Saturday, April 22, 2017

BibRave Pro Product Review: Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Active Set

Disclaimer: I was recently sent an Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Active Set to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

“Don’t Sweat it. Pack-It.”

Let me just start out by saying that this is not a typical product review that you would find on Run Jen Run.  Most of the products I have tested for BibRave have been shoes, compression gear, sunglasses, dog leashes and even protein powder—all products I use WHILE I am running and recovering.  This product—the Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Active Set—is about organization, odor control and containing your sweaty wet workout clothes.

Have you ever heard of the brand Eagle Creek?

Eagle Creek is a travel outfitter company.  They are packing experts who believe that an organized traveler is a happy traveler.  From luggage to duffle bags to briefcases… Eagle Creek makes quality products built with proven durability. 

“The smart way to get your smelly, wet, scattered gear from here to there.”

The Pack-It Sport line was designed with the athlete in mind.  The Active Set comes with a Large Shoe Locker and the Wet Dry Fitness Locker.  Both of the bags have a loop at the top to grab or hang them by but I don’t think the shoe locker and fitness locker were designed to use as a stand-alone bag.  Instead I see them more as organizational tools—smaller bags that can be placed into larger bags!

The Large Shoe Locker fits up to men’s size 13 shoe and features a U-shape zip opening that can be partially unzipped at the top for ventilation.  After one of my Falmouth runs that ended with a stop at the beach, I was a little hesitant to put my sandy sneakers back in the shoe locker—until I realize that all Pack-It Sport products are completely machine washable!  So silly me, it would be so much easier to throw my bag in the wash then it is to vacuum out my car.

The Wet Dry Fitness Locker is a little bigger in size and designed to separate clean clothes from sweaty workout wear.  With two pockets, you can stuff clean and dry clothes in the front and put your dirty and damp clothes in the back.  It’s pretty cool!

Some of the Pack-It Sport key qualities:

·      Antimicrobial
·      Odor Control
·      Water Repellant
·      Ventilation
·      Washable
·      Grab/Hang
·      Ultra-Light
·      Clothing Management/Travel System
·      Wet/Dry Separation

So when do I use my Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Active Set?

Pretty much anytime I go anywhere to workout!  They are easy to grab, easy to pack and keeps everything organized.  I am constantly packing bags for work because I teach classes, shower after class, run after work… and lately I have been getting in the pool too so you can pretty much always find the Fitness Locker in my work bag.  Instead of using a ton of plastic bags from the grocery store, the Pack-It Sport collection is great because the fabric holds in any funky, embarrassing post-workout smells and I love that the divider keeps clean clothes totally separate.  I usually would end up washing clean clothes even if they weren’t worn because everything would get mixed up in my gym bag.

Other bonuses:

·      There is a lifetime warranty!
·      All Pack-It Sport products come in 4 colors: Black, Blue/Black, Fuchsia/Black and Tennis Ball Yellow/Black.  I personally think it would be fun to color code by activity.  For example, one color could be for running clothes, another color for my spin stuff and one more color for all my pool gear…


·      Not really a con but I just found out I’ve been using my Shoe Locker wrong!  Eagle Creek suggests putting the toe in first.
·      I was really hoping for the set in Tennis Ball Yellow.  I love bright colors and it would have made for better pictures!  Guess I’ll have to place an order BUT…
·      Some of the colors in the Active Set are SOLD OUT at the moment! Boo!

Happy running!

Join us on Twitter for the Eagle Creek sponsored #BibChat on April 25th at 9pm EST!

And use code SPORT15 for 15% off any of the Pack-It Sport products!

P.S. Georgie totally gives Eagle Creek “2 paws up!”

Want to read more BibRave Pro reviews?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Weekly Roundup 4.10-4.16

So guess what… I’m still injured! 

This week featured a lot of walks with G, a few short runs and a half marathon attempt in Newport.


Upcoming events:

·      5 weeks until the Piggy Trot!
·      6 weeks until the Buffalo Half Marathon!

Monday 4.10.17
30’ walk with G
10,433 steps

Tuesday 4.11.17
Taught spin class
30’ Intro to Spin
10,873 steps

Wednesday 4.12.17
2 miles (16:04)
11,127 steps

Thursday 4.13.17
20’ walk with G
Power Water
13,732 steps

Friday 4.14.17
30’ walk with G
3 miles (23:28)
12,983 steps

Saturday 4.15.17
Newport Rhode Race 4.13 miles (29:41)
20’ walk with G and mama
20,435 steps

Sunday 4.16.17
Happy Easter!
15’ walk with G and mama
7,639 steps

This week’s mileage: 9 miles
This week’s G mileage: 0 miles
April Totals: 16 miles
2017 Totals: 300 miles

Monday, April 17, 2017

Race Report: Newport Rhode Race

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Newport Rhode Race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Not my medal.
My first DNF.  Yep, you read that right.   

Did Not (effing) Finish.

I went to Newport optimistic.  I was really looking forward to going with my dad and seeing my coworker Eric in his BQ attempt.  Training since Miami had been going well.  I ran some solid long runs and got back to speed work and strength training.  The goal was never to race Newport but to use it as a training run with some tempo miles at half marathon goal pace.

Then a dull ache started creeping up on me in training.  It was never enough to make me stop running and by the end of the run I usually forgot all about it.  That dull ache lasted about two weeks before turning to sharp pain on a easy run day.  The sharp pain had me stop immediately and start bugging my PT coworkers for advice.  At first we were thinking bursitis but decided on tendinitis.  Either way the recommendation was to cease the activities that cause pain.  I rested.  I stretched.  I iced.  I took ibuprofen.  For a week it hurt so bad I couldn’t even sleep.

Race week it was feeling better.  I wasn’t very confident but I had hopes that I could still get in some good miles at the race.  I had told myself if it hurt, I would stop.  I asked Eric what I should do and he confirmed—stop if it hurts.  He’s a PT.

So what was the worst part about race day?  My 4am wake up call!

Dad picked me up at about 4:50am and we were off to Newport.  I’m not going to lie—sitting in the car was really aggravating my hip/glute.  My whole leg became numb and I was so happy to get out of the car… before sitting again on the shuttle bus to the start.  Luckily, it wasn’t a long ride.  And there was a cute pup on our bus.

We grabbed our numbers and met up with Eric.  He was running the marathon, which started a half hour before the half.  He needed to run a 3:15 to qualify for Boston.  He was either going to play it safe to get the BQ or try to break 3 hours.  He ran Boston two years ago in pain then went in for abdominal surgery a few days later so he’s had his eye on qualifying again and actually running well.

Even though it was 50 degrees, it felt cold.  The race started at the beach and the course lined the coast with a ton of water views—so we knew it could potentially be windy, which it was.  Walking and standing around before the race definitely helped loosen things up so I was feeling pretty good when the gun went off.

The course started with a wind in your face uphill climb.  I put my head down and tucked in with some taller runners and cruised up.  I had started right at the front so there were only a small number of girls around me.  I went through the first mile in 7:36.  It felt very easy and smooth.  I could see the lead girl not far away and the second place girl was only a few strides ahead of me.

About a mile and a half in I noticed that dull ache.  The rolling hills of Newport were a challenge and with every uphill and downhill that ache ached a little more.  My watch beeped 7:08 for mile 2 and 7:08 again for mile 3.  Right where I want to be in Buffalo.  In terms of cardiovascular fitness, I felt great.  Those comfortable 7:08s gave me confidence.  I knew I had a long way to the finish line but I was relaxed and comfortable.  My mind on the other hand was all over the place.  I was running with the second place girl thinking about pushing through the pain and seeing if I could maintain this pace to a good finish and PR.  At the same time I was looking for the next water station or medical support crew.  I remembered a blog post I wrote last week about “Is it worth it?”  I knew what I needed to do.  My watch read 6:52 for mile 4 and 0.13 miles later I came to a quick halt when I saw an aid station.

The volunteers at the mile 4 aid station were awesome.  I later found out they were from the Rhode Island Galloway group.  I asked if there was a shortcut back to the start line and they immediately called for a ride and offered me food, blankets and a warm place to wait.  I was all for the ride but declined the other offers because I wanted to see if my dad would run by while I was waiting!

My dad set up GPS tracking with his RoadId app so I knew when he was getting close.  He was in the zone listening to his music and almost missed me jumping up and down yelling his name.  I later found out something happened to his “Houston Marathon Running Playlist” and it was playing the same three Bruce Springsteen songs on repeat.  He said it was horrible!

I actually picked a good spot to stop because a few minutes later he circled back on the other side of the road.  I was able to tell him I was ok and to keep running.  Right after he passed my ride showed up.  The driver was Susan—who I found out later in the ride is co-owner of Rhode Races and the one in charge of Social Media for the company.  It was fun to meet her and chat about running and racing in Rhode Island.

4.13 miles – 29:41

Average pace – 7:11

Susan dropped me off near the finish.  I grabbed my bag from bag check, threw on my sweats and headed up the hill along the course to the Cliff Walk entrance.  If you’ve never been to Newport, the Cliff Walk is awesome and you get to see all the famous mansions.  I found a bench to sit on and hung out for about an hour watching the runners go by, admiring the pretty daffodils and listening to the waves.

When I knew my dad was getting close to finishing, I went back down the hill to all the action.  I got a slice of pizza and found a spot right next to the finish line to wait.  It seemed like my dad’s tracking was slowing down so I started to get worried that he was not having a good day.  He finished but it wasn’t pretty.  He was having stomach issues and hurt himself when he took a misstep in a pothole around mile 9 but he finished—and it was his 10th half marathon finish!

Not long after my dad finished, Eric came blazing in and crossed the line in 3:02:58.  He was pumped.  It was awesome to watch and he looked great.

Did you run the Newport Rhode Race? Head on over to and post your race review!

Up next:

Piggy Trot
Osterville, MA
May 21, 2017

Buffalo Half Marathon
Buffalo, NY
May 28, 2017
Use code 2017-BibRave-JS for $5 off registration!

Until then, I’m going to get in the pool and try to kick this injury.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Weekly Roundup 4.3-4.9

Welcome to race week!  I’ll be running 13.1 miles in Newport on Saturday at the Newport Rhode Race.  I’m not going to lie—I wish I was more excited then I am.  I’ve said all along that I won’t be racing it because all eyes are on ringing the PR bell in Buffalo and I’ve even thought about running WITH my dad.  Newport will be his 10th half marathon.  10th!  Can you believe it?  Just a few years ago I blogged about my dad’s journey to a half marathon and then I recapped his first race.  He’s still trying to break 2 hours—his closest being 2:01:30 at the Cape Cod Half in 2015—so I thought it might be nice to stick with him and try to help him get to that 1:59:59. 

BUT… I got injured.  I’ve been pretty quiet about it because quite honestly I think everyone—including myself—is sick of hearing about all my injuries!  I haven’t run since last Monday and I think it’s getting better.  I might try to run a mile or two later in the week before Newport but I am leaning more towards just showing up for the race and seeing what happens.  If it’s my first DNF, at least I will be there for my dad, share the BibRave love and see my coworker Eric in his marathon BQ attempt.

As for the week… Monday was my only run.  It was a beautiful 50 degree day and I only made it a mile before the pain started so I turned around.  Tuesday I was called in to jury duty for the first time ever!  We got released early and I enjoyed a nice rainy day at home with the pup.

Wednesday and Friday G and I actually went for a walk.  It had been a while…

Other highlights:

·      One of my online clients nailed her goal race! 12 weeks of training and she beat her 10k goal by over a minute and placed 3rd in the race!  I was so proud.  She said in an email, “I just wanted to drop a line to express my thanks, from the bottom of my heart, for all your help and encouragement as I recommitted to running and put that disappointing 10k performance last year in my rear view mirror. Lots of fun, tough runs and support led to today’s PR…so happy.”  I love when hard work pays off.
·      I published my Boston Marathon Preview blog post!  Check it out here:

Upcoming events:

·      1 week until the Newport Rhode Race!
·      6 weeks until the Piggy Trot!
·      7 weeks until the Buffalo Half Marathon!

Monday 4.3.17
2.10 miles (16:07)

Tuesday 4.4.17
Jury Duty
7,133 steps

Wednesday 4.5.17
15’ walk with G
7,834 steps

Thursday 4.6.17
Taught spin class
Power Water
10,004 steps

Friday 4.7.17
30’ walk with G
8,377 steps

Saturday 4.8.17
6,247 steps

Sunday 4.9.17
Taught spin class
Burdenko H2O
13,494 steps

This week’s mileage: 2 miles
This week’s G mileage: 0 miles
April Totals: 7 miles
2017 Totals: 291 miles

Monday, April 10, 2017

Run Jen Run’s Boston Marathon Preview 2017

30,000 runners will make the 26.2 mile journey from Hopkinton to Boylston Street next Monday morning for the 121st running of the Boston Marathon.

Unfortunately a lot of major marathon news lately has revolved around doping—from the controversy surrounding Galen Rupp and the Nike Oregon Project to just last week the 2016 Rio Olympics Marathon champion Jemima Sumgong tested positive for EPO.  But let’s not let this take away from the amazing field put together by the BAA for this year’s race which will include both defending champs—Lemi Berhanu Hayle and Atsede Baysa, both of Ethiopia. 2x champion Lelisa Desisa has had a lot of success in Boston but is missing from the list of entrants because he is off training for Nike’s sub-2 hour marathon project which is expected to go down later this spring.

With last year being an Olympic year, Boston lost a lot of the American big name favorites that fans are used to seeing.  This year, they are back!  Galen Rup, Meb Keflezighi and Jared Ward—our 2016 Rio Olympic Marathoners—will all be running and looking to take down the East Africans.  On the ladies side, Shalane Flanagan had to withdraw due to injury leaving good odds for American Desi Linden.  She will be joined by Jordan Hasay, who is making her marathon debut.

Are you running on Marathon Monday?!  I’d love to follow and track you!

Back to the race.  I said this the last few years and I’m saying it again…

There is nothing more motivating and powerful than watching a marathon.  From the elites to the back of the pack joggers, everyone has a story to tell about their journey and months of training.

Locally you can watch live coverage of the event on CBS Boston WBZ-TV beginning at 9am on race morning.  For national coverage, check out NSC Sports Network.  They will air a preview show on Sunday at 8pm on Universal HD interviewing some of the athletes and setting the scene for this year’s race.  Live coverage will begin on NBC Sports Network at 8:30am.

The wheelchair start is at 9:17am.  The women’s elite start is at 9:32am; the men start at 10:00am.

The Boston Marathon is one of the World Marathon Majors along with New York, Chicago, London, Tokyo and Berlin.  To those that don’t follow the sport, next Monday’s race is a big deal.  Boston is similar to the Super Bowl of football.  Or the Kentucky Derby of horse racing.  Shalane Flanagan has said in multiple interviews that she would rather be crowned Boston Marathon champion over Olympic champion.  Elites must be invited to race whereas non-elites have to earn the elusive Boston Qualifying time or raise money for one of the many wonderful charities.

Prize Money

This year’s race has an $830,500 prize purse plus an additional $220,000 if records are broken.

First place men and women will earn $150,000 while runner up receives $75,000 and second runner up received $40,000.  Even 15th place gets $1,500.

Bonuses are awarded for fast times—$50,000 for a World’s Best (Men 2:02:57 by Dennis Kimetto in 2014 & Women 2:15:25 by Paula Radcliffe in 2013) and $25,000 for a Course Record (Men 2:03:02 by Geoffrey Mutai in 2011 & 2:19:59 by Buzunesh Deba in 2014).

Let’s take a look at this year’s elite field and who to root for…

The elite field features 6 past champions, 19 Olympians and 2 Olympic medalists. Meb Keflezighi was the most recent American to win the Boston Marathon in 2014 but Boston has not seen an American woman win since 1985.

Top Elite Women

The Americans: Desi Linden and Jordan Hasay

Desi Linden – 2x Olympian, 2nd in 2011, 4th in 2014, 4th fastest American marathoner of all time (2:22:38 PR)

Jordan Hasay – Ran a 1:07:55 half marathon on April 1st in Prague, is making her marathon debut

Atsede Baysa – Defending champion, 2x winner in Chicago, 2x winner in Paris (2:22:03 PR)

Edna Kiplagat – 2x World Champion, won the Abbott World Marathon Series in 2013-2014, also won in London, New York and LA (2:19:50 PR)

Buzunesh Deba – 2014 champion after Rita Jeptoo’s title was stripped, holds the course record of 2:19:59, 9x marathon champion on U.S. soil (2:19:59 PR)

Gladys Cherono – 7th fastest female marathoner of all time, 2015 Berlin champion (2:19:25 PR)

Joyce Chepkirui – 3rd in 2016 (2:24:11 PR)

Caroline Rotich – 2015 champion, 4th in 2011 (2:23:22 PR)    

Top Elite Men

The Americans: Galen Rupp, Meb Keflezighi, Jared Ward, Abdi Abdirahman

Galen Rupp – 9x National Champion at various distances, 3rd 2016 Olympic Marathon, will be running his 3rd marathon, first time in Boston but experienced some foot pain in Prague on April 1st so his health is questionable (2:10:05 PR)

Meb Keflezighi – 2014 champion, 2009 winner in New York, 2nd 2004 Olympic Marathon, 41 years old, will be running his last Boston Marathon and is the only runner in history to win Boston, New York and earn a medal at the Olympics (2:08:37 PR)

Jared Ward – 6th 2016 Olympic Marathon, first time in Boston (2:11:30 PR)

Abdi Abdirahman – 4x Olympian, always a big wildcard, surprised everyone with a 3rd place finish in New York last year (2:08:56 PR)

Lemi Berhanu Hayle – Defending champion, only 22 years old, has won 6 of his 9 career marathon starts (2:04:33 PR)

Yemane Tsegay – 2nd in 2015, 3rd in 2016 (2:03:13 PR)

Emmanuel Mutai – Winner in London and Amsterdam, has broken 2:04 more than once (2:03:13 PR)

Sammy Kitwara – 6th in 2016, 2015 & 2014 runner up in Chicago (2:04:28 PR)

Wesley Korir – 2012 champion, the year of the heat! 2x LA champion, has run Boston 4 times all with Top 5 finishes (2:06:13)

Wilson Chebet – 2nd in 2014, 3rd in 2015, 3x Amsterdam champion, returning for his 5th Boston (2:05:27 PR)

Sisay Lemme – Winner in Frankfurt, Vienna, Warsaw and Capri (2:05:16 PR)

Dino Sefir – The defending champion’s training partner (2:04:50 PR)

If you will be in Boston this weekend, check out these other exciting events…

John Hancock Sport & Fitness Expo and Boston Marathon Bib Number Pick-Up
Did you know that the marathon expo is open to the public?  You don’t have to be a registered runner to attend.  It will be held race weekend at the John B. Hynes Convention Center featuring many great sponsors, brands and companies with a passion for running, health and fitness.  Many give away samples and free advice.

BAA Invitational Mile
Saturday April 15th is the BAA 5k and BAA Invitational Mile.  While registration is full for the 5k, I totally recommend you checking out some great races.  The men’s mile is at 12:50pm and the women go off at 1:00pm.  Some of the best middle distance runners race every year two days before the marathon.  The invitational mile is a 3-lap course (great for spectating!) beginning on Boylston Street and finishing at the Marathon finish line.

Marathon Monday

“If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.”

Race volunteers went through an exclusive application process early in the year and 8,000 were selected to cover all areas from the expo to the start line, water stations and finish line.  If you would like to volunteer in 2018, set a reminder to check the BAA website right after the New Year.

Over 500,000 spectators are expected to line the course.  Because Boston is so crowded and a point-to-point race, you may only get to see your favorite runners once.  The year I got to experience Boston, Lizzie and I cheered from about the 40k mark then walked to the finish line to meet up with a friend.

Any of my readers have experience navigating the course?  
 Where are your favorite places to watch?

Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
While I’d rather be caught dead then cheering for the Red Sox, they do have a cool tradition of playing a home game on Patriots Day—aka Marathon Monday.  Game time is set for 11:05am.  Watch the game at Fenway Park then head into Kenmore Square to cheer on the runners.


Interested in running in 2018?  The race is scheduled for April 16th.  You can find all the Boston Marathon Qualifying standards here.  The BAA also compiled a list of the top 25 marathons most frequently used to qualify.  Some of the more popular races include Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, California International, Grandma’s, Marine Corps, Twin Cities, Houston and Baystate.  You can view the full list here.

Did you know?

·      Most of the Boston Marathon course is actually run outside of Boston.  Runners reach Boston proper at about Mile 24.5 after running through Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton and Brookline.
·      The Boston Marathon has always been held on Patriot’s Day but from the first race in 1897 to 1968, the Boston Marathon was held on April 19th unless the 19th fell on a Sunday.  Now Patriot’s Day and Marathon Monday is celebrated on the third Monday in April.