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?


Mar 19, 2017

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

Disclaimer: I received the Oofos OOcloog Project Pink Clog to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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

What Project Pink?

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

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

What's the clog all about?

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


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

How do they really feel?

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

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

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

The Takeaway

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

How do you recover your feet?


Mar 18, 2017

Spring Ahead with XX2i France2 Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received the XX2i France2 sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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


What makes these different from the original?

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

How do they feel?

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


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

How do they look?

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


Special Sale (Limited Time)

For a very limited time, you can save 50% off your purchase at XX2i with limited discount code: marchbibrave. The code is valid only until March 28, so act now to save. That's HUGE savings at just the right time to get yourself set for spring and the summer. Don't forget, that comes with the tank protector case (perfect for a less gentle person or parent with a destructo kid), a soft carrying bag (that is microfiber and therefore doubles as a lens cleaner), free U.S. shipping, the 365 money back guarantee, as well as the no questions asked lifetime warranty. And if you need an excuse, just have the Easter Bunny bring them for your basket this year! They'd fit perfectly next to that chocolate bunny.

The Takeaway

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

#bibchat

This week's #bibchat will of course feature XX2i. Stop by on Tuesday, March 21st at 9pm EST to join in the good times that is bibchat. Interact with the XX2i team, with other BibRavePros, and all the other like minded runners that participate each week. You can plan on a giveaway of these great glasses, as always, so there's always that added bonus.

What's your go to sunglasses?


Mar 15, 2017

Rock 'n' Roll DC 2017 Review | BibRavePro

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

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

The Expo

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

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


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

Pre-Race

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

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

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


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

Race Time

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


Post Race

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


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

Final Thoughts

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

Feb 17, 2017

Jan 20, 2017

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

Disclaimer: I received the Knuckle Lights: Rechargeable to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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

The Better Way

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

How do they work?

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


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


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

3 Special Steps

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

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


The Takeaway

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

#bibchat

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

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