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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: 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!

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.

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. 

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: Knockaround Fast Lanes SPORT

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knockaround Fast Lanes SPORT sunglasses 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!

Get your own pair of Knockarounds and use code BIBRAVEKNOCKS3 save 20% your ENTIRE order – one use per customer.


The fall racing season is almost over – for me at least – but the need for a decent pair of shades never ends. When the chance to link up with Knockaround again to test their new Fast Lanes Sport series sunglasses, I wasn’t going to pass that up.

What do you mean – AGAIN? Well, back in April, I had the opportunity to test out the Knockaround’s Fast Lanes series. You can read THAT review here, but long story short: I quickly added a new favorite to my sunglasses collection. The same can be said about the new Fast Lanes Sport.

What is Knockaround?

Simply put, Knockaround sunglasses (regardless of series) are simple, stylish, and durable. They are able to fit seamlessly into daily life, no matter what you’re into.

The Fast Lanes & Fast Lanes Sport aren’t the only shades they make, though. However, all Knockaround sunglasses have impact-resistant lenses and UV400 protection. For those who want a little something extra, almost all of their offerings are available in a polarized version.

Fast Lanes vs Fast Lanes Sport

Right out of the gate, the most noticeable difference are the rubber nose pads built into the frame of the sunglasses. This is a game-changer for Knockaround as it allows fans of the Fast Lanes (who may happen to be runners like me) to now have an option that will absolutely stay put and not slide around.

One of the key features of BOTH editions of the Fast Lanes is that that they will look good on most any face shape, especially those with medium and larger shaped faces. That means no more stretched out sunglasses and/or imprint marks on the side of your head from the arms of the shades!

My Takeaways

For this review, I went back to a simpler look, opting for the Matte Black / Smoke Fast Lanes Sport. Truth be told, I actually LOST my shades about halfway into this test! So this was the first time I was testing a product AND had the opportunity to purchase that same product. The experience could not have been easier and I even snagged a custom pair of the original Fast Lanes in my new favorite colorway – orange with amber (brown) lenses.

But I digress, here are few things I really have enjoyed about the new Fast Lanes Sport:

  1. The Nose Pads. A lot of brands attach nose pads to their frames and, unfortunately, they often break off. I’ve been using these Fast Lanes Sport shades for almost 6 weeks, running consistently in that time frame, and I’ve had absolutely no issues. The nose pads win the day.
  2. Simple. One thing that stands out is that the branding on the glasses isn’t obnoxious. Still not a huge fan of the additional branding in the upper corner of the right side lens, but it’s a detail I can get past.
  3. Durable. Any shades I own must be able to stand up to LIFE (running, getting tossed pretty much anywhere, getting snagged by my daughter, etc) and, let me tell you – they definitely fit the bill.

Final Thoughts

Simply put – yes, there are LOTS of options out there when it comes to sunglasses. My advice as you shop for your next pair? Live life in the fast lane and get a pair of Knockarounds!


Like ’em? Go snag a pair (or more) for yourself! Order your Knockarounds and use code BIBRAVEKNOCKS3 to save 20% your ENTIRE order (one use per customer).

CHICAGO!!!

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Bank of America Chicago Marathon through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team In Training 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!

Consider helping me reach my goal for Team in Training and support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. CLICK HERE to show your support and give what you are able. Thank you!


It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses. -Elwood

Hit it. -Jake

I may not be one of the Blues Brothers, but I’m finally making my own pilgrimage to Chicago. With that said, I am so excited to share that I will be participating in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2019, representing Team BibRave as a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s  Team in Training (TNT). This effort is the epitome of the idea that it takes more than one person to make up a team and reach a goal. This is why I’m asking for your support to hit my fundraising goal.

Cancer, in one form or another, has had an impact on my family on a number of occasions. While these experiences have not been the result of blood-specific cancers, the emotional and psychological effects are just as powerful. In honor of those my family has lost – and to help keep others from experiencing similar loss, I am proud to support the efforts of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. LLS provides care and hope while continuing to search for cures to the various types of cancers that affect so many.  Your donation will help fund treatments that save lives every day; like immunotherapies that use a person’s own immune system to kill cancer. You may not know it, but every single donation helps save a life with breakthrough therapies such as these. Patients need these cures and they need your support.

Please consider showing your support for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and help get us all closer to a world without blood cancers. Give what you are able to give and keep in mind that EVERY GIFT MATTERS. Show your support at http://bit.ly/presrunschicago19.

Stay tuned for updates as we get closer to race day. Thank you in advance for your support!

REVIEW: Indy Mini Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k) 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!


Rather than bury the lead, here it is:

GO RUN THE INDY MINI.

This entire experience was absolutely phenomenal. From the registration process all the way to the post-race party, the people involved with organizing the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (aka the Indy Mini) know what they heck they’re doing. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though. In 2018,  the Indy Mini was voted #1 half marathon in The BibRave 100!

BibRave Pro meet-up the night before the race!

I decided to step it up for this particular race and participated in the Mega Mini Challenge – running the Delta Dental 5k and then running the OneAmerica Mini Marathon (half). My PLAN was to somewhat sandbag the 5k and go for a really amazing time in the half. That plan went out the window quite quickly as I decided “why not?!” and pushed fairly hard in the 5k. Finished in the top 50, roughly a minute and a half slower than my current 5k PR.

Start line prior to the 5k

After crossing the finish, challenge participants were to stay to the left and follow signage to return to the start area. It seemed as if the volunteers knew this, but there was a little confusion in the finish area. To stay on point, I turned my music back up, put my head down, and do what the race instructions told me. I got back to the start line pretty quick, found Bill – a fellow BibRave Pro! – and we lined up for our second race of the day

Me and Bill (& 6500 new friends) in Wave 2 before the half

I knew before I crossed the start line for the half that it was not going to be a PR. Not after the performance I just threw down in the 5k! I was fine with that. If I could come within 10-15 minutes, I’d still be happy. Honestly though, I wasn’t really focused on that. I was focused on what everyone else was focused on – getting out to the speedway and taking a lap on that iconic track! Although I was posting a pretty good pace through the first half, I slowed up once I got to turn 4 at the track and turned into a tourist for a little bit.

The second half of my half marathon was definitely slower and I could tell that the 5k was catching up to me. My legs weren’t having this run as much any longer. There was definitely some run/walk happening in those last 4-5 miles, but thankfully more running than walking!

Ultimately, I came in around 1:49 for the half marathon – only 8 minutes off of my personal record. Not too shabby at all. Rolled into the post-race party, met up with Bill again as we collected our medals for the 5k as well as for the Mega Mini Challenge.

***

All and all, this race is well worth the trip and definitely lives up to the hype that surrounds it. The history, the tradition, and a very unique 2.5 mile section. Beyond that, this event is incredibly well organized, there is pretty decent crowd support, and it is very evident that the City of Indianapolis (and even the State of Indiana) truly get behind this race.

In conclusion, you should absolutely consider running the Indy Mini in 2020. Registration is open NOW. Seriously. Go to Indianapolis next year and find out for yourself – as I did – why this race is one of the top half marathons in the country!