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!
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
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…
It’s been a fun quarantine, and being ordered to stay at home with my besties is even better. This lockdown has brought our family closer and has provided us all an opportunity to “stop and smell the roses” if you will.
In our downtime, me and the lovely Mrs have joined creative forces and have produced this short video. No talking, just sounds of my beautiful wife in our country kitchen making a delicious meal for our family.
Well, this should come as no surprise, in more recent news the COVID-19 virus (known as Coronavirus) has created a stir in the running community as many race organizers announce the cancellation of races throughout the nation.
The Allstate Hot Chocolate series announced yesterday its closure of another HC15K race, this time, Philadelphia was included in the list.
Participants: Please check your emails for important event updates and to find out “what’s next” for the race.
Frustrating? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.
As I mentioned previously (Shamrock Marathon Update), this is a first (at least to my limited knowledge) for most race organizers, as pandemics aren’t common place in our nation. As such proper precautions are being taken to help prevent the spread of the virus for the overall well-being of the community at large.
What can we do?
First thing is first, don’t be a jerk. Seriously.
I understand the frustration of losing money on a race registration, and I understand the frustration of having trained for months (if not an entire year) in hopes of crushing a running goal. I, myself, have been looking forward to the upcoming race season with much anticipation, especially since most of these races involve more than just running but offer a real chance to connect with friends (new and old).
As much as I’m disappointed, it’s important to step back and look at the big picture.
What goes into a race?
I think often times people forget that a race is much more than a one day, or weekend event. A race takes planning and a community to support it. In all the photos of the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate race, what you don’t see is the amount of volunteers needed, along with first-responders standing by. As a semi-former first-responder, I can’t tell you how under appreciated our emergency services are.
The Philadelphia Police department, along with Fire and EMS are at every corner, twist, turn, and intersection of the race. These resources provide a crucial role in the security and safety of all participants.
What you don’t see in the photos is the large Sanitation crew on the day of the event. Since the Boston bombing, the city has increased security in the area tenfold. Large Sanitation Trucks (trash trucks) and barriers are placed at critical intersections surrounding the race to prevent anyone from driving into the race festival area or course.
What you don’t see is the volume of Emergency Medical staff on standby during the event when someone is injured along anywhere in the course. Last year I recall a runner being transported to the hospital after sustaining running related injuries- the Ambulance drove among runners!
Demanding full refunds seems a bit selfish. Most of the participant fees cover not only the swag and general overhead, but there’s a ton of logistics involved and time spent organizing that can’t be refunded. Time is money, and when an event is planned and people invest a lot of time to make it happen, I think it’s only fair we honor those individuals but not requesting a full refund. Also, not to mention the charities involved in conjunction with the race. Demanding a full refund robs those charities of precious dollars.
Point being: take it in stride and accept the outcome.
I know and understand the frustration, after all I’m a participant as well! But I also think we all need to step back and look at the big picture and appreciate how difficult this decision is, and to respect the outcome, after all it’s respect for the community that is most important.
Another thing to remember, during this pandemic, local community hospitals are going to be inundated with patients. Since this is flu season, anyone that so much as senses a whiff of flu symptoms is most likely going to think “what if” and head to the local hospital or urgent care facility for Coronavirus testing.
Now add the needs of the 1,000’s of people registered and participating in the event all at once… seems like a recipe for disaster. So out of respect for the Philadelphia community, I applaud the event organizers for decided to cancel the event.
Put it this way, had the race not been cancelled, and there was an outbreak of the Coronavirus, what’s the likelihood the city of Philadelphia would be willing to allow future running events? Like I said, don’t be a jerk, let’s preserve our trust and relationship with the communities we run and hope for a better future.
Well, it happened, for the first time in my short history of running an event has been cancelled due to a virus! I’ve had previous events shutdown due to weather related issues, but never the threat on this level.
While I’m completely saddened by this news, I understand and respect the decision of the race directors. It had to have been so hard to cancel this amazing event.
A Race Cancelation Done Right
Major shoutout goes to the Shamrock Team for making things right! After announcing the cancelation of the race, participants were notified that all swag and medals would be shipped (on the house!) to all participants as a virtual race option. Deferments can be made for an additional cost.
Participant Options following the Cancellation
Per the participant email:
1. NO COST | Run Virtually. We will be mailing all 8K, Half Marathon, Marathon, and Leprechaun Dash participants their race packets plus all their finisher items in approximately 4-6 weeks. Final Mile participants will receive a special message from us once we finalize the next steps. NO ACTION REQUIRED.
2. FOR AN ADDITIONAL FEE | Defer your entry to 2021. We will still be mailing your race packet and finisher items, but there is also an option to defer your entry into next year’s race for a fee based on your distance. You have until March 16, 2020 at 11:59PM to do so.
It is a shame, but the decisions are understood. Thank you Shamrock Marathon for honoring participants and hopefully I’ll see you next year!