"Disclaimer: I received a set of Road ID tags from Road ID 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 have been wanting a Road ID I could wear on my wrist for quite some time after seeing other runners wear theirs. I run by myself probably at least 75% of the time, so if something were to happen to me, I can be quickly identified and my husband could be contacted.
I ordered a “sidekick” ID for my Garmin and a child’s Road ID bracelet for my son.
Full disclosure, I inadvertently ordered the wrong size for my Garmin. The Sidekick comes in two sizes, and I accidently got the small one. My order came with a $10 coupon to use for yourself or give to a friend – so I quickly used it order the right size. Oops! They come in 13mm and 19mm.
Luckily I don’t have any health conditions that need to be listed, so I actually had quite a bit of room to play with. You can see it right on the screen as you type it out what it will look like. Cool!
I have my name, my husband listed as my emergency contact, his number, and then fun/inspirational stuff on the bottom 2 lines.
I was happy to get one for my son, who does have a health condition that first responders would want to know about. He wears it to school every day now. I let him pick out the color and voila!
The sidekick is perfect for the Garmin or Fitbit models. You can choose silver, black or rose gold ID plates. You can also add fun badges like 13.1 and 26.2, but for me, the sidekick takes up a lot of room so those weren’t necessary. If you get the flex band, it makes sense to add these badges to customize your bling! Here's just a few of the fun ones to choose from.
Road IDs are very inexpensive, but to give you some extra incentive, they are running a black Friday/Cyber Monday sale! Start shopping here and give the perfect gift for the holidays!
"Disclaimer: I am promoting the Paris Marathon Sweepstakes 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 some of you know, I recently went overseas and ran a race in the UK. Ever since I left, I have been trying to find a way to get back there! When I was running in Dover, I could see the lights of Paris. I’ve never been, but this could be my chance!
Announcing…an incredible sweepstakes giveaway from Team Runderwear!!!
Don’t wait…enter today! I can envision myself sitting at a sidewalk café right now sipping a café au lait and reading a good book.
Enter and get more details here. Bon Chance! (Good Luck!)
"Disclaimer: I received a tech fleece headband from BUFF USA 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 have been a fan of BUFF USA products, so I was anxious to get a new one for cooler temps. Recently it got down into the low 40’s here in Phoenix – say what!? So I got the chance to try it!
This Tech Fleece Headband is made for cold conditions. It’s designed to help with moisture management. The inside of this headband is pure awesomeness. It is SO soft, warm and is like giving your head a hug. I wore it on a 40 degree morning for my walk and loved the protection from the wind. I’m a total wuss in cold weather, so this is perfect for me.
Also, no slippage! This sometimes happens to me with other headbands because I have thin, fine hair.
I also tried it out on a run, and once again it stayed put and kept me warm. Bonus – it didn’t get sweaty and make me colder, it dries pretty quickly on its own!
Here are the product features (from their website):
· Stretchy polyester elastane with soft brushed fleece inside
· Moisture wicking, quick drying, breathable
· Light thermal protection
· Bacteria and piling resistant
Here’s an inside look:
The buff comes in 3 colors and retails for $17 each. Want to save more?
Get 15% off! Head over to http://bit.ly/2o2l6UC & sign up for BUFF® emails to get an auto-email with discount code. They have so many cool tech-gear products, you’ll want to do a little shopping!
If you have been keeping up with my running adventures, you know that I recently journeyed across the pond to run Ragnar White Cliffs. I have written a recap of the race here, but I skipped over some great parts of this trip, when I was just sightseeing in the London area as a first time visitor. Today I will dive a little deeper into that.
The days leading up to this trip, I was so NERVOUS I was almost sick to my stomach. I don’t do a ton of international travel, and this one I would be on my own a great deal. I had a short list of must-do’s that I was planning on exploring in the 2.5 days before the Ragnar race. However, it turned out that a few of my new teammates were going to be able to spend some time with me in London. This was really great news, but that also meant compromising on my must-do list a bit.
I took the new nonstop flight from Phoenix into London Heathrow. Just about 10 hours! Naturally, I wasn’t able to sleep much, but I watched 2 or 3 movies and read a little. It honestly wasn’t bad.
Being a former airline employee, I do my best to travel without checking a bag if I can. I’m just a grab and go kind of girl. My Ragnar travel bag is ENORMOUS, but I love it. I can wear it as a backpack and it goes from the top of my head to the bottom of my butt. It’s legit. Anyhoo, I had that thing packed to the gills and then a carry on tote bag that was overstuffed and ridiculously heavy.
So after breezing through customs, I trudged my way for honestly what felt like a good mile or so to take the tube. I got my Oyster Card, downloaded the tube map app and was determined to do it on my own, even thought it meant a transfer, which I thought would be a big deal and it wasn’t. The tube trains were pretty easy to navigate although I still second guessed myself every dang time. They were very hot and crowded, and me being bogged down like a pack rat wasn’t helping matters. Transfer was easy-peasy and I was at Victoria Station before I knew it. Heathrow >Hammersmith > Victoria. My hotel was supposed to be “across“ from Victoria station but I had no idea in what direction. Google maps to the rescue!
Traffic is insane there and I was convinced that I was going to get hit by a car. I made my way to the hotel where they let me drop my stuff off while my room was getting ready, and I changed into a new outfit. I spotted a cute looking pub nearby and deemed that my lunch spot. On the inside, it wasn’t all that charming. I had to order my food at the bar and pay ahead of time (insert eye roll here). I got a cheese toasty (grilled cheese) and tomato basil soup and of course a beer. I felt antsy here and couldn’t quite relax.
Next on my to-do list was to stop at the nearby gym and buy a day pass to do Body Pump. I had scoped it out ahead of time, but buying the pass online didn’t work. So, I walked over a mile to the gym and bought my pass. While at the gym, I was stung by a bee, which was so completely random, I was gobsmacked! I planned on taking the class that Friday morning at 6:45am and didn’t want to deal with buying the pass that morning. I had a 2pm pub tour scheduled across town, and was determined to walk there. Google maps said it would take me 40+ minutes to get there. My god, it was a long walk. The route did take me along the Thames River, which was full of people walking and jogging.
My walking historical pub tour had about 10 people in it. Our tour guide was super friendly and pointed out several points of historical significance as well as trivial. We stopped at 4 pubs – Blackfriars, The Old Bank of England, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, and The Sail Tavern. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese has been around since the 1600’s! I was surprised to see so many low alcohol percentage beers. We were told that in the city so many people are commuters, but they hit the pubs before they go home. So this way, they can have several and still function after.
After the pub tour, I ubered back to my hotel for a quick change before dinner. I was getting ready to meet my team captain, Sarah, and her husband for a surprise “multi-sensory experience” dinner. Say what? I am not an adventurous eater, but she pre-booked this and I just had to trust her. She and her husband had gone to one or two of these before and loved it. Everything about it is very secretive. I’m going to spill the beans, but you can’t tell anyone, ok?
I’ll try to be brief, but holy moley is there a lot to say here. All I knew ahead of time is that it is about 5 or 6 courses, each in a different room, no photos allowed and kind of interactive.
We arrived at some deserted looking warehouse in what felt like nowhere but it was in Hoxton. Apparently they just pop up here and there around town, like a traveling play or something.
We arrived and the host was fully in character. We were going to be teleported to another dimension or something like that. You had to order any drinks you wanted for the 2 hours experience up front, there would be no other chance later. And only one other chance to go to the bathroom. You were asked to turn in your purse and phones, or they gave you a fanny pack thing to wear that you could store it in. Apparently these events are very popular and sell out. They put you in groups of 10 or so for your “seating”.
When they called our group, they ushered us into the “transporter”. It was like an empty trolley car, with just two rows of bench seating, and straps to strap you in like a thrill park ride. The staff member, totally in character, handed us a lunchbox tray with a syringe in it, and a jackfruit appetizer that looked like an eyeball. The syringe had a refreshing cucumber potion in it. The staff member then proceeded to make it feel like we were being transported. The lights flickered and the car shook a bit. Once we came to a stop, we were directed to climb out the door into the next room.
The next room was very, very dark narrow and decorated like a spideweb. It had cargo netting across the floor that was suspended, and we had to crawl across it to get into our seats. People were sitting on the cargo net, one row along the left side and one along the right, and I just chose to sit in the middle so I could see. Mistake. The staff member at the end of the tiny room was decorated as some sort of Queen Spider. She was very sarcastic and picking on people. Naturally she picked on me since I stuck out. Everyone got their appetizers, which was crab so I didn’t eat it. Then miss Queen Spider started asking me to “come closer”. I was doing my best to ignore her. Finally I gave in and inched a little closer. She ended up just letting me be the first one to go into the next room.
FOOD RECONSUMPTION CENTRE
The next room would be another weird one. It was set up as a factory assembly line. We each picked a side of the assembly line and were given a rather silly task of sorting the plastic bottles into different colors, then made a contest out of it. Then it was “breaktime” in our imaginary factory and we got some tasty sliders and fries. That was pretty good.
Next was a dinner theatre where we were assigned roles and given props. I played the doctor. My team captain played my son. It was a silly play, but kind of fun at the same time. The story line involved a huge squash, so our meal in that room was spaghetti squash with sage, and this was also delicious.
HUMAN BEAN FARM
One of the strangest rooms of the night was this bizarre dark room with a lady in costume which was supposed to be some sort of alien. She was babbling in her native alien language and we were motioned to put headphones on where we heard a series of weird statements being made, and repeated. While we listened to that , the alien lady handed out these pacifiers which were made out of a tasty frozen concoction, directly into our mouths! Seriously weird stuff.
From there we entered an escape room. We were told to gather clues from our dinner stops in order to come up with a code to get out. Once the code opened the door, we had to slide down a chute that landed in a ball pit like McDonalds. There we were given our dessert, a pineapple basil sorbet, that was also very good. All in total it was 2 hours.
In summary, it was different, it was weird; but the food was actually pretty good. It wasn’t my style, but I’m thankful to my team captain for taking me on that crazy ride!
I just can't make this stuff up!
That was ALL on DAY ONE in London, people! I hit the ground running all day, got in like 27,000 steps and collapsed on my bed that night.
The location of this hotel was great, by the station and also basically across from Kensington Palace. They had a free daily happy hour, which unfortunately I was not able to take advantage of. I loved my power shades that I could just push a button and let in the world. I had to pay a little more for a room with a window, but I cannot imagine not having a window. That would be crazy in this tiny little room!Check out my adorable little compact room at Z Hotels Victoria. It is 90 square feet. Look at the view from the doorway below. No closet, no drawers really. Just the essentials. But hey, there was tea!
Ok, so on to day 2! I found a cute sidewalk café around the corner overlooking Kensington Palace for breakfast (and more tea!) and took my book. Happy girl.
I had plans to meet up with my new teammate Michael, who was flying in from Minneapolis that morning. He offered to do some sightseeing with me. I cannot believe how well we ended up hitting it off as travel buddies. I think in Britain-speak they would say we got along like a house on fire!?
Anyhoo, we ended up meeting for coffee before tackling the day. Two of the things I wanted to do was afternoon tea, and a cruise on the Thames. We tried to do the afternoon tea cruise, but it was sold out. After walking for what felt like FOREVER along the banks, we settled for afternoon tea at the Tower Hotel. Very reasonably priced, and holy cow, so much food! This 3-tiered tray below was ALL just for me!
I have always assumed that afternoon tea for the Brits was all about the tea, and maybe a few sweets. Wrong. My platter was packed with just as much savory, if not more, tea sandwiches than sweets. And I loved it ALL. Honestly underwhelmed by the sweets, but the savories – yum, yum. Curried chicken salad, egg salad, cucumber, ham. I drank like 3 pots of tea LOL.
After that, we walked around a bit more. We learned that the London Eye, which Michael really wanted to do, closed early on weekdays, before sunset. What the heck? I have seen photos, and that place is really magical at sunset. So, instead we made plans to do it first thing Friday morning, before we had to take the train back to Heathrow to meet the team and pick up the rental vans. We also made plans to meet up with a former colleague of mine from my airline days. She was in town for work, and I hadn’t seen her in 11 years!
Ok by Day 3, I was really getting the hang of this town and feeling a bit like a local. I went to the 6:45AM Body Pump Class. I’m really glad I did, but I wish I would have had a nicer and more welcoming instructor.
I went to Bannatyne, and it is more of a small boutique style gym. They offered free tea (yay) to members, and people actually sat around chatting before class. No one does that in the US. We form a line and barely speak to each other. I went to set up my body pump equipment, only to find that they use the Les Milles Smart bar, which I’ve seen on video but never used in real life. I had no idea how to use it. I got the weights on ok but didn’t know how to get them off. And everything was in kilos, which of course threw me off. But I just set up in the tiny studio like normal and then got ready.
The instructor was an older woman. She was friendly with members but not at all to me. There’s only room for about 8 people to set up. Unfortunately , I had to set up right in front of her. She was talking to the others about the new release (Body Pump 111) that she was just learning and I’m nodding my head and saying “oh yeah, we’ve been doing that for a few weeks now. “. She says “who’s we”? in a snotty voice. I explained just my gym in the US. She never spoke or looked at me again. Cues were not the best. I was also disappointed that the class was only 45 minutes and cut out 2 of my favorite tracks – triceps & biceps. I struggled to take the weight off the smart bar. The instructor didn’t help me, the lady behind me did. I recognized some of the tracks, and had a great workout, so I really can’t complain.
After catching up on some emails and a quick shower, It was time to find breakfast and check out. Then go meet Michael to ride the London Eye. I got smart this time and took the tube. Victoria > Westminster. So much easier and faster. The London Eye in the daytime was underwhelming. Expensive, crowded , and in my opinion, not worth it. Then we raced back to our respective hotels and headed to the train station. I was planning on ubering from my hotel to Paddington station, which is where our team was meeting up. The tube involved a transfer and my bags were so heavy and overloaded. I decided just to go for it on the tube, and it was so easy! Plus I still had so much money on my oyster card to use up. Victoria >Oxford Circus>Paddington. Then we met up and took the Heathrow Express train to Heathrow.
I’m not sure why this trip has touched me in the way that it has. Whenever I can start to feel like a local, and be at ease – that makes me so happy. London was never high on my list of places to visit. I’ll just say that everything happens at the time it’s meant to :)
I was hoping my next trip to London would be for the London Marathon in April. But alas, I didn’t get in the lottery. I still have a few things to accomplish:
"Disclaimer: I am promoting the Zooma Run Series 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!"
There’s something truly special about women’s only events. Empowering, Girly, and Indulgent. Zooma Run Series knows how to put on the best women’s only events, creating a unique weekend experience from the moment you arrive
Some of the races this year were Zooma Great Lakes (WI), and Zooma Cape Cod (MA). I participated in the Zooma Great Lakes virtual and got some awesome swag!
Zooma Amelia Island takes place this weekend. The last one in 2019 will be Texas Hill Country in Fredericksburg, TX on Nov 1-2. Fredericksburg, TX is known for it’s wineries and German heritage. I was there a few years ago for Ragnar TX and it was a fun and unique area.
Ok, let’s talk about bling, shall we? Check out the cool medals for this event! This is the inaugural Zooma run through in the heart of Texas Wine Country!
ZOOMA Texas Wine Country includes a full itinerary of fun events including two days of running, an expo, post-race party and sunrise yoga plus you can visit all the wine vineyards during the weekend. Then enjoy an epic Post-Race party including wine, food, massage, recovery yoga, music and tons of fun!
Convinced yet? Here’s a discount code for you to save on your registration:
Get 15% off @ZOOMArun race events! and get FREE race pics Use code ZOOMABR15 Can't make it to the race in person? Register for the virtual and still get ALL the swag. Trust me, I know!
What are you waiting for? Grab your girlfriends and register now at zoomarun.com!
When people find out how many Ragnars I have done, they always ask me, “which one is your favorite”? While that can be a really tough question because I honestly love doing these so much that it’s hard to find anything bad to say about any of them. But, I honestly tell folks that my favorite, for obvious reasons, is Ragnar Michigan.
I have done this race all 4 years of its existence, 2 of them as team captain. It takes place in my beautiful home state, and ends in my favorite city of all, Traverse City.
This year, I got on a team with 2 of the girls I met on the Michigan Runner Girl team last year. They captained their own team, and I happily jumped on board. I even had 2 friends from Arizona come and join in on the fun.
The timing was not ideal – I had just gotten back a few days before from a weeklong trip to London that included running Ragnar White Cliffs. My head was still in the clouds, and I just hadn’t had time to get excited for this one, since I was still thinking about the last one just days prior.
There were storms in the forecast, but we hoped for the best. This would be my first time in van 2 of Ragnar Michigan, and I was looking forward to seeing a different part of the course.
Our team was rather speedy. We didn’t start until 9:30am. We had 3 runners who ran 6:30 pace!
One of my friends from AZ, Tricia, had never been to Michigan before, and her enthusiasm was contagious. She was like a young child – “is that a lighthouse over there? Are those sand dunes? This is so pretty” and she also took note of the Midwest hospitality and friendliness of the residents, like the older gentleman to stopped when he saw us on the side of the road, just making sure our vehicle was ok.
I was runner 10, so it was a long wait before I got to run. And more time to worry about the storm coming. One of my favorite things about this race is that most legs have a water view at some point. Many exchanges are at state parks, so the opportunities for great scenery are endless.
My first run was only 3.4 miles down a country road. Somehow I was able to run a 9:27 pace, which was great for me. Being one of the last runners is such a LONG wait. But at least you are rewarded with dinner shortly thereafter! It hard started to rain a little at this point but nothing heavy yet.
Once we finished dinner and made our way to the next exchange to rest, the heavens opened up and it poured. The race officials ended up issuing a lightning hold later that night – the first one I’ve ever experienced. Basically, the runner out at that time can either finish or get picked up. Then the next runner gets skipped and you get a one hour hold before the next runner can start. Luckily we only had one hold to get through, and the rain lightened up. Our runner still got soaked and had a hellacious 8 mile hilly run in the rain – along the shoulder of a busy road. Not fun!
We also had a little drama with our recently injured runner Tricia. Her first leg went by smoothly, but half way through her night run, her ankle was giving her problems and we ended up swapping her out with another runner.
My night run would be my longest – and between the length and the rain I was a bit anxious. However, this night run was so peaceful, I really enjoyed it, despite being 7.8 miles long! The road was empty at 1am, I ran a 9:47 pace, and had 10 kills! There was zero rain, the temperature was around 58-60 degrees, so not cold! It was just a steady nice run. The only downer was that I must have gotten some bad batteries, and my Noxgear light up safety vest was dying during the run. It was very, very faint by the end of the run.
After our night runs, we did our best to get some sleep, although not that soundly due to space issues in the van. It still wasn’t “cold” out per se, but it was an excuse to bust out some of my cooler weather Ragnar gear!
I had been searching for my friend Jen, and was able to find her shortly before my last run.
Our final legs all went pretty smoothly; even Tricia was ready to tackle her short last run. Michelle got to run with wild turkeys. I got to run 3.1 through the cute little town of Lake Ann.
After some team celebrations, we met up with family and went our separate ways.
This was a fun race with friends old and new. I can’t imagine NOT doing this race!
Oh, and our speedy team came in 12th out of 96 in our division!
Until next time, Ragnar Michigan. You'll always be my hometown favorite :)
At the end of 2018, I made a decision that would make me step out of my comfort zone. I decided to run a Ragnar relay in another country – in the UK. With strangers, naturally!
So what's it like running a Ragnar Relay in another country?
I jumped on a team and started counting down the days. Unfortunately, not every adventure ends up a fairytale. The team I was on was proving itself to be a really bad fit, so I made the difficult decision to quit. I watched my bucket list race start to slip through my fingers. Then, one night scrolling on facebook I found a team looking for someone, and I had a good feeling about this one.
This incredible team captain made me feel right at home, valued, and she even made plans to hang out with me during my sightseeing time in London prior to the race.
On my first night in London, I took in a "multisensory dinner experience” with my team captain and her husband. Then the next day I met up with my teammate Michael, and we toured the city together, from Tower Bridge to afternoon tea. I learned taking that tube (subway) inside and out!
On Friday, we all made our way back to Heathrow to pick up the vans for the trip. On our team “Mad as a box of Transatlantic Frogs”, there were 7 Brits and 3 of us from the US. International Ragnars only have 10 runners instead of 12. We hit M&S for supplies and headed out to our hotel in Sittingbourne. We had dinner together and were bonding quite well.
Our lineup was:
I was in van 2, but I’m a morning person. So I went with some of my vanmates to see van 1 start the race.
After a short workout and breakfast, I was ready to roll. Praise the Lord that we had Brits with us and I didn’t have to drive. Besides the obvious steering wheel being on the other side of the car, driving on the other side of the road – there were other challenges. Our Mercedes van was a stick shift (haven’t even touched one since the 80s) and roads were super narrow. Even the Brits felt intimidated by the roads. It was harrowing at times.
Anyhoo, the exchange where we were starting was one of the prettiest I’ve seen. It was like being at a beach party. I had to literally pinch myself.
I’m at the beach.
Running a Ragnar.
Just look at these views!
After finding some goodies at the tiny gear tent, eating a pizza, watching the safety video and drinking tea (there was tea at EVERY major exchange! – those Brits know whats up!) it was finally time to get running. I was runner 9. My first run was 4.4 miles. Mostly along the water. I loved it!
I was impressed at not only the free coffee/tea at major exchanges, but the incredible amount of free snacks. There were tons of baked goods to choose from, laid out on nice trays. Sweet!
The farther we ran, we started coming into white cliffs territory. So cool! We made a quick pit stop at the White Cliffs of Dover before it got too dark. You can see the lights of France at night from Dover!
After getting some dinner, ,we were ready to take on our second set of legs. There was the threat of rain, and it would be my longest leg at almost 7 miles. My night leg was fairly uneventful but I felt relieved to get it over with – and no rain! Sometime around dawn while we were trying to sleep in the van it started pouring. Luckily it did not last long. Fueled up with more tea and porridge (oatmeal), and got ready to take on the last round.
The scenery on the last 5 legs was beyond words. Stunning cliffs and sea views. I can’t describe it, so I’ll just share pics!
I headed out on my last run of 4.5 miles. Within a half mile, it started to rain. It pelted me in the face. Right after that, two of my van 1 teammates came out to cheer me on. It was so nice of them to tag along for our last set of legs instead of going straight to the finish and relaxing.
Before I knew it, it was over and our last runner was out. We hightailed it to the finish right by the pier in Brighton. At the finish area in Brighton, there were more free snacks, a small gear tent, a food truck, a bar where we had some local beers to choose from and everyone got a free half pint. The one thing I was hoping to see but didn’t was the bonus medal tent. International Ragnars don’t qualify yet. Disappointing, as this was my 6th Ragnar this year. We finished in around 29 hours, not too shabby!
We loved taking all our finish pics. Such a great group, honestly. So friendly, everyone communicated so well, and the usual "competition" between vans was noticeably absent. Everyone cared about one another. What a pleasant surprise!
When it was all over, 2 teammates drove back home, and the other 8 of us stayed at an air bnb nearby. Our amazing team captain hired a local chef to come cook us a traditional Sunday Roast with all the trimmings. We had salad, roast beef, potatoes, carrots, Yorkshire pudding, gravy and capped it off with sticky toffee pudding. It was absolutely delicious! We enjoyed wine and very lively conversation during dinner.
Here's a few fun facts:
- I heard there were around 120 teams participating
- Although you would think everything would be in kilometers, everything was in miles.
- The terrain was a mix of road and grass. Many sections were tame, but some were straight up and across steep rugged cliffs.
- Porta Potties were called Porta Loos...and they flushed!
- Nobody used magnets for tagging
- Ragnar offered trackers to each team. Runners would pass the slapband and tracker in each transition. Teams could keep track of their runners via an app on their phone. It actually looked pretty cool. We declined since it required a hefty deposit.
The best part of this trip was spending the time with this group of people. The immersive experience gave me a million new expressions I want to start using in my everyday life from “blimey, bloody hell, gobsmacked, taking a lie in, nip in to the store", and so much more. I got to see how they really live. I feel beyond blessed to have taken this trip and to have been a part of this team. An epic trip that will never be forgotten!
"Disclaimer: I received Sawyer Stay - Put Sunscreen 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!"
In case the name “ Azsungoddess “ doesn’t already give you the impression that I like the sun, let me make it clear – I love it! I spend plenty of time every day either running, walking or both outdoors. Add in pool time, and it’s fair to say that sunscreen is a staple in my life.
I had never heard of Sawyer Products until recently. I have not been super picky with my my sunscreen – but in general I don’t like it when it’s too thick, greasy, or has an overpowering scent. I use SPF 30 pretty religiously, and I think I still get a nice tan with that.
The first time I tried it, I slathered it on myself and my son prior to hitting the pool. I was immediately impressed with the way it absorbed into my skin and didn’t sit on top. Turns out, there is an actual reason for this!
Instead of holding lotion in the top two layers of skin, Sawyer’s” Stay-Put” SPF 30 sunscreen uses a special technology to bond the sunray absorbing agents deeper into the skin, penetrating where other sunblocks simply can’t reach. This formula was engineered to spread the same volume of lotion over a larger cubic area of skin, requiring less lotion per area of skin and producing a more comfortable, breathable feel. Also, with new FDA regulations in place, this sunscreen also does not contain Avobenzone . Using this compound can make the product less effective in preventing sunburn and compromises its quality.
Sawyer comes in both SPF 30 and SPF 50. In several sizes, all the way up to a gallon pump!
The final test was going out for a longer run in the crazy hot Arizona sun. I was out there for over an hour in somewhat humid temps. Even with a ton of sweat, it didn’t come off until I took a shower. If you want something different, give this one a try!
You can order thru Amazon using this link.
I did not have plans to run Ragnar Minnesota this year, but left it open just in case the opportunity presented itself. I ran the race last year last minute with a fun group, but the course is different this year and I was curious to see the new route to Duluth. I lucked out and found a team that needed a runner. The captain sent me a link to photos of the team from previous ragnars, just so I could get a sense of what I was getting myself into LOL.
I arrived to Minnesota late Thursday night and the captain graciously picked me up, one of 3 trips to the airport to pick up teammates at all hours of the night. We had an air bnb nearby. I met some of the crew and then hit the hay. I was assigned runner 10, so I was in van 2. After a hearty breakfast, we were off to get started!
Our team name was "I can't feel my legs, can I feel yours?
Here was our lineup for van 2:
Runner 7 - Carlos (newbie) from SFO
Runner 8 - Tyler from Boston
Runner 9 - Sara from SFO
Runner 10 - Me
Runner 11 - Alec (newbie) from upstate NY
Runner 12- Jess (captain) from upstate NY
It was nice and sunny, but getting hotter as the day went on. One of the two newbies, Carlos, ended up having a horrific hard hilly long run in the heat, I felt bad for him. Poor guy did not know what he was getting himself into! My first leg would be my longest at 8.9 miles. The first half was in direct sun, but actually went surprisingly well. Then it got more shaded and wound past a lake. I slowed down and took lots of pics. Our exchange was at Big Marine forest park and there was a refreshing lake there. My team ended up enjoying the lake while I was out sweating my butt off!
After our last runner finished we headed near the next exchange for dinner. Chubbys bar and grill to the rescue. The restaurants in town had no idea the race would be in town and were completely overwhelmed with the crowds. My next run wouldn’t be until 330 am or so, but I decided I wouldn’t try to sleep until after it was over. We had a large suv but couldn’t stretch out. This run would be 6.1 miles on a forest trail. I was filled with anxiety, worrying about scary forest animals jumping out. We heard reports of bats swooping at people, but it ended up being really pretty, and my fastest run, because I was motivated to not get eaten by a bear! Loved the cool temperatures (around 56)
I took a little catnap and then perked right up when someone mentioned breakfast. Went to a tiny small town diner. It was interesting, and I’ll leave it at that. Got another nap after that. Luckily I just had my shortest run left. While we were getting ready for our last set of runs, I heard from my buddy Matt M that he was here running the race, and was able to find him and my insta beer loving friend Matt B, who I had never met in real life.
A good chunk of the race was run on the William Munger Trail. I think all of us had at least one of our legs on this trail. Pretty nice, right?
During my last leg, the Matts were already done since they were in van 1, so they were at a local watering hole on the course. They were sweet enough to interrupt their celebratory drinking to check on where I was so that they could come out and cheer me on. All of a sudden I looked up and they were all lined up with their bright pink Beer Runner t-shirts, clapping and high fiving me. A highlight, for sure!
Then our other new teammate Alec had a crazy 8 or 9 miler with ridiculous inclines in Duluth. The hills there are insane! After that we were off to the finish. I found another insta friend Belinda, 2 of my teammates from team last year, and then the Matts again. Our team enjoyed hanging out at the finish for a bit before cleaning up and heading out for dinner in Duluth.
Oh and we actually did pretty well! Check out these results!
Overally, I’m so grateful to have found this team. I had a great experience for my 20th Ragnar Relay. Our captain, Jessica, definitely has a no-runner-left -behind mentality. She was great and we had a drama-free weekend. The team has a Tumblr page (yes you read that right!). Check that out if you want to see more pics from this adventure.
I’m not sure if I have a preference of the two courses. It was nice to see Duluth – but a 2.5 hour drive back to the airport is a bit of a drag. Maybe if it started in Duluth and ran to Minneapolis it would be better? I'm excited at the prospect of doing another race with this team in the future, and hopefully on the "Beer Runner" team with the Matts for Michigan next year!
Until my next adventure,
"Disclaimer: I received a Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo Harness 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’ve never given any thought before to using a harness vs. a traditional collar when walking my dog. I’ve always had used collars. When the opportunity came up to try a harness for my dog, I thought I’d like to see if it changes our walks at all.
When I got the package, I had to play with the fit a bit. The initial fit was a little loose, then my cocker spaniel got a haircut (shaved) and all of a sudden it was swimming on him. The harness is easy to adjust to make looser or tighter.
My dog needed a little time to adjust to it, he didn’t quite know what to think about it. Just walking around with it on before adding the leash, he seemed a little awkward. I do feel like I had better control of him. He’s only a puller when he sees other dogs or people he wants to greet. The special “martingale – style” leash attachment is what makes this harness unique. This was designed to help with dogs who pull. It sits in between their shoulders for greater control. I’ve actually had a collar slip off before, which is not what you want to happen with other people or dogs around. I had absolutely no worries with this harness. We will continue to practice with this harness, especially when the nicer weather comes around here in AZ!
The harness has reflective features, which is super helpful – especially if you walk your dog early in the morning or late at night. In the summers here in Arizona, that is pretty much the only choice we have if we want to not melt.
Stunt Puppy makes collars, leashes, harnesses and ID collars – all Made in the USA! The harness comes in 3 sizes (S, M, L) and 2 colors (blue or black) and retails for $45. You can shop for Stunt Puppy gear here.
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!