BibRave Product Review: Re-invent Recovery with CTM Band

Disclaimer: I received a CTM Band 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 been very luck, especially after more than a marathon a month last year and a 100 miler, that I’ve had good recovery and very rarely sidelined by an injury. I’m very aware however that I don’t follow a good strength and conditioning plan and I’m constantly feeling the effects of minor muscle imbalances. I’m sure I’d be able to improve pace and efficiency if I spent more time on recovery and muscle balance. Enter, the CTM Band.

The CTM Band was developed by a sports chiropractor and former D1 athlete, Dr. Kyle Bowling, as a tool to help limit soreness, and treat or prevent injuries…all in one product! The band combines Compression, Tension, and Movement to aid athletes in self-myofascial release. Think about all the other recovery products in your gym bag: a foam roller/stick roller/lacrosse ball combines tension and movement, but no compression. A compression band combines compression and movement, but no tension. With CTM Band you get all three in one band! And it only takes a few minutes a day.

Here’s more about how the CTM band works:

According to the website, CTM Band can:

– Relieves Muscle Spasm

– Releases Knots

– Speeds Muscle Recovery

– Breaks Up Scar Tissue

– Increases Range Of Motion

– Activates Muscle 

How have I been using the band?

Since the band is so easy to use and only requires a few minutes for each problem area, I committed to using it everyday, whether for pre-workout muscle activation or recovery post workout or rest day. Align the attachments to the muscle area being treated (the attachments are easily removed to treat smaller areas), and wrap the band tightly (without being painful). Then, stretch and move for 2 minutes. That’s it!

 

I have weak glutes from sitting at a desk all day so I try to focus on areas that suffer because of that weakness; hamstrings, quads, calves, and IT band attachment near the knee. I love using the band in these areas as a warmup just before a run; it’s a great way to activate those muscles and I’ve noticed my run warmup time has decreased significantly. No more sluggish starts! I traveled a lot in the last 2 weeks and the band easily packs, taking up little room. Can’t say that about my foam roller. The only negative is maybe the price; at $40 it seems a bit pricey but considering it pretty much replaces all my other recovery tools I think it’s totally worth it. Also, with code CTMBIBRAVE you get 20% off so you really can’t go wrong!

Chime in with your recovery tools of choice, and check out what other BibRave Pros have to say about CTM Band:

Whitney | Mary Jo | Lindsey | Amanda |

Check out CTM Band on their website and social for more info and see how others are reinventing their recovery:  WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER

And as always, head to BibRave where you can Find & Review Races! Join us on Tuesdays at 9pm EST for #BibChat, to discuss everything running, races, products, run travel, and more!

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Get #AllTheData with Athlinks and BibRave!

Disclaimer: I am reviewing Athlinks as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review or find race reviews.

After posting tips for getting out of a funk yesterday, I realized that one thing that can help with motivation is data! Yes, one of my tips talked about ditching the tech altogether and I truly believe that running for the hell of it with zero goals in mind is cathartic and a great way to get back to a motivated starting point. However, once there, I live by the life motto of “Keep Moving Forward.” Considering I’m at an analytics conference in Denver right now, it should be no surprise that I’m highly motivated by data. One of the best places to easily track race results, engage with friends running the same events, and set goals and challenges, is Athlinks! For 2018, BibRave has teamed up with Athlinks as a way to connect your race resume (Athlinks) with your race reviews (BibRave).

Athlinks is a one-top-shop for tracking your official race results, set goals for upcoming race, and see how you compare to your friends and “rivals” (which, of course, are sometimes the same people!). Athlinks is free to sign up and just requires an email, name, birthday, and location. These elements allow Athlinks to find all your unclaimed race results! Once your results are populated you can confirm which results are actually yours (there’s several people with my same name and similar age so I often see results that aren’t mine) and your stats populate automatically!

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I’m more excited than I should be about being slightly above average, lol. 

Every time I log on,  there will be a notification if there’s unclaimed results I need to review. Claim those results and watch your stats automatically update. Up-to-date race stats are actually really handy for races with seeded corrals. I make use of the personal records feature when registering for races that require qualifying results for corral placement. This is especially key for the Peachtree Road Race each year, allowing me to typically earn a spot within the first 5 corrals, making for a much less crowded or hot race experience each year.

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A newer feature, at least to me, is the race start list and goals. You can search for upcoming races in the app and add yourself to the start list. You can also publish a goal for the race. For me, I shouted my goal of finally going sub-5 marathon at the upcoming Vermont City Marathon. Athlinks and Vermont City Marathon both tweeted back at me their encouragement! Making a goal public makes for some damn good motivation to stay healthy and honest with my training for the next 7 weeks.

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Finally, a feature I haven’t used a lot but I plan to utilize more in the future is the Discover tab to search for nearby events. I think this feature will come in handy for upcoming travel and finding events in new cities. Let me know if you used the discover feature or any other fun stats in Athlinks in unique ways. Until then, wish me luck on my sub-5 marathon journey!

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Shut up and run: 5 tips to get out of a training funk

Yup, it’s April. Nearly a quarter of the way through 2018 and all those fabulous fitness and personal goals haven’t really got off the ground yet. I get it. We’ve all been there. I’ve been there this year for sure. After running my ass off last year and completing my final 50 mile race of 2017 at 7:30pm on December 31st, I pretty much imploded after that. The only reason January wasn’t a complete mess was due to giving myself a manageable goal of completing the Whole 30. By the end of the month I was the healthiest I’d been in a long time, even though my overall mileage was a bit low. We all need a break. However, since then, it’s seemed that both my professional and personal life have been at a bit of a standstill. I’m staring at the last couple weeks of school wondering how I managed to make it through this semester and seemingly accomplish nothing. Until very recently I felt tired, lazy, and not motivated, in both school work and fitness. I think I’ve FINALLY got off the sad train and found a more positive and motivated track. It took time and the following 5 life updates:

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  • Invest in a high quality planner. Last year I started using a Panda Planner® and it went a long way towards reducing my stress and allowing much better productivity. For some reason I stopped using it and by March this year I was a complete mess. The to-do list was growing at a faster rate than I could cross things off and it seemed as if I would never accomplish any one thing. I finally bought a new Panda Planner, this time the Pro version, and I’ve already accomplished a list of tasks in one week that had been sitting idle since the beginning of the year. ONE WEEK and several pounds of huge weight have fallen off my shoulders. Panda Planner is more than just a planner; their motto is “Be Happier & More Productive.” It’s amazing how appropriate scheduling and affirmations can completely change  your life. I highly recommend this planner but I think writing down tasks and schedule (rather than keeping everything in digital form) is a really powerful tool no matter what you use.
  • Try something new: I’ve been almost exclusively running as my fitness routine since February because of our new doggy. He’s very high energy so taking him on a run nearly every day goes a long way to keeping him happy and our house in one piece. However, my body and mind definitely crave additional activities. I’ve tried to commit to at least one yoga class a week. Strength training has always been something I know I need but fail to accomplish. I hate gyms so lifting weights isn’t something that I have much access to. Yoga provides a decent amount of body weight strength training but I can tell I need something else. For that reason I’ve decided to start rock climbing again. It’s a great strength workout, it’s fun, and it has nothing to do with running or triathlon lol.  For simplicity of gear and accessibility, I’ve decided to focus on bouldering, which does not require any ropes or harness. We have bouldering free for students at Kennesaw, as well as a bouldering gym in midtown near home. I used to love climbing and the strength and power I gained from it, but I haven’t done it for years since I started running. Time to add some elevation to my routine! In addition, I’ve committed to 2 minutes of plank and several minutes of recovery with my new CTM band. Adding strength and recovery allows every other workout to feel better and more efficient. It’s not about time; it’s about prioritizing quality.
  • Ditch the tech: I started doing one run a week without any gps watch. There’s a 5k route from my house around Grant Park that’s safe and appropriately hilly. Running it without any music or gps allows my body and brain to seriously just shut up and run. It’s cathartic and I’ve had some of my best runs with this method. Let’s stop being slaves to our watches and phones and just enjoy the sounds and feel of our feet on the ground.
  • Spend more time with friends (outside of the run): Most of my closest friends are my running friends. However, it’s time to appreciate these friends outside of the run. I’ve realized how much I enjoy spending time with friends just hanging out around town and have tried to make more effort to do so. Looking forward to a friends dinner night every once in a while goes a long way to maintaining those friendships even if you have to step back from running for a while.
  • Try a new activity that’s not fitness related: I’m all about the well-rounded fitness as a way of life, but sometimes our bodies need to just chill. I’m at a conference in Denver right now and spent time with my brother and his girlfriend for a couple days before the conference. They brought me to a glassblowing class. It was an amazing experience and also a reminder that there’s so many awesome activities to be enjoyed that don’t require a pair of running shoes. Home in Atlanta I’ve been trying to attend more meetup events, especially those related to my professional life like Women Who Code and PyData.  I also volunteered at the Atlanta Science Festival. It’s a great reminder that there’s so much happening around our lives and people we have yet to meet. Get out there and engage!
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Glass blowing awesomeness courtesy of my untapped creativity

For me, running is such a huge part of my life. By adding balance to other areas of my life it’s reignited my energy. I found that my funk had nothing to do with running and everything to do with balance. I’ve actually started running more consistently and each run is more enjoyable. Chime in to let me know how you’ve busted out of the funk and re-engaged your life.

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BibRave Safety Month: Motivation through Staying Safe with Aftershokz

Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Trekz Air to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

The month of February BibRave hosted BibRave Safety Month with partners  AfterShokz and Brilliant Reflective. Each week focused on a different element of staying safe on our fitness adventures including: Be Prepared, Be Aware, Be Seen, and  Be Open. Read all about BibRave Safety Month in this BibRave blog post.

I received the Aftershokz Trekz Air to review in January so of course it made sense to continue documenting how these awesome bone conducting headphones help keep me motivated in the darker winter months through their great safety features. To top it all off, my husband and I adopted a dog at the end of January so I had the added element of a running bodyguard.

#traildog #dogsofinstagram #runningbuddy #trailrunning #bibchat

A post shared by Jessica Fun Size (@moore27) on

Throughout the month I’ve been documenting Aftershokz and SafetyMonth tips through Instagram Stories at @moore27. You can still see some of the posts in my archive and I’ll continue posting my run-ventures here; Safety Month doesn’t just end with February after all! For the whole month I really focused on how Aftershokz are great for safety in all situations, not just on the road. Luckily, I had a great combination of work, school, travel, and day-to-day training to test out different scenarios.

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  • Be Prepared: travel preparedness was key this month. I went to Portland  (BibRave headquarters!) for a conference and Aftershokz proved perfect for both travel and running while in a new city. I have flight anxiety even though I fly all the time. Wearing the Trekz Air with the supplied ear plugs on the plane helped give me a needed cocoon of musical comfort that helps calm my nerves (oddly, my calming music of choice is ACDC).
  • Be Aware: once in Portland I was determined to run my little heart out. Using the RunGo App I was able to find verified routes around the city with turn-by-turn directions, which I could then play through the Aftershokz. No need to continuously stop and fiddle with my phone to figure out where I was located and where I was headed. It was nice knowing I could safely run around a completely new city without getting lost. And yes, Aftershokz do just fine in the rain. 🙂
  • Be Seen: I have several pieces of running gear that I’ve outfitted with Brilliant Reflective strips. I also make sure to wear plenty of blinkies. If you’re running with a 4-legged friend, don’t forget to deck them out in reflective and/or blinkie gear too!
  • Be Open: One of the best benefits of the Aftershokz bone conduction technology is the associated ability to listen to music/podcasts/RunGo directions and still hear people, animals, objects around you. Portland is full of cyclists and othe runners, and the Aftershokz ensured I wasn’t startled or mowed down by fast-moving bike commuters coming from behind.

Want to implement your own safety plan with Aftershokz and Brilliant Reflective?

AfterShokz: Receive a bonus trucker hat with your AfterShokz Trekz Air purchase with code “TRUCKER” at http://bibrave.aftershokz.com/.

Brilliant Reflective: Use the link bit.ly/BRP25 to save 25% off of all multi/assortment Packs.

Follow Aftershokz and Brilliant Reflective on social at:

Twitter: @Aftershokz and @Brilliant_safe

Instagram: @Aftershokz and @Brilliant_reflective

Facebook:  @Aftershokz and @BrilliantReflective

Don’t forget to join BibRave every Tuesday at 9pm EST for Twitter #BibChat to chat more about what’s up in the running world and engage with other BibRave partners, including Aftershokz and Brilliant Reflective! You’ll meet other awesome runners and have the chance to win great prizes.

 

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Running on Air with Aftershokz Trekz Air!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Air to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro(ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!\

If all you need to know about the Aftershokz Trekz Air is that this is my 4th PAIR of Aftershokz bone conduction wireless headphones, then that alone would probably be a pretty good indication. I keep gifting these magical gifts of music to friends and family and getting myself new pairs. For more on the technology and my previous experience with the Trekz Titanium and Trekz mini check out those posts.

In a nutshell, the Aftershokz bone conduction technology sends mini vibrations through your cheekbones, directly to your inner ear, leaving your ear canals open. This allows you to run, walk the dog, talk on the phone in your car, etc. while remaining safely aware of your surroundings. You can listen to music on your run while still hearing oncoming people, cars, and animals. You can also run with friends and engage in conversation while still having the tunes handy in case you need extra motivation to power up that hill. 🙂

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I’ve never been in the habit of listening to music while working out/running but it’s nice to know that my Hamilton soundtrack is readily available for those days I really need the extra motivation to get out the door, especially during the cold, dark, winter months. There also great for motivation in front of a computer for a workday (and avoiding the loud talker, heavy typer in the adjacent cubes).

There’s some added benefits of the new Trekz Air design as well:

  • improved bass and dynamic sound range
  • 6 hour battery life (honestly, for the older versions and this version I’m pretty sure I get longer battery life than advertised. I haven’t had to charge the new pair more than once since I got them).
  • 20% lighter than older versions
  • The thinner arm design feels more comfortable sitting on my ears for extended periods of time while working, as well as multi hour runs.

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Stay tuned later in the month for a follow-up post about using the Aftershokz Trekz Air to stay safe and motivated during BibRave Safety Month (you can see updates on my Instagram stories)! Until then, you can find out more about these amazing, safe, and magical tune carriers  and purchase your own at bibrave.aftershokz.com. You’ll also get a FREE BibRave trucker hat with code TRUCKER. Don’t forget to follow Aftershokz on social at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For your chance to WIN a pair of the AfterShokz Trekz Air join BibRave, AfterShokz and fellow runners for #BibChat on Twitter this Tuesday night, Feb. 13, at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

Check out what other BibRave Pros have to say:

Sara | Alastair | Renee | Jenna | Vanessa | Amy W | Corey |

Posted in Product Reviews, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Whole30 Roundup and Moving Forward

Woohoo! Made it through my first W30! I’m giving myself a 95% since I’m assuming some restaurant probably cooked something in some added crap I wasn’t aware of. But other than that I was on task through normally scheduled meal outings with friends, vacations, a few parties, and marathon training. It made me enjoy cooking and I got myself an Instant Pot out of it; can’t go wrong with that! Down 8 lbs and 3% body fat. Can’t complain. I’m still eating whole30/paleo as of today and will probably maintain that for the most part, but be a bit more lenient at restaurants and such. I’m not craving anything specific so might as well keep on trucking. I’ll end up having my first drink probably this Saturday during some round 1 birthday shenanigans. Saving most of the treats though for birthday dinner at Gun Show next Wednesday. I feel like the whole process has changed my relationship with food after a 30+ year fight. I don’t really feel like running out and “rewarding” myself with a food treat since, honestly, the strawberries in my frig right now taste fucking amazing. Hell, carrots taste sweet to me. I’m rewarding myself with extra Stich Fix* boxes because clothes look and feel amazeballs. Huzzah!

In other Rudd family news, we got a dog this week! For those of you who follow on Facebook you’ll know that this was a several months long escapade but we finally found our 4th family member. He’s about 2 years old and had been rescued from Egypt back in Fall 2016. His name is Batoot, which means “frog” in Arabic, since he flops down with frog legs. He’s got a lot of energy for runs so he’s already joined me a few times around the neighborhood on training runs for the Publix GA Marathon (pace team 5:30!) and the Vermont City Marathon (sub 5h goal race!). He does pretty well on the leash except for moments of distraction, but otherwise trots along at around 9:30-10:30/mile pace, which is nice training for me, especially on the hills around Grant Park. Unfortunately, we think his original adoptive family in the US didn’t treat him great (locked him up in small areas with little to no interaction) so he needs some training to get used to the crate again and learn Adam and I as his alpha pack. In any case, his humans need our own training as well. 🙂

In PhD/work news I’m working on two projects with CDC colleagues geared towards publication, 2 draft manuscripts for my own research at school, as well as several projects in various stages at school that will go towards publication hopefully. Several of these projects I’ll be presenting at a couple upcoming conferences, including CSP in Portland, OR from Feb 14-18, and SAS Global Forum in Denver in April. I’m super excited to have been awarded SAS Ambassador this year and earning my way to that conference and hoping that one of my research teams has similar success with the SAS Student Symposium so my teammates can come to Denver as well. This semester is already nuts but I’m working towards finishing my final full courseload semester, studying for comprehensive exams in July, and then moving forward with dissertation phase in the fall. Can’t believe it’s nearly halfway finished! The Whole30 really helps me avoid falling back into a snack food/fast food craze due to all this craziness!

FINALLY, February is BibRave Safety Month! For the whole month BibRave, AfterShokz, and Brilliant Reflective will be hosting weekly Twitter chats, Facebook Live sessions, giveaways and more related to gear, tips, and tricks to stay safe on our fitness adventures. Follow BibRave on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all the updates and safety related fun. #BePrepared #BeAware #BeSeen #BeOpen

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*StichFix credit for birthday always welcome. 😛
**If you don’t know what is StichFix and/or not using it yet, let me know and I’ll send you a coupon code.

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Whole 30 “appetizer”: 5 tips so you don’t go insane.

Yup, it’s been a minute. Between finals, holidays, trying to cram in a bunch of CDC work during school break, and one last ditch effort to complete the Yeti Challenge* on New Year’s Eve (success!), I just about imploded as Jan 1 rolled around. 2017 was certainly a great year in my book. Another year of my PhD program finished, we bought a new house, and ran 100 miles, to name a few. In terms of overall athletic effort I completed: 1 100 mile, 1 100k, 1 50 mile, 3 50ks, 5 marathons, 3 half marathons, at least one marathon + distance per month (some of these were training runs), and over 1330 miles run. Even with all these awesome race experiences that a previous version of me could never have imagined, the end of the year holiday excess reminded me one key fact of my life: I still have a shitty relationship with food.

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Every new year I’m left feeling drained, bloated, gross from the heavy food insanity that occurs in the last few weeks of the year. Even with marked improvements in my ability to take single helpings, just the type of food alone makes me feel like crap. Due to that feeling, plus the fact that I didn’t have any heavy training loads planned for January (more than any idea of a “resolution” really), this scientist felt like it was time for an experiment…a nutrition experiment.

I’d been following the Whole 30 phenomenon for a while and felt like it presented a safe, balanced, manageable, and compelling challenge. You can visit The Whole30 program for detailed information, but in a nutshell it’s paleo on steroids. The elevator pitch explanation is basically that it’s a food “experiment” where you eliminate foods that potentially cause GI distress and inflammatory processes for 30 days, and then you slowly reintroduce foods to find out specifically what affects your body. The 30 days acts as a kind of cleanse of all the crap from your body while you still get to eat a ton of awesome food, just in a much more mindful, meticulous way. I’m kinda an all or nothing person so this plan was a-ok for me.

The TL;DR version of Whole30 –> eat meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and natural fats. DO NOT consume sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, or dairy. DO NOT consume baked goods or “treats” (if the ingredients are “compliant”). DO NOT weigh or measure yourself. NO counting calories**. HOLY CRAP, RIGHT?!

Guess what? It’s the end of day 16 and I’m fine. In fact, I’m more than fine. I’m excited about the food I eat, and I actually enjoy cooking for the first time in my entire life. Plus, I feel pretty damn good. Like I feel as if my whole body has deflated, in a good way. I’ve been to several social events, and just returned from a 5 day ski trip and no slip ups. The process can feel overwhelming at first and you may be compelled to be a hermit for 30 days and not engage in any social activities. NOT SO! Here’s 5 tips I’ve used so far that have made this approachable and even fun!

  1. Instacart: this is a lifesaver for me. Honestly, the experience of Whole 30 plus Instacart is a huge part of why I now ENJOY cooking. The grocery store really stresses me out. Using Instacart, I shop online for the specific things I need and don’t end up browsing the store and impulse buying. There’s a small service fee but I’ve been able to use promo codes each time. I also had a small credit today. I usually pay the shopper/Driver a nice tip because 1) it’s service industry, 2) they’ve all been so friendly, 3) and they shop my entire order and deliver in half the time it would take me. At the end of the day I figure it comes out even based on the $ I save from impulse buys. I highly recommend giving it a shot. This referral gets you $10 off and free delivery using code JRUDD318E. 
  2. Nom Nom Paleo App: this is a great resource for paleo and whole30 prep guides and recipes. Her best resource is the free app with tons of recipes that you can easily search by Whole30. Pretty much everything I’ve cooked in the last 2 weeks has been from this app. The deviled egg salad and the instant pot beef chili are my faves and super easy.
  3. I’m late to this current obsession but yes, the Instant Pot: yeah, this is the pressure cooker of the 21st century I guess and I never thought I’d be so excited about a kitchen appliance. Call me converted. I have the Duo Plus 6 Qt 9-in-one and this baby replaces: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice/porridge cooker, yogurt maker, cake/egg maker, sauté/searing, steaming, warmer and sterilizer. The beef chili, including prep, took 30 minutes total because of this magic. I’ve been rolling out the hard boiled eggs like clockwork. Whole30 or not, this thing is amazeballs, especially if you want to rock some 30 minute, one-pot meals.
  4. Stock up on savory snacks. I keep some of the sweeter Whole30 compliant snacks like Lara Bars for workout needs. The program itself prefers reaching for protein and healthy fats to fufill most snacking needs – kill the sugar monster basically. To acomplish this, I maintain a stock of hard boiled eggs, nuts (no peanuts – those are legumes!), beef jerky (check labels for no added sugar!), veggies, and salsa. I’ve been carrying snack bags of almonds in my purse or backpack so if I get stuck late somewhere or sitting in traffic and feeling ravenous I reach for those. With a busy lifestyle, this point is key.
  5. Find accountability in those around you. My friend invited me to a small, private FB Whole30 group. It’s been a great resource for ideas, as well as a place to go to vent and have like-minded people talk you off the ledge. I also told my husband, obviously. He would have noticed anyway due to the fact that I cooked for him more in the last 2 weeks than I have in our entire relationship, but I prepped him for the adventure anyway. This turned out to be a lifesaver a few times when we were skiing. There was an event that had free hot chocolate and s’mores. I LOVE hot chocolate but I was able to pass easily since they just had the instant kind (why waste the experiment on that?), but the churro marshmallow s’mores were a whole other ballgame. I mentioned at one point that I may “cheat” a bit with just one s’more. A few minutes later he made the point of telling me that the chocolate was rock hard from being outside in the freezing temps and it just wasn’t that great. I’m not sure I believed him but it was more than enough to kill the urge. Honestly, the fact that I didn’t have hot chocolate and s’mores on a ski trip did not diminish the awesomeness of the trip one bit. It’s amazing how we justify food choices around vacations and events, when the joy of the event itself should have nothing to do with food. Light bulb moment for sure.

So that’s my Whole30 halfway point roundup. I’ll be sure to check back in after day 30. If you’ve done Whole30, doing it now, or thinking about it in the future. Feel free to chime in here.

* Yeti Challenge: 50k, 50mile, 100k, 100 mile in one calendar year.

** The no counting calories thing was what really sold me. Honestly, the idea of counting calories is absolute unsustainable bullshit prone to huge error and cheating anyway. Just eat real food!

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BibRave Review: Healthy, Quick, and Delicious with Luvo Meals

“Disclaimer: I received Luvo Healthy Meals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Juggling a full time PhD program, a job, married life, friends, and of course, running/cycling/swimming, etc. it’s tough to also maintain healthy eating habits. Busy daily life often leads to reaching for the quickest/easiest foods and those are often not the healthiest. Around this time of year I often feel weighed down by holiday food, snacking and fast food during finals, and lack of sleep. As a result, workouts feel like lead due to poor nutrition. How to survive and even thrive during the end of the year slog? Enter Luvo Healthy Meals.

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Special delivery…healthy happiness…

Luvo provides a wide selection of frozen meals that offer a “3-2-None promise”:

  • The right balance of (3) protein, whole grains, and veggies
  • Limiting (2) sodium and sugar
  • No (none) artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners

You can easily choose from steam in pouch meals, bowls, and planted (vegan) power bowls on their website, offering vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, or dairy free options. Something for everyone! There’s filters so you can easily search for meals based on your preferences. I had 16 meals ordered in minutes and they arrived cold packed less than a week later. When I need a couple extra meals between orders, it’s easy to pick up a few at the local Kroger (although selection is limited in comparison to ordering direct from the website).

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Start here for healthy, yummy times ahead…

My favorite meals have definitely been the roasted cauliflower mac and cheese (gluten free and it tastes too good to be healthy!) and the hawaiian unfried rice (vegan!). The best part, even during finals I haven’t missed a meal and I’ve actually LOST weight! I feel energetic and not weighed down by the awful food I usually eat this time of year. Plus, the cost of each mail is comparable and even less than most fast food meals.

Want to give Luvo meals a try? Use code BIBCHAT for 10% your entire order on their website. Use them to get through the holidays…and then realize they’re so good you’ll keep ordering in the new year!

Here’s what other BibRave Pros have to say:

Lissa | Brad | Dane | Stephanie |

Don’t forget to join BibRave and co-sponsor Luvo for Twitter #Bibchat on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 9pm ET for your chance to learn more and maybe win some yumminess!

You can visit Luvo at http://luvoinc.com and on social media at Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

 

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BibRave Product Review: BOCO Gear 360° Visor®

“Disclaimer: I received a BOCO Gear 360° 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!”

If you’ve been paying attention you may already know I have a whole dresser drawer filled with BUFF® products. What you may not know is that the same drawer shares space with more visors then there are days of the week. Basically, that one drawer holds my most important running accessories, outside of sneakers (and if you saw my recent Instagram post you’d know that I can manage without those anyway). I’m obsessed with visors for several reasons:

  • They keep sweat and stray hair out of my face better than headband (I’ll even wear them at night for this reason)
  • They keep my eyes and skin protected from the sun, without needing glasses which tend to hurt my ears after a while
  • The hair/ponytail fit much better under a visor than a full hat
  • They’re lighter, more comfortable, and more adjustable than a full hate (although I’m known to rock a trucker on runs from time to time – I LOVE my BibRave Boco gear trucker)

To say the least, I was very excited to receive the custom BibRave BOCO 360° Visor®. I’ve worn it on most of my runs lately in various conditions. The visor has several great features that has made it my go to for just about every run:

  • Lightweight wicking  outside and a wicking internal sweatband (terry cloth) to move sweat from your forehead –> soft, comfortable material and the entire visor soaks up the sweat away from your face. I’ve had no stinging sweat in the eyes wearing this
  • Soft brushed elastic back for comfort and fit –> no fiddling with readjustments; pull it on and it stays in place, even in high winds. I love how I can wear it over a full winter cap or headband to keep ears warm and I never have to readjust it. 
  • Relaxed fit front panel for a better performance and comfort
  • Black underside of the bill to reduce glare –> This is something you don’t notice until you wear a different hat or visor on a sunny day and still suffer from glare.
  • Machine washable -> wash and dry on the cold/tech cycle and it’s like new. No smell and dries fast!

FINALLY, as always #OrangeIsTheNewFast so this BibRave visor definitely makes you run faster (evidenced by the above photo where I PRd the 10 miler).

Head to the BOCO site to check out all their great products. The 360° Visor® retails for $23  – you can even create your own custom design!

Check out what other BibRave Pros have to say about BOCO Gear:

Amy W | Meridith | Jeannine | Lindsey | Angie Vanessa |

You can follow BOCO Gear on Twitter – Instagram – Facebook

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BibRave Product Review: Superfoods to the rescue with HealthWarrior!

Disclaimer: I received Health Warrior Chia Bars and coloring book to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time hungry from tons of awesome workouts but also a lot of time sitting at a desk and mindlessly snacking. In a busy life of wake up, workout, get to work, get to school, work work, phd phd, get home late, sleep, rinse and repeat…where do you find time to engage in healthy eating habits? In a grab and go lifestyle, is it possible to find nutritional balance? Enter Health Warrior Superfoods! I received 2 boxes of Health Warrior chia bars, along with an awesome marathon coloring book, to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Shitty snacking had met it’s match.

Health Warrior was founded in 2010 by college friends and former collegiate athletes who discovered that quality calories over quantity was the way to survive the post-collegiate, desk-bound lifestyle. After reading Born to Run  (is there a runner who hasn’t read this book??), they discovered the nutrient dense superfood that is chia seeds. Ounce-for-ounce, chia boasts more omega-3s than salmon, more protein than an egg, more calcium than milk, and more fiber than flax. In addition, Health Warrior Chia Bars and Superfood Protein Bars are all gluten free, soy free, dairy free, vegan, and kosher!

We-choose-food

The Health Warrior way…

“BUT Jessica”, you may ask, “if it’s ‘free’ of all that great tasting stuff, don’t they taste like crap??” To this I say “HELL NO!” I tested the vanilla almond and the peanut butter chia bars. They only have 4-5g of sugar each, and about 100 calories. It’s the perfect amount of sweetness and chewy texture for a mid-morning or afternoon snack,  or a pre or post workout boost. The most happy discovery of all? You can break them up into some greek yogurt for a healthy, lower sugar granola alternative! No more unnecessary sugar spikes, huzzah! The bars are also nice and easy on the stomach, so they work just fine for me during a workout without GI distress. My only real complaint is that you do have to pick some chia seeds out of your teeth (a small price to pay for superfood yumminess).

For an added bonus you can print out the hilariously accurate “Marathon Training” coloring book for free here! Munch on some superfood and engage in cathartic coloring at the same time.

 

Health Warrior Chia Bars currently come in 9 awesome flavors (I can’t wait to try the Salted Caramel!) and retails for $15.99 for a box of 15, with free shipping for orders over $25. If you want to start small, you can try a sampler box of 3 for $4.99 and free shipping. I’ve also found several flavors available at my local Kroger Supermarket.

Check out what other BibRave Pros have to say about Health Warrior:

Amy W | Janelle | Casey | Stephanie | Paula | Brenda | Matt | Lindsey | Emily | Samantha |

For more info and to keep up with the Health Warrior “tribe” follow them on social:

Instagram| Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest |

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