"Disclaimer: I received a CoolNet 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 for years. You know, the company that makes the original buffs for Survivor? I’ve tried out many types of their buffs as well as the UV arm sleeves and have always been impressed with their quality and functionality. I tried their cold weather gear, and now it’s time to try warm weather, because duh – I live in Arizona!
I don’t tend to wear headbands much because my hair is very thin and fine – and the bands sometimes slide right off. The CoolNet headbands has grippers built in so they stay in place – and I’m happy to report they work great!
The first time I wore it was on Global Running Day, when it was around 90 degrees. Worked great!
I also wore it in a 5k race in the heat, and it stayed perfectly in place. I was also worried that it would feel hot on my head, but honestly I don't even notice it!
I love that it offers sun protection of 50+. I hear that if you freeze it before your run, it will help keep you cool – I’m going to try it on my long run this weekend.
Made from Recycled material - 95% REPREVE® Polyester made from recycled water bottles
HeiQ cooling technology
Washable – gentle cycle, air dry
Comes in 12 patterns, check them out here!
The CoolNet headband retails for $15.00. I’m going to stock up on a few more, now that I know they work with my hair. You can save 15% on one for yourself (or other BUFF awesomeness) by visiting http://www.buffusa.com/bibrave & signing up for the newsletter. You're welcome!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary supply of ItSpray Vitamins to review and giveaway.
Have you taken supplements in pill form and wished you could better control the dosage that is right for you? Personally, I have always hated swallowing supplements the size of horse pills. I try to keep that to a minimum. That is one big reason that the new IT Spray vitamins are such a clever idea.
There are 3 types –
Boost It for your immunity
Charge It for energy
Dream It for sleep and mental calm
All are infused with vitamins and herbal remedies known to help each area.
I have been traveling a ton, in and out of airports and airplanes, rife with germs! BOOST it is portable protection that you can customize with the dosage. You don’t have to wait until you’re sick to take it, it also helps your overall health protection for skin, nails, gut health and metabolism. It's a refreshing citrusy flavor.
Active Ingredients: Zinc, Vitamin C, & Echinacea.
Bonus – it fits the 3oz requirement for travel!
There are plenty of mornings when you are dragging and have an early morning meeting, or an early run, gym date, etc. It has natural caffeine and a range of B vitamins for energy on the go, to sharpen your mental game and keep you going.
Active ingredients: Ginseng & Ginkgo Biloba , B Vitamins
Again, here is where the ability to control your dosage is key. You can do just a few sprays if you just need a quick pick me up, or the full 7 sprays for a full reboot! Charge It comes in a berry flavor.
I admit it, this was the one I was most excited about trying. I have been taking melatonin as needed off and on for several years now. I fall asleep easily, but I have so much on my mind, that I tend to wake up in the night. I have also been wanting to give 5HTP a try, as a way to control work stress and anxiety. This supplement has it all, and you can take just a little amount, or the full dose. We all know how important sleep is and how it affects pretty much every system in our body.
Active ingredients- 5HTP, Valarian Root & Melatonin. This product is designed to not only calm your mind and eases anxiety, but also helps you fall asleep and stay asleep; Um, yes please! This one comes in berry flavor.
Ready to buy your own? Save 25% off with code GETFIT online.
Want to win a spray vitamin of your choice? Simply head on over to my twitter page, twitter.com/azsungoddess1 and click on the pinned post. All you need to do is retweet this tweet for your chance to win!
Rules: RT my pinned twitter post regarding the giveaway for your chance to enter between Thursday June 6 and Sunday June 9, 2019 at 11:59 EST. Don't have Twitter? Drop a comment on this blog post. One entry per person. Winner will be chosen by random drawing and notified on June 10, 2019.
I have thought about doing this race before, but it just seemed “complicated” to get to, so I brushed it off. The race starts in Coburg, Ontario and ends at Niagara Falls, Ontario. We run within Canada the entire time. On a whim I responded to a post on the Ragnar Niagara page for a team needing a runner, and the rest was history. And getting there was a piece of cake!
I was super excited to do my first INTERNATIONAL Ragnar, especially since there is a second one planned this fall. I considered it like a trial run.
I met my team at the Toronto airport and we rolled out out to Port Hope, where we would spend the night before the race. We had the first available start (5am), as speed was not our forte. Everyone was super friendly, and knew each other already. I was the odd man out, but I’m used to it.
The race is definitely one of the smaller ones that I’ve done. The start area was small, and the exchanges were pretty easy to get in and out of. I was runner 6 and I saw that my first leg was 16.59 Km, or just over 10 miles. Yikes.
One of the main differences in this Ragnar is all the distance is in Kilometers instead of miles. It definitely messes with your head!
This leg had a beautiful start. Right on lake Ontario, on a paved path, then a dirt trail. I did not see a soul for almost 3 miles! Say what! All of a sudden a woman came up behind me and I was like wow, another person! She started chatting me up, and wanted to stay together. I’m typically a solo runner who likes to take walking breaks, but she was a fascinating Canadian, and I wanted to keep talking to her!
Qani was a very positive person, waving energetically at anyone we saw – truck drivers, telephone pole repairmen, doesn’t matter. 7 miles later, we were coming up to the finish (after taking a wrong turn on the trail), and she couldn’t believe it. I said “grab my hand, girl, we’re doing this!” and so it was. I have kept in touch with Qani since the race and I’m so glad I met her.
After I finished, we headed out for a quintesentially Canadian lunch – poutine! I got something over the top, but I enjoyed it. Then we went to the exchange to rest for a bit.
Leg 2 would provide a different type of scenery – a downtown Toronto skyline view near the waterfront. It was 5.7 mles. The first few miles honestly were a bit sketchy with lots of transients, but once I was in the heart of downtown and other runners were nearby, it was more fun. The CN tower was on full display.
I loved the end of this leg. We had to run up a bridge that was all lit up in bright colors, it just looked fun in a lively setting. After the finish, we drove on to the next big exchange and slept in the van. And by van, I mean minivan. Ugh, not my first choice. Super duper uncomfortable for sleeping. I was sleep and coffee deprived by the time we rolled out for our next set of legs. The team knew how caffeine dependent I am and what a fondness I developed for Tim Horton’s, Canada’s version of Dunkin Donuts. Their coffee and cheese tea biscuits are the bomb – and cheap! Anyhoo, they graciously stopped to get me my goodies right before I ran. I just had a 3.5 miler left to go!
My last run had some nice water views, but ran along the shoulder of a highway, which is not my favorite. The finish area was really nice though, a great way to end!
Hot damn, van 1 was done and after a 25 mile drive, we got the chance to explore Niagara Falls while waiting for van 2! We took #allthepics.
All the hills and walking was exhausting, but fun. I hadn’t been to the falls since I was a kid with my parents. We had lunch and visited all the souvenir shops. Then we went to the finish to wait for Van 2 to arrive.
The finish area, like all Ragnars, was stunning. It literally backed up to the falls! Wow. Teeny tiny gear tent, so I wasn’t able to buy anything at the end. No “free” food at the finish, all for purchase. There were “good” beer choices – and everything was in both (a little overpriced) in US and CAN prices. But the best surprise was seeing the bonus medal tent. I had been told that only US Ragnar races qualify for the bonus medals, which made me extremely sad. It’s a huge motivator for me in doing these races. Our team was super happy to see the medal lady sitting there, as many of us had already done Ragnars this year. Made my day.
This team was very easygoing. They do several Ragnar Relays a year, so there is a good chance I will get to do another one with them in the future!
So, the main differences were -
Running in Canada was unique and I would definitely do it again! Canada kind of puts their own spin on everything. I fell in love with the scenery and the local favorites like Tim Hortons. This experience made me even more excited for my next International Ragnar Relay race, coming this fall!
"Disclaimer: I received an Gear Vest Pro from OrangeMud 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!"
It’s only May, but summer has arrived in Arizona already. Even short runs/workouts are going to need water. Enter the OrangeMud Gear Vest Pro.
I have owned several hydration packs, including the OrangeMud Endurance Pack. They each fulfill a specific purpose. The Gear Vest Pro has a much smaller footprint than anything else I own – Yet it has literally everything I need. Bottom line – it has all the storage, the awesome “chip clip” bladder closure (my own description) and room for 35 oz water.
Bladder Size: 1L (35oz) included.
Sport Focus: Ride, Run, Explore.
Pocket 1 - 1L Bladder,
Pocket 2 - Bulk Cargo,
Pocket 3 - Zipper secured cargo and secure key clip.
Ok now it was time to put it to the test! I tried it on and it felt a little odd with the straps fitting just above and below my breasts. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it looked a little funny to me. A fellow BibRavePro suggested criss crossing the straps to make it more comfortable if necessary. Either way works! You’re supposed to cinch the sides first to get the right fit before doing the front straps.
The storage is impressive. In addition to the large zip up compartment across the back which can hold way more than it looks – you can easily stash extra clothes, hat, gloves, whatever in there – there are two lower compartments in the front that can hold up to a plus sized phone, keys, or a soft flask. There are also two pockets at the shoulder design to hold gels. The pack was designed for a variety of sports – running, biking and hiking. There are even loops to hold hiking poles! Now that’s cool.The bladder comes out for easy washing and the whole pack can be washed easily.
I took it out for a hike and it was perfect. I wanted to stay hands –free because I am a total klutz and need to keep my hands free to break my fall if I trip on rocks or roots. I carried my phone, keys, headphones, sunglasses, my tripod for pics and of course a liter of water!
This product retails for $129.95. I received orange (my favorite!!!) but it comes in 3 colors – also lime green and coyote brown. I totally recommend this! It’s great for shorter distances (with the ability to stretch for longer distances with extra flasks) and I can bring everything I need to be out for a long time.
Want one of your own? Code “BIBRAVEGVPRO” saves 15%!
OrangeMud is such a well respected outdoor lifestyle brand. I’ve never been disappointed with any of their products!
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary entry to the Santa Barbara Wine Half 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!"
Let me start with this: The Santa Barbara Wine Half Marathon exceeded my expectations. From start to finish.
My friend and I ran the relay, as team “Zin It To Win It”. I had never ran a half marathon relay before. Why don’t more half marathons offer relay options? It was such a wonderful option when there were so many other fun things to do and experience. We arrived in Solvang on Friday morning, the day before the race. I’ve been wanting to see this town for a while, and it did not disappoint!
On Friday, it was a bit overcast and rainy, but we did plenty of shopping and beverage tasting that day. Every single shop owner was SO friendly and welcoming. I bought a cute souvenir for my porch and the shop owner offered my friend and I some “God’s Eyes” charms for good luck. We wore them on our race bibs.
Once packet pickup was open, it was a total breeze! Plenty of spots for photo opps, and Firestone Walker was there with beer samples. Also there was yoga so folks could get stretched out before the race.
We were all smiles, knowing that this relay option was the best decision ever. All the fun of a lively half marathon (and finishers party!) with only “half” of the hard work.
We stayed a block away from the start, so convenient. Thank you to race organizers who decided to move the start to downtown Solvang! Much appreciated. We spent the rest of the day eating in wonderful restaurants and taking in all the Danish charm.
We met up with fellow BibRave Pro Rory and walked to the start. I was going to be runner #2, so I walked my friend to the start area and then grabbed a coffee and got on the shuttle bus. Have I mentioned how relaxing it was??!!!!
I waited at the transition for Connie for quite a while, or so it seemed. Finally she came running down and I was off. I had assumed (I honestly hadn’t checked) that we would have fairly equal amounts of distance. Wrong! Within a few minutes I hit the 6 mile marker. Say what! Shouldn’t I have started around 6.5 and be closing in on 7? Bummer. Then the work started. Less than ¾ mile in, I was greeted with “corkscrew hill”. This was a massive hill with switchbacks. I had a decent pace going until that point, but alas, I had to walk a bit of it (and take pics)!
The course was tough, but I absolutely loved the scenery. I enjoyed the rolling hills and vineyards so much. Oh, and it was perfect weather! Sunny and 55-60.
There was another large hill between mile 11-12 that I was not expecting. Again, I had a great pace going but couldn’t keep it up the hill. I let Connie know once I was a mile out so she would be ready and we could cross the finish line together. Every mile marker had a wine bottle design. Cute!
So cool! Upon finishing, I got my medal (she got hers at the relay transition) and they handed me my souvenir wine glass, which I love. We entered the finisher festival, and the party was well underway! It was pretty crowded and barely any table space was available. Lines were a bit long to get samples, but they were UNLIMITED!! Small, but unlimited. And the wineries were more than happy to explain all the varieties and educate us.
The band, Mean Gene Band (MGB) was so good. They crossed the 70’s, 80s 90s and beyond. They even took requests and had an encore. We decided to take a photo on the steps while they were playing and then moments later, people started copying our idea.
My only complaint is the lack of food inside the finisher festival. If we’re going to be drinking, it would be nice to offer (even if we had to pay) for some snacks to soak it up a little. We received a pre-packaged assortment of a banana, granola bar, pretzels and a Danish butter cookie at the finish, but some cheese and crackers would have gone so nicely with that wine…
So, I ended up running 7.45 miles, and my friend ran 5.65. I cannot recommend this race enough, whether you run the entire half by yourself or as a relay.
This was a terrific destination race, and I would absolutely run it again. Solvang has so much to offer.
Hotel - We stayed at Svengaard’s which is conveniently located to town.
Breakfast - I highly recommend the Belgian Café for unique Belgian waffles.
Lunch/Dinner – We enjoyed French onion soup at Solvang Brewing Company and to die for meatloaf at Succulent.
Wine/Beer - Viking Garden and the Sausage Garden both have great craft beer selections. Sausage Garden is all outdoor, so we skipped it when it was raining. Danish Reds are popular type of beer here in town. The Good Life Cellar is underground by the park, and has a nice selection of beer and wine and a nice ambiance. We enjoyed some tastings around town, including one inside of a windmill – Sevtap Winery. Sanger Family of Wines was really nice and super modern as well.
Danish Bakeries – there is literally one on every corner here. Check them out!
Unique activities – we rented a “Surrey with a Fringe On Top” to cruise around town. Um, that was hard work and maybe not the best idea after running a half marathon. Unique experience, though!
Getting there - Santa Barbara airport is about 40 minutes away, and San Luis Obispo is about an hour.
Next year’s race will be on May 9, 2020, mark your calendars!
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary entry to the Santa Barbara Wine Half 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!"
I just came back from a short weekend in southern California, and it is totally making me excited to go back to California for the Santa Barbara Wine Half Marathon in a few weeks!
Race management recently announced that the race would now start and finish in the adorable Dutch village of Solvang. This is SUPER convenient, since that is where we are staying and now I don’t need to stress over how to get to the start. The start, finish, and after party are now all in one scenic spot!
There are several incredible wineries participating as featured partners and they are offering special discounts if you show your bib. Check out the list here.
Oh, and have you seen the medals!?! Cute and functional! It’s a wine stopper.
And don’t forget, you can do this as a half, or bring your gal pal and run it relay-style! Either way, you get to see some great scenery and enjoy a very festive after party.
Prices are going up soon, Join me and save 10% with SBBR10
It’s funny how some of the things you don’t plan on doing end up being some of the most enjoyable experiences.
I did not have plans to run Ragnar So Cal this year, as it fell on a weekend my husband was working, and no one I knew was putting together a team. A few weeks before the race, someone reached out to me on Instagram with an opening. It came from a team that has been doing Ragnars together for about a decade and just happened to have some last minute openings. I was intrigued but not sure if I could really swing it. I actually turned her down, and then she came back to me with a compromise that I couldn’t say no to. It allowed me to come in late and leave earlier so that my time away from home would be minimal. Since she had two openings, I mentioned it to my friend Connie and she was In!
This was probably one of the most, if not the most, organized teams I’ve ever participated on, and I have captained 2 teams before myself! Detailed emails, spreadsheets, and a conference call to make sure we had all the logistics straight. Impressive!
We flew in Friday morning, grabbed some food on the go and headed to the first major exchange since we were in van 2. Ran into our teammate from Ragnar Del Sol, Stormie.
We took over from van 1, quick introductions, and were off. I was runner 11 so it would still be many hours until I got to run. Weather was around 70 and sunny!
I had 4 miles on leg one, with a decent elevation gain. There was 8 zillion stoplights, roughly every .3 mile it seemed. Then the hills started, so my powerwalking started. This run SUCKED. I pulled it together to finish strong, though!
After Jeremy, our lone man in van 2, finished his leg, we took lots of beach pics since we were finally by the water. And then ended with a nice dinner with a great view in Carlsbad.
After dinner we got a little time to stretch out before we started back up near San Marcos. I typically dread my night runs because I’m a scaredy cat, but after my horrible afternoon run, this was blissful. It was another 4 miler, with a little bit of nature path and then through some nice neighborhoods. I’m pretty sure I heard both coyotes and roosters while I was on the nature path. The weather was really nice, though. And it wasn’t hilly, so BONUS!
We stayed pretty on schedule during the whole race. We went to a hotel where we got over 3 hours of sleep and then a good breakfast. Yes! I had a little bit of dread in the back of my mind since I knew I still had my longest run in front of me. In all my previous ragnars, I have never had the “Ragnar Leg” which is typically the longest or hardest of the whole race. It was fate when there were only 2 openings and one of them was the Ragnar leg. But I had the whole day to stress over it since I wouldn’t run until 1:30 in the heat of the day. Meanwhile, we got to start our last legs at the Torrey Pines Gliderport, which has incredible views. The vibrant wildflowers made it all the more epic.
Finally, it was go time. I actually thought it would be a little prettier than it was. It started out cross-crossing all over the place but ended up on a path near sea world, through pacific beach where I passed tons of breweries and taprooms and wanted to stop, then up a RIDICULOUS hill with 700 ft elevation gain. It was 9.3 miles and I just wanted it to be done. Ocean breezes helped a lot though, for part of it.
Ta Da! Isn’t it pretty?
We headed to the finish to meet up with van 1 and await Jeremy’s arrival. As soon as we crossed the finish and took all the obligatory pics, it was all business as they doled out shots of fireball. What? This was a new tradition to me, but one I can work with! After hanging out for a bit, we said our goodbyes and my Ragnar friend Alex gave us a ride to the airport in his fancy Tesla.
Being a part of Team ATR (All The Ragnars) was such a blessing. From start to finish, it was top notch! Everyone was SO friendly and easygoing. No drama! Excited to be part of their family now, and do more races together with them in the future. Made some good running friends, for sure!
You never know what fun lies just around the corner when you least expect it! Until next time...
"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!"
The Zooma Race Series has intrigued me for awhile. They are always in cool destinations, they are women-focused events, and the bling is AWESOME!! My friend ran one last year and I was full of FOMO. When I got the opportunity to help promote the series, and possibly run one of the events, I jumped right in!
"Imagine a powerful sea of women on the move – encouraging fellow runners, creating unforgettable moments, getting strong, and celebrating personal running triumphs in beautiful locations. Imagine a post-race party where you’ll celebrate your run with your crew, relax and be pampered with massages, yoga, and mimosas. This is ZOOMA. " - zoomarun.com
Zooma Great Lakes (WI) 9/14
near Lake Geneva
Zooma Cape Cod (MA) 9/24
Zooma Amelia Island (FL) 10/19
Ok, let’s talk about bling, shall we? Check out the great medals for upcoming races in the series!
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
"Disclaimer: I am promoting the Hapalua Half 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!"
This race is on my wish list.
I LOVE Hawaii.
There is nothing else like it, and I have traveled a lot. I have also ran 3 full marathons there.
If you’re not ready for a full, or want to relax more, the Hapalua is a great option. Hapalua literally means “half” in Hawaiian.
The race starts at sunrise and runs through Waikiki, going up and around Diamondhead. It finishes in Kapiolani park with fresh malasadas (Portuguese donuts) and shaved ice! Yes, please!
VIt’s not just the start location, another cool thing is that your finish is shown on a giant screen, and every finisher gets a copy of their finish line video.
I have already convinced a gal pal to join me for a racecation there next year, woo-hoo!
Online registration has closed, but if you plan to be in Hawaii on April 14, you can still register at packet pickup at the convention center! Visit thehapalua.com for more info.
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary race entry to the DC Wonder Woman 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!"
The first DC Wonder Woman Run of the year is in the books! The race was just as fun and empowering as I thought it would be!
Race weekend got off to a bit of a rough start with packet pickup. Note: This is an inaugural event, and all first time events experience bumps along the way, which will only make them stronger next time.
Packet pickup was advertised as 2-6pm on Saturday at Tempe Beach Park, same location as the race itself. Day of race packet pickup was for VIP pickup at an extra charge. Tempe Beach Park is not the most convenient spot. Parking can be a nightmare – but they were able to offer free garage parking nearby. When we arrived, it was over 80 degrees and the sun was beating down on us. There was a very long line coming from the inside of the park to well outside of the tents. There were no signs visible when you approached the back of the tents, and we weren’t exactly sure what line we were waiting in. After about 10 minutes we realized we were in the bag pickup line and not the bib pickup line. So I held our spot in the bag line while my friend went to pick up our bibs. Volunteers did start to go through the lines shortly thereafter and make some announcements to help clarify.
There was a very popular merchandise tent full of wonder woman swag items, several photo op spots and big stage for a post race band.
Our swag bags included a nice wonder woman tech tee, wristbands and a shopping bag.
Race morning went MUCH more smoothly. Everyone was decked out in WW outfits. It was a sea of red. The 5k and 10k started together. Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas led the pre-race stretching at the start line. But my favorite part was having Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter, count us down on the big video screen, and then the theme song started playing while we crossed the start line.
Within the first mile we climbed a hill and I ran into my fellow BibRave Pro Tim, who was running with his daughter. The start time was 9am and it was getting HOT! All the mile markers were cool Wonder Woman flags. And we had some arches to run though as well. I was very tempted to make the 5k turn, but I pressed on for the 10k. I made sure to grab water at every opportunity.
When we finished, the 10k runners were finishing with the back of the pack 5k walkers. This was a bit frustrating for the 10k folks, as it got very congested. There should be separate finish chutes for the different distances. However, all runners got the same medal. There is no date or location on this medal. I would like to see them change that for next time, and maybe swap our the ribbon based on distance. It would also incentivize people to run more than one race in the series.
All in all, I was ok with my time given the heat of the morning. 1:01 for the 10k. Good enough for 8/50 in my AG. The post race “party” had a live band, some oranges, chips, fruit snacks and sparkling water. Lines for photo opps were pretty long, but several places available to do it. I think more people would have stuck around if it wasn’t so hot.
I think people really enjoyed themselves. There were free race photos and everyone really liked the WW merchandise and camaraderie. Hopefully they can iron out a few kinks and make an even more successful event in 2020! There are plenty more races in the series this year. Check out the full list here.
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!