TAR HEEL TOUGH-Tar Heel 10 miler race recap

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Tar Heel 10 Miler race 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!”

As a graduate of UNC-CH, this race will always hold a special place. I’ve run it every year for the past 5 years, so I jumped at the chance to run this race while representing Bibrave.

As in the last couple years, I choose to partake in the Double Down Challenge. The challenge involves running the 4 miler and finishing it before the start line of the 10 miler closes, then running that as well. The 4 miler started at 7:15, and the starting line for the 10 miler closes at 8:00.

The race management was exceptional when it comes to the double down challenge, the had a dedicated lane for the participants as they finished the 4 miles, so they weren’t held up getting to the 10 mile start.

This year’s race was a little different, as I was crazy enough to register for a half marathon the day after this race so I had to control my effort. Weather was not kind as it rained all morning and half way through the 4 miler. We all know what happens after the rain, that’s right, humidity skyrockets and it did just that.

4 Miler

My plan going in was to semi-race the 4 miles and then take it easy on the 10 miles. If you take out the humidity and hills, the 4 miler pretty much went as planned. I finished in 32 minutes, which have me more than enough time to walk back to the 10 mile start.

10 Miler

The 10 miler was rough. The humidity wasn’t letting up and there were 3 times as many hills, including the dreaded Laurel Hill. Yes the hill that is so bad that they time you to see how long it takes you to reach the top. I didn’t even bother trying to run up it, I like many, choose to just walk up. I actually walked up the majority of the hills just so I could save my legs for the following day. I finished around 1:30, with a total Double Down time of 2:03.

Medals

For completing the challenge, you receive medals for the 4 mile and 10 mile, along with a double down Medal.

Recommendation

Despite the hills, I still 100% recommend this race. It is well managed, beautiful course through campus, great shirts and amazing medals. Put this one on your calendar for 2020.

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Tar Heel 10 miler (Double Down challenge) Prep

Looking ahead to Tar Heel 10 miler, the countdown is on. I’ve run this race the past 4-5 years and always enjoy it. Training thus far has been going pretty good for most part. I’ll mentoring a group of runners in the PR Squad, so I’m training along side of them. PR Squad is a subpart of the larger Fleet Feet half/full marathon training program. We have done a lot of hills and Interval work during the session. The hill work so definitely help when it comes to tackling the monster known as Laurel Hill at the Tar Heel 10. Just think of a mile long 45 degree angle hill.

There has been one hiccup during training, I caught a stomach bug the had been going around. My whole house had it at some point. Not fun and it derailed one of my long runs. I did go back a few days later and try to do the run. I cut it short because although my pace was ok but my heart rate was high, so I knew I was working harder than I needed to. Aka i wasn’t fully recovered. ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AND BE MINDFUL OF YOUR HR. Majority of your training runs should have your HR in Green or orange zone, of you’re in red, slow down/stop.

That’s it for now, stay tuned when I post my post TarHeel 10 miler recap.

For Chocolate and Hill Lovers-Allstate Hot Chocolate Charlotte 15K/5K Race Review

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com

I was excited to be able to run the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k for the 2nd year in a row.  I was anxious to see how the race had evolved after it’s inaugural race in 2018. 

EXPO
Sadly, my better half couldn’t get off work early enough for us to make it to Charlotte in time for the expo. I was looking forward to the chocolate samples, but lucky for me, a couple of my Bibrave sisters picked up my packet for me and even dropped it off at my hotel for me. 
SWAG
I can honestly say that Allstate Hot Chocolate races has some of the best swag I have ever received at a race. This year was no different, as the participants received a full-zip winter running jacket with hood. The guys received black and women color was a reddish maroon color. To top it off, the jackets have thumb holes.
RACE DAY
The forecast for race morning had changed a few different times. Up until friday, there was a 60% chance of rain on saturday morning but it changed friday night. The rain was supposed to hold off until around 11am, which would give me more than enough time to finish and get back to my hotel. I stayed at Aloft and the starting line was like a 4-5 block walk, so not bad at all BUT it was low 40s. It was cold but I still opted for shorts and short-sleeve shirt because I knew I would warm up pretty fast once the race started. The starting line area(also the finish line area) had booths already set up for the finishers. Huge shoutout to Allstate for being the only booth that though to bring heater towers. They had 3 and a lot of the runners gathered around them to stay warm before the race start. The 5k began at 7:30, and 15k was scheduled to start 15 minutes later. We started 3 minutes later than scheduled because some of the 5k runners arrived late so we gave them time to get out on the course. The 15k started and within quarter of a mile, we had already hit our first hill. As with the whole route, it was full of uphill and downhills. The crisp temperature helped keep me refreshed throughout the battle with the hills. About halfway through the race, it began to drizzle. Thankfully it wasn’t a downpour, but the drizzle wasn’t bad enough to really cause any issues outside of making it hard to see out of my sunglasses. The volunteers maning the water stops were great and were constantly yelling their support. The police officers controlling traffic were also a huge help. You had to fight through 1 last uphill before crossing the finish line. I finished about a minute and a half slower than 2018, but I was satisfied seeing how the course had more hills than last year.
POST-RACE
Crossing the finish line you are greeted by volunteers handing out medals, before you can pick up a cup of Nuun and bottle water. The post-race festivities were about a 100 yards away from the finish so just a short walk. In the finisher’s area, you could take a picture in from of the Hot chocolate inflatable, but more importantly you can pick up your post-race chocolate mug. The mug contained a section of warm melted chocolate, cup of hot chocolate, rice crispy treat, marshmallow, banana and chocolate sticks. None of that food stood a chance, I finished it all off before starting my walk back to the hotel. There was also a booth that was serving tacos and rice.
Recommendation
No brainer, Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Charlotte is a must run. Yes, it is challenging but it is still a fun race and very well-managed. Did I fail to mention, FREE RACE PHOTOS. Hopefully I will run it again in 2020 to make it 3 years in a row.

Check All the Boxes-Brooks Ghost 11 & Canopy Jacket Product Review

I received Brooks products(Brooks Ghost 11 and Brooks Canopy jacket) 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!

The Brooks brand is well-known throughout the running community, whether you have used them or not, is a personal preference. I personally have loved Brooks since I stumbled upon them when I first started running. When I began running, I was clueless to the idea of running shoes. I was running in some Nike Shox and was having severe shin splits. I started doing my research and had a gait analysis done at a running expo for which Brooks was sponsor. After that day, I bought my first pair of Brooks and haven’t looked back since. Needless to say, I was all smiles when I saw Brooks gear in our swag bag from The Running Event. I was given a pair of Brooks Ghost 11 and a Brooks Canopy running jacket.

BROOKS CANOPY JACKET(Nightlife)

·         Wind and Water Protection(breathable wind and water-resistant fabric keeps you dry)

·         Storable Hood

·         DriLayer Seal Fabric(lets air in, keeps rain out)

·         Packs into its left-hand pocket

I love this jacket! Not only does it keep you warm on those crisp mornings/evenings, it is water-resistant. The water-resistant aspect is what I have been lacking with other jackets I have tried. Others brands I have tried have either been too light, thus not keeping you warm, or not breathable, thus you are sweating heavily because no air can get in. This Canopy jacket merges both worlds together perfectly. Extra benefit with the Nighlife color I received, is it has the neon yellow accents as well as built in reflective areas so you can easily be seen at night and pre-dawn. I took this jacket out for several runs and loved that it wasn’t too heavy, as well as, the option to use the hood or snap it back. The last and probably one of my favorite features is it is packable. That’s right, the whole jacket can pack right inside the left hand pocket, zip up, and has a nice band you can use to attach to your arm. I was able to put this to the test during one of my recent long runs. The temps were in the high 30s when I started out but pushed its way into the mid 40s halfway through my run. I was able to take off the jacket, pack it into the pocket and continue my run without having to worry about the hassle of securing the jacket around my waist. 

BROOKS GHOST 11     

I mentioned earlier that Brooks was one of my favorite brands, well their Brooks Ghost are one of my favorite shoes. In all I think I have had at least 3 or 4 pairs of Ghost, dating back to the Ghost 8.  

·         Balanced, Soft Cushioning

·         Segmented Crash Pad, so no matter how your foot lands, you get a smooth ride

·         Soft, Secure Fit

I always have high expectations whenever the new Ghosts drop, and these didn’t disappoint. I had been waiting to buy a pair, but thanks to the generosity of Brooks, I didn’t have too with their inclusion in our swag bag. The Ghost are considered a Neutral running shoe, and that is what seems to work best for me. I felt the same cushioned ride during my runs as I got in the previous versions of Brooks Ghost, with the added feature of DNA Loft softness and BioMoGo DNA responsiveness. These 2 technologies work together to provide a just-right softness underfoot without losing responsiveness and durability. The shoes are not too hard or soft, they fit somewhere in between and when you are running they feel a bit lighter. I could definitely feel the difference in the responsiveness in the shoe on the foot strike, it almost felt like it was bouncing back. This benefit is especially valuable as the miles start adding up during a run. The stretch fabric used to construct these beauties is breathable, so you don’t have to worry about your feet sweating as much.

RECCOMENDATON
Yes and Yes, to both products. I feel like the canopy jacket is a no-brainer, good jackets are hard to find and this once checks all the boxes for me. I also really love the Brooks Ghost 11, but if you require a shoe with more “support” this may not work for you. I know Brooks also makes a support shoe that will check the boxes for you, like the Ravenna or Adrenaline.

Get The Edge-Arcanum Product Review

I received Arcanum products(Sarco Freeze, the Quill, Sarco Breeze) 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!

Prior to The Running Event I had never heard of activated hemp being used as a recovery or performance aid, nor had I ever heard of the brand Arcanum. We received 3 of their products in our swag bag for TRE, but I don’t think any of us actually knew what to do with them. The following day when we got to visit The Running Event, the Arcanum booth was the first one we visited and we learned a lot of great information. If you read my previous posts about TRE, you know what I mentioned that the Arcanum representative was by far the most effective speaker. She delivered valuable information, without overselling her product. After speaking with the representative, I was eager to give them a try.

ACTIVATED HEMP
When hemp is heated at high temperatures, it’s bioavailability increases, meaning it is able to enter the circulation in the body and have an active effect. This activation creates an increase in the effectiviness of the cannabinoids and other healing ingredients in the Arcanum formulation. Activated hemp has been shown to support recovery time and performance by upregulating your cells, allowing them to communicate and carry on the reactions necessary to help the body recover faster and smarter.(via Arcanum website www.arcanumedge.com)

SARCO BREEZE
First product I tried was the Sarco Breeze, which is a moisturizer and sports massage oil. Its features:

·         Hydrates your skin and good for all skin types

·         Facilitates muscle recover and soothes aches

·         Designed for full body use

·         Addresses soreness, discomfort, overuse, irritation

I took the Sarco breeze with me when I traveled for my last race of the 2018 calendar year, The Kiawah Marathon. It was a marathon so I figured I would have a good amount of soreness to give the product a good test. After finishing my marathon and showering, I broke it out. My calves were really sore and I had cramped up after I finished the race, so I decided to start there. I am not exaggerating when I say, I felt an immediate difference once I applied the Sarco Breeze. I am not saying the soreness, immediately disappeared but I could feel the tingle letting me know it was starting to do its thing. I would say about an hour after applying the product, my calves felt like new. The soreness had subsided and I could walk around with that looking like I just ran a marathon(you know the walk. Lol) I later applied to my quads and hamstring areas, to get them back fresh. I was impressed with the response. This is also good to use if you are receiving and giving a massage to/from your significant other.

SARCO FREEZE
Next up, was the Sarco Freeze. Some of its features/benefits:

·         Immediate cooling relief

·         Addresses soreness, discomfort, overuse, irriatiton

When you are impatient and won’t relief instant, you reach for the Sarco Freeze. I slept wrong one night, and I woke up with a little back pain. Before I reached for some icy hot that I had in the cabinet, I grabbed the Sarco Freeze to give it first crack and the pain. It was easy enough to apply and within maybe 3-4 minutes the cooling powers powered up and my pain was gone. I only wish I had discovered the powers of activated hemp sooner.

THE QUILL
Last up and Arcanum’s newest product was The Quill. This seemed to be the product the representative was most excited about, since it is really an item that could be used on a daily basis. Features/Benefits:

·         50 precise 2mg doses of activated hemp in every application

·         Relief in as little as 5 minutes

·         Dermal delivery for more accurate dosage control and better absorption

·         Targeted delivery system of transdermal nutrients

The representative showed us that The Quill is most effective applied to the inside of your wrist and rubbed in using your other wrist(similar to how you see ladies apply their perfume). The amount of time before you can start to notice a difference can vary based on the individual, but for me I think it took about a week and a half of daily use before I felt a little different. I felt a little more energized each morning and also noticed that I wasn’t getting as sore after workouts or runs. I looked at it has daily maintenance and made sure I applied my daily dosage, just as if I was taking daily vitamins.

RECOMMENDATION
I think all three of these products are worth a try. I know you may not know a lot about activated hemp but the stuff just works. Do your own research if you must, Arcanum even has some good information on their websites and you won’t get popped for using performance enhancing drugs. Lol. If I had to pick a favorite of the products, I would probably go with Sarco Breeze. I think the fact that it could be used all over your body and works great for massages, won me over. Give Arcanum as try and get the Arcanum Edge.

Zwifty-Zwift Run Product Review

I received a Zwift footpod 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!

 

What is a Zwift, you might say? Well up into recently, you would have never heard of Zwift unless you were in the cycling world. Zwift was a program/app that allowed you to train indoors and connect with cyclists around the world in a virtual world. If you read any of my posts you know I am a runner, not a cyclist, so why did I get a Zwift pod? Because now Zwift has stepped into the running world. We received footpods in our Running Event swag bag, so let’s see how it turned out.

SETUP
In my previous posts about TRE, I told you about a few pros doing a Zwift run on the first day we were in Austin. The rest of us got to watch and cheer them on. On December 18th, the Pros that didn’t get to run during TRE weekend finally got there chance to test out the Zwift Run. Before I tell you about the run, let me tell you what items you will need to get started.

·         Zwift Footpod or connected shoe

·         Download the Zwift app

·         Device to run Zwift (phone, laptop, ipad, etc)

·         Create a Zwift Account

·         Treadmill

The last item listed was a big deal for me, because I simply do not like running on “dreadmills”. Even if it raining or 20 degrees outside, I will go outside before I ever seek out a dreadmill. So, my first order of business was trying to find one. I don’t go to gyms and couldn’t find a friend that owned one, so it took some finessing. I found out Planet Fitness offered Day Passes to nonmembers, so I applied online and was given one.

THE VIRTUAL WORLD
I must admit the setup was pretty cool. Bibrave already had an event sent up for the date and time, so we just had to log into it. Once you log in, your virtual character appears at the starting line. The starting line header shows how much time you have left before the run begins. As more people sign in, their characters appear at the starting line with you with their name. There is even a message bar that you can communicate with everyone. Once the countdown reached zero, we were off. Based on what pace you entered when signing up for the event, the zwift app tells you what to set your treadmill at. We did a tempo run, so the pace changed several times during the run. Each time, the app would tell you what to set the treadmill(for instance, “increase treadmill to 6.2”) As you are running through the virtual world, you see all our friends running along with you. We even had a santa clause sighting in the middle of our run. Your friends can give you “thumbs up”, and after you finish the workout, you get a workout summary. There is even a saved screen shot of your character in the middle of the run. In addition to group runs, Zwift also has training plans you can use.

RECCOMENDATION
I am still not going to be a treadmill guy, BUT if I have to run on a treadmill at any time, I definitely will be using Zwift. Zwift managed to make something I think is so boring, more fun. There is nothing like running along with virtual friends and exploring a virtual world, whole lot better than running a staring at a tv monitor for miles on end. Don’t hit the treadmill without powering up Zwfit, and make some friends join you…the more the merrier.

Vuori Shorts Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Vuori shorts 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!”

 

Vuori is a new company to me and might be new to you as well. I am always willing to give newer brands a try, so I was pleased to have received a pair of shorts in our swag bag from The Running Event. Vuori was born in California, and its products are functionally built to move and sweat in, but designed with a casual aesthetic aimed to transition effortlessly into everyday life. 

 

SHORTS
The shorts I received were the Vuori Trail Shorts. Per their site, the trail short is their lighest weight all-purpose athletic short.

      Elastic waist band

      Coolmax anti-odor liner

      Athletic fit

      Front Pockets

      Back zip pocket

      Stash Pocket in liner

      Fits to Size

      7” inseam

I can’t say enough about these shorts. Their description is right-on, these shorts are super comfy and very lightweight. I took a few runs in these shorts and I could barely tell they were even there. The weight allows for these shorts to just flow freely and gives you the feeling like you are running faster.(that’s half the battle right?) The pockets are a welcome benefit, you can hold car key or stash one of your gels. 

 

RECOMMENDATION
I LOVE LOVE LOVE these shorts. Not only the these shorts but all the products are soft and comfy. We got a chance to look at many of their products during TRE, and everything felt amazing. Do yourself a favor and go to their website and get yourself some Vuori. You will NOT be disappointed.

CEP Products Review

Disclaimer: I received  CEP products  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!”

 

Anyone that is active in sports activity or fitness has most likely heard of the brand CEP. CEP is an industry leading compression apparel company that utilizes fully graduated technology. Unlike typically compression apparel, CEP products gradually increase the amount of compression from the ankle to the calf. They also don’t work on the typical Small, Medium, etc size chart, you actually have to measure your calf size so their products will have a better fit than normal products. So all the Pros were happy to see a pair of Trail Merino Socks and a pair of Merino socks for Recovery in our swag bag from The Running Event.

 

RECOVERY SOCKS
I will start with the Recovery Socks. When we had the opportunity to walk around and talk to CEP representatives at TRE, I actually learned a lot about compression. The main thing I learned was that compression sleeves/socks should only be worn during active activity. They are made for activity so wearing them while you are just sitting around, would not be beneficial and possibly be harmful. Recovery Socks should be used in those type of situations. Upon hearing this, I immediately thought to myself, what better way to try out the recovery socks than to wear them on my plane ride home the following day. The next morning I slipped them on and heading to the airport. As the morning progressed, I could feel a difference in my legs. No aching and they felt fresh the duration of flight/flights. I actually forgot I had them on when I got home until I was asked about them. That tells you they weren’t tight enough to make it uncomfortable. 

 

MERINO TRAIL SOCKS

Full disclosure, I have never been a fan of compression socks. I have always ran with compression sleeves, part of reason is probably because I like certain socks and sleeves still allow for some freedom with your sock color, etc. Nevertheless, I wanted to give this trail socks their fair shot. We were given the yellow color so they pretty much will go with any color. I headed out on one of NC’s 30 degree mornings to give them a try. At first they felt strange on my legs, mind you I told you I have never been a compression sock wearer. I was doing a 10 plus mile run, so it should give me plenty of miles to see how the socks perform. Halfway through my run, my legs still felt fresh and no signs of fatigue. One slight issue I noticed around mile 8 was my left leg began to get numb. This has only happened one other time and that was when I was wearing some sleeves that were a size too small. I don’t know if my left calf muscle is slightly larger than my right, but once I stopped and rolled down the sock, the numbness went away and I finished the run.

 

RECOMMENDATION

I will 100% endorse the recovery socks, they are great. That was the first time trying recovery socks and now I am hooked. They are so beneficial and are especially useful to wear during plane rides to keep the blood circulation going. As far as the Trail Socks go, I am still not a compression socks type of guy BUT I definitely see the benefit of these for those people who are. My opinion is solely based off personal preference and nothing to do with the way the Merino Trail Socks perform. They definitely do what they are supposed to do. If you are a compression sock user, do give CEP Merino Trail Socks are try.

Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz-Nuun Product Review

I received Nuun product tablets and water bottle 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!

Nuun Nuun Nuun, who doesn’t love Nuun? I have been a fan for a number of years, ever since I stumbled upon them at a race expo. Needless to say I was excited when we got a nice Nuun package as part of our swag bag from The Running Event(TRE). Here is what my package consisted of:

Nuun Electroyltes- helps replenish you when you sweat
Nuun Immunity- 
gives your immune system a boost of support
Nuun Vitamins- 
a anytime drink for your daily health
Nuun Performance
– perfect for longer, intense workouts

** Fun Fact: The Nuun products with the colored tops have added caffeine. I learned that bit of information from the Nuun rep at TRE.

FAVORITE PRODUCT
So, what was my favorite product out of the 4, I have to go with Nuun Performance. Seeing how the majority of the time I use Nuun is when I am out of a run, I was immediately drawn to Energy Nuun Electroyltes with its added caffeine to help you get through the dreaded long runs. The Energy Nuun comes in 4 different flavors, but my favorites are Wild Berry and Cherry Limeade.(other flavors are mango orange and fresh lime) I can immediately feel a burst of energy, especially on those hot summer runs, when I take a swig of Energy Nuun. Not to mention the flavors are more intense. More importantly, I have never had any GI issues when using Nuun so you don’t have to worry about any unscheduled potty breaks in the midst of your run.

FAVORITE FLAVOR
Up until recently my favorite flavor has always been Wild Berry Energy Nuun, well that has changed. In the midst of my many Nuun conversations I have had with other runners, a new concept was discovered….HOT Nuun. I first heard it in October of this year when my friend, Chris mentioned it while we were working a booth at the Army 10 miler expo. The following month I was discussing it and several people said that their favorite flavor was Ginger Lemonade….HOT. There was that Hot concept again, not to mention I had never seen the ginger lemonade flavor. Since I had a Ginger Lemonade in my swag bag from TRE, I decided to take it with me to work one morning. My job had given all the employees mugs at some point during the year, and since I don’t drink coffee, what better way to try it out with some hot Nuun. I went to break room and filled up my mug with some hot water, returned to my desk and dropped 1 Nuun Ginger Lemonade tablet into it. It almost look like a volcano erupting as the Nuun tablet was attacked by the hot water. After the fizz subsided, I took a sip and MIND BLOWING. It was without a doubt DELICIOUS. I don’t drink coffee but, like most people, some mornings I need a little pick me up. I can totally see Ginger Lemonade “hot” Nuun as my go to. It has now become my favorite flavor of all Nuun. *I was also told Orange Citrus Nuun Immunity hot is also good, but I haven’t tried that one yet.

TRY IT FOR YOURSELF
Nuun, as a brand, speaks for itself but if I can help persuade anyone to try it for the first time…I WILL. Nuun is great and does not contain many calories. Give it a try. Do me a favor and try ginger lemonade in hot water, and let me know what you think. I look forward to reading the comments after you do.