Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k 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!
Let me just start out by saying, you had me at “chocolate”. I had heard of the Allstate Hot Chocolate run series previously but I honestly didn’t really look into it until last year when I was searching for new races to try. Needless to say, I was missing out all of these years!
When I first signed up for the Hot Chocolate Seattle 15k back in November there was hope that by the time the event was to take place in March the pandemic would be under control and restrictions would be loosened. Unfortunately that was not to be the case as all of the HC series races went virtual for 2021. The race organization did a great job of communicating and even sweetened the race by offering a free HC hat to those that used code BRHC20 when they registered. Thankfully my initial excitement didn’t go away as I was still looking forward to pushing myself for a 15k to kick off the racing season and honestly, most excited for my finisher swag!
So let’s talk SWAG!!! The amazing swag more than made up for the missed in person experience, I mean how can you beat chocolate?!?! When my swag arrived in the mail I was immediately impressed by the jacket- it is high quality, looks amazing, fits perfectly, and even has a removable hood! I broke my cardinal rule of not wearing my finisher gear before I complete the race because it was just too cozy! The swag bag also contained two pieces of chocolate, two bags of hot cocoa mix, a personalized bib, a sample of Nuun hydration, and an awesome medal that had a BONUS piece of chocolate! I am super excited to hopefully have an opportunity to run the HC Seattle in person next year as I’ve heard the expo and race experience are amazing.
Even more impressive than the swag is that Allstate Hot Chocolate selected St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as their charity partner. This is a race organization that is sweet on many levels!
Disclaimer: I received an entry for the Tony Banovich Roads, Tracks, and Trails Memorial Run to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
I can vividly remember my first experience running the Missoula Marathon as it was such a well organized race with the friendliest volunteers and organizers. That was all the way back in 2015 and I have returned to the beautiful city of Missoula each year since to run this race. I’m ashamed to admit that I never took the time to really get to know the organization behind this race, Run Wild Missoula. Run Wild Missoula is a nonprofit organization that promotes running and walking for people of all abilities and ages, while giving back to the community and supporting local businesses. As a runner, their mission speaks directly to me.
Unfortunately the running community lost a integral member on October 14th, with the passing of Tony Banovich. Tony was the Race Director for the Missoula Marathon and Executive Director of Run Wild Missoula, encouraging all runners from beginner to elite. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Tony personally, I’ve heard countless stories about what a kind, loving, and supportive person he was.
To honor Tony’s legacy and give back to Run Wild Missoula, BibRave, Event Southwest, and the Louisville Running Company joined forces to create The Tony Banovich Roads, Tracks, and Trails Memorial Run. Participants of this run completed 4.35 miles virtually, which signifies the average daily distance of Tony’s 1,731 day run streak. Each participant received a commemorative pin, courtesy of Ashworth Awards, with the “Tony Banovich Roads, Tracks, and Trails Memorial Run” logo and all proceeds were donated directly to Run Wild Missoula. AfterShokz stepped up to provide all runners with a 15% discount and a chance to win a free pair of headphones.
I was immediately onboard to support this run as the Missoula Marathon and community are very special to me. I had until December 31st to complete my run and let me tell you, winter conditions definitely made for a challenging run. I ran my 4.35 miles virtually from Spokane and the day I decided to complete my run we received a fresh snowfall of ~8 inches. I’d like to think the fresh snow falling during my run was a symbolic way to honor Tony’s legacy. I look forward to returning to Missoula, hopefully this summer, to run the Missoula Marathon again, which I will be dedicating to Tony’s memory.
Disclaimer: I received a pair of Turtle Glove Midweight Winter Soft Turtle-Flip Mittensto 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’ll admit that prior to this year I would retreat to the climate controlled gym to log my miles on the treadmill as soon as the temps dropped below freezing. Why you may ask? Well, although I’ve grown up in the great PNW, I’ve never been a fan of the winters. Freezing temps, snow, and sheets of black ice frankly make me want to curl up with a blanket and cup of tea, definitely not head out for a run.
Since we’ve all had to make adjustments in 2020 with the gyms closing, I’ve had to warm to the idea of winter running. So when I was given the opportunity to try the TURTLe-FLIP Running Mittens (Midweight WINTER SOFT) from Turtle Gloves, I jumped in hands first.
My package arrived in a nifty bag, the vibrant orange color paired with the BibRave logo immediately caught my attention. I waited all of 15 minutes before I gloved up and headed out for my first run with the mittens. I was a bit skeptical as my hands tend to get hot and tingly after a few minutes in gloves, however I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to complete my 6 mile run without taking them off.
Aside from how awesome they look, the material is super soft and surprisingly breathable thanks to the Polartec® Power Stretch Pro® material. However, my favorite feature of the mittens is how easily convertible they are. One thing I’ve learned about winter running is the need to dress in layers, including your hands. It is not uncommon for me to start out a run with the full mitten and end up transitioning to the fingerless gloves as my hands heat up. The best part is I don’t have to interrupt my cadence as that I can do the transition mid-run, it really is that easy!
Turtle Gloves has options for all seasons, from light-weight to heavy-weight and in-between they have your hands covered! No exaggeration, I have taken the mittens on every single run since I first received them in mid-November. That vibrant orange color that first caught my eye is still just as bright, even after countless runs and washes. They have become my #1 winter running essential, I am officially a Turtle Glove convert!
Use code TURTLEBIBRAVE for 15% off your order, including sale items!!!
Disclaimer: I received a ROAD iD Sidekick 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!
When you are getting ready to head out the door for a run you likely go through a mental checklist of your running essentials: Shoes, check! Running watch, check! Keys, check! Nutrition/hydration, check! However, if you are not factoring in a safety measure then you are missing a critical item from your list.
I’ve always ran with my phone as it is how I track my runs, but also to have in case of an emergency and I need to call someone. However, I never really thought about what would happen if I had a situation in which I was unconscious or seriously injured and could not use my phone. That is until I was given an opportunity to test and review the ROAD iD Sidekick. The Sidekick is a sleek metal attachment for your fitness watch that is customizable to include your name, emergency contacts, medical conditions, and your favorite motivational quote.
ROAD iD also has a Wrist iD, Pet iD, and Shoe iD to accommodate various preferences and needs. You can further personalize by selecting from three different colors (graphite, rose gold, slate) and by adding fun badges. Keep an eye out as ROAD iD also has seasonal and limited releases such as their Breast Cancer Awareness and Halloween bands.
I really enjoyed customizing a Sidekick for my Fitbit to match my personality. I selected the rose gold plate with the phrase “Just Keep Running” to help motivate me during challenging runs. My favorite part was selecting badges to highlight what is important to me, which were the “13.1” “26.2” and the heart badges. Don’t get me wrong, it was a hard choice as there are a lot of neat badges! I may have to order more…shh!
Once I placed my order it was only a couple of days before I received my package in the mail with a super sweet, handwritten note from the individual who fulfilled my order (see photo below). That was such a neat, small touch that made me feel like I was a valued customer and not just another “order”. I was honestly a bit worried that the addition of the plate and badges would feel bulky on my wrist and potentially rub while I was running. Thankfully I have had no issues and honestly do not even notice it is there, unless I look down for inspiration or to check my watch of course! The rose gold color also adds a bit of elegance to my rubbed Fitbit band, which is a nice touch when I am wearing “normal”, non-workout clothes.
I can honestly say that I’ve had an extra sense security since I started wearing my Sidekick, not only during my runs but also just in my daily life. I took some time to read through the testimonials on the ROAD iD website and it was apparent that this product has been vital in saving many lives. From car accidents to medical emergencies there are a countless stories, however I will advise you grab some tissues before reading! It was also really neat to hear from my fellow athletes on Instagram that they’ve been wearing ROAD iD’s for years and love the peace of mind it gives them and their loved ones. One individual commented that their child has a medical condition and they purchased a ROAD iD a few years ago to alert anyone in the event of an emergency.
Now that I’ve been wearing my ROAD iD for a month I can’t imagine going anywhere without it. I have already added ROAD iD to my Christmas shopping list for my loved ones this year as there isn’t a better gift than ensuring your loved ones are safe. This is definitely a product you hope to never have to truly use, but is so important to have.
So, have you tried ROAD iD yet? If not, what are you waiting for?!? Use code SHIP4FREEBRP for free shipping on everything at www.roadid.com
“Disclaimer: I received Science in Sport (SIS) energy gels 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 are anything like me, you’ve struggled to find an energy gel that you can actually stomach. For the first 4 years of my running journey I tried various energy gels and chews, hoping I’d find one that didn’t have the viscosity of sludge and taste like salty cough syrup. That was until I was wandering through the Rock n’ Roll Vegas expo two years ago and happened upon the Science in Sport (SIS) booth. The passionate representative began telling me the benefits of their gel and immediately had my attention when she mentioned it had a more water-like consistency. While I was leery, I gladly accepted a sample and decided to give it a try on my half marathon the next day.
Fast-forward a day, I was in the start corral and cautiously opened the top, squeezing a small amount out as a test. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the consistency was indeed much thinner and the apple flavor was bright and wasn’t overpowered in a sea of salt. I didn’t hit the proverbial wall during my race, my body seemed able to effectively use the extra energy boost which was a really nice change. Let’s just say I was immediately hooked on SIS and have been using them during my long training runs and races since then.
Recently I was provided with three different SIS products to test out: Go Energy + Caffeine (75mg)- Orange, Go Isotonic Energy Gel- Pineapple, and Go Energy + Electrolyte- Raspberry. Each gel was tested out during one of my longer runs (7-13.1 miles) and I definitely felt the quick energy boost. All of the flavors were tasty, however I’d have to say I enjoyed the pineapple gel the best as it had a nice, mild flavor which for me is important as I become sensitive to taste/smell during runs (weird, I know!).
So what did I accomplish with these gels over the course of a couple weeks? 60 miles of running and 130 minutes of elliptical, I’d say I put the gels to the test and they passed!
Let’s talk flavors! While I have not had a chance to try all of the various flavors, I’ve been able to test out a few over the years. While preferences differ, my favorites so far are Apple, Pineapple, and Espresso…yum! Some of their other fun flavors include Raspberry, Orange, Cola, Tropical, and Tutti-Frutti (I HAVE to try that one soon!!). What are you favorites???
What magic makes the SIS gels so effective at providing quick, easily digestible energy? I’m glad you asked! SIS has three different formulas that are designed to provide athletes with the boost they need to improve their performance. However, the common denominator in these formulas is the isotonic solution which allows not only for quicker absorption (aka energy faster!) but also less tummy troubles by not the stomach not having to bring additional fluid in to dilute the gel.
I’ve provided a high-level overview of the formulas below.
Go Isotonic Gels– This is the go-to gel for most endurance workouts, providing 22g of carbohydrates with under 1g of sugar per tube. For maximum effect it, is recommended to take one gel every 20 minutes of high-intensity exercise. *Flavors include: Watermelon, Pineapple, Cherry, Tutti-Frutti, Vanilla, and two variety packs.
Go Energy Gels + Caffeine (75mg)- Using the same base formula as the Go Isotonic, this gel kicks it up with 75mg of caffeine to help athletes increase focus and alertness. Endurance or sprint-based exercise most benefit from this gel and results are optimized when taken about 30 minutes into a 90 minute workout. For activities under 90 minutes, SIS recommends using this gel 15-30 minutes before you begin or halfway through the exercise. *Bonus note: if there is going to be a really tough part of your workout, SIS recommends taking this gel 15-30 minutes before you hit that point. *Flavors include: Orange, Citrus, Cola, Berry, and a variety pack.
Go Energy Gels + Caffeine (150 mg)- This caffeine gel further amplifies the energy kick with 150 mg of caffeine. This gel should be used for exercise lasting over 90 minutes and should be consumed one hour before the end of your exercise. Given the higher concentration of caffeine, SIS recommends only using this gel when a mental boost is needed. *Flavors include: Espresso
Go Energy Gels + Electrolyte- This formula is similar to the Go Isotonic Energy Gel, but with a hydration boost of 300mg of key electrolytes. Athletes performing exercise in higher temperatures benefit from this gel by assisting the body in absorbing and retaining fluid. It is recommended to use 1-2 gels during a heavy sweat session or when exercising in hot weather. *Flavors include: Lemon & Mint, Raspberry, and Salted Strawberry.
Want to give your workout a boost? Use code “BIBRAVE20GEL” for 20% off (not applicable to already discounted products or special offers.) https://www.scienceinsport.com/us/
But you don’t have to take my word for it, check out what my fellow BibRave Pro’s had to say:
“Disclaimer: I received a race entry for the Sanford Fargo Marathon 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!”
Welcome to 2020, aka the year of the virtual race. I am sure I am not alone in feeling a wave of disappointment as each of my 12 originally scheduled races for the year were postponed to 2021. However, just as we’ve all adjusted to a “new norm”, race organizers have been working hard to figure out an alternative to keep us running and collecting that coveted bling.
When I was presented the opportunity to run the Sanford Fargo (half) Marathon virtually I immediately said “Yes, yes, yes!”. I registered on August 3rd, which meant I only had 3 1/2 weeks to get in race shape again. Although I’ve been averaging 168 miles per month this summer, I was far from being conditioned for running 13.1 miles in a race capacity. I jumped right into training mode, focusing on a combination of shorter, fast runs and longer, slow runs. I was fortune to have another half marathon the week prior to the Fargo Marathon to dust off the cobwebs, however this was going to be my first virtual half.
After a few short weeks of training, race day had arrived. It was early on a Saturday morning and while I was bummed I wasn’t stretching and doing a warm up jog alongside fellow runners at the start line, I was excited to race again. I did a quick warm up in my driveway and it was off to the races, literally! The first 7 miles were pretty smooth as it was early enough it was not too hot yet. However, the second half was a bit of a struggle. I was definitely missing water and aid stations but the most noticeable missing piece was the encouragement from perfect strangers. The boost of adrenaline from their support- clapping, ringing cowbells, shouting “You’ve got this!” or “Good job!”- is something that can’t be replaced. That being said, I think the virtual race option is an awesome motivator for runners to keep their training on point during this uncertain time.
A toasty 1:56:55 later, I crossed my virtual finish line. While there was no one at the end announcing my name or cheering me to victory, I was just as proud of myself. With every stride, breath, and sweat droplet, I earned my awesome finisher medal and swag! Check it out below!
I am hopeful that I’ll be running the Sanford Fargo Marathon in person next year, zooming past the Fargodome and alongside the beautiful Red River while listening to the live music each mile. Topped off with watching myself finish on the awesome jumbotron at the Fargodome. #2021goals!
We’ve all been guilty of having negative self-talk regarding our running journey. There have been many times where I’ve told myself “Really, only 6 miles today?? You should have ran at least 8 miles” or “Wow, you are so slow! How can you let your pace increase by 10 seconds per mile”. Maybe it’s the pressure of social media or it could just be our own self-applied pressure. Regardless, when we find ourselves in this head space it is important to stop and reflect back to why we starting running in the first place.
What is your “why”? What get’s you out of the bed in the morning or off of the couch in the evening to lace up your shoes and go for a run? Whether it is to improve your health, battle the demons in your head, challenge yourself, or just to feel or look better it is important to circle back to that North Star. For me, it started as a way to improve my health and self-image. Were those first few runs painful and did I want to just give up? Hell yeah I did! But I didn’t let the self-doubt and pain deter me from persevering forward and increasing from 1 to 2 to 5 to 8 to 13 to 20 to 26.2 miles.
I frequently have new or returning runners reach out to me for advice on where to start and the biggest piece of advice I can give is to never compare yourself to other runners. Instead, start slow and aim to compete against and better YOURSELF. Will I ever finish first place in a half marathon or be the fastest female in the race? No, but that’s OKAY! I am proud of every run that I complete because I took the effort to get up and get going. It is disappointing when I hear a runner discount their run by saying “Bad run today…” or “I only ran x miles”.
The truth is no matter how much you run, you are still logging more miles than most people. While it is true that almost anyone can run, we are part of a small family that DO run. Everyone’s running and fitness journey differs, however the thing we all have in common is a desire to continue improving not only ourselves but our fellow runners through inspiring and motivating each other. The running community shares a bond that is truly special.
So next time you are doubting yourself or your journey, remember to point back to your North Star. Oh and also, you are a RUNNER F#*%ING SUPERSTAR!!!
This may surprise you, but I only started my running journey 6 years ago. Prior to that I couldn’t run a 1/4 mile without getting winded! What inspired me to start running, you ask? It’s pretty simple honestly, I started going to the gym in college for a credit requirement and began working out on the elliptical. From there I progressed to the treadmill and in a moment of insanity, signed up for my first half marathon in 2014. The rest as they say, is history! Since then I’ve completed over 40 half marathons and 3 full marathons. Running is everything to me and I love being able to connect with others to help motivate and share advice, which is what I hope I can do for you!
Aside from running, I’m from the beautiful PNW and have a side hustle (okay, full-time career) as a Program Manager. I am a cat mom to little Floki, my one-eyed viking warrior 😻 and part-time dog mom to Hunter, one of my running buddies 🐶. I have an amazing boyfriend, Cody, who I drag along on my runs and in return he drags me along to play disc golf…fun, but my game is lacking!!!
I’m also an avid tattoo collector (aka walking art exhibit) and metalhead 🤘🏻 Much more to come as we get to know each other better, but I think this is a good start, don’t you?
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in”- Haruki Murakami