate training, I decided to give it a go.

The package itself contains a Blink 3.0 HRM, a charger, a wrist strap, and an ankle strap.  They also sent me a cool shirt for trying it out (thank you!!).

If you have an iPhone, you can use their downloadable app.  It is my understanding that the app does have training programs that you can follow.  Alas… I am an android user, so what I ended up doing was pairing it with my Garmin.  To be truthful, that was actually more useful to me so that I could have all my data in one place.

I added a data screen to my watch so that I could see my HR at any given time.  This was super handy.  Sometimes when I’m running, I feel like my heart is going to pound right out of my chest and I’m going to die so I tend to slow down. (Remember… running can be just as much mental as it is physical).  However, knowing what my HR is at all times, I don’t get to use that excuse to slow down, especially when my HR is only 120.  It’s good to know your body and to know which extremes it can be taken. It has helped with my training being able to see the actual numbers and the exertion being put out.

A prime example of going out too fast too soon and then losing momentum towards the end, hehe

One thing about Heart Zones… they’re all about schools and “Smart PE,” as well as other aspects of fitness.  Schools can purchase groups of devices for their students to wear that can count steps as well as assess physical condition in real time.  Kids are all about technology these days, and it’s fun for the kids to wear them then upload their data to see the results.  When my child was in the 5th grade, he got to participate in something similar, with his own step counter.  He loved it.  He used to walk back and forth in the hall just to get his step count up (it was usually raining too much for him to go outside to do it). It’s just another way to get kids excited about fitness.

I’ve had a lot of fun playing with this product and seeing where my training is taking me.  If you’ve been wanting to try HR training, the Blink 3.0 is a relatively inexpensive way to try it.  The Blink 3.0 runs for $99.99, but if you check out their online store here, I see they have a pretty cool one on sale for less.  Just in time for the racing season! #trainsmart

I did not receive any financial compensation for this review and all opinions rendered are my own based on my personal testing experience.

Rock ‘N’ Roll San Antonio Race Weekend

Are you ready for some pictures??!!  Because you know me… my race weekend recaps usually contain more pictures than words, sooo… here we go!

James, AJ and I left a cold, wet Seattle on the morning of Friday, Dec 1, and touched down in warm, muggy San Antonio around 6 p.m.  There is a two-hour time difference between Texas and Washington, which is kind of a big deal come race day.  Getting up at 5 a.m. Texas time is equivalent to getting up at 3 our time.  Painful.


Our first night there we left AJ to enjoy some peace and quiet in the hotel room (which is what he wanted) while James and I started to explore downtown San Antonio.  Mostly, we walked the famous River Walk looking for someplace to eat.  If you’re visiting S.A., definitely try to stay close to, if not on, the River Walk path.  They have absolutely everything you need.  We were mesmerized.  With it being the holiday season, there were lights hanging from practically every tree, and the city was lit up in red and green (is this year ’round?).  There were even carolers riding in the boats singing away.

The next day was reserved for the race expo and a river boat tour.  Have you ever been to a Rock ‘N’ Roll race expo?  They’re huge and so much fun.  Here’s a bird’s eye view:

A couple of hours later, and after spending a small fortune at the expo, it was time to round up the child for lunch and the river boat tour (we don’t drag AJ through expos anymore; they’re quite boring for him).  We settled on Mexican food for lunch.  Okay… being born and raised in Arizona and eating Southwest Mexican food my entire life, I miss it greatly living in the Pacific Northwest.  Needless to say, my taste buds were squealing with delight when the plate of rice and beans were placed in front of me!  And I know what you’re thinking… Mexican food the day before a race!?  Yeah baby!  The key is to eat early.

Race Day

As I mentioned before, it was an early start.  We were meeting up with another Bib Rave Pro before the race for photos.  Ta-Da!  Meet Kolbe from Dallas.

I was in corral 16, and the following is what the start line looked like from way back there.  If you notice, it was quite misty and overcast, for which I was thankful as it had been hot-hot-hot that weekend (80s) and I was slightly concerned.  At least the clouds hid the intense sun.

I was about a mile into the race when the heavens decided to open up and bring forth a monsoonal type of rain.  I’m used to the rain, so no big deal.  I wear a visor to keep the rain out of my eyes, and I was thankful to be comfortable and not hot.  The Streets of San Antonio, however, were not so forgiving.  It poured down solid for at least 1/2-hour, hard and fast, which was just enough to flood the streets.  I was jumping through puddles where the water came to my shins.  Enter the reason why I lost two toenails.  My socks never dried out, so my feet remained wet until I reached the finish line.  My two little toes blistered so severely that it lifted the nails right off the nail bed.  Funny enough, this has happened once before… both times I was wearing Balega socks.  Is it the socks?  Maybe.  Or is it operator error as I know I have sensitive toes and forgot to tape them beforehand?  Most likely.  C’est la vie.  I finished.

I loved this course.  It was flat!  What a great way to end the year… with a flat course!!  Okay, there was one hill that stretched from mile 10 to mile 11, but what goes up, must come down, so it made for a fast finish.  I also had zero fueling issues and zero GI issues.  I ate 2 quick dissolve glucose tablets every 20 to 30 minutes to keep me going.  I even had a shot of coffee out on the course at mile 7.  Minus the painful feet, it was a fantastic time.

After a nice long nap, we had dinner with my high school friend, Mindy, whom I wrote a little bit about here.  She just recently moved to San Antonio from Arizona to be with her boyfriend and loves it.  We met them at Margaritaville down on the river (yes! more Mexican food!).

Monday was spent touring the Alamo and flying home.

When we left San Antonio, it was 85 deg F.  When we landed in Seattle, it was around 36 deg F.  Apparently two days later, it snowed in San Antonio.  A fabulous weekend, but there’s no place like home.

If you haven’t already, go check out James’s post on the race itself and for all the finite details that I tend to miss.  After being injured and flat on his back for a few months, he somehow managed to complete the half marathon.  Muscle memory is a beautiful thing.  Don’t ever get down on yourself for being injured because, if you have the drive within you, you WILL come back.  In spades.

Happy running y’all!

I Loves Me a Visor!

On December 1st, I was on my way to San Antonio, and now BAM!  It’s almost Christmas.  I don’t know where the time goes.  Oh wait, yes I do… I’m a gamer and a runner… two very time-consuming hobbies.  However, the one that has taken me away from all you beautiful people is the gaming.  When James first got ‘benched’ back in September, he/we started playing The Witcher III on the PS4.  I’m one who likes to play a game to 100% completion, soooo, that’s where I’ve been.  Sorry.  But this happens about once a year, if you’ve followed me that long (last year, I replayed Kingdom Hearts).  I’ll get back to normal soon… I still have to recap San Antonio!  (spoiler alert… it was fab!)

But that’s not why I’m here today… today I’m here to tell you about BOCO Headgear!!

Disclaimer: I received a BOCO Gear Visor 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!  All opinions are my own.

You should know, I can’t wear hats when I run.  I have a ton of hair that keeps me plenty warm and I get too hot if I wear a hat.  I only wear visors and I am extremely picky about the type.  My visors absolutely have to have an elastic comfort band as opposed to the velcro adjustment in the back.  To me, the elastic is far more comfortable than the non-giving nature of a velcro adjustment hands down.  And BOCO Visors have that oh-so-coveted comfort elastic band baby!  Total win!!

Following are other details about the visor:

  • Lightweight wicking woven or dry tech polyester outside
  • Wicking internal sweatband to move sweat from your forehead
  • Soft brushed elastic back for comfort and fit
  • Relaxed fit front panel for a better performance and comfort
  • Black underside of the bill to reduce glare
  • Curved bill
  • Machine Washable

James made me do it…

Now, the first thing I noticed about the visor is that the material is incredibly soft.  And then I discovered that the nice, soft material is super absorbent (because, you know… I went for a run and all).  But oh, the comfort… it can’t be beat.

And when you’re running all the miles… comfort counts.  Amiright?!

Stayed tuned my friends… coming soon is my recap of San Antonio.  You’ll get to read all about how I lost two toenails… 

North County Wine Run Half Marathon Race Recap

As you may remember, I ran the North County Wine Run Half Marathon last weekend in Battle Ground, WA.  Battle Ground is a sweet little town in the midst of Clark County situated near the Washington-Oregon border.  It boasts 3 wineries and, yes, I ran through every single one of them.  We’re big geography geeks, so for those of you who are also GG, here’s a visual:

While this was my first official “BibRave Pro” race, I did pay for my entry.

I was extremely nervous about this race for some reason.  Maybe because it was an “open course” (meaning running in the midst of traffic), maybe it was because there were less than 200 people signed up.  Because of the nerves, I was unable to eat anything before the race.  I couldn’t even force down a couple of Belvita biscuits which is my normal pre-race breakfast.  Bad, huge, terrible mistake.

The horn blew and we were off, starting with a nice uphill climb.  No worries.  I got this.  What goes up, must come down.  I was still going along nicely amongst the farm land when we hit the first aid station at about 2.5 or 3 miles.  I took a shot of Gatorade as I hadn’t eaten anything and thought it would help me.  Mistake #2.  I’ve discovered I can’t eat or drink anything with sugar in it while I’m running unless it’s a quick-dissolve glucose tablet, which I actually had with me.  I did eventually end up with a tummyache.  *facepalm

Still going along nicely until about mile 7.  Miles 5 to 7 were all uphill, and by the time I reached the top of the hill, I was out of gas.  Normal story for me… no hill training which, on top of no fuel, equals the biggest breakdown I’ve ever had with tears and a near full-blown asthma attack.  I recovered my breath after about a mile.  Thankfully a fellow Half Fanatic was behind me who eventually caught up to me at mile 11 and she pulled me across the finish line.  Yay!  I finished!  I was so very grateful to see James there and thankful for all the wonderful support he provided me.  I know it was hard for him to have to sit this one out.

Let me break down the details of the event for you…

PACKET PICKUP:  Short and sweet and organized.  It took all of 5 minutes.

PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION:  We parked at a school and shuttle buses took us to the race start line which was at a winery.  There was no parking at the winery, but the buses were on point.

THE COURSE:  It was open and you ran facing traffic on busy rural roads.  This was the one downfall with the race.  Drivers could care less about your safety as they showed time and time again.  Cones had been knocked down that were marking the course, and there were zero policemen around to keep things in line.  Extremely unnerving.  Following is another visual.  The course was the white line to the cone.  For 13.1 miles.  The side of the road was a ditch.

And it was extremely hilly.  You’d think I would have learned from the Olympic Discovery Half to integrate some hills into my plan, but no.  It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.  Here’s the elevation profile for NCWR.

PEOPLE:  Super friendly and helpful.  Everyone was extremely nice at this race, great aura.

AID STATIONS:  There were 3, two of which were running through different wineries where they offered water, Gatorade, and shots of wine for those who wished to partake.  I chose not to and stuck with water.

POST-RACE PARTY:  Great pasta and bread to be coupled with some wine tasting.  When I was through with the race, I was so sick and nauseous I couldn’t even think about eating.  After about 30 minutes, I forced myself to have about 5 bites of the pasta, the first food I’d had all day.

THE BLING:  Lovely.  A fully-weighted bottle stop.  I could actually cut the ribbon off and use this.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:  Other than the course being amongst tons of crazy traffic, this race was well run, well organized, and well directed.  If they ever closed the course, I would consider going back to run this race again for the challenge alone, to redeem myself and to have a better race.

By the way… after my shower and nap, I was feeling my normal self again, well enough for mine and James’s traditional post-race celebration.  For the first time ever, I had fried Brussels sprouts topped with bacon… I highly suggest you try them.  They were da bomb!



5K Crate Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a box from 5K Crate 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’ve always loved the idea of subscription boxes.  No matter what your interest may be (quilting, make-up, clothes, gaming, running), subscription boxes are a fun way to go to guarantee trying something new, or discovering a product you may have not known about otherwise.

5K Crate is a quarterly subscription box that “curates premium apparel and accessories for runners of all types and fitness levels. Each box is carefully hand curated to include 5-6 items that you will use over and over again. We do not want to be just another box full of snacks and gels!”  (Love the personalized note that was inserted in my box!)

The box I received contained:

  • 1 Mission Vaporactive Running Shirt ($25)
  • 1 Mission Hydroactive Cooling Towel ($19.99)
  • 1 pair of Spigen Wireless Bluetooth Headphones ($49.99)
  • 1 pair of Zensah Compression Socks ($14.99)
  • 2 Epic Full-Size Body Wipes ($3 each)
  • 3 La Fresh Travel Sunscreen Samples

Who doesn’t love getting such a menagerie of goodies?!  I know I do!  Every single one of these items is of high quality and absolutely something I can use.  I took the body wipes and sunscreen on my trip this past weekend when I ran my half marathon, and the cooling towel helped me out on some very warmish runs I had.

I can’t praise this company enough.  I feel the products that you get are well worth the subscription price, not to mention… again… everything is usable!!  Their next box is set to be sent out October 16th, and rumor has it that there is Momentum Jewelry in it, saying “Be Awesome Today.”  See?  Totally worth it!

I did not receive any financial compensation for this review and all opinions rendered are my own. If you would like to see some other reviews on 5K Crate, please check out what some of my BRP friends have to say:

Tedrick; Jenna; Mai; Ang; Vanessa; Heather.

Have you ever tried a subscription box before?  Go ahead, don’t be shy… tell me your experience!