Mar 21, 2016

Dynamic Duo for Multiple Miles: 2XU VECTR Socks and Calf Sleeves | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the 2XU VECTR socks and performance run calf sleeves 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 to review find and write race reviews!

It's no secret that I love compression, in various forms. One of my favorites is in calf sleeves and socks. I do enjoy a nice pair of tall compression socks, but I've always felt sleeves are more versatile. That versatility comes with the age old problem of finding the right socks. 2XU offers a 1-2 combo to to give you just that: compression calf sleeves teamed with a great pair of socks.

What's the gear?

This review is really the tale of two pieces of gear that compliment each other. First are the performance run calf sleeves. They offer the standard of compression calf sleeves: graduated compression for increased circulation for recovery and muscle performance. They're more than just simple sleeves though, they offer targeted support on the calfs and shins. They use PWX compression fabric to enhance power as well as high filament yarns to wick away sweat. The sleeves are even antibacterial and provide UPF50+ sun protection.

The second piece are the racing VECTR socks. They're an engineered little sock. They have 2XU’s X:LOCK support system for a "secure, ergonomic fit to the foot and stabilization of the ankle and arch". They deliver "maximum abrasion protection" and anti-blister technology. Like any good sock, they provide moisture management through dry mesh panels for ventilation.

What does it all mean?

I gave you the low down on the tech in the products, but what does it all mean? How do they all really perform? The calf sleeve performed great. They offer snug compression, but are also quite comfortable. The graduated compression is not too tight for running comfortably in. They left my legs feeling good even after a longer run with hills. They are right on par with other standard compression sleeves I have as far as tightness with a slightly better fit. I have some that offer a tighter fit, but there are also higher level sleeves from 2XU as well, when that is the need.

The socks are really nice. They have a really great fit on the foot, of a snug, form fitting style. They have just enough fabric up the ankle for my liking. Enough to keep from any of the shoe from rubbing, including a little extra up the back to protect the heel. That is always the biggest pain point for me. They breathe well, never feeling damp or any hot spots from rubbing. Hypothetically, I may have even worn them two runs in a row because I may have forgotten to change them out of my gym bag. And in this hypothetical situation, they performed comfortably even then. Hypothetically.

The two work really well together. The problem with calf sleeves can sometimes be to find socks that fit well with them. The calf sleeves and socks come together perfect for me, providing me a great combo to run in or recover in. Sleeves are great because you can take the off and on as you need. Plus, unlike tall compression socks, they're easier to reuse that socks you sweat into.

The Takeaway

I love compression and I'm always looking for great socks, and both delivered. I put them to the test: warm and cool days, long and short runs, Mizuno and On Running shoes, and all came back feeling good. The sleeves are comfortable enough to run in but still provide great compression for recovery. The socks and sleeve compliment each other providing a full solution for your running legs. I'm personally interested in looking for some more colors to build my stock up with.

Do you wear compression sleeves? To run in or recover in?


As you may have guessed, this week's bibchat will again feature 2XU. Stop by on Tuesday, March 22nd at 9pm EST to join in the good times that is bibchat. Interact with the 2XU 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.

Mar 14, 2016

Naturally Awesome: Merino Wool BUFF | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the Merino Woll 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 to review find and write race reviews!

As we teeter on the balance of not always cold, not always warm, it can be hard to find just what to wear out on a run. One day you break out the cold weather gear, and the next you're in shorts. I got a chance to test the Merino Wool BUFF, which feel into the sweet spot, like baby bear's porridge, it was just right.

What is "merino" wool?

I'm going to start with what was my first question of the product, what is "merino" wool? Frankly, if you follow my blog, you should be familiar with what a BUFF is by now. If not or you just missed those posts, go read this or that. I could assume a merino wool is a type of wool, but does that mean I'm testing a BUFF that's like a knit scarf? No, for that you'd want something more like the knitted & polar fleece neckwarmer. What we're talking about is still your standard tubular BUFF style just made from Merino wool.

Merino wool comes from, you've guessed it, Merino sheep. From my readings, Merino sheep are a breed prized for their wool, due to its softness and high quality. The wool is often used for athletic clothing, such as BUFFs, due to some of its natural properties. What makes it so great for a BUFF you ask? That is a great question. It is excellent for regulating body temperature: it provides warmth without overheating and is also naturally sweat wicking and slightly moisture repellant. On top of that, unlike cotton, it can still keep you warm, even when wet. Merino wool also has antibacterial properties which results in odor control. That's not all. It's flameproof, provides UV protection and due to the fibers, has natural stretch and elasticity and is one of the softest wools available. The Merino Wool BUFF is 100% natural merino wool, so it takes advantages of all these natural properties.

How does it feel?

I told you that it's known for being soft. From the moment I took it out, I thought it felt nice and soft. I think my original BUFFs are comfortable to wear, but this just feels "soft comfy" to the touch. One of my favorite way to wears it is as a cap, because it's just soft and comfy but will also keep me cool by wicking away any sweat. The wool also just gives it a look that to me doesn't look like a "running product". It's slightly longer than a standard BUFF by a couple of inches. I found that good in some ways, but also made for some extra fabric when trying to wear it in others.

What about running in it?

I took the Merino Wool BUFF out for a couple of runs while I had it. It was comfy to wear, as mentioned, but worked well with sweating. I found it kept the sweat back and off my face, without overheating. It also is still unwashed and still un-smelly. I found that for me personally, it worked great up into the 50s, but over 60 got a little warm for me on my head. I actually think that might be more due to the amount of fabric than the wool. I also had issues in warmer temps with my full BUFF. I do better with less on my head, a single layer instead of all the bunched up of a full tubular BUFF.

The Takeaway

I'm a lover of BUFF products, but the reason why is because every BUFF I try has delivered. The Merino Wool BUFF is no different. It's soft, comfortable, and delivers on all the natural promises of merino wool. For me, this is a great cool weather running gear that is also usable beyond being paired with my running shoes. The BUFF USA site says the Merino Wool BUFF is "cool in the summer, extra layer of warmth in the winter" so I look forward to giving it some more tests in the warmth. I just need to find a way to wear it without too many layers, probably with the Sahariane that I liked so much with the Full BUFF. Simply put, the Merino Wool BUFF is naturally awesome.

Lastly, it wouldn't be a BUFF review with out a stuffed toy wearing a BUFF, so I give you Cheer Bear, rocking the Merino Wool BUFF.

Have you ever worn Merino wool?


As you may have guessed, this week's bibchat will again feature Buff USA. Stop by on Tuesday, March 15th 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.

Mar 7, 2016

Summertime Entertainment at Walt Disney World | #MagicalMickey

Summertime at Walt Disney World can be a busy time with crowds, but that also means maximum entertainment options for all those people. If you're not one to be turned away by the Brazillian tour groups, there are a whole slew of huge entertainments available this summer time.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Let's first start the largest new addition, the "Rivers of Light" show at Disney's Animal Kingdom. On April 22nd, Earth Day, the first nighttime show at Disney's Animal Kingdom will debut. It will feature "illuminating musical experience celebrates the magic of animals and humans and the natural world with a blend of performers, floating lanterns and theatrical animal imagery."

The new show is not all for the traditionally daytime park. The Tree of Life will come to life as magical fireflies bring forth the animal spirits. With the park open late, you'll be able to enjoy more than just the tree and waterside. Kilimanjaro Safari will offer it's first nighttime adventure, with special lighting so guests can continue to enjoy the animals. If the safari isn't quite your speed, you can trek across the park for Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, or Kali River Rapids into the night.

Magic Kingdom

 The time has come for a new stage show at Magic Kingdom on the Cinderella Castle stage. For the first time Tiana and Rapunzel will be joining Anna, Elsa, and the classic characters for Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire. While I enjoy the current show with the classic princesses, I'm happy to see Tiana and Rapunzel getting a chance on the stage. I love the music from both of their movies, so I'll be excited to check this out on our next trip this summer. Of course my youngest is currently in love with Elsa, so he'll be having a good time as well.


Epcot will have a couple of changes this summer. First is of course the changes to Norway, where you can step in Arendelle aboard the Frozen Ever After boat ride. The ride will feature new advanced Audio-Animatronics, a "Summer Snow Day", the ice palace, and of course music from the movie. The ride is not the only change to the Norway pavilion. You'll be able to visit the Royal Sommerhus where Anna and Elsa are greeting guests. I'll be happy to see the Norway pavilion ride reopened, though I'll miss Maelstrom, I'm happy to have something back. Plus, as previously mentioned, my son adores Elsa.

On the Future World side of the park, there will be two main additions. Soarin' will see the addition of a third theater, digital screens and projectors, all to give you the U.S. debut of Soarin' Around the World. I'm excited for the new show, as Soarin' is such a unique and awesome experience. Lastly, in early-May "Turtle Talk with Crush" will be receiving some additions with characters from the upcoming "Finding Dory". Turtle Talk with Crush is a fun little show, but can definitely do with some additional characters and content. I'll be interested to see what they add, and to see the new movie this summer as well.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

One of the the additions to the parks I'm most excited for will be the Star Wars additions to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Now, while we may have to wait for that to come to fruition, but there will be some Star Wars-themed additions coming sooner. This summer will see the "next-generation of the Star Wars-themed fireworks shows," Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. Fireworks, lasers, video projects, and the iconic score from the films, what's not to love?

April 4th will see the debut of the live stage show "Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away", celebrating the iconic moments of the saga. The recently opened Star Wars Launch Bay will see the addition of the March of the First Order Stormtrooper procession, from the launch bay to the Center Stage, led by the shiny Captain Phasma. You'll also be able to find the update Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple as well as the updates to Star Tours - The Adventure Continues for the Force Awakens.

Do you do Disney in the summer, or avoid the crowds?

The Linkup

As you may have noticed, the #MagicalMickey linkup has been on a bit of a hiatus. I could go into a long winded bit about the craziness of life and strains on time, but that's not really the point. I plan to keep writing about Disney, because I love Disney, and have a lot to share. However, for now the linkup will be on hold. I may not have a post every week, but I'm going to keep my contributions coming. So I hope you enjoyed this #MagicalMickey post.