Under Armour HOVR Non-Connected Running Shoes {Review}

“Disclaimer: I received a pair of Under Armour HOVR shoes 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!”

 

 

The attention to detail on the UA HOVR shoes is indescribable as these lightweight shoes sure take comfort to another level. I specifically love the holes (aka vents) on the shoe that can help with sweaty, nasty feet. The colors on the shoes that I got were gorgeous, from the light teal to the marble found on the sole of the shoe.

Being lightweight has been to be so good on my body because I have already had the pleasure of bumming a knee, I have to be more mindful of the shoes that I wear. The UA HOVR provides me with cushion and absorbency that I need for when my feet hit the pavement. Heavier shoes were not only uncomfortable,  but many times dis not offer the support that I needed for my shoes.

Unlike the other pair of UA HOVR, these are unconnected shoes, which means that the information from these shoes will not be uploaded to the appropriate UA app when bluetooth is turned on. The connection to the Under Armour app is very amazing, but not necessary to have a great experience with this shoe.

Owning these shoes and running in these shoes made me a believer in the Under Armour shoes and what they have to offer. In the past, I would have never even considered purchasing Under Armour sneakers and now I honestly feel like I’ve found the perfect shoe brand for me.

Find out more about these kicks by visiting the Under Armour website and see if they would be the right fit for you.

It Could’ve Been Me

I judge people, I do.

I mean, I try not to and when I catch myself I whisper “Father forgive me,” but I definitely judge.

The woman who had her walking, talking child in the store with no shoes on…

The lady who was riding my bumper yesterday morning, swerving in and out of lanes, just to be met with a red light..

The dude with a mouth full of gold who swerved his car and parked it in front of me so that I couldn’t walk across the parking lot because he wanted to “talk.”

I try to remember the words from that ever-so popular meme that tells us that we’re all fighting a battle that no one else knows about.

When someone dies by suicide, though, I stop and pause. I don’t judge. I pause and thank God that I have people in my corner, my team, my squad, who help to keep me whole.

Anthony Bourdain.

Kate Spade.

Two in one week seems unfathomable, but the CDC tells us differently. In 2016 45,000 people ages 10 or older died from suicide in the United States1 and those numbers continue to increase in every state.

One common narrative that I read yesterday was regarding money and happiness. I think we all know and will continue to know that money doesn’t equate to happiness. Money allows us to buy things and have experiences, but happiness comes from the things that you can’t buy, see, or touch- for me, it comes from the moments in between all of that. Happiness is a feeling. You can’t buy feelings.

Knowing this, it seems irrelevant to mention how much money they had. As a society, we tend to place public figures on a pedestal; a higher level than we are- when really, they’re just like us in so many ways. When we place them on the pedestal, we almost immortalize them and don’t allow room for them to have feelings, make mistakes, do dumb things, do regular things (“oh look! It’s Ellen Pompeo! She’s grocery shopping oooooo)… and when a public figure dies by suicide, we tend to say- but they always looked so happy!

You know who else always looks happy? Me. And countless other people suffering from mental illness around the world. Various illnesses don’t always present themselves in the manner that we believe they will.

For example, people with Tourette Syndrome don’t walk around cursing people out all of the time as movies would have us believe. People with depression aren’t always walking around moping, crying, and unable to do anything because they’re so sad.

I am not saying that we don’t have those moments, because we may but some people- myself included- are high functioning able to go about our daily lives working, picking our kids up from practice, and doing everyday tasks.

Maybe that’s where Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain lived. In a highly functioning place… or maybe not.

My point is that nothing is ever really what it seems, is it? I have become so skilled at putting on a mask in order to engage and be an active member of society, that I’m not sure anyone would know that I suffer from major depressive disorder unless I told them. No one would know that I have panic attacks and my anxiety gets so bad sometimes that it affects my ability to eat because it causes bile to build up in my throat. That there are times when I can’t sleep for an entire week because my nightmares are so bad, so real, or because I have too many thoughts swirling around my mind and my brain can’t rest enough to allow me to sleep.

Here is what I know about me:

I know that I actively work to break the stigma surrounding mental illness by speaking about my struggles out loud.

I donate to organizations that I know are also working to end the stigma and are actively working to find out more about these diseases through research and maybe… maybe finding a cure.

I go to therapy when I need to.

I found a psychiatrist who listens to me and doesn’t try to pump me up with meds, but instead hears me and works with me to find the right balance for me.

I take my meds. Every single day. I have an alarm on my phone that says: “Take your meds, girl” so I don’t forget.

Here’s what I know from talking to other people:

Not everyone wants to share their mental illness with others… and that’s okay. I fully believe that our society hasn’t created a safe space for individuals with mental illness. For those who don’t have an illness or have never been affected by mental illness in their lives personally whether it be a family member or friend, mental illness can be hard to fathom.

Not everyone has a squad. People need people, mentally ill or not. We live in a world now where it is so easy to be egocentric and not be willing to make actual connections with other people.

Not everyone knows how to reach out for help. It can be easy to share the number to the suicide hotline, which I believe is very important, and think you’ve done your part… but not everyone has the power to pick up the phone and dial. Let’s make a habit of checking in on people- strong, weak, or otherwise. Check on all of your people. If they’re on your mind, send them a text or pick up and call. If things don’t sound right, dig deeper… make sure they’re really okay and see what you can do to help.

Some people haven’t sought out help because they are embarrassed or think no one will understand or think they can do things to help themselves get better like exercise or, or, or…

While I do believe that every case is different. And I believe that exercise can be an important piece to self-care. I also believe that there is no shame in taking meds because sometimes we just. can’t. do it with therapy and exercise alone.

SOMETIMES, the chemical imbalance in our brains is so overwhelming that we need the medication to help stabilize it.

Ask me how I know.

There was a few months where my doctor and I were playing around with meds trying to find the right combination. One that wouldn’t let me gain weight because the weight gain, in turn made me feel depressed. One that wouldn’t cause more anxiety. One that didn’t leave me feeling like a zombie who had no emotions. And we slowly weaned off of the medication, starting with a clean slate to move forward.

I. Felt. Like. Crap.

You would have thought that someone pulled the rug from underneath me. With no meds I sobbed. Daily and often. My whole body felt heavy, weighted down from all of the pain that I was feeling. My brain was moving faster than I could actually process the negative thoughts that I was having and every bad thing that ever happened to me was drumming up and taking a toll on me. Depression is something that I feel in my core, in my soul. It paralyzes me. I need my meds. Anyone who knows me knows that I am active, I exercise, I try to eat well… but it’s not enough for me.

Kate Spade.

Anthony Bourdain.

Dawana Hug.

Guys. This could have easily been me or your neighbor or your pastor or the guy behind the deli counter at your grocery store who always gives you a sample of the meat before he cuts it for you.

More than anything else, I think we need to be good to one another. We need to check up on one another. We need to lend a helping hand when we can. We need to make sure our people are all good. Don’t be afraid to make a new friend. Be the light for someone in that dark tunnel. Allow people to share their flaws with you, no judgement, don’t try to fix them, just be there to listen.

The New York Times published an article with some great tips on what to do if someone that you know is depressed. (https://goo.gl/kM58Lr)

That’s all it took for me. A friend noticed that something was wrong, recommended that I go talk to someone. Made sure that I went to the appointment and here I am now.

Helping someone with mental illness is not one size fits all, I’m just sharing my story with hopes that maybe, just maybe those who don’t understand have a bit more of an understanding and can be there for someone who needs them.

And to those struggling, hold on. One more day. And another. Please.

Athlinks: Track Your Race Results

Avid racer? Athlinks is a website where you can keep track of all of your past (and future) races.

Athlinks will show you all of your race results, allows you to claim them or (if you are like me) hide them.

I don’t consider myself a fast runner and run mostly for enjoyment and so I have never been keen on the  idea of claiming my race results for all to see. Athlinks does allow you to choose whether or not you want your profile visible, which I appreciate.

 

For the results that you claim, Athlinks offers the opportunity for you to download a finisher’s certificate.

 

Like other social media platforms, Athlinks allows you to follow friends to compare races.

Included in your race results are your overall, gender, and  age division placement. Also included is your pace and finish time. Results can be sorted by year, category (if you do events other than running), distance, and event.

Athlinks also does the work of keeping track of your PRs for you by event type. I have PRs for the 1/2, 10K, 15K, 5K, and 8K distances.

All you have to do is visit www.athlinks.com, type in your name and get on your way to claiming your race results.

KT Tape {Review}

“Disclaimer: I received an XYZ 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!”

According to their website, “KT Tape is an elastic sports tape designed to relieve pain while supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments.”

Translation? KT Tape is life.

I have issues with my knee and with plantar fasciitis, which KT Tape helps greatly with. Two summers ago, after physical therapy and visits with my chiropractor, she taped up my knee with KT Tape and I’ve used it ever since.

What I truly love about KT Tape, besides the fact that it keeps my knee stable when I am working out, is that I can wear it underneath leggings and capris when running- which is something that I can’t do with my knee brace.

The KT Tape line is extensive, coming in different sizes, colors, patterns, and materials. Their gentle tape is free from latex and easier to remove than their traditional tape.

If you are new to KT Tape, what’s great about this company is that they have a YouTube channel FULL of tutorials for almost every ailment. My first go round at KT Tape, I didn’t do it very well. It took me a few tries to get it right and now? I’m a pro. 😉

I take KT Tape with me to every race, on every run, and apparently- I need to keep some in my purse for when friends need it.

 

Race Recap: Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon race 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!”

 

In all of the years that I’ve lived in Florida, I have never been to Fort Lauderdale, but I am aware of the A1A highway and all of its appeal. This race drew me in with the promise of an oceanside run, though I was completely nervous about the heat as I was told there was no cover. Thankfully, the weather gods were in my favor because the heat would have surely killed me.

Pre-Race Communication was great, actually superb. I think I received a “final race information” email about 4 times. There was no way that people could say they didn’t know where to pick up their packet or what time the race started, that’s for sure.

Packet Pickup was easy. It was at the Broward County Convention Center, which you had to pay to park at (so annoying) but the hall was large and there were lots of great vendors.

 

Parking was a breeze for me as I opted for the VIP parking pass which allowed me to park near the finish line. I took the shuttle bus to the start line and after I got off I learned that there was free parking near the start. BUT- I think the $27 was well worth the money so that I didn’t have to worry about fighting with thousands of others to find a spot. The convenience of know that I had a place and could get to the start line on time gave me peace of mind. I do think it was weird that they didn’t drop you off closer to the start line and you had to walk the rest of the way, but whatever. 

The start line had SO MANY port-o-potties, which was great. I had the oddest experience, though, where a runner had a standoff with me when I hopped in the potty. She was convinced that it was “not my turn” (even though there were multiple lines for the port-o-potty) and decided that she would hold the door open and tell me to get out. Other runners started shouting at her that, yes, it was my turn and someone had to physically remove her from the potty door. That was so random and taught me that there’s a first time for everything.

The corrals were fenced off really well and there were pacers in place for both the half and the full marathon. There was a great big American flag hanging and they had an awesome saxophone player do a rendition of the national anthem.

Bag check was pretty cool since this is a point to point race, they had UPS trucks at the back of the running corral waiting to collect our bags and then they drove them over to the finish line. I brought along my goodie bag from the Expo because I knew that I’d need my Oofos after running 13.1 miles.

I was able to meet up with my fellow Bib Rave Pro Lisa for a quick chat and a Pro Photo before the race. We were both concerned about the heat and agreed that we weren’t necessarily running for time, but just to finish.

The course started closer to downtown, worked its way to the coast, we ran through a park and then made our way back to the coast. What a beautiful coastline to run on! There was water and BodyArmor all along the course, 2 first aid tents, and port-o-potties. There were some great locals that were giving out Twizzlers and around mile 10 a family was passing out beer in front of their house (no thanks).

Upon crossing the finish line, you received your medal (which is awesome!) and water. There were TONS of food options including Michelob Ultra beer, Barefoot Wine, BodyArmor sports drink, Bubba Burgers, and more. I opted out of eating anything that heavy at 9 am or drinking beer. I walked right back to grab my bag from the UPS truck, stretch out, and gulp down tons of water and a bottle of Body Armor. I did go back to grab a banana before heading back to my hotel.

There was this amazing sand sculpture made by the folks at Sandtastic.com, which was their rendition of the jellyfish medal. The line was crazy, stupid long to take a picture in front of it and I’m not one for lines, so I skipped that.

Even though it was ridiculously humid, it was overcast and I didn’t have to worry about the sun burning through my skin! 

Overall, it was a nice, quick getaway with my family- my kids got to enjoy the beach and I scored some great swag. Win-win for all parties involved.