MY WHY: Being a BibRave Pro.

Endurance athletics is mostly a solitary sport and that is both its greatest and worst attribute.

Success rises and falls on the efforts and training of a single person…YOU! There is no team effort. There is no having a bad day but still winning. You are either ready to perform or you do not. There is only your face staring back in the mirror of self reflection. This is good and bad. I believe a certain type of person is attracted to this type of sport. I would guess most endurance athletes, both pro and amateur, have loner or reclusive tendencies. I know I do. I love being on the trail or road alone. I love only hearing the sound of my breathing and feeling my heart rate pounding in my ears. This also makes “putting ourselves out there” difficult too. Most of us would likely be very negative about our performances if asked. But that doesn’t make for great content on our social media channels. We engage online reluctantly, but we do it because it provides an easy social outlet.

Don’t get me wrong I am not anti-social. I am in a very healthy relationship with my girlfriend of four (4) years. I have a handful of very close friends which is my core group. I have a wider circle of casual acquaintances which are further subdivided into groups such as run club, parkrun and social organizations like Rotary. But my core group can be counted on one hand. I enjoy the weekly diversions and sense of competition provided by the group runs. I enjoy the occasional training runs with my close friends. I enjoy the creative release and expression social media provides me. But….well you know.

The other problem with endurance athletics is there is no simple training regimen. We all have different bodies, different strides, different foot falls, different digestions issues, etc. We have to worry about our nutrition which is fuel for our runs. We have to mix up our training with short runs, long runs, slow runs, fast runs, and sometimes fast-slow-fast runs. We worry about doing too much of one run and not enough of another. We worry about the proper order of training runs. We worry about target training like elevation, heart rate, cadence, and VO2 Max. We constantly critique our form. Work and rework our nutrition. Don’t forget about strength training. You cannot neglect your trunk strength. Then there is stretching, yoga, foam rolling, compression recovery, active recovery, ice baths…Shit I’m not doing enough to be successful!! Sorry about that where was I, yes we read a lot! We consume information voraciously about other people’s success, training methods, new gear, nutrition, hydration and race strategies. After all of this, we are still never happy with a performance. There is always a reason why we didn’t have a better time or log more miles which requires more of the above.

Post Virtual Hospital Hill Half Marathon Picture

Cue the BibRave Pro Ambassador Program.

I am officially six (6) months into my first year as a BibRave Pro. This has been the most fun I have had as an endurance athlete. Being a BibRave Pro means learning about new products that help you succeed or help you look good while doing so. It means running new races and interacting with new race directors across the country. It means a community of support from other endurance athletes. It means a community that celebrates your successes and provides support in your failures. This support helps bring us into the online media more comfortably. In six months I have participated in four race campaigns and four product campaigns. It means mentorship in branding and marketing. You learn about effective social media influencing. There is a dedicated support staff that actually cares about you as a Pros. Through their guidance engaging via all social channels becomes fun and creatively fulfilling as you watch your audience grow. Most of all we are all having fun! You want to interact with the community of Pros. Their dedication and drive is infectious. They push you to be better at your craft. The community of Pros provides a safe place to express yourself, to grow and learn.

Although it is virtual, being a BibRave Pro is a real connection to a real community of athletes. My core group has grown as a result. We can all use more of that.

Road iD: A review of wearable safety for any adventure.

Disclaimer: I received a Road iD Stretch 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!

Planning is essential to any adventure.

My Road iD Stretch has quickly become my favorite every day gear. I always wear it because safety in all physical activities is a daily commitment and plus it’s pretty damn cool. Let me just get this out of the way now, and it will probably be repeated several times, I love my Road iD. It is stylish, comfortable, customizable, and most of all functional. I chose the Stretch because I liked the low profile aspect as I wear it under my watch. Additionally, with the Stretch, I was able to purchase an additional band to use with my faceplate and badges. It is easy to switch out and gives me additional customization of my Road iD. However, there are multiple options to choose from such as premium bands, to faceplates that fit your watch band or on your shoe laces.  

Additional bands for more customization.

I always enjoy learning the back story of a product that I use. Gadgets can become…well too gadgety nowadays. So as a runner you want every piece of gear you carry with you to be necessary, to serve a purpose. There are staples in any gear list, and the Road iD should be included in all of them. 

Co-owner Edward Wimmer states on their website that the inspiration for Road ID was born in the fall of 1999. The inspiration for his father, also a co-owner, was his concern for Edward as he trained for his first marathon. For Edward, the inspiration was a black, King Kong size pick-up truck that nearly hit him on a long Saturday run. Their mission statement says it all “our mission is two-fold: One, to educate outdoor enthusiasts about the importance of wearing ID. Two, to provide these athletes with innovative identification products that they will want to include as part of their gear.” (Source: www.https://www.roadid.com/pages/our-story).

I really appreciated the fun packaging!

I also enjoyed reading the testimonial page on the Road iD website. There is story after story of how the Road iD saved someone’s life after an unexpected accident while training. Let’s face it, most of us train alone. Almost 95% of my running, on both trail and road, is done alone. Although I have never had any major accidents, I have had some close calls with distracted drivers. Before my Road iD I never thought about carrying my identification card or any type of emergency contact list on my training runs. I have always had the “I’m a strong, tough man” or “it won’t happen to me” mindset. But an accident can happen to anyone, and as a lawyer you would think I know this better than most! So I do the smart thing now for my family’s peace of mind and wear my Road iD for every outdoor activity. If you are on the fence about the value of the Road iD I encourage you to take some time to read the testimonials, and put yourself in those situations without a Road iD. (See https://www.roadid.com/blogs/testimonials). 

My Road iD Stretch is comfortable and stylish!

Top 10 Reasons You Should Wear ID

1.    If you can’t speak for yourself, ROAD iD will speak for you.

2.    ROAD iD enables First Responders to immediately contact family members and friends.

3.    ROAD iD enables family members to provide additional details about your health or give consent for potentially life saving procedures.

4.    ROAD iD enables hospital staff to locate vital medical records.

5.    ROAD iD can communicate medical conditions or allergy information to medical staff.

6.    ROAD iD can prevent serious delays in treatment by saving crucial time during the “golden hour” of medical treatment.

7.    It’s far better to have Road ID and not need it than to need ROAD iD and not have it. It’s not just a piece of gear, it’s peace of mind.

8.    Accidents happen far more than you think they do. Each year approximately 450,000 of us are taken to hospitals unconscious and without identification.

9.    ROAD iD looks good on and makes a statement about your athletic lifestyle – not to mention that studies would probably prove that people that wear Road ID are considerably smarter than those that don’t.

10.    ROAD iD can save your Life. Period.

(Source: https://www.roadid.com/pages/top-10-reasons-you-should-wear-id).

Road iD’s functionality goes beyond just being awesome arm candy. Road iD developed an app compatible with both android and ios. I have used the app on several long solo trail runs. The app allows you to notify a loved one about your run. The app works as a gps and stays on during your run. Once you open the app it will ask you to identify which contacts receive the notifications, it allows you to customize a message, and you can choose to allow a notice if you stop for more than five (5) minutes. The recipient receives a notification that you started a run with a link that allows them to see where you are, it sends periodic eCrumb updates during the activity, and a final notification when you end the activity. The app provides you with a final gps summary of your run which can be linked to Facebook and Twitter if you choose. My girlfriend loves that I use this app for my long runs now just so she knows I’m still moving and safe. I plan to use the app to also help my girlfriend crew for me during two solo virtual marathons I have scheduled this month. Road iD also has an add on emergency information function. For a nominal monthly fee you can load all your medical information into their database. That database is then linked to your Road iD via a unique serial number and PIN. The first responders and medical providers can enter that information into the Road iD database via the web portal or by calling Road iD to retrieve important medical information that could be vital to saving your life if you are unconscious such as allergies and pre-existing medical problems.     

Screen capture of Road iD app test.

Your safety cannot be entrusted to other people sharing the road or trails with you. Drivers are more distracted than ever. There are hazards everywhere in an urban setting. You have to take every precaution available while engaging in physical activity. Part of this is through proper planning. The other part is ensuring you have the necessary gear to keep you moving. Just like hydration in the summer here is Florida is necessary for every run, the Road iD is now a necessary part of all my activities from hiking, biking, trail running, urban running and paddleboarding.

EMBRACE THE VIRTUAL RACE: A case in support of virtual racing.

DISCLAIMER: I received entry to the Hospital Hill Half Marathon, Carmel Marathon, and Grandma’s Marathon to promote and 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!

Before the world shut down I was fortunate enough to participate in a few “real” races.

At the beginning of the year I joined a local ParkRun club for a 5K trail run every Saturday morning. Although technically not a race, it had the feel of one given that ParkRun offers free timing, breakdown of results against other ParkRun runners, the competition with other runners in the club and I pushed race pace each time. My races included the following: the Joe Relaxo 24hr Challenge which consisted of a one mile loop every thirty minutes for a total of 48 miles; the 2020 Double Bridge 15k, a local favorite race in Pensacola and I earned a course PR; the Rock’n’Roll Marathon in New Orleans which was my first road marathon; the RunDisney Princess 10K which was my fourth RunDisney event and always a lot of fun; and finally the McGuire’s St. Paddy 5K, another local favorite and another course PR for me. I was fortunate to have front loaded the year with some fun races.

It is impossible to replace the race event. The feeling of accomplishment as you meet your training goals. The growing excitement the week leading up to the race. The expo and events prior to race day. The build up of adrenaline that keeps you up the night before a race. The race day competition that drives that extra speed boost. Experiencing a new course or city. The spectators and entertainment. Crossing the finish line. And, last but not least, the after party!! These are feelings that cannot be fully replicated outside of the race setting. However, that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the virtual race option. There is great value in a virtual race to the the running community, race directors, volunteers, sponsors, the beneficiaries, and your fitness.

The first race to cancel for me was the Statesman Cap 10K in Austin, Texas. This is the largest 10K race in Texas and top five nationally. I was looking forward to running Austin. Races are one of my favorite ways to experience a city. The original race date was April 5th. The race directors officially cancelled the race a week prior to the race date due to the city’s response to covid-19. The race was eventually transitioned to a virtual option as well as offering registration to the 2021 race. I decided to run the race as planned on April 5th virtually.

Did I get the experience I was promised with registration? No. Did I get a 10K PR as I planned for this race? No, but that one is on me and my derailed training. Did I get to experience a new city, new breweries, and new restaurants? No. Did I have spectators or bands playing on my route? No. Did I meet new runners and get an adrenaline boost from the competition? No. Did I get a medal when I crossed the 10K finish line? No. Was I upset that the race directors (RDs) didn’t offer full refunds for registration? No! Why? The mass race cancellations were due to an unforeseen global event. Additionally there is a lot that goes into hosting a race of any size. RDs have already expended funds on shirts, medals, permits, signs, support services and much much more. Established races and RDs usually have a group of dedicated volunteers that have already spent many hours making their race and your day a success. Further every race that I have participated in supports a charity[ies]. Let us not forget that RDs and their volunteers WANT the race to proceed as planned because they have invested significant amount of their life in making their race fun and rewarding for the runners.

There are many positives to embracing the virtual race option in our current social climate due to covid-19. First, it gives you a target to keep you motivated in your training. Second, it allows you to support a race that you would otherwise not be able to support due to family, work, or expense. Third, you still earn a great race t-shirt and medal (and honestly we runners love the swag). Fourth, you are contributing to the overall growth and advancement of the running community as good ambassadors to the sport. Fifth, many RDs have alreadynembraced the virtual aspect of the race by providing an online space for racers to connect virtually such as special Facebook groups or post race virtual meet-ups. For instance the Hot Chocolate 15K race recently hosted a virtual dance party on IG live with sponsor Knockaround Sunglasses for all virtual runners. Social engagement opportunities like this should only increase and become more sophisticated as RDs have more time to develop their virtual races and learn from others. Finally the charity[ies] continue to receive much needed donations from the event which directly benefits the community. The Statesman Cap 10K supports Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) and despite the 2020 cancellation the RDs still donated $40,000.00 to HAAM. This is a significant sum and I am sure HAAM relies on this annual donation.

Therefore, I was happy to complete the Statesman Cap 10K virtually, I look forward to receiving my medal and shirt, and I will display them proudly with my other race swag from the beginning of the year. In fact I am currently registered for three more virtual races.

I. Hospital Hill Half Marathon

Hospital Hill Run is located in Kansas City, Missouri. The 2020 race is the 47th running of the race and making it Kansas City’s oldest race. Hospital Hill has been named a top 25 road race by Runner’s World Magazine and hosted the USATF National Championship half marathon in 2002. It has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities. Through a partnership program charities can use the race as their own fundraiser. The RDs started the Hospital Hill Run Foundation which has donated more that $130,000.00 to local organizations since 2016. In 2019, Hospital Hill Run gave $25,000.00 each to Kansas City Public Schools Education Foundation and Strive for Live as beneficiaries of the race that year. Hospital Hill Run is a great example of RDs making the most of the virtual race. It created a special hashtag for the virtual race and encourages racers to share their photos on social media. It created a special virtual run Facebook Page for racers to connect socially. The RDs have also created virtual challenges that allow you to enter to win free running gear by completing challenges and uploading that info to the virtual race Facebook group. This promotes further social engagement and gets the sponsors involved. Once your virtual half marathon is complete you will receive a digital finisher certificate and a swag packet consisting of a shirt and medal (both are excellent quality). Hospital Hill Run has done a great job creating a community around the virtual race. It is still committed to the community and charities through the foundation. I will be racing the Hospital Hill virtual half on June 6th with other BibRave Pros. I encourage you to join us by visiting http://www.hospitalhillrun.com to register for the virtual half marathon using the discount code above.

II. Carmel Marathon

2020 is the 10th running of the Carmel Marathon in Carmel , Indiana. The Carmel Marathon has transitioned to a virtual race option only due to covid-19. Carmel Marathon relies on over 500 volunteers to make the weekend a success for all its runners. The offical charities for the race are: Indiana Center for Prevention of Youth Abuse & Suicide, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Back On My Feet, Run2gether, Hamilton County Emergency Management, and Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. The RDs are using their Facebook page to celebrate runners completing the virtual race and creating a community around the virtual race. Each finisher receives a swag bag consisting of a medal, shirt, bib, and participant bag. There is still time to register for the Carmel Marathon virtual race by visiting http://www.carmelmarathon.com/virtual-run and using the discount code above. I will be racing the Carmel Marathon on June 14th with other BibRave Pros. I encourage you to support this event by joining me in racing the Carmel Marathon virtually.

III. Grandma’s Marathon

Grandma’s Marathon weekend has transitioned to a virtual race only option. The Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota traces its start to 1977. This year would mark the 44th running of Grandma’s Marathon. Interestingly the name is derived from a group of famous local restaurants that were the original sponsors of the race. Race weekend draws more than 18,000 participants to Duluth. The Grandma’s Marathon weekend relies on more than 6,000 volunteers. The RDs are further committed to promoting a green event by implementing a number of sustainable initiatives during the race weekend. This is a very important issue for me. Grandma’s Marathon’s Young Athletes Foundation promotes the growth of young athletes and has contributed over $1 million to area nonprofit youth athletic organizations. The level of commitment to the local and international community by the RDs is very inspirational. I encourage you to take time to explore its website fully once you register for the race. The RDs have a number of charity partners that use the race as fundraisers. These charity partners have a set number of guaranteed spots that racers can earn by raising money for the charity. As for the virtual race, the RDs offer some unique features to enhance the runners experience. There is a virtual event bag with offers from both local and national retailers. The RDs have partnered with RunBetter App to allow you to run the full course on your treadmill. The app will prompt you when to incline/decline as you proceed through the course. The RDs have further created virtual race specific hashtags to promote social sharing of training and virtual race photos. You will have an opportunity to download a race bib, which I really like as it gives more authenticity to your race day at home. Those who complete their race will also receive a finisher certificate, event shirt and medal. I will be racing the Grandma’s Marathon virtual race on June 20th with other BibRave Pros. I encourage you to join us by visiting http://www.grandmasmarathon.com/participate/virtual to register for the full marathon using the discount code above.

In conclusion I anticipate the virtual race option is here to stay. RDs are seeing a great interest in participation and an ability to connect with new runners around the world. I believe the shut down has further exposed the illusion that running is a solitary endeavor. Runners thrive on social interaction and community as much as any other athlete who is part of a group or team, whether we like to admit it or not. Further runners are seeing the potential to add more races to their calendar without the significant travel cost associated with destination races. In short it is time for the runners to give back and support their favorite RDs who have given so much of themselves to make our race weekends a success in years past.

So, I will see you at the next race…virtually of course. Cheers!

KNOCKAROUND: The day in the life of a KnockFan.

Disclaimer: I received the Knockaround Neon Summers (Fast Lanes) 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 live in Florida, so I spend a considerable amount of time in the sun. As a runner, I tend to favor the morning or lunch runs. This means a minimum of an hour, sometimes more, exposed in the elements. Upon relocating to Florida I learned quickly there are two necessities: first, a good lotion with SPF, and second, sunglasses. I , like many people, have a drawer full of sunglasses. Some expensive, some cheap and some free promotional items from a local business.

The Knockaround Neon Summers were received for purposes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.
KNOCKAROUND NEON SUMMERS (FAST LANES STYLE)

I would never call myself a “sunglasses” guy. In other words, I really didn’t wear them all the time although I had them with me all the time. I am in my early-40s and I NEVER wore sunglasses running or training. Why you ask? Because sunglasses have always bothered me. They slip continuously when the sweat starts flowing. They gave me a weird twinge on my nose and ears during training or they fit too tight and bother the side of my head above the ears. Sweat and salt water would tarnish the lenses. These constant annoyances distracted me during training. This all changed when I received my KNOCKAROUND NEON SUMMERS!

As a BibRave Pro I had the opportunity to try out the Knockaround sunglasses. Knockaround has multiple styles of sunglasses, special releases and collaborative releases throughout the year. Knockaround has pre-designed sunglasses under each style. BUT it also has a function to allow the consumer to build their own sunglasses. The consumer chooses the style and then proceeds to design their sunglasses. You can mix and match colors and patterns for each arm and the fronts as well as choosing the type of lenses. This function is a lot of fun to play with when trying to find your style. I encourage you to visit their website and play with the design function.

I received the Neon Summers (Fast Lanes Style) which is a pre-designed pair. Think early Miami Vice, and I liked that a lot!! I received them on April 1st and immediately put them to use so I could provide a honest review. The first thing I notices was these sunglasses are light. Run after run and use after use I did not get the twinge or fatigue I got from other sunglasses. The second thing I noticed was they fit comfortably snug. There has been zero slipping due to sweat or bouncing. Further I had no noticeable pressure from the arms. I was able to focus on my training and not continually messing with my sunglasses. Since receiving them I have worn them for every daytime run because I want too. Finally it has withstood sweat, rain and water without damaging the lenses.

Beers, sunset and sunglasses.

My Knockaround Neon Summers (Fast Lanes Style) are functional and stylish everyday glasses. It is also the perfect running/training sunglasses for me. I honestly forget I am wearing them sometimes. Finally, Knockaround has the best styles to choose from and are highly customizable to the individual consumer. If you are in the market for an awesome pair of sunglasses that you will never want to take off, the Knockaround sunglasses are for you.

STATESMAN CAP 10K: A VIRTUAL RACE

Disclaimer: I received entry to the Statesman Cap 10K 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!

On April 3rd, 2020, I was supposed to fly to Austin, Texas to participate in my first race as a BibRave Pro. Instead the 43rd Statesman Cap 10K was canceled by the City of Austin in response to the current health crisis surrounding Covid-19. The Race Directors gave racers the option of completing the race virtually. There has been a fair amount of communication from the RDs regarding this issue. They even released a new hashtag, #Cap10Kvirutalrace, to use in social media posts. However, as of today there has been no decision on how get the race swag to all the virtual racers. I decided to stick to the original plan and race on Sunday, April 5th, 2020, being the original race day.

The Statesman Cap 10K is not only the largest 10K in Texas but the sixth largest in the nation. At the time of the cancellation there were over twenty thousand registrants. I was really looking forward to spending several days in Austin and racing through downtown. Although I lived in Dallas several years and have traveled to many parts of Texas, I have never been to Austin. So this was a much anticipated destination race and my first race running as a BibRavePro. Additionally, my goal for the race was to PR the distance. But it is important to go with the flow in life.

My Cap 10K Virtual Race Gear

I am sure like a lot of runners I had never participated in an official virtual race. This was my first experience with it and I was determined to make the best of the situation. I am a very ritualistic person when it comes to races. I have a set pre and post race process that I follow religiously. Specifically my pre-race routine allows me to mentally prepare for a race. It is a process I start the week of a race by visualizing myself racing the course and distance, making lists of potential gear, following a particular nutrition plan the nights before and setting out the gear I will use the night before. These processes help me feel prepared going into a race and calm my mind. A virtual race wipes these processes out–Bye Bye structure ha. Additionally I relish the competitive feeling and adrenaline that builds in the corrals before the race. That adrenaline is usually good to shave time off my race. But how do you duplicate that intensity in a virtual race? I am not sure it is 100% possible. This was further complicated by not having a specific virtual race date set by the RDs. So there wasn’t a feeling of competing against other runners the day I ran my virtual race.

The best I could do was follow as much of my pre-race routine as possible to make me feel like I was lining up for an actual race. I decided on a route a few nights before my race, so i was able to engage in my mental exercise partially. I also laid out my race gear the night before (as depicted in the picture above) to make sure I had everything important. Although I listen to podcasts or music on the majority of my training runs, I do not listen to music in races because I try to engage with the other races whether its a short, but meaningful, conversation to get your through a tough point or to just encourage the other racers. The one exception to this rule is when racing ultras, I will usually listen to something during the overnight portions of the race.

My training began before the Covid-19 outbreak shut everything down. The training plan was simple. I was trying to build up speed. So I ran lots of fast 5Ks mixed with longer runs focused on HR control. I participated in multiple run clubs each week and ran in my local ParkRun group every Saturday morning. These simulate race day conditions for me given the competitive factor of other runners doing the same course as you. I also had a few races to use as benchmarks. In February I ran my 3rd Double Bridge Run 15K in Pensacola and finished with a PR on that course. Also in February I ran RunDisney Princess 10K with a time of 52m 1s and a 8:15 /mi pace. I was very happy with this effort and was convinced I would break 50min on the Cap 10K, which was another goal. I also had a marathon and a 24hr race in February, so a race every weekend almost. March stated with a Pensacola favorite McGuire’s St. Patty 5K race, also my 3rd time racing, and I crushed my course record with a 24:42 & 7.52/mi course pr. This was also the first time I broke an 8/mi 5K since 2016 after an injury, a new state and new job pulled me away from serious training again. My training and focus went into the tank late March for a few weeks when the Covid-19 crises started and everyone’s lives were upended. I never recovered that lost fitness before the virtual race. This eroded some confidence and also made me less mentally prepared race morning.

My pre-race photo tradition.

I realize that with a virtual race you can literally run the distance anywhere including a track or the treadmill. However, I tried to find a route that would be similar in terrain and elevation as the offical course. I believe this is an important step to a successful virtual race. Otherwise, in my opinion, the swag is your only interest. The course I chose ended with 270ft of elevation which is more than the official course. Initially my plan was to wake up very early and race. But it was raining for a few hours that morning which delayed my start to 7a.m. Another obstacle to a good race. Since I live in Florida there is a significant difference in running at 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. It was hot and humid now due to the rain. I have been implementing some stress into my training runs by not carrying water (I sweat a lot and drink a lot of water). As a self assisted virtual race I initially planned to bring water, but decided at the last minute I didn’t need it for a 10K. This was a mistake given the extra output for race simulation. I had a great pace at the start and had no problem pushing like it was an actual race. However, I hit a wall at mile 4 and then again at mile 6 due to training lapses and a few good hills back to back. Again the lack of hydration did not help either. My first three miles were 8:05, 7:56 and 8:48. This was not great pace management and you can see the struggle coming. Overall I was able to keep somewhat of a competitive mind set despite a few weak moments where I felt like I was just doing a solo run. In those moments I would remind myself that I was actually racing, to dig deeper, and it worked in mile 5 where ran a 8:43/mi. This is not my last virtual race this season, but it was a good lesson for me. I am confident that I can continue to become for efficient and impose my usual race mind set in the virtual arena.

#Cap10kvirtualrace

Although it was not the time I wanted nor the PR I wanted, it was a fun process to race virtually. I do look forward to my swag and adding my medal to the wall. I recently read a thread on twitter discussing if virtual races were actual races? If you try to replicate the course and run hard like you would in a race, than the answer is a resounding yes. I will be counting all my virtual races as races. I hope you will join me on my next virtual race.

I was bummed to miss out on Austin and running in one of the largest 10ks. I was bummed to miss out on a great expo and the post race party. I was also bummed not to run with new friends and reconnect with some old friends who now live in Austin. But I still ran the 43rd Statesman Cap 10K and I enjoyed the process.

BODY HELIX: A Move Through It Review

Disclaimer: I received a BODY HELIX FULL CALF COMPRESSION SLEEVE 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!

Sleeve and Body Helix Product List.

Body Helix was founded in 2008 by world-ranked senior tennis player Fred Robinson. In search of better compression gear options he developed Body Helix’s Form-Fit Technology. Fred tapped into both medical science and advanced technology and studied the science of movement and injury management to design his product. The effort and attention to detail is evident in this product from the first use. There are a few features that really made the full calf compression sleeve a great addition to my running tool kit. First is it breaths. Most compression gear will cause excessive sweating. The treated area gets overly wet causing discomfort, itching and slipping. I wore the Body Helix calf compression during runs, workouts and rest time around the house. I did not experience any of these issues. In fact other than the tension you almost forget you are wearing compression gear. This leads me to my second liked featured, it didn’t slip during use. There is nothing more annoying than gear that requires constant adjustment. This annoyance can get in your head and tank a race or training run. The Body Helix calf sleeve remained anchored to my calf. This allowed me to focus on the task at hand and not my gear. When ordering the compression sleeve I followed the instructions on Body Helix’s website for fitting and my sleeve fit perfectly. Finally, it provided to proper amount of tension to my calf. Muscle and joint compression are key to help runners move through a minor issue. Whether it was fatigue, soreness or pain, the Body Helix helped me through my workouts. The tension allowed my calf muscle do what it was asked to do during the workout.

Kettlebell is a go-to functional exercise.

As a runner in my 40’s I employ lots of tactics to keep me on the road. What works for me is to focus on core strength, functional, multi-body movement exercises, and plenty of rest. Fancy recovery tools, cryotherapy or red light therapy are not options for me or the majority of armature athletes. Therefore I employ other more available methods of recovery. Rest is number one on that list. I realize it is difficult for a runner/cyclist to sit still when friends and influences inundate you with their miles vie social media or strava. But it is important to not run sometimes. In fact I have always found my best race performances followed days of rest and recovery. I also employ stretching and foam rolling. During my review period I wore my Body Helix full calf compression sleeve during rest periods while I was working around the house. I found the compression sleeve to help after a particularly hard workout. It provided a constant tension to the muscle but could still be comfortably worn for hours. I also found that it reduced my recovery time. This was very beneficial to me personally. As a front foot fall runner my calves get an extra hard workout on every run. After a hard training session my calves always feel tighter than any other muscle. Implementing the Body Helix calf sleeve has reduced tightness during the exercise and helped recover the muscles post exercise.

Compression sleeve use at rest.

Body Helix has a wide range of compression gear. I strongly encourage you to visit their website at http://www.bodyhelix.com to learn more about the technology and benefits behind their compression sleeves. The website has a wealth of information from product reviews to blog articles and videos. The Body Helix compression sleeve has become a main component of my running gear.

Disclaimer: This review is based on my personal experience and the knowledge of my own body. Only you know your limits. Therefore, you should always consult a medical professional before making any decision when dealing with an injury.

Clif Family Winery Part II

DISCLAIMER: I received a care package including wine and specialty food items from Clif Family Winery to review the company as a sponsor for the Napa Valley Marathon as part of being a BibRavePro. Learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.

“We’re working to run a different kind of company: The kind of place we’d want to work, that makes the kind of food we’d like to eat, and that strives for a healthier, more sustainable world – the kind of world we’d like to pass on to our children.” Kit Crawford, owner. This is the philosophy behind the Clif Family line of businesses, a philosophy that I love to support. As consumers it is our duty to support businesses that choose to operate at a higher level of responsibility. The Clif Family Winery has five aspirations: “sustaining our people, sustaining our community, sustaining our planet, sustaining our brands, and sustaining our business.”

As a vegan, environmentalist and a runner I like companies that are committed to following a sustainable path. The Clif Family Winery ensures sustainability throughout its supply chain. The Clif Family Winery does this in three key areas. First by sourcing their products from local and regional organic farms which promotes biodiversity in the local community. Second by striving to achieve a neutral footprint through climate neutral energy use. Finally through meaningful partnerships with non-profits that promote family farms, conserve wildlife habitat and biodiversity. The Clif Family Winery is certified organic, Napa green certified, and generating power from non polluting sources.

Adventure and sustainability are core attributes of Clif Family Winery. Their commitment to each of these is evident in their sponsorship of the Napa Valley Marathon. To learn more about Clif Family Winery visit their website at cliffamily.com.

Clif Family Winery Part I

DISCLAIMER: I received a care package including wine and specialty food items from Clif Family Winery to review the company as a sponsor for the Napa Valley Marathon 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!”

Adventure is in the DNA of every runner. From the unique and challenging race locations, pushing your body to its limits and attacking that tough hill at the end of your long run. From the roads to the trails, we are pushed by the adventurous spirit. This is one of the reasons I have enjoyed getting to know more about the Clif Family Winery and why I use their products.

It is impossible to talk about the Clif Family Winery without talking about the the full Clif Family businesses. The first thing to know about the Clif Family company is that it was born out of a spirit of adventure. Adventure is at the core of all things Clif Family. This is evident in their products but also their sponsorship of races, both cycling and running. The Clif Family Winery located in Napa Valley is a major sponsor of the Napa Valley Marathon.

Maybe more widely known for the Clif Bars, but this family and employee owned company offers a full range of products from food to wine. I was lucky enough to get a taste of both which I have shared with you in the video below. The idea of the Clif Bar came to Gary Erickson, owner, in 1990 during a 175 mile ride. The winery was brought to Napa Valley by Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford after cycling across Italy. The dedication to the outdoor wanderers can be tasted in each of their products. Please watch my unboxing video below to see a sample of the amazing products brought to you by the Clif Family.

Clif Family Winery Unboxing Video

Each item I received exceeded my expectation in quality and taste. I received a red wine called The Climber, solar grown raw honey, dark chocolate sea salt almonds and organic rosemary roasted almonds & pistachios. The wine was very smooth with chocolate, earthy tones. I really liked the simple label showing an individual climbing in Yosemite National Park. The honey tastes amazing and I use it in my coffee every morning. The dark chocolate almonds did not last long and went very will with coffee and the wine. The rosemary roasted almonds and pistachios had the perfect blend of seasoning. As a vegan these were the perfect afternoon power snack.

So feed your adventurous spirit with the Clif organic energy bars to the Cliff Family Wine and organic foods. If you are in Napa Valley for fun or the Napa Valley Marathon be sure to visit the Clif Family Winery. If you can’t make it to Napa Valley you can learn more about the Clif Family Winery by visiting their website at http://www.cliffamily.com

Cheers!

DOUBLE BRIDGE RUN 15K RECAP

This is a fun and fast race that takes you on a scenic view of Downtown Pensacola to Gulf Breeze and finally ending at Pensacola Beach. It also ran over the new 3 Mile Bridge (Pcola to Gulf Breeze) which has a better contour than the last bridge. This is my third year of participating in this race. It is a must do local race!

YOU EITHER FORGET TO STOP YOUR WATCH OR THE FINISH LINE POSE

The race director is a local non-profit that sponsors multiple sports for youth and adults as well as a few races. The Double Bridge Run has been around for a while so they have the logistics worked out pretty smoothly. There are two options a 5K or 15K. I always run the 15K. This race is a point to point which I really like. You also get a lot of spectators cheering you on as you pass through the two towns and at the finish line.

As this is a local race, the expo is smaller and features mostly local vendors. It is decent for a local style race. You receive a voucher for a pre-race pasta dinner at a local restaurant. You receive a nice quality shirt and finisher medal for both distances. Each year the shirt is long sleeve performance style. The medal this year was very nice. It is in the shape of the race logo, but this year a section with the race name and year spun which was a very cool touch. The course is mainly flat and fast with the exception of three very nominal inclines (319ft of vert) on the two bridges and one overpass. The course has ample water stations but no other forms of nutrition. There are also a few DJs on the course playing hype music. The race director also secured high quality free race photos throughout the course.

POWER PLAY THREE MILES IN.

The race begins on the bay at the Maritime Park in Downtown Pensacola and ends at the beach. For those having to drive, there is ample parking at the finish line and the race director provides buses to take the runners back to the starting point. This is very convenience and an easy process. The starting line is set against Pensacola Bay which is a really nice spot in the morning with the sun rise. There are self policed corrals based on your projected pace and the starts are staggered by 30 seconds. Another cool touch with this race is a local mardi gras krewe brings their pirate ship float out and fires a cannon for every corral start. The after party is on the beach and there is an after after party at a local venue as well. There is much fan fair at the finish line which is awesome and helps bring the energy for a strong finish. There was free beer, water, fruits, sample flatbread pizza, muffins, etc. at the finish. A restaurant, located at the finish line, provides not only the pre-race pasta dinner but also a post-race lunch (red beans and rice this year) as a sponsor. Both are free for racers. There are multiple restaurant and bar options to continue the after race part well into the afternoon. For a new addition to the race, the race director worked with a local restaurant to create a signature cocktail and with a local brewery to create a signature beer and both were available at the finish line for free to racers. And both tasted great!!

SAMPLING THE SIGNATURE RACE DRINKS.

I went with some standard gear for this one. BibRave Buff USA tech hat, Orange Mud Dirt Unit race tank, Injinji socks, Aftershokz, Altra Duo, Garmin 235, Saucony shorts, and Orange Mud Gear Pack to carry my phone and keys.

DOUBLE BRIDGE GEAR PREVIEW

Again this a great race for locals and visitors. It is a lot of fun with excellent support from the community. The after party can be as fun as you want to make it. However, the free beer tends to run out quickly so you are left with purchasing beer and food at local watering holes, which is not a bad thing. At the end of it all, you get to go veg out at the beach across the street from the finish line.

FINISH LINE GLORY

Race Time: 1:24:38
Race Pace: 9:05 min/mi.

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CHEERS!

Joe Relaxo 24hr Challenge Recap

Sunrise over Pensacola Bay Saturday Morning – January 25th

This was unlike any race I have ever ran and possibly to toughest to date.

But some housekeeping first! The race is put on by a local Race Director RunPensacola. Over 70 racers began the challenge with few DNF’ing. You had the option of running solo or in a two person team. Race temps were as low as 30’s at night and as high as 50’s during the day. There was no expo. Packet pickup was at the race location and began a few hours before the race. Each racer received a quality long sleeve hoodie shirt with the Race logo on the front and the sponsors and the name of each participant on the back (which I think is a really coll touch). Each racer also received a performance reversible beanie by Headsweats with the race logo on the front and race director logo on the back. The finisher medal was in the shape of Joe Relaxo with the year hanging below. It is designed to add a new year banner for each subsequent year you participate. Aid stations were not necessary as this was a 1 mile looped event. However, the race director secured two restaurant sponsors who brought soup and sandwiches to the race location three different times. The race was located in downtown Pensacola at the Maritime Community Park with the staging area right on Pensacola Bay. Therefore, 80% of the run was was bordered by the water with the other 20% following the road. You could not ask for a better setting for a race like this. We saw two sunsets and one sunrise over the course of the race. The course was concrete with some brick. The unforgiving nature of the running path began to wear on your body over the 24hrs. The runners were able to stage their gear on a grassy area at the start line. This was nice as it promoted socializing with other racers and I actually met several new runners from my community. The runners had access to clean, large bathrooms which was very nice.

Sunset over Pensacola Bay Friday Night – January 24th

This race was both mentally and physically tough. The goal of the race is to run 1 mile every 30 minutes for a 24 hour period. You completed a total of 48 miles. Every mile had to be started and completed in that 30 minutes period, and there was no banking miles. I logged a total of 1,776 ft. of elevation gain for the 48 miles, so each loop was negligible. The race began at 7pm on Friday night and ended at 7pm on Saturday night.

I approached the race as an interval workout. So I pushed hard on each mile. Other than hitting a wall miles 39 to 41, I fluctuated in the 7 to 8 minute mile mark. Personally the toughest part of the race was mental. Discomfort was the operative word Friday night. It was cold, windy, and wet from both dew and sweat. In the lull between miles the mind did not stop telling you to quit and go to your warm comfortable home. The 15 minutes of waiting before lining up in the corral for the next mile sometimes it went by very fast, but most times it went by excruciatingly slow. And believe me your mind did not SHUT UP! It took a lot of mental fortitude to stick with the race and keep pushing overnight. There was an amazing burst of energy for every racer at sunrise on Saturday morning. The camp seemed to come alive, I know I did. But Friday night was extremely difficult mentally and physically and I wanted to quit several times! It was also important to stay loose between miles. I alternated between stretching, using a foam roller on my legs, and to just continue walking until the next mile started. The legs still tightened up on me (see comment re: hitting the wall above).

Joe Relaxo 24hr Challenge Night Kit (Left) and Day Kit (Right)

I had a night kit and day kit. Other than underestimating the cold Friday night/Saturday morning, my gear worked perfectly. I started the race in Altra Escalante, changed to Luna Mono Gordo sandals after mile 32, and ended the race in Altra Duos. I supported both of my ambassadors Orange Mud and BibRave by wearing their gear during the race. I rep these two companies because I love their culture and they are true to the runner and adventurer. I encourage everyone to check out their sites when you have time. I prefer real food nutrition on longer races, so I brought black bean wraps, Pringle’s Salt & Vinegar chips, and gummy bears. I had tailwind and water for hydration. My goal was not to just participate but to run strong and I ultimately finished in the top 10% based on my time tracking and knowing who finished ahead of me each loop (official results have not been posted as of this date, but I will update this post when received).

Post Race Picture with my Joe Relaxo 24HR Challenge Medal – January 25th

I recommend this race to anyone wanting to challenge themselves mentally and physically. It will test your toughness as long as you approach it with the intent to run hard every mile. I managed a 9:08 avg. pace for the 48 miles (that includes a celebratory walk for the last mile with friends). I felt very accomplished after this race and will do it again next year, because my medal needs at least two banners…right!?!