2017 Bucktown 5K – Filling up fast!

There’s still time to sign up for RAM Racing’s Bucktown 5K but spots are filling up quickly!  The race is on September 17, 2017 at 8:30am and runs through the fun and historic Bucktown neighborhood.

The Bucktown 5k is proud to support the 100 Club of Chicago.  The purpose of the organization is to provide for the surviving spouses and dependents of law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics who lose their lives in the line of duty. This includes all federal, state, county and local officers, firefighters and paramedics stationed in Cook and Lake County.

You will absolutely love this years goodie bag!  The Chicago flag is turning 100 years old and you’ll get a great fleece blanket by registering!  But do it quickly so you don’t miss out!


Use the code BibRaveBT17 when you register for a free #runchi water bottle that you can get at packet pickup here:

Fleet Feet Sports Deerfield
800 Waukegan Road
Deerfield, Illinois 60015
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 – 3pm to 6pm

Fleet Feet Sports Elmhurst
124 East Schiller Street
Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
Thursday, September 14, 2017 – 4pm to 8pm

Fleet Feet Sports Old Town
1620 N Wells Street
Chicago, Illinois 60614
Friday, September 15, 2017 – 10am to 8pm
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – 10am to 6pm


2017 Fort 2 Base

The Fort 2 Base will continue to be one of my favorite races for the huge support for our military and their families.  I love the thought of running from military base to another military base.  Although the original Fort Sheridan Army Base has closed down years back, there is still some part of the old base that houses active and reserve military personnel.

The starting area was full of port-o-potties with LONG lines.  You could also pick up your race packet on the morning of the race if you got there early which is always a nice option.  There were no corrals per say, but there were pacers of every speed you just joined in with.  I arrived later than I wanted to only because I took the wrong bus to the starting line.  That’s the “not awake” morning person in me!!  When I arrived, I met my BibRave friend Heather for a quick chat before we set off.


The race starts in the south portion of Fort Sheridan as it heads north around the old parade grounds and some historic buildings.  Definitely brought back some memories from my youth of hanging out with some of my childhood friends.  There are some beautiful historic buildings around the Leonard Wood loop before it heads out to the trails heading north.

This is the first water station around mile 2.  The remainder of the route along the trail didn’t have a ton of sights but it was perfect weather.  The course then enters the Great Lakes Naval Base around mile 8.5 and this is where you get your second wind.  This is the only basic training base for the entire Navy and right when you go through the main gate, you get major support from active duty military personnel.  You do get a quick glimpse of the finish line as you head south for a bit downhill towards the lake.

Hero Hill is the most infamous portion of this race and it was back to the original hill after last year’s reroute due to construction.  It’s an extremely challenging part of any race I’ve been in because it’s at the very end.  Last year, there were a bunch of cadets who would run up with you but I didn’t see any this year.

The finish line for the Fort 2 Base race is the reason I run this race.  There is tremendous support and cheering for the last 1/4 of a mile leading up to the stage and finish line.  The Army Colonel from Fort Sheridan and the Captain of the Great Lake Naval Base were on hand to hand out the finishers medals.

The volunteers along the course at the water and Gatorade stations were so cheerful and enthusiastic to keep you in the race.  They were truly dedicated and happy to be out there.  I will continue to run this race as long as I’m able to and look forward to every January 1st to sign up early!


2017 Chicago Half Marathon

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Chicago 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 decided to run another fall race before the Chicago Marathon and since I needed another long run on September 24th, why not run the Chicago Half Marathon with thousands of others?  I fly out to Maine that evening for a vacation so getting up early and running 13.1 will be a perfect way to start the day.

My legs are getting stronger each day and I’ll be taking it easy on this course.  Looking forward to running along Lake Shore Drive and not having to dodge any traffic!  Plus, I heard the huge medal is going to be epic!

If you’d like to run, you can use the code BRCHI17 to save $15 off of the half and $10 off of the 5K.  Check out their Facebook page here for more details.

Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Shoes Final Review

“Disclaimer: I received a free pair of Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Shoes 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’ve been doing a ton of trail running over the last year for a few reasons.  First, it’s definitely easier on my knees after my heel striking on concrete!  Secondly, being in the woods and trails around me is a perfect way to unwind and take in the beauty of nature.  Having a quality pair of trail shoes is a must of you run as much as I have been doing.  I have at least 4 name brands of trail shoes and all have their specific qualities and usage.  The Under Armour Horizon RTT trail shoes fit just right as I went a half size up on them after having my last few trail shoes become a little too tight after some hard use.  Going up a size was the right decision and wearing the right socks with them only ensured a non slip feel.


Most of my trail runs were done on limestone or dirt tracks and they did the job.  I had great traction on the dirt and even in the creeks that I crossed.  I never had any heel slip or felt like the shoe was coming off.  The aggressive tread on the shoe was great for the dirt, logs, or roots that I came across.  As for mud, the deep tread tended to build up and make it slick but so did all of my other trail shoes.  Smacking them up against a tree or stump got rid of that!

I’ve worn them for the greater part of a month and put well over 100 miles on them in both easy and technical trails.  They are holding up great with little wear on the tread and a few scratches on the toe box.  I never got any blisters in the heal where I usually do with other shoes.  I love the color and look of the shoe and can see myself getting another pair in the future when these ones are worn out.
AGUW8921.jpgGreat flexibility in the sole

GEDK7374.jpgAggressive tread on all terrains

Comparison to a few other trail shoes

Check out the reviews from some of my fellow BibRave Pros:

Mel, Tedrick, Lindsey, Jessica, Fallon, Casey, Vanessa, Angie, Randy, Jen, Vanessa, Amy, Heather,


Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Shoes

“Disclaimer: I received a free pair of Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Shoes 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’ve become such a huge fan of trail running and the beautiful scenery we get to run through.  The terrain calls for shoes that can grip on a variety of natural obstacles like rocks, branches, and vines.  I’ve tried quite a few brands of trail shoes and like most of them for different reasons but I also have found some problems finding the perfect fit.  I generally go a size up in my trail shoes but also try to get a shoe that doesn’t have a heel slide that affects the way I run.  When I received the UA Horizon trail shoes, I was pleasantly surprised just how well the shoe fit.  The toe box was big enough to not compress and the heel seemed to cup the calcaneus without having to relace the shoe.

The tread was aggressive but didn’t feel like wearing baseball cleats when you walk.


I only have a few trail runs in these shoes under my belt, but so far, I’m pretty happy with the way they feel.  They do not slip and they grip well over light mud and uneven terrain without being hard on the feet.  I look forward to more aggressive testing in the coming months as I travel for a few trail races across the country.

You can try a pair yourself here and join us for #bibchat on Twitter on August 8th at 8pm CST for your chance to win a pair!


I’m super excited to be selected by AfterShokz to be part of the #Shokzsquad and share my love for the best headphones around!  If you’ve followed me for some time, then you’ve seen my reviews for the Trekz Titanium headphones and the Trekz Titanium Mini headphones.

So what is it about these headphones that makes them different from others on the market?  They are a bone conduction headphone with an open ear design allowing you to hear your music as well as ambient noises without losing any quality.

Bone Conduction.jpg

AfterShokz sent me a beautiful box of goodies to share with you and help you decide on your next pair of headphones for any of the activities you do.  If you’re interested in trying a pair out, please reach out to me or check out their selection on the website here.  If you decide that this is for you, use the code Frank1 to get 15% off of your order!





2017 Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Humana Rock N Roll 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 try out the Rock N Roll series for quite some time since they looked fun and the medals were pretty cool looking!  I was happy to get into the Chicago Half thanks to BibRave and run with my fellow pros Mark, Lisa, and Heather!


Registration is a piece of cake and Rock N Roll Marathon Series is definitely on top of things with their communication via emails.  Every week, we received some important details or motivation in the emails about parking, sight seeing, hydration, or training tips.  There were plenty of notices on the packet pickup process at the Health and Fitness Expo.


The Health and Fitness Expo was amazing.  It’s very similar to the Chicago Marathon expo but a little smaller.  It was well organized with plenty of volunteers to guide you through the process.  The signage was big and bright as you entered the expo and the order of bib pickup and t-shirts was well organized.  Then, you were directed to the shopping area with so much to offer.  Besides the usual trademark gear from the Rock N Roll series, there were plenty of vendors in the health and fitness industry selling their goods or services.

As for the race itself, everything is so bright and bold for this series!  I always arrive way early to any of my races since I’m usually paranoid that I’ll be late.  It gives me time to wake up, stretch a little, and take in the sights.  I walked around the start and finish lines as well as some of the post race festivities area.  The energy and excitement was pretty prevalent and I awaited the arrival of my fellow BibRave Pros for our pictures and chatting.  None of us were in the same corrals but we always manage to meet up beforehand to motivate each other and share our goals.


The corrals were well labeled though I didn’t see any pacers for my corral.  I was in Corral 7 which is one of the early ones to start and it was exciting to hear the first few corrals begin their race!  The announcer did an amazing job to scream and motivate the runners during the early morning hours.  This gave the following corrals time to get their energy pumping and cattle herd towards that awesome starting line.

The course itself is very similar to many of the pristine Chicago races around Grant Park.  The best part of experience was by far, Adams Street!  The photos of soldiers sacrifices and the tons of American Flags being held by volunteers was utterly awe inspiring.  It definitely got me pumped up!  The energy was pretty heavy through the Loop by fans and their motivating and sometimes funny signage!  As the course headed south for a stretch, the crowd wasn’t as dense as near the finish but still pleasant.  The only part of the course I disliked was the McCormick Place tunnel.  Most of the races go through it and I just think it’s really an unsafe and unappealing section for any race.  I did enjoy the plethora of bands along the course that really did a great job to energize us as we passed by.  Oh, the cold wet sponges handed out in the later miles of the race hit the nail on the head!


The finish line as with any race, is big and bold with tons of crowd support.  The crowds roar could be heard a mile away and seeing that finish line from a ways back was exciting.  Crossing the finish line to huge crowds cheering you on is absolutely incredible.  The post race goodies like the cold chocolate milk and ice cold towels were perfect!!  The medal of course was top notch and I had to follow the crowds to get a photo of me, the medal, and the real Bean!  The crowds were pretty heavy at the post race festival with cold beer and a great ambience of music!

All in all, I’m very happy with the experience I had in this race and the Rock N Roll Marathon Series really does a good job with high energy and going all out with music and runner treatment.  I hope to run a few more of the series in other big cities!


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