Holiday Gift Guide!

Do you have a runner (or active individual) in your life and really looking to ROCK their holidays? OR are you active individual and looking to treat yourself with a little holiday cheer?

You’ve come to the right place!

I’ve put together a list of all my favorite goodies that should fit all your holiday shopping criteria!

Just a quick note: due to FTC guidelines, I should mention I’m an ambassador for a few of these brands, and as such have received products for free for me to review. I also have special affiliate links and discount codes for said products, so keep an eye out! These brands are marked with an asterisk (*)!

Products for those feet!

I’m not affiliated with any of these sock brands, but find myself using them often. Socks are an important tool in your runner’s arsenal. Equip them (or yourself) with the very best!

1. Feetures Socks! Feetures are my go-to sock brand! I have several pairs and can attest for their quality and durability! These make a great affordable stock stuffer!

2. Smartwool Socks! A close contender to my go-to’s, are these awesome widely available socks. Smartwool socks are durable, comfortable, and make great stocking stuffers!

Tech for those on the move!

1. Aftershokz Bone-Conducting Headphones*! These are the last pair of headphones you will ever buy. You read that right. Hands down, my life changed after I made the jump to Aftershokz! Right now there is a “Soundz of Joy” sale being promoted just in time for the holidays. Check them out, you won’t be disappointed! I have first hand experience with all the models, each are designed to fit every budget and will make a GREAT gift.

Products to Recover!

1. GoodFor CBD Products*! My go-to pain-relief cream is the GoodFor brand cream, it’s the most effective topical treatment that helps relief aches and pains from intense workouts and activities. This makes a great stocking stuffer for the runner in your life, and is even more affordable when you use my discount code: KEN15

2. Science in Sport Recovery*! After a workout recovery goes a long way into building your performance. I have been using SiS Recovery for the last month with no complaints. SiS formulas are vegetarian friendly and don’t contain any harsh or foul tasting chemicals. The chocolate flavor is my favorite! Right now SiS has a 50% off Black Friday sale going on!

Cold Weather Gear!

1. BUFF Dry Flx+ Collection*! Just in time for the cold weather! This gear has your head and face covered to help keep you moving no matter what the weather throws at you! Make sure you use visit: https://buffusa.com/bibrave and sign up for the newsletter to receive 15% off!

2. TurtleGloves*! Keep your hands toasty warm while on the move! TurtleGloves provide superior protection against the elements and come in a variety of colors and sizes perfect for nearly every runner! Use discount code: TURTLEBIBRAVE to save 15%

Gear to say visible!

1. Foxelli Head Lamp! This USB rechargeable head lamp has served me well over the years! Affordable (less than $20) and durable, this head lamp makes for a great stocking stuffer!

2. SlapLit LED Slap Lite! Looking to stay visible to others when running at night? Just slap this bracelet onto your wrist or ankle, press the button and let the flashing LED do the rest! For around $10 you can’t go wrong with the cheap insurance!

Energy for the Run!

1. MickFit Energy Drinks*! My go to drink for a bump of energy and refreshment! MickFit comes in various flavors that will satisfy any taste! I’m a HUGE fan of Guava Pear, and always make sure I’m stocked up! Use discount code: KEN10 to save 10%

2. MetCON Pre-Training Formula! I try to avoid any pre-workout supplements, but made the exception for MetCON. This energy supplement blends easily with water or combined with MetCON’s various hydration products and goes down smooth! This pre-training formula provides nice and sustained energy throughout most of my workouts and is at the top of my supplement list!

3. Honey Stinger Products! As a Honey Stinger ambassador I feel like it goes without saying, but I love their energy chews! And they make for great stocking stuffers! I carry the energy chews with me on all my long runs and have never been let down! If chews aren’t your game, give the waffles a try, honestly, you can’t go wrong! Honey Stinger products ROCK and the runner in your life will love them too!

4. Tailwind Nutrition! I use Tailwind products on all my long distance runs over 10 miles. Tailwind doesn’t hurt my stomach or give me trouble when I consume it on the move. Try out their starter pack to find what flavor works for the runner in your life (or you)!

You can never have enough Tech hats!

1. BOCO Gear! If you or your runner has a tech hat obsession like me, checkout BOCO Gear for all the latest and most awesome designs! And not to mention, BOCO gear has more than just hats, so check them out!

Rock the Holidays!

Anyway, I hope a few of these items will find their way into your home for the holidays! Make your runner’s (or your) holiday a hit and ROCK the season of gift giving!

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

Brand Ambassador Programs: Tips and Tricks

So you’ve been on social media for a hot minute and steadily gaining followers. You’ve most likely developed a taste for specific brands and products. At some point sooner or later you’ve caught on that tagging brands on your posts attracts the attention of others.

For me, my classic WSS (wrist, shoes, story) format (or is it the other way around?) started gaining traction (and likes) whenever I tagged specific brands of the products featured. And as the likes rolled in, I started to realize my profile was free advertising of products and services and I wanted to find a way to “cash in” on the opportunity.

Brand Ambassador Programs

Most brands open up applications to influencers, looking for people to represent their brand on social media. They typically offer up a nice discount on products and sometimes include you on upcoming sales, deals, and possibly new products. Being a brand ambassador does have it’s perks, especially for brands you use on a constant basis. You’ll know when it’s that time of the year because these brands go all out in recruiting ambassadors.

Rejection, It’s Complicated

A few years ago, I was finding my feet on social media and saw these opportunities to apply for ambassador programs. I eagerly filled out application after application and one by one, received rejection after rejection. It sort of tainted my feelings for specific brands, and I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Ironically, the brands I so desperately wanted to be associated with, I don’t even use or follow anymore.

Rejection can either make you want something more or turn you away completely. For some brands, it turned me away, but for some, it made that connection so much more desirable. It became a goal of mine to become a brand ambassador for a few key brands and I found myself focusing more on my content to build an audience.

After focusing on building my own “brand” the following year when those same applications opened up, I eagerly applied. Takeaway, focus you your brand first.

Timing is Everything

I managed to get accepted into most of the brands that I applied to. It was overwhelming, to say the least, but it felt awesome to update my social handles with the brand’s hashtags and my new affiliations. I wanted to fit in so bad, and I got what I wanted, and then some.

So How about you?

Taken from a post I made a while back, here are my key takeaways for becoming a Brand Ambassador. First and foremost, before you apply to be an ambassador for a brand… the number one thing I cannot stress enough:

KEY TAKEAWAY 1: MAKE SURE YOU USE THE PRODUCT!

It’s hard to be selected as an ambassador if you don’t use the product yourself. From the company’s perspective, it comes across that you are just looking to be picked up based on your social media following. Listen, we all like free stuff, so becoming an ambassador can be really fun and enticing, but companies aren’t looking for freeloaders. Trust me, I’ve done this and failed horribly.

Lesson learned: Companies want to see active users of their products who are engaged and already singing the praises of those products.

Bottom line: Practice what you preach and only apply to specific brands of products you use. If you see a new product or a new company and want to be an ambassador, buy their products, use them, promote them, engage with them, don’t freeload.

The second piece of advice when it comes to being an ambassador, think about the product and how you’re going to feature it in your profile.

Let me say that again for the people in the back row:

KEY TAKEAWAY 2: HOW ARE YOU GOING TO FEATURE THE PRODUCT?

Is it something that can be easily tagged in a photo, is it a product you can wear or something you need to consume? Consider how easy (or difficult) it is to “show” your affiliation with that particular brand or service on your social media platform of choice.

For example I love BOCO Gear products, they make hats, gloves, backpacks, you name it. It’s all the gear that I wear and use every day that I honestly don’t have to think about. Before going for a run, I grab my trusty go-to BOCO Gear hat, and I’m out the door. It’s quick, it’s easy, and when I’m snapping photos for social media there’s very little thought in making sure I include their brand. It is a part of my lifestyle.

Lesson learned: Think about the amount of effort you’re going to need to exercise or put out to feature a product or service. If you must put a lot of work into showcasing something, chances are, after a while you’re just going to stop putting out the effort.

A prime example would be sports or energy drinks, or other consumables like gels, snacks, etc. If it’s something you don’t have access to everyday or something that is not a part of your routine or lifestyle, chances are you’re going to struggle to make it work and after a while it will become too much of a hassle to share on social media. I try my best to make sure I market any consumable product that I’m using and enjoying – yes, the photos looked staged so try your best to put a spin on presenting different products.

Side note: Professionals who are endorsed by consumables are given crazy amounts of stock and don’t have to worry about always buying more to have on hand. Even if you get an insane discount on consumables, don’t go broke just for a few likes.

The third and final piece of advice, it’s kind of like bringing the first two items altogether, consider how much commitment you can offer this company or brand, and what’s really in it for you. After all, you are offering free advertising on your social media platform, you’re investing your time and energy, how will you be compensated?

Again, this may come across as being completely selfish, but:

KEY TAKEAWAY 3: WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?

Remember, it’s okay to say “no”. I love new opportunities and I’m always enticed by new things, but I tend to overcommit and that never ends well. If you are looking to foster a good relationship with a brand partner, consider the bottom line. How much commitment is required, and what’s in it for you?

Do you feel good about and identify with their brand, and most importantly can you give 100%.

I’ve cut ties with brands that I love, not because I don’t like them, but as an ambassador, I didn’t feel like I was being of service to them.

Lesson learned: Some ambassador programs aren’t going to meet your expectations.

For me personally, I wasn’t interested in just sharing upcoming sales on social media. As an ambassador I’m looking to be engaged and I want to know what’s in it for me?

So before you fill out that application: Are you interested in becoming an ambassador for the title, maybe the sweet discount, maybe it’s the free stuff, or are you just another social media user posting the same promotional imagery that everyone else is sharing?

The best piece of advice I have to offer: Consider what it really means to you and pursue only the things you are passionate about.

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

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!

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 To Create Multi-Frame Run Photos — Alastair Vance

Have you ever hit a rut with your Social Media posts? I know I have gotten tired of posting the same look over and over again on Instagram, despite having a signature theme. The minimal movement in regard to likes and follows, after a while can be discouraging and the appeal to post in general falls away. Do you follow other accounts that make you wonder how they achieve stunning photos, or effects that really make their posts stand out? They must be using some fancy expensive apps and computer programs, right?!

Wrong: There are simple tricks you can do to improve the look of your social media posts. Simply adding text, graphics, or an effect to your photos can be used to your advantage to really pull in the likes and followers. And you can achieve all this with FREE apps available on the Android and Apple platforms.

Check out fellow BibRave Pro Alastair Vance sharing his secrets on how to create awesome multi-framed running photos!

I’ve been creating running photos like this for a while now and recently people have been asking how it is done. It started off with a fascination with floating photos, where both feet are off the ground. I expanded this to pull multiple frames from the same video and stitch them together to create images…

How To Create Multi-Frame Run Photos — Alastair Vance