Zwift Virtual Running Product Review

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!)

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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!

Training & Updates 12/17 – 12/23

So I may have had a mini crisis over 2018 after thinking the year over the other day (I’ll go into detail in another post once the year actually closes out) and decided to step up my game for the last little bit of the year. I’ve always wanted to do a streak and a few of the reasons for my crisis could have been helped via run streak, so I decided to start a 2019 goal early! I actually started the 16th, but am happy to report I ran 2 miles or more everyday this past week! Since my previous mileage had been super spotty I took it nice and easy on most of the days, which is fine because the goal is just to get out there consistently. My week ended up looking like:

Monday – 4.01 miles / 11:09 pace

Tuesday – 2.70 miles / 9:02 pace

Wednesday – 2.30 miles / 10:58 pace

Thursday – 6.54 miles / 9:51 pace

Friday – 2.04 miles / unknown

Saturday – 3.36 miles / 8:27 pace

Sunday – 2.01 miles / 10:58 pace

Total – 22.96 miles

Weirdly, I ran on a treadmill everyday except one. Normally I avoid treadmills like the plague but I’ve also been too lazy to put in the extra effort it takes to stay super alert while running at night. Tuesday was another Zwift run, which was super fun! But unfortunately the WiFi at my gym won’t let me make every treadmill run a Zwift one. It’s making me thoroughly debate finally getting my own treadmill. I definitely felt a bit of tired and achiness in my legs/feet toward the end of the week when standing at my desk (this was also the first week I had my standing desk ❤️) but doing less Friday and Saturday fixed that by Sunday.

In other news:

I am a Tiux Ambassador again for 2019! Feel free to use the code SAMRTIUX for 20% off purchases from their site.

I am also a Rhode Races Newport Ambassador this year! I’m super excited since I love the Rhode Races series and their Newport race is my absolute favorite half marathon! If you’re a 50 stater I’d definitely recommend this race for Rhode Island and if you have any questions feel free to ask me 🙂 I don’t have a discount code yet, but keep an eye open for that soon!

Sabre – Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap

Disclaimer: I received Sabre – Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap 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!

Shortly after I started running at night a lot, I also found out you no longer needed a permit to carry pepper spray in MA so I went out and bought myself some. I had been recommended it tons of times before, but didn’t really know much about it. It was only after buying it that I was told if you carry pepper spray you should spray yourself with it to get a feel for it since you most likely will get hit with some upon using it..

When I heard about Sabre’s pepper gel and it’s ability to cut down on blow back I was very excited to try it out! While I still haven’t sprayed normal pepper spray to be able to compare the two, I tested the pepper gel and had no issue at all! It shoots a small laser-like stream only in the direction of your choosing! It kind of reminded me of silly string 😂 It also is colored red so you can easily see the stream and “tag” the threat. I find this particularly comforting since I am terrible with faces. I can barely describe the stranger I just had a full out conversation with, never mind identify someone after a situation like being attacked.

I only had time to test mine in the dark after work so check out the awesome picture by my fellow BibRave Pro below!

I was happy to find Sabre’s pepper gel didn’t take a ton of force to spray. It didn’t take too little either, but the cap has an easy twist to lock/unlock system for added safety.

The hand strap was also a really nice feature which I didn’t originally think much of. You don’t realize how much effort it is to hold something your whole run until you don’t have to hold it. My old spray just expected you to hold it, but Sabre’s holder keeps it snugly in your hand without you actively having to hold it so you honestly could forget it’s there.

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Overall I’m really happy I made the switch so I can confidently use my safety product instead of having to worry about a safety product making me possibly more unsafe, like normal pepper spray.

Check it out for yourself on their website: https://www.sabrered.com/pepper-spray/runner-pepper-gel-adjustable-hand-strap

Join me for the Illinois Marathon 2019!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Illinois Marathon 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!

A little while back I decided I think I want to be one of those crazies who tries to run a half and full marathon in every state. I think it will be really fun traveling around seeing different people and places! So as a start to that I have officially signed up for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in 2019!

This race offers many distances: marathon, half marathon, wheelchair half marathon, 10K, 5K, and a youth run (1K). It also offers two types of combos: the I-Challenges (5k+ full, 5K + relay, 5K + half, and 5K +10K) and the Illini-Badger Half Marathon Challenge (finish both the Illinois Half and Madison Mini-Marathon), both for extra bling. Not going to lie, I’m kinda thinking about doing the Illini-Badger for the extra bling and state!

The course looks to be a very flat one with lots of entertainment along the way! And swag includes a finisher shirt, and my favorite, free race photos! ❤️

This race also has an ambassador program that runs through November 15th! When you register for the marathon distance, any friend (who didn’t run the race in 2017 or 2018) who lists your name as their referrer will cause both of you to receive a $30-off gift code to Body n’ Sole when you spend $100.

Want to join me in checking Illinois off your race list? Use the code “bibraveillinois2019” for $5 off registration and feel free to list “Samantha Roderigues” as your referrer to get the $30-off gift code!

OOFOS OOrginal Sport Sandal

Disclaimer: I received OOFOS 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 had heard a lot about OOFOS before but kind of always assumed they were over-hyped.. That is, until I borrowed a friend’s. It was literally just for a minute so I could run outside to my car since flip flops are quicker to throw on than sneakers, but I immediately new the hype was real.

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I have never been a sandal person, especially not flip flops, and almost exclusively wear Converse sneakers when I’m not in my running sneakers (so much so I am known as the “Converse girl” to some people). Since getting my own pair of OOFOS OOriginals though, I have probably worn them more than all my non-Converse shoes combined. Flip flops normally rub my feet in the wrong spots, but I have worn OOFOS on many walks and even a mildly technical hike with no such issues. It’s great to finally have a comfy shoe that allows my feet to breathe as well.

Everyone’s main claim is how soft and cushy OOFOS are and I have to say it’s kind of hard to believe until you try them for yourself. The best I can come up with is it feels like walking barefoot on soft dirt and the cushiness gives them a bounce that almost helps you walk and makes your legs feel fresher (which is clutch after a tough race).

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My OOFOS have become a staple piece of my race recovery gear

If you are like I was and haven’t tried OOFOS thinking people are just talking them up too much, I would definitely recommend you reconsider and give them a try! I think your feet will thank you 😋

SPIbeam Visor

Disclaimer: I received the SPIbeam visor 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!

When I first heard about the SPIbeam visor (and hat) I honestly couldn’t believe no one had thought of it before! One of my biggest running gear issues is trying to wear a hat and headlamp at the same time in a comfortable and still functional way. With SPIbeam you get the functionality of both with the comfort of just a hat!

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I didn’t realize how often I would slack on safety due to the discomfort of a headlamp. They are large, clunky, and look plain silly if you start your run in the daylight already wearing one. Since receiving the SPIbeam I no longer debate whether I should wear a headlamp and night safety gear or run without in questionable conditions. It is so comfy it’s an easy choice to increase your safety and without the lights on it looks just like a normal visor. I like that it can protect your eyes from the sun at the start of a sunset run and then light your way through the end.

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Not only does it provide the safety of lighting your path and front, but the SPIbeam has a red taillight so you can be seen from behind as well, allowing it to replace yet another piece of my night running gear.

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You can see the taillight’s reflection in this picture!

If you want to try out this extremely versatile piece of running gear use the code “BIBRAVE” for 20% off any SPIBelt item (valid through 11/12)!

Luvo Bundles

Disclaimer: I received Luvo Bundles 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 is generally pretty busy and hates cooking I have tried my share of frozen meals. After trying the Luvo Gluten Free Essentials Bundle, here are a few things that stood out and would make me choose Luvo again:

  1. They provide a variety of different types of foods. With Thai style green curry, Hawaiian rice, Chorizo chili, or just plain mac & cheese, there’s something for everyone!

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    The Gluten Free Bundle

  2. Luvo does not provide only one gluten free meal, but an entire gluten free bundle! They also have Vegan and Vegitarian bundles as well. It was really nice to have so many different options available. I also later found out they have at least one more gluten free bowl that couldn’t fit in the bundle.
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    I found out they also had gf mac & cheese when I spotted Luvo in my local supermarket!
  3. Flavor. Luvo bowls are extremely flavorful and have that home-cooked feel. Many of the other frozen meals that offer gluten free options tend to be health or diet meals. This is fine, until the companies seem to forget that the gluten free and dieters out there still need the food to have taste. Luvo bowls are both healthy and tasty!

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    Shared this meal with my boyfriend who said he would have never guessed it was gluten free

  4. Correct Portions. Like I said, I have tried many frozen meals before and at this point I generally buy two frozen meals per meal I plan to eat since the portions are so tiny. I was very impressed with not only the amount of food in the Luvo bowls, but also the ratio of things. I hate buying a “chicken” meal to find it contains only two bites of chicken in a sea of rice. With Luvo, you don’t have to worry about this.

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    So good I ate half before I remembered to take a picture