Author: Preston Ramsey

Preston Ramsey is an aspiring Higher Education professional. His personal interests include music education, computers, running. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Bowling Green State University Band Alumni Society and is a Life Member of both Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma. Preston lives in Ohio with his wife, Tammi.

Runner Travel Series: Fargo Marathon (Preview)

Disclaimer: I received an free entry into the Sanford Fargo 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!


If you’ve been following me (here, Instagram, Twitter, etc), you probably know that I’m heading to Fargo, North Dakota this weekend for the Sanford Fargo Marathon. I won’t lie – I’m really excited for this one. Yes, obviously I’m excited because it is a new race for me. However, I’m also really excited because I get to visit with very good friends AND visit a new state! So, as I have done in the past with other running related travel, here are some of the tips, tricks, and best practices that I put into action to make my travel experience for the race as smooth as possible.

First, Plan Ahead

With this trip taking me to a new locale, the basics came first – 1) how to get to Fargo, and 2) where to stay. For this particular trip – happening TOMORROW mind you – I sorted out both of these details more than a month or two ago.

First, how to get to Fargo. When writing a similar post a few years back, I opted to drive to the race – which only ended up being a 6ish hour affair. It was the most cost effective way to go. However, this time I opted to fly to North Dakota because making that drive may not seem bad on the way there, but would be absolute torture coming home after running 26.2.

After making that decision, I have to figure out where to stay. This was SIGNIFICANTLY easier than I had anticipated! There are two primary hotels within eyesight of the start/finish area – which I thought would be incredibly overpriced, but I was wrong! Not really much more expensive a hotel stay on any other weekend anywhere else. Plus, it’s “walking” distance from the airport as well – not that I plan to do that, but it’s nice to know that I could! Obviously, everyone’s preferences are going to vary and specific needs will dictate what type of accommodation work the best, so do your homework and find what works for you and your specific situation.

Have a Plan? Good. Be Prepared to Throw It Out Because Things Happen

This piece of advice applies to many aspects of life – not just travel – but it does bear repeating. Whether you are a traveler or a weekend warrior, know your plan, but be ready to ditch it.  Be patient even when your patience is tested to the max. Finally, be flexible. Sometimes the best experiences come when you have to call an audible. Keep these things in mind when traveling, because occasionally, you may find yourself being rewarded for it in the end!

I can’t wait to get to Fargo and experience all it has to offer. So, whether you are running in Fargo this weekend or simply running a little closer to home – here’s wishing you all a fantastic weekend of racing!

PREVIEW: 2021 Air Force Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Air Force Marathon as part of being aBibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Use AFMBR21 to save 20% on your Air Force Marathon event registration


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!

Me, after the 2020 Virtual Air Force Marathon weekend – September 27, 2020

Well, here we are – nearly one year later. Take a wild guess what I’m doing next month? If you guessed the Air Force Marathon, you’d be spot on!

Last year, I was fortunate to participate in my first-ever virtual FULL marathon as a result of the Air Force Marathon (as well as others) going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On a beautiful day in September 2020, I ran the length of the Olentangy Trail in an out-and-back effort to cover the distance. I recapped that experience HERE, but to summarize – it was a fantastic adventure that definitely included some challenges. But now, on to 2021!

2021 – Back To Dayton (I hope!)

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’ve been afforded the opportunity to participate again this year, so I couldn’t pass it up! Adding to the build up is the fact that this year’s event will be the 25th Anniversary of the race and what a way to return after a year “off”.

Personally, I’ll be approaching the full marathon more like a delayed long run or as a “B” race this time around. I say that for two reasons. First, that mindset will hopefully help me do a little better job of pacing myself a little bit slower and with a better focus on the mental side of things. Secondly, this will be the first of TWO marathons I will run within 7 days of each other! I’ll talk about that other event in another post later this week…so stay tuned!

I’m “from” Dayton

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, performances with my high school marching band, and grade school trips to the National Museum of the United States Air Force – which 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 in 2010 (wow!) with my then-girlfriend (now, wife) Tammi. Fast forward to 2021, our family – which now includes our daughter Shalane (3) and son Matthew (newborn!) – makes much more regular visits to the Air Force Museum. Tammi and I have always loved aircraft and the history that comes with them and we cannot wait for our children to dig even deeper into that history as well.

Ready to Fly High?

First and foremost, this year’s Air Force Marathon takes place on Saturday, September 18 – which also happens to be the birthday of the United States Air Force! You’ll want to visit the Air Force Marathon website for all the detailed information. To give you the cliffnotes version though, you can sign up for one of a number of race distances, such as:

  • 5K (3.1 miles)
  • 10K (6.2 miles)
  • Half Marathon
  • Full Marathon
  • Marathon 3-Person Relay
  • Tailwind Trot 1K Kids’ Run

If ONE race isn’t enough for you though, you can also sign up for the #FlyFightWin Challenge Series. I participated in the Virtual #FlyFightWin series last year – completing the 5k, 10k, and Full Marathon spread out over three days rather than the traditional two days. You can read more about that experience HERE.

REMEMBER: You can save a few bucks (10% to be exact) on your Air Force Marathon event registration when you use AFMBR21 when you checkout!

So – will I see you in Dayton this year? If so, shoot me a message on social (@presramsey on FB, Instagram, and Twitter) and let me know what distance you’re planning on running!

REVIEW: Science in Sport Immune Tablets

Disclaimer: I received Science in Sport (SiS) Immune Tablets 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!

Water, as a beverage, is boring.

I cannot bring myself to get excited about drinking water, no matter how much I know that I need to drink more of it. Try as I might to make better efforts, I end up doing okay for a little bit and then back to the things I like – which are not that great for me as far as hydration goes. I have tried a variety of what I will call “water supplements” over the last few years and have found a few that actually excite me to drink more water.

With that said, over the last month, I’ve had the opportunity to test and review Science in Sport Immune Tablets. The concept is simple: drop one of the tablets in 16 oz of water and BOOM – orange flavored water. If you know anything about me, you know that I’m a big fan of pretty much all things orange.

But these tablets are more than just a drop in the bottle. See what I did there? SiS Immune Tablets are designed help support immune function during and after exercise.

Added some SiS Immune to a recent trail adventure!

HOW?

As we exert energy while training and exercising, our immune system is suppressed for potentially up to 72 hours after a workout. This can lead to higher occurrences of a variety of illnesses, such as upper respiratory issues. And if you’re sick, it becomes very difficult to train/workout/etc!

SiS Immune Tablets contain just the right amount of ingredients to support the immune system, but not overload or suppress it further. Key ingredients include Vitamin C (200mg), Iron (2.5mg), and Sodium to promote overall hydration. Another plus – SiS Immune Tabs are Vegan friendly!

BIG DISCLAIMER: This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease 

Another big plus of these SiS Tablets over so many other tablet brands is the contents of the tube. Most other brands have maybe 8-10 tablets per tube. With the SiS Immune Tabs, you get 20 tablets per tube!

WHEN SHOULD YOU USE IT?

ANYTIME – but for optimal results, I would recommend mixing with water and consuming just before, during, or immediately after a workout.

Personally, I like to use mine as mentioned – for a workout – but I also like to use them at work. That way, I can make a better effort of staying hydrated and maybe even drink less cola beverages.

Also, watching the tablet dissolve can be a fun activity with a 2 year old – which you can do anytime!

WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?

YES – most definitely!

WHERE CAN YOU GET SOME?

You can head over to Science in Sport (SiS) and snag some for yourself! You can also check out some of their other great products as well. Make sure you use code “SiS-BibRave-21” for 15% off and this DOES work with all other promotions! 

Just a heads up: the SiS website lists prices in British Pounds by default, but you can change the pricing to US Dollars by clicking the flag icon in the upper right hand corner of the webpage.

RECAP: Detroit (Virtual) Hot Chocolate 15k

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Allstate Hot Chocolate Virtual 15k/5k – DETROIT as part of being aBibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!


I can finally say that I’ve earned my chocolate! Not sure what I’m talking about? The TL;dr (too long; didn’t read) version is I signed up for a local Hot Chocolate 15k in 2015 and didn’t get to actually participate. Check out my Hot Chocolate 15k preview for more on that experience.

For now though, here’s my recap of my 2021 VIRTUAL Hot Chocolate 15k!

Location, Location, Location

First, I am fully aware that this run did not take place in Detroit as originally planned. It’s also not lost on me that this makes TWO Detroit events within the last six months that I’ve signed up that have had to be done virtually. That’s okay though. Like so many of you reading this, I have adjusted to running races/events virtually. With that said, there’s no place like home (or close to it) to knock out a virtual race. Since I am training for a slightly more challenging event in early May that involves trails, my choice of location for THIS virtual run reflects that idea.

Flat Preston is ready to go!

I took to Highbanks Metro Park – part of the Columbus Metro Parks system – for my Hot Chocolate 15k. Not the most challenging place to run, but also not a leisurely stroll in some spots. It is, however, one of my favorite parks to run simply because the trails are very well maintained. Additionally, there is one particular overlook that makes any trip to this park worth it.

The view from the Highbanks Overlook Deck with the Olentangy River below.

So I started near the Nature Center, which is where I start most of my runs at Highbanks. The main differences with this run compared to previous efforts was that I wanted to minimize repeating sections AND I didn’t want to loop back to the car before I was done. As a result, I did carry water with me in a hydration vest. This proved to be a very good call!

Two miles into the 15k – feeling good!

Two miles in and after a short break at the overlook deck, I headed back towards the interior of the park to complete the Overlook Trail portion of the run. Once back on the main loop trail of the park (Dripping Rock) I was able to get the remaining 7 miles by running essentially the perimeter of the park. This also allowed me to see areas of the park I haven’t visited in years as well as a few areas I have never visited at all!

Wetlands Viewing Deck at Highbanks Metro Park
Some of my friends would see this a merely a suggestion!
Adena burial mound at Highbanks Metro Park

Ultimately, I was able to get back around the park to my “finish line” in a respectable 1 hour, 41 minutes. I was genuinely more excited to be done and able to say I earned my chocolate than I was in running the actual event!

The finished product! 15k at Highbanks

How SWEET it is!

By now, I’m hopeful that you’ve figured out how excited I was/am to be able to FINALLY complete my first-ever Hot Chocolate event. Even though this version was virtual, I still had a lot of fun with it. A huge part of that was the medal that participants earn for completing their event. When I received the swag bag earlier in the week, I did not realize coming into this that the medal opens and there is a piece of chocolate inside! That was a very welcome surprise and one that made finishing the distance that much sweeter. See what I did there?

As I mentioned in my event preview, major props to the event organizers for NOT including a date on any of the swag – medal included!

SWEETEST medal I’ve ever earned!
Holy hidden chocolate, Batman!

And yes, you better believe I destoyed that piece of chocolate immediately after finishing my run!

Fast forward to the present and I’m excited to get my chance to participate in a Hot Chocolate event – even if it’s virtual. Earlier this week, I received my goodie bag for THIS year’s event and the race organizers really knocked it out of the park! I completely forgot about the Knockaround shades being a part of the Goodie Bag this year, which made for a fantastic surprise. And speaking of the jacket – while I do enjoy my 2015 version, this year’s edition is a definite upgrade!

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The Goodie Bag – complete with chocolate!

Participants could upload their time to the results page AND download a completion certificate

All and all, I really enjoyed my experience participating in my first official Hot Chocolate event. A lot of running events out there are much more focused on the distance(s) or the social experiences. For me though, this event was really about a very particular piece of swag – the chocolate! This event doesn’t exist without chocolate and the swag bag wouldn’t be complete without it either. From the chocolate in the medal to the packs of hot chocolate mix, those are the little touches that took this virtual event to the next level for me – even if I would have received the same items at an in-person event. Regardless, I had a great time running around one of my favorite local spots and had the opportunity to celebrate with some chocolate – doesn’t get much better than that!


The Detroit Hot Chocolate 15k/5k may be over, but you can still participate! Use code BRHC20 when you register for YOUR Hot Chocolate virtual event and snag a free Hot Chocolate branded hat

FINALLY Getting Hot Chocolate

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Allstate Hot Chocolate Virtual 15k/5k – DETROIT 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 I’m sure you’ve figured out by the disclaimer above, I’m going to be participating in the virtual Detroit Hot Chocolate 15k. This will be my 2nd experience with a Hot Chocolate race, but it is my 1st time actually getting to participate. Confused? Allow me to share with you the journey between my “first” Hot Chocolate in 2015 and the event coming up in April….

***

Not quite a year after my wife Tammi and I moved to Columbus, Ohio in 2015, I had signed up to run my first marathon in 11 years. It was a slower experience than my first, but still incredibly rewarding and leaving me with the desire to continue running MUCH more frequently than I had been. With that in mind, I sought out another race that I thought would be a lot of fun. That race? The Hot Chocolate Columbus 15k. 

At that point in history, I had just been recently promoted to full-time with my employer. Regardless of that promotion, and as any good employee should do – I had put in my request for a day off on the date of the Hot Chocolate event weeks in advance. This request was approved and I thought no more of it (the request) and got myself pumped to run my first 15k. 

Well, friends…even the best laid plans go sideways sometimes. THIS was one of those times. 

Word came down from our district manager that there would be an all-hands meeting at each of our stores. The day of that meeting just happened to fall on the very same day as my approved day off – the day of the Hot Chocolate 15k. Humph. For those of you keeping track, no – I wasn’t able to get out of the meeting and inevitably had to forego running the race altogether. 

On the plus side, I was still able to snag my goodie bag. To this day, the jacket from the 2015 Hot Chocolate 15k remains my only piece of race swag that I have from an event I never ran! 

 

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My 2015 Hot Chocolate jacket…from the race I never got to run!

***

Fast forward to the present and I’m excited to get my chance to participate in a Hot Chocolate event – even if it’s virtual. Earlier this week, I received my goodie bag for THIS year’s event and the race organizers really knocked it out of the park! I completely forgot about the Knockaround shades being a part of the Goodie Bag this year, which made for a fantastic surprise. And speaking of the jacket – while I do enjoy my 2015 version, this year’s edition is a definite upgrade!

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The 2020 Hot Chocolate goodie bag swag. Saving the medal for the post-race report!

The event planner part of me also give major props to the person who made the GOOD CALL to not put dates on any of the swag. Seems like common sense, especially given the state of the world at the moment, but it opens up more uses for leftover items. The sustainability of the swag is real!

So, even though this event will be another virtual one and it’ll be another run in or around my neighborhood, I’m very happy to say it will be my FIRST Hot Chocolate event – and that is excitement enough for me!


The Detroit Hot Chocolate 15k/5k is THIS weekend, but there is still time to get in on it!

Use code BRHC20 when you register and you’ll snag a free Hot Chocolate branded hat!

RECAP: Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank (Virtual) Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank 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!

Running a marathon in October for me normally means strolling through the streets of Columbus on the third Sunday of the month. Unfortunately, this also means there are a TON of other races elsewhere that I don’t get to run because they are generally on the same day. The Detroit Free Press / TCF Bank Marathon is one such race – almost always happening the exact same day as my “home” race in Columbus.

This year, as I’m sure you already know, has been different. My home race in Columbus was outright cancelled with no virtual option. This opened the door for me to finally get to run a different marathon in October…even if it meant doing so virtually.

I’ve always wanted to run the Free Press Marathon. The idea of running across an international border TWICE has always been intriguing. Detroit was a fixture of my childhood as well – attending the Detroit Auto Show and cheering for a hockey team that was once my favorite, but has since been replaced. So this year, I finally got my chance to “run Detroit” and signed up for “The Supreme” challenge series – which was composed of a 1-mile run, a 5k (3.1 miles), and a full marathon.

How did it work?

Similar to my experience with a marathon series I ran in September, I was able to still get all of the experience of participating in the actual event, but was able to run the distance(s) wherever and whenever I wanted.

Race weekend was slated for October 16-18, 2020. Participants could run their respective distance(s) and post their results online any time during race weekend.

Here’s my break down of the three events: 

1 Mile – Friday, October 16

On Friday night, I went out after work to put down my 1-mile run – just a point-to-point run in my neighborhood. This was the “easy” run, but definitely the hardest effort as I was very much going for a fast time. The air was a bit brisk and I wasn’t quite ready for that, but I was still able to knock down a 6:40 mile. Not nearly my fastest, but it tells me 1) I can still get after it and 2) there’s still room to get even faster!

5k (3.1 miles) – Saturday, October 17

On Saturday, I had to work most of the day – because I work in HR and jobs don’t hire themselves. When I got home, it was time to get those miles again – this time it was knocking out my 5k. This one wasn’t so much about speed. I simply wanted to enjoy another tour around the neighborhood at a comfortable pace. This route took me through a new development and around a brand new roundabout (which I love). 3 miles under 30 minutes is always a good thing in my book.

It was also on Saturday when I received my “packet of goodies” for the Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon. Received my shirts, a common race bib that all participants received (see the Flat Preston pic below) and the medals I would earn over the course of the weekend. I was really impressed with the shirts and the medals, even though the 1-mile and the 5k medals were effectively the same medal.

Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon SWAG!

Marathon (26.2 miles) – Sunday, October 18

On Sunday, I set out fairly early to complete my 26.2 miles. Decided to run my Detroit marathon utilizing a hybrid version of the Columbus marathon course – running portions from 2004 (my first ever marathon), 2015 (my 2nd marathon ever), and 2018 (the last marathon I ran in Columbus). I’m not posting a photo of my finish time because 1) I didn’t take one, 2) my Garmin died near mile 8, and 3) honestly, the finish time wasn’t the focus of my trip. Full disclosure because I know someone will ask – my finish was in the neighborhood of 5hrs 30 min, which actually made for a really great trip around Detroit…I mean, Columbus…I mean, Detroit. Had to break my run into TWO segments…because my watch died…links are below.

First Segment – the first 8 miles (before my Garmin died)

Second Segment – the last 18 miles

Flat Preston ready to go!
My start and end point – the Ohio Statehouse
The first 8 miles…until my Garmin died! My headphones also went kaput at this point, so I had no tunes or podcasts the rest of the way.
Went over a bridge – only slightly smaller than the one in Detroit!
Also went UNDER a bridge – the closest I would get to a “tunnel” on this Detroit Marathon!
Oh hey, Governor DeWine!
Specifically took this picture for my daughter, Shalane – she loves pumpkins!
Thankfully, I felt pretty close to THIS throughout the entire run!
The remaining 18 miles of my Free Press Marathon journey
A familiar sight along my Detroit virtual marathon in Columbus – North Bank Park, where the current version of the Columbus Marathon starts and finishes!

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed my Detroit Free Press / TCF Bank Marathon experience – even if it was a virtual one. I’d much rather have run this one in person, but getting to run at all is still a win. The organizers did a fantastic job of communicating with participants and building excitement for race weekend. They were very clear about when SWAG items would arrive and they showed up at the perfect moment during my race weekend experience.

This race, much like my last one, is definitely on my radar for 2021 – if it happens in person – and hopefully you’ll consider running it too!

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.