2018 Race Year in Review; Preparation for Hot Chocolate

Looking back at my 2018 race year, it definitely had it’s ups and downs. As I am ramping up my training for my first race of 2019, Hot Chocolate 15k Charlotte, I can’t help but reflect back on 2018. The first half of the year started well enough, I ran my first ever Hot Chocolate race(Charlotte) as well as knocked out a few half marathons. I was within seconds of running a new half marathon PR at Tobacco Road Half Marathon, and I ran Oak Island half marathon for the first time. The first half of the year was also bittersweet, because I ran Rock and Roll Raleigh for the last time. This was my home city’s Rock and Roll and I had run it every year since it began 5 years ago. All the complaints from downtown churches, finally took it’s toll because the Rock and Roll series decided it would not be coming back to Raleigh.
In June I traveled to kansas city to run the Hospital Hill Half Marathon. This was my 2nd year running it as a part of the Bibrave family. By far the hillest race, with its constant up and down. Unfortunately, I also think this race is where I injured myself. I was due to began my marathon training in July and my lower legs were just constantly giving me trouble after Hospital Hill. I admit I began to worry heading into the start of training. I had a goal to accomplish in my marathon…I wanted a sub 4. Since I only run 1 marathon a year, I had been waiting a year to try to redeem myself from 2017. In 2017 I ran the Chicago Marathon and was on pace to break sub 4 easily until mile 23. At 23 I caught cramps in both calves, I hobbled to the finish with a time of 4:01. I was mad and upset, and it bothered me like nothing else.
Training started and I decided to go with a new training program, I was going to do the 3 x 2 training.(run 3 days, bike 2 days) Needless to say, training did not start well, I couldn’t hit my pace marks and my legs were not getting any better. Regardless of the pace, I was still doing the set miles needed and hoping that would pay off when it counted. I finally gave in and seeked help from a physical therapist. Kari at Run Raleigh was amazing, and after 4-5 sessions I began to feel like I was turning a corner with my injury. My pace began to drop back down to normal range and the pain was not as severe. Richmond Marathon was in sight and I felt like I was ready, although I didn’t know if I had done enough in training to get that sub 4. Race weekend comes around and I do all my normal routines, which include carb loading at local italian restaurant. I won’t mention the restaurant we chose by name, but they had 5 stars and made their own pasta in-house. Everything was good the night before the race but when I woke up on race morning…..trouble was waiting. Serious GI issues, and I suspected that I could have food poisoning. I couldn’t stay out of the bathroom, but I knew I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t at least still try.(crazy I know) I was drinking gatorade and ginger ale hoping to rehydrate. I made it to the start line and felt like I was going to go for it. I started out, and things were not too bad and I was running around 9 min pace. At mile 8 I began to feel some uneasiness in my stomach but tried to keep going. I made it all the way to mile 14 before, my body said no more. I was dehydrated and could barely walk. I sat down on the curb, securing my first DNF ever. My runners stopped and asked if I needed anything and someone since the cops back to check on me. Ended up having to be picked up by the ambulance and taken to the emergency room to get pumped up with fluids. I was still determined to run a marathon and luckily I found Kiawah Island marathon that was taking place 3 weeks after Richmond. I signed up.
In between richmond and Kiawah Island, I attended The Running Event in Austin Texas. If you don’t know about TRE, you should go back and read my previous blog posts about The Running Event. I returned home, ready to give the marathon one my try. My last chance before the end of 2018.
Kiawah Island is in South Carolina, which was about a 4 hour drive. Race day it was in the low 40s, almost perfect running weather. I started the race strong and was feeling good. I tried to keep my mind on the mile I was in, but I admit my mind would drift off at moments and I would think about Chicago Marathon. I couldn’t have a repeat performance. Other times I would get excited and think I am going to do it, before I again had to bring myself back to the mile I was in. Once I hit mile 23, there was no cramping but things got tough. My legs began to hurt but I didn’t want to stop, I could taste my goal. I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:57, a new marathon PR and MY SUB 4 Marathon. I was super excited but didn’t really show it as I limped around the post race festivities.
And that’s it, that is how my 2018 race year ended. It ended on the highest of notes and I couldn’t be happier. Now, what awaits me in 2019, I don’t know. I know it will start with Hot Chocolate 15k Charlotte. I will be running Cherry Blossom 10 miler in April and I still hope to run New York City Marathon, after being denied the past 3 years. If I can’t get into NYC, I will either to Marin Corps Marathon or try to redeem myself in Richmond. It will be my 5th marathon so I feel like it should either by NYC or back where it all began with Marine Corps(my first marathon). I don’t know but stay tuned for race year 2019, I think it will be an exciting one.

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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.

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.

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.

Altra Altra, Read All About Them-Altra Escalante 1.5 Review

I received a pair of Altra Escalante 1.5 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 have never owned a pair of Altra running shoes, nor have I ever tried on a pair so I was intrigued when I saw we received a pair as part of our Running Event swag bag. I received a pair of Altra’s new Escalante 1.5 in gray and yellow. Having never owned a pair, I was anxious to hear about what the Altra representatives had to say at The Running Event when we walked around. If you read my previous post about TRE Influencer’s Day, you know that I mentioned that the Altra booth was the most passionate about their product and now I can understand why.

1.5 UPGRADES FROM 1.0
* updated the knit with 360 degree reflectivity
* increased breathability
* tongue stay 
* new color pattern
* sleeker heel cup

BENEFITS
* Footshape Toe Box – to be honest, this was one of the things that kept me from considering Altra running shoes in the past. I thought they looked funny, which had to do with the footshape toe box; however, now I know the reason for it. This shape gives your toes more space and gives the big toe space for a more powerful toe-off. In addition, this shape also helps reduce over pronation and enhances stability for an all-around better feel.

* ZeroDrop- each and every Altra shoe is built on a zerodrop platform that puts the heel and forefoot an equal distance from the ground. This particular natural foundation helps aid in optimal alignment, cultivate better form and encourage low impact landing

TEST RUNS
Enough of all the technical stuff, I know what you really want to know is how did they perform. The first test run was actually the day after we received them. I chose to take them out on our BIBRAVE pro group run through downtown Austin. I immediately felt a difference when I slipped them on, almost the same feeling as when you slip gloves on your hands. I am sure my feet were confused too, because with the footshape toe box, my toes all of a sudden had more room to breathe. I didn’t know if I would like the zero drop, but it was surprisingly comfortable once I began to run. They were light and fast as I pounded that Austin, Texas pavement with my fellow Bibrave Pros. I could feel the extra power I was getting when I pushed off, thanks to my big toe having that extra space to flex.  I finished my first one impressed.
I took them out on a few other runs and the performance I was impressed with on the first run, held up. I rarely run on a dreadmill, but I had to use one and I chose to run in Altra for it. No change, they still felt light and I didn’t feel in discomfort, even after the miles started to add up.

RECOMMENDATION
If you are a zerodrop shoe lover, I will definitely recommend you giving the Altras a chance. Even, if you aren’t used to zerodrop(like myself), these shoes feel comfortable enough that you just might change your mind. I plan to keep adding on the miles, and throw in some double digit mileage just to see how they will hold up at half marathon distance and beyond.

Incre-dible-Incrediwear Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a Icrediwear socks and tights 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 will be honest, I had never heard of Incrediwear prior to The Running Event but any company that makes quality running socks, I am in favor of. As part of our TRE swag bag we received 3 pair of socks and a pair of tights. Before I get started on my review, I just want to say the Incrediwear representatives were exceptional. I had requested size large but received size medium in my bag. When we walked through the running event, I informed them that I received the wrong size and they gave me the right size on the spot. Then even told me to keep the smaller pair.

 

TECHNOLOGY

So how does incrediwear work? To start with, incrediwear does not need compression to work. How so you may ask? Incrediwear uses technology that incorporates semiconductor elements within its fabric, which when it is stimulated by body heat, releases negative ions. Those negative ions activate molecular vibrations that increase blood flow and speed. Increasing circulation helps bring more oxygen and nutrients to the target area, which optimizes the body’s natural healing process and accelerates recovery. A few benefits of increased blood circulation is reduced swelling, reduced fatigue and accelerated recovery.

 

PRODUCT(SOCKS & TIGHTS)

From the moment I put on the socks, I felt comfort. They kind of gave my feet a big hug but I it didn’t feel like compression at all. I have tried a few other brands of socks and have been quite fawn of one in particular, but I will say the incrediwear socks are as comfy if not more comfortable than my usual brand. I wore the socks on a few runs and the performance was exceptional. My feet were not tired or numb at the end of runs, like they are sometimes with other brands. Not only were they good for running but I also wore a pair to work on casual day and I could really tell the difference. I almost wanted to lose my shoes and walk around the office in my socks, but that wouldn’t be very professional. Lol

 

What can I say about the tights…they are the most comfortable tights I have ever tried. First off, they are true to size. A lot of tights I tried previously say they were a certain size but just didn’t fit that way. How would they perform in the cold? I took the tights out for a spin on a couple of our 30 degree mornings, and I give them an A. My legs and bottom half were kept comfortable and warm. Some tights you have to wear another garment over to stay comfortable but the incrediwear tights performed well on their own.

 

GOOD ENOUGH FOR AN OLYMPIAN

While at The Running Event, I was fortunate enough to meet one of Incrediwear’s ambassadors, Manteo Mitchell. Who is he? If you recall back to 2012 London Olympics, you might remember a athlete running the 4x400m relay that broke his leg in the middle of the race but still finished. Well, that was Manteo. He explained to us that after that occurred, he was connected to Incrediwear brand by chance. He credits incrediwear for helping him recovery from this inquiry and he has been loyal ever since. It was cool to meet an Olympian and even get a pic. I later found out that Manteo is actually from my home state.

 

RECCOMENDATION 
Don’t walk, run and try incrediwear products. I can vouch for the socks and tights, and I am sure the rest of their products are just as good. Experience the compression alternative with Incrediwear.

Terrific TRE (The Running Event)-PS Austin,TX I ❤️ You

Disclaimer: I received entry to The Running Event 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!”

ARRIVAL
I don’t know where to begin. After being 1 of 20 Pros chosen to attend this year’s The Running Event (TRE) in Austin, TX I was beside myself. We were notified over a month ago so that left 30 days to anticipate the trip. It felt like forever before finally trip week arrived. After packing all things orange, I was ready to fly out to Austin. I was lucky enough to get a direct flight from RDU to AUS, took off 9am EST and was touching down in Austin around 12 CT. I got off my flight and was walking to the airport, within 5 minutes I was being tapped on the shoulder. I turned to see 2 other Bibrave Pros decked out in their orange. After introductions we nabbed an Uber to head towards our hotel. We were all thinking we would have to leave our bags before heading to lunch but surprisingly enough, the Hilton already had our rooms ready. Huge relief to be able to put our bags in our rooms and sit for a minute before heading out.

LUNCH w/ Pro Family
While in route to the hotel we get messaged that another group of Pros were heading to a place called Moonshine that was down the street. All the pros ended up meeting there so everyone was able to meet each other, a lot of them for the first time. I knew a few Pros from a meet in greet after Chicago Marathon in 2016 but I hadn’t met the majority of the pros in person.  We laughed, took pictures, enjoyed some good food and chatted about the upcoming weekend. I had a pork belly sandwich that was AMAZING.

WALKING TOUR
After lunch we had a few hours before we were supposed to meet up for our first event, so half of us decided to do a small walking tour. We walked down to one of the Austin signs and took some pictures. After that we headed to the Drischell Hotel to check out their lobby and large Christmas tree. I think the Drischell is the oldest hotel in Austin. On our walk back we had to make a stop at the famous Voodoo Donuts. I am not huge on sweets but my fellow pros got some interesting ones, the most interesting was the vegan $4.00 donut called “Cock and Balls”.(yes, it is what you are thinking)

FIRST MEETING/ZWIFT RUN
Our first official meeting was set to kickoff at 5:30. This would be where we would finally get to see everyone AND we would receive our “swag bag” for TRE. Everyone was excited to see what would be in them. In addition to receiving our bags, 4 of our Pros were chose to do a 3 mile run using the Zwift app which allows you to run will anyone across the globe on a treadmill. This event was pre-planned so there were hundreds of people running at the same time and you could see them on screen or your phone. After cheering on our pros, we were given our swag bags and THEY DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I will be reviewing each item received in our bag in the coming weeks but to name a few; we got shoes from Brooks and Altra, compression from CEP, compressions from Icrediwear, Nuun, hooded jacket from Brooks and Zwift pod to name a few. After more pictures and mingling, we headed to our rooms to put up our stuff before heading to dinner. We also learned we had been invited to party being thrown by Brooks later in the evening.

DINNER
You can’t go to Austin and not at least try the bbq, right? We had dinner at Iron Works BBQ, which was a few blocks away from the hotel. Since I had pork belly for lunch and went with the brisket for dinner. The food once again was amazing, and we all just enjoyed each other’s company. We learned about each other’s families and where everyone was located. We basically closed down the joint, before packing up and starting the trek to the Brooks party.

PARTY TIME
We were one of the first to arrive at Cedar Creek Courtyard, and the venue was very nice. We hit up the bar and everyone was looking at us because we were all in our Bibrave Orange, it’s like we were an orange gang. As we were all talking, our community director walks up to me and motions for me to look behind her. Behind her walked in, no other than the 2018 Boston Marathon winner, Desi Linden. We all know she is a Brooks athletic but had no idea she would be there. We were all snapping pictures as she stood at the bar. We she turned to walk out, I had to do it. I asked if she would take a pic and she happily did. She was really nice. After that, everyone came over and asked for pictures…And you know what, she took a picture with every single person that asked. That’s how you would hope all your elite athletes are in person, humble and nice. A cover band took the stage and begin to play music, ranging from Bruno Mars to lots of 80s rock and roll. By this time it was packed with people and so was the dancefloor. The highlight of the evening, after meeting Desi, had to be when the DJ played the Wobble when the band was taking a break. I started it and before you know it, I had the whole dancefloor doing it. Who knew Austin could “wobble”. J  We had a scheduled group run at 6:30am the next morning so I left the party around 12:15am and headed back to the hotel. Some people stayed until after 1am, bless them. Lol

GROUP RUN
Everyone managed to pull themselves together enough to make it downstairs to meet for the run. There were a lot of red eyes but everyone was happy. We took a few group pictures before heading out into downtown Austin. We had our on photographer, so he was riding around on a scooter getting action shots as we ran around. We ran to the capitol building where we again took some group photos, including an infamous jumping photo. After photos we ran back to hotel for a quick breakfast from Panera and heading up to shower. We had about a 45 minute window before we had to meet at The Running Event for our tour.

TRE
The Running Event was in the convention center and it pretty much took over the whole place. They split us up into 2 groups before we headed out to visit. We were to visit the booth of each of the brands that had products in our swag bag. It was great hearing more about some of our favorite brands AND learning about some new brands we had not previously heard about. A few of the booths that stood out were Arcanum, Handful. Incrediwear and Altra. The spokesperson for Arcanum was exceptional, she provided a lot of detail without over selling it. Arcanum makes a product that makes use of activated hemp. Handful makes workout bras and tights for women(so I didn’t get any of their product) but the owner was entertaining. Amazing how she had an idea and without a couple weeks had her first prototype for the bra. All the ladies in the group said they loved the product. Incrediwear makes compression socks, sleeves, and tights. They had Olympian Manteo Mitchell in their booth telling us about how the product help him rebound from injury. If you don’t know Manteo, he was on the USA Olympic 4 x 400 team in the London 2012 games. He broke his leg on the first leg of the race but still finished. Finally Altra spokespersons were all passionate about their shoes. They showed us all the upcoming shoes and special edition shoes in the making. We actually ran out of time talking to them, so you know the conversation was a good one.
After we finished our required tour, we were free to walk around to all the other booths and see the products. We were on a time crunch since it was starting to shutdown but still managed to see a few booths. Learned out a brand Untapped, which use pure maple syrup to create energy waffles and gels. They product was REALLY tasty. Also learned about a new company called Muir who makes a kind of food paste instead of the usually gels runners used. We were able to try several of their products and they were exceptional. Since it was more of an expo, majority of the products were not for sale but some people were still able to score some products for FREE. Someone got a free bra from Handful, another was able to get a free duffle bag mailed to her from Vooray and one guy got a whole outfit(shorts and shirt) from a brand called UGlow.

Graffiti Park
In between the expo and before dinner a few of us decided we wanted to go sightseeing on the scooters. I had never rode one of the scooters and figured I wanted do it back home so I joined them. The scooters are so much fun and really inexpensive. A thirty minute ride ended up only being about $5, you just had to be careful not to take out the pedestrians walking on the sidewalks. Lol. We had heard about this place called Graffiti Park that we wanted to find. It was everything we were told. It is basically a huge park that graffiti artist can come and paint their art. We walked around and took pictures before climbing to the top where you could see the whole Austin skyline. Breathtaking view. Hopped on our scooters and headed back to hotels to change before dinner.

DINNER
A few pros flew out after the expo but still a good amount remained. A good amount were flying out on Saturday(including myself) so we decided to try to do one last dinner with everyone.  We made reservations at the House of the Rising Tuki-San. I had a Mongolian beef that was AMAZING. Outside we said our goodbyes since everyone’s flights were leaving at different times and even a few people were staying until Sunday.

BACK TO REALITY
My flight was at 7am on Saturday morning, so I scheduled an uber for 4:45am. Before I could even get to sleep, I had to figure out how I was going to fit all the stuff from the swag bag into my carryon suitcase. I had to Tetris it up, and loose the shoe boxes but in the end I made it all fit. The uber was on time an I was at the airport by 5:15am. I worried about getting through TSA because some of the products we got were over the 3oz limit, but I guess I was lucky. I wasn’t stopped and they didn’t pull my bag…WIN. Later in the day I heard from a few different pros that said their bags were pulled and some even said their Nuun tubes were all swabbed, but eventually they were able to get through with no future delays. The flight took off on time and I was in the friendly skies headed to NC, back to reality.

FINAL THOUGHTS
TRE was simply an amazing weekend, and I couldn’t have asked to spend it with a better group of people. The Pros are all from different areas of the world but you would have thought we had known each other for years because when we might it was like seeing a friend you hadn’t seen in a long time. Everyone got along and genuinely enjoyed hanging out with each other. The laughs were endless, and a lot of the pictures were epic. I can’t think BIBRAVE enough for allowing me to participate in such a epic event. Maybe I will be back to TRE in 2019. 😉

Wrap Your Body and Your Car Seats Tight-Orange Mud Seat Cover and Changing Towel Product Review

“Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Seat Cover and Changing Towel 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!”

 

Anything that helps preserve your car seats is a huge plus in my books, so enter Orange Mud and their new Seat Cover and Changing Towel. I was excited to be testing this product, especially since I have recently got a new car and I would love to keep it clean and funk-free as long as possible. I will say I think Orange Mud hit a homerun with this product. Let me go through a few things that I liked most about the Seat Cover/Changing Towel.

MATERIAL
It is my understanding that this is the 2.0 version of the product, the first version was made of cotton. This version greets you with plush microfiber to make it even softer. In addition to the change in material, the 2.0 version also made the belt PU coated the belt to make it look cleaner. You can definitely feel the difference in softness the first time you rub your hand across the towel.

CHANGE WITH CONFIDENCE
Have you ever beast mode your run/workout and was just too sweaty to ride home? Went to the beach and enjoyed the ocean water? With the Orange Mud Seat Cover and Changing Towel, you don’t have to worry about stopping at some gas station to change your clothes, instead you can do it on the spot. The Orange Mud Seat Cover and Changing Towel comes equipped with an adjustable belt and secure clip. That means you can wrap the towel around you, and securely undress yourself without any fear of there being a full moon. I used this feature several times after my track workouts and I knew I had to make a few stops before heading home. None of the others at the track was the wiser as I quickly changed out of my sweaty cloths, all under the cover of my changing towel.

SEAT PROTECTION
The Orange Mud seat cover and changing towel comes with a zippered section that when zipped can go right over the headrest in your car, converting it to a seat cover. No time to change, no sweat (pun intended), convert the towel into a handy seat cover and be on your way. This year’s summer felt like one of the hottest in a long time, couple that with the high humidity and it made for endless super sweaty returns from long runs. I got my new car in July so I was super nervous about getting it all stinky after runs but Orange Mud cleared that issue right up. The towel successfully kept the sweat locked in and never transferred to my new seats. Once the towel gets to funky, you can simply toss it in the wash with the rest of your running attire.

SIZE AND WARRANTY
The towel is 30” wide x 60” long so it is plenty big and can wrap some of the largest football players with no problem. Last but not least, the product comes with a 1-year warranty. Buy with confidence and trust assured if anything happens to your product in that year, Orange Mud’s excellent customer service with get you straighten out.

ARE YOU READY FOR YOUR OWN? Use code: OMTRX to score 15% off your orange mud purchase.

Hot Chocolate Charlotte, I’ll be back. Run Bucktown 5k

“Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate Charlotte 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!”

After running the inaugural Hot Chocolate 15k this year, I decided to keep the streak alive and do it all again in 2019. This year I had no idea what to expect from this race, I had never ran a hot chocolate before but heard good things. I was caught off guard by how hilly Charlotte is, but no surprises in 2019. I’m ready for more hot chocolate treats.

Before we get to 2019, there are still lots of good races left in 2018…. One being Bucktown 5k in Chicago, taking place September 30th. One of the coolest things about this race, besides the swag, is that they support 100 club of Chicago.

The purpose of the organization is to provide for the surviving spouses and dependents of law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics who lose their lives in the line of duty. This includes all federal, state, county and local officers, firefighters and paramedics stationed in Cook and Lake County.

If you live in Chicago or surrounding areas, you should definitely consider running thud race. Use code on pic to score free pair of sunglasses.