Hoka One One Huaka Review [& a Giveaway!!]

Minimal shoes were all the rage for a while. And now it seems like maximum cushion is the hip thing. Do you know what this means? Nothing but good things for us runners… there are more options on the market! We’re all different people and have different needs. Even an individual can have different needs depending on what kind of running they’re doing. This has been the case for a long time with trail shoes, racing flats, etc.

I’ve been running in pretty minimal shoes and zero drop shoes for a while. But everyone I know that has tried super-cushioning raves about it. Most of them are trail runners, but road runners have been chiming in too. So when I was given the opportunity to try a pair of shoes from Hoka One One I was down for a little experimentation. BTW – you pronounce it Ho-kah Oh-nay Oh-nay… not like the number one.

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I love running on trails, but I don’t get to do it as often as I would like so in order to test these shoes I wanted to run on roads like I normally do. I looked through their road models and elected to go with the Huaka, a lightweight shoe with a 2mm heel-to-toe differential (I’ve been running in zero-drop for about 3 years now). I also chose the purple color from the three available options because I like purple and it was the only option that didn’t say “Hoka” really big on the side… which, honestly, I thought looked kind of goofy.

A maximalist racing flat? That might be the best way to sum up the Huaka, a lightweight speed merchant with a highly cushioned midsole and an energetic ride. Although it’s high off the ground like other Hoka shoes, it has the lowest heel-toe offset of any Hoka model and a rockered profile, allowing for a natural, efficient and very smooth ride.
- Brian Metzler, Competitor.com

I loved the bright colors and how light the shoe felt (7.5 oz). The shoe comes with regular shoelaces as an option, but it came pre-laced with a “race lace system” so I went with those… since that is a feature of the shoe… for my testing. The tongue on the shoes is very thin, not much cushion there, but it is comfortable. I found the collar around my ankles was a little stiff. And I felt taller wearing the shoes!

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My husband told me they looked like those fraudulent shaping shoes, which I gotta kind of agree with him to a certain extent. They do look kind of goofy. But we don’t buy our running shoes (solely) for the looks.

Running in them was definitely different. I didn’t feel this magical “Look at me, I’m floating on clouds!” moment. In fact, it took 3 runs in the shoes for my cadence to even be back to normal, the first couple runs my cadence was slower than usual (170 vs. 185) and I felt a little more awkward. I’m using to being lower to the ground. But after completing about 21 miles in them over the week I got my stride back in line. Other than that, I’m not sure I noticed anything really different about running in the shoes that made them feel super special. Also, sometimes when I was turning corners in them I felt the stiff collar kind of hit my ankle in an uncomfortable way.

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All said, they probably won’t become my regular running shoes. But I’m not going to write them off completely. It would be interesting to take them out for a short recovery run after a hard effort to see how that feels. I’m still debating if I’ll wear them for a downhill race in a few weeks or if I’d be better off sticking with the more familiar.

Here’s your chance to try a pair of Hoka One One for yourself. I’m giving away a pair of shoes! Any pair of Hokas you want. If you win, you get to look at the shoes and pick the model you feel would suit you best. Ways to enter:

  • Follow me and/or Hoka One One on Twitter
  • Like me and/or Hoka One One on Facebook
  • Tweet about the giveaway
  • Comment on this blog post (Earns you the most points)

You do need to enter via the Rafflecopter widget, it just makes it way easier for me to manage entries! Entry period ends August 31. I will pick a winner within 3 days of the closing and will contact the winner via email. If the winner does not respond within two weeks, a new winner will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! And as it says inside the shoes… Keep Running!

#JadeTheBoxer – My Other Kid

On September 8, 2010 we brought home a boxer puppy. She had been bought from a breeder by a woman who quickly realized she didn’t have time in her life for a rambunctious boxer pup, so the original owner was looking for a good home for the dog fast. And somehow, we lucked into being the receiving end of that woman’s buyer’s remorse. We brought the dog home (that the woman had been tentatively calling Diva), renamed her Jade and she became our spoiled baby. With her own hashtag…

When Jade was a new part of our family, she needed lots of training because she was a baby. Not potty-trained and no obedience skills, so we took her through two 8-week puppy obedience courses at a PetSmart store. She was always kind of stubborn, but never fully BAD in class. Instead of laying down obediently in class, she would sprawl out across the floor on command. She was never good at the HEEL command. And since she was our baby, we did kind of let her get away with all sorts of stuff. We never really trained the barking at the door out of her and she is a little TOO loving at times, getting right up in your face and kissing a lot.

In 2012 we welcomed another new member to our family, our daughter A was born in August and we were concerned about bringing home a tiny infant around this big ol’ dog. Jade has always been very gentle with me, but she sometimes doesn’t seem to know her own size and she gets rowdy at times when she shouldn’t. But the two love each other so much. In fact, I’m hard pressed to get a photo of my daughter where the dog isn’t in the background somewhere, and most frequently right at A’s shoulder.

But part of having this new family member that Jade is super protective of, she seems to have gotten more agitated with people that ring the doorbell, or when neighborhood dogs are barking. We need to get Jade’s manners in check, so we’ve been working with a trainer once more. This time we’re doing in home training and trying to figure out the door barking issue. It’s hard work and sometimes I am so tired of dealing with Jade refusing to do her “homework” that I just want to throw my hands in the air and walk away. But that’s kind of like having a child at times too. There are crappy moments, but you deal with them because the good times are so worth it.

I telecommute so I work out of the home all day, so Jade has been my officemate for a while, I even have a dog bed in my office where she hangs out. I try to bounce ideas off her, but she seems to approve everything I say. I don’t know that I can trust her judgment.

Jade has been sick a few times, stomach issues that have landed her in doggy hospital for several days. Those moments tore me up inside, I was so concerned for her. One time was right before I was supposed to run the OC half marathon in California, so even though we’d been planning on leaving her at the vet’s office to be boarded, it felt really different doing it when she was sick. I was almost prepped to call off my participation in the race, to hover over her at home.

I’m grateful she hasn’t had more illnesses, but the ones she’s had have been so sad to see how my vibrant and cheerful doggie got so beat down. I recently learned that ticks can carry diseases that can make your dog very ill. (Don’t laugh if that seems super obvious to you, I don’t even think there are ticks here in the desert, but there are other ways for dogs to fall ill.) We’ve taken Jade to the mountains a few times where she could have possibly picked up a tick and that would really be awful. But I’m glad to know there are solutions available from K9Advantix® II with educational videos they have provided to help educate pet parents on how to help keep our animals safe.

Just like it’s my job as a parent to teach my kid how to be a good member of society and keep her safe from harm, it’s also my role as a pet parent to watch out for Jade and teach her manners. Jade has been an important part of our family since we brought her home and I intend to keep her that way for as long as possible… even if it means I have to force her to do her homework!

The bond between you and your dog is a special one, and you’ll go to great lengths to keep your furry family member safe and healthy. K9 Advantix® II is a once-a-month topical application for dogs and puppies that REPELS and kills ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes.  Visit http://petparents.com/products  to learn more.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of K9 Advantix® II. The opinions and text are all mine.

Friday Fête

Let’s round-up some stuff from my inbox that I’ve found interesting lately. None of this is compensated, it’s just sifting through all the stuff in my JillWillRun email – which I can hardly keep on top of lately – I mentioned once that I get weird weird weird pitches in there now for a wide range of products that I would never even dream of reviewing/discussing on my site or maybe not even to my closest friends. It’s kind of a bummer; I’m sure there are even more interesting things that land there and get lost amongst the sea of weird. (Seriously, weird uses for marijuana and vapor cigarettes and all sorts of pitches. Not just regular junk mail, but PR people pushing their client’s wares.)

Lightweight Support Shoes

I was given the chance to review some shoes from Mizuno, the Wave Paradox shoe. Well, it’s a lightweight support shoe and I run in neutral shoes. So I worked out a deal for my pal and co-founder of TheRUNiverse.com Chris to take them on for a trial. Well, I was super happy to learn that not only did Chris like the shoe, but they seem to be the fix for his recent running shoe woes. His previous shoes were changed after the model was “upgraded” (I’ve had that happen to me!) and he was on the lookout for a new pair. His verdict? They are one of the lightest support shoes I’ve worn, and they feel wonderful on my feet.” So if you’re in the market for a new lightweight support shoe or just want to try a different model to switch things up, check out his full review over on TheRUNiverse.com and take a look at the Mizuno Wave Paradox. (Plus they look pretty sweet!)

Mizuno Wave Paradox

A Mindful Tri

Do people ask you when you’re going to do a triathlon? I get that a lot… and I really don’t have a desire to do a triathlon. Well, until I learned about the Wanderlust 108. The three events for this will consist of a five kilometer run, a meditation / lecture session, and a large-scale 90-minute yoga class. Right now there are two of them scheduled: September 13 in Brooklyn, NY and September 28 in Atlanta. They need to have one on the western side of the country, because I really want to attend! I was actually surprised to see it is only $58 or $48 to attend (depending on the location). There are 5K runs here in Vegas that cost near that much, just for the run. Of course, you add in travel cost/time it’s not as cheap… but it still sounds like my kind of tri. Before I had a kid I did yoga about 4 times a week (usually in the home, I didn’t get to classes as often as I would like). And post-baby I’m sad to admit that it’s probably more like once a month. I really need to refresh my practice. (I also easily got in 4 runs a week and now I battle to get my 4 runs. I had a lot I did more frequently before I became a mommy.)

Wanderlust 108 - a mindful triathlon

Columbia Store Opening

A Columbia store is opening in Las Vegas on August 22 at 9am and the grand opening celebration continues through August 24. It will be opened at the Premium Outlets South – 7400 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Suite 9, Las Vegas, NV 89123. Their Omni Freeze Zero line is kind of interesting, your sweat activates it to keep you cooler. I still have a couple of months of heat living here in Vegas.

Columbia

Alex’s Million Mile – Run. Walk. Ride. 2014

One month, one cause, one million miles – to find a cure for childhood cancer. Cancer sucks!

Look, A Contest!

CrunchLive contest… you can snap a pic and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #anytimeanywhere to show where you want to do it…. you know, workout. Get your mind out of the gutter! Winner gets two round-trip flights on Virgin America, an iPad and a year subscription to CrunchLive.com. (Which has a bunch of fantastic workouts. You can try a free trial on the site too.

crunch-live-do-it-contest

My Short Getaway

My birthday was on Monday. And all I could think of that I wanted was some time off. I feel like all I do is work and be a mom. I even try to slip in my running at super early hours of the morning so I don’t inconvenience anyone else in my family. And I was just drained; drained of any semblance of feeling like myself and just starting to begrudge everything.

So I took time off!

On Tuesday I went to a local resort (the Aliante Casino Hotel Spa) and checked in for the night.

I got a massage, then I found some food and lounged around in my room while I read a book. A book… a novel… leisure reading! And I devoured it all in one evening! (Well, I’d read the first 1/3 of it, but that was over the course of reading a bit here and there in between everything else in life for a couple weeks.)

The book: Finishing Kick by Paul Duffau. The book was about a small-town high school cross country team and how they all learn to work together as a team. I would classify it as a young adult novel, but having read a lot of young adult novels both as a young adult and in recent days… I really liked how this felt more like the youthful innocence I recalled from my younger years. The books of late have been very sexualized and that makes me a little uncomfortable to think that is the norm for kids these days! This book had kids being awkward with one another when they like each other, there are no vampires or supernatural powers and it made me wish I had run cross country in high school. This is a book I’d feel good about giving my daughter to read. (Well, when she’s older. She’s still not quite 2 and I don’t think she’d sit down for this book!)

After sleeping in a bed all by myself where I could pull the sheets/covers any way I wanted, I woke up and went for a run around the area. It was fun to explore new paths and I got in a solid 4 miles. This part of town is remarkably flat, I have so many inclines near me! It was very humid and I’m battling a little bit of a cold, but it was still a fantastic run.

After my run I got cleaned up and went to the spa again for a facial. As I was checking in, I realized that the night before when I’d been signing in for my massage I’d written my age as 35. Oops… I’m actually another year older now. Oh well!

I didn’t turn the TV on in my room the whole time except when I used it to check out. I listened to music and read, it was glorious! I came home feeling relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated.

But it was nice to return home to my kiddo who screamed like a pre-teen at a Justin Bieber concert when I walked in the door.

 

Therapy Ball Workbook

When I was offered the chance to read the Therapy Ball Workbook (disclaimer: that means I was given the book), I figured it could be an interesting book. I assumed that it would prescribe specific balls to help with the movements (70 exercises in the book) but was pleasantly surprised that it illustrates ways to use common balls that you may have around home, or would be easy enough to secure with a quick trip to a store. Tennis balls, basketballs, stability balls, golf balls, etc.

Therapy Ball Workbook

The book is cool because it isn’t just for releasing knots, although there are plenty of rehab tips. There are ways to use balls to help stretch out, to relieve tension and build strength.

In addition to just outlining all the exercises, the book takes it one-step further and groups the exercises into 7 routines that target specific purposes:

  • Beginner routine, to familiarize yourself with the movements
  • Core stability
  • Back strength
  • Total torso (basically a combo of the core and back
  • Total body workout
  • Relax and stretch
  • Muscle release for active people

The total torso workout is pretty good. I do need to familiarize myself with the moves so I read the workout, then I have to flip to each page for the description of an exercise. Then it is time to flip back to the workout to know what my next move is. I guess in time I will learn all the moves by name and wouldn’t have to flip through the book each time!

It’s a cool resource, just 93 pages so there isn’t a lot of superfluous material in here. It is something that can be worked into anybody’s workout schedule, it’s not just for the injured or those prone to trouble-spots! You can pick it up for $11.55 in paperback on Amazon or grab the kindle version for $9.99.

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

Friday Fête

Meditation is HARD. I’m currently on about day 15 of a 10-day introductory program from Headspace.  That’s because I fail to make the time… 10 measly minutes… for myself to meditate. And then when I do, I drift and think and analyze the whole time. That’s the whole point of trying to meditate, is to reign that reflex in because I feel it causes me undue stress. There’s also the issue of feeling like I’m doing some kind of illicit underground thing with meditation. I mentioned to my husband that I was going to try meditation and he just blankly looked at me and then went back to his college football boards. He thinks stuff like that is wacky. And it does have that image. But I’ve heard of the benefits and after reading Dan Harris’ book (10% Happier) on the subject, I’m certainly willing to believe that it’s not all wacky and “woo woo” or whatnot. (I need to buy that book… I got it from the library, it’s worth having my own copy. Note to self… do that next weekend.) But I feel like I’m not coping with stresses and changes in life as well as I possibly could. Life is moving too fast.

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Speaking of life moving fast… today is my kid’s last day in the toddler room at school. Then she has a week off before the new school year starts and she goes back to school as a “beginner” in her little uniforms. (Which I’m still waiting to arrive, hopefully they fit. Dinky little kid I have, they’ll probably be falling off her!) It’s weird to think of her as not so baby. Yet, she’s still a baby and it seems to be so fast/early for her to be growing up. I mean, she’s not even 2 yet… that’s a couple weeks away still. How is 1.9 not a toddler?! She even calls herself a baby still.

Speaking of a week off… because she has no school next week, that means I have no work next week. I had to take the week off to take care of her. We thought we’d go on vacation, but are we? So far… no. We haven’t planned anything. Cause we suck. Or at least we are massive failures at planning vacations. The problem is that I don’t want to plan everything on my own and then feel like I’m dragging people somewhere they don’t want to go. And so I’m just not doing that anymore. Maybe when A is a little older I’ll drag her places. “Dammit kid, you’re going to Disneyland and you’ll be happy about it!” But for now, that’s way too much bother. So I guess I’ll take her shoe shopping not on a weekend when the stores are so crowded. Her feet are growing so fast these days!

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Speaking of kids feet… because I’m such a nerd about letting feet develop and gaining foot strength, I’m really particular about the shoes A wears. So far, all her shoes are from Stride Rite (with the exception of her water shoes) because I like how flexible they are. But those things are kind of expensive when they only seem to last a few months!

Speaking of expensive shoes… I’m going to get the opportunity to try a pair of Hoka One One shoes. I’m intrigued to try these maximally cushioned shoes and see what all the fuss is about. Not only will I get to try them, I’ll get to give away a pair, so keep an eye out for that in several weeks. (I gotta get my pair and test them out!)

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Speaking of… eh, I got no more segues.

If you were going to go on a spur-of-the-moment vacation, where would YOU go?

Parowan City Half Marathon [Race Report]

I registered for the Parowan City Half Marathon a while back and had kind of forgotten about it until I got home from our cruise. Then I had an epiphany, “Oh yeah… I have a half to run in a few short weeks. Yikes!” And I hadn’t run a half in over a year cause the last one (when A was 7-months old) was so rough on me physically. So I had to get myself up from a long run of 6 miles to half marathon in short order.

Well, I did it and my training went really quite well! All of my long runs felt strong and I was happy with how I’ve ramped up. Could it have been better? Of course. But I was pleased with how things went in prep for this race.

Want to know how to make an out-of-town half marathon trip a little bit harder?
Make it a mommy-toddler road trip.

On Friday, I loaded A into the car so she and I could hit the road. We had a nearly 3 hour drive ahead of us (the race is in Southern Utah) so I strapped her into her seat and made sure she had a water bottle and a bag full of books within reach. I can easily make the drive on my own in 2.5 hours, but with the kid we had to stop at a gas station for about 10-15 minutes to look at everything in the store and just let her move her little legs. I never knew there were so many monkeys to be seen in a gas station… but there were. Monkeys on food wrappers, monkey toys, and things that kind of look like monkeys but aren’t really monkeys.

The good thing about this race is its proximity to my mom’s house. Which means that A had a babysitter for the race AND I got to share my kiddo with her grandparents. We all went to the packet pickup at the fairgrounds, where A put my bag around her neck and was spinning around in circles. I took video of her spinning and extracted this still using the app Vhoto.

My kid wearing the race bag around her neck while holding a cowbell.

My race bib with the timing chip attached to the back (Jaguar timing system), race shirt, bandana with the race logo on it, brochures for the area, keychain and a sample of Deep Blue Rub by doTerra were all in the bag. Race organizers/volunteers also had written every runner’s bib # on the bags, so you could put whatever you wanted in the bag, take it to the start line and use it as your drop bag. They return the bags to the finish line for the runners. The city was also giving away cowbells for spectators. Charming little touches that come from a small town race!

I woke up at 4 am to get ready for the race and drove my mom’s vehicle to the race start (so she could bring the kid in my car. Moving a car seat is a pain!) The runners all gathered at the fairgrounds and we were driven to the start line up the canyon on school buses. It was still dark when the buses left, but the sky was brightening so the scene when we got to the reservoir where the race starts was pretty and serene. I looooooooove me some mountain air.

Sun about to peak over the horizon at Yankee Meadows reservoir

I am not entirely sure what the temperature was at the start line, but I’d guess it was in the mid 50′s. I was so excited to feel cooler temps and even possibly feel a little cold. After so many days in the Vegas summer, it’s nice to escape the heat every now and then! The race start was so casual, I’m not even sure where the official start “line” was and there wasn’t a starting mat. So the race timing was gun to chip finish, except there wasn’t a gun. So I guess it was “person counting down” to chip finish! The first three miles of the race are on dirt road and there were volunteers to direct us around the cattle guards in the roads. Once more, small town charm.

This race is a downhill race. Really downhill. I knew it was all downhill, I had looked at the elevation profile. But I didn’t realize just how steep some of these downhills were! And as awesome as the downhills were, the last 2.5 miles or so were kind of hard because it was either flat or a very slight incline. It’s hard to get your legs turning over properly after so much downhill!

Course Map  Parowan City Half Marathon - Yankee Meadow Run in Parowan, UT

I had to make a pit stop at mile 6. To be blunt… if I didn’t stop I probably would have shat myself. And I’m not in contention for any prizes nor am I competitive enough to just keep going in the face of that potential humiliation. So I stopped at the porta potty by the aid station. Notice, I said THE porta potty. Just one, a single solitary one. And there was a line. I waited there for 5 minutes. I know this because of the difference in my actual time and the “moving” time recorded by my Garmin. The volunteers at the aid station were friendly and chatted with us as we waited in line, “I guess this is the point where runners gotta go, huh? We’ll tell our bosses we need more potties here next year!” LOL! Yep… definitely need a couple more.

But for most of the race, I was really moving well and I was loving the mountains. There were hand-written signs all down the canyon along the course with sayings like, “Smile, you paid for this!” and “Your feet hurt from kicking so much butt!” My favorite was probably “No! You’re not almost done!”

Once I hit the flat ground it literally felt like I was moving through mud, it was so hard to pick my feet up! I wasn’t the only one feeling that way… I saw lots of walkers in the last stretch. Even people who were walking in the finishing chute because they just couldn’t do any more. And even though I had several moments where I felt really worn down in that last stretch, I was impressed with my surge to the finish line! And my toddler ran some of the steps with me in to the finish.

Want to know how to make an out-of-town half marathon finish a little bit sweeter?
Make it a mommy-toddler road trip!

Mommy and toddler at the finish.

I literally crossed the finish line, turned around the chute and dropped to the ground so A could run into my arms.  She told me she loved me right there at the finish. She’s way better than any medal I could receive!

We walked over to find some food, and proof of being a mother… every food item I started to eat the kid said she wanted it and I would give it to her. I ran 13.1 miles but she needed to refuel! :-) We shared watermelon, banana and a peanut butter granola bar. (Which prompted her to say “Is PEANUT BETTER!” upon first bite.) After we’d eaten a little, A stood up to give me another hug and then said, “Mommy go shower!” Yes dear, I will take care of that.

Refueling with the kid

If you only do races for the bling, the Parowan Half Marathon isn’t the race for you. The medal was kind of weak. But here’s the thing… the race is SUPER cheap (I think I just paid $35 or so) and it’s in a beautiful place. So I don’t care that the medal isn’t a heavy showpiece. It’s still a souvenir of a great event!

2014 Parowan Half Marathon Medal

My legs started hurting pretty shortly after the race, I knew I would feel that downhill. I used the sample of the Deep Blue Rub before I got in the car to drive home. (First time ever trying that stuff, it felt pretty good!) But my legs were pretty trashed. Here it is several days post race and I’m still feeling it! Hopefully this makes my muscles even stronger for downhill races cause I have another one in about a month!

I would recommend this race to anyone/everyone. Travel to do it if you must, you’ll find plenty of fantastic things to do in the region (if you need help, just ask me!) – it’s a great little event and I really enjoyed myself (I would do it again, and again, and again!) I’m also quite pleased that I did a half marathon, it’s been a while since my last one!

I wore my Narrative clip during the race. I will post a real review of the gadget at some point, but I just wanted to share some of the better pics it snapped during the race.

 

11 Things Before List Posts are Totally Out

… and because I need to post. It’s part of who I am, I feel empty without blurting my thoughts on the internet regularly.

  1. I have not been as prolific in my blogging as I used to be able to maintain. I just feel like every minute of every day is being sucked away from me before I can realize they’re gone. BUT…. I did spend time I should have spent reviewing a book for the blog to change the design of the site! Productive procrastination!
  2. Years ago, I used to get up at 4am to run so I could be cleaned up and ready to work by 6am (my days of overworking myself and giving my employer way more hours than they deserve from me) but I feel like I need every bit of sleep I can get these days. I think part of it is that I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted all the time lately that it gets harder to have energy to physically exhaust myself.
  3. That doesn’t mean that I avoid physical exhaustion. I love that I’ve built up to runs in the double-digits once more. That feels like a happier place for me with my running.
  4. It’s also nice to know that A will sleep in longer so I can run longer on Saturdays.
  5. Speaking of A… that kid is so amazing! She is 23-months-old now, she’ll be 2 next month! TWO! She is a smart little chatterbox and she’s got a sense of humor and a daredevil edge. I definitely didn’t have that, she scares me the way she likes to jump off things so much, but it’s also great to see the gleam of excitement in her eyes when she does it. Yet, she was terrified to sit on the carousel horses at the Santa Monica pier.
    Untitled
  6. I read the book 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story recently. Highly enjoyable book. I have two sides of me… the side that likes slightly-hippy-dippy-woo-woo-new-agey things, the other side that is far too cynical to fully embrace them. This book is an awesome balance, even more toward the cynic side in a completely fantastic way!
  7. I have this little obsession now that I want to run the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, OK. Why? Well…. all because of their  “Center of the Universe Detour” gimmick.  Someday I will run the shortest ultra out there… 26.5 miles. Oh yes…. someday, I will run that.
  8. I dyed some of my hair pink about 3 weeks ago with a henna hair color. I love love love it. Yes, it is worthy of three emotive declarations. But it’s faded quite a bit, so I want to refresh that. But then I thought…. what about purple? And blue? No green… that just seems wrong. Maybe I should have got the funny hair colors out of my system when I was younger, before I was in my mid-30′s? Who cares… I was too serious when I was younger.
    Pink hair
  9. I really do not like Linkin Park. And Linkin Park is always playing when I turn on the car. Is there some kind of law that Linkin Park must be playing on the radio at all times?
  10. Sometimes I wish I had more flexibility in my life. That I could run as many races as I want, in as many locations as I desire and go for as long of runs as I feel like. Of course, if I had the flexibility to do that… I probably wouldn’t have the money to do that. Damn life catch-22′s…
  11. Peanut M&M’s…. I’m addicted. I don’t really want an intervention, mmmmkay?

Wahoo’s TICKR Run Heart Rate Monitor

wahoo-tickr-run-1.jpg

Wahoo Fitness has introduced TICKR Run and they sent me one to try! (Full disclosure, the device was given to me for free and the thoughts here are all my own.) TICKR Run is the first heart rate monitor with activity tracking that provides real-time analysis of a runner’s form, helping to improve efficiency and avoid injury rates. The device pairs with iOS and Android smartphones and other devices and retails for $79.99.

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Want the official lingo on how it works?

Using a triple axis motion sensor, TICKR Run contains an accelerometer that measures a runner’s form in three planes: vertically, side-to-side and front-to-back. Those sensors and Wahoo’s fitness app for iOS and Android (update to be released in the coming months) produce a measurement of each runner’s form called Running Smoothness. Developed exclusively by Wahoo, Running Smoothness is a sophisticated algorithm that assigns varying levels of importance to each axis and combines them into a single, easy-to-understand index. Using Running Smoothness, athletes can improve their form to avoid unnecessary body motion, which improves efficiency and reduces the risk of common running injuries. Using Wahoo’s app, runners can even track Running Smoothness through their workout history to see improvements over long periods of time.

The TICKR Run review in Jill-speak… It paired really easily with both my iPhone and my Garmin Forerunner 220 watch. Using it with the Forerunner alone you get a solid and consistent heart-rate reading, one of the most reliable I’ve ever used. Used with the app, you get the added benefit of Running Smoothness, which I don’t use all the time because I’m content with my Garmin, but when I’ve played with it I’ve been impressed. It usually has pretty comparable stats for stride rate as my Forerunner, but there’s also the added information about side-to-side motion and ground contact time. There is a treadmill mode as well, so you can use your connected device, TICKR Run and get all the same data.

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If you don’t want to use a new app for tracking, it pairs with over 50 of the most popular fitness apps out there (including Runkeeper, Strava, MapMyFitness, etc.)

An additional perk from Wahoo is they offer BURN & BURST heart rate training plans. The BURN plan is designed to optimize fat burn and the BURST works on your speed and performance. This is a nice benefit for those who want to use the power of tapping into their heart rate for training optimization but aren’t quite sure how to approach that.

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I’ve been impressed with the strap. It is comfortable and easy to put on, the closure is controlled by hooking on the sensor, so no reaching behind to blindly fiddle for a little hook closure. Once on and after it’s been paired, I’ve not once had a problem with it losing the connection or failing to recognize my heart rate.  Since it has the bonus of being able to pair with your phone and various apps, that frees you up to use it for a multitude of sports/fitness activities, which makes it a more universally appealing option.

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

Every Move [Giveaway]

EveryMove Prize Pack

Have you heard of EveryMove? I hadn’t until a few weeks ago, but it’s a pretty neat little site/app. It can automatically pull in the fitness data you are posting on other sites (think Strava, Garmin Connect, RunKeeper, etc.) or you can manually enter an activity. For every activity you enter, you earn points.

EveryMove app screenshot

These points can be put toward rewards! A majority of them are for pretty good discounts on purchasing a product, so it’s not like they’re all freebies. I recently earned a discount on a transition wrap from Orange Mud, which is actually something I’ve had my eye on. (No… not for triathlon since I don’t tri… but it can be used to cover car seats, useful for post races or runs that start away from home.) You can scroll through the rewards available and select which one you are working toward.

EveryMove app screenshot

There is a social component to the site too, so you can make friends there and use the community for support. But you are also perfectly able to work toward rewards on your own commenting or spreading the love.

They recently launched a revamped site as well as their app and to celebrate they’ve offered a prize pack to JillWillRun readers.

EveryMove Prize Pack

The prize pack will include:

Enter via the Rafflecopter widget. You can get points for following a whole bunch of companies on social media accounts as a thank you for offering this awesome prize pack.

a Rafflecopter giveaway