Product Review: Orange Mud Gear Vest

Disclaimer: I received a free Orange Mud Gear Vest 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.

Over the last few weeks I had the pleasure of testing out the new Orange Mud 2L Gear Vest!

Version 2.0 of the Orange Mud Gear Vest offers a 1L hydration bladder and 1L of gear space with plenty of pockets. The Gear Vest comes in two colors, white and black. It’s machine washable in delicate and dries quickly. The fabric is also breathable which is a huge bonus for hot long runs.

One of the best features of the vest is the upper front pockets. They are perfect for gels and other fuel and have a handy Velcro flap that is super easy to access while you run. I also found that the contents of the upper pockets didn’t bounce which was great.

Want an Orange Mud Gear Vest for yourself? Use code “BRGV15” for 15% off on the Orange Mud website.

My other favorite part of the vest is the front strapping system. The elastic straps are super lightweight and adjustable. I barely felt them while I ran. This minimized bounce and made for a comfortable run.

 

The small reservoir is easy to adjust on your back. I didn’t have too many issues with the weight higher up in my back. The extra liter of storage is great for a lightweight jacket.

 

There is one downside for me, I have a very large chest. Due to the front strap placement, I can’t wear a tank top or shirt sleeve shirt because of the chaffing on my arms and sports bra. To make sure it was my chest size causing the chaffing, my boyfriend tried it on for a run and he had no chaffing issues.

I highly recommend the OrangeMud Gear Vest for any runner who’s looking for hydration vest for mid to long runs and doesn’t need to haul too much gear. The quality of this vest makes it worst the investment. Want an Orange Mud Gear Vest for yourself? Use code “BRGV15” for 15% off on the Orange Mud website.

Race Review: Rock ‘N’ Roll San Francisco

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock ‘N’ Roll San Francisco 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!

This past weekend I ran the Rock ‘N’ Roll San Francisco half marathon with my fellow BibRave Pro Jeannine. It was a lot of fun and well worth the trip.

Expo

Even though I got in super late (12:30am), we headed to the expo first thing in the morning. We took MUNI from our hotel to the Embarcadero, got Philz Coffee and walked down to Pier 35.

There was a small line but once the doors opened it took us less than five minutes to get our bibs. Right after bib and t-shirt pickup there was the official merchandise section.  One of the coolest things Rock ‘N’ Roll does is put participant names on the shirt. There was a life-size banner where you could find your name which was fun.

The rest of the expo was small but it made it a lot more manageable. Toyota was there and was giving away a portable battery to Toyota owners and you could play games for more prizes. I played against Jeannine in a run in place challenge. There was a how much can you fit into corolla game too. The title sponsor United Airlines was giving away headbands/neck warmers and free Illy espresso. Illy espresso is now served on all United Airlines flights. We stopped by St. Jude, Rock ‘N’ Roll, a few other booths before we headed out for a full day of sight seeing in San Francisco. 

We walked down to Pier 39 saw the sea loins, Boudin bakery, and then took the cable car back to our hotel near Union Square. It was super fun hanging off the cable car and taking in the city. Jeannine took some awesome photos. We dropped our bibs off at the room and then headed out to the Mission District to go see all of the amazing murals. Found some artisan s’mores, more art, and then some beer at Anchorship Public Taps. Dinner was yummy Japanese food then we went to bed super early since we had a 6:15am start for the race.

Race Day

After an early wake up call we got a Lyft to the start line. It was freezing, I should have brought throwaway clothing with me. We found my friend Kristie and then headed into Pier 39 to stay warm and out of the wind. The race however did not start on time. We waited at least 10-15 minutes before we started, they never specified what was the delay.

The race course was an abbreviated out and back starting at Pier 39 and ending at Ghirardelli Square with the turnaround at the end of the Golden Gate Bridge. In total we run about 4 miles on the Golden Gate Bridge, 4 miles on city streets, and the rest on the paved tails of the Presidio.

Once we were off we ran along the water and up a few hills to get to the Presidio. Coming from Seattle the hills were steep but nothing I wasn’t used to. The weather was a bit chilly until we hit mile 4. Once we got onto the bridge the weather cleared and it was BEAUTIFUL! Since we weren’t running for time we stopped and took photos along the bridge and I am so happy we did. Running the downhill turnaround was fun since it was trail with a huge hill. I ended up hiking it to save my energy for the last few hills we had left. I will say, we did not run on the actual car lanes, we ran on the pedestrian/bike path that was quite narrow. There were a few points where I did run into other runners and it wasn’t avoidable. But the views were well worth the narrow course.

After the bridge we turned onto the Presidio paths and got up close and personal with the waves which was fun. It was a bit boring running along the path since the Golden Gate Bridge was behind us so there wasn’t much view.  I started to not feel so great around mile 11 even though I ate almost all of my fuel. With Kristie’s help I was able to persevere and getup the hill near Fort Mason at mile 12.5 and then down a hill to the finish.

Post-Race

The finishers chute was short and highly organized. I was able to get my medal, water, electrolytes and Ghirardelli chocolate quickly. Where the finish line was located made it easy for us call and Lyft.

When I got back to the hotel after the race, I was able to jump on Athlinks.com and claim my race results. You can check out how I did it here, and while you’re at it, jump on and make an account too. Don’t forget to add me as a friend so we can go head-to-head in future races!

We had more time to sightsee so we grabbed bottomless dim sum brunch at Chubby Noodle to celebrate then explored Chinatown before we headed to the airport.

Overall race thoughts

Overall, this was a great race weekend. If you haven’t been to San Francisco or it’s been a while since your last visit, it is well worth a trip. Rock ‘N’ Roll puts on a great race that’s well worth it!

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: