Zwift Running App

Disclaimer: I received a free Zwift Runpod 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 testing out the Zwift Runpod and app for the last month.  What is Zwift you ask?  Well, simply put, it’s a virtual running or biking app that you can use on your treadmill or bike and virtually run with people from all over the world.  There are workouts and group runs that are always scheduled and you get to run through some very cool areas.

What do you need to try it out?  You’ll need a footpod which is very minimally priced, any treadmill, and a device to run Zwift on.  This can be most iPhones, iPad, or certain PCs and Macs.  I used my iPhone for all of my runs and it worked great.  I’d imagine it’s much cooler on a bigger screen like an iPad or computer.

The courses go through London, Virginia, and a fantasy land called Watopia.  You run through cool landscapes, beaches, rural roads, and a few other places.  It’s so cool to run with other people and bikes out on the course.  You can just run for fun or follow one of the training programs.

The app will connect to your other running apps like Garmin and Strava so you can keep a running diary of how your training is going.  It keeps track of your paces, your strides and cadence, distances, intervals, and heart rate with an appropriate heart rate monitor.  The more you run or bike, the more points you accumulate and can use them to customize your avatar in the program.  You get to change shoes, socks, hats, glasses, hair colors and cuts, and many other options.  There are also multiple views that you can watch as you exercise like third person, in front of, over, and behind.

I ran a few races with my fellow BibRave pros and it was so cool to virtually race each other and pace yourself with.  The connection was easy and I suggest that if you plan on running with others that you log in early to ensure that the connection is strong and you can register steps with the footpod.  I have yet to try it out with a stationary training bike but it looks to be pretty similar and fun.  I was pretty happy with the opportunity to try such a fun piece of equipment and can now use it to run with friends from across the country!

 

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#GiveGoodVibes with Aftershokz

Back during the Black Friday weekend and specials that AfterShokz was offering, I was given a pair of AfterShokz headphones to give as a gift for a special person who has affected me in some way.  This was the #GiveGoodVibes promotion and the person I chose has been going through some tough times but was ALWAYS there for me with her support and motivation when I was down or going through my knee surgery and rehab.

Tina is one of the most selfless running friends I know and puts everyone before herself in life.  That alone is a special trait that we can learn from her.  Her amazing landscape photos of running through the mountains or her training for ultra races and Ironman are beyond impressive.  She has always commented on my running escapades and been there for that extra push or congratulations.  Giving away a pair of my favorite headphones was an easy decision to a friend who deserves them for being there and being a true role model.  Truly leads by example!

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AfterShokz #CyberMonday Deals

You already know how much I love my AfterShokz wireless headphones if you’ve scrolled through my feed!  Now is the time to take advantage of the CyberMonday deals!!

Head over to share.aftershokz.com/FRANKN to see just how good the deal is!

#shokzsquad #givegoodvibes

WIN Detergent

Disclaimer: I received a free bottle of WIN Sports Detergent 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 know it may be hard to believe, but I don’t always smell like roses and fresh baked cookies.  Sometimes I put in the work and smell like a dock worker after a long day of hauling in fish.  There are so many laundry detergents out there that claim to be able to make anything smell good and clean better than the rest.  I’ve been looking for something that doesn’t smell like flowers but definitely removes any odors.  Luckily, I had the opportunity to test out WIN Sports Detergent for the past few days.

The WIN that I am using is WIN Green which is fragrance and dye free.  It is specifically formulated to get the smell out of workout clothes.  Also, with green, it’s biodegradable and safe for septic systems, not tested on animals, packaged in 25% post-consumer recycled plastic, and meets the EPA’s Safer Choice environmental standards.

What makes them different and how does it work?

Wicking Fabrics Attract Oils – You’ve heard that oil and water don’t mix? Turns out that’s a fundamental chemical principle. The very properties that allow fabrics to wick moisture away cause them to attract oils.

Those Oils are Home to Bacteria Which Create a Lingering Smell – As bacteria from your skin consume those oils, they create gases which give synthetics that telltale sweaty smell.

WIN’s Active Ingredients Separate Oils From Synthetics – WIN has ingredients not found in most supermarket detergents that are optimized to remove oils from synthetics.

By Removing the Oils, WIN Makes Your Apparel Smell and Perform Like New – Not only do those oils cause odor, they impede performance. By removing them, WIN makes your apparel wick better and last longer.

I’ve used the detergent only a handful of times but I am definitely happy with how my clothes are coming out.  They no longer smell of death and there is not even a hint of built in sweat smell.  Luckily I have a big bottle and will continue to test out the detergent on the days where I have heavy workouts or runs.

You can try it too and use the code RAVE4WIN to get 20% off of any purchase!

#bibchat #bibravepro #winbr

 

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!

This is the last week to register for the North Shore Turkey Trot 5K or 10K!  Come run on Thanksgiving morning! The race takes place in Highland Park, Illinois in 5 days! Both races start at 8am and that gives you plenty of time to get back and enjoy festivities with your family and friends!  #bibchat #NSTTBR

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

Prices: $49 for the 5K and $64 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!

 

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

 

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!

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  • 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.

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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