Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro

Gear Review – Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro

“Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro 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!”

Buy an Orange Mud hydration pack. The End!

Ok, I know you are looking for actual content, so I will give you the run down of my experience of the new Gear Vest Pro.

I first had to pick which color I would like. The pack comes in 3 options – coyote brown, green or black/orange. I really don’t have a preference, so I went with the traditional black/orange.

The features:

  • Has a 1L bladder with bite valve and sliding top. The hose clips in and out
  • Has 293084209348 pockets – ok so it has 2 GIANT front pockets with a drawstring to cinch it tight. These pockets will hold a soft flask or a giant phone.  There is a small pocket on each of these front pockets to hold trash or treasures. There is a pocket on each shoulder that velcro closed. (Oh I am not done) There is the pocket that the bladder slides into on the back. On top of this pouch is an additional pocket, and on the outside of this pocket is a zippered pocket. In the zippered pocket is a hook to stash a key. On top of all these back pockets is an elastic system to cinch in any extras.
  • Trekking poles attachments
  • This has a smaller fit, fitting across your shoulders.
  • Sliding front closure straps
  • Top strap with a whistle
  • Heavy duty nylon – durable, breathable, washable
  • There are 2 reflective strips on the back

Whew – now, you might already know I own a few OM packs so forgive me if I start comparing this to the packs I already have.

One of the first things to consider when using a hydration pack is the fit. To get the best fit with this pack, put it on with an empty bladder. You will want to fit it across your shoulders and fasten the front straps across your chest. Then you will tighten it using the straps under your arms.  I noted the front straps will slide up and down – ladies this pack will fit you – you can move the straps to where they fit you the best. I will sometimes criss cross them. The straps are stretchy and can be tightened up. The under arm straps can be difficult to grab, but once you get the hang of it you can just tug on and get the best fit. The excess material can be folded in the clip on the strap.

Next, the bladder. A bladder is where you keep the liquid you plan to take with you on your activity. This vest holds 1 liter or 35 oz. In my opinion it’s the perfect amount, mostly because it’s the perfect extra weight. If you are looking to carry more, or carry a different liquid you can add soft flasks to the front pockets. If you are still searching there is the Endurance Pack that holds 2L in the back. This bladder has a slider top, no difficult screw off nonsense. This makes it easy to refill and easy to get the air out. The hose is easily detachable. The bite valve on the end it easy to use. All components of the bladder come apart, you can put it in the top rack of the dishwasher. The downside of a bladder is it can keep moisture trapped inside, so you can flip inside out to dry. OR I will keep it in the freezer when it’s peak pack season!

Now, how did I use this?

I first used this on race day – GASP! Yep, I knew the quality of Orange Mud wouldn’t disappoint. I had a trail 25k on the schedule, and I was fresh off injury. I wanted to make sure I had what I needed.

Then I ran the Illinois half marathon. Ok, so the course is well supported, but I love the ability to have my phone easily accessible. I also know what I like to drink, so I bring that with me, water is usually found on the course.

As you can see, I also pack in things I might need. These things stay in the pack for every run. Things like lip balm, sunscreen, chaffing wipes, candy, salt chews, a granola bar, a light jacket, cash.

I also run across town to sporting events. It’s nice to be able to bring with me a change of clothes or snacks once I get there. This spring I ran to a baseball game and discovered that 2 clementines would fit in one front pocket.

I also took the pack to carry a t-shirt and a cowbell to a volunteer cheer station of a recent local half marathon.

I ran another half marathon, and since I am usually a self supported runner – it joined me on my last 20 miler. I can bring all the snack, liquid, entertainment I need.

Last, the care of this is simple. Ok, don’t be like me and let it sit around for a week and then realize it can stand up on it’s own from the salt crust, and then just put it on and run. The breathable, durable fabric allows for it to be washed!! Throw it in the washing machine and hang to dry! I usually will hand wash them when I wash my skirts.

Are you sold? Well stop on over and I will let you try mine out! Then you can use code BIBRAVEGVPRO to save 15% to buy your own at Orangemud.com

Still looking for more, check out these following reviews: BrendaBeckyAndreaSteph JonathanNicoleEmily

Make sure you are following Orange Mud on youtube, twitter, Instagram, Facebook or their website. They truly are a company that sticks behind their “innovation from frustration.”

How to Give Back

How To Give Back on Race Day

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Run Madtown Conquer the Capital Challenge 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!”

There was a time I ran all the races. Lately, I have had to choose the races I want to run because I don’t have the funds to register or travel to them, or I was injured. Luckily there are still ways to be active and part of race day.

I have done many things to pay it forward, or give back to a race. Here are some of the things I have done, and ways to help:

    • Packet Pickup – Participants will come to you and you will give them your things. Really Simple job, and usually shifts are available. The toughest part can be double checking IDs.
    • Expo – This can be a more involved task, with physical labor required. You may need to move a water cooler, sign, or stantion. you might also be required to stand on your feet and direct people where to go.
    • Finish Line – This can be a busy place to help. I have had to remove timing chips from shoes, which is more difficult that you think – all the bending over. Another rewarding finish line duty is handing out finisher medals. *The day after the Lucky Run, my quad was so sore from all the lunging. 

    • Course Marshal – This might be one of my favorite places to be on race day. You might have to work a busy intersection with cars, so you need to be alert. However, most positions also allow you to be a cheer station, so bring a cowbell, sign or noise maker if there is room at your stop. *I recently helped at a road crossing at the Let Me Run 5k, very inspirational!
    • Aid Station – One of the more labor intensive positions and be prepared to get dirty/wet. This task usually requires handing liquid to runners. Someone fills cups, someone hands a cup to a person in motion, someone is cleaning up cups. Sometimes the liquid is a sticky electrolyte drink. Then you have duties where you need to stock food and have it available, cutting orange slices is also a sticky job. You also need to consider food safety with this too. I will say if you volunteer at a road event it will be more fast past than a trail or ultra event. *I recently helped at the local marathon in my community. I was on a microphone greeting runners to our stop, I was also keep the pickle juice cups full. It was a lot of fun as we were a later mile marker in the race. 

  • Behind the scenes – small local races are usually organized by a committee of volunteers. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they need help planning or marketing the event. *As you know I am very involved in my local running club, I am able to post on their social media, plan 7 races or join training runs. 

I have just one request if you choose to never volunteer. Please be kind. A volunteer has given up their time for you. Race day has a lot of logistics and a volunteer is just facilitating the transactions to make things go as smooth as possible. Please don’t yell at them and threaten to drive them over at a busy intersection. *I note this from personal experience. Small towns have more than one road, be patient, go around or park your car and help encourage the runners. Many of these races are supporting causes and charities in your community.

My next race is in Madison, WI for the Run Madtown weekend of events, if you can help volunteer please check out the link – http://runmadtown.com/volunteer/. They are also planning for some fun too. The Saturday evening events are glow themed and the Sunday half marathon is USA themed.

Fun Fact – Run Madtown will provide financial support to those in the community who support our events. They tally the hours at the end of the event and send the organization you volunteered on behalf of one check. How cool is that!!!! Get paid to volunteer.

I have written about volunteering before, but I feel it’s important to continue spreading the word. Hope to see you on race day and tell you thank you!

“Chase After the Dream, Don’t Chase After the Money “

“Chase after the dream, don’t chase after the money” – Old Dominion, No Such Thing as a Broken Heart

Sometimes song lyrics just speak to me, and after an opportunity to head to Indianapolis all I could think was I am not chasing the money, but the fun.

One day as I was scrolling through social media, I discovered a post “Orange Mud is looking for help at the Indy Mini expo.” Hmmmm?

The Indy Mini weekend starts with the expo at 4pm on Thursday, May 2nd. I had just returned from the Illinois Marathon, but I have a flexible job ( I buy and sell on on ebay.) Oh, what the heck …

I hopped into my rental car on Thursday morning for the road trip to Indy.

I pulled into the Gate Ten Parking lot around 2:30/3pm? I had pre-paid for this lot, 3 days for a total of $20. I then took a shuttle to the convention center and my hotel for the night. It was really easy to navigate to this spot, despite the fact that the GPS on my phone was no help.

After throwing my things in the room at the coolest hotel in Indy – you can rent a train car to stay in! I walked across the sky walk to the expo and checked in with Chad and Erinn with Orange Mud.

The expo space was huge, with all the vendors packed in on one side and bib pickup and registration on the other side. I went to register as vendors were given an entry – (FYI.) It was a simple process, and I was assigned corral O, based on a 2:25 estimated finish time. That’s A LOT of corrals!!! Also I was given a long sleeve tech tee (gender specific) and a tech hat in my bag with a flyer or two. I didn’t take much time to actually stop at every expo booth, but throughout my time in the exhibition hall I bounced around hitting some of my favorites. I even snagged a reusable straw with brush from Clif Bar, some Urban Bourbon chapstick, and I tried the new V8 hydration drink.

Ok enough about the expo. I went to work at the Orange Mud booth. (Orange Mud makes hydration packs – you should have read all my reviews by now!) I was extremely nervous. I am not an ambassador or athlete for them, I am just a consumer of the product. I am currently testing the new Gear Vest Pro for BibRave. I really enjoy the durability and innovation of their products. I knew enough about the items for sale, but I didn’t know all the little details and I didn’t want to tell anyone the wrong information. I also didn’t want to give the wrong prices, luckily I had a cheat sheet. I also didn’t want to screw up the sales and put in the wrong tax or hit the wrong button. I am weird, I just wanted to help and share the Orange Mud love.

Around 8pm, I think… the expo shut down for the night. Chad, Erinn and I googled a place for dinner and walked over to the Ram Brewery. We chatted and got to know each other better over some brews. Then we called it a day.

Friday, May 4th was going to be a long day at the expo and with a run streak on the line, I woke up early to get at least a mile in. I just tied on my shoes and ran through downtown Indy, eventually finding some coffee to end the run. When I got back to the hotel, just inside the door was a map for running routes in the area…oops! I had a mile done, and was back in time for a shower and to go to breakfast.

Wow this is already long and I haven’t even got to the race recap – oh well, I don’t care… enjoy!

Erinn suggested a place for breakfast, Cafe Patachou. I snagged some avocado toast and fruit, there was also a coffee bar. I was fueled up and ready to expo all day!!

At 10 am, participants started to trickle through… it was a slow start. At lunch time more people started to trickle through. Also the Indy Mini ambassadors were available to ask questions, so I made a point to ask if hydration packs were allowed on the course, but really it was an excuse to say hi to some friends.

A loud shriek came from the group as Rob from twitter came out of nowhere to give me a hug. I am not sure how long Josh and I have known him from twitter, but it was cool to meet him and his son in person. He was telling me of their ambitious race day goals.

I also said hi to Corey!!!

The afternoon crowd ebbed and flowed as people got off work. I had some more Clif Bars and then Lisha stopped by the booth to say hi!!

I also discovered that Frank Shorter would be making an appearance, so I went to check it out and not only did he agree to a photo, but he signed my bib!

More time passed and I excused myself to leave early. One – I had to drive out to a new hotel that I still hadn’t checked into; B – I had made dinner plans with the BibRave kids; and tres – I was running a half marathon the next day! I like to cram in as much as possible.

I did feel guilty leaving early (contrary to what you might have heard, I don’t have a cold, black heart, lol)  It meant I would be skipping out on the tearing down and packing up. I really did enjoy visiting with others and sharing the love for Orange Mud – I will have a review coming soon of my new pack.

I departed the expo on scooter!!! I needed to get across town, about a mile, quick. Indy is on a block system and I kept hitting the red lights, but I made it to BazBeaux Pizza.

I was greeted by Corey, Melissa (& Garrett,) Preston and Brent. It’s always nice to meet the pros in person. Many of them were running the 5k first, then the half marathon after that. That sounded fun and I really wasn’t aware how it worked until we chatted about it.

After some pizzas, beer and a group photo, we said our goodbyes and good lucks!

It was now time to make the trek to the hotel. It wasn’t but maybe a 15 minute drive, but it was not close to the start of the race. I arrived to find out there was a group of young girls also checking in. They were noisy and all I wanted to do was lay out my race gear and grab some sleep.

Gear: Checkered Sparkle Athletic Skirt, BibRave Rabbit Tank, Adidas boy shorts (hey I remembered pants!) Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Rudy Sunglasses, Garmin Forerunner 935, Brooks Ghost, Zensah socks, Zensah sports bra, Hawkeye hat, Nathan race belt, Brooks jacket. 

If you have been waiting for the race recap – here it is!! (It will also be at bibrave.com)

It was another early morning. I get a little anxious, so I wanted to make sure I was where I needed to be without rushing. I also wasn’t sure what I was going to eat for breakfast.

I went to the lobby to check out, I discovered they had some coffee and then some pre-wrapped baked goods and granola bars that were offered as breakfast. I grabbed a hot cup and a plastic wrapped muffin and bar. These things I could always eat later if I did find an actual breakfast.

I fired up the GPS and then noticed the nearby gas station. I grabbed a Gatorade to put in my bladder of my hydration pack. I am picky, I like a certain electrolyte drink the best. I also grabbed more hot coffee.

It was rainy and cloudy, the temp was 55 degrees or so.

I arrived to the Gate Ten Parking and once again easily had a place to keep my car. I had plenty of time before the race started, but I also didn’t have to rush to get anywhere. I ate my muffin in a bag and enjoyed my coffee.

I was done waiting in the car, so I hoped the shuttle to the convention center and starting area. The convention center was open, it had real bathrooms and was out of the rain. I stood around in there for a while. I probably could have slept another hour, or found a real breakfast.

I finally decided to walk over to the starting line. I made it in time to see the 5k start. It was still rainy and misty. I decided to start walking to the O Corral, it was a long ways a way, and I know the corrals at least went to V. I made a pit stop under an overhang to stay more dry.

Finally in my corral…. a little more waiting. People were taking photos and in a good mood. There was no one checking the entrance into the corrals and I saw some people who moved up. I never realized this race was this huge, but I believe it’s close to 30,000 people!!

We were starting to move forward! Wahoo!! Finally, time to go!

The course was out to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and back on the city roads.

Just before I came to the Speedway I called Josh. I told him how much fun the race was, and how well organized it was. I hadn’t even made it to the feature and it had been raining the entire time!

Running into the Speedway is one of the coolest things I have ever done during a race. Yes, I ran the Disney Marathon when the speedway was part of the course, but that track is banked and not very long.

When we first entered we were greeted by signs for those who’ve fallen in the military. ( I hope I didn’t get this wrong.) Then off in the distance you could see the main grandstands. When we were close there were signs that said to keep to the right if you wanted to kiss the bricks. I kept right. I approached the bricks, and risked taking my phone out of the plastic bag. I had prepared to take a selfie, but this other runner said that we could take each other’s photos – cool!!!

I DID IT! I put my lips on the ground! I did think we would all get herpes or pneumonia, but maybe it was worth it. As I write this, I did not get sick.

The track portion is around 2 miles long. It broke up the race perfectly in the middle for me. You ran to it and then ran back to the finish. Also, I noted that the water cups on the track were compostable – they were already breaking down in the rain.

I just kept thinking the entire way back to the finish how awesome this race was. There were so many aid stations. All had something different. I pocketed lip balm! There was a stretch where the residents came out to their porches with soup pans and spoons – banging on them and cheering us on. As many runners as there were, I didn’t have to wait at my port-o-potty stop. There were volunteers happily standing in the rain so we could run. I really enjoyed the course, congrats Indy!

When I came to the finish line, I pushed stop on my watch and it read 2:25 something… just what I predicted when I registered. A volunteer handed me a medal and said congratulations. Then another volunteer handed me a plastic bag – to put all my post race snacks in, brilliant!! There were granola bars, bananas, cookies and a bottle of water. Then from there we had to exit to the post race party area – on grass. We were not allowed to exit on the street. Why is this a big deal – the grass was solid mud!

I went to check out the post race beer situation. They were serving Michelob Ultra…sigh. I did try their new organic brew, it wasn’t super bad. I did pack a heat sheet in my pack, so I got it out and put it on to keep a little more warm while I had my beer.

I was done dilly dallying around and made my way back to a shuttle to get back to my car. I wanted to get the wet clothes off!!!! As I wandered back I thought the only part I didn’t care for about the race was the use of MarathonFoto.

I was back at my car where I tried to figure out how to change into dry clothes. I have 2 Orange Mud transition towels and brought 0 of them. I did manage to change by shirt, but then used my heat sheet to sit on as I made my way to my next destination.

That’s right, I needed a HOT breakfast, in fact something I was thinking about since mile 10. I found a WAFFLE HOUSE!!!! I put my order in for some hot coffee and the 2 egg breakfast, smothered covered and diced, cinnamon toast and bacon! Then I had my change of clothes and I totally changed into dry pants in a Waffle House bathroom! I live a glamorous life. No matter how warm it is, being wet after a run is just not pleasant.

The fun was over, my belly was full, it was time to go home.

The drive home was uneventful. I took my time, I took a rest, I listened to an audiobook, ate some snacks, drank some iced tea and before I knew I was back in the Hawkeye state.

So while the lyrics to Zach Brown’s “Knee Deep” and Luke Combs ” A Beer Never Broke my Heart” also speak to me… I am glad I was able to “Chase after the dream, don’t chase after the money.” Bring on the next adventure!

Halfway To The Medal

Halfway to the Illini -Badger medal – Illinois Half Marathon Race Recap

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Mini 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!”

Spring racing season is here, and from now until about October, it’s easy to find an event to participate in. The problem is choosing one.

My decision to run the Illinois half marathon was based on 2 things. Josh was running it and I was in for the additional medal. If you run the half marathon during the Illinois marathon weekend and the Madison Mini in Madison, WI in August you get and extra medal. I am already registered for Madison.

Josh and I took off on the Friday before the race, and after a short 3.5 hour drive we were parking and making our way to packet pickup and the expo.

The University of Illinois plays host to the weekend of events. There is a 5k on Friday night, then on Saturday the marathon, half marathon and marathon relay. The University also hosts at their rec center and football stadium.

We picked up our bibs first. It was a super simple process, they assigned race numbers with QR readers from confirmation emails. Or in my case I just told them my name and they gave me my bib. From this gym, volunteers directed us to another gym to get our race shirts. The shirts were all different for each race and the male and female shirts were also different.

This gym also had the vendor expo. It was a “medium” size expo. There were photo opps, giveaways and race merchandise. It didn’t take to long to browse everything.

We happened upon our friend, Heather and her mom in the merchandise area. They were running the 5k in a few hours, so we parted ways and said we would cheer them on at the finish.

The best thing I think we picked up at the expo was a sample of Kodiak Cakes. I love samples! No commitment to have to use a giant box of something you don’t care for.

Anyway, we departed and went to meet Team Bibrave. They had gathered in the lobby of the rec center. We chatted for a while. Matt was also running the 5k, and the others were going to the pasta dinner. *This was about $17 and we decided to pass as it was lasagna. #teamnosauce

Josh and I stayed a few miles from the campus, so we went back to that area for dinner. We decided to dine at a Fazoli’s, nothing too fancy. We also wasted more time at the nearby Target.

We eventually ended back at the football stadium to watch the 5k finishers. Parking in the area is very easy, there is plenty because it’s all the parking for game day events. It is also free all weekend!! Just need to be patient as everyone files through.

We sat in the stands, right next to where the participants come into the stadium, for a finish on the football field. We cheered and cheered, and we saw Matt, Heather and her mother. They earned an additional medal for doing multiple events. We caught up with them all after the race, but we all needed to grab some sleep for our races the next day.

As per tradition, I lay all my things out that I would need for a race. When we got back to our hotel, I started the process, only to realize I forgot to bring pants/shorts to run in. After a brief moment of panic, I went through the items I did bring, none of them comfortable to run 13.1 miles. Josh then suggested some random compression short – underwear things… um no! I then went to the google machine to see what big box store was near, I knew I could run in leggings. I am very particular when it comes to running shorts, and I usually buy those online.

We set out to the nearby Wal-Mart, when we drove by the Target we had stopped at earlier in the day – DUH!! Also, I know they carry the Champion brand, which is a good sportswear company. I found the last pair in my size, of anything I would consider running in – a capri. Whew, but it was getting late… so with everything finally in order, we caught a few hours of sleep.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro, Aftershokz Trekz Air, ProCompression Socks, Rudy Sunglasses, Brooks Gylcerin, Garmin Forerunner 935, Brooks jacket, Nathan race belt, Boco Gear Visor, UA tank, Champion capris, Buff

RACE DAY!

We woke early – well we woke up in time to go to a Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. We had coffees and bagels with cream cheese. It was on the drive to the start.

The parking was the same as the day before, free and plenty of it!! The lots had loads of port-0-potties available. We even saw an attendant placing more toilet paper near them.

We made our way to the starting corrals, we found Jess and said, hi! Then I met up with Heather and Marge and said, hi! In this time there was a live singing of the National Anthem and the wheelers started.

I didn’t have any goals for this race, than to just finish. I had run the full marathon a few years ago, I knew the course was flat and I knew the half marathon runs the first 12 miles or so with the marathon.

I lined up in my corral, which was a little confusing as the sign to the corrals didn’t line up with the entrance. They were checking bibs though, which was nice.

Then it was time to start… so there I went! The first part of the course runs through the downtown, there were people cheering here. Then you run out and into some residential neighborhoods, through a sculpture park, and then come back to finish on the 50 yard line of the football field. There were many spectators throughout the entire course. In fact I remember seeing a sign at the end of a driveway “hurry up, we are stuck in our home.” I thought It was funny. I feel the people who lived on the race course supported the event.

I was having a decent race until I stopped about halfway to get some water to splash on my face. I shouldn’t have stopped. It took the next 2 miles to keep working out the pangs in my ankle. It thought we were done or something. I was feeling good around mile 10, and at mile 11, I stopped to have a beer. It was really good at that point in the race. Then I made to mile 12, I knew Josh had finished as I was tracking him, so I called him to tell him where I was.

Then I came to the finish on the field. Josh and some of the Bibrave crew was in the stands cheering me in. That was cool! I was also just minutes behind the woman’s marathon winner. The course is very flat, allowing for some speedy times, despite all the turns.

*The free race photos were in my email before I was even done spectating*
I flew over the finish line, and like any Hawkeye would do, headed for the end zone!! Sorry, I can’t stop using this joke. On my way I picked up a heat sheet and a medal.

There was no food or drink allowed on the field, so I grabbed a bottle of water and Gatorade on my exit off the playing surface. I found the crew in the stands, and we cheered in finishers.

It was cloudy and overcast with a slight wind, it was a little chilly. However, I stayed and cheered in all my friends. Josh did bring me some more clothes to put on. I watched Tim, Amy, Matt, Heather, and Marge come to the finish line. I also was very happy to see Jacyln come in to complete her first marathon!!

I was done spectating and moved to the inside concourse to find the post race food, located at the concession stands. There were slices of pizza, pasta salad, bananas, granola bars and cookies! This area was also out of the wind, many people were hanging out in here.

We departed the concourse with Heather and Marge, to check out the party on the street. This is where the post race party was. There was live music and beer, you could also buy merchandise and there were some food trucks lined up. We didn’t stick around.

After cleaning up, we said our goodbyes to Heather. Then made our way to lunch with Bibrave. There is never enough time to hang out with everyone, but I think my most favorite part of going to races is meeting up with all my friends.

I really like this event, mostly because the logistics are easy. The registration process is easy, it’s easy to park, it’s easy to get your bib, race day details are done right, and I love FREE photos!!

If you ran the the Illinois Half Marathon, you can register for the Madison Mini to also earn the Illini Badger medal. Use code “BIBRAVE5” for $5 off. http://www.madisonminimarathon.com/ *Note this is only applicable if you ran the half distance at Illinois.

See you in Madtown!!

Who’s Going Streaking??

Back to Streaking

Disclaimer: I received an annual Strava Subscription and Strava merchandise 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!

That’s right, I have restarted my run streak.

If you remember, winter was stupid and I sprained my ankle ending my longest run streak to date at 450 days. It was weird to not run everyday. In a way it gave me a goal each day, then just like that I didn’t have one.

I actually re-started my current run streak on March 31st. I am currently on day 30. I usually post my run on Instagram or in IG stories, but to be accountable forever, all my data is on Strava.

Some may argue that run streaking is not good for you because it increases your chance at injury. You are not allowing your body to actually rest.

I can tell you in 450 days of run streaking, I never had a cold or was sick. I also didn’t have any nagging injuries creep up, unless I wore the wrong shoes. My body works well with active recovery – ever run a mile after a marathon or 50k?

People can tell you all kinds of things, but the fact is everyone is different. What works for me, might not work for you. However, I do know – you wont know unless you try.

So – Why not try a run streak, who’s going streaking? That’s right the Bibrave Run Club on Strava has a run streak from May 1 – 31st. Here is the link to join the club https://www.strava.com/clubs/bibrave.

This also makes streaking super easy, sync your run to Strava and it keeps track of everything for you. The only rule is to run/walk at least a mile everyday from May 1 to the 31st.

What to do in Nashville?

Nashville, TN City Guide

“Disclaimer: I am promoting the Nashville City Guide 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!”

As the disclaimer above states I am promoting things to do in Nashville, if you are headed to Nashville, TN for the Rock N Roll Marathon check out the following guide that has been put together in partnership with Brooks Running.

Ok – so just telling you to look at this link would be a silly blog post. I have actually run the Rock N Roll Marathon in Nashville, and have taken a little time to explore the city myself, so let me add my highlights to this guide.

When Josh and I travel, it’s common for us to seek out the local running stores, you know it’s a great place to get a souvenir. When we ran RnR Nash, we actually stayed in an AirBNB just around the corner from the Nashville Running Co. They were very helpful and answered our questions. If you need some last minute supplies, this place will be less crowded than the expo. I left with a running hat.

Also in the above guide is The Soda Parlor. Josh and I ended up here as it was located in the Marathon building. If you are familiar with the show ‘American Pickers’ this is an old factory building that’s been revamped into a shopping and historical center. We had added this area to our exploration of Nashville because of the show, but we noticed this ice cream stop, so of course we had to partake. Since then the shop has moved to East Nashville.

Nashville is also home to many murals. Our last trip, just driving through, we took 20 minutes off the interstate and found at least 3 images. We also found coffee and donuts!

The area has a ton to offer, so whether you are exploring all 26.2 miles on foot or taking the entire week to enjoy, you will find something fun.

Also – something to note – The 2019 NFL Draft is in town the same weekend, so maybe some of the items on the list will get you away from the crazy happening around the stadium.

If you are looking for more – check out a cool opportunity to enter to win SHOES!! A scavenger hunt! During Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville race weekend, April 25th through the 29th, use the Nashville Notes: a Runner’s Guide to Music City Google Map to explore the city. If you visit one of the locations on the guide, post a pic of your visit on Twitter or Instagram (Instagram Stories are not eligible) using #BrooksNashNotes and you’ll be entered to win a pair of Brooks Glycerin 17. A winner will be selected at random and notified on May 3rd!

Spectacular Spectators

I don’t normally recap an event I didn’t run, however I think there are a few points everyone can take away from my most recent adventure.

It’s safe to say spring is finally here in Iowa, and with that comes all the races. From now until about October you can find at the least a 5k every weekend. This is also why I am broke, I have run all the races every weekend. So instead, this past weekend I hopped on the bus and was just a spectator.

I am fortunate to belong to some great running groups, one of them is the local No Regrets crew. The best way to describe them is a group of runners that have come together via social media to encourage one another.

They had organized a bus trip to an area race, the Kewash Half marathon/10k and 5k. I have never run this event, but there is a lot of hype surrounding it. The bus was leaving from a location north of me, but I knew it would pass by Iowa City so I made arrangements to hop on as it passed by.

yes it has flames!


I met the group, there were 3 cheerleaders and 4 runners. We all chit chatted as we finished the 30 minute trek to Washington. Also, maybe discovered some new inside jokes about everyone too… Spinach anyone?

We rolled in with a good amount of time to get situated. Jen, Molly and I (the cheer squad) were on the hunt for a course map. Where should we go spectate? There were course descriptions online and a mapmyrun file, but it wasn’t the easiest for us to determine where to go.

After a group photo and more chatter with the running community, we decided to head to a location called Sunset Park. This is where we would see runners for all 3 race distances. There was also a short hill when the 10k and half runners would come back by.

We debated whether our parking spot was ok, as we also weren’t sure if we would move along somewhere else on the course. Considering it was an out and back and would cross some roads – however we weren’t too familiar with the roads.

We got to the corner and waited…. waited some more.. and then checked the watch around 8:28 am. Hmmmm, where were the runners? We assumed we were around mile 2 at the worst, an 8 am race start there should have been runners passing by???

With a little detective work, we figured out there was a timing issue, and the race maybe started 25 mins late. In that time we made friends with the volunteer who was assigned the corner.

Finally, we started to see runners approach us. We prepared ourselves, I had my “Free High Five” sign and cowbell ringing!

The lead runner was WAY FAST!!! We yelled and cheered and high fived…. then we waited for them to all come back.

This is now when I want everyone to take note. In the time the race course was open, meaning some roads of this town were closed. We encountered a lot of angry people.

I would like to say when an event chooses your town to host their event, feel honored. They want to showcase your community. The event is bringing dollars to your community. In fact, perhaps the event is donating the proceeds back to your community.

Please be patient with what is happening on the roads. Washington, IA is a small community, a 5 minute delay is not the end of the world. The town is small, find another route. Park you car and cheer on the runners. Usually a small community, you know there is an event happening in town.

Please do not yell at a volunteer, someone that has donated their time to help the event. They just want to make sure no accidents happen. Please do not yell or try to run over the spectators. If we are telling you to stop your car, stop your car! Also SLOW DOWN. If we say it’s safe to cross the course, please do so with caution.

Yes, us runners are crazy and maybe this is ridiculous, but we don’t ask for much and we all paid to have a safe course.

ALSO – there was a city employee who insisted on packing up the cones on the course, and dismantling every barricade. This was happening before the 2:30 pace group had returned through our corner… a corner with a hidden trail entrance. The guy rolled through after taking down a barricade and parked on the course with a truck and trailer…. we informed him the race was not over. The volunteer at our corner told him he would pick up the cones… the city employee was very grumpy and carried on and grabbed the cones. We told him to move his truck it was parked on the race course, and at the least to pull it out of the way… so he begrudgingly got into his truck and while moving it, about ran over a fireman running the course in uniform. I can’t make this up! The city guy them proceeds to ram himself out of the way. Why, Why, Why? If you hate your job so much, please quit and do something else.

After all this drama… we made sure to stick around until we knew about everyone had returned. We wanted to make sure no cars came flying around the corner and hit anyone on the trail.

On a positive note, anytime we saw someone coming down the trail we yelled and they started to run or picked up their pace. It was awesome to see. It was also warming up.

After we thought everyone was safely back, we went to the finish line to meet up with the rest of the bus crew. It was so fun to hear everyone talk about their race and their accomplishments.

No one knew what we had to deal with on our corner, as no runner should. I am glad we could contribute our efforts. There is a lot that goes into the planning of an event. When you pay to run a race you are assuming you will have a safe place to run. I am glad we could help with that in addition to all the cowbelling and high fives.

It was time to head back to the big city, so we all gathered on the bus and headed back north.

I am thankful the bus group picked me up and I could take part. Whether it’s volunteering or spectating I am always happy to give back to the running community.

PS – If you are spectating a race, you don’t have to cheer for your friends only.  Clapping for everyone is encouraged!