Product Review: Science in Sport Gels

Disclaimer: I received Science in Sport Gels to review as part of being a BibRave Creator Ambassador. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Ambassador, and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Looking for fuel on the run, or how about some hydration right at your fingertips! Look no further than Science in Sport Gels!

Check out my full review:

Don’t forget to use discount code BIBRAVE20GEL to save 20% off your next Science in Sport order.

Still not convinced? Don’t take my word for it! Check out what the other BibRave Ambassadors are saying:

Goku Runner | Steph | Sarah B | Kimberly H | Amanda C. | Scott S. | Shannon

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

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/

Product Review: Built Bar!

Disclaimer: I received Built Bars 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!

My General Experience with Protein Bars

When it comes to protein bars I’d like to think I’ve had them all, and my general opinion is that they are all horrible. Most of the protein bars on the market have a sharp chemical flavor and often leave a weird waxy film in your mouth. So when BibRave announced they were partnering with the best tasting protein bars on the market, I knew I had to give them a chance.

Catch my unboxing video here!

Built Bar, unlike any other

Built Bars are unlike any protein bar I’ve ever had, and hands down will be by “go-to” from now on. So, why the hype? Let’s break it down into two delicious pieces why Built Bar are my preferred snack.

First. Built Bars come in a variety of flavors, and as we all know, variety is the spice of life! When it comes to flavor pairings, Built Bar has it nailed down. I was floored by the richness of flavor in each bite, and best of all, no harsh chemical taste!

**PRO TIP: Toss a few Built Bars into the fridge, for a perfectly cool treat!**

Second. Built Bars are a convenient way to intake protein after a workout, or the perfect snack to hold you over between meals. I love slipping a protein bar into my lunch for a nice and delicious afternoon snack! Or on evenings when I have to get my son to Scouts, or have an engagement or meeting to attend, you can bet I have a Built Bar stashed in my bag to get me through. Most protein bars leave a funky taste in your mouth, or have some weird waxy finish, not Built Bars! The texture of a Built Bar is similar to a thick marshmallow coated in chocolate… I’m telling you, these are different than any other bar I’ve tasted and super awesome!

BibRave Fans

Okay, you’ve heard me gush, now’s your turn! Want to save 20% off your Built Bar order? Use discount code BUILTNOW to save big!

Runderwear Paris Marathon Giveaway!

Disclaimer: I received a Runderwear Kit 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!

Destination races are a big deal, they involve a lot of time and energy planning and preparing for a getaway of fun. A destination race in another country seems like such a daunting task. But what if you didn’t have to worry about the how and when? What if all you had to worry about was just showing up?

Runderwear to the Rescue

That’s what the awesome people at Runderwear have done- they have thought of everything! Hotel, airfare, you name it, Runderwear has you covered.

And to make the deal even sweeter, they are throwing in a Runderwear Kit, plus a TON of other goodies.

Enter to win: https://www.runderwear.com/pages/enter-bibrave

Product Review: Aftershokz Aeropex

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Aftershokz Aeropex 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!

If you know me, you know I love Aftershokz! I’ve been wearing the Trekz Air and Xtrainerz for months now with rave reviews! They are my go-to headphones anytime I hit the road.

My Trekz Airs are perfect for staying connected while on the run. I can stream music, activate Siri, and even make/take phone calls while running without touching my phone. The Trekz Airs have a 6-hour battery life which means less charging and more running!

My Xtrainerz are the perfect 100% waterproof solution when I want to run hands-free and leave the cell phone behind. The Xtrainerz can hold hours of MP3 files so I can listen to my favorite playlists, podcasts, and audiobooks.

All New Aeropex!

Now with the new Aeropex I can enjoy the sweat proof design and up to 8 hours of use! I have found the Aeropex are more sleek and lightweight than the Trekz Airs, which makes it feel like nothing is there at all.

Ditch the Chords!

I used to struggle with finding the perfect pair of headphones for running. I spent hundreds on chorded headphones and was never satisfied. Since making the jump to Aftershokz I don’t ever think I’ll look back.

Check out my unboxing!

The sweat proof design means I can run without worrying about my headsets being affected.

The clean audio, and flawless Bluetooth connection make listening to music, and even making calls super easy. I’ve had phone calls during my runs without the person on the other line even knowing any different.

All in all, the Aeropex are a game changer! The 8-hour battery life means less frequent charging between uses and the lightweight design means less fatigue on times of extended use.

Hey BibRave Fans! Visit Bibrave.Aftershokz.com and use code “BRBUNDLE” for $50 off the Adventure Bundle!

Cold Weather Running with 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!”

COLD WEATHER RUNNING

It’s that time of the year, when the morning air becomes crisp, when the leaves all fall, and winter is at your front door waiting to present your cheeks with a stinging cold kiss. It’s also the time of year that the mornings are darker, motivation tends to run out, and the thought outdoor running just makes you want to just stay inside.

WHAT’S A RUNNER TO DO?

Love it or hate it, cold-weather running requires a little bit of extra prep-work, both mentally and physically.

Let’s talk about your mental game. Everyone has their own methods to psych themselves out for cold weather running. Whether it’s the reward of a hot drink afterward or some sweet indulgence, or maybe thoughts of a nice hot shower, there is no denying that cold weather running takes effort. Now, I could dive deep into mental preparedness, but for the sake of keeping things relatively short, I’m going to keep it simple.

Let’s just cover the basics, in the first step to making sure you’re mentally prepared, is knowing that it’s not just you who procrastinates. Humans tend to be on the lazier side, it’s just in our genetic makeup. Our “lizard brain” likes to conserve energy and makes hard tasks (like running in the cold) that much harder but creating an internal conflict. The lizard brain will make you question your routine (especially in the mornings): Why expend the energy if it’s not necessary? This warm bed is so safe and inviting, why not just wait until later?

Point being, you need to defeat the lizard! If there is a long-drawn-out process involved in your cold-weather running routine, chances are it’s not going to stick. Do yourself a favor and keep things simple to make getting out the door a little easier.

QUICK MOTIVATIONAL TIP: Morning running tends to take a back seat for me in the winter months, but when I have to hit those miles in the early morning, I have found sleeping in my running clothes the night before put things in motion. If I’m in my running clothes when I wake up, that’s one step closer to hitting the street!

Also, think of other innovative (yet simple) ways to get yourself out of bed. Try setting your alarm clock across the room, so when it goes off you HAVE to get up! Maybe you need extra motivation, try telling your spouse (or significant other) about your plans and ask for their assistance to keep you accountable. If you live alone, get your running friends on board and make plans to meet up. Having someone in your ear first thing in the morning can help you get up and get moving!

Along those same lines, making a commitment to others helps you maintain the course. Being held accountable can be a strong influence when you are more concerned about letting others down than yourself. So, make sure you share your goals and your plans to get out and running in the cold.

Like I mentioned earlier, we could go on and on about the mental games, and maybe that’s a future article, but let’s move on and get to the physical aspect of cold weather running, more specifically: gear.

LET’S GET PHYSICAL

Running in cold weather calls for mental grit to combat the frost, as well as a demand for physical barriers to protect your body from turning into an ice cube. A good rule of thumb that was passed down to me, was to dress comfortably for the outside weather as if it were 20° warmer.

So, on a 50°F weather day, dress as if you were going outside on a 70°F day. For me, this equates to running shorts, a short-sleeve tech shirt with a light windbreaker, or a long-sleeve tech shirt. Your mileage may vary, but any time it dips below 60°F out, I’m wearing gloves.

It’s also helpful to layer up in light layers. Lightweight layers can be easily shed to help cool you down if you run too hot, it’s a great way to manage and regulate your body temperate.

CLOTHING RUNDOWN

This seems a little obvious, but a good pair of wool socks are a good choice when hitting the cold outdoors. If not, most athletic running socks that cover your ankles are a good choice. Some running shoe brands have “GTX” models with added waterproofing and extra insulation to combat the wet and cold, but I have always just worn my trusty go to “normal” running shoes. Double up on the socks if that’s your jam, but I’ve always felt a weird relief getting my feet wet in the snow on those long runs.

QUICK TIP: If there is snow and/or ice on the ground, take some time to invest in some sort of traction device you can easily put on over your shoes. Without naming any brands, I have two different pairs of traction devices; one pair has minimal studs that work great in the ice and light snow, the other pair have pretty aggressive spikes to help in deeper snow and icy conditions.

Base layering, I always start off with running shorts, depending on the temperatures (and wind) I might cover up my legs with running tights, again focused on lightweight materials that I can shed if I get too hot. On wicked cold days, I have run in jogging sweatpants before but found I tend to operate on the hotter side of the spectrum and the sweatpants were a little too warm for me.

Next up, running shirt, I always use either a short-sleeve or long-sleeve a tech shirt as a base layer. It all depends on how cold and windy it is outside. If it’s going to be windy on my run, long sleeves are a must. After the base layer shirt, I add on (cold days where I’m looking for extra warmth) an activewear sweater, or (cold windy days where I need a break from the wind) a light windbreaker or light jacket. Again, if you focus on light layering techniques, you can never really “overdress” for the occasion.

Headgear for me is pretty basic, it’s either a hat or beanie. I usually always wear a technical trucker hat year-round. In the colder months, I’d recommend using a moisture-wicking cover-up such as a neck gator. These are designed to help block the elements from your neck and face and are pretty versatile in the sense that they can be worn around your neck, or as headgear, or as a sweatband. I like to combine the neck gator and technical trucker or beanie on cold days to keep my head warm and relatively sweat-free.

Hand coverage is important to me, as I mentioned earlier, any time the temperature drops below 60°F, gloves are a must.

Speaking of gloves now is the perfect time to throw in a little advertisement for my newest most favoritest gloves in town: Turtle Gloves! These bad boys were made for cold outdoor adventures! Made with Polartec Windbloc technology, these gloves pack a punch! Not only are they windproof, but they are water repellant and lightweight designed to keep your hands warm even when wet!

I personally put them to the test the day they arrived, and I took them out for an hour-long run in the wind, rain, and snow. I was shocked by how warm they were, despite being wet, and how awesome they were at blocking out the wind!

The greatest thing about the Turtles Gloves is the convertible nature of the gloves. Hands too warm? Maybe you need to use your hands to find new music, answer a call, or tie a shoe? Just flip them inside out and these mittens transform into finger-free gloves!

If you’d like to try them on for yourself, use discount code: TURTLEGLOVESBR to save 15% off your order! You can find them at www.turtlegloves.com

HOW DO YOU WEATHER THE COLD?

Those are my tips for cold weather running, simply put, wear lots of light layers to help easily regulate your core body temperature. Also, dress for temperatures around 20° warmer than the actual outside temperature. What’s your cold-weather gear look like? Share in the comments below!

Race Recap: Mushroom Cap Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Mushroom Cap 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!

Welcome to the “Mushroom Capitol of the World”, Kennett Square (commonly referred to throughout this post as KSQ), Pennsylvania! This is my first year running the Mushroom Cap Half Marathon, so there is a lot riding on first impressions for this event.

One of the first things I do before I approach a “new to me” race is to check out the race reviews on Bibrave.com. After a quick search, I found one review that commented about the hills of KSQ. This piqued my interest since running hills seems to be my MO lately – See my Freedoms Run Half Marathon hill experience. I know of the area (used to work in KSQ, for a little over 5 years, for what seems like many, many, many years ago) so I knew vaguely where the course was and what to prepare for ahead of time (also see my pre-race checklist). With all my gear prepped the night before, I headed to KSQ bright and early the morning of the race.

7:00 AM, One Hour Before Race time

As I pulled up to the Kennett High School I noticed the lot wasn’t very full. Part of my thing before any race is to make sure I show up as soon as I’m able, to take advantage of getting a decent parking spot and giving myself time to use the bathroom… and socialize if I’m meeting friends.

I sat in the car and looked at the outside temperature of 33°F, sent out a tweet about my feelings of the cold weather and slowly sank a little bit deeper into my Subaru’s heated seats.

After a few minutes, I felt the urge to get up and get moving. The parking lot was starting to fill and people were buzzing around, the excitement was in the air, and I was ready.

I made my way to the Starting Line/Registration area and ran into fellow BibRave Pro Meridith! We both commented about the cold and chuckled that runners are crazy people who like to get up early, stand in the cold, run mile after mile, just for a medal, some swag, and a free beer.

Side note: The Creamery in Kennett is an awesome venue! The Mushroom Cap organizers have a good thing going with the Creamery and it made the pre-race huddle enjoyable.

7:58 AM, Minutes Before Start

As we made our way to the starting line the excitement grew, I caught a glimpse of some old co-workers and Instagram followers. I made sure to greet a few of them, after all it’s nice to meet the person behind a username.

Reinventingrob (also known as Rob) was in line wearing a t-shirt and shorts! Much too cold for me, I commended him for his attire, but I know he’s a fast guy and most likely wouldn’t be affected by the cold much longer.

As the race was about to begin, I readied my Garmin and queued up my playlist of episodes of the BibRave Podcast. I like to purposely let my library build up with a backlog of unlistened episodes, this way I have good content to keep my company for the next 2 hours (or however long my long run goes).

8:00 AM, Start Time

I’m not sure if there was a gun or announcement, but the crowd of runners surged and we took off. I clicked START on my Garmin as I crossed over the starting line, and hit play on my phone. As I heard the familiar tune of The BibRave Podcast intro, I slipped into a steady rhythm of step-step-breathe-step-step-breathe. The cold air filled my lungs as we made our way down the street and the energy of all the runners around me immediately made me forget how cold it was outside.

Side note: I love listening to podcasts on my runs, as well as audiobooks… and what better way to listen to them than on a pair of Aftershokz headphones! I love the open design that allows me to hear my surroundings, yet still enjoy a good book or podcast, or music while on the move!

The course takes you around the town of Kennett, and onto some back roads that pass by small neighborhoods, horse and mushroom farms. The views were extremely pleasant for a person like me that loves autumn weather- the fall leaves delicately decorated the ground with a splash of color and the air was crisp and cool on my skin.

Miles 1-3

Typically the first few miles either fly past or they drag on, which ends up being an indication of how my race will be run. The Mushroom Cap was slightly hilly, but no more than I’m used to, I just remember seeing that the hardest hill was going to be at mile 8-9 of the course and kept telling myself, “this isn’t that bad“.

Just as we rounded a wooded section of a small neighborhood, some white-tailed deer bounded across the road. It was at this moment I realized how quiet it was, and all you could hear was the sound of feet hitting the ground. It was therapeutic in a sense.

Miles 4-6

In this stretch of miles, I felt pretty good except I knew I had to use the bathroom. I fell into a nice groove with a small pack of runners and didn’t want to spoil the party. The party was all in my head, or at least that’s how it felt. Typically during a race, I have found, that I tend to pair up with runners of the same ability or at least runners who are keeping the same pace as me. I like to stick with a group whether we talk or not, again I find having bodies running near you can help encourage you to keep on pace and can boost your performance when you really need to push hard and dig deep.

The course flip-flopped between asphalt and gravel. The gravel sections felt like service roads that connected farms to the main streets, the rocks were packed tightly, yet a few large more course rocks riddled the top. I noticed in one section my gait had changed and I was heel striking more than I would have liked, this was the only moment in the race where I felt uncomfortable.

Mile 7-9

At this point, I had to use the bathroom, so I broke off from my group and made a pitstop. The organizers have port-o-johns in areas away from water stands – which is actually a huge blessing. I have found that the combined bathroom and water stations can jam up a race, so having them separated allowed for a quick in-and-out stop.

I quickly regained the group I had left, I was feeling great so when the big hill arrived at around the 8.8-mile mark, I decided to power through and make the climb. At this point, I separated myself from the pack in a good way, it was time to tap into the fitness that I’ve been building over the last 5-6 months.

Side note: I’ve decided that going forward for all half marathons my approach is to run the first half relaxed, to enjoy the day and to find a pack of runners to stick with. I wait until mile-8 of a half marathon to push myself and the pace. It’s around this point when others start to tap out that I have noticed where my training pays off. I’m able to tap into energy reserves I forgot I have and finish the race feeling strong.

Although I didn’t make any huge gains in my pace, I stayed relatively steady despite the climb. I felt really awesome nearing the last stretch of miles that made up the course.

The Finish and After Party

As I re-entered the town, I felt the buzz of energy inside me surge. I feel like I finished strong, I managed to pass the 2:15:00 pacers, and although I didn’t finish under 2 hours, I was still feeling good about my overall finish. The course is challenging and yet wonderful at the same time.

As I collected my medal I ran into an Instagram follower and we both congratulated one another on a job well done. Beer Runner (also known as Alexis) mentioned this was the second-fastest half-marathon she’s run, so major kudos to her!

I re-joined my BibRave Pro buddy Meridith in the Creamery for a celebratory brew and met the race’s Social Media director! We shared some conversation and the entire event felt like it had come full circle for me. Being a BibRave Pro and running this race was an amazing opportunity and one that I’m glad I got to experience.

Overall Impression

The Race Organizers did a wonderful job of putting this event together. From the cooperation of the town, assistance from the local PD, and volunteers at every stop and aide station, it was a really awesome event. The course has hills, but nothing I would say is terribly difficult, and the alternating terrain is a refreshing change from your standard road race. The Creamery of Kennett is an excellent place for a post-race party, along with the free drinks the venue had Herr’s Chips (a local Philly favorite snack brand) readily available, as well as a live band!

The atmosphere was buzzing with post-race excitement and the live music and crowd really added to the experience in the best possible way. It was a great day for the running community, and a great day to celebrate 13.1 miles through KSQ!

So where do I stand with the Mushroom Cap Half? I give this race 5-stars. Everything about the race was on-point; from parking, pre-during-post race experience, post-race party, you name it! See my complete rating on BibRave.com

5_star_rating

All-in-all the Mushroom Cap Half is a great event, one that I’d highly recommend adding to your bucket list of awesome Pennsylvania Races! I’m looking forward to returning in 2020 as a BibRave Pro again, and hopefully, make some new memories along the way!