Product Review: BUFF DryFlx+ Collection – Combat the Cold!

Disclaimer: I received the BUFF DryFlx+ Collection products 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 the most wonderful time of the year! Actually I lied, this time of the year is when I struggle the most with choosing to #optoutside. The days are short, the air is crisp and hurts my face (don’t let the beard fool ya), everything is cold, and all I want to do is sleep.

Needless to say, if there is ever a time where I need motivation to get out the door, this time of the year is prime for said motivation.

That’s where BibRave comes to the rescue and introduces us to awesome brands (like BUFF) that are focused on making our time outdoors more comfortable. And that’s exactly where the BUFF DryFlx+ Collection comes in clutch!

When I received my BUFF DryFlx+ gear that was all the motivation I needed to shake me from old man Winter’s grasp!

Breathable Fabric = No Overheating

When the temps dip into the 30°F (-1°C) range and below, protection from the cold becomes essential. However, I find that on a mild day, I warm up too quickly and my clothing choice (headgear specifically) becomes too much. Likewise on a bitterly cold day, protection for my ears and neck are crucial yet somehow I always end up overheating and becoming uncomfortable with sweaty gear.

If you visit Bibrave’s BUFF link, sign up for the newsletter and receive 15% off!

Cold and Sweat can spell disaster if not properly addressed. This is where the BUFF DryFlx+ Collection really shines!

Neckwarmer and Hat!

I received the DryFlx+ Neckwarmer and Hat, an awesome combo for the outdoor runner! According to BUFF, the DryFlx+ construction boasts:

  • 4-Way ULTRA STRETCH
  • Moisture-management
  • Thermal Insulation
  • 100% Seamless Woven Design
  • Reflective Elements

The fabric is breathable and light, yet provides warmth to the areas that need it the most. I have found overheating isn’t an issue when I layer up with the DryFlx+ products.

Combat the COLD!

The neckwarmer is made from a one-piece design, and has engineered holes that allows you to breathe through the mask.

(Image: BUFF)

I’ve been using the combo hat and neckwarmer for well over a month and these two items have been added as permanent fixtures in my cold running arsenal.

The hat design is similar to the neck warmer (without engineered holes) and fits my head well. Typically when I overheat the hat is the first thing to go, however I find that this hat is breathable and eliminates the need for removal. This is awesome news if you’re like me and don’t like having to carry things on the run- especially gear that you should be wearing.

Eliminate your fears of being cold, grab the BUFF DryFlx+ collection of products and build your cold running kit today! But, don’t just take my word for it, here’s a few other Pro’s take on the product line:

RunCanvas | TheLateRunner | FitXBrit | Throwing Star | Running on Pixie Dust | Fun Size Athlete | Seventh Trail Sister | Running with Attitude

Race Recap: A Christmas Story 10k Virtual Race

Disclaimer: I received entry into A Christmas Story 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!”

A COVID Christmas!

Ah, Christmas. The one day of the year where the kids wake us up before the sun rises. We stumble down the steps, sleep still in our eyes. We open gifts and play “A Christmas Story” in the background. Then, when the living room is covered in discarded wrapping paper and empty boxes we feast on an amazing breakfast. After filling up on Christmas pancakes, we pack up the AWD sleigh and drive 2 hours East to be with family.

It was right in the middle of opening presents when reality slapped us in the face. “Mom has a fever” Dad’s text read. It was like the Bumpus hounds came crashing into our living room destroying our dreams of having a huge family Christmas gathering.

For the second time in 37 years, I wasn’t going “home” for Christmas. We all were a little bummed, but then again the pandemic has pretty much turned the entire landscape on its head, so we weren’t surprised that this year would be any different.

Surprisingly, it was refreshing having no where to go. And even more refreshing going for a 10k run to celebrate the “A Christmas Story Virtual Race”!

I decided to take advantage of being home and took off to catch some sights and enjoy some time with my thoughts. I reflected on Christmas’ of the past and how much I value my family. It then dawned on me that we’ve been watching “A Christmas Story” since as long as I can remember! Such memorable moments from the movie, and my favorite part still being Flick putting his tongue on the flagpole!

Anyway, no records were broken, just me out on Christmas Day enjoying time alone and thinking about my family and friends.

The Swag!

Just prior to Christmas Day I received my race swag, and I was pretty impressed with the overall haul.

The jacket is lightweight and breathable (it’ll make a perfect jacket for running in the fall and beginning part of winter when the temperatures are still fairly mild). I typically opt for a size larger since it’s hard to tell how well (or not) these things fit.

I typically wear a size L, so the XL jacket fits a little on the loose side, but it pretty comfortable and I’ll enjoy it running or lounging!

The knit hat is thick and plush, make no mistake it’s definitely made for winter use and keeping those ears warm!

The medal is heavy! I was shocked at the heft of the medal since it’s not that big. My only suggestion would be having the medal reflect more of something from the “A Christmas Story” movie… I mean, a leg lamp would have been hilarious, it’s a major award afterall!

See my BibRave Review HERE

Overall Experience

Since we planned on NOT being home for Christmas, we had no food set aside for a Christmas dinner. So in “A Christmas Story” fashion we had our own Parker style Christmas dinner (Indian food was the closest we could get).

Despite not seeing family, it was fun to get out and run a 10k and having our own mini-celebration of Indian food afterward.

How’d you celebrate Christmas?

Top Nine! A Year in Review.

Celebrating my Top Nine photos from 2020! It looks like I need to wear more variety in my running shirts… and ironically, most of these photos are from the same timeframe. Guess I had an amazing August-September!

I was catching up on the BibRave podcast over the past couple of days and wanted to share my rose, bud, and thorn as well. For those unfamiliar with this concept: the Rose is something from the past year you are proud of (some event or thing that really bloomed for you). The Bud is something that you are cultivating that is growing and you’re excited about. The thorn is something that did not bring you joy, or something that genuinely disagreed with you.

Rose: this might be an unpopular opinion, but the pandemic was my rose this year. It taught me how to cut out toxic relationships and provided me with a true understanding of what it means to take care of oneself and family. Our calendar was wiped clean, I found myself unemployed, yet I wouldn’t have traded that situation for the world. My family and I feel so much closer ever since.

Bud: this year I’ve had the pleasure to work with some amazing brands, and it looks like it’s only going to get better in 2021! I’m so excited for the future and looking forward to cultivating new friendships and experiences along the way. A large part of my 2021 mantra is to “run happy” through life. I’m so pumped to kick things off I’ve already started putting my mantra into practice!

Thorn: here’s a heavy dose of irony. Social media (since I shared this on Social Media). I kinda agree with Tim Murphy (BibRave) and have to say I’m not sure I like where some of these platforms are headed. I try to keep a positive mental attitude and follow accounts of likeminded people- and most recently I’ve been keeping an eye on how much time I spend in various platforms, making sure I disconnect and let my brain reset.

That was my year in review, how about you?

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!

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!

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!

Race Registration: Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon 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!

 

Where to begin? This March is the upcoming BibRave Summit, which so happens to coincide with the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon weekend of events! I’m super excited to be participating in the Dolphin Challenge (completing the 8K on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday)!

In preparation for the event, nothing new or crazy is taking place training-wise, just the same old trying to get 20+ miles in each week before race day.

One thing that is semi-new is that I’ve been practicing Intermittent Fasting (for about 6 months) and I’ve notice when I run in a fasted state I feel like I have more control over my energy. Crazy I know, but I can run fasted up to around 5 miles without feeling the need to take in fluids (mind you I’m keeping hydrated while fasting).

After 5 miles I notice a dip in my energy and can quickly boost my levels with a gel, or taking in fluids with electrolytes and such (Tailwind is my go-to choice).

Anyway, we’ll see how things play out for the Dolphin Challenge! Im excited for the BibRave Summit, I’m excited for the race weekend, and I can’t wait to catch up with all my fellow BibRave Pros!

 

 

Race Registration: Hot Chocolate 5k/15k Philadelphia

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k/5k 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!


It’s that time of the year again! Hot Chocolate season is here and I’m super excited to share that I’m signed up to run the 2020 Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k/5k on April 4th!

Make it Even Sweeter!

Use code BRHCPHILLY19 at check out to receive a free Hot Chocolate running hat! #HCPhillyBR #Bibchat

Make sure you Register HERE

Check out this year’s swag! I can’t wait to run this race again and experience all Philly has to offer! After running this race my family and I usually hit up Pat’s and Geno’s Steaks and stuff our faces with Philly’s finest. How do you celebrate?!

Photos  courtesy of AllState Hot Chocolate 15k/5k

Stance Shorts: TurtleGloves!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of the new TurtleGloves 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!”

Hey guys, here it is! My review of the all new TurtleGloves!

Winter Weather Gloves

When it comes to winter weather gloves, fancy words like Polartec Windbloc technology sound like a great choice! So, it should come as no surprise when it comes to quality and performace you can count on TurtleGloves.

I was sent a prototype pair of these Windproof, Water-Repellent and Lightweight gloves to test out. Ironically, the day they arrived, the Eastern States were hit with a winter weather advisory.

These prototype gloves were designed to maintain warmth for the hands even when wet. So, what better way to put them to the test, then to immediately go for a run in the wintry weather mix!

BibRave Fans: If you like what you’ve seen and want to try a pair of TurtleGloves for yourself use discount code TURTLEGLOVESBR to save 15% off your order! These new prototypes aren’t available yet, but keep an eye out for them to be released soon!

Visit: http://www.turtlegloves.com for more!

Mushroom Cap Half-Marathon: Pre-Race Checklist

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Mushroom Cap Half Marathon 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!

Here we are the night before the race, and here I am frantically putting together tomorrow’s kit.

1. Let’s talk tech: My Aftershokz Trekz Air headphones are a MUST! I’m not sure if this is a sign that I’m getting older, but I love listening to podcasts or audiobooks on long runs. I find that conversations help the miles pass and sometimes a good story carries me through the tough parts of a run. Tomorrow I’ve got the BibRave podcast lined up to keep me company (I’m behind purposely by 4-5 episodes). Throw in my trusty Garmin watch and I’m all set!

2. My Ultimate Direction vest to tote my stuff is also at the top of my list. I have been able to reduce my nutrition for a half marathon to a single Hydrapak(R) water bottle filled with Tailwind Nutrition and one or two Stinger Gels. I have found that most race courses provide enough hydration and gels for those who don’t carry their own supplies, but I like to be self-sufficient.

3. It’s going to be COLD tomorrow so as far as clothing: gloves, my orange lightweight windbreaker, shorts and leggings are a must-have. Throw in my trusty BocoGear BibRave hat, BibRave Buff, and of course my BibRave shirt. GO TEAM ORANGE!

4. I’m going to coat myself in BodyGlide, no joke. Actually I’m going to hit a few target areas: collarbone, shoulders, neck, inner thighs, hips, nips, pretty much all areas where friction can and will ruin a day.

5. Not shown are my Feetures Socks and Brooks Ghost Running shoes.

Tomorrow’s race has other things to look forward to as well, like the post-race after party at the Creamery and of course spending some time with my BibRave buddies!

The course sounds like it’s going to be a challenging but good time! The few people I’ve talked to over social media mentioned the hills…. repeatedly, so I guess I’ll know what to expect.

Lately I’ve been leaning into my training and knowing that I can run comfortably at a 10 min/mile pace without feeling uncomfortable or like I’m going to bonk. And I suppose that’s what it’s all about, running a race comfortably and enjoying the course and scenery without focusing on time and “beating” those imaginary demons in my head.

I’m going into tomorrow’s race with an open mind and sticking to my plan of just enjoying the course… and of course having a good time.