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.

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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

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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

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.

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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!

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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.

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