Over the past month I’ve been nursing some tenderness in my lower back. Some days it’s manageable without any pain medication, and other days it takes all I can just to walk without looking like I’ve been hit by a truck.
Last week I felt like my hips were locked, and no matter how much stretching I did, I couldn’t seem to get a good satisfying “crack”.
And here’s what happen next:
Since the initial pop, I’ve been trying to not crack my back everyday, but rather stretch out my back in various ways to help alleviate the tightness.
And as curiosity has a way to get the better of me, I went ahead and decided to see what the fuss is all about over these “Chirp” wheels.
Do you have a runner (or active individual) in your life and really looking to ROCK their holidays? OR are you active individual and looking to treat yourself with a little holiday cheer?
You’ve come to the right place!
I’ve put together a list of all my favorite goodies that should fit all your holiday shopping criteria!
Just a quick note: due to FTC guidelines, I should mention I’m an ambassador for a few of these brands, and as such have received products for free for me to review. I also have special affiliate links and discount codes for said products, so keep an eye out! These brands are marked with an asterisk (*)!
Products for those feet!
I’m not affiliated with any of these sock brands, but find myself using them often. Socks are an important tool in your runner’s arsenal. Equip them (or yourself) with the very best!
1. Feetures Socks! Feetures are my go-to sock brand! I have several pairs and can attest for their quality and durability! These make a great affordable stock stuffer!
2. Smartwool Socks! A close contender to my go-to’s, are these awesome widely available socks. Smartwool socks are durable, comfortable, and make great stocking stuffers!
Tech for those on the move!
1. Aftershokz Bone-Conducting Headphones*! These are the last pair of headphones you will ever buy. You read that right. Hands down, my life changed after I made the jump to Aftershokz! Right now there is a “Soundz of Joy” sale being promoted just in time for the holidays. Check them out, you won’t be disappointed! I have first hand experience with all the models, each are designed to fit every budget and will make a GREAT gift.
Products to Recover!
1. GoodFor CBD Products*! My go-to pain-relief cream is the GoodFor brand cream, it’s the most effective topical treatment that helps relief aches and pains from intense workouts and activities. This makes a great stocking stuffer for the runner in your life, and is even more affordable when you use my discount code: KEN15
2. Science in Sport Recovery*! After a workout recovery goes a long way into building your performance. I have been using SiS Recovery for the last month with no complaints. SiS formulas are vegetarian friendly and don’t contain any harsh or foul tasting chemicals. The chocolate flavor is my favorite! Right now SiS has a 50% off Black Friday sale going on!
Cold Weather Gear!
1. BUFF Dry Flx+ Collection*! Just in time for the cold weather! This gear has your head and face covered to help keep you moving no matter what the weather throws at you! Make sure you use visit: https://buffusa.com/bibrave and sign up for the newsletter to receive 15% off!
2. TurtleGloves*! Keep your hands toasty warm while on the move! TurtleGloves provide superior protection against the elements and come in a variety of colors and sizes perfect for nearly every runner! Use discount code: TURTLEBIBRAVE to save 15%
Gear to say visible!
1. Foxelli Head Lamp! This USB rechargeable head lamp has served me well over the years! Affordable (less than $20) and durable, this head lamp makes for a great stocking stuffer!
2. SlapLit LED Slap Lite! Looking to stay visible to others when running at night? Just slap this bracelet onto your wrist or ankle, press the button and let the flashing LED do the rest! For around $10 you can’t go wrong with the cheap insurance!
Energy for the Run!
1. MickFit Energy Drinks*! My go to drink for a bump of energy and refreshment! MickFit comes in various flavors that will satisfy any taste! I’m a HUGE fan of Guava Pear, and always make sure I’m stocked up! Use discount code: KEN10 to save 10%
2. MetCON Pre-Training Formula! I try to avoid any pre-workout supplements, but made the exception for MetCON. This energy supplement blends easily with water or combined with MetCON’s various hydration products and goes down smooth! This pre-training formula provides nice and sustained energy throughout most of my workouts and is at the top of my supplement list!
3. Honey Stinger Products! As a Honey Stinger ambassador I feel like it goes without saying, but I love their energy chews! And they make for great stocking stuffers! I carry the energy chews with me on all my long runs and have never been let down! If chews aren’t your game, give the waffles a try, honestly, you can’t go wrong! Honey Stinger products ROCK and the runner in your life will love them too!
4. Tailwind Nutrition! I use Tailwind products on all my long distance runs over 10 miles. Tailwind doesn’t hurt my stomach or give me trouble when I consume it on the move. Try out their starter pack to find what flavor works for the runner in your life (or you)!
You can neverhaveenough Tech hats!
1. BOCO Gear! If you or your runner has a tech hat obsession like me, checkout BOCO Gear for all the latest and most awesome designs! And not to mention, BOCO gear has more than just hats, so check them out!
Rock the Holidays!
Anyway, I hope a few of these items will find their way into your home for the holidays! Make your runner’s (or your) holiday a hit and ROCK the season of gift giving!
Disclaimer: I received entry in the Christmas Story Virtual 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!
It’s that time of the year again! Last year I missed out on the opportunity to participate in the Christmas Story Run in real life, so when I saw the event went virtual I jumped on the chance!
This Christmas classic is a MUST in our house, and there isn’t a year that goes by where we don’t watch it at least 5 or 6 times!
Join me and the BibRave team as we tackle the optional 5K or 10K distance (you’re preference at checkout)!
Disclaimer: I received free entry into the AllState Hot Chocolate 15k 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!
The AllState Hot Chocolate Series has a very special place in my heart. The 15k was my first official race I registered for when I started running. I had no clue how long a 15k was, but it sounded like a nice number at the time. Little did I know how awesome this series was going to be, and how much it would mean to me!
My mom and I both registered for the 15k distance not knowing what we were in for, but it didn’t matter because the swag was so cool! I just remember being overly excited for hot chocolate and being able to collect my first medal honoring my achievement.
On the day of the race the weather was uncertain and gray, and as we made our way to our corral it started to lightly rain. I remember questioning what we had gotten ourselves into! What followed was a race that produced memories that will last a lifetime. Mom and I shared in a memorable and somewhat miserable first race experience.
However, that distance forever changed how I viewed running- it showed me what I was capable of achieving and more so how I can overcome any obstacle as long as I believe in myself and just focusing on keeping moving forward.
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of running in numerous races and being able to travel to awesome cities. No matter what, I always make sure I register for the AllState Hot Chocolate series races! They remain to this day my favorite all around race experience.
Also, traveling for work I’ve had the opportunity to run in new areas outside of my normal everyday comfort zone. Three years ago I traveled to Ohio and on a whim decided to pack running gear and hit the streets. It turned out that my favorite place to run in my travels was Columbus Ohio!
Columbus has so much to offer and during my travels was one of the most friendliest cities to run in. The amount of sidewalks and walkways provides endless opportunities to explore all the city has to offer. I would run every morning before sunrise and every evening after sunset just to soak it all in!
And what destination is complete without a recommended food guide! Stay tuned for more to come later, but I just had to share that I’m registered to run in the virtual AllState Hot Chocolate 15k for Columbus!
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.
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.
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?
Disclaimer: I received SiS Hydro Tabs 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!
With the summer running season here, hot, and beating down on us, proper hydration is crucial for any running plan!
During exercise your muscles generate heat, and your body sweats to help maintain and regulate your internal body temperature. The hotter the temperatures are in your environment, the harder your body (aka Heart) has to work to keep it cool.
Replenishing lost fluids during summer activities is vital to your running performance and health.
Disclaimer: I’ve been consistently running for a little over 6 years, so I’ve got around 6 summers of improper running in the sun and heat to know a thing or two about hydration (and lack thereof).
First, proper hydration needs to start BEFORE you run, and I’m not talking about 10-15 minutes before heading out the door. I’m talking drinking enough fluid throughout the day to ensure you are properly hydrated.
Not sure if your properly hydrated? According to THIS Runner’s World article here’s a good test to see how well you’re doing.
Another good way to determine hydration status is a sweat test, says Chrissy Carroll, R.D., USAT Level I Triathlon Coach. “Weigh yourself, without clothing, before and after a long run. If you’ve only lost 1 to 2 percent of your body weight, you’re in the hydration sweet spot. If you’ve lost more than 2 to 3 percent of your body weight, try hydrating a little more during your long runs.”
“…properly hydrated by drinking about one ounce per 10 pounds of body weight two to four hours before you head out…”
What you drink matters!
So by now you might be thinking “I’ll just chug a gallon of water” to help combat dehydration. Well, I’m here to tell you to wipe that thought from your brain! Consuming too much water is a thing.
And that thing is Hyponatraemia. Hyponatraemia means “low blood sodium” and is caused by excessive water consumption. Too much water lowers the concentration of sodium in the blood and can be extremely dangerous. In its mild form, some side effects include bloating and nausea. However, in extreme cases it can lead to brain seizure and death.
That’s why it’s important to drink a blend of water, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish and hydrate your body.
But, holy smokes, what should I do? This all seems complicated.
Science in Sport Hydro Tabs make it easy!
That’s right! The folks at Science in Sport have developed Hydro Tabs to make hydration easy and a real no-brainer.
One (1) bottle of water (500mL) and one (1) Hydro Tab are all you need! You can check out the recommendations from the professionals HERE.
According to SiS: “SiS GO Hydro meets your sodium requirements at a specific concentration (30mmol/L) that is scientifically proven to produce superior hydration compared with water alone. It was developed to keep the British Sailing team optimally hydrated at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Simply drop a tablet into water for effective hydration, with virtually no calories, before and during sports.”
The biggest winner for me, is the value. Compared to leading brands, SiS Hydro Tabs come in a 20-count tube (compared to the 10-count of the competition) and cost around 55 cents per tablet!
You can save even more, by using discount code BIBRAVE20 to get 20% off at checkout (discount code only good for Hydro Tabs).
SiS Hydro Tabs taste great!
I’m in love with the Lemon Hydro Tabs, and feel like that team nailed the flavor profiles. The taste isn’t sharp or stingy on the throat, especially after running over an extended period.
The also make a Caffeinated Cola flavor that I’ve used during my Sunday Long runs that help keep me hydrated and keep me moving!
The Science in Sport Hydro Tabs are a must! I’m giving these a 5 star rating, given the premium quality and affordability of the product. I’ll be sure to have a nice stock of tabs, especially the lemon flavor, year round!
Lately I’ve seen an uptick in Instagram followers and I thought I’d take some time to introduce a little bit about myself.
First and foremost, I post in a series of 3. I’m not sure where this wild idea came from, but at the very least makes my instagram profile look interesting. Every 15 (or so) posts are dedicated to running and something running related. I follow this (typically) with 3 posts of meals from the week I just HAVE to share.
Instagram is a weird place, and trying to judge what people may or may not like will certainly drive you insane. My running posts get a pretty good response; my food posts not so much. However, fitness starts in the kitchen with Real, Unprocessed, and Whole Foods. And since I love food, I’m always going to post my favorite meals regardless of likes.
One thing I have noticed is that if you make things interactive, people will like and comment on your posts. Which brings me here today, enough rambling, here’s the food.
Buffalo Chicken Chili
This chili was outta this world amazing and sadly was devoured at dinner time, which means no leftovers for me.
You’ll notice I (and Beyond24Days) post very heavy on the vegetarian/vegan recipes. We like to consider ourselves flexitarian if that’s a thing: most meals are plant-based (around 85-95%) with a peppering of foods that include animal proteins (around 5–15%).
With that in mind, we like the plant-based meals that are dense and packed full of flavor and deliciousness. That’s why this pizza only lasted a few minutes before everyone grabbed a slice (and more).
That’s it, I know it’s a little light this week, but I’ve been running in the morning and in the evenings so food tends to disappear fast! If you’d like to keep up with all our food adventures, consider following Beyond24Days on Instagram and on our Blog!
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!
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!
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?
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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:
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