Saturday, April 30, 2016

BibRave Pro Product Review: Orange Mud HydraQuiver

Disclaimer: I was recently sent an Orange Mud HydraQuiver 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!

“Innovation from Frustration”

Orange Mud is a California based company known for their no bounce, ultra light hydration packs.

For me Orange Mud has been a GAME CHANGER.  

To sum up a blog post I wrote a few weeks ago (Growing Up & Carrying My Own Water), I am a spoiled only child that has had the luxury of someone else carrying my water on all long runs.  Yeah, spoiled.  Carry a water bottle in my hand?  Yeah right.  Wear a hydration belt around my hips and have it constantly ride up and jiggle all over the place?  No thanks.  

Enter the Orange Mud HydraQuiver and my long runs will never be the same.

The HydraQuiver

The HydraQuiver is a backpack-style hydration pack that sits comfortably on your upper back.  There is lots of padding and you can adjust the straps by pulling them tight for nice and snug fit.  I’m not going to lie, it took me a few runs to get it right and I have to adjust with the number of layers I was wearing.  I also found myself running with my shoulders shrugged and tense but once I figured out how it was supposed to fit and feel I’ve never had any problems.

Unlike other hydration belts and packs on the market, Orange Mud hydration packs hold an actual water bottle—which is much easier to clean then annoying bladders!  The bottle holder has an adjustable strap for different sized water bottles.  Having a water bottle sit just below your neck sounded weird at first but I honestly don’t even realize its there.  It doesn’t bounce.  You can hear a little water sloshing but you get used to it.   

I will admit that drinking water is a constant struggle for me.  I don’t enjoy drinking anything really.  Sometimes I make it through an entire work day and haven’t even touched the water bottle I filled up that morning.  Drinking on a run is no different.  When my mom or dad carried my water, I took 2-3 sips every couple of miles or so—just enough to wet my mouth and wash down my energy chews!  With my HydraQuiver I actually found that I was drinking more during my long runs since it was there and easy access.  They say you’re supposed to consume about 4 oz of water for every every 20-30 min of running and I am actually doing this!  

Almost as exciting as carrying my own water, I am loving the storage!  There is an interior rear storage pocket complete with a key clip and 2 shoulder pockets.  The first few weeks I only used my HydraQuiver on long runs.  I would put my cell phone (iPhone 6S + case) in my left shoulder pocket, my gels in my right shoulder pocket and my key clipped to the inside pocket.  The shoulder pockets are spandex and expandable leaving plenty of room with easy access while running—aka I can grab my cell phone for a quick run selfie with ease!

THEN I decided to use my HydraQuiver on one of Georgie’s long runs (3-4 miles).  I normally don’t bring water for myself on a 3 mile run but I actually forgot to pack her running backpack.  This meant my backpack was basically stuffed with all HER stuff—poop bags, cheese stick, collapsible water bowl—which fit perfectly in the interior pocket—and of course, water.  She never drinks her own water on a run but she drank all mine!  It ended up being very convenient for us.

Other bonuses:
·      The HydraQuiver comes in black, gray, orange and PINK!  The pink is so pretty.
·      There is a reflective logo on the bottle holder.  Last year I invested in a ton of reflective running gear for my night runs with the pup.  This is a nice bonus for all the night runners out there!
·      I don’t run with music but there is a headphone port…
·      The Orange Mud team is great!  Not only did the founder Josh send the BibRave Pros a fun video addressing some of the initial concerns of the group (mostly how to get the proper fit), the marketing team also read my Growing Up & Carrying My Own Water blog post and tweeted back a tip on where to tuck in the straps to minimize the floppiness! 
·      The Orange Mud HydraQuiver is priced at $84.95.  It’s on the expensive side but it’s so worth it.
·      Not so much a con but a curiosity.  I have not had the chance to run with my HydraQuiver in a t-shirt or tank top.  I haven’t had any chafing problems to date but I’m wondering what would happen with less clothing for protection.  They do however sell add-on padded sleeves to solve any problems with underarm chafing.

Would I recommend the Orange Mud HydraQuiver?  YES!  Like I said in the beginning, it’s been a game changer for me as I train for the Buffalo Half Marathon on May 29th.  Give it a try, I’d love to hear what you think.

Join us on Twitter for the Orange Mud sponsored #BibChat on May 3rd at 9pm EST!

Happy running!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Weekly Roundup 4.18-4.24

Week 7 of 12

What a week!  You can’t beat the motivation that comes from Marathon Monday and I am so proud of all my friends that ran!  I worked a split shift and it allowed me to get home in time to see the winners cross the finish line.  Then I spent the most of the afternoon outside playing with Georgie, refreshing the Boston Marathon app almost obsessively and I even snuck in a speed workout.  I feel guilty saying that I was supposed to run 6 half mile repeats but ended up only doing 4.  Man, it was warm out.  I was dehydrated and was feeling clammy with chills by the 3rd repeat so after the 4th I knew I had to call it a day.

Tuesday was my 20th Run Club since the rewards program started so I got a $15 Marathon Sports gift certificate and then on Wednesday I skipped my run to try out the NormaTec Recovery System.  My boss Joe bought a pair of these recovery boots at the Boston Marathon expo for patients and staff.  I am so pumped to have them available for the next few weeks before the Buffalo Half Marathon and looking ahead to Miami Marathon training.  THANK YOU JOE!

Then there was Friday.  I almost killed Georgie, hehe.  We ran 3 miles in the morning and then walked 3 miles in the afternoon with some Mashpee Fitness ladies.  Her precious little legs were tired and she slept the rest of the day!  I already blogged about our Friday morning run at the beach.  If you missed it, check it:

I pretty much stuck to my plan for Saturday’s 10k.  The goal was sub-7:00 pace.  I felt good and went a little faster but overall finished smiling with gas left in the tank.  The race was a good test of my fitness and a big confidence booster heading into the Buffalo Half Marathon. 

Other highlights:

·      I signed up for the Runner’s World Classic!
·      I posted my second XX2i product review for BibRave. You can read about my favorite new sunglasses here:

Upcoming events:

·      4 weeks until the 7th Annual Piggy Trot!
·      5 weeks until the Buffalo Half Marathon!

Monday 4.18.16
Marathon Monday!
6.2 miles (47:59) with 4x1/2mi, 2’ recovery <--3:05, 3:02, 3:02, 3:04
16,686 steps

Tuesday 4.19.16
Taught spin class
10 push ups
Marathon Sports Run Club! 5 miles with Jason, Gary & Scott (39:59)
20,363 steps

Wednesday 4.20.16
2.3 miles with G (19:32)
11,916 steps

Thursday 4.21.16
1.43 miles with G (13:44)
Taught spin class. The playlist: Pump It Spin Playlist
Power Water
10’ core workout
15,430 steps

Friday 4.22.16
3.14 miles with G (27:03)
Long walk with G, Linda, Beth & Ann (3 miles, 57:00)
16,796 steps

Saturday 4.23.16
1.39 mile warm up with Jason (12:50)
Cape Cod Beer Race to the Pink 10k (42:11)
20,511 steps

Sunday 4.24.16
Taught spin class
Burdenko H2O
12,325 steps

This week’s mileage: 26 miles
This week’s G mileage: 7 miles
April Totals: 97.5 miles
2016 Totals: 295 miles

Monday, April 25, 2016

Buffalo Marathon Q&A with Meb Keflezighi

On May 29th I will be running the Buffalo Marathon (half marathon!) representing BibRave and the BibRave Pros.  Leading up to the race I had the opportunity to interview Meb Keflezighi.  He will be speaking via Tele Conference at the Buffalo Marathon Expo.

Meb is the 2014 Boston Marathon Champion, 2009 New York City Marathon and 2004 Olympic Marathon Silver Medalist.  He was a 4x NCAA Champ for UCLA and ran his last race as a Bruin in Buffalo at the 1998 NCAA Track & Field Championships.  A true champion and ambassador to the sport, Meb is also well known and respected for races that he did NOT win like the 2012 London Olympics and the 2013 New York City Marathon—if you don’t know, google them now!

2010 throwback with Meb & Hawi Keflezighi
I first met Meb at the Falmouth Road Race back in 2007.  He is always a favorite in Falmouth and his brother Hawi has become a mentor and friend over the years.  I was so pumped when I found out I would be interviewing Meb and I look forward to hearing him talk in Buffalo.

A few weeks ago I asked my friends and followers for help.  I wanted to know what I should ask Meb about the Buffalo Marathon, running in Buffalo, the city of Buffalo, marathon training, racing, etc.  I received lots of great questions but here are my Top 3 Q&A... 

1.  What is your favorite part about training for a marathon? Do you have a favorite workout?

Training for a marathon is what I enjoy most. I think of training as preparation and the marathon as the test. My favorite workout is the tempo run because it gives me the confidence that I’m ready for race day.

2.  How do you stay so positive in a race that just doesn’t go as planned? What is the most disappointed you’ve ever been in yourself and how did you get past it?

Learn from your mistakes and learn from negative experiences. You can’t do anything to take a bad race back but you can learn from it and make sure you come back better next time.

In college I had a chance to win a PAC 10 team title for UCLA if I won the 3k event. Unfortunately, I visualized winning the race to the point where I woke up sweating the night before the race. I came to race day exhausted. I didn’t perform well and cost our team the PAC 10 Championship. This taught me that although visualization is powerful, I must do so during training and not wait until the day before the race.

3.  Buffalo is famous for many great foods including its chicken wings. What is your favorite post-race meal? Do you ever splurge and treat yourself?

I love a good steak for a post-race meal! After a big marathon, I also enjoy eating the food I can’t eat in training. This means cheesecake and tiramisu! I’m so disciplined during training time, I make it a point to treat my body as a reward.

#BillsMafia, how cool is this picture of Meb in a Tyrod Taylor jersey?  

Follow Meb on Twitter (@runmeb) as he prepares for his next big challenge: The 2016 Olympic Marathon in Rio.  USA! Team Meb all the way!

**The Buffalo Marathon is close to selling out! Use BRSKIBA05 for $5 off your entry & the last person to register causing the race to sell out will get a completely free entry!  Register NOW!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Race Report: Cape Cod Beer Race to the Pint 10k

So I’d be lying if I told you that yesterday’s 10k PR at the Cape Cod Beer Race to the Pint was a surprise.  There aren’t many opportunities to run the 10k distance around here and my previous PR came at the Tufts 10k for Women on a day that I wasn’t feeling 100%—most of that was mental.

My goal for the half in Buffalo is going to be somewhere between 7:00 and 7:10 pace so I wanted to run this 10k under 7:00 pace.  If I could do this, I would PR.  If I could PR, I knew it would be a big confidence booster and confirmation that I was on track with my training.

When I signed up for this race last month I was really looking forward to it.  A bunch of my Run Club friends would be there and at the time the 4pm start sounded wonderful.  Fast forward to race day I HATED waiting around until 4pm.  It was a cold, damp, misty day on Cape Cod and all I wanted to do was lay on the couch.

BUT I got myself out the door—and I’m really glad I did.  I met up with Danielle, Jason and their friend Pat in the parking lot and we went in to grab our numbers, long sleeve tech shirts and Cape Cod Beer pint glasses.  We went back and forth deciding what to wear but after a quick warm up with Jason, I knew I would be warm enough in shorts and a long sleeve.

The inaugural race was big!  700ish runners combined for the 5k and 10k.  The race started and finished at the Cape Cod Brewery.  The course itself was pretty boring but that was kind of expected for that area of Hyannis.  The 10k ran the 5k loop twice.  The loop wasn’t quite 3 miles so there were 2 little side roads that we went down and back up.  The sharp turnarounds were brutal.  I had to swing super wide but I still worried that I would slip.  The 5k/10k split was SO CONFUSING!  I had no idea where I was going and if I was supposed to be following the 5k runners.  There was a mini loop, unmarked, that I am pretty sure some of the 10k runners skipped due to lack of signs and race support.

I was the second female heading to the 5k/10k split but I had no idea if she was stopping or continuing on.  She finished—along with the few other guys around us so I was on my own heading into the second loop.  I ran the 4th mile alone, passed a few guys on the BIG hill and then started catching up to the 5k walkers with about a mile and a half to go.  It was kind of fun passing them but also kind of annoying because most of them were walking 3-4 people wide so I had to run to the left of the cones on a busy Attucks Lane with cars coming up behind me flying by.  I sideswiped a few walkers (oops!) but I guess that’s better than a car sideswipping me!

Even the finish was confusing!  The 10k runners didn’t actually go through the finish line banner.  We had to make a sharp left right before it and finish near a rope with the finish line mat and a lady with her clipboard.

It was kind of fun hearing, “That’s my spin instructor!” as I was crossing the finish line!  My splits--> 7:05, 6:43, 6:49, 6:38, 6:30, 6:20.  I was pretty relaxed the whole way and had some gas left in the tank at the finish.  Overall, a good run and I was very pleased with the results.

After the race, I found my friends—including Miss Catherine who we decided is my good luck charm.  I am 2-2 in winning races that she’s attended, the first being the Jingle Jog.  I treated myself to about a quarter of a bear (Cape Cod Blonde) before giving the rest to Gary.  We all had delicious tomato basil soup and bread with dipping sauce from Not Your Average Joes then stuck around for awards.  I won a coupon for a growler of beer and Danielle took home coasters for finishing 3rd in her age group!

Thanks Eric and Stacey (@capecodrunner) for finding and sending me these two race pics from the Cape Cod Athletic Club Facebook page.  Note to self: I need to work on tucking my elbows in!

Photo credit: Kathleen Thomas

Saturday, April 23, 2016

I signed up for the Runner’s World Classic!

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

What: Runner’s World Classic
The Hat Trick: 5k, 10k & Half Marathon

Where: North Andover, MA

When: July 16-17, 2016

“Run with us, the editors of Runner’s World magazine, through beautiful North Andover, Massachusetts.”

Finally an event for BibRave Pros in Massachusetts!  I’m pumped!  So pumped that I signed up for 3 races in one weekend!  What was I thinking?!  HAHA.

I’ll be running the 5k (7am) and 10k (8:30am) on Saturday morning and then I’ll be back for a half marathon (7am) on Sunday.  They call this the Hat Trick.  You can also just register for each individual race or the 5k and 10k which they call the Five & Dime.  The races start and finish at Merrimack College and are organized by DMSE.  They are the guys that run the show at the Boston Marathon and now the Falmouth Road Race so you know it’s going to be a great event.

Another cool thing about the “Classic” weekend is that it includes so much more than just running.  According to the race website, it also features:

·      Seminars presented by top industry leaders
·      Live music after the half marathon (Sunday)
·      Pre-race dinner with Runner’s World editors (Saturday)
·      Kids races and children’s programming (Friday)
·      Celebrity Mile (Saturday)

As for my race plan?  I’m thinking I will warm up with the 5k, race the 10k and treat the half marathon as a fun long run.  We will see as race weekend approaches.

Have you ever raced more than one race in one weekend?

If you want to join me at the Runner’s World Classic in North Andover, visit: and use discount code RAVE for 10% off all races!

Friday, April 22, 2016

My Training Partner is a Work in Progress

From the moment I brought Georgie home, I knew we were going to be best friends and I dreamed of the day she was old enough to start running with me.

Getting a puppy is so exciting but living with Georgie has not been easy.  She’s a smart, stubborn dog with a lot of energy.  She came with some health issues along with your typical German Shepherd traits and characteristics which we need to work on every single day.  We have good days and we have bad days.  Now that she is almost 2 years old, thankfully those bad days are further and further apart.

So one of our issues—My dog doesn't like bikes.

She is ok with a stationary bike, but the second it starts moving, keep your distance.  Scooters, skateboards and dirt bikes have the same effect.

For that reason, I don't take Georgie to the bike path.  We avoid busy places in the summer.  We practice distractions at home.  I am always running on alert.  We cross to the other side of the street when we see someone else walking or jogging on the same side of the road.  When I see bikers coming (I usually do before Georgie because she has her nose in the ground) we veer off into a random driveway or hid behind a tree and I put her in a sit and try to distract her with “touch” or treats.

My dog also bites me.  I know it’s not intentional.  It all makes sense to me why she does and it’s usually things that I could have and should have controlled.  My trainer (Sara Marshall at Paws in Translation) talks about trigger stacking.  The idea behind trigger stacking is that there isn’t one thing that causes Georgie to act out and use her teeth.  It’s many little things that add up and put her over threshold.  For example: we see a biker, a husband and wife walking, a dog barking in the yard across the street, a super windy day, etc.  Then we pass the random man standing on the sidewalk—something that would not normally faze her—and she goes over threshold causing her to jumps at me and grab my arm.

Now I know what you’re thinking—and please don’t worry!  She has never actually hurt me.  I can probably recall 3 or 4 “really bad walks” total but now I can see the signs ahead of time before we get to that point.  She has a way of letting me know when she is uncomfortable or under stress.

Today's run really pissed me off and I feel the need to blog about it.

We parked at the bike path lot but don’t actually run on the bike path.  We started out waiting in the parking lot for two teenagers to pass.  They were on the bike path, we were on the far side of the parking lot, Georgie waiting patiently in a sit when the one kid decided to turn around and do a loop in the parking lot literally right in front of us.  No need kid.

So when they were gone, we started down one of the side roads.  We went around a curve and I just happened to turn around to see an older man on a bike FLY by us.  He was on the same side of the road as us going in the same direction as us.  He actually really scared me because I didn’t see or hear him and I know this also freaked Georgie out.  She started barking and we both started running a little faster following the biker.  The biker never turned around and before we knew it he was out of site.

About a mile later we were running over a bridge and I saw the same guy coming at us.  He was on the same side of the road as us but this time going in the opposite direction.  (I just thought of this—why was he on the wrong side of the road?)  But anyways, we were in the middle of the bridge with nowhere to go.  I made her sit.  I pulled out the cheese—which she had no interest in—and she kept a close eye on him until he got closer.  She started barking and he yelled at us “YOU NEED TO GET THAT DOG TRAINED.”

I actually think this was the same biker that Georgie barked at a few weeks ago and then he stopped and parked his bike about 10 feet from us while we were taking a water break to just stand there and stare at us while Georgie continued to bark. He muttered something to us then too but I couldn’t hear it.

This man really made me mad.  From my perspective, I was happy that even though she barked, she stayed in her sit.  She has a mean bark but she was on leash and she didn’t lunge at him.  Again, she’s a work in progress.  It’s a lot of patience and practice and someday we will get this down.

So to all the bikers out there, I’m sorry my dog barks at you.  And I’m sorry she occasionally will lunge towards you if you come out of nowhere and scare us both.  But she’s on leash and we are both in training.  Help us get over this fear of bikes and don’t be an asshole to make our training sessions even harder.

XO Run Jen Run & Georgie

[Related Post: Future Training Partner]