Mar 19, 2017

OOoo Child, Your Feet are Gonna Feel Better: Oofos OOclog Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the Oofos OOcloog Project Pink Clog 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!

I couldn't resist a little oldies mixtape lyrics for my title. I had the opportunity to partner with Oofos on their special Project Pink line of their amazing footwear. I actually already own a pair OOAHH Sport Sandal, so when the opportunity to test any of the line, I decided to step outside my box of normal footwear and into a pair of clogs.

What Project Pink?

I actually want to take a moment to first talk about Project Pink and not the product. I believe it deserves first billing here. Project Pink is an Oofos company mission to make a difference. I'll let their words do the talking:
This extends beyond footwear to a cause that strikes way too close to home: the fight against breast cancer.
Duncan Finigan is a long time member of the OOFOS family and was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in October 2014. After Duncan’s diagnosis, it was an easy decision for us to choose breast cancer research as the cause that OOFOS would stand behind.

With every pair of the Pink collection that we sell, OOFOS will donate 100% of the proceeds to Dana-Farber breast cancer research. As one of the world’s leading cancer care centers, the Dana-Farber team works tirelessly to find a cure to help the millions around the world that are affected.
So far, it looks like they've raised about $30,000 of their  $100,000 goal. I think this is such a worthwhile cause and effort, that I wanted to talk about it first. You can read more about Project Pink directly on Oofos

What's the clog all about?

The Oofos OOclog Project Pink Clog is a fantastic little recovery shoe. It's made of OOfoam (self naming, right?) which is made to absorb 37% more shock than other materials. For being a foam sandal, the construction is quite awesome. They have a textured inside that actually cradles your arches, providing support and comfort. The footbed felt natural, while over the top was tight enough to feel secure, but gave enough room if you want to wear them with sock (like when it's freezing like it was for me) you can. One of my favorite things about Oofos is the foam is also moisture resistant and explicitly calls out as shower / beach ready. That makes the sandals a fantastic option to replace your beach day $5 flip flops from Target. You'll have so much more comfort and style. They're also machine washable (though they don't retain smell anyway) and they are so light they float!


The Project Pink line makes the Oofos logo on the side in pink and adds a small pink ribbon. A nice simple touch to show your support while still keeping the slick and simple look. I've given them plenty of wear time and the foam has held up perfectly. They're meant to be quite durable and to hold their cushion, which they've succeeded so far, and I'm a big guy putting a hurting on these shoes. I've even worn them out of the house and there's no visible wear and tear to them at all.

How do they really feel?

Oofos is one of those things that sounds cool, but you think "they can't really make that much difference, can they?" I'll be honest, I was this way too before I got my first pair of the sandals. I'll admit, I only bought them because I had a gift certificate that was set to expire and it was just enough to cover them at not cost to me, so I felt like "what did I have to lose if they don't measure up to the claim?" Now, I know, they're worth every penny. My wife likes to call my sandals my "magic sandals" so I guess that makes these my "magic clip clop clogs".

First, they're very comfortable on my feet. They have just the right amount of cushioning to feel comfortable but not weird. While the foam is cushioning your feet, it's still providing support. The arches feel really good in these and conform nicely to my feet. The clog wasn't too tight and as I mentioned I could even get them on with some socks for the cold, though I prefer them without. I wore them around the house a lot: after some harder runs, after my half marathon, and even after just some rough days of work where my feet were sore. Not only do they feel comfortable to wear, they make a difference.

I'm a big runner. We have our own set of problems (enough that I'm working on a post on this very subject). One of which for me is after my races, the impact on my feet sucks. The pads and whole bottom of my feet will just be all around sore by the end of it all. In my personal experience, this takes about 2-3 days to be back to feeling 100%. After my Rock 'n' Roll DC Half I wore these clogs around the house and out for an errand and the next day my feet were like I hadn't even run. Granted, so other parts of me were still sore, but when I stood up to walk around, I didn't have that aching across the bottoms of my feet that make you walk a little gingerly. That not enough for you? While this review is for the OOclog, I took my sport sandals to Florida with me for the Dopey Challenge. After running my first full marathon, my most difficult physical challenge I've ever faced, one that left me gimping my way back to the car, I spent the remainder of my day and evening in those sandals (as well as 2XU tights). The next day, I was back in the Magic Kingdom for rope drop. While I was still hobbling a little around and not exactly a speed demon, I was wearing my sneakers and they felt just fine. I can't give a bigger test to their product than that.

The Takeaway

I absolutely love this product. I've never been a clog person. I haven't owned any before and frankly never had any desire to either. But these... these I love. Like deep, massaging your feet, kind of love. I'm a huge believer of both my sandals and clogs from Oofos. While I love my sandals as a beach sandal and even a shower sandal for the gym, the clog gets the advantage for any other time. Especially now, when it's cooler and wearing sandals (while even for recovery) would look weird, these just go on and look like shoes. They cover your foot and are unassuming with jeans on. I have no doubt in the technology and design of the foam and the molding of the clog and sandals. They've got it right and it works. There's a reason why these will now only be referred to as my 'magic clip clop clogs'. They've earned that title.  I couldn't more highly recommend Oofos to almost anyone, runner or not. If your feet get sore, you need these. And if you're going to get a pair, why not get a Project Pink pair and contribute to breast cancer research?

How do you recover your feet?


Mar 18, 2017

Spring Ahead with XX2i France2 Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the XX2i France2 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!

If there's one thing I've had the most opportunity to test most as a part of the BibRavePro program, it's sunglasses. Frankly, I love that. There's something about a good pair of shades on a sunny day that I just love. I can't really say what it is, but I do love sunglasses. Maybe it's because I've had glasses since a young age and therefore I never got to wear them, but now I have contacts and I can, but I digress. The very first pair I got to test were the France1. Now, I have for you their evolution: the France2.


What makes these different from the original?

Both the France1 and France2 are half rim sunglasses, featuring interchangeable lenses as well as adjustable temples and nose page. The key difference comes in the lenses themselves. While the France1 lenses rounded in from the edge of the frames, the France2 gives you a larger lens that flairs out a little, giving you a wider area of coverage.

How do they feel?

XX2i has making sport sunglasses down right. The frames are always light but durable. If anything should happen to them, you also have a lifetime warranty to back them up. The France2 come with the adjustable nose pads, which are fantastic to have. I also used to have a problem trying on so many sunglasses just to find the ones that fit just right. When it comes to these, a little squeeze, a little push, and they're sitting on my face just how I want: comfortably and secure.


I love the new lenses of the France2. They fan out and cover more, giving you a better covered field of vision. It's great on those very sunny days, but also when it's windy. Windy you say? Yes, because more coverage means less likelihood that the cross wind gets in behind your glasses and into your eyes. All around, the lenses are fantastic.

How do they look?

The France2 sunglasses are very sporty. That's not to say you can't wear them any time, but that depends on your personal style. I like the sporty look, and works well for me personally to get away with that anytime. I'm not exactly fashion runway ready 😉. I got the Hyper Orange with Orange Flash lenses and White temple tips. These are on the "louder" side, but they are absolutely fantastic with my BibRave gear. I even make a motion that these should be considered the unofficially official BibRave sunglasses (not that I have the kind of power or anything though.


Special Sale (Limited Time)

For a very limited time, you can save 50% off your purchase at XX2i with limited discount code: marchbibrave. The code is valid only until March 28, so act now to save. That's HUGE savings at just the right time to get yourself set for spring and the summer. Don't forget, that comes with 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. And if you need an excuse, just have the Easter Bunny bring them for your basket this year! They'd fit perfectly next to that chocolate bunny.

The Takeaway

While I've loved all the glasses I've tested, these have jumped up the bracket for their wide coverage of lens. No other pair I have matches that field of vision coverage. With XX2i, they always do all the little things right, so it's hard to go wrong. These glasses in particular will be my go to pair anytime I'm running in my BibRave gear and plenty of use otherwise. If you're a half rim kind of sunglasses person, I highly recommend checking these ones out further.

#bibchat

This week's #bibchat will of course feature XX2i. Stop by on Tuesday, March 21st 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.

What's your go to sunglasses?


Mar 15, 2017

Rock 'n' Roll DC 2017 Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon 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!

In 2017, the Rock 'n' Roll marathon series is celebrating 20 years running. This also marks the 6th year for the DC races, which started life as Rock 'n' Roll USA, but now simply bares the title of Rock 'n' Roll DC. I ran the course back in 2014, undertrained and in the rain, so I was ready to get a 2nd crack at the course.

The Expo

The expo was held at the DC Armory.  The Armory is located right nearby RFK stadium, the location of the finish. There were two days of the expo: a half day on Thursday and a full day on Friday. I think having more than one day for the expo, when all the races were on a single day was a nice benefit. I personally went Friday, just after lunch time. Overall, the expo was well organized.

The pick up was very efficient. When you came in, you went downstairs and got your bib, with tables grouped by number. There was an area to adjust your corral, if you felt you should be further forward as well as a short looping video for using the time tag, which is one that loops on your shoe lace, but is a disposable one, so you just loop and stick it together. Then, you went back upstairs and it put you right where you needed to go to get your shirt and gear check bag. One awesome thing that was inside was a $40 coupon for Hello Fresh, a service that gives you everything you need pre-measured to cook at home. I love to cook, so that was a perfect inclusion for me, but I digress.


After the t-shirt pickup area, you were out into the expo area. More specifically, they put you in the large Brooks area with the official Rock 'n' Roll Marathon goods. They even now offer their own Rock 'n' Roll Brooks shoes. I'm not a fan of this year's particular design, but I'm a fan of the concept. Brooks also had a spot for you to take a picture, and if you used the hashtag #runhappydc, it would print your picture for you. This was a cool little thing, but it makes me wonder what all may have come out of that little printer box. Since it is the 20th year, the had a giant banner you could sign, since you're a part of it. This was simple, yet cool. The selection around the expo was a pretty good mix with some bigger names. I didn't personally find too many killer deals, but just browsed lightly. Altra did have good deals on open boxed shoes, so if you found something you liked in your sized, they were only $59. I did get my foot taped at the KT Tape booth for free, as the outside of my right foot had been sore lately and scored a FlipBelt, as my Pixel XL is too large to fit well in my Orange Mud HydraQuiver. Overall, I felt the expo was pretty good, but not overly exceptional.

Pre-Race

Let's start with this: it was cold. Ok, now that we've settled the story of race day, let's move on.

With the Metro Rail SafeTracking, there are no early or late openings for special events. Needless to say, this can cause some problems for things in DC. With the fact that Rock 'n' Roll DC having a full marathon, they are able to keep the course open for longer, and therefore start the half marathon later. If you were running the full marathon, things were a little trickier than normal, but for myself, the half marathon started at 8:30 am, so I was able to take the metro in. I grabbed the first train at 7:00 am, to ensure myself plenty of time.

When I arrived at the Smithsonian stop, the sun was shining bright and there were clear skies on the Mall. There was also a very chilly wind, which I was prepared for. I made my way over to the museums, where there was a line of UPS trucks ready for bag check. I thought this was an awesome way to do it. Trucks were divided based on your last name, so your gear went in, was driven to the finish line, then you'd go find your truck again to get your bag back. I said goodbye to my BibRave hoodie and checked it with the trucks.


In the block between the gear check and corrals, there were both bananas (half frozen from the weather, not kidding) and small water bottles. It was nice to be able to grab a quick banana before, since with the travel in and later start time, it put more time between my waking up / eating and the start of the race. I decided to check out the stage and starting line then make my way back to my corral, all the way back in 22. Back in the cheap seats, there weren't really fully walled off corrals, just number posted, so I just moseyed in with everyone else. Frankly, everyone back there wasn't really bothered by it anyway.

Race Time

I love running in DC. Like many cities, there are such different areas to see. The course was largely the same that I had run in 2014, just with a different extra out and back portion that saved running the bridge across to Arlington and back, which probably saved some brutal chilling winds. I felt really good out of the gate, warm enough with my layers and not hot. Early was nice to have my BUFF® thermal bandana to keep the wind off my face. I kept to my 30 - 30 run - walk intervals. I came prepared to warm up, with a carabiner on my Orange Mud Double Barrel HydraQuiver. At around mile 5 I clipped my bandana on my back and at mile 7, I took my Louva sleeves off and clipped them, thanks to the awesome thumb holes which are convenient for wearing and for clipping.

Mile 6 holds the hardest part of the course: the hill of Rock Creek. It's a winding hill in NW at the almost half way point. It's also an inspiring part. Every year, the hill is lined with people with American flags. Wear blue: run to remember is there to honor the service and sacrifice of the American military. They have signs honoring those who have lost their lives, as a reminder of their sacrifice, but they're there with their flags and amazing words of encouragement to help get you up that hill. Once you reach the top, you're reward with some flat course and the knowledge that you're on the homeward half of the half.


Another nice part of the course is that near the end, you're running straight back towards the capital, before turning away to get to RFK stadium and the finish. I actually made a friend, Lucy, in the last couple miles. We chatted a bit, she too is a comic book geek, and it was her first year in the DC area. At the very end, she had a little more sprint left in the tank than me, but after the finish, was able to high five. I was actually feeling good toward the end, so was able to push myself a little bit harder. I actually had one of my fastest splits in the last mile.

The on course entertainment was pretty good. There was definitely more than I remember than 2014 in the rain, but it still felt dead during the middle portion of the course. The one thing I think they could do to better the on course entertainment would be to run speakers out in either direction from the stage, extending the music on those portions of the course a little more. I'm not sure how technically feasible that may be, especially if there are crossroads, but it would be nice to make the most of the stages you have. I have to say my favorite was the band playing Come on Eileen, perfectly times as I ran up in my kilt.

The course takes you on a nice tour of a portion of DC. You get to start with the museums and monuments, head up the river, see areas of NW like Adams Morgan and running through Howard University, get a view running toward the Capital and then finish up down at the Armory and RFK stadium. I really enjoy the course. It's a good one to pair with some other DC races to see the city on your two running feet. The marathon has a tighter time limit, but the half was given 4 hours, which is a fair bit of time for a race, making this more accessible to runners of all levels.


My official time was 3:16:33. Not as nice as I had hoped for, but not bad, all things considered.

For a full look at my run, see my tracking:
Rock 'n' Roll gives you a fairly comprehensive results page. It includes the standards like your time, placements, and splits, but also more like some charts of your data, links to your photos, badges you "earned", and an "assesment". Mine says I'm a keyboardist, though not sure what that's supposed to mean.


Post Race

One of the best thing about Rock 'n' Roll marathons is the post race concert. They get some good bands and always go for a bigger name headliner. For DC, they had The Family Stone. I'd like to tell you how they were, but I didn't get a chance to see them. With the half starting later, I got to the finish line as they were performing. I did get to hear a portion of their playing, but until I got my medal photo, banana, chocolate milk, and my check bag, they were already finished. It was a little bit of a bummer, but I think the timing was fair. If they races had all started at same time, I would have had an hour and a half of music, so I have no hard feelings. It's just a side affect of the Metro SafeTrack.


In addition to your free snacks and your free beer, you had several food trucks lined up ready to serve your runger. I opted for a quick slice of pizza before heading to the metro. I had a good time, but even with my BibRave hoodie, I was ready to head to warmer places.

Final Thoughts

Early March is a tough time in DC when it comes to weather. There's a lot of variation, evident by the 70° - 20°F swing we had in the week. In the two times I've run this race, I haven't had great luck: chilly and rainy one year and downright cold this year. Even with that, this is still a great race. I love the course for the diverse parts of DC you get to see. Rock 'n' Roll puts on a well organized race with a great course. If you don't mind the dice throw that is the weather, I suggest seeing DC via this race. Be sure to check out my review on BibRave.com and leave your own review for this race or any you've done!

Feb 17, 2017

Jan 20, 2017

Operation Light Up Your Run: Knuckle Lights Rechargeable Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the Knuckle Lights: Rechargeable 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!

My days are often quite full. Fitting in running, generally then means running early. Unfortunately, that often puts me out before the sun. Running in the dark means making yourself safe and making yourself seen. Bright clothes, reflective gear, and most importantly, lights. A good light helps you see where you're going, and help others see you, especially those "others" in cars. Running with a flashlight can be a pain. Holding something in your hand, trying to point it to see in front of you throws you off your natural stride. There is, however, a better way.

The Better Way

The better way to run with a flashlight is with Knuckle Lights. These little beauties are better than flashlights. They're worn on your hand, so nothing to hold. Each hand gets a bright, wide beam, lighting up everything you need in front of you. The first time I used them, I was amazed at the coverage. The feature a wide-flood LED beam with 280 lumens total (140 per light). That is not messing around. They feature an adjustable strap for the hand, perfect for whatever size hand you have, or whatever extra your gloves might add in the winter. In pure infomercial style, I must also say, "but wait, there's more!" They also feature a charging dock and magnetic connection. That means when you're done, they snap together with the magnets and you drop them in the dock and you're ready to go the next time you need them.

How do they work?

I already alluded to how well they work. The 280 lumens and "wide-flood LED" is no exaggeration. The coverage of the light in front of me was fantastic. With one I each hand, I really could hardly notice the movement. When you use a normal flashlight, it's moving around with you no matter how hard you try. With Knuckle Lights, you get a wide coverage area, so as your hands move, between the two of them, you keep great coverage in front of you. It's surprisingly fantastic. They have 3 settings: high, low, and blinking. The last is perfect if you're running in a well lit area, so you might not need them to see the path, but you get that extra safety of being seen.


They adjust well and comfortably to the hand. If you're using gloves, I suggest adjusting them before you go out though, just to avoid the gloved finger fumbling. They're also quite light. The Knuckle Lights site lists them as less than 3 ounces each, making them super lightweight.  In addition to the recharge-ability (which I really appreciate), they're also IPX-6 waterproof, which basically means you should be good to go with whatever mother nature throws at you.


I took these on a bunch of runs, because I generally have to run in the morning if I'm going to get my run in. Unfortunately, right now in the winter that means I'm out and back before the sun's even up. These have been a huge blessing. I do run somewhere fairly well let, but there are a couple of spots with a streetlight out that leaves you guess. Now, I can throw these on and just go. Plus, only the hilly path is well lit. The nice easy flat path is not. Now, at least I can have an easy run if I want some mornings.

3 Special Steps

I've been watching a little bit too much Special Agent Oso lately, so I have the 3 special steps for Knuckle Lights, just like Paw Pilot would give you.

Codename: Operation Light Up Your Run!
Step 1: Drop the lights in the charger.
Step 2: Slide them onto your hands. Here's a tip, you may need to adjust them to fit just right.
Step 3: Turn them on.
Now you're ready to light up your run!


The Takeaway

I'm all about being safe on my runs. Blinking clip on lights, the bright colors, whatever I need. Until recently, I kept a tiny flashlight in the front pocket of my Orange Mud HydraQuiver. Now, I no longer need to do this. These are so so so much better. If you run in the early morning or at night time, these are a great product to have on hand (see what I did there?). Great light coverage, bright, rechargeable, lightweight, they're all around fantastic!

#bibchat

This week's #bibchat will feature Knuckle Lights. Stop by on Tuesday, January 24th at 9pm EST to join in the good times that is bibchat. Interact with the team, with other BibRavePros, and all the other like minded runners that participate each week. You can plan on a giveaway as we always do, so there's always that added bonus for showing up.

Do you run in the dark? Do you carry a flashlight or use something else?


Dec 18, 2016

Sore? Call on Earth's Care! | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the Earth's Care Triple Action Pain Relieving Ointment 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!

Today we're going to talk about a little something every run can relate to: being sore. We beat our bodies over miles and miles, in the cold, in the heat, on days we probably should rest, so we end up sore. Sometimes it's just tired muscles, sometimes it's more, but we all see plenty of it. The latest product I've had an opportunity to test out, is designed to help us all out with this: Earth's Care Triple Action Pain Relieving Ointment.

Well, that's a mouthful!

Well, yes, yes it is. But it's a straight forward description of exactly what it is. It's a simple, easy to use ointment, that you just rub on the sore area, it gives it the old 1-2-3 actions, and you get some temporary relief. Here's their more descriptive text about it:
Earth's Care Pain Relieving Ointment is a powerful blend of three natural ingredients that provide soothing, penetrating natural pain relief from sore muscles, joint pain, backache and minor arthritis. Our proprietary formula features Camphor, Menthol and Wintergreen Oil that together work as an effective analgesic without parabens or phthalates.
It's meant to be a simpler solution for topical pain relief, without parabens or phtalates (two things I had to google) but it's also without artificial colors or fragrances and allergy tested.

How is the triple action?

This is one of those things, that at the right time could get a lot of testing, but at the wrong time, not so much. I had a limited time to test this before sharing with you, but actually had quite a few opportunities to give it a whirl (or rub for that matter). The first was the day it showed up in my mail, I overdid it (as you do) at the holiday party for work where we went to a driving range place with food and drinks (Top Golf). I returned home with a sore outside of my knee (probably due to not hitting golf balls for 2 years and not stretching or anything as well, in the chilly air. Not knowing what to expect, I rubbed it in and within a very short time, almost all of that soreness was gone. Luckily, it wasn't any sort of injury, so the next day, we were back to normal.

The second (and several other tests) were on some on-again-off-again pain I have in my heal. It's hard to describe (and I haven't been able to pinpoint any trigger either) but when it gets sore, it hurts. And oddly, if I sit for too long when it hurts, it actually hurts more when I first get up until a walk for about a minute, then returns to it's normal level of hurt. Luckily, while I can't find a root cause, running seems to have no real effect on it (i.e. not any worse when I run, even when it hurts before I run, heal is the same after. This one was a little harder than the knee because I felt like I wanted to let it dry some before doing anything or putting on my socks. But thanks to rubbing this in, it really made my heal a lot more comfortable. It lasted for a decent amount of time as well, putting it on in the morning I felt pretty good until a little after lunch. Heck, as I type this, I was running around a lot today while visiting my family, and I'm quite sore on my heal, so I've pulled out the ointment and feeling good as I type before I sleep (this will probably get published tomorrow, after I sleeps).

The last  thing I'd like to add is it has a bit of a strong smell. I actually quite enjoy it. I'll describe it this way: I rubbed this into my heal, then, when I walked into the next room to get my sock then turned back around, my 5 year old told me from that next room she smelled gum. So it has a bit of a smell you could call minty. I really enjoy that smell, but for others, it could be a little strong (especially if they don't like that minty smell).

The Takeaway

This product is a very simple product for me to give my opinion on. It's a product made to help you with your aches and pain. I had somes, I used this, those "somes" when away. I also really like the smell. It comes without some things that depending where you read, says they could be harmful (do your own research and form your own opinion on that). In the end, the product worked for me, and I'll be continuing to use it. You can be sure this will be packed in my bag for my upcoming Dopey Challenge. I can't guarantee it will work for you because we're all different, but I can recommend trying this for yourself.

Speaking of Dopey Challenge...

Since I brought up the Dopey Challenge, when I'm running, I'll be running on behalf of Sophie & Madigan's Playground. They're a charity local to me working to build a playground in memory of two little girls who lost their lives in a house fire, so their memory can live on and bring other families joy and happiness. I only ask that you take some time and consider donating.


Now that you've considered, I want to add a little more. Donating to something a nice as this should give a warm fuzzies inside. In addition to that, I'm trying to show my thanks. That's why you can earn rewards for your donations, such as a Disney pin, a postcard with my handwritten thanks, or for two big donators: the opportunity to pick my running costumes. If that's not enough, I'm also hosting a giveaway for every $5 you donate with a huge runners pack, including AfterShokz headphones, XX2i sunglasses, Nuun, and some BibRave gear. Read all about it, and then please please donate.

#bibchat

This week's #bibchat will of course feature Earth's Care. Stop by on Tuesday, December 20th at 9pm EST to join in the good times that is bibchat. Interact with the team, with other BibRavePros, and all the other like minded runners that participate each week. You can plan on a giveaway as we always do, so there's always that added bonus for showing up.

What do you use for your aches and pain?


Nov 29, 2016

A Giveaway for Giving - Donate to Sophie and Madigan's Playground

Today is Giving Tuesday (as I write this), so I'm sharing with you a way I'm helping to give, and a way you can give to others. I recently announced that for the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World this January, I'll be running for a charity: Sophie and Madigan's Playground. When I announced my working with the charity, I offered up some additional reasons to donate, some perks for your donations. I also mentioned that I was working on a giveaway. I'm happy to now share that giveaway with you.

A quick bit about the charity

Sophie and Madigan's Playground is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization created to honor the lives of Sophie and Madigan Lillard. Their mission is an uplifting one, but not without a heartbreaking background.
On January 31, 2013, the Lillard family of Myersville, Maryland was struck by unthinkable tragedy when a horrific house fire claimed the lives of their daughters Sophie and Madigan, killed the family's four pets, destroyed their home and virtually all the family's possessions, and hospitalized the surviving family members.

As Sophie and Madigan's parents struggled to cope with the loss of their daughters, they looked for a way to honor the memory of Sophie and Madigan and pay tribute to the joy Sophie and Madigan brought their family and friends during their too short lives.

Having lost all their possessions, the Lillards were left with no physical reminders of Sophie and Madigan...none of the toys Madigan and Sophie played with, the clothes they wore, their hand drawn pictures and art projects, their favorite books, handmade jewelry...the list goes on and on. The Lillards were struck by the harsh reminder of how important memories are, especially those memories that a family creates together.

At the same time the Lillards were coping with this horrible loss, they were touched by the outpouring of support provided by the greater Frederick County, Maryland community that was rocked by the tragedy.

The Lillards realized that by creating a memorial park and themed playground, they could create a place that honors Sophie and Madigan in a way that reflects their personalities and spirits, while at the same time provide the community with a place where children and their families could build memories together that last a lifetime.

The Lillards created Sophie and Madigan's Playground in June 2013 to honor the lives of Sophie and Madigan by providing opportunities for children and their families to play, learn, and create lifelong memories together.
Having two children of my own makes the mission of this charity personal to me. I think giving other children and families happiness is a great way to honor the memory of Sophie and Madigan.

The Fundraising

In racing for Sophie and Madigan's Playground, I have a fundraising goal for $1,100. You can help by donating on my runner page. While the good this money will do for the mission of the organization is reason enough to donate, I'm going to offer you additional incentives, in a Kickstarter "perks"-like fashion. Based on levels you donate, I'm going to offer you some extra rewards as my personal thank you.

Every $5 == Giveaway Entry
First and foremost, I'm offering a giveaway to any donors of at least $5. For each $5 you donate, you'll earn an entry for a giveaway package, to be drawn in conjunction with Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. That means $5 gets you 1 entry, $10 gets you 2, and so on (maths people). Here's what you can win so far:


BibRave Trucker Hat + BibRave Tattoos
I'll start you off with the first items donated to me, from the team at BibRave. As you know, I'm an ambassador for BibRave and BibChat as a BibRavePro. I've had a lot of great opportunities teaming up with this fantastic group of people. They were the first to offer up items for my raffle. Thanks to the BibRave team, you can be sporting this awesome BibRave Trucker Hat as well as some BibRave temporary tattoos. (Image from https://squareup.com/market/bibrave/item/bibrave-trucker-hat-limited)


XX2i Gift Certificates
Next up, one of my favorite brands, which you've seen featured many times on this blog: XX2i. This awesome eyewear brand has given me several gift certificates good for a free pair of sunglasses of your choice! Pick the frame and color you want most. Since I have several of these, I may use some as early giveaways as we build towards our giveaways, so the earlier you donate, the more chances you'll have to win a pair. You could choose from many that I've written about (shown below): France1, USA1 (my wife's favorite), Bermuda1, Australia1 (my goto running glasses), Brazil1 (my goto everyday), or one of the frames I haven't personally tried out yet.



AfterShokz Trekz Titanium
Another of my favorite products that I use almost every run are my AfterShokz headphones. I love these headphones because they give me my music (without wires) on my run but also keep me safe with their unique, advanced, open ear design. You can read my full thoughts from my review written earlier this year but the tl;dr version is best way to have your music without compromising your safety. AfterShokz has provided me a pair to give away to you, in the same color I rock regularly: Ivy (green / black). Plus, they're bluetooth, so if you have a phone that ditched the headphone jack, they've got your back.


The Square: Clean Bottle
The next product I have for you is pretty unique in that you can't currently buy it, only back it on Kickstarter. It's The Square. It's a large, 32 oz bottle. It's square, so it won't go anywhere if it falls. It's got a convenient handle built into the top. Plus, one of my favorite features, the bottom also screws off for easy cleaning. I hate trying to get the bottle of a water bottle clean. It's even BPA-free and comes with a lifetime guarantee. You can win one here with your donations to Sophie and Madigan's Playground or go back the Kickstarter right now. Or do both. (Image from https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1793909617/the-square-bottle-32oz)


Donated by Me:

Nuun
I wanted to throw in a couple items myself to the raffle, to share with you more of what I love. To start, I'm going to throw in some of my hydration of choice: Nuun. I'll be giving you an assortment of 4 different tubes, including a tube from my stash of can't be bought Kona Cola. I'll also throw in an individually packaged trial of Plus for Nuun, great for adding some carbs to your hydration for your longer runs.


Walt Disney World Mystery Item
Lastly, I'll be giving you a little something from the Disney Parks. While I'm in the magical happy place of Walt Disney World for the races, I'll also pick up one last item to add into the raffle. What will it be? You'll have to wait to find out.


Want to win? Go donate now!

The Other Perks

I've already written all about the perks you can get for your donation. These are little ways for me to say thank you to everyone, since only one person can win the big giveaway. Below is the quick version, or read the full post.

$1: Website Thank You
Every donation will come with a heartfelt thank you on my website.

$10: Social Media Shoutout
The next reward is also electronic, but I'll shout my thanks to the internet beyond my site and into the world of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even reddit if I need to!

$25: Disney Trading Pin
I'm going to offer you one of my own assorted pins, as a thank you for a donation of $25.

$40: Postcard from Walt Disney World
For the next level of donation, I'm going to offer you one fun bit of mail, a postcard direct from Walt Disney World, sent with my personal handwritten thanks.

$150: Pick a Race Costume (first 2 donors)
One thing I love about runDisney is the number of race costumes. For this perk, you pick what my costume will be and I'll find a way to make it work. This offer is up for grabs for up to 2 people who donate at least $150. Of course, I'll also throw in ALL the other perks above and plenty of thanks (and photographic evidence!).

How to Donate

Donating is easier than obtaining a FastPass for Frozen: Ever After! All you need to do is head over to my runner's page and selecting "Sponsor Me". Then, all you have to do is fill out your information and decide how much you want to donate. Submit and you're done! You've helped me and, more importantly, you've helped out Sophie and Madigan's Playground.

Now, some of my perks require me sending you a little something or needing your social media account. So, for all of these, you'll need to drop me a line. You can choose to send me a message via Twitter, Facebook, or an email via john at rungeekrundisney.com. Since I don't control the page you donate through, this is the easiest way to ensure I get your information.

Thank you for reading all the way through and thank you so much to all of you who donate!



UPDATE: I'm also linking up with Running with SD Mom and Erica Finds for the Wednesday Giveaway Round Up, so go check out their other giveaways for chances to win.