2017 Rock N Roll Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the 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!”

While the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Chicago may be a couple of months off, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to start considering your nutrition and hydration.  The site has put up some great information for you here!  I know I can definitely be much better at taking care of myself before, during, and after the races!

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2017 North Shore Classic

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the North Shore Classic 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!”

In just about 30 days, I’ll be running the RAM Racing North Shore Classic in Highland Park.  I’ve run this race just about every year for a few reasons.  I encourage you to look into running the race this year and see what a great event it is.

Here are my top 10 reasons to run the North Shore Classic:

  1. Registration is always a breeze on the RAM Racing website!
  2. The race is in early June so it’s usually not brutally hot out!
  3. Parking is plentiful in downtown Highland Park!
  4. The crowds are plentiful throughout the course!
  5. The course runs through beautiful neighborhoods!
  6. The Park Avenue Beach hill is a fun challenge!
  7. The Fort Sheridan section is just historically beautiful!
  8. The crowd support along the course is amazing!
  9. The finishers medal is always cool!
  10. The finish line goodies are vast!

Ravenswood Run 5K

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Ravenswood Run 5K 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 really wish I ran this race in the past because I didn’t realize just how awesome it was! The crowds were much bigger than I anticipated and the energy was immense! Though, I shouldn’t be too surprised since I’ve run just about every RAM Racing event. They always do such a great job with the course layouts, swag, and prerace energy. Here are a few of the highlights.

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Registration: RAM Racing always makes it easy with the website registration and remembers you from previous races. Fees for the race are definitely reasonable and being that this was a great charity race to support the community, you can’t put a price on it.

Packet Pickup: There was no suburb race packet pickup for this race, probably due to the fact that it was a true local neighborhood race. Fleet Feet Lincoln Square is easy to get to and there were multiple days to pickup your packets as well as race day pickup which I rarely take advantage of! I came on Friday to get my stuff and the staff is always friendly and smiling.

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Parking/Bag Check: If you read the participant guide prior to the race, then you knew which streets were going to be closed and what times they lasted until. I know that neighborhood well enough so parking was plentiful and I didn’t get there too early. The bag check was easy to find near the start line and it looked like many took advantage of it.

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Race Start: There’s something about the start line energy that gets me pumped up for every race. RAM Racing always kills it with motivational loud music and words of support for the runners. There were plenty of announcements as well as time updates so people could start to migrate to the corrals. Another great thing that RAM Racing includes is the start line National Anthem. They always seem to pick a singer with a great voice! The 3 corrals were started with about a minute interval between them. I didn’t realize that there were 2500 runners for this race!!

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Course: The course runs through one of my favorite Chicago communities and right next to my all time favorite pizza place ever. The course is pretty flat but there were plenty of speed bumps throughout the streets. The awesome volunteers stood by each bump with megaphones to warn all of the runners. The support along the smaller race was incredible, Many people were sitting outside their homes to watch and cheer the runners along. There was one aid station with Nuun and water but for a 5k race, that was more than enough.

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Finish Line: Seeing the enormous finish line marquee always gives a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. The crowds were enormous along the entire last quarter mile. The volunteers were amazing as they always are with every RAM race. The post race area was filled with the usual freebies like bananas, water, chips, crackers, and nutrition bars.

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Swag: The t-shirts for this years race were great! I love a red tech shirt with a cool logo and this didn’t disappoint. The sizing was just right and while I don’t wear the race shirts on the day of the race, I do wear it for training the day before the race.  You can’t forget the free race photos that can be downloaded!!

This is a must do race through one of Chicago’s beautiful neighborhoods.  The crowd support is huge and the race organizers did an incredible job.  The volunteers were super supportive along the course.  Mainly, the charity that the proceeds go towards gives back to the local community!  If you haven’t run a RAM Racing event before, add this one to your list for a short beautiful course.

2017 Ravenswood Run

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Ravenswood Run 5K 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 RAM Racing #RavenswoodRun 5K is in 13 days (My birthday!) and my knee will most certainly be tested.  With yet another setback, my goal of getting a 5K PR will once again be put on hold.  I will however, be running the race for the incredible charity.

The charity this year is the Ravenswood Community Services Food Pantry.  And, it provides groceries, meals and more to neighbors throughout Ravenswood and surrounding neighborhoods.  They are asking that you bring a food item with you when you pick-up your packet at Fleet Feet Sports or on race day. If you choose to make a monetary donation you can do so during online registration or at packet pick-up.  The website for more information is here.

Another great part of this community event is the pancake breakfast which immediately follows the race.  For a simple $10 donation, you can eat a delicious pancake breakfast knowing that all of the proceeds go directly to the charity and helping someone else get a meal!

You can still register for the race here and if you use the code BibRaveRR17, you will get some this awesome water bottle at your packet pickup!
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Check out all of their social media presence here:

https://www.ravenswoodrun.com/
Twitter: @ramracing
Instagram: @ramracingorg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RamRacingOrg/

How do you stay positive?

You sustained an injury.  It wasn’t planned.  They never are.  You’ve taken all of the precautions you could but yet, you still sit on the sidelines and can’t do the things you enjoy any longer.  For me, it’s the running and the obstacle course races.  So how do you recover?  How do you get back safely and try to avoid it ever happening again?  How do you try to be positive when recovery is taking everything you’ve got?

Herein lies the problem for me.  I live a fast paced life and everything I do is always so intense.  Maybe it’s the career choice I have in being a career firefighter/paramedic and need the adrenalin rush.  I think I’ve always chosen the excitement of challenging myself in every aspect of my life from sports to jobs.  That’s why I fell in love with the sports of running, trail racing, and OCR races.  I sustained a serious injury doing just that and it changed me.

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Last year, I tore my quadriceps tendon running the Chicago Marathon.  This came after thousands of training miles for my first marathon and it didn’t end the way I intended.  Surgery was the only viable option if I wanted to get back to what I loved doing.  Well, the surgery and the rehab wasn’t the difficult part.  It was the mental aspect of sitting back and watching my friends run the races I really wanted to be part of.  I still received tons of support from my fellow runners but something was missing.  I needed to be okay with not training and I wasn’t.  I wouldn’t say that I was depressed, but maybe I was.  I’m not used to being the one that needed help.  I was always the one who offered the help.  Being stubborn is easier.

I’m now 4 months post surgery and it’s still hard to maintain the level of fitness I had before the injury.  I know it’s still early and I’ll be working hard to get back but it gets harder as the weather gets nicer.  There are good days and bad days with my knee and I think that signing up for races in mid summer and fall is driving me to work hard and see that attainable goal.  There is still that voice in the back of my head that wonders if I’ll ever be 100%.

So, how do you stay positive?  Well, my advice to you would be to never bottle it all in.  Take the time to talk to people.  Talk to those who have been through similar injuries.  Talk to people you feel comfortable with.  Talk with someone.  Being positive isn’t always easy but sometimes it makes the process go faster.

Luvo Meals

Disclaimer: I received a free supply of Luvo meals 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!”

Being part of BibRave, we get to try out some great products for running, fitness, health, biking, and nutrition.  This time, I got to try the Luvo healthy meals.  I’ve heard from many other BibRave Pros about these go to meals and just how good they are.  I was excited to give them a try after searching a few grocery stores to find the exact ones I wanted.  Most of the markets near me had the Luvo steamed meals but the bowls were a tad harder to find.  Well, after trying a few stores, I found the one that had a great assortment.

The steamed meals I tried were all excellent and really hit the spot knowing that you’re eating healthier options.  I think that the Red Wine Braised Beef and Polenta was my favorite of the steamed meals.

The bowls…now these are where it’s at!  I loved the ease of cooking and the perfect selection of meals.  Hands down, the best one I had was the Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese.

The Luvo meals come in a few selections below:

Steam in Pouch™ Meals – Veggies, whole grains & protein in our signature pouch
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Bowls – Veggies, whole grains & protein – in our convenient paperboard bowl
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Planted™ Power Bowls – Veggies, whole grains & plant protein – in our convenient paperboard bowl
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Breakfasts – Whole grain and high protein options

All in all, my freezer will continue to have an assortment of the Luvo meals simply because they taste good as well as being healthy options.  The price is fair and the ease of cooking is enough to make a fan out of me.  The portion size is perfect and the tastes don’t fuse like many other frozen meals.  I look forward to seeing future meal flavors!

Check out the reviews from my fellow BibRave Pros:
Mai, Lindsey, Jeannine, Angie, Sam, Heather, Emily, Jeremy,

 

 

Orange Mud Gear Quiver

If you are a trail runner or a runner in general and you don’t know about Orange Mud, then you are truly missing out!  I’ve been a fan for a few years after testing out the Single Barrel HydraQuiver through BibRave.  Today’s blog review is on the Gear Quiver.

From the Orange Mud site: “The Gear Quiver is a shoulder mounted pack designed to hold your cell phone, electronics, nutrition, etc in a low profile, breathable, super light design. Perfect for lunch time runs, mountain bike rides where bottles are on your bike, and races where hydration isn’t a concern. Many are using handheld water bottles in conjunction with this pack for long events. The rear cargo is secured via a top sliding YKK zipper that you can access on the fly. A soft running flask or running water bottle can be put in the back in a pinch too. Inside of it is a pocket for big phones like your Iphone 6+, even in a case.”

  • 4 way stretch shoulder pockets for nutrition, electronics, chapstick, etc.
  • Rear 4 way stretch back panel has an interior pocket designed to fit an iPhone 6+ in a Lifeproof case and plenty of room for a light jacket or shirt.
  • Have a tablet phone? We know some of you do, the elastic rear cargo can hold that.
  • Weight 5.7 oz, 162 grams
  • Reflective trim for night time safety.
  • It fits a 1 liter bladder quite well too.

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I’m really loving it and find myself seldom running without it.  I’ve been travelling a lot and the pack is perfect for holding my phone and hotel key as well as some ID and money in case I run past a pizza or taco place!  It’s extremely light and comfortable and easy to wear.  The reflective stripe on the back is perfect for low visibility activities.  There is also surprisingly tons of storage in such a small pack.  It comes in three different colors: black, grey/orange, and pink.

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