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’m so excited to be running the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon in Louisville, Kentucky this fall.  I’ve been wanting to run this for the last couple of year after seeing some fellow BibRave Pros blogs and posts about it.  Also, since I’m not running a marathon this fall, it’s a perfect opportunity to run this half and go for that PR!

Besides running a fun bourbon themed race, I’m looking forward to seeing that cool medal in my hands and the post race 4 course bourbon themed dinner hosted by one of my favorite chefs, Edward Lee.  I’m a bit of a foodie so this is right up my alley.

This gives me 262 days to train for speed and endurance!  If you’d like to join me,  use the code “BourbonRave2018” to save 10% on your race entry and this is valid from February 1st!


Athlinks is partnering with BibRave!

“Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks 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!”

BibRave has partnered with Athlinks!!  Check out the article here!

So what is Athlinks?  It’s the largest database of race results for just about every running, biking, obstacle course, and triathlon race out there.  They’ll find the results and add them to the database and link them to your account.  You can also search out your results and claim them so it gets added to your page!

The Overview page lists all of your personal records, statistics, and upcoming races.  There are pages for more details on these races on your Results or Statistics pages.  It also lists just how many races you’ve been in as well the mileage and how you rank amongst other Athlinks members.


The Results page is a more detailed collection of your races by year with your pace and how you fair against racers of the same sex or age.  It’s a great collection of your accomplishments so you know just how you’re doing.



The Rivals page is a little competitive feature where you can see how you do against your friends or people you follow.  There is a tally of your wins/losses for races that you have participated in together!  This is such a fun option of the app and gives you a little friendly competition.

Rivals (2).jpg

The Statistics page gives you all of your personal best races for each distance of race and the percentage of how you finished compared to others.


Claim your race results between now and January 8 and you’ll be entered to win a free 2018 race entry to events like Spartan, Leadville, Chicago Half Marathon, and Miami Marathon or a one-year premium TrainingPeaks subscription!  Check it out here!



Here is my page if you’d like to follow and become my rival!


Running my first 50 mile trail race!

I know I said I’d never run another half marathon after my first years back.  I also said I’d never run another marathon after ripping my quad tendon in 2016.  I am the person who said I’d never ever run an ultra.

Well now this is awkward.  I’m signed up for the Mohican 50 mile trail race in Ohio this June.  I can’t believe I’m actually saying that.  This will be quite an undertaking and thankfully I have a running coach who can assist me in my needs.  The exciting part will be the terrain and scenery on the trails.  I’ve watched so many Youtube videos on the race and am really looking forward to the challenge.

It will be a challenge!  50 freaking miles!!  Honestly, I’m not thinking about a finish time or race goal and am taking the time to just enjoy the experience and test my limits.  I’ll rest when I need to and eat when I need to.  I’ll take some videos and action shots and meet new people.

Stay tuned to training posts and how much more excited I get as race time nears!

So long 2017

With only a few days remaining in 2017, I looked back on this year and can say that it wasn’t half bad.  It didn’t start at all the way I had hoped but I came back from that setback thanks to the amazing support from friends and family.  I made some great new friends and met some of them in person.  I ran with some of my favorite people in a bunch of races and I got the opportunity to be part of the BibRave, Orange Mud, and AfterShokz families!  Let’s take a look at how things went…

This is how I spent the winter months after having surgery to repair a torn quad and subsequently a bout with Bell’s Palsy.  I ended up kicking major ass during my rehabilitation and came back earlier than I thought I would. My orthopedic surgeon and my physical therapist would say I pushed it and they’re probably not wrong.

My first race back was the Ravenswood Run 5K that I apparently was not prepared for so soon after surgery.  It was truly hard to get back in the saddle.  It felt as if my lungs were going to explode during this race!


Next came one of my favorite races, the North Shore Classic half marathon.  I run this every year and did pretty well in years past but once again, I fell short of my goal but still got to run with some of my favorites!


My next race for the season was a race I’ve always wanted to run and that was the Rock N Roll half marathon.  It was hot on this day…really hot!  Days like this are tough to run in but when you have awesome friends, it makes it all worth it!


August brought me my all time favorite race and that’s the Fort 2 Base 10 nautical miler from Fort Sheridan to Great Lake Naval Base.  I was a tad slower than last year but definitely felt myself getting stronger.  My surgeon said that with my type of surgery, it would take a full year to be 100% and I was starting to notice how much better I felt.


September brought me the Chicago Half Marathon and another race I’ve always wanted to run because of the incredible huge medals.  The weather for this race was in the upper 80’s and was just brutal to finish.  I ran/walked the last few miles of the race and was so dehydrated.


Then came Chicago Marathon weekend and the International 5K on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday.  The 5K was tons of fun and a great warmup/shakeout run before the big race.  The marathon was supposed to be my redemption race after last years attempt and tearing of my quad tendon.  Well, it didn’t quite turn out how I planned.  I just don’t think I trained the right way for this distance and my knee started to get fatigued half way through.  While I did finish, it just wasn’t how I wanted to.



I finished my 2017 race season in a very special way running the first race I ever ran, the Hot Chocolate 5K.

So, where does this leave me?  I can’t be too frustrated with this past year after some setbacks and I’m harder on myself than I should be.  I was probably just upset that I had a great 2016 and PR’d so many races that I thought that would continue into 2017.  It was a challenge and a fun one at that.  I learned so much about myself and what my limitations are.  2018 is going to be the year I take my health and my training seriously and have already decided on a running coach and picking just the right races for me.  You’ll see me at these races (So far) for 2018:

  • North Shore Classic Half Marathon (Highland Park, IL)
  • Mohican 50 Mile Trail Race (Ohio)
  • Spartan Super Race (Chicago)
  • Fort 2 Base 10 Nautical Miler (Fort Sheridan, IL)
  • 9/11 Heroes Run in full firefighter gear (Chicago)
  • Golden Leaf Half Marathon (Colorado)
  • Hot Chocolate 15K (Chicago)

Thanks to these people and many more for a great 2017 and I hope to see more in 2018!




New Years Eve 5K

“Disclaimer: I’m promoting the New Years Eve 5K 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!”

Are you looking for a fun short 5K race before you begin your New Years Eve festivities? Chicago Sport & Social Club is hosting this year’s 5K and it will start and end at the Theater on the Lake. The scenic 5K loop runs along Lincoln Park and the Lakefront. All runners will receive a custom winter wearable and finisher toast and will be greeted with hot chocolate and warming blankets at the finish line. There’s no better way to start your day and earn your right to party into the New Year!


5k registration fees
$45.00 – Nov 28-Dec 23
$55.00 – Dec 24-Dec 31

Packet Pick-Up
Saturday, December 30
Fleet Feet Sports, Old Town (1620 N. Wells St.)
11am – 5 pm


Race Day
Race Village – Theater on the Lake
2401 N. Lakeshore Drive
7:30am – 8:30am

The New Year’s Eve 5K is proud to support Special Olympics Chicago as the charity partner.

Event Times
7:30am – gear check opens
8:30am – group stretch & warm up
8:45am – start corral opens
9:00am – 5k race begins
9:30am – post race celebration
12:00pm – celebration ends

My thoughts on not running Chicago in 2018

I’ll have to be honest that I sat around most of the day waiting to hear if I got into the 2018 Chicago Marathon.  After finishing 2017, I told everyone that I was retiring from marathons.  It’s been hard on the body, the mind, and the training was timely.  I could barely walk after the race and my knees were just fed up.  Crossing the finish line was a lot of work and the way I trained was just not right for me.  Don’t even get me started on what happened in 2016!  The support I had was immense as is common in the running community.  I needed to prove something to myself to do better than I did.  That’s primarily why I opted in to the 2018 lottery.

I woke up to many friends excited about getting in and as I watched the social media posts throughout the day, I was optimistic that I’d be toeing the line with them.  Then around 2:30pm, I got this…

2018 Marathon.jpg

At first, I felt like I got punched in the stomach and talked to a few friends and then immediately posted my disappointment on social media.  Taking a step back, I looked at the big picture .  I never thought I’d attempt to be a runner, let alone a marathon and was fortunate enough to run the Chicago Marathon twice.  I made some incredible running friends and felt like I was taking away their joy of getting in.  Reality and what is important should be my main focus.

So, where am I going with all of this?  2018 will be my year of taking my training seriously.  My goals:

  • Hire a running coach
  • PR my 5K
  • PR my half marathon
  • Run a 50 miler trail race
  • Travel a little more to destination races
  • Meet more running friends
  • Volunteer and/or support my friends at next years marathon



Another year as a BibRave Pro!

2018 will be my third year as a BibRave Pro and I’m lucky to be part of such a great family.  I probably still run today thanks to this group of supportive runners.  Aside from the online support, I’ve been fortunate to meet and call many of them my friends.  I hope that 2018 brings me closer to meeting many more in person.

So for those that don’t know what a BibRave Pro is, I’ll lay it out for you!  Simply put, it’s a great motivated group of runners and athletes that are active on social media and love everything about running, races, and gear.  We wear the orange, we run the races, we promote the events, we try out the gear.  BibRave Pros are privileged to have their race entries covered for promoting everything about the race, from the registration to the expos, to the finish parties!  Then, there’s the gear and equipment!  I’ve been lucky to test out some of the best gear out there like AfterShokz, Orange Mud, Under Armour, Garmin, BOCO Gear, Knuckle Lights, and tons more.  See my pics below for some more goodies that I’ve tested out.

Some of the gear I’ve tested!

Some of the races!

Join us on every Tuesday evening at 8pm CST for #BibChat on Twitter.  We discuss all of the intricacies of running and host some great companies with prizes each week!


Knuckle Lights COLORS – Review

“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!”

If you run anytime at dusk or dawn or in low light conditions, Knuckle Lights COLORS is a must have piece of gear!  Many of my runs are in the early hours or more often at dusk since my days are pretty busy.  I was never one to “be visible” when I ran in low light conditions and I should know better being a paramedic!  Now that I’m older and wiser, I take safety a lot more serious.  Aside from wearing bright clothing, I wanted to try the Knuckle Lights out since many of my fellow running friends use them and had nothing but positive things to say.


Right out of the package, I was surprised just how light and comfortable they were.  The set of lights comes with AA batteries ready to go.  The hand strap is adjustable for just about any sized hand with a simple adjustment to the silicone strap.  Being only 3 ounces, they are perfect for any distance run or hike.  The power switch is in a perfect spot for your thumb and the lights come in three settings depending on your needs.

On my first use, I was pleasantly surprised just how bright the high setting was and comfortable to carry.  I used to run and bike with a headlamp and just didn’t like how it squeezed my head.  Plus, I had to move my head around to light up the area I was looking for.  With the Knuckle Lights, I could point and shoot a bright beam of light wherever I wanted.  The ease of use is a huge plus with a simple push of the button to change the setting.  I’m not sure how long the battery will work on high beams, but I’ve seen other BibRave Pros saying that you can get around 4 hours on high, 8 hours on low, and 12 hours on flashers.

Some additional features:

120 TOTAL LUMENS — The extra bright lights emit a wide flood beam, providing a steady, even light in front of you that does not bounce, even with your arms moving.
2 LIGHTS PER SET — The units connect together magnetically. The soft silicone straps are easily adjusted to fit any size hand and even over gloves. The units are almost unnoticeable at less than 3 ounces each.
3 POWER SETTINGS — High, Low and Blinking.
BATTERIES INCLUDED — Each unit operates on 1 X AA battery
WATERPROOF — The units are fully waterproof and can be used in any type of weather, and will operate in below freezing temperatures down to -20 Celsius.

If you’re interested in getting yourself a pair, the lights retail for $39.99, and you can save 15% using the code “BIBRAVEPRO” at the Knuckle Lights website.

Join us for @BibChat on Tuesday, December 5th at 8pm CST for your chance to win!

Please read the reviews from some of my fellow BibRave Pros:
Katie, Vanessa, Casey, Sam, Mike, Heather,

BOCO Gear 360 Visor and Hat

“Disclaimer: I received a free BOCO 360° Visor® and Run Hat 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 anything about me, then you know I have an extensive collection of hats and visors.  Close to 200 hats hang in my garage awaiting their turn to sit on my head!  I was eager to try out the BOCO Gear 360° Visor® and Hat.  Their website lists some impressive organizations and companies that use their line of hats, visors, and other gear like IRONMAN®, Ragnar, Hoka, GU, Cervélo, and Clif Bar.

Considering I pretty much live outdoors and ALWAYS wear hats, I’m always looking for something that fits well, looks cool, and will last with my lifestyle.  Hats get tons of wear and tear with me and once I find that perfect fit, I wear it until it pretty much falls off.  I was pleasantly surprised at the bright bold orange colors on the BibRave 360° Visor® and hat right out of the package.  They were both lightweight yet you could tell were made with quality.

The 360° Visor®

  • Lightweight wicking materials outside
  • Wicking internal sweatband to move sweat from your forehead
  • Soft brushed elastic back for comfort and fit
  • Relaxed fit front panel for a better performance and comfort
  • Curved bill
  • Machine washable

For the most part, I used the 360° Visor® on each and every run for the last month and that included some aggressive hiking and rainy day runs.  The visor held up extremely well and did not lose its shape or even fade after a few washes.  I became notorious for my orange visor on my runs and races.  I really like how it feels on my head and the feel does not “squeeze” and give me a headache after longtime wear.  The hat was my go-to for mountain biking and didn’t disappoint.  I wore it both forward and backwards (when I decided to bike fast and hard!”

Check out the great selection of hats , visors, and gear as well as their social media links:

Please read the reviews from some of my fellow BibRave Pros:
Amanda, Amy, Amy S, Angie, Bradley, Connie, Dane, Fallon, Gina, Heather, Jeannine, Jessica, Jonathan, Kolbe, Lindsey, Lisa, Mai, Mark, Matthew, Meredith, Nora, Vanessa

Garmin Forerunner 935 Review

“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’ve been using the Garmin Forerunner 935 religiously for the last month and have learned so much from the time I started.  My training has been adjusted by the data obtained from the watch.  There is so much data that is recorded and shared with the Garmin Connect app every time it syncs.  It took just a short while to understand what all of the numbers mean and it was pretty user friendly.  While I kept a dozen or so widgets on the Forerunner 935, I’m reviewing a few of my most used features below.

Sleeping Patterns – Being a career firefighter, my sleep patterns are anything but normal.  While on duty, I’m lucky to get 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  After using the watch and syncing it to my iPhone and the Garmin Connect app for the last month, I’m seeing the times when I move throughout the night and jump into deep sleep patterns or movement.  It was eye opening to see how much light sleeping or moving I’m doing throughout the night.  Once synced with my iPhone, the chart shows how much movement I am having throughout the night.  I was pretty shocked to see how much unproductive sleep I was getting and wondering why I was so tired in the mornings.  While setting up the watch, you can tailor it to your specific needs and wants including how much sleep you expect each evening.  If you reach your goal, the Garmin Connect app checks it off of your list and then compares it on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.


Training Status/Productivity – The Forerunner 935 has opened my eyes to how ineffective or effective my running and productivity really is.  It’s letting me know when my training was sufficient for my body needs and when I need to rest.  I learned when my body needed rest and actually how much rest depending on the quality of my workout and activity.  The watch would tell you exactly just how many hours you should let your body recover.  I found it to be very accurate compared to how my body or my legs felt.  Knowing when I was improving or needed to push myself just a little harder to get the results I was looking for.  This is one of the main reasons that I LOVE this watch.

IMG_7466.JPG  IMG_7369.JPG

Heart Rate – Having SVT, I monitor my heart rate quite a bit throughout the day.  I love the option of the optic heart rate and 4 hour HR history on the Forerunner 935.  Any time I run, I’m using another heart rate monitor around my chest to sync to the watch.  It synced right away by putting the monitor a couple of inches away from the watch and connects automatically when the run begins.  Setting the maximum and minimum HR levels also allows me to work in the correct zones for training or fat burning.  The additional HR monitor is not necessary as the optic reading on the back of the Forerunner 935 is pretty accurate.  It’s also great to see which HR zones I am working in and where I should be.  Many of my workouts have been in Zone 3 and 4 and shows me that I need to adjust and increase my cardio-respiratory endurance.


HR Zones.jpg

All in all, I am really impressed with the features and ease of use in this Forerunner.  My previous watch was so archaic compared to the 935.  I look forward to continuing my experience with the Forerunner and applying the results into my training especially when marathon training comes up.  I’ve purchased a few of the QuickFit® bands in a plethora of colors and they were super easy to switch out.  You can see more details/features here or purchase one for yourself!

Please read the reviews from some of my fellow BibRave Pros: Angie, Brenda, Casey, Emily, Gina, Heather, Jenna, Lindsey, Lisa, Mai, Mark, Meredith, Ryan, Samantha, Vanessa

Yiannis Christodoulou

European & National Aquathlon Champion (Age Group), GB Aquathlon team captain, 2021 National Sprint Triathlon Runner Up (AG) Representing Great Britain in the 2022 World & European Triathlon Championships (Age Group)

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