New Runner Gear for a New Year!

I received products from Brooks, Altra, Vuori, Handful, and Vooray 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 we run into 2019  (see what I did there) we’re all setting our running goals for the upcoming year. 1,000 miles? PR in the half marathon? Run a marathon? No matter your running goal, having the right running gear is super important. I thought I’d go over some of my favorite running gear from The Running Event.

Brooks Running

The Brooks Running Ghost 11 shoes are like buttah. There’s so much cushion! These shoes are so great they won the Runner’s World Editor’s Choice award! And I can see why. The mesh uppers are a FAVE. So flexible and comfy. No pesky seams to rub blisters or annoy you. And the mesh upper molds to you foot so well. It’s like wearing a sock with a cushiony sole! They are a neutral shoe with a lot of cushion and a cool DNA LOFT heel crash pad to give you a softer landing. They’re engineered to give you a soft landing no matter where you strike on your stride landing (heel striker here!) They have a good balance between cushion without losing responsiveness. I can see these shoes being great for extended miles and long runs.


Another of my favorite pieces from Brooks Running is the Women’s LSD Jacket. This thing lights up like a Christmas tree!!!! It’s a great, lightweight jacket which is perfect for our Southern winters. I’ve worn it several times on misty, rainy runs and it works like a charm to cut down on the wind and dampness.

Another really cool feather of the LSD Jacket is that it folds in on itself for compact storage. AND it has an elastic arm band so you can throw is over your arm on the run if you decide you don’t need it or want to bring it along just in case. Such a cool, fun feature! I get so many compliments on this jacket every time I wear it.

Altra Running

Another shoe I’m adding to the running rotation is the Altra Escalante 1.5. I’ve always been curious about the Altra shoes. I love that they have a Footshape™ Toe Box. It was one of the first things I noticed when I put them on. My toe had so much room to spread and plant naturally during my stride. It was great! And the Escalante 1.5 had a new stretchy upper (I’m ALLLLL about stretchy uppers now!)

Another cool feature about the Altra Escalante 1.5 is that the shoe is specifically designed for a woman’s foot! The Fit4Her™ technology is engineered for women’s feet!

They are a zero drop shoe so you need to ease into them if you’re used to running with a high heel to toe drop. I used to run exclusively in low to zero drop shoes so it was nice to get back into a lower drop. Zero drop is supposed to encourage a more natural heel and forefoot strike. Another thing to note for the Altras is they’re super lightweight at only 6.5 oz. Almost like wearing air! I can see these being great for shorter distances as I get used to the lower drop and they’re making me itch to get back out on the trails again!

Vuori Clothing

I hadn’t honestly heard of Vuori Clothing before The Running Event, but I’m quickly becoming a convert. The Omni Performance short is really comfy. I was a little leary of the shorter inseam (2.5″) than what I usually run in, but they material is so soft and stretchy that they performed really well. I love the back zipper pocket and the internal key pocket in the shorts. I’m a big stickler for pockets, pockets, and more pockets.

The wide waistband was very flattering and really comfortable as well. They didn’t pinch or bind at all.  The material, as I mentioned earlier, is so stretchy and super soft. I love wearing these not only for running, but also for just running around town for errands. They are really, really comfortable.

Every piece of clothing I saw of Vuori’s at The Running Event was so luxurious and soft! I wanted one of everything! I am lusting after these Halo Performance Shorts!!!

Handful

I’m always on the lookout for a good running bra. Finding one with the right amount of compression without looking like a uni-boob is tough!. Can I just say that OMG their bras are amazing. So soft! Yet still super supportive and the pretty ruching seam in front is flattering for a more natural Silhouette. I got their Y-Back Bra and it performs like a champ! No chafing. No pinching. I could seriously sleep in this thing and not realize it’s on. Many of their bras are fully adjustable which is a godsend for someone with short boob to shoulder height like me (no more loose, falling straps). And all of their bras have an internal pocket for stashing stuff (YEAH POCKETS!!)

And it’s an amazing company full of empowering, “supportive” (see what I did there) women. I need about four more of these bras now!

And their clothing line is Uber cute too! I’m wearing their Squeeze Play Capri in this picture. I love the cute mesh paneling on the side. They’re high waisted (no muffin top – yay!) and have an internal pocket in the waistband (POCKET!!!)

Their shirts are adorable too! The Flippin’ Awesome Scoop Tank is so cute and versatile! It has a really cool reversible design with a front to back scoop option. And I’m coveting the Peek-A-Breeze Long Sleeve top. Sooo cute with a really great cut out back design. Definitely go check them out!

Vooray

Lastly you need a great bag to carry all your gym gear? Vooray has you covered! They have the cutest gym bags I’ve ever seen. I love all the fun prints and designs of their bags. And they are all just the right size. The ACE Backback (pictured here) has become one of my go-to bags whether it be for lugging stuff to a race or fun trips downtown with the boys.

It has comfortable, padded shoulder straps, water pockets on either side, a large padded interior pocket and additional front pocket. It’s a great backpack for travel, gym, or fun.

They had some GORGEOUS print bags at The Running Event that were so fun and stylish. Who needs a boring gym bag when you can have a floral print one from Vooray!?

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The Running Event Recap

Disclaimer: I received a travel and hotel stipend and swag from The Running Event 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! No further compensation was given and as always, all opinions are my own. If something was given for review purposes, it will be disclosed.

Last month I had the insane opportunity to attend The Running Event (TRE) in Austin, Texas. If you’re not familiar, The Running Event is the premier running event/conference/expo for running retailers. All the biggest running names are at this event showing off their latest up and coming products and designs. It’s generally not open to the public, but I was invited to attend as an influencer for BibRave. Such an amazing opportunity! I’m going break the two days of awesome down for you guys.

Zwift Running Event

We all began to trickle into Austin on that Thursday afternoon. We were to meet up at a conference room in the Hilton for a meet and greet, SWAG reveal, and Zwift Running Event.

We got so much amazing SWAG from so many wonderful vendors at TRE. I felt like a kid at Christmas! Many were some of my favorite brands I was already familiar with (Brooks, Altra, NUUN, CEP Compression) and there were several new brands I was excited to try out (Handful, Vuori, Addaday, Vooray, Incrediwear, and Arcanum)!

We settled in, getting to know each other better and then it was time for the Zwift running event!

Several of our Bibrave Pros jumped onto two treadmills and ran a virtual group run on the Zwift app with Bibrave Pros all over the country. It was so cool to watch the app and how it linked up runners from all over.

As we wrapped up the Zwift Running Event we got a huge surprise. We had all been invited to the Brooks after hours party!! But first up, dinner: Texas BBQ.

Brooks Party

With a belly full of BBQ we strolled over to The Brooks party being held in the Cedar Creek Courtyard.

Of course we had to wear our new Brooks Women’s Reflective LSD Jackets to the party. LOVE all the reflective print on it!

We were all just chilling, hanging out with a beer when who freaking walks in???? Des Freaking Linden (no, that’s not her middle name, but it should be) she graciously took photos with all of us runnerds fangirling over her. After that wish-come-true experience we rolled out to the dance floor to shake our booties. We had a great time dancing the night away to the cover band Suede. They were so good!

Bibrave Group Run

Early the next morning the whole Bibrave family met up for a fun group run through downtown Austin and up to the Capitol.

It was fun having our sea of orange running through downtown in the quiet, early morning hours.

The Running Event

Immediately after the group run we went over to the convention center to walk the expo floor and check out the latest and greatest products from running gear retailers such as CEP Compression, Brooks, Altra, Handful, Vooray, Vuori, Addaday, NUUN, Incrediwear, and Arcanum.

It was so interesting and exciting to learn about some of the new, up and coming products and the technology behind some of my favorite tried and true gear.

Overall, the Bibrave Running Event experience was so amazing. I’m still riding the high from all the fun. I’ve been testing all the gear out all month. I’ll be writing up a couple of blog posts on the gear in the next couple of days.

A Review of the Aftershokz Trekz Air

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Aftershokz Trekz Air wireless headphones 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 I’m running by myself, I often carry music with me as a motivator and to offset the boredom. Running with music can be a safety risk since headphones can block out the surrounding ambient noise. Being open and aware of your surroundings is important when you’re running outside.

When I got the chance to try out a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Air bluetooth headphones I was anxious to try them. I liked the Trekz Titanium headphones and was curious how the Trekz Air compared.

The interesting thing about the Trekz Air headphones is that they are completely open. They do not go IN your ears, but rather slightly above your ears. They use bone conduction technology which delivers the music through your cheekbones. This allows your ear to be open to ambient sounds around you, providing a much safer listening experience.

The first time putting them on, they immediately connected with my iPhone’s bluetooth. And I easily started playing music from  one of my playlists. The music quality was GREAT!! AND I could hear everything going on around me! As I ran around my neighborhood I could easily hear cars approaching and people running behind me without losing music sound quality from the headphones. It was amazing!

They are extremely lightweight and flexible. The Trekz Air are 20% lighter than their counterparts and could immediately tell when I put them on. I could barely feel them on my head.. They never became uncomfortable or felt heavy on my ears. The back wraparound titanium connector also seemed to hug my neck a lot better, reducing how much my ponytail would bang around on it. I think this is part of their new “organic design” supposed to increase comfort.

There is a micro usb charging port right next to the volume buttons behind the earpiece. It didn’t take long to charge them fully and they’ve held a charge for over a week! Aftershokz says they’ll stay charged for up to 6 hours of continuous music play.

They are IP55 certified to repel sweat and moisture. I got caught in a pretty good downpour on one run and they performed great! I never lost connection or sound quality and I was completely soaked.

And music quality was excellent. I find that there is loss of music quality in a lot of headphones that are not “in ear” but the Trekz Air really delivers great quality music. The bass (they come with EQ presets) was shocking and music and podcasts were so clear. Their website states that “PremiumPitch+™ guarantees a premium audio experience, including wide dynamic range and rich bass”.

The only comment I have on the headphones is I wish the “power on” button was the first button on the earpiece as opposed to the second/middle button. The buttons are tiny and I found it a little hard to find and press the power button while I had the headphones on. Most of the times I would have to remove them to turn them on or off. This is not a huge issue, but then you don’t hear “Audrey” tell you if they’re on and connected until you start playing your music. After some practice I got a little better at it, but it would be easier if it was the first button on the earpiece.

All in all I was really impressed by these headphones. I applaud the open design. I feel so much better going on open roads with these things than I do with my earbuds (I usually have one in and one out – but lose a lot of sound quality that way!)  They’re lightweight, easy to use, great sound quality, and sweat/water resistant. These have quickly become my new favorite headphones for working out.

Two things that should be on your running Christmas wish list

Disclaimer: I received a sample of the Health Warrior Chia Bar and the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel 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 like finding and trying out new items for running. Sometimes they’re a winner and sometimes they’re just meh. If they’re a winner I integrate them into my weekly running routine easily. I tested out two new products recently and I’m now obsessed with them: the Heath Warrior Chia Bars and the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel (60L).

First let’s start with the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel 60L. I fully expected this to be your standard, everyday gym bag type duffel. Boy, was I wrong! This thing is so much more! The people over at Eagle Creek really, really, REALLY thought this bag through. It’s features are truly made with the user in mind.

  • It’s ultra lightweight! It only weighs 1 lb 12 oz.
  • It can be carried as a backpack with padded straps. These are removable and it can be carried by the top handles alone as a duffel. I LOVE this feature since I schlep gear through airports a lot and I need hands free as much as possible. This was a HUGE selling point for me.
  • The fabric is abrasion resistant and water-repellant. Combine this with the huge side pockets and it’s great for stowing wet running clothes. I used these side pockets after a rainy trail run and my gear in the middle compartment stayed nice and dry.

  • Foam padded bottom to protect your contents for when you drop it on the ground…like me. I’m lazy and throw my bags around like crazy.
  • Lockable zippers with storm flap to shield the zipper from rain.
  • Six lash points to attach the bag to a roof rack. (I didn’t test this feature out but still cool!)
  • Folds in on itself when not in use into a much small package. I LOVED this feature too. I love that I can stow it away easily in my trunk or closet when I’m not using it or even put it in my luggage for an extra bag for all my souvenirs and SWAG.

Secondly the Health Warrior Chia Bars have now become a staple in my daily diet. I did not to expect to like these as much as I did. I really like things with chia and use chia a lot in my running fuel (smoothies, gels, etc.) so I was anxious to try these.

I got the Vanilla Almond and Chocolate Peanut Butter flavors and they came with this SUPER cute Marathon Training coloring book!!

Out of the two flavors I liked the Vanilla Almond the best. It seemed to meld the chia seeds, oats, nuts and nut butter flavors better than the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor. I’m not a huge chocolate fan (I know, I’m weird) but the chocolate and peanut butter flavors were mild in that bar.

These little guys are awesome. They are only 100 calories and 4g to 5g of sugar. They also pack a nice 3g of protein, 4g of fiber and 1100 mg of SUPER good for you Omega-3s. They’re perfect for a pre-run fuel or daily snack without weighing you down. It’s so hard to find a good snack that’s not loaded with sugar that I can carry around with me. These things are compact and really yummy. They helped curb the cravings and hunger monster. I find I’m now putting them in every bag and stashing a few in the car for snack emergencies. Ha!

The first ingredient is white chia seeds…a mega superfood. Chia is such a great fuel for runners because it has protein, carbs, fiber, and absorbs liquid to aid in hydration.

I enjoyed these so much I joined their reward program and have ordered 4 more boxes!!! EEP! You get discounts for your orders and just for following them on social media.

If you’re looking for something new to put on your or someone else’s running Christmas list, I highly recommend both of these products. Great companies, well-thought-out products, that are actually usable and tasty.

 

5k Crate Runner Subscription Box Review

Disclaimer: I received a sample of the 5k Crate Runner Subscription Box  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!

These days I think there’s a subscription box for everything: beauty, clothes, kids,  science for kids, dogs, cats, wine…you name it, there’s a subscription for it! I’ve seen several subscription boxes being advertised for runners as well. The reviews on some of them have not been too good. The boxes are often filled with random energy bars and gels and not much else. Well, this is NOT the case for 5k Crate. This box was crammed packed with some really, really cool runner gear.

First,  a little about 5k Crate. It’s a quarterly subscription service with each box designed specifically for runners. The subscription costs you $59.99 a quarter and they send you gear specified to your gender and size. You get 4 to 6 handpicked items each quarter and the shipping is free.

The gear in this quarter’s box did NOT disappoint. Inside the box there were:

  • A women’s Mission Vaporactive Alpha Short Sleeve V-neck T-Shirt – in my specified size. And in my favorite color…PINK! I really liked this shirt. It was moisture wicking, thin, and not too tight and clingy. I can see it becoming a repeat in my weekly running apparel.  (Value $25)
  • A Mission HydroActive Cooling Towel – I have a couple of these and they’re really nice on the hot, hot summer days we have in the South. (Value $10 – $15)
  • A pair of Zensah Peek Running Socks – Loved these! Such a cute color and great fit. Love Zensah’s products. (Value $14)
  • A pair of Spigen Wireless Bluetooth Headphones – Our team had mixed reviews on these but I honestly loved them. They fit well in my ears and didn’t pop out. They connected really easily to my iPhone and the battery life was pretty impressive. The sound quality was really great as well. I was very impressed by these headphones and they’re quickly turning into my new faves. (Value $27)
  • Two Epic Wipes – There’s a reason they market these as “The Massive Wet Wipe” because these things are HUGE! You can seriously wipe down your entire body with one huge wipe. It felt AMAZING after a hot, sweaty run. I used one right before I had to run to the grocery store after a run and I felt amazingly refreshed and not quite so stanky. I can see these being very versatile. (Value $5)
  • Two La Fresh Travel Lite Sunnyside Lotion Wipes – I threw one in my backpack and one in my purse for emergency sunblock if needed. They are each SPF 30. (Value $1)

As you can see there is well over $80 is merchandise and gear in the box and all of it is very relevant to any runner.  I liked everything that came in the box. You can get a little better view of everything in the box on my “unboxing” video below.

The Versatility of the UV Reflective Half BUFF®

Disclaimer: I received a UV Reflective Half BUFF® 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 have so many running friends who are BUFF® fanatics. They love their BUFF®. But being a Southerner, it’s always so warm for us. I wasn’t sure I would use a full BUFF® very much. The opportunity popped up for us to try the UV Reflective Half BUFF® recently and I wanted to check out what all the fuss is about.

One of the first things I really liked about this Half BUFF® was that it has reflective print. This is all the rage right now in a lot of active wear and I LOVE it. I love, love that added safety feature. It lights up like a Christmas tree with the BUFF® logo and reflective stripes when you shine a light on it.

The half length was perfect for me. I could easily wrap it around my wrist for an nice little cloth to wipe away sweat on my brow and  hankie to wipe my nose. The thin, sweat-wicking material  was great when I used it as a headband on several runs. It kept the sweat from running in my eyes and was so lightweight I totally forgot I had it on.

Here is the description from the BUFF® website:

Half the length of original UV BUFF® headwear, the UV Reflective Half BUFF® option offers efficient thermal properties, built-in sun protection, moisture management and reflective strips that are ideal for runners. Able to dry quickly and control odor, this sweat-wicking layer fits easily under a helmet. It’s a versatile, go anywhere piece wearable at least nine different ways. 

  • Blocks 95% of UV rays*
  • Reflective strips
  • Multifunctional
  • Exceptional Moisture-wicking with its 4-channel fibers
  • Soft, breathable Coolmax® Extreme fabric
  • Cool in the summer, extra layer of warmth in the winter
  • Polygiene® Active Odor Control
  • Quick drying

All of the above is totally accurate! I even used it at a recent race to keep my hands warm before the race start. It worked like a charm!

The BUFF® is so versatile. I have really enjoyed bringing it on my runs. I swear it’s the MacGyver of running gear. Every runner should have have one.

 

Valentine’s Day Gifts Full of Runner Love

While I love chocolate just as much as the next gal, I don’t particularly want a huge box of it, especially during marathon training which just so happens to fall during Valentine’s Day for me this year. I personally prefer more practical gifts, and if they are related to health and running then it’s a double WIN for me. I’ve compiled a nice little list of some of my favorite runner things right now that would go great in any runner Valentine’s Day basket or gift box.

Valentine's Day runner gifts

  1. 2XU Mid-rise Compression 7/8 tights – I love, love, LOVE these tights. They are seriously my new favorite pair of tights to run, walk, jump, lift, eat, or binge watch Netflix in. I did a full review of them here, but SERIOUSLY they feel like buttah when they’re on. They hold all your jiggly parts in and provide enough compression to keep you feeling fresh and spry on your long runs. And how SUPER CUTE is that pink X down the leg!?!? (they come in other colors too if you *gasp* don’t like pink). You can get 20% off your 2XU order through February 29th with the code Run20.
  2. Buff UV Headband – I really like this headband in Cail Pink.  Pink and paisley…what’s not to love?! Plus the Coolmax® Extreme fabric is so soft. It’s great for those ehrm…”I didn’t really feel like doing anything to my hair…not even brush it…shut up” days. You put this headband on and you look cool, stylish, and so not like you just rolled out of bed 10 minutes past your alarm clock.
  3. Oiselle Flyte Tank – I have a couple of these tanks and they are sooooo comfy. I really like the seamless construction and the fact that it’s made to fit loose, not sausage-casing-tight like a lot of running tops. It hides that little guilty cheeseburger pooch I have really well. Plus it’s longer than most of my other running tops so I don’t have to worry about it rolling or riding up to expose my underbelly.
  4. Perfect Bars – These bars are soooo yummy! They are perfect for pre-run fuel or just a middle of the day snack. They’re non-GMO, gluten-free, and full of complex carbs, protein and 20 nutrient dense super foods. They don’t mess with my tummy, which can be very sensitive to sugars pre-run. The almond butter ones are really good, or pick up a sample pack to try all the great flavors.
  5. 2Toms Sport Shield – I’ve recently been turned onto this stuff. It’s Ah-May-Zing. Seriously. I love that it rolls on for easy application and it isn’t heavy or overly greasy.  I’ve worn it through several long runs (even a recent 20 miler) with zero chafe or burn in my usual bra areas. It’s a must have for any runner’s bag. You can get 20% off any 2Toms order with the code 2Toms20 through April!
  6. xx2i Optics France1 Sunglasses – These sunglasses come in so many fun colors!! I LOVE them! I posted a full review on them here. Wearing sunglasses while I run is a must. Gotta protect my peeps. The xx2i ones are really lightweight and comfortable and fit my face well. I love their lifetime guarantee and the fact that you have a whole year to try them out and return them, NO QUESTIONS ASKED! Great product. Great company. You can get 50% off your order right now with the code XX2iRocks.
  7. Running Princess Tiara Visor – I’m a sucker for a cute visor. I have this hat in both black and white. It’s one of my favorite running hats. It’s a Headsweats brand which means it’s super comfy and the tiara embroidery and rhinestone bling on the front make it girly fun. Every girl needs a tiara! I’ve washed these hats in the washing machine many, many times and they hold up really well. The rhinestones are still intact and the hat has held it’s shape well. I do air dry it though.
  8. Garmin fenix 3 – This is the QUEEN of all GPS fitness wearables right now. EVERY runner is lusting after this thing (including me). It pretty much does it all plus a bag of chips. It’s some serious runner tech. The runnerd in me squeals every time I see one. I could write love sonnets about this watch. One day you will be mine…one day.

Hope you enjoy this list of some of my favorite runner things any runner would love for Valentine’s Day (or any other day for that matter).

What are some of your runner gear lusts this year?