Safe is SMART | SABRE Red® Review

Disclaimer: I received SABRE Red® products in exchange for my review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

I have been a solo runner ever since moving to this town five years ago and more than once I have received comments like "Your husband lets you run out in the dark?!" 

Umm... yes. He "lets me"? While he doesn't exactly love me running in the dark, he does know it's the only chance I have to get out and he trusts me to run smart. (Plus he married me this way, knowing well of my independent streak ;) And I'm thankful he does trust me.

For a while now I have been feeling like I should find pepper spray or some sort of defensive product to take with me on runs. Whether running in the dark or even in broad day light on desolate country roads, being a solo runner just isn't that safe anymore. Animals are my main concern here (especially bear) but, after the terrible events in the news lately, you just never know. As a BibRave Pro, I received SABRE Red® Runner Pepper Gel along with two other self defense products to test while running.

"Safe is Smart"

SABRE Red®'s motto says it well. Choosing to run safe isn't a sign of fear or weakness, it's smart.

Now that all of my week day outdoor runs happen in the dark, it's time to step up my safety game. I wear my reflective gear and carry handheld lights (a necessity because drivers DO NOT pay attention!) which help me to be easily seen but they don't offer any sort of defense if I am approached by a person or critter. That's where the pepper gel comes in.

The Runner Pepper Gel (middle product in above picture) has an adjustable hand strap which makes it very easy to run with and contains 35 police-strength bursts to spray. On dark runs, I carry the Pepper Gel in my right hand and a handheld light in my left hand.

It's lightweight and deploying is simple to do after switching off the safety. The key is to remember to switch the safety back on after testing to prevent accidental discharge. I did a test spray and the stream of pepper gel covered quite a distance - potentially 12 ft, though I didn't officially measure it out.

One more SABRE Red® product that I will carry with me on my solo runs is the Personal Alarm with clip & LED light. I use this alarm as my first "line of defense" when a dog is aggressively approaching me and it has caused the dogs to turn around and reconsider nipping at my legs!

Really I want to use the pepper gel as a last resort, because I do love animals, but when one is running at me baring teeth and fluffing up its back fur I need to do something. The personal alarm serves as that something. It is very loud and I like the added LED light feature too.

While personal defense moves are very helpful, I do feel like these SABRE Red® products are a near essential for runners who hit the roads solo, like me. No matter how "strong" I think I am, my somewhat small 120-lb frame stands very little chance against a large animal or even human aggressor.

The SABRE Red® Pepper Gel and Personal Alarm may not be the cure-all for every danger in today's world but this is an easy, discrete and affordable safety measure for me to take and it's certainly much better than nothing.

The Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap is available for $12.99 (check your state's laws on pepper spray!) and Personal Alarm with Clip & LED is $14.99. Join us for #BibChat on December 4th for a chance to win your own SABRE Red® products!

What measures do you take for personal defense? Do you hit the road solo or in a group?

My Weekly Wrap

Easing back into running after a second degree groin pull/hip flexor strain in mid-August.

SUN: Flying home from Nashville, TN! We were all exhausted and so glad to be back in MN.

MON: (Treadmill) 3.3 mi 00:30 09:05 pace

TUES: Hip strengthening exercises and I signed up to run the Frozen Feat 10k in February! That race is one of my favorites. They have the best socks for race swag and a February race, while icy and cold, helps to break up the long winter.

WED: (Treadmill) 3.3 mi 00:30 09:05 pace.

THURS: (Treadmill) 4 mi 00:37 09:09 pace. Feeling AWESOME because I can’t feel that hip flexor strain anymore. It feels so good just to run again, no limp, no pain. I can tell I’m out of running shape though ;) I’ve got some work to do!


SAT: 6.2 mi 00:49 07:50 pace. November was my "easy run" month and now it's over! Time to start pushing the pace and seeing how my hip handles it.

Let's Connect!

Linking up with Holly and Wendy's Weekly Wrap Up.

Behind the Blog: She Runs By Faith

How much can change in 5.5 years, really? Turns out, a lot.

APR 2013

Almost 26-year-old me started this blog as a writing outlet to jot down thoughts about my faith, brand new motherhood, running. As a journaler since my elementary years, having a blog was only natural.

I was on maternity leave with my one-month-old baby boy, who had arrived 5 weeks earlier than his due date. Hubs was finishing his degree, soon to graduate and celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I worked as a corporate graphic designer. Our house was small yet cozy, approximately the size of a two-bedroom apartment.

That house fit our little family perfectly as we navigated a season of much newness.

Flash forward to now,

NOV 2018

Thriving in the 30's, I'm 31 years young. Considered old by some but still viewed as too young to know anything by many. Still writing, just from the perspective of a not-as-new mom that still loves Jesus and a good run. I do drink more coffee than I did 5 years ago. There are now three wild boys running our halls, in thankfully a bigger house; ages 1, 3, 5. When people say our current house is small, I just laugh inside. Clearly they hadn't seen our last place!

6 years of marriage, moving, new career for my hubs. Loving on these littles and homeschooling Kindergarten is my full-time gig.
Crazy but I love it. I may be a little crazy myself.

The Blog: She Runs By Faith

I felt the nudge to redesign and ran with it; quickly, too. My blog's name and design needed to fit the mission. Prayed, brainstormed, designed and BAM!

Hello, She Runs By Faith

The name cuts right to the chase: I am "she". That she does often "run". And, every single thing I do, everything, is done "by faith" and my faith is in God alone.
"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." Hebrews 11:3
Making the time to write has been harder to do with a growing family. Lack of time isn't the main cause of this writer's block though; it's feeling incompetent. The more kids we have, the more I am reminded of how little I know. There are so many curve balls in life, often I feel inadequate, but by faith and in the Lord's strength I'm doing this. Baby steps. Every day.

And so I will keep writing real life thoughts about real life things. The beautiful moments and absolute chaos that is motherhood, a heart overflowing with love while simultaneously feeling completely overwhelmed. And running. The pushing of physical limits that somehow serves as a de-stressor, stirring that inner competitive fire, running after goals that weren't even conceivable 5 years ago. Because doing hard things is fun and sweating is good for you.

... For someone with a writer's block, this post is becoming quite long-winded!

This is me most days. At least one child attached to my body. Wearing leggings or my favorite jeans. A nurse-able top. Hair up because baby still pulls it out. Carrying at least one book, leaving a trail of pens wherever I go. Always looking for a lost pacifier.

The life of faith is a blessed but not bump-free journey. Living for Him is choosing the narrow road and pressing on with that eternal hope and perspective, despite resistance and criticism from this world. Oh, there will always be criticism on this side of heaven and plenty of it! Living by faith is not easy (especially for a people-pleaser by nature, like me) but the eternal reward outweighs any earthly discomforts now.
"Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.  Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation." Hebrews 11:1
"By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight." Hebrews 11:33-34
In spite of feeling ill-equipped, God continues to turn my weaknesses to strength so that I can love by faith, teach by faith, write by faith, walk by faith.

Then again, why walk when you can run?

Let's Connect!

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Linking up with Holly and Wendy's Weekly Wrap Up.

A Closer Look at the Rocketbook Everlast

I'm an avid note taker and journaler. Think piles of old journals, sticky notes, sketchbooks, notes in the margins, lists here, lists there.

Recently I was introduced to a new way of note taking in the form of a reusable notebook and, honestly, I was skeptical. Could there be anything better than a traditional ole notebook?

Enter the Rocketbook Everlast.

How to Use This Smart Notebook

The Everlast is a reusable "smart notebook" which enables you to take notes using a specific pen, the Pilot FriXion pens or markers.

Prior to using my notebook, I downloaded the Rocketbook app on my iPhone. It was quick, painless and has very positive ratings in the App Store as well.

After downloading, I went straight to business with the Pilot FriXion Clicker (3-pack for $7 on that Rocketbook sent me. As I mentioned earlier, Pilot FriXion pens and markers are the only writing utensils to be used on the Everlast and replacements and/or different styles and colors are available in stores.

I wrote my fancy test message and allowed the ink to dry for at least 15 seconds to prevent smudging. Sidenote: FriXion ink disappears at over 140°F, so if left in a hot car, the writing may appear faded. Place in freezer for 20 minutes to bring back your writing. Cool! Literally.

Next I opened the Rocketbook App on my phone and scanned in my notes. If you have numerous pages of notes in your Rocketbook, this scan brings in all of the images at the same time. That is a big timesaver as you don't need to page through and scan each page individually.

The bottom icons allow you to either delete, rotate, save or comment on your notes. I saved my test message and it was instantly available in the photo gallery on my phone.

Time to erase! I used the microfiber towel that came with my Everlast though a paper towel works fine, too. After dampening the towel with water, the ink was easy to wipe off the page. Allow the page to dry completely before writing again.

The pen doesn't work well on even a slightly damp page and it may damage the surface of the page. So I'll repeat: allow page to dry completely. (Can you tell  I broke that rule myself?) Then write to your heart's content!

My final thoughts on this reusable smart notebook are very positive. The smart notebook won't replace my simple journals that I keep long term, as it's not recommended to keep FriXion ink on the pages for over a month, but it will definitely have its purpose in my short term note taking.

The Everlast, paired with the Pilot FriXion Clicker pen, is an excellent tool for those everyday notes, jotting down lists and even sketching new design concepts to be sent directly to my phone and then texted/emailed/etc thereafter. It's basically a mini scanner that's easy to bring anywhere and I have been very impressed!

The Rocketbook Everlast is available for $34.00 on

*Disclaimer: I was sent a Rocketbook Everlast from Rocketbook in exchange for my honest review.*

Scoobtober 10k Recap | Scooby Doo Virtual Run Series

Disclaimer: I received a complementary entry into the Scooby Doo Virtual Run Series in exchange for my review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Without battling traffic while traveling for hours, paying outrageous amounts for a hotel stay or waking up at crazy early hours, we completed a race series. My dog, Saul, and I participated in the Scooby Doo Virtual Run Series from the comfort of our own small town and on our own schedule!

This run series included the Doo Good 5k in September and the Scoobtober 5k/10k in October. We covered the miles at our own pace, which was perfect for our team as Saul is an elderly ole boy and I have been recovering from a hip flexor injury myself.

For more on the Doo Good 5k, check out my post here.
This is a quick run down of our Scoobtober 10k experience:

October in northern Minnesota started a tad bit snowy, then fall weather returned and then the rain. Rain, rain, rain. Needless to say, running with my four-legged-running-buddy was a bit spotty. We put on some miles walking with the kids in the stroller and biking. Some days, Saul joined me for the warm up on my longer runs.

I was starting to doubt we would hit the 6.2 mile mark by the October 31st deadline but slowly, steadily, we did it!

We finished our Scoobtober miles just in time and shortly after, our race swag arrived in the mail. I received the Official Scoobtober Backpack, Scoobtober Virtual Run Finisher Medal and Digital Finisher Certificate. Because I had opted in for the dog add-on, Saul received his own race swag that includes Scoobtober Dog Bandana and Doggie Medal/Tag.

He seemed to enjoy his Scoobtober bandana and medal for this race. Purple is definitely his color. (Yes, he's blind in one eye, if you're wondering)

My First Virtual Run Experience

The ease of deciding for yourself where, when, and how far to run throughout the race's timeframe makes the virtual run an appealing race option. Especially for new runners or those new to the racing world, a virtual run takes the stress out of race day while still motivating you to get out the door (or onto the treadmill)!

Did I mention all three of the Scooby Doo Virtual Run Series medals are huge?! They certainly went big on those - well done, Scooby Doo Run, well done!

The one thing I feel is missing from a virtual run experience is the running community, which also happens to be one of the top reasons I love racing. Now a fun solution to that would be completing the virtual run series with your local running club or RBF (running best friend) and their pups. That is a virtual race experience I would love! Add the community to the virtual run and I'm on board.

For someone looking to sign up for their first-ever virtual run like me, the Scooby Doo Run Series is the perfect one to start with. Participating was a breeze, logging your miles is stress-free and the race swag is EXCELLENT!

Even better, bring your pup along for the run. The doggy add-on option was totally worth it.

Which, if any, virtual runs have you completed?

My Weekly Wrap

Easing back into running after a groin pull/hip flexor strain in mid-August.

SUN: Off, sick.

MON: Cycling 10 mi 00:34 17.6mph pace

TUES: Treadmill Run 3.26 mi 00:30 09:12 pace

WED: Hip and core strength training

THURS: Treadmill Run 3.26 mi 00:30 09:12 pace

FRI: Cycling 10.05 mi, 00:30 @ 20.1mph pace with arm strength during and plank routine at night.

SAT: Power cleaning and rearranging!

Let's Connect!

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Linking up with Holly and Wendy's Weekly Wrap Up.

Permission to Dream

Our oldest boy shared his dream with me this week. "I want to play my guitar on a stage in front of a bunch of people someday, mom," he said as he strummed away.

My heart felt so proud.

Watching our boys' first steps and hearing their first words have been such precious milestones. Now hearing a dream take shape and be shared, that's something new. He's 5.5 years old now and sounding more like a young man now than the teeny tiny baby boy he once was.

Hearing the dreams that God has placed on his heart makes my heart soar.

My dreams, on the other hand, make me feel selfish. Should a mom, especially of littles, have dreams of her own? In so many ways, I am "living the dream" of loving my family and teaching/learning along side them. This life of learning is a dream of mine, and there's a few other dreams brewing as well.

I read two key posts that gave me new insight into dreaming as a mom.


Author Dani Pettrey's guest post (find it here) plucked the thoughts straight out of my mind and she provided encouragement I have been dying to hear, little did I know it. Simply the permission to dream.
"Having dreams of your own don’t make you less of a mom, they make you a more interesting one.

Having dreams doesn’t ruin your homeschooling environment; you get to learn alongside your kids.

Having dreams doesn’t make you selfish; they make you the creative, unique, multi-dimensional person God created you to be.

Why do I mention these things? Because as a homeschooling mom pursuing my dreams, I, unfortunately, heard them all. Seriously. People are not always encouraging of dreams, especially if they are too scared to pursue their own." Dani Pettrey, wife, former homeschooling mom and author

Be creative alongside my children, pursue these dreams, do the research, put in the work. I can do that. I can continue jotting in my "Believe" Training Journal and developing my writing without feeling like a bad mom for doing so.

Permission to dream. It feels nice.


I finally read "Let's Break the Internet" (a free guide for anyone creating anything online.) and 6 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer by one of my favorite author-bloggers, Erin Loechner at Design for Mankind. Her advice is simple and powerful.

That's what I've been working on. "Stirring the pot" on some of the big dreams I have.

One is the blog re-design. Maybe you noticed? Maybe you didn't. No worries, if you didn't ;) I started blogging 5.5 years ago and it was time to create something that fit me better right now. The new name --> "She Runs By Faith". {More on the story behind the name to come!}

Teaching my children, enjoying classic books with them and seeing the beauty in education alongside them is a dream I'm living right now. One I didn't realize I had until God called us to this place! This one is by far my most exhausting dream, but also the most rewarding.

And then there's that running goal I'm chasing. Sub-3:00 marathon is where I would like to be someday but a 3:15 is the first step. My injury in August caused my goal race plans to fall apart, but one can't give up that easily on a dream. There's alway another race.

That's where I'm at now.

Taking steps of faith, loving and living where I'm at, and giving myself permission to dream. And, most importantly, this:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Q: What crazy dream are you taking steps toward today?

Let's Connect!

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Linking up with Holly and Wendy's Weekly Wrap Up.