Gear Review: RoadID Wrist ID Elite


Oh, it is that special time where Midwest weather turns from freezing cold to burning sweaty hot in the course of a week. Also, the time where we drive our kids around to soccer and baseball practices, games, and tournaments, like we don’t have anything else better to do.

The three youngest boys are all playing sports right now, so that means I have to get a bit creative with my time. My runs seem to be getting later and later (vampire runner!). That also means that Bowie’s running slacks off a bit to accommodate his soccer schedule. We do have one trail race in his calendar in the next couple weeks. Bowie will be running the Skyline Shuffle 5k again (last year’s review here).

IMG_2863I get asked quite a bit about running gear for kids. Bowie is now able to wear women’s running shoes, which makes it much easier to find him trail shoes now. Little Tatum is still in kiddo shoes, so that is a challenge for sure. The boys make good use of my hydration packs (I will post about that with pictures a bit later). But something that they like calling their very own are RoadIDs. Bowie was so excited to get to pick his band color, and so proud when he got to start wearing it for runs.

I have heard some parents say they have their kids wear RoadIDs whenever they go shopping and such. We don’t take it quite that far, but Bowie does have his own for training and racing. I like knowing that if he goes off-course, or is injured, someone will be able to call me for help.

I am getting ready to order one for Tatum, and had a bit of fun soliciting mantras for his band on Twitter. I mean, he is 5 — that is something to have fun with! (I think we settled on “Adventure is out there!” from the movie Up!)

Anyway… back to RoadIDs.  I had a good collection of them going (5 or so), when RoadID offered to make me a snazzy new Wrist ID Elite bands. (Yay for products that you already love!). I snatched up the offer and picked out one of the Black Edition bands. So sexy and rugged, yes? I also picked out a triathlon badge to go along with it.

I went with pretty standard engraving… I included my name and hometown. I included my husband’s name and cell. Next, I included my penicillFullSizeRender (1)in allergy. (Any other allergy twins out there?) And finally… I selected a mantra. Now, I couldn’t really get my REAL race mantra on there, because it includes curse words. And that sort of thing is frowned upon in a normal office setting. So I went with another mantra I like, that has an acronym that many cyclists recognize: HTFU. If you are unfamiliar with this manta, you can study all the rules of cycling here.

RoadID made my new band and sent it to me in this really cool looking metal box. (My kids would call this “tight” or “dope.)

After getting over my initial fear of cutting down the band to fit my itty-bitty wrists, I was really happy with the fit. (My advice is just to snip off a bit at a time and keep test fitting it until you are happy.) Also, you do need to read the instructions. I couldn’t figure out how to get the gripper part that clenches down on the band at first. Once I read the instructions, I saw you need to use something to pry it open… Much easier when you actually do things the right way!

IMG_2853.JPG

FullSizeRender

One thing I liked right away was the clasp. So easy to take this on and off without having to stretch the band over my hand. I haven’t noticed the silicone bands stretching out over time, but I am always paranoid that repeatedly taking my RoadID off and on would stretch them out.

I put my RoadID to good use right away. I tend to run and ride solo. (Well, sometimes I take a dog. But he isn’t great with working a cell phone in case of emergency.) So I hit the trail to test out the new black leather band. I am happy to report that I didn’t have a black ring around my sweaty wrist. I did note that they don’t recommend wearing the leather band for swimming (good thing I have the silicone ones on back-up), and they do recommend using a leather conditioner on the band every 6 months or so.

IMG_1104So there you go… A little bit of piece of mind for when you are training and racing. If you don’t already own a RoadID, I highly recommend getting one. If you already have one, the new Elite bands are really nice.

Disclaimer: I received a RoadID 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!

 

Gear Review: Reflective Brilliance safety strips

I have jokingly referred to myself as a “vampire runner” a few times. With all my health stuff, I am just not a morning person… all my running and riding tends to be at night. (And in the winter, that usually means running when it is pitch-black out).

IMG_2486I have a few items that I reach for when I head out for a night run. Definitely my headlamp (seeing where I am going is a priority). I have even started having my trail dog wear light-up vest. I like knowing that moutain bikers can see him if they ride up on us quickly. Atlas’ leash could easily “clothesline” someone, I think. It is also a nice thing to let people know I have a dog with me. He is a black dog, so he is hard to see at night.

When I received a set of Brilliant Reflective safety strips to try out, I immediately began thinking of where I could use them. I got a set of both stick-on and iron-on, but since my iron is missing, I started with the stick-ons.

 

Right off, I gave my Orange Mud Endurance Vest a set of bling-bling racing stripes. The adhesive on the reflective strips is seriously strong – so I made sure they were exactly where I wanted them before pressing them on.

IMG_2692.JPG

Next, I decided to try some on my shoes. Now… I could have stuck some on my road shoes… but I decided to put some on my trail shoes. Someone did ask me how many cars I encounter on the trail. Well… there was a method to my madness. My answer was this.

While I have only encountered one car on the trail (which was there illegally), I do run on gravel roads when the trails are too muddy for running. (We take trail maintenance and care seriously around here, and we do not run or ride on the trails while muddy). So when I am running (or riding) a gravel road, I like to be seen. Also, when I am on the trails, I like mountain bikers to be able to see me. Anything I can do to be seen is a good thing.

IMG_2689.JPG

I liked the reflective tape so much on my Altras, I added some to Bowie’s as well. I think it fits right in with the design of the shoe!

So far, none of the tape has peeled off my pack or my shoes. The adhesive is crazy-sticky! I will be giving the iron-on strips a go this weekend, so I will report back later on that. But as far as Brilliant Reflective goes, I highly recommend. It is a cheap and easy way to give yourself a little piece of mind when running (or riding) at night. You could easily add some “safety bling” to a bike saddle or helmet, or a running jacket, hat, etc.

Disclaimer: I received a package of safety strips to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

 

Smooth shifting from here on out.

I am so happy that my tri bike is back from a tune-up. She was having trouble shifting up to the big ring, so a quick visit to Volker Bicycles, and she was good to go! (Note: I have no affiliation with Volker. I just really like their shop… and supporting local shops kicks ass!)

IMG_2015.JPG

Training continues at our house. It was pretty brisk last night, so Tatum stayed home. (He might be smarted than the rest of us). Walking back home from campus, I noticed my IT band was feeling a little cranky… likely due from running too much on pavement and not enough trail. So I will make it a priority to only do short runs on the pavement. I don’t need another IT band flare right now. My muscles and joints are stiff enough from autoimmune without adding in the IT band.

img_2020

The boys are really pumped about the Pi Day race, because there is pie at the end! YAY! But I can’t help but think Tatum might be a little disappointed in not getting a medal for his first 5K. Big brother Bowie has a wall of medals and hey, bling is awesome. So I decided to start researching if I can by a pie themed medal online somewhere to give the boys when they finish. I mean, a 9 year old deserves a medal for a trail half too, right?

Speaking of races, I do have 2 two that I am signed up to do. BibRave Pro was kind enough to secure me an entry in both Hospital Hill Half and KC Marathon. I’ve run both a few times and will have training commentary and insider tips coming up. But until then, I do have a discount code you can use for Hospital Hill’s suite of races. (I will get back to you on KC Marathon). You can use “BIBRAVE” for 10% off the 5K, 10K, Half, and Re-Run races. (Not valid on family 5K).

 

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hospital Hill 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!

Gear Review: Knuckle Lights

I have joked the last two years that I am a vampire runner. My energy level is generally much better at night, so I do pretty much all my running and biking at night. It actually works out for the most part because I miss the hot temps during the summer. In the winter, it is colder, but I have acclimated to it, I guess.

I have a variety of gear to help me run at night, including headlights (for my head and my bike) as well as handhelds. I bought a pair of Knuckle Lights years ago and liked them, so I was really excited to receive a new pair! They have gotten some really cool features and it is always fun to test out new gear.

IMG_2007.JPG

Right off the bat, I loved the new USB charger. I like not having to replace batteries all the time, and there is nothing worse than a battery running out mid-run and being caught in the dark. Since all my devices have USB chargers now, it can be a struggle to get them all plugged in. My husband added a new outlet by my nightstand that has USB ports in it! So handy! I have all the stuff plugged in now.

Next, I liked that they have a magnetic that keeps them together when not in use. It is tough keeping track of all my gear and I appreciate little features like that. (I always like help getting organized!)

I took a few runs with my Knuckle Lights, both with and without my headlamp. One thing that really stood out to me is when I used them in conjunction with my headlamp, things were much more 3D. I could see the rocks a lot better. Things were not so flat. I really find this helpful on the trail! Highly recommend a set in addition to just a headlamp for technical trail.

IMG_1950.JPG

While using Knuckle Lights alone, I found that it took me a bit of time to adjust to not having a constant spotlight. (Of course, I swing my arms when I run). But after 10 minutes or so, I adjusted and it didn’t really bother me.

IMG_1951.JPG

I have mentioned a few times that the boys are training for a March trail race with me. We have been going to the Baker U campus to run. It is a well-lit campus with security. Best of all, it has a well-maintained 1/3 mile paved loop with fun little bridges and such. We spend a lot of time at Baker campus walking and adventuring. So, I have been taking the boys there for runs. Everyone does loops at their own pace and no one really gets out of sight… but at night, it can be a bit more difficult to spot the boys while on the run. I decided to put the lights on Tatum, and they strapped right over his little gloves perfectly. We got our run in, and I was able to keep a better eye on him. It was so great! I am thinking of way to try attaching one to my dog just for fun!

IMG_1855.JPG

I definitely would love to hear about how you use your Knuckle Lights!

I received Knuckle Lights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

 

 

The family that runs together.

This week we launched our family training for our Pi Day races. I know I mentioned before that Bowie is running the half with me, and little Tatum is running the 5K with my husband. Tatum and Steven started running this week… Bowie is able to run with me more now that cyclocross season is over.

 

Tuesday and Wednesday nights, we hit the Baker U campus across the street. It is so convenient having a well-lit location with security patrols. When Tatum breaks away to run by himself, we don’t worry at all. It is a big 1/3 mile loop and he is in eye-sight the entire time. Last night, I even strapped a pair of knuckle lights on over his gloves and it made it really easy to spot him.

Bowie has picked right back up with his running. (Cycling really kept his fitness up). I don’t think he will have any problems at all building his mileage up.

This weekend, we plan to do our first cycle event of the year, a gravel ride called The Mullet. The ride is on the county gravel roads and starts just down the street from our house. Convenient! And hopefully we will have nice weather.

 

Wheat is my frenemy.

So a quick update on my autoimmune news, and then I will get into the fun stuff (bikes!!)

I had a visit with an amazing local doctor. I originally was going just for gyn services because I feel like my iron level will never improve if I can’t stop my period from happening – sorry TMI! But during my visit, I started rambling about my iron, and my thyroid, and being completely fatigued for 2 years… and she just got it. She listened to me ramble for a good 15 minutes and had a theory of why I am having so many issues. And a big factor was wheat. She seemed to think “leaky gut” could explain a lot. She ordered a thyroid panel, vitamin D, insulin, and something called a Wheat Zoomer test. A couple weeks later, I was back in her office for my results.

IMG_1588.JPG

It turns out that I am not allergic to gluten. I am allergic to every part of wheat. (So my previous celiac test didn’t catch this!) And my results indicated I have inflammation and leaky gut… Which also is causing me to have high insulin levels. And low Vitamin D. And guess why my iron isn’t absorbing (my iron level is now high but my ferritin plunked back down)… My gut won’t let it absorb. It is all coming back to my tummy.

So. I have been wheat free for 2 weeks now. (Starting my third week). I have started taking a probiotic. I am taking Vitamin D. I had the option of prescription or supplement for my insulin, so I opted supplement because it is also supposed to help with inflammation.

It really is not as bad as I thought it would be. I miss cookies. But gluten free pizza is not too bad. I have been able to find something to eat at nearly every restaurant (they have come a long way with gluten-free menus). I am sure I might get crabby around the holidays, or as this drags on. But wheat free is my new lifestyle. Trying to embrace it.

So that said… I am hopeful that in a few months I will feel totally awesome. Until then, I take every day as it comes. The weather has turned cold in Kansas, but I have bundled up for some windy / freezing rain bike rides, and sub-zero trail runs. It isn’t my favorite thing to run in. But I guess I am sort of used to it now because I don’t think twice about heading out the door.


That said, I find it easier to run in the cold than to ride. I have to get some new cycling cold gear, I think, as my fingers and toes got really cold last ride. I did invest in a new bike trainer. Lets talk trainers a sec.

I had a mag trainer that I felt just was not keeping up. So I upgraded to a Nashbar fluid trainer. I used this trainer for a year and just felt like I was ready for more. I was never really happy with the level of resistance it offered, and I was really interested in the smart programs. I researched, talked to lots of coaches, and ended up ordering a Tacx Vortex smart trainer. It arrived yesterday (Amazon Prime for the win!) and I am chomping at the bit to set it up tonight. So Bowie inherits the Nashbar fluid trainer, and the other boys can fight over the Cycleops mag trainer.

Fall running gear

The weather in the Midwest has definitely gone from summer to fall. I have found most days, I get by with gloves, long sleeves, tights and something covering my ears. If the wind picks up, I find myself reaching for a jacket, but we aren’t quite into winter weather yet. (knock on wood… I am sure the snow is coming soon…)

img_9808As far as long-sleeves go, I like having thumbholes, or a long enough sleeve that my wrists are covered, Nothing is worse than a gap between gloves and sleeves! I recently received a free “Breath Thermal” long-sleeved shirt from Mizuno and I really like the sleeve length. I feel like the sleeves are longer than my other tech-type shirts – so there is no space for the cold air to creep in!

Another thing I have found with cold weather running is that after I start working up a good sweat, the wind can whip through my shirt and I get instantly cold. This shirt uses thermal fibers that wick the sweat away to keep you dry, yet generates heat. (It’s like magic, y’all!)

img_9807My other must-have for gloves is to be able to operate my phone while wearing them. I don’t like having to take off my gloves in order to skip a song on my Spotify. I really like it when gloves have the sensors on the fingers! Note – the Mizuno Breath Thermal light gloves are ON SALE right now! Sweet! $10 off!

You can check out the shirt and gloves I am wearing here. Happy running! Stay warm out there!

 I received compensation in exchange for writing this review.  Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.