“Disclaimer: I received a race entry to Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte 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!”
For the 4th year in a row, I will be toeing the line in 2021 for the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k Charlotte. I’ve been privileged enough to run this race every year since it started in Charlotte and became legacy this year. Before the pandemic took over life as we know it, this race was the last in-person race I was able to complete in 2020. All my other races of 2020 were either cancelled or converted to virtual events.
I, like many others, hope we can look forward to live races again in 2021. Consider joining and meeting me in Charlotte 2021!
Disclaimer: I received a Body Helix Ultra Light Face Mask 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”
It’s been a while since my last post, and the world has gone through more than a few changes. Most, if not, all of us have had our entire race calendar cancelled due to Covid-19. I was lucky enough to get 1 live race in before everything started to shut down. As runners we are starting to have to embrace the new norm(or new norm for the time being), which involves face covering and social distancing. So when the opportunity to test Body Helix new face mask was presented, I jumped at the chance.
Let’s look at the tale of the tape for the Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask:
1. Reusable and Washable: it goes without saying, most people want something that can be washed and reused vs having to keep buying disposable items
2. Flexible, closed-cell fabric which prevents the transmission of water, viruses and germs
3. Disposable filters
4. Large over-the-ear strap helps reduce the ear soreness you typically get when wearing something for an extended period of time on your over your ears.
5. Very Light and fabric is only 0.5mm which helps during hot temperatures
6. Optional nasal bridge controls air leakage and also helps reduce the dreaded glasses fog
7. Simple measurement helps to ensure more customizable fit for your mask and maximize protection.
Installing the filter
Style As far as masks go, this is one of the more stylish ones I have seen. I kind of felt like Bane(from Batman) when I was out running or Jason in Friday the 13th, depending on who you ask. Lol
Let me start by saying, I’ve never run with any type of anything covering my nose and mouth. Even in cold weather, I will still have my nose uncovered so I knew this was going to be a new experience. The summer heat has been no joke here in NC, and it is made even worse by the high humidity percentages. The first morning I went out on a 10 mile run, temps were 77 degrees and the humidity was 100%. I know….I know.. pure torture. I was amazed at how easy it was to breath while running in the ultra light mask. I was able to breath freely through the miles but I did have to stop and remove to get hydration.
My second run was a shorter distance but I experienced the same results. My breathing was fine, but again the high humidity just made everything more difficult so mask was soaked with sweat by the end.
RECOMMENDATION This is a product I would recommend, not only because of the current state of the world but I can see myself using it after we finally get through this Covid craziness. The only thing I could see as an improvement would be if they design a snap in for the disposable filters, rather than adhesive. This will take out the issue of trying to line it up so that all the holes are covered. Head over to bodyhelix.com and grab yours. Use code BR15 to get 15% off your order of $40 or more.
Disclaimer: I received a Road iD sidekick 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
Safety when you are out biking or running is essential, so what if you could make safet…SEXY. Enter the great people of Road iD.
Quick Background The idea of road iD was born in 1999, when one of the co-founders was training for his first marathon and almost became a road pancake by a truck. Lucky for him, he wasn’t hit but if he had been, he would have been rushed to hospital as a John Doe because he had no identification on him. Edward and his father created road iD in the basement a few months later.
Styles One of the first things you notice when you go to their websites, is just how many styles of road iD is available. Let’s take a look at your options.
Wrist ID $19.99-$39.99 Just like it sounds, the wrist ID is id that you wear directly on your wrist. About the size of a fitbit, it carries all your emergency information engraved on a small metal plate. You have 3 styles to choose from Stretch, Sport or Elite.
Pet iD $19.99 Man/Woman’s best friend can be lost too, enter the pet iD. It attaches securely to dog collars up to ½” wide(small) or ½”-1” collars(med/large). It is secured to the collar so you hear no jiggling.
Sidekick iD $19.99
This is the one I chose for myself. The sidekick attaches to the band of you Fit Bit band or Garmin band. I like to minimize the amount of things I wear as much as possible(makes me faster), so being able to just add the iD on something that I already wear instead of having to wear a totally new item, won me over. The stainless steel plate just easily slides right over your band in seconds. You can get the faceplate in rose gold, graphite or slate.
Apple ID $29.99 Just as the name suggests, this id will fit the band of your apple watch series 1 through 5.
Kids iD $19.99
I know no one misplaces their kids, but just in case your kids decide to venture out in the park one day, you have the kids id. These are made of durable silicone and comes in several fun colors including sandcastle and electric.
Accessories After you pick out your iD, put your own touch to it by adding some accessories. From bands and clasps, to my favorite badges. They have a whole library of badges you can add to your band like: 13.1, 26.2, Bike, Believe, Run, etc.
Ordering is as simple as easy as it can get. After picking out your iD, the site walks you through the steps to entering your engraving. They do a good job of providing suggestions for what you should put on each line. You can either follow their suggestions or wing it and put whatever you like(24 character limit for each of the 4 lines) Once your order is submitted, they do a great job of keeping you updated on the process of your order through the shipping.
I know you are ready to order your own, right… Visit www.roadid.com and use code SAVE25BRP to score 25% off.
I received an entry into the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte as being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about becoming a bibrave pro (ambassador), as well as, find read and write race reviews on bibrave.com.
For the 3rd year in a row (every year since it’s been in Charlotte) I ran for chocolate. This year was a little different as upon completion, i would be a legacy runner. It was never a sure thing as my son had been sick and i had been fighting something for a few days leading up to the race. I was still coughing but i figured i had enough to at least finish the miles.
I didn’t even consider trying to PR, instead i settled on a B goal of trying to maintain a sub 8 pace. It is a hilly course but nothing I’m not used to. Mile 6 is the great equalizer and typically separates the runners as it’s a street that is an incline for about ¾ mile. The amount of spectators on the course is low, but I’m hoping they will increase in coming years. As I mentioned, the race had only been around 3 years so still fairly new. I accomplished my B goal and while doing that actually ended up being about 20 seconds from a PR(I was unaware 🤷🏾♂️)
What really sets Hot Chocolate races apart are the swag and finish line treats. This year’s swag was a full zip jacket, with ample lining to keep you warm on those cold days. The men’s color was a light blue and ladies was magenta. The finish line treats consist of: hot chocolate, melted chocolate, marshmallow, rice crispy treats, pretzels, banana and honey stinger waffle. This was on top of the finisher’s medal and extra legacy medal.
Hot Chocolate 15k was a success and I got my chocolate fix, as always. Put this one on your race calendar for 2021.
I received Gatorade Endurance products 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.
If you have been following my blog you know that in August, I started what I coined as the “Redemption Tour” with the help of Gatorade Endurance. Quick backstory… In November of 2019 I set out to run the Richmond Marathon. Everything is fine leading up to the day of the race. The day before I usually carb load at a local Italian restaurant and I choose one that had a good rating, Bombalini. I woke up the next day with food poisoning and extreme GI issues. I tried to rehydrate as much as I could but I only made it through 14 miles of the race before taking a nice ride in ambulance for dehydration.
Fast forward to this year, and I was determined to redeem myself. I trained my butt off, which consisted of me getting up at 3 and 4 am to get runs in. I felt ready. To avoid a similar fate from last year, I drove 15 minutes out of the way just to go to an Olive Garden to get my pasta. Woke up race morning with no issues and was ready. My bib simply said “TK’s Back”. It was a chilly 39 degrees but I still chose to go with shorts and short sleeves because I knew I would warm up.
At 7:45am we were off. I didn’t look at my watch, just trusted my body and settled into a comfortable pace. As I was running, the course was coming back to me from the year before. Going over the bridge at mile 8, which is where I had to start walking for the first time in 2019. When I got too mile 14 and recognized the exact spot I had to stop and sit, my stomach tighten up and I just ran harder. I knew that was a mental hurdle I had to get over and I did with no problem. During that mile A spectator read my bib and all i heard was “TK’s Back! Hell yeah he is!” I smiled and thought to myself “damn right” At mile 20, I noticed I was on pace to PR and by a good bit. I was determined to finish strong, I was down to my last Gatorade Endurance (Apple pear) after downing ones at mile 7 and 14. I tore open the last gel at 22, hoping it would get me through the last 4. Richmond Marathon is unique in that the last mile is a steep downhill and I took advantage. Still had fuel in the tank so I went full throttle and crossed the finish line with a time of 3:41:29… that’s a 16 minute PR. I relished ringing the PR bell and smiled knowing redemption was mine! Gatorade Endurance kept me energized and with no signs of cramps. Great product.
Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance products 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.
I decided to check in since I am coming up on the half way point of my training for Richmond Marathon aka the Redemption Tour. If you missed my previous post where I discussed why I am choosing to tab this training The Redemption Tour, here is a quick summary. In 2018 I trained hard in hopes of completing the Richmond Marathon, which at the time would have been my 4th full marathon. I have done about 30 half marathons but I usually limit my full marathons to 1 a year, just because of the time commitment to training for one. Everything went well all through training but the day before the race I went to eat at a local Italian restaurant with great reviews and I woke up race morning with food poisoning. Although I tried to drink as much gatorade and water as I could, the GI issues were just too extensive and I became extremely dehydrated at mile 14. I was unable to finish and was transported to ER via ambulance. Although I was able to find another marathon to run(Kiawah Island) a few weeks later and PR, I still have unfinished business with Richmond.
So here we are at the halfway point of my training for Richmond Marathon 2019, and things are going well. These summer NC days have been extremely hot and humid, but with the help of Gatorade endurance, I have been able to endure. I’m training 4 days a week currently and averaging about 40 miles each week. Typically if my run is an hour or less, I take 1 gatorade endurance gel and my water bottle filled with gatorade endurance mixture. For 2 hours, I add another gel and for anything 3 hours plus, I take 3 gel packs. By far my favorite gel flavor is the Apple Pear, and my favorite powder mix is the watermelon. I love how the taste is not overwhelming but still flavorful.
With all the heat and humidity, we have to remember to stay very hydrated. Gatorade Endurance has been great asset to have at my disposal. Average days have been in the 90s with 90 + % humidity. Only good that about this heat is it is great for burning calories and it has keep my weight down.
Looking forward to the second half of training, cooler weather and updating you after a successful Richmond 2019.
Disclaimer: I received an entry to Hot Chocolate Charlotte as being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro(ambassador), and check out Bibrave.com to review, find, and write rave reviews!”
Super excited to be heading back to Charlotte to run the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K in 2020. I’ve run this race every year since it began so it will be that much sweeter becoming a legacy runner. You become legacy and get a special medal after you run it 3,5 and 10 years.
It most certainly is not a easy course, matter of fact it is rather hilly but still fun. They changed the course between the 1st and 2nd year to help, so interested to see if there will be another change this year. The weather is also unpredictable. The first year it was kinda warm and rainy, and last year it was down right cold. So much that most runners are huddled around heat towers before the start.
Why should you consider joining me?
Distance: it’s only 5K or 15K, so you won’t be super tired like you would after a half or full marathon. Trust me, the 4 less miles make a difference.
Treats: The post race treats are amazing. All the treats you can think of that are good for dipping in chocolate. Rice krispie treats, Graham crackers, and marshmallows to name a few. Not to mention all the other good food available from sponsors.
Medals: The medals are specifically designed for the city, so always cool to see what they come up with.
Swag: Some of the best swag around, usually some type of half zip pullover or jacket.
If you want to join me, use code BRHCHARLOTTE19 to score a free hat. Hope to see you there
“Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance products 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!”
Today officially begins what I have coined “The Redemption Tour”. Each training day will be a different tour date, as I work toward getting my redemption at the Richmond Marathon. The training will be tough, but lucky for me, I have teamed up with Gatorade Endurance to help me reach my milestone.
WHAT LED TO MY NEED FOR REDEMPTION My strive for redemption began at the Richmond Marathon 2018. I had trained my butt off all year, in hopes of breaking the 4 hour mark in my 4thfull marathon. My training leading up to the race went well, I mean not every training run was peaches and cream but I felt strong coming into the race. The day before the race, I followed my usual routine. That routine involves some serious carb loading with some Italian pasta. When I travel for a race, I typically try to eat at a local Italian restaurant, instead of the usual chain restaurants. I did my search and found a local spot with very good rating that made their own pasta in-house. We got there about 7pm and ordered our food, I got spaghetti and meatballs. With the exception of needing a little salt, the food was pretty good.
Fast forward to the next morning, race day, and things took a turn. I woke up and didn’t feel great, I had GI issues that were off the charts. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, then I realized….it had to be food poisoning. It was hard for me to stand, and resulted to me laying on the floor or trying to crawl. I started to drink water and Gatorade, in an attempt to stay hydrated. As bad as I felt, I knew I had to attempt to still try and run the marathon. Anyone besides a runner would probably think this is crazy, but I had trained too long not to at least give it a go. I continue to drink Gatorade as I made the 1 mile walk to the starting line. I felt good enough to make the walk but I still felt the GI issues lingering. Nevertheless, the gun went off and I started out. The first mile wasn’t too bad, but by the time I reached mile 8, I could feel out of sync. Over the next few miles I had to walk a little and then run, but my pace was plummeting. By the time I reached mile 14, I had to throw in the white flag and just sat on the curve. Runners would slow down and ask how I was doing, I just told them I couldn’t physically go another step. Some cops walked up to me and told me they would call me an ambulance. Ambulance arrived and I was put on a stretcher for my first,and hopefully, only ride in an ambulance. They said I was dehydrated, which didn’t surprise me. I just couldn’t replenish my body enough to counter the effects the GI issues had done. So there we have it, my first every race DNF.
I was pissed for weeks about this race. Although, about 5 weeks later I ran Kiawah Island Marathon and broke the 4 hour mark, I still didn’t like the taste that Richmond had left in my mouth. I vowed to return to Richmond in 2019 and finish what I started.
THE REDEMPTION TOUR BEGINS When registration opened for Richmond Marathon, I signed up and marked my calendar. The redemption tour has officially begun, so be on the lookout for the tour dates. Hopefully, with the help of Gatorade Endurance I can make this milestone a successful one.
Disclaimer: I received a pair of Shady Rays 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!”
All shades are not made equal. What it boils down to is what is important when it comes to a pair of shades. I had the pleasure of testing out a pair of Shady Rays and I am going to share with you the things that made these shades so awesome.
STYLE Let’s begin with how stylish these shades are, and how many colors they come in. I chose the Blackout Incognito color from the Signature Series. I chose this color because the shady rays writing is blacked out on the arms of the shades, which makes people ask you what kind of shades they are. Just a few of the other colors that are available: Black glacier, purple sunset, black infrared and emerald ice. Choose your color and then pick your style from Signature series, aviator, allure and x series. The signature series fits me, but I am sure there are many people that will love the new Allure style.
DURALBILITY I actually have a fairly easy test when it comes to testing how durable something is…..I let my toddler get ahold of it. After much pulling, dropping and a few throws, these shades held up. There is nothing I can do more intense than what he did, so Shady Rays get a big plus in the durability column.
GURANTEE One of Shady Rays slogans is “Live Hard, We Got You” and they mean it. Each pair of shady rays comes with a lifetime craftsmanship warranty AND Free lost/broken replacements. What more can you ask for? I can’t think of much. I can’t say I know of many company that will offer free replacement on lost product.
PRICE POINT Usually a good pair of shades will set you back at least a C-Note($100), but not Shady Rays. Check out the price points:
Signature Series $45
So for as little as $45, you can grab you a pair of shades…for a lifetime.
CHARITY The last thing that really made me love Shady Rays is what they are doing for the community. With every order fulfilled by Shady Rays, they donate 10 meals to fight hunger in America by way of Feeding America charity. This is AWESOME and makes it even easier to support a company like this.
I will make this short and sweet…YES. Yes for the durability, Yes for the style, Yes for the price point and YES for them giving back and helping fight hunger. Ready to get your own pair, use code BIBRAVE and score 50% off when you purchase 2 pair. Enjoy.