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!