Be Brilliant, Be Seen!

Disclaimer: I received reflective strips from Brilliant Reflective 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!

Most of my weekday runs happen before the sun comes up, so that means a lot of road running in the dark. It wasn’t long ago I read a post on our community Facebook page complaining about runners seen early in the morning wearing dark clothing. Yep, that was referring to our running club for sure, and a warning that we were not doing enough to be visible.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, then you need to hear about Brilliant Reflective strips. They are highly reflective strips that you can apply to your clothes (or other items) and come in both stick-on and iron-on packs.

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This is exactly why I’m loving being a BibRave Pro. I get to review running products that I actually can use, and will continue to use long after my review is posted.

To test out these strips, I applied some of the blue (yes, they come in different colors) stick-on strips to the front and back of one of my running shirts. The actual guidance for these strips is — anything that you would wash, use the iron-on pack, and for anything that isn’t washed, use the stick-on pack.

Yes, I do wash my running shirt, but I wanted to see just how durable the stick-on strips were. 🙂

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The packaging is really easy to open and inside contains lots of information regarding best application. I applied two to the back, and two to the front. It’s similar to applying a band-aid. There is a break in the backing which you peel off, and then simply stick the strip on your garment and press down.

If you make a mistake, you can remove the strip and re-position within the first 10 or so seconds. After that the adhesive takes a stronger hold. You also don’t need to go overboard as these reflect very brightly as you’ll see in the photo below.

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My running group was very impressed by them and helped me to take some photos!

So, what happens when you put them through the washing machine? Well, so far (after one wash) they remain securely fastened to my shirt. I did not tumble dry.

Here’s a picture of the shirt just out of the washing machine. You can see it hasn’t lifted at all from the material. I let the shirt hang to dry before wearing again.

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Each pack (at time of posting) costs $14.95 from the Brilliant Reflective website. I could easily treat 2-3 items per pack, so that’s great value in my opinion. A small price to pay to increase your visibility and overall safety.

Aside from using on every other piece of outdoor running gear that I have, I couldn’t help thinking of all the other (non-running) uses for these.

My kids walk to the bus stop in the dark every morning. These strips will be going on their school bags and instrument cases so people driving in their cars have a better chance of seeing them crossing the road.

I should put a couple on my mail box to (hopefully) prevent people from reversing into it (has happened twice already).

If you park your car on the road, put one or two on your car bumpers/fenders so that other drivers won’t clip it on the way past. Same goes for trash cans if they sit at the side of the road to be emptied.

Can you think of any more?

Would you like to try them out? The code ” BRP25″ saves 25% off of all Multi/Assortment Packs over at the Brilliant Reflective website.

 

 

 

 

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Added: Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, Raleigh NC

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll 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 signed up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Raleigh, NC on April 8th. It’ll be my second ever Half Marathon and my first time running a Rock ‘n’ Roll series race.

(I’m very excited about how my race schedule is shaping up. It’s only January and I already have more races on my 2018 calendar than I raced last year).

I love the buzz of BIG races, and running through city streets with thousands of other runners. Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh hosted 9000 runners last year! How could I pass up this opportunity to run the streets of Raleigh, when I only live down the road?!

I’ve known about the Rock ‘n’ Roll series races for a number of years, but was not running at the level needed to sign up for a half or full marathon. This year that is changing. I’m running my first half in March this year, and then the Rock ‘n’ Roll half in April.

Goal Time

For my first half marathon in March, I’m aiming for 1h50m. That’ll be a 10min PR for me. I’m considering making use of a pacing group to help me attain the correct pace throughout.

However, after looking over the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh course, it’s going to be considerably more HILLY.

I mapped the official half marathon course out in Strava and it has an elevation gain of 763ft, which is around 2-3 times the elevation gain of my average training run.

So based on that, I’ll be happy to finish it in just under 2 hours. Of course, I may change this goal based on the results of my first half. 🙂

Hills Hills Hills

When I’ve heard people talk of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh race, they would usually mention how hilly it was in the same sentence — and it is — the organizers know it as well.

On the website they have a great mile-by-mile breakdown of the route so runner’s know what hills to expect throughout.

While my running crew will tell you I’m not shy of the odd hill, it’s always good to be prepared and know what to expect in a race. This lets you know when you can let go and give it all you’ve got! Crucial information!

Race Prep

So aside from training on some more hilly terrain, and becoming familiar with the course, what else should I be doing to get ready?

I have already gone over to Athlinks and added my name to the start line for Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh. That way I can see who the competition is, not that I’m competitive or anything! I notice there’s a few of my BibRave peeps running it as well. Looking forward to meeting them!

After the race I can go back there and claim my results. It’s cool to have all my results in one place.

Playlist

I also carefully checked out the race rules, and there is no mention of a earphone ban, so I will work on a playlist and run with my AfterShokz Trekz Airs! These earphones don’t even sit in your ears, so you can listen to your music and not zone out of your surroundings. Amazing!

Discount

Thinking of signing up for this race? I have a discount code for you. Use code RNRBRP2018 to take $15 off the half marathon!

 

2skin, or not 2skin: that is the question!

Disclaimer: I received pjuractive 2skin products 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!

Hands up — who likes a bit of chafing? Anyone? No?

Didn’t think so. No-one likes that. So when the opportunity arose to test an anti-chafing solution, called 2skin from pjuractive, I quickly volunteered.

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Fortunately, I don’t experience chafing on a regular basis, and while that’s a blessing it also has a undesired side effect — unpreparedness! So when chafing hits unexpectedly, it can leave me hurting for a day or two.

A couple of days before my 2skin samples arrived, I completed a long run in a new shirt. After the run my nipples were close to bleeding and hurt for 2-3 days. Not fun at all.

When the samples arrived in the mail, I applied some pjuractive 2skin to act as a protective layer to aid their recovery, and have been using the gel for all my runs over the last week or so.

I have tried other solutions in the past, that come in stick form like deodorants. They worked fine, but tended to wear off quickly and get caked onto my clothes.

pjuractive 2skin is nearly like an oil and a couple of drops goes far. You apply with your fingers and let dry for about 10 seconds before putting on your gear. It is water proof, sweat proof, and yet it washes off with soap and water quite easily,

Today, to try and reproduce the conditions of my last chafing experience, I wore another new shirt (BibRave!) and ran for six miles in it. Not a single issue. No chafing, no residue on my clothes, nothing.

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I suffer with a bit of Psoriasis, and the cold weather can really dry out the skin on my face. In warm weather, my sweat can cause the skin around my face to flare-up. So I applied some gel to protect my skin. pjuractive 2skin will not block your pores like other anti-chafing products and is actually dermatologically approved.

I’m going to keep on using 2skin, especially for longer distances and my upcoming races. It also comes in small bottles, and paper sachets, which are perfect for traveling!

Running Products: Brilliant Reflective, pjuractive and BibBoards!

So, it’s January and you may have decided to start running as one of your New Year resolutions. Heck, you might even have stuck to it — keep it up! Or you might be a seasoned runner who’s taken only a few rest days in the last few years. Well, for you and everyone in between, here’s some running products I’ve come across recently that you may find useful.

Brilliant Reflective Strips

I generally don’t do a great job of staying visible in the dark. In fact, most of my running clothes are either black or grey. Doh! These reflective strips from Brilliant Reflective come in Iron On, or Stick On varieties, and also in multiple colors.

pjuractive 2skin

This is one I could definitely use. pjuractive 2skin is an anti-chafing gel. I would be prone to a little chafing, especially on longer runs. Just this morning I wore my new club shirt and my poor nipples have been sore all day. TMI?

BibBoards

These interest me. On one of my last races, part of the swag was a set of magnets to hold your bib. One of my magnets was broken, so I didn’t use them. A friend who was also running that race did try the magnets and regretted doing so. However, these BibBoards look like they would hold the bib securely. Anyone tried these?

2017 in Running

In 2017, I logged a total of 1132.5 miles. That’s an average of 94 miles a month, or 22 miles a week, or a 5K every single day!

I ran a total of 226 times. This means every time I left for a run, I ran an average of 5 miles.

It’s weird now as a runner, that being sick is worse because I can’t get out to run. I was out sick and unable to run for 21 days in 2017.

All of that running took 184 hours and 7 mins, which means my average pace was around 9.45/mi — this includes road, trail, stroller runs etc.

I participated in five races throughout 2017: Krispy Kreme Challenge at the start of Feburary, Running Of The Bulls 8K in June, Night Nation 5K in August, Cup Cake 5K in October and the amazing Race Across Durham 10 miler in December.

My favorite races were the Running Of The Bulls 8k and the Race Across Durham, both organized by Bull City Running Co.

It took four pairs of running shoes to get me through this year:

  • Hoka One One Clifton 3 (445 mi — Retired)
  • Hoka One One Clifton 3 (390 mi — Retired)
  • Hoka One One Clifton 3 (255 mi — Active)
  • Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3 (25 mi — Active)

I like Hokas. 🙂

The Challenger ATR’s are for trails, which in 2017 became my new favorite running terrain, and the Eno River State Park became one of my favorite places to run.

2017 was the year for PRs: 4:18 for 1K in September, 7:24 for 1 mile in March, 23:45 for 5K in September, 51:34 for 10K in February, and 2:04:58 for 13.1 miles in May.

Aside from PRs, I ran my longest ever distance at 16 miles.

2018

In 2018 I would love to get my half-marathon time well under 2 hrs (hopefully in March at the Tobacco Road Marathon). I am also aiming to get my 10K time down to 50 mins or less.

In addition to just running, core strength training is something I need to work into my routine.

Also, in 2018 I will be part of the BibRave Pro team, which is an amazing opportunity to run and review races for free, plus review some of the newest running products on the market. Check out bibrave.com for race reviews before signing up for your next race!

 

Screw It — Winterize Your Old Running Shoes!

I was listening to a recent BibRave podcast and they were talking about a DIY hack to winterize your (old) running shoes. The trick involves screwing a number of sheet metal screws into the soles of your shoes to provide better traction on hard packed snow and ice. What a neat idea!!

So I did a bit of research online and found the following video which explains what to do.

I couldn’t work out why Liz wasn’t keen on me trying this out over the holidays and winterizing an old pair of Hoka Cliftons. It seemed like a no-brainer to me. I was planning to order the screws on Amazon to have everything I needed.

It all became clear on Christmas morning when I opened a set of YakTrax! She’s the best. I’ll just have to tuck this idea away for another time — like when I wear out the YakTrax.

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Tech: Convert Your Strava or GPX routes to Google Street View Hyperlapses

I came across a website that can covert your GPS running data into Google Street View Hyperlapses. I exported a GPX file from my morning run and produced the video above.

The website currently doesn’t support downloading your finished hyperlapse, so I had to perform the following steps to achieve this.

  1. Uploaded my GPX to gpxhyperlapse.com and adjusted the settings until satisfied with the output speed and frames.
  2. Add the Nimbus Screenshot & Screen Video Recorder extension to Chrome.
  3. Started screen recording and downloaded the finished video. It was in .webm format which I’d never heard of.
  4. Used an online video editor to crop the video to the frame size (removing rest of browser window, etc.).
  5. Converted to mp4, and uploaded to YouTube.

In other words, quite an effort really, but interesting all the same.