Fast, Flat (they say) & Fun-Tobacco Road Half Marathon Review

“Disclaimer: I received an entry to Tobacco Road Half/Full Marathon  as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find and write race reviews”

At last…we met again. I ran Tobacco Road Half Marathon for the first time back in 2016, so I figured it would be fun to revisit it. Plus it is a local race for me, and I always try to give all my local races a little love. So how did I fair….let’s find out.


The expo was modest size compared to some other races I have attended but it was well-organized for the most part. The had a long table with printouts has you walk up to the expo entrance to look up your bib number. Once you enter, bib pickup for the marathon and half marathon were clearly marked and there wasn’t a huge line waiting. I was running the half marathon, which was coined he Feetures Half Marathon. One of the perks for running Tobacco Road, was that every runner was to receive a free pair of feetures socks….well I didn’t get mine. This is one of the areas I think needs to be improved upon in the future. I spoke with other runners that didn’t get their socks, and it was due to it not being clearly marked and directions given once you picked up your bib. It would have been better if the individuals handing out the bibs would say something like “don’t forget to get your socks, they are located ….”. I didn’t recall seeing a sign, but I found out later that the table for the socks was beside the t-shirt pickup for the marathon. Apparently I walked passed it to pick-up my half marathon shirt, but as I mentioned, there was no clear signage there. I will be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit salty about missing out on the socks. Lol


Parking Passes are GOLD. The marathons start/end at a baseball park and parking is extremely limited. Mix that with the fact the park is located in the middle of a residential area, there is not any parking for spectators. If you plan to run this race, BUY A PARKING PASS EARLY. I was lucky enough that someone gave me one of theirs. The parking pass allows you to park about 100 yards from the start. They warn runners with passes to be parked by 5:30am(race starts at 7), yeah that is an hour and a half before the race but you can hang out in your car while you wait or hit up the potty before it gets crazy. Those runners that don’t have a pass and spectators, have to get to the race via shuttle. The last shuttle leaves at 5:30 for runners and it is about a 10 minute ride to the start.


The Tobacco Road Marathon bills itself as being “Fast, Flat and Fun”, and for that reason it is usually a popular race. It is especially popular for marathoners looking to BQ, they say it is the perfect race. A quick sidenote, the winner of the marathon ran a 2:32 Sunday. Besides the BQ hunters, half marathoners also have a great shot of setting new PRs.


90% of this race takes place on the American Tobacco Trail. The trail is mostly paved with some areas being tightly packed gravel. While the race is billed as “flat”, that is not entirely true. You are running on a road for the first 3 miles before you enter the trail, and that road is definitely not flat. Once you enter the trail, it is majority flat with a few small humps(not really large enough to call hills) sprinkled throughout. You are on a flat surface for a while until you exit out of the trail back onto the road at mile 10. From there you have to fight through the same hills you fought at the beginning of the race before finishing into the park.

Water Stops

There were plenty of water stops throughout the race. I would say they had a water stop every 1.5-2 miles. The water stops were equipped with water and some also had Gatorade.


I can’t stress this enough…if you are a runner that feeds off of crowds/spectators, you will NOT have much of that for this race. This is the main reason, Tobacco Road isn’t one of my favorites races. Yes it is flat(mostly) and fast but I feed so much off of crowds, and you don’t get much of that with this race. I mentioned the race is mostly on a trail, and there is just no place for spectators to camp out. All you see is trees, other runners and the volunteers at the water stops. You will find a handful of spectators that will be cheering at openings when the trail crosses over the highway but that is about it. You will also see a few scattered spectators on the road portion(first & last 3 miles). Outside of that, the most spectators you will see are going to be on the final stretch heading into the finish.

How Did I Do

I really didn’t come into this race with any huge expectations. I only signed up 3 weeks prior and I was under the weather for a week between then and the race. My training wasn’t what I am used to, I typically train 4-5 days a week but I was only running 3 leading up to the race. The weather was almost perfect, low 40s I think. Once the race started, I didn’t feel too bad. I was clocking either 8 or sub 8 miles throughout,  but I also realized I wasn’t pushing myself very hard. Majority of the race, I found myself wedged in between the 1:40 pacer and the 1:45 pacer. I was nursing a cough and it began to bother me at mile 11 so I lost some momentum. Around mile 11.5/12 I was passed by the 1:45 pacer. So with that, also went my chance of PR. I stayed within striking distance of the 1:45 guy but I made the mistake of not checking my watch. As I was coming around the final curve and could see the finish, I saw the clock say 1:44. That means that 1:45 pacer was ahead of pace and if I had pushed, I probably could have PR’d. My PR is 1:43, I crossed the finish line at 1:44:34. With being sick and lac k of training, I was proud of my finish and who knows, maybe I will be back to fight Tobacco Road again. For now I’ll just sit back and wait for my results to hit Athlinks.


If you are looking for a PR, this is your race….ESPECIALLY if you are trying to BQ. It is mostly flat and you will put up a fast time. Just make sure you have some good running music, unless you like to listen to the trees.


Running Naked in just your Skin-SKINS DNAmics Compression Tights Review

“Disclaimer: I received a pair of Skins compression pants to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find and write race reviews”

Let me start by saying, I am not a big compression pants wearing type of guy. I don’t know, maybe self-conscious about my “runner’s a$$”(although I have been told it’s nice). Lol. Although I don’t like to wear them, sometimes you just don’t have a choice. NC winters can get down to the teens at times and you have to have something in the closet to protect you on those winter runs. At the time, I had 2 pair made by 2 different brands and I was not crazy about either. Although they were both size Medium, one fit too snug and the other was too loose. Enter this opportunity to test out Skins new DNAmic pants. I hadn’t heard of Skins before, so maybe they could be the brand that changed my mind about compression pants.

Packaging/Eye Test

The DNAmic pants arrived in a cloudy see-through plastic pouch, complete with skins website and some of their social media hashtags imprinted on it. #RiseUP. For the eye test, I already told you I wasn’t a big fan of compression, well I am even worse when it comes to brightly colored compression pants. I like the more subtle, darker colors. The color I chose was specter mariner. The website made this color look somewhat mysterious, I couldn’t really tell if it was black or a shade of blue but either of those colors were fine. When I opened the package the pants looks black with some green design, I thought they were pretty funky. Imagine my surprise, when I first put them on and went outside….the color was actually a sort of tinted blue. I still liked the color, they passed my subtle test.


I was anxious to see how they would fit, since I mentioned the issues I had with the other 2 pairs of pants I own. Pulling them on there was some resistance, which I expected(they are compressions after all) but I got them on fairly easily. After I got them adjusted in all the right places, they didn’t feel bad at all. I wasn’t getting the too loose feeling I had with my other pants nor did I feel like they were “too” tight. They were snug but the range of motion I needed, seemed to be fine.

They felt good going on, but the real test would be when I took them out on the trails to see how they held up. I took this DNAmic compressions out on several runs, with the longest being 14 miles and they performed PERFECTLY. It was probably the closest thing you can get to running around naked. (true story) They moved with you, and when I jumped in the shower afterwards….no surprise screams. Lol. That’s right, no chaffing whatsoever on my inner legs, etc.


So how did Skins appear to make the perfect compression with their new DNAmic line, take a look at some of the product details and specs on these amazing compressions.

*DNAmic is one of the 5 products from Skin that are the only high-performance apparel to take into account compression levels needed to increase oxygen delivery to active muscles while in motion. Skins call this dynamic gradient compression.

*SKINS worked with the scientific and industrial research organization in Australia to develop a device capable of taking multiple readings of the human body in motion. SKINS athletes were hooked up for the first time ever, and they were able to accurately measure compression on the muscles in motion-as they change shape with increased levels of oxygen-fueled blood pumping through them. This is relevant because all previous compression measurements have been carried out on athletes that are standing still.


Sooooooo, you remember that guy that didn’t like compressions at the beginning of this review?? Yeah, he left the building. These SKINS DNAmic compression hit the mark on every category for me. They had nice color options(even for us subtle color folks), they fit very comfortable and successful capture your range of motion with no post-run chaffing. What more could you ask for from compression pants? So did I convince you? Are you ready to grab your own pair? Well, you are in luck, use my code 20BIBRAVE and score 20% off any non-reduced items at

Athlinks-Runner’s stats at your fingertips

Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find and write race reviews.

Let’s talk Athlinks! Never heard of it? Well you are in luck because I am about to school you to game. I was introduced to Athlinks about 2 years ago but one of my Instagram friends. She advised me to go sign up and guaranteed I would love it, and she wasn’t wrong. Athlinks takes the headache out of having to record/remember so many things, on top of some other cool features I love. Let’s explore shall we…

Race Results

You ever find yourself wondering, “I wonder what my time was when I ran my first 5k”? Athlinks has got you covered. Athlinks saves the results of EVERY race you have ever run, so you can go into your profile and scroll through to find that time you were seeking. Athlinks doesn’t automatically save results to your profile, but what it does is save those results in their database. Once you login to your profile, you will be notified that you have “unclaimed” results. You simply have to scroll through the unclaimed results that Athlinks believe are yours(I have yet to have them pull results that weren’t mine) and “confirm” them. Once you have confirmed the results, they are saved into your profile for you to view whenever you want. Not only does it pull your time, but it also tells you were you placed in numerous categories for the event. So instead of having to go back to the race website to research past results, you can pull up your Athlinks profile and quickly see that you were top 10 men in your age group for XYZ Half Marathon.


Let’s face it, it just isn’t as fun if you can’t bring your friends along. So another great feature is your ability to find and follow all your running friends. After doing a quick search, you can find and follow your buddy. Your friend will be notified via email that they have a new follower, and will be able to return that follow with a click of a button. I love the ability to go in and check to see how my friends did on a race that you knew they had been training so hard for.

Respect the Rivalry
It may not be as intense as UNC/Dook or Michigan/Ohio State, but all of us have a competitive bone. It may be a small bone but deep down sometimes we just want to see how we match up with some of our friends. Thanks to Athlinks, you get to experience that with the “Rivals” feature. When you are following fellow runners and you happen to run the same race, they become your rivals. Athlinks has a separate “rivals” tab that you can go to and see how you stacked up against your friends in the same race. Athlinks lists your rivals and underneath them it shows your record against them in races. So if you and Cami ran the same race 2 times and both times you had a better result, it would show (2-0). This has got to be my 2nd favorite feature behind the lifetime statistics features. Periodically I go into my rivals tab to see how I am holding up. I have one friend I’ve never beaten, I’m 0-13. He always finishes in the top 10 overall in every race he does, so I don’t have high hopes of getting that elusive “1” on my side. Lol

Upcoming Races

Feature #3, Athlinks allows you to look up all your upcoming races. If you already know your race calendar, you can search and pull up those races in Athlinks. Not only that, but you can add yourself to the “starting line” of that race so when your friends view your profile they can see what races you are already signed up for. This also allows you to see if any of your friends are signed up for the same race, because it will show your friends pictures below the race and label it “Also running”.

Lifetime Statistics

This feature is my favorite. Athlinks keeps all your PRs for all distances in one separate area, so you can visit this tab and not only see your fastest half marathon or marathons, but it also lists other non-traditional distances like; your fastest 4 miles, 8k and mile. Along with the time it shows you what race you accomplished this PR, as well as the date of that race.

That’s it! Everything you could possible need, is at your fingertips with Athlinks. So what are you waiting for, if you haven’t signed up…DO IT NOW at

Lastly, I am always looking for new rivals so feel free to follow me at:

Race Discounts

Race Discount Codes


10/28/2017 – Tulsa Run – Tulsa, OK

Use code “bibravetr” for $5 on your race entry.

10/29/2017 – Ocean State Rhode Race – Narragansett, RI

Use code “BibRave” to save 10% on race entry.

10/29/2017 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Chicago – Chicago, IL
Use code “BRHCCHI17” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!  


11/4/2017 – Bike the Coast – San Diego, CA

Use code “BRBTC2017” for 30% off, includes ride & jersey combos!

11/04/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Merida – Merida, Mexico

Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 or 270 Pesos off Half, valid until 10/28.

11/04- 05/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah – Savannah, GA

Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 off Half and Full, valid until 10/28.

11/5/2017 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Columbus – Columbus, OH
Use code “BRHCCOL17” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!  

11/5/2017 – South Shore Half – Norwell, MA

Use code “BRSSH10” to save 10% on your race entry.   

11/11- 12/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV

Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 off Half and Full, valid until 11/05.

11/12/2017 – Honor Run Half Marathon – Florence, KY

Use code “BIBRAVE10” to save $10 on your race entry.

11/12/2017 – Madison Marathon – Madison, WI

Use code “RAVE10” to save $10 on Madison Marathon or Half Marathon.

Code will expire Nov 8 at 11:59PM (close of online registration)

11/12/2017 –  Monterey Bay Half Marathon – Big Sur, CA

Use code “BRP17” to save $10 off race entry and score a bonus 13.1 magnet! Valid until 10/31.

11/18-19/2017 – Williams Route 66 Marathon – Tulsa, OK

Use code “2017R66BR” to save $10 on your race entry.

11/23/2017 – North Shore Turkey Trot – Highland Park, IL

Use code “BibRaveTT17”for a bonus RAM Racing drink bottle!

11/23/2017 – Art Van Turkey Trot – Chicago, IL

Use code “17BIBRAVE10”to save 10% off all distances!

11/23/2017 – Century Link Turkey Day 5K Minneapolis – Minneapolis, MN

Use code “TURKEYDAY2017”to save 10% off all distances!


12/2/2017 – Run Laughlin –  Laughlin, NV

Use code “BIBRAVE20”to save 20% on your race entry.

12/02- 03/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio – San Antonio, TX

Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 off Half and Full, valid until 11/26.

12/3/2017 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Scottsdale – Scottsdale, AZ
Use code “BRHCSCOTTS17” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!  

12/10/2017 – BCS Marathon – College Station, TX

Code “BIBRAVER17″ saves 10% on your race entry.

12/10/2017 – Honolulu Marathon – Honolulu, HI

Use code “BIBRAVEHNL”to save 20% on your race entry!

12/10/2017 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K St. Louis – St. Louis, MO
Use code “BRHCSTL17” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

12/10/2017 – Jingle All the Way 5K & 15K – Washington, D.C.

Code “BibRaveJingle” saves $5 off the 5K or 15K.

12/17/2017 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Tampa – Tampa, FL
Use code “BRHCTAMPA17” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!



1/7/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K San Francisco – San Francisco, CA
Use code “BRHCSF18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

1/13-14/2018 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona – Phoenix, AZ

Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 off Half and Full, valid until 1/7/18.

1/20/2018 – F^3 Lake Half Marathon – Chicago, IL
Use code “bibrave13” to save $6 off the half and “bibrave5” to save $5 off 5K!

1/21/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Atlanta – Atlanta, GA
Use code “BRHCATL18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

1/28/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Houston – Houston, TX
Use code “BibRaveHCHouston18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

1/28/2018 – Miami Marathon – Miami Beach, FL
Use code “BIBRAVEMM18” to save $5 on race entry!


2/3/2018 – Sedona Marathon – Sedona, AZ

Use code “18BibRave” saves 20% on race entry!

2/3/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Dallas – Dallas, TX
Use code “BRHCDAL18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

2/4/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Atlanta – Atlanta, GA
Use code “BRHCATL18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

2/10/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Charlotte – Charlotte, NC
Use code “BibRaveHCChar18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

2/17/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Nashville – Nashville, TN
Use code “BRHCNASH18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

2/18/2018 – A1A Fort Lauderdale Marathon and Half Marathon – Fort Lauderdale, FL
Use code “BIBRAVE” to save 15% on the Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K.  

2/25/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV
Use code “BRHCVEGAS18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!


3/4/2018 – 13.1 Miami Beach – Miami Beach, FL
Use code “BIBRAVEMB18” to save $5 on the half marathon!

3/4/2018 – Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans – New Orleans, LA

Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 off Half and Full, valid until 1/29.

3/4/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Seattle – Seattle, WA
Use code “BRHCSEA18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

3/18/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K San Diego – San Diego, CA
Use code “BRHCSD18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

3/18/2018 – Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon – Cary, NC
Use code “bibrave1” to save $20 on race registration!

3/24/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Indianapolis – Indianapolis, IN
Use code “BibRaveHCIndy18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!


4/7/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA
Use code “BRHCPHILLY18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

4/14/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Minneapolis – Minneapolis, MN
Use code “BRHCMINN18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

4/26-28/2018 – Illinois Marathon – Champaign-Urbana, IL
Use code “2018bibravebonus” to save $5 on race entry!

Chicago Marathon-All the Love & Support You Can Handle

For the past 6 months I have been hard at work training for one thing….The Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I ran this race in 2016 and got a 45 minute PR, but since I was unable to get into NYC Marathon this year, I decided to give Chicago another go. I will say, the city as a whole really embraces this race, plus it is one of the World Majors.

I am a mentor for my area Fleet Feet, so it was cool that 4 other mentors were actually running Chicago as well. Of course I was the only one that decided to fly in on Saturday, when the race was on Sunday. All my other mentor friends flew in on Thursday and Friday, but I stuck with Saturday since I could avoid having to use a vacation day and Monday was a holiday. We flew in early Saturday morning, and hauled a Uber to our hotel. We stayed on the Magnificent Mile in the middle of everything, which was probably one of the best decisions I made. It was about 1.5 miles away from Grant Park and only blocks away from numerous eating establishments. Of course we arrived at the hotel at like 9am, so of course the room wasn’t ready. The bellman was nice enough to secure our luggage, and we decided to go ahead and head over to the expo to pick up my bib/packet. A welcomed change this year was the free shuttles that had leaving every 15 minutes at various points around Chicago, to take the runners to the expo and bring them back. We didn’t have that last year, and I think it caused a big headache with people trying to catch Ubers & Taxis. We arrived and the packet pick-up lines were well organized, I only stood in line maybe 10-15 minutes to get my bib. I walked into the expo and immediately walked up on a long line of people waiting to take a picture in front of the Chicago Marathon sign. I guess these individuals were unaware that the same sign was in 2 other locations within the fair. Nevertheless, I headed to the back to pick up my bag and participant’s shirt. This year’s shirts were blue, compared to last year’s neon yellow. There were so many brands selling Marathon branded gear: Nike, Skeechers,North Face,etc. I got a nice jacket from The North Face last year but this year nothing really stood out. Nike was the official sponsor so of course they had tons, but the amount of people in their area was ridiculous. I was fond of the half zip pullover they had that came in gray or red, but I didn’t want to stand in line. Luckily my hotel was about 2 blocks from the Nike store so I decided to wait and go to the store after we got back. We walked through the expo a little while gathering samples before heading back to the shuttles. We got back and it still was only about 10am, and the desk clerk said they would need at least to 1pm to get the room ready. We were hungry so we walked over to the dunkin donuts to great a breakfast sandwich and kill some time. We finished and it was right around quarter to 12, so we decided we would just go wait in the lobby for the remainder of the time. At about 12:15, I took a chance and walked up and asked if the room happen to be ready. Desk clerk looked at me and said our room wasn’t ready but since we were waiting, he would upgrade our room for free to a junior suite that was available. SCORE!! Thank you Inn of Chicago.

We relaxed in our room for a couple hours before heading out to find some lunch. Decided to hit up the California Pizza kitchen that was like a block away. I had some interesting tequila lime chicken pasta. Afterwards we walked to the Nike store…..AND IT WAS A MADHOUSE. There were so many people in there, they apparently had the same idea I did. They had Djs on several of the floors so the music was blasting everywhere you went, but it was definitely a fun atmosphere.  I went up to the running section to find the half zip pullover and they didn’t have my size anywhere. I was told it would be easier to order it online. I did manage to go ahead an purchase my “Finishers” jacket. I have a rule, I purchase the finisher’s stuff, but it stays in the bag until I complete the race. Runner’s Rule! Back to the hotel for a little more relaxing before dinner. We decided to head to Labriola for dinner. Good thing I made a reservation because the line was ridiculous when we arrived. All the runners trying to carb load. I settled on the “Worlds Best Spagetti and Meatballs” entrée. While it was pretty good, I don’t know I would go as far as to say it was the world’s best. Lol, just my opinion. We were back to the hotel by 9:30, I laid out my gear for the morning and was in bed by 10:15. The big day was a few winks a way.

I woke up on race morning around 4:30. I did all my race day routines, including writing all my mile inspirations on my left arm so I could see them each mile I complete. After getting dressed I grabbed by bagel, honey stinger and Gatorade, and headed out. The walk was about 1.5 miles, and it was kinda chilling out. After I was a few blocks in, I started running into more and more runners making the same trek. The starting gates opened up at 6, and I arrived around 6:30am. My corral wasn’t set to start until 8am, so the waiting game began. A lot of people were taking pictures of the sunrise over Lake Michigan or of the buildings that had messages using the office lights. One simply said “26.2”, which I thought was great. Around 7, I decided to go get in line at the bathroom. The lines were CRAZY, and I started hearing the phrase “PR the bathroom” being uttered because the start was approaching fast. I finally got through the line and got into my corral around 7:45, 15 minutes to spare. I started to prepare my running playlist I had coined for the marathon. I specifically chose a 4 hour mix, because I was going to try and finish under 4 hours. So if I was done while the playlist was still playing, I had completed my goal. We just had one problem, THERE WAS ZERO SERVICE IN THE CORRALS! This was not good. I had a few songs in my music folder but definitely not enough to last a full marathon. My hope was that I could start with my music library and hopefully by a mile or 2 the service would be available and I could start my playlist.

8 o’clock rolled up and we were off. I was being really cautious not to start out too fast and burn myself out. My pace seemed to be great but at about half mile in, I hear some familiar come through my Aftershokz. It was a lap indicator, I know we hadn’t traveled a mile. The familiar voice announced to me “Mile 1 5:38”. Oh hell no, that is wrong wrong wrong. So, apparently the service was interring with the garmin watches as well. From that point I knew I had to ignore the mile marks from my watch and only look at the time elapsed to gauge my pace. We reached the first water stop around 1.5 in and I pulled out my phone to try and fiddle with it to see if I could get my playlist up mid-run. Service was back and I ran on. I was doing super, hitting all my mile marks at desired pace or under. I was passing runners that were in corrals ahead of me and was passing several 3:55 and 4:00 pacers from other corrals. I was feeling great and was moving great with no issues. Around 11 oclock and I would say mile 18, the sun started to creep out. We knew it was supposed to warm up, but everyone’s hope was to get close enough to the end before the sun could take it’s toll. I started to hit every water stop and alternate between Gatorade and water to try and stay hydrated, I also was downing gels and energy blocks. Around mile 24, I began to feel something funny in my left calf. It felt like the beginning of a cramp but I wanted to fight through and hopefully keep it at bay. I couldn’t stop, I was still on great pace to finish under 4 hours and moving wonderfully. The heat had picked up quit a bit at this point and everyone began to slow down a bit. You could see it on all the runners faces, the sun was taking its toll. At mile 25, it happened. I got a cramp! The first time I have caught one in the middle of a race before. I tried to gingerly run through it, I went as long as I could before I had to stop and try to work it out. After a couple of minutes, it felt like it had passed so I started to run again. After another half mile it came back, and I was forced to stop again. I was beginning to get worried at this point because I was watching the time elapse creep up on my watch. I had about another mile and half to go, and about 17 minutes to do it. It was just not meant to be. I still had a chance up until the last 200m of the race, before I caught another cramp and had to stop. I hobbled across the finish line devastated, with a time of 4:01:13.  Although it was a 16 minute PR, all I could think about was how close I was to breaking 4 hours. 1 minute and 13 seconds! The force all the runners through the finishers areas, they don’t want anyone to stop. I got my medal, some water and a couple snacks. I was almost to the end of the finishers area when I just had to sit for a minute, I had no choice. As soon as I sat down, I got another cramp in my calf. As I was trying to work that one out, my other calf got a cramp too. So I am sitting there in serious pain, and another runner tells one of the volunteers I need help. Someone comes over to help stretch me out, but the problem was I was laying directly under the sun, no shade in sight.  He gets cramps out and I attempt to stand again, both cramps came right back and back down I went. I had not choice, they ended up bringing over a wheelchair and loaded me up to take me to the medical tent. First time being in there, but I immediately noticed it was much cooler in there. They put me on a cot and checked my vitals, everything was good. They asked me a bunch of questions I guess to make sure I was in the right frame of mind, and I got everything correct. I got loaded up with Gatorade, water and bananas while I laid there. They even massaged out my calves for me. After about 20 minutes I thought I was well enough to make another go at getting out of there. Walked super slow another mile to get to the runner’s meetup and finish line festivities. I was in no mood to celebrate so I hobbled on out the gate  and caught a ride back to the hotel.

I showered and gave myself a little while to be disappointed over missing my sub 4, then I headed out. I limped to the Nike store, where they were doing free medal engraving. The line was long, but it moved relatively fast and only took about 10 minutes for the engraving after you gave it to them. After getting my medal done, it was off to a post-race party with my Bibrave pro family. It was a great event, and was nice to meet a lot of fellow pros in person. We had food and drinks, and took lots of pictures. Absolutely love my bibrave family. Couldn’t leave Chicago without getting some deep dish pizza so on the way back to the hotel, we stopped and got some Lou’s to-go.

The next morning’s trip to the airport went well, and we got there in plenty of time. Turns out 4 of my fellow mentors were on the same flight, along with some other runners. Everyone was wearing the medals proudly. We all talked about our marathon experience on the way back, and before we knew it, we were landing back at home. As a whole, my experience at the Chicago marathon was unbelievable! While I am disappointed I missed my sub 4, I am grateful for the experience and being able to experience it with lots of my running friends. If you haven’t done Chicago yet, you is most definitely a MUST. It is flat for the most part with a few small hills sprinkled throughout. 40,000 runners and over 1 million spectators, the love & support is everywhere.


“Disclaimer: I received premium subscription to RunGo app as part of being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

I consider myself a techie when it comes to running, so when I was provided the opportunity by Bibrave to test out a new running app called RunGo, I jumped at the chance. How is the app different to the rest of the many running apps out there?? Lets find out.

Global Running Routes

-RunGo has a library of over 80,000 running routes worldwide

-over 200 new routes are added daily

-verified and curated routes built by RunGo and certified local run groups

With the worldwide routes, you are almost guaranteed to be able to find a scenic place to run, whenever you are traveling. Great thing about RunGo is a lot of the presaved routes, call out monuments and key places of interest along the run.

Run Analytics

Like other running apps, RunGo also tracks all your essential stats: time, pace, splits, distance and elevation. You have the ability to set your audio cues to give you your mile splits, among other things.

Create Your Own Route

Ever ran a nice route and wanted to share it with your running friends? Thanks to RunGo, you can do just that. After you finish a run, you are giving the option to save your run & publish the route publicly. If you publish it, any runner in the area will be able to pull up the route and run it.. Pretty simple and helpful. The next time you try to tell a friend about a route, you can simply just send the route  to them through the app. I personally saved about 5 of my routine routes of various distances.

Works Offline

Once you have created your route, you can download it so that it is available offline. You are able to explore new cities without the need of an expensive data package.

Voice Navigation(Turn-by-Turn)

I know you have heard of Google Maps and Waze, well consider RunGo app as the running version of these apps. Yes, RunGo gives you audio turn-by-turn navigation during your run. It was so easy and helpful as I was running to hear the app announce “in 300 feet, turn right”.


The user interface of RunGo app is friendly. You can easily see your gps signal strength, adjust the audio volume, access routes, create a route, run, and logbook. The logbook is where all your pervious runs are saved and can be accessed.


For the most part I love most of the features being offered by RunGo app. I really like the turn-by-turn navigation, as well as the preloaded routes found worldwide. The ability to publish your own routes is a huge plus for any runner that likes to share their routes with running friends. The only hiccup I have is with the “auto-pause” feature. When on, the app should pause whenever you stop running, then re-start once you are back running. I noticed that when I stop, it takes a decent amount of time before the app stops. If you are a runner that really cares about your pace, this hesitation can cause your pace/splits to be off a great deal. I care a lot about my splits during training, so wasn’t overjoyed about looking at my splits and they were a full minute slower than what my Garmin was showing. That minor hiccup won’t stop me from continuing to enjoy this app and recommending it to friends.

Go here to download:

You can watch RunGo in action here:

See what some of my the bibrave pros had to say about RunGo App:






What’s On the Horizon-UA Horizon RTT Product Review

Disclaimer: I received an UA Horizon RTT to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

Let me start out by saying I have never owned anything Under Armour except a couple of heat/cold gear shirts, so I was excited to get the opportunity to try out their new trail running shoe. Living in North Carolina, the one thing we have an abundance of is TRAILS. I figured I would give the Horizon RTT some good test runs in Umstead Park, which is full of gravel and dirt trails.


• Durable PU & textile upper for breathability & reliable protection

• Reinforced welded synthetic in critical areas for increased durability

• Mesh heel with dual protective welds

• Molded collar foam package for added comfort

• Charged Cushioning® foam puck placed under the heel for responsive comfort

• Lightweight, full-length EVA midsole for optimal cushioning

• High traction rubber lug outsole for dependable traction on a variety of conditions

• Offset: 7 mm

• Weight: 12 oz.

• Imported

Eye Test

I received the black/elemental color, and to be honest…I don’t like black running shoes. I prefer my running shoes to have color and be fun, these were not eye popping for me. There are 4 colors to choose from, and with exception of the blue color, the other 3 all have a heavy color black presence. I do; however, like the large under armour symbol on the outside of the shoes. The shoe laces are well made, so you don’t have to worry about any fraying taking place. One of the first thing you will notice while looking at this shoe, is the trend. The tread is well pronounced and looks ready to tackle some terrain.


I took the Horizon RTT out on several different test runs, and while there were some aspects I liked, overall they just weren’t the right shoe for me.

Tread- As I mentioned earlier, the tread is very pronounced and it definitely delivers. Whether I was running uphill over gravel or dirt, the shoes had amazing grip. I never felt the fear of falling or tripping due to lack of grip. I even deliberately ran through creek and then up a gravel hill to see if it affected the grip, but it was still strong.

Durable-The Horizon RTT appear to be made fairly well and come across durable. Through dirt, rocks, water, etc, I didn’t notice any significant scratches. These shoes appear to have been made to take a good licking.

Stiff- These shoes were very stiff for me. I am used to shoes that hug your foot but the Horizon RTT just didn’t do that for me.  I first thought it was just due to the newness for my first couple of runs, but I still experienced the same stiffness 5 runs in. They didn’t really conform to the feet, instead of being flexible; it was more like they just bent. The tops of the shoes, by the ankle, would bend/fold which didn’t feel great during the run.


Although I mentioned some pros and cons for the Horizon RTT, overall the shoe is just not one I would find enjoyable to wear. That being said, if you are a runner that prefers a stiffer-type shoe, this is probably the trail shoe for you. I realize every runner is different, so while I enjoy a conforming/flexible shoe, others enjoy a more rugged durable stiffer shoe. The heavy presence of black in the color choices is only minor, because I could learn to deal with the dark colors if the shoe had been more flexible. My final verdict is, it’s a nice trail shoe, just not the right trail shoe for me.

Want to try them yourself, here is the link

Under Armour Horizon RTT

You can see what some of my other Bibrave Pros, who tested, had to say about them below.



Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Hospital Hill Half Marathon & 5K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

What a wonderful race weekend and weekend in general. I was overjoyed when I was granted an entry into this race for 2 reasons: I had never been to Kansas City and it gave me a chance to visit a good friend of mine that lives in Kansas City. Hospital Hill is ranked #11 out of top 27 half marathons in the country by Runner’s World.

My departure didn’t get off to a smooth start. Once we got to the park and ride lot, my traveling companion tells me that she left her cell phone back at home. Luckily we left early enough and lived close enough to the airport that we were able to go back for the phone and still make it back with time to spare. After a short stop in Nashville, we arrived in Kansas City around 10am CT. I decided to rent a car since my friend lived 45 minutes from the airport and was working the day of arrival. I got a really good deal on the rental $8/day.

I headed over to the expo right when it opened at 3pm. The expo was held in Sheraton ballroom.  It wasn’t the largest one I have been to but the booths there were of high quality. My favorite booth was the beef one, they cooked you a slider and gave you a sample of wine. It didn’t matter that we had to wait about 10 extra minutes for them to finish cooking, it was well worth it. The packet pick-up was well organized and everything flowed in a counter-clockwise circle. The provided computers for you to look up your bib numbers, before picking up your bibs, and finally claiming your race swag. If you were expecting the typical race t-shirt for swag, you would be mistaken. Hospital Hill went the creative route and we got pajama bottoms and towns. It was a first for the pj bottoms but I welcomed the change. The bibs weren’t your typical bib either, we got a bunny bib and a top hat bib. Another genius idea Hospital Hill came up with is the bar codes on the bibs, so after you finish your race, you can simply scan you bib with your phone and be taken directly to your race results. Genius, because no one likes to stand in line after running to get your official results.

Since the 5K didn’t take place until Friday night, we decided to take advantage of the thursday night. We went out to dinner, drinks, and watched a little NBA Playoffs. It was a fun evening and some of the 8 people in our party had a little too much to drink. The evening didn’t end until almost 2am, and I hoped that would not effect my 5k time the next evening.

Since the race wasn’t until 7pm Friday night, it gave us most of the day to venture out before coming back to relax before the race. We hit up a few stores and, against my better judgment, we went to a bbq spot for lunch. Originally I would never eat something as heavy as bbq before a race but how could I resist trying Kansas City famous BBQ. We went to a place called Jack Stacks and i have one of the best beef brisket sandwiches I have ever had. We got back home around 3, and I was able to lay down for about an hour before it was time to get ready to head to race start. Parking was very convenient, as they had designated a parking garage that was about 20 yards from the start of the race. The 5K didn’t have any corrals, even though, there were about 1400 runners. Nevertheless, the race starting exactly at 7pm, which I appreciated. It was a very humid evening and warm, so the coordinators advised runners to take it easy and not push too hard. The race itself was nice. I was not sure what to expect since I never study the course map, so I was trying to prepare myself for anything on the run. We encounter the namesake “Hospital Hill” first thing on mile 1. The hill was definitely challenging but felt great fighting through it. Honestly there were a few other hills on the 5k course that were just as challenging as “Da Hill”. The finish was a slight uphill, and we were met with medals, decals that read “I conquered the hill” and refreshments. I was very disappointed that the bottle water they handed out to the runners was HOT. I couldn’t even drink mine. Luckily there were a few booths set up at the finish, and one of them had cold bottled water….not to mention the cold beer we got. Headed home to prepare for the half marathon that would take place in 12 hours.

I was nervous to see how my body would respond to taking on a half marathon, only 12 hours after fighting through a hilly 5K. I arrived at the starting line festivities at 6am, in preparation for a 7am start. It was going to be another hot day, mid 70s at the start and would get up to close to 80 degrees by the end of the race. One thing I noticed is that there were ample porta-johns available for runners. I didn’t have to wait more than 2 minutes before one became available. I was in Corral A so I would be heading out at the first gun. True to form, the sent us off at exactly 7am. The race started with about a half mile slight down hill before we hung a right and began our trek through downtown. We encountered “Hospital Hill” on mile 3, along with tons of spectators along the runs cheering on all the runners. After conquering the HILL for the 2nd time, I began to realize one thing….the course was not going to be flat-friendly. The whole race you were either going uphill or downhill, so I found it very hard to open up my speed like I wanted. I choose to preserve my energy early and hopefully gradually increase my pace as the miles added up. The course took us through scenic downtown, past several parks and by a few beautiful landmarks. I tried to take as much in as I could, at least when I wasn’t trying to concentrate on breathing heading up a hill. The water stops were well-placed. After every 1.5 miles, you usually ran into a aid station. I found every time I felt like I needed water, I look up and could see a water stop in the distance. After mile 8, we found ourselves heading back towards downtown. We encountered one more significant hill at mile 11, before enjoying a downhill finish for the last mile. Upon finishing we were greeted with ice cream sandwiches, water, chocolate milk, chips, form blocks soaked in cold water, etc. After making my way through the finish line area, we could partake in some gelato, beer and fruit by some ventures. The highlight was runners, were treated to free pancakes with all the trimmings; syrup, whipped cream, chocolate chips, fruit. This was another first for me, pancakes after a race….BUT I LOVED IT.

I would definitely recommend this race to ANY runner that loves the challenge. Yes the hills are tough, but the feeling of accomplishment after you finish that race is amazing. Not to mention, runners are really well taken care of for this race. If you have the means, you should add this race on your race calendar in the future and don’t forget to partake in some Kansas City BBQ while you are there.

My friend surprised us with tickets to see the KC Royals play. I was excited and it just happened to be free bobblehead day at the stadium. I got a Alex Gordon bobblehead to bring home as a souvenir. Outside of it being extremely hot, we enjoyed cheering on the Royals to a 11-5 victory of the reigning American League champs, Cleveland Indians.

Ready for the Hill and Philly-Hospital Hill Half Marathon & Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Hospital Hill Half Marathon & Rock and Roll Philly as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

Less than a month away before I get to rock Hospital Hill. It wasn’t until recently that I began to think….why on earth do they call it hospital hill? Could there possible be a Hill on the course that rivals the many hills I have to tackle every day in my city? The only thing I can do is to make sure i am prepared. I have been preparing by making sure all my training runs include some hills and even doing more runs in the dreaded Umstead Park(full of challenging hills). I do have 1 half marathon this month before heading to Kansas City, but it is a beach run so I can only hope that all my hill work will show plenty of benefits on a flat beach course. Afterwards, I will be anticipating going to Philadelphia to run the Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. I have never been to Philly so it should be fun.

As if the Hospital Hill Half Marathon wasn’t enough, I decided to pull the trigger on doing the Hospital Hill 5k the night before. I can’t help it, I am a bling chaser and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to come home with 3 medals instead of just 1. In addition I have a good friend that lives in Kansas City, that will be sure to show me a good time while I am there. We are even playing around with the idea of going to a Kansas City Royals game on that Saturday. I have only been to 2 MLB games in my life, the NY Yankees and NY Mets.

Stay tuned as i continue to prepare for Kansas City. Kansas City, I’m coming for you.

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