Review: Oofos… Feel the Ooo

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Oofos 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 don’t know about you, but the first thing that I want to do after a run, is take my shoes off (not to mention also taking off all of my sweaty clothes)!  After I take my shoes off, the question then becomes, “What do I put on my feet?”  Before Oofos entered my life, I’d normally just throw on any ‘ol pair of sandals.  Now, however, with my Oofos, my body can tell a difference and its thrilled!

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Makes you say, “Oooo”

Oofos slogan, “Feel the Ooo”, is so appropriate!  I can guarantee that the first time you put on a pair of Oofos, you will make an audible, “Oooo” sound.  Here’s a clip of my 12 year old putting on a pair of Oofos for the first time. (Note: When he says, “It feels weird,” what he really means is, “It feels so amazing!”)

My husband also tried on my Oofos.  After trying them on, he quickly hopped online to purchase himself a pair.  Here’s my husband and son discussing how amazing the Oofos felt and trying to decide which color to buy.

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What’s so great about Oofos?

  1. ABSORBS MORE SHOCK THAN TRADITIONAL FOAMS – Traditional athletic shoe foams are designed to “rebound” and propel you forward. With OOfoam, however, it does the opposite, absorbing 37% more shock with every step than traditional footwear foam.
  2. REDUCES STRESS ON SORE FEET, KNEES AND BACK – Your feet and joints take a pounding on hard surfaces everyday. Slipping on OOFOS after a workout, provides them with relief and a chance to recover.
  3. CRADLES YOUR ARCHES – Unlike flip-flops, the OOFOS patented footbed is designed with tremendous arch support to take the pressure off of ankles, knees and hips, as well as your lower back.
  4. ENABLES MORE NATURAL MOTION – Biomechanically designed, OOFOS flex with both your foot and the ground. The soft, flexible OOfoam material enables your foot to articulate the way nature intended. (Oofos.com)

An Everyday Shoe

While testing out my Oofos, my husband and I traveled to Cancun, Mexico.  Yes, my Oofos most certainly came along with us!  Here’s my Oofos on the beach.

img_7027Here’s my Oofos on our kayak. (The Oofos are made with a moisture resistant closed cell foam which is shower-ready and machine washable!)

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Here’s my Oofos during a relaxing morning by the ocean with a mimosa in hand.

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After spending a whole day walking around with my brown sandals on, I could not wait to put on my Oofos to finally feel some relief from my tried feet, ankles, knees, and back!

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Although my pair of Women’s OOriginal Sport Sandal may seem a little big, it’s amazing how lightweight they are!  They provide the support my body needs while adding minimal weight to my feet!

One Monday evening, while at my friend’s house to watch the Bachelorette, my friend asked, “Are those Oofos really as great as you say they are?”

I then took off my Oofos, handed them to her, and said, “Try them on for yourself.”

As soon as she put them on, she giggled and said, “Wow!  These are amazing!”

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Recently, while at the Oakland Town’s Half expo representing the California International Marathon, I spotted some Oofos for sale at a booth across from me.  I so badly wanted to purchase a pair of the Women’s OOlala sandals, but I was a good girl and kept my wallet put away.  (I’ve spent way too much money lately for my classroom!)

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In the end, I’d highly recommend that everyone own at least one pair of Oofos.  Wear them before you workout, after you workout, and even on your rest days like I did below.

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Check out what my fellow BibRave Pros had to say about their Oofos.

Jeannine     Amy     James     Vanessa

Do you own a pair of Oofos?  If so, what do you think about them?  If you don’t own a pair of Oofos, what do you normally wear after a hard run / workout?

Until next time,

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Review: Knuckle Lights… See and Be Seen

Disclaimer: I received a set of Knuckle Lights 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!

If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, you’ve surely seen my early am running posts.  As a busy wife, mom, and 5th grade teacher, running at 4:45am makes sense. When I try to run in the evenings, helping kids with homework, making dinner, or simply feeling exhausted all get in the way.  It’s no surprise that at 4:45am, it is dark outside and I have found myself in need of a light of some sort.  Enter Knuckle Lights.

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Similarly to  Dan Hopkins, founder of Knuckle Lights, I too have tried carrying a flashlight with me and wearing a headlamp.  The flashlight was annoying since I didn’t like having something in my hand that I had to carry.  The headlamp was annoying because 1) it’d leave a line indent going across my forehead (and it’d still be faintly visible when I went into work) 2) it’d hurt my head.  When I found out about Knuckle Lights, I couldn’t wait to try them!

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Here are my thoughts after testing out my Knuckle Lights…

Pros

  • Lightweight – hardly felt them there!
  • Bright – it was easy to see in front of me!
  • Steady – the wide beam of light did not bounce around, even with my arms moving!
  • Adjustable – the knuckle lights can be made smaller or larger depending on hand size and/or with gloves.
  • Magnetic – great for storing at home and once the sun comes out! (Since I usually wear my SPIbelt, I was able to attach my Knuckle Lights to my SPIbelt once the sun came out.)

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Cons

  • Sweaty – Yes, they made my hands sweat.  Not really too big of a deal because when my hands would begin to feel a little sweaty, I’d simply adjust where the knuckle lights were placed.

The Knuckle Lights that I tested out were the Knuckle Lights Colors.  Here are the specs:

  • 2 LIGHTS PER SET — The units connect together magnetically. The soft silicone straps can be adjusted to fit any size hand and even over gloves.
  • 120 TOTAL LUMENS — The super bright lights provide a wide flood beam, providing a steady, even light in front of you that does not bounce around, even with your arms moving.
  • BATTERIES INCLUDED — Each Unit Operates on 1 X AA Battery.
  • WATERPROOF — Units can be used in any type of weather.
  • Price point: $39.99 and ALWAYS free standard shipping for US orders

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Knuckle Lights has recently come out with a new, rechargeable design!  So, if you’re looking for a product that can be recharged, be sure to check out the new design.  (I’ve been using my Knuckle Lights for about a month now and the batteries are still going strong!)  There’s also the original Knuckle Lights design.

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So, if you’re an early morning runner such as myself or a late night runner, then you need to ditch your flashlight / headlamp and get yourself some Knuckle Lights! BONUS: Use code “BRKL2017” for 15% off your purchase at https://www.knucklelights.com/ (expires 9/1/17).

Check out what my fellow BibRave Pros thought about their Knuckle Lights.

Mai     Allison     Amy W.     Lindsey     Tedrick

Until next time,

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Thursday Thoughts

I’ve said it once I’ll say it again… Thursday is my favorite day of the week. Why? Well it’s because you’re excited about the weekend, but the weekend isn’t quite here yet. By the time the weekend starts you are sad because you know the weekend is coming to an end. What’s your favorite day of the week? 

Disclaimer: this blog is going to be filled with a lot of random thoughts. Not all of the thoughts will pertain to running. 

Can you believe that three weeks from today school starts?  I told that to a friend yesterday and her response was, “It seems like just yesterday summer vacation started!” As much as I love summer I’m actually very excited for the new school year! Out of my nine years of teaching, this will be my first time to be at a school for more than two years! 

Wow! I just counted and I’ve been on summer vacation for six weeks now. It doesn’t really feel like it’s been six weeks. But on the other hand it does. A lot has happened this summer. I ran a marathon in Utah, the daughter traveled  to Europe, and as a family we traveled to Napa, San Francisco, San Diego, and Palm Springs. In two days, the husband and I leave for another week long vacation! Yes, we are truly utilizing our summer vacation!


Do not be fooled however, because this summer has not been all sunshine and happiness. There’s been some trials and struggles but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Right? 

Through the struggles, I find myself being incredibly thankful for my husband, for my parents, and other friends and family members who have been so supportive. Truly I am blessed beyond measure. 

It doesn’t do any good to stay in the muck of struggles. Instead, you must move on and trust that God knows what he’s doing. How am I moving in and trusting God? Well, I’m finding projects to work on. Naturally, I am someone who doesn’t do well being still.  So I’ve worked on a few big projects this summer which included doing some curriculum work as a side job, organizing my pantry, organizing my closet and transitioning to flexible seating in my classroom. 


As you can see, these Thursday thoughts are quite unorganized partly due to the fact that I am writing them by speaking into my phone while out on a walk at 5:30 in the morning. Some of the best thoughts are done in the wee hours of the morning. My 4:50 AM partner is moving to the other side of the town, so I may be having some more solo wee hours of the mornings in my near future. 


Speaking of the future, what’s next for Run Strong Run? I have Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver on tap for October and the California International Marathon (CIM) in December. Use BIBRAVE15 to save $15 off of Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver half marathon and use code RUNSTRONG10 to save $10 off of CIM

Do you ever find yourself needing to clear your mind of random thoughts? What’s coming up on your schedule that you’re excited about? 

Until next time,

Race Recap: San Diego Craft Classic 

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Craft Classic San Diego race 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 stated in my Friday Feels blog, this was my first timing running a race in San Diego.  I, therefore, didn’t really now what to expect when I signed up for the Craft Classic half marathon.  Now that I’ve completed the race, I’m ready for more San Diego races and perhaps a relocation down to Southern California! 😉 

Our first stop upon arriving to San Diego was Road Runner Sports, the location of the race expo. Bib pick up was well organized, quick, and easy. My race swag included a pint glass, a racer back tank top, and a customized bib!


One of the things I was looking forward to about the race was the Green Flash Brewery beer at the finish line!


Since I was on a family vacation with the husband and two kids, they all got to join me at the expo. They enjoyed trying all the Nuun flavors and the Honey Stinger waffle and energy chew samples. 

Earlier in the week, while on Twitter, the Fat to Finish Line gang reached out to me and told me to stop by to say hi at the expo. So, that is just what I did! It was so wonderful to talk about weight loss (since I too have gone from fat to finish line) and Ragnar races. I have yet to do a Ragnar, but it is definitely on my bucket list. 


That evening, I prepared myself for my half marathon (as best as I could since I had recently taken a month off of running). One of the things I do in preparation for a race, is I lay out everything for a #flatrunner picture. 


The next morning, I woke up at 3:30am. My goal was to leave the hotel at 4:15am so I could catch a shuttle to the starting line at about 4:45am. (The shuttles ran from 4:30 – 5:30.) I ended up being right on time, got a front row view on the shuttle, and made it to the starting line with a little over an hour to spare!


I had the pleasure of meeting up with my fellow BibRave Pro ambassador, Mai, at the starting line.


I also got to meet up with some fellow ProCompression ambassadors too! 


In no time at all, it was time to line up at the starting line. There were two waves of runners: the under two hour group and the over two hour group. Maria and I waved goodbye as Mai and the other Pro ambassadors started in wave one. A little less than 1.5 years ago, I earned my half marathon PR of 1:52:32. I will get back there someday, but today was not the day. 

 

Maria and I ran together for the first couple of miles and then I began my walk/run intervals for the remainder of the course. Taking a month off of running really takes a toll on one’s ability to run. 😂 

The aid station at mile 3 was probably one of my favorites since they had popsicles! Yes, popsicles at 7am when you’re hot and sweaty are the BEST!


From that point on, the race was fairly uneventful. I had the 2:30 pacer come up behind me at about mile 6 and two thoughts came through my mind, “Ugh! Am I really that slow?! Hmmm… can I keep up with him?” Sadly, yes, I really was running that slowly and no, I was not able to keep up with him. Don’t be fooled by the smile on my face… yes, I was having fun, but my body was revolting against me! Side note: way to go 2:30 pacers! 


The next notable event happened sometime between miles 9 – 10. This is where we approached a monstrous hill. It was steep and long. This hill even has its own split on the race results! It’s the King of the Mountain split. The hill may not look that scary in the picture, but it was a beast! 


Slowly, but surely I finally made it to the finish line! I stocked up on some Honey Stinger waffles, filled up my water bottle, and made my way to the Green Flash beer garden. 


I walked around and took a few more pictures before heading back to the hotel. 


Interested in seeing more of the Craft Classic San Diego course? Be sure to check out my Craft Classic San Diego 2017 video! While you’re at it, please also subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking SUBSCRIBE. 

Overall, I’d highly recommend the Craft Classic San Diego race! You can read my full race review at BibRave.com and while you’re at it, read other reviews and/or write your own race reviews! 


Until next time,

Review: Healthy, Quick, and Delicious Luvo Meals

Disclaimer: I received Luvo Meals 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!

As a full time teacher, wife, mom of two, and runner/blogger, I am often on the lookout for quick and nutritious meals.  I and my colleagues often pack frozen meals to heat up and eat during our lunch break. When I was offered the opportunity to try a new brand of frozen meals, I said, “Yes, please!”  I was quite stoked when my package of 10 Luvo free meal coupons arrived!


Prior to accepting the offer to try and review the Luvo meals, I went to the Luvo website to see which of my local stores sold Luvo products and to also see if they had vegetarian meal options. (Check out my journey towards becoming a no-meat athlete HERE.)  I was pleased to find that several stores in my area sell Luvo meals AND Luvo has many vegetarian options. 

Here’s what I found when I headed out to purchase my Luvo meals:

Safeway – $4.99

Whole Foods – $5.99 with a $1.00 off coupon taped to the box

Walmart – $4.42

Bel-Air – regularly priced $5.99 on sale for $4.99

Raley’s – regularly priced $5.99 on sale for $4.99


Nugget Market – $5.99

Sadly, when I traveled to six stores within a 40 mile radius to my house, I did not find any vegetarian meals. I still purchased a few meals, however, since the rest of my family are not vegetarians. The first meal I prepared for my husband was turkey meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  

The first thing that surprised me about the Luvo meal was that it was “steamazing”. It steams perfectly in the paper pouch. There’s no puncturing, no mess, and it slides out easily when it’s done cooking! My husband’s first comment after tasting his meal was, “It tastes homemade.” 


After trying hard to find some local vegetarian Luvo meal options, I contacted BibRave to let them know I wasn’t able to find any. They ended up contacting Luvo. Luvo was kind enough to send me not one, not two, but eight vegetarian meals to try! So awesome!


The first meal I decided to try was the  quinoa and vegetable enchilada meal. Again, it steamed nicely in the pouch, and tasted great! If I could only eat one type of food for the rest of my life, it’d be Mexican food. Seriously, I am always in the mood for Mexican food! This quinoa and vegetable enchilada meal not only helped to give me my Mexican food fix, but it also had a little spice to it which made my taste buds dance!


As I began to do some more research in the Luvo brand, one thing that caputured my attention was their 3-2-none promise. The three things they focus on are: fruits and veggies, whole grains, and quality proteins. The two things they limit are sodium and added sugar. None. The things they leave out entirely are artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. (Read more at http://luvoinc.com/blog/fighting-obesity-basic-nutrition/


One of my fellow BibRave PROs, Lindsey, posted that her favorite meal was the steel cut oatmeal meal, so that was my next meal to try. Oatmeal is not a food that I eat vey often. This Luvo meal, however, tasted so good that I think I could eat this every morning for breakfast and not grow tired of it! (As you can see from the pic collage below, it smelled so good that I didn’t even take a before pic. I only got the after pic.)



I recently spent an entire day eating only Luvo meals! I ate a steel cut oatmeal for breakfast, a so cal kale and bean bowl for lunch, and a quinoa and vegetable enchilada for dinner. I felt full, energized, and even ran 3.1 miles that evening for the first time in a month! 

Overall, I’d recommend Luvo meals if you’re looking for a quick and nutritious meal option. The only con I’d comment on is the lack of variety found in my local stores. Perhaps it’s due to brand being fairly new in the market? Perhaps it’s my area? Not sure, but what I am sure about is it’s true… Luvo meals are healthy, quick, and delicious! 

What are you favorite healthy, quick, and delicious meals? Have you tried Luvo meals before? Have you seen them at your local grocery store? 

Until next time,