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!

It’s all about the food…

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 Feed

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.

Get the complete details HERE.

Avocado Chickpea Pizza

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).

Get the complete recipe HERE.

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!

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

Father’s Day Gifts for Dad

Do you have an awesome Dad that you’d love to reward this Father’s Day with a gift that will surely make his day? Are you trying to shop smart and focus on a gift that will bring him joy and serve more than a single purpose? How about a gift that may help make his life easier?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, then I have the gift for you! Introducing, Aftershokz Headphones. The ultimate bone-conducting headphones that match up to any lifestyle.

AfterShokz for Dad!

Being an avid Aftershokz fan and user, I can tell you hands down these are the last pair of headphones I’ll ever buy. The headsets are made from quality materials that can withstand the use and abuse from daily active wear, as well as casual wear at home and in the office. With an impressive battery-life you can rest assure that you can enjoy your music, listen to an audiobook, and even take calls throughout an entire day on a single charge.

Aftershokz Aeropex

The Aftershokz Aeropex are the latest and greatest model on the market. Boasting increased battery performance and durable construction, these are a no-brainer for your active Dad. I have found that the Aeropex offer a cleaner and more crisp sound, attributed to the sleek design of the headphones and comfortable fit.

Image: Aftershokz

The Aeropex headphones use a unique magnetic connection for charging and conveniently can be connected to any USB port. As an added bonus, the Aeropex comes with two (2) charging cables: I keep one charging cable in the office and one at home for ease of access.

Image: Aftershokz

The Aeropex are durable, lightweight, and offer a sweatproof design that can hold up to almost every activity under the sun (or roof). I’ve worn my Aeropex on runs in the heat, in the rain, in the snow, basically year-round without any comprise to performance.

Read more about the Aeropex (and other models) here.

Aftershokz Air

The Air is the previous model year headset, that is slightly bulky compared to the Aeropex. However, despite the bulk, I’m willing to say that these are by far the most comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. The headsets boast amazing battery life, along with a sweat-proof design, and multi-pairing abilities so you can connection up to two (2) devices per headset. I enjoy pairing my phone as well as computer to my Trekz Airs.

Image: Aftershokz

Did I mention comfort? I can wear the Air headset all day without any fatigue or knowing that they are there! Compared to the Aeropex, the sound quality isn’t as crisp, but the difference is negligible if you are looking for comfort. I use my Air’s to listen to music, take calls while at work, and listen to audiobooks on the go!

Best thing about the Air headset is that they charge via a micro USB cable, so you can conveniently charge your headset from any USB port. Your Air headset comes with a charging cable, soft carrying case, and earplugs for noise-cancelling use!

Image: Aftershokz

Read more about the Air (and other models) here.

Join the #Shokzsquad and find out why Aftershokz make for a great Father’s Day gift! And while you are at it, take advantage of 20% off savings just in time to give Dad the gift of Aftershokz!

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!

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.