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,

Review: Brilliant Reflective

Disclaimer: I received two packages of 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!
We’ve all been there before.  We’re out for a late night / early morning run or bike ride and what’s on the forefront of our mind?  Watching out for oncoming traffic.  Sure, I try and wear bright colors and also take my headlamp, but sometimes it feels like I need more.
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Photo source: https://www.brilliantreflective.com/pages/brilliant-reflective-for-runners

When I first heard about Brilliant Reflective I was so excited to try it out because I want to be seen!  (If you’ve ever seen my bright neon Asics, you totally know what I mean.)  I was lucky enough to receive not one product, but two; one iron-on reflective strip package as well as a stick-on reflective strip package.
Soon after receiving my packages, I grabbed my 12 year old son and together we went outside to add some reflective strips to our bicycles and helmets.  I was amazed by how easy the reflective strips stuck to different surfaces of our bikes and helmets.
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We then took our newly decked out bikes up to the levee located not too far from our house.  We stopped and I set up my camera.  I told my 12 year old, “Pretend that you like me” and this is what he did.  (Yes, he’s a keeper.)
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Here’s a few key facts about Brilliant:
  • Brilliant is a new start-up with a mission to reduce automobile based injuries to runners, bikers, walkers, children, and outdoor enthusiasts
  • Brilliant comes in four different colors: red, blue, purple, and black
  • The stick-on product is semi-permanent which means they can be taken off in the future if needed
  • The reflective strips can be cut and applied anywhere: shoes, apparel, and equipment!

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You may be thinking, “Why do I need these reflective strips when many of my running / athletic clothes, shoes, and equipment already have reflective pieces on them”  Well, did you know that there’s actually four types of reflective material?  As stated on Brilliant’s website, there’s:

1. Cosmetic – No Visibility at 10 – 50 feet (most casual apparel)

2. Low Brightness – Low Visibility at 100 feet (typical running/cycling gear)

3. Medium Brightness – Moderate Visibility at 100 – 300 feet (running/cycling vest)

4. High Brightness – Significant Visibility at 300+ meters (Brilliant Reflective Strips)

Still not convinced?  Here’s what other BibRave Pros had to say about Brilliant Reflective:
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Purchase your own Brilliant Reflective strips by visiting bit.ly/BRforRunners.  Be sure to use code BRP35 to save 35%!
Find Brilliant Reflective on the socials:
How do you stay visible while outside late at night or early in the morning?  Where could you add some Brilliant Reflective strips to your shoes, apparel, or equipment?
Stay visible,
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Race Recap: Utah Valley Marathon

This was my first time running in Utah and therefore was my first time running the Utah Valley Marathon. “Why did you pick this out-of-state race?” you may be asking. Well, I entered Michelle’s giveaway on her blog runningwithattitude.com and I won! After finding a $170 roundtrip flight to Utah, I was in!

I knew that it would be tight squeeze to catch my flight on Friday since this day also happened to be the last day of school.  Fortunately, students were dismissed at noon which gave me the time I needed to make my 1:50pm flight.  I, in fact, had enough time at the airport to enjoy a mushroom pizza and finish my final assignment for an online class I was taking through UC San Diego extension. (Does anyone else take a picture of where they have parked their car so they won’t forget?)

My flight to Utah was short, sweet, and uneventful.  Since it was such a short trip, I had just a carry on and my purse.  This allowed for quick exit once I arrived to Salt Lake City.  I picked up my rental car and made my way to the Utah Valley Marathon expo.  Sadly, my rental car smelled so strongly of cigarette smoke, that I had to stop and purchase an air freshener to help mask the stench.

Due to traffic, it took me a little over an hour to get to the Utah Valley Marathon expo in downtown Provo.  Once I arrived to the Utah Valley Convention Center, it was easy to locate the expo and pick up my bib & race packet.  This was the Utah Valley Marathon’s 10th anniversary and because of that each participant received a race jacket instead of a Tshirt. I still wanted a Tshirt to go along with my jacket, so I bought one at the expo. Speaking of the expo, it was organized, well stocked with great vendors, and had a great line up of speakers!

After leaving the expo, I enjoyed the views surrounding Provo, found a local vegan Mexican restaurant, and checked into my hotel.  My hotel wasn’t anything to rave about, but what do I expect when I book one of the cheapest hotels I can find?  The room looked as though it hadn’t been cleaned (there was still a towel hanging up in the bathroom) and the room felt as though it was 90 degrees!  I ran the window air conditioning unit all night, but it seemed to have little effect on the overall temperature of the room.

I could not get over how majestic the surrounding mountains looked!  I too live fairly close to the mountains in the Sacramento Valley, but not quite as close as Provo’s mountains. As I looked at the mountains I had the revelation, “I’m going to be running those mountains!”

I laid out my race gear, a pre-race routine, and tried to get some sleep since I knew my alarm was set for 2:30am. Yikes!

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The Utah Valley Marathon is a point to point course. Participants load up on buses that take them to the starting line. The bus service begins at 3am and the last bus leaves at 4:15am. I ended up getting on a bus at about 3:30am. I packed up all of my stuff and checked out of the hotel at about 3:15am.  As I took the following picture, my thought was, “Wow!  It’s early!”

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It took about 45 minutes to arrive to the starting line. Once at the starting line, I was delighted to see fire pits in an open field to huddle around to stay warm. There were probably a total of 20 fire pits scattered around an open field and there were volunteers who walked around to make sure everyone’s fires were still lit.


If you’re thinking about doing the Utah Valley Marathon, I recommend taking something warm to wear and/or wrap yourself in at the starting line to help you stay warm. I took a blanket with me to the starting line and was glad I did. At about 15 minutes until the race started, I shoved my blanket in my drop bag and handed it over to a race volunteer. (Yes, it was 48 degrees when I arrived to the starting line at 4:16am and it dropped to 39 degrees at 5:36am when the sun starting rising!)


Before I knew it, it was time for the race to start.  I lined up near the 5:30 fellow Beast Pacer because I knew that with the elevation lack of training, I’d be running pretty slow.  I, however, had no idea how slow I’d actually be going.  Right from the start my stomach didn’t feel right and I was having difficult catching my breath.  I checked my heart-rate on my Garmin Forerunner 235 and it wasn’t too terribly high.  I just couldn’t catch my breath.  At mile 4, I stopped to use the restroom, and again at mile 7, and again at mile 13.  I didn’t mind, however, because I was there to enjoy the views and have fun!

As for the course, it was probably one of the most scenic races I’ve ever ran! Bodies of water (including a waterfall), greenery, mountains, rock faces, etc. With such a wide variety of views, there’s bound to be an elevation change! The race started about about 6,200 ft. and ended at about 4,200 ft. My home is located at 60 ft. above sea level. To say that I was not trained to be running at elevation would be an understatement. Next time, I will train more and get some training in at a higher elevation.


Throughout the course, there were plenty of porta-potties, Cliff gels, water, Powerade, and enthusiastic volunteers. There were even frozen Otter Pops at about mile 24. That was the best tasting Otter Pop EVER!

One of many highlights of the course was meeting fellow Pro Compression ambassadors Stephanie and Holly at one of the final aid stations.  All three of us were wearing the June sock of the month.

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The Utah Valley Marathon’s finish line was one of the best I’ve seen. It was in the middle of University Ave., there were many people cheering, and there were Jamba Juice smoothies waiting for us once we crossed the finish line!  Fortunately, I had some cash in my Nathan hydration bottle because there were cinnamon rolls for sale at the finish line. #irunforcinnamonrolls


Overall, I’d highly recommend the Utah Valley Marathon. Hmm… I may even have to go back and run the race again sometime.  This race was extra special to me, as I mentioned on my Instagram post because it is the end of my running for a while. I’ll still be moving my body and exercising, but I’ve been ordered to not participate in any high impact workouts until further notice. The #utahvalleymarathon was my third full marathon for 2017 and my 15th lifetime marathon. It was an amazing, sole-filling, whirlwind of a weekend, but so worth it!

Do you have any upcoming races that you’re excited about?  If you’re looking for a race to sign up for, be sure to check out my discount page for codes to use for Rock ‘n’ Roll races, wine country half marathons, Rock ‘n’ Roll races, and more!

Check out my Utah Valley Marathon race review and others at BibRave.com

Find me on the socials: InstagramTwitter / Facebook / YouTube 

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Until next time,

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