XX2i France 2 Sunglasses

xx2i France 2 Sunglasses – Product Review

“Disclaimer: I received the xx2i Optics France2 Sunglasses 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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Wahoo… more sunglasses… What can I say… I am a believer in protecting my eyes when I run, so when I saw the chance to test this model from xx2i, I jumped on board.

I was given the Hyper Orange with Orange Flash Lens with white tips.  They come in a “tank protector case” with a microfiber soft carrying case, that doubles as a cleaning cloth. This pair also comes with additional tips and temples.


Initially I was shocked by the color, it was very bright orange, and the lenses were flashy as stated in the description. I know that XX2i makes great products so I was going to put the colors behind me and give them a proper test, plus the lens color was different than I already own. I also noticed how light weight they were.


I took them on their maiden voyage. A local 5k. It was unseasonably warm and sunny that day. I could see how they held up with sweat and slipping on my face. I was also curious to see if they fit with a hat.


I always end up running with Monty, lol!! I am happy to report – I really didn’t know I was wearing these glasses. They fit wonderfully, no slipping and just where I needed them under the bill of my hat.

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I have been running in them ever since.

I wore them at another race, the Mardi Gras Chaser 10k. It was cold, and it wasn’t even sunny. However, I needed to protect my eyes in the wind. These did just that, and at no time did I think they would blow off my face.

I have only noticed some fogging of the lenses if I stop running on a cold day and my face is sweaty. If I start running again, the fogging goes away. I can easily squeeze the nose pads to raise them higher off my face if needed.

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As you saw above they come with interchangeable nose pads and temples. I don’t think red or blue goes with neon orange, so I don’t plan on changing them out. However, I would like to note, XX2i builds their glasses so you can get what you want as far as changing colors and parts.


You can also change the lenses. As mentioned these have the orange flash lens, and to me this lens mutes out red colors, and kind of makes colors less vibrant, to reduce squinting. I have been fortunate to test other XX2i sunglasses and they have had the blue flash lens (which are my favorite, I don’t see different colors through this one), and the polar brown lenses (these brighten things for me when I look through them.) They all reduce glare.

While I was shocked by bright color, I am happy to add them to my flashy wardrobe. These fit great, you don’t even know they are on your face. XX2i makes quality products.


If you would like to get your own pair you can do that for $59.99 right here on their website – http://www.xx2i.com/collections/france2

Did I mention they have a lifetime warranty? “All XX2i sunglasses come with a no questions asked Lifetime Warranty! No matter if your dog chewed on them (which we hear a lot!) or if you drove over them in your SUV, we’ll replace them for a nominal shipping and handling fee of $19.95″

BUT WAIT…. THERE’S MORE – code “marchbibrave” will get you 50% off until March 28 at http://www.xx2i.com/

Ok, so I haven’t convinced you to get a pair? Check out what my fellow pros have to say: VanessaJessica – Mai – Amy – Tedrick – MattHeather

For more information you can find XX2i on twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

 

 

Epsoak Sport

EPSOAK SPORT – Train Hard, Recover Easy

“Disclaimer: I received an 8.5 lb canister of Epsoak Sport 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 will admit I am not the best with recovery. I also think it is important as a runner to take care of yourself. I was excited when I got the chance to test Epsoak Sport epsom salts, as taking a bath is a simple way to recover while relaxing.


Not familiar with epsom salts? It’s salt you add to water that helps with aching muscles and allows you to de-stress. Simple.


What is Epsoak Sport? From the website:

Epsoak SPORT is made with premium grade Magnesium Sulfate, a mineral known to minimize muscle cramps, increase recovery rates, and eliminate post-workout slumps.

Soaking is not just necessary to help reduce swelling when you are injured, but is a key component in your post-workout recovery. Soaking should be a routine step in helping your body recover from training so you can detox, recover, and prevent injury.

I received the “soothing” lavender-infused Epsom salt blend ideal for restoration and relaxation soaking. (It also came with a hand written note)

Now…some may laugh, well they did, and they made fun of me….but I couldn’t get my canister open. It has a twist off top. I had my husband give it a try, nothing. So, I took a knife to the top and discovered there was glue on the inside of the lid that was stuck to the liner on the top of the can. While this has nothing to do with the performance of the product, I thought I would share.


Once I got it open, the smell….oh so wonderful….it would travel throughout the house. The lavender essential oils are specifically good for reducing stress, healing wounds, improving sleep and helping with your complexion.


There was also a plastic scoop inside, to easily add the salts to the bath water or foot soak. Four scoops are recommended for the best results.

I took my first soak after a night of baking cookies. It was a simple way to relax. Just fill the tub, add the salt and sit. The salt dissolved easily in the warm water.


I also caught my husband using my salts…hey they are for everyone! I knew he was soaking as I could smell the lavender.


I also saw fellow BibRave Pros using their salts in a face scrub. I gave that a try too, I just added a scoop to my face wash. It was a nice “scrub.” However, I think I would chose the unscented in the future, don’t get it to close to your mouth or eyes.

I have continued to use the salts weekly. I think they have helped with my achy knee. I also like that they are so simple to use. As someone that needs to be doing something all the this, this forces me to take some time to disconnect and relax.


If you didn’t find all the information from this review, make sure to check out the Epsoak website, Instagram, and Facebook pages. Also check out the San Francisco Salt company and their website, Facebook, Instagram and twitter.

Also they are offering a 10% discount with RAVE10 on the Epsoak SPORT 5lb bags in all scents. This can be used on top of the current sale too.

Rudy Fotonyk Glasses

“Disclaimer: I received the Rudy Project Fotonyk Sunglasses in Black Matte with Photochromic lenses 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!”


Yep, I did it again….I’m testing glasses……..but these are different and I will tell you why I am so excited.

These glasses are called the Rudy Project, Fotonyk Black Matte with Orange Fluo bumpers and the ImpactX Photochromic 2 clear to black lenses. That is a mouth full! In clearer terms, these are light weight running/active glasses, with protective measures and lenses that change darker when it’s brighter.

The glasses have many features beyond the photochromic lenses: (from the website)

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The shades arrived in a light weight box. They were wrapped in a fabric “keeper” that protected the lenses only. I also received a cool trucker style or snap back hat!


I did get these shades on the week I was taking a break from running, however I still walk the dogs at least a couple times a day, and with the recent cold snap, and gloomy gray days, what better way to give them a try. The first thing I noticed was the changing lenses, even though it was cloudy, they still darkened up. In fact, they go from transmitting 9 percent light to 74 percent. The second thing I noticed is how they protect my eyes from the cold and wind.

I was getting more excited for these as winter can be brutal in Iowa. Also – remember that marathon I ran in August, I was in and out of the woods and constantly putting on and taking off my glasses.


I was annoyed at the bumpers, or those pieces that are “red” on the bottom of the lens. I really didn’t like the look, it was like I was a scientist. However, the purpose is to protect your face from the lens if you were to take a stumble. I found out how easy they were to remove, you just pull the lens from the frame, and the bumper comes off. A simple snap back into the frame and the glasses were complete again. (You can actually purchase other lenses here, if you want to change up the look)

 


It was time to take them on their first run, I decided to run 5 miles. It was cold, about 30 degrees, and not very sunny, there was even some light snow falling from the sky.  I was wearing a stocking hat, and nothing else on my face. I was having some issues with them fogging up, but once I pinched the nose piece, so they would sit farther from my sweaty face, the fogging went away.


Speaking of fogging issues. I have yet to find any glasses that wont fog in extremely cold conditions, and maybe I shouldn’t be running outside anyway. These lenses do have measures to try and prevent the fogging, there are vents in the lens on the bottom (another reason I removed the bumper, they are more exposed), and there are openings between the frame and lens on the top. If you are covering your face, especially your nose, fogging is just a problem no matter what glasses you are wearing.


My next run, I wore these indoors. Yep, I can do that, as they go to the clear lens in darker lighting conditions. It was also a “feels like” temp below zero….so I went to the gym, to hit the treadmill. I could go on about how I hate the treadmill….but how about I tell you about my sweaty run with the glasses.


I decided to wear the trucker hat too, it has a tech liner in it. With the glasses and headphones, I had to make some adjustments to get it all to fit comfortably on my head. (Note to self, try the glasses with another hat) I ran 3 miles, and it was sooooo hot in the gym and I was very sweaty. The glasses collected some moisture and there was a tiny bit of fogging. Otherwise they stayed in place, no slipping on a sweaty face.


I have yet to get back outdoors for a run, but I have been wearing them to protect my face when I walk the dogs, as it’s still stupid cold…and since the lenses go clear I can still see.


I also think the lenses take a while to transition, so for fun I was testing this. See the time stamp after a dog walk on the photos. This was for them to go from dark to clear. Looks like it took about a half an hour. Not sure if temperature has any effect. (If it’s colder and it takes longer?)

I also wore these driving. It was sunny, and there was snow on the ground, it was bright. I felt myself squinting, as they didn’t offer enough darkness for that. I am waiting for a sunny day to test running in them. Despite this trouble, these would also be great for lab work, safety glasses, or cooking. They are light weight,  and offer excellent, physical protection for your eyes.

I was able to get out for a sunny run. I really didn’t have many issues, except I don’t think they are as dark or protect my eyes from the sun like an actual “sunglass.” As I described above when driving in the sun.


I do like these glasses, but I think they will be my cloudy day, trail, and nighttime go to pair to wear. I never realized how much protection they provided to my eyes, especially as a contact lens wearer. Now I have something to wear when it’s not so bright outdoors.


If you would like to get yourself a pair, check out this link http://www.rudyproject.com/fotonyk.html#SP457306-0001

If you don’t find all the information in my review, check out these other reviews: Heather JeremyErica Emily  – MarkCasey Amy  – Brenda

OR check out the Rudy Website, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

 

Can I Be Coached?

Disclaimer: I received a 6 week coaching plan from Ekiden Coaching 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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I have been running, for maybe 6ish years, and all this time, without a coach. This includes 3 ultras, 19 marathons, over 35 half marathons, and like 2039480923 5ks (so maybe not that many.)I have used online plans, read books, and most recently have been winging my training. I mean who has a plan to run a marathon a month?

Well – maybe a coach….so that is why I was excited to give this a try. I was really slipping with my winging it method. I wasn’t sure if I should be tapering, training, or recovering. My thoughts, if you are a good coach, you would be able to get anyone to reach their goal.

My one big hangup for having a coach is the cost. Why would I pay someone for something I can find online or read in a book for free? Heck – even ask a question on twitter and you’ll get an answer – for Free.

Now that you have my background on coaching, lets get the background on Ekiden Coaching. You can read all about them on their webpage, but to summarize… the group of coaches behind Ekiden want to “bring a great human coaching experience to every athlete, not just a training plan.” That’s right there is a group of coaches available based on your need.

How does this work? All you have to do is go to ekiden.com and either click the “sign up and start training” or fill out the quick form to start a conversation about getting fit with a coach that works for you. You can also read more about how it works or what pricing level works for you. Plans start as low as $49 per month.

Now – from here I can tell you about my experience. I first filled out a form, it had general questions, but what I remember is that it asked about my goal – which I put to run a marathon a month. I also remember having to submit my last 6 months of races, and for me this was a lot of work as I needed to include my times too.

It was also suggested to create a Strava account. If you don’t know it’s a place where you can load your training logs, it would make it easy for the coach to see what you are doing. I was like, ahhh another app, do I need this?

I then had an Ekiden account. This is through the Ekiden Coaching system. The account has your training,  a place to message your coach and an option for help or support. I noticed I had a training plan before I had a coach. (not sure if this is standard procedure)

The training plan that was in place did not take into account my upcoming race schedule, but why should it, I never submitted that. Since it did not have my race schedule, I wasn’t too happy, the plan was not going to work for me, it was a lot of zone training (Jack Daniels method) and speed work. I just wanted to complete a marathon a month.

I fretted a bit more, and then received a text message through their system setting up a phone call from my coach. It really wasn’t the best phone call, but I said I would send him my race schedule and look for a plan based on that, I was willing to try this zone training method. I even went to the calculator provided to know what zone would be what, and my slow marathon times wouldn’t even compute. I think I had to knock it down to a 27 minute 5k to get some numbers.

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I also questioned the system, as I knew I was reviewing this. Do people get matched with a total stranger that doesn’t have their goals in mind? I was frustrated as how this would work for me?

I kept checking my training plan, and I received the automated text messages in the mean time. It was the original training plan, and they were not translating to text in the order that the wording would make sense, so I was getting even more confused.

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Finally, I had some adjustments to the plan as I had run a marathon in there. I also thought it was strange there was no follow up on how I was feeling.

Well there was a reason there was no follow up… I was reassigned coaches….. The new coach, Coach Jenny, and I got along a lot better and considered my race schedule immediately and gave me a plan to reflect that. However, I did get a lecture about racing too much. Yes, I am always running a race; but no, I am not always racing those races; in fact some are training runs for other races. Also, this year my goal is a marathon a month.

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Ahh, finally things were falling into place and the system was actually working the way I believe it’s designed. Your coach initially texts to set up a time to call, then you can communicate through the messaging system (which sends texts to your phone.) Then once you have worked out the details with your coach, you will receive messages with your training, usually the night before. This message system also works good to just tell your coach what’s going on, or if you have a conflict.

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Sample of my training plan, notice all blue dots!!

I did make sure to ask Coach Jenny about the pairings with a coach, since my experience wasn’t great. I wouldn’t want to be paired with a stranger that didn’t know what I really wanted. She said that once you go through the original survey and forms, you would then get to choose between the coaches available. Which sounds like a better option.

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I have been training using Coach Jenny’s plan with no problems. It even includes rest days, mobility days, yoga or biking. Knowing what workout I need to do really takes the guess work out of it. The plan also give you blue dots when you do the workout and red dots when you don’t, so coach knows!

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I did tell her my legs were toast after the Runner’s World Half and Festival, so she adjusted my plan for that, but maybe a day too late…could have switched the recovery run and rest day, but I live to tell you about it.

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I think if there is a current frustration, it would be when a week of training isn’t loaded into my plan yet, but a quick message to Coach Jenny and it’s taken care of.

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To answer, will I stick with a coach?

I think I would only pay to have a coach if I had a super specific time goal and was lacking motivation to do it myself.

However, I wouldn’t mind giving Ekiden a try again. I really like that a coach pushes you and knows how to get more out of you. (like I think I will run 3 miles and the plan is for 6 miles.) There are also cross training activities that you might not do without a coach telling you. I also like that it takes the guess work out of your training, you just log into your account or check your messages and see what workout you have to do.

Also if I ever did this again, I would prefer to pick my coach, not get matched with a stranger that wouldn’t work with my goals. This can be the hard part too, as a relationship doesn’t necessarily develop until a training cycle is over.

Also I think I have answered, can I be coached? I think I am coach-able, I just think my specific goal was a littler trickier than others. I still believe a good coach will get you to accomplish that goal. I still have a week or two left with Coach Jenny and the big test will be 2 marathons a week apart. ( Milwaukee Running Festival and Madison Marathon)

*I also really like Strava, and have left Dailymile*

If you still need more insight on Ekiden, I know my fellow Bibrave Pros have been training for specific goal races, so check out their reviews: SAMANTHA – AMANDA – CASSIE – FALLONCHRISTINE

For questions make sure to check out the Ekiden website, twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

You can also join Ekiden as a coach – http://www.ekiden.com/coaching

If you are ready to be paired with a coach, Ekiden is running a special : Get a free month of training when you purchase 3 months, use code BibRave16 http://www.ekiden.com/

 

 

A Runner’s Inclusive Event

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Runner’s World Half and Festival Grand Slam 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 really don’t know where to start with this one, but I had a great time…so enjoy the novel!

The Runner’s World Half and Festival is a weekend of events in Bethlehem, PA. There was the 3.8 mile trail run on Friday afternoon, the 5k and 10k (five and dime) on Saturday morning, and then the half marathon on Sunday. Of course, I choose to do them all, that is called the Grand Slam. Also as luck would have it the November Project had a pop up workout on Friday morning…so why not?

If you may recall, I am not a person who likes to fly. This meant Josh – yay Josh is on this trip – and I took off Wednesday evening for the car ride east. ROAD TRIP!!!

We made it to Elkhart, IN for the night. It was an easy drive, and really the most “tricky” parts were around Chicago and when we got close to Bethlehem, PA. Otherwise it was a straight shot on I-80, which has toll roads. The best thing we ever did was purchase an I-Pass, it allowed us to pay for all the tolls electronically – the entire way. (IL, IN, OH & PA)

*True story I once took a road trip to Pittsburgh and we took the toll road out, and one booth gave us change, all in dimes.

Thursday was a driving day. We even made a stop in OH to meet up with twitter friend, Tiffany. All the memories made at a roadside Wendy’s. We continued east, the western part of PA was very pretty.The leaves were in peak color,so many red and oranges.

We arrived in Bethlehem, in the early evening. We were meeting AMY!!!!! Amy is one of my #brf’s – a best running friend. We met IRL for the first time at the 2015 Blue Ridge Marathon, then again at the 2016 One City Marathon. Since then we talk everyday, so it was nice to meet up again.

Ok, so Amy was off doing some Runner’s World Influencer stuff (she’s a big deal), so we grabbed our hotel key,and took a short stroll through Bethlehem for some food. Bethlehem is also a college town, so we ended up at an Irish Pub on campus. Of course, I made sure to get some perogies and Josh ordered the pulled pork special. We topped of the night with a stop at an ice cream shop, where the kid working the place, noticed our Iowa gear, and said he had family in Iowa.

Ahh, finally reunion time with Amy!!! It was getting late and we needed to get some rest. We were going to join the November Project workout in the morning. It would start at 6:29 am at the Steel Stacks. I did have some reservations about this. I didn’t want to wake up that early, and I am just not huge with group fitness with strangers.

Fast Forward – Friday morning, just after 5am….yep, I was going to the November Project workout. I realized I would regret missing out. The hotel had a free breakfast starting at 6 am, so we grabbed some coffee and made the 10 minute walk.

It was still dark, but there were about 40 -50 people gathered around. A guy was yelling for everyone to come together, then closer and closer yet. It was nice to feel the body heat, I think it was maybe 35-40 degrees. Then the guy….ok the guy’s name is Brogan, the founder of NP.

Brogan told us to jump up and down, then we had to repeat some words and chants and shout and more jumping. Then that was done. He also told us not to cross our arms, that was negative body language. (It was cold!) Then we had to hug the people next to us…so in addition to a hug from Josh, Amy, some strangers I recognized from social media – I got to hug Bart Yasso!!

Then it was time for some more “drills.” We made a few lines, and had to do some sprints, some basketball side shuffles, some getting up off the ground (which was wet and dirty.) Our heart rates were definitely elevated. However, everyone had a smile on their face, and it was never a competition.

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That part was done, and we had to raise our hands and grab 2 other people, I was standing next to Amy, and we grabbed Mike – a cool new friend. Now was time for a circuit type workout with the group. We each had to decide who would do each station (pushups, box jumps, dips, run stairs) and then see how many we could do as a group, if you weren’t doing a station you had to do a plank or wall sit. Ok, so maybe now it was getting more competitive.

Mike was not participating in any of the actual running events, so after the first round, we decided he should do the running…well that plan didn’t last long and then we were all just doing whatever. I think we ended up with around 11 rounds or something, it was fun, but I was feeling it…and in the back of my mind I knew I had 4 races to go.

There was one last round to finish off the workout. It was a lap around the stairs, starting with 5 burpees, and this was an actual race. The first 2 females would win a beer! Ha, I knew I wouldn’t win, but I just didn’t want to be last. What a work out and fun time, maybe I am a convert?

If you’re still reading you might want to get up and take a stretch break.

Josh and I walked back to the hotel and made some waffles only to get ready to go back to the expo and packet pick up at 11 AM.

We were one of the first at the packet pick up which was on the second floor of the Arts Quest building. The actual expo with vendors was on the third floor. Running the grand slam entitled us to a long sleeve tech shirt, a pair of socks, and a stocking hat. We then followed the path through the vendors grabbing samples and learning about new products.

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We grabbed a quick bite at a Subway and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the afternoon trail race. What else do you eat in a new place for a 2pm race?

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We were back to the Steel Stacks to catch a shuttle bus to the trail race start. We arrived during Golden Harper’s (founder of Altra shoes) speech about trail running in general which was followed by Bart’s speech about this specific trail.

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We met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Chadd (Oh hey he was at the NP workout too) and we found Amy again. Chadd was running his first trail race so we made sure to listen to the speakers.

We were back loaded into the woods and all of a sudden the race was on. I am no stranger to running trails but this race was tough. I left my specific details on my Bibrave review but let’s just say there were a lot of rocks with some hills. I was also passed by Dean Karnazas.

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The finish was cool and the announcers shouted my name, I even got a high-five from Bart. After I got my medal, I met back up with my friends. Also finally met PGHCityGirl!!

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We (Chadd, Amy, Josh and I) got back on the shuttle into town. We decided to hang out and have some drinks and appetizers at a local bar. Talk about a great time! This is what running is all about for me, meeting all the cool people that live in my phone, sharing stories, over a beer!

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Ok, maybe we stayed a little too long, we were all running the 5k and 10k the next day. So we finally called it a night, but not before stopping at Lehigh Pizza for some giant slices.

Saturday- (whew, I am already exhausted)

Another early wake up call, Josh, Amy and I stopped in the hotel lobby for a quick bite to eat, then did the daily walk to the Steel Stacks area.

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This day, Chadd set up a tent and had some snacks, water and Bibrave koozies for anyone that wanted to stop by. The Bibrave banner even made it’s RW debut! Chadd’s awesome fiance watched the tent while we ran, so we were able to leave our things behind.

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The 5k started at 8 am, it was a cool 45 degree morning. Amy made the decision to run both the 5k and 10k with me, I was so happy!!! I just wanted to make it through the events all weekend, and Amy wanted to race the half marathon, so I kept her slow.

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The 10k started at 9:30 am. So in between the races the gang all met up back at the tent, and while the sun was up, this cooling down period was tough. However, we were all ready to go again.

If you want the race specifics, make sure to check em out at Bibrave.com

As for my morning of running with Amy – BEST TIME EVER!!! We chatted, we danced, we told Bart he had nice legs, and we gave high fives…. I know I was feeling all the hills, but running with Amy took my mind off of that. Such a fun time, I can’t encourage running a race with a friend enough!! (Remember when I ran the NFECSWI with Laura or the BTN 10K with Heather and Kelly?) Run with a friend!

When we had grabbed all the post race food a second time – OMG Godiva bars! -ok getting sidetracked by chocolate…we all met back up at the tent, hoping to meet anyone from twitter. A few people stopped by to grab a koozie, even social media pal Dane!  Also, I would like to mention Chadd’s sister, Tiffany, who was hanging at the tent with her family, she ran her first 10k! So great to see people accomplish their goals!

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The day was getting away from us, and Chadd had to be on his way, so the tent came down. It was now time to switch gears…. Amy needed a nap, while Josh and I needed food and to watch the Hawkeye football game.

The Hawkeyes were playing Purdue and had a solid lead going into the second half. Josh and I walked back to the sports bar we found Thursday night to watch the game. I only mention this as I want to share with you that I ordered the perogie burger. OMG!!! Mashed potatoes on a pretzel bun, I was in carb heaven! We wrapped up at the bar, and came back to the hotel, and saw the Hawkeyes eventually win, then it was time for a nap of our own.

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It was then time to make the decision of what to eat for supper – yep that is what we call it here in Iowa. The race was hosting a pasta dinner, but it was over $30 per person. There would be speakers, and in addition to pasta they were featuring recipes from “Eat Slow, Run Fast” Decisions – Decisions?!?!?  Amy was going to the pasta party….but we decided to actually go check out Bethlehem a bit, since we were there and all.

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We used the magic of google and found this fun Italian restaurant. The place was packed, but some how we only waited like 5-10 minutes for a seat. They brought complimentary garlic knots to us. Josh ordered a baked pasta dish, and I ordered what I thought was plain pasta noodles with fresh tomatoes and basil. However the tomato part was more like a sauce… I survived by just picking out the noodles. We were downing the water, but thought we needed to cap off the evening with dessert – mostly because Josh saw canoli on the menu. I opted for a fancy lemon sorbet.

We still had some time to check out the local running store across the street. Actually we both wanted to know what Team Vark was all about, as we had seen them on the race course. It was actually members of the Aardvark Sports Store. They have an aardvark as a mascot. When we arrived it was close to closing time, but they didn’t rush us out the door. Instead they encouraged us to grab a bottle of water, granola bar and banana they had set up for the runners. What a fun store!! We browsed around, but didn’t want to keep them. That reminds me, I need to order a shirt.

We called it a night, even though we caught a nap, the weekend was catching up with us, we needed more sleep! It would be another early wake up call.

SUNDAY – Wakey Wakey, time to racey! Actually we set 3 phone alarms, LOL.

It was time to cap off the grand slam with the half marathon. After our hotel breakfast, Amy led us to the start, even though it was near the Steel Stacks, it was in a little different area. I don’t know why we listened to her, I think we walked a mile or so…guess we were warmed up.

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We arrived in time to give Bibrave co-founder and Runner’s World managing director, Jessica, a hug, she was going to sing the National Anthem, and then run the race.

Amy, Josh and I all split to line up in the respective pace corral. Even said hi to Dane again!

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If you want all the race specifics check out my bibrave.com review .

Ahh, what a race, all the hills! and I was tired in all sense of the word. I wasn’t sure how I would do, but I made a choice early on to stick with the 2:20 pace group. I did stick with them until mile 10. It was a strange pace group as I heard rumblings that the pace was off from other runners. She was trying to stick with 10:30 mins, but I rarely look at my watch I wasn’t keeping track. At mile 10 after running all the hills, I felt good enough to push it a little more, so I ditched the group. At mile 11 ish, Eminem’s “Til I Collapse” came on my playlist and I turned on the jets. I finished with a time around 2:16.I did look at my overall stats (on Strava) and the mile splits were all over the place, never a constant 10:30. It would go 10,10:40, 10:20, then 10 again, however my last 2 miles were 9:32 and 9:07, so BAM! on tired legs too!! I was happy! and a week after a marathon!

*I am also noting the aid stations had Ultima electrolyte drink, it’s all I had during the race for additional calories, I ran this race without actually eating anything*

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The post race for this event was the place to be!! In addition to the food and craft beer, the cover band was rockin!!! I went immediately to the beer area (duh), where I thought I would find Amy…but no? I did see Dane again and another twitter person…then finally Amy appeared, and we danced and had a fun time. Josh showed up later, he was cheering in the finisher’s with Jessica.

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It was time to leave, and we saw Chadd again, so we snapped one last group photo, and it really meant the weekend of fun was coming to an end.

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The packing up of all the things was not fun. However, between Amy and Chadd, we were packing up some PA beers to bring home, while we brought them some IA brews.

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It was time to say “see you later” to Amy. It was sad, we had sooooo much fun! However, I can’t wait to see her later in Florida at the Key West Half…not sure if we can stay out of trouble.

Josh and I were on our way back home, shortly after 12:30…oh wait 1pm… the entire time we were staying in a hotel less than one block from a Dunkin Donuts…of course we had to grab a donut and some coffee.

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This section of the ride home was uneventful, more looking at leaves and just driving and stopping to stretch. We eventually called it a night in Elkhart, IN again.Which was a good thing, we met fellow Bibrave Pro, Mark. We had worked out a banner hand off, as he was running the Urban Bourbon race for Bibrave the following weekend.We really only hung out for 5 minutes, but so nice to say hi!

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The next day – Monday already…we woke up early, snagged some food at the hotel, but didn’t grab any coffee, as we knew there was an oasis on the tollway in a few miles with a Starbucks. We stopped and they were closed! Instead of waiting another 20 minutes, we got back on the road…it’s wasn’t for along time before we actually found some coffee. We also picked up a rock chip in the windshield.

Luckily, those were the only events of the road trip. We made it back to the Iowa City area around 10:30 am. Enough time for me to squeeze in a recovery run (ouch) but it’s what the training plan called for, and then get to work.

These kind of weekends are what I live for. As someone who runs a ton of races, the events where I get to hang out with friends are the best. It’s not about racing your best time, it’s about sharing your passion with others. Thanks to Bibrave for this opportunity, I hope to get back to this event, I really felt I belong in the running community.

UCAN – snack bar review

UCAN snack bars

Disclaimer: I received a multi pack of the Generation UCAN snack 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!

I am always looking for something easy when it comes to running and “fueling.” Especially for those weekday runs of 4-8 mile runs, where I run in the morning and don’t want to eat a full breakfast before hitting the pavement. I have done cookies and granola bars, but always looking for a better option.


I was excited when I got the chance to try the UCAN snack bars. The Bibrave Pros had a chance to review the Generation Ucan SuperStarch Drink Mix a few months back and after reading what they had to say, I knew I should give these a try.

Sustaining your blood sugar is the key to maintaining your energy so you can perform your best. UCAN prevents the spike and crash of sugar-based fuels and is gentle on the stomach. No more bonking and GI distress!

First things first, what is SuperStarch? Why is this so special or different?

From www.generationucan.com – This natural, slow-releasing carbohydrate keeps blood sugar stable and delivers steady energy for your brain and body.

The idea behind this bar is that you will be fueled longer and will avoid that sugar high crash. Super starch is a slower process, keeping you energized longer.

Ok, this is great news, you know eating a cookie to fuel…while it could be packed with peanut butter, it contains a lot of sugar.


I received my multi package box the day before I would be leaving to run a trail marathon. As I don’t like to try anything new on race day, the bars had to wait until I got back home.

My First taste:

Aug 23 – Peach Passion Bar with SuperStarch, 15g SuperStarch, 4 g protein, 6 g cocoa butter, 4 g fiber, 170 cals, smells good & peachy, looks strange, like a bar of soap. Tastes fine, but the texture is throwing me off, kinda chalky.

Aug 25- Chocolate bar with SuperStarch, 10g SuperStarch, 6g protein, 4g coconut oil, 5g fiber, 180 cals. Weird texture bar coated in chocolate. Better than peach, not as chalky. I was able to eat 3/4 of the bar and I headed out on a run of about 4 miles. I was hungry when I returned home. However, my metabolism is all screwy from my weird racing schedule and I didn’t eat anything else but this bar.

Sept 6 – Coffee Bean Bar – I opened this with high hopes as it smells soo good! I love coffee!! I am always starving before lunch and need something to hold me over. However, I just can’t get past the texture…so dry and chalk like. 15G SuperStarch 4G protein 6 g cocoa butter 4g fiber.


Sept 13 – Cinnamon Swirl Bar. I am really struggling, but I am remaining optimistic, so I opened this bar and took a bite. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It didn’t have the weird chalky aftertaste texture, or it was covered by the cinnamon. I had a few bites before my 3.36 mile run. I would say this one is my favorite tasting & texture. 13 G SuperStarch, 5 g protein, 6 g cocoa butter, 4 g fiber. 170 calories.

Now, I did consider dipping these in peanut butter…yes, I am that person… I also see there is a Chocolate Peanut Butter bar available. It was not in my multi pack, I would like to try that one too, I would think oils in peanut butter would make it less chalky.

I was just looking at the multi pack available through https://store.generationucan.com/products/barboxmulti and it appears you would receive 10 bars and 2 of each flavor ( peach, cinnamon, coffee bean, chocolate, peanut butter chocolate). If you would like to do this, use code BIBRAVE for 15% savings.

After trying all the flavors I was given. I am not sure I can get passed the texture to enjoy these, or to say they actually work. I am a different breed, I get thrown off by texture, it’s why I don’t like the traditional gel/gu – however many people like those too.


I think I prefer a bar with nuts, seeds or fruit vs this style of bar. I was glad that I had the chance to try these. I think if you are the person who likes the texture of protein bars, these are for you. I do think superstarch is a great way to fuel a run.

If you would like to read more about these, please check out what my fellow Bibrave pros had to say: GINAMARK – HEATHERJESSICABRIANSAMANTHA

Connect with UCAN : websitetwitterFacebookInstagram

Ampla Fly

Ampla Sport Ampla Fly Running shoes

Disclaimer: I received an pair of AMPLA FLY 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!

Wahoo my 300th post✨

You may have seen some pictures from me like these:

Well I have been testing a new running shoe. The Ampla Fly from Ampla Sport. I chose the black color, they also come in a red.

” Our shoes don’t waste force. They teach you how to run faster, safer, and longer.”

You may notice the sole in the above photos, it’s in 2 pieces. Well these shoes were designed by a Harvard scientist – check out the story here – http://amplasport.com/pages/story – and as mentioned in the above quote they don’t waste force. In fact they are designed to use force to improve your running mechanics.

The sole is broken down into many layers, the one that makes it different is the carbon fiber plate – layer 5. This graphic from the website shows it best.

I want to highlight the carbon plate as it makes the sole a little more rigid. The shoe isn’t as forgiving and isn’t recommended for trail running. You will note I didn’t try that…but I did take them for some test runs, here is my journal:

  • Aug 22 – I received these in the mail and may have taken the opportunity to do a photo”shoe”t

  • Aug 24 – Inaugural run of 2 miles, definitely felt like I was fore foot striking. I also felt the PF stretching in both feet. Otherwise no problems

  • Aug 25 – Ran 4.8 miles, no major problems. Good fit on my feet. The heel is loose fitting, but used a lacing technique to tighten them, no blisters. The loose fit is also related to the carbon plate not being as forgiving. I can feel my PF stretching at times.

  • Aug 27- Ran across town to Kinnick Stadium to check out the concert set up & tailgating scene. Total of 7 miles .No major problems, but could feel that PF stretch

  • Aug 30 – 4.86 miles. I notice how stiff they are, not a cushion shoe. My PF stretch is minor today.

  • Sept 3 – 4.4 miles. PF pain until 1.5 miles into the run. Then I was fine. The carbon plate is not forgiving.

  • Sept 5 – Run with Carl 5 miler. Raced in them, felt speedy. I only wore them to race, so no walking around in them & minimum standing around, no PF pain when wearing, but woke up with PF pain.

  • Sept 9 – Took the shoes on a photo shoot, and ended up with over 4 miles. Ended up running 2-400’s at the track. Really felt them propel me forward, but I didn’t feel the natural spring to the track in them, not as cushioned as my go to shoe. However the PF is not at it’s best.

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  • Sept 13 – woke up with the worst PF in a long time, and this time in my other foot, so it’s in both feet. I am going to take a break from wearing the shoes.

I reached out to Ampla about this problem. They were going to reach out to their shoe designer and see if they had any ideas. (When I know more I will update you.) My best guess is that the carbon fiber plate is just not working with my feet. Over 2 years ago I had PF in my right foot, then I did all the things for healing it and it went away. I run a lot and hadn’t had any problems since, and I could actually feel the PF on both of my feet stretch when I run in these. *Jeremy brings up a good point about these shoes engaging your calf muscles in his post, could also be another reason my PF is on fire.

Maybe I am running too long in them. They are recommended for speed work and unless you’re comfortable running in them long, they aren’t suggested to do long runs in them.

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I did take a lot of photos wearing them

I really do feel they work to propel you forward and encourage proper running mechanics, they just don’t like my feet.

I encourage you to read my fellow pros blogs, as one person’s thoughts shouldn’t be enough to influence your decision, also shoes are a very specific fit and different for everyone.

HeatherBrian BrendaFrankJeremy HSamanthaGina – Laura BLisaKatie

I also encourage you to check out Ampla on twitter, facebook and Instagram. If you want to give them a try they retail for $120 and have free shipping. They also ship direct to you, they are not sold in stores. Check out their FAQ page if any of your questions haven’t been answered through all the other options above.