2018 Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago

Disclaimer: I received free entry to 2018 Hot Chocolate 15K race 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!

The race is coming up in 5 days!  How much chocolate can you eat?  Chicago lakefront races are about as scenic as it gets.  Plus, the energy from this huge race can’t be beat.  I’ve run this race a few times and it gets better every time.  From the start line energy and music to the scenic course and cheering to the finish party and hot chocolate, RAM Racing thought of everything to get you pumped up to run!  How have you not signed up already??

Expo Location & Times
McCormick Place
Hall C1
2301 S Martin Luther King Drive
Chicago, IL 60616
Friday, November 2, 2018: 10am to 7pm
Saturday, November 3, 2018: 10am to 6pm

Race Start Times
Wave 1 (15k & 5K): 7:00am
Wave 2 (15k & 5k): 7:45am
2 mile walk – Walk start time: 8:30am (Note: Start time is tentative, the walk will start after the last wave 2 corral has cleared the start line)

The Medal!
Medal

Course Map
Map

Register here and use the code BRHCChicago to get this cool arm band!

15K race is $74
5K race is $54
Walk for Special Olympics Adult $49
Walk for Special Olympics Child $44

#bibchat #HCChiBR #bibravepro

 

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2018 North Shore Turkey Trot

Disclaimer: I’m promoting The North Shore Turkey Trot as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

So I know you plan on indulging on Thanksgiving!  We all do!  We eat gloriously, then rest, chat with family and friends, watch some football, eat some more, and finally at the end of the night we realize just how much we partook!  Here’s an idea to help relieve some of that guilt…

Come run the North Shore Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning!  The race takes place in Highland Park, Illinois in 26 days!  You have the choice of running a 5K or a 10K.  Both races start at 8am and that gives you plenty of time to get back and enjoy your Thanksgiving! #bibchat #NSTTBR

Registration:  Use the code BRTurkeyTrot for a free pair of sunglasses when you register HERE

Prices: $44 for the 5K and $59 for the 10K (Prices increase next week!)

Packet Pickup: Fleet Feet Deerfield Nov 20 from 10-6pm and Nov 21 from 10-6pm

So why should you run?

  • To work off that holiday guilt!
  • 8am start isn’t super early
  • The course runs through the beautiful downtown district
  • Walkers are still loved here
  • There’s a gear check!
  • MINI APPLE PIES at the finish line!
  • FREE race photos!
  • Live runner tracking!
  • A Turkey Trot blanket in your packet pickup bag!
  • You’d be running for a charity like The Highland Park Police Benevolent Association and Go The Extra Mile!
  • RAM Racing always runs the most fun races!

 

Claimed my results on Athlinks!

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon race 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 claimed by results from the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon from this past weekend on Athlinks!  While is was far from my fastest half marathon, I just enjoyed the race and watched out for my knee.  Still, easily my favorite race and I am already looking forward to 2019! #bibchat #bibravepro #ubhm #ubhmbr #athlinksbr

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2018 Urban Bourbon Half Marathon

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon race 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!”

Where do I even begin?  This race has been on my radar for quite some time.  Many of the BibRave Pros have run this in the past and I finally made it a goal to run it in 2018.  It has easily become my favorite race for so many reasons.  Right when I registered, I quickly made hotel reservations right next to the party!  I was registered way in advance so eager anticipation built up.  Everything about this race from initial registration to the post race party was as good as it gets.  I already know I’ll be running this next year!

Registration – Easy as it gets.  It’s clear on the website stating that since it’s a bourbon themed race that you have to be 21 years old to register.  There were options to not only register as an individual but also teams.  Price increases were well advertised.

Race Communication – We received plenty of emails leading up to the race letting us know about everything race related like course changes, special events, bourbon tastings, post race party details, etc.  The last couple of weeks before the race, the emails were all about last minute details.  It included parking information, Bib numbers, and packet pickup details.

Packet Pickup – There were two options for packet pickup with a VIP option or standard pickup at the PNC Club at Cardinal Stadium.  Parking was free at the stadium.  There was also some bourbon tasting at the expo and the standard souvenirs, race shirt exchange, and supplies.  The VIP experience which I was privileged to be part of was at the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse and was such an incredible opportunity.  I met up with fellow BibRave Pros Emily and Jonathan Friday night.  We were given free drinks, hors d’oeuvres, some live bluegrass music by the Tavern Travelers, and a complimentary token to participate in the Taste of History experience at the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse that includes a small working distillery, a bottling line, and a tasting experience!   We were taught all about how to properly drink bourbon and sampled some great drinks.  At the end, you also had the opportunity to purchase a Jim Beam White Label commemorative bottle that was laser engraved with your choice of design.

The Swag – The long sleeve gender specific tech shirt is freaking great!  The fit is right on and I’ll be sporting it on these recovery days!

The Race – I always love a high energy pre race and the Urban Bourbon didn’t disappoint.  The weather was tad chilly at the beginning but for a Midwesterner, it was perfect for a half marathon!  I met up with my fellow BibRave pros right next to the start line for a quick picture opportunity.  There were no corrals but there were some great pacers with very visible signs that you could guide your way in to run with them.  We were led off by the Kentucky Derbys official butler Steve Buttleman who had a chilling rendition of the Star Spangled Banner!  Absolutely incredible.  As for the course itself, there were some beautiful areas we ran through with on course entertainment in certain areas.  Going through the Cherokee Park was so scenic but those hills were a true test!!  There was plenty of on course spots for family and friends to encourage the runners and hold those friendly motivational signs.

The Post Race Party – Hello??!!  Bourbon Bash!!  By far, the BEST post race party I’ve ever seen.  Let’s see, live music by the Louisville Crashers, free Falls City beer, a slice of pizza, bourbon samples, and burgoo.  This was all held at Fourth Street Live.  The ID bracelet we wore had tabs for each of these items and the general public was able to sample as well for a small fee.  There was even a spot for table massages should you need a quick fix after the race.  It was packed full of people and energy and so much fun!  Other races could definitely take note on how to post race party!!  Also had the opportunity to see the Race Director Michael who did such an amazing job with this whole race.

The Medal – Um yeah, this speaks for itself.  I’ve seen many of the medals from years past and when I saw this one come out, I could not wait to get mine!

 

Bedgear Galaxy 3.0 Pillow Review

Disclaimer: I received a free Bedgear Galaxy 3.0 pillow 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 sleep hot!  Every night no matter what!  I find myself flipping my pillow to the “cold” side to get some relief.  It doesn’t make for some productive sleeping.  Sleep in my career is already at a crossroads.  That’s why I was truly excited to try out the Bedgear Galaxy Pillow.  Bedgear’s home page allows you to take a brief questionnaire regarding the type of sleeping and habits you have to steer you towards the correct choice of pillow for your sleep.  I fell into the Cool-to touch pillow line.  The pillows in these series are built with heat-deflecting Ver-Tex® fabric, they stay cool to the cheek, bringing your nighttime temperature down to an ideal level.  Here, there are four pillow height options from the soft Storm series to the firm Galaxy.

The Galaxy 3.0 seemed to be recommended for my sleep style.  That includes the cool-all-night feel fabric, elevated feel, and enhanced air flow.  Considering I’ve had this pillow for close to a month, I can definitely feel myself getting a much better nights sleep.  When it arrived, it came in a well packaged box that was quite surprising.  Right there, I knew I was getting a quality pillow just by the brand packaging.  After opening it, I felt that cool fabric and was blown away by how actually cold to the touch it was.

The first few nights of sleep was all about my body acclimating to a firm yet breathable pillow and I found myself sleeping throughout the entire night at home.  It’s really amazing how the right pillow can make a world of difference.  My warm face hit that refreshing pillow every night.  My endocrine system may be detoxing from my eating habits and it comes out most nights but I now have a pillow that is helping me to get some quality sleep.  I ended up ordering the pillow cover just to protect the actual pillow but don’t use it often because I really like the way the Galaxy pillow feels on my head.  I have already recommended this pillow to my fellow firefighters who are having similar sleeping habits.

Need any more reasons to order one for yourself?  Well here you go:

  • Free Exchange – Sleep on it for 100 nights and if you’re not loving it, we’ll fit you for a new one.
  • Free Shipping – Every order. All the time. No matter how many pieces you add to the shipment.
  • Built in the USA – Our pillows are all assembled from domestic and imported parts, here in the U.S.
  • A pillow questionnaire asking you about your sleeping habits to recommend the right pillow personalized for you.
  • 16 different pillows based on height, firmness, coolness, moisture wicking, and breathability
  • Countless positive reviews from organizations such as The New Yorker, MLB Baseball, Shape, Outside, Muscle & Fitness, Women’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and Sports Illustrated

Here is the link for the pillow that I tested: https://www.bedgear.com/performance-pillows/galaxy-series-pillow.html

You can get one for yourself based on your sleep and get 15% off of your order by using the code BIBRAVE15 up to November 30, 2018!

Urban Bourbon Half Marathon

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon race 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’ve been wanting to run the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon in Louisville, Kentucky for a few years.  The energetic posts from those who have run it before have lured me in.  It seems that they really put on a party for the runners throughout the race weekend.  I can’t believe that it’s only 10 days away!  So what else am I excited for this race weekend?

  •  That amazing medal!  Probably the coolest race finishers medal I have ever seen.  Every year, they outdo themselves!

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  • The course!  I’ve been through Louisville a few times driving but never actually stopped in!  I cannot wait to run with those amazing views!

Course Map.jpg

  • The VIP packet pickup!!  This will be held at the  Jim Beam® Urban Stillhouse
    on Friday, Oct. 19, from 5-8 p.m.  We will get to enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and  Jim Beam® Bourbon cocktails.  YES PLEASE!  Plus there is a complimentary token to participate in the Taste of History experience at the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse that includes a small working distillery, a bottling line, and a tasting experience!  This is also where you can purchase the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon presented by Jim Beam® commemorative bottle of Jim Beam Black®!  I’ve seen pros get this in the past and it’s such a cool idea!

  • The Bourbon Bash!  At Fourth Street Live! held from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. race participants can enjoy a sampling of bourbons from a number of Kentucky Bourbon Trail distillers.  You will also enjoy Bearno’s Pizza, Falls City beer, and plenty of prize and photo opportunities. The popular local band the Louisville Crashers will perform.

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  • The Urban Bourbon Walk where participants in the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon presented by Jim Beam® – and others wishing to join in a unique entertainment experience – can score a custom-made, collectible cloisonne pin.  The pins are to commemorate the Urban Bourbon Walk in downtown Louisville on Oct. 20. Runners can show their finisher’s medal and make a purchase to receive a custom pin from participating Urban Bourbon Trail establishments.

  • Bourbon!  Yeah, I know I said it but why not say it again?!

  • That amazing racers shirt!

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  • An opportunity to visit the Slugger Museum and Bat Factory.

  • An opportunity to meet up with the race director again!  I met Michael at the Rock N Roll Nashville expo and looking forward to be part of the race he has done such a great job with!

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  • The start of the race and getting to see the Kentucky Derby’s official butler, Steve Buttleman!

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I think that’s a pretty good list of why I’d like to run this amazing race and why you should!  If you’d like to join me, use the code “BourbonRave2018” to save 10% on your race entry!

Bedgear Galaxy 3.0 Pillow

Disclaimer: I received a free Bedgear Galaxy 3.0 pillow to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I am a horrible sleeper!  Maybe it’s the career I’ve chosen since I rarely get a good night’s sleep.  Often, I roll around and throw the sheets off of me since I feel like I’m boiling every night.  Flipping the pillow over to the cooler side only lasts so long.  That’s why I’m really looking forward to trying out this pillow!  After opening the box, I could see just how much care was given into the design and feel.  I’ll be giving this pillow some serious testing over the next few weeks!

Directly from the website:

The Galaxy 3.0 Performance Pillow is designed for side sleepers or large body types. The unique dual chamber construction of the Galaxy Series features a Boost® foam crown and Boost foam blend which ensures weightless pressure relief that won’t bottom out, creating the perfect pillow for soft support with no rebound. The Ver-Tex® fabric provides a cool to touch feeling and continuous heat deflection, regulating your body temperature for greater comfort while you rest. The Air-X® ventilated panels increase air flow and feature a filter fabric which prevents allergens and dander from entering the pillow core.

Shady Rays Sunglasses Review

Disclaimer: I received a free pair of Shady Rays Signature Series 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!

I was excited to try a new pair of sunglasses with this opportunity from BibRave and Shady Rays.  I go through sunglasses quite a bit with my active lifestyle of running, hiking, climbing, fishing, and travelling.  When I’m in the market for new ones, there are a few features that are a must for me.  First, they have to be functional and do what they advertise.  Too many times I’ve seen companies say that they are the best polarized sunglasses out there and I test them on the water to find that isn’t quite true.  Next, they have to fit my head just right and not slip when I’m being active.  Lastly, they have to be pretty cool looking.  I’m really not that vain but I want my sunglasses to look like they are stylish.  Well, Shady Rays has fit that whole package.

I’ve been testing the Signature Series in Infrared Ice Polarized and here are some of the features that make them stand out:

– Free Shipping, Returns, and Exchanges
– Durable gloss clear frame with metal hinges
– Premium Polarized red-sunset mirror lenses: 100% UV protection / shatter-resistant / salt water proof
– Includes Microfiber Cleansing Pouch + vinyl brand decal
– Lifetime Craftsmanship Warranty & Free Replacements if Lost or Broken – just pay S+H fee for lost/broken replacements.
– Every order provides 11 meals to fight hunger in the U.S. through Feeding America
– Free lost or broken replacements which can be used up to two times and all you have to do is pay shipping and handling

I appreciate a reputable company that has a mission statement that I can get behind.  Here is theirs:

We are an Independent Sunglasses Company that is focused on one thing – Making the best shades for 24/7 action.  Our shades feature shatter-resistant, high-visibility Polarized lenses with durable construction that we stand behind with a Lifetime Craftsmanship Warranty and Free Replacements if Lost or Broken*. We also secure 11 meals to fight hunger through Feeding America with every order placed.  Shady Rays are not for those who want to buy from a massive, faceless company that has been operating the same way for decades. We are for action-seekers who appreciate next-generation, innovative gear meant for everything life throws at you.  Live Hard. We Got You.®  Our mission to fight hunger in America has led to over 2.6 million meals provided to date. Thank you to our fans for fighting hunger with us.

I’m very happy with the Shady Rays sunglasses and have tested them very thoroughly during a very active lifestyle.  They’ve been put through the ringer and have held up well.  They never slipped on my face even while being pretty aggressive.  There are a few other colors that I will be looking to get and seeing the customer service that Shady Rays prides itself on, I know that I’ll amass quite the collection.

You can get a pair for your self with this great deal:  Use the code “BR” which is good for 50% off two or more pairs!  Join us for #bibchat at 8pm CST on Twitter for your chance to win one of two pair!

2018 Fort 2 Base 10 Nautical Miler

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Fort 2 Base 10 Nautical Miler race 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 have fun this race many times and can easily say that it’s my favorite race to run. Not only because of amazing race management but support of our military. This years race proceeds went to the USO and the Navy Ball and I couldn’t be happier! Though the course has changed a bit from the past, the race director had great communication and still made the course enjoyable and scenic.

Registration – Easy as always and very clear on the price increases.

Race swag – Every year, the tech shirts get better and better. This years is by far my favorite and I’ll wear it proudly.

The Course – This race still started in Fort Sheridan and a little more east than the last few years. There was a turnaround to make up for the mileage and changed course and it brought us through the military housing. The course still ran us through the amazing old parade grounds and tower and it is just absolutely breathtaking around the Leonard Wood loop! The remainder of the course was the same as years past along the bike trails. We passed by the entrance to the Great Lakes Naval Base where we used to enter in years past. The 10 nautical miler ends up at Foss Park just north of the base to great crowds and military representatives cheering us on and handing out medals.

The Post Race – There was tons of energy at the finish line area with plenty of foods and drinks as well as music entertainment.

The Medal – This is why you run this race!! I’ve always loved the Fort 2 Base medals but the new 3 year series that began this year is even better! There is no doubt that I will complete this series!!

Race Management – Top notch with clear communication and such amazing gratefulness to the runners.

I loved being part of this race and want to thank the race management, military, and volunteers for their continued support and encouragement throughout the race. The aid stations were short handed but they still managed to keep up and do it with a smile!

I was able to jump on Athlinks.com and claim my race results right after the race!  Jump on and make an account for yourself.  Don’t forget to add me as a friend so we can go head-to-head in future races!

Shady Rays Sunglasses

Disclaimer: I received a free pair of Shady Rays Signature Series 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!

I have amassed quite the collection of sunglasses over the years and I was pretty excited to give the Shady Rays a shot.  Most of mine are polarized and I use them for just about everything from running to biking to fishing.  First, I look for the perfect fit since my head is a tad smaller than most.  Then, I look for features like UV protection, polarized, and scratch resistance.  The final feature is about style and how it looks.  The Shady Rays fits all of the above for me!

The Signature Series is the one I am currently testing in Infrared Ice Polarized.   Here are some of the super features:

  • Free Shipping
  • Free Returns
  • Free Exchanges
  • Durable gloss clear frame with metal hinges
  • Premium Polarized red-sunset mirror lenses: 100% UV protection / shatter-resistant / salt water proof
  • Includes Microfiber Cleansing Pouch + vinyl brand decal
  • Lifetime Craftsmanship Warranty & Free Replacements if Lost or Broken – just pay S+H fee for lost/broken replacements.
  • Every order provides 11 meals to fight hunger in the U.S. through Feeding America
  • Free lost or broken replacements which can be used up to two times and all you have to do is pay shipping and handling

2018 Fort 2 Base 10 Nautical Miler

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Fort 2 Base 10 Nautical Miler race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

There’s only a week left for one of my favorite races!  You still have time to join me and be part of this special medal series race.  The next three years medals will combine to form one amazing medal!  While I’ve run this race many times, this year will be the best yet!  There are two different distances that you can choose from and it’s not your normal race distances. These are nautical miles which puts a great spin on a distance that you may not have ever run. There is the 10 nautical mile or the 3 nautical miler and it will be a point to point race.  Register today using the code BRP10 which is good for 30% off! Code is only valid online and not valid on completed registrations.

Register HERE!

Pricing Structure
7-1-18 to 8-22-18 10 NM $80 3 NM $40
Race Weekend 10 NM $90 3 NM $45

Sunday August 19
Packet Pick up and late registration
10:00am – 2:00pm
Road Runner Sports Kildeer
20291 N Rand Rd #105, Kildeer, IL 60074

Thursday, August 23, 2018
Packet Pick up and late registration
12:00pm – 5:00pm NEW TIMES
USO Naval Station Great Lakes
**Must have a valid military I.D. to access the base

Friday, August 24, 2018
Packet Pickup and late registration
1:00pm – 7:00pm
Road Runner Sports Chicago
1435 N Kingsbury St, Chicago, IL 60642

Saturday, August 25, 2018
Packet Pickup and late registration
10:00am – 6:00pm
Road Runner Sports Wilmette
3232 Lake Ave, Wilmette, IL 60091

Race Day Parking
All 10 Nautical Mile and 3 Nautical Mile participants, spectators and volunteers will need to park at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science (RFUMS), located at 3333 Greenbay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064. Shuttle buses will begin running to Fort Sheridan at 5:15am and the last bus will leave at 6:15am. Shuttle buses will run continuously between Foss Park and the RFUMS beginning at 5:15am through the end of the event.

2018 Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago

Disclaimer: I received free entry to 2018 Hot Chocolate 15K race 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’m looking forward to running the Hot Chocolate 15K again this year!  There is so much energy in these races even during the cold temps.  Aside from having a fun course through the city and along the lakefront, the post race party is utterly amazing with so many goodies and entertainment.  Join me in this epic series and you can get free goodies if you use the code below!

Expo Times
Location TBA (Check back here later)
Friday, November 2, 2018: TBA
Saturday, November 3, 2018: TBA

Start Times
Wave 1 (15k & 5K): 7:00am
Wave 2 (15k & 5k): 7:45am
2 mile walk – Walk start time: 8:30am (Note: Start time is tentative, the walk will start after the last wave 2 corral has cleared the start line)

Course Map

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Elevation Map

Elevation.jpg

The Goodies!

Chocolate.jpg

Register here and use the code BRHCChicago to get this cool arm band!

As of July 24, 2018:
15K race is $64
5K race is $44
Walk for Special Olympics Adult $39
Walk for Special Olympics Child $34

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Yiannis Christodoulou

GB Aquathlon team captain, 2018 National Gold Medalist (Age Group) 2017 National Silver Medalist (Age Group) 2016 National and European Bronze Medalist (Age Group) 2016 National and European Bronze Medalist Representing Great Britain in the 2017 European and World Aquathlon Championships (Age Group)

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