Sunday, July 8, 2018

Product Review: Mercury Mile

Disclaimer: I received a Mercury Mile 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!

This was one of the funnest products that I have had to opportunity to test. Here's the 411 on this awesome product: Mercury Mile is a running apparel box that is tailored for you. On their website you create a profile and fill out a brief questionnaire that takes less than 10 minutes about your clothing preferences and body type. They will also ask for your social handles too.

Then when you order a box from them, it's not a subscription each month - you choose when to get one, one of their stylists will use your preferences to select apparel that is the right fit for you, and is similar to the clothing that you like to wear based on what they observe from your social profiles. The box is mailed right to your door and you have a week to try on the clothing. Everything that you like you keep, and everything that you don't like you send back to them in a pre-labeled and prepaid shipping bag. Then they only charge you for what you keep.

Let's dive a little deeper into what awaits you when you open your Mercury Mile Box. Right on top is a letter from your stylist. In the letter they highlight a few of the items that they choose for you and why they think you will like them. Also included with the letter is an itemized list of the items in the box with the prices.

What can you expect to find in your box? That is something that is different for everyone. I watched a bunch of other Bibrave Pros open their boxes and have totally different products that what I had. I know that I was of the few that was sent a pair of sunglasses in my box, where not many others got them. But if you look at my IG posts, I'm always wearing sunglasses, so kudos to my stylist Christina for picking up on that.

I have tried a few other types of runner oriented boxes, mostly the ones with gear rather than with apparel and the one thing that I found with those is that the products that you get are up and coming products that are trying to get their name out there. It's kinda hit and miss with that sort of thing. However with Mercury Mile that are sending you the latest and greatest running apparel out there. I got clothing from Rabbit, Craft, Brooks, Saucony, Adidas, and Asics. So everything was super current on fashion trends, functionality, and breathe ability.

In the first box I got I was so impressed with everything that I didn't send anything back. I love everything that they chose for me. It is perfect summer running gear and things that I wouldn't be able to find at my local running stores. The fact that it was all in perfectly sized for me as well made it even sweeter.

Since I have been obsessing over this company over the past few weeks I took advantage of their semi-annual sale that they advertised on IG, *wink wink* (follow them for up to day info on any deals). The sales was on their fall/winter gear to try and sellout so they can get ready for this year's gear and was at a massive discount. I was just as impressed with the second box as the first, not surprised since Christina was my stylist again. She chose some amazing long sleeves and sweats for me, which aren't the best during the summer heat but will definitely come in handy this fall when it gets colder.

There were a few articles that I did end up sending back this time. Though they were exactly my style they just didn't fit me right. So I put them in the pre-labeled package and sent them back. I got an email confirmation that they received the clothing back and that my invoice would be adjusted. Super easy!

What I think is the coolest part is that I can just log into my account with them and have them send me a box whenever I want. There is no contract or subscription required so I only get a box when I want, and when my finances allow lol. I know for me I have been in a brand rut for the past few years where I would only like to wear clothes from a specific brand because my local running store only had certain brands. Using Mercury Mile I was able to get outside my norm to try some new brands from the comfort of home. It's easy, convenient, and affordable.

Make sure to join us this Tuesday the 10th at 9:00pm EST for a Mercury Mile hosted Bibchat. You can also use code "bibrave10" for $10.00 off your styling fee.

Make sure to check out Mercy Mile on social:

IG: @mercurymile
T: @mercury_mile

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Product Review: Brilliant Reflective Strips

Disclaimer: I received Brilliant Reflective Strips 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 received this product just at the right time, summer running season. Running during the day time in the summer is way too hot, there is the risk of sunburn and overheating, so running at night has become a part of my life. I love night running but sometimes having all that gear can be cumbersome, a reflector vest can be heavy to run in and cause some uncomfortable chafing. So rather than spreading body glide all over my torso before a night run, I have opted to ditch the reflector vest forever and am now a loyal brilliant reflective supporter.

The Product



There are two types of brilliant reflective strips that I was able to test, the iron on strips and the stick on strips. I found them to each have their own uses, so here is more about each of them.

The iron on strips are only used for clothing. They come with an amazing set of instructions for how to get the best results, and not damage any of your clothes either. I found it very easy to do when you follow the directions. I did have one of the strips not adhere all the way which I was a little nervous about. Half of the strip was still on the shirt but the other half was loose and dangling. But I read on the packaging that this is normal, and to re-iron the strip. So I just ironed it per the directions and the strip took to the shirt.

The stick on strips I found to be much more versatile. I worked well on clothing but there were so many more applications for them. I put them on my bike and helmet so that I could be more reflective when riding my bike. I felt like it was more stressful to apply the stick on strips because unlike the iron on strips you have to peel off the back of them before applying where the iron strips can just be placed where you want them. So it was crucial to make sure I put them in the right spot the first time.

Run Test



In order to test the product thoroughly I wanted to make sure I had at least one shirt with the iron on strips and one shirt with the stick on strips. In both cases I found them to be pretty fashionable and not look out of place. I found that with both of them if didn't feel like they were on the shirt at all. I know sometimes when you do iron on decals you can feel the decal and it is sticky or rough but I didn't notice any of the strips feeling this way. Basically there are no downsides to adding them to my clothing.

One thing to note is that the iron on strips cannot be added to every type of material. Some polyester materials will melt with an iron is used on them so you really need to take the time to choose the right clothes, that way you don't ruin your iron or shirts.

Conclusion

The one difference that I think these strips made was the confidence boost that I had when exercising in the dark. Knowing that I was more visible to passing vehicles gave me so much reassurance. That alone should be enough to get you to start adding these to all your athletic apparel. When you're not spending the brain power wondering if you will be seen you can focus more on your workout and get the most out of your training.

Make sure to follow Brilliant Reflective on their social media for the latest product releases and for inspiration on where to apply your strips.

IG: brilliantreflective
T: @brilliant_safe

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Product Review: Athlinks

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


This year Bibrave has partnered with Athlinks which is a company that is about make your racing life so much easier. Athlinks is a website that compiles races results from virtually every race that there is in one place. So you create a profile and can search their data banks of results to find your results to save to your profile, et voilà!



For example with me, I was able to claim my results (see above) in just a few simple clicks for all of these races. It even has the statistics each race on where you placed in your age group, finish time, and pace. I find all of this information to be super handy especially when looking at your races all next to each other.

I'm a sucker for data, so when I'm trying to figure out how to improve or modify my training being able to see a birds eye view of my results is quite handy. Either that or having to look back in Strava to each specific date, then going to each individual website for results (if they have them), ugh what a pain.

One of my favorite features is that it shows you your PR's for each distance. We all know that sometimes our tracking devices can be a little off from our actual finish time, when the finish time is really the official PR time. Being able to have this information readily available is so convenient when signing up for a new race that requires a finish time from another race. Oh and it GETS BETTER! They have an app for it too, so you can always have your results with you. (app on right, desktop below).
So I bet you're wondering a few things:
  • How easy can this really be? 
  • I don't remember the name of every race I have run.
  • How will this be different than searching through a race website for results?
Sit back and relax my friends as I put all your hesitations at ease. I started my profile and entered my personal information like birthday and name, now the website uses that to populate race results that match your information. So all I had to do was scroll down a list of unclaimed results and claim which races were mine, and which were by this imposter Chris McManus. Yeah I found out that not only is my name not original but that there is another runner with my name, gasp! So keep that in mind when claiming your results, only claim results that you yours.
To sum this up, save time and energy by checking out this website and getting all your race results. Oh did I mention that this is free?! So there is nothing holding you back from greatness! 

Check out Athlinks on their social media profiles for more cool updated from them:
IG: @athlinks

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Product Review: Weav Run App

Disclaimer: I received subscription to Weav Run 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 looking for the biggest game changer for exercise music then you need to check out Weav Run. This is a running music app that has the ability to change the tempo of their songs to match your running pace. It is currently only supported on iPhone but will be released for Android in the future.



How it works


There are two options for running: Detect Tempo and Set Tempo.

In the Detect Tempo mode your phone will figure out how fast you are moving and match the tempo of the songs to your pace. Have you ever been in a race approaching the finish line and the crowd is going wild, giving you the biggest boost of endorphins to keep you going? This is exactly what this feature is all about. When you run faster the tempo picks up to match you and help push you. If you're getting tired and need to slow down then the tempo will drop with you too. This really comes in handy for recovery time and catching your breath.

Set Tempo is different where you choose what tempo to set it to and it won't change unless you tell it to. I really liked this feature when I was running hills this week. It kept a faster tempo to help me climb as I naturally was moving slower. For long runs where you want to maintain a certain pace and get lost in the run then this feature is amazing for that.

Beta Version


The Bibrave Pro Team was giving access to the Beta version to test which had a few more features that are to be released in the coming months. My favorite feature was the programmed workouts. During these runs the tempo automatically gets faster during your pick ups and then slows down for the recoveries. My mind was totally blown during this run. One of the things that my friends and I have always dreamed about was to have background music for our lives like in the movies. Weav Run made this dream of mine come true! When I hear the beat to pick up the pace the music got faster too, it's like the universe was encouraging me to run faster.

These runs have been some of my top runs to date. I know that I naturally want to run faster when a fast tempo song comes on so for the app to do all the time tracking for you, it leaves you to sink deep into the run and just run with the music and have a great time.

The Songs


On the version that's currently available there are only about 23 songs. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed when I first saw this. I figured that this wouldn't possibly be enough music to keep me entertained. Then I tried out the app and realized how foolish that thought was. Depending on what type of run I was doing (sprints, hills, long run) I was never really running the same pace therefore I was never hearing that same song. There are so many layers to each song that come out at different tempos that kept the song exciting and new.

From what I learned after talking to Weav Run, there is a lot that goes into making songs have the ability to adjust this way. The songs aren't just sped up or slowed down they are adapted to each tempo so that it is still sounds awesome. With that in mind we can expect more songs to be released in the future.

Conclusion

I love this app, simple as that! It's the first of its kind and will change your running life when you use it. It's the only way to hear music while you run that is playing specifically for you and your running pace. Think of it as personalized music just for you.

Weav Run will be teaming up with the Bibrave Pro's on Tuesday December 26th at 9:00 pm est. We are giving away 2 unlimited subscriptions to the winners so don't miss out!

You can follow Weav Run on social at:

T: @weavrun
IG: @weavrun

What's your favorite song to run to? Do you know what tempo you like to run at? I bet your answer will change after you use this app!

See what the other Pros are saying about Weav Run:

Meridith Lindsey Brenda




Sunday, November 19, 2017

Product Review: Health Warrior Chia Bars

Disclaimer: I received Health Warrior Chia Bars 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!

For those of you that know me, I am a health freak! Last year I tried something new and ate a plant-based diet for my marathon training and it was the strongest I had ever felt. Since then I have adopted a plant-based lifestyle. This does come with challenges especially when it comes to runner fuel. There are tons of different products out there for runners to eat but most of them are some form of sugar or corn that doesn't benefit you at all. Now I'm not a nutritionist by profession so take what I say as you will, Health Warrior has created a tasty and healthy bar that I swear by now.

Health Warrior is stealing the market lately for their different snack bars and I had the luxury of testing the chia bars. Chia has always been a part of my diet so when I saw that they have been added to a snack bar (my definition of a snack bar is a bar that is less than 40 grams in weight) I knew I needed to try them.


Nutrition Perspective

I call this section a perspective because this is how I feel about it which may differ from what you have heard from others.

Chia has always been an essential part of my plant-based diet for a multitude of reasons:

  • it is a good source of healthy fats (Omega -3)
  • low in calories
  • super absorbent, meaning that it can absorb lots of water
The reason why its absorbency is important for a runner is that when I ate a chia bar during a workout I felt better hydrated than if I didn't. This is because the chia seeds will absorb water and allow your body to process it slower and not pass it quickly through. It's similar to drinking alcohol on an empty stomach verses a full stomach. If your stomach is empty then the alcohol hits you faster than if your stomach is full. This makes it super beneficial when exercising so that your body is doing the most with the water that you consume.

Run Test

I was given the chocolate and apple cinnamon flavors to try and really enjoyed both of them. The chocolate chia bar has chocolate liquor it in which gives it a softer chocolate flavor not an overload. The apple cinnamon was perfect to be tested in the fall and tasted true not artificial.

Having tried both of them before actually running with them, so I could see if my belly would like them, I was anxious to see how they would work on my longer runs. With only 100 calories in each bar it was the perfect size snack to eat while running so that I could get additional energy without filling my belly. I liked how easy they were to chew and not tacky like some other products I have tried, but some of the seeds did get stuck in my teeth (which isn't uncommon for chia).

One run in particular really stood out to me. I was running in Orlando on a short vacation and decided to run 7 miles, which was the longest I had run in the past few months. I was equipped with a chia bar and some nuun to drink and finished with a great time while not feeling physically terrible. Especially when running in the heat I frequently can eat too much sugary snack where my belly hurts and I lose my appetite. I was thankful that these did not affect me like that at all.

Bonus Content

Something else that is pretty unique is that Health Warrior made a special running focused coloring book! Super exciting! They are giving the coloring books away for free when you use the link above to make a purchase on their website. The pages are super funny and jokes that all runner will understand. It's a great way to spend your recovery hours too!

Conclusion

Since I was enjoying the bars so much I purchased a few more flavors to keep myself stocked for the coming weeks. Each of these flavors I am enjoying as well, especially the coconut. So whether you are looking for a new fuel source for running or a healthier snack I think that Health Warrior chia bars should be your next go to snack. They are good for you and great tasting too!


Product Review: Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffle


Disclaimer: I received an 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!

It has been almost a year since I have reviewed a product with so I'm really excited to tell you my thoughts about what I've tested recently. Something that I probably got from my mother, shamelessly, is that you can never have too many bags. So I jumped on the opportunity to test out the duffel from Eagle Creek.


Specs

There are many sizes that Eagle Creek offers. We had the pleasure of testing the 60L size, which its the perfect size in my opinion and for what I use it for. The bag is super lightweight, so it's not adding to more stress on your shoulders, weighing just under two pounds. The material is also made to protect your belongings inside. The center compartment is more water repellent than the two outer compartments. So anything that need more protection from the elements should be placed in the main compartment. There were two features that really made me love this bag:

  1. It has shoulder straps so you can wear it as a backpack. The straps are also removable it that is your preference. I always used the shoulder straps because that felt the most comfortable for me.
  2. The bag can fold into one of the outer compartments when you need to store it. It ends up being smaller than a pillow once it is all folded up which makes storing it much easier and take up less space (that means room for more bags right?! 😉).
Field Test

Besides trying to use this bag as much as possible for my review, I found myself always finding an excuse to use this bag. While testing this I went of three different road trips, one of them all the way down to Florida. I was able to pack so much into the bag for my 9 day trip. I had enough clothes for nine days, running clothes for four days, and two sets of shoes. I also still had room for things that I bought along the way too.

My most recent trip just this weekend was to Syracuse. Now that winter is upon us and there is snow again I knew that this bag would have yet another use. I knew that all my belonging would be safe from the rain and snow. I had a new confidence that I hadn't had before. I also wear several layers of clothing, since my body is not adjusted to the cold weather in any sense, and since the bag has the should straps it was always easy to get on even with my parka coat on.

Another instance that this bag proved to be essential was when I was on one of my trips and got my running shoes all muddy and wet. Since the bag has our compartments, it was a separate place to store my shoes without getting my clothes all muddy. Cleaning it up was also pretty easy and wiped up with ease.

Conclusion

I think that this bag was a blessing to have on my adventures because of the following reasons:
  • It was light and easy to carry
  • Has separate compartments for optimal storage
  • Can fold inside itself for easy storage
  • Lets face it, it's also a cute bag too

Join the Bibrave Pros on Tuesday November 21st for an Eagle Creek sponsored Bibchat at 9pm Eastern time. 




In the mean time you can see other great uses and ideas from Nugo on their social pages:

IG: eaglecreek
T: eaglecreekgear

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Product Review: Nugo

Disclaimer: I received Nugo Nutrition Dark Chocolate Protein Bars 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!

Let's face it, life is about finding the right balance in all things right? The biggest struggle we have is when it comes to food, finding the right balance between flavor and nutrition. Nugo has solved that problem for us with their Dark Chocolate Protein Bars. They are the perfect balance between rich real chocolate flavor and protein.


Initial Thoughts

I was able to try four of their flavors: Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Salted Pretzel, and Mint Chocolate Chip. Every flavor was amazing to the point where I cannot choose which flavor I liked the most. 

  • The Chocolate Salted Pretzel was just the perfect blend of sweet and salty. Not to confuse you, there are no pretzels inside them. The pretzel flavor comes from the salt sprinkled on top of the bar so you get that saltiness in every bite.
  • The Chocolate Coconut was what Mounds bar should have done in the first place; true coconut flavor (and that's a lot coming from a Maui boy like me who eat coconut on a daily basis), I actually made an audible gasp when I took my first bite of this bar because of how great it tasted.
  • The Chocolate Chocolate Chip was rich, decadent, and rewarding; any chocolate lover's dream.
  • The Mint Chocolate Chip can only be described as a Girl Scout Thin Mint on steroids. This is one of my favorite flavor combinations in the world, so I was pretty impresses with this bar. The mint flavor was like chewing on a mint leaf fresh.
Run Test

I know this section isn't accurately named since this is not gear that I run in however I wanted to keep it consistent, and lets think about it as a metaphor. As most of you know, or if you don't you will soon find out, when it comes to fitness there is no constant when it comes to nutrition. Studies are always constantly changing proving and disproving past results. That can be so hard for us when we want what's best for our bodies. Where I'm getting at in reference to Nugo Bars is that there is not a correct time to eat them, so I tried them at all different times in my life to get as many different thoughts on the bars as I could. 

First and foremost I utilized the bar as a post workout recovery bar. Sometimes when you finish a really good workout you really don't want to have to get out your blender and whip up a protein smoothie. It leaves dishes, requires prep time, and clean up afterwards all which is tiresome after a 13 mile run or whatever. I found the Nugo Bars to be so convenient for after a workout. I have a busy life, as most of us do, so when I try to fit in a workout before work there isn't much extra time. Being able to pack a Nugo Bar in my bag on my way to the gym made it so much easier. After my workout I knew I had a good wholesome snack to help my body start recovering right away. The general rule, and again take this as you may, is that your body needs protein within 30 minutes of a workout to optimize recovery. After wrapping up a fitness class and then my 20 minute commute home, that doesn't leave much time at home to get the protein in. So eating a Nugo Bar right away my body was utilizing that 20 minute drive to already start recovering, and faster recovery means I can get back out of the pavement sooner without risking injury.

We have those days where you're at work, 3:00pm rolls around, and you're craving something sweet. What do you grab: a donut from the break room, an apple, handful of nuts, or a Nugo Bar? I hope you chose a Nugo Bar! It has protein and carbs as well as satisfying your sweet tooth. I brought in a Nugo Bar for my coworker and I one day. She was very excited as she has Celiac Disease and cannot eat gluten, which Nugo is gluten free. We both couldn't decide which bar we wanted so we split each in half so we wouldn't have to decide. Not only did it satisfy our craving, with beneficial ingredients, it kept us going for the rest of the day. 

The uses for Nugo Bars are immense. I've seen some people crumble the bar up and serve it on top of their cereal or beverage to add some extra vegan protein. I've even eaten a bar as a breakfast replacement before. I wake up super early, a curse in my opinion, and a habit that I cannot get out of. So when I have plans to meet up with friends for breakfast or brunch I have already been up for hours. I know, and my stomach reminds me, that I need to eat pretty close to when I wake up (thank you runner's metabolism). Therefore having a Nugo Bar is just the right amount of food to eat that will sustain me, get me some protein, and not ruin my appetite for breakfast or brunch. 

Conclusion

Nugo Bars are versatile, to say the least. You can utilize them in so many ways that they can most definitely be added to your lifestyle. The biggest part though is the flavor, they taste amazing! Most bars let your down when it some to flavor, but these bars really have the flavors that keep you coming back for bite after bite. They also have many more flavors than I tested, and many more styles of bars as well. So I'm sure there is a bar that is right for you!

Join the Bibrave Pros on Tuesday January 31st for a Nugo sponsored Bibchat at 4pm Hawaii time. 

In the mean time you can see other great uses and ideas from Nugo on their social pages:

IG: nugonutrition
T: NuGoNutrition

Don't forget to use code: "BIBRAVE1" to save 15% through February 8th.