Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My weekend as a Runner's World Influencer

Disclaimer: I received lodging for the Runner's World Influencer events however all opinions are completely my own. 

When Runner's World contacted me over the summer to be an influencer, I was beyond thrilled as you can read in my post about being selected.  However, at the same time, there's a big part of me that kept thinking "why me??"  I had stalked a few of the influencers from last year that were coming back this year and they are all way out of my league.  They have thousands upon thousands of followers and god knows how many pageviews on their blogs.  Meanwhile, I over here am lucky to get a few hundred overall on a good post.  I definitely went into the influencer events feeling way under qualified.  But on the other hand, I have attended every festival since the beginning in 2012, run every race at each festival and am an Altra ambassador so at least I felt I had that going for me ;-)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Runner's World Festival--4 for 4

Disclaimer: I received entry to Runner's World Festival and Half as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!
I also was given entry to the trail race and lodging by Runner's World however all opinions are my own.

You maybe wondering where my TARC 100 post is?  Well you are going to have to wait because a few short days after TARC, I headed to Bethlehem, PA for the Runner's World Festival, my annual pilgrimage.  Since I have some obligations to fulfill in the form of blogging, etc for the Festival, this post comes first.  Don't worry I will get back to TARC. 

I left work at lunchtime on Thursday to make my way to Bethlehem.  Yes, Thursday!!!  This year I was invited as an influencer for the event which meant I got to go up a day early and do lots of unique things that only the influencers were invited to.  Since I know writing about my ENTIRE experience would be extremely long, I'm going to break it up into a couple of posts.  This one will just be my race reports.  I will cover the influencer events in a separate post.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Plantronics -- BackbeatFIT

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

When I first started running about 5 years ago, I ALWAYS listened to music.  Running was SO hard for me.  It took a while before I could make it a whole mile without walking at all so I needed something to take my mind off of how hard it was and that thing was music.  Even as I ventured into the longer distances I still had music for the duration.  I remember compiling a playlist that would be long enough to last me my entire first marathon which was challenging because I figured I needed 5 hours of music I liked for running.  I'm not sure when exactly I stopped running with music.  I think it might have been a couple years ago when I started getting into ultra running and trail running.  For one reason, I now had two kids and our household was twice as loud and twice as busy.  It was hard to have time for my own thoughts except when I was out on the run.  So I tried a few runs without the music and I loved the quiet so much that I never went back to music.  Also running without music made me realize what a hassle running with music was.  At the time I did not have a flipbelt or a pack so I had to wear my phone on my arm which as I started running further caused major chafage.  And it was hard to find headphones that felt comfortable for really long periods of time not to mention the constantly tangled wires and me accidentally ripping the headphones off when I would catch my hand in the wire.

I hadn't even thought of trying to run with music again however Bibrave was asking for more Pros to try the Plantronics BackbeatFIT.  I didn't go for it the first time they asked but then after a bunch of people tried them and we're all raving about how much they loved them, I decided I needed to see what all the fuss was about.  

When I opened the package I was pretty pleased with what I found.  The pieces that go in your ears were a nice comfy rubbery material and you could even manipulate them a little bit to fit better in your ear.  They are connected by a super flexible rubber piece that actually goes behind your head.  I loved this because number 1, I don't have to worry about it breaking when I shove it in my pack or in a bag with all my other running gear and number 2, there's no adjusting that needs to happen everytime I put them on.  The headphones also come with a case for storing them and if you reverse it, it's a waterproof armband/case for your phone.

Of course, the feature that most people will love is that they are completely wireless.  It was SUPER easy to pair the headphones with my phone via bluetooth, literally a second.  My son wanted to try them out with his tablet and it was just as easy to pair them with that as well.  I just had to make sure to disconnect them with my phone bluetooth or that it was completely out of range so that they would pair with his computer.  Normally, I would not let the kids play with my equipment but these are so sturdy and flexible, I really think they are almost impossible to break.  This past weekend when I attempted my first 100 miler, we had a bin stuffed with running stuff and I just threw them in there.  They came out just as they went in, no worries about them breaking even with tons of heavy gear in there and being jostled around.

Now to the actual functioning of the headphones.  Since I don't use headphones often, I'm not an expert but I thought the sound quality was excellent.  I really enjoyed how nice the music sounded.  I also like how easy it is to turn on and off the headphones.  You just tap the little button on the right side to turn on and immediately it tells you the headphones are on, bluetooth connected and how much battery is left.  On the left ear is the volume control, which is also very simple to use.  Despite keeping the volume relatively low so I can hear my surroundings while running, I felt like I could hear the music well and yet still hear everything going on around me.

Charging the headphones is a simple USB cable that I can plug right into my charger that I use for my phone, gopro, etc.  The headphones turn blue when they are done charging.  As far as battery life, I'm really not sure yet.  I thought I would be able to see just how long it would last on one of my last 100 mile training runs however I have an ancient iphone and with the combo of streaming music and using the bluetooth, my phone died about 3 hours into the run, headphones still had juice left, I'm just not sure how much.

All in all, there wasn't anything I disliked about the headphones.  They are a bit on the pricey side compared to other headphones however I think they are worth the price.  Being wireless, having such quality sound and can last years easily make it a good investment especially if you are someone who wants to run with music.  I will continue to enjoy some of my quiet trail runs in the silence of nature however I definitely will run those tough speed workouts and probably even a race with music now that I have a medium that won't hinder me. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Run like an Ironman--Wigwam Socks

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

Last week I received a pair of Wigwam socks to try out.  They are called Ironman Run so I figure they should be able to stand up to my ultra running habits but you never know.  I've tried many a sock and have had many a blister.  My feet actually have been in pretty great condition this whole summer which is surprising given my mileage and terrain in prep for TARC100 (only 6 days away!!!!!).  So that alone makes me hesitant to change anything but trying new things is all part of being a #bibravepro and usually I end up with a new product I really like.