Sep 18, 2016

Tech Tied to Your Foot: AMPLA FLY Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the AMPLA FLY running shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Like most runners, I love a new pair of shoes. Being the geek that I am, I also love technology. Throw new, innovative tech into my running gear, and you'll have my interest. Tell me is supported by the research of a Harvard trained sports scientist and more than 30,000 hours of athlete data, and you have my full attention. That is what you'll find behind the AMPLA FLY.

What's the shoe?

The AMPLA FLY is a shoe designed to help you run better. They want to help you run more efficiently and have better mechanics. There are a lot of layers in the design of this shoe, all working together to deliver on these goals. The one you'll first notice is the FORCEPOWER plate, a 100% carbon fiber plate. This plate helps guide your foot into better contact as well as helps push you off into your next stride.

It definitely catches your eye the first moment you see the shoe, and you know it's going to be something different. It's not just some crazy idea though, it's backed by so much athlete data.

Want to see more? Check out my album with many views of the shoes.


Here's a short video describing a little more on the technology of the shoes.

How does that actually feel?

From the first time I laced them up and stepped around my living room... they felt weird. Didn't see that coming, do you? The first thing I always do in a new pair of shoes is walk them around the house some to help break them in. Doing so in these shoes just felt weird. It reminded me of walking around the house in baseball cleats. Of course, baseball cleats aren't meant for carpets and hardwoods, they're meant for grass and dirt. On those same lines, these shoes aren't meant for walking around, they're meant help you run better. I realized this meant I'd just have to break the in on the road.

On the run, they felt much better. It still took a little to get used to, but they felt fine pretty quickly. You look at them and you almost expect to bounce. In your mind, it may be illogical, but you almost wonder if they're be like moon shoes as you run. This is not at all the case, though you do feel just a little more lift, and little more push as you're going. On my first run, I felt quite a bit of heel slippage. It didn't cause any discomfort, however it did worry my that it may lead to some. After talking to some of the team from AMPLA, they assured me that is usual, but it gets better as the shoe is broken in. they also still feel a little bit, but have never suffered even a single blister. That eased my worry some. On my subsequent runs, I used that extra little hole with some fancy lacing which greatly cut down on the slippage. In the last run, I felt none on the left and only a little on the right foot, which leads me to think I just need to do a little better on my right side.

Are they comfortable to run in?

The shoes are stiff. That is frankly to be expected when it has a carbon fiber running the full length of the shoe. For running on the track or on a paved path, this is no problem. However, if you run anywhere that you encounter some gravel, it doesn't work as well. First, the obvious problem is you could get some small pieces up in there, which you wouldn't want. Second, because of the stiffness, you don't get any give on those uneven surfaces, so it makes the running fell a little more unsure. It's not designed for this, but should be a consideration in planning the run. I also felt the stiffness made them a little rougher on my feet. I'm not a tiny guy. I can admit that. The carbon fiber held up just find against me, but the bottoms of my feet would be just a slight bit sorer in these shoes after a couple of miles. It would feel comfortable on the run, but I'd feel it later. Nothing bad, just a little more soreness on the bottom, the impact of being big.


I've recently in my training been taking a larger attention at striking with my mid foot. I'm a more natural heel striker (thanks all those years of marching band with that roll step). Before these shoes, I had been working to correct that in myself as a part of my prep for the Dopey Challenge and to improve my overall running. These shoes came at the perfect time to help me with that. They really do help you to strike more mid foot (because it feels "not right" otherwise) and helps you push all the way through off the step, with that little extra something thanks to the carbon fiber plate.

I'm also a big believer of the Jeff Gallow Run Walk Run method. You would think these shoes may not work for someone who runs and walks, especially after what I mentioned the first time I wore them. Walking feels a little out of place in the shoes, but it was in no way difficult nor did it hurt my feet. In fact, part of the run walk run method is about helping your muscles be more efficient due to the walk breaks, so they almost fit together. So far, I notice no real extra wear on the back edge of the carbon fiber plate, but I'm watching out for it, out of nothing but curiosity. I did notice a little bit of extra wear on the toe of the shoe than I normally have this early in a shoe, but after reaching out to AMPLA, they were already making adjustments to account for it. They really are in the business of making the best running shoe they can.

The Takeaway

The shoes are definitely cool to look at, but they are more than that. The ultimate result of the test for me is "will I continue to run in the shoe?" The answer is yes. They have some people that use them solely for speed work and others that have run several marathons in them. I find myself to be more in the first group. The raw stiffness of the shoe I think would be too hard on me for more considerable distances, but it feels good with working on my form. I'll definitely continue to AMPLY FLY my run, and hopefully help myself to "stop not running right".

#bibchat

This week's #bibchat will be featuring AMPLA. Stop by on Tuesday, September 20th at 9pm EST to join in the good times that is bibchat. Interact with the team from AMPLA, with other BibRavePros, and all the other like minded runners that participate each week. As an added bonus, there will be a giveaway of TWO pairs of AMPLA FLY running shoes. All you have to do to win is participate.

Are you an early adopter of new tech?

Sep 12, 2016

The Many Ways to Wear a UV BUFF® | #BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the UV BUFF® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

It is no secret that I love my BUFF® headwear. I own full, half, headbands, bandana, hoodie, polar, UV... maybe one or two BUFF® products. Today, I don't have a review for you (for that, see the end of this post for more links). Instead, I want to talk about one of the best things about them, that there are so many ways to wear them. The Original BUFF® (or in this case UV BUFF®) has more than 12 ways to be worn. I'd like to give you a look as just a few of them.

The Headband


Are you livin’ on a prayer on your runs? Well don’t stop believing that you can keep the sweat off your face on you run. BUFF® headwear will rock you like a hurricane, keeping you cool and protected from the sun. Whether you’re back in black or if pink is your favorite color, you can be a sharp dressed man and beat it when it comes to your run. So come on Eileen, it’s the final countdown, so jump, and run to the hills. Rock on!

The Pirate


Yo ho ho! I’m the Dread Pirate of BUFF® headwear. I sail the seven seas, plundering, but staying cool thanks to the COOLMAX® Extreme fabric and protected from the sun blocking 95% of harmful UV rays.

The Hood


You may think I’m just a heroic outlaw of folklore, but the modern Robin Hood needs to keep his cool in Sherwood Forest. That’s why my new hood is a UV BUFF®. The 100% microfiber polyester is so comfortable, while the COOLMAX® Extreme fabric wicks away sweat as I rob the rich and give to the poor. Be your own hero.

The Neckerchief


The safari can get hot out on the savanna. The solution: UV BUFF® headwear. Wearing it as a neckerchief, keeps 95% of harmful UV rays off my neck, while the COOLMAX® Extreme fabric keeps cool and the sweat away. Don’t be caught by the watering hole unprepared. Make sure your gear includes BUFF®.

The Balaclava


Ready to hit the fresh powder? Shred the slopes and keep your face and head covered with a twist and a turn, your BUFF® headwear becomes a balaclava. No sun, nor snow will ruin your day on the mountain when you trust BUFF®.

The Facemask


Howdy! When I’m riding the trails, I keep the dust from my face and the sun from my neck thanks to my UV BUFF®. With the Polygiene® Active Odor Control, my BUFF® stays fresh on the trail while I stay cool.

The Reviews

As I mentioned, this was not a review post. Lucky for you, I have several you can take a read over.

Beat the Heat: UV Half BUFF®

More BUFF® for You: Full BUFF®

Warm Up! BUFF® Thermal Hoodie

Naturally Awesome: Merino Wool BUFF®

#bibchat

This week's #bibchat will be featuring BUFF®. Stop by on Tuesday, August 16th at 9pm EST to join in the good times that is bibchat. Interact with the BUFF® team, with other BibRavePros, and all the other like minded runners that participate each week. You can plan on a giveaway, as always, so there's always that added bonus.

What do you wear for the sweat? What's your favorite way to wear a BUFF® product?


Sep 1, 2016

Be #AwareWithPink: Trekz Titanium Pink | #BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the Trekz Titanium Pink to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

It's time to go Pink! I'm excited to be a part of a campaign with AfterShokz. If you're a regular reader, you may remember that company name. They make the Trekz Titanium wireless headphones I have previously tested. They have just released a limited edition of these headphones and the #AwareWithPink Campaign.

So what's details?

AfterShokz is joining the fight against breast and ovarian cancer. They've taken their great wireless headphones and made them pink. Starting today September 1st through October 31st, for every pair of the Trekz Titanium Pink sold, they will donate 25% of the proceeds to Bright Pink. Bright Pink is a non-profit that focuses on breast and ovarian cancer awareness and action. They are some fantastic headphones for physical activity, but more on that below.

Even if you don't need some headphones, you can still help. Every time the #AwareWithPink hashtag is used on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, AfterShokz will donate an additional 25 cents to Bright Pink. Sharing this hashtag will fund Bright Pink's ongoing efforts to educate and drive awareness about how being proactive can make all the difference.

Tell me more about these headphones.

These are amazing headphones for outdoor activities. I suggest you go read my full review if you haven't before, but I'll give you the highlights here. First, these are bluetooth headphones, so no wires to worry about. Second, the are IP55 certified, which means they're safe from sweat, dust, and moisture (though not completely waterproof). Third, they have great battery life. They're rated for 6 hours of continuous music and calls, but they also hold their charge really well, meaning you don't have to remember to throw them on the charger the night before your run every time. Lastly, what makes them different from other bluetooth headphones are their bone conduction technology. They sit in front of your ears and delivery the music through your cheekbones. This means your ears are completely open, and can hear the world around you. This is their true differentiator from other headphones when it comes to running (or your outdoor activity of choice).

But wait, there's more!

So, every one can help out the non-profit Bright Pink by spreading the love and spreading the hashtag #AwareWithPink. I ask that you try and find a way to share that at least once, please. Second, if you like what you've read, you can buy a pair for yourself, where the proceeds will also benefit Bright Pink. If you are going to order a pair, I have one last thing for you. Use the discount code PINK and you'll get a free small portable storage case to go with your headphones. I have this case and it really nice. It actually has a lot of room so you can fit more than just your headphones with it, so it can be pretty useful. Just add the case and apply the code PINK at checkout.

#bibchat

This week's #bibchat will be about "Beating Boredom" with the team from AfterShokz. Stop by on Tuesday, September 6th at 9pm EDT to join in the good times that is bibchat. Interact with the AfterShokz team, with other BibRavePros, and all the other like minded runners that participate each week. You can plan on a giveaway of two pairs of these safe headphones, as always, so there's always that added bonus.

Do you run with music? What's your go to song?


Lastly, I'll leave you with this:


Aug 17, 2016

Tropicolored Running: The Color Run Baltimore Recap and Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Color Run to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

After a delay of the even from the spring to the late summer, I finally had my opportunity to run the Color Run Baltimore. This was not my first time doing a Color Run, but I was really looking forward to taking a break for a fun run. The Color Run likes to be known as "the Happiest 5K on the Planet" through a goal to celebrate "healthiness, happiness, and individuality" with a lot of color mixed in. With that goal in mind, I have to say I had an overall happy and fun experience.

The Delay

I want to start with something that doesn't really happen with races. The Color Run Baltimore was originally scheduled for May 21st. You may remember the giveaway of Color Run swag I had for you back in the spring. Unfortunately, there were "extenuating circumstances surrounding legal proceedings in the city and an overwhelming strain on the police force". This caused the race to be moved to August 13th. Foremost with any race has to be safety. Given the situation, they made the tough decision to move the date. I feel they handled a difficult situation as best as they could. Your registration was automatically moved to the new date, but you also had the options to switch to another date for the tour. While there are a variety of dates around the country, the next closest to Baltimore was Washington D.C., which was the week before and therefore already past. I'm sure they had an option if none of the other future dates did not work for you, but it wasn't directly addressed in their emails. For myself, the August weekend still worked well for me, so I didn't need to do anything about my registration.

The Swag

The Color Run offers several levels of registration. This is a nice way to do it. If you just want to enjoy the race, they have the Classic Color Runner, which includes your bib, a sweatband, some tattoos, a t-shirt, and your finishers medal. Don't want to bother with race morning pickup? You can select the Classic+, which gets you the Classic Kit delievered right to your door ahead of the race. I did not get this with my registration, but for things I will mention later in the post, would have really appreciated it. The third option is the Deluxe Color Runner Kit, which includes the Classic Kit, the shipping, and some additional swag. In the Deluxe kit, you also receive a hat, a lei, and some TCR sunglasses.

I received a swag pack, the same as the one I gave away, which was also very similar to the Deluxe kit. The swag was all pretty nice. The shirts were very soft and comfy, something I love from a race shirt. The sunglasses were alright, better than your standard cheap type you see in that style, where anyone slaps their logo on. They've held up to my 4 and 2 year olds wanting to wear them, so that says something for them. The finisher's medal is good as well, a nice addition from the last time I ran the Color Run (which had no medal).

I did not have my packet mailed to me, so had to do race day pickup. Pickup was very easy, one set of lines for your bib then onto the next tables for your swag. There was one hiccup. Parking was a little at a premium at the park, so I was parked a little further away. This meant no time to take everything back to my car. The race only allowed for clear bags to be brought into the complex. All communications leading up to the race mentioned that you could buy a clear drawstring bag for a small fee that would go to the children's charity. Unfortunately, there were no bags. They did the best the could by offering simple shopping bags for free to hold your stuff, but it made for a slightly awkward running experience. Had we known, we would have brought our own, however planned to buy one to support the charity. I guess next time, bring one to be prepared.

The Race

The race course wound around the grounds of the Camden Yards Sports Complex. The course looped around Oriole Park at Camden Yards as well as M&T Bank Stadium. The route was all paved parking lots and sidewalks. This made for some hot running. The day would top out at 98 °F with 97% humidity. We had some shade, depending on the side of the stadium we were on, but the heat was rough. We carried water with us, plus there were several water stops on the course. After running the initial bit, we decided to walk the rest and play it safe in the heat. The number of color stops on the course was really great. Each station had a different color, followed by the last having several. The amount of color you'd get in each stop really would depend on the volunteer at that time, though if you didn't get enough for your liking, you could simply ask for a little more (which I did on one occassion. They were good about not being overzealous, for those that may not have wanted to get quite as colorful. Despite the heavy heat, we had a fun time. For a race like this, it is what you make of it. The one improvement I would suggest to the course would be some more music. The start line and finish line had music, which at times you could hear when the course wound close enough. Simply running some speaker lines out to the course and pumping the same music would be enough to keep it fun and lift some spirits, in conditions like these. The "party-like" atmosphere they keep would be a good fit for this as well.

The After Party

While other races have a great pre-race experience in expos, one of the things they do well at the Color Run is the post-race party. They usually team up with some companies, so there are plenty of snacks (like KIND bars) and water. They always have a stage with a DJ set up for a colorful party. They throw out Color Run swag into the crowd as well as color packets. Then they'd build to a countdown to throw the color into the air. It can be a lot of messy fun.


In addition they have photo spots set up where you can get your picture taken with various backdrops and props, themed to the race theme, such as a giant Color Run Pineapple. These were obviously available for before or after, as well as some well received water balloons. If the free snack items weren't enough, there were several food stands available, everything from pulled beef and sausages, to orange aide, lime aide, and the favorite of the day, Hawaiian Shaved Ice.


While I didn't run the race for time, I'm sharing my tracking with you to see the course.

Race Review (tl;dr)

Easy flat course for a fun 5K. Room for improvement, but a good all around experience.

Race grade: B

Check out my review on BibRave

Final Take Away

Did I have a good time?
Yes. We enjoyed ourselves in the heat.

Was it hot?
Soooooo hot.

Would I do it again?
Yes, so long as I have good company again to enjoy it. I'd like to try one at a more enjoyable temperature.

Do you ever run more 'fun runs'?


#BibRavePro

Do you love #bibchat? Do you review races on BibRave.com? Want great perks like this? Then check out the application for becoming a BibRavePro. Applications are currently open on a rolling basis, so apply now! And when you're filling it out, tell them I sent you.

Aug 15, 2016

Performance Glasses for Intense Life: XX2i Australia1 Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the XX2i Australia1 sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

As a kid growing up needing glasses, I always wanted so badly to get to wear some "cool shades" like everyone else. Then, the day came in high school when I got contact lenses, and finally I wasn't on the outside looking in. While I no longer wear contacts every day, I do wear them every time I run. I'm more comfortable that way, and I can then also wear some sunglasses by my favorite brand: XX2i. As a BibRavePro, I've had the lucky opportunity to review the France1USA1 and even the casual style of the Bermuda1. I consider it a very lucky opportunity I've had, and is perfect for me since I love my sunglasses. I recently went on vacation to Florida, and my wife and I both rocked a pair of XX2i every sunshine filled day. When I returned home, I had a brand new pair courtesy of XX2i to try, their newest pair, the Australia1.


What makes these different?

If you follow my blog, and have read the reviews, you may be wondering why review another pair. The reason why is there are a decidedly unique pair from XX2i, different from anything I've shown you so far. XX2i has created a performance pair of glasses that can truly take anything you can throw at them, with two key features. First, they offer an interchangeable temple arm and strap system, ready for your intense activities. With a simple press of a button on each side you can remove the temple arms and click in the comfortable and adjustable strap, keeping your glasses secure no matter how you bounce and shutter. They'll even stand up to a truffle shuffle. Second, they offer a removable padded insert, for added protection against the elements. The insert is also very easy to add and remove from the frame.

How do they feel?

I really like this frame. The frame is a wraparound style, which is one of my favorites. In this pair, the wraparound gives you a wide field of vision, by wrapping the polarized lenses out around the side. The glasses included their 8k optical technology, which means you get the best polarize lens clarity. Ignoring the technical name, I can say everything simply looks good. While the adjustability of these frames comes from the switchable and insertable pieces, they do lose some of the other features you may remember from the other frames. Mainly, you lose the adjustable nose pads. Frankly, this is a simple case of not really being feasible, if you want to have the padded insert. For me, the nose of the frame still fit just fine without any adjustment needed. This may not be the case for everyone, but luckily for you, like all XX2i frames, they have a 365 day return policy for you to find out. I found the frame overall to fit me very comfortably with the normal temple arms or the adjustable strap.


When testing these frames, I knew I'd have no shortage of times to try out the base glasses. However, I was really struggling for a situation where I could really put the strap and padded insert to a test. They seem like they'd be awesome for some water based or winter time activities, but I don't really have access to the water sports or winter right now. Then, as fate would have it, I had a race delayed from the spring that came up this weekend which was a great opportunity to test out both the insert and strap. Enter the Color Run. It may not be normal adverse weather, but flying color powder on a hot sunny day was a perfect test, which the glasses passed with flying colors (pun intended). The sun was beating down and the color was everywhere but my eyes stayed unstrained from the sun and untouched by the color (which got everywhere else). The padding was comfortable, though a little warm. I could feel some sweating from it, though none ended up in my eyes nor did it fog up the lenses. Frankly, it was 110° with the heat index, so everything was sweating.


These performance glasses come at a price above some of the others from XX2i. Frankly, that is to be expected for a high end design such as this. They current sell for $124.99, but you can save 50% with the code XX2iRocks. Yes, that's half off these premium glasses. One of my favorite things about XX2i that I feel I need to mention is the deal you get with every pair: the tank protector case (perfect for a less gentle person or parent with a destructo kid), a soft carrying bag (that is microfiber and therefore doubles as a lens cleaner), free U.S. shipping, the 365 money back guarantee, as well as the no questions asked lifetime warranty.

The Takeaway

Once again, XX2i has impressed me with another pair of glasses. Simply as glasses, I find them comfortable, I love the look of the matte black with the polarized lenses, and they give a crisp, clear, and wide field of vision. Add in the replaceable strap and the removable padded insert, and you go beyond simply glasses. If you're looking for a pair that will stand up to any of life's adventures, no matter how intense things get, these are the pair for you.

#bibchat

This week's #bibchat will of course feature XX2i. Stop by on Tuesday, August 16th at 9pm EST to join in the good times that is bibchat. Interact with the XX2i team, with other BibRavePros, and all the other like minded runners that participate each week. You can plan on a giveaway of these great glasses, as always, so there's always that added bonus.

Discount

Want a pair of your own? Need a pair to stand up to your active life? Inspired to take up something intense thanks to the Olympics? Well you're in luck. Use the code XX2iRocks to save a huge 50% off at www.xx2i.com. Yes, that number is in fact half off your order, so don't delay.


What's your favorite style of sunglasses?


Aug 12, 2016

Five Foods of Disney | #FridayFive

I'm back with another post for the Friday Five linkup. This week's topic is food and drink, a subject I very much enjoy. I recently took a trip to my favorite place, Walt Disney World. While I haven't had a chance to post anything on the blog yet about the trip, I thought I'd take the time to share 5 quick pick of Disney food and drink this week. Enjoy!


1. Giant Jar of Soda - Whispering Canyon Cafe


I'll start with a little something to drink. Ok, maybe not so little. If you ever get a chace to, Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney's Wilderness Lodge is a very fun time. Our server thought I "looked thirsty" so I got this giant mason jar of soda. I of course took it as a challenge, so pushed through and finished it, of course. If you do dine here, be sure to ask for ketchup.

2. Chicken Tikka Masala - Yak & Yeti Restaurant


Next, I'll share my dish from a restaurant from Disney's Animal Kingdom that I feel is sometimes overlooked, but delicious: Yak & Yeti Restaurant. I always love the Thai Chili Chicken Wings as a starter. This time, for my main dish I went with the Chicken Tikka Masala. It was fantastic. It had a bit of a kick (but in a way I liked) that goes great with the naan bread.

3. Dinner and a Show - Teppan Edo


If you'd like some tasty food cooked right in front of you, I recommend checking out Teppan Edo in the Japan pavilion of Epcot. It's your traditional hibachi grill, so you get some great food cooked by the chef at your table, with a little flair. They'll have a little fun when they cook, depending on what you order you might get the dancing chicken or the shrimp in the hat. I went with the beef & chicken combo, which provided a lot of food for a good price. My usual favorite is a grilled swordfish steak, but wasn't available this trip.

4. German Feast - Biergarten Restaurant


One place I've wanted to eat for a while is Biergarten Restaurant in the Germany pavilion at Epcot. It usually just works out that it's not something that interests the group. This trip, that didn't matter as my father-in-law and myself decided we would go anyway just the two of us. Biergarten offers a buffet of traditional german fare, including bratwurst, pork schnitzel, spätzle, apple strudel, and a surprisingly good lemon cheesecake. As you can see, I tried a little of it all, much more than I listed here. I paired it with a flight german beers, which I followed with another stein to go with it.

5. 10 o'clock Ice Cream - Everywhere


Lastly, we have to finish with a family tradition I talked about on the DisDads podcast: 10 o'clock ice cream. It goes like this: you're on vacation, so at 10 am, you can have ice cream. Simple. Direct. Delicious. The key is finding the ice cream carts that are open, but the important part is there are ones open to get your Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar on. As you can see, a tradition loved by all.

What do you like to enjoy on vacation?


Linking Up

Check here for some links out to others sharing, staring with our three lovely hosts: CourtneyCynthia and Mar. Check their posts (Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up for What?! and Mar on the Run to see the full set of links). I will add some others, usually randomly, as I read them to share the love. Go visit and keep reading!

Our hosts:


Jun 17, 2016

Favorite Summer Running Gear | #FridayFive

It's Friday in the summer, which means hopefully sunshine, cool drinks, and the Friday Five linkup. This week's topic is favorites, so I thought I pair it with summer. I've had a bit of a dry spell, but I'm stepping back up my running, and doing so in summer goes better with the right gear. So this week, I'm going to share with you 5 of my favorite summer running gear.


1. Orange Mud HydraQuiver Double Barrel Hydration Pack

I'm going to start with one of the most important things for running in the summer: hydration. It's hot out there and you're going to sweat. To perform your best, you need to get that hydration back into you. You don't want to wait until the end, especially on your long runs. My personal favorite solution for hydration on the go in the Orange Mud HydraQuiver Double Barrel Hydration Pack. I know that's a mouthful, but that's technically the full name. I love if for the comfort of the pack, the convenience of the pockets, and the amount of hydration it carries in its two bottles. I've reviewed several other hydration packs, including the original HydraQuiver and the HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1. The most important thing is having hydration when you need it.

2. Nuun

Going along with #1 is my hydration of choice: Nuun Active Hydration. It steps your water up a notch with electrolytes, clean ingredients, and is low in sugar and calories. Not only that, it is both gluten-free and vegan, if that's something you need. I also love Nuun Energy, which adds caffeine and B-vitamins, and Plus for Nuun, which can add a unique blend of carbohydrates to help fuel you on your long runs (full write up).

Want some Nuun of your own? You can save 30% now through the 21st of June with the code sharethenuun

3. UV Half BUFF

The sun's out in full effect in summer. To me that means two things: sweating (see #1) and sun burn. There's one product that can help with both. I LOVE the UV Half BUFF (review). It's great for keeping the sweat off of my face, which is a huge bother to me otherwise. Second, it protects my ginger head from the sun. That's a real problem you don't want to find out about in the wrong way. I've had that happen with a visor before, and it is tough.

4. Shades

You might notice a recurring theme here: the sun. It really affects what is my favorite gear. #4 on the list is no different. I've protected the top of my head with my UV Half BUFF, but you also need to protect your eyes. Enter the sunglasses. This really goes for all the time, not just when I'm running. I've had the awesome opportunity to test out a couple of pairs: XX2i France1, XX2i USA1, and the Rudy Rydon Carbonium. It's really hard to pick a favorite, and they all get some wear time. I mean, my Rudy transition in the sun for me, the France1 comes with multiple lenses, and the USA1 is a great look. Just wear something that will protect your eyes and make you look good.

Find something you like from XX2i? You can currently save 50% (yes, half off) with the code XX2iRocks

5. Bluetooth Headphones

Lastly, what's summer without some summer jams? Just like #4, this really doesn't need to be limited to running. I love my music, and I highly recommend dropping the cord. My two personal favorite headphones are the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Headphones and the Plantronics BackBeat FIT headphones. My Plantronics are my goto for great sound quality. Not only do they sound fantastic, but they're comfortable and have a great battery life. My AfterShokz have become my goto running headphones, because of their safety factor. They use bone conduction technology, so you hear your music while still being open ear to the environment. It's hard to find that kind of combination that just makes you feel safe while keeping your music playing.

What's your favorite summertime gear?


Secret to my gear

What to know a secret to a lot of the gear I've listed above? If you look at a lot of those reviews, you'll notice a pattern: I received a lot of gear to test as a BibRavePro. It's been an amazing opportunity and group to be a part of. I've discovered some brands that I had previously not known and are now among my favorites. You too can become a BibRavePro. Apply today!

Linking Up

Check here for some links out to others sharing, staring with our three lovely hosts: CourtneyCynthia and Mar. Check their posts (Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up for What?! and Mar on the Run to see the full set of links). I will add some others, usually randomly, as I read them to share the love. Go visit and keep reading!

Our hosts: