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.

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.

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.

Attaboy Addaday-Addaday Pro Roller Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a AddaDay Pro Massage Roller 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 are a runner or any fitness enthusiaist, you know you can never have too many items to help your body feel better after a nice work. To say I was happy when I saw the AddaDay Pro massage roller in a swag bag for TRE, would be an understatement. AddaDay products all have a distinct color combination so that you know it is one of their products.

 

FEATURES 

·     The Pro roller is a whopping 21in long so it can cover a good amount of your body per roll.

·     Patented Design that offers both soft and medium density Skin Surface Technology (SST)

·     The design can offer the user a massage that feels either firmer or softer

·     Pinpoint Precision Gear: this can targer hard to reach areas such as forearm, achillies and shin

 

HAPPY CALF

I have past experience with my calves crampingso I was especially interested to see how the Pro Roller would handle them. After my marathon, I could feel the cramp coming on so I immediately grabbed my Addaday roller and started rolling. I felt instant relief as the precision gear knew just what area to hit. I avoided a cramp episode, and it felt so good that I rolled everything. The AddaDay Pro Roller will fit in most bags so you can easily make it a part of your race weekend must-haves.

 

NEW PRODUCT ALERT

You know Addaday for its massage tools but as we learned at The Running Event, they are throwing their hat into another ring. They now have a Addaday Runner’s tea product. We were lucky enough to be one of the first ones to see the product and taste it. I don’t drink a lot of tea but this tea was very good. What is special about the addaday tea is it’s delivered to you as whole leaves, not crushed or cut like you find with most green tea packs. Each package of tea can make up to 4 cups of tea or one whole pot. That means you can reuse your tea leaves up to 4 times. The tea comes in a stylish tin, with 10 5oz packets for a price of $25.00.

 

RECOMMENDATION

Addaday has been around for a while with a good reputation, and I am not going to say anything that opposes that. My Addaday pro roller was good quality and did it’s job and more. Do not hesitate to pick up a Addaday roller, your body will thank you. Don’t forget to also try the new runner’s tea from Addaday as well.

 

www.addadaytea.com

www.addaday.com

The Running Event-TRE Influencer’s Day

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!”

My previous post was about my weekend, as a whole, in Austin Texas but I wanted to do a post that talked about The Running Event(TRE) specifically. This day was so special, it even got its own title “TRE Influencers Day”. This was the first year anyone outside of product & brand representatives were allowed to attend TRE, and Bibrave Pros were honored to be the trailblazers.

Entrance
The Bibrave Pros were required to meet at 8:15-8:28(depending on who you ask J ), and we would be on a very strict schedule. Upon meeting we were split into 2 different groups of 10 so that we wouldn’t all be overwhelming the same booths as the same time. After splitting up, we snapped a quick pic before heading into the “running land of awesomeness”. 

Arcanum
First up was the product brand Arcanum. I admit I had never heard of the company, but they utilize activated hemp to assist in performance and recovery. I know what you might be thinking, but it is clinically tested and you won’t test positive if you took a drug test. J I know the saying goes, “save the best for last”, but I feel like the representative for Arcanum was probably the best of the day. She was not only extremely knowledgeable about the products, but she was able to convey all the benefits without it feeling like she was selling. She also demonstrated one of the products, The Quill, before thoroughly answering all our questions. Stay tuned for future blog when I review the Arcanum products we were given.

Handful
Next brand up was Handful. Handful makes sports bras and clothing for the ladies, so nothing for the fellas to test out. The owner was on-hand but apparently lost her voice at some point, so her best friend was doing the talking for her. It was amazing to hear about how she just could never find the right bra, and within a few weeks had already created her first prototype. The lady Pros all had great things to say about the clothing, a lot of them were even wearing them. Bibrave co-founder, Jessica gave a testimonial that Handful bras are the only type of bra she wears now. The owner was even nice enough to demonstrate their newest product, “Flippin Awesome Scoop Tank”. It is a reversible top that can show scoop in front or show off your back. We were told a great story about how Handful began work with The Scar Project, collection of breast cancer survivors showing off their scars and how Handful bras how helped women’s self esteem.

Vuori
We visited the booth for Vuori clothing next. This was another brand that I had not previously heard about. Vuori means mountain and the representative explained how the brand was born on the west coast in California. The began as men clothing line but has since began making women’s clothing as well. The shorts and pants feel AMAZING, and I can’t wait to post my view about the shorts we received in our bag.

Vooray
The bags that all I swag was in, was a Vooray bag so we were all excited to visit their booth. Vooray makes high quality bags at not so high prices. Matter of fact, the rep informed us that every one of their bags are under $100. If you feel the quality of their bags, I guarantee you wouldn’t believe it was under $100. Bags were made to hold everything from yoga gear to laptops. They showed us some new bags that due to debut in the Spring and some of the Pros even gave input of some things they thought would help enhance their bags even more, like reflective material. Still fairly new but we were informed that Vooray products are starting to be sold everywhere. I was even surprised to hear that a couple stores in my city would be carrying them soon. Before we left, the rep gave everyone Vooray hip pouches.

ADDADAY
Our trip to the Addaday booth was nothing short of relaxing. Although addaday is known for making exercising and massaging equipment, the representative unveiled that they are now making runners tea. Their tea packages contain whole tea leaves and each package can make up to 5 cups of tea. They had several stations set up to try some of their message tools, as well as some tea on hand for us to try. The tea was very good and the stations were trouble. Once you sat down and the massagers started working, you did not want to get up. We probably went over our time a couple a minutes because Pros were enjoying the massages too much.

Nuun
Who doesn’t love Nuun!!!? Nuun is all I take on my runs during training season and it has yet to disappoint. Of course the Nuun booth had tons of samples available for us to try. Their newest product was Nuun Immunity which you can drink cold or HOT. Who knew? The representative let us in on a secret about Nuun, if the Nuun has a color top, that means caffeine has been added. Good information to know since I typically prefer the caffeine added options on my long runs. Before leaving the rep made sure to have us load up our pockets with some single tablet samples they had on-hand. Definitely didn’t have to twist anyone’s arm to do that.

Incrediwear
Another new product brand was Incrediwear, which makes anti-inflammatory recovery products. We were given several pairs of socks, as well as tights in our bag. Incrediwear had Olympian Manteo Mitchell on-hand to talk about his experience with the product. If you don’t know who Manteo is, he is the game that broke his leg in the middle of the 4x400m relay during the London 2012 Olympics. He said the products helped his recovery time after that injury and he is a proud spokesperson for them now. He was kind enough to take pictures with everyone who wanted one, as long as they promised they would post them on Instagram. I mean, how many times do you get a chance to meet an Olympian?

CEP
If you are a runner, there is a good chance you have heard about CEP products. CEP products are all equipped with graduated compression technology, so the compression decreases as it goes up. We were given recovery socks and compressions in our bag. The representative told us about some exciting new products and new colors in the works. He also told us about how he gets tired of correcting people when they see the “L” on the sleeves, because they think it means left. The “L” stands for large folks. J

Altra
Altra was next, and I can honestly say these representatives were probably the most passionate about their product out of everyone. I personally had never owned a pair of Altra before so I was excited when we were given a pair of the Escalante 1.5 in our bag. I wore them for the first time during our group run early Friday morning before coming to The Running Event. The representatives explained that all Altra shoes how a low to zero drop and also the toe box is made wider than other running shoes. I idea behind the wider toe box, is that if your toes are wider, you have increase stability.  They went through most of the different shoes in their line-up and demonstrated how each differed from the other. We were also given sneak peak of some of the limited edition Altra coming in 2019. They do a limited edition shoe for each of the world majors, and had the Tokyo shoe from 2018 to show us. Looking forward to more test runs in these.

Brooks
I won’t deny it, Brooks has been my favorite running shoe for years so I was extremely happy when we received a pair of Brooks Ghost 11 in our swag bag. I had been eyeing these shoes but never pulled the trigger to purchase any. Brooks probably had the largest booth setup of any other brand we visited, with a wall displaying all their different models. The representative let us in of the new technology that is being used in Brooks shoes called DNA technology. When the foot strikes the road, the energy transfer back into the feet instead of the opposite, so it provides you will some bounce back for each foot strike. I bought a pair of Leviate 2 earlier in the year so I was familiar with it, and you can def tell the difference when you are running.

Thoughts
In all TRE Influencers Day was nothing short of spectacular. Not only being the first mortals allowed into The Running Event, but to be able to hear straight from the brands and ask questions helped to make the experience unique. Not having to deal with large crowds that you typically find during race expos, made for more intimate question/answer sessions with the brands. Since majority of the brands weren’t selling products, a lot of the brands would give away stuff to us. Free is always good. TRE was an amazing experience and you wouldn’t have to twist my arm to return in 2019.

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.

One HILLuva love/hate relationship-Hospital Hill Half Marathon Review

“Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to Hospital Hill Half Marathon 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 second year in a row I was given the chance to run Hospital Hill Half marathon, and for the 2nd year I accepted. I experienced a well managed race last year, so I opted to do it again. Not to mention I have a good friend that lives in Kansas City, that provides me with a place to stay. The Hospital Hill race is in its 45th year so I knew there would be in for some nice goodies to celebrate. It had originally supposed to be a family trip, but do to some circumstances, I made the trip solo. I signed up for the Re-Run challenge with included a 5k Friday night, followed by half marathon on saturday morning.

I flew out of NC late thursday morning, and after a short layover in St. Louis, I arrived in Kansas City around 3pm CT.(had to keep reminding myself they are an hour behind my normal eastern standard time) I proceeded to rental car area to pick-up my rental vehicle. I got a great deal through Hotwire for a premium car. I walked outside to booth to pick out my vehicle(I like that National lets you choose your own car from an assortment). An older gentleman and a younger lady were working. he asked if I had a premium car, I responded “yes”. He pointed to 5 cars parked on the side and said I could choose between any of them more I could take one of the 2 cars parked under the breezeway. The 5 cars consisted of a Caty suv, infinity 4 door, infinity suv and the others weren’t has noticeable. The 2 under the breezeway were both infinity coupes and they were SWEET 2-doors. He suggested one of them, but I was thinking practical. Being in a new place, I didn’t exactly want to be driving around in something so flashy. I said I wanted something 4 door, and he pointed to an infinity 4dr. It wasn’t as flashy so I agreed. There was just one problem, he didn’t have the keys. He said he had to walk to back to grab keys and he would be a few minutes. I wasn’t in a rush, so I said ok. After about 10 minutes I began to wonder where he was. The young lady working said “I don’t know why its taking him so long”. She said he had been working there 25 years and knew everything about everything. A few minutes later, she says to me ” I know what he is doing”…I think he is trying to upgrade you”. I responded “really?”. A few minutes later he drives up in a Mercedes GLA hybrid. He jumps out and looks at me and says “will this work”. I had never driven a Mercedes so I was kind of excited. He didn’t have to do that for me, so I thanked him several times before driving off. I would tell you how I had to read the manual to find out how to adjust the seats but my learning of that car would take up several paragraphs. lol

I left rental place and drove straight to the expo for the race. After I successfully parked using the backup camera, I made myself inside to the packet pickup. They had a designated area for runners to the Re-Run challenge to get both their bibs. I walked up and provided the lady my bib number. She started shifting through bibs and couldn’t find mine. She advised me that they had several stacks of bibs that had not been sorted yet, so she began to go through stack by stack, still she couldn’t find my bib. She asked the guy working with her for help, and he started going through the stacks. STILL NOTHING. By this time a line is starting to form and another lady had came up for her bib, and they couldn’t find hers. After about 10 minutes of them searching, they sent me down to another table to get a new bib assignment. Im honestly beginning to get upset. I go to the table and explain to them the situation. Lady says that she couldn’t reassign me a another number if I already had one in the system. She said she would walk down and look through the bibs herself. After about 5 minutes of looking, she finds my bib in the same stack the previous 2 individual had been looking. I thanked her and headed over to VIP to pick up my band. As I was walking a looked at my bibs…the first one was right but the 2nd bib had a totally different name. Frustrated, I walked back to the same lady that had just helped me and showed her. Her response was “I don’t know what is going on with them”. She walks over and tells a coordinator what’s going on, then she goes to the 5k area to see if my correct bib was there….IT WAS. After finally getting my bibs and VIP bracelet, I went for the swag. Last year swag consisted of pajama bottoms and a beach towel, this year they had duffle bags and performance shirts celebrating the race’s 45th anniversary. I collected my goods and decided to walk around the expo to see what free stuff I could grab. My favorite booth was the taste testing of the beef and wine tasting, both were great. I stayed about an hour before heading to my friend’s house to prepare for the next day’s 5k.

About 9pm thursday night, I receive an email from race organizers saying they were going to move Friday night’s 5k to saturday morning because of the weather. The forecast was causing for 90 degree weather at 7pm Friday night, with high humidity. Rather that subject runners to potential dangerous conditions, the decided to move the race. I appreciate them letting us know well in advance, although I was disappointed. By moving the race, they pretty much put an end to any runner that was trying to do the Re-Run challenge because now the 5k and half marathon were starting at the same time, so no way you to do both. They said that we could still receive all three medals after the half and we would get a voucher to move our registration for the 5k to 2019. I don’t like getting medals I didn’t earn so I got up Friday morning and did my own 5k. I went out at 6:30 and it was already extremely hot and humid. I think they made a good call moving the 5k to the next morning.

The next morning I was up at 4:30 to get prepped for the half marathon. I woke up to thunder, lightening and some rain. My first thoughts were “please don’t let them cancel this race”. I left the house at 5:30 and headed towards the start. By the time I got there, the rain had stopped. VIP had designated parking area, but I just could never find it. I ended up parking in regular parking which was just as close if not closer to the starting line. I headed to VIP tent, where they had coffee, porter potties and last minute essentials that you may have forgotten.(band-aids, sunscreen, etc) The race was set to start at 7, but radar showed a thunderstorm was heading our way, so they delayed the race until 7:30 and told runners to seek cover. We watched the rain and thunder hit us for about 15 minutes then it cleared up. The race started promptly and 7:30 and we were off. Once we started running the route came back to me, and I remembered…this course was HILLY as HELL. Up, down, up, down we went for the full 13 miles. I don’t recall one section of the race that was level. It began to get hot and you could tell the hills were really challenging the runners. I saw a lot of people walking the hills because they just couldn’t recovery fast enough between hills. In spite of the hills, their was beautiful views to see as we ran through KC, past the hospital and through several neighborhoods before ultimately finishing downtown. The final mile of the race was downhill, and you could try to take advantage IF you had anything left in the tank after the hills. I had a little bit and was able to finish in a respectable time. I checked my watch and saw that we had run course with 975ft if elevation. My course graph looked like a heart beat signal. lol

I gathered my snacks and 3 medals, and headed back to the VIP tent. We were treated to free massages and mamosas, in addition to receiving a free gift. We all got power banks. I thanked the organizers again before heading back to my friend’s house to shower and pack in preparation for my flight back home that evening. I returned my Mercedes and was at the airport 2 hours before my plane took off. My plane took off at 5:25pm, and I left behind Kansas City and another great race weekend. Can’t wait to claim my results on Athlinks. Sigh up and get all your race stats in one place. http://www.athlinks.com

This race is definitely challenging, but if you enough a good challenge and LOTS of hills, I would recommend it without question. Thank You Hospital Hill 2018.