Review: Athlinks

Disclaimer: I reviewed Athlinks 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!

One of the biggest problems I run into is trying to keep track of all of my race results. Even though I have a good idea of what my PR is in a particular distance it’s nice to all in one place.  That’s where Athlinks comes in!

Athlinks keeps your race results in one place. It makes is easy to track to your race performance over time and see how you compare to other runners. Your profile page gives you an overview of all of your PRs and claimed results.

Amanda’s Athlinks profile

How to use Athlinks

Creating an account is simple. You can sign up with your email or Facebook account. Once registered, you can start claiming results. There are filters to help you find the correct events based on location and your age.

Amanda’s Start List on Athinks

One of the best features of Athlinks is the Start List. To add yourself, simply search for a race, select the year, distance and your goal time. The cool part of the start list is you can see who else has the same goals, where they’re from, and see their previous race times. Since I’m not the fastest runner is interesting to see other runner’s goal times and previous races.

Searching for events
Adding an event to the start list

You can also follow your friends and see where they are running. In some cases the people you follow will be your rivals. A rival is a runner who you follow who ran the same race as you. It’s fun to have some friendly competition.

Another nice feature of Athlinks is the search. Want to run all 50 states? You can easily search and find races based on location and distance to start planning your next runcation. I’ve found a few local 10ks through Athlinks and even some bigger bucket list races (Iceland, anyone?) just by searching. 

Amanda’s results on Athlinks

Athlinks is great if you run a lot of races and love seeing stats. I recommend Athlinks to any runner that has big goals and wants to keep a race diary of your progress over time.

Follow me and my fellow BibRavePros on Athlinks here. Maybe you’ll be my next rival?

Product Review: KT Tape

Disclaimer: I received a free KT Tape Cotton, Pro, Extreme, Wide, and Gentle 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!

My Big Sur 21 Miler training is in full swing and right now recovery is super important. Since I started running, plantar fasciitis has flared up from time to time. Because of it and a few other nagging injuries, I have used KT Tape on multiple occasions and was super excited to try out more KT Tape products.

KT Tape Pro, Extreme, Gentle, Wide

What is KT Tape? KT Tape is a specific type of kinesio tape the when applied correctly, helps relieve pressure of sore muscles. One great part about KT Tape is not only are there paper instructions in every package but they have an online library of how to tape videos on their website. All of the videos are easy to follow and cover almost every body part. Each roll of KT Tape comes with 10-20 pre-cut strips and most of the rolls come with their own case too.

KT Tape Pro
KT Tape Pro might be the most popular product. I used the standard plantar fasciitis application except I did not add the third strip of tape. I’ve unfortunately developed a blister on the side of my arch and did not want the third strip of tape to aggravate it. I made sure to clean my skin with rubbing alcohol and shaved my legs so there was a smooth clean surface for the tape to adhere to. 

KT Tape Pro plantar facriitis application

My first application of KT Tape Pro stayed on for about a day. I felt the tops of the tape flap around while I was running the Mercer Island Half. I am a pretty sweaty runner and I think that had a lot to do with why it did not stick to well.

KT Tape Pro Extreme
I tried KT Tape Pro Extreme twice, both times with the plantar fasciitis application. Again, the first application was not successful, it fell off my arch while I was running. I was wearing my normal running shoes and winter running socks. The second application without the third strip stay put for my 18 mile long run and is still going strong. During my run my foot felt supported and I did not have issues walking in and out of the shower or around my apartment. I highly recommend KT Tape Extreme if you are a heavy sweater like myself. I made sure to thoroughly clean my skin before I applied the tape.

KT Tape Cotton
The original version of KT Tape, KT Tape Cotton is not as breathable as the other products. It works great for applications that do not need to stay for more than four days and I find it to be the most comfortable on my feet when I am not exercising. Funny enough my pink KT Tape cotton matched my favorite pair of pink sneakers. I did not work out while I was wearing the plantar fasciitis application but I did not have any issues.

KT Tape Wide it-band application

KT Tape Wide
After the hilly Mercer Island Half my it-band was giving me grief. My commute to work is up and down a huge unavoidable hill so sore knees and it-bands are not helpful. I used KT Tape Wide on my it-band and over the course of a few days I slowly started to feel better. The tape stayed on for 5 days before I needed to take it off. I plan on re-applying it when my it-band flares up again. I highly recommend using this for large muscles like quads and calves too.

KT Tape Gentle
For people who have sensitive skin KT Tape Gentle is a great alternative. As I mentioned before, I sweat quite a bit when I work out, and I found KT Tape Gentle to not stick to my skin. But that being said, if you have very dry skin and/or allergic to latex, Gentle is the way to go. I will stay for up to 3 days and is very easy to remove.

Overall, I would say KT Tape Pro Extreme was the best for my plantar fasciitis applications. I was very surprised how long my second application lasted and that it was so easy to apply with the instructional video.

Want to give KT Tape a try? Use code BIBRAVE30 for 30% off your order on KTTape.com.

Let me know in the comments what you use KT Tape for. I love learning more about other applications!

Shoe Review: Brand New Under Armour HOVR Sonic

Disclaimer: I received a free pair of  Under Armour HOVR Sonic shoes 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 had the pleasure to test the BRAND NEW Under Armour HOVR Sonic shoes!

The UA HOVR Sonic is a neutral cushion shoe that comes in five different color ways in both connected and unconnected versions.The HOVR Sonic is the first of it’s kind and can digitally connect to MapMyRun or MapMyFitness phone apps. HOVR Sonic is a great speed work shoe that fits great in the heel and toe box. I have wide feet but not wide enough for a wide shoe in most brands so I wear men’s shoes. The HOVR Sonic is just wide enough in the toe box that they fit perfectly and are not too tight at all. I love the seamless upper and that it is super breathable.

UA HOVR Sonic shoes in white after a run

The UA HOVR Sonic is a great speed work shoe. They are lightweight and I do feel an extra spring in my step from the HOVR cushioning. The compression-like feel of the seamless upper also makes my feet feel like they are not wearing shoes. I wore them during My Better Half 10k this past weekend and they held up great. My feet did not feel as tired as they normally do halfway through the 10k.

 

Look at the seamless upper!

Quick facts about the UA HOVR Sonic:

  • Neutral cushioning
  • 8mm offset with a 21mm heel and a 13mm forefoot
  • Midsole is the new HOVR Cushioning with a 60% energy return
  • Outsole is a solid rubber forefoot and a carbon rubber heel
  • Compression-like fit
  • Quick-drying and breathable microthread upper
  • Comes in connected and non-connected versions

Training Data

Overall shoes stats from MapMyRun

The UA HOVR Sonic gives you stride length and cadence with and without MapMyRun GPS. It even measures how far you run without needing to use the MapMyRun app! The stride length is my favorite part of the shoe training data because it really shows how much my gate changes as I get tired over my run.

Overview from a run in MapMyRun with the UA HOVR Sonic

The MapMyRun interface for the training data is great. The overview of each run is super easy to read and the graphs are a cool way to see how your cadence and stride length change during a run. The other nice feature of the connected shoe is that it tells you approximately how many miles are on the shoe. For someone who knows once my shoes hit 300 miles I need new ones knowing exactly how many miles are on them each time I sync the app is helpful.

Overview from a run in MapMyRun with the UA HOVR Sonic

The other great part of the connected shoe is that you do not need to always use the MapMyRun app while you run. You can simply sync the shoes after your run to see your training stats. I’ve run with MapMyRun and without and I prefer to sync the shoes after in order to save my phone battery. If you run on a treadmill or an indoor track there’s no need to turn on a GPS, the HOVR Sonic will tell you how far you’ve run based on your stride length.

I do have two concerns about this shoe. First, the tread. This tread was not made for running on wet pavement. I am a mid foot striker and I slipped a few times during wet and rainy runs especially going up and down hills. I did wear the HOVR Sonic on a rainy commute to work and I the shoes did slip a bit going up and down the steep hill I walk every day to my office. Hopefully that will change on the next iteration of the shoe.

The other bothersome part of these shoes is that the toe box gets dirty quickly.  After one two mile run in slightly damp conditions my shoes were stained. I figured out a way to clean them but they still have a small stain on them. I am hoping the next version of this shoe will have a bigger splash guard.

Overall, I recommend this shoe for people who want a great lightweight shoe for the treadmill or dry climates. The training data is a great addition for people who really want to understand their run. This shoe is a game changer for running industry and I hope other companies will start to incorporate technology into shoes in the future.

Check out the what my fellow BibRave Pros has to say about the brand new Under Armour HOVR Sonic:

Product Review: BOCO Gear Run Hat & 360° Visor®

Disclaimer: I received my BOCO Gear Run Hat and 360° Visor® 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 fall half marathon training season comes to an end it’s time to talk about two pieces of gear I used quite a bit- the BOCO Gear Run Hat and 360° Visor®.

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I love BOCO Gear! One of my favorite hats of all time is their Technical Trucker so when the opportunity came up to test the Run Hat and 360 Visor I jumped at the chance.

BOCO Gear 360° Visor®

I do use a visor while running but mainly in usually in warm weather. I tend to overheat in anything over 55 degrees. The 360° Visor® was not a fit for me. I really like the design of it but it was not comfortable for me to run in. The sides of my head started to hurt because it was a bit to snug for me. I have a very large head and a lot of hair which makes finding headgear hard.

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Other features of the 360° Visor® are:

  • Lightweight wicking woven or dry tech polyester outside
  • Wicking internal sweatband to move sweat from your forehead
  • Soft brushed elastic back for comfort and fit
  • Relaxed fit front panel for a better performance and comfort
  • Black underside of the bill to reduce glare
  • Curved Bill
  • Machine Washable

I do love the fact that the 360° Visor® can be customized! BOCO Gear and BibRave did a wonderful job at customizing the visor and I really appreciate the printed BibRave logo on the back of the visor. The bill of this visor is also shorter and the front is lined with really nice wicking material which is a nice touch!

Overall, I highly recommend the 360° Visor® to anyone with an average sized head.

BOCO Gear Run Hat

This is quickly becoming my favorite running hat. It has a short bill, is super lightweight and it dries quickly, which is a necessity for Fall running in Seattle. I did find it a bit warm during a 60 degree run but it kept the sweat out of my eyes with the moisture wicking front panel.

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Other great features of the BOCO Run Hat are:

  • Lightweight wicking woven polyester material provides a layer of protection from mother nature on the front and top panels
  • Dry Tech polyester mesh side panels keep your head cool for the length of your workout
  • Soft curved bill that is packable
  • Machine washable
  • Soft polyester mesh wicking sweatband on the inside to help move sweat away from your head keeping you focused on the trail or road.
  • Can be upgraded with sublimated designs
  • Can come with a black underside of the bill to reduce glare

The packable feature of this hat made it easy to stash in my hydration pack and even in the back of my running tights. It is also durable enough to be squashed in my gym bag for the majority of the day before a workout.

I know most companies claim their hats are machine washable but all BOCO Gear products really are! I took my run hat out on a super muddy and rainy run, popped it in the wash and it looked brand new.

I highly recommend buying a BOCO Gear Run Hat if you need a versatile and easy to wash hat.

 

Product Review: Eagle Creek Hauler Duffel

Disclamer: I received an Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel 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!

What a week! Just got back from runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon and an amazing visit to Disney World. I will post more about the race and trip in a later post. Not only was it a great trip and amazing weather but it gave me a chance to test out the Eagle Cargo Creek Hauler Duffel 60L.

The Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel is a lightweight, water resistant, and packable duffel bag. It comes in a variety of colors and has multiple hand holds and straps to help you haul your gear around. The packable aspect of the duffel sparked my interest. Living in 600 sq ft with another person and small dog means gear storage is minimal and anything package is a huge plus especially if it’s luggage.

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Other great features of the bag include:

  • Lightweight – the 60 liter bag weighs 1lbs 12oz
  • Made of water-repellent Bi-Tech Armor Lite fabric
  • Three compartments to help organize gear
  • #10 lockable zippers with a storm flap to shield the zippers from the elements
  • Foam padding on the bottom to protect contents against impact
  • Removable backpack straps

Not only did I take this bag on vacation I also used it to commute to work and to running practice. Since the bag is 60 liters I probably overpacked a bit but I was able to shelp everything I needed for the day, clothes, shoes food etc. on the bus to work and on the train to practice. I did get caught in a downpour on my way to practice and even though the Cargo Hauler is made of water repellent fabric, the colored ends of the bag did get soaked. But once I got home the bag dried out quickly.

Eagle Creek Hauler Duffel straps

The other huge plus of the Cargo Hauler Duffel is the backpack straps, which makes it much easier to carry a heavy load. I will note, the backpack straps are nice for heavy loads but carrying over 20lbs on my back during a commute was not the most comfortable. When I checked the duffel in Florida I had to take the straps off of the bag and it took me a bit due to how the straps attached to one side of the bag. Putting them back on the bag was also a bit of a pain too. The nice part is the clips were not damaged in transit. I also found that the straps has a lot of extra length to them, they got caught when I was using the bag and it drove me nuts. Due to these frustrations, this is definitely a road trip or car bag for me, not a commuting bag.

Strap attachment on Eagle Creek Hauler Duffel

I will say for a 60 liter bag, the Cargo Hauler seems much larger than my other 50 to 60 liter bags. This is not carry-on size for most major airlines. If that is important, this is not the bag for you. We ended up checking it on the way home from Florida because it was too long.

Even though the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler is lightweight, it is sturdy. On our way to Florida we threw it in another bag and opened it when we got to our hotel. Since we were there for almost a week we used the compartments to organize our dirty clothes. When it was time to pack up, everything fit in nicely and because of the backpack straps and the sturdy end handles it was easy to get it into the car and to the check in counter. We even checked it and there were no flaws on the bag when we picked it off of the baggage carousel.

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Overall, I recommend the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel for people who need a good sturdy duffle bag for an extended trip. This is definitely a great gift for someone in your life that goes on extended trips or drives long distances for races.