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Review: AfterShokz Trekz Air

Disclaimer: I received the AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones 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!


About a year ago, I became aware of a weekly Twitter conversation called #bibchat. As my participation in #bibchat has grown, I have met (in-person or online) some fantastic runners who have inspired me to push harder and strive for bigger goals. Additionally, I’ve been made aware of brands that are putting out great products for running – products I would probably not know anything about if not for #bibchat. One of those companies is AfterShokz and the product in question are their Trekz series headphones. In this post, I’ll be focusing on the Trekz Air headphones.

Spoiler alert: I love these headphones. 

Not long after I got involved with #bibchat, I had an opportunity to get a pair of headphones from AfterShokz. The pair I purchased was the Trekz Titanium – which I reference HERE – and they have served me very well. Naturally, when the opportunity was presented THIS year to test and review the latest & greatest version (Trekz Air), I jumped at the chance.

My approach with the majority of my running gear is that it must fit and work well before I give a second thought to how it looks. Well, I try to employ that mindset at least! So that’s how I’ll layout this review – function before looks. Luckily for me, AfterShokz makes this very easy. But first, some background…

Background and Technical Info

The Trekz Air is the newest addition to the AfterShokz family. They are about 20% lighter than the previous Trekz Titanium model and have a much more comfortable fit. They have a run-time of approximately 6 hours and are water/sweat resistant. The OpenFit™ design ensures maximum situational awareness – which is absolutely essential when running in any environment, be it urban, suburban, or rural. They are wireless and connect via Bluetooth to your device of choice and have dual noice cancelling microphones which make picking up a call while on the run a seamless action. The Trekz Air come with a hassle free 2-year warranty.

So what’s my take on them? 

Fit

The Trekz Air fit perfectly – almost TOO perfect because it I barely even know I have them on. They are much lighter than their big brother (Trekz Titanium) and the piece that wraps around the back of the head is just right. It’s not too big, not too small, and it doesn’t bounce or rub against my neck.

Sound Quality & Battery Life

The sound quality with the Trekz Air is great as well. When synced, the volume control (behind the RIGHT ear) actually takes over the volume control on your device rather than having two independent volume controls. This is a great upgrade from previous wireless headphones I have tried! Podcasts are still a little quiet and are often drowned out by a strong gust of wind or a passing truck, but that’s to be expected. Aside from that, music and other content come through strong and sound amazing.

The great sound quality will just keep going and going thanks to the battery life that is packed in. These headphones can go quite a bit without having to be recharged. This is great especially when someone like me takes them off and tosses them in the car and doesn’t remember to A) turn them off of B) bring them in the house to recharge them. Either way, in the month or so that I’ve had these, I think I’ve only had to charge them fully ONCE. Coincidentally, that is happening now!

Looks

Well, they fit amazingly, they sound great, and they hold a damn good charge. So, how do they LOOK? If you look at the picture above this and the one below, you can see that they honestly blend in and are almost not noticeable at all. The side profile photo a little bit further up shows a little bit different look, but again, they look like they are supposed to be there and they’re out of the way. I think the most common questions I’ve gotten when other runners see me wearing them are:

  • “Aren’t they supposed to go IN your ears?” NO. 
  • “Those look weird to me. Do they feel weird sitting over your ears?” Nope. *at this point, I usually take them off and hand them to the person asking, insisting they try them on.* 
  • “Do they still sound like normal headphones?”YEP. *as they try them on, I’ll usually play something fun…like The Humpty Dance.*

Caution: side effects when wearing AfterShokz Trekz Air include answering all kinds of questions, making new friends, and advocating for your fellow runner’s safety.

Like I said at the beginning of the review, I’ve been using Aftershokz headphones for my running for about a year now and that is unlikely to change anytime soon. My first pair sold me on the idea and my Trekz Air has set the bar massively high for anything to dethrone it. The Trekz Air fit like they almost aren’t even there, the sound quality is fantastic, and they hold their charge for a WHILE. Plus, they look great no matter which color you go with.

So, if you want to run safely AND still want to be able to enjoy your content while running through some comfortable and powerful headphones, then you’ve got to get yourself the AfterShokz Trekz Air!

I’m not the only one who thinks so – check out what some of my fellow BibRave Pros are saying!

Danielle – Lindsey – Amy P – Barb S – Amanda L

SamanthaLoganAmyLisaBrad – Dodie


Convinced? Want to get a pair for yourself? Of course you do. Especially when you have three awesome color choices – Slate Grey, Forest Green, or (my personal favorite) Midnight Blue. Head over to bibrave.aftershokz.com and use the code BIBRAVE30 to save $30. 

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When Pigs Run – Flying Pig Marathon Preview

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Flying Pig Marathon 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!


A few weeks back, I was scrolling through my various social media feeds and reading up on what my fellow BibRave Pro’s (BRP) were up to in the coming week. Ever since becoming a BRP, I’ve always enjoyed seeing everyone’s race previews, pictures, and reviews. This time around, it seemed as if everyone was focused on races in or around Chicago. Naturally, this got me thinking “Where’s the love for Ohio races?” and after sitting on that thought for a day or so, I decided to act.

I reached out to Team BibRave to see how we could get some more traction for races in the Buckeye State. After hearing some less than thrilling reports of previous partnerships, I was more than happy to step up and continue to push my participation in (and for others to join me at) the Glass City Marathon. It was at this point that Stephanie Hoppe (our BibRave Pro Community Manager) came with an offer – “Thanks for reaching out – wanna run the Flying Pig?” – an offer I couldn’t refuse!

Why the Pig?

Honestly, I’ve never run the Flying Pig or any of the associated races. In fact until now, I’ve avoided this event – which doesn’t make sense because I’m from southwestern Ohio, was raised a fan of Cincinnati sports (ugh), and and got my running start on the wonderful hills of the region. But hey, there is a first time for everything and the offer is there, so here I go!

What’s your Goal(s)?

Well, this will be my second marathon in as many weeks, so I’m genuinely not pushing for any PR’s – or that’s what I’m telling myself. If I’m able to come in at or near 4:15, I’ll be pretty happy, but I’ll take simply finishing over a time goal this time. I’m really just excited to get to Cincy, experience the expo, link up with some other runners and BibRave Pro’s, and survive the run. Not overly excited for the big incline around mile 6/7, but it looks like a pretty decent course before and after that! Oh, another goal – get some SKYLINE CHILI, because Cincinnati.

Can I Track You?

Absolutely! The race kicks off at 6:30am on Sunday (5/6) morning. If you want to track the race or *cough* your favorite runner *cough*, head over to the Flying Pig Marathon website for information about how to download the tracking app.  The system the race is using is one I’ve used before and really like as it is pretty accurate, especially if your runner (like me) is using the live tracking option.

***

Truth be told, I wasn’t originally excited about the prospect of heading to Cincinnati, but the pre-race energy has taken over and I’m genuinely ready to experience the Flying Pig and cross the FINISH SWINE!

Review: Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Shoes

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. To learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador), check out BibRave.com where you can also find and write race reviews!


I have been, for the majority of my running career, a runner of the paved variety. Roads, rail-trails, sidewalks, etc. The predominant exception to this rule was when I ran cross country in grade school. Once that was over, however, I “hung up” my trail experiences and haven’t really gone back. That is, until this year.
Back in February, I had the opportunity to opt-in and try out something “new”. This something new was really something I just hadn’t really sought out intentionally for more than a decade. Trails – proper dirt and mud trails. In typing that last statement, I suppose “proper” isn’t the right word. As a result of opting-in, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to test a pair of the Under Armour Horizon RTT trail shoes.

Unboxing

Like any package that arrives at my door, I’m thrilled to open it and get at what’s inside. This was no different and while I knew what it was before I opened the box, I was still incredibly excited. However, this subsided to a degree as I suddenly remembered how cumbersome trail shoes looked and felt. As far as looks go, this pair was par for the course (read: clunky), but the feeling of the shoes was much different. While they still felt stiff to me (as most new trail shoes would, I imagine), they felt significantly lighter than I remember trail shoes to feel. As far as the color scheme, I really didn’t care too much. I just wanted to get them out onto a trail!

Out on the Trails

I finally had an opportunity to put these shoes through their paces (pun intended) once I was able to get out to a local metro park with some decent trails / hills. Fortunately for me, it had been raining quite a bit in the days leading up to this particular run – and it was still going. My kind of day!
This particular run had it all – rain, snow, mud. IT WAS FANTASTIC. Did I get muddy? You’re damn right. Was I soaked? Hell yes. Through all of it though, these shoes held up and did NOT disappoint. There were a few points where I was sure I would lose my footing or even roll an ankle, but the stability I had thanks to these shoes was spot on. Mud seemed to roll off the upper. The mud that would collect in the lugs on the bottom was easily knocked off by kicking a nearby stump. While my feet did get quite wet, I never felt waterlogged or weighed down. All and all, these shoes felt like they belonged on this run.

Review

Full disclosure – I have taken these shoes out on other runs, but the most memorable to date was most certainly the run referenced above. 

If I had to give the UA Horizon RTT’s a 1 to 5 star rating, I’d probably give them a 4. I’ve been out of trail shoes for a long time, but even then I expect all running related shoes to have a certain amount of give – especially after breaking them in. Aside from that, I really don’t have any major issues with them. I’d definitely recommend checking them out if you’re looking for a middle-of-the-road, stable, and durable trail shoe.

***

I am still a road runner and will continue to fall into that sliver of the running world. It’s where I’m comfortable. However, choosing to review these shoes has reminded me of a segment of running that got me started on this crazy journey in the first place. Time to get back to my roots to a degree and embrace the trails!

As always, keep striving.


The Under Armour Mountain Running Series is designed for runners of all skill levels. Races include a variety of distances with events taking place at Copper Mountain, CO (JULY); Killington, VT (AUGUST); and Mt. Bachelor, OR (SEPTEMBER). Whether you’re an experienced trail runner OR you just fancy a challenge, get signed up and use code “BIBRAVE20” to get 20% off your registration.

Check out the Under Armour Mountain Running Series on Social:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uamtnrunning/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/uamtnrunning
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MtnRunning

Follow me on
Facebook: @presramsey
Twitter: @presramsey
Instagram: @presramsey

And last, but certainly not least of all – don’t forget to join me and my fellow BibRave Pros on Twitter for #bibchat every Tuesday evening at 9pm EST, where we’ll chat about upcoming races, running gear, running in general, and more!

Review: Sweat X Sport

Disclaimer: I received a bottle of Sweat X Sport Detergent and a bottle of Sweat X Sport Odor Eliminator Spray to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Use code “bibrave15” to save 15% off your purchase at https://sweatxsport.com/shop/.


Friends, let me tell you – this absolutely stinks. Don’t be confused though, this review doesn’t stink – it’s the laundry I’m doing right now!

YIKES! Gear from this past weekend’s cold & rainy long run. Let’s see how well Sweat X Sport will handle this!

Winter, especially in Ohio, makes life interesting if one is a runner. It’s an on-going guessing game as to how cold it will be or if it will snow/sleet/rain/etc. I, for one, do not own a treadmill – therefore, my miles take place outside no matter what. The one constant, however, is the art of the layer. ALL THE LAYERS. With all those layers comes a certain funk after a good run, the result of course of all the sweat having really nowhere to go.

Thankfully, my Sweat X Sport arrived just as I began ramping up my training coming into 2018. The funk and sweat now have a place to go – AWAY!

Sweat X Sport is specially formulated to remove foul odors and eliminates the deep down funk that often gets trapped in running gear and other activewear. This is a definite plus as of late – a pregnant wife with a nose like a bloodhound does NOT appreciate the funky smelling gear I come home in/with. Sweat X Sport is designed to knock out difficult stains, such as grass, dirt, clay, mud, and blood. Worried about the various fabric types you own? No sweat (pun intended) – Sweat X is safe for ALL fabrics.

A little bonus with this test was the bottle of Sweat X Sport Odor Eliminator spray I was sent as well. Why? Well, I’m not fond of the idea of putting my 150$ running shoes in the washer/dryer and watching them fall apart, BUT they do get quite funky as time goes on. A couple of shots of spray on my shoes kicks that funk nasty foot smell to the curb.

Remember that load of laundry I mentioned above? It’s done now and it smells SOOOOO much better – almost as if I hadn’t gone for Saturday’s long run OR left it to air-out in the garage for 2 whole days. My gear smells fresh and ready to go. I would not be embarrassed to wear any of this particular gear out in public because it looks good and it smells good – all of which makes me FEEL good.

In all honesty, I’ve seen this stuff in my local running store(s) for years, but I’ve never been one to give it a go. In fact, I thought it was gimmicky. I was VERY wrong and am very glad I got selected to give Sweat X a try. Sweat X Sport Laundry Detergent does the job I need it to dode-funk de stuff – and it does it very well.

Give it a try for yourself! Head over to https://sweatxsport.com/shop/ and save 15% off your purchase by using discount code “BibRave15”. If you’re really eager to try it and want to get it now, head over to your local running store – I’m almost certain they’ll have it!


Follow me on
Facebook: @presramsey
Twitter: @presramsey
Instagram: @presramsey

Don’t forget to hop on Twitter for #bibchat every Tuesday evening at 9pm EST. Chat with me and my fellow BibRave Pros about upcoming races, running gear, running in general, and more!

Review: 2017 Akron Marathon

Originally shared over at BibRave.com, the following is my review of the 2017 Akron Marathon – with some slight alterations here and there. Enjoy!

***

OVERALL: First and foremost, this race – nay, the entire Akron Marathon Race Series – is incredibly well organized. I can not express how amazing the organizers were at communicating information, updating their web presence, ensuring that the race series app was ready to go – the list goes on and on. It seemed like every little thing you could think of was thought of and planned for.

EXPO: The expo was a streamlined event for sure. Runners collected their bibs and “swag bag” in the first of two large convention halls, before moving on to take the obligatory photo with their bib & the race backdrop. After this, participants moved on to the vendor side of the expo. SO MANY VENDORS! Great showing from a TON of upcoming races, local universities, non-profit organizations, and so on. Near the end of the serpentine path that wound through the expo was where runners collected their official race gear, which included a 1/4 zip finisher pullover and lightweight running hat for the marathoners. Just being honest, I’ve worn my pullover every chance I had since race day!

BONUS: Three words: KARAFREAKIN‘ – GOUCHER. I had the opportunity to meet and chat with one of my favorite runners of all time. She’s incredibly humble and does so much for the sport. Hands down, one of the absolute highlights of the weekend!

RACE DAY: 
Parking – There’s a fair amount of parking, set up by which event you are running (full, half, or relay). My wife and I drove past the first marathon-specific garage (a block from my corral) and had no problem accessing the next one, only two blocks from the start line. Easy in, easy out.

Start Line Area – Unlike the two prior events in the race series, the Akron Marathon holds to a strict corral system. This ensures that runners start where their ability level dictates! Minus some minor bottlenecking getting INTO the corrals, moving around the start area was very easy. Lots of music and (thankfully) an abundance of porta-potties! Race started on time without incident and we headed out!

The Course – thriving with spectators at all points, offering boundless encouragement, cheers, smiles, and hi-fives! However, the course is also a challenging one, with varying elevation changes throughout – especially in the second half. There are definitely more significant hills on this course than what I am used to in the relative flatness that is the Columbus, OH metro area. This fact alone had me quite nervous about how this marathon was going to pan out! Thankfully, coming around a corner at just before mile 24, I realized that the 16-weeks of training had put me in unfamiliar territory – coming VERY close to cracking 4 hours. Ultimately, I finished in 4:06 – setting a nearly 40 minute PR. I think it’s safe to say I was ZIPPING (nod to the Univ. of Akron there) through Akron!

The Finish – First off, you finish the race on the home field of the Akron Rubber Ducks – a minor league affiliate of the Cleveland Indians – which is pretty darn awesome.

Canal Park in Akron, OH on race day

Echoing my previous statements about the crowd support – there is an AMAZING crowd to cheer you in at the end! Always makes for a great feeling. Navigate away from the finish line, snag up your medal, and head over to the post-race party – or Finisher’s Festival – which was AWESOME. Live music on stage, beer, pizza & other food all out on the outfield. Can’t ask for too much more than that. On your way OFF the field, you can snag your SERIES FINISHER medal (and medal hanger) if you’ve completed all three events (1-National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile, 2-Goodyear Half Marathon & 10K, 3-Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, & Team Relay).

Walking away from the finish with my wife, I was racking my brain to identify anything I could critique about this race – and I couldn’t! Almost two weeks removed from the race, I still can’t. If you’re looking for a well-organized, friendly, and challenging event – come check out the Akron Marathon. I truly believe that you will NOT be disappointed. Thank you, Akron Marathon, for a great event and an even better race series!

 

Review: Spring ShokzBox

It feels as if it was just yesterday that I began participating in #bibchat – a weekly Twitter-based discussion group focused on running, hosted by the folks over at BibRave.com. Over the course of my interaction, I’ve had the opportunity to converse with some really awesome runners, learn about new running opportunities, and become aware of some amazing running gear I knew nothing about.

One particular piece of gear (er, brand) that had been popping up on accounts I’ve followed recently is something called AfterShokz. This company makes a different take on the wireless headphone, sitting the main sound output OUTSIDE of the ear – rather than in it – enabling the user to still hear what is going on around them. I got a chance to see a few pairs of these headphones in person a few weeks back when I ran into a few of the BibRave Pros (@daddydidyouwin and @mmaynard551) before the start of the Glass City Marathon in Toledo. Their positive take on these only helped fuel my curiosity.

Naturally, when it was announced that AfterShokz was going to put out their Spring ShokzBox, I was interested. This box is essentially a grouping of some very popular running gear at a very good price. So, I jumped at the opportunity and splurged on a box for myself.

It arrived about two weeks ago. Having now had an opportunity to put the items inside to use, here’s my review of the Spring ShokzBox.

Overall

The biggest and overarching big win of this box, without a doubt, is the value. Anyone who says that running is an inexpensive experience is a liar. Adding up the approximate retail prices of the products reviewed below, the total cost to buy these products individually (before any taxes & shipping) comes to right around $280. The Spring ShokzBox itself with all these items inside is $199.95 – with no shipping cost. Even someone who got an F in Algebra can figure out that the ShokzBox this is a great deal.

Products

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Headphones (retail $129.95)

I genuinely cannot say enough good things about these headphones. After finally getting to see them in person in Toledo before the GCM, I was sold on the idea. They sit VERY comfortably over the ears and they stay in place – no bouncing, no movement of any kind.The sound output is fantastic and I really can hear everything going on around me. I run primarily outdoors, so being aware of what is going on around me is crucial. An added bonus with these headphones is that I don’t feel as I’m yelling when I still have them on – as is the case with most in-ear or over-ear configurations. If you don’t already have these, get them NOW.

AfterShokz Buff (retail ~$18)

This one I’ve been skeptical about for a while, but was also very eager to see what all the fuss is about. Turns out, it’s pretty darn handy. First off, it’s made from moisture-managing microfiber fabric – the closest thing I can compare it to would be a DriFit-esque type material – which means it is very lightweight and keeps you dry. It is also wind resistant which can keep you protected from windburns during your workouts. The big takeaway here is that it can be worn more than 12 different ways, making it very easy to create your own look while still being comfortable. I prefer the traditional headband look, but I’m sure that will evolve. The only downside to THIS particular Buff (if there actually is one at all) is that it is not available for individual purchase and is just part of this ShokzBox. However, there are PLENTY of traditional Buffs in a variety of designs over at Buff’s website.

BibRave Trucker Hat (retail $22.95)

I’m not one for hats on a daily basis, nor when I run, so this is actually the one thing in the box that I can honestly say I have not used when running. However, if I did wear it while running, I’m pretty sure that I’d comfortable. This trucker style hat boasts a wicking headband on the inside and generous mesh panels around the side and back, which would keep me both cool and shaded. If I’m being completely honest, I like it because it’s orange – sue me. Perhaps it’ll make it out on one of my runs in the future, just not yet.

Orange Mud Transition Seat Wrap (retail $39.95)

Since I drove to my running location today, I actually put this one to use (finally!). There really isn’t a whole lot of fanfare to this one besides the fact that it is multifunction – it can be used as a car seat cover, a towel, and/or as a cover/wrap for an impromptu wardrobe change. If you are using it for the latter, it does have a built-in “belt” of sorts to keep it in place. Comes in a variety of colors (mine is blue) and is fairly soft to the touch. Sure beats a regular beach towel for the driver’s seat and it fits better too.

Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips (retail $9.95)

No fanfare here. Simply put, these are removable and reusable reflective strips, designed to enhance visibility of the wearer in lower-light conditions. Incredibly smart idea and I wish EVERYONE who goes for a run/bike ride/etc after the sun goes down had these.

Knuckle Lights (retail $59.99)

On that same note about nighttime safety, carrying some kind of light source during a night run is essential. Using a traditional flashlight or even the light on a smartphone isn’t very efficient for one’s activity, as one would have to hold the light source at an uncomfortable angle. A headlamp is a great solution, but the down side is an often itchy or uncomfortable headband. Solution? Knuckle Lights. These handheld lights wrap around the base of the fingers with a flexible strap. This ultimately utilizes the natural way the hands close when we run to A) hold the lights and B) put the light exactly where it is needed. The lights themselves are INCREDIBLY bright and has three modes (high beam, low beam, and strobe). If you’re running at night and you don’t have these yet – GET THEM.

***

When looking at the items in this particular ShokzBox, I’m hit with a trifecta of themes: comfortable, convenient, and safe. Everything in this box has value and will absolutely have a place in my plethora of running gear (well, maybe not the hat right away, but it’s still cool). Thank you AfterShokz for putting together such a great deal!


Get your ShokzBox while they are still available over at AfterShokz.

#PresRunsCbus Training Update

Back on 26 May, I had posted that I had committed to running the 2015 Columbus Marathon this coming October. It definitely does NOT feel as if almost 2 months have passed. Today marks the end of training week #5 (of 18) and I thought it’d be a great time for an initial update as to how things are going.

First – a reminder of my goals for this endeavor:

  1. Run the entire Columbus Marathon (26.2 miles)
    • If I can’t run the whole thing, at least run as much as possible.
  2. Beat my previous marathon time (4:49:55)
  3. Raise $1000 for Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

As of today, I have run 84.06 miles (50.9 of those in July alone) with an average pace of 9:00 minutes per mile. The average elapsed time of my runs is right around 38 minutes. Longest run so far (without substantial walking) has been 9.11 miles, run in Tacoma, Washington one week ago on 11 July. If my training continues as it has so far, and I am able to keep my pace close to or under 9:00/mile, I should complete the Columbus Marathon in the neighborhood of 4 hours even – almost an hour faster than my time 11 years ago!

So, I would say that at this point – with 13 weeks of training to go – I feel that I am at least on pace to achieve goal #2 and beat my previous marathon time. As for running the entire distance (goal #1), the jury is still out, but I’m feeling very optimistic about the possibility!

As for #3, I have raised $360 of my $1000 goal for Nationwide Children’s Hospital thus far – but there is still much work to be done. Nationwide Children’s Hospital works day in and day out to cure, mend, comfort and save an estimated one million children who will walk through the hospital doors this year. Like so many others, I am seeking to raise money to help support the work of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and simply ask for your support as I work to meet that goal. If you would like to learn more about Nationwide Children’s Hospital and support me as a Children’s Champion, please click here — any amount you can give is helpful and appreciated!

Finally, THANK YOU to all those who have been so supportive – in person or online. It’s always great to get that cheering noise from the Nike+ app! In addition to tracking via Nike+, I also upload my progress to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram after every run- usually with the standard “#dropNgimme20“. This serves two purposes: keeps me publicly accountable and allows me to reflect on what I’ve achieved so far.

Sidenote: If you need/want motivation to start running or to keep running, get on Instagram or Twitter and search for #nikeplus, #running, #training (just for a start). There is an amazing community of runners out there who are super supportive and willing to share their knowledge and experiences. You can follow MY running via Instagram and Twitter.