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!

Quaratine Life: Food Edition

There’s a lot going on in our house since the beginning of the stay at home orders issued for the State of Pennsylvania. Although, my lack of posts may convince you otherwise.

I guess you could say the quarantine life has taken some time getting used to, and if you’re like me (always on the “go”) it can be hard to develop a rhythm from scratch. When your normal routine is no longer “normal”, you gain a new perspective on life. I have exhausted my thoughts about the new normal in my life and going forward how I’m seeing things from an all new perspective.

All this new quality time has reinvigorated our love for food. That’s why I’m super stoked to share some awesome meals from the past week!

Grass-fed Beef Samosas

We’ve dabbled in the fine arts of Samosa-making in the past, so when we found an old recipe for beef samosas, we jumped at the chance to make them again.

Korean Turkey Bowls

Since most of the takeout and delivery places are out of our area, and we’re trying to reduce our exposure, we’ve been finding new inspiration to make takeout meals at home! Introducing this amazing recipe we found for Korean Turkey Bowls!

Butter Lentils and Potatoes

Craving some serious Indian food lately, and since we have a ton of homemade chapati dough ready to go, we thought this recipe for Butter Lentil and Potatoes was a fitting match!

Now, I know what you’re thinking and the answer is: No, I’m not a culinary genius. I leave the cooking and recipe sourcing to my amazing wife and she does a great job keeping our family fed! Be sure to follow along our food jounrey on Pinterest and our Website!

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!

Race Recap: 465 Challenge

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Challenge 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!

Virtual Challenge

The 465 Challenge is a 53 mile virtual race that runs from January 1 to February 29 (2020). Participants have from the beginning of January to the end of February to complete 53 miles either walking, running, jogging, swimming, or biking. This challenge is a great way to make that New Year resolution stick!

Another bonus is that any participant that completes multiple intervals of 53 miles are considered “loopers” and join the Looper Club. And, if you complete the 53 miles within 24 hours, you join the 24 hr Club!

My Strategy

From the beginning, my goal was to compete at least 3 loops over the course of the challenge, through running only. 156 miles over the course of the challenge seemed pretty obtainable as long as the weather held out.

I’ll admit, Jan – Feb in Pennsylvania can be a bit of a gamble, especially since those are typically my lowest monthly totals when it comes to running. Throw in the added bonus of our local YMCA shutting down, and I knew this was going to be a challenge that was going to force me to get creative if the weather went foul.

And getting creative I did! I was determined to only track running miles only. I incorporated my long runs and even a half marathon into my schedule to make sure I hit my goal! The 465 Challenge was the perfect way to plan out my otherwise boring start to the year.

Mild Winter = Better Mileage

As luck would have it, January through February was actually quiet mild for our region. Instead of snow and ice, the Northeast saw a lot of rain! I felt like the entire last two months have been nothing but a wet soupy mess.

Did I mention it rained a lot this winter?

Despite the rain, I managed to complete my 3 loop goal over the course of the 465 Challenge. It helped that I had a handful of long runs on nice clear Sundays and not to mention the Squirrely Tail Half Marathon to boot.

This challenge couldn’t have gone off any better, and it was so rewarding to be able to maintain my fitness levels over the dark winter months. I’m glad I signed up for the challenge and I’m even happier I met my goal!

Overall Impression

The 465 Challenge was a great way to stay focused on training through the darkest winter months. The online community and encouragement from other participants really helped me stay focused and kept my on-track on days I was lacking motivation. This challenge was a great way to start 2020 and to really hammer out those early New Years resolutions.

The swag was pretty cool as well! Participants received a pretty unique medal, and if you added it to your registration a nice quality shirt!

Did you miss out?! That’s okay, make sure you track down the 465 Challenge and check out all the upcoming races they are offering and be sure to sign up for next year!

Website: https://www.465challenge.com

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/465challenge/

Race Registration: Freedoms Run Half Marathon!

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Freedoms Run 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!

phonto-1

 

Holy Hannah, it’s that time of the year! My race calendar is starting to fill up and I’m super stoked to announce that I’ll be returning to West Virginia to run the Freedoms Run Half Marathon on October 3rd, 2020!

Just a quick recap of how I discovered the race, and last year’s review:

“If you know me, I’m a history nut, and we discovered the Freedoms Run on accident when we planned a family vacation to Antietam two years ago. During a tour of the battlegrounds, we noticed runners (okay, I noticed runners) trotting down the roads toting a bib which only meant one thing! Later in our hotel room, I googled “races near me” and the Freedoms Run popped up.”

Linky link: https://kenstandsonthings.wordpress.com/2019/10/08/race-recap-freedoms-run-half-marathon/ 

I love Freedoms Run and love the area the race is held, especially since October is the perfect season for beautiful sights along the racecourse. I’m looking forward to soaking it all in again!

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You can sign up too, using code BIBRAVE5 will save you $5 off your race registration! Visit HERE to Register!

Hope to see you there, it’s going to be an awesome 2020!

Winter Running: Finding Motivation

Getting up early takes practice and discipline, for me, the biggest struggle always occurs during the time change.

The cold mornings, with lack of sun, as I’m snuggled in my cocoon of blankets imprisons me in bed. There are little to no signs of life, other than a faint rhythm of soft in and out breaths through the tiny window I’ve created in the blanket fortress for my face.

At home, I find it’s extremely easy to give in to the creature comforts of my bedroom and hit the snooze repeatedly until my wife and I sit up in sheer panic – just like Kevin’s parents in Home Alone – as we shout, “WE SLEPT IN!”

But there’s work to do.

I’m awake most of the time when my alarm goes off, in fact, most of the time I’m wide awake. So how do I force myself to get up? One trick that I implore is to think of my day ahead. If you’re like me, then you too are familiar with what I’m referring to: most of our days are planned out in advance with work commitments, school commitments, kids’ activities, etc. I think about the day ahead and whether or not I can afford to sleep in.

One example of the first questions I ask myself: If I don’t run this morning, will I have time to run over lunch?

The answer determines whether or not, I hit snooze and nestle into my wife and overbearingly snuggly pooch, or escape the confines of my blanket cocoon and face the day.

These questions are entirely situational, so yours will vary. Another example when I’m traveling for work, I like to think about the day ahead and when I’ll have an opportunity to run. Typically this time is first thing in the morning, as lunch is usually business-related, and the evenings are occupied by more business-related situations and engagements. I have found getting up and just getting it over has been the best way to answer the snooze button at 5 AM.

Dress Accordingly.

I shared my cold weather running insight previously here and on the Holabird blog, check that out for more details, but essentially I lay out all my running clothes ahead of time. This makes the transition relatively painless and quick, which means I’m out the door with little fuss. Faster to get started means the faster I’ll get done and more time for me to come home and warm up after those winter miles!

Find time.

If you have the luxury of an hour break (or more) at your workplace, then I’d recommend using this time to log miles. You get bonus points for getting to sleep in and still get your miles in! Since I’m big into running in a fasted state, practicing intermittent fasting for 3 months now, it’s always either an early morning run or pre-lunch run. Point being, if you NEED to log miles, find some time in your day that you can carve out room for a few minutes of activity.

Make others aware of your intentions!

Letting your spouse, significant other, friends, running buddies, your neighbor, WHOEVER, of your intentions to get up and run will create a level of accountability. Letting down someone you have a close connection with at least offers a level of motivation to get up and get out the door.

While this isn’t the healthiest, it hasn’t failed me. Just a word of caution, this can/may lead to burnout and negative associations with running, so use this sparingly, maybe for a once-a-week run (meeting up with a running club or friend) or monthly for an event or the like.

If you are prone to anxiety, peer pressure may create more harm than good. I would suggest for anyone with anxiety, to meditate on the subject by stating your intentions to the universe. This will take time and practice, but meditation can be an amazing motivator. Take a moment to state your intentions and reflect on what it is you want to accomplish. When you wake up the next morning, focus on your breath and the presence of being, re-iterate your intentions and focus your desire to get up and run. I have found success in this method, as cooky as it sounds, being presently aware can have a profound effect on your actions!

Now it’s your turn!

How do you find the motivation to get up and get moving this time of the year?