Infinite Energy Seattle City Guide, presented by Brooks

Disclaimer: I received a free pair of Brooks Levitates and a free entry to Rock ‘N’ Roll Seattle 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.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Seattle is upon us! There’s nothing better than a race in my hometown Seattle. I am so fortunate that I can call this wonderful city home. To make things even better BibRave partnered with Brooks Running to create the Infinite Energy Seattle City Guide, presented by Brooks. Here are some of my must visit sites in the guide.

http://nowfoundation.org.uk/upg/4297-2/ Fleet Feet Sports Seattle
By far the best all around running store in Seattle. Located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, Fleet Feet Sports Seattle is a one stop shop for all things running. It’s owned by husband and wife, Brian and Andrea Morrison. They not only run amazing training programs, I’ve done two of them, but I’ve met some fabulous people through this store community. The staff there is super knowledgable. Shoutout to Caroline and Dan, they are super helpful and can order almost any shoe you will ever need. Also – Brian is an amazing ultra runner – he was profiled in the Ginger Runner’s film A Decade On.

http://inkimages.net/good-times-when-we-could-celebrate-together/ Evoke Coffee
One of my favorite coffee shops in all of Seattle. Not only do the serve a good pour over and yummy baked goods the staff knows their coffee! I may or may not stop there on my way into work far too often for the coffee and a visit with Pablo the store’s adorable Bernese Mountain Dog.

buy generic Lyrica online Seattle Waterfront
A fun fact about Seattle is not only does it have epic views of Mt. Rainier it is surrounded by both fresh and salt water. The Seattle Waterfront is along Elliott Bay and has a vast expanse of running and biking trails. You can run from the Interbay neighborhood all the way to the ferry terminal. Along the way you will run though Meryl Edwards Park, see some AMAZING views of the Olympic mountains, run through the Olympic Sculpture Park, past the Edgewater Hotel, the Seattle Aquarium and of course the Great Wheel. There’s never a dull view and there’s also some great people watching along the way. For a shakeout run I highly recommend running an out and back starting at the Olympic Sculpture Park so you can visit Macrina Bakery for breakfast.

 

Banyuwangi Brooks Trailhead
Another fun place to visit! The Brooks Trailhead store is the full Brooks Running experience! Not only can you shop, touch, and try on the latest and greatest Brooks shoes, the store is located in the bottom of the headquarters! While you visit you can find your Run Signature, and find your perfect fit shoe. The store staff is wonderful and can provide you with all the running routes and gear suggestions you need.

Check out the map below for more fun places to visit. I love my city and I am so happy BibRave and Brooks created this awesome guide for Rock ‘N’ Roll Seattle weekend. I will be running the half so if you see me on the course say hi!

Product Review: Brooks Running Levitate

Disclaimer: I received a free pair of Brooks Levitates 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.


The all new Brooks Running Levitate slogan is ‘Experience infinite energy’ and yes you really do! These neutral pronation running shoes are made to help you get more energy return with every stride.

These shoes are so comfortable! From the knit upper to the nicely shaped toe box, the fit of this shoe is great. I do have a wide foot so I usually wear mens shoes but I don’t have any problems with the width of these. The knit uppers are also very breathable so I don’t need to worry about overheating and blisters.



I’ve worn these shoes in the heat, rain, and even trails and they’ve held up well. There were no issues with stability or traction whatsoever. The new DNA Amp midsole not only gives your feet a boost, but it felt much more stable as I was running. When running they feel like you’re bouncing off your heel to your toe. 

Here are some more highlights:

  • DNA Amp – Brooks’ signature midsole technology
  • Intuitive fit – Knit upper that lets your foot move as you run
  • Arrow-point patterned outsole – helps your feet move heel to toe quickly
  • Comes in five different colorways!

Even Joey the dog loves the Brooks Levitates

Yes, the price tag is a bit much, $150, but the Levitates are well worth it. So far I have had no issues with durability. I am a heavy strider and my heels have shown no compression after running in these for over a month.

Overall, I highly recommend these shoes for anyone who wants a smooth and energized run.

Race Recap: Big Sur 21 Miler 2018

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to 2018 Big Sur 21 Miler 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!

After a very long week at work I can finally sit down and write about my Big Sur experience. I will say I had a few hiccups in my training with getting sick a few weeks ago but I will say I finished one very very hard and scenic race.

Big Sur 21 Miler Medal

Expo
We flew into San Jose and then drove to Carmel super late on Friday. We managed to wake up early enough to make it to the expo by 9:30am on Saturday. Bib pickup was super quick and even though there was a sign saying no transfer and all distances sold out, my boyfriend was able to register for the 5k! We went back to the expo hall and got our shirts and gear bags. I love the shirt I got, the heather purple is great! The 5k shirt was a super soft cotton, by boyfriend will definitely wear it.

Big Sur 21 miler shirt and merch

Race day outfit

The expo is small but there was plenty to do. Hoka One One had a huge booth and I learned more about shoes and what I should try next. The local lululemon was there screenprinting shirts. I love mine and it was worth the wait! The Big Sur merchandise was awesome. I got a custom BOCO Gear beanie, socks, and an enamel pin. I will say all the volunteers at the expo were stellar. During bib pick up they gave us directions and advice on where to park on race day, which was super helpful.

We left around 11:30am, drove to lululemon Monterrey to see what the surprise was if you showed your Big Sur bib. Both me and my boyfriend got pint glasses and a free beer after the race at a local brewery.  We headed back to the hotel for a nap and some exploring in Carmel. Before dinner we explored Carmel Beach and downtown Carmel. We headed to bed around 9pm since we had an early morning ahead of us.

Carmel Beach

Race Day

Big Sur 21 Miler Start

I did not sleep well the night before the race. The elevation and the distance freaked me out. I woke up a few times which meant the 3:15am wake up was brutal. I did eat something as we headed off to the parking lot to drop me off.

The buses were a bit disorganized, they finally arrived at 4:25am and we took off. My bus along with a few others passed the 21 Miler start line and kept going to Big Sur. This was terrifying since none of us on the bus had cell phone reception and kept telling the driver to turn around and go back. We finally made it to the start around 5:40am. Luckily for me there was no line for the port-a-potties and I grabbed a cup of coffee to stay warm.  Thankfully, we started right at 6:30am and had to walk up a steep hill before we reached the timing mat. The weather was perfect, 55 degrees and overcast. I was still a bit cold but we started running up a hill right from the start so I warmed up pretty quick.

The first five miles were long rolling hills that had amazing views of the coast. I was feeling good and knew that Hurricane Point was coming up and needed to save energy. The view leading up to Hurricane Point was gorgeous! Even though the next 2.5 miles of hill were visible in the distance, the view was well worth it for the run downhill into the valley.

Taiko Drummers at Hurricane Point

By the time, I got to Hurricane Point I decided I was going to speed walk up much of hill. Since I’ve started tail running I’m used to ‘hiking’ up long steep inclines at a consistent pace. Hiking this section of the course allowed me to take in the view and keep my heart rate down so I could conserve energy.

There were taiko drummers at the base of the climb which was great entertainment and kept me going into the first part of the climb. Another fun feature of was the mile markers. Every mile of Big Sur has a cartoon mile marker and the ones up Hurricane Point here funny. “Hang in there” was the theme of the three and they made me laugh and take my mind off the hill. About a half mile from the top I was passed by a bunch of official marathon vehicles and then the lead pack of marathoners. Major props to them for racing one very hilly course.

Part way up Hurricane Point

Running downhill after the 2.5 miles of Hurricane Point felt amazing and the view of Bixby Bridge was also a welcome sight. The Piano Player right after the bridge is the halfway mark of the full marathon which mean there were 13.1 long miles ahead of me. I took a few photos and kept my run/walk going up and down the ‘rolling hills’.

Mile marker 11 of Big Sur

Around mile 14 I took a quick pit stop and as I was exiting it started to rain. It wasn’t that much rain but the rain caused my entire body to get cold and cramp over the course of the next mile and the last 6.2 miles were painful. Running up hills were almost impossible entering the Carmel Highlands. I kept telling myself I was going to finish and that walking up each hill was ok as long as I ran the descents.

Bixby Bridge

 

Piano Player at 13.1

The Carmel Highlands are beautiful! I was not bored at all run/walking the last 4 miles and there were plenty of locals and volunteers cheering too. There was a local group that every year gives out fresh strawberries around mile 24 of the marathon and that was the fuel I needed to finish the race.

Mile 25 of Big Sur

The last big hill is at mile 25 and this year Hoka One One had their huge arch up and pump-up music blasting. A few of the Big Sur International Marathon employees were out cheering and saying congrats to all of the runners. Even though Monastery Beach was beautiful – that last hill sucked. I was so happy to see the last downhill and the finish line even though I was barely running at the finish.

Post-Race

The finish chute was very organized, I was not a huge of the Marathonfoto photographers who kept pulling me aside for a photo. If anything it made it harder for me to enjoy all of the amazing volunteers and food at the finish line. The post-race food was perfect- local produce, a cookie (it was AMAZING!), chips, Dole juice, gummy bears and a banana. I was given a heat sheet and finally found my boyfriend and was ready for a shower.

I finished!!

After a shower, we explored Monterrey. Grabbed brunch at Alvarado Street Brewery and walked around cannery row. I was happy I could walk even though my quads and calves were very unhappy. I did survive the car ride back to San Jose and the flight home to Seattle.

While we were waiting for our flight home, 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!

Me running into the finish line

I am not going to lie – Big Sur 21 Miler was the hardest race I’ve ever run. The views and the volunteers made every mile worth it. If you’ve never run in Northern California and are looking for a bucket list race, Big Sur is well worth it. Both Carmel and Monterrey are beautiful and are worth the visit.

 

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.