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? 

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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?


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!)?

 


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?


Keeping Summer Runs Comfortable: Body Glide Review

Disclaimer: I received a free sample of Body Glide 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!

Body Glide Review | 2 Generations RunningHey there!

So fair warning – some of this post may be TMI for the non-runners out there – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK! Or feel free to skip this post, no hard feelings. 🙂

That’s because today I’m talking about chafing. It’s painful, embarrassing and unfortunately, the further you run, the greater your chances of experiencing it are. Especially if you are running longer distances in shorts! Miles of running + a little extra sweat from the hot summer temps = lots of rubbing and opportunity for chafing.

Body Glide ReviewI know firsthand how painful it is (and how much a hot shower can hurt afterwards). I always feel for the people demonstrating the tell-tale signs of chafing during a race – running with legs slightly wider than normal  or arms lifted a little higher than usual to avoid the offending seams. My sports bra chafed so badly during my first marathon that you could practically see its outline rubbed raw on my back. Not fun.

Body Glide Review | 2 Generations RunningThis is why I’m soooo happy to have a product like Body Glide around. I’ve been using Body Glide for years and I’ve seen what a huge difference it can make. If I am running more than 5-6 miles in shorts, I always put it on my thighs. One solid application and I know I am good to go for 13+ miles. If I’m wearing a tank top, then I also apply some on the undersides of my arms. Sometimes, I will even apply Glide between my toes for a little blister protection.

One of my coworkers was running her first marathon this spring, and my biggest race day recommendation for her was to slather herself in Body Glide (which she did and I was happy to hear her report afterward that she didn’t chafe at all!).

Body Glide Review | 2 Generations RunningRunning can be uncomfortable enough in a race environment without adding skin abrasions on top of it. There are nerves about performance, weather can be crazy (both extreme heat and extreme cold will impact your ability to run fast), and you’re testing your body to its limits. Personally, I do not want anything else to worry about. That’s why Body Glide is on my must-have list for racecations.

The Runner's Packing Checklist. 2 Generations RunningSee? I included it in my list from a post I did back in January 2015!

If you are new to distance running or slowly beginning to increase your mileage, I would highly recommend picking some up, because every runner will  eventually reach a tipping point of miles where suddenly, chafage (as my mom and I call it!) occurs. Depending on your mileage, one tube should last you a pretty long time too. I usually reserve Body Glide for my longer runs, but even so, 1 tube has lasted me many months. It’s a pretty simple solution that will save you a lot of discomfort and embarrassment down the road!

So there you go! Grab some Body Glide today and keep enjoying those sweaty, summer runs chafe-free!

Have you ever chafed on a run? Which was worse – the chafing or the stinging, hot shower afterwards? 😉


Looking Ahead

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I am feeling really optimistic and excited about this week. Something about the weather finally warming up and having the flexibility to do all the workouts and runs I want. I liked the structure of my marathon training plan, but it got to the point where I almost got sick of doing the runs because they felt forced. Like I had to try to stick as closely to the plan as possible or else. Now that Delaware is behind me, I’m excited to play around with some speed work and really get back into cross-training.

I also have a few shorter races already on the calendar!

Run All the Races Meme(Current mood.)

First up, is the Boston Run To Remember 5-Miler this Sunday. I’ve never actually run a 5-mile race before, so yay for an automatic PR!!! I’m looking forward to pushing myself on this one(within reason – no more trips to the ER anytime soon!). I really want to work on my speed this summer, so I think this could be a good race to just gauge where I’m at.

The following weekend, my mom and I will be running the AIDS Walk and Run 5k Boston. The course is right along the Charles, in an area where I sometimes run after work. It’s a really beautiful area, as evidenced by this photo I took a few months ago.SunsetAnd then of course, there is the Runner’s World Classic in July!!!! I know I mentioned that I would be running the half marathon here a few weeks ago. Well, surprise!! I’m actually doing the Hat Trick! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Runners World events, the Hat Trick refers to running all 3 of the races they offer over the weekend – the 5k and 10k on Saturday, and then the half marathon on Sunday! This will be my first time ever trying the whole 3 races in 2 days thing, and I’m psyched. I have to admit though, I don’t think that this will realistically lead to a new half marathon PR, which I had originally been hoping to go for. I haven’t really figured out what I want my strategy to be for the weekend – Do I try to race the 5k or the 10k? Or should I take both of those easy and be more aggressive on the half? Thoughts, anyone?

My mom and I are also toying with the idea of a race in late August that would cross off another state for us… We haven’t finalized any plans there though, so I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Couple of reminders – If you’re looking for a new hydration belt for summer, I highly recommend the SPIBelt H2O Venture Series (Read my review for all the details here). Use code nora10 at checkout for 10% off and free shipping from spibelt.com!

If you’re local (or even if you’re not) and interested in running the 5k, 10k, or half marathon at the Runner’s World Classic you can still sign up! Use code RAVE at checkout for 10% off.

Have a great week!