Sunday, October 8, 2017

Cozy Gear for Cool Running | BUFF® ThermoNet Review

Disclaimer: I received this BUFF® ThermoNet Gear 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!

Just in time for the gorgeous Fall weather and racing season (well, everyone else is racing except me!) I was introduced to some amazing cool weather running gear. The mornings have been in the 40 to 50°F range, which is honestly still pretty toasty, but the freezing temps will be here soon enough.

Regardless of the temp, I believe running outdoors in *most weather is do-able, with the right gear. *Within reason. Not reasonable: hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, skin-melting-off heat, extreme limb-freezing cold, etc.

As a BibRave Pro, I received a BUFF® ThermoNet Hat and ThermoNet Multifunctional Headwear in the beautiful pink/purple Crash Berry pattern. The ThermoNet product line uses PrimaLoft® technology to hold in the heat, but not the moisture.


How Does ThermoNet Work?


Per the BUFF® USA site:
“ThermoNet™ fabric uniquely blends PrimaLoft® yarn and the BUFF® ® brand’s long-standing knitting expertise to create a fabric that delivers four times the insulation as BUFF® ™ headwear’s Original microfiber products. The hydrophobic, wicking fibers of ThermoNet® move moisture away from the skin while trapping heat inside, keeping you comfortable and dry even in the coldest conditions.” (source)

The ThermoNet product line features the ThermoNet Hat and Multifunctional Headwear in a bunch of awesome patterns. The Multifunctional Headwear is super versatile and can be worn in many different ways.


Exactly HOW versatile is the ThermoNet Multifunctional Headwear? 

I decided to test out BUFF®'s "ways to wear" guide by using my ThermoNet gear as a Hair Tie, Neckerchief + Hat (my preferred usage!), Do Rag (not a good look for me), and the Face Mask (the best for frozen winter runs).

The seamless design makes it a cinch to wear whichever way works best for you and the weather that day!


I love that the BUFF® ThermoNet gear is lightweight and breathable while still offering highly-thermal insulation, even mimicking the warmth of down! The durable PrimaLoft® yarn is actually FOUR TIMES warmer than regular microfiber. I know I will appreciate that, especially running through our winter months.

Layers are key for running through the winters in Minnesota and choosing the right materials is very important. Sweat- and condensation-drenched cotton layers will freeze, making you all kinds of miserable on sub-zero runs... I've learned that the hard way!

Flashback to winter running. Brrr.

Basically, this ThermoNet gear is ideal for cool weather layering because its high warmth-to-weight ratio means you don’t need dress bulky to stay warm. That's quality layers that get the job done without creating an appearance similar to the Michelin Man!


The ThermoNet Multifunction Headwear and ThermoNet Hat are available for $27 each, plus, BUFF® USA's official site offers free shipping on orders over $39. Join us for #BibChat with BUFF on November 14th at 8 pm CT!


B3 Pregnancy: Week 35 Wrap-Up

We hit PINEAPPLE status this week! Speaking of Fall racing, one year ago today I ran the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon... two weeks after running the Wild Hog Marathon. It seems quite hilarious to think about running 26.2 miles in my current state, just 20 lbs heavier and carrying a pineapple-sized baby and all.

As the 35th week is closing, I look forward to crossing the finish of this baby-growing marathon as well. Baby is hanging low, my hips feel all loosy-goosy and we're all SO excited to meet our baby! Now that I'm breaking out the baby gear, even the littlest boy is getting excited about "his baby".


MONDAY:

2 mile run/walk with the kids and dog. E rode his bike for a mile, rode the stroller for a half mile and then helped push the stroller for the last half mile. W rode contentedly. He's a happy passenger!

TUESDAY:

Off.

WEDNESDAY:

3 mile run/walk with the kids and dog to get some groceries. Both passengers rode for the majority of the trip but E did walk home, because the groceries stole his spot in the stroller ;)

THURSDAY:

Ekhart Yoga's Runners Yoga video (25:28)

FRIDAY:

2 treadmill miles with 1/4 mile intervals of running and walking. I love the treadmill during the last weeks of pregnancy! The bathroom is close, the incline is adjustable and I don't need to push the extra weight of our jogging stroller + kiddos out in the wind. Win, win, win.


SATURDAY:

Ekhart Yoga's Morning Bliss Yoga video (21:42)

SUNDAY:

Off

Are you a hardcore all-weather runner or do you prefer to stick indoors? (Not judging, I promise!)



Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The 5 Mile Dachs Challenge | Fun Run Box Review

Disclaimer: I received this Fun Run 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!

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year because the weather is absolutely perfect for running (cool but not freezing), everything is pumpkin spice-flavored and a year's worth of running/training is coming to its peak.

Last year was full of marathons but this Fall has been quite different with Baby #3 due in ±7 weeks. No marathons for me but I have had a new challenge to keep me up and running!


As a BibRave Pro, I received the Oktoberfest 5 Mile Dachs Theme Box, my first-ever online running challenge! Each participant is assigned to a "team", mine being #FRBTeamDoxie.

My challenge box arrived at the end of August and included the following goodies:

  • Headsweats "5 Mile Dachs" Technical Soft Trucker Hat
  • Themed FRB Technical Fabric Short Sleeve Running Shirt
  • Empower Travel Roller
  • Regrained Sustainable Supergrain Bar
  • Jelly Belly Draft Beans
  • Race Bib
  • Dachs Magnet
  • and the challenge details

If the shirt still fits, wear it! At least it fit at 29 weeks pregnant...

The 5 Mile Dachs Challenge is running from September 1st through 30th and features both Team and Individual portions. Participants compete in 6 different photo categories via social media and one photo from each category will be declared the winner on October 1st. Each individual winner will receive a $50 gift card to the Fun Run Box Shop!

Photo categories include sharing a selfie with your FRB 5 Mile Dachs Trucker Hat, posting a shot of your 5-mile run results and many others with corresponding hashtags.

My own mini Dachs when she was a pup! Representing #FRBTeamDoxie

The Challenge includes a 4-week challenge guide with specific goal running workouts (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), such as the Over/Under and Pace Cut, leading up to the big 5 Mile Dachs run. Participants also gain access to the support and motivation of the FRB Facebook Group and challenge app!

The challenge workouts are logged into the Fun Run Box Challenge Tracker where Team and Individual points are tracked.


Well, I did it! The 5 Mile Dachs is complete.

(Full disclosure: I actually ran the 5-miler at the beginning of the challenge instead of the end. Baby is getting bigger each day and I figured I should run long while I was still comfortable doing so...)


The 5 Mile Dachs Challenge has been a great way to stay motivated this month. The Headsweats Trucker Hat and technical FRB t-shirt were by far my favorite items from this box - very cute and comfortable.

Fun Run Box is only $45 for $70+ worth of gear plus the Challenge. Being my first-ever "online" running challenge, I thought it was fun! I think this is a great running box for those looking for an online support community and extra motivation to fit in a run.

Want to give Fun Run Box a try? Use the code BIBRAVE at checkout to save 15% on your subscription. For a chance to win a Fun Run Box for yourself, stop by #BibChat with Fun Run Box on October 17th at 8 pm CT!


B3 Pregnancy: Week 33 Wrap-Up

Our baby is the size of CELERY this week and things are starting to feel a bit squished. Like my rib cage and my bladder, at the same time!

Baby prep has been overall very successful and I'm thankful to have so much organizing/de-cluttering done at this point. My energy is decreasing little by little as the weeks go on.

Packing a "just in case" hospital bag, re-supplying the birthing kit and storing up some freezer meals are a few last things that need to happen in the next 4 to 7 weeks. Clearly I need to do these things in the morning, before my morning coffee wears off!


MONDAY: 

2 early morning miles of running with some walking with our dog.

TUESDAY: 

Ekhart Yoga's Runners Yoga video (25:28)


WEDNESDAY: 

2 early morning miles of running and walking again with our dog. A big storm blew through last night and this morning was damp and quiet. Perfect for being out!

THURSDAY

Ekhart Yoga's Morning Bliss Yoga video (21:42)


FRIDAY:

2 mile run and walk with our pup.

SATURDAY:

Off

SUNDAY:

Off

What challenges do you have on your Fall calendar?



Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Perfect Any-Time Snacks Ideas

What's one thing that marathon training, pregnancy and breastfeeding all have in common?

Hunger.

During these high-calorie-burning seasons, it's important to allow snacking as necessary and to choose snacks that contain valuable nutrients. Finding a snack that my kids enjoy too is even better!

No matter the time of day, I try to keep a few snacking options on hand in our house or in the diaper bag. Here are a few of our favorites:

3 Perfect Any-Time Snack Ideas

Homemade energy bites are fun for the kids to help make and involve ingredients that are usually already in the cupboard.

Our quick-and-easy recipe includes: 1 cup quick oats, 1/2 cup choco chips, 1/2 cup PB, 1/2 cup coconut flakes and 1/4 cup honey. Roll together and refrigerate extras. That's it! These are on the sweeter side and are best to be consumed in moderation because of that.


Hardboiled eggs are a classic snack and another favorite because we usually have an overabundance of eggs in our house. Personally, I prefer to add a dash of salt to mine.

Mister four-year-old loves hardboiled eggs which makes mom happy because they contain 6 grams of protein per egg!


Perfect Bars are a new favorite snack that I was recently introduced to! These calorie dense bars are packed with up to 17g (5g in minis) of whole food protein (no whey or soy) that keeps me satistfied throughout the day (and night).

Waking up hungry in the middle of the night while pregnant is no joke! The almond butter or peanut butter minis are a nice 100 calorie snack before heading to bed.


While the full-sized bars contain a higher amount of calories, 200-300 depending on the flavor, the quality of the calories is what counts. Because they contains 20+ nutrient-dense superfoods (like kale, apple and spinach), those calories are also providing a convenient source of vitamins and minerals.


Whether I'm snacking on a bar or my kids have snuck one from the diaper bag, the Perfect Bar is the perfect any-time snack! Of course the kids' favorite is the Dark Chocolate Chip & PB flavor and mine is the Almond Butter Mini. Really all of the flavors are delicious!


Perfect Bars are are priced at $1.30 for a Mini and $2.99 for a Full Bar and they are available in more than 12,000 fridges nationwide (though Minis are only available online at PerfectBar.com or in select retailers). To find a store near you, visit: perfectbar.com/where-to-buy.

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Reflective Gear for Four-Legged Runners | Stunt Puppy Collar Review

Disclaimer: I received Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Collar 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!

Finding a faithful, consistent and uplifting running partner is no easy task. I know I'm thankful to have mine.

He doesn't say much, is raring to go first thing in the morning, takes about 1 minute to get ready and happens to live in my backyard. It doesn't get much better than that!


Long story short, Saul lost his sight in one eye (see below) after an eye injury and staff infection last summer. Though he is an older dog – 10 years, to be exact – Saul has adapted very well to using only one eye.

He doesn't run into things (often) but I still take extra caution to keeping him safe especially when he joins me on the road.


Because we run together often in the dark pre-sunrise hours, I have been on the hunt for dog-friendly reflective gear for quite a while now. Dogs deserve to run safe too, right?

As a BibRave Pro, Saul received his very own reflective, water-proof and stink-proof Go Dog Glo Collar from Stunt Puppy, a Minnesota brand that produces high quality gear for active dogs.

This collar is made with innovative 3M Reflective Edgeguard® trim which is visible for more than 100 yards, making this the perfect reflective gear for my four-legged running partner.


The reflective properties aren't the only reason I love this Stunt Puppy Collar. Saul loves to run AND swim, so he needs a collar that can keep up.

His regular collars smell nasty after a few months, like soggy, wet dog and river water. Thankfully, along with being reflective, the Go Dog Glo collar is made with BIOTHANE® waterproofing that resists moisture and the "stink" that his regular collars held onto.

It's easy to snap on the leash for each run because of the "Double D-ring" design that allows one ring for your dog's tags and one ring for the leash to attach. The leash D-ring sits on top of the dog's neck and tags hang below, making it more comfortable for my dog and the "jingling" of his tags is more subtle as well.


I am a big fan of the Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Collar and Saul clearly approves, too. It pairs perfectly with his Stunt Puppy Hands-Free leash. Stunt Puppy totally "gets" active dogs and their owners!

The Go Dog Glo Collar is available for $26.00 and six reflective color options. Use the code BIBRAVE917 for 20% off your purchase at https://www.stuntpuppy.com/!


Join us for #BibChat with Stunt Puppy on September 19th at 8 pm CT for a chance to WIN a collar for your favorite pup!


B3 Pregnancy: Week 30 Wrap-Up

Baby is the size of ZUCCHINI this week. Fitting, because our kind neighbor brought over chocolate zucchini cupcakes on Tuesday. They were delicious! Besides being extra tired in the afternoon/evening, I'm still feeling great.

This baby seems to be hanging low compared to my last pregnancy, but I'm fine with that as long as he or she stays put until the "full term" mark. My bladder is punched regularly but at least I can breathe!


MONDAY: 

3 mile early morning run with our dog.

TUESDAY: 

Ekhart Yoga's Vinyasa Yoga Flow (17:55) in my own "modified" pregnancy version. As baby is getting bigger, I'm getting more creative with the yoga moves. The belly effects my range of motion a little.

WEDNESDAY: 

3 mile run with walking sprinkled throughout. Running feels great sometimes and then at those other times I just need to walk until baby changes position. It's really all up to baby at this point!


THURSDAY

Off - Visiting my family.

FRIDAY:

Ekhart Yoga's Runners Yoga video (25:28).

SATURDAY:

5 mile run (and walking mixed in) with Saul for the #FRB5MileChallenge. He hung with me for 4.5 miles at least! I have been sticking to the 3-mile distance throughout this pregnancy but 5 miles felt great this morning. More on this Fun Run Box challenge to come later...


SUNDAY:

Off

Do you have four-legged running partner?
What's a characteristic "must-have" for a good running buddy?



Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Third Time Around | B3 Week 28

My motivation to write about pregnancy has been dwindling and I was starting to doubt that I would finish this post. For the sake of tradition, I wanted to write a "threequel" to the "Second Time Around" post from two years ago (my pregnancy with W).

Some details have been different in this pregnancy but much has been the same.

Mostly I haven't had much time to think about and plan for this baby! With the "big brothers" now 2- and 4-years-old, they seem to take up most of my brain space. I think we're okay though. All of the baby clothes are in storage, some newly washed and some not, and the baby "things" are still around too. Baby even got a couple new things - I may share more on that later.

All I need to do is order newborn diapers in a couple months and we should be set, right? I feel so out of touch with all that goes into newborn life.

So what's been different with my third pregnancy?

Belly Size: The Insta-Bump

This third pregnancy has felt like I had a "bump" by the time 10 weeks rolled around. It was a little embarrassing but the body seems to remember "pregnancy mode" and jumps into position faster with each subsequent pregnancy. It was a relief to finally be in the "it's okay to show now" phase of pregnancy so I could feel less self-conscious about showing so early.

While B2 measured 3 to 6 weeks ahead for the whole pregnancy, B3 has been right on each week. I weigh less than I did with both of the boys but the actual amount of weight gain itself has been nearly identical. Each child seems to take more energy out of me! And I suppose the three marathons last year affected my weight too.


Activity Level: Yes

The activity level in this house has definitely increased since last time yet so has the freedom. Now that the boys are bigger, they can play outside while I wash floors or scrub toilets, etc (like today, oh joy!). The days with a 2- and 4-year-old are highly entertaining, sometime emotionally exhausting but mostly joyful. If the kids both nap, I try to put my feet up and drink water when I can. Honestly I love having the boys at this age!

Our days are more structured now that E is doing preschool at home and that has been great for all of us. It keeps both boys busy and I can sit down potentially finishing my coffee while we work. Not today, but some days I even finish the whole cup.


Prenatal Care: We love our midwife!

I'm so thankful to be working with our midwife again! She was amazing with B2's pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care. We are really comfortable with her and she's great with the kiddos too.

I love that she isn't annoyed by random questions via text. This baby has had frequent hiccups and, though the question seemed silly, she reassured me that it's actually a great sign right now. Whew! Google is not helpful with baby questions (tends to cause unnecessary worry) but our midwife is always helpful :)

Having a homebirth/waterbirth last time was an amazing experience and I pray that we are able to have another smooth birth at 37+ weeks again. Baby is head down and that's one (small) step in the right direction.


Hydration: Drink, Drink, Drink

Staying hydrated is a big focus again to prevent a UTI or preterm labor like I experienced with B1's pregnancy. It worked well last time and I hope to keep up again with this pregnancy. Water gets boring so, when I'm feeling crazy, I will drink grape juice. Bring on the grape juice!

Prenatal Fitness: This & That

The amount of mileage/days I run has decreased with each pregnancy and the balance I'm at now feels just right. With more active days it makes sense to cut down on exercise and make more time for stretching and recovery. Running is still feeling comfortable though my pace is a slow jog. Relentless forward motion!

I usually run three days a week for about 3 miles and do a yoga video twice a week. Any running I do happens in the early morning before everyone wakes up because I can't handle the heat! This has been my first all-summer-long pregnancy and I'm really enjoying the cool summer mornings. Saul likes them better, too.


Emotions: Thankful, Excited, Impatient

I feel so thankful to have our third baby on the way and very excited to welcome him or her into the family. Plus, I'm really curious (more like anxious) to see how the boys handle the new baby. Biggest brother E will likely be a big helper for me. Littlest big brother W on the other hand... he still seems like he's a baby to me! He has been carrying around a toy baby and saying "Awww, baby!", so maybe he'll be just fine.


Time has flown since February when I first saw the two pink lines yet I'm still feeling impatient in this last trimester. With it being harvest time and my belly growing bigger seemingly by the day, this feels like a time to just persevere.

Yet I want to live each day with a heart of thankfulness and contentment. The kids will only ever be this age once and, once this baby is out, he/she is out for good!

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm‬ ‭90:12.

B3 Pregnancy: Week 28 Wrap-Up

Baby is an EGGPLANT this week and weighing in at approximately 2.20 lbs. I believe it. Simple things such as painting my toenails, bending over to tie shoes and finding tops to fit are becoming a little more complicated. It's definitely the third trimester!

Our little one has the hiccups at least once a day and it's pretty cute. I like being able to guesstimate how he or she is laying in my belly. After the major flip session a week or two ago, baby seems to be staying head-down (hopefully for good).


MONDAY: 

3 mile early morning run with the pup on the gravel roads. The kids and I went to the park in the morning and the pool in the afternoon to make the most of the sunny, warm days.

TUESDAY: 

Ekhart Vinyasa Yoga Flow (17:55)

WEDNESDAY: 

3 mile run on this drizzly, humid morning. The rain was welcomed, as it's been a very dry year around here.

THURSDAY

Ekhart Runner's Yoga (25:29)

FRIDAY:

3 mile morning run with trusty ole Saul in the fog. After that drizzly Wednesday, the fog has been hanging around in the mornings.

SATURDAY:

Power cleaning the house, a grocery walk and gardening with the little boys.


SUNDAY:

Off

What have you been up to this week?
Moms, what were your favorite or not-so-favorite parts of pregnancy?



Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hitting the Trails with Under Armour | UA Horizon RTT Review

Disclaimer: I received Under Armour Horizon RTT trail shoes 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!

Trail running was my first taste of the marathon world, it's really what got me hooked. I love the varying terrain, the peace and quiet, and running free in God's creation. The trail feels like home to me!

2011: Aid station at my second trail marathon. They even served cookies & pretzels!

While I haven't ran in true trail running shoes in years (mostly because I prefer stroller running on pavement), my love for the trails was rekindled when, as a BibRave Pro, I received these Under Armour Horizon RTT trail running shoes.


The Horizon RTT's offer a strong sole that can withstand tough, rocky terrain with a high traction rubber lug outsole that provides dependable traction wherever you run. Whether it's a mix of trail and road or wild, rocky paths in the woods, these lugs dig in to give you more grip than regular running shoes.

I look forward to trying these on the ice and snow (minus the cold weather part). With that kind of traction, I may not even need my Yaktrax on every run!


After logging quite a few miles in my Horizon RTT's, I most appreciate their breathability and the protective outer part of the shoe. Dirt and rocks weren't able to sneak into my shoe while on the trail and yet my feet weren't suffocating either. Breathability + Durability.

Overall, I am very pleased with the Under Armour Horizon RTT trail running shoe. They are the most comfortable trail running shoes I have ever owned and are still durable enough for the toughest trails or just on my short little country jaunts lately.


If the trail running bug has bit you, sign up for the UA Mountain Running Series Killington and Copper Mountain coming up August 18 & 19 and September 9, respectively, using discount code "BIBRAVE40" to save 40%.

Even better, race the series in your own pair of Under Armour's Horizon RTT trail running shoes! They retail for $109.99 and come in a variety of colors. Check them out UnderArmour.com.


B3 Pregnancy: Week 27 Wrap-Up

Baby "Rocket" is currently the size of LETTUCE and rolling and kicking is his/her favorite past time. The flipping and rolling caused some extra Braxton Hicks contractions this week, so I've been trying to drink more water and rest a little extra to err on the side of caution.

Per our visit with the midwife on Monday, all is going well and baby is measuring right on 27 weeks. Hello, third trimester!


MONDAY: 

3 mile run with our dog.

TUESDAY: 

Ekhart Yoga's Runners Yoga video (25:28). I'm trying to make yoga more of a regular thing again. I feel so much better when I do!

WEDNESDAY: 

3 mile run on the country roads with our dog again.

THURSDAY

Ekhart Yoga's Vinyasa Yoga Flow (17:55). Yoga day 2 this week!

FRIDAY:

3 mile early morning run with the dog. The mornings have been dark and cool - perfect running conditions for Saul and me! We are hosting family from Thursday through Monday, so the days have been extra fun and busy.


SATURDAY:

Walks with the kids and visiting with our out-of-state family/guests. The days have felt long this week and I'm doing my best to rest when I can.

SUNDAY:

Rest day & more visiting!

Do you prefer the road or the trails?



Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bold Activewear with Jill Yoga

Life with small children is active to stay the least and comfortable clothes are a must. Make it stylish and that's an extra bonus!

Yoga pants or running shorts are my regular wardrobe components for practical reasons but I also don't want to look like a slob. What can I say, a girl appreciates cute clothing! I was sent a vibrant activewear outfit from Jill Yoga to review and their clothing is anything but blasé.

Jill Yoga's mission is to promote confidence and healthy active living - Be Active, Be Bold, Be You.


The Ladies' Seamless Quarter Zip is a brightly colored top made of a very comfy, breathable material with long sleeves and thumbhole detail. I wear this long-sleeve for casual non-workout days as well as when I'm out on a run.

Even with a 6-month-pregnant belly (pictured below), this quarter zip does the trick. The thumbholes and plenty of length in the torso are my favorite aspects.


Though the days are still hot here, on the chilly early mornings I am wearing Jill Yoga's Retro Capri Leggings. I love the retro style! It's a nice change from the typical black leggings and capris that I'm used to.


I also received the Ladies' Yoga Shorts with a "galaxy print" pattern that work nicely for just lounging around the house on a hot day or wearing as an under layer with dresses or loose shorts. I'm okay with this pattern but the plain black yoga shorts would be a better fit for me - definitely perfect for running days!


The Jill Yoga quarter zip long-sleeve retails at $45 (CAD), retro capri leggings at $45 (CAD) and yoga shorts are $35 (CAD). Check out more clothing items and shop online at http://us.jillyoga.com!

I received these clothing items from Jill Yoga in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.