The Fitness Bank Spring Step Challenge Starts Today – Get stepping with Des!

Disclaimer: I received an Amazon gift card 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!

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These are strange times, my friends.  COVID-19 has interrupted everyone’s daily lives and no one seems to be immune from the stress of it all.  Social distancing has definitely changed all of our lives in that we cannot see our friends, family and social support network like we would normally. My life has changed now in a few ways: 1) I a working from home full time instead of in an office with colleagues, 2) my children are not in school but instead home full time with me all day, 3) my husband is still reporting to work (for now), which means I am trying to work, educate, and parent at the same time, 4) my running routine is turned upside down at this point mainly due to everyone and everything is at home right now.

Needless to say, between all of these life changes and races being canceled, my motivation to run has waned at times. Finding a way to fit it all in has become a huge challenge.  However, I know that as a runner it is vital that I find a way to continue exercise/daily activity as much as I possibly can, for my own sanity and health. But how, you ask? Well, it’s going to take a little creativity AND a bit more motivation…

Enter the Fitness Bank Des Linden Spring Step Challenge!

As you all probably know, COVID-19 has impacted all runners; the impact of social distancing alone had the power to reset goals for professional athletes like Des Linden. She was on track for Boston 2020 in the Spring and the original thought was that people would step along with her during training.  Now, Boston has moved to the Fall but Des hasn’t stopped moving. This is a unique way for runners to stay motivated from an acceptably social distance AND participate in a fun challenge with the amazing Des Linden and I am HERE FOR IT!

I can’t ever seem to back down from a good challenge and this one is pretty amazing! It is a free opportunity to win some amazing prizes.  How do you enter? Easy! Grab your step tracking device (Fitbit, Garmin or through AppleHealth or GoogleFit). and get started:

1) Enter anytime between now through April 30th!
2) Download the Fitness Bank app. It is FREE and you don’t need to open a Fitness Savings Account to join.
3) Join Des’ Group on the app.
4) Join the Step Challenge on or after April 1st.

There are some amazing prizes whether you compete to win or participate to win! Below is just a list of the prizes that participants can win; see the complete listing on the Fitness Bank page.

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5 Participants will win:

  • A Signed Poster from Des
  • 1 Pair of Brooks Running Shoes
  • 25,000 Bonus Steps
  • FitnessBank Prize Pack

1 Grand Prize Winner (1 of the 5 participation winners) will win:

  • Free Year of Racing for 2 (one race a month for 2 people, of any distance, up to $150 max-entry fee) – reimbursed via deposits in your Fitness Savings Account)
  • An additional 50,000 Bonus Steps

So, what are you waiting for–today is the first day of the Challenge. We are all in this together, so let’s run alone together! I hope whatever your fitness goals are for April, you stay healthy and happy.

Check out some of my fellow BibRave Pros thoughts on the Fitness Bank Des Spring Step Challenge and how they are staying motivated below!

Amy

Danielle

Jessica

Ken

Mike

Samantha

Sarah

 

 

 

 

 

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast E21: “Boston Bound (Again!)” with Rhonda Braden

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast E21: “Boston Bound (Again!)” with Rhonda Braden

 

 

Stephanie interviews her friend and NYC marathon travel mate, Rhonda Braden in this episode. They talk about the start of Rhonda’s running journey and how she’s made her dream of running Boston come true-more than once! Rhonda & Stephanie also share some fun stories including their adventures during the 2018 NYC Marathon as well as Ragnar Trail Relay.  Lastly, Rhonda offers some great suggestions to keep healthy and motivated during your training.

NOW® Foods Sports Nutrition Review

Disclaimer: I received NOW® Foods BCAA Blast Powder and Effer-Hydrate Effervescent Tablets 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!

 

When I found out I had the chance to try out sports nutrition products by NOW® Foods in my role as a BibRave Pro, I jumped on the chance! I am always up for trying new ways to keep my body healthy and recover well. Plus, I am married to a registered dietitian, so I always like to get his take on different types of sports nutrition products and see how I can incorporate them into my training; it keeps things interesting.

I received the BCAA Blast Powder in Natural Raspberry Flavor; it was stored in a 600 gram (21.06 oz.) plastic container.  Each scoop of powder is 30 calories and includes 100 mg of caffeine. The website bills it as “…a simple, yet effective pre-workout supplement that can help maximize output during workouts.* Each serving blasts you with 5 g of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) to support muscle growth, retention, and recovery.*”

The Effer-Hydrate Effervescent Tablets came in Tropical Punch flavor and were packaged in a small 1.9 oz plastic tube.

They also provided me with a BPA-free shaker cup!

 

I am currently training for my next ultra race which is a 100K distance. I feel like I fuel well, but I am always looking for products to aid in recovery and help provide energy to get me through those high mileage weeks. Many endurance athletes will use BCAA supplements to boost muscle growth and enhance performance. I started using the BCAA Powder before or after long runs or hard workouts in hopes of helping reduce fatigue and aid in recovery.  My review is as follows:

Pros for me on this brand are as follows:

  • Products are friendly to consumers who are vegan, have nut allergies or need gluten-free or dairy-free products.
  • The company has been around for a while now and has production and distribution centers here in the United States.
  • Natural products and high quality are a major goal for this company.
  • Pricing seems inline or slightly lower than similar products on the market.
  • Neither product upset my stomach, which can happen with some supplements.
  • I felt good on my days after a harder run or long run while using these products.
  • While some BCAA powders don’t dissolve well or don’t taste great, I found this one mixed really well and I like the raspberry flavor.

Cons for me on this brand are as follows:

  • The flavor of the tablets was not my favorite. The first tablet I tried did not dissolve well or go down smoothly at all. The rest of the tabs in the container seemed to dissolve okay if I let them sit long enough.  A different flavor may have provided a different experience for me.
  • The closest place to purchase this in-store for me is a 30-minute drive. I would definitely need to plan ahead to get out and purchase at a store or buy in bulk online so I don’t run out.

All in all, the items I tested had more pros than cons.  If you haven’t tried a BCAA powder, I would recommend starting here as the product has a mild flavor and didn’t upset my stomach as other brands have in the past!

Through April 30, 2020, use code NOWSPORTS20 for 20% off your purchase of NOW® Sports products at nowsportsproducts.com. *

Curious about what others think? Here are some reviews from my fellow BibRave Pros!

Sarah

Shannon

Lacey

Michelle

*Offer valid 2/1/20 through 11:59 PM Central Standard Time 4/30/20. Offer valid only on products found at https://www.nowfoods.com/sports-nutrition/sports-nutrition-all-products. Prices are as shown. Some exclusions apply. Must use coupon code NOWSPORTS20 in the Promotion Code field at checkout while supplies last at nowfoods.com. This offer does not apply to applicable taxes or shipping & handling. Offer cannot be used on previous purchases. NOW Health Group, Inc. has the right to end any promotion at any time.

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast E20: “We Are All Works in Progress” with Kim Priest

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast E20: “We Are All Works in Progress” with Kim Priest

 

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Season 2 of the Bluegrass BAMR podcast kicks off with runner and physical therapist, Kim Priest, sharing her story of returning to running. She shares her feelings about running later in life and provides insight to those who want to run but are not sure where to start. Kim also talks about her love of trail running and training her first 50K, The Knobstone Knockout! I hope you glean some life wisdom from this episode as Kim reminds us we are all works in progress.

Show Notes:

The Knobstone Knockout

Trail Sisters Louisville

 

Registered and ready for the 2020 Urban Bourbon Half Marathon

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the 2020 Urban Bourbon 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!”

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It is always a good start to 2020 when you find out you are going to run one of the premier half marathons in Kentucky.  I recently received an email inviting me to run the 2020 Urban Bourbon Half Marathon as a BibRave Pro (BRP)! As many of you know, I have been a BRP for a little over 2 years now and I am really enjoying my role.  I am able to learn so much about races across the United States, as well those in my own backyard, including the Urban Bourbon!

I am familiar with this race as my running club has been involved for several years now providing support as a water stop group.  We have many ladies that love running this event each year.  In 2019, I was able to step away from the supporting role and become one in the cast of characters actually running this race.   I was fortunate enough to run the race with several other women in my running group and we had a blast! (see my 2019 review here). Here are just a few reasons why I highly recommend this race:

The race management

    • This race has all of the details thought out for you!  The race website is easy to navigate and online registration is a breeze.  The volunteers are amazing and it is clear that they have thought of everything when it comes down to the details. From gear check to the after-party, I had a seamless experience on race day.

The pre-race festivities

81660750_10221488679984943_6564571789236633600_nThe race doesn’t have a true expo, but they do have a nice set up for packet pick-up at Slugger Stadium in downtown Louisville not far from the next day’s start/finish line.  There is bourbon sampling and some fun photo ops available. Fleet Feet has a shop set up for any last-minute needs you may have while you are there. Packet pick-up line wait times were minimal. There is also a gift shop for those things you forgot to purchase on the website or just decide to get while you are there for fun. Should you purchase the VIP packet pick-up option, you and a guest get to pick up at a local urban distillery location and eat/drink bourbon, which is a super fun option!

The course

    • I love this course. It is urban as it starts and ends in downtown, but you do get to run through some other scenic parts of Louisville, including the gorgeous (and slightly hilly) Cherokee Park.  The water stops are full of fun, music, and excitement. I loved getting to see all of the local people cheering us on. For those interested, there are plenty of port-a-potties on the way as well. The finish line is packed full of spectators and there are free photo ops everywhere.

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The after-party

    • Did someone say bourbon? That’s right, with your registration comes a brilliant orange wrist band that gets you into the best after-party filled with free pizza, burgoo, beer and multiple tastings of the best bourbon brands! And, there is live music provided by a local band to boot. All of this is under the cover of the 4th Street Live pavilion, in the heart of downtown Louisville.
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Amazing live music by local band The Crashers

What are you waiting for? Join me and a few thousand of your new best friends on October 17, 2020.

Use code BOURBONRAVE2020 for 10% off your registration at urbanbourbonhalf.com

 

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Use the code above between now and January 31st, and get this sweet tumbler FREE!

Runners, whether you are a local runner or a world traveler, you have to visit Louisville for this total bourbon running experience!

Read my BibRave Race Review here.

 

 

Read what my fellow BibRave Pros have to say about the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon:

Mark

Karen

Frank

 

 

 

Saying good-bye to 2019…

Wow, 2019 was quite a ride. I went into it thinking it could not get any better than 2018 but I am coming out of it pleasantly surprised.  Here are a few highlights from the year. I have to say thank you to my family and my friends who supported me in all of my running adventures this year, especially my Irun4 Buddy, Jessica.

You are all my inspiration and motivation.  

  • My BibRave Pro Status was renewed for 2019
  • Launched my new podcast- The Bluegrass BAMR podcast
  • Ran my first 50-mile road race (AG winner)
  • Met Kathrine Switzer AND got to run with her (Fan Girl Moment)
  • Ran in two new places:  on a cruise ship in the Bahamas and as well as road and dirt trails in Canada
  • Ran a record number of Half Marathon races and hit a sub 2 goal
  • Ran (and survived) the MOST miles I have ever run in a summer training cycle and ran the most races I ever have in the summer months. Heat is my kryptonite!
  • Sherpa for my husbands first 70.3 Ironman in Canada as well as my sons’ second triathlon here in Louisville

Which do you love more: Trail or Road Running?

So, I have been thinking a lot about my running journey…not only the past but what the future will look like, including race goals for next year. In talking with other people about their 2020 goals, it is interesting to talk to them about trail running versus road running. In particular, if/why a person can love one over the other…so, here is my list of pros/cons for both..keep in mind, this is just one runner’s opinion… (you can catch my podcast about it here if you want to hear from other bamrs)!

Trail Running

20190622_093823 - CopyPros:

  • The scenery! I love the landscape and surrounding views on trails.
  • Trails take me back to my youth! Growing up, we ran around in the woods most of the day at my aunt’s house. Trail running reminds me of those good ole’ days.
  • The people- trail runners are some of the coolest people I know.
  • It’s always a tough work out. 😉 But it is seemingly much kinder to my body than road running.

Cons:

  • I have to pay attention to where I am going (I have to look down and slow down)! For my type A personality, this takes practice.
  • I have to drive a bit to get the elevation I seek.  The trails I love nearest to me are 35 minutes away…that is over an hour commute and can make for an even longer day on a long-run day.
  • Environmental hazards in the summer…you got it…snakes, bears, mountain lions. If it has teeth and/or venom, it is hiding in the woods. And typically in the woods, you are more isolated, which can be a negative if you need medical attention.
  • Weather can quickly impact your running plans.
  • It’s always a tough work out.

Road Running

Pros:

  • I love to zone out when I run and road running allows me to do just that! I don’t have to look down or worry about my footing like I do when I am on trails.
  • For me, it is easier to track perceived effort on roads than trails.
  • I can walk out of my door and easily hit the pavement for a short or long run; I don’t have to commute to find a road path.
  • It is easier to find running partners for a road run; it seems in my part of the world, trail running isn’t as popular as road running.

Honor Run 2019_Finish Line_1392

Cons:

  • Traffic hazards! Cars, cyclists, kids veering out onto a running path…I have even been clipped by a truck (sorry, mom) before and it isn’t a good feeling.
  •  My easy runs on the road always feel so much easier than easy runs on trails.
  • Road running is possibly harder on my body than trail running? The impact of my legs and feet on pavement that doesn’t give versus soft earth is probably going to catch up with me at some point.

 

The Verdict

Can one person love trails over roads? Yes, I know people that say so…but, as you can see, I don’t have one clear favorite! Last year I had the most mileage on trails to date and ran 2 trail races (marathon and ultra distance) and I highly recommend it! I do lament I am not training for any trail races right now, however with a full-time job and kids’ activities it isn’t practical for me to try and train for trails.

trail-vs-road-square_300x300For now, road running will remain where I get the majority of my miles but trail running always has a place in my heart.

Do you have a favorite?

Leave a comment and let me know which it is: Trail or Road?

 

 

 

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast E19: Overcoming Obstacles with April Castle

 

Overcoming Obstacles with April Castle

 

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In episode 19, Stephanie sits down to chat with April Castle, mom, wife and OCR athlete. April shares how she started running later in life and describes when she fell in love with obstacle course races. She also explains how she overcame an OCR injury and is subsequently training for her next race: another 50K. April explains the importance of believing in yourself and to treat life as an obstacle course by just continuing to move forward, despite the obstacles!
Show Notes
Find April on Instagram @AprilCastle

 

Don’t forget to subscribe and rate my podcast! It helps other people find the show. Click here now.

 

 

Giving Good Vibez with Aftershokz

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Aftershokz Aeropex to review and a pair of Titaniums to give 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!

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If you know me at all, you know I am a HUGE fan of Aftershokz products. My husband gifted me a pair of Titanium headphones several years ago for Christmas and I have never owned another pair (we still have that pair). I also have a pair of the Air and Xtrainerz (their MP3 design).  When I heard that I was going to have the chance to test out the latest model – the Aeropex – I thought, there is no way Aftershokz could top themselves. Wow, was I wrong!

My first impression when I pulled the Aeropex out of the box? “Heyyy, Sexxxyyy!”

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  • Sleek new design – The design is updated with softer curves. Visually, they are beautiful. The buttons are slightly different and easier to access as well.
  • Lighter weight – I could immediately feel the difference in the design and overall weight of this model.

And then I paired them to my phone and turned the music on!  

  • Quality: By far, the best quality sound of any model to date! The bass was delivered with less bounce if that makes sense. And, these seem to fit my head a little better than previous models. As with the other models, I barely even notice when they are on they are so light!

img_4101Not only does the company offer amazing products, but they are also very generous. Not only did I receive a model to test, but they also sent me a pair of Aftershokz Titanium to gift as part of their #GiveGoodVibez campaign.  You can check out my Instagram and Twitter feeds to see who I gifted my headphones to this week, but spoiler alert: they were gifted to a very deserving teacher in my community.

Are you interested in purchasing your own pair of quality, bone conduction headphones from Aftershokz AND get a free pair of Titaniums to gift to someone this holiday season*?  If you said, yes, have I got a deal for you!

To get exclusive access to the ‘Buy One, Give One’ Black Friday Deal head over to https://givegoodvibez.aftershokz.com/ and enter your email. Then, on Black Friday use your exclusive access info to purchase a pair of wireless AfterShokz and you’ll receive a pair of open box AfterShokz Titaniums to give to someone else for free! This offer is limited to the first 5000 purchases, so be ready to shop on Friday.

*Once you give away your spare pair, don’t forget to spread more good vibez by sharing your story on social media. Be sure to tag @AfterShokz and use #GiveGoodVibez.

Check out these stories from my fellow BibRave Pros about Giving Good Vibez and the new Aeropex headphones!

Jessica

RunAndSmile

Runderwear’s Paris Marathon Sweepstakes – Enter now!

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Disclaimer: I received Runderwear 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!

Many people that know me don’t know that I took 4 years of French class and had the opportunity to go to Paris with my high school French teacher.   She would talk about walking along the river Seine, visiting the Louvre, or just taking in the scenery from a small cafe table.  And, the food!  We would have days when she would bring in “french” food for us to sample that she purchased or made on her own…. slices of bread, tarts, quiche, and even a Buche de Noel! She made Paris sound even better than it looked in our textbooks. Sadly, I didn’t make that trip, and since then have always wanted to go. I still think I will visit Paris one day, but in the meantime, I would love for you to go and even run through the streets as a participant in the 2020 Paris Marathon!

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Can you imagine running the Paris Marathon in the Spring?

*Start line at the Arc de Triomphe*

*Run through the Place de la Bastille*

*Views of the Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower*

 

Our friends at Runderwear are giving away a chance to win a trip to run the Paris Marathon in 2020.

The sweepstakes include:

  • Two (2) admissions to the Paris Marathon in April 2020;
  • Roundtrip airfare for two (2) from the United States to London, England;paris marathon
  • Hotel accommodations for one night in London, England;
  • Two (2) Eurostar tickets from London, England to Paris, France;
  • Hotel accommodations for three nights in Paris, France;
  • A full Runderwear kit;
  • plus, additional partner prizes!

Read all of the details and ENTER NOW at bit.ly/bibraveparis

 

Check out what my BibRave Pro friends have to say about this sweepstakes!

Corey