New Balance Vazee 2090 Review

It’s been a while since I’ve done a shoe review on the blog, but thanks to Strava and the Back Half Challenge, I have a cool, new pair to tell you about.

img_1779I have never worn New Balance shoes before, but I wasn’t going to say no to a free pair! Not having much experience with the brand, I turned to their website and focused on picking out a speed shoe. I like the cushioning of the Saucony Kinvara for my distance runs so I wanted to pick something different. Enter the New Balance Vazee 2090.

New Balance Vazee 2090 ReviewAt $150, they are a pricey shoe, but given that New Balance was treating me to a free pair, I obviously didn’t mind. 😉

According to New Balance,  the shoe is “…Powered by Nitrogen-infused N2 foam and REVlite cushioning, this women’s running shoe delivers a light and responsive ride mile after mile.” It weighs in at 8 oz. It has a 6 mm drop (the Kinvara has a 4 mm drop for reference).

New Balance Vazee 2090 ReviewI’ll admit – one of the big draws of these shoes for me was their design. I liked the patriotic red and blue, and they also have subtle gold stars along the toe. Remind me to save these shoes for a 4th of July race!

One of the other unique features of the Vazee 2090 is its “midfoot saddle”. This is the red to blue gradient section in the middle.

New Balance Vazee 2090 ReviewIn most of the other sneakers I have worn, the upper has wrapped all the way from the toe around the heel. With the Vazee 2090, the saddle is a separate piece, allowing it to wrap more snugly around the midfoot. I liked the cozy fit, and felt like it held my foot very securely especially during speedwork.

Vazee 2090 Review | 2 Generations RunningThe toebox is pretty roomy – a big bonus for me with my history of black toenails. While I seem to be able to get by with a 10 in some running sneakers, I opted for the 10.5 with this pair, not wanting them to be too tight and this was definitely the right choice. They fit like a dream.

New Balance Vazee 2090The ride of the Vazee 2090 is very different than my Kinvaras. They are not the bouncy, cushioned shoe I prefer for higher mileage. But for speedwork, they deliver a perfect, responsive ride. Would I wear these for a marathon? No, but a 5k? Yes, definitely.

Design: A

Fit: A+

Price: C 

Ride: B+ (good for speedwork, but I wouldn’t want to run double-digit mileage in these shoes).

Do you have a shoe you reserve for speedwork? Ever run in New Balance before? 


Kukimbe: Just Swipe Right

Hey all!

As you may have gathered from reading my blog over the years, I really love running – and racing, in particular. I spend a decent amount of time hunting for my next race. Generally this involves logging onto websites like Running in the USA or Halfmarathons.net. Then, I look on Google Maps to check out driving distance. And then I look for reviews and race recaps on other running blogs to really vet an option.

It’s a long process.

But if I’m going to drop $50-$100 on a race, I want to make sure it’s going to be worth it.

And I can pretty much forget about trying to do this all on my phone. These websites are not mobile-friendly and it just gets confusing trying to access the information I need all on the small screen of my iPhone. I ran into this issue recently looking for some of the 5ks I signed up, including the Boston River Run. Eventually I just got frustrated and gave up.

Kukimbe ReviewIf I had been using Kukimbe when I was looking for 5ks, the Boston River Run would have been presented as a possible option just like this.

I was pretty excited when the folks over at Kukimbe reached out to me, telling me about the new app they have designed to help runners find races! Kukimbe means ‘Runner’ in Kenyan, and personally, I think it’s the app we runners have all been waiting for. There are already a thousand different apps for tracking your running/training. FINALLY, there is an app that helps you actually find and register for your goal race!

Kukimbe Review | 2 Generations Running

It works kind of like a dating app (as strange as that sounds). It uses geo-location to find local races and then presents them to the user, one at a time. Swipe right for ‘Yes’, swipe left for ‘No’. The races that you swipe right are then bookmarked for you in the app. You can go back to the races you are interested in, and follow a link which takes you right to the Registration page for that race. It is so easy to use and a really fun way to browse around and discover new races in your area. I probably had a little bit too much fun swiping left and right for races. 😉

Kukimbe Review | 2 Generations RunningLove my new Kukimbe shirt!

The app also has a ‘Feed’ similar to your Facebook feed, where they publish running-related articles, blog posts, and updates on the registration deadlines for major races. In the ‘Podium’ section, you can select from categories like ‘Women’s Apparel’, ‘Men’s Footwear’, or ‘Holiday Gift Guide’. You can then browse around items in each category. With Christmas coming up fast, the gift guide might just come in handy for thinking up a different type of present for the athletic/outdoorsy-type person!

One feature I’m particularly excited about with Kukimbe is the ability for users to accumulate points, which can then be redeemed for race registrations or discounts on merchandise within the app. This feature has not been fully developed yet as the app is still very new, but I think it has the potential to be really fun as well as a cost-saver on all the race registrations! The app is free in iTunes and Google Play, so I highly recommend downloading it and playing around.Runners World Classic Review 2016How can you NOT love racing when it comes with all this swag??

Which do you prefer – running or RACING? I would pick a race over a workout any day of the week.

Are you picky about the races you sign up for?

Are you as stoked as I am about this app? 


It’s Going to Be Legend- Wait for It -Dary: Legend Compression Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Legend Compression Socks 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!

Happy Weekend folks!

I’m finally back from South Carolina and enjoying Fall in New England more than ever. South Carolina was my last event of the year which means I have a few travel-free months coming my way, which I am pretty darn excited about. More time to run, relax, and gear up for the holidays!

After giving my muscles the better part of 2 weeks to recover from Baystate, I am finally easing back into my runs. So far, I’ve been keeping the mileage pretty low – most of my runs have been around 4-4.5 miles at an easy pace. I have also been pretty religious about using compression gear to help keep my legs feeling fresh.

Legend Compression Wear ReviewEarlier this month, I received a pair of Legend Compression Performance Socks as part of my ambassadorship with Bibrave Pro. Legend Compression Wear is a fairly new addition to the compression market having launched in August, 2015. I had never heard of them before, but as a fan of compression socks/sleeves, I was excited to test their product.

Legend Compression ReviewPart of what sets Legend Compression apart from other compression socks is their motto – “Compression done right not tight”. Their socks and sleeves feature 15-20 mmHg versus the more typical 20-30 mmHg compression seen in other brands. There is some belief that this reduced level of compression is more effective for athletes during exercise (I don’t know if any medical research has been done to corroborate this).

After wearing these socks on a few runs, I can safely say I love them. In the past, I’ve always been more of a fan of compression sleeves because I found that some compression socks pinched my toes and felt too tight (I particularly have this problem with the pair of Lily Trotters I own). Not the case with the performance socks from Legend Compression. They specifically designed the toe bed to be larger with these socks and added an “arch clencher” in the arch of the foot to keep it from moving around while you’re on the run. Both of these features work perfectly – my foot feels cradled and supported while at the same time, I have the extra room to wiggle my toes as needed.

Legend Compression ReviewSome other nice bonuses to these socks:

  • I can pull them on easily. No 15 minute struggle to roll them up my calves.
  • They come in a nice variety of colors, including a couple of shades of blue, white, black, yellow, and more.
  • The material feels soft yet durable.

Overall, I’m very impressed. I haven’t tested them on any particularly long runs given that I received them right after running Baystate, but I’m looking forward to testing them on some double-digit mileage. I have a feeling that these might just become my go-to pair of compression socks.

Ok, now the fun part! The folks over at Legend Compression Wear were generous enough to share a discount code so that everyone can give their products a try! Use code “bibsave15” at checkout for 15% off (and it’s not too early to start buying Christmas presents for your athletic friends/family members!).

Also, a note for all the running bloggers out there – if you’d like to get in on the fun of receiving new products to test (as well as free entries into races), Bibrave is currently accepting applications to be a Bibrave Pro for 2017! It’s a great community of runners and bloggers and I am having so much fun being a part of it. 🙂

Are you a fan of compression products?

What does your post-marathon (or any big race) recovery look like?

Any big plans or goals for November?


Garmin Forerunner 235: Initial Thoughts

Hey there!

I am off to South Carolina this morning for work, but I thought I’d pop in quickly and share some of my initial thoughts on my experience so far with my Garmin Forerunner 235.

I had been using the Forerunner 10 for the past year, so this has been quite an upgrade.

Garmin Forerunner 235To be clear, I have only been using the watch about a week, so this is not a full review – I’ll post one of those in the next month or so after REALLY putting this watch to the test. 🙂

My first GPS watch (the purple Forerunner 10 on the left) was strictly a GPS watch. I used it on my runs and that was about it. It did not monitor heartrate and so it was really only useful if I was moving. I didn’t usually wear it if I was doing a treadmill workout or doing stationary biking since there was really no data it was useful for in that instance.

The Forerunner 235 basically does EVERYTHING and then some. It has Bluetooth capabilities and I was able to easily pair it with my phone. This means any notifications I get on my phone also pop up on my wrist along with a small vibration to alert me. Initially, I had some concerns that this might get annoying, but so far, I am actually liking it. It is also pretty straightforward to turn the notifications off at night when I’m going to sleep.

Another reason I selected the 235 was because it monitors heartrate (without a chest band). It does this through an optical sensor on the back of the watch that measures changes in blood flow. I have never I had access to heartrate data before so I’m finding this really interesting so far. It shows you your current heart rate along with a graph of the past 4 hours and you can also press a button to see your average resting heart rate over the past 7 days.  Interestingly, you will see my resting heart rate has been steadily decreasing this week – probably a sign that I am still in recovery mode from Baystate!

Garmin Forerunner 235I also tested it on one short treadmill run at the gym. I was curious to see how indoor running mode would work. It had my pace as slightly slower than what was displayed on the treadmill and it ended up being off by .1 mile after 3 miles. I don’t know how accurate the treadmills are at Planet Fitness though, so who knows which is actually correct. I’ll be curious to try this out on the Woodway treadmills at Mystryde to see if my Garmin matches up better there.

I have also been wearing it around during the day for activity tracking. It’s been really interesting to see how many steps (or lack thereof) I take in a day. I had toyed with the idea of getting a Fitbit for a while but I am happy to now have a really solid watch for running that can also double for activity tracking. It also gives me little notifications to ‘Move!’ along with a vibration. I feel kind of guilty ignoring  it when I’m at work. 😉

Do you use a GPS watch – Garmin, Tom Tom, other? Do you use heartrate data as part of your training?


Baystate Marathon Recap!!

Marathon #3 is in the books and boy, this was a good one. I’m still finding it hard to put into the words the excitement and giddiness I feel over this race, but I know I owe you all a race recap so I’ll give it a shot. 🙂

2016 Baystate Marathon Race Recap

I went into this race a little bit nervous after what happened in Delaware – I finished but ended up going to the hospital with heat stroke. Not an enjoyable way to wrap up 26.2 miles.

Delaware Marathon Race Recap

Back when my mom convinced me to sign up for Baystate, I was excited by the idea of running a marathon in very cool temps (we had frozen our butts at this race in 2015). So I started getting apprehensive when the forecasted temps for Sunday crept up from the low 60’s to a high of 67. There’s nothing you can do about the weather though, so I just promised my parents (multiple times) that I would not run myself into the ground on this race.

I also went into this race with the goal of running relatively consistent splits. I had gone back and checked my training log to see what I had done in Delaware and saw that my mile splits were ALL over the place in that race. Granted, it was a little hilly, but in hindsight, I think I was a little too aggressive in my goal pace for that race. My training for Baystate had been compressed since I signed up late, so I backed off a little on the pace and decided to aim for splits between 8:45 and 8:55/mile. I did not want to fall apart at Mile 20 the way I had before. I figured I would take it a little easier the first 3 miles to let myself warm up as well.

On Sunday morning, my mom and I headed out bright and early to make the short drive to Lowell. My mom had to back out of the half marathon because of ongoing injury problems, but I was SO thankful to have her there with me before the start to keep me company and help keep the nerves at bay. We had no issues getting in and parking. As always, the Greater Lowell Road Runners had things running like clockwork!

We hung out inside the Tsongas arena for a while (which meant I got to use real bathrooms – score) and then before I knew it, it was time to head outside and line up in the corrals. I lined up between the 9 and 10:00/mile pace signs. I knew everyone was going to be excited and running fast, but I wanted to make sure I stuck with my plan. I saw the 4 hr pace group was a bit ahead of me. The National Anthem played and we were off!

I felt good once we started running. The nerves were mostly gone and I was just excited that the race was finally happening (no more 20-mile long runs for a while!!) I clocked my first mile in 9:18 – which also happened to be my slowest split the entire race! Mile 2 was a bit faster in 8:56 and Mile 3 was a 9:01 – very close to my plan. Once the first 3 miles were over, I worked on slowly bringing my pace down to goal pace.

By Mile 6, I had caught up to the 4 hour pace group. They were a huge pack at this point. Part of me was tempted to stick with them for longer, but they were running a very consistent 9:00/mile pace and I knew I could push faster than that. Plus, I knew I wanted to beat my previous 3:57 and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to make up enough time if I stuck with them for too long. So with a little maneuvering, I made my way past and just prayed that I wouldn’t see them passing me later in the course.

Going into Mile 7, we hit some AWESOME water stations. Local high schools were volunteering and had gotten so into it! Some had gone with an 80’s workout theme, others were decked out in pretty intense Star Wars costumes – it was amazing!

From Miles 7-11, I focused on making my way to the bridge where the half marathon and marathon courses intersect. The half marathoners are looping back towards the finish at that point and the marathoners are going out for another loop. I remembered it being a really high energy area the year before with tons of spectators and I was excited to get that boost again. Plus, my mom had planned on heading to this spot to watch. 🙂

As expected, it was an awesome spot with tons of spectators with funny signs. I reached the other side of the bridge and saw my mom! Look, I’m actually smiling while running a marathon (didn’t think that was possible)! She was a fantastic course photographer and managed to take a bunch of great photos!

Baystate Marathon 2016 Race RecapI’m actually smiling!

Baystate Marathon 2016And off I go to run another 14 miles.

After crossing the bridge, I made the turn to make my second loop. I knew this was when things would potentially get tough. I checked in on my breathing and effort levels and felt shockingly good. I thought about the bit of advice my mom had gleaned from Bart Yasso in the most recent Runners World podcast (that she kept reiterating to me in an effort to keep me from the Fly and Die method) – It should feel so easy that you feel like you could run forever. My pace was hovering around 8:50/mile and shockingly – I did feel like I could run forever. I hit the halfway mark in 1:57. On track for a sub-4 hour finish, but I knew that would be contingent on staying strong even through the last 6 miles (where I really fell apart in my last marathon).

Around Mile 15, I actually started speeding up a bit. My pace dropped down to around 8:46 and stayed there through Mile 19, where I hit an 8:40! I think I was excited to get to Mile 20. I wanted to find “the wall” and kick it’s a$$. Throughout these miles, I also found myself checking in on my form. As marathons progress, runners have a tendency to stoop forward and tighten up as things get tough. I made sure to keep my shoulders back, arms swinging straight instead of across the body, and stay relaxed. By this point, I was passing a decent number of runners. I’ve been that runner before – the one who has gone out too fast only to be passed by someone who looks incredibly strong when you’re thinking you can hardly go another step. Boy did it feel good to be feeling so strong.

My mom called me just before I hit Mile 20. I had called her last year during this race and she had always said it was a great boost for the final miles of the race. This was technically her second time calling me during the race. She had called me around Mile 5 because she was tracking me with the online timing software, which was apparently HORRIBLY inaccurate as it was telling her I was running an 8:26/mile pace, so she had called me to tell me to slow down. Lol, I was so confused! Not a single one of my miles had been at that pace! This call was a better one though and she told me to just stay strong through the finish. We chatted for probably a minute before saying our goodbyes.

Shortly thereafter, I hit Mile 20. I checked in on my effort levels again. Did I have another 6.2 miles left in me? I felt like I did. I knew at least, I didn’t need to walk. Mile 20 I clocked an 8:48, followed by a 8:52, 8:52 and 8:54 for Mile 23. I will admit that around this point, things were starting to get uncomfortable. Around Mile 21, it became clear to me that I was going to lose the same toenail that I had lost in Delaware (that wasn’t even fully grown in yet). I could also feel a couple blisters despite the fact that I had applied Body Glide to my toes.

The last 3.2 miles were easily the most difficult miles of this race for me. Despite knowing I only had a 5k to go, my stomach was beginning to feel slightly queasy (though nowhere near as bad as Delaware, which I now think may have had something to do with the Gatorade I drank at the water stops). This was also probably the least attractive part of the course. Most of it was along a river with beautiful views of the foliage. The final stretch is along a highway in full sun. This was where I finally had to dig deep. Mile 23- 8:54, Mile 24 – 8:49, Mile 25- 8:52. At Mile 25, I checked my watch and knew I had a PR. Even if I ran a 10-minute mile, I would still be finishing in sub-3:57. This was a relief, but I also told myself I couldn’t relax too much – I wanted to finish strong with as big a PR as I could. Just before Mile 26, I was back at the Tsongas Arena where the course began. You make a sharp turn and run down this road, lined with spectators with an announcer reading off the names of the runners as they hit Mile 26 and head around into the final .2 of the course. I knew this wasn’t the finish, but there was a part of me that was confused about how close (or far) I was from the finish. What can I say, it’s hard to think straight after running 26 miles. 😉

Baystate Marathon 2016

The course makes a sharp left turn and then there it was – the finish!! I actually had enough left where I was able to kick in an 8:15/mile pace for the finish and crossed the line, looking and feeling strong. Official chip time – 3:53!! That works out to an average pace of 8:51/mile.

Baystate Marathon Race ReviewCruising into the finish feeling strong!

I am so pleased with that time. I feel that I can confidently say I ran the race I was trained for. I ran smart, I never walked (a first for me in a marathon!), and I finished feeling strong. My splits were very consistently in my goal range of 8:45 – 8:55/mile, with my very first mile being my slowest. I also managed a negative split! I ran my first half in 1:57 and second half in 1:56. I’ve heard it’s incredibly hard to negative split a marathon and I am stoked that I managed it on my third attempt at the distance. This was the race I so desperately needed to convince me that marathons aren’t necessarily god-awful. I’m sad that my mom wasn’t able to cross the finish line as well, but I loved having her there serving as spectator, coach, and my own personal race photographer!

Baystate Marathon 2016 | 2 Generations Running

I have a thousand more thoughts and feelings to share about Baystate, but this post has already turned into a marathon in and of itself, so I will hold off and share those in a few more posts. For now, time to let my legs rest up and my toenails heal. Again. 🙂

Also, because it’s a funny picture… I looked strong crossing the finish. Here’s what I looked like approximately 15 minutes later –

Baystate MarathonStretching, cramping and rolling around on the ground like a baby. Marathons will do that to ya. 😉

 

 


Staying Fresh with 2Toms

Disclaimer: I received a free sample of 2Toms Sports Detergent and Stink-Free Shoe and Gear Spray for 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! Thank you! 🙂

Hey there!

Hope everyone’s week is off to a good start so far! I took a rest day on Monday to recover from Sunday’s 15-miler and then hit up a Mystryde class this Tuesday. I think it will probably be the last one I will attend before the marathon because they can be pretty challenging and I want to go into Baystate feeling fresh and ready to run.

Speaking of fresh… let’s talk about my sneakers for a second. Here’s what they looked like when they were bright and shiny and new –

Just One Run 5k RecapAaaaand now, a few hundred miles later (nope, not an exaggeration)-

FellsfestYeah, not so fresh anymore sadly…

2Toms Sports Detergent Spray Review

My sneakers (and all of my running gear) gets a lot of use. That’s why I was excited to try 2Toms Stink-Free Sports Detergent and Spray through my Bibrave pro ambassadorship!

2Toms Stink Free Sports Detergent and Spray ReviewThe primary difference between 2Toms Sports Detergent and other basic laundry soaps is that it’s intended to remove all the gross smells – not just mask them the way other detergents do. I only had a small sample of the detergent good for 1 load of laundry, so I can’t really speak to the soap’s long-term capabilities. I will say that my clothes seemed fresh and clean after that 1 load at least!

I also received a nice big bottle of the Stink-Free Spray to try as well. This product really surprised me! I expected it to have some sort of perfumey smell, but it was very neutral. I’ve been spraying it in my sneakers for the past couple weeks after getting back from my runs, and I’ve been really impressed with how well it works. I don’t exactly have a stinky feet problem, but I wouldn’t say my sneakers normally smell “fresh” either. After a few uses, I went to smell my sneakers – and I couldn’t smell anything! Not exactly new shoe smell, but wayyyy better than what you would expect for the amount of sweat and dirt caked into those things!

I could see this spray being particularly useful on other smelly sports gear too. When I played soccer in high school, my shin guards were always pretty nasty smelling. If you’ve got any soccer, hockey, or football gear you’re currently hiding because of the stench, I would definitely recommend giving this spray a try. One word of caution – this spray is not intended for helmets or any type of equipment that goes on your head, as the chemicals could drip down into your eyes with sweat. Sadly, you’ve got to keep this away from your bike helmet and running hats.

Because the folks at 2Toms are so generous, I have a coupon code for you to try 2Toms products for yourself! Use code 2Toms20 for 20% off, now through 12/31!

Do you follow any special rituals/routines to keep your exercise gear smelling nice and in good condition? Does anyone get as depressed as I do when your sneakers start to get dirty (although I suppose that’s part of the fun of getting a new pair!)?

 


Mystryde Boston: A Review

Hey friends, I’m back!

I mentioned before that I’ve been incorporating some new routines into my training for Baystate this time around, and one of those changes has been the Mystryde treadmill classes I’ve been attending. I figure some of you are probably a little curious about how a treadmill class works, so I figured I would share a review and some of the details of why I think these classes are so great.

Mystryde is Boston’s first treadmill studio and is located in the North End of Boston, about a 5 minute walk from the Haymarket station on the Orange line. For where I live and work, this makes it very convenient to get to, plus I love having an excuse now to walk through the North End because it’s probably the cutest part of Boston with all its Italian cafes and restaurants. The trick is to avoid the temptation to grab a cannoli or some gelato after one of the classes!

The studio itself is pretty small, and you could almost miss it, if not for the funny/motivational sandwich board they keep out in front.

img_1622Image courtesy of Mystryde’s Instagram page

Inside, there’s a waiting area where they sell some pretty cute merchandise with the Mystryde running man logo so you can represent your favorite treadmill studio on all your runs.

Ok, onto the best part now – the classes! There are 3 different ones which range from 45 minutes to an hour: Endurance, Stryde, and Power Stryde. Endurance focuses on building strength over longer intervals, and usually includes some pretty tough hill segments (I’m talking about 12% incline tough… Yikes!). According to one of the instructors I asked, Endurance most closely resembles a tempo run, while Stryde is a little bit more like a track workout, with more short, fast intervals. Power Stryde is basically boot camp meets running intervals. It is TOUGH! I am definitely one of those runners who tends to neglect strength work, so I love that Mystryde offers classes that combine the two. In the Power Stryde class I attended, everyone was partnered up so that while one person was running their intervals on the treadmill, the other was doing exercises on the floor. These included squats, push-ups, plank get-ups, crunches, and a bunch of other exhausting moves. I was a quivering puddle of sweat after this class, but I didn’t hate it. 🙂 The setting also helps keep you going – they crank up the tunes and turn the lights down, so it feels like a party, albeit a sweaty, exhausting one!

Mystryde Boston | 2 Generations RunningDuring the classes, the instructors tell you what level incline and speed to take your treadmill up to for each interval. Every treadmill comes with a pace card that explains what speed setting you should use if you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced. This makes it really easy for everyone to get in an awesome workout, according to their own specific experience level – without anyone being left in the dust, which can happen easily during a workout done on a track. So far, I’ve been using the intermediate paces, but hopefully I’ll graduate to advanced some day! 😉

The instructors here are also totally friendly. I feel like some professionals in the fitness studio world can be a little full of themselves and not very approachable, but I’ve never felt that way at Mystryde. They’re always going to push you to give a workout your best, but they do it in a way that’s not intimidating. Just this past week, they also started offering group runs on Wednesday evenings at 6:30. I went, and we did a gorgeous 4-mile loop that came with just about the prettiest sunset I’ve ever seen.

Boston Mystryde Review

Mystryde Boston ReviewCan you even believe that? I’m so glad I went for the run with these ladies because that was one pretty epic view!

In terms of cost, the classes are a little expensive, but not any more so than what you’d typically expect to pay for studio fitness classes in a city. They offer a bunch of different packages to suit everyone’s individual goals and budget. They also tend to do a decent number of promotions – like donate a pair of used sneakers and get 15% off.

Overall, I really love these classes, and I know I’m going to be an even bigger fan come the winter and that first snowfall. If you’re a runner in the Boston area, I highly recommend checking them out! We’ll see what happens on October 16th, but I have a strong feeling attending these classes on a weekly basis is going to be a BIG help with my marathon goals.

Treadmills – yay or nay? Are you a fan of fitness studio classes? What running goals are you currently working towards?


PINK Trekz Titanium Headphones Review

Disclaimer: I received a free pair of Trekz Titanium for 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! Thank you!

Hello Friends!

Remember how I mentioned the Aftershokz headphones I’d been using in my Things I’m Loving Lately [Running Edition] post? As promised, I’m back to give you the complete low-down on this awesome new piece of gear.

Trekz Titanium Headphones ReviewLet me first start by saying that I have ALWAYS been a runner with headphones. I love making playlists and listening to music when I run. I always just used to use the headphones that came with my iPhone. Yes, they sometimes slipped out of my ears on particularly sweaty runs, and yes – I’d occasionally get the cord caught in my fuel belt, but I made do.

More important than the practical problems with running with these headphones, are the safety concerns. I always made sure to keep my music fairly low so that I could pick up on the sounds of cars driving near me and other runners and bicyclists, but even so, it’s a little risky. Especially with all the scary stuff that’s been happening for female runners lately (if you haven’t heard on the news, Runners World published an article detailing a slew of attacks that you can catch up on here).

Enter the Trekz Titanium wireless headphones from Aftershokz.

Trekz Titanium Headphones

I received a pair of these to test out as part of my ambassadorship with Bibrave, and so far, I’m a big fan. Here’s a quick overview on how they actually work:

  • They connect to your phone through Bluetooth (no cord, yay!). I had no issues connecting my headphones and have yet to experience any issues pairing the devices.
  • They don’t actually go in your ears, which is why they are a safer alternative to typical headphones! The transducers sit on your cheekbones, just outside your ears. This photo from Aftershokz shows how they are meant to be worn –

Pink Trekz Titanium Headphones

  • The volume and power buttons sit on the right side, behind your ear. It’s taken me a few times wearing them to get used to remembering where to go to adjust the volume, but that’s because I’m just so used to my old headphones.
  • You really can hear your music perfectly, while ALSO picking up on all the noises of your surroundings. I wore these on a long run I did on Sunday with a running buddy and was able to carry on a conversation, while having the comfort of my music for the  challenging parts of the run where there wasn’t much talking going on.
  • A full charge of these headphones is supposed to last around 6 hours. So far, I’ve probably used them for a cumulative total of 4 hours and haven’t experienced any battery issues.
  • I thought they would bounce around on my head and annoy me, but they didn’t. Once I had them on properly, they really didn’t move around much at all. They are also sweat-resistant so they didn’t slip around even on my sweatiest runs. See? I’m all smiles using them on last Saturday’s run. 🙂

Trekz Titanium Headphones

  • The Trekz Titanium headphones are priced at $129.99. Yes, that might seem expensive, but I did a little research, and that is actually quite reasonable for wireless Bluetooth headphones. Many pairs run for closer to $200.

So all of that would be enough to make these headphones a pretty sweet piece of gear, but there’s MORE! I received a limited edition pair of PINK Trekz Titanium. That’s because Aftershokz has partnered with the non-profit organization Bright Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month and will be donating 25% (!!!) of their proceeds from the sales of Pink Trekz Titanium headphones to Bright Pink from September 1st – October 31st. Not only that, but anytime the hashtag #AwareWithPink is used on social media platforms, Aftershokz will donate an additional 25 cents to Bright Pink.

All in all, I’m really impressed. Both with the quality of the product, and with the partnership with Bright Pink (Aftershokz released this blog post detailing the reasons behind the campaign that I definitely recommend checking out!). 25% is a HUGE portion of proceeds to be donating, and I think it’s just fantastic that Aftershokz is going above and beyond like this.

So, if you’re interested in getting involved or purchasing yourself an awesome new pair of headphones, the pink Trekz Titanium go on sale tomorrow (September 1st)! Purchase a pair before October 31st to have that 25% go to Bright Pink. Additionally, because Aftershokz is so awesome, they are partnering with Bibrave to offer customers a free small storage case with the purchase of the Pink Titanium Trekz. Add the item to your cart, and then use code PINK at checkout.

Do you run with headphones? Have you ever experienced issues with them falling out or getting tangled?


Things I’m Loving Lately [Running Edition]

Happy Weekend guys!

I know I don’t normally post on the weekends, but lately my schedule has just been nutzo and I’m just trying to fit blogging in whenever I can, so I thought I would pop in and share a post this weekend, before I hit the road again next week (I’m off to South Carolina this time!).

I’ve been a fan of blogs for a few years now and one type of post that seems to pop up again and again is the “Things I’m Loving Lately” type post. It’s interesting to read about products or just random things that people enjoy. Lately, there have been a bunch of running-related products/media that I feel have really rejuvenated my love for running and I figured I’d share some of these items with you all today in a special running-themed “Things I’m Loving Lately” post.

My new pink Trekz Titanium Aftershokz wireless headphones.

Trekz Titanium Aftershokz Headphones | 2 Generations RunningI received a pair of these as part of my ambassadorship with Bibrave (learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro here) I’ll be posting a full review of these beauties in the next week, but as a preview – I LOVE THEM. I have always used headphones with wires and never really thought they bothered me, but running with NO cords (the headphones connect to the music on my phone through Bluetooth) has been amazing. Another interesting feature of these headphones is that they actually don’t go into your ears – they rest on the bones right next to your ears and you hear the music through the vibrations created. This allows you to pick up on the ambient noise of your surroundings, which is a huge safety benefit (especially with all the scary stories that have popped up lately about female runners). Stay tuned for my full review later this week!

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog Review, Phil KnightI picked up Shoe Dog while on vacation in Utah because I knew I was going to need something to keep me entertained for the long flight home. It’s a memoir written by the creator of Nike, and it is SO GOOD. It’s easy to think of Nike as this huge symbol of athletics and a billion-dollar brand and to kind of assume they’ve always been that way. It’s been so fascinating to read about all the struggles the business went through when it was just starting out, and it’s really given me a new respect for the brand. It’s so crazy to think about how far they’ve come, especially watching the Olympics and seeing so many of the world’s best athletes sporting Nike gear. I highly recommend this book, and think runners and non-runners alike would enjoy it!

Mystryde Classes

Mystryde Boston | 2 Generations RunningNow that I’m officially signed up for another marathon (eek), I want to make sure I’m putting in the work to have a good result come October 16th. The Mystryde treadmill classes are killer workouts and just what I need. I went to one this past week and got in 6.5 miles of hills, sprints, and hard running. The instructors are fantastic and very knowledgeable about running. I think incorporating these classes into my training plan once a week will be very helpful getting me ready for Baystate.

The new Bibrave Podcast

Bibrave PodcastI love running podcasts, but I tend to listen to them faster than they can be produced. 🙂 That’s why I was so excited to see Bibrave coming out with their own podcast! It’s a great, informal discussion of what’s going on in the running world and despite being only 5 episodes in, it’s quickly become one of my favorite podcasts to listen to.

Hope you all have a good weekend! I’ve got a 15-miler on the agenda for tomorrow so wish me luck! 🙂


Utah Pt. 2 – The Hobble Creek Half Marathon

Need to catch up on Part 1 of our adventures in Utah? Find it here.

Arches National Park | 2 Generations RunningAfter spending a few days having a blast exploring Arches and Moab, my mom and I woke up early on Friday for a quick 3-mile shakeout run. We happened to come across a paved bike trail – perfect for running in an area we didn’t know that well! Of course, that didn’t stop us from getting slightly lost.

2 Generations RunningThe run ended with iced coffee from one of the many cute cafes that line the Main Street of Moab.

Fueled by CoffeeOnce we were cleaned up and properly caffeinated, we made the drive north towards Provo where we had rented an Airbnb close to the race start. The place ended up being quite cute and the hostess was so friendly! We would definitely do Airbnb again to cut down a bit on hotel costs traveling to races.

The drive was a long one, so we spent most of Friday relaxing after we picked up our bibs. There really wasn’t an expo for this race (the race was capped at 1,000 runners, so definitely on the smaller side). The pick-up was at a running store, so they had some stuff to check out, but nothing too new or exciting. We laid out our running gear when we got back and called it an early night.

At the crack of 4 am, we were up and at ’em! 🙂 This race was a point-to-point course with a shuttle ride up the canyon road and the organizers had stressed that everyone had to catch the buses between 5:30 and 5:45. If you missed the shuttle, you weren’t running the race! Luckily, we made it there in plenty of time to spare. The ride up the canyon took a surprisingly long time and my mom jokingly asked if I was sure we hadn’t accidentally signed up for a marathon. 😉 I have to say, I got a little nervous too there for a sec!

We finally arrived at the drop-off point, and one of the organizers hopped on the bus to warn everyone about hunters driving on the road and not to pee in the woods because rangers were watching. Ummmm, what?! Things were off to an interesting start. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any porta-potties at the drop-off, and we ended up having to walk up the road probably another 20 minutes or so before getting to the start area. My mom and I were slightly desperate by the time we got there!

0140f9f25dac5a861f1b32eace53c91af8a4521ba6(When you pretend to look happy, but are actually freezing to death.)

Hobble Creek Half Marathon Race RecapAfter a short warm-up, we arranged ourselves behind the starting line (drawn in chalk on the ground – yeah, it was that small a race!). A couple more quick announcements and we were off! My goals going into the race were pretty loose. A big part of me was hoping that I would be able to use the elevation profile to my advantage to score a new half marathon PR (my best time was 1:45 back in February at the Augusta Half). However, I also knew my training leading up to that race had been much more consistent and had included a lot more long runs at 8 min/mile pace. I figured I would start out in the mid 8’s and try to slowly bring that time down to sub 8-minute miles in the later miles of the race. If a PR happened, then awesome, but I wouldn’t be crushed if it didn’t because I hadn’t really put in the work for it.

Only a few miles into the race, I realized I was going to have to stop at one of the water stations to use a porta-potty again. Damn, that hasn’t happened to me at a race in ages! I knew that stopping would unfortunately add a couple minutes to my time that I would have to try to make up, but I also wasn’t about to run 13.1 miles feeling like I was going to pee my pants. 😉

Mile 1: 8:43, Mile 2: 8:37, Mile 3: 8:25, Mile 4: 8:55 (my porta-potty mile)

While I had been pretty cold before the race, once I was running, it really did feel perfect. It was early enough that the road was mostly shaded and we were running with Hobble Creek gurgling along next to us on the left. It was really scenic and SO nice to be running a race where I didn’t feel like I was melting into a pool of sweat.

Hobble Creek Half Marathon Race ReviewMost of the first 6 miles looked just like this.

Mile 5: 8:12, Mile 6: 8:02, Mile 7: 8:02, Mile 8: 8:03

It was around Mile 5/6 that I realized I would have to start hitting some sub 8-minute/miles if I was going to have any chance of a PR, so I started picking up the pace. Whenever I felt like I was getting in the groove of the faster speed though, it seemed like we would hit a small uphill and my pace would slow again. I felt like I was putting in the effort, but no matter how hard I tried, my GPS just kept chirping 8:00/mile – no faster.

Mile 9: 8:17, Mile 10: 8:21, Mile 11: 8:22, Mile 12: 8:40, Mile 13: 8:24

Around Mile 9, I think I accepted that a PR was clearly not going to happen for me. I still wanted to push the effort though and continued to work hard (apart from Mile 12, which I was clearly slacking on.) At this point, we were on a bike path, which was quite pretty but also sunny. It was around these miles where I was wishing they had a couple more water stations.

But finally, I was rounding the bend onto the road that wrapped around into the finish. There were actually spectators at this spot cheering, which felt awesome after such a quiet race. I saw the clock as I crossed the finish, which read 1:50. By my GPS watch, I finished just under in 1:49:54. About 4 minutes slower than my PR, but still a decent time. I was a little bummed though because I just missed out on receiving one of the special “Elite Top 100” medals they had for the first 100 male and female finishers. I still got a flower though, which I thought was kind of different and cool.

018cb4caa3a3c0093117b410a1e1fd520066748d09After chugging some water and sitting down for a few minutes, I started waiting for my mom to come across the finish. I knew she wasn’t planning on racing it hard, but I started to get more and more nervous as the time on the clock got later. Was this race going to be her turn to get transported by ambulance? I was probably being really irrational, but I really got panicked as the time ticked past 2:15. I knew she had been experiencing some hamstring issues, so my mind immediately jumped to her being injured and unable to finish the race.

I waited another 15 minutes and finally called her, remembering how she could easily answer her phone while running. Just as she answered, I actually spotted her coming into the last 1/2 mile. Hobbling slightly. She did not sound good on the phone, and we hung up quickly. Finally she crossed the finish line and filled me in on her race.

She told me how her hamstring started acting up after the first few miles of downhill running, and how by Mile 6, she was so in so much pain she had to walk. She had been mostly walking since then, not wanting to risk any further damage to the muscle. Hobble Creek Half Marathon was unfortunately a bit too aptly named for her.

So not one of the best for either of us, but we made the most of the day, hanging out at the finish for a bit before heading out to a nearby cafe for a bigger breakfast. We had plenty of time to discuss and analyze the race and came to a couple of conclusions.

  1. It was probably the drastic downhills that set off her hamstring, which was already bothering my mom a bit. She had thought it had been feeling better in the days before, but 13 miles of hard downhill running, was probably a bit too much.
  2. When you’re trying to run at least 50 marathons/half marathons, you’re going to have some bad races. Period. Life happens, training isn’t always perfect, and it is what it is.
  3. That said, my mom and I race pretty frequently. We did the RW Classic Half back in July, a bunch of 5ks before that, and then of course, there was the Delaware Marathon in May. If we want to run better quality races, it would probably be wise for both of us to back off a bit and pick only a few races to really target. This is what the elites do, and while I’m not looking to run a 2:40 marathon just yet, I do think it makes a lot of sense. Of course, I’m now signed up to run Baystate in October, but I promise I won’t do any races before then!!

Hobble Creek Half marathon Race Review

So overall thoughts: The Hobble Creek Half is a good, small race. I probably wouldn’t run it again, and I know there are some more popular half marathons in Utah with more bells and whistles, but it’s worth checking out if you are local to the Mapleton/Springville/Provo area. Also, I think it’s worth noting that they ran into issues with their timing equipment and ended up only being able to provide gun times for the racers, no chip times. Not a huge deal for us since we didn’t hit those PRs, but I’m guessing this was pretty frustrating for some other runners. But all in all, it was a really fun way to cap off our Utah vacation and to cross off State #12. Only 38 to go! 😉