"Disclaimer: I received a pair of Skins DNAmic compression tights and Speed Crop 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’m a big fan of compression tights, for both running and recovery. This is my second time trying a SKINS product, and I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.
DNAmic women's compression comes in shorts, capris or full length. I chose capris since that is the most versatile for Arizona weather. However, they were sold out of the floral capris, so I ended up with black full length, which goes with everything. I also received a sports bra, which looked super cool. There were 9 colors/patterns to choose from!
There are 2 kinds of compression tights, in my opinion. Comfortable compression, and super tight -squeeze the life out of you- compression. Luckily, these tights were beyond comfortable, not too tight at all. I received a size M (I normally wear a size 6-8 fyi.)
The first time I wore them, I took a one hour body pump class with tons of squats and lunges, followed by a 1 hour run. I didn’t want to take these off! They are so comfortable, it's hard to believe they are actually compression tights. There are sheer spots down along the calf, but otherwise the coverage is great. I really like the style of the sports bra, but unfortunately it ran very small. I received a size M and wear a 36C. It was VERY tight. Hopefully when I finally lose that 20 pounds it will fit perfectly!
Technology behind DNAmic compression:
Dynamic Gradient Compression (from SKINS)
I went for a few runs in my tights – they were light enough that I didn’t get hot - even in Arizona! The tights really do move with you, they don’t feel constrictive or restrictive. These tights are designed to help reduce muscle fatigue, and I can say that my longest run wearing them was 9 miles, and my legs never got tired.
To keep their shape and integrity, I washed them on gentle cycle and let them air dry.
"Disclaimer: I received an Eat Smart Precision GETFITDigital Precision BodyFat Scale to review in exchange for an honest review.
I have had my current bathroom scale for somewhere around 10 years. Over the years, the display was getting harder to read, and the body fat % reader fluctuated wildly. I never really felt like I could trust the bodyfat portion of the scale readings.
I am giving the new sleek Precision GETFIT Digital Bodyfat Scale from Eat Smart a try. I have reviewed some of their other scales and have been so impressed with the precision of the readings. I knew I would be getting a quality product.
This scale uses Bio-Electrical Impedance Analysis technology to easily calculate your body fitness by imputing information of gender, height, age, activity level and your weight. In bare feet, this technology sends a low-level electrical signal though your body fat and then measures the resistance the signal encounters. You don’t feel a thing!
Your weight pops up first, then some o's scroll across the screen while it calculates your bodyfat percentage. Then the percentage pops up. Next it scrolls through what percentage muscle you have, bone, water, etc. Pretty cool!
I was a little nervous that it would be difficult to set up my profile in the scale. It’s just simple arrowing up and down to get to your gender, height, etc. It also claimed to recognize individuals. My previous scale you had to manually select which profile was yours before stepping on. I decided to get my husband to set up a profile just to see if it could tell the difference between us automatically. Took just a few minutes to set up. He’s never measured his body fat before, so it was enlightening for him! This is my profile I set up below: 5'5" and 49 years old female.
Even with 2 profiles stored in the scale, it identified that it was a 5' 5" female right away and not the 6'3" male!
Here are the features of this scale:
I tried it right away and found it to be extremely accurate. I love that it doesn’t just show pounds or half pounds – it shows your weight in .2 increments! So every little bit of your progress made shows up!
Here’s the link to the scale on our website: https://eatsmartproducts.com/products/eatsmart-precision-getfit-digital-body-fat-scale-w-400-lb-capacity-auto-recognition-technology?variant=18467333190
Here’s the link on Amazon: www.amazon.com/EatSmart-Products-Precision-Recognition-Technology/dp/B01N2TDMSN
Follow Eat Smart
Instagram: http://instagram.com/eatsmartproducts #eatsmartscale Tag: @eatsmartproducts
"Disclaimer: I received a pair of Under Armor HOVR Sonic shoes 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!"
Ever since knee surgery I have been on a quest for cushiony running shoes. I heard there was some cool technology behind the Under Armor HOVR Sonic shoes that were just being released to market. I had to see for myself!
I received these bright beauties just before Christmas. They came with instructions on how to connect your shoes to the Map My Run app. It turned out to be a piece of cake.
1st I had to download the map my run app. Then it was just a matter of setting the shoes on the ground near my phone and making sure Bluetooth was on, so that they were calibrated and connected. Then I was off and running!
My first impression was that the shoes were very light, but not quite as cushiony as I had hoped. Here’s a pic from my first run.
My phone at the time had barely any open space on it. So unfortunately using the map my run app drained my battery after just 2 miles. That was a bummer.
Like several other Under Armour shoe models, there is a chip inside that syncs with map my run. It can actually keep track of the mileage you put on your shoes cumulatively! No more guessing. Now that’s cool!!!
I also put the shoes through an intense muy thai cardio kickboxing class, followed by a run. That day the app didn’t drain my battery at all.
They advertise that you can run in the shoes without your phone and your stats will still be tracked (as long as you are under an 11 minute mile). I was not successful in getting it to sync on my phone, but I know that some of the other BibRave Pros were able to get it to work. Also, if you stop at any point during your run, it will show up as a separate run.
Summary of product benefits (from uarunning.com):
I will continue to wear these shoes on shorter runs, to save the wear and tear on my more cushiony shoes for longer runs. I enjoyed how light and airy they are (the whole front of the shoe is mesh). The shoes retail for $100 and come in 3 colors for women. I love this bright color, it got a lot of attention while I was out running!
You can learn more and shop here!
Wow, where do I start? I’m lucky to have a huge Ragnar race right in my backyard. I’m also grateful that I fell into a great team by chance 2 years ago and have been able to stick with them ever since.
Even though I am NOT a fan of Van 2 timing, I agreed/offered to be in van 2 for this race so that I could be with 2 of my girlfriends and 2 of my favorite Ragnarians. I also had a cool Ragnar veteran Bob on the team. It turned out to be just the right mix!
Our lineup in the van was:
Runner 1 – Bob
Runner 2 – Denise
Runner 3 – Me
Runner 4 – Alex
Runner 5 – Thanesh
Runner 6 – Tricia
Two of my friends from a women’s running club joined the fun, one of whom has never run a Ragnar before. She was such a good sport, nothing freaked her out at all.
I’ve never been in the 2nd van for Ragnar del sol before. It felt so weird to have the morning to ourselves. We loaded up the van and went to breakfast to get to know each other better. Then we drove to Tonopah, the first major exchange. It was already quite hot by the time we rolled in, in the 70’s. We had to wait over an hour for the first van to finish up. We took some pics and waited for our turn. I started around 2:30pm for a 4.6 mile run. It started through a subdivision then ended up along a highway. I ended up getting a fantastic burst of energy in the last 2 miles and enjoyed it.
While we waited for the next runner, we ended up talking to the legendary Ernie Andrus. He’s 94 years young and still does Ragnar Relays! His mind is as sharp as a tack and he regaled us with stories from WW2. He’s awesome.
Our last runner had the “Ragnar leg” which was 11 miles long. We planned on grabbing dinner when she finished, then heading to a hotel for a few hours. Yes, a real hotel! We ended up eating burgers and fries at like 10pm and headed straight to bed.
2 hours later, it was time to get up again. Ugh! Luckily, my night run was super short, just 2.7 miles. I headed out with my knuckle lights and hit the streets around 2:30am. It was a totally uninspiring area near storage units with big dogs inside the fences. I had to cross a few major roads, so I lost a little time at stoplights. The weather was really nice, mid 50’s.
We finished that round and were back in our hotel room (again) by 6am! Really nice to be able to enjoy that twice. Got another 2.5 hours of sleep, a quick shower, and free hotel breakfast & coffee!
The next day was cooler, with some cloud cover thank goodness. My longest run (6.5 miles) would be around 12:30pm. It had a gradual descent in the beginning, which was nice. It was along a busy road for a very long time and I almost got hit by a car getting off the freeway. Pay attention, people!! I then got to weave through north Scottsdale which was interesting. Found some extra energy during this leg which was awesome too.
We finally finished around 4:40pm. Our final runner had an emotional finish running through the neighborhood she grew up in, and was battling the heat and fatigue. She had us crying while she cried as she finished and we all ran in together. What a great experience!
At some point during our last legs, our van started talking about doing chest bumps at the handoff. I don’t think I’ve chestbumped anyone ever, but I thought it was pretty funny. It remained a common theme til the finish, and a new team theme for the future. Here are the last 4 handoffs in sequential order.
Van 1 left almost immediately after getting the medals, since they had been waiting around all day for us. Luckily our rockstar van 2 was up for a few beers and celebrating for just a little bit. We vowed to do it again together next year, and possibly even the trail Ragnar here in AZ this November. Time will tell!
Overall, I’m so glad I was able to run Ragnar again - grateful for my knee cooperating, grateful for everyone getting along and no injuries! Cheers to another great event!
One final shout out to our van MVP Tricia! She agreed to the Ragnar leg, giving her a total of 20.9 miles. Way to go, girl!
And one last reminder to myself not to limit myself - to keep trying new things. I swore I would NEVER run a Ragnar, and here I am 9 Ragnars later, hopelessly addicted. I love meeting new people and having these incredible experiences. This year, each medal had a cool saying on the back that captures the essence of the Ragnar journey.
"Disclaimer: I received a set of Bibboards 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 run a lot of races, and I have a lot of safety pins. When it comes to racing, I inevitably poke myself with the safety pins, or pin it on lopsided. The worst part is when I’m wearing something cute for the very first time, and I hold my breath while I have to begrudgingly poke 4 holes in it to wear my race bib. Ugh!
I’ve been interested in alternatives for awhile, but hadn’t gotten around to trying anything yet. Enter BibBoards. They are snap on bib holders that won’t ruin your clothes!!!!!!!!!
My first opportunity to really try them out was at the Sedona Marathon. I wasn’t quite sure of the best way to apply them, but I tried it with me wearing the shirt. It was so easy to push it through the hole, line it up on the back of my shirt and snap it into place. I still ended up slightly lopsided, but it stayed 100% in place for the entire 2 plus hour race. Pretty easy to pull back off afterwards too. Absolutely no damage to the shirt.
Here's a super short video on how they work:
Here's what it looks like from the back side:
The next time I tried out the BibBoards was for Ragnar del Sol. That means using the bib 3 times on 3 different outfits. On and off 3 times, in daylight and darkness. This would be a good test!
It was very simple to snap them off and on. Sometimes it feels a bit tricky grabbing the back of it to pull it off. I feel like I'm going to break it, but they did stay intact! I still stink at pinning them on myself, and really need to try snapping them on the shirt while its laid out in front of me.
Here they are on all 3 outfits:
There are many BibBoard designs to choose from – from emojis to beer and wine themed options. I chose “Will Run for Beer” because anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy my craft beer, especially post-race! You can even CUSTOMIZE your own with a logo or photo! How cool is that. BibBoards are sold in sets of 4 and retail for $12.99, but right now you can save 20% with code #Bibchat!
When you’re done, simply snap them back onto the cardboard holder (or throw them in a baggie) until your next race. Easy peasy! I have also seen people wear them in other ways, for motivational purposes. Like on their hat, sleeve etc. Kind of a cool idea.
Check these out and let me know what you think! I bet you won't miss safety pins!
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary race entry for the Sedona 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’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…If the Sedona Marathon Event isn’t on your bucket list, it should be.
I have attempted to run the half before, but had to drop down to the 10k the last two years due to injuries. This was my chance! I knew it would be a challenge – and I knew what the first 3.1 miles of the course was like already.
I was happy that my husband was totally on board to make a weekend out of this again. So cool. It’s pretty rare that I get my family to join me at races these days.
Packet pickup was in a tent at the Posse Fairgrounds this year. It’s a tiny expo, but it seemed more spacious and inviting this year than in the past. There were a lot of tempting shirts and skirts to buy. I had to drag myself out of there. I was in and out pretty quickly.
We headed straight from pickup to dinner to carb load. Seriously one of the best things about this race (other than the scenery) is the late start time. My race started at 9:10. I could take my leisurely time. Although the race offered free shuttle service, my hotel was close enough for me to walk. Yay!
The full marathon started at 9AM, with each race starting every 10 minutes after that. I had plans to meet two other BibRave Pros doing the race. We were all doing different distances, which was kind of cool. I couldn’t find Joshua, but found Barb right away. Also ran into other local friends doing the race. I unfortunately left my headphones in my hotel room but decided to stay put and hang at the start instead of walking back for them and stressing myself out.
The weather was fantastic. It was 43 when I was walking from the hotel and around 60-62 when I finished. I have a tendency to overdress because I hate to be cold. I wore my windbreaker jacket and gloves on the way there, but them put it in gear check. I wore a long sleeve tech shirt, but in hindsight I should have gone sleeveless. Within 3 miles I was too warm. I need to work on dialing it back.
This is NOT a big race (less than 1000 people run the half), but with the 4 races combined on this narrow road,, the start area is quite congested. They created a chute that led to the start area, and only the next group of runners queing up was allowed in. There were a number of vendors, from food to clothing, and massages available.
The course is full of rolling hills. One of the worst ones is at the 10k turnaround. There were a ton of aid stations out there with water and electrolytes. I went into it hoping for 215 or less but knowing how hilly it was, I figured it would probably take longer. I enjoyed the downhill sections the most, but obviously there were plenty of uphill sections too. I walked many uphill sections when I felt like I couldn’t push anymore. I will say this: there is not one single step of this race that does not have a killer view.
I finished the first 10k in 1:12, and my finish time was 2:28. I’m pretty sure that was my highest half marathon finish time ever, or at least close. Even so, that time was in the top 25% of my age group!
Shoutout to Athlinks - I went to Athlinks.com to claim my new results . My Athlinks profile stores results from all my past races, and I can even find friends who might be running future races that . I want to do. Check out results on Athlinks here and follow me so we can be friends (or maybe even rivals!) on Athlinks.
The medal is part of a series where each year is a piece of a 4 year pie. Every year I continue to be disappointed that everyone still gets the same exact medal and ribbon, no matter which distance they ran. This is one of my pet peeves and I am sincerely hoping they will consider changing for future races. Even a customized ribbon would make it more unique and special to the runner.
I had seen an email advertising their beer garden featuring some fantastic local beers. My husband & I really enjoy craft beers so we kept that in mind as a possibility for after the race. I’ve never stuck around after my 10k finishes in the past. But it was hot (and almost noon!) by the time I finished and walked up the hill, so we stuck around and enjoyed some wonderfully cold brews and enjoyed our red rock views! They had a limited number of tables to sit/stand with your drinks, but it was a nice touch! My son even enjoyed a snack from the food trucks.
On the walk back to the hotel, we had to cross the course around the mile 25.5 mark of the full marathon. I see a bright orange BibRave shirt coming towards me and I’m like “Hey that must be Joshua!”. He was struggling (that last section is unfortunately uphill) – but he actually STOPPED so I could take a photo with him. Impressive! I’m sure he was just anxious to be done.
We enjoyed an afternoon that included some amazing food, more craft brews, and capped it off with sunset hike. We love Sedona and I plan to come back again next year. I am determined to get my time down…and compete in a brand new age group!
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary race entry for the Sedona 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!"
When you think of the perfect racecation, what do you think of? Great scenery, adventure, great dining, wineries? Sedona has it ALL!
You obviously already know that it goes above and beyond in the scenery department. Jaw dropping vistas with red rocks in cool formations. Throw in a quaint creek running through town, and come on! I can’t take much more beauty.
It would be a shame to come up to Red Rock country and not go hiking. There are dozens of trails from easy/family friendly to technical and challenging. Or you could take a signature Pink Jeep tour through the rugged beauty of the rocks. Or horseback riding! We chose to go hiking after the 10k last year at Cathedral Rock. There were stairs in some sections, flat in some sections, and just incredible to see. We may go back to the same spot or check out a new one. We just stopped in the tourism office on the main road. They were very helpful with recommendations!
Sedona has a number of fine dining restaurants with world renowned chefs as well as casual fun places. Last year we had seen a few restaurants featured on the PBS show “check please”. They featured Elote and Page Springs Winery. We went to both! Elote is a gourmet southwestern restaurant and it is out of this world! There are number of wineries within a 30 minute drive from Sedona. We visited Page Springs winery for dinner/drinks. It was off season, so there is no lush greenery, but still a cool atmosphere. Lots of unique local wines to sample and flatbread pizzas to eat. Yum! I wonder what kind of trouble we will get into this time??!
Sedona is a tourist destination, so there is no shortage of cool souvenirs to shop for! One of the biggest places to shop is Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village (easy for me to say, right)? It has a collection of unique shops and restaurants in a picturesque setting by the creek.
Top tips if you are coming for the race:
What are you waiting for? Register now with code 18BibRave and save 20%!!!! Online Registration closes Friday Feb 2!
"Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks 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 first heard of Athlinks several years ago, when I was compiling a list of my race results and was searching online for them. I have been keeping an excel spreadsheet for the last 10 or so years. I thought it was incredibly helpful that I could find my results in one place, rather than searching through the past results on each race website which can be really tedious.
If you're not familiar with Athlinks, it is an online results tracker where you can view, save and share every finish time for every finish line you have crossed, no matter the distance! Athlinks.com (and the Athlinks app for iOS and Android) is a comprehensive resource for athletes to connect with friends, compete with rivals, discover new challenges and races, and enjoy a connected, consistent race experience.
Ease of joining & claiming your results
Once you create a login, do an easy search for your name and you can easily click on “claim results” to add it to your results that it keeps track of. You can narrow the search down by birthdate or geography. I race a lot. I found over 150 race results for myself on athlinks. Crazy right? From the little bitty 5ks I forgot about to my half and full marathons from long ago.
Once you click on claim results, it says congratulations and you know that you got it. You can also hide stats if they are something that you are less than proud of.
In the above example, you'll see a few things. 1 perfectly correct result - craft classic half. I claimed it. The second race, brew ha ha 5k, is also me but shows my age is 45. I think in this case it may have pulled from my 45-49 age group. The last one is not mine at all.
It’s easy to search for friends, so that you can keep track of their results too. Type their name into the search box at the top, then click profiles. It’s just a click of a button once you find them to add them as a friend.They will receive an email notification that they have been added as a friend.
I can also see my friend's upcoming races and decide if I want to join the fun! :
You may have some friends who run around the same pace as you, who live in other parts of the country. Keep track of their race results for motivation, inspiration or bragging rights!! It’s a cool feature to be able to compare results. It's just friendly competition, right?!
Here’s a sample of a rivalry with one of my fellow BibRave Pros, Mai. We both ran Rock n Roll San Diego half last summer and she beat me by 17 minutes. Not to make “excuses” but it should be noted that I am 20 years older than Mai! As you can see it keeps track of "wins" and "losses" between you and your rivals.
Joining a Race Start
When you add yourself to a race start, your followers can see what races are coming up on your schedule, and possibly even choose to join you! Just search by event name and click add! Since I have the Sedona Half Marathon coming up, I thought I would go ahead and add myself to the start list. That way anyone can see what I'm up to.
I highly recommend using Athlinks to track your race results, and motivate you to be your best! What are you waiting for? Click here to get started!
I have always enjoyed Rock n Roll Arizona. Yes it can be crowded. Yes it can be expensive. But doggone it, it's one big party and everyone comes out for it!
This is my 9th Rock n Roll AZ Race - 1 full, 6 halfs and 2 10ks. My course PR was in 2015 - I ran a 1:52. Just 3 years ago!
I didn't have a major goals for this race - I am just trying to work myself back to a "normal" race time for myself (2 hours or less for a half). I haven't been under 2 hours since before knee surgery in 2016. Recently I had been sick and on many medications - prescribed by a doctor who is also a runner who was running this race. He said "we're going to hit this hard so you're well by raceday". and I was!
Rock n Roll has made some improvements to the race experience. They FINALLY ditched those awful D ring tags that went on your shoe!! The mile markers are now much bigger and the water stops are called out really clearly. The expo has definitely gone downhill, but I did get to see my name on the screen and have a fun photo opp.
I took the light rail down with one of my neighbors. There were several people I wanted to meet up with but I figured that I would let my prerace time unfold however it happened. While I was waiting for my neighbor to drop off his gear check bag, I met the nicest lady. We had ducked inside a coffee shop to stay warm (it was 48 degrees lol). We started chatting and it turned out she was also from Michigan (Detroit). She had just moved from Washington DC to the Phoenix area. We chatted about running and racing all over the country when we discovered she was a Ragnarian too! I gave her my number and hope to run with her in the future! I love meeting new people. Runners are the coolest.
Then it was time to line up in the corrals. I ran into a guy I worked with at America West Airlines/US Airways and we were able to take a pre race selfie and comisserate about how hard it is to have fast finish times now that we're old.
The race started and although I felt good, my knee felt inflamed already. And I purposely took it easy in the days leading up to the race. Oh well. I just decided to take it all in and do my best. I wanted to walk less than I did in my last 2 half marathons. I made it about 3 miles before my shoe came untied. I took a gel around mile 5.5.
The last 4 miles are my favorite. The course goes around Papago, the one "hill" on the course, and then you turn around and come back down. You get to pass people going the opposite way, which is defintely more fun when you are headed downhill rather than up! I walked at every water stop, which is probably a habit I need to break if I ever want to go sub 2 again.
Around mile 11, the iconic Rock n Roll guitar guy...
I was hoping for 2:10 but I came in at 2:19. It's still faster than my last 2 half marathons and comes out to a 10:39 pace, but that number still seems pretty high to me. Oh, and this was my first race representing Honey Stinger!
The weather was glorious - 48 at start, 60 at finish. Blue skies, live music, and beer! I found my running bestie Patty and we sat and listened to Everclear for the post race concert.
Then we went to grab some lunch and more libations. Such a fun way to celebrate our race experience. Here's hoping I can hit that 2:10 or less goal next time!
Now that 2017 has come to a close, I paused to reflect on my running year – the good, bad and the depressing:
Some of my favorite things that happened in my running and racing life this year are:
And saw some incredible scenery along the way!!!!!
Once again, the year also brought challenges:
Things I’m looking forward to in 2018:
Here’s a video of my race highlights this year. Happy New Year, Everyone!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!