May 23, 2018

Best Sunglasses Yet? Rudy Rydon Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the Rudy Rydon Carbonium sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I've reviewed a lot of sunglasses over my time on my blog. I love them, they're a small but important part of your running gear. It's important to protect your eyes. While I've tested casual and sporty glasses, none compare to my Rudy sunglasses.

Who is Rudy Project?

Rudy Project is the creation of Rudy Barbazza with the purpose to "improve the performance of athletes all over the world". They do research into advanced materials and technologies to make the best products they can to increase and elevate your performance. They're all about technology and science. They even offer a page on their sunglass technology. Every tiny detail is engineered, from the anti-slip temples to the optimal axis of the lenses. You might know from other reviews, I love good design. I appreciate engineering. I'm a geek, so when you strive to make technological advancements in every little detail, you have my interest.

How do they feel?

The Rudy Rydon Carbonium are like any other glasses I own. They are extremely lightweight, weighing in at just 0.88 oz. Even at under an ounce, they feel very sturdy. The lenses are also amazing quality. My glasses have the photochromic lenses, and they change very quickly in the sun. Not only do they change quickly in the sun, when heading back indoors, the go back to clear quickly enough that I didn't even need to remove them. In fact, couple that with how light they are, and I may have forgotten I had them on, in more than one occasion. The glasses fit perfectly, the photochromic lenses work wonderfully, and they all around feel great.



The photochromic lenses are perfect for early morning runs or overcast days. Running early, it can sometimes be dark when I leave. By the time I return, the sun has come up. With these lenses, I can throw on my glasses and start running. When the sun decides to say good morning, my lenses are ready. On partly cloudy days, they keep me from needing to put glasses on and off during my run. The lenses were always perfect clarity, whether it's early morning, bright afternoon sun, or anywhere in between.

The glasses also have a lot of safety related technology. The impactX lenses are designed to be unbreakable. They also protect your eyes with 100% UVA/UVB protection. Rudy is leading name in research and development in fully advanced helmets and sunglasses for complete fall protection.

The Takeaway

These are hands down the best sunglasses I own for sport. I'm not going to wear them out for a day on the beach, but nothing else compares when it comes to sport. They have superb engineering and design, great technology, feel and work great. I cannot recommend these enough.

May 15, 2018

GODSPEED - The Race Across America | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received an advanced preview of the GODSPEED documentary to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Who has two thumbs and loves movies? This guy. I have a wide variety of interests: comedies, action flicks, family films, super hero movies. I also enjoy a documentary when done well. Who doesn't like a true story, especially if you don't have to look up what was true and what was embellished, when you're watching something "based on a true story". I got the opportunity to watch such a film: GODSPEED. You too can see this great story in just one week, May 22, in theaters.

What is GODSPEED?

GODSPEED is a riveting documentary of the story of Jerry Schemmel and Brad Cooper in their quest to win the 2015 Race Across America ultra cycling competition. This is not just a cycling race. It's 3000+ miles, 24 hours a day, across 12 states.


I have to say, their story is an amazing story. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll share their description first.
The inspiration to overcome breathes life into “GODSPEED” as it chronicles a first-time race team – Jerry Schemmel, noted author, speaker and sportscaster for the Colorado Rockies and Brad Cooper, a four-time Iron Man triathlete – as they compete 24 hours a day for seven days covering 3,000 miles of deserts, mountains and plains overcoming physical exhaustion, sleep deprivation and extreme mental anguish competing in the world’s most difficult cycling race – The Race Across America. Pedaling 168 hours non-stop across 12 states from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans, Schemmel and Cooper embark on the journey of a lifetime - a race that would provide an extreme test of physical endurance and dependence on faith, all for the greater purpose and personal calling to raise money for the orphans of Haiti.
They faced so many challenges: physical, mental, meteorological. Follow along as they push through on an extreme race pushing them to their limits. This was also about more than just the race. They were raising money for building orphanages in Haiti, which they raised over 50K for. I really enjoy following them, not knowing the result and worried for them at times. I highly recommend getting yourself a ticket to see their journey.

Watch the trailer now!

Get Your Ticket

You still have time to get your ticket. GODSPEED will be shown in theaters Tuesday May 22nd. Check out the site to find a theater and get your tickets for this Fathom Events.

Mar 24, 2018

Support Yourself: KT Tape Review | #BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received a KT Tape to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

We all get bumped up over time. Some of use even get busted up. When those times happen, you just need a little extra support and a little relief. One strong option to give a try is KT Tape. Read on for more plus a great discount.

What is KT Tape?

KT Tape is an elastic sports tape. It is designed to relieve pain and support your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. How does it work you ask? Well, I'll leave it, best said to those who make it:
When an area of the body is injured through impact or over-use, the lymphatic fluid builds up causing inflammation and swelling. This accumulation of lymphatic fluids may cause increased pressure on muscles and tissue which can cause significant discomfort or pain.

It is believed that when applied correctly, KT Tape lifts the skin, decompressing the layers of fascia, allowing for greater movement of lymphatic fluid which transports white blood cells throughout the body and removes waste products, cellular debris, and bacteria.
KT Tape is made to reduce pressure to the tissue and may reduce discomfort or pain. When applied correctly, the taping also provides support to muscles improving their ability to contract and helps the muscle to not over-extend or over-contract.

Lots o' Tape

There are so many types of KT Tape to fit your personal needs. I was lucky enough to get to test several of the varieties for you. I want to give you the basics about some of your options, to help you find what may work best for you. All of the tapes are available in precut strips with rounded corners, to make application easy.

KT Tape Cotton

This is the original KT Tape. This cotton based tape is designed to last for 1 - 3 days through multiple workouts. It is also designed to stay on in water. I prefer some of the stronger varieties, but there's nothing wrong with a classic. It's great when you need that extra support that you'll get with KT Tape, but don't require or want as long of an adhesive time or strength.

KT Tape Pro

This tape is one I know well and have used periodically over the past several years. This is the tape you want for more support and to put up with your tougher workouts. It is the world's only 100% synthetic kinesiology tape. It's designed to last up to 7 days when applied correctly and will stand up to several tough workouts, showers, humidity, and even the pool. This tape I can say I've thoroughly tested on my wife and myself on feet, knees, backs and more, all to great success.

KT Tape Pro Wide

The wide tape is the same synthetic Pro tape we've just talked about, but with twice the width. This is designed on purpose for targeting the lower back, shoulders and other large muscle groups like your quads. It measures 4" wide by 10" long in pre-cut strips. Even with it's wide with, it's designed to last for 4 - 7 days of wear. I tested this on my wife's lower back. It worked well, but applying it is a little tricky. I'm used to applying the normal width tape and with some practice I'm sure this will get easier. I think this would be fantastic the next time I need it for shoulder muscle pain.

KT Tape Pro Extreme

This is the suped up version of the Pro tape. It's made with an extra strong adhesive to take the roughest and toughest workouts and the most extreme conditions. It's water resistant and make for 4 - 7 days of wear. The adhesive is designed "to help with adhesion during strenuous activity through extreme conditions including wet conditions, high heat, high humidity or oily skin." I've tested this tape and love it as well. Sometimes you may be applying tape to get through a workout or a weekend, but sometimes you really want it to last. This is the tape for you. We've taped my wife's knee with this tape and it lasted a full week of activity, showers, and kids successfully with no issues.

KT Tape Gentle

The last tape I tested was their Gentle Tape. This special tape is 100% latex free and designed with gentler adhesive for easier removal. It's ideal for those with sensitive skin. It's still designed for 1 - 3 days of wear and stand up to lighter workouts, providing the same support and elasticity to your muscle.

Tips for Application

It's important to know that proper application can make all the difference, so it may take some practice. While it may take several tries before you fully get the hang of it, there are some steps you can take to improve your application.

1. Clean the area for application.
1.b. If it's extra hairy, consider shaving the area.

2. Follow the directs from beginning to end before starting to apply, so you're prepared.

3. Rub the tape afterwards. The friction helps the adhesive set.

Get Some Tape and SAVE

Want some KT Tape for yourself? Save with promo code BIBRAVE30 and get 30% off your order! This offer is amazing and one of the best discounts I've seen on KT Tape.

Feb 16, 2018

Your New Running Experience: UA HOVR Sonic Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received a Under Armor HOVR Sonic running shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Under Armor is a brand I enjoy. I've always had good experiences with their gear, feeling high quality. However until now my experiences have been limited to clothing apparel. For this reason, I was really excited to get a chance to try out a pair of their running shoes.

Tell me about the shoes

The shoes are from their newest (as in just released) HOVR line. I in particular got to put the HOVR Sonic through their paces, which they reported to me on (more on that later). The features of the shoes truly are the latest in shoes. They have a "compression energy web" that molds with the UA HOVR foam to bounce back and return energy to you. Not only are the materials and design high tech, so are the heels. Or more specifically, in the heels. The UA HOVR shoes are connected shoes, collecting data on your run and then syncing that data back to your phone.

Tell me how they feel

These shoes feel great. I'll start with one of my interestingly favorite parts of the shoes: the top. The microthread upper is light, it breathes, and has this compression like feel to it. It feels very natural wrapping around the top but has a good grip to it that I really like. The breathe really well, so I'm looking forward to how this feels in the summer, as I've been using these through a chilly spell here in Virginia. The cushion of the shoe is comfortable as well. It feels good on the foot, great while running, no rubbing, hot spots, or soreness after. I took the shoes through a bunch of short runs and they felt great every time. Unfortunately, I didn't get to take them on longer runs, since that's just not where my level of fitness is right now. As we get into the spring, I'll be sure to give them more distance to see how they hold up.

Tell me about the technology


Being the big geek that I am, I love that these have tech and connect to my phone. Syncing them up was super easy with the Under Armor Map My Run app. From there, they immediately updated my shoes. I must say, that was a first, even for me. After that, you're ready to go. They even offer up a jump test. This helps set a base line for you, so that you can perform it with your runs to see your level of fatigue. This is also a really cool feature of the shoes and the app combined. With the shoes, you get a full year of Map My Run MVP, which is their premium features of the app. This offers a lot of cool features, but some of my favorites are power analysis, cadence analysis, and training plans.

You can run with the shoes one of two ways. You can use Map My Run to track your run, which will use the GPS of your phone while also tracking the data from your shoes. Additionally, you can run without your phone and sync the data afterwards, which is a cool option especially if you use a GPS watch. I love looking at all the extra data in the app. I may not always know what to do with it, but I love the most amount of data I can get. Looking at the cadence is really interesting. Since I use the run walk run method, my cadence has a lot of variability in it, but in reality, it's great because it's easy to visualize my run cadence and walk cadence. It also makes it easy to identify any areas I was going a little slower, maybe daydreaming during my walk portions, which I am apt to do.

Tell me the big picture

In the end, these are a great pair of running shoes. I love the connected tech and all the extra data. I do enjoy that I can still track with my watch, but then sync and get the extra data afterwards. They're very comfortable and I love the breathability. I look forward to testing these out in warmer temperatures and over longer distances, to see how they work out for me. My only hold back on them is I was given the white model, which I've been trying way to hard to keep looking good. I'm not a white shoe type of person. Once I get past that, we'll be good, haha.

Jan 24, 2018

Athlinks: Build Your Race Profile | BibRavePro

Do you have a great home with all of the races you've run and how you've done? Do you have a place that celebrates all of those accomplishments? Do you have a way to see all this, without crunching data found in columns and rows upon rows of a spreadsheet? Can you find your rivals across races and boost your competitive side? Would you like to?

Enter Athlinks.

What is Athlinks?

"But what is Athlinks?" I hear you saying. In one line, they say it best
Athlinks is the best way to track all of your race results in one place.
Athlinks offer a community where you can build out your runner profile. Registering was quick and easy. Once you have a profile created, you can easily claim your race results from years past. I'm not exaggerating. When I first logged it, it showed me 27 potential results.


All I had to do was click and claim which ones were me. As it turns out, there is another John Niedzwiecki up in New England, which is not me but was also one click to dismiss them. The results went all the way back to my very first race back in 2013, the Rockstar 8K!


It was super easy to go through and claim all my results and give a pass on those that are not mine. Once that was complete, I had a nice profile chock full of races and stats, resulting in this nice summary of my racing accomplishments, including personal records and racing statistics.

Community

Athlinks creates their own community around their motto of "Compete. Connect.". It's very easy to find and connect with others. You can add others as friends, finding people near you or those you already know (like me).


Adding friends is great, but then Athlinks will start showing you your rivals. It will show you people you've raced against from your friends, giving you a win-loss record. From there you can look into your competition deeper, seeing individual races and your time differential.


I see rivals sort of like a "friendly archnemis" and I like that. My most embattled so far would be Katie, who I'm currently losing to. I'll have to change that in the future 😉

Plan 2018

Another great thing you can do is select your upcoming races. You can let your friends (and rivals) know where you'll be. It's easy to search for event. You can start by clicking into the search box and quickly finding races by name with autocomplete. Otherwise, you can also select "Events" from the "Quick Links" to provide you a larger search interface.


From here, you can use date range, location, and categories to find any of the events you want to race. When you find the race you'll be running, you can click the name to view the details of the event. You can browse past years results and even filter by name and bib number. For the upcoming races, you can "Join The Start List" on the right hand side. From there, you can select the race if there's multiple distances, add a goal time, and set a goal or other message.


Once that's done, it will appear on your profile and for your friends under "Friend's Upcoming Events". It's a great way to see where people are planning to run, and maybe decide to join your friends on the road or trails.

Takeaway

This is a great new site, in my opinion. I love seeing my race results without needing to manually put it all together on my own. I love data but I love automation as well. It's fun to connect with friends and my fellow BibRavePros. Just like BibRave helps me to discover new races through reviews, this helps me discover races through my friend, which means you also don't need to run alone. Sign up today, join me, and check it out for yourself.


Dec 20, 2017

Training Tips: WDW Marathon Weekend | #CignaRunTogether

One of my all time favorite race weekends is Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna. You have four races to choose from, two challenges, and four theme parks to see and run through. It holds a special place for me, not just because of my love of Disney but because it was my first half marathon ever back in 2014 and my first (and only) marathon in 2017. While I won’t be able to attend the weekend this year I was given some materials from Cigna, who sponsor the race weekend, which is why I fully listed it out as “presented by Cigna”. I think the resources they shared are really useful, so I thought it’d be interesting to share them with you leading up to the races.

Training Tips

Let's start with an important one: training. It's important to have a plan and stick to it. What a training plan looks like for everyone will differ person to person. The important thing to do is find a plan that works for you and stick to it. If you're running this marathon weekend, we'll assume you're pretty far into training. If you haven't been training, I've been there and good luck.

If you're running your first race, this article on preparing for your first race is a good quick read. The most important tip imho for everyone is to remember to have fun.

Cigna has 10 training tips for you, great for any race and training.


Next, let's look at some tips for getting the finish. Important for those of you who have trained... and if you haven't.


I hoped the tips help you out in your training. Come back for more tips. Upcoming will be nutrition and healthy recipes.

Nov 18, 2017

Healthy Warrior Chia Bars Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received a Healthy Warrior Chia Bars to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I struggle sometimes to find healthy snack. It's important to have something healthy and easy. The latest product I received the opportunity to try is Healthy Warrior Chia Bars. I'll open with some honesty, I was a little hesitant about the bars. I was not sure if I would actually like the chia. However, I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

What did I get to try?

I received two flavors of bars to try: chocolate peanut butter and vanilla almond. They're a great healthy choice. They're full of the "good stuff". They are certified gluten-free, non-GMO project certified, soy free, dairy free, and 100% vegan. They're low in sugar, high in fiber, and include protein to help keep you full. That's a whole lot of good stuff in a ~100 calorie package.

How did they taste?

As I mentioned, I was hesitant but pleasantly surprised. The chocolate peanut butter is good. I'm not going to say it tastes like a candy bar, but for as healthy as it is, it is quite tasty. It's just enough sweetness to make it not fully taste like the super health bar that it is. The second flavor, vanilla almond, is also tasty. I don't know that I necessarily taste almond, but it was a good and a little more subtle flavor.


The one thing with both of them for me that I wasn't 100% all about was the texture. The little tiny chia bits makes for a different texture. It's not bad, just different. I'm not huge on it, but very it makes for a very healthy and tasty bar.

The Takeaway

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with them. Texture aside, I enjoyed the bars. I quickly found these being a go-to snack for me during the work day. They're quick, easy, healthy, and fit well into my food tracking. I've tried plenty of "healthy" foods before to various levels of tasty. These are definitely higher on the list, with probably the best tasty to healthy ratio with how super healthy they are. I am happy I took the chance to try out these bars.

Freebie

Who doesn't like a freebie? Well, if you order now, you can get a free coloring book if you follow the this special link and order. It's a fun runner's coloring book just for you. If you can't even think of the last time you colored, you'd be surprised how relaxing it can be.