Dec 20, 2017

Training Tips: WDW Marathon Weekend | #CignaRunTogether

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

Training Tips

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 18, 2017

Healthy Warrior Chia Bars Review | BibRavePro

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

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

What did I get to try?

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

How did they taste?

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

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

The Takeaway

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


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

Oct 28, 2017

Know Where to Go with RunGo | BibRavePro

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

My day job is programming. It’s what I do and what I enjoy. What also comes along with that for me is a love of technology. I’m always all for combining tech with my running and fitness. The latest opportunity I received was a chance to review out the RunGo app with a premium subscription.

What does the app offer?

The heart of the RunGo app is GPS navigation for your run. Note, I didn’t just say tracking, I said navigation. The RunGo app centers around finding routes to run, then running those routes with turn-by-turn directions. It couldn’t be easier. When you open the app, it loads the local map and shows the routes. From here you can pick a route, download it locally, and then run it. As you run you’ll get turn-by-turn directions through your headphones, reminding you when to turn left, turn right, or even turn around for a u-turn. It will also provide you with all the standard data you expect when running: distance, pace, route pace and even some extras of points o interest and motivation, all of which are customizable to turn of if you’d rather not hear them.

How do I make routes of my own?

There are two ways to make routes. The easiest way is to go to then click on Routes. Then you can login and click “Create a Route”. From there, you can start at / near your location, search a location or even import a GPX file from a previously tracked run. It’s easy click on the map to add points. As you do, you’ll see it add turn indicators, showing you how you’ll get turn-by-turn directions. It’s easy to add and remove points and you’ll see the total distance as you go, very helpful if you’re building a route for a target distance. The route will snap to the map, both to roads AND to trail markings on Google maps (which I was pleasantly surprised by). Additionally, if what you want isn’t on map, or you want to be a little more adventurous, you can turn of with the “Snap to” toggle, and it will draw straight lines between your points.

The map making offers deep features as well. You can add custom points, which includes entertainment, spectators, restrooms, first aid, water, and food. This could make for a great tool to build out race maps (take note race directors). You also have the ability to add your own points of interest. You can point out an awesome mural you run past, historic buildings, or maybe just a stop worth a quick break to see the view. This could make for walking or running tours, which is a fun possibility. The advanced options makes it easy to reverse the route or make it an out and back (so you don’t have to click all the way through in reverse. Overall, the route builder is easy to use but also powerful.

The second way to make a route is by doing. You can open the app and say “Run Without Route”. This will track your run. When you finish the run, you’ll be given the option to “Save as Route, where you can give it a name, description, and choose to make it private. This makes for quick and easy conversion, much like if you would import a GPX file tracked by another app or watch.

How does the app work?

The route builder is great, but how is the app? The app itself is pretty good, but feels early. Running with a route is easy. The turn-by-turn directions are nice, provided you have headphones. The tracking was on par with any phone based tracking, sometimes good, sometimes a little off, but thats more down to whether the phone itself is getting good GPS signal. It was on par with other tracking apps as I’ve used them. The app itself is pretty simple. It opens to the map, local to you and shows the nearest route. Clicking the route allows you to download it. However, it’s not always user friendly. I thought I’d be able to find my profile to see my routes, but you only ever see a “Login” option in the menu. If you’re logged in, it will say login, but if you click it, it will tell you who you’re logged in as. One addition I don’t remember when I first used the app is the ability to create a route on your phone. It works like the web page, just click to add points. I think it’s much easier to be precise on the web which is my preferred method to make a route, but this works in a pinch.

I’ve been running the app on my Android phone, a Google Pixel XL. That means its a higher end phone with the latest Android. I did have the occasional crash, but usually only when browsing around the app, not while running. It was also usually when browsing the app, going away, and coming back.

One feature I couldn’t test but looks cool the ability to use the app on an Apple Watch. I think as an app, this is perfect for a watch with turn-by-turn directions. With the watch series 2, you can run it without a phone. The app works with Apple Watch Series 1, but you’ll need an iPhone with it. If any of you have used it with your watch, let me know how it was.

While I did mention the web based route builder is great, it is of note that when you first go to the homepage it’s unclear how or where to log in. A small change by adding a login link would help. Instead you need to first click on Routes to get to that section of the web site.

What features are “premium”?

I mentioned having a premium membership, so what features and extras do you get as a premium member, for $10 a year? First you can create groups, allowing you to all track progress together, private to the group. This would be great for a local running group or just your running buddies. You can access to premium verified routes, good for traveling if you feel uneasy with general public created routes. These show up as orange pins, though a filter option on the app would be nice.

There are some other great features, except they seem to be iPhone only at this time (as my app doesn’t have them). First is the ability to live track your run with your family. I do this through other apps, because it is a great piece of mind for me for safety, and a worth while feature. Second is the ability to set intervals for training. You can use this for run walk intervals like I use with the Jeff Galloway program or as reminders for fuel and hydration.

The Takeaway

Overall, I think the app takes a great feature missing from most other running apps and programs, and does it fantastically. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried to switch it up and run somewhere new so I try to plan a route out, figure it out to the right approximate distance, and then try to commit it to memory. That doesn’t often work well, unless it happens to be a very simple route. This allows me to have more complex routes and in locations I’m less familiar with like right now as I write this from across the country as I travel for work. I think it is a great app worth checking out, and I hope to see some more of the features coming to Android.


Join me for #BibChat on Tuesday, October 31st at 8pm central. The BibRave team will be there with the RunGo team, we’ll have lots of great questions and chatter, and as always, there will be giveaways.

Oct 26, 2017

Nuun Performance | #TeamNuun

I love getting the opportunity to be a member of Team Nuun. My #nuunlove is no secret. Being a part of Team Nuun gives me the opportunity to hear about the new products when they come out. One of Nuun's newest products is Nuun Performance. I recently tried it out with my training and the Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon. I meant to write a post when Nuun Performance first launched, but felt that writing now with my personal experience on it was appropriate.

What is Nuun Performance?

Nuun Performance is Nuun's latest hydration product. Nuun Performance is different from the rest in several ways. First it is a blend of electrolytes and carbohydrates for balanced nutrition. This balance is intended to keep you hydrated while offering easily absorbed carbohydrates to fuel your longer workouts, intend for strenuous sessions lasting over 90 minutes. Second, Nuun Performance is made with dried fruit powder. This is intended to offer you the purest forms of ingredients. Third, this means the mix is a powdered form, instead of the usually Nuun form of a tablet. This offers the added benefit of allowing you to get exactly the ratio right for you.

* 3-3.5% ratio of carb to water and an osmolality of 250 mosm is ideal for hard effort

Nuun Performance is a Non-GMO Project verified. It is made from only certified non-gmo ingredients.
  • dextrose: carbohydrate that works with sodium to aid in fluid transport
  • cane sugar (vegan): a carbohydrate that works with dextrose and sodium to aid in fluid delivery
  • dried fruit powder: pure clean flavoring without fillers
  • sodium citrate: electrolyte that helps retain fluids
  • citric acid: helps stabilize flavoring and provides a crisp taste
  • potassium citrate: electrolyte that helps with fluid balance
  • potassium chloride: electrolyte, in the form that is most absorbable during exercise
  • magnesium citrate: electrolyte that aids in muscle function
  • calcium citrate: electrolyte that aids in muscle and bone function

How does it work?

I used the Blueberry Strawberry Nuun Performance in my Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon. Long story short, I liked it. The flavor is good, though not as strong as I personally like. I like the powder mix, I works well, dissolving easily. One thing I really like about it is since it's not the tablet, you don't have the little bit of pressure that can build up. With all my other Nuun, that goes away after a short bit, but you don't have that fact at all here. Also, one of my packets were more of a solid clump than a powder (which is normal if exposed to too much heat or humidity) but had no problem dissolving still, and is still as effective (per the Nuun website).

The carbs in it were nice. Now, I'm not exactly a "high performing" athlete, but I work hard. I put my all into it. And my big body needs fuel I know what my body normally needs throughout longer runs and what it feels like when I don't have enough. I could definitely notice a different when having Nuun Performance with me than when I haven't in the past. It also helped my stomach not feel as empty or "sloshy" (for lack of a better way to say it). You still need other carbs, to get the right balance and full amount your body needs, but this lessens what you need to take in.


Overall, Nuun Performance worked for me. My non-scientific results is that I felt good with it, better than my long runs without it, which is enough for me. If you tend on the longer side of workouts, and looking for a solution to keep you hydrated but also are concerned with your carbs, give Nuun Performance a try.


Oct 17, 2017

Rocking the Borough: Rock ’n’ Roll Brooklyn Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Rock ’n’ Roll Brooklyn to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out to review find and write race reviews!

You’ve seen my lead ups: I’ve always wanted to run in NYC, I love rock and roll (so put another dime in the jukebox, baby), I NY pizza... The time finally came and I rand the Rock ’n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon this past weekend. Let’s see how the show went down!

The Expo

The expo was held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center (the same location as New York Comic Con). Location wise, it was pretty convenient for me coming from my in-laws in New Jersey. I was able to park in Weehawken and take the ferry to the Midtown stop which was right at the convention center. Unfortunately, this meant $26 in total to get to the expo ($8 parking + $9 ferry each way). I was able to easily get in and get right back to pick up my bib then t-shirt, no waiting. There was an area to change corral if you needed, a place to exchange shirts, and then a booth to sign up for runner tracking. As you exit this area you enter the official merchandise area, which felt a little lacking. There were several shirt designs and some generic Rock ’n’ Roll merchandise but it seemed small. There was also no official Brooks area, which I think was a part of the difference. My main experience has been with DC, where there is a lot of official Brooks gear for the race and a wall of shoes. I was really surprised to not see them  at least there with the Rock ’n’ Roll themed shoes the released this year.

The convention itself was nice in that things were spread out instead of crammed together with no space to move. This was the result of having a fairly nice sized area, but also because of a seemingly lack of vendors. It felt small. Looking at the official vendor list, there were 25 vendors, but if you subtract the official Rock ’n’ Roll booths and information related ones, you’re left with about 20, which I honestly don’t remember that many. It was a little disappointing, maybe because I was just thinking “big city == big expo”. Overall, it was nice, but what I had heard from some other people there (Kim), it is still a smaller race as far as Rock ’n’ Roll goes. It was nice, just not what I was really expecting.

I did have one disappointment: the race shirt. While Rock ’n’ Roll does a great job theming the medals to the location of the race, they did not do that was the race shirt for Brooklyn. It was a generic guitar image in the middle, the only thing about it that was “Brooklyn” was the race city itself. They could have used the Arch from the race or even the Brooklyn Bridge, but the design to me just fell flat compared to DC’s design that had both the Lincoln Memorial and cherry blossoms on it. It just felt like a real opportunity missed and a little let down. I’m a person who actually does love to wear my race shirts, but I like when they have character to the race.

Race Morning

Race morning took some planning. I first needed to find parking in Brooklyn. The closest I could find was about 2 miles away. I did find a lot to reserve with SpotHero for only $11, but it warned of possible oversize charges for my vehicle, but I was willing to chance that for $11 NYC parking. It was also within a couple blocks of the 4 and 5 trains, which would run to Grand Army Plaza for the start line to take away my 2 mile pre-race hike. On a side note, it was really close to a 2 and 3 line but they weren’t running for construction. I’m very glad the Rock ’n’ Roll team had that noted at the expo to save me that trouble. All in all, my plan went well and I was aboard a train full of racers, and a handful of people who had to be wondering what was going on with their empty early AM train. The station let us out near the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch which was where the start was, which was very cool to see first thing in the morning.

One thing different here from DC races was security, in that there was a security check point. It looked bad walking up to it, but moved very quickly through the medal detectors. For a second, the started to tell me I couldn’t take my Orange Mud pack in with me, but the realized it was my water and said it was fine. I’m sure there was a no backpack rule for good reason, but it seemed they made an exception for hydration.

The last pre-race piece to mention was the bathroom situation. It had one good piece and one bad piece. The good was that they essentially just had a wall of porta-potty lining the entire length of the corrals. This was nice because after the initial people all lined up at the beginning, there were plenty to choose from and get in line for. Plus it was also convenient to the corrals. However, it was set up like this: area on the left for walking down, metal barriers with signs denoting the corrals, on the the right was the corral area and then the far right were the bathrooms. This cause problems being able to figure out who was waiting for the bathroom and who was just waiting for the race to start. They should have put them on the non-corral side to make things less confusing. The number of bathrooms was great, but the organization of mixing it with the actual corrals was not. One small change, which I’ll be sure to give in my survey to them, and it would be greatly improved.

As I mentioned, you could have changed your corral as the expo to move up from your assigned corral if you thought you were going to run faster, but from what I heard, it was purely based on expected finish, so whatever you tell them is what they would say. However, just like DC, the corrals were “fluid” at best. They had the rails with the number signs, but that was it. There was no division, no ropes between, nothing. The most you had was someone holding a sign with the number on as we moved forward. I was assigned corral 16, but went further up to use a bathroom (because of the crowding at the entrance I mentioned) and then only really got back to about 14 before it wasn’t worth the effort. Then, when I moved with the people around me, somehow I ended up crossing the line with corral 12?! It was really just move up together and then run when they said go. In the end, it didn’t really matter, but I didn’t intend to jump forward 4 corrals, it just happened in the “fluid” corrals.

The Race

The race itself was pretty nice. It had an initial out and back of a mile, which was nice because it meant you got the early crowds twice, and then a longer out and back which eventually lead to the park. I have to say the choice of bands, especially early was interesting. I love a good mix of music genres (seriously, you just need to see my Spotify) but going in, you’d think Rock ’n’ Roll might have a bit of guitars and some rocking sound. The first three groups were a folk band (banjo and washboard) and then two brass groups. Now, all were good, just not exactly rock and roll. Entertainment wise, you also had some local marching bands and drum lines, which I like because I was / am a band geek, but they’re only high schoolers. They need to be early on the course because by the time my plodding self gets to them, they’re not interested or able to play and more. They’re worn out. There was one in particular that was on the long out and back and neither time were they playing as I went by. There was some really good entertainment though, don’t get me wrong. There were a couple that were enough to make me take a 30 second break just to listen a little more to them. There was also a lot more than DC had, which was my critique there. I just had bad luck in that I went by several not playing (but not that I expect them to play for 3 hours straight either).

The course was nice, mostly flat, with the city to see. It was cool, but nothing exceptional. It’s not that you went by a lot of sites to see, but there was a lot of the city character to see, which I enjoyed as I’ve spent time in NYC but never Brooklyn. I was very impressed with the number of water stops on the course. I always carry my own Nuun with me because I want the electrolytes and the flavor but also because I like to have some between stops and not be dependent solely on them. I found I drank a lot less of my bottles than I usually do because of the sheer number of stops they had on course. This was also really welcomes because while the temperature was nice, it was humid and sticky. The race ends in Prospect park, which a couple mile loop around the outer edge. By this point my right foot had been hurting and was causing some issues with my stride so I was taking it easier. The park was a nice change and cool to look at with all that was going on for a Saturday morning. The only unhappy part was seeing a sign saying “Specialty Bike Route. Last Exit before steep hill”. Not what I like seeing before the last 2 miles. As much as the hill sucked, you then slowly rolled your way down into the park for a nice finish. I was able to push through and was happy to finish.

My official time was 3:25:19. It’s not a bad time considering I fought with my foot from about mile 9 on. I started really strong but that set me back, but I’m still happy with my time.

Post Race

The post race party was nice because it was held in the park so they had plenty of room. They also had the food all in a bad ready to go for you with a protein bar, gummies, chips, Gatorade (Team Nuun, did not drink 😉), and boxed (yes boxed) water. They also had bananas and chocolate milk separate. I got to see the headliners sing a couple of songs and get my free beer. Michelob Ultra may not be my beer of choice, but I appreciated the “Run Done Beer Now” custom can. There were also number of tents set up: medical, merchandise, information, baggage collect. After my beer I decided to head out, which unfortunately was like another mile out of the park just to get to the start line for the nearest subway station. I did stop for two slices of NY style on my walk to the car, which was a fantastic post race fuel.

Final Thoughts

I always wanted to run in NYC and now I have. I enjoyed it. There definitely is room to improve and grow, but I enjoyed it overall. In and out of NYC was a bit of a pain for the expo and race, but that was because I was staying for free in NJ as opposed to having a hotel in NYC, so that really is just a push and a choice I made. The race itself had a good course, great aid, and was a fun time even with the ending hill. Overall, would run again.

Check out my review on for the half marathon and review your races!

Bonus pic: one of my favorite cups from a water stop:

Oct 7, 2017

Skins Compression A400 Half Tights Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received Skins Compression A400 Half Tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out to review find and write race reviews!

You just need to browse my blog and fees long enough to quickly see that I’m a fan of compression. I find it great for recovery, especially for my legs after tough and / or long runs. I always jump at the opportunity to test compression gear, so I was excited for the chance to test Skins Compression A400. I selected the half tights (aka shorts) option, as it was warmer here and I haven’t actually owned compression shorts, just tights. Read on to see how they worked.

What are they?

I’d like to start with a little bit about them and will start with their description:
SKINS A400 compression sportswear is designed to boost competitive athletes’ natural performance by providing more oxygen to their active muscles using dynamic gradient compression. Wear your A400s while you warm up to get your blood flowing, while you train to minimise your risk of injury before race day, and while you compete so you can push your body that little bit harder for longer when it counts.

The half tights are really nice. They’ve got all the targeted compression you’d expect. They offer “360 degree” reflectivity, which is good if you run in just these, but that is not me. I do not have that kind of body confidence to run in compression shorts alone (and ain’t no body want to see that). They stop just above the knee, covering all those upper leg muscles. The 400 series is built from 3D body scan data, so I love the use of technology to drive precise design.

How do they work?

I was very impressed with these half tights. They were a good snug compression all the way around pretty evenly, not really having any gaps. Using the sizing chart worked well for me, which is always a worry as a big guy. The waist was a little tight, but not enough to be uncomfortable. I did really like the wider waistband. It helped them to feel like the fit quite well. They say they adapt to hot and cold. I didn’t have any cold to test, but they were just fine in the head. The overall cut fit comfortably.

So they fit well, but what about recovery?

I tried these out after some short runs and they worked well. Then I got the perfect test: I ran the Clarendon Day Run Double Dash. You can read all about my experience but it consisted of a 5K and 10K with about a mile and a half in between the finish and start lines so I totaled about 13.5 miles. My muscles took a beating. They were clearly not prepared enough. Wearing these short that day and some the next really helped my recovery. It was definitely a 4 or 5 day sore without compression I would guess from my experience. But these helped get me back and going after those 2 days. Well, the top parts of my legs, I should have thought the problem through and worn compression socks as well right away, so full tights might have been handy instead.

The Takeaway

The A400 series seems to be a well engineered set of compression gears. Even on a bigger guy like myself the fit well and not over tight. I like a snug fitting compression, but on my legs too tight is no good. These are a comfortable well fitting half tights, making it easy to wear them during or after activity. I put them through their recovery paces, and they came out successful and strong.

Oct 6, 2017

Five Reasons I'm Running Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn | FridayFive | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out to review find and write race reviews!

This week's Friday Five is about scheduling. One thing with scheduling is sometimes you just want to to live on the fly and do things last minute. With that in mind, I want to share with you why I'm running the Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon, which you can still sign up online until Sunday.

1. Chance to run in NYC

I love running in new locations. One location that has been on top of my list for a while is New York City. This race offers me that opportunity, to run through the borough of Brooklyn. I'm super excited by the course. They even have a video preview of the course, which is pretty sweet.

2. On course entertainment

One of the unique pieces of the Rock 'n' Roll races is the on course entertainment. They always have a variety of bands that help give an on course boost. It does vary year to year and location to location, but as someone that loves music when they run, it's perfect. They also have bands playing a finish line concert with a headliner. The headliner for Brooklyn this year is Hollis Brown.

3. Choice of distance

This year Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn is not offering just a half marathon but also a new 5 miler distance! If you're not ready for the 13.1 miles, you can opt for 5 miles and still see Brooklyn.

4. Heavy medals

Another great part of the Rock 'n' Roll series are the medals. Each race gets a medal themed to the location. In addition, as you run multiple races throughout the year, you can earn a Heavy Medal special to commemorate it. Since I ran the Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon earlier this year, I'll earn the Double Beat Medal.

5. BibRavePro Opportunity

Lastly, I've been given the opportunity to run this race as part of the BibRavePro program. I love being a BibRavePro. It provides some great opportunities, a great group of pros, and a lot of fun. If you're interested in finding out more, read on or feel free to contact me.

There's my five reasons. If you're interested in joining me, register now while you can, before Sunday.

Now that you've read my five, go check out Fairytales and Fitness "My 5 Races" and Running on Happy "Training is Tough Runfessions" since they host the linkup, and then you can see all the other great bloggers participating!

Sep 26, 2017

Clarendon Day Run Review | 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 to review find and write race reviews!

I love to run new races. It’s fun to travel, but also fun to find new races in your own area. Living in northern Virginia offers up a plethora of races, so there’s always somewhere new to run. My latest races were just that: something new and challenging. This past Sunday I ran the Clarendon Day Run Double Dash.

The Clarendon Day Run offers up two main races, a 5K and a 10K, and in a kids race. Often, you might see a race with both 5K and 10K distances, but often it’s a choice of one or the other. In Clarendon, that is not the case. You can run them both, get a special challenge medal, and we’ll even throw in a mile and half uphill transfer between the end of the 5K and start of the 10K. 😉

The Expo Pre-Race

I usually like to start off my race reviews talking about the expo. Well, this is just a local race, so there was no expo to be had. There was packet pickup in the days leading up to the race, but also on race morning. Pick up closed 15 minutes before the start of each races. I arrive just after 7, with the first race starting at 8 am. I found street parking a block and a half away from the start line (nice and easy and FREE on Sundays). Pickup was a breeze. I walked right up, got my bib then went down to the next table for my shirt. The shirt was a nice soft tech shirt and orange, which is great because everyone knows #orangeisthenewfast. Though it did make it slightly more difficult than normal to find my fellow BibRavePro Katie with all the extra orange around. As the race got closer, the line got a little longer, but always seemed to be moving. One of the biggest draw backs was due to all the work on the metro lately in DC, there were no early hours, so if you rand the 5K you had to drive as trains weren’t running yet. The pre-race bathroom line was getting a little long at times, so they might have benefited from a few more port-o-pots, but the line moved fast enough to be ready come race time.

Race Time - 5K

The race course was a nice downhill course starting in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington. It winds through Courthouse into Rosslyn before moving out onto a closed portion of the highway. Running through the city was nice and no, not just because it was downhill. You had a lot to see and the sounds of the city (yes, I mean jackhammers at one point). The highway portion would be an out and back portion, as the course ended in Rosslyn. We ran on the 110, so you could see the Netherlands Carillon (which I highly recommend you hear play) and we went by the edge of Arlington National cemetery before looping back. The 5K finished well, just over 40 minutes at an official time of 40:19. After grabbing a banana and bottle of water, we found out we got all our medals after the 10K (which made sense). All in all, we had about 17 minutes to make it back up the hill, which should be no problem to go a mile in that time (we thought it was only a mile).

Hill Transfer

As I mentioned, we had about 17 minutes to make it up the hill, so we started a brisk pace walking up the hill, but noticed a lot of other people around us with no medals, so assumed they were all making their way to the second race so we felt in good company. The problem was, on the way up the hill we saw the mile 1 marker, and quickly realized we the finish line was not “just about a mile” as we thought. As we got closer, there was suddenly a flood of a lot of racers coming towards us. Crap. So we put it into a jog because we knew we weren’t where we needed to be. When we reached the start line, thankfully it wasn’t closed off, closed down, or in any way “you’re too late”, so we crossed the line and started our second race 8 minutes behind. I wanted to give everyone else a lead to feel good.

Race Time - 10K

The 10K course followed the same exact path of the 5K, down through Courthouse and Rosslyn then onto the 110. The only difference was that the out and back portion went out further before coming back. The city portion again was the nicest and we took advantage of the downhill portions to try and gain a little time up front. Between being tired after running back to the start and starting late, we wanted to try and gain some back while the course was giving us the advantage. The temperature was starting to rise now and the sun was feeling a little hot. I didn’t look closely at the map, but knew the course allowed us to go out to the Pentagon, so I was happy when we reached it. Unfortunately, the Pentagon is quite large, so we saw it for quite a while. The added difficulty of the highway portion was that the sun got very hot very quick (upper 80s), more so than expected. That was very draining on the second race. I had been well stocked with my Orange Mud HydraQuiver Double Barrel filled with Nuun. As the race went on, I filled up boy ottles with more water and then proceeded to dump a cup (or two later on) on my head to help cool down. It worked well with my BUFF UV Multifunctional Headband (that’s a mouthful) to keep cool and the sun off my head. Unfortunately, I didn’t think through the two races as the combined distance and instead as the individual pieces, so I wasn’t prepared in the fuel department. Coupled with the heat and liquid only (minus 1 banana on the hill and 1 GU pack) my stomach was sloshing and I was energy depleted.

Now we get to a slightly unfortunate part of our journey. Towards the very end, we new we were near the back but had seen some people behind us on the out and back. Then we saw the first cart carrying people from the back of the pack. Then, a course marshall on a bike was next to us and we could hear him talking about number of people on the course and where, so we knew we were in danger. He gave us the low down, that we had to make it back to the city before that cart grabbed the people behind us and then came back for us. He also said they had to open up in 6 minutes. It seemed a stretch but doable. Then the police SUV picked up the group behind us and asked us for a ride, and we said we wanted to keep running as long as we were allowed so asked if we had to get in. We did not, but 1 minute later the cart was back to pick us up. *sigh* we were “swept”. So they drove us up to essentially the end of the highway so that we were back on county property they said which they were allowed to keep open. From looking at my tracking, my guess was right, and we only got pulled for a quarter of a mile exactly. I can’t help but have fleeting thoughts of “if you gave us the 6 minutes you said” or “if we had just been back to the start with those extra 8 minutes” but the reality is in running and in life, you need to just keep moving forward, and we did.

We finished out as strong as we could from there and crossed the finish line, to an official time of 1:32:18. The best part is there were still a couple of people in that little section of the city cheering us on.

Overall, my total time was officially 2:12:37 for the Double Dash. That also happen to be 1 second faster than my BibRavePro counterpart, sorry Katie. 😜

Post Race

The second best part after there still being cheering was that being at the back of the pack, they had not run out of food, so I got one of everything, including 3 kinds of jerky. There were still people on hand giving out medals. If you know me, I love my bling and especially like special challenge medals. These did not disappoint as we got one race medal and then the double dash medal, which was interlocking! That’s a keeper. I mean, all medals are “keepers” to me, but you know what I mean.

That was really it for post race. They had a booth giving massages, some food tables and some samples and that was it. I had a beer ticket on my bib, but I wasn’t really sure where to use it, and frankly didn’t care to figure it out as I had yet another mile and half back up the hill. We could have taken the metro, but they were only running trains every 24 minutes and didn’t want to have to wait, though at our slow pace, it might have been work it. In the end, I actually tracked all portions (runs and walks) and put in 12.59 miles. I think I can call that worthy training ahead of Rock ’n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon, right?

Final Thoughts

I had a good time doing both of these races. It was great to run with my fellow BibRavePro Katie. Frankly, having her there made it much easier to push back up that hill and start round two. I would have been very tempted to call it at one and done, if I’m being honest. I could have trained a little more for the combined distance, and learned my lesson to total everything together when I’m planning what I think I’ll need. If I had thought it through, I would have been better prepared, because I know what my body needs at those mileages. Being a slower runner can be rough at times, especially for things like this, but I’m me and I’m going to keep being me. I survived, I finished (with a tiny involuntary boost), and I enjoyed myself. I would definitely recommend running the 5K, 10K, or the Double Dash to anyone in the area. It’s a fun little course, nicely downhill (so long as you ignore the 5K to 10K reset), and was very well run with friendly nice volunteers.

Check out my reviews on for the 5K and the 10K. Then, be sure to write review or any race you've run, to help your fellow runners!

Aug 25, 2017

Five Reasons to Run the Clarendon Day Run | Friday Five | 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 to review find and write race reviews!

I'm pretty excited for an upcoming race on my schedule. It's got a bit of fun with a dash of challenge. I thought I'd take this chance to join in on the Friday Five 2.0 linkup to give you five reasons you should join me at the Clarendon Day Run.

1. Choice of distance 👟

The Clarendon Day Run consists of the choice of distances. They offer a 10K, a 5K, and even a Kids Dash for the little ones. There are medals for all finishers, but it's unclear on their site if that includes the kids or not.

2. Take on a Challenge 🏅

You also have the option to take on the popular Double Challenge. This involves running the 5K first then making your way back to the start line for the 10K. This is the option I'm going for, but I'm hoping to be fast enough as part of the challenge is you also need to get back to the start line before the 10K starts. There is even a special double challenge medal, though looks like its limited to the first 500 registrants, so sign up now! (but see #5 before you do)

3. Part of day of festivities 🎉

The Clarendon Day Run is part of a larger Clarendon Day festival. So come enjoy the festival the day before, and then race on Sunday. Of course, even if you can make the festival on Saturday, they're still throwing their own post-race party and an (adult) beverage ticket is included with your registration.

4. Downhill courses 📉

Both of the courses are known for being fast and thats because they're downhill. I've included the elevation below from the Pacers Running site. As you can see, that's a graph we always love to see. I must warn you of one thing, if you want to do the challenge the end of the 5K is about a mile back to the start line, back up hill, so thats a part of the challenge.

5. Save Money 💰

Who doesn't like to save money? Want to run the 5K, the 10K, or the double? Register now and use the code 17cdrBibRave to save $5 on your entry.

There's my five reasons. If you're in the DMV, I hope you consider coming out to run with me. I'd love the company. I plan to try and run the challenge, but I'm mostly running for my enjoyment.

Now that you've read my five, go check out Fairytales and Fitness "My 5 Races" and Running on Happy "Training is Tough Runfessions" since they host the linkup, and then you can see all the other great bloggers participating!

Aug 20, 2017

Cap it Off: BUFF® Pack Run Cap | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the BUFF® Pack Run Cap to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

My favorite piece of gear of the summer months has always been the UV Multifunctional Headband, formerly the UV Half BUFF®, ever since I first reviewed it here for you. It keeps the sweat off my face, protects me from the sun, and is very versatile. The latest product I've been give to test is the BUFF® Pack Run Cap. It looks like they've packed all that multifunctional goodness into a runner's cap package.

What's special about the cap?

The cap is lightweight and breathable, but it is also packable. By packable, I mean you can throw it in your bag, it can smash up and come back out and straight onto your head. I'll give you all the description, straight from their site:
Ultralight and ultra smart, the BUFF® Pack Run Cap is built to go the distance. Super streamlined, exceptionally light and highly compressible, it’s comfortable for the long-haul, but can easily be folded and rolled to stash in a pocket. The four panel design and stretch materials hug the head for a secure fit that doesn’t bind, while a low profile sweatband provides moisture control without added bulk, and the polyester materials wick away perspiration. The crushable polyurethane brim snaps back to shape and combines with the UPF protective materials for sun protection on long races and extended training days.
The material of the cap is very lightweight and has a bit of stretch to it, giving it a very comfortable fit. There's also a small drawstring on the back so you can get it just to the right snugness.

How does it work?

The cap is another great pice of gear from BUFF®. I already mentioned how lightweight and comfortable it is. I took it for run in some hot and humid summer runs. Now, it's not been a hot as it usually is this time of year, but it was still August and still humid. I'm a guy who sweats. Despite the miles and the humidity, the hat kept all the sweat off my face. It never felt too hot on top of my head, which is always my worry for summer running gear. With hats in particular, they always get too warm for me. It my testing so far, I've not hit that wall with this cap. While it did work well, it did need a hang dry afterwards, but I see that as a sign of a good work out.

As far as it's packability, it works as described. Scrunch it, stuff it, throw it in your bag and it still came back out ready to go. Frankly, there's nothing overly firm about it, so nothing to get messed up. The brim seems to keep its shape well. The UV protection seems to work well. Nothing overly scientific about it, but I wore it when I ran and the top of my head did not get burnt.

The Takeaway

The cap works great. I'm a big fan of it. I like running visors, but my head not full of hair can't handle them without getting crispy. Most running hats are just too hot on my head. This cap gives me all I love about BUFF® in a hat form. I also hate throwing hats in bags for fear of them coming out with a lopsided brim, but the Pack Run Cap doesn't suffer that problem. It's super lightweight, comfortable, portable, and delivers everything I expect from a BUFF® product.


This week's #bibchat will feature BUFF and the Pack Run Cap. Stop by on Tuesday, August 22nd 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.

What do you wear to run?

Jul 30, 2017

Luvo Bowls Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received Luvo meals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Quick and easy often doesn't equal healthy. Luvo Frozen meals give you nutritious, delicious, and smart choices. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you may remember last year I reviewed several of their Steam in Pouch™ meals. As I said then they're quick, easy, healthy, and most importantly tasty. I received the opportunity to review their product again, so I was super excited to try out their new bowls and Planted™ Power Bowls.

So what are they?

Luvo is more than just a frozen meal. Their philosophy is simple "We believe that when you eat well, you feel and perform better in all aspects of life, so we’re on a mission to make wholesome, delicious meals more accessible for all." That philosophy shows with their meals. They create well rounded meals, with less sugar and sodium, and use lean proteins and whole grains. They use a "fact-based approach to nutrition that is supported by credible 3rd party sources like the World Health Organization and the Harvard School of Public Health". They also are teaming with WhyHunger and A Sense of Home give you a company really making an effort for the environment and the community.

What did I try?

Since I already know I love their Steam in Pouch™ meals, I took this time to try out their bowls and Planted™ Power Bowls.

Hawaiian Un-Fried Rice

This is one of my favorites. This is a vegan bowl, made with Forbidden Rice, shiitake mushrooms, pineapple & cashews. This is a very tasty dish on it's own. I'm a big fan of fried rice and this is a tasty mix. While it works as a meal, I also thought it would be great to split as a side. Not only that, I may have had this more than once and added some chicken the second time around, making it very much not vegan, but quite delicious to me.

Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

This was a surprise dish for me. I've heard of cauliflower being used like this, but I've never been a fan of cauliflower itself.  In the name of review, I decided to try it out anyway. In addition to the roasted cauliflower, it includes brown rice noodles in a creamy sauce with panko style topping. I'll admit, at first when I took it out, it surely smelled like roasted vegetables. However, the taste was great. I think this is a fantastic healthy take on your classic mac & cheese. This will definitely be one that lives in our freezer, as my wife enjoyed it as well.

Mighty Masala & Greens

The next dish I tried was another of the Planted™ Power Bowls. The Might Masala & Greens included brown jasmine rice, green garbanzos, cabbage & kale. This bowl was not quite my personal flavor. It was a good healthy mix, but just didn't tickle my taste buds like the others. It had a little bit of spice, which was nice. This is one I may try again, with a little something to mix it up. I'm always willing to give things a try, and a second try.

Chicken & Corn Chowder

The last dish was the chicken & corn chowder. While summer time wasn't really the right time for it, I enjoyed this one as well. It is made with white chicken, kale, sweet potato & white beans in a savory dijon-herb base. I think the best part of it was that "dijon-herb base". It gave a good and unique taste to this. I even enjoyed the kale, which I've not been a fan of in the past. This is one I'm looking forward to again, I'm just going to wait for the fall for it.

The Takeaway

I love Luvo meals. They give you healthy choices that are also quick and easy. Great recipes, healthy substitutions, and made with ingredients from people-, animal- and planet-friendly practices. As a runner, we need good fuel. We also don't always have much time. Overall, you won't find a match for these any where else in the freezer section.

What do you eat when you're short on time for meal?

Jul 26, 2017

DNS: Crystal City Twilighter (Almost) Review | 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 to review find and write race reviews!

This is usually where you'd be coming to see my review of the Crystal City Twilighter. Unfortunately, for the first time, I don't have that for you. The Crystal City Twilighter 5K was my first DNS. I won't go into the details of that, as it's not important to this. However, I still wanted to give you what feedback I could, and then provide some from others who were there.

Pre-race Communication

On thing I can speak to is the pre-race communication. That day in northern Virginia we had a rough storm rolling through. They were very proactive in ensuring safety and providing updates. I saw a tweet when they move the packet pickup inside the mall, to get out of the weather. They also noted if there was any update to race time, they would provide update their as well. As it turned out, that was unnecessary as things moved through the area soon enough that the race was able to go on as planned.

The Race

From what I saw, the race looked good. Like, literally good with all that glowing. I do want to give a shout out to the winner Chris Sloane, who won in 15:12, a blazing 4:54 min / mile pace! Oh, and 2nd place was 1 second behind him and 3rd just 5. They were not kidding about being a fast course. The female winner was Bethany Sachtleben, in just 16:49, an amazing 5:24 min / mile pace!

Be sure to come back here for some updates from my fellow running BibRavePros.


I'm happy to give you some reviews from my fellow BibRavePros. I made some quick graphics, but click through on their names for the full reviews.

More Pacers

Want to get in on a Pacers Running race? You can join me at the Clarendon Day Run and save $5 with code 17cdrBibRave

Jul 16, 2017

Training to Run the Night | #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 to review find and write race reviews!

I recently shared some of my upcoming races, including one a little different than I'm used to: the Crystal City Twilighter. What's "different" about it is that the race time is 7:30, as races often are, however instead of AM it is PM! While the race is a 5K, I thought about my preparation, so I thought I'd share them with you.

Run at night

While this isn't a Ragnar Relay where I need to be used to running in pitch black silence at 2 in the morning, it's always good practice to run in the conditions expected for race day (when you can). Since this is an evening summer race in Virginia, that can mean it will still have lingering heat from the day and humidity. It's not the same as the morning, when things can be a little cooler until the sun start burning bright in the sky. That is of course why most races are run in the morning, of course. Moving my training runs to the evening hasn't been easy, but valuable to at least have a couple runs in.

Choose your gear

As always, you want to pick your race gear. When running at night, I prefer bright colors. When I'm at home, it's so I'm seen. At a race, it's just fun. I figure standing out against the dark is the most fun way to do it.

Get glowing

Along the lines of gear, why not get some gear that glows? Glow sticks, glow bracelets, light up snap bracelets... the night is your canvas of light, so why not have some fun with it.

Food plan

A race at 7:30 pm means it's after dinner. That means you need to make a plan for dinner: something light, healthy, and won't be heavy in your stomach when you run. This is also good to practice with our first item "Run at night".


Hydrating is also important for a race. Racing at night provides an extra element, making sure you're hydrated throughout the day to be prepped for the evening. On top of that, the Crystal City Twilighter comes with a drink ticket, so you want to be hydrated to enjoy that post race drink. ;-)

Join Me

It's not too late to register to join me in just under a week.

Register now and save $5 with the code 17cctBibRave

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 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!


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?