Monday, May 20, 2019

Product Review: Runderwear!

Disclaimer:  Runderwear sent me a pair of women's briefs to review as part of the BibRave Pro Ambassador program of  Search race reviews and write your own on!

Have you heard of Runderwear performance underwear before?  I was introduced to them at The Running Event in Austin, TX last year and then I participated in their Strava 20 in 2 contest earlier this year. 

When you start talking about underwear on social media, it quickly becomes apparent that their is a group of runners that opts to go commando, and one that does not.  Runderwear has a bit of a cheeky (pun intended) response to that printed on every pair of their undies:

The Runderwear Performance Underwear have

  • Have a Chafe Free guarantee, 
  • They are moisture wicking, and 
  • Are seamless for ultimate comfort.  

I tested them on some regular runs, some trail runs where I had to climb over fallen trees, and on some early hot days that we have had and they pass the test for me!

I like fuller coverage brief cuts for running, but they also have hipster, thong and boyshort options:

While I didn't review them, Runderwear has Men's performance underwear too!

The code BIBRAVE20 gets you 20% off any Runderwear purchase until May 31!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Product Review: Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro

Disclaimer:   Orange Mud sent me the Gear Vest Pro to review as part of the BibRave Pro Ambassador Program of  Read and submit race reviews on!

Orange Mud is well known for their packs in the endurance world.  I am definitely on the "newbie" side of pack experience, so I was excited to get a Gear Vest Pro to test out.
Long Run Success with the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro

Most of my annoyance with packs has to do with either rubbing or bouncing and I was very happy that the Gear Vest Pro did neither no matter what activity I used it for:

  • I took it for one of my last long runs training for the Illinois Marathon,  
  • Itook it for shorter easy-paced runs during my taper to ensure that I would stay hydrated, 
  • I took it for a recovery hike, and 
  • I took it on some recovery bike rides that I did with my kids.
Mother's Day Bike Ride - Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro Stuffed with Snacks and Water

The Gear Vest Pro has several features:

  • 1 Liter Bladder that fits in the back pouch
  • Shoulder pouches for gels (or my ancient iPod Nano)
  • Front pouches to hold water bottles
  • Back bungee to hold layers
  • A whistle

Not only am I a pack newbie, but I never have had a "bladder" before so this was all new to me.  I found this system really easy to use.  You simply add fluid to the bladder, fold it and zip the darker gray plastic attachment across the top to seal it.  The back of the pack has a velcro piece that you put through the top of the bladder to hold it upright along your back and then you can direct the hose to either side in front of you. 
View of the back and bladder of the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro
To clean it, you can detach the hose to run soapy water through it and turn the bladder inside out to wash and dry. 

I liked that it held a larger amount of water because on bike rides with my kids, all of us could drink from it and then I wasn't messing around helping them get water bottles off of their bikes. 
Will is a fan of the bladder feature on the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro

I found it more comfortable to cross the two straps in front of my chest like an "X" - thanks to another BibRave Pro's suggestion.  I was able to stash enough snacks in the pockets to feed five hungry kids on a recent hike we went on, so yeah - they're substantial!
Wearing the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro on a recent hike

Now that it is getting warmer out (finally!), I have found the Gear Vest Pro to be breathable and haven't had any chafing from it yet, even with just a tank on underneath: 
Wearing the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro on a run

The Gear Vest Pro also has the option to have a trekking pole attachment, which is not something I made use of.

If you would like to order the Gear Vest Pro (or anything else from the Orange Mud website), you can use the code BIBRAVEGVPRO for 15% off!

Have you tried the Gear Vest Pro or another Orange Mud pack before?  What did you think?  

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Post-Marathon Priorities: Recovery, Movement and Reading

I have not gone for a run in 10 days, and I plan to not run for 4 more days to stay true to my "no running for 2 weeks" goal to give my body time to rest and recover from 18 weeks of marathon training and a marathon.  This hasn't been as challenging as it used to be because I know that rest is an important part of improvement.

At the same time, one benefit I get out of running is movement, which in turn helps me feel more calm, relaxed and frankly, helps me sleep better.  I don't recall the exact Work.Play.Love podcast episode that this was mentioned during, but Lauren Fleshman commented along the lines of just because you aren't running, doesn't mean you don't have to have movement. 

A light bulb went off. 

She's right.  Running is my preferred and also default way to achieve movement.  I literally do not do anything else.  Sure I will go for a bike ride with my kids or do yoga every once in a while but I am not very good at incorporating any other types of exercise into my life. 

In response, this week I am trying to get some movement in every day. 

Sunday, I went for a bike ride with my son (on a bike trail - like real cyclists, ha ha ha).

Monday, I went for a mid-day walk.  (Which BTW was mentally difficult! I kept thinking, "If I ran I could go farther/faster.")

Tuesday, I opted to take my bike to my kids school instead of drive.

I'm about to go for another mid-day walk.

I love to read and often, towards the end of marathon training, I am not reading as much, so it's been nice to be able to prioritize that in the last several days.

One book that I read was The Passion Paradox. This turned out to be a good thing to read after a less-than-stellar marathon. Here are the things from the book that resonated with me as I think about my next steps in running.

1. Goals are North Stars to shoot for, a direction, not a destination.

We all know that focusing on the process is better than the focusing on a destination.  This is like the number one mantra of self-help books lately.   Some quotes that I wrote down from The Passion Paradox: 

"Focusing on the process creates daily opportunities for little victories."

"Process spurs progress and progress primes us to persist."

While reading this it clicked.  I do enjoy the process of training, hell I have a Kara Goucher quote about the enjoying the process as my Twitter background.  But the fact of the matter is that this past training cycle, I was much more focused on the destination to enjoy anything about the process.  I was so focused on pace for every tough workout and most of the time, that meant that not only did I not enjoy it, but I rarely had a positive outcome.  Additionally, I was a pile of stress leading up to every single tempo run.  NOT. ENJOYING.

Yes, I still want to run a 2:45 and think I will eventually get there, but if I'm not enjoying the process, it's not worth it.

2. "To learn anything significant, to make any lasting change in yourself, you must be willing to spend MOST of your time on the plateau." ~ {A quote from George Leonard included in the book}

Yep. I'm on a plateau.  It was only be taking a step back and looking at my history in marathons that I was able to see this. In my race recap, I mentioned wanting progress to be linear.  Elizabeth Clor mentioned in a comment on that post that progress is like a set of steps.  When I read the quote above, another click.  Yep.  The PRs and amazing races are few and far between.  Much like enjoying the process, you have to like the view from the plateau. 

My first marathon was in 2002 and I ran a 4:08:36.  I didn't train much and had a very cavalier attitude about it and as a result I had my ass handed to me.  I was "never" doing that again.

Then in grad school, I met some other runners and decided that I wanted to qualify for Boston.  I ran another marathon in 2006 and ran a 3:30:20 earning a BQ and went on to run my third marathon at Boston in 2007 in 3:33:28.

Then, in 2008, came another string of marathons that had some haphazard training.  I ran a 4:04:35 at Disney (damn humidity) and a 3:40:35 at Lakefront and it was there, at the half-marathon mark, I told my mom that I am "really never doing this again." 

Then I had kids.  And I started running more consistently and thought, "Hey, I want to run another marathon."  I ran Kenosha in May 2015 and ran a 3:25:50.  A PR AFTER HAVING TWO KIDS! I ran Boston in 2016 and ran a 3:31:49.  It was a devastating race for me as I had trained for a 3:15 and boy did I let that one fester for months.   I doubled down on training, got a new training plan and ran a 3:11:09 in Green Bay followed by a 2:59:50 at Grandmas.  YES!!!  I thought I had figured it out.  Just keep running this training plan and do the advanced version - that will translate to faster and faster times.  Nope.  Next marathon was a 3:01 and the next one after that?  A 3:01. 

My point in all of this flashbacking?  I spent an inconsistent ten years in 3:30 land.  TEN YEARS.  I don't know what flipped in my head to have a freak out after spending a year in 3:00 land. 

I'm on the 3:00 plateau.  It's time to start enjoying the view.