Disclaimer: I received Ultima Replenisher 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!
As someone who sweats a ton and doesn’t really like plain water, I have been looking for a good hydration/electrolyte drink mix for awhile now. But I guess I am picky with flavors because I hadn’t found anything that I would rather drink consistently than be dehydrated half my life 😂 All that said, I was very excited for the opportunity to try Ultima after hearing great reviews on it during my search!
My Experience with Ultima
Ultima is a powder so it dissolves instantly with a few shakes. This might not be super high on your (or even my) list of needs but a very sick, impatient boyfriend once asked why his drink was taking so long with a different brand of electrolyte product 😂
I LOVE lemonade, so that’s always the first flavor I try in hydration products, but I had yet to find one that I thought actually tasted like good lemonade. I found that all of Ultima’s flavors seem more spot on than other brands, but their lemonade is SO GOOD! I also noticed they have a pink lemonade (that I need to try), but it’s sold out right now.. probably because it’s too good.
I’ve been trying to cut back on sugary drinks since I eat enough sugar I certainly don’t to drink it too. That means pretty much every flavorful drink, including my precious lemonade, is out. It’s awesome that their lemonade flavor is so on point AND has no sugar for me to feel bad about!
Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro 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!
Vest are by far my favorite way to carry liquids while on a run. They cost zero extra effort, unlike holding a handheld, and from what I’ve seen are way more secure and less bouncy than belts. But even narrowing your search down to just hydration vests, there are still tons of different ones out there. As someone who was in the market for a new hydration vest recently, here are some of the key things I was looking for and found in the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro:
Coverage (or lack of)
I almost always run hot so with all my running gear the less fabric touching my skin and keeping heat in, the better. I was extremely happy to find this vest goes above and beyond to be as non-covering as possible. The back pockets are stacked width-wise so the pack only covers the top part of your back, while still holding lots. The sides and front (besides the front pockets) are made of thin straps, for as little coverage as possible, while still being very secure. The vest pretty much only covers about where a sports bra does, and that is a huge bonus for me. I was able to use it on the first hot, buggy day of the season and return without feeling like a complete puddle. It also made me think how much other hydration vests are actually helping if wearing them makes me sweat way more than normal 🤔
POCKETS!!!! (Especially front accessible ones!)
One major issue with my last hydration vest was the small number of very tiny front accessible pockets. The Gear Vest Pro has tons of them! It has two Velcro shoulder pockets, two very large cinch-able chest pockets, and one pocket on the outside of each of those chest pockets. It’s fantastic to be able to access so much of your gear without having to take off your vest!
The back has three large pockets that cover the entire back and are layered. The inner most Velcros shut and is where you would place the bladder when you plan to use it and the outer most is a fully closable zipper pocket. All three can be cinched tight with the zigzag elastic cord on the back. I was sick during the Newport Half and couldn’t decide how many layers I needed and was able to easily take them all with me with plenty of room to spare!
The front pockets are also large enough for front bottles, which I would now highly recommend! Not only is it nice to be able to have multiple different fluids on you, but placement and shorter straws on the front bottles keep the liquid cooler longer. My least favorite thing is having cold water in my bladder warm up as it sits in the long straw on my shoulder.
You can also get add-ons to attach poles that can go on the front or the back of the vest!
My last vest was specifically “made for women” but I honestly like the fit of this vest better. I found putting the front pockets over your chest (just like a guy would) worked better than having them go around it. When I used to put my vest around my chest it would cause my arm swinging to hit the pockets sometimes. I feel like putting it over your chest is actually more secure and keeps everything out of the way. This vest is also easy to get on and off so accessing the back pockets isn’t an issue!
Overall this vest is the perfect balance of space and coverage (and honestly better on both ends than I originally thought possible together). I can’t wait to actually be responsible with hydration while hiking this year since this vest so comfy that I’ll actually wear it 😂 And I can’t wait to try running my second ultra in it!
If you want to check out Orange Mud gear for yourself use the code BIBRAVEGVPRO for 15% off!
Gear Vest Pro
Disclaimer: I received an Addaday Roller 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!
I recently was able to up my recovery game with the Addaday Pro roller. My old stick roller just didn’t seem to be doing anything anymore and I tried the R8 but it was too harsh and couldn’t get the spots I needed. I am happy to say that Addaday’s Pro roller seems to be the perfect solution!
The Addaday Pro is listed as the “Swiss army knife” of massage rollers and it seems to be just that! It has 3 different types of roller balls with different firmness allowing you to get the exact amount of massage you want. You can also simply unscrew the handle to swap any of the different massage balls’ positions.
I found out I much preferred these ball massagers to plain sticks with different sized ridges. They feel like they fit the shape of your leg much better and can still really get in there with some pressure.
After the cold of the Hyannis Half my legs locked up and were INSANELY sore and tight. I was a big baby for a few hours and didn’t want to deal with the pain of rolling, afraid it wouldn’t be worth it. When I finally decided I hurt too much and needed to give it a try I used my Addaday and my legs felt completely brand new. It was honestly AMAZING!
I would 100% recommend giving rolling overall a try if you’ve never done it, but I’d also recommend giving the Addaday Pro a try if you want to upgrade your rolling experience!
Disclaimer: I received Turtle Gloves 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!
While the rest of me is almost never gets cold, my hands are terrible and constantly switch between too cold and too warm. Winter (and some of Spring and Fall) running used to be the biggest pain as I had to take my gloves off and put them back on every few minutes. I hated having to carry them when I wasn’t wearing them so some days I would opt out of bringing them when I really should have.
Now that I have Turtle Gloves though, I never have to debate it! Turtle Gloves are extremely versatile so they can be used in any amount of cold! I have now used them to keep warm in cold from pouring freezing rain for an entire half marathon to windy canyon side otherwise in the desert, and they were perfect for both situations. I want to say it’s partially because of their soft, stretchy, moisture wicking fabric (that keeps you warm, while also letting your hands breathe) and partially because of the flip design.
Turtle Gloves are actually mittens that you can flip the top of to turn into “fingerless” gloves. I put fingerless in quotes because there is still a tube of fabric that covers your fingers until you roll it down. I really like that they left this tube long so you can choose exactly how much to roll it, therefore exactly how much of your fingers are still covered. A few cold days, just flipping the top off for some extra ventilation (not actually exposing any of my fingers) was all they needed to be comfy. The fabric tube also means you can store items like keys and things in the gloves without them actually touching your skin and rubbing. I also found out I would much rather be able to quickly expose a finger to use my phone than mess around with “touch screen” gloves 🙄
These gloves keep your hands warm like no other! My first half of the year was in freezing downpour the entire time. So much that my legs went numb (that was a first!). It didn’t even hit me until after the race when everyone else was complaining, that my hands hadn’t felt cold AT ALL during the race. I also didn’t get that stiff, “can’t move your hands fast” feeling, which I usually do after even slightly chilly races. The gloves are not waterproof (they were soaked with all the rain that day), but kept my wet hands perfectly warm through the windy race.
An almost opposite situation where Turtle Gloves saved me was during the Antelope Canyon Half. This half was in the desert, but had a ton of cooler sections along the rim of the canyon. It was too hot for a shirt, but my arms were cold. I also forgot any of the pouches I brought in order to carry my fuel and things. Turtle Gloves saved me by functioning as arm warmers with pockets!
Turtle Gloves have now become a staple piece of Winter running gear for me. If you want to check them out for yourself:
Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Running Footpod 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!
If you’re a highly competitive person who sometimes needs to run on a treadmill (or cycle indoors) then you need to try Zwift. I originally didn’t think much of it but figured I’d give it a shot since nothing could possibly make treadmill running worse.
Zwift is an app (for running and biking) that allows you to hook up to your indoor equipment and run virtually with others using it. You need a phone or tablet to view your adventure and either can hook up to a Bluetooth treadmill or their footpod for reading your pace. You can then see your avatar running along with others in a virtual world full of interesting scenery! (I ran through volcanoes one run!)
My avatar resting after my run 👍
You’d think avatars on a screen would be completely different than real people on the roads, nope, my brain went straight into race mode and I upped my speed to pass anyone I could see just like on road runs/races 😅 It was CRAZY motivating and highly entertaining for me. I hadn’t cared to run so fast on a treadmill in FOREVER (or ever, I’m not sure)! It’s also helpful on the other end, where while it keeps you entertained, it takes actual action to increase your speed, so you can’t pick it up without noticing and ruin a planned slower run/interval.
I ran two different types of runs with Zwift: a 5K race (kinda free for all mode where you just go run) and then a workout with intervals. The race was really neat and brought runners I “know” from all over the world together, but the workout was what really kind of blew my mind. I am someone who SUCKS at staying on pace for workouts so doing one on a treadmill where your pace is set for you is AMAZING. I still had to manually change the speed by pushing buttons, but that was easy enough and then I got to just run without thinking. It also alerts you when to change speeds and what you should set it to! I honestly will probably be running more workouts than necessary on a treadmill with Zwift now that I know how magical it is.
With Zwift allowing me to enjoy a treadmill run now, I finally ordered myself a treadmill the other day. I’m excited to have no excuse on days with extreme New England weather when it’s dangerous to run outside and I can’t get to the gym. I’m glad I found Zwift to add to my 2019 training arsenal and think it will be a big help making the year amazing!
Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Trekz Air and Trekz Titanium 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!
The only downside I’ve found to Aftershokz is that other people don’t know how awesome they are, so they don’t know they can still talk to me! 😂😭
They also are comfy to just wear around your neck!
I never use to use headphones while running or really life in general. I don’t know if my ears are a weird shaped or what, but almost all earbuds fall out of or hurt my ears. I love that I don’t have to worry about this factor at all with Aftershokz since they just sit on the side of your head. It also allows them to still be comfy when wearing ear warmers or a hat as they aren’t being shoved into your ears. I was able to wear them comfortably on a run with an ear warmer headband, a face mask (pulled up), and head lamp.
You couldn’t even tell I was wearing them
I also really don’t like being unaware of my surroundings (while running and overall). This is definitely part of the reason I never really used to wear headphones. Even my gaming headset is one I purchased specifically because it allows you to hear outside noises. But since I also don’t like blasting my music through speakers so everyone around me has to listen with me, I pretty much only listened to music in my car. I love that Aftershokz allow me to hear what’s going on around me (on my run, at work, while doing chores) just like playing music through speakers, without everyone else hearing it too! When I gifted a pair to my mom she couldn’t believe how you didn’t hear them at all if you aren’t the one wearing them with how clearly you do when you are the wearer. They are also SUPER light and really well shaped so you don’t really feel them and get more of the effect of feeling like you’re just listening to speakers.
I’m also very impressed with the battery life and even more impressed with the charge time. I think I’ve only had to charge them once or twice, but can’t even remember the exact amount with how quickly they charge. That’s an important factor in gear choice for me because I am forgetful and can’t have high maintenance gear, but also HATE when I can’t use what I had planned.
I have now given a pair of Trekz Titaniums to both my mom and boyfriend as gifts because I really feel like Aftershokz are a product for everyone. I originally gifted both sets for during physical activity, but both of them told me they also love using them in their offices at work to be sure they don’t miss visitors’ knocking as well. I feel better that my mom now can hear her surroundings when she goes for walks by herself. And I love that my boyfriend can have his music motivation when running with me but can also still talk with me without having to leave one earbud out.
I even tried wearing mine to my first race of the year! It was great to get to listen to my podcast during the spectator-less sections of the race, but then cheer and be cheered during the more populated parts. Like I stated at the beginning, the only issue was some people thought I had regular headphones on and didn’t talk to me when they seemed like they wanted to. Oh and one guy shout-talked to me “so I could hear”. 😂
New Year’s Race!!
Here are the links to both if you want to check them out for yourself!
Disclaimer: I received the BUFF DryFlx Neckwarmer and Headband 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!
While I love Winter running, I generally hate Winter gear. The gear that is supposed to keep me warm smothers me and causes me to sweat so much I become drenched and even more susceptible to freezing. I’ve had gloves and buffs get so wet they froze solid later in the run.
After trying the New Original BUFF earlier this year, I was excited to get to test their new DryFlx fabric to see if it was just as magical and could solve my cold gear problems. Turns out, it is and did!
I was able to keep warm using both my headband and neck warmer on a variety of runs without them causing me to sweat! One of my biggest dilemmas at the start of Winter is whether or not to wear ear warmers. I hate the wind and cold air blowing in my ears, but also hate the inevitable ring of sweat headbands will leave around my head. I threw on my BUFF headband on a warmer, windier day to see how much it would cause me to sweat and was extremely happily surprised to find out it didn’t at all! It’s honestly really cool how well the fabric keeps you warm and protected from wind while still managing to let your skin breathe. I wore both on a below freezing run as well and didn’t get a single chill. It also felt easier to breathe through than other buffs when in face-mask mode.
Another feature I really liked was they added elastic to the ends of both product. It’s on the inside so it doesn’t catch on your hair, but gives a slightly snugger fit. I am super picky with ear warmers because I refuse to have to keep pulling them back over my ears every 5 minutes the entire run. There is elastic on one side of the headband that’s perfect for securing it over your ears. The neck warmer also has elastic, of slightly different sizes on each end. (My guess would be for different sized heads/faces.) This elastic was a huge game changer when I wore it as a face-mask. Normally I have a very difficult time keeping a buff up on my face, but I didn’t have to fix the DryFlx BUFF once!
Lastly, as you may know, I’m all about COLOR, reflectiveness, and really anything to make gear more crazy (and safe, I guess). Well the DryFlx comes in THE MOST NEON GREEN (and BLUE and some boring colors 😜) AND has a reflective design!!
I was told I looked very ninja turtle and I love it!