Jun 16, 2017

Come on Pretty Mama: XX2i Bahamas1 Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the XX2i Bahamas1 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!

Just like my last review on the blog, this post is about another of my favorite brands: XX2i. XX2i started with fantastic sport glasses, many of which I've reviewed with you here on the blog. Recently, they've expanded their offerings into casual lines of sunglasses. They brought their fantastic lens and knowledge to make great glasses for on the go. The latest pair I've been given the opportunity to put to the test are the Bahamas1.
Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take ya
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama

What do these frames offer?

The Bahamas1 is one of their "fashion-forward" line. The frame is a more rectangular shape. They come standard with polarized lenses with 100% UVA and UVB Protection. They also are made with their "8K optical technology" cutting glare and providing great clarity. The frames are lightweight but durable, something XX2i is good at. They come with their standard harder case which I usually keep in my bag or car as well as microfiber cleaning cloth case, which is usually in my pocket for cleaning and quick storing.


I took a little leap for me in selecting the matte white / black with polar grey lenses. I say a "little leap" because a two toned frame like this is a little different for me, the kind I always like the look of but never think I can "pull off". But, I decided to expand my options.

How are the glasses?

The frames are great. Light, durable, sleek. I was worried looking at them they might not be quite wide enough for my head, but they fit comfortably. XX2i knows how to make lenses. Great in the bright sun or even when it's just a little bright. They have great clarity and the polarized lens are fantastic. Overall, the feel good, work great, and look quite stylish.


I had the opportunity to put these glasses through their paces in the Virginia sun and with another trip to Florida. They worked great. I had bright sunny days, days where it was bright but grey, and everything in between. I took them on walks around the neighborhood, around Walt Disney World, and in the car. Every time and every way, the lenses worked great. I even wore them during my 12 hour drive from Florida to Virginia, and they stayed comfortable throughout the drive.

Special Sale

For a limited time, you can save 50% off your purchase at XX2i with limited discount code: xx2irocks. I love that they offer this code up through BibRave, because it is such a fantastic deal. That's HUGE savings at just the right time to get yourself set for 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. Protect your eyes in the summer sun! 🌞

The Takeaway

The last pair of casual glasses from XX2i I reviewed, the Brazil1, became my go to every day pair. Now that I have these, it's not such a clear cut decision. While those are my more classic style of glasses I like, these are a little more modern, but have the same great lenses. It really comes down to what mood I'm in now. They're comfortable, they stand out, and most importantly, they protect my eyes. Having worn glasses since I was a kid, I'm always looking to do whatever I can to protect my eyes. Protect your eyes... but there's no reason you can't look good while you're doing it. As a Goofy Movie teaches you: Stand Out!

#bibchat

This week's #bibchat will of course feature XX2i. Stop by on Tuesday, June 20th 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 on the go?


Jun 2, 2017

BUFF your Arms: UV Arm Sleeves Review | BibRavePro

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

It's no secret I love BUFF products. I'm a huge fan of their headwear for both hot and cold. Especially now, all summer long you'll find me in my UV Half BUFF UV Multifunctional Headband. When the chance to test a brand new type of product came up, I jumped at the opportunity. I'm super excited to share my experience with the BUFF UV Arm Sleeves.

What are the arm sleeves?

Arm sleeves are what they say: sleeves for your arms. These particular sleeves have a lot of great component to them, in true BUFF multi-use style. First, they have strategically placed reflective elements to help you be seen in low-light conditions. Second, they have UPF 40+ sun protection. Third, the slightly smaller elastic upper keeps the sleeves in place no matter the movements. Lastly, are the materials. It's a highly breathable polyester that is moisture wicking with a four-way stretch. This makes it great as a thin layer to keep the chill off but also wick the moisture in the heat. It's also antimicrobial, to help control odors.

Are the comfortable?

The sleeves are great. The material is quite comfortable. It's lightweight, smooth, and fits well. I'm on the bigger side of the sizing, but the tops weren't too tight. These are the first arm sleeves I've had that stayed in place no matter what. I usually have the problem they either slip down or the tops roll down during my run. These had just the right amount of snugness to stay in place but not feel uncomfortable. They fit the arms and keep their shape well.

Are they hot?

Sleeves are common for wearing when you want to keep the chill off but don't want long sleeves. The sleeves performed well there, as expected on chilly morning runs. The nice thing about these sleeves is that they're for more than just the cool weather. The sun protection is something I personally love. Being a redhead, I burn easily. Wearing sunscreen for my runs is a must for me, but also a pain. If I can have an area covered that is one less place for sunscreen, count me in. In my warmer temperatures, I didn't feel these too hot. Yes, it's warmer than nothing, but not overly hot. It also probably helped that my particular ones are white, a good choice for the sun. I didn't try it in too high of temperatures as I had hoped, but we got a cooler spell for this time of year. You should check back for an update as we get into the summer. My plan for when it is hotter to load them up with some ice. Sure, it will be a wet mess, but a cooler wet mess.

The Takeaway

These sleeves are great. I've owned several other pairs from other companies and none have compared to these. They're the most comfortable and best fitting I've had. They fit well, even on my larger and less conventional (for a runner) body. They were good on chilly mornings but also as the temperatures warmed up. They even kept this ginger from getting any sunburn (no small feat).

#bibchat

This week's #bibchat will feature BUFF and the UV Arm Sleeves. Stop by on Tuesday, June 6th 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 with bibchat, as always, so there's always that added bonus.

Do you use arm sleeves? How do you protect from the sun?

May 15, 2017

Race Schedule: Clarendon Day Run | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Clarendon Day Run 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'm super excited to announce some races I've added to my summer and fall schedule. The next race I'd like to share with you is a local race here to the DMV (DC - Maryland - Virginia): the Clarendon Day Run.

Clarendon Day Run

The Clarendon Day Run is a set of races that are part of a series of races put in by Pacers Running, a local chain of running stores. The festivities include a 5K, 10K, and a Kids Dash. You can even sign up for the double to run both the 5K and 10K. The races are part of the the Clarendon Days Festival, celebrating the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, VA. The races take place in September 24th, starting at 8am.

The courses are supposed to be fast. There is an hour between the start of the 5K and the 10K, so if you want to run both, you need to make it the mile and a half to the start line after completing the 5K. I'm working this summer to increase my speed in hopes I can run both races. The distance is not a problem, just making it back to the top of the hill by 9am. I'll be doing some summer time speed work to improve myself.

The registration includes a t-shirt, refreshments, medals, and even some drink tickets for local establishments. On top of that, you can stick around for more fun in Clarendon after.

Sign up now and join me for some festival running! Run one or run them all. Save $5 with the code 17ccrBibRave

Apr 30, 2017

Race Schedule: Crystal City Twilighter | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Crystal City Twilighter 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'm super excited to announce some races I've added to my summer and fall schedule. The first race I'd like to share with you is a local race here to the DMV (DC - Maryland - Virginia): the Crystal City Twilighter.

Crystal City Twilighter

The Crystal City Twilighter is 5K part of a series of races put in by Pacers Running, a local chain of running stores. The race takes place July 22nd, in Arlington, VA. Now, before you say "why?!?!" to running a race in Virginia in July, what makes this different is that it takes place at 8:30 pm. That's right, this is a midsummer's night jaunt through Crystal City.

This will be my first time running this race, or any Pacers event. I'm quite excited to run in Arlington and for a night time race. I've always wanted to run at night. I'll have to come up with something good to do involving lights or glow sticks, because that's just how I am.

The registration includes a t-shirt, refreshments, glow sticks, and even some beer tickets for local establishments. Looking at 2016, it even includes free photos.

Sign up now and join me for some night time summer running! Save $5 with the code 17cctBibRave

Apr 16, 2017

Elite Peace of Mind: Road ID Wrist ID Elite Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the Road ID Wrist ID Elite 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 my last review mentioned, I try to be a very safety conscious runner. I do everything I can to be safe, but you also even need be prepared and have peace of mind. Enter Road ID.

What is Road ID?

The inspiration for Road ID came from way back in the fall in 1999. One of the co-owners was inspired by the combination of his father's request to "be safe" and a black pickup truck that came a little too close (the full story). Since then, and to this day, they're on a mission to save lives. Should heaven forbid anything happen to you while out on a run, having a Road ID on means your family can be contacted, and first responders can have vital information about you they may need. They have a page full of testimonials of real customers who found themselves in need. With Road ID, you can have that extra peace of mind.

Road ID is a company out to make a difference. First, their product was developed to help people when they need it the most. They also go beyond that. The have an ecrumbs app, targeted at letting your family know where you are, so they can know you're ok. End up turning a 4 mile run into 7 because you feel good? They don't need to worry because they can pull up the tracker and see you're still going strong (I've been there, they get mad). When you have watches, some of them offer a live tracking feature, but I found it hard to find that in the smartphone app marketplace before I had my watch. It can even send out stationary alerts, meant to provide an alert to someone if you stop for more than a specified amount of time, which could be a sign of a problem. It doesn't replace the need for the physical ID, because in an accident, your phone will likely be damaged, but it can give them some peace of mind on your behalf. Lastly, I'd like to mention something during their purchase process. They donate a portion of the sales to a charity of your choice from their list. You don't have to add anything for the charity to get a donation, though you're welcome to do so. It's a great way they give back, and a small thing that makes me love them as a company.


They offer a wide range of IDs. You can chose from four different wrist IDs, two to wear around your neck, one for your ankle, two for your shoes, two for your dogs, and if you have a wearable, IDs that fit your Apple watch, 13 different Garmin devices, 7 fitbits, and one Polar device.

What makes it so 'elite'?

I received the Wrist ID Elite to test and review. The Elite comes in three styles: classic, rugged, and black edition. The classic comes with a plain flat faceplate, the rugged has an outer raised border, and the black edition comes in a black matte finish with engraving with a hint of gold. While I like the look of the black matte, I prefer silver over gold, so I instead went with the rugged edition. I love the little extra touch the rugged faceplate gives the ID.


The band is what makes this ID stand out from the others available. You can have either a silicone or leather band with a watch-style buckle. The silicone band comes in one of six solid colors or five dual "black collection" colors. For the leather band, you can choose black or brown. The sleek style gives it a look that will work for everyday wear if you want, not just on the run.

What do you get?

I'd like to take a little time to talk about the packaging. I'm big on the little things, and Road ID does the little things right. The Wrist ID Elite comes in it's own tin, with the band and faceplate inside. The tin is perfect for some reuse for holding some tea bags for myself in my desk at work. Inside the package, I also got a nice little card from Keith J, who prepared my Road ID. It's a nice little touch, with just a bit of humor, but also gives you the contact information to reach out right away should something not be right. Additionally, on the back is a coupon "Redeemable for One (1) Free Bear Hug at Road ID HQ", and it has a footnote of "from an actual bear. He works in the warehouse. Great hugger". I'll be holding onto this in case I ever get the opportunity to try and redeem it.

The Wrist ID Elite is one size fits all. You get a long band that you trim to just the right size. I went with a silicone band, which was easy to work with. I took my time, taking little by little off until it was just right. It was easy to do, if not a little time consuming. Of course, I was extremely scared of trimming too far, so probably trimmed it many more times that I could have skipped. In the end, I did get it just right.


The last additional thing I got was a badge. Road ID helps you customize your ID further with small badges with either a small picture or text. There are a lot of cool looking ones that made it hard to pick from. In the end, I went with a custom badge. With a custom badge, you can add up to 15 characters, 11 if you want larger text, or 7 if you want to go with the largest font size. I made myself a #BIBRAVEPRO badge on large text size. I'm very happy with it. Now that I have it on the band, I also see I can easily go with more than one (at least at my wrist size) with it still being comfortable, so I may get myself another one, or more to swap in and out (it does currently say bye two elite badges and get a third free).

How do you like it?

I love the peace of mind I get from wearing my Road ID. I've owned a Wrist ID Sport for quite a while now. I purchased that one after I started running because I thought it looked like it'd be the most comfortable one. The Elite is so much better than my Sport. It's very comfortable, looks good, and most of all feels good to have that information right there. I like the customization of adding badges, especially one I could customize myself. The silicone band with the clasp gives it just the right amount of weight to feel good on your wrist, but you quickly forget it's even there. It's a hard balance to achieve, but it fits the bill for me.

It may be a running "accessory", but a necessary one. I never run without it, and even wear it to the gym, just in case. I'm not a person who wears it all the time, but you never know. With this particular ID, I could see that as a possibility more than the others. If you have any serious allergies, this is a perfect solution to always having that information on you.

The Takeaway

Running is a wonderful sport that allows me to destress and feel better both mentally and physically. Having my Road ID gives me the peace of mind knowing should anything ever happen, which I pray it never will, that my wife will be able to be contacted right away. They'll know who I am, which can also help doctors. I hope my Road ID never needs to be read by anyone, but as an Eagle Scout, I like to always be prepared. Road ID gives me peace of mind. The Wrist ID Elite gives me a sleek and comfortable delivery of the peace of mind.

Free $5 Giftcard

Want a Road ID of your own? Need to get that peace of mind? All you need to do is go to bit.ly/2ocFWMl, fill out the form, and you'll get a $5 gift card to use at Road ID. That gift card will be valid for 2 weeks, so go fill out the form now and then find what ID will fit your needs best. Maybe Keith will help your order out. ;-)

#bibchat

This week's #bibchat will be featuring Road ID. Stop by on Tuesday, April 18th 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 always, so there's always that added bonus.

Do you always have identification with you when you run? How about at the gym?


Apr 9, 2017

Be Brilliant: Brilliant Reflective Running Tapes Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the Brilliant Reflective 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 try to be a very safety conscious runner. I'm lucky enough to live somewhere with a lot of great paved paths and sidewalks, but I always try to take extra precautions: blinking clip on lights, bright cloths, Knuckle Lights. With that in mind, a product that can help make my current gear even safer is right up my alley. I got a chance to try two products from Brilliant Reflective: their stick-on and iron-on options.

What is Brilliant Reflective?

Brilliant Reflective Running tapes allow you to take almost any gear and make it into reflective gear. They help you to customize your gear and help make it safer. They come it two options to best suit your needs: stick-on and iron-on. They also come in 4 colors: black, red, blue, and purple, keeping your gear looking good too. I opted for black because that's easier to at least look alright with whatever I put it on. 

How hard are they to use?

Both products are easy to use. With each, you get a sheet of various sizes, some short, some long, some thing, some thick. I like this because it helps you find just the right size of the right place. Plus, if they're too long, they look easy enough to trim (though I should note, this is not something I tried). I first worked with the stick-on, because that require nothing extra. While I don't often ride at night (or at all that much), I figured a helmet was a great first item to test on. I did thin but long strips down the sides as well as a fat short one across the back on the foam. All of the pieces were easy to get on and stayed in place well, even on the foam. I actually have some pieces left over, and once I find them, I'm adding them to some of my other gear, because they're great.


Second, I tackled the iron-on. Now, I have used an iron before. Fact. I also may not have used one in over 10 years probably. Also fact. This made me a little nervous about messing these up. One nice thing is when you open up the packaging, the inside are easy to follow instructions. It walked through what settings to use, how long to iron, and how to handle it when it's done. it even shows a diagram with recommended placements. This was so useful as a guide. It was so easy to do, even with ironing onto a tech shirt, which worried me. The worst part was peeling off the plastic top after, not because it was difficult, but because I feared ripping off what I had just done, in case it had been done incorrectly. Luckily, this was not the case, and it all turned out quite well I think.

How bright are they?

Sure, they're easy to add to your gear, but how well do they work? They are brilliant! (see what I did there?) The tiny strips are super reflective and super bright. As you can see on my shirt in the previous section, the shine bright. Even my shirt sitting on the steps after I was finished would reflect some light of the light from my stairs light. If you're going to make a product to add visibility, you better be sure it works well. They delivered on this.

The Takeaway

The strips are easy to use and apply, not very expensive, and are super bright. They really can make any piece of gear into a piece of high visibility gear. So far they seem pretty durable, so I'm not too worried about their longevity. All in all, these little guys do their job, and do their job well. I'm even planning on picking up some more to viz out my other gear, I just need to pick some colors.

Special Sale (Limited Time)

Right now, you can be seen and be saving. You can save 25% off your order with the code: BIBRAVEPRO25. The code is valid only until Tuesday April 11 at 11:59 CT, so act now to save. Have the Easter Bunny put a little reflection and safety in your basket this year.

#bibchat

This week's #bibchat will be featuring Brilliant Reflective. Stop by on Tuesday, April 11th 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 always, so there's always that added bonus.

What do you wear to be sure you're seen?


Apr 3, 2017

The Big Punch Pouch: SmellWell Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the SmellWell 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!

No one likes stinky shoes, especially not in a bag stinking up everything else, creating a ball of odor waiting to release with the sound of a zip. Ok, my shoes may not be that bad, but running shoes are not pleasant given enough miles. You can "solve" this with a spray, some powder, or any other numerous cocktails. I received the chance to test a simple solution: SmellWell.

What is SmellWell?

SmellWell are two small pouches that pack a punch. They are the Swedish Innovative Product of the Year 2015 and based on an "old Native American formula using modern and all natural components". It actually works in a pretty cool way, working as "a filter that absorbs the moisture and prevents bacterial growth and also leaves a fresh scent".  They're ECO friendly and non-toxic to boot. With a complex product like this, I thought I'd give you a step-by-step walk through to get the most out of your SmellWell.


The pouches are really designed for any kind of smelly gear you want to smell well. It works wonders for shoes, but can really apply to any other sports gear that takes a beating and gains some stench. The same steps above applies, just replace shoes with whatever gear.

How well do they SmellWell?

These little guys have a lot to them. They have quite a strong smell on their own. It's a "fresh" smell, like in a laundry detergent sort of way. They do their job quite well. My current running shoes aren't horrible smelling, but they're not great either. Just a couple hours with them in and they had not bad smell left in them. Yes, I smelled my running shoes before and after for you, in the name of science (and a full review). I took several gym trips with these bad boys and frankly the whole bag was much better when I finally empty it the next day, because who really remembers to empty it when you get home right away?

The Takeaway

I mean, I feel there's only so many words I can write about these. They're small, they work great, and they don't cost much, just $9.95. They're such and easy decision to say "get them". They have a durability of 3-4 months. In the time I've had them, there's been no fade to their effectiveness. Frankly, one of my biggest pain points traveling is packing my shoes in with my clean clothes. I know they should just go in the bag with everything else, but I always hate to do it. I don't really want my clothes to smell like feet when I reach my destination. With these, I can probably put that irrationality to rest as well.

How stinky are your shoes?