Apr 29, 2016

BYOH (Bring Your Own Hydration): Orange Mud HydraQuiver Review | Friday Five | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the Orange Mud HydraQuiver 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!

Proper hydration is an important part of running. As I'll be training over the summer for the Dopey Challenge in Walt Disney World 2017, I'll need to be able to have water with me on those long training runs. I've tried a number of different products, and have found a brand I love: Orange Mud. This week, I'm joining in with the Friday Five linkup with Courtney, Cynthia and Mar, and giving you 5 reasons to have hydration with you while you run. Then, stick around for my review of a product that will do just that for you: the Orange Mud HydraQuiver.

1. Hydration important, whether it's hot or it's cold

It is important to remember, that year round, hydration is important. It's easy to remember if it's a hot and humid run in 90° heat, but it's also important when you run in the frigid 20° winter or the mile 65° morning training session. Your body is still working hard, so it still needs to replenish water, whether you realize it or not.

2. If you're thirsty, it's too late

Ok, maybe that's not exactly true, but it is your body telling you that you need water. If you don't have any with you (or just luckily enough close to a water fountain) then you are on the road to issues. Having water with you keeps you hydrated, right when you need it, not just once you get home.

3. Carrying water provides quick cool down

Staying hydrated helps with keeping your body temperature in check. Keeping hydrated helps keep you cooler. It's science stuff. However, that's not even where I'm going with this one. No, if you're carrying water, and you get too hot, instant cool down with some water over the head. It's one of my favorite things to do with water from water stations at races.

4. It can be more than just water

When you have your own hydration with you, it can be more than just water with you. When you're really working hard, you do need more than water. You can replace your electrolytes, like with my favorite active hydration Nuun, or get back some carbohydrates, with something like Plus for Nuun. Now, Nuun is my personal favortie, but what really matters is you can take what works best for you. If you carry your own hydration, you can have it, no matter what partner the race has for water stop.

5. The haiku says so

Hydration is key
to run farther and harder.
Use HydraQuiver

Orange Mud HydraQuiver Review

I'm a fan of Orange Mud ever since I bought myself the HydraQuiver Double Barrel last summer. I also got a chance to review the HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1, which was a great pack but didn't quick work for my body type. I was super excited to test the original HydraQuiver, since the Double Barrel that I love so dearly is based on this pack.

What's a hydra-ma-jiggy?

The HydraQuiver is a product born the way some of the best products are, out of frustration. I love their story:
The concept came about one evening after a fun day of exercise and hydration frustration. After a couple glasses of wine that night I decided to take action and put some work into our concept. So I went into the garage and destroyed a gun holster, tie down, and a waist pack to build our first HydraQuiver prototype. 
 The HydraQuiver is a pack that sits on the upper portion of your back and shoulders to minimize movement for a comfortable, snug fit. Instead of a bladder, it uses a running water bottle, providing plenty of hydration that easy to access, samurai style. I say "samurai style" because they way the bottle is stored on your back, with a wide funnel opening making it easy to get in and out. Sort of makes you a hydration ninja with a water bottle sword.

Now, the center piece of it is the water bottle mounted in the center (which is much easier to clean than a bladder in other hydration packs). The pack itself is quite awesome. It has thick foam padding paired with big air channels, to give you support, comfort, and breathability. The sheath for the bottle has a highly reflective strip around the top, great for night time safety. The strap on the bottom is also adjustable, allowing for a taller bottle if you like, or to just wear the bottle a little lower in, as I prefer. The pack has a zipper pocket down the side, which is great for small storage. Inside, is a clip, perfect for a secure place to keep your key, always one of my worries out running. Attached to a clip inside of a zipped pocket is good enough for me. Lastly, there's also two spandex pockets on the front of the shoulders that will fit whatever you need, a plethora of gels, a small flashlight, your phone, whatever you need close at hand.

How did it feel?

If you read my review of the HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1, you know I couldn't get the fit just right. While this is not exactly the same as the Double Barrel in cut that fits me so well, the original HydraQuiver fits me much better than the VP1. With the pull straps on the front, it's much easier for me to adjust properly and get that right fit. I found it comfortable on my runs, short sleeves or long, warm or cold, same comfy fit. The only area that had potential to be uncomfortable is underarm with the straps. While I didn't feel any discomfort and it's pretty light weight even with a full bottle, I could see the potential if you're a little more sensitive. The beautiful thing is they sell padded sleeves that you can get, which come on the double barrel and are perfect for a little extra padding.

The pack stayed nice and snug for me: no movement. I love how easy it is to get the bottle out, take a drink, flip the bottle and put it right back on your pack. For the front pockets, I generally used one for my phone (a Nexus 5, with case) and the other kept a small flashlight I keep handy for night time runs for if any street lights are out. I've also used it to store a GoPro in case as well as a bunch of gel packs. All of the above were easy to get out when I needed without any problem. It was easy to do even without having to look or concentrate.

The Takeaway

Just like the HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1, the Orange Mud HydraQuiver is a fantastic piece of engineered running tech. It was born to solve hydration frustration, and accomplishes that goal. I love carrying water on the run with me, which you may have guessed by my Friday Five that we started with. I've loved my Double Barrel since the day I got it, but the original is great, offering me a solution for the shorter runs where I still want my hydration. It's the perfect solution to have my Nuun on my shorter runs, where two bottles is just overkill. You can count this on my regular gear list.


This week's #bibchat will feature Orange Mud and the HydraQuiver. Stop by on Tuesday, May 3rd 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. As with every #bibchat, you may walk away a winner of some great gear as an added bonus to the great conversation.

Do you run with water? What's your favorite hydration?

Apr 26, 2016

Be Dopey With Me: WDW Marathon Weekend Registration Today

It's that time again. Time to register to runDisney. Today, Tuesday April 26 at noon EDT registration opens for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

I've written quite a bit about marathon weekend. It's my personal favorite, for the number of events they offer and because it was my first half marathon. Also, being in the northeast, hard to beat running away to Florida in January. Special this year, the half marathon is celebrating the 20th anniversary, which always means extra special bling, shirt, and fanfare.

You can read a great description about the weekend and all the events on my past post about the runDisney schedule. You can also read my recaps of the 5K and half marathon or read up about the expo. The weekend offers 4 races, 2 challenges and the opportunity to earn 6 medals. That's a lot of hardware: 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge. You can also follow up the weekend with a cruise to land the Castaway Cay Challenge. Not to be left out are the little ones, with a wide range of kids races. All the prices (but also add in some fees for Active.com) can be found but clicking on the registration menu on the WDW Marathon page. Sometimes it feels hard to find. Here's a screenshot from a runDisney email listing them as well.

This year, I will be running the full Dopey Challenge. That's right, I'll be doing all 4 races across 4 days. I'll actually be running with a charity, Sophie and Madigan's Playground, but more on that to come. You should join me! Whether it's one race, all the races or something in between, it's a fun time. I'll be running with my cousin Derek for all 4, my running buddy Oswald for the half, and I may have even suckered in my friend Derek as well for all 4 races.

If you're looking to run at Walt Disney World next January, set yourself a reminder. runDisney races have been going a little slower lately, but the big challenges still go quick.

Have your run WDW Marathon weekend? Will you be running at Walt Disney World in 2017?

Apr 23, 2016

Casually Cool: XX2i Bermuda1 Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the XX2i Bermuda1 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!

I love being a BibRave Pro. There's a lot of great perks, including, one you see a lot, testing out great gear. In just the past year, I've had the opportunity to try out 3 different pairs of sunglasses, two of which were from XX2i: the France1 and USA1. All of the glasses I've tried out have been geared towards active lifestyle, which for me means mainly running. This doesn't mean you can't wear them at other times. In fact, I wear my USA1 often, but casual sunglasses come in styles that these kind don't. XX2i has seen this fact, and will be releasing their first pair of casual sunglasses, the Bermuda1. As a BibRave Pro, I was given the opportunity to try them out as a preview, before they went on sale.

Casual, you say?

The pairs of XX2i I have tried out have been fantastic. They've both been high quality, comfortably, stylish, and well engineered glasses. They have a lot to live up to and I think they filled those frames nicely.

Here's what XX2i has to say about their newest addition to the sunglass family:
As XX2i’s first casual model, the Bermuda1 is the ultimate go-to sunglass that goes easy on your wallet. Available in classic Matte Black, Matte Tortoise, White & Black, and Crystal Black, the Bermuda1 is the perfect accessory for adventure, whether that be a trip to the beach or a quick walk with the dog. Using the same advanced materials as XX2i’s performance models, the Bermuda1 comes standard with polarized lenses that employ 4K optical technology, ensuring the utmost frame durability and lens clarity. All XX2i shades come with a 365 day money back guarantee and a lifetime frame and lens warranty. Learn more at www.xx2i.com

So, what'd you get?

I spent quite a bit of time wearing these glasses, on my commute and on the weekend. I have enjoyed these glasses. Let's start with the frame. The style is one with large lenses, and a big frame, which I really enjoy. They remind me a little of those cheap ones as a kid, that would have the black frame with neon sides, only these area actually high quality... and comfortable. They have that same high build quality their other glasses do. They fell solid and strong while remaining feeling light.

You get the same great deal you get with every pair of XX2i: 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 lense cleaner), free U.S. shipping, the 365 money back guarantee, as well as the no questions asked lifetime warranty.

Well, how did they work?

I really enjoyed these glasses day-to-day. The frames are large but light, and comfy on me. Compared to the other XX2i frames I own, they do lack the adjustable nose and ear pieces, but for me, it was not an issue. That is more important for glasses meant for running versus these casual glasses, but it's still worth noting. The frame fit me perfectly, but I know that may not go for all. The lenses are fantastic and another reason why I really like these glasses. First, they're polarized, which is always a nice feature to have. Second, the particular lenses I had were the brown flash lenses. These are awesome for casual glasses. They work well in the sun, but they're also fantastic when it's a little cloudy or gray out. I wore them to work one morning where it was gray but kind of bright. It was amazing how much better it made everything look. I mean it really made the colors and everything looking better. I did the up-down glasses thing a couple of times to make sure I wasn't just seeing things.

The Takeaway

I've come to really trust XX2i as a brand for sunglasses. They're well engineered, comfortable and come with an awesome guarantee. I was excited to test their first pair of casual glasses, and wasn't let down. Stylish, solid frame, awesome crisp lenses, exactly what you want in sunglasses. There's only one thing I would change, and that was just the frame I was given was the matte tortoise, which isn't really my style, but you can;t really tell too often anyway, so you won't see it stopping me. When that's my only hold back, that's a pretty clear sign how good they are. It makes me excited to see what else they may come out with next.


This week's #bibchat will of course feature XX2i. Stop by on Tuesday, April 26th 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 of these great glasses, as always, so there's always that added bonus.


Want a pair of your own? Need a pair of casual sunglasses? How about a pair for your active life? Or perhaps you're me and just want some more pairs in other colors. Well you're in luck. Use the code XX2iRocks to save a huge 50% off at www.xx2i.com. Yes, that number is in fact half off your order, so don't delay.

What's your favorite style of sunglasses?

Apr 15, 2016

Safe Sounds on the Run: AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Headphones | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Headphones 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!

There's nothing like a good soundtrack to life, or to a run. Great music can pick up your mood, spike your motivation, or push you up that hill. The one down side to great music pumping into your ears is safety on the road. It's always important to be aware of your environment, and while I love my music, I know that takes away from that. It's always a balancing game between the music and the environment, that is, until these headphones: AfterShokz Trekz Titanium.

What makes these headphones different?

AfterShokz headphones provide a safe solution for music and the environment. They use bone conduction technology to deliver music through your cheekbones. This allows them to get the sound to your inner ear through vibrations and leaving your ears open to hear the world with your music. As you know, I appreciate innovative engineering and design. The headphones are finely tuned for giving the best sound they can through bone conduction with their PremiumPitch and LeakSlayer technologies.

How do they really work?

The most important thing about any product isn't simply the technology that goes into it, but how that technology actually performs. We'll start with a standard measuring factor for headphones: sound quality. When you put the on headphones, they sit up and forward of your ears, then wrapping up and over and around the back. Using your cheekbones to conduct sound into the ear sounds like an innovative science experiment, but they really make it work. I played with a variety of music types, as I have diverse tastes, and they all worked well, though I found the base a little lacking. It makes me think of a phone speaker music: my phone sounds quite good, but it doesn't match my ear buds.

The sound of bone conduction technology has some awesome benefits. First, is the loss of sound, or lack thereof. Normally, running down the road, even with it pumped up, the cars can sometimes drown out the music. With AfterShokz, that really didn't happen. It was a minimal drop, which was a cool unexpected factor. The second huge benefit is the open ears. You can hear everything going on around you: the cars, other runners, animals, the splash as you accidentally run through a puddle while you're thinking too much about the headphones... you hear it all. While it wasn't unexpected, but it was one of those things that was hard to wrap your head around. It's pretty cool how you can hear both so well.

The headphones are very easy to use. They paired as simply as you would expect, no problems on my Android phone. It feels a little weird at first, not in an uncomfortable way, but weird that they're not on your ears. They're a little heavier, given the solid wrap around then my current headphones but were still comfortable. They are also IP55 certified for moisture and dust, so no sweat worry either. I even took a call on them, which worked surprisingly well. They were easy to hear, and reported no issues hearing me clearly.

The Takeaway

These are perfect piece of tech for any runner who wants to run with music. I enjoy running with music but it was also a tough line to walk to have the music but still be safe out there. I'm lucky enough to have a lot of paths to run, but they still cross the street. With these headphones, I can legitimately feel safe while running even with my music. Any trade off in the sound quality is made up for in the safety. These may not be my headphones when I need music to decompress on the couch but they are my go to running headphones.

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


As you may have guessed, this week's bibchat will feature AfterShokz. Stop by on Tuesday, April 19th 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.