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!

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!

Handful Closer Sports Bra – Product Review

PRODUCT REVIEW – The Handful Closer Sports Bra

“Disclaimer: I received the Handful Closer Sports Bra 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 remember I reviewed another Handful bra and was left looking for more support. The Closer bra offered to provide the same great quality with more support for bigger cups – I was all in to give this one a test!

I was encouraged to choose my size based off of what size t-shirt size I would wear, I selected a large in the teal color – “Keepin it teal.” I am not sure if I missed the measurements, when I first ordered, but they are available with the size chart on the website.

*I can wear a men’s small shirt, and I feel most comfortable in a women’s large shirt. When I ordered, I did not take physical measurements.

The bra arrived and the first thing I noticed was the feel. It felt SOOOOOO soft! I am used to a rigid, structured feeling sports bra which reflects in the fabric. This was the opposite – buttery soft to the touch.

There bra clasps in the front and zips closed. There straps are adjustable in the back. There is a mesh detail around the top. There are removable pads, which also act as pockets.

A front closing bra with a zipper? I was all for the ease to get this thing on and off, but would the zipper chafe? NOPE – there is a liner against your skin, so there is no contact. So no chafe and no crazy tactics to get this on and off!

I did find that when I first put it on, it felt really loose. I made the appropriate adjustments to the straps and it just felt breathable. I did not feel tightly snug. I am not sure if it’s the fabric, or if I just need a smaller size? Or I am just used to a bra that fits like a straight jacket? I did have the pads removed, as I don’t need any more… so I put them back in and it fit a little more snug.

I knew that the only way to actually test it was to go for a run. So, I did. Then I did it again and again.

My Conclusion: no chafe and comfortable, easy to get on and off, also lack of uniboob! I am still searching for that locked and loaded feeling. I am not sure if I feel confident enough to run farther than 3 miles. I am still uncertain if I need a smaller size. With the double checking of the physical measurements, I think I would actually benefit from one size smaller.

Perhaps I will do that and I can save 10% with code BIBRAVE – and so can you! Head to www.handful.com to place your order.

Looking for more thoughts on the bra, check out these reviews: BeckyChristineThanhJessicaMeridith

Keep up to date with Handful – WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram 

Brooks Glycerin 17 – Product Review

PRODUCT REVIEW – Brooks Glycerin 17

“Disclaimer: I received the Brooks Running Glycerin 17 to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!”

I like to think it’s every runner’s dream to try as many running shoes as possible. However, it’s tough when A) you already have a shoe that works and B) shoes are pricey! So here I am testing them for you!

I have a go to running shoe, I can put it on, straight from the box and run a marathon.  I shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken. I was fitted for my shoe, years ago at my local running store and haven’t looked back. However, with so many choices out there, am I missing out on another great shoe?

Enter the Brooks Running Glycerin 17. You might have heard of this shoe as it’s the one THE Des Linden runs in!

Shoe specs from the web:

What did I receive?

The blue box came to my door, and I opened the box to find a black shoe with purple and pink/orange highlights and a white sole. I put them on and they felt like they had more cushion than my go to shoe. That was it, they felt good on my foot immediately.

As you know, I was coming back from a sprained ankle, so it was the perfect time to break in the shoes. I like to break in a new to me pair my walking and slowly increasing my mileage.

I was rehabbing through a physical therapist and walking/running on the indoor track. The shoes were very slippery on the treadmill at the PT. However, walking circles on the indoor track I did not notice any slipping. The tread seemed to be fine. *I took a different pair of shoes to PT the next time and I can say it’s the belt on the treadmill, it’s slippery.

Then one day I braved it and walk / ran home from PT. Then I increased mileage and basically haven’t looked back since. My longest run was 10 miles. I have been running in these for the majority of my runs for a month. I am not having any problems with pains or anything. For me, this shoe will be added into my go to running shoe rotation! 

I have been running in a Brooks shoe for years, and I continue to do so for many years.

If you want to hear more first hand reviews, check out what the pros have to say:

Keep up to date with Brooks running – WebsiteFacebook TwitterInstagram

Run Happy!

*I will always recommend getting fit at your local running store. If you are not sure where to start, this shoe is a good one to ask for.