Category Archives: review

How was your year of running?

This is the third year I’m linking up with Miss Zippy to look back at my year of running (see my 2013 and 2012 reviews). Head over to her website to check out a bunch of other people’s reviews!

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Best race experience?
I participated in four races this year and only three running races: a 10km race on my 30th birthday, a surprise 10 miler in Del Mar, California when we were on holidays, a SUP race this summer, and a trail race on our sixth anniversary.

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Del Mar, CA

I loved them all for different reasons, but since this is about my year of running I guess I’d have to say the race on my birthday. It was a small, local race, Kelly ran it with me (instead of ahead of me!), my parents walked the 5k, and my sister and her family unexpectedly came out to cheer!

Passing my parents!

Best run?
Any trail run from this summer was phenomenal.

But, I think my best run was a 10 miler I did in Laguna Beach, CA where I ran along the beaches of Crystal Cove State Park and came across this little cutie. IMG-20140222-00394I remember not wanting to turn back, but I didn’t want to worry Kelly by going for too much longer than I said!

Best new piece of gear?
Remember when I said I am indecisive? I think that comes out in this post! I have two answers for this one.

I bought my Gabrialla Maternity Support Belt at 21 weeks pregnant. It has seemed to really help with the heaviness of my belly as time goes on.

The second item is Japanese Mint Oil. My prenatal acupuncturist recommended it for my aching hips that keep me up at night. According to their site, it helps promote circulation, relieves tight muscles, and is useful in injury rehab among many other benefits. I’ll continue to use it post-pregnancy, too!

Best piece of running advice you received?
I really, really would love to run throughout pregnancy but I think I’m going to have to stop soon.

When I told my girlfriend this she reminded me that it’s such a small blip of time in my running life. I’ve been running for 18 years and hope to do it forever. In the grand scheme of things, taking a few months off  is far from the worst that could happen!

Most inspirational runner?
I have quite a list, but the most inspirational this year have been moms. I love seeing what women are capable of after their world has been completely changed, when they juggle a lot of balls, and still manage to run and stay fit.

A couple professional athletes that top that list are triathlete Beth Gerdes (returned to racing, an Ironman no less, four months after giving birth to her baby girl) and runner Stephanie Rothstein Bruce (who is so honest about her body and comeback, #journeywithsteph).

Beth's second Ironman stats…less than seven months after having a baby!

Beth’s second Ironman stats…less than seven months after having a baby!

Otherwise, I read a lot of running blogs written by moms who inspire me in almost every post they write. In no particular order, here are a few of my faves:

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Humbling, relaxed, and freeing.

Tell me about your year of running and link up with Miss Zippy! 

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KT Tape review & giveaway

At this time last year I was desperate for healthy knees. I had two big races on the horizon and didn’t want injury to get in the way.

I took the usual routes and lowered my mileage, went to physio, did my prescribed exercises, and rolled my legs like crazy. Everything helped a little, but nothing helped a lot.

If you read my blog last year of followed my Instagram (thechangeofpace), you would also notice the bright tape I wore for all my races and any long rides or runs.

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IM Coeur d’Alene 2013

Kelly, dealing my frustration, picked up a few rolls of KT tape for me to try. I was instantly a fan.

KT tape is an elastic sports and fitness tape designed for muscle, ligament and tendon pain relief and support. It creates neuromuscular feedback that inhibits or facilitates stronger firing of muscles and tendons (from their website).

In simple language, it provided my knees and quads the additional support they required and took pressure off my kneecaps.

The good

It really does help. I fell in love with the tape instantly. Sometimes I doubted its ability and thought it might be placebo effect. But each time I tried to go long without it, my knees hurt. Each time I used it, I felt great.

You can wear KT tape for virtually any activity. I wore KT tape to bike, run, and even swim. I wore it for a half iron distance triathlon and two Ironmans. The tape stayed on throughout the full 12+ hours!

IM Canada Whistler 2013

IM Canada Whistler 2013

It’s user-friendly. The KT tape website has instructional videos for nearly every body part. (Side note- don’t know why I haven’t thought of it before…I’m going to try it on my hamstring!)

It also comes in handy strips and easily tears for application. You can put it on anywhere. (I actually put extra KT tape in my transition bags in case I’d need to reapply during my races, as I knew it would be easy to do.)

Comfort. I wore the tape literally hundreds of times over the summer. It never irritated me, and most of the time I forgot I was even wearing it. KT tape flexes with your movements.

Pops of colour. Call it superficial, but I love the colour selection of KT tape. It’s bright and reflective. I made it my mission to match my KT tape to my outfits!

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The bad

Tan lines. Depending on where you need the tape, it can make for bad tan lines!

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Cost. KT tape can be expensive if you’re using it often and for multiple body parts. But, it is on par with other tapes out there. To me, you can’t put a price on running/biking/insert your activity here pain free!

Adhesion. The website says you can wear it for up to five days but I found I couldn’t wear it for more than two. With the amount of sweat and water I poured into the strips though, I couldn’t have asked for more.

Truthfully, there aren’t really any negatives to KT tape. I am convinced I wouldn’t have made it to the start line of both races, nonetheless achieved a personal best in one.

Since I started using it, I’ve recommended it to numerous people! If you have a niggle that’s causing you problems, or if you’re trying to recover from an injury and still train, KT tape may be the answer.

Giveaway time

One reader will receive a roll of KT tape to test out! Here’s what you can do to win…

USE THE RAFFLECOPTER LINK to enter! : http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/85a9af0/

Mandatory: Visit the KT tape website and leave me a comment about what colour you’d like or what body part you’d use it on.

Optional extra entries:

The giveaway ends Sunday, April 27 at midnight. Open to residents of the US and Canada.

*KT Tape offered to send me a roll to try. Since I know I love the product, they offered to give one to a reader! I wasn’t compensated for the review; I just truly believe in the product.

2013 reflection (in photos)

I saw a year in photos on Amy’s blog and loved the idea. I promise this is the last recap of 2013!

Here are my monthly highlights from the year.

January

We spent this month hibernating at home and spending time with Harold before an extended vacation.

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My 29th birthday!

February

The highlight was definitely going back to Thailand, sightseeing, playing in the ocean, and taking a nice break from winter!

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Chaweng Beach

March

We finished our Asia trip with two weeks in China. We had a blast, but the true highlight was probably coming home to Harold!

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At the hutongs in Beijing

April

After five weeks in Asia with lots of food and not a ton of running, I had my work cut out for me to get ready for a June Ironman. I worked hard in April and rode countless miles on the trainer!

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May

We snuck away to the mountains in early May for our first camping trip of the season. It was good to be back!

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Patricia Lake

June

Ironman Coeur d’Alene pretty much dominated this month! Kelly got a huge personal best, and I bested my time by a whopping 55 seconds!

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On the run…

July

This was a busy month with lots of training, the Tour d’Alberta bike ride, and Kelly’s Dad’s 60th birthday party. However, the highlight was probably seeing family at my cousin’s wedding!

with my niece (and always in flats!)

with my niece (and always in flats!)

August

I had a great August, from an awesome Jasper camping trip to Whistler for the Ironman to an Okanagan holiday. Hands down the best part was having Kelly and Harold surprise me in Whistler. Despite my exhausted arms, I proudly carried Harold around after the race!

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September

This was another great month with the end of our BC holiday, trips to New Orleans and Vancouver, a camping trip to celebrate Kelly’s 30th birthday, and our fifth wedding anniversary.

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October

After a busy couple months, it was great to be home in October! We spent a lot of time on the trails.

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November

The highlight of November was a Jasper trip to cross-country and downhill ski. We love that town!

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December

We had a fantastic Canmore trip at the beginning of the month, but Christmas was definitely the highlight. We had a marvelous few days full of family, food, and fun, and we got spoiled rotten. With such busy lives, it’s great to slow down and catch up with family!

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This is just a snapshot of 2013! I have a lot to be thankful for: another year of health, a wonderful husband, a supportive family, a body that carries me through many adventures, the means to travel, the list goes on and on.

Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy, adventure-filled 2014!

Tell me a few highlights from your year! 

2013 – year of running

I love year in review articles, blogs and photos. There’s something about compacting a year into a simple snapshot of highlights that I find intriguing.

I’m linking up with Miss Zippy’s #yearofrunning13 again for a review with a triathlon twist. (Check out my review from last year.)

Best race experience?
This is a tough one to answer. I only completed three races, all triathlons, but they all meant a lot. I am going to go with Ironman Coeur d’Alene.

AbbyFInish1CdA

I wasn’t as fit as I should have been going into it but still managed to squeak out a personal best. Plus, Kelly had a huge breakthrough and I love racing with him!

Best run?
Again, a toss up! (Can you tell I’m indecisive?!) I loved our family trail run in Jasper on our first camping weekend of the year. I have been falling for trail running more each year, and watching Harold hit switchbacks is priceless!

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My second best run was one steamy morning on Ko Samui with Kelly when we ran long beside coconut groves and the ocean.

Best bike?
Hands down my favourite road bike was when Kelly and I went to Jasper for a day trip and rode on a freshly paved road closed to vehicles! I also saw a bear scuttle up a tree that day!

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Best swim?
I’m not sure if there is ever a best swim for me, but if I have to choose I say Ironman Canada. It was my slowest Ironman swim out of the four I’ve done, but it was surreal with the fog on the lake. I kept popping my head up to look around and take it in!

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Best new piece of gear?
Hmmm…I have to go with something simple for this. I love my SpiBelt! It’s a great way to store my phone, toilet paper, and anything else I need on a run without having to hang on to a ton of things, having them bounce around in a pocket, or leaving them at home.

Best piece of running advice you received?
The quicker you finish, the less it will hurt. My husband gave me these words of wisdom about halfway through the marathon at Ironman Canada when it felt like my ankles were breaking. And he was right! They hurt no matter my pace, so if I ran faster, I’d finish faster!

Most inspirational runner?
Kilian Jornet continues to inspire me, but since he was my most inspirational runner last year I’ll choose a new one!

This time I have two. They’re both Canadian women marathoners. Both broke the 28-year-old marathon record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October.

Lanni Marchant ran a 2:28:00 and Krista DuChene ran a 2:28:32. They also are busy women, with Marchant as a practicing criminal lawyer and DuChene a mother to three kids under eight.  Next time you hear the excuse of someone being too busy to workout, tell them about these world-class marathoners!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Surprising, challenging, fun.

Tell me about your 2013 and then link back to Miss Zippy’s post!

On running shoes review

Running is my first love and I’ve been doing it for over 17 years now. However my last few years have been tough. I’ve dealt with a lot of knee issues and my running (and sometimes sanity) has suffered.

I’ve seen a lot of professionals, worked on a lot of strength to fix imbalances and tried a myriad of running shoes.

I received a pair of On running shoes from the company and was excited to test them out.

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Cloudsurfers
Despite attempting Pose running, I still heel strike. These shoes are perfect for me as a heel striker.

They use a CloudTec system, meaning the sole has lugs or clouds to absorb force and ensure a soft landing. For me, this means the clouds take the road shock that used to hurt my knees.

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You might think that means they’re clunky to push off from, but it’s quite the opposite. Once the foot hits the ground, the clouds compress providing a foundation for a powerful push off.

As it explains in the video, “clever rubber elements cushion your landing then lock firm for a powerful takeoff”.

I’ve worn the shoes for a few runs and have found them to be very comfortable.

I got the Cloudsurfer and they have a 7mm heel drop (the maximum drop their shoes have is 7mm and I think the minimum is 5mm). It’s a little more than I’ve been running in this year, but if my knees are less sore I don’t mind a couple extra millimetres.

I generally experience issues with my heels sliding in shoes. These have an ergonomically designed heel and mine feel very supported in them.

Oddly, I really like their laces. Not only do they come with two pairs of different colours, but they also are long. I always double knot my laces and barely have enough to do so in some shoes. With these laces I can double knot and still have leftover lace.

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They also have nice mesh with good ventilation, which is so great in warm or hot weather.

The downside
The only negative I see is for winter running. Although I just described the mesh ventilation as a good thing, my feet will get mighty cold on winter runs, especially in snow.

I’ll try them out in winter, as I want to test their traction. However, my feet get cold quickly in most shoes and I’m sure these will be no different.

If they made a Gore-Tex style, I’d be the first to buy them!

Overall
I have really liked the shoes and can’t wait to keep running in them as I pick up some distance. My knees haven’t been hurting, my heel is cushioned and my feet feel adequately supported.

If you’re the type to judge a book by its cover, they have cute colour options and I love my aqua and coral!

On running shoes can be purchased online or at local running shops.

About On and their athletes
On is a Swiss company with three cofounders, one of whom was a professional triathlete: Olivier Bernhard, David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti.

They began developing On running shoes in 2005. The shoes hit the shelves of running stores in Europe in 2010 and by 2011 were being sold in 18 countries at more than 500 shops.

They sponsor quite a few triathletes, from Olympians to XTERRA and iron distance athletes.

Just this past weekend, On athlete Frederik Van Lierde won the Ironman World Championships in a pair of On Cloudracers.

I was provided a pair of On running shoes at no cost. Opinions are all my own and no other compensation was provided. 

What brand of shoes do you run in? Are you committed to a specific brand?