RECAP: Team in Training Resilience Challenge

Disclaimer: I participated in the Team In Training Resilience Challenge 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.

Cancer sucks.

My family has been hit by it multiple times. The whole experience sucks and it doesn’t get any easier. Thankfully, however, there are amazing organizations in the world doing everything they can to kick cancer in the face. The organization that immediately comes to mind for me over all others is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (or LLS) and Team in Training (TNT).

I was fortunate to team up with Team in Training for the first time in 2019 while participating in the Chicago Marathon (you can read that recap here). Running that particular marathon is a big deal on its own, but running as part of TNT absolutely made the weekend even more amazing. I’ll always support good organizations doing good things for good people and TNT is no exception. They made me feel like part of a family – a freakin’ huge family – and I will never forget that.

What’s the Resilience Challenge?

For the month of September, runners all over the world were recruited to participate in the Resilience Challenge – to come together show resilience in the on-going fight against blood cancers. The challenge was two-fold 1) run/walk/move at least 50 miles in September and 2) raise money to support Team in Training. However, it should be noted that it was free to participate in the challenge and there was NO fundraising minimum.

In addition to participating as an individual, I created a team – Team Strive for the Highest (still accepting donations, by the way – just sayin’), which was composed of family and friends. The TNT web platform allowed us to keep track of our mileage and fundraising, while also keeping our fellow team members accountable. While our team may have come up short on our fundraising goal(s), we still made a difference and each one of us absolutely blew the 50 mile challenge out of the water!

Personally, I raised $75 & completed 86 miles during Blood Cancer Awareness Month to help end cancer. The challenge may be over but there is still time to donate!

I would strongly recommend that YOU consider joining Team in Training for a future event – perhaps even the Resilience Challenge the next time around!

GO TEAM!

The Race That Wasn’t.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Honor Run Half Marathon 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!

Earlier this year, I had signed up to run the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Honor Run Half Marathon (Honor Run from here on out) through my ambassadorship with BibRave. The event takes place just a few hours away from me in Florence, KY and I have actually heard quite a bit about this event – mostly from fellow BibRave Pro Corey. Since the opportunity to participate had come around again through BibRave, it seemed like a good idea to opt-in!

But first…

And before I dive much deeper, it’s important to share that this was the first event I had signed up for since the pandemic really took off in March. I signed up in May and, at that time, the event organizers were still planning to hold the event in person. Many questions were floating around about this event – and pretty much every in-person gathering. As I’m sure you’ve probably already figured out – the Honor Run was cancelled. Rather than dwell though, I’d like to focus on some of the positives and what I’m looking forward to about

Positive #1 – Great Cause

On May 29, I had received my notification that I was selected to participate as a part of Team BibRave. I was pretty excited about this because I have never run a race in Kentucky AND I’d get to see what the hype is about surrounding this particular event. Another driving force that nudged me to opt in for the Honor Run is because of the cause this race supports. All proceeds from the races that make up the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Honor Run (Half Marathon, 10K Run/Walk, and 5K Run/Walk) are donated to Honor Flight Tri State to help send local Veterans to Washington DC for the day to see the memorials that they have earned. 

Positive #2 – Great Communication

From the moment I found out that i would be participating, the communication from the event organizers has been consistent, honest, and just great. Not even a month after I registered, organizers send out a participant survey gauging interest in the event – keeping in mind it was still planned to go forward. The survey made it clear to me that the organizers had thoughts but valued the opinions of participants enough to genuinely engage them. They didn’t have to do this, but it was pretty cool that they did. I actually ended up borrowing the idea in the planning, and eventual cancellation, of the annual alumni band reunion I held coordinate which actually helped us quite a bit! No more than a month after that survey, organizers let all participants know that the all in-person events would be cancelled and no virtual event would be held. All of this communication within a two month time span. I can’t wait to see what they do when a pandemic isn’t happening (spoiler?).

Positive #3 – Running ISN’T Cancelled

Yes, you read that correctly. Despite the event being cancelled completely for 2020, I still plan on running a half marathon on November 8. There’s no swag involved and no race day stuff, but I was going to be running the distance that day anyhow, so why not just do it here closer to home? No long lines at the porta-pot and the aid stations can have whatever I want? Like one of my co-workers says, “I’ll take that as a big ol’ W!”.

Positive #4 – Already Planning for 2021

You read that correctly as well. I don’t enjoy missing an event. EVER. Given all the good things I’ve heard about this event (online, personally, etc), the way the race organizers manage things, and the support this event gives to those who have already given so much, it’s a no-brainer. I’ll absolutely be in Florence, KY next November when the Honor Run returns.

This post was different…

…and that’s okay. A lot of things are different right now. Events are cancelled left and right and things in general are a little, um, not great. Despite all that, the Honor Run has me hooked on an event I’ve never participated in and I can’t wait to get to Florence in 2021 for the real thing!

RECAP: 2020 Air Force Marathon – Virtual

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Air Force Marathon 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!


As someone who grew up in the Miami Valley region of Ohio, Dayton was the first real CITY that I experienced. This experience largely consisted of shopping trips with family, holiday parades with my high school marching band, and grade school trips to the National Museum of the United States Air Forcewhich I’ll refer to as the Air Force Museum from here on out. After grade school, my most recent trip to the Air Force Museum was 2010 (wow!) with my then-girlfriend (now, wife) Tammi. I’ve always loved aircraft and the Air Force Museum will always be a fun place to go for me and my family.

With that said, I’ve known about the Air Force Marathon for a while, but have never run in any of the events. It runs around Wright Patterson Air Force Base as well as through the campus of Wright State University – again, two areas you can’t really avoid if you visit that portion of Dayton! As a BibRave Pro, I was given the opportunity to participate this year – even if it was doing so in a virtual way – so I couldn’t pass it up!

But…I didn’t sign up for ONE distance. I signed up for THREE as part of the #FlyFightWin Challenge Series!

How did it work?

With the various restrictions and protocol in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of the Air Force Marathon still moved forward with the event – but did so virtually. This means that participants still get all of the experience of participating in the event, but they run the distance(s) wherever and whenever they choose.

Participants could start logging their respective event as early as September 1. For reference, the original date for race weekend was to have been September 18-19, 2020. (Sidenote: September 18 is the birthday of the United States Air Force!)

The race organizers did a great job of communicating leading up to “race month” and keeping participants engaged via their fantastic social media presence. There was a virtual race experience set-up for all participants – complete with a virtual expo, live stream on race day, link to a national anthem performance (because this is a sporting event after all!), and – of course – a page to upload results. Participants could see almost immediately how they stacked up against each other!

Unfortunately, this recap will not include a photo with my medals because we haven’t received them yet. However, we expect the SWAG to be shipped out in early October – so I’ll do a follow-up post upon receipt!

So wait, what did YOU sign up for?

I signed up for the Fly! Fight! Win! Full Marathon Challenge Series of events. This meant I was scheduled to run:

  • 5k (3.1 miles),
  • 10k (6.2 miles), and
  • Full marathon (26.2 miles)

I would run each as a stand alone event and since I wanted to try and keep things as “normal” as I could, I decided to run all three events on the original scheduled weekend.

Here’s my break down of the three events: 

5k – Friday, September 18

After I got the wife and daughter off to school / daycare, I rushed inside and got ready for my morning run before work. Decided in the moment that this would be my first of the three runs. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning for a run around the neighborhood. First mile was a little faster than anticipated, but it felt damn good – so I just kept pushing!

 

10k – Friday, September 18

After a very hectic and somewhat stressful day at work, a good run was definitely the solution! Once again, Mother Nature did not disappoint. I headed out to Scioto Grove Metro Park – our local park – to get my 10k done on the various paths and trails. Most of this particular run was actually on TRAIL (read: dirt and/or grass), so to have a result that was within just a few minutes of my personal record was really impressive!

26.2 – Saturday, September 19

And along came the BIG one – the full 26.2 miler. On the plus side, the weather could not have been any better. Mid-60’s, not a cloud in the sky, and a light breeze. I chose to run my full marathon on the Olentangy Trail, running a 13.1 mile south to north out-and-back course. My course took me past the new Columbus Crew stadium site, Ohio State University, as well as multiple parks and river crossings.

Unfortunately, the beautiful day and course were where the good of this run ended. I felt pretty decent through the first 6 miles, but shortly after I began to feel more fatigued than normal on a longer run like this. Pretty soon after, I found myself walking as my body simply decided that running wasn’t the best option. I tried a little run/jog/walk combo to get me to the halfway point, which wasn’t the most enjoyable. I took a break at the halfway point and grabbed a quick bite to eat – who gets to do THAT during a normal full marathon?! – and then started the long trip back to the car. This was a long trip because I walked nearly every step of that 13.1 mile return trip. Not exactly my ideal marathon experience, but very thankful I listened to my body as it was definitely the RIGHT call. On the plus side, slowing down allowed me to really take in so much along the trail – I even saw 5 deer at various points and one of them was within 6 feet of the trail (and me) at one point!

Final Thoughts

First, why post pictures with the race “bibs”? In lieu of medals, I opted to not run with the bib on and treat them as my reward upon completion. I felt more comfortable showing off the bib once I knew the distances were complete!

Secondly, I had done a virtual run earlier this summer, but this was a whole different beast. My advice – treat a virtual the same as an in-person event in regard to your training. Don’t fall off the training plan or things will definitely go upside-down and you’ll find yourself calling audibles you weren’t planning for.

Finally, this really was a great experience from top to bottom. The race organization was spot on, communication was excellent, and – even though I ran around MY home base – I still felt like I was part of the Air Force Marathon experience as if it were in Dayton.

I definitely have September 18, 2021 marked on my calendar and hope to run the Air Force Marathon in-person next year. Hope to see YOU there as well!

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?