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.

 

 

Mardi Gras Freezer

Back on My Feet Mardi Gras Chaser 10k

Chicago, IL (Montrose Harbor) – 10 am – February 25, 2017 – Cloudy, “feels like” 9 degrees


Hey guys, I ran another race!! Wahoo!!! This time I took Josh along with me. Well, I actually snagged a deal through twitter for $10 registration. I thought for that price, if the weather turned bad, we could afford to skip it, as the race is for a great charity – Back on My Feet.

So many races are for charity… but few are for a charity that is all about running! Back on My Feet Chicago uses the power of running to help change the lives of those experiencing homelessness in our city. All proceeds from the race will support Back on My Feet in providing programming to change lives one job, house, and mile at a time.

img_2952Josh and I left for Chicago the Friday before the race. We’ve been to the windy city, many times, and weren’t expecting any surprises.  We had no problems on the tollway, yay the construction is done! Then we settled into the Holiday Inn at the Merchandise Mart. We had never stayed here before, but was very nice and accessible.

To keep with tradition we made a stop at Garrett’s Popcorn to get some Chicago Mix and then ate supper at Miller’s Pub. Hey, we like what we like! Also, Miller’s Pub is awesome, it’s like stepping into an 80’s supper club and pub all in one. You want a hamburger – fine, you want grilled octopus – you can get that too.


Race Day:

Another late start… 10 am race time… ya, ya…the weather can be anything this time of year. In fact, just earlier in the week it was 70 degrees. However, the temps for this race wouldn’t get much over 20 degrees with a nasty wind chill around 9, YES 9 degrees!! So, maybe it’s the warmest time of the day for this race….

We were staying 5 miles south of Montrose Harbor, but it didn’t look like traffic was going to be too bad to get to the start.

We got to the race area at about 8:30, which is when packet pick up opened. I can’t say enough about race day packet pick up for a Chicago race!!! It wasn’t an extra cost, and I didn’t have to make an extra trip anywhere the day before to find my packet or ask a friend to do it for me. The parking was also FREE, yes free parking in Chicago, it’s possible!!! There are so many races in Chicago, and when we have to pay for a hotel, these free things make the race affordable.

Josh and I made our way to get our things…. oh I forgot to tell you about the best part of the race…. we met up with fellow Bibrave Pros, Heather, Mark and Frank!!!! We saw Mark and Heather on the way to get our packet….however, it was too cold to chit chat.

Packet pick up was super easy, we just told them our names and they gave us our bibs and 1/4 zip pullovers. We could grab a Mardi Gras mask if we wanted one. It’s nice to get a quarter zip, but this one is white, and well…. it’s white…and you can see through it…anyway, it’s still better than a cotton tee.

On our way back to the warm car, we passed Mark again, where he gave us “Hot Hands.” Spoiler Alert: these were a life saver!


Once in the car, I ate my Nugo Mint Chocolate bar for breakfast….seriously love those things. We kept warm and texted the other pros. We heard Frank was around, so we quick grabbed a group picture, then went back to sit in our warm cars. IT WAS COLD!


It was finally time to race. We all met up again… including Mark’s wife, Tina and Heather’s mom, Marge. We also noticed, Frank wearing his bib…. he is recovering from knee surgery, so this was a surprise to us all…but I think we all knew he wasn’t going to sit it out.

Gear: Purple Chevron Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Pro Compression Socks, 2Xu Hyoptik thermal tights, Nike turtleneck, Moving comfort jacket, Survivor Buff, Bibrave Boco Stocking hat, xx2i France 2 sunglasses, Plantronics head phones, spi belt, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix 3, 2 pairs of generic gloves, and Hot hands hand warmers.

The 10k was first, (there was a 5k to follow) we seeded ourselves in the corrals, which were organized by pace. I was already shaking because I was sooooo cold. The National Anthem was sung, and we all started moving.

The race was an out an back, starting on the roads near the harbor and then on the north end of the Lake Front Path / trail. It was coned off and there were volunteers guiding participants. However, it was not closed to pedestrian traffic. It started to flurry.

Photo Credit – Mark D.

My toes were numb until mile 2… have you ever ran with numb toes, it’s like rocks in your shoes… I finally warmed up, about the time I saw Mark and Josh headed back. Then I hit the turnaround where volunteers were handing out Cliff Bars. There were many stops with water and Gatorade. I then saw Heather running with Tina and then I saw Marge and Frank, while out and back courses can be annoying, it’s nice to be able to cheer on your friends.
If you want more of my official race review – check bibrave.com

I came to the finish line near 1 hour… which I was happy with… in fact, I told Josh I would finish in that time, so he knew when to greet me with more clothes. Which he did!

I was handed some Mardi Gras beads, my finisher’s medal, and then there was a buffet of post race food. There was more water and Gatorade, bananas, mini muffins (2 kinds,) chia bars, cliff bars and mini bagels. I was happy I had pockets in my jacket.


I put on my coat and another layer of pants and cheered in my friends. I stayed mostly warm, but the hot hands didn’t keep my finger tips warm, and I could barely feel them as I took pictures.


Yay, we were all finished! One of my favorite things is meeting my friends at races. We hung around for a little bit, and the the race organizers told us to take as much food as we wanted… I escaped with a bag full of mini bagels…and there was still lots of food left. I hope they were able to donate it to a shelter.

Photo Credit – Heather C.


We said goodbye to Frank, and then ran back to our cars to get warm.  The rest of us decided to go check out the post race party at the Fat Cat bar. They had a $15 buffet and a free beer for runners. However, don’t be fooled, there were 3 choices – Blue Moon, Coors Light and Leinie’s Honey Weiss. They were also having a raffle.


We waited around for a table to open up. When a table opened up, we got our buffet plates and filled up. It’s a good thing all those post race goodies were sealed to eat later. The buffet had rice and beans, yogurt, biscuits, chicken, bacon, potatoes, eggs and french toast casserole.

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Yes – I put sprinkles on my biscuits

Once we were full, it was time to say goodbye…always sad…I mean I get to talk to my friends on twitter, but always nice to get to hangout in person. I will see them again soon too.


As luck would have it, we were really close to Wrigley Field, so after Josh and I grabbed some Dunkin Donuts coffee, we drove by the baseball stadium. It was undergoing lots of construction, so even if we did get out to take a picture, we wouldn’t have been able to get too close.


Then after what felt like an hour, we were back on the tollway, headed back to Iowa… it was a quick trip to Chicago, but a fun one. Spoiler Alert: I will be headed back for the BTN B1G 10k in July, Go Hawks!

 

 

 

 

Freezefest 2017

Corridor Running Freezefest 5k

I am so excited to have something to write about. I ran and volunteered at the Freezefest 5k or should I say “Warmfest.” (More on that later.)


As most of you know, I am on the board of my local running club, Corridor Running. This is the first race of the year for the club. In addition to running, and creating the playlist for the event, I was on board to take pictures, post to social media, shoot video and anything else they needed me to do.
For my official race review – check out bibrave.com

Gear: Ice Cream Sparkle Athletic Skirt, xx2i France2 sunglasses, Garmin Fenix 3, Go Pro, Adiddas boy shorts, Lululemon shirt, Corridor Running Trucker hat, spi belt,  2xu Vectr socks, aftershokz


The event always takes place in February, and it has a later start time of 11 am. It is in Marion, IA at Squaw Creek Park. This is mostly due to the weather. It can be cold or as we saw this year, record warmth, nearing 60 degrees.

*Personally, I would rather have a race start at 7 or 8 am. I run in all weather conditions, so I would just like to get up and get it done.

This is a smaller race, and it’s capped at 350 participants due to the lack of parking.. This means that packet pickup is the day of the race, which works out well because of the late start I was whining about above. Anyway…. the lodge allows room for an easy packet pick up as well as an area to get information about upcoming Corridor events & membership. It’s also a good location to stay warm, if the weather is cold. There is also indoor plumbing, however the system seems to get overwhelmed and backs up….but don’t fear there are extra, clean port-o-potties set up outdoors.

It was time to start the race. While there were no signs encouraging people to line up according to pace, everyone did an excellent job of self seeding.  Mark – the club president said some words, and then the National Anthem was sung live, however if you were in the back of the corral, you might not have been able to hear it.

With this being a 5k, my usual goal is to run it sub 30 minutes, however I had a Go Pro in one hand and my phone in the other. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to tackle all of this.

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The race course wasn’t too difficult, it was basically flat, and on all paved surfaces. Ok, so the finish was uphill and there were some potholes….but totally manageable. The course also has out and back type sections, so you can cheer on the others.


I crossed the finish line, while watching the clock…SUB 30!!! My official results:


After I was done running, I picked the camera back up and snapped some pictures of the award winners. Then I went to check out the post race food, since it was lunch time. Volunteers called the “cookie monsters” brought a lot of baked goods, and there were 2 different types of homemade chili. There were some sandwiches and fruit too. I waited too long and there wasn’t much food left, and I don’t care for chili, so I grabbed a cookie. There was also lots of beverages – bottled water, sodas, and some Miller Lite.

I really needed to get on my way, there was Hawkeye basketball game at 1pm… I was already late.

This is a great race! The price is right and it gets you out of the winter funk. The club does a great job too, everything runs smoothly. I also like getting to socialize with everyone. I also forgot to mention, a portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the Boys & Girls club.


See you at the next Corridor Running event, the Shamrock Shuffle – PS registration is still open. There is a 3.17k and a 6.24k. They could also use volunteers.

Keep up with Corridor Running: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram & don’t forget to tag #corridorrunning

 

 

 

I’m still here

Wow…so I guess I haven’t written anything in a long time…well a long time for me. I blast you with lots of posts in a row, and then nothing…well you can relax now, I am here with a post.

I picked a training plan…well sort of. I am using a Hal Higdon plan for the advanced marathoner. However, I am finding I don’t have time for the longer runs during the week, so I am either running twice or just making it work with the time I have. (Thanks to advice from a friend, I know I can make the adjustments.) We will see where this gets me, there is speed work and hill work too, a kick that I need.


I have added another race to my schedule…I am running the Corridor Running Freezefest 5k, February 18. I miss running all the races….and I think that is why I am struggling the most. I miss the traveling and going new places. I am excited to get back out there.


After that 5k, I will be headed to Chicago for the Back on My Feet Mardi Gras Chaser 10k. Wahoo, hope there is some king cake! Seriously though, Back on my Feet is a great charity, helping the homeless through running. Not only will Josh be making that trip with me, but I will be reunited with my running friends!!

From there, I am not sure what is next. I missed out on a local 50k, dang registration is already closed. However, there is the Shamrock Shuffle in Iowa City and the Easter Scramble in the Quad Cities…. I guess either way it all leads to the Illinois Marathon, followed by Grandma’s… after that I have nothing on my schedule – GASP!!!

I did start lifting some weights, ok, nothing big…but I have tried to do this 3 times a week…so maybe that will lead to something new and exciting.


I really don’t know what’s next. I am broke, and all the traveling has taken a toll, but I miss it and it’s driving me nuts. I have been trying to shake things up by running to where I need to go around town, or looking for new places to run. Guess I will keep looking for that next adventure.


You can still expect the same from me though… I will be attending all the Hawkeye things, eating all the crap food, and sharing all the Bibrave love, including reviews and discounts.


I will have a Freezefest review coming up next. If you want or need more updates, follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

How do you pick a Training Plan?

Guys…. I am struggling… I need a training plan…

I may not be doing a marathon a month this year (heck I need to find a goal for 2017), but I do have 2 marathons on my race schedule so far. I will be running the Illinois Marathon in April and Grandma’s Marathon in June, both for Bibrave.

Not only do I have the marathons on the schedule, there are local 5k’s and any other race I want to squeeze in. One reason you don’t really see me focus on one training plan, I am always racing – also why I don’t have time to bore you with a weekly training recap.


Ho-hum, it’s almost February, I have no training plan. Google to the rescue?

I made it through 2016 with no training plan, each marathon was the training for the next. Knowing I could do this, it’s why I am slacking on finding a plan.

What do I do?

In the past I have used Hal Higdon’s plan and the Brooks-Hanson method. Both were great plans. I also dabbled with a coach last fall, but I am broke.


Maybe I need to set a goal for these races? Then I can pick how I want to train.

So, I know I can just wing something, but maybe I should try to PR at the marathon distance?

How do you pick a plan?

HELP!

Nugo Bars

NUGO DARK BARS – Review

“Disclaimer: I received a variety pack of Nugo Nutrition Dark 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!”


YUM! – the end…ok I will write an actual review of these bars, but spoiler alert, I love em!

I have done reviews of other bars, and eaten my share of bars.Especially those that boast about protein or their health benefits. Most of them taste like cardboard and are made of that nougat like mush crap. Well, enter Nugo Nutrition and their delicious bars.


What sets them apart, IMO, is they aren’t a mush center or that weird substance that you just can’t place, and you are not sure what you are eating. Basically these are like dark chocolate covered crispy treats, or a candy bar.

From the Nugo website, they highlight why they are different:

  • REAL Dark Chocolate isn’t just a delectable treat with delicious flavor. It’s a heart-healthy, antioxidant-rich superfood, and a staple ingredient in many NuGo bars. Research has shown that REAL Dark Chocolate may help maintain good cholesterol (HDL),* lower blood pressure, elevate mood, reduce stress, and increase endurance when consumed before a workout. So if you want to lead a healthy life, get REAL. Get NuGo.
  • At NuGo, we never put our bottom line above the best interests of our customers. For our REAL dark chocolate, we only source the best, natural cocoa solids and combine them with creamy cocoa butter, so that every bite is full of decadent flavor. Other companies cut costs by mixing their cocoa solids with vegetable fats like palm kernel oil to make imitation chocolate without the taste, texture or health benefits of REAL chocolate.
  • At NuGo Nutrition, we believe that the freshest, healthiest ingredients are also the best tasting. We are passionate about keeping families active and healthy, which is why we’re so committed to keeping GMOs, artificial hormones, stomach-upsetting maltitol, and artificial sweeteners out of NuGo products. When you give your child a NuGo bar (or grab one for yourself), you can be confident that you’re getting only the best naturally delicious ingredients in every bite.

Also please note these dark bars have 10 grams of protein, they are non GMO, vegan and gluten free!!


I received 12 bars – 3 bars in 4 different flavors:

Mint Chocolate Chip: the mix of mint an dark chocolate is just right, this was a favorite to drink with my coffee. This has 1 gram of fiber and 14 grams of sugar.


Chocolate Pretzel with sea salt: spoiler alert this one is my favorite. The mix of sweet and salty is my jam! This has 2 grams of fiber and 15 grams of sugar.


Chocolate Coconut: I didn’t get an overwhelming coconut flavor, or one that stands out. I still really enjoyed this one, but I loved all the dark bars I have tried. This has 1 gram of fiber and 15 grams of sugar.


Chocolate Chocolate Chip: This one is most similar to a candy bar for me. If you are on the fence, I would try this bar first, it’s just chocolaty and crispy. This bar has one gram of fiber and 14 grams of sugar.


I found myself eating these each morning, usually as a pre-breakfast, before my run. They paired nicely with coffee. I also used them as a road trip snack, brought them to a basketball game and I ate them before running a half marathon.


Before I knew it, I had no bars left! Never fear, I can buy them at my local grocery store, just a half mile from my house, and they are only $1.49 each. This is when I was introduced to 2 more flavors:


Spicy Chocolate: I just had to try this flavor, cuz why not, and it intrigued me. It really wasn’t spicy hot to me, it was more of a cinnamon and chocolate. So shake things up, give this one a try. This bar has 2 grams of fiber and 15 grams of sugar.


Mocha Chocolate: This one was good, but I really didn’t get a strong mocha flavor, however I did eat this one with my morning coffee, so maybe the flavor cancelled each other out. This bar has 2 grams of fiber and 14 grams of sugar.


They also make other types of bars too, I picked up the peanut butter offering, but it was not the one that is part of the dark series, it was good, but it wasn’t my favorite. There is a peanut butter dark bar, I need to try one of those. That dark chocolate really makes a difference in that weird protein aftertaste that can happen with regular protein bars.


I think the only downside to the dark bar is they have, what I feel is a lot of sugar. However, I am not going to eat something that tastes like cardboard but contains no sugar. I need a protein bar I am going to eat, these are delicious and a treat! (There is the Nugo Slim, for a less sugar option – 2 or 3 grams and more fiber -, adding to the list of bars to try)

If you haven’t picked up that I like these…did you even read this? I would totally recommend trying these bars. Here is a store locator – https://www.nugonutrition.com/where-to-buy/ – Or you can purchase them online, – https://www.nugonutrition.com/ – and if you do, use code BIBRAVE1 to save 15% off the dark bar boxes. (This is valid through February 8th, 2017)


Some of the other pros were able to test these too, check out their thoughts: FrankGina Brad – Casey – Emily – Heather – Kolbe – ShannonCarolyn

If you have further questions, you can follow Nugo Nutrition on TwitterFacebookInstagram

Amana 2017

The Amana Freezer 5k – 2017 Edition

This is my favorite winter race in eastern Iowa. You may have caught my previous posts about this, even calling it “January’s Hidden Gem.” Well 2017 didn’t disappoint.

In addition to the meat swag bag and the hospitality of Amana, IA, what makes this race so great is that the local running community comes out of winter hibernation.


So, it was a foggy and unseasonably warm day, temps over 40 degrees. This was a nice change from the freezing temps I have run this race in before.


Since I haven’t picked a training plan for my upcoming marathons – the IL Marathon and Grandma’s… I should probably do that….I didn’t have any goals, or a set amount of miles to run that day. After I arrived around 8:30 to pick up my packet and meat bag, I set out to run some pre-race miles, that ended up totaling 4 miles.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, Corridor Running hat, Brooks Ghost 8, Aftershokz, SpiBelt, Moving Comfort pullover, Adidas short, Procompression socks, Garmin Fenix 3.

I attached my bib to my belt, and the timing chip to my shoe and made my way to the starting line. This is where I saw running friend, Joel.  We chatted and then everyone was moving forward…ha we weren’t paying attention and someone jingled some bells and the race started.


A refresher on the course, it’s an out and back on the paved road, you run out to East Amana, circle around and come back to Amana. There is a hill when you get to East Amana, but nothing steep. The road is open to traffic, but the locals don’t seem to mind. The most scenic thing on the course is the occasional beer can in the ditch or the cow pasture. Hey, this is Iowa 🙂


I had an ok race for already logging 4 miles. My 5k goal is always sub-30 and according to my Garmin I finished in 28:05. I felt like I pushed my best, even though each mile split was slower… oh well, I had a year of distance running, it’s hard to get the speed back.


At the finish line, I saw a lot of friends from the 100 mile group and Corridor Running. I felt like a social butterfly. One of my favorite things about running is meeting the people.


The crowd moved towards the post race food and awards in the building where packet pick up took place. Usually it’s jammed packed, but since the weather was so nice, there was room to breathe.

There is always a great post race food spread, really quite a lot for a 5k. Clementines, bagels, bananas, fruit pizza, Fig Newtons, and cookies. Then there was bottled water and hot chocolate.


I chatted with more friends, including a reader of the blog, Hi Rosemary!! That was a nice surprise…as we chatted I chuckled as the lady tried to start the race awards. Every year it’s the same old problem, she has this microphone, but you still can’t hear her, and then she gets mad…I am still laughing. Someone eventually get her a bull horn, which you really can’t hear either as everyone is chatting.

We all stood around listening to the awards, then it was time for the raffle. I remember the year Laura won the bird seed and she didn’t want it… ha! I always am happy to win anything….and this year was my year, I won a bottle of wine, 2 wine glasses, and an opener!!  Joel was standing around with us too and he won a gift certificate for a bottle of wine too.  He really doesn’t drink wine, so he thought he would trade the bird seed winner….that didn’t work when the bird seed winner took her prize and immediately headed out the door. People want that bird seed!

Once all the prizes were handed out, it was time to redeem the Millstream Beer ticket that came with registration. The Brau Haus is located just across the street, and you just walk in and choose a craft beer or soda. I happily chose the Iowa Pale Ale. As I was leaving to drink my beer outdoors, someone asked “What is most similar to Coors Light or Miller Lite?” The guy pouring the beer chuckled, and said “tap water.” I laughed too.


I met Joel back outside and he was telling me how excited he was to tour Amana, and check out all the stores. The small town takes pride in their winter festival, so it is fun to check out all the shops. I couldn’t stay though, I had to get back to Iowa City and the Iowa Woman’s Basketball game. GO HAWKS!


I will always try to run this race. First, the meat bag! Second, the town rolls out the red carpet for the weekend. Third, the local running community wakes up for the year! Oh and the price is always right, around $25 (you can even get it for less if you want no meat bag or shirt)