July miles! & Hello, August!

August first! You know what that means… *checks Garmin Connect app*

It took a while of being submerged in the online running community to realize it was a “thing” to track miles, let alone post about how many you run each month (week, and day!) Now, adding up the miles is like… it’s like getting a test back that you Aced, receiving a package in the mail you forgot you ordered, it’s like… I did that!?

Since I started racking up the miles in around 2016, I’ve thankfully had Lifelong Endurance by my side and I’ve built my runner legs s l o w l y. Just to show how far I’ve come (this whole “running a lot of miles” hasn’t been a thing for me for very long!) – I’ve gone from considering 4 miles a “long run” and maybe 10 total miles per week seeming like a TON to now easily running 35 or so on a “cut back” week and 45-50 miles on a normal week. It’s amazing how the more you run, the less impossible it seems.

Looking back on previous months, I’ve run anywhere between 170-200+ miles (274-322+K) per month – EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH. – for over a year!!! I can’t believe that. Not that numbers are everything, quality over quantity, and a break is always GREAT but I’m also allowed to be really proud of myself for that kind of consistency while – most importantly – feeling strong and healthy.

So: 184.7 running miles (297.2K) in July, 6 miles this morning to kick off August, and the possibilities are endless… Let’s do this!

 

Review: Shady Rays Sunglasses (Discount Inside!)

Disclaimer: I received an pair of Shady Rays Allure Sunglasses 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!

If you run, or do anything outdoors for that matter, you know that eye protection is a necessity. I always have a pair of shades – in my car, ready for a run, in my purse, backpack… I won’t be caught outside without them! So, naturally, I’m always on the lookout for a good pair. Things I look for in a pair of sunglasses include: affordability, durability, style, and color. Shady Rays hit all the marks.

shady rays 2

I love that you can “shop their Instagram!” Look to see what you like and shop that style!

Affordability

Shady Rays sunglasses range from about $35-$80 depending on the style, but average about $45. The Allure (the pair I have) and one of their most popular, the Signature Series, are both $45 a pop. I think this is a fair price. Plus, they seem to have very frequent sales! So keep an eye out. I have not and will not pay more than about fifty dollars considering sunglasses are so easily lost, broken, etc. Which brings up the next factor…

Durability

Upon first opening my Allure sunglasses, the first thing I noticed (after the awesomely BRIGHT pink lenses) was how “solid” they felt. These bad boys are sturdy. They aren’t going to break with one drop or if you touch them wrong. I trust that these shades will last me quite a long time! PLUS, *the best part of these sunglasses* is that they have a FREE LOST/STOLEN OR BROKEN REPLACEMENT policy!!! Yep. Lose ’em or break ’em and just pay shipping for a new pair. Definitely worth the $45 price point.

Style & Color

I love that Shady Rays has more than one style (MANY styles in fact!) I know certain brands have stuck with one classic style and it’s just nice to have something different. You can certainly find a style that fits your face. All the fun color options and BEAUTIFUL, colorfully saturated and reflective lenses are a huge bonus! They are even more beautiful in person.

shady rays

The pair of shades I am testing is part of the Allure collection. I need purple next!

Bottom Line

Yes. I would recommend these sunglasses to a friend. Use the code RAVE for 50% off two pairs and it’s a steal! PLUS, Shady Rays will donate 10 meals to fight hunger through Feeding America with every. single. purchase. I truly couldn’t ask for much more in a pair of sweet shades!

Use code BIBRAVE for 50% off 2+ shades at https://shadyrays.com/

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Trophy Tuesday! Ennis Polka Fest 10K

This weekend I raced a 10K in Ennis, Texas called the Ennis Polka Fest Run. Many of us from my running group carpooled and went down with our eyes on the prize. They did team awards so we set off to win a trophy. It’s SO fun being on a team – wearing team shirts, cheering each other on, being there for each other at the finish – taking photos, cheering for each other during the awards ceremony, posing with our team banner, being the loudest bunch… it’s the best. It’s family.

Hot, Humid, and HILLY was the name of the game.

I started off feeling great at about a 7:10ish minute mile – OK, I can do this for 6 miles!, I thought.

Then another mile went by – it was humid. My shirt was already soaked and I contemplated taking it off. I’m on mile three and I thought Shit, OK maybe I’ll just race to the 5K point then jog the rest. I’m dying.

As time goes by I am really in my head with negative thoughts…

Will this be my first DNF? During a 10K?

This is HARD. Is it just me? ANOTHER HILL???

Ok, I’m still maintaining a 7:xx minute mile… HOW?

Ok, just finish the mile you’re in. Ugh, but I’m only half way.

Everyone will understand if you just take it easy.

But I’ve come this far… How good will it feel to win something?

Ok just one more mile then you’re in the last mile!

Just keep going.

I can finally see the Finish line. I hear the announcer and see people cheering. I hear a teammate yelling for me. Well, who knew. Somehow I find the energy to sprint across the finish line. It felt good to not give up. It felt good to finish towards the front with the boys. It felt good to win a trophy.

Huge shout-out to Lifelong Endurance. Thank you for helping me chase big dreams, no matter the challenge.

Spring Cleaning: Updated Running Faves

Spring has sprung! For runners, this means it’s time for minimal clothing, a ridiculous amount of sweat, extra electrolytes, (extra) early mornings, and the iconic and glorious runner’s mark: THE Garmin watch tan.

So, as leggings and pullovers turn into shorts and tanks, I’ve run into a few new favorites and have a few oldies that are still going strong.

Let’s check it out!

  1. Ultima Replenisher – This electrolyte replacement powder mix has been my favorite for a while now. I had the chance to try a few new flavors and discovered my love for good ol’ fashioned “lemonade.” It mixes well with other flavors (I’m a powder mixer), tastes great on its own, and keeps me feeling great through the sweaty runs. I have at least one scoop per day, two if it’s a blazin’ hot one. Use code ULBRAVE19 for 10% off at amazon.com/shops/ultimareplenisher

Ultima stick pack

2. Thinksport Sunscreen – Living in Texas, sunscreen is a MUST. Every. Day. I use it religiously and still get a tan. I would be a Doritos Nacho Cheese chip without it. Wear it. Bathe in it. Put it by the front door so you don’t forget. Plus, Thinksport is safe for skin – no weird chemicals.

Thinksport Sunscreen

3. Aftershokz Trekz Air – These are a classic. Aftershokz have been my favorite for EVER now. They are literally (literally!) the ONLY headphones I will run in. I’ve gotten a pair for my mom and dad, that’s how good (and NECESSARY) they are. Stay safe by hearing your surroundings, yet listen to your music without compromise. Save $55 on any “bundle” with this link https://glnk.io/4w4/kinzie and code JENNAK

Aftershokz Trekz Air

4. Knockaround Sunglasses – Classic. Cheap, colorful, multiple styles, do the job. Look good. Enough said! Love them! https://share.knockaround.com/x/qMeW9j for 10% off!

Knockaround sunglasses (Mai Tais)

5. Garmin Forerunner 645 Music – LOVE. Looks good, not huge/bulky, has ALL the functions PLUS music controls or storage, lightweight, quick charge! I definitely recommend this running watch! For specific Q’s, let me know! bit.ly/GarminJ

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

6. Sabre Safety Pepper Gel – This little handheld pepper spray straps onto your hand – I don’t even notice it’s there. For the peace of mind, this has been the BEST $10 ever spent. The pepper “spray” is actually GEL for better accuracy! https://www.sabrered.com/

7. WIN Sports Detergent – AKA the Best Sports Detergent. “It is a staple for runners, cyclists and anyone who sweats when they work out.” If you get sweaty you know that sometimes your favorite workout gear can get a little raunchy. This gets clothing good as new AND is safe for sensitive skin! (A MUST for me!) https://www.windetergent.com/

8. Loopy case – The Loopy case is a NECESSITY. Like the Aftershokz, I’ve been using this case since this was a startup company. It is the only case I use now. I don’t have to grip my phone, selfies are a breeze, and I can hold my phone with one finger. It’s one of those things that seems odd but once you use it, you can never go back. https://www.loopycases.com/

Loopy case

9. Huma Gel – I’ve known that I need to step up my fuel game and finally have. I like Huma Gels because they’re not “gooey” like frosting (NOT appetizing in the heat) and have natural ingredients. What more could I ask for! They also have tons of really refreshing flavors and even have a “Recovery” drink! https://humagel.com/

10. Koala Clip – For the LADIES! I LOVE that I discovered this tiny yet powerful accessory. Always trying to find great shorts, pants, clothing items with pockets? Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE pockets (see next item) – but don’t EVER worry about a place to put your phone again! Just clip this simple pocket onto the back of your sports bra (or wherever really!) and you’re good to go. https://koalaclip.com/

11. Senita Swift Shorts 4 – OHH. MY. GOSH. Another one for the ladies. These shorts. They are just plain comfy. They don’t squeeze you in or chafe. They just allow your legs to be FREE! I feel like shorts are really really different for everyone but I think these are definitely one to try. Another favorite (not shown) from Senita are the Rio Shorts! Stretchy, move with your body, and POCKETS! http://senita/Jenna for 10% off!

12. Oiselle New Roga Cap – OK THIS HAT. This is not like a normal hat. It’s light as a feather. Like, I’m almost worried I will tear it. I know I won’t but. Still. It’s super thin, you can ball it up and stick it in your shorts if you’re done with it, it has a little zipper POCKET (yes – a HAT with a POCKET) big enough for a house key or something small, AND has reflective detailing. Seriously, I don’t know what else a 2 ounce hat could pack. Way to go, Oiselle. Another *functional* home run! https://www.talkable.com/x/V2iQEM for $20 off!

13. Brooks Caldera 3 – This is one I did not, in one million years, expect to be on my “Spring Favorites” list. Really and truly. I also never thought I’d sign up for a trail race. But, you know, one thing leads to another… Long story short – I ended up splurging on a pair of actual trail shoes and H O L Y  GUACAMOLE. I run on these even on the roads. They are SO cushioned. Like running on air. Or clouds. Pillows. Marshmallows. Anything soft! I highly recommend these for a neutral runner looking for a trail shoe! Now I need more colors! https://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/brooks and use Rakuten for 2-10% cash back at Brooks and other running stores! (No strings!) https://www.rakuten.com/r/JKINZI

What are some of your warm weather running favorites?

Review: Ultima Replenisher (Discount code inside!)

Disclaimer: I received samples of Ultima Replenisher 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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If you’ve followed my running journey for a while, you may already know:

  1. I live in Texas, so hydration is KEY AND NECESSARY. Like, I would not be able to run (or live) on just water alone.
  2. I have been using Ultima as my go-to, ride-or-die, always have on hand, electrolyte replacement for a LONG time.

So, naturally, when I had the change to test out something that I already love, I said YES. I got the change to try some sample packets and small tubs of flavors I had never tried. So still something new! And let me tell ya, this stuff did not disappoint.

Ultima contains a perfect balance of all 6 electrolytes plus support minerals that work together to provide complete hydration so you can feel and perform your best. Ultima is sweetened with stevia leaf and made with real fruit flavors that taste delicious.

  • 0 Sugar, Carbs, Calories
  • 6 Electrolytes + Trace Minerals
  • Vegan, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, Caffeine-Free, Keto-Friendly, Paleo-Friendly, Peanut-Free

The variety pack is perfect for on-the-go!

A few of my favorite things about Ultima Replenisher Electorlye Supplements:

  • I feel good about the ingredients and about what I’m putting in my body
  • It is a powder, so it’s fast – no waiting for it to fizz up (easy at home OR on the go)
  • You just need a little bit – the little scoop is just about a teaspoon, yet good flavor
  • A tub of it lasts forever. You just use a little bit so it goes a long way.
  • FLAVOR. They taste good!!! Not like watered down old orange juice.
  • Ultima has never, ever upset my stomach. It makes me feel good.

Just shake it up and you’re all set! I keep some at work, in my car, at home…

K, but to the most important question: What’s my favorite flavor???

So far: Raspberry. I’m a raspberry gal through and through and this flavor is just always good and refreshing – any time of day.

So, bottom line: I would HIGHLY recommend this product. I did get to try some new flavors but this is a product that I, myself, purchase regularly.

I personally use it at least once per day (in the morning after my coffee) and if I work out in the evening or in the summer when I sweat more than a human being probably should, I’ll have another serving in the afternoon.

So many great flavors!!! Cherry pomegranate is delish.

Try it for yourself: use code “ULBRAVE19” for 10% off the amazon.com/shops/ultimareplenisher storefront! What’s your favorite flavor?

Up Next: Wildflower Trail Run 25K

What’s next?!

As you may know, I’ve been racing a lot (well, a few this year – seems like “a lot” to me). I’ve been racing mostly half marathons, some shorter distances, always going for a PR. This is fun and great but I wanted to switch it up. Do something different. Something adventurous.

So!

In NINE days, I will be taking on my first ever TRAIL RACE! Yup.

I am so excited for this new challenge! I’ll be taking on the 25K at the Trail Racing Over Texas Wildflower Run. I WILL NOT be looking at PACE at ALL. I might even flip my watch or put something over it. This is for fun and for the adventure! I may even get muddy. I would prefer not to, but I’m keeping an open mind. OK, I straight up don’t like getting dirty so there’s that. But we will get through this! 😄

ALSO. Something especially fun about this adventure…

I’ve recruited Dad! Yep! he’s super excited. This will be his first trail run too. We agreed that we didn’t want to camp out, so we’re hotel-ing it. Maybe we will be more adventurous next time. But, in Texas, Air Conditioning is pretty essential for survival and in May, you just never know.

A little bit about Dad…

My dad was my first running buddy. Ever since I was big enough to walk, Dad encouraged me to tag along on his runs. Before that, he strapped me to his bike! We were always outside exploring. We didn’t run for time or pace… heck we didn’t even THINK about that. It was about finding a cute puppy to pet, tasting a honeysuckle, feeding the ducks, sneaking into an apartment pool… it was the little details I remember. Not the miles or the effort. The little things…

So! As I take on this new adventure, I am challenge myself and I challenge YOU to ✨notice the little things.✨ Today I noticed a honeysuckle bush in my own neighborhood that brought back so many memories – and I hadn’t even realized it was there…!

Thank you all for your support and thank you Lifelong Endurance for keeping me healthy and STRONG and building the runner I am today.

Strava: Where the Runners Are

Disclaimer: I received an annual Strava Summit subscription and Strava merchandise 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!

If you run, you probably already know. Strava is where the runners are.

Keep track of you and your friend’s miles, races, routes, effort, and more – all in one place. I, myself, have been using Strava practically since I started running a few years ago. I have it set so that my Garmin watch automatically syncs all my data straight to Strava. Literally no work on my end. I love having all my stats in one spot and being able to scroll through and check out what my friends are up to. I can “like” and comment on their runs – give them Kudos for a job well done.

In world where we wish we could join a group run regularly but also have busy lives, Strava is great for bringing runners together – near and far.

Probably one of my favorite things about Strava – you can join clubs and challenges. Create a club for your local running group, or join existing clubs. Challenge your friends to run a segment of your run route faster than your previous time or challenge yourself to run a certain distance for the month. Possibilities are endless!

strava trophy

Plus, (for those of you who already know everything there is to know about Strava!) something NEW I want to mention:

Strava just launched an initiative called The Last Mile that rewards finishing a race strong and celebrates the grit of digging deep and leaving it all out on the course. When you join the challenge and make the last mile split of your Half Marathon or Marathon race the fastest, you will unlock a $10 donation from Strava to Girls on the Run, an organization that inspires girls to take charge of their lives and define the future on their terms. Learn more about this great charity here: https://www.girlsontherun.org

The Last Mile: https://strava.app.link/h0AkExgAOV

The Last Mile - Carousel Image Second

Only 1% to 3% of runners on Strava complete their last mile as their fastest in half and full marathon-distance activities, but it’s something that is within reach for every runner. To help them do it, Strava is giving every athlete who signs up at thelastmile.strava.com 30 days of Summit for free!

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So, let’s achieve our goals and help dreams come true for our youth! Whether or not you have Summit or the free version, I highly recommend joining Strava for all it has to offer. I’ve had the free version for years and am loving the community!

strava mapJoin me in a few of my favorite Strava clubs:

BibRave Strava Club: https://www.strava.com/clubs/bibrave

Strava Run Club: https://www.strava.com/clubs/strava

Charity Miles Run Club: https://www.strava.com/clubs/charitymiles

Curious about the story of Strava? Check out this podcast interview with the founders of Strava: https://youtu.be/_qB0c_XWXso

Run With Me

If you’re a runner, you know that there a many ways to collect stats. Miles, kilometers, pace, monthly distances, heart rate, cadence, elevation, route maps, PR’s, races, long runs…

HOW THE FREAK are we supposed to keep up with all of this?

Us runners tend to love seeing data, but how can we run without having to open 743 apps and keep up with 42 Excel Worksheets?

STRAVA.

If you run, you know Strava. Well. Probably very well.

If NOT, join me on my running journey by downloading the app here:

THEN, get social! Add me! Join clubs, accept challenges… when you get really into it – try to steal your friend’s segment PR!

Here is what my profile looks like, and as you can see I am very active on Strava – in some clubs, collecting quite the trophy case, a few achievements:

strava

See my profile and add me here: https://www.strava.com/athletes/jennakinz

I really like being able to see my miles Year-to-Date, weekly mileage, and just all the fun stats. I can add photos, see my routes, and see how I stack up against friends in my run club if I want. Strava can be as competitive as you want it to be, so you can just stick to your own stuff if you want or you can get competitive with others.

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Plus, with my Garmin watch (or with practically any device you use) – it will automatically sync all that data to Strava for you. So you literally do not have to do anything! Sometimes I check Strava every day, sometimes I go a few days without opening it up – either way, all my runs are there! But trust me, this is like Facebook for runners. You’ll get into it.

So, let’s start this running journey together! Add me and join some of my favorite clubs!

BibRave Strava Club: https://www.strava.com/clubs/bibrave

Strava Run Club: https://www.strava.com/clubs/strava

Charity Miles Run Club: https://www.strava.com/clubs/charitymiles

See you on Strava, friends!

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Happy running!

Review: Turtle Gloves (plus discount code!)

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Turtle Gloves Turtle Flip Mittens 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!

With this winter we’ve been having, mittens have been a necessity (yes – even in Texas).

Turtle Gloves Turtle Flip Mittens are a race-day necessity!

Plus, having Raynaud’s, I’m known to be a “hand-wear fanatic.”

So, there is my credibility.

Let’s dig in!

What are “Turtle Gloves?”

Turtle Gloves is a brand that has become known for their versatile Turtle Flip Mitten aka my favorite mittens on Earth.

I am a bit biased, because before testing this mitten I’d already owned a few pair – I mention this because that means I really love them! I’ve loved an used them for a while now. I did receive a pair to test, but I also purchase a few pair of my own and have even gifted a pair. I’ve truly decided that these are my favorites.

They come in three weights – light, midweight, and heavyweight. Living in Texas, the light/midweight have been great.

The sizing is generous. Id say most people could pull off a Small, men with large hands a M/L. There’s also a Youth and XL available for tiny or extra large hands. I am 6′ tall with long fingers and can wear a Small but prefer the M/L for extra space.

So. These aren’t just mittens. You knew this was coming!

These mittens can “flip” and easily turn into fingerless gloves – and even then – if you warm up a bit more can be pulled up your arm to turn into arm warmers (perfect for race day!) and THEN if you really warm up can be bunched up on your wrist and act as a sweat band. These babies do it all – making them perfect for running (the transitions are suuuper easy!) and for race day. They even have little loops in case you want to hook them to a backpack or something.

Other tidbits: they are easy to wash, moisture-wicking, breathable, and have stretch to them. Plus they come in a variety of fun colors, and come in reflective versions as well!

There is no other mitten like this and I totally 100%, completely recommend them. Not only is the product great and super useful, the people behind the product are really great and genuine. I love supporting small businesses when I can and really truly think that everyone should know about this inventive product.

Try Turtle Gloves for yourself and use code TurtleBibRave for 15% off! Let me know how you like them below!

Find the Turtle Flip Mittens here: https://turtlegloves.com/product-category/turtle-flip-mittens/

Medal Monday: The Cowtown Half Marathon!

Happy Medal Monday!

Every medal tells a story and this one represents a morning I will never forget.

Pre-race excitement!

The Cowtown Half Marathon yesterday was my first time running this iconic Dallas/Fort Worth race. The weather was PERFECT, I ran strong overall, and most importantly had fun! Another sub-1:40 in the books!!!

It wouldn’t be “Cowtown” without a giant cowbell, right?

Not long ago I wondered if I’d ever break that barrier and now I’m eyeing a 1:35!!! I truly think I had it in me yesterday but HOLY HILLS. I had heard some say “THE hill” was at mile 8.5, some said mile 9, some mile 10. I just knew it was going to get harder.

So, I hit the halfway point feeling strong… hitting sub-7:20’s (settling into and feeling surprisingly comfy at a 7:12-ish) then my mind wanders.

It’s going to get harder…

You’re going to hit that wall…

Will you have gas for the last few miles? A negative split?

Psh, with these hills coming up… can I keep this up???

Then, THE hill came.

Ok. This is THE hill. Get past this and you’re golden… right?

I’m dying…

People are passing me! Get it together, JENNA. WHAT IS HAPPENING.

An 8 minute mile? We don’t have time for this.

Then I did anything and everything possible for the next 4+ miles to convince myself to go just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep the rhythm. Make it to mile 10, then 11, then 12. Then you’ll be on your last mile…

I just ignored the watch and went.

Looking back at my mile splits, it’s clear that THE (FREAKING) hill did slow down my groove BUT. I am beyond proud of my effort and determination in this one. I’d be lying if I said I never wanted to give up. But I didn’t.

My Garmin funked out and added a mile @ mile 13 – totals are inaccurate but you can see mile splits and where THE hill was (see mile 10-13) ACTUAL finish: 13.15 miles, 1:38:28

I am just so glad we had nice weather and will definitely be back for another Cowtown! Thank you so much to the race directors and 4,000+ volunteers (YES! This is a huge race!!!)

Check out my full race review on BibRave.com here!

“Let’s do this!”

 

“Hi, random stranger, will you take a picture of me before I do this thing?”

MOST OF ALL: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, to my Coach over at Lifelong Endurance (check em out!!) for helping me become a runner I never thought would happen. And, as always, thank YOU for your encouragement!!! You are amazing.