Knuckle Lights COLORS – Initial Impression

“Disclaimer: I received a free pair of Knuckle Lights COLORS 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 do a lot of my runs early morning or right at dusk and most of the time I’m wearing darker clothes.  Being safe was always an afterthought.  This was until I was given the opportunity to try out the Knuckle Lights.  I’ve only had a few runs in with these lights and not sure why I hadn’t given them a try earlier.  They are ergonomic and comfortable to carry and pretty lightweight.  The high beams on these lights are just impressive.  I’ve run a few times with only a headlamp and it just didn’t hit the area in front of me unless I turned my head the right way.  The Knuckle Lights lit up my path much brighter and I could aim them with ease!

I look forward to more thorough testing in the coming weeks and will write up a full review with all of the great features.

 

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Which Orange Mud Pack Should I Get?

Orange Mud makes the best hydration packs out there. I own most of them for a multitude of activities like running, hiking, and biking. They now have a great photo of the different vests and sizes to help you decide. Scroll through some of my previous posts for photos of the various packs!

Orange Mud

2017 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 review find and write race reviews!”

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Register HERE now before the price increases!  Use the code BibraveTT17 to get a free gift when you pick up your packet!

This year the North Shore Turkey Trot is proud to be supporting a North Shore family in need with Love for Landon. Meet Landon Dragicevich: an energetic 10-year-old who loves his parents, step-brother, friends, school, all animals, especially dogs, swimming, and of course running track and cross-country.

After months of suffering from seizures with no definite diagnosis the Dragicevich family received an inconceivable diagnosis, Landon has brain cancer. A rare Grade 11 brain tumor, Anaplastic Astrocytoma, affecting only roughly 50 kids a year. Surgery is unfortunately not an option. He will however, begin chemo and radiation therapies in the coming weeks.

Please consider helping this phenomenal little boy and his family during an unexpected time in their lives. Donations will go directing to the Dragicevich family.

 

Garmin Forerunner 935

“Disclaimer: I received a *Garmin Forerunner 935 Multisport GPS Watch* from Garmin 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 extremely fortunate to be given the opportunity to test out the Garmin Forerunner 935 thanks to Garmin and Bibrave this past week.  While I’ve run with a Garmin watch for years, my old running watch was a basic, no-frills, simple 220.  It did what I needed but after using the Forerunner 935 for the past week during my runs and biking, there was so much data that I was missing that opened my eyes to where my training was.

What do I mean by that?  Well, some of the features that I’m really paying attention to are:

  • Sleep activity – Shows how much rest I’m actually getting and how much deep sleep versus how much moving around I do while trying to sleep.  Rest in incredibly important for recovery and giving the body what it needs to repair itself.
  • Heart Rate – This is one of my favorite features considering I have SVT and can keep an eye on the heart levels I should be training at.  It tells me my peaks and my resting heart rates and shows me how much time it takes to recover.
  • Steps per day – I love how I can set a goal for how much activity and movement I should get per day.
  • Race predictions – This is such a great way to see how effective my training is going if I expect to have realistic goals when I race.
  • Recover time – This is a great feature to let me know what the proper length of time it will take for my body to completely recover from my recent activity.

I’ve learned so much in a short time using only a small portion of what this watch does.  I look forward to more time using many of the features I have yet to dive into to.  Stay tuned to more evaluations in the near future!

 

2017 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 review find and write race reviews!”

The @RamRacing North Shore Turkey Trot is coming up on November 23rd and there’s still plenty of time to register for the race.  When you use the code BibRavTT17, you will get a free gift from Ram Racing!  Prices go up on November 6th!

The race is held in Highland Park, Illinois and you have the option to run the 5K at 7:30am or the 10K at 8:10am.  Parking is plentiful around the downtown district in plenty of covered lots or street parking.

Packet Pickup:

Fleet Feet Sports Deerfield
800 Waukegan Rd.
Deerfield, Illinois 60015

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 – TBA
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 – TBA

2017 Chicago Marathon

2017 was the 40th anniversary of one of the most incredible marathons in the world.  It was a special year and I’m glad I was part of it.  This was supposed to be my redemption race after last years injury and surgery.  Sadly, I ended up running slower than last year but to be honest, I’m okay with it.  There were so many special memories from the weekend and having that medal placed over my head still is emotional.

I’ve always been an early bird to these races and the anticipation of the weather on race day was on my mind.  Thankfully, the morning weather was a bit chilly and learning from last year, I brought a throw away jacket.  I froze last year waiting to begin the race.  This year, I was so glad I brought a long sleeve warm sweatshirt that I knew would go to a good place after I was done wearing it.

I was sad that I didn’t get a chance to meet up with some out of town friends but with so many runners, it isn’t always easy.  I instead got into my corral to get my head straight and mentally prepare for this long 26.2.  The corrals are always so huge in this marathon and that makes it more exciting.  The fences of the corrals were painted with throw away jackets, blankets, and long sleeve shirts.

Not unlike last year, the course has incredible crowds and support, even with those of us near the back.  The volunteers were amazing as always and there were tons of them.  The individual neighborhoods  kept you motivated and while I appreciate all of the people on the course, there were a couple that just stood out.  Boys Town and Pilsen really do make this race special.  Everyone on the sidewalks had treats or drinks or candy for the runners.  They were supportive and the energy didn’t dissipate.  Though Pilsen is near the end of the race, I look forward to it and that second burst of energy.

While my running itself wasn’t what I hoped for, the experience made up for that.  Yes, I ended up going into the medical tent when my knee swelled up around mile 17 again.  After a little ice and rest and a shot of Biofreeze, I trekked back out there to finish.  Though I haven’t decided if I’ll run another marathon, if I do, Chicago is on top of that list.

Post Marathon Blues

Why would I want to run another marathon?

I always said when I began running that I would never run a marathon.  I vividly remember crossing the finish line at my first half marathon and saying to myself, “How do runners double this distance?”  Well, needless to say, I trained hard and pushed myself through many half marathons and wanted to challenge myself to something different.  I ran my first marathon in Chicago in 2016 and ended up rupturing my quad tendon around mile 17.  To be honest, I probably tore it partially while hiking in Colorado a couple of weeks before the Chicago Marathon and finished it off during the race.  I finished that race (barely) around 5 1/2 hours.  That was far from my unrealistic goal of 4 1/2.

Proper rehab for my knee after surgery was at least a year.  I wanted revenge on that feeble marathon attempt.  Of course I signed up for the 2017 Chicago Marathon to best last years experience.  Sadly, my results were even worse.  I thought I was ready and trained properly but deep inside, I knew I wasn’t.  I ended up stopping at a first aid tent with swelling to my right knee.  Pain wasn’t excruciating but it was a nuisance and I didn’t want to ignore it or push through it.  For once, I decided to play it smart and just take it easy.

So here I am, one week out from the 2017 Chicago Marathon and find myself feeling empty.  Another marathon wasn’t supposed to be in my future but I want it.  I want to run another one.  I need to run my best at my best.  I haven’t yet decided on if and when I’ll be back at it, but should another marathon pop up in my social media feeds, it’ll be when I’m at 110% both physically and mentally.

The support I’ve had over these years cannot be measured and I continue this running endeavor because of that.

 Bravo

BOCO BibRave Hat & Visor

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

If you know me, then you know I love my hats.  So, I was pretty happy to be able to try out the hat and visor from BOCO Gear.  They are a company that specializes in custom hats and headwear.  When their client list includes Ragnar, Ironman, Clif, and Hoka, you know they’re good!

The BibRave Pros were given the opportunity to test out the hat or visor in the beautiful orange color.  They were both so comfortable and light.   While I’ve only worn them a few times running and mountain biking, I look forward to more thorough testing in the coming weeks.

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!”

This was my first time running this race and it did not disappoint.  I’ve always been envious of the medals from previous years.  This was a well organized race with thoughtful consideration for the runners and a fun filled post race area!  And free race photos!!  Here are some of my highlights:

The Registration:  Signing up for this race couldn’t be easier and there were plenty of timely discounts to entice you.  I didn’t realize just how many runners raced this event.

The Communication:  There were plenty of emails and updates on their social media sites as the race got closer.  This was extremely important as the weather wasn’t ideal for planning your PR at this race.  The weather was unseasonably hot and humid and the race staff did a great job of giving us tips in the days preceding the big day.


The Expo:  Could you ask for a better venue for a Health & Fitness Expo?  I think not!  Soldier Field was such a fun place to get your race packet.  There were plenty of photo ops outside with the ever so cool #chihalf hashtag sign right out front!  Plus with the entrance to Soldier Field with the flags above is a memorable pic.  The layout seemed a little odd for the flow though.  When you entered, you needed to go to the right and through the vendors to get your bib, then back through the area to the other side to get your shirt.  If you wanted to peruse the vendors, then you needed to go back.  Maybe it’s intentional to get you to see the vendors that took the time to bring their services to share with you.


The Swag:  The shirt for the half marathon was great!  It’s an orange long sleeve technical shirt that was extremely comfortable.

The Race:  This is one big well thought out event!  I parked at the Museum of Science & Industry lot which is about a mile north of the starting area.  Not a big deal as the walk through the north section of Jackson Park is a good mental preparation.  The corrals were well labeled and there was some great motivational music.  While I didn’t use the prerace port-a-potties, there seemed to be plenty of them.  I met up with fellow BibRave Pro Heather for our prerace selfie and chat!  The race began at 7am sharp after the Star Spangled Banner and corrals moved quickly.  This is a fun race through the south side with the first three miles starting to get hot as the sun was rising.  Weather was definitely hot and humid and the racing staff anticipated this and came well prepared.  The energy along the course was amazing as we ran along Lake Shore Drive that was closed to vehicles.  The volunteers were incredible and even though they sat out in the heat, they were full of smiles and motivation!  The sprinklers and fans were appreciated along the last few miles.  The conditions were not easy and the runners safety was taken into consideration by allowing half marathon runners to switch to the 5K!  The finish line, as beautiful as it was, was filled with a huge crowd and 2 amazing things: Cold iced towels and popsicles!!  I didn’t hang around for the post race festivities but it looks like the beer truck was popular!!



The Medal:  This is the biggest and heaviest medal I have ever received!  The Chicago Half Marathon series does an incredible job with the race medals!  You can tell just how proud they are of this race by the quality put in for their runners.  

2017 Chicago Half Marathon Tips

“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!”

We are now two days out from the Chicago Half Marathon and the weather has decided to be unseasonably hot!  Today was 92 degrees and tomorrow will be more of the same.  The forecast for race day looks to be in the upper 80s.  While not the most ideal race conditions for longer runs, there are still some things you can do to keep safe.  The race director and their staff have been great in keeping the runners informed of race details and also sent a great email about running in high temperatures.  Here is a link!

There is some great advice if you’re not used to racing in these conditions but here are some tips:

  • Properly hydrate in the days preceding your race and don’t wait until the day of the race to start drinking water.
  • Don’t eat a heavy breakfast the morning of the race to weigh you down.  Eating a sufficient amount of carbohydrates the day before the race will give your body what it needs.  You can also use energy gels or chews as needed during the run but this should be practiced before the race so your body is used to these aids.  Trying new things on race day can only lead to problems.  I’d start with something cold on the morning of a hot run to try and cool my temperature a bit.  Frozen grapes are the way to go for me!
  • Don’t expect to run hard during hot days.  Start out a little slower than you normally do and adjust accordingly.
  • Use sunscreen and cover your head to minimize overheating from exposure.
  • Take advantage of the hydration stations drinking both water and electrolytes.  I always grab both and pour a little water on my head for a quick cool down.
  • Listen to your body and never push through heat cramps or dehydration.  If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask and use the on course aid stations.  I’m no Olympic runner and being a paramedic, I’ve stopped to assist people who needed it without worrying about my race time!

Have a safe race and I hope I get to meet you out there on the course!

AfterShokz Trekz Air

If you’ve followed me for any time, then you know just how much I love running or hiking or biking with my music.  I don’t often run without my headphones and there is only headphone that I will ever wear.  AfterShokz has been on my ears for the last few years and for good reason.

Trekz Air is the newest member of the AfterShokz family and let me tell you now…you will not find a lighter or better quality wireless headphone around.  Here’s a few facts about the Trekz Air:

  • Uses bone conduction technology
  • Engineered to be 20% lighter than its counterpart
  • Designed to perfectly mold around your ear and remain in place every step of the way
  • Redesigned bone conduction technology improves bass and dynamic sound range
  • Trekz Air sport a wireless wraparound titanium band that loops behind the neck and hooks over the ears
  • Offers play/pause/skip, voice dial and volume adjustment at the touch of a button for control on-the-go
  • 6 hour battery life
  • Sweatproof
  • Multipoint pairing

169

157

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Here’s the unveiling of the Trekz Air:

The Trekz Air is available for preorder here and are expected to ship by the end of September.

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!

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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

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