Posts Tagged ‘Garmin’

Friday Five

I’ve never really been a gear-head, and I’m not the kind of person to be beholden to a brand. I like what I like, but I’m always willing to try new things and I’m pretty suggestible. However, since becoming a BibRave Pro in 2015, I’ve been rewarded with the opportunity to experiment with running-related gear that I might never had encountered otherwise. In addition, as I’ve increased my engagement (one of my Themes for 2016) with the running community both locally and on social media, I’ve been exposed to different ways of thinking and innovative products out in the market.

Without further ado, here are five running brands I’m loving right now!


When I first started running, it was a true struggle. One kilometre had me achy and winded. In those early days, it became clear that tracking my progress was motivating, so I outfitted myself with a Nike+ iPod. My commitment to running grew and technology – combined with social media interaction – became more of a priority. I switched from Nike to Garmin (mostly so I could use GPS without roaming fees!).

Running Brands - Strava

And then came Strava. While it’s not exactly ‘gear’, it is a social media platform and a community of athletes that has developed into a true inspiration. It syncs ‘automagically’ (one of my favourite words) with my Garmin, and I can follow my friends and running buddies all over the world. It has a great app! It’s free!

I welcome you to follow me – I’ll follow you back – right here.


One of my shortcomings when it comes to training is proper fuelling. My approach is somewhat ad hoc, I make things up as I go. But when I don’t hydrate properly – which nearly knocked me over during the 2014 Scotiabank Half – I suffer for it.

My very first encounter with nuun was at the expo of the Ottawa Half Marathon. These guys were awesome to talk to, and really stood behind their product. And now I do, too!

Running Brands - nuun

nuun comes in effervescent tablet form, and in a range of delectable flavours. Watermelon is my favourite, but lemon-lime is pretty tasty, too. Drop nuun into a glass or bottle of water, and you’re off to the races – or, perhaps, recovering from one! Drink up!


Running Brands - xx2i

I’m not going to reiterate too much what I already wrote in my recent review of xx2i Sunglasses. What I can tell you, though, is that I cannot wait until the rainy Vancouver winter turns into a sunny summer, because I will be wearing these things ALL THE TIME. I’m enamoured with xx2i. Enough said – but seriously, go read my review for the real scoop!


Oh, Buff – what can I say about you that hasn’t already been said? If there was one running item that gave me the most delight in 2015, it would be Buff. It’s a headband! It’s a neck warmer! It’s a cap! If you happen to have hair – unlike me – it’s a hairband! This multi-functional piece of material has become a staple of both training runs and races, especially since the weather turned a bit chillier.

Running Brands - BUFF

I’m actually wearing TWO Buffs!

Again, I’m not going to give you the full run-down here…so check out my more-thumbs-up-than-I-have review!

SAD FACE: I think I’ve lost my Buff from the Overlander Half Marathon in Yellowknife (pictured above).


Full confession – my fifth ‘brand I love’ is one that I’ve never tried. Let’s call it unrequited love.

Orange Mud

Running Brands - Orange Mud

On its reputation alone, Orange Mud is a product I want to get to know better. Generally speaking, on long runs I’m beholden to:  water stations during races; Coach Carey’s water stop during our Forerunners clinic; or water fountains around town. I cannot and will not wear a water belt – I’ve tried and it was sheer misery.

During a recent #bibchat (Tuesdays at 6pm Pacific!), I heard nothing but positive reviews of the Orange Mud Hydraquiver. It seemed to me that these folks should be hired on a salespeople by Orange Mud, so passionate were their professions of love enthusiasm for this product.

Running Brands - Orange Mud

Since I can’t speak from first-hand experience, I’m going to refer you to a review by fellow BibRave Pro, Chadd Balbi – read his post here.

I may have convinced myself to make Orange Mud my next running purchase!


What about you? What’s your favourite running brand?
And what’s on your wish list – that brand you really want to try out?


As you might have guessed, the theme of this week’s Friday Five is ‘Favourites’. I’m excited to once again link up with the awesome folks of the DC Trifecta:  Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar on the Run, and Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!

Ambleside MileThe week leading up to the Ambleside Mile was a busy one. Thankfully, since I didn’t have to get a lot of distance in, I figured it wouldn’t have a huge impact on my actual race.

Monday: Quick lunchtime run with Lana. We did fartleks!

Tuesday:  Our choir performed at a local seniors’ home. We rehearse each week, and have this outreach concert as a sort of ‘dress rehearsal’.

Wednesday: I got myself out of bed early today, which happened to be #NationalRunningDay. Knowing it was my only chance to squeeze in a run, I took to the Seawall and managed a 5km.


After conducting a series of interviews at work, I went to the airport and flew to Edmonton. With the time change, it was well after 9pm by the time I got checked in at the hotel and sat down to dinner.

Thursday: The interviews continued – we conducted 5 more, each lasting over an hour. Got back to the hotel after 6pm. Rather than flinging myself on the bed and taking a nap, which is what I really wanted to do, I put on my running gear (which I had wisely laid out the night before) and headed out for a run.

The hotel is on a major road, with a highway nearby. But I knew from experience (about 2 years ago) that there was a nice residential area not too far away. Despite a hint of storm clouds, I needed to run off the marathon interview session.

What I love about the prairies is the vastness of the sky. I know it’s the same sky we have in BC, but there’s something in not having mountains nearby to ‘block’ the view.


Friday: I spent the morning at the office and flew back to Vancouver. Home again, I only had time to prep dinner before heading out to our final rehearsal before the concert.

Race Day

When the alarm went off on Saturday morning, I was struggling with a bit of jetlag and lack of “down time”. I didn’t even take a day-before photo of my race gear! Nor did I have my bib, which was to be picked up at the start line.

My Twiitter buddy turned RLF (real life friend) – Debra (@debrakato) – offered to pick me up and drive me to the race. Gun time was 9:30am, so we arrived in West Vancouver shortly before 9am. 

The best thing about the Ambleside Mile was all of the social media peeps who were in attendance! In addition to Debra, I caught up with Elinor (@goodbyeclutter) – who cycled to the race!

Karin (@looseleafrunner)

Ben (@benlooii) – he came and introduced himself – love meeting folks for the first time!

Jin – aka Mr Canada (@MrCanada_Jin)

A host of celebrities! Of course, Kirill was there, too – but as race organizer he was out and about running errands, so I didn’t have a chance to catch up with him.

Also, my running buddy and Ambleside Mile Giveaway winter, Emily, was there!

It was Emily’s first official one-miler, and I was excited to have been able to offer her the free entry! 

The weather was starting to heat up – and a few minutes before gun time we did a round of ‘warmup’ exercises. And with little fanfare, the race was on!

Last year’s Ambleside Mile was a loop – this year was a bit different. This is what it looked like: 

There was a significant downhill near the beginning, which no doubt helped my pace somewhat. Emily and I started out together, and I think her breathing was one of the only sounds I could hear. Yes, there were some spectators with lots of enthusiasm – but the intensity of this short, quick race makes it hard to concentrate on much beyond your immediate surroundings.

My Garmin beeped at 1km, and Emily said, “At least we’re more than halfway there!” It felt like it would never end! As we rounded the final corner, the last 2 blocks to the finish line, Emily kicked it up a notch and left me in her dust. She finished about 5 seconds ahead of me, and came third in her age group!

I saw the time on the clock and knew this would be a PB. I crossed the finish line at 6:26 – a full 20 seconds faster than last year!


Congrats to all the speed demons who finished the mile! I’m proud of you all!!

Final results:
Chip time: 6:22 (Gun time: 6:26)
Average pace: 3:57 min/km
Place overall: 61/160
Age category place: 5/10


Have you ever run a one mile race? What’s your favourite race distance?

Once again, please to link up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading for her Weekend Update! Join in, or drop by and see what other bloggers have been up to!

Running 'N' Reading


For my second Ambleside Mile, I was quite satisfied with the whole experience. No issues whatsoever. I was very pleased to be able to offer an entry giveaway to the race. Enjoyed the whole experience…short as it was!

Packet pickup/expo
Although pickup was available on Friday, I took advantage of morning-of pickup. Quick and simple. They used ankle bands as timing chips, which briefly made me feel like Martha Stewart, but the feeling passed.

T-shirt is a simple cotton affair from Gildan. I’ll likely use it for gym workouts rather than running. I love that – for a race of this distance – we get a medal!

Downhill at the beginning, then flat. Quick and straightforward. With the wide corners, I wonder about the course measurement…but obviously it isn’t a track run (nor an Olympic run!), so I’m hardly fussed.

Aid Stations
It’s one mile. No aid stations. There was water, juice and bananas at the finish line. Also, some David’s Tea (iced, of course!).

Race Management
Same management as my beloved West Van Run. Professional. On top of things. No issues that I can think of. Good social media presence and response!

If you’re interested, these videos show the race from two perspectives – from the pace car, tracking the lead runners, and at the finish line:

When I was a kid, my parents used to take me to ‘travelogues’ at the local high school auditorium. These generally involved a couple (or, occasionally, a single guy) presenting home videos of their travels, and providing live commentary. Basically, you were paying to see what people normally used to show in their living rooms to unsuspecting dinner guests. Yet, my parents loved these shows, and I either got caught up in the story of whatever country we were visiting…or I sat on the steps and read a book.

Most of the time, my runs are predictable – they start and finish at home, at Forerunners, or at the office. The sights and routes are familiar. But once in awhile, when I’m out of town, I kind of what to make a ‘travelogue’ of my own – a TravelRun! It’s a great way to explore a new city, and I kind of enjoy having maps on my Garmin from faraway places.  It’s nice to mix things up once in a while!

This past weekend, four of us took a drive to Kamloops, a small-ish city about 4 hours from Vancouver. We were there to see a play written by a good friend of ours, and then we stayed the night. I had brought along my running gear with the intention of doing a run in a town I’d never visited before. I set my alarm and woke up before everyone else, stepped outside, and discovered this:

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There was no snow last night! It wasn’t even that cold! But it was 7am on a Sunday, the snow was still gently falling, and I felt like a kid at Christmastime.

My run took me through the quiet downtown streets (with a friendly “Mornin'” from a guy on his front porch having a smoke), to this curious bridge over the railway tracks:

IMG_6628 IMG_6629

Evidently, the bridge was built to encourage exercise, since it’s easy enough to cross at ground level. But I crossed the bridge, reached the riverside park, and ran the path alongside the Thompson River.

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Once I reached the Overlander Bridge, I took a few more photos…

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Then I turned around and headed back to the hotel. As I retraced my route, I reached a point where my footprints were still the only ones…


Just short of 5km, but I felt that I had gained some appreciation for this town. As you can tell from all the photos, it wasn’t much of a run in terms of exercise…but I had a good time.

We drove home after breakfast.

The very next day, I was off to Edmonton on business. It was a full day of conducting interviews, and after dinner and drinks with a coworker, bedtime sans exercise.

I woke up to this:


That’s -17 degrees Fahrenheit!

And immediately decided that a run was not in the cards.

That night, as chance would have it, work took me back to Kamloops. But after a delayed flight…well, suffice it to say that my running shoes spent the entire trip in my suitcase.

Back in the office on Thursday, despite torrential rain in the morning, I steeled myself to finally get another run in. And at lunchtime – no rain! So I took advantage of the reprieve, did my seawall run, and felt happy to be home again.

A few of my favourite TravelRuns:

Do you pack your running shoes when you travel? What about business trips – do you keep running? What’s your favourite TravelRun?

Remember when I told you that I was a fan of running in the rain? Well, for the first 10k of this morning’s run, I was very much ready to retract everything I said before.

Last week, I asked Coach Carey what my training should look like in the lead up to Honolulu (now a mere 10 weeks away). 27k this week was the answer.

We gathered at Forerunners on Saturday morning – those of us not running Victoria or Chicago. (NOTE: expect a guest blog on Chicago coming soon!) Today was a true hodge-podge, depending on what each individual was in the midst of training for. We had people running all of these distances: 15k, 18k, 25k, 27k, 33k, and 36k. So while I wasn’t running quite as far as some…

Until February of this year, I had never run further than a half marathon distance (21.1km). The first time I ran 27km was March 1, 2014. Each long run after that, leading up to the BMO Marathon, was a ‘furthest run ever’. This spring was truly an era of firsts. But after that first marathon (May 2014), my distances dwindled. So this training run of 27km was, once again, a bit of a first; it was the first time I’ve run 27km in over 5 months. And as part of a comeback from injury, I’m pretty proud of that.

But I digress. We were gathered at Forerunners, getting prepped on the various routes to reach out goals, and the rain was pouring down outside. Not just a light drizzle – coming down in buckets. I had my iPhone wrapped in a Ziploc to keep it dry. It’s true we’ve been spoiled for the last few months with almost perfect weather, but that seems to be over. So off we went, and within minutes my shoes were squishing and I was drenched.route

Our route took us along Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks, up the UBC hill to where Coach Carey was waiting with his water stop and beach umbrella at kilometre 9. To get my distance in, I had to do a loop around the campus, and back to the same spot where Carey waited for us. And somewhere along the way, the sky turned blue. Given that my phone was wrapped in plastic, I didn’t take a photo – but you can imagine a huge puddle on the sidewalk, reflecting fluffy white clouds against a sunlit sky. That’s what it turned into.

For about 15km of the 27km, I was on my own. Because we weren’t a big group, and since everyone had their own goal distance, we were all slightly at different paces. And since I had to make a bathroom break (OK – two bathroom breaks), I was a bit out of sync with the others. I didn’t have any music, and it didn’t matter. I just enjoyed the scenery, thought about this and that – and enjoyed my run.

Happily, I was able to run with Bob for a few kilometres during my UBC loop, and I also ended up with some company on the last 5km or so back to the store, although I had to tack on a couple of extra kilometres at the end to get my numbers. I completed my running drills and finished feeling – energized! Still damp, to be sure, but happy.

And then I bought a Garmin. Stay tuned for more reports on my new toy!

Honolulu, here I come!