Race Registration: Race to Wrigley 5K!

Disclaimer: I received free entry into the Race to Wrigley 5K 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!

Funny story, I’m a huge National Lampoon movie fan, mostly Summer Vacation, European Vacation, as well as the crown jewel Christmas Vacation. I’m such a fan of those movies in general that since I was young I have had an affinity to Chicago sports teams. I should preface this also by saying I’m a horrible sports fan. I couldn’t tell how well (or bad) the teams are doing, I just like them due to their connection to my favorite childhood movies.

Every year for Christmas I don my vintage Chicago Bears hat (to match Chevy Chase’s from Christmas Vacation) along with my custom “Griswold” Blackhawks Jersey. I wear the Clark Griswold uniform with honor.

Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wearing Chicago Bears Hat, Image Source: Web

However, I often forget people don’t make the same connection. Over the years when I’m out in public rocking my Chicago Bears hat, I’ll have actual fans of the team give me a thumbs up, or make some comment about the team. To which I nod and agree with what their saying, haven’t having the slightest clue what their talking about.

Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wearing Chicago Blackhawks Jersey, Image Source: Web

But. I do love baseball, and every baseball fan knows Wrigley. So how awesome was it for me to find out about the Race to Wrigley 5K? Not only are we talking about the iconic Wrigley Field, but also my connection to my favorite movies based around the misadventures of Clark W. Griswold Jr.!

Sorry to interrupt the story, but did you know that your race registration helps benefit Cubs Charities, which aims to provide health, fitness, and education to those at risk! Make your donations HERE!

What was I saying? Oh yeah! Ever since I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to drive across the country with my parents on a wild adventure to an animal themed theme park. I was especially looking forward to Dad ramping the car off an incomplete exit ramp, crashing our station wagon, and then sharing a beer in my quest to manhood all while wearing a Cubs t-shirt.

I mean c’mon, it’s every boys dream.

Okay, so maybe it’s not the same, and maybe it’s really hard for me to put to words why I like Chicago’s sports teams, but the bottom line is that if you’re a Chicago Sports fan, what’s not to love about the Race to Wrigley?

Sign up: https://www.race-cubs.com/events/register/2020-race-to-wrigley

Check out this year’s awesome swag! Sign up, get your swag and start your next family adventure off!

Product Review: MetCon START Pre-Training

Disclaimer: I received MetCon Start 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!

Some Perspective

I feel like I need to “set the stage” if you will to give you a glimpse of my current mindset and also how MetCon START has really helped me re-develop my running routine.

The pandemic has been weird. Like most people, I found myself unemployed and on a forced 50+ day vacation from employment. I’ll admit, while stressful, the time off was actually a bit of a blessing in disguise. I was given an opportunity to “reset” so to speak and get my head right.

Over the break I ran based on how and when I wanted. It was beautiful and intuitive, I ran without much thought or stress and it became a daily habit everyday around 8 or 9AM.

Fast forward to present-day; I’m back to being employed (and feeling so so grateful) and also oddly enough finding myself wondering when I’m going to find time to run.

Which brings me to the point of this review.

MetCon START, to Start the Day!

Now gainfully employed I have three options when it comes to running. One, run in the morning; Two, run at lunch; Three, run in the evening.

The most painful of these (because I enjoy sleep) is getting up early to run. So naturally I’m left to run over my lunch or in the evening.

It’s July and that means Pennsylvania is swelling with heat and humidity. So those lunch runs I love- well, not so much unless I want to shower three times in a single day. So that means evening runs will have to suffice, right? Wrong. The evening is when the day is at its peak heat, so if I thought running over lunch was too hot, I guess running in the evening is off the table too.

Morning runs it is! Insert groans here.

Actually, it’s not that bad and MetCon START has made the process a little more “user friendly”. Just one (1) scoop 15 mins before my run, and I’m good to go!

My Routine…

User preferences will vary, but on days where I run in the mornings I get up, get dressed and immediately consume around 12-16 oz of water mixed with one (1) scoop of MetCon START.

I typically chase START with a bottle of water to just prepare my body with fluids, since I’ll most likely sweat out most of it. And that’s it. Sounds too easy… right?

My Thoughts

I’ve been using MetCon START for two weeks now. One container has approximately 30 servings which means just enough for a month’s supply.

When I started using the pre-training mix I avoided consuming any other caffeinated drinks in the morning. MetCon states that START has the equivalent boost of two (2) servings of your typically coffee beverage. I’m not one to have any sensitivity toward caffeine, but to be safe I would try to limit my intake of any supplemental caffeine in the mornings.

4:30AM wake-up calls for a little boost!

START has a nice subtitle boost of energy that I have found was sufficient to sustain my needs for my morning 3 mile run. Unlike other brands I have tried, START has a gradual release of energy, versus an all-at-once hit. I prefer the gradual release and absorption, again it’s not a huge pump like other brands.

The taste is fairly mild, and has a citrus finish. It’s not harsh on the tongue or back of the throat, START mixes easily and goes down without fuss. I have hastily consumed START on occasion (waking up late but still wanting to get in the miles) and can happily report no stomach issues or cramps.

Overall Opinion

At $49.99 and roughly 30 servings, I feel the price isn’t horrible. Along those lines, I feel like when it comes to energy mixes, you get what you pay for, and MetCon is at the higher end of quality and performance.

** Speaking of price, you can Save 20% off your purchase by using discount code BIBRAVE at checkout! **

The mixture blends well and goes down easily, no clumps or gross flavor profiles. I’ve consumed this on the go with no GI issues and enjoy the gradual release of energy.

I have found on longer runs (in the heat and humidity of Pennsylvania) around 5 miles I start to see my energy fade and need an additional boost.

On the weekends, I’m typically up a little later in the day (around 7:30AM) and consume additional caffeine (coffee) in the mornings before mixes up START and heading out. I have found consuming coffee in addition to START has not had any negative affects, but it’s not something I would do daily.

For what it’s worth, I’ve used and enjoyed START and will continue to kick off my days with a little scoop to help give me that “boost” I need!

Race Recap: Virtual Race Run for the Zoo!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to review and race the Run for the Zoo Virutal Race 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!

Run for the Zoo Virtual Edition!

I think this goes without saying, but like most races in 2020, the “Run for the Zoo” Race has gone virtual. That means being able run when ever my schedule permits, and having the luxury to run on my time makes things a lot easier to plan and execute. Virtual runs also give me an opportunity to get my miles in and get on with the day, without having to travel to and from the race.

Obviously, there are some drawbacks – if you are a people person, running in isolation is no fun, and not having a support team along the way can make things slightly more challenging. However, since we’re all professionals of running over the quarantine, this virtual race was business as usual for me.

Race day highlights!

Since I ran the streets in my backyard, I got to take in the beautiful scenery and wonder of an Amish Countryside- complete with farm animals! The cows were very encouraging… the horse and buggies didn’t want to race though.

I also timed my run to fall in the late afternoon, when the temperatures were most likely to dip- and the forecast was calling for rain, so the motivation to finish with haste was present!

Overall Impression

I’m glad I was able to Run for the Zoo and bring awareness to my social circle about this race. The Lincoln Park Zoo relies on various fundraising events (like this race) to support their operations.

If you’d like to support the Zoo, they have numerous exciting programs (virtual and in-person) shared on their website: HERE

Product Review: Road iD Wrist ID

Disclaimer: I received a RoadiD Wrist ID 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!

Never Run Alone!

If you’re like me you love running morning, noon, and night! Whenever the time is right, and up for adventure, it’s always fun running in new places and new routes and trails. After all the world is meant to be explored, so why not?

But if you’re also like me, you’ve got loved ones that care about your safety on the run. Especially when your travels may take you into an area your family is just as unfamiliar with as you. You might have concerns about the “what if” while you are out and about. So, what’s a runner to do? That’s where RoadiD comes into play!

RoadiD Wrist ID

RoadiD offers flexible options and styles to suit your needs. I chose the Wrist ID to rock on my runs because of the sleek look and customize options for use. In fact, I’ve been wearing my Wrist ID 24/7, the design is light and comfortable that I forget it’s there.

RoadiD offers you and your loved ones some peace of mind, and is so affordable I can’t think of a reason not to wear one!

Side note: the Wrist ID can be easily removed and placed on a new band, giving you a customized style. The ID badge is rugged enough that it won’t fall out and so far has been resilient to daily wear.

Assurance on the Run!

I tried thinking of just how to describe RoadiD, but fellow runner and Insta friend said it best:

Discount Code!

Okay, so I know this a short and sweet post, but if are curious about RoadiD, I would check it out for yourself as I can not recommend them enough!

And, to make the deal sweeter, you can save 25% when you use discount code: SAVE25BRP at checkout!

But don’t take my word for it! Check out fellow BRP’s for their opinions about RoadiD. Don’t forget to check out RoadiD’s website as well HERE

Chris , Steph, Ebony, Cassie, Nicki, Becky, Meredith, Randy, Lisha, Lisa, Mike

Virtual Race Recap: Cinco de Miler!

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Cinco de Miler Virtual race 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!

Do you have a favorite race that you “have” to run every year? What is it about the race that draws you in year after year? Drop it in the comments below!

Is Virtual the New Normal?

Since the pandemic all races (in person) have been cancelled, leaving many race organizations scrambling to stay ahead of the game. After all, whether we realize it or not, the race industry is, in fact, a business. So it goes without saying that without customers, race “companies” won’t be able to maintain operations.

Many of the big players in the race industry are taking notes and responding to the pandemic accordingly. One way to stay ahead of the “stay at home orders” is offering a virtual option for participants to still manage to run their favorite race.

Question: does virtual racing appeal to you? would you still run your favorite race even if it moved to a strictly virtual platform?

Enter: Cinco De Miler

RAM Racing has done a great job of shifting nearly all of their signature races to the virtual platform, making it possible for anyone to run a variety of location-specific races anywhere they want!

For me the Cinco De Miler has always been on my list of races to run. Typically held in Illinois, the race moved virtual opening up the chance for me to participate here in Pennsylvania!

While it’s not the same as running in Chicago, I was still able to treat this as a regular race. With a defined date and distance on the calendar, I was running the Cinco de Miler on May 2nd along with all my BibRave Pros (virtually)!

Race day!

The morning of the 2nd I woke up with a little pep in my step, after all, it was race day!

After getting dress I check in on my social media feeds to see when my friends had planned on running the race. I adjusted my schedule so that I could share my results around the same time, making it feel like I ran with friends in real life.

I opted to run the 5 miles near my hometown, passing by a man made waterfall at a local fishing spot. Needless to say, I forgot to pause my Garmin while taking in the scenery and posing for a quick selfies near the falls.

While not the fastest 5 miles on record, it was still nice to get out and enjoy nature and still feel connected to the running community by participating in a virtual race event!

Race Swag!

Of course it wouldn’t be a race without awesome swag! RAM racing put together an awesome virtual swag bag including a signature tech shirt, medal, race bib, and lots of goodies!

P.S. If you ran this race did you try the mango lollipop?!

By the way, my first name is Lawrence- I’ve been meaning to update my RAM racing profile for the past few years. It still makes me chuckle when I see my bib with “Lawrence” on it. Haha.

BibRave Pro Insight: How I Learned to Like Virtual Races – Run Eat Ralph

With all of our favorite races being cancelled, deferred, postponed, and moved around it’s no surprise that we’re going to see a surge of virtual race options.

After the stay at home orders are lifted how soon will you feel comfortable engaging in: A run with a close friend? What about your willingness to participate in group runs with your local running club or group of friends? Finally how about retuning to races after the stay at home orders are lifted, with the large mass of crowds they draw, will you be comfortable?

Virtual race options provide an opportunity for us to run our favorite race in the comfort of our own environment. Most virtual runs are DIY from the day, time, and setting. This DIY approach provides you with the ability to pick what day you want to run, what time suits you best, and where you are going to run that’s more convenient for you.

But don’t just take my word for it.

What are the BibRave Pros saying?

Fellow BibRave Pro, Run Eat Ralph, shares his insight on how he’s grown to like virtual races, read more on his blog for inspiration on how you might enjoy them too!

Virtual options starting popping up and at first I wasn’t all that excited about the thought. Running a run on my regular routes and calling it a race seems funny to me. There are plenty of good reasons though…

How I Learned to Like Virtual Races

Be sure to show Ralph some love! Cheers!

Race Registration: Run for the Zoo – 5K and 10K Virtual Race!

Disclaimer: I received free entry into the Run for the Zoo Virtual Race 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!

Most races have gone virtual this year, in light of the pandemic, which has opened the doors for those of us that live out of the area to participate without the added costs of travel. This virtual race option is also beneficial to races, allowing them to expand their reach in the market.

Take the “Run for the Zoo” in Lincoln Park (Chicago, IL) for example, this race is 11 hours from my home and completely out of my radar. In fact, prior to the race going virtual, I wasn’t even aware of its existence. Now with the registrations going virtual and allowing runs from all over to participate, they’ve increased their races awareness (and ultimately their cause: to help raise money for the animals).

Photo credit: Brigid Gallagher

I’m pretty excited to continue to race this year and building my calendar full of partnered virtual races in conjunction with BibRave. I’m even more excited to run this race June 7, 2020 virtually with the rest of the BibRave Pros! I guess you could say that the silver lining to the pandemic is that local races can expand their awareness and clientele to a broader audience by offering virtual races.

BibRave fans, use discount code BIBRAVE10 to save 10% off your race registration!

My family and I love to travel every summer, and once the pandemic has passed and travel is again promoted, the Lincoln Park Zoo has been added to our families destination vacation spots!

Series: Release the Runner! Part 1, Welcome to Running

The teams at Aftershokz and Bibrave have joined forces to announce a new series entitled: “Release the Runner”. During this series runners are asked to share their running story, and help encourage those interested in running to lace up and join the movement! That’s why I’m exciting to get on board and share with you an awesome challenge you can do from home, as well as offer my story and some of my tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way!

Why I run!

I think I’ve shared this story on most social channels, so I’ll try not to bore you with details. In fact, to save you time, check out my ABOUT page where you can read my story.

Let’s get on with it!

This month comes to us during an unprecedented time in history. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Pennsylvania Governor [Tom Wolf] has advised many of us to stay home to help prevent the spread of this new novel disease. While we aren’t confined to our houses, many of us are unable to return to work. I am one of the lucky individuals who just so happen to make a career change at the start of the pandemic, only to find myself out of work. Since not every profession is deemed “essential”, we’re seeing a lot of individuals from all walks of life finding some extra time on their hands.

What’s one to do with all this new free time?

The running community is always ready with open arms to welcome new runners. Believe it or not, there is no special talent required to start your new running hobby. You just have to be willing to move.

What do I need to start running?

Running is easy, but people tend to make a lot of excuses. One thing to keep in mind is that there really is no standard you have to meet to be considered a runner… other than the obvious “yes” answer to the following question: Do you run?

If you are hesitating to answer it’s important to note that everyone runs their own race, everyone has their own pace, and anyone that considers themself a runner, is a runner. It’s that easy. How you define “run” is entirely up to you. Like I said, there really is no standard that says you have to do X, Y, Z in order to be considered a runner.

What you do need: comfortable shoes (sneakers), and a persistent positive attitude.

I’ve got my shoes, now what?

With your shoes laced up, get outside and get moving! Don’t worry about distance, or pace. Depending on your abilities it’s important to just get moving at a pace you feel most comfortable. Whether that’s walking, jogging, running, or a combination of all three, focus on just being active and logging time on your feet. Start off with a goal to get moving for at least 30 mins.

Remember to take it easy!

Check back in for more updates, tips and tricks on how you can start running!

FitnessBank Spring Step Challenge with Des Linden!

Disclaimer: I received a financial incentive (gift card) to review and promote the FitnessBank Step Challenge with Des Linden as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learning more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Lockdown doesn’t mean sacrificing fitness!

The Covid-19 virus has shutdown a lot of races, and running events, and most platforms are turning to virtual runs for a solution! Just because we’ve been given orders to stay home, doesn’t mean we have to give up on our running fitness.

I’ll admit, when my spring races started cancelling and dropping off one-by-one, I immediately started to lose hope. All of the training, all of the time (and not to mention money) invested was being thrown out the window… or was it?

Most Spring race events are being cancelled, with no virtual run being offered in return, but what if I told you that you could enroll in a virtual challenge in a race for awesome prizes? How about the added bonus of getting to compete to Des Linden?

Enter the FitnessBank Spring Step Challenge!

So, you are probably wondering how you can complete? It’s super easy: Download the App – It’s FREE! – FitnessBank Step Tracker App. Sync the App directly with Garmin and FitBit apps, or to Apple Health and Google Fit connected other activity trackers.

Then get out and MOVE! The best part of this challenge is being able to compete right where you are, and the app is easy to use and you can follow along to see how you are stacking up!

Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 5k – 15k Cancelled!

Well, this should come as no surprise, in more recent news the COVID-19 virus (known as Coronavirus) has created a stir in the running community as many race organizers announce the cancellation of races throughout the nation.

The Allstate Hot Chocolate series announced yesterday its closure of another HC15K race, this time, Philadelphia was included in the list.

Participants: Please check your emails for important event updates and to find out “what’s next” for the race.

Frustrating?

Frustrating? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

As I mentioned previously (Shamrock Marathon Update), this is a first (at least to my limited knowledge) for most race organizers, as pandemics aren’t common place in our nation. As such proper precautions are being taken to help prevent the spread of the virus for the overall well-being of the community at large.

What can we do?

First thing is first, don’t be a jerk. Seriously.

I understand the frustration of losing money on a race registration, and I understand the frustration of having trained for months (if not an entire year) in hopes of crushing a running goal. I, myself, have been looking forward to the upcoming race season with much anticipation, especially since most of these races involve more than just running but offer a real chance to connect with friends (new and old).

As much as I’m disappointed, it’s important to step back and look at the big picture.

What goes into a race?

I think often times people forget that a race is much more than a one day, or weekend event. A race takes planning and a community to support it. In all the photos of the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate race, what you don’t see is the amount of volunteers needed, along with first-responders standing by. As a semi-former first-responder, I can’t tell you how under appreciated our emergency services are.

The Philadelphia Police department, along with Fire and EMS are at every corner, twist, turn, and intersection of the race. These resources provide a crucial role in the security and safety of all participants.

What you don’t see in the photos is the large Sanitation crew on the day of the event. Since the Boston bombing, the city has increased security in the area tenfold. Large Sanitation Trucks (trash trucks) and barriers are placed at critical intersections surrounding the race to prevent anyone from driving into the race festival area or course.

What you don’t see is the volume of Emergency Medical staff on standby during the event when someone is injured along anywhere in the course. Last year I recall a runner being transported to the hospital after sustaining running related injuries- the Ambulance drove among runners!

Demanding full refunds seems a bit selfish. Most of the participant fees cover not only the swag and general overhead, but there’s a ton of logistics involved and time spent organizing that can’t be refunded. Time is money, and when an event is planned and people invest a lot of time to make it happen, I think it’s only fair we honor those individuals but not requesting a full refund. Also, not to mention the charities involved in conjunction with the race. Demanding a full refund robs those charities of precious dollars.

Point being: take it in stride and accept the outcome.

I know and understand the frustration, after all I’m a participant as well! But I also think we all need to step back and look at the big picture and appreciate how difficult this decision is, and to respect the outcome, after all it’s respect for the community that is most important.

Important Reminders

Another thing to remember, during this pandemic, local community hospitals are going to be inundated with patients. Since this is flu season, anyone that so much as senses a whiff of flu symptoms is most likely going to think “what if” and head to the local hospital or urgent care facility for Coronavirus testing.

Now add the needs of the 1,000’s of people registered and participating in the event all at once… seems like a recipe for disaster. So out of respect for the Philadelphia community, I applaud the event organizers for decided to cancel the event.

Put it this way, had the race not been cancelled, and there was an outbreak of the Coronavirus, what’s the likelihood the city of Philadelphia would be willing to allow future running events? Like I said, don’t be a jerk, let’s preserve our trust and relationship with the communities we run and hope for a better future.

See you next year Philly Hot Chocolate 15k!