Product Review: Chirp Wheel(s)

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed physician or medical professional. I make no medical claims, the following is based off my experience with the Chirp Wheel. Please note individual results will vary.

If you’ve been following me along on Instagram you’ll recall I had some lower back pain and a linger chronic soreness. Out of sheer desperation I convinced my teenage daughter to step on my back.

The moment she applied the slightest amount of pressure to my spine just above my hips, my back let out a sonic boom of relief! I had been nursing my lower back for over a month, and it wasn’t until she cracked my back that I could put it to words. It’s like getting a finder cramp, and then cracking your knuckle and freeing the locked joint.

Anyway, after that moment I became slightly addicted to having my kids step on my lower back for relief. After the third day, however, my kids were kinda grossed out and refused to humor my requests. Also, I suppose from being stiff for so long, my lower back muscles had a soreness that needed stretched and not stepped on. I needed something better than our foam roller.

Enter: Chirp Wheels

That’s when I remembered seeing ads for the Chirp Wheel. I was intrigued and decided to look into it more. I find that you’ll discover really raw feedback on social media. The comment section usually produces gold, especially when a product doesn’t live up to the hype.

Chirp had nothing but glowing reviews and comment after comment users mentioned how these wheels “saved” their backs. I guess I was sold, because I purchased the Chirp Wheel combo pack almost immediately.

I recall posted about my purchase on Instagram and I mentioned how I was going to combine the wheels with yoga to help improve my back… Well here’s a newsflash: I didn’t. I decided to really put these wheels to the test I’d use them exclusively.

Chirp offers three (3) wheel sizes. For the sake of discussion, I’ll refer to them as “The Big, Medium, and Small Wheels”. You can buy the wheels individually or save and bundle them together- that’s what I did!

I like to Chirp in the mornings right after I get up, I find it really helps start the day and makes me all loosey-goosey. And to really help drive things home, I chirp in the afternoons to help relive any tension in my back.

So what are the wheels, and what’s it like?

The Big Wheel: the largest of the wheels offers maximum stretching and minimal tissue manipulation. I like to roll out with the big wheel first thing in the morning to help stretch my back and increase my flexibility.

The Medium Wheel: the medium wheel offers a moderate stretch and a slightly deeper tissue manipulation that the larger wheel. I find this is the wheel I use to get those pops between my shoulder blades.

The Small Wheel: the small wheel offers very little stretch and 100% deep tissue manipulation. I find this is the wheel that gets right into those trouble spots and finds all the pops!

The Results!

Since the 24th of December I’ve been using the wheels twice daily. After the first week I felt improvement and noticed I could bend over with little soreness. At 2 weeks I noticed that my lower back muscles were no longer sore, and in fact, all of my lower back issues had nearly vanished.

We are now on week 3, and I can’t tell you how relived I feel to not have to nurse my lower back any more. Even crazier is how I gained my focus back. I was always so hyperaware of my lower back all the time that I couldn’t focus on tasks without thinking of a way to avoid pain or spasms. It really is awesome how a simple wheel changed my life.

Hey thanks for reading, if you’ve been inspired to try it for yourself CLICK HERE to get yours!

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?

I’ve got back problems…

Maybe not.

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.

When they arrive, expect a full review.

Race Registration: A Christmas Story Virtual Run

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)!

Check out the registration details here: https://www.achristmasstoryvirtualrun.com/ as well as the awesome swag!

I’m excited to get running, join me and let’s #runwithralphie

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: Science in Sport Hydro Tabs!

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!

Summer Running

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.”

Just how much should you drink? According to THIS Runner’s World article:

“…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!

Overall Opinion

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!

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

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!

Pete’s Scratch Pancakes: A Love Story

The best pancakes you’ll ever eat.

Pancakes. A history.

I’m not sure what time of the year it is, but I recall the warmth of the morning sun beaming into our small kitchen. The room just felt inviting, cozy, and safe. I don’t recall what is being said or if there is music playing, it’s all background noise anyway. All I know is there is an aroma in the air of something sweet.

To my delight, a plate of pancakes awaits me, covered in rich syrup. Although, the pancakes are delicious enough without it, the cake is light and fluffy. There is a sweet yet slightly salty taste to the pancake, as it melts into mouth. I’m in love.

Pancakes have always been a part of my life. I recall fond childhood memories of Mom grilling up little “baby” pancakes for me, barely the size of a quarter dollar (feel like I’m showing my age). When’s the last time you’ve seen a quarter dollar?!

Anyway, the long and short of it is, I freakin’ love pancakes. The emotional, sentimental, and family connection is unbreakable: the very definition of comfort food. When I eat pancakes, an imaginary blanket is wrapped around me and my memory is flooded with Saturday morning cartoons, blanket forts, and a happy and carefree youth.

For years the box mixes haven’t been cutting it, the pancakes are too thin, the batter doesn’t taste like my childhood. So I ventured off to find the best homemade recipe I could find to mimic that classic comfort food I adore.

Enter Pete‘s Scratch Pancakes

An internet search for “the best homemade pancakes” yielded many results. All failures. I must have went through several batches before the angels in heaven brought forth: Pete’s Scratch Pancakes.

This recipe is simple, easy to make, easy to tweak, and downright delicious. I’ve committed the ingredients to memory, and have included some of my own that have turned these already awesome flapjacks into something legendary.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (beaten separately)
  • 1/4 cup of butter (melted)
  • 1 3/4 milk (we use almond milk)
  • 1 orange (for as much zest as one can yield)

Mix your dry ingredients, then add your wet ingredients, saving the orange zest for last. The zest is my specially added ingredient that takes these pancakes to the next level! The orange zest gives it a little zing and is like a secret treat for your taste buds.

*For an additional sweet treat, include semi-sweet chocolate chips!*

Serve with a syrup of your choosing (ours is all natural Maple Syrup). You’ll devour as many pancakes as you can, they are that good.

Sorry Puppers, no leftovers this time.