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.

img_20181125_161121425

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.

img_20181103_153556506

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).

img_20181102_212537976

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!

img_20181110_003859524

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.

img_20181111_031902440

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.

img_20181111_031935967

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!

    gluten-free-essentials-bundle-PDP-desktop_600x

    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.
    img_20181026_1739164331
    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!

    img_20181027_231256146

    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.

    img_20181007_173609952

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

Reebok 10k for Women 2018

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Reebok Boston 10k for Women 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 second half of my all-running-weekend extravaganza was the Reebok 10k for Women! I had already been super pumped about the event schedule, but after the beating I took at Ragnar Wawayanda I was even more excited for the pre-race activities. There was to be one meditation session, two yoga sessions, and two pump up cardio sessions! I was hoping the yoga plus just overall gentle ramp-up to racing would make it less stressful on my already exhausted body. (It did!)

Since the race was at the Boston Commons (and the parking lot would be closed) I stayed at my friends’ house in the area the night before and then took a Lyft to the race. This was my first time using Lyft but it went super smoothly and I got there nice and early. I had already gone to packet pickup the day before at the Reebok store so I walked around looking at what booths were there.

img_20181007_161002206

Everything was 50% off at packet pick up so I did some shopping too!

Soon it was 9 and the meditation session got underway! Luckily for me they provided yoga mats because I don’t own one. I really dug the first instructor, who instructed both the meditation and first yoga session. She took things really slowly and explained everything for anyone who had no idea what they were doing like myself. Both were really relaxing and calming.

img_20181008_095702121_hdr

The second yoga session was supposed to take it up a notch, which it did, but I don’t think I was super ready for that level of yoga. The second instructor was also great, she just expected you to know more to be able to increase the pace. I did like that it had a tiny bit of core in the middle!

The first cardio session was really nice too. It was a lot of running in place and jumping jack type moves. Not crazy hard, but a nice warm up.

I missed the second cardio session because I found some friends I hadn’t known were running the race! We dropped our bags at bag check and ran a 2 mile warm up around the city, which was really nice. Like I said before, I’m not a city person, but Boston is a different kind of city. It’s not quite as chaotic so you can still run around it without feeling like you are in literally everyone’s way. Also the architecture is too pretty!

img_20181008_114042401

We got back just in time to line up for the start! It was nice they marked off where different pace groups should line up instead of just having a free for all. The race began and we literally took over the streets of Boston! It was really cool to see the streets completely closed off and FULL of women. It was also interesting because it was in the city so there were lots of other runners going on training runs on the sidewalks along the race. The bridge crossing and running along the water was really pretty and nice! I found it interesting there was so little cheering when so much of the course went by runners going the other way. Maybe it was just because it was a much sorter race than I’m used to and so every breath counts. I don’t remember really noticing any amount of elevation. What I did notice though were the CRAZY amount of photographers! There were definitely multiple per mile. I ended up with 20 race pictures!

2_m-100848531-digital_highres-2794_001255-21952071

Peep my Reebok scrunchie!

I think you go around 3 sides of the commons at the end so it’s a bit deceiving that you can hear the final announcer for like a mile. (I’m not sure the actual distance because I forgot my Garmin. They did have clocks and signs at every mile to help me, but I’m really good at forgetting what the sign read 10 seconds after going by it.) I was really surprised with the amount of people running that they were still announcing everyone’s finish individually.

There was tons of different food at the end so even though it was around lunch time I didn’t feel the need to rush home to eat. They had instant results so I checked that out and then grabbed my bag and headed over for post-race yoga, which was really chill.

It started drizzling after that so I decided to head out. Since the race was around the commons some sides were really traffic-y, but it wasn’t crazy hard to work out getting picked up on a non-traffic filled side by my Lyft driver. I was glad that I didn’t have to walk into the actual city to avoid the traffic/road closings (because I’m so bad at navigating).

Overall it was a really fun time and I honestly wish more races did all the pre-race warm ups to get you ready!

IMG_20181015_205850

Also how much do you love the race shirt?!

You can check out my results for this race on Athlinks and make sure if you ran it too you add me as a rival!!

Brilliant Reflective Strips Product Review

Disclaimer: I received Brilliant Reflective Strips 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 suck at being a morning runner so for a large part of the year I end up doing my runs at night. Because of this, I already have a large arsenal of night time running gear (which one day I’ll turn into another post) but after testing Brilliant Reflective strips I can happily say I will be adding them to my stash!

I personally think it’s really important to have both light and reflective gear as a runner (or anyone) out at night or near sunrise/set. Gear that actually produces its own light is important for times when light isn’t around to reflect off your reflective gear (ie. crossing a t-intersection so a car’s headlights aren’t on you until you are completely in front of the car). But also light gear will be drown out when in partial light, like under a streetlight, during times of day when it’s transitioning between light and dark, or when a car’s headlights are close. That’s where Brilliant Reflective comes in!

img_20180921_215020571

Bummed I didn’t get to run that leg, but at least I’m a disco ball!

With Brilliant Reflective you don’t need to buy special gear for at night, but instead turn your old favorites into night gear! This is super important to me as I’m pretty picky about clothing and have been wearing almost exclusively the same make of shorts since middle school 😂

img_20180925_175234945.jpg

You might recognize these from EVERY one of my flat runner pictures

Not only does this help picky runners, but it also allows you not have to re-buy a new reflective version of every article in your wardrobe. This hit me especially hard when I had the new reflective sports bra I recently purchased on for a Ragnar leg, but it was so cold I needed a long sleeve shirt. This made that purchase completely useless. Instead of having to buy a reflective sports bra and long sleeve, I can just add strips to ones I already own!

It’s also super easy to put them on and you don’t need to get them perfectly flat for them to stick well.

img_20180925_1753597131

My back strip that I quickly threw on by myself while wearing the shorts was still stuck after the whole Ragnar!

I like you can put them where YOU want, instead of where a clothing designer sees fit. While the usual strip down the back may work for most people, it would be pretty much completely covered on days when I run with my hair in a ponytail. You can decide where fits you best, and if you use the temporary strips, you can always change it later too.

I was honestly really impressed with how much thought was put into this product. My mom has been trying to get me to use reflective tape for years, but it always looked super stiff and awful. Brilliant Reflective’s strips are really soft, light, and flexible. I stuck some to my running shorts (which are also super thin, like a soft windbreaker material) and socks and wore it for the night and entire second day of Ragnar (and even slept with it on) without noticing it once.

img_6210

Still stuck to my shorts and socks for the finish line picture!

Another awesome feature that I hadn’t ever even thought about was colors. Brilliant Reflective strips come in a variety of colors! You can probably tell from my page that I am no fashionista and never really match anything, but I really liked that Brilliant Reflective strips come in many different colors for when they are seen in daylight. While I could use that to add even more color to my running wardrobe, other normal people could match the strip color to their clothes, making it barely noticeable during the day.

img_20180925_1745120362

The green looks a little funky because it’s the iron-on and therefore has a plastic layer to peel off later.

Brilliant Reflective strips come in both permanent iron-on and temporary stick-on models. The stick-on seem pretty heavy duty since, like I mentioned before, I wore them all night and the second day of Ragnar without them falling off. With all the running, sleeping, stretching, and getting in and out of the van, Ragnar definitely put them to the test through tons of different movements. Also while I can’t say how they would do in rain, I can say after multiple days of running around my clothes were thoroughly drenched with another liquid and the strips stayed put!

The permanent are a super quick iron-on session away from being stuck to your clothes permanently!

I’m excited to continue using Brilliant Reflective strips. Especially for those times where I’m running at sunset and it’s bright enough where my light gear is just more stuff to put on, but I’d still like a little something just in case. The best part is once you figure out where to stick them, you can apply the iron-on strips once and never have to put thought into it again. Just put on your normal gear and go!

img_20180919_220448772

img_20180919_2207214143