Product Review: BuffUSA UV Full Buff

Disclaimer: I received a BuffUSA UV Full BUFF® 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 first product review as a Bibrave Pro was for the Buff USA UV Half Buff. I loved it so much that I even bought another to rotate into regular use. It’s still pretty hot here in Oklahoma, but it certainly can get downright frigid in the winter. I was interested to know what benefits a UV Full Buff might offer that I could not get with a Half Buff. So when the opportunity arose to review the UV Full Buff, I was eager to do so.

I went to the Official Site of Buff® USA to learn more about the Women’s Full Buff. There, I found the following description of the UV Full Buff:

“No more excuses for sunburns. No more hiding in the shade. UV BUFF® headwear keeps the sun fun while blocking 95% of harmful UV rays*. Like our Original BUFF® product, the UV BUFF® can be worn more than 12 different ways, from a headband to a cap to a balaclava, for a personalized style and perfect fit.”

More than 12 different ways?? I had no idea one product could be that versatile! With more than 160 design options from which to choose, it certainly seems personalized to me. I really wanted to know if all 12 ways of wearing the Full Buff would actually be useful to me. I was determined to wear it in as many ways as possible. But before I could do this…

WHY BUFF®

NeckerchiefSun GuardFace MaskHoodBalaclavaCapNeck GaitorDo RagPirateFoulardHairbandHeadband

BUFF® is a registered trademark of Original Buff®, S.A. Spain. The “Ways to wear” icon symbols are copyrighted.
(via BuffUSA.com)

… I needed to watch this:

Bright orange is the official color of Bibrave, so each Bibrave Pro testing this product received a BRIGHT ORANGE UV Full Buff.

I knew my UV Half Buff made a great headband, so I really wanted to challenge myself to wear my UV Full Buff differently. Keep in mind that it’s still pretty hot in Oklahoma right now, so some of the cold weather suggestions will have to wait a bit.

First up, the beanie:

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I was dying to try this since the first time I watched the “How To Wear” video! It was super easy and comfortable. I will definitely be using this function of my UV Full Buff come winter.

Next, I tried the foulard:

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I forgot to bring a ponytail holder with me when I went to use my spin bike. It was the perfect chance to try the foulard style. I got through my entire 1 hour workout without a bother. It stayed in place and wicked the sweat off my forehead.

It also makes an awesome wristband:

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IMG_3433There was a day that the only time I could sneak away for a run was during my son’s soccer practice. It was 90F – not the best conditions for running. I put the neckerchief to the test. I dipped my UV Full Buff into some icy, cold water and wore it around my neck. The material absorbed the liquid but stayed cool and lightweight. It didn’t bother me a bit as I ran and I think it helped me not overheat that day.

On another hot and windy afternoon, I was able to fit in some miles before dinner. I decided to wear the traditional headband so I could compare it to the way the UV Half Buff fit. I had to fold it over a bit since it has more material than the Half Buff. (I think I prefer the Half Buff in this mode.) It was much windier than I had realized once I got going, 25 mph headwinds! If that’s not hard enough, there was a landscaping crew on my route cutting grass that was flying right into my face! So I stopped and adjusted my UV Full Buff to cover my nose and mouth as a balaclava to avoid inhaling more pollen than I would like. It was an absolute life-saver!

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After all these uses, my 6 year old wanted to try it too. He wore it in pirate mode:
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As versatile as the UV Full Buff is, I think I prefer my UV Half Buff for warmer weather runs. I look forward to using my UV Full Buff when the weather starts getting cooler and calls for more layers while running. If you’re interested in trying out any Buff USA®  product, now is the time! You can save 10% off your purchase with code BIBRAVE10 until September 30, 2015. These make great gifts for any runner friends as well.

Wonder what the other Bibrave Pros thought of the Buff USA® UV Full Buff? Check out their reviews by clicking on their names below.

Kim             Elizabeth          Chad          Angie

Jenny         Laura B.           Rachel       Christine

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Zensah Thigh Compression Sleeve Review

Disclaimer: I received the Zensah Thigh Compression Sleeve 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!

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I bought my first pair of Zensah compression about 4 years ago. At that time, I was having some issues with some varicose veins developing in my lower legs. After having a minor laser treatment, the nurse recommended that I wear compression socks for a few weeks. Not at all impressed with the options available at the pharmacy, I opted for the much more stylish and functional Zensah compression socks. I was thrilled to be able to keep running during my recovery and still keep my legs healthy! Over time, I added to my Zensah collection with a couple pairs of leg compression sleeves that I love for both running and recovery. Needless to say, I was thrilled to try their Thigh Compression Sleeve!

IMG_3225The first thing I noticed about my Zensah Thigh Compression Sleeve when it arrived was that there was only one in the package. I’m not sure why this detail surprised me, as their website clearly states there is only one sleeve per package, but it did. Although it is easy enough to alternate the sleeve for both thighs, it would be nice to treat them both at the same time.

The women’s Thigh Compression Sleeve is available in only two sizes: S/M or L/XL. I referred to the size chart below to help me determine which size to order. I’m 5’7″ with a thigh circumference of 18.5″, so the S/M seemed like the perfect choice for me.

Thigh Sleeve Size Chart (Via Zensah Website)

“When choosing a size, thigh circumference should be used as the primary determinant. We list heights for those who do not know their thigh circumference. Measure the circumference of the thigh at the largest part.”

  UNISEX
  Thigh Circumference Height
S/M 18” – 22“ 5′ 8″ – Below
L/XL 22″ – up 5′ 9″ – Up
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Tiny rows of non-slip grippers designed to hold the Zensah Thigh Compression Sleeve in place.

The compression of the sleeve when I wear it feels amazing. It’s snug without being too tight Another detail that is different from my other Zensah products was the little band of rubber beads at the top of the sleeve that is meant to help keep the sleeve in place. According to the Zensah website, this “no-slip gripper ensures the thigh sleeve stays in place.” Sounds fantastic…but this little gripper would also be a limiting factor for me to use this product for anything other than recovery. 

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No matter how hard I try, I can’t get the top of the Thigh Compression Sleeve to lay flat.

According to Zensah’s website, this product “may be used during training, activity, or for muscle recovery.” I use my Zensah compression socks and leg sleeves for both running and recovery so I had high hopes of using my thigh sleeve in the same capacity. Unfortunately, that would not be the case in my experience. Although I had no problem putting the sleeve on, the top of the sleeve always rolls down slightly at the top no matter how hard I tried to keep it flat. For me, it’s most comfortable if I pull it all the way up to my groin area. I tried wearing it down on my thigh a little lower, but the compression seemed to cut into my quad too much.

No matter where I placed the top of the sleeve, the non-slip gripper row folds over itself as seen in the photos. When it rolls down, the non-slip grippers are exposed and either rub on my other thigh or grip onto my shorts in an odd way. The potential of chafing in this very sensitive area is way too high for me to risk wearing this product on a run. At first, I thought maybe it was just the way my body was shaped, maybe my anatomy was not conducive for wearing this product the proper way. But then I discovered several other BibRave Pros were having the same issue with the non-slip grippers, so this may be a more common issue than I realize.

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I even tried it on my left leg, sitting down. The top still rolls down.

On the upside, I love wearing the Thigh Compression Sleeve after a tough workout. My right hamstring/quad/hip has been problematic for me over the last 6 months. Putting this on after stretching and rolling feels fantastic!

I am a huge fan of Zensah and will continue to use this product primarily as a recovery tool. However, if you are searching for a piece of compression gear to use on your thigh while running, I can’t recommend this product for that specific use at this time.

Be sure to check out Zensah’s website for more compression products and accessories.

 

Check out what some other BibRave Pros thought about Zensah’s Thigh Compression Sleeve:

 

Angie                       Christine                     Jess                    Brandon                  Elizabeth 

 

 

 

 

 

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Addaday Pro Massage Roller Product Review

Disclaimer: I received an Addaday Pro Massage Roller 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! All opinions are my own. 


 

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For as long as I can remember, I have been told that using a foam roller as part of my marathon training routine is necessary. Sure, I have owned a foam roller or two throughout the years, and I even used them a few times if I was particularly tight after a long run. But truth be told, rolling was often an afterthought; something I’d do if I had time on my hands. Frankly, using a traditional foam roller was simply too painful to make me want to use it willingly! So I avoided it. I neglected it. I simply didn’t do it. And then I got injured.

After running the 2014 New York City Marathon, I took a month off running completely. My mind, my body and my family needed the break from marathon training. In January, I decided to help a friend train for and complete his first marathon in April. Since I wasn’t running for myself, per se, I took a more relaxed (read: lazy) approach to training. I ran, but I didn’t do much else to get ready. Thinking that my experience would pull me through, I ran three half marathons in March and simply overextended myself. I severely strained my right psoas and my IT band on the same leg was constantly tight. I somehow managed to gut it out through the race, but at the cost of injury that took me out of running for over 8 weeks. This experience got me acquainted with my foam roller.

My traditional foam roller and my Addaday Pro Massage Roller.

My traditional foam roller and my Addaday Pro Massage Roller.

The thing about a traditional foam roller is that it requires a bit of floor space to use correctly. I had to mentally prepare myself to use it because controlling the pressure on my very sensitive hip area was really difficult for me. Tears would literally fall down my face as I rolled multiple times a day to massage the thick IT Band on the outside of my leg. I’m pretty sure I scared my kids every time I used it. But I knew it had to be done if I wanted to run again.

Then, the Addaday Pro Massage Roller arrived at my door. It is about the same length as my traditional roller, but as you can see, it is certainly not as one-dimensional. According to 687066_394e2ff6672f4559a8b9bcabca41921b.png_srz_p_558_558_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srzAddaday’s website, “Addaday’s scientifically-designed self massage sticks, foam rollers, bodywork balls, and flexible massage devices all incorporate varied surface textures and shapes designed to release muscle and tendon adhesions, and provide a daily realignment of your joints.” The unique gear system enable each gear to move smoothly and independently of the others, allowing for more focused pressure on muscles and joints.

 

The Addaday Pro Massage Roller can be used in multiple ways. For me, my focus is all the muscles groups of my legs, including the IT Band, hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves. I discovered several tutorial videos to help me target each group of muscles effectively. Here’s one for the IT Band:

(Click here to see multiple quick tutorial videos about how to use your Addaday product.)

After suffering through traditional rolling for months, I was elated to discover that using my Addaday Pro Massage Roller was less painful, less traumatic and probably more effective than I ever imagined possible! Not only could I control the pressure on highly sensitive areas, but I could use the gears in a variety of ways to truly knead the muscles and tendons more effectively. Studies have shown that rolling PRE workout is actually more effective than post workout, but it is something I rarely did with my traditional roller. With my Addaday Pro Massage Roller, I just grabbed on my way to the kitchen in the early morning and worked on my legs a bit while my toast was in the toaster. I mean, some rolling is better than no rolling, right?!? IMG_3319

Another advantage of using the Addaday Pro Massage Roller is that it’s easy to take with me to my workouts. I actually find myself rolling much more frequently now, often immediately after finishing a speed or strength session. I just throw into my bag with a change of clothes, a towel and other essentials. This is NOT something I could do (or ever attempted) with my traditional foam roller.

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The bottom line is this: I LOVE my Addaday Pro Massage Roller! I truly feel that it’s helping me stay healthy as I train for the Chicago Marathon coming off an injury. In fact, I even bought one for a running friend to encourage her to roll more often as well! It’s portable, versatile and extremely effective.

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Wonder what the other BibRave Pros think about the Addaday Pro Massage Roller? Check their reviews below!

Tom                                       Erica 

 

 

 

 

Do you use a roller as part of your daily fitness regimen?

If so, how has it impacted your training? 

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UV Half BUFF Product Review and Discount Code

Disclaimer: I received a Buff USA UV Half Buff 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! All opinions are my own. 


There are lots of amazing privileges to being a BibRave Pro, one of which is trying out the latest and greatest types of gear! The Buff USA UV Half BUFF® is just that – an amazing piece of gear that I think will benefit any type of fitness oriented person.

What exactly is a BUFF??

Don’t worry, I asked myself the same question! It is a seamless tube of microfiber polyester that can be used as a scarf, helmet liner, balaclava, face mask, doo rag, bandana, sock hat, headband, beanie, wrist band, hair tie, goggle wiper, tube top, just to name a few. Essentially, it is a “Headwear Transformer”! It is soft, stretchy and has seams that will never fray.

When I first received my  UV Half BUFF®, I was a little confused as how to use it for more than just a headband. When I first got it, I folded it over neatly into thirds and came up with this:

UV Half Buff in headband mode.

UV Half Buff in headband mode.

I was immediately surprised how comfortable it was. It didn’t pull at my hairline like many of my headbands do. It is super hot in Oklahoma in the summer time so wearing around the yard doing chores was a perfect place to get the feel of it.

Glistening in the dark on a 12 mile run.

Glistening in the dark on a 12 mile run.

For me, the real test would be on the run. So many headbands I have tried fall off the back of my head or don’t adequately keep my fly-away hair out of my face. I tested my UV Half BUFF® out on an early morning 12 mile long run with my Runhers. It was hot, humid and one of those days that sweat just pours out of you. I’m happy to say that not only did my UV Half BUFF® stay put, it kept the sweat out of my eyes, too. I even took it off, rinsed it off with cold water and put it back on with no problem. It didn’t slide down or even get droopy. After my run, I threw it in the wash and line dried it with my running gear.

Although I loved using it as a headband, I still wasn’t sure exactly how to use it other ways. I found this video on YouTube that helped me see how to transform it easily into other potential uses.

Poolside in my UV Half BUFF®.

Poolside in my UV Half BUFF®.

Truthfully, I was still not too confident I could pull off some of these fancy looks. I took a chance at wearing it to the pool. I dipped it in the water and put it over my head. It kept me surprisingly cool!

I liked the versatility of this product so much that I bought a second UV Half  BUFF® as well as an Original  BUFF®. Using discount code BIBRAVE10 saved me 10%. You are welcome to use it as well! Having these two products in my drawer will be welcome replacements for my dingy, old running beanies and headbands that I’ve just been hanging on to for way too long.  I just have to make sure my kids don’t steal them!

My 6 year old son loves wearing my UV Half BUFF®.

My 6 year old son loves wearing my UV Half BUFF®.

Not sure what the difference is between the Buff USA Original BUFF® and UV Half BUFF®? The video below demonstrates  how to use a Buff USA Original BUFF®. I love how versatile and fashionable this product is for anyone who lives an active lifestyle.

Here are some more details about Buff USA’s UV Half BUFF®. Be sure to shop their amazing selection and use discount code BIBRAVE10 to save 10%!

Half the length of original UV BUFF® headwear, the UV Half BUFF® option offers efficient thermal properties, built-in sun protection and moisture management. It’s a versatile, go anywhere piece wearable at least nine different ways.

  • Blocks 95% of UV rays*
  • Exceptional Moisture-wicking with its 4-channel fibers
  • Soft, breathable Coolmax Extreme fabric
  • Cool in the summer, extra layer of warmth in the winter
  • Polygiene Active Odor Control
  • Quick drying

Wondering what the other BibRave Pros thought of the UV Half BUFF®? Check out their reviews below!

Jeremy                   Rachel                 Caroline                Emily

Jessica                   Jenny                     Laura B.                Sarah M.

Amy        

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Urban Trail Running on Chicago’s 606

Indeed you are, Chicago, indeed you are!

Indeed you are, Chicago, indeed you are!

No visit to my parents’ home in the Chicago suburbs is complete without a visit to downtown Chicago. For seven years, I lived in some of the city’s hippest neighborhoods. In my mid-twenties, I shared a flat with a friend in the heart of Boystown. Just a couple blocks off the lake, I was pursued my triathlon training along Lake Shore Drive. I got married in 2003 and moved to Lincoln Square, where my husband and I enjoyed the extensive artsy features of our new neighborhood. A bit further from the lakefront, it was more convenient to run around the neighborhood parks to get my training miles done. When I became pregnant with our first child in 2005, we decided we needed more space for our growing family. We moved even further from the Lake to West Logan Square, where we bought a condo that was centrally located between our two jobs. I trained for four marathons running the streets around our condo, playing Frogger with the heavy traffic that plagues big cities like Chicago. Of course running along the lakefront would have been much more enjoyable (and undoubtedly safer!), but juggling my responsibilities as a new mom and working full-time made me desperate to get the miles in any way I could.

So when I came across a tweet about a new “urban trail” in Chicago called The 606 a few weeks ago, flashbacks to my days trying to run in the city traffic came flooding back to me. I remember hearing whispers about such a place when we first moved to Logan Square in 2005, a dream of turning an unused railroad line into green space for the city. (Read more about The Story of The 606) A path above the city? 2.7 traffic-free miles? Parks, water fountains, multiple access points? I knew I had to check it out the next time I visited.

Signs like this on lamp posts let me know I was close to the path.

Signs like this on lamp posts let me know I was close to the path.

Driving in downtown Chicago is the kiss of death. I know this, yet I had no choice but to do it anyway on the day I visited The 606. After getting my family to where they needed to go, I parked at University Village by UIC and packed my fuel belt with my phone, some money, a credit card, and a granola bar for my urban running adventure. I jogged about a mile down Halsted toward the CTA Blue Line train. It was cool to overlap some of the Chicago Marathon course knowing it will look very different when I come back in October!

Park 567 Entrance at Milwaukee/Leavitt, next to Aldi Foods.

Entrance at Milwaukee/Leavitt

According The 606 website, the best way to get on the trail would be at the Damen/Milwaukee/North intersection in the heart of Wicker Park’s shopping district. The website implied that I might see the access ramp to the trail upon exiting the train station. This was NOT the case. As I walked up Milwaukee, I peeked inside a shop to ask a local, who had no idea where to point me. I ran back to the train station, asked a CTA worker, who said he’d heard of The 606, but didn’t know where it was. Finally, I saw a gym that I hoped had runners or bikers that could help me find it. Score! I ended up joggin down Milwaukee about 3/4 of mile before I saw the entrance. (For the record, it’s on Milwaukee & Leavitt.)

Detailed maps like this could be found every 1/4 mile or so on The 606.

Detailed maps like this could be found every 1/4 mile or so on The 606.

Once I got on the path, I could not believe my eyes. It was simply gorgeous! Trees and manicured shrubs line both sides of the path. Ascending/descending mile markers every tenth of a mile to measure your distance. The outer edges of the path have a soft, blue, rubber-like surface that I found enjoyable to run on. Any stress that I felt trying to find the path completely dissipated as I decided to run the entire length of the trail to both ends. Heading east, I stayed to the right and observed the multitude of people using this repurposed space. There were runners, bikers, walkers, both tourists and locals, throughout the length of the path. Beautiful benches lined the path, sometimes right on it, other times in little alcoves to overlook different views of city life. Families were out with their children, kids were out there with their friends, runners were out there getting their miles. Everywhere I looked, I saw JOY. Joyful people only make our world a better place.

Even the garbage and recycling bins are joyful!

Even the garbage and recycling bins are joyful!

“The 606 brings together arts, history, design, trails for bikers, runners, and walkers, event spaces, alternative transportation avenues, and green, open space for neighbors, Chicagoans, and the world.”

– The Story of The 606

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2.7 traffic-free miles above the city

As I ran up and down The 606, I thought back to my time living in Logan Square. The Ridgeway Trailhead access point is only 1.7 miles from my old condo. I have no doubt that I could have run many of my long runs on this path. When I was a resident, the idea that The 606 would ever come to fruition seemed like a pie-in-the-sky dream, especially when the recession hit so hard right when we were trying to sell our condo. To see it brought to reality 10 years later truly brought tears to my eyes; it’s creation, no doubt the result of committed, passionate and creative group of individuals who saw such potential in a forgotten space.

At the end of the day, I ran over 8 miles on my urban running adventure, two of which included my jog to and from the UIC/Halsted Blue Line stop to University Village. My hope is that Chicagoans truly see the value of The 606 and support efforts to make more green spaces safe and accessible to all the residents of their great city. I also hope The 606 inspires other cities to explore creative ways to repurpose unused or abandoned spaces for their communities that allow their residents to pursue happy, healthy lifestyles. Happy, healthy people make for happy, healthy communities, which is what we all want for our families, isn’t it?

It's a party on the path! Residents show off their amazing outdoor living spaces on The 606.

It’s a party on the path! Residents show off their amazing outdoor living spaces on The 606.

Sometimes, you've just got to pull over and take a break.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to pull over & take a break.

Overlooking Damen from The 606.

Overlooking Damen from The 606.

 

Do you have green spaces in your community that promote healthy living?

If not, would you like to see a space like The 606 come into your community? 

 

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Run Where I Live – Oklahoma City

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Enjoying every minute of my running journey!

For those of you new to my blog, welcome! My name is Laura and I live with my husband and two boys in Norman, OK, where I also teach 5th grade. The premise of my blog is to share my journey to live the fullest, most authentic life I am capable of living by pursuing my own version of health and happiness. For far too long, I used to wish certain things were different in my life. I spent a lot of time romanticizing the past or dreaming about a utopian future that I thought would bring me happiness. I now realize that those kinds of thoughts take me away from the amazing life right I have right in front of me and I refuse to miss another second of it! I am committed to working hard to stay present for my husband, my children, my students and my friends. Pursuing health and happiness for me includes finding gratitude in my life everyday, providing a plant-based lifestyle for my family, and running with joy no matter the distance! I love sharing my passion of this journey with women in my community as the director of the Norman RunHers.

This post is part of a larger series of blog posts about different running locations across the country. Click here to visit our home base set up by my fellow blogger Live, Run, Grow. Her site provides a road map of our blogger running tour.

IMG_1156[1]Oklahoma City is located right, smack-dab in the middle of Oklahoma. It is one of the most affordable cities in the United States and is growing rapidly each year. As such, the city has made a great commitment to providing an abundance of opportunities for the residents to live happy and healthy lives. Although there are hills in the area, the mostly flat terrain and mild climate are quite conducive for year-round running. It is important to note that our severe weather season is typically mid-April to early June. Sure, the summers can be hot and humid, winters can be cold and icy. But as our local hero, Will Rogers, once quipped, “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, just wait a minute. It’ll change.” Here are a few of my favorite places to run in the Oklahoma City metro area.

Downtown OKC

Myriad Gardens, OKC

Myriad Gardens, OKC

A visit to downtown Oklahoma City provides you with a plethora of beautiful running routes from which to choose. Click here for a map of a 3 mile route that will give a nice tour of the downtown area starting with the lovely Myriad Gardens on Reno Ave. Heading east, you will see the Chesapeake Energy Arena, home of our OKC Thunder as well as a venue for major concerts and entertainment events. One more block and you will be in Bricktown, an entertainment district that was formerly a major warehouse district. It’s major attractions include the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the navigable Bricktown Canal, a wide variety of bars and restaurants, and beautiful public sculptures and murals depicting Oklahoma history. After a short jog on the promenade, you can head north to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Be sure to take a walk through the gardens and stop at the Survivor Tree. It is a profoundly moving experience that you can’t miss. If you into marathons, I strongly encourage you to put the OKC Memorial Marathon on your bucket list. The marathon is the main fundraiser for the National Memorial and Museum and is truly a one of a kind event. For more details about the OKC Memorial Marathon, read my BibRave review.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

I also highly recommend that you visit Oklahoma City’s Midtown District while you’re in town. It’s located just north of the downtown business district, and is growing exponentially due to new business, reinvestment by anchor tenants, revitalization of historic buildings, and a renewed interest in building a strong and diverse local community. Our Norman and OKC RunHers groups like to meet at Waffle Champion on Walker for a group run (click here for 3.5 mile route). Weaving through this historic neighborhood is a tour of beautiful historic restorations of homes and businesses. Plus you can’t beat the post-run coffee, mimosas and unique hand-crafted waffles at Waffle Champion!

If you’re looking for a group run, be sure to visit Red Coyote Running and Fitness on Classen Curve. They host a friendly Pack Pint Run on Thursdays at 6:00 pm. You can also check out the Landrunners, the largest running group in Oklahoma City area. They host organized runs during the training season for the OKC Memorial Marathon and the Route 66 Marathon.

Norman

University-of-Oklahoma-Norman-Campus-711EE9E2

Less than 20 miles south of OKC is my hometown of Norman, home to the University of Oklahoma. The gorgeous OU campus is the site of most of my weekly runs. Running the perimeter of the campus takes you past the trademark red brick buildings and the phenomenal athletic facilities, including Memorial Stadium, home to Sooner football. Follow this map for a fantastic 5 mile route around the campus.

Be sure to visit our local running store OK Runner for any of your running necessities. They a friendly, welcoming running group consisting of runners of all abilities. There’s an open invitation to join them on Saturday morning long runs that typically start out of their store. My running group, RunHers, also meets Saturday mornings and is open to women of all fitness levels, whether you’re walking, running or a little bit of both! These two groups combine for weekly Pub Runs in Norman on Monday nights at 7:00 pm. The runs range from 3-5 miles in distance and end with a pint at a local pub. Be sure to check the OK Runner Facebook page for details if you’d like to join us!

Trail Running

Lake Thunderbird trails

Lake Thunderbird trails

Another great aspect of running in the Oklahoma City area is the access to nearby running trails! Two great locations I have enjoyed are Stanley Draper Lake and Lake Thunderbird. Oklahoma Trail Runners Association often has group runs at these as well as other trail locations each week. Be sure to follow their FaceBook page for more details. In addition, there are many paved trails throughout the OKC area that are suitable for biking, walking or running.

No matter which route you choose, you are guaranteed a gorgeous view, friendly people and a great workout. And as always, run with joy, my friends!

Stanley Draper Lake

Stanley Draper Lake

Continue the Run Where I Live Blogger Road Trip by visiting Northern California with Train with Bain.

 

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9 Reasons I’m Grateful to be Injured

Runners HATE being injured and I am no exception. I’m a creature of habit who loves working towards goals and am usually willing to do anything to achieve them. Being injured messes with that routine and, quite frankly, pisses me off.

With training for Chicago Marathon imminent, being sidelined was NOT on my summer training plan. This pain and frustration could very easily lead me down a very dark rabbit hole that offers a bottomless pit ripe where self-pity, self-loathing and negative thinking can grab hold, grow and fester.  None of that crap is going to help my hip get any better and it certainly would not make for a happy family life.

Therefore, I have decided to STAY PRESENT and deal with the circumstances set before me. Sure, there were tons of things I could have done to prevent this injury. But the reality is that I didn’t do them and no amount of regret, disappointment or chastising myself can change that fact. Instead, I choose to recognize that there is always, ALWAYS something to be grateful for in my life. Here are nine reasons I am grateful to be injured.

1) Fix my diet

I have always thought of myself as a “healthy” eater and followed a mostly plant-based diet. My husband made the shift to vegan several months ago and I, for whatever reason, have struggled to commit to the lifestyle change. Being injured has been the perfect time to educate myself further on the lifelong benefits of a fully plant-based diet. Over the last few weeks, I feel I have made a huge shift of consciousness in regards to how I view food for myself and my family. I’ve enjoyed listening to Rich Roll’s podcast and reading blogs like Plant Based on a Budget. I’m learning how to establish new routines for my family that will benefit all of our health and am feeling fantastic in the process!

2) Reevaluate my goals

This one is hard to swallow. I created a strong base of mileage over the last year and was hoping to capitalize on that work during Chicago Marathon training this summer. The race is 18 weeks away, which means that this would be week 1 of a typical 18 week training schedule. Well, here I sit, 6 weeks post OKC Marathon and I have run a total of 9 painful miles. Definitely not where I want to be, but that doesn’t mean I’m TOTALLY starting over from scratch! I have been ultrasound-ed, massaged, stretched, poked, prodded and dry needled in places that I would rather not mention. But my physical therapist is the coach right now and knows I intend to run Chicago in October. Together, we reset my goal to finish the Chicago Marathon in a healthy manner, no matter how fast or how slow.

3) Improving my form and technique

I’ve been very limited on what physical activities I could do that would not exacerbate my injury. Sure I cross-train, but truth be told, I usually do the exercises to get them done and rarely focus on my form and technique. It’s quite humbling when your 6-year-old has better push-up form than you do, so I am practicing perfect form push ups everyday to build my overall strength. My injury has taught me that if I want to be able to run for decades to come, I must improve my hip strength and mobility. If there is one exercise that will best help me achieve this result, it’s the squat. I am focusing very hard to perfect my form and technique so I can protect my hips in the future. It’s a challenging dichotomy of having weak yet tight glutes and hamstrings. I need to get my “ass to the grass” (as my trainer so eloquently puts it) to keep my hip-joint and IT band flexible.

4) Sleeping in

As much as I miss the 4:45 am alarm that gets me out the door to run with my friends, I am enjoying sleeping until dawn these days. I know I will be back out there soon enough so I am going to appreciate the extra shut-eye as much as possible now. If I’m really honest with myself, I know I typically do not get enough sleep during my marathon training cycles to allow my body to heal from my workouts. I need to make sleep more of a priority in my everyday life.

5) Being a volunteer 

Missing out on National Running Day last week was disappointing. I was in so much pain that day it hurt to step up the curb! Not being able to run is the perfect opportunity to help out behind the scenes. If you are a frequent racer, it can be easy to take certain race amenities for granted. Giving back is a way to stay connected and pay it forward for when I am back out there again someday.

6) Celebrating my friends and their successes

I am a relationship person. I believe that spreading love and serving others enhances my life and brings me great joy. It is tempting to be bitter and jealous of others who are enjoying something that you can’t. But being jealous of my friends is not something I would ever be when I am healthy so why would I allow myself to feel that way while I am injured? I truly enjoy watching others achieve their dreams. The awesome power of social media allows me to stay connected even if I can’t run right now.

7) Encouraging other injured runners

Truth be told, the world will not stop because I am injured. Shocking, I know. Realizing there are many other runners out there dealing with injuries, illness, or worse is very humbling. I am so lucky that I will get better. I am so thankful that my body will heal. I am grateful every day that my legs have already carried me so far. You never know what battle another person is fighting. The power of a few positive words may go farther than you ever know.

8) Creating New Workout Routines

My routines are going to change. They have to change. If I want a different result, than something has got to be different. I am grateful for the opportunity to explore the possibilities. So far, the dynamic warm-up/cool-down drills are going to be an absolute necessity. They are no longer “optional” for me if I want to stay healthy. I am also exploring working with a coach and using a customized training plan for Chicago. So many exciting possibilities ahead!

9) Reminder that running does NOT determine my self-worth

Finally, I am grateful that running does not define me. I am a runner, but that is just one, small part of who I am as a human. Running is a gift that can be taken away at any moment. When you put all your self-worth into something fleeting, you can find yourself in trouble very quickly. This injury was a humbling reminder that my life is much more than running. I may be a runner, but I am also a mother, teacher, wife, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, godmother and friend. THESE roles are still here even when running isn’t and I am forever grateful for that.

Stay present, my friends, and keep moving forward.

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