REVIEW: MetCon START Pre-Training

Disclaimer: I received MetCon Start Pre-Training Supplement 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 not exactly what you would call a morning person. However, I do enjoy running and working out in the morning, just not that whole “waking up and getting out of a cozy bed” routine. Who does?! Once I’m up and starting to get set for what’s ahead – whether that is a workout, a run, or just heading off to work – I’m not quite at 100% go-go-go level yet. Thankfully, there’s something in my pantry that has definitely helped get my days off to a good START – MetCon START!

So, What is it?

MetCon START is a pre-training supplement, designed to give athletes a little extra boost before a workout or just to get the day started. Not only does START replenish essential vitamins and electrolytes, but it also provides a sustained release of energy – perfect for a long run across town or a short trip around the block. MetCon START also isn’t complicated at all. One scoop of the powder (scoop provided in container) into 12oz of water, shake, and GO.

Why I Like It

  • START is banned substance free. With the sport of running coming under fire it seems fairly regularly for doping, it is always good to know that I can trust a product that I am putting into my body.
  • START mixes QUICKLY and easily. I was pleasantly surprised at how well and how fast START dissolved. No awkward powder taste after mixing, which has been a common downside with other similar products I have tried.
  • START doesn’t hit with one big jolt. Again, unlike other similar supplements, START gradually releases that boost of energy rather than dropping a one-and-done hit. There’s the tingle that comes with that energy release that I look forward to every single time I use it!
  • START tastes pretty good, too. This one is at the bottom of my list, not because it’s bad, but because there were so many pro’s ahead of it. To me, it tastes like a mild fruit punch – perhaps a bit on the citric side. No rough after taste either, which is always a plus!
  • Finallythe price point. At $49.99, START is comparable to similar products out there that provide a similar result. HOWEVER, what sets it apart – especially from a particular pre-workout supplement I had been using – is that START can be purchased across multiple platforms.

Final Thoughts

There aren’t too many products that get the crossover treatment for me – for running and for everything else. MetCon START checks the boxes though and gives me a product that I can use before any workout/run, before heading out to chase the lawnmower, or first thing before heading to work.

As with any supplement, your mileage (see what I did there?) will vary, but there’s only one way to figure out if this is something to include in your routine – TRY IT for yourself!


Head over to MetCon now and use the code BIBRAVE for 20% off a one-time purchase or an additional 20% off your first subscription order.

 

REVIEW: Buff Pack Run Visor

Disclaimer: I received a BUFF Pack Run Visor to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!


Over the last few weeks, I’ve been fortunate to test out another product from one of my favorite brands – BUFF. I have acquired multiple versions of their multifunction headwear and have tested out their DryFlx hats in the past as well. This brand has more than earned my attention – and my trust – over the last few years. When the opportunity came around to try something new – I obviously jumped at the chance!

This time around its their Pack Run Visor. Historically, I have not been a visor guy. Up until the last few years, I didn’t really even wear hats on any of my runs. But just as I’ve come around and have incorporated hats into my running gear rotation, I feel as if this visor has easily found a place in the mix as well. Let me tell you why.

SPECS

The Pack Run Visor is a super light, wicking, breathable visor that is able to pack down incredibly small without losing its shape. I love the fact that I can cram a visor in my pocket, take it out, put it on, and it still looks and feels like it always had. This visor is a one-size product that will fit most people, thanks to the 4-Way ULTRA STRETCH built in and is made up of 95% recycled material.

MY THOUGHTS

First off, the most noticeable aspect about the Pack Run Visor is that it is incredibly light. So light in fact that when I received it in the mail, I honestly thought I had been sent an empty package by mistake! It is possible to almost forget that it is on when it is due to the lack of weight. However, I do remember that it is there. There is a seam along the inside of the visor behind the bill that hits my forehead just so that it is somewhat uncomfortable at times, but it’s not every time I wear it so I can definitely let that slide.

(Side note: I’m pretty sure that’s truly the only “negative” I have been able to find with this visor.)

To me, a good hat or visor is defined by the bill. It has to have a good shape to do the job. This visor will make you think that the bill is much less rigid than it really is. To that point, I was concerned a “flappy bill” would make the visor less secure and more susceptible to high winds. NOPE. Once the visor is on, this thing stays put. The visor’s bill takes its rightful place (and shape) once the visor is on and it even feels like a proper piece of head gear.

Finally, the ability of the Pack Run Visor to STRETCH (and subsequently collapse) is fantastic. I didn’t really appreciate the stretchiness at first. The visor felt too much like a headband to me, but that’s a feeling I quickly moved past. This visor not only does the job as a hat/sun shade, but it way it fits on my head also allows it to serve as a sweat guard. That stretch and one-size design packs a double punch of awesome and function. If I want to ditch the visor, but not have to put it in a bag then dig it back out again, I can wrap the visor around my wrist (similar to a rubber band) for easy access!

CLOSING THOUGHTS

BUFF continues to impress me every single time I try something new from them. The Pack Run Visor is the kind of flexible and lightweight item every runner should have. I’d definitely consider this visor as something I’d be comfortable taking out on runs more regularly – or even as a casual item just to wear around town. I may not have been a visor guy before, but I might be one now!

HOW DO I GET ONE?

Head over to Buff’s website and sign up for their newsletter to get 15% off.

RECAP: Global 24 Hour Relay

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Global 24 Hour Relay 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!


On June 3rd – which happened to be Global Running Day – I participated in a virtual run. My first ever virtual run. My first ever virtual run relay. I participated in the Global 24 Hour Relay – and I liked it.

As I said in a previous post – this year is different!

I joined up with many of my fellow BibRave Pro’s as well as other runners from across the world to relay run for 24 hours.I’m typically more of a solo runner, so the idea of a virtual run relay had me a bit skeptical at first. My trepidation subsided quickly, because it really was as simple as me just going out for another “normal” run – but this time, someone somewhere was waiting for me to finish! The event started at 12midnight with designated runners taking off on a 30 minute run. At the conclusion of the 30 minutes, that runner would “pass the baton” to the next runner via text message and this continued every 30 minutes until 11:59pm later that same night.
To make the event a little more of a “team” feel (remember it was a RELAY after all), the organizers had participants select which of the provided major cities they wanted to represent. Since there were none of the major Ohio cities to choose from, I opted for the next closest and repped Team Detroit. Definitely helped me get more into the mindset of the event knowing I’d have a team to help push and celebrate with – even if we weren’t actually together.
 
On the day of the event, I received my email about who I’d be “passing the baton” to after my segment. I had now I this is where it took a bit of a turn. However, I had no idea who would be passing it to me though – which Ididn’t mind. What was somewhat demoralizing though was that it appeared on the team page that I was the only one on Team Detroit, which came into play when my turn to run came around. 

When it was time for me to head out, I totally expected some form of text – wishing me good luck, or to have fun, or something along those lines. Nothing. In any other year, I might be willing to be more critical of the event or the organizers, but this has been a weird year. There are likely a ton of reasons why I didn’t get my “baton” text. Maybe there wasn’t a runner scheduled before me? Maybe there was and they forgot? Maybe they mistyped my number? Honestly though, it’s okay! I still hit the start button on my watch and headed out, solo – like I usually do, and cranked out another 30 minute run and THAT’S the most important thing. So that’s what I did – I ran around my neighborhood for 30 minutes. When I got home, I shot a text to Bambi (who I don’t know) and let her know that it was time to start her leg of the relay. And that was it – my leg was over, I had passed the “baton”, and it was time to relax!
Towards the end of June, each participant received their swag, which included an event t-shirt and a medal – just like one would receive at an in-person event. The medal definitely grabs your attention with the various colors and awesome design, which makes me immediately think of the state flag of Arizona for some reason.

Ultimately, virtual runs aren’t typically my cup of tea and aren’t something I gravitate toward. This event has opened my mind a little bit more to the idea, though. That’s helpful considering most (if not all) of my races the rest of the year have gone virtual.

I did enjoy the event though and would consider doing something like it again in the future. It definitely helped me feel connected to others, despite not being able to connect in person with others.

Global 24 Hour Relay

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Global 24 Hour Relay 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!

I’ve never really been big on participating in anything on Global Running Day. This year is different.

 

As another runner who runs fairly consistent to begin with, the idea of doing a virtual run – let alone a virtual relay – doesn’t typically get me excited. But again, this year is different.

 

This year, honestly – I need this, as do so many others.

Global Running Day is a yearly event where runners from across the globe gather together* and celebrate all things running. And, as you might expect – this year is different. Runners of all abilities have felt the impact of the global pandemic. It seems like everywhere one looks, races have been postponed or simply cancelled. Personally, I had a few events I was hoping to do in the spring, but they – like so many others – have been moved to dates in the fall. Hopefully, those events will still take place. In the meantime, runners have had to move away from in-person group runs and get their group running experience in more non-traditional ways – such as the Global 24 Hour Relay!

 

The Global 24 Hour Relay is just what it sounds like – a “team” relay event that begins at 12:00am on June 3 and finishes at 11:59pm with each runner running a 30-minute segment before “passing the baton” to the next person via text/phone/or email.

So how do I get in on this?

  • Pick Your Team
  • Pick Your Time
  • Run! (on Wednesday, June 3)

On Global Running Day, each runner will receive a text/email/or phone call letting them know it’s time to start their “leg” of the event. At that point, the participant will run/jog/walk/hike/etc for 30 minutes before messaging the next person…and the cycle continues from midnight to midnight!

What do I get?

All participants will receive a medal and t-shirt to be mailed out later in June. Additionally, all participants are entered to win some pretty slick giveaways from companies such as Garmin and Maurten!

Can I Still Register?!

YES!! You can still get in on this, but you have to do it QUICKLY! Registration ends TODAY (June 1) at 11:59pm! Head over to https://www.global24hourrelay.com/ to get registered. 

Celebrating EARTH DAY…during a pandemic

Disclaimer: I received a pair of sunglasses from Knockaround to promote Earth Day and plogging (picking up trash while jogging) 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 campaign…did NOT…go as planned. *sigh*

As a BibRave Pro, opportunities come up from time to time to test out and review products in the running space. Other times, we get the chance to run in some really amazing races. However, sometimes the opportunities aren’t so much to highlight a product, but to put the focus on something bigger – like a cause or a celebration.

THIS particular campaign was to be focused on the idea of plogging (picking up trash while jogging/running) and to be a celebration leading up to Earth Day. For me, as I mentioned at the top, it did not quite go as planned.

***

I was really energized for this campaign and the lead up to Earth Day. Why? This campaign was to be different than previous efforts. It wasn’t simply a review and report. It wasn’t a recap. It was a call-to-action that would get me out of my running comfort zone a little bit. So, on April 1, I set out on a run and managed to fill up a plastic grocery bag with garbage found along my route.

I was really proud of this small accomplishment and it made me much more aware and appreciative of what it means to truly take ownership of one’s community. The amount of trash I didn’t pick up was much more than I could handle on this run and the run that followed. I was actually really excited to continue for the next few weeks – perhaps even longer. However, a much larger issue was about to have an even bigger impact on my efforts.

COVID-19. Ugh.

While I was already using gloves on my runs in order to be a little bit safer while plogging, I couldn’t help but allow this larger issue take up space in my mind. The What-If’s started to flow in and I decided that I plogging would have to wait. HOWEVER, this didn’t mean I couldn’t run – much the opposite, in fact!

I still got out there and got my miles. I was more energized to run than I have been in recent weeks, probably because I needed to get out of the house! Solo miles around the neighborhood. Stroller miles with Shalane. Some very fast dog-assisted miles as well. Even kicked off my effort to run every street in my hometown of Grove City.

My plogging plan might have been altered, but I genuinely think the overarching idea still held true – I was able to be outside and take advantage of what Mother Nature had to offer. Cloudy days. Sunny days. Seeing MANY more people out and about than normal. Being able to run with less traffic to fight. Hell, I even hugged a tree – something I didn’t think I’d ever document, but here it is! I was even able to get the Mrs to join in on the fun!

The stay-at-home orders and COVID-19 have definitely changed things in all aspects of life. It’s important though to see the changes – positive changes – that are coming out of all of this, like People being neighborly and helping one another. But it’s the environmental impact that’s even more noticeable – less cars on the road, less smog, fewer people just dropping their trash for someone else to pick up.

Perhaps I’ll be the one to pick up some of that crap as I’m hopeful that I’ll get another shot at plogging in the near future. But for now, I’m happy that I was able to celebrate Earth Day in a kickass pair of sunglasses and enjoy each run.


If you want to snag a pair of Knockaround sunglasses for yourself, use code BibRaveKnocks4 and save 20% on your entire order. 


BONUS CONTENT!

To finish out my Knockaround Earth Day celebration, I decided to join in on a digital high-five on Saturday with my friend and fellow BibRave Pro, Bill Brent. Little did I know, Saturday was Bill’s birthday!! Glad to share this high-five with a great person like Bill – Happy Birthday, bud!

REVIEW: Built Bar

Disclaimer: I received three boxes of Built Bars 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’m always looking for new ways to take in food on the run as well as before & after. I’ve tried gels, assorted bars, and so on. Some have worked. Some haven’t. The key point always remains though – still on the lookout for the things I’ll like and go back to down the road. Keeping with that search, I can say honestly that I’ve never tried Built Bar before, so when BibRave put out a call to test and review – I didn’t think twice.

LET’S TALK BUILT BAR

So, what makes Built Bar different from all the other protein bars out there? A significant amount of the protein bars on the market are dense, gritty, and difficult to chew. Built Bar does not fit that model. What you get is a protein bar that is roughly the size of a regular size candy bar. In fact, some who have reviewed Built Bar have even said that certain flavors taste similar to popular candy bars!

I received 3 boxes of Built Bars to try out of various flavors. One box contained Coconut Almond bars, one box had Peanut Butter bars, and the third was a mixed box of flavors – very much a grab-bag of bars! In the mixed box, I found the following bar flavors: 
  • Banana Chocolate Creme
  • Black Cherry Chocolate Creme
  • Double Chocolate Mousse
  • Orange Chocolate Creme – one of my favorites!
  • Mint Brownie Delite
  • Raspberry Chocolate Creme
  • Salted Caramel Chocolate
  • Vanilla Chocolate Creme

Of all the flavors I was able to try, I’d say the Orange Chocolate Creme and the Salted Caramel Chocolate were at the top of my list as favorites. Unfortunately, there has to be someone at the other end of the spectrum as well. If I’m being honest, the Coconut Almond was my least favorite of the flavors, but even with that said – I still actually enjoyed it. I can’t really explain it other than I’m not really a fan of coconut, but somehow the combination with almond actually helped!

TEXTURE

Like I mentioned earlier, Built Bar is NOT your run-of-the-mill protein bar. It looks like a candy bar and it feels like one too, but perhaps a bit more tough. I can’t lie – they aren’t the easiest to chew at times, but the flavors more than make up for that. Pro tip: pop your Built Bars in the fridge for a few hours for a different experience. Some of my fellow BibRave Pros have reported that this helps with the chewiness…others disagree. Personally, I’m still undecided. Regardless, they taste great and make for a good pre/post workout snack or something to get you through that mid-afternoon snack craving in the office.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Going into this, I wasn’t sure if I was going to come out on this side as a fan of Built Bar simply because I’ve tried so many different protein bars in the past. However, I can say that I am pleasantly surprised with how much I like them. Hell, even my mother-in-law has tried a few during a recent visit and continues to let me know how much SHE liked them, too!

Ready to give Built Bars a try? Visit builtbar.com and order yours. Remember to use code BUILTNOW for 20% off your order!

REVIEW: Aftershokz Aeropex / Wine and Dine Sweepstakes

Disclaimer: I received Aftershokz Aeropex headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro and in return for promoting the Aftershokz Wine & Dine Sweepstakes (sweepstakes has ended). Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!


Can we talk about podcasts for a moment? I used to despise them. My wife has listened to them for years and it would cause me to leave whatever room she was in so that I wouldn’t have to hear them. I thought they were boring and couldn’t understand why someone would listen to someone drone on…and on…for 30-45-60-90 minutes at a time.

BUT, in mid-2017, I had a change of heart. I became aware of a podcast that coincided with a weekly online discussion I had been participating in at the suggestion of a friend called #bibchat. I decided to give podcasts a chance and began listening to a little podcast called “The BibRave Podcast(…with your hosts, Julia and Tim). Pretty sure the first ever episode I listened to from start to finish was Episode 38: Power from Balancebut I digress.

Fast forward almost 3 years and you’ll find that podcasts are now my go-to listening when I head out on my runs. While it’s enjoyable to sometimes focus on something besides the action of running, it is also very important to be aware of the world around you. Enter Aftershokz Aeropex headphones.

What are Aftershokz?

My new Aeropex headphones (on box), flanked by the Trekz Titanium (grey) and the Trekz Air (blue)

Simply put, Aftershokz are outside-the-ear headphones that transmit sound via bone conduction. This allows the user to consume their favorite podcasts (see what I did there?) but still maintain situational awareness and hear the world around them. Feel free to check out my reviews of two previous versions of Aftershokz headphones – the Trekz Titanium and the Trekz Air – from previous posts. I think the most common questions I’ve gotten when anyone sees me wearing them are:

  • “Aren’t those supposed to go IN your ears?” Nope.
  • “Does it feel weird having them sit over your ears?” Nope.
    • *at this point, I’ll take them off have that person try them on*
  • “Do they still sound like normal headphones?”YEP. *as they try them on, I’ll usually play something fun…like The Humpty Dance.*

Tell me about the Aeropex

The Aeropex is the newest addition to the AfterShokz family. I really enjoyed my last set of Aftershokz (and still do!), but the Aeropex wins even more in so many ways, but I’ll break it down like I did for the Trekz Air – Fit, Sound Quality, Battery Life, & Looks

Overall Fit: The Aeropex fit even more perfect than their predecessor (Trekz Air) and are INCREDIBLY lightweight. I truly don’t even know they are there when sound is paused or they are off! The piece that wraps around the back of the head is just right. It is winter in Ohio and I often am wearing a sockhat, which does affect the fit minimally, but not so much as to be an annoyance.

Aeropex under my beanie (in the circle) during a cold night run in December 2019.

Sound Quality: Overall, I am really pleased with the sound quality. I am a fan of deep bass tones, so to get those without a lot of issue is really awesome. The Aeropex headphones utilize PremiumPitch 2.0+ technology, which enables a dynamic bass and high volume. This means an amazing audio experience with minimal vibration. I’m also a fan of how well classical pieces and podcasts come through. Those tend to be much quieter overall, but I’ve had no problems thus far. In fact, I have YET to even turn my Aeropex all the way up – even when running next to a busy city street. I have run into a few minor connectivity issues with the Bluetooth between the Aeropex and my phone, as well as with my computers. Those issues happened pretty quickly after unboxing and seemed to resolve pretty quickly.

Battery Life: The Aeropex have a run-time of approximately 8 hours – two hours more than the Trekz Air. Honestly, in the time I’ve had mine – just over a month – I’ve had to charge them MAYBE 3 times(?). I’ve been really pleased with how long they hold their charge. Battery life is definitely something I’m keen on lately, especially with my growing interest in longer distance runs, such as ultra distance events.

BONUS: Remember, the Aeropex are waterproof, which means a cord can’t be inserted for charging. The included magnetic charging cord makes the process super easy. No more getting frustrated about not knowing which way the cord has to go!

Rockin’ my Aeropex during a recent FKT attempt

Looks: Of all the Aftershokz models I’ve owned, the Aeropex wins the design award by far. The previous versions have more of a boxy look to them, while these seem more streamlined and modern by comparison.

Final Thoughts

For me, I’m a podcast guy for my long(er) runs, but still enjoy some good 90’s hip-hop/rap on the shorter distance outings. I’m glad to have found a brand that allows me to enjoy that content AND still be able to be aware of the world around me when I run. I wholeheartedly encourage anyone who runs (or rides a bike, etc) to invest in pair of AfterShokz – especially the Aeropex!


Hey – before I go – what’s this sweepstakes you mentioned at the top?

The Aftershokz Wine & Dine Sweepstakes (now closed) gave entrants the opportunity to be the one lucky runner (and friend) to have the opportunity to experience the 2020 runDisney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon, 10K, or 5K! This meant that the winner’s flights & hotel accommodations for 2 = covered. Race entry for the winner and a friend = covered. Incredible swag packs = included. On top of all that, the winner and friend will also receive 2 one-day hopper passes so they can check out the parks.

Bummed that I can’t enter now…so what can I do?

Maybe snag a pair of Aftershokz? I mean, this is my third set…what are you waiting for?

RECAP: A Christmas Story 10k

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the A Christmas Story Run 10k 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!


I’ve known about the A Christmas Story Run for quite a while, but have never had the opportunity to run it, despite it being on my list of “must run” races. To say I was excited would be an understatement!

“You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!”

A Christmas Story Run 5k/10k pays homage to the movie of the same name, where the proceeds go directly back into supporting and maintaining the A Christmas Story House & Museum as well as the neighborhood that surrounds it. Many participants in the event are costumed up ranging from Ralphie’s bunny suit to dressing like a leg lamp (It’s a major award!). The race even allows runners to run with their dogs (er, Bumpus Hounds) – I passed on this, but it would be something I’d consider doing with our dog, Ruby, in the future!

“Oh Fudge!”

First, to understand this part of THIS post, you need to have read my pre-race travel post. To anyone who did read it, please know that my best-laid plan was absolutely thrown out the window. I woke up about an hour later than I had planned on, which threw off the rest of the morning leading up to the race. However, once I was in Cleveland and a few deep (thankful) breaths were had, everything went amazing!

“Fra-gee-lay. Must be Italian!”

Before the race started, I was fortunate enough to meet two other BibRave Pros – Amy from Green Bay, WI and Jackey from Buffalo, NY. It’s always nice to meet up with fellow BRP’s and it was a good thing we met up before the race, because afterward was a little hectic!

Speaking of the race, it’s pretty simple when you get right down to it. The 5k is a point-to-point and the 10k (the one I ran) is an out-and-back. The race starts at Cleveland’s Public Square and follows a pretty straightforward course to the Christmas Story House. After leaving downtown and passing Progressive Field (home of the Cleveland Indians), the route crosses the Hope Memorial Bridge, providing a great view back on the downtown skyline. A mile or so later, the view is made even more spectacular when runners enter Tremont by passing a large “Cleveland” sign – perfect for photo ops!

The course makes its way to the titular house where the 5k runners finish, grab their medals, and perhaps a beer while runners in the 10k turn around and head back downtown. As part of registration, all runners receive complementary admission to visit the A Christmas Story House & Museum (a $13.00 value). This perk is cool, but be ready for a LONG, LONG line on race day. I ended up passing on this perk as I had made other plans for the rest of the day. Another line that was anticipated was that to get on one of the many buses from the house back to downtown. Passed on waiting in that line as well and walked back to downtown with a few of my friends and their dogs.

“It’s a Major Award!”

The medal is pretty neat and captures perfectly the “Oh Fudge!” sequence from the movie. The medal is almost covers my palm completely, so it’s not small!

The other swag for this race included a red long sleeve cotton shirt in addition to a green drawstring bag. The shirt is nice, but personally would have preferred a dri-fit or other tech-type shirt. Aside from that, the random LED light bulb we were given in the swag bag was unique, but hey – free bulb!

***

Overall, this race more than lived up to my expectations and provided a great experience. The things I enjoyed significantly outweighed anything I might not have – and that’s a good thing. I would definitely recommend that you check out this race, especially if you’re a fan of A Christmas Story!

Runner Travel Series #2: A Christmas Story 10k

Disclaimer: I received an entry into A Christmas Story Run 10k 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!


On the morning of Dec 7 (tomorrow), I’m waking up at the crack of dawn, running down the stairs in my pink bunny pajamas, and hopefully finding a official Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time! Wait a second, that doesn’t make sense. Tomorrow isn’t Christmas, but it IS the A Christmas Story Run 10k in Cleveland! Here’s a brief primer to get you up to speed. If you haven’t seen the movie A Christmas Story, it chronicles the story of young Ralphie Parker and his quest to get a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas. I know there is a 24-hour marathon (on TBS?) of the movie right around Christmas. But I digress…

In the real world, the house used in the movie (located in Cleveland, Ohio) has been renovated to its movie glory as the A Christmas Story House & Museum. It is the centerpiece of the A Christmas Story Run 5k/10k. 

***

As mentioned, I’m getting up pretty early to head to Cleveland for this run. How early? Keep reading! For this trip, I have no hotels or airports to deal with and it’s just a few hours by car. However, there are some things that are important to plan out in advance. With that in mind, here are three things that will help make this trip easier – for me, at least!

1. Travel TO Cleveland

I’m only focusing on my travel TO Cleveland as it’s the only part of the trip that could have an impact on the race. I live on the southwestern-most side of Columbus, which means I have roughly a 2.5 hour drive. Keep in mind that I will still have to pick up my race packet AND ensure I’m ready to go for the 9am race start. With that in mind, I’m looking at a 5am departure so that I can ensure the next step works in my favor!

2. Parking / Transportation

It’s not a secret that if one is driving into a large metro area, parking will be a concern. Thanks to my Cleveland Marathon experience from 2017, I feel that I’ve got a pretty good plan. After making the drive up from Columbus, the plan is to park at a metro (RTA) station near the airport – blue dot below – and take the Rapid (train service) into downtown – the orange dot. The ride time is about 20 minutes and would still give me an hour or so to spare before the start of the race. Using the train was super convenient in 2017 for the marathon and cheaper than parking downtown.

Alternatively, my backup plan is to simply drive into downtown Cleveland and park at one of the many garages nearby the start/finish. This will add about 10 more minutes in the car and a few more $$ to the trip expenses, but depending on travel TO Cleveland and the weather – see below – it may become a reality!

Note: The A Christmas Story Run 5k race follows a course from downtown (orange) to the A Christmas Story House & Museum (red), while the A Christmas Story Run 10k turns around and heads back downtown.

3. Weather

Winter in Cleveland means anything is possible. Thankfully, the forecast looks “decent” for a 10k. No precipitation in the mix and a high right around 32 degrees at the start. Of course, Cleveland is on the shores of Lake Erie, which means cold wind and the possibility of lake effect snow is always lurking. My plan here is to layer, layer, layer and keep as warm as possible before the race (read: stay inside)!

Have a Plan, But Be Ready to Ditch It

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Sometimes the best experiences come when you have to call an audible, but getting to that point might bring stress as well. Thankfully, my trip to Cleveland is only a day trip, but having at least some kind of plan is still absolutely essential.

Stay tuned (on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) on Saturday and see how this all plays out!

REVIEW: Sidekick ID from Road iD

Disclaimer: I received a RoadID Sidekick ID 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!

If you are doing any kind of activity – running, walking, hiking, swimming – you NEED to have a RoadID. Get your own at Sidekick ID (for your Garmin or Fitbit) OR a traditional Wrist ID at roadid.com and use code BIBCHAT20 save 20%.


I’ve been a runner since the fall of 1996 and have run so many different places over the last 23 years. I’ve run on trails and roads, I’ve run in town, and I’ve run in the country. It wasn’t until more recently though that I’ve shown more concern about my overall safety when I’m on a run. Back in 2015 when I decided to get a little more serious with my running again after a long on-and-off again stretch, my wife talked me into getting something to take with me on every run.

That thing was – and still IS – a ROAD iD

My first Road iD – the Wrist iD.

Let’s keep it simple – it’s a stainless steel plate clipped onto a silicone wristband. However, this little metal plate is more than that. If I were to be running on a country road or running after dark (or both!) and something should happen to me, a first responder would know who to contact immediately. In my case, it would be my wife Tammi or one of our close friends here in the Columbus area. You’ll notice that it’s not necessarily the easiest to read and this one is a little small, but the peace of mind it offers is HUGE.

The Sidekick ID

I’ve been wearing my Wrist iD (seen above) for the last few years and most people don’t give it a second glance because all they see is a black silicone band on my wrist. The only time I’ve ever really noticed mine is when people actually do notice and ask about it or when I’m not wearing it. This time, I opted to give the Sidekick ID a go.

Thanks for the note, Nanette. I’m very much enjoying my new Sidekick iD!

This particular upgrade is a wider stainless steel plate and it can be attached directly to my existing watchband. That’s a big plus for me because I’m prone to breaking those silicone wristbands! The loops that hold the Sidekick on my watch are soft and don’t rub at all, which was an initial concern of mine when I ordered it. Truthfully, I wish I would have discovered the Sidekick ID much sooner!

When ordering, the sky is truly the limit as to the information you include. For me, I make sure to list:

  • My name (obviously)
  • Where I reside – city & state only
  • Two people to contact
    • My wife (name and cell number)
    • My friend, Nick (same info)
  • Allergy info – No Known Allergies for me!
  • An inspirational quote or motto – Strive for the Highest

Rockin’ the Sidekick ID on my Garmin 235.

I’ve been wearing my new Sidekick ID for well over a month and, honestly, I really barely notice it. I know it’s there, but I don’t give it a second thought. I’m just glad that if something were to happen while I am out on a run, my wife is going to be made aware as soon as a first responder arrives.

The Sidekick is SUPER convenient and the least annoying piece of gear that I “carry” with me when i go run. It sparks conversation when it is noticed, and blends in perfectly looking as if it was part of my watch from the start.

But I Can Just Carry My Photo Id, right? Why Have “One More Thing”?

Sure, you can do that…but you’ll get tired of figuring out how. Trust me.

ROAD iD solved that problem by providing a solution that you can wear during your run (or bike ride, or walk, or hike, or whatever), but something that blends in seemlessly with your everyday life. PLUS, since you’d be wearing your ROAD iD, it is much harder to lose it or have it bounce out of a pocket – because it can’t. 

If I haven’t convinced you by now as to WHY you should invest in a ROAD iD, here’s ten more reasons to consider – with a few of my personal favorites. And, yes, I did lovingly borrow this list from Road iD’s website – because it makes sense!!

  1. If you can’t speak for yourself, ROAD iD will speak for you.
  2. ROAD iD enables First Responders to immediately contact family members and friends.
  3. ROAD iD enables family members to provide additional details about your health or give consent for potentially life saving procedures. 
  4. ROAD iD enables hospital staff to locate vital medical records. 
  5. ROAD iD can communicate medical conditions or allergy information to medical staff.
  6. ROAD iD can prevent serious delays in treatment by saving crucial time during the “golden hour” of medical treatment.
  7. It’s far better to have Road ID and not need it than to need ROAD iD and not have it. It’s not just a piece of gear, it’s peace of mind.
  8. Accidents happen far more than you think they do. Each year approximately 450,000 of us are taken to hospitals unconscious and without identification.
  9. A ROAD iD looks good and makes a statement about your athletic lifestyle – not to mention that studies would probably prove that people that wear Road ID are considerably smarter than those that don’t.
  10. ROAD iD can save your Life. Period.

Thankfully, my Road iD has never had to be put to the ultimate test. Should that time come though, I’m much more at ease (and so is my wife – right, Tammi?) knowing that I could be identified, my records obtained, and my family notified much faster than if I didn’t have a Road iD at all.

I said it earlier and I’ll say it again – the Sidekick ID might be small, but the peace of mind it provides? HUGE.

So, before you head out for that next walk, run, bike ride, hike, swim, etc, do yourself a favor – go order a Road iD. If you already have one, order one for a friend – it is the holiday season, after all!


Here’s what others think about their RoadID:

Stacia | Shannon S. | Shannon C. | Mike | Amanda | Renee

You’ve heard from us – check it out for yourself. Get your own at Sidekick ID (for your Garmin or Fitbit) OR a traditional Wrist ID at roadid.com and use code BIBCHAT20 save 20%.