Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 5k – 15k Cancelled!

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?

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.

Important Reminders

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.

See you next year Philly Hot Chocolate 15k!

Shamrock Marathon Cancelled!

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!

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!

Race Recap: Squirrely Tail 2020

Let me start off by saying this is hands down one of my favorite local half marathon courses. Major kudos to RD Scott Newcomb and the entire volunteer staff that make this race possible every year.

Trail running attracts a certain crowd, and Squirrely Tail certainly brings them out. What I love about Squirrely Tail is the “no frills” style of the race. But, don’t let that fool you.

This race puts out a great spread and has some of the friendliest volunteers that make race day more of a community event than a flashy swag-fest. Sure, each registrant gets a race tech shirt (as long as they register in time) but really you come to this race for the experience.

The Course

The course has around a total of 745 to 800+ ft gain depending on which direction you run. Last year the race was run counter-clockwise around the lake (745 ft gain), this year the course was run clockwise around the lake (808 ft gain). The terrain is technical, but not very difficult and has a lot of opportunities for easy running.

February in Eastern PA is a bit of a crap shoot. Last year was a cold, muddy, miserable mess. This year the temperature was cold, but the course wasn’t as muddy as the previous year. The only thing about this year that I was focusing hard on was not rolling my ankle, otherwise conditions were near perfect.

I got to the race a little behind schedule, so this year was a no-fuss-collect-your-bib-and-go approach. In my haste, I forgot that I had to pee, and took off with the group only realizing my mistake after running past the port-a-johns.

Call me crazy, but you’d think a race in the woods would have provided me plenty of opportunities to stop and relieve myself… but it didn’t. Every twist and every turn I could see other runners, and being one to keep pushing on, I told myself I’d go to the bathroom once I was done.

The first 4-5 miles went off without a hitch, I was enjoying my easy going pace and naturally fell into a groove trailing behind a couple that was making it a point of staying together. I was enjoying our pace, so I didn’t push. After crossing a small bridge they met up with a friend who was walking the course in the opposite direction and stopped to chat.

[Side note: during the race the trails are open to the public so you can expect to encounter plenty of hikers, especially when the weather is favorable].

Deciding to not break my stride, I broke away from the couple and continued onward, slowly trotting behind two more runners. The three of us kept a good pace, exchanging small talk about the awesome weather, the course, Watch out for that root!, and so on.

By mile 9 I really had to pee, but didn’t know where to stop, so I kept telling myself, “you’re almost done, just keep going.” This worked surprisingly well, and by mile 12 I forgot about it. Around this time another runner [Grayce] caught up to me, she had run Frozen Snot the day before and was killing it. Kudos to all of the runners who ran Snot the day before and were running Squirrely Tail the day after. I’m telling you this race is awesome at attracting the nuts! Anyway, I kept with her until the end, focused on the port-a-john as I crossed the line.

After I finished, an Instagram follower [Ryan] approached me to say hi! We chatted about the race, the conditions, how awesome it was, and parted ways after shaking hands and finally getting to meet each other in person. I made my way to my car to swap clothing out. I needed fresh warm socks and a new sweater. After getting dressed I looked over to base camp where I saw Dave was cooking hot dogs.

Naturally, I partook in a hot dog, loaded with ketchup, mustard, and relish – helped myself to some chicken corn soup, a shot of peanut M&M’s, and a hot coffee.

Once satisfying my palette, I was getting ready to head back to my car to leave, and… oh yeah, I have that whole I need to pee thing! After 13 miles of awesome trail running, sipping on Tailwind Nutrition now and again, partaking in hot coffee afterward and downing a Gatorade, it was the perfect ending to my morning adventure. Whatever, it was so satisfying, don’t judge me.

Overall Impression

Hands down, this race kicks ass and you’ve got to be a little Squirrely to want to run it year after year. I enjoy the course’s challenges and I enjoy the people even more. I’ve met some really awesome people out on the trail and back at the base camp after crossing the finish.

Do yourself a favor and sign-up for this race next year, it won’t disappoint, and when you are done have a hot dog with Dave! Tell ’em Ken sent ya!

Race Registration: Freedoms Run Half Marathon!

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Freedoms 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!

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Holy Hannah, it’s that time of the year! My race calendar is starting to fill up and I’m super stoked to announce that I’ll be returning to West Virginia to run the Freedoms Run Half Marathon on October 3rd, 2020!

Just a quick recap of how I discovered the race, and last year’s review:

“If you know me, I’m a history nut, and we discovered the Freedoms Run on accident when we planned a family vacation to Antietam two years ago. During a tour of the battlegrounds, we noticed runners (okay, I noticed runners) trotting down the roads toting a bib which only meant one thing! Later in our hotel room, I googled “races near me” and the Freedoms Run popped up.”

Linky link: https://kenstandsonthings.wordpress.com/2019/10/08/race-recap-freedoms-run-half-marathon/ 

I love Freedoms Run and love the area the race is held, especially since October is the perfect season for beautiful sights along the racecourse. I’m looking forward to soaking it all in again!

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You can sign up too, using code BIBRAVE5 will save you $5 off your race registration! Visit HERE to Register!

Hope to see you there, it’s going to be an awesome 2020!

Winter Running: Finding Motivation

Getting up early takes practice and discipline, for me, the biggest struggle always occurs during the time change.

The cold mornings, with lack of sun, as I’m snuggled in my cocoon of blankets imprisons me in bed. There are little to no signs of life, other than a faint rhythm of soft in and out breaths through the tiny window I’ve created in the blanket fortress for my face.

At home, I find it’s extremely easy to give in to the creature comforts of my bedroom and hit the snooze repeatedly until my wife and I sit up in sheer panic – just like Kevin’s parents in Home Alone – as we shout, “WE SLEPT IN!”

But there’s work to do.

I’m awake most of the time when my alarm goes off, in fact, most of the time I’m wide awake. So how do I force myself to get up? One trick that I implore is to think of my day ahead. If you’re like me, then you too are familiar with what I’m referring to: most of our days are planned out in advance with work commitments, school commitments, kids’ activities, etc. I think about the day ahead and whether or not I can afford to sleep in.

One example of the first questions I ask myself: If I don’t run this morning, will I have time to run over lunch?

The answer determines whether or not, I hit snooze and nestle into my wife and overbearingly snuggly pooch, or escape the confines of my blanket cocoon and face the day.

These questions are entirely situational, so yours will vary. Another example when I’m traveling for work, I like to think about the day ahead and when I’ll have an opportunity to run. Typically this time is first thing in the morning, as lunch is usually business-related, and the evenings are occupied by more business-related situations and engagements. I have found getting up and just getting it over has been the best way to answer the snooze button at 5 AM.

Dress Accordingly.

I shared my cold weather running insight previously here and on the Holabird blog, check that out for more details, but essentially I lay out all my running clothes ahead of time. This makes the transition relatively painless and quick, which means I’m out the door with little fuss. Faster to get started means the faster I’ll get done and more time for me to come home and warm up after those winter miles!

Find time.

If you have the luxury of an hour break (or more) at your workplace, then I’d recommend using this time to log miles. You get bonus points for getting to sleep in and still get your miles in! Since I’m big into running in a fasted state, practicing intermittent fasting for 3 months now, it’s always either an early morning run or pre-lunch run. Point being, if you NEED to log miles, find some time in your day that you can carve out room for a few minutes of activity.

Make others aware of your intentions!

Letting your spouse, significant other, friends, running buddies, your neighbor, WHOEVER, of your intentions to get up and run will create a level of accountability. Letting down someone you have a close connection with at least offers a level of motivation to get up and get out the door.

While this isn’t the healthiest, it hasn’t failed me. Just a word of caution, this can/may lead to burnout and negative associations with running, so use this sparingly, maybe for a once-a-week run (meeting up with a running club or friend) or monthly for an event or the like.

If you are prone to anxiety, peer pressure may create more harm than good. I would suggest for anyone with anxiety, to meditate on the subject by stating your intentions to the universe. This will take time and practice, but meditation can be an amazing motivator. Take a moment to state your intentions and reflect on what it is you want to accomplish. When you wake up the next morning, focus on your breath and the presence of being, re-iterate your intentions and focus your desire to get up and run. I have found success in this method, as cooky as it sounds, being presently aware can have a profound effect on your actions!

Now it’s your turn!

How do you find the motivation to get up and get moving this time of the year?

Race Registration: Hot Chocolate 5k/15k Philadelphia

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k/5k 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!


It’s that time of the year again! Hot Chocolate season is here and I’m super excited to share that I’m signed up to run the 2020 Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k/5k on April 4th!

Make it Even Sweeter!

Use code BRHCPHILLY19 at check out to receive a free Hot Chocolate running hat! #HCPhillyBR #Bibchat

Make sure you Register HERE

Check out this year’s swag! I can’t wait to run this race again and experience all Philly has to offer! After running this race my family and I usually hit up Pat’s and Geno’s Steaks and stuff our faces with Philly’s finest. How do you celebrate?!

Photos  courtesy of AllState Hot Chocolate 15k/5k

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!

Ambassador Programs: Things to Consider

Many companies offer an ambassador program of some sorts to their social media following. These programs are a great way for companies to gain exposure in their particular industry. Since I’m a runner this will primarily focus on the running community, but I’m sure there is a program for just about every industry you can imagine.

What’s unique about an ambassador program is that it allows a company to utilize its followers on social media as means for low-cost, if not free, advertising. What’s also appealing about these programs is that the advertising is done by its actual users, and comes across as an authentic endorsement.

Again, all of this comes at a minimal cost to the company, when compared to traditional advertising. Most ambassador programs include a 30-50% off discount on products and services. Companies want you to buy and support their brand, so they’re going to entice you with all kinds of special offers and deals. And since this is an exclusive program, it creates quite the buzz on social media.

Some companies go above and beyond and not only offer a sweet discount, but also send its ambassadors care packages that include some of their featured products and or services, and most importantly ambassador exclusive swag. I mean, c’mon, how else will someone identify you as an ambassador without that sweet exclusive branded gear

Being an ambassador can also grant you access to exclusive online communities or groups, and puts you in the loop (so to speak) on new and upcoming products, special releases, etc. And lastly, it can also help boost exposure for everyday athletes like you and me, by way of the company featuring your social profiles on their site, or commenting or tagging you in a post.

So how do you get started? Here are the three key takeaways that I’ve learned: good, bad, indifferent, the following advice is based on my experience with ambassador programs, your mileage may vary.

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