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 BibRave.com 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 https://www.rungoapp.com/ 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 BibRave.com 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 bibrave.com 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 BibRave.com 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 BibRave.com 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!