Review: Jaybird Run

It was just after one of my many lunch runs, a nice 5 mile out and back, that I realized I really (and I mean REALLY) hated my wired headphones. In fact, I hated my off the shelf pair so much that I stopped listening to music on my runs altogether.

First off, I hate having to carry my phone during a run.  More especially when the summer heat is blazing and my hands are sweaty and I seem to fumble around with which hand carries the phone and back again. So the initial decision to ditch the headphones was a no-brainer. Second, while exchanging my phone from hand to hand, the wire would always somehow get caught and mid-arm swing would rip one of the headphones out of my ear. I don’t have time for any of this.  That’s when I hit the interwebs.

Jaybird RUN headphones, “High-performance, truly wireless earbuds that combine a streamlined, ultra-comfortable fit with premium sound, our Run headphones also feature a lightweight, water-resistant design for passionate runners in pursuit of their limits.Source: Jaybird Website

I think we have a winner. I looked around the internet for deals and reviews on all wireless headphones to find a match for me – Jaybird was leading the pack.  On price, quality, and internet reviews, Jaybird seemed like a winner.  I ordered my pair and anxiously awaited their arrival.

The first impression right out of the box, the headphones were a perfect fit. In fact, I’m even willing to say the unboxing moment was kind of special, everything down to the instructions was spot on. I immediately put the headphones to use and went on a 5-mile run to test them out and put them through their paces.

I cycled power to the headphones, connected, and disconnect them from my iPhone, played with the settings, adjusted the fit, the list goes on – needless to say, I was extremely pleased with my purchase.  So pleased, I forgot all about my origin concerns like; How well will these stay in? How well do they actually work? Won’t my sweat cause them to fall out? To answer all of those, a simple trial by fire was the quickest way to address all of my concerns.

I read a few reviews complaining about sound cutting in and out – and I can say I experienced a little of that when my iPhone was located closest to the LEFT earbud.  Just for clarification, the instructions do mention that the RIGHT earbud is the master device and your phone or MP3 player should be located on the right side of your body while running. I can honestly say that other than that one specific moment, in the almost 3 months owning these headphones that was the only time I had any issues.

Another complaint I saw was while watching videos, specifically YouTube, there was a delay in the video and sound.  Basically, a sync delay most noticeable when someone is talking and the camera is focused on them, their voice doesn’t match the movements of their mouths or facial expressions. While I’ll agree that this is not acceptable, let’s face it, who is watching videos while running? I’m not buying these for leisure activities, I’m buying them for utilitarian purposes: Music during my runs. Aside from these two negative reviews I found, the general census among runners was extremely positive.

All-in-all, these Jaybird headphones are the perfect running buddy.

PROS:
Easy setup and connection
Customizable sound with the Jaybird App
Comfortable Fit
Sweat-proof and secured while running
Ideal battery life

CONS:
Slightly noise canceling, so talking to friends while running can be difficult
Phone or music device has to be closest to RIGHT earbud
Per the internet, not ideal for watching videos
Per the internet, intermittent connection lost between earbuds

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Hershey Half Marathon Results!

Let me start off by saying that the Hershey Half is one of my favorite races of the year. I think Hershey has a lot of great things going for them, and being able to support the Children’s Miracle Network is a major win.

The course is challenging with its share of hills and twists and turns, but it’s not soul crushing like some other races I’ve entered. The venue, packet pickup, and attractions- all good. Like I said, it’s one of my favorite races all around.

However, my only complaint (rather suggestion) is that they:
A. Have the runners sign up in waves based on pace
B. Assign corrals, and Include pacers

To clarify, at the very beginning of the race, they tell everyone to line up based on their pace – but no clear direction is given, everyone just crams to the front as best as they can.  Having corrals will ensure the fastest runners are in the front, and progressively slower runners will make up the rest of the pack.  During the start there was a mad dash or confusion as I passed people by and people passed me by.  Corrals would certain help with congestion and make it safer than having runners cut you off in a tightly packed herd. Also during the race, pacers go a long way in keeping the crowds moving… and purely for selfish reasons I do better when I can spot pacers, it helps me regulate my speed.

I realize pacers and corrals carry their own logistics, but the Hershey Half is a seasoned race where the added extra steps would go a long way and I’m sure the event organizers could handle the change.

Anyway this year’s race went rather well – I felt good about my training, my nutrition, and my overall plan of attack for the 13.1 miles.

Training is what it is, my goal of running 100 miles a month really helped me put mileage on my shoes and prepared me physically for the endurance needed to succeed.  Despite whatever weird pain it is that I have in my shin, I was able to maintain a fairly stable pace throughout the entire race.

Nutrition is clutch, leading up to race day and during the race, fueling can make or break your success. I made sure to eat balanced meals the entire week before the race, and took extra care to not over indulge.  I drank plenty of water on a daily basis to stay properly hydrated and the day of the race I made sure to maintain my hydration levels.  I also decided to use Tailwind Nutrition’s Endurance Fuel over the course of the race to help sustain my energy levels. Fueling on the move can be a pain, and I didn’t want to have to mess with gels or jelly beans during the race, so I made the decision to go with Tailwind.  Spoiler: It was an excellent move.

Having a Plan of Attack is always a good idea.  Since I’m pretty horrible at knowing how far I can push myself, I decided to pick a comfortable pace and just maintain it throughout the race.  I know I can run 8:30 min/miles for 4-5 miles, but was concerned at 13 miles if I would crash and burn after I passed my safe zone.  So, I decided to pick a safer pace and I know I could maintain with easy effort.  I settled on a 9:30 min/mile pace, knowing that I could always increase my speed near the end as long as I had the energy.

The plan paid off, it was painful at first getting passed left and right, but my patience to maintain my pace rewarded me in the end.  In the beginning I didn’t mind getting passed by… but after mile 9 came and went and I was still getting passed, I started to doubt my pace of choice.  It wasn’t until mile 11 that I noticed I was gaining ground and passing a lot of the people that had initially passed me.  I ended up really picking up ground on mile 12 and just felt unstoppable.  I entered the stadium with blazing speed at a 7:45 min/mile pace and hurried past others like they were standing still – the crazy thing was, by the end, I still felt like I could have kept running.

Well, thanks for sticking around to the end:
2016 finish time was 2:14:00
2017 finish time was 2:13:51
2018 finish time was 2:01:57

September Miles! Triple Digits

Welp, I did it again! I got my monthly goal of 100+ miles in a month… and it feels awesome. It might seem like I’m going backward, but October I’m going to reel things back and reduce my mileage.

And here’s why.

As you can imagine, after increasing my average monthly mileage from 70 to 100 miles, I was bound to find new injuries along the way.  Calm down Uncle Jim, my knees are fine – what I did discover:

I was having issues with tenderness in my plantar fascia.  Plantar fasciitis is a fairly common ailment among runners and easily treatable.  I won’t go into all of the details (Google is your friend), but I found my heels and arches were often sore following a long run. After a quick YouTube search, I was able to pinpoint that the issue is in the calf-muscles and not properly stretching AFTER my runs.

I found that giving myself a somewhat painful and deep tissue massage along my calves and plantar fascia, I was able to reduce and relieve the pain.  Also, foam rolling after runs has helped drastically reduce soreness and tenderness.

Second, I’ve been experiencing some tenderness in my lower left shin, almost like a wicked bruise that won’t go away.  I’m not sure if this is a stress fracture on my lower leg, or if a tendon is just bruised and needs to heal. Either way, I’m taking it easy to hopefully not exacerbate any injuries, I don’t want to take any chances.  Also, I don’t know how to describe exactly what I’m feeling other than the pain is similar to a bruise.  I don’t experience pain when I walk or put weight on my leg, so it doesn’t seem like a fracture is an issue, again just soreness.

The Hershey Half Marathon next weekend, and for the most part, I have only logged 18 miles in the last 11 days.  This upcoming week (before the half marathon) I’m not going to run at all, maybe a slight jog around the neighborhood – like I said, I just want to take it easy.

Hershey Half Marathon

Only 40 days away from one of my favorite races: The Hershey Half Marathon! If you have never run this race, it’s one you should totally consider. It was my submission for The BibRave 100.

The course has rolling hills, and traverses the Hershey area- you’ll take in sites of the theme park (as you run through it) onto the cozy side streets that make up the town, and right through the Milton Hershey School dorms where the students cheer you on with nothing but positive amped up energy.

Trust me, it’s an amazing experience- plus the medals and swag each year are pretty awesome.

Training has already begun- ish. Basically, the plan of attack is this:

1. Increase monthly mileage throughout August and September (which I’m on track as far as that goes). The goal is to just get in more running time on my feet and follow this up with…

2. Incorporate one 13+ mile long per week by mid-September into October.

I’m trying to condition my body to run 4 miles every day and then sneak in a Half Marathon once a week to prepare for the distance. Every year I end up sabotaging myself by not getting in those long runs and conditioning myself for the 2 hours I’ll be on my feet.

I’ll do this up to the week before the race, rest for a day or two, maybe run some low mileage runs but give myself a little break before the race.

The goal this year is to finish right at 2 hours, or less. As long as I beat my previous years, I’ll be happy with that.

9/11 Memorial

Long before I started running, in another life (so it seems) I once considered myself a firefighter. In 2001 I was a Senior in High School. Like all boys in my grade, 9/11 shook home. Many kids from my school had parents that worked in NYC and the World Trade Center. After the tragedy, I had a yearning to be a real hero which sparked my desire to start a career in the fire service. It wasn’t until years later I started volunteering with a local company that I really learned what the ultimate sacrifice means. Not only does it involve your days, nights, weekends away from your loved ones, but doing this all with the cost of your life. Whether volunteer or professional, the fire service demands a level of respect that if not treated with care can come crashing down at a moments notice.

Way back when I had the honor and privilege of participating in a 9/11 stair climb. I honored the late John Santore (Ladder 5) and John Williamson (Battalion Chief, Battalion 6) FDNY. I honor these men every year, and all of the fire, police, and EMS of the NYC tragedy.

John Santore

John Williamson

I have nothing but profound RESPECT not only for the 343 men and women of the FDNY that made the ultimate sacrifice on 9-11-2001 but to all first responders. I could never be that great of a hero. God Bless each and every one of them, and God Bless America.

100 August Monthly Miles

This month (August) I embarked on a major milestone – running 100 miles in 30 days!  For some, this may be mere child’s play, but ever since I started running I would typically cap out around 60-70 monthly miles.  I know I have more fuel in the tank, so I set out on this new journey to see what heights I can achieve.

Do I consider myself a runner? Obviously, the answer is: Yes!  I mean, why would I go through the trouble of blogging and sharing my passion on social media?   The real question is, do I feel like a runner?  I know this may seem trivial, but the more of a presence I have on social media, the more I can’t help but notice there are some serious runners out there.  So serious, that I almost feel silly at times posting much of anything.  Maybe that’s why I set this 100-mile goal?

A wonderful thing I noticed about running is that I don’t seem to catch a sense of elitism from other runners (at least from my perspective), just profound respect.  That profound respect is earned through your reputation and your accomplishments.  Not saying there aren’t elite runners, but I rarely catch us runners looking down on other runners.

In fact, in articles from the elite runners, they are just like you and me – they set goals, they train, they have ups and downs, but they just keep showing up and the reward pays them in dividends.

“Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through hell. Every day I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got, and to try and be better.

My advice: keep showing up” – Desiree Linden

Regardless of distance run, or pace, (for me personally) I think what matters most is getting out and giving it your best effort.

KEEP SHOWING UP.

Now, I’m not downplaying pace or miles – after all, that’s how I measure my own accomplishments, but it doesn’t have to be just distance or pace.  I respect other runners who log daily miles, carry on a run streak, set goals and work for their achievements, and embrace the overall sense of community running brings.

I guess the question is: What do you feel makes someone a runner?

By the way, I hit those 100 miles.
110 miles to be exact.

Episode 22 – Gimme that Sugar!

This week we tackle the hidden secrets of SUGAR, and how you can be a better-informed food label detective. We talk about running and increasing mileage, and recent running gear purchases. We announced our “Run with Us” series where we want to feature you! Share with us your running story! And so much more!

Also, you can now find us on Spotify! (As well as other fine podcast platforms).

https://anchor.fm/beyond-24-days/embed/episodes/Episode-22—Gimme-that-Sugar-e23lsr