Run Globally From Anywhere – My Zwift Run Review

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Pod 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 treadmill is one of those tools that many find necessary for their training and yet not nearly as enjoyable as being out on the open road. One can see why though. Treadmills aren’t out in the fresh air, the scenery is always the same (unless you like to move your treadmill around) or it requires a trip to the gym. Sometimes it is a combination of all three. Luckily, I was able to test out something that is a partial solution to those problems and makes the treadmill experience A LOT more fun.

What is this magical solution? It is Zwift Run. Zwift Run is a way for you to connect virtually with other runners, from around the world and knock out those treadmill miles. All you need for Zwift Run to work is a treadmill, a footpod and a device (tablet, phone or computer) to run the Zwift app. You can use Android or Apply and it is recommended that you use a tablet or a computer for optimal results. I used my phone and while it worked there were some things I didn’t get the full benefit of because of that. You can also hop on a Bluetooth treadmill and do it without the footpod and device.

The first step is to check what equipment works best for your Zwift run experience here.  Then, if need be you can purchase a footpod from their shop here and then setup an account at https://zwift.com/en/run/. Once you have your footpod there is a very quick pairing process with your device through the app that leads you to calibrating the pod to your treadmill speed. This is a very important step as not calibrating the speed can lead to some funky results. In fact, the more times you do this calibration the better your experiences will be. I paired it the morning before a BibRave 5K virtual run for the first time and it worked, for the most part, quite well. I had a few hiccups during the run with the speed being off but was told that more calibrations would get the two to sync better.

Zwift Pairing

Now to the running. Zwift Run has created virtual routes in places like Richmond, New York and London for you to run alongside strangers or friends either on your own time or during a specific even setup within Zwift. The main screen on the Zwift Run app has a calendar that shows the events for the day and where they take place. You can literally (virtually) run through the streets of London without leaving the comfort of your home on a Tuesday afternoon. If you are the kind of person who happens to love group runs but are out of town and away from your group or most of your running friends are spread across the country you can set up virtual events to get together with them anyway!

I am, quite honestly, the latter. Almost all of my running friends (and fam) are all over the place so this is the only way I can run with them without traveling. Running on the TM is also something I do out of necessity but don’t enjoy because starting at my garage wall is not a ton of fun. When I have Zwift open on my phone and I hop onto one of their courses while on the treadmill then the garage disappears around me. The best part about Zwift Run is that the app is free. All you need is a connected device, a treadmill and the app. Don’t be afraid of the treadmill anymore or let it be an excuse to skip a training run. This app adds a little bit of zest to your TM runs!

Right now code “BibRave15” is good for $15 off the cost of the Zwift RunPod at Zwift.com.

Follow Zwift Run on social media:

IG: @gozwiftrun

Twitter: @GoZwiftRun

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A Whole New World – My IKOR Labs Performance CBD Review

“Disclaimer: I received a bottle of iKOR Labs Performance CBD Hemp Extract 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 is a new one for me. I have tested a lot of products as a BibRave Pro and I can confidently say I have never tested anything else that has changed my training quite like the Performance CBD from iKOR Labs.

As the parent of a child with anxiety and ADHD I was already aware of the ability of CBD oil in combating anxiety. However, it was not something that we had tried and I was unsure of just how effective it could be. Combating anxiety, though, is just one of the benefits of this extract.

The big reason I wanted to test out iKOR Performance CBD was the anti inflammatory properties that I had seen touted by endurance athletes. Having dealt with my fair share of injuries and my propensity to re-aggravate them with over training means I have had to cut down on my number of runs per week. This doesn’t mean I don’t experience soreness and inflammation because I definitely do.

So how does iKOR Performance CBD hemp extract work? Let’s start with what CBD is. From iKOR Lans website “Cannabidiol—CBD—is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC.” It is also important to understand how our bodies interact with and process CBD. It all starts with the Endocannabinoid System. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of specialized lipids and their receptors, and associated enzymes, located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. The ECS is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain management, mood and memory.

I can say from my time using iKOR Performance CBD that I noticed a difference in all of these areas. Dosing is really simple. Take 5 pumps under your tongue twice a day. I did so in the mornings (after workouts on my run days) and before bed. My mood was immediately improved in terms of my anxiety and I felt like I got far better sleep on the days I took my iKOR.

The aide to my recovery, though, was what I appreciated most. I can say without exaggeration that this product helped me recover from my workouts a lot more quickly. I experienced far less soreness and for shorter periods of time when taking this. The days when I cycled off, which is a period of time you take a break from using it that is recommended by iKOR, I could tell that recovery was slowed back down to a normal pace.

This Performance CBD was so effective that I will never go through a training cycle without it. The anxiety relief on a non-training cycle is also enough for me to keep using it all the time. The citrus flavoring helps it go down a little more smoothly as well.

From now until 12/31 you can save 20% on your order, which is a great deal. Just use code ‘BIBRAVE20’ at checkout.

Whether you are training or not you really should try iKOR Performance CBD hemp extract. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. If you are training for a race I can’t recommend it enough.

Shop iKOR Labs HERE

Follow them on social media as well:

Twitter: @Ikorlabs

IG: @ikorlabs

Wearable Heaven For Feet – My OOfos OOrignal Sport Sandal Review

“Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOfos OOrignal Sport Sandals 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!”

Whether you run trails or the road and whether you churn out big miles or small one thing is true: your feet deserve some special treatment when you are done. OOfos has a reputation among runners of all types as a shoe brand that really delivers on it’s promises. The biggest promises are comfort and support.

I’ve detailed on previous posts my battles with Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis and have been steered away from sandals to reduce the stress on these areas. However, there were fellow runners that swore by OOfos sandals to help with their PF.  So who is right? The honest answer is both parties are right. Regular sandals are not a great idea if you are dealing with inflammation in either of these areas but with OOfos you don’t have to worry about that. The reason for that being OOfoam technology and extra arch support.

OOfoam gives your feet exactly what they need for recovery by abosrbing 37% more impact than traditional footwear. Not only is this good for your feet but it reduces the stress on the rest of your joints as well. The second you put these on you can feel the cushion. It is unlike any other shoe I have ever worn. The OOfoam alone with be amazing but the extra arch support is what does it for me.

OOfos

Just look at the amount of foam where your arch sits! With any shoe I wear, whether it be dress shoes, trainers or sandals I have to have extra arch support or my PF flares up something fierce. When I get home from work all I want to do is take off my shoes and let my feet breathe. The problem is that standing on hardwood floors and tile for extended periods of time doesn’t help my feet feel any better. I am so glad I have the OOfos OOriginal Sport Sandals to slip on after a long run, after a long day at work or at the end of a day where I had a long run and a long day of work.

Even if you aren’t a runner you still owe it to yourself and your feet to grab a pair of these.

Shop for a pair HERE

Follow OOfos on Social media:

Twitter: @oofos
IG: @oofos

Now Foods BCAA Big 6 – A New Fuel and Recovery Tool

Disclaimer: I received NOW Foods BCAA Big 6 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!

 

Before my latest Achilles injury I was not someone who was knowledgeable or into any kind of supplements. I would occasionally take some vegan protein powder but only when I was low or out of my go-to protein meals. I have no aversion to supplements by any means. I prefer to get my nutrients directly from my food .

When I was given the opportunity to test a BCAA I first had to learn what they even were. I had seen fellow runners sing their praises but felt so in the dark. I decided to do some digging. I learned that *Branched Chain Amino Acids are essential amino acids that serve as the building blocks of protein, which helps to fuel your muscles during workout and can also help support muscle recovery post-workout. They’re called essential because the body doesn’t make them on its own, so you need to supplement or get from them from your diet. It was that last line that really intrigued me.

After learning what these branched chain amino acids were I realized I wasn’t getting enough from my diet and jumped at this chance.

While I do include some animal based protein in my diet I do tend to eat as vegetarian as I can when I can. The fact that *BCAA Big 6 from NOW Sports, is a vegan, caffeine-free formula of BCAAs, plus betaine to help maintain fluid balance, and taurine, which can further support endurance* is a bonus.

I was really only looking at this supplement from a recovery standpoint and hadn’t thought about the hydration or endurance support side of it until I started using it. The recommended use is one scoop per 16-20 oz. of liquid but I found that even in a little bit more than 20 oz the great taste of both the grape and watermelon flavors stood out.

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I am out of town and doing something a bit different this week at work and it requires A LOT of walking. It's not running but look at that mileage. I knew I would need something formulated to help me with recovery at the end of the day so I mixed up some @nowfoodsofficial BCAA Big 6. It is also formulated for endurance so I'll probably take some in the morning because I get to do this all over again tomorrow. From now through 1-November 15, use code 20NOWBCAA on Amazon.com (or visit this link https://www.amazon.com/promocode/A1G65M39SCQHX5) for 20% off both varieties of BCAA Big 6. Code is limited to one-time use only. *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.* #NowBR #BibChat #BibRavePro #nowgetfit

A post shared by Logan Heinsch (@sundevillog) on

While testing this product I didn’t have any particularly long or strenuous workouts so I can’t say I was able to notice how this helped with endurance in those settings but I did make it a point to drink a little before any runs that were 5 miles plus. If I can take a supplement that is formulated for hydration and to help support endurance then I am going to take it.

From a recovery standpoint I didn’t notice a giant difference in muscle soreness but there were times where I felt like my recovery after harder workouts/runs was a bit easier. For me, it’s important to find a brand you can trust, because many products marketed for sports/sports nutrition may have artificial ingredients, caffeine and adulterants. So bottom line is, I trust NOW Sports to support my active diet.

As my Houston Marathon training ramps up into longer distances and more intense workouts I will be sure to keep my NOW Foods BCAA Big 6 in my shaker and probably in my flasks to drink while on the run. The grape is especially flavorful but the watermelon is a great flavor as well.

Have you tried BCAA’s? If so, I would really love to hear from you as my marathon training cycle continues.

Want to try BCAA Big 6, too?! You’re in luck! Use code ’20NOWBCAA’ on Amazon.com for 20% off both varieties of BCAA Big 6. This code is valid thru Nov 15th and is good for single-use only.

Find NOW Foods on Social Media:

Twitter: @NOWFoods

IG: @nowfoodsofficial

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Shine Bright, Little Ones – My Brilliant Reflective Review

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

Now that I am back to training I am out in the predawn darkness several days a week. This means I need to start worrying about running safety again. Being seen on my routes is a big part of that. I always have my hand held lights with me but that doesn’t cover my whole body and I need to be visible from all directions.

Crossing roads or having to run on the road when the sidewalk runs out means my head is always on a swivel and I do my best to flash my hand held lights off to the side to make myself more visible. I know I am already taking a risk even though I take this extra precaution. Drivers in the morning aren’t looking for pedestrians on the roads.

How do I stand out more?

The answer really is quite simple. Brilliant Reflective. I was fortunate enough to be sent a set of standard stick on strips, iron on strips and a family pack, which consisted of more than a dozen fun shapes to choose from.

You can see in my photos that the strips are quite inconspicuous until they are hit with light in the dark. The backing on the strips is easy to remove and the adhesive on the strips themselves are quite strong. I even made a mistake in where I wanted to lay mine on one of my shirts and I was able to remove the sticker and reapply it without it peeling off.

An even better test of the adhesive strips was all of the sweat and then a trip through the washer and dryer. The two shirts I tested strips on came through the laundry looking like the strip was a natural part of the shirt.

Making sure I am safe is one thing but ensuring the safety of my kids tops everything else. Having them enjoy making themselves more safe was really gratifying. I let all three of my kids (ages 8 to 20 months) each pick out 2-3 stickers for the helmet and had them chose if it would go on the front our back on their helmets.

Once we had done all of this they immediately wanted to pick out more stickers to decorate their bikes with. Since we were struggling with finding weather good enough to go on long bike rides in we decided to just use their scooter boards on the sidewalks in front of our house.

For the first time in history the kids were more interested in their helmets than actually riding their scooters! I had to convince them to actually ride their scooters so I could take some pictures and see how well they showed up from a distance. Once I showed them the photos of what their stickers looked like the ride was done. They couldn’t get their helmets off fast enough. Not because they didn’t want to ride but because they wanted me to shine a light directly on their helmet. This made their evening. They wanted to see how far away they could get and still see the reflection.

Here is where I am going to let you in on a little secret. I have a notoriously bad memory. When I was preparing to apply the iron on strips to some clothes I was informed that instead of getting rid of our broken iron last time I tried to use it, I instead put it back in the closet. Not only did I not get to test out the iron on strips but I had to throw out an iron too.

Overall these are an amazing addition to my list of safety items. A packet of strips goes a long way as far as how many items of clothes it can cover and how long it lasts. The family pack is a must have in the winter when the days are shorter. We will be adding some to backpacks and winter coats to make the walks to school in the morning safer.

You can grab your own Brilliant Reflective products now for 30% off by using code ‘BRP30’ at https://brilliantreflective.com

Follow Brilliant Reflective on Social Media.

IG: @brilliantreflective

Twitter: @Brilliant_Safe

Clean Look and Total UV Protection – My Shady Rays Review

“Disclaimer: I received a pair of Shady Rays sunglasses 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!”

Sunglasses are one of those things that I buy so very rarely for a couple of reasons. One is that I have kids and I take them everywhere so the chances they will be lost or destroyed are quite high. The biggest reason though is that I don’t think I look very good in them. I have a pair for everyday wear that are really beat up and one of the lenses falls out frequently because the frame is really weak from being bent so much. I also have a pair for running but they are wrap arounds and don’t fit my head well at all. The reason I have those is because they were cheap and they were polarized. The work in that they stay on my head when I am active but the way they sit on my face isn’t comfortable and they can pinch behind my ears if they are on long enough.

Needless to say, finding the right sunglasses is a struggle for me. That is, until I got a pair of the sweetest looking sunglasses I have ever owned. That really is just the beginning for these sunglasses though. The Infrared Ice Polarized that Shady Rays provided me with are one of a multitude (and I mean multitude!) of different styles on their website. It was surprising how well the polarized lenses cut down the brightness considering how lightly colored my lenses were. I think that says a lot about the quality of the lenses themselves. One thing I don’t like about other polarized lenses is that they can get so dark that it slightly impairs my vision. The Shady Rays allowed for 100% UV protection with light lenses and I actually felt incredibly stylish wearing them. Which is a very new feeling for me.

The frames themselves are durable as heck. I know this because I can be clumsy and these were dropped several times. They neither broke nor appeared to be scratched or blemished at all. Though these are not wrap around style sunglasses they do not suffer when it comes to stability. These stayed firmly fixed to my face regardless of my speed, bounce or sweat level. The fact that they didn’t pinch my face or head while staying in place is a major victory in my eyes (see what I did there?). I don’t have a small head so I expect nearly any pair I buy that stays put to pinch a little.

Overall consensus is that these are a premier product and I will be buying a pair for myself and my wife. She is the first one to tell me when sunglasses don’t fit my face well and she loves these. She’s already picked out a pair for herself. I will grab another pair in the same style for myself, which is very reasonable for $45. My wife’s taste is a little more expensive but thankfully I have a solution for that. Promo code “BIBRAVE” is good for 50% off 2+ pairs: https://bit.ly/2rk7Hor

If that weren’t enough of an incentive Shady Rays offers a Lifetime Craftsmanship Warranty and Free Replacements if Lost or Broken* (max 2). They also secure 11 meals to fight hunger through Feeding America with every order placed.

You can follow Shady Rays on social media using the links below.

Twitter: @shadyrays

Instagram: @shadyrays

Shop Shady Rays

 

What a Summer it has been. Thank You BUFF!

Disclaimer: I received a BUFF® Pack Trek Cap, UV Arm Sleeves and UV multifunctional headwear 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!”

My big adventure for the summer has come and gone. I can’t believe that it has been almost two months since I started this journey. The culmination took place on June 16th at AT&T Stadium on June 16th. The atmosphere inside the stadium was absolutely incredible. Being inside the stadium it hit me that there was nothing left I could do to prepare. I had done all I could to prepare myself for the unknown challenges of the Spartan.

I took my time to fully take in my surroundings, hydrate and check my bag before finding the course map and get the scoop on what I would be up against. An important part of my prep for this race was researching previous stadium events both here and elsewhere to see what I would possibly be up against. I was also lucky enough to watch a live feed of a portion of the elite race. I knew I would be outside a couple of times and knowing that it would be in the full afternoon sun I was going to be up against it.

The obstacles slated to be outside were the military hurdles, Atlas carry (w/ 5 burpees between carries), the barbed wire crawl, the spear throw, the Z wall, and the Hercules hoist. In total not a lot of obstacles out of the total number but enough that it made my heart sink a little. Not because I was scared of the obstacles but by the potential amount of time I would end up spending outside. The large portion of the outside obstacles were early on so that was  the silver lining. The military hurdles weren’t bad, the carry portion of the Atlas carry wasn’t bad. The burpees between carrying from one side to another were another thing. Going straight from that into the barbed wire crawl. Ugh.

The unexpected upside of having my UV arm sleeves, outside of the UV protection and looking cool) was the protection from the scraping my knees suffered during the crawl. The length of barbed wire meant more time in the sun and more exposure to the heat and the temperature was already in the low 90’s at this point. The crawl did allow me to recover my breath a little before heading into the spear throw. The spear throw isn’t a feat of strength but instead requires skill. Having done well at my previous sprint race I gave myself a 50/50 shot. Unfortunately for me a miss is still a miss and I owed 15 more burpees. The Z Wall and the Hercules Hoist did not take long and thankfully so because any more time in the sun and I would have been toast.

Spartan Gauntlet

I will spare you the details of the rest of the race as there were nearly 20 more obstacles and my memory of them isn’t crystal clear. The face is that this race was hard. Even in the AC it was hard. My lack of running during this training cycle nearly doomed me. I thankfully was able to do enough cardio that I pushed through this race. If I had to have trained any amount of this in the sun and heat without BUFF® gear I think the results would’ve been a lot different. I certainly wouldn’t have looked nearly as cool as I did crossing the finish line too. That is 100% for sure!

Spartan Results

I was honestly so thrilled to finish this race and feel as good as I did. This was the adventure I needed this summer. If you plan to spend any amount of time in the sun, whether you’re being active or spending leisurely time with family and friends, look no further than BUFF® for your clothing and accessory needs. It is durable (it held up to a Spartan training cycle and race), lightweight, washes easily and is incredibly effective.

You can follow BUFF® on social media using the links below.

Twitter: @buff_usa

Instagram: @buff_usa

Shop BUFF® Here