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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!

REVIEW: Sidekick ID from Road iD

Disclaimer: I received a RoadID Sidekick ID as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

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


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

That thing was – and still IS – a ROAD iD

My first Road iD – the Wrist iD.

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

The Sidekick ID

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

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

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

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

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

Rockin’ the Sidekick ID on my Garmin 235.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Here’s what others think about their RoadID:

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

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

RECAP: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Bank of America Chicago Marathon through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 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!


Last weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago in order to run in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. This was my second Abbott World Marathon Major and my first marathon in the state of Illinois.

Saturday – Expo

I flew to Chicago on Saturday (day before the race), which is my typical M.O. for race travel. Upon landing at Midway on Saturday morning, I linked up with a my friend Melissa who lives in the Chicagoland area and we rolled to the expo together. The short drive to the expo allowed us to catch up and for me to give her some tips for her first ever marathon. When we got to McCormick Place (site of the expo), the traffic and parking situation left a little to be desired, but it wasn’t the worst I’ve ever experienced. Props to Chicago PD for keeping things moving!

If you’ve never been to Chicago for a convention, McCormick Place really is the best place for the expo. It’s a little bit south of downtown, but incredibly accessible by all means of transportation – car, bus, cab/rideshare, L-train, etc. Additionally, the venue itself is HUGE and can handle the large influx of people. My favorite thing about the expo, from a logistics standpoint, would be how the organizers managed the packet pickup process. Each runner was issued a packet pickup ticket – essentially a QR code – in order to gain entry to pick up their packet. Once my code was verified, along with a photo ID, I was sent to one of the MANY packet pickup stations. When I say many, I mean MANY. End result? No massive lines to stand in, no hunting for your bib number, no hunting for the right spot to pick up a packet. The organizers nailed this and it made overall process the easiest I’ve ever experienced.

Aside from that, my favorite thing about the expo OVERALL was the opportunity to meet PAULA RADCLIFFE! For those who don’t know, she was the world record holder for the women’s marathon…well, until Sunday morning! I honestly did not even know she was going to be there. I was standing next to a particular vendor’s set-up and just happened to look up at the large monitor above, which stated she would be at that booth…in just a few minutes. I then did a quick scan of the vendor’s area and THERE SHE WAS! Ran over, got in line, and got to meet a running legend. Let’s not talk about the fact that I did not keep it together AT ALL. Paula – thanks for being okay with that!

Getting back to downtown from the expo was a piece of cake. I will post about my overall travel experience in a seperate post, but I will say this: getting around Chicago is EASY – so long as you 1) know where you’re going and 2) plan ahead.

Team in Training

What I haven’t talked about yet though is the WHY behind my trip to Chicago. The main reason I was even able to participate in this race was thanks to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. I was one of the many who did not earn a spot via the marathon lottery, so when the opportunity came about to possibly get in via another method, I jumped at it! From the minute I got to the expo, every person I interacted with from LLS/TNT was absolutely amazing. They made me feel as if I had been a part of the TEAM for years. I was fortunate to have raised $1775 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, but I could not have done so without the support of some amazing people, so another HUGE thank you to:

  • Beth & Mike Conn
  • Di Spiva
  • Debbie Morris
  • Marie Basler
  • Marie Burleigh
  • Nicole Piechuta
  • Paul Woidke & Lillian Elliott
  • Steph & Jeremy Cramm
  • Hailey & Dan Hadden
  • Mark, Rose, Jenna, & Jillian Bradbourne
  • Nicholas Fellers
  • Erin & Chris Damm
  • Chase Masters & Carrie Luke
  • Lisa Masters
  • Mary Gorell
  • Mike Lindsay
  • Team BibRave
  • Anonymous

What I will add here for review’s sake is this – don’t sleep on the charity bib as a way into a marathon. Yes, you’ll get to run the race you’ve always wanted to, but you also will do a LOT of good along the way. LLS/TNT is just one of MANY charities that partner with the Chicago Marathon, so I encourage you to find one that speaks to you and consider supporting it!

Race Day

On race morning, I walked over to the LLS/TNT hotel and walked to Grant Park with a group of my fellow teammates. It was great heading over with people who have done this race before. They knew exactly where to go and when to get moving to be there. Getting INTO the park was a little stressful because there were so many people and not as many security folk checking bags. PRO TIP: make sure you read up on race day policies BEFORE you get to the security checkpoints, no matter what race you run. Most races will NOT allow any bags aside from the clear plastic one runners can collect at the expo. Follow the guidelines and your race day will go smoothly!

Gear check was what you’d expect – find your bib number and give’em your stuff. Pretty straightforward. Best part about gear check was the amazing views of Buckingham fountain (which was on!) at sunrise. The corrals themselves seemed organized about the same as any other race I’ve run. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to get from gear check BACK to your corral though, as there is a little bit of a walk between the two.

The start was a little crowded, but it began to spread out fairly quick. The course itself is absolutely great – AND FLAT! The only exception to this would be the bridges, which are small rolling hills at best. Best advice I received and that I will repeat to you: go for the carpet on the bridges! You’ll have better traction and lessen the chance of slipping/twisting an ankle in the grating on the bridge. Aside from that, the only real difficult spot on the entire course is inside the last half mile when you make your last right turn and have to climb over the only real hill on the course – “Mount Roosevelt”. Favorite part of the course was running through Chinatown! I did not expect it to be as cool as it was and the spectator turnout in that area was amazing.

There was no lack of aid stations and toilets along the course. Plenty of Gatorade, Water, and gels to get through the race. The toilet were set up on side-streets along the course near the aid stations, almost like pit stops in an car race. For as many people as there were in the event, the toilets never seemed to be overwhelmed or gross – definitely a plus.

Final Thoughts

You should ABSOLUTELY make it a priority to run the Chicago Marathon. I don’t care how you get there – lottery, charity, etc – just go and experience it. The event is fantastic, the organization of the race is second to none, and just being in Chicago will make it that much more fun.

I would definitely consider returning to Chicago in the future. Thank you BibRave and Team in Training for an amazing weekend!

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: GoSili Reusable Silicone Straws

Disclaimer: I received a pack of reusable silicone straws from GoSili 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!


My car collects trash.

Receipts. Toll tickets. Coke bottles. Just a lot of random trash.

Something that shows up quite a bit though – and probably more than it should – is the ubiquitous fast food soda cup with a plastic straw. That straw often pokes my arm as it sits in the cup holder long after the beverage is gone. Once I do get around to throwing it out, the straw is no longer in it’s vertical home – it’s probably been ripped from the cup, tossed throughout the car, and ends up who knows where. Unfortunately, THAT is the problem with plastic straws – we know where so many of them end up. In rivers, lakes, streams, and – most notably – the oceans.

If only there was a reusable straw…oh wait, there is! Enter GoSili.

What is it?

GoSili straws are made silicone which provides a reusable, non-toxic, and sustainable alternative to the traditional drinking straw. They are dishwasher safe and can also be sanitized with a two-minute boiling water bath. In addition to being reusable, they are free of so many of the chemicals that we now fear in our consumer products – BPA, BPS, PVC, lead, and so on.

My thoughts

I was fortunate to get a wide variety of straws to review. My favorite, by far, is the X-Long straw. It’s absolutely perfect for those larger beverage cups at Starbucks as well as for some of my larger thermal mugs. They’re also great for my one-year-old daughter, Shalane, especially when we forget her sippy cup at home when we go out.

Added bonus is that she loves them too as another thing to play with! Because they are so easy to clean and chemically safe, I have no problem letting her have a blast and – dare I say? – get a little “sili”!

The travel cases for the different sizes is great because it keeps the straw sanitary before use keeps it out of the way. As a consumer, my personal preference is for a travel case that attaches to something via a clip or a keyring. My thought here is that digging around in a bag to find the travel case hasn’t been my favorite thing in the world, but it certainly hasn’t hindered my use of the straws! The straws themselves are colorful, safe, and easy-to-carry — with OR without the case. I maybe don’t use them as much as I should, but I’m definitely making strides to eliminate plastic straws from my daily experience. Hopefully, this also means finding less of them in my car!

Where it counts

Plastic consumption is at an all-time high. As a result, the amount of that plastic that ends up in places where it shouldn’t is through the roof. Think about your own plastic usage and then GoSili.  It could be any number of reasons, but they all point in the same direction – silicone straws are here and GoSili has a fantastic product that can help make a difference while also helping you reach the bottom of that large soda from Jimmy Johns.


Want to snag GoSili for yourself and save a buck?

Head over to Target.com and use code GOSILI1OFF for $1 off at checkout.

REVIEW: Ultima Replenisher

Disclaimer: I received a two canisters of Ultima Replenisher (1 lemonade, 1 raspberry) as well as 15 individual sticks (multiple flavors) 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!


Two reviews in one day?! Why not!

Back at it with another product review and this time I’m looking at Ultima Replenisher. Before I jump into the review, let me put a few things out there:

  1. This is only the second time I’ve ever reviewed a consumable, so please bear with me.
  2. I did not realize until the product arrived that I actually already had a container of a different Ultima flavor in my home – my wife enjoys the Cherry Pomegranate flavor.
  3. While I did receive some of the individual stickpacks to test, I am focusing my review on the larger canisters of Lemonade and Raspberry flavors and Ultima in general.

And away we go!

Ultima Replenisher – WHAT IS IT?

Simply put, Ultima Replenisher is a powder-based hydration drink. It goes beyond that simplification though as it boasts no unnecessary ingredients – such as high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. The flavors themselves – tasty, tasty flavors I might add – are derived from ACTUAL fruits and vegetables.

Ultima Replenisher is a replenishment drink. It’s in the name, y’all! Replenishment takes place by ensuring that the body has enough electrolytes. Speaking of electrolytes…

ELECTROLYTES – NOT JUST WHAT PLANTS CRAVE!

Bonus points for anyone who caught the movie reference above…but I digress.

It’s a long held thought that sodium is the only electrolyte that matters. Ultima calls phooey on that. Electrolytes (plural) play a huge role in how muscles function. As a runner, that’s kind of a big deal! Ultima is balanced with all 6 electrolytes – Potassium, Magnesium, Chloride, Calcium, Phosphorus, and Zinc – to ensure that athletes are ready to reach optimal performance.

OVERALL REVIEW

Coming into this test, I was skeptical of a powder-based drink. I’ve tried some (other brands) in the past and had mixed results. Some drinks lacked flavor, some drinks were syrupy, some were just blah. Ultima weren’t in any of those categories. In fact, I found myself not just adding one scoop of the Lemonade flavor to the requisite 16oz of water, but adding a second scoop of Raspberry as well for an awesome raspberry lemonade! Thanks to my wife, Tammi, for that tip!

Additionally, each canister I received is supposed to provide 30 servings. I’ve stayed within the recommended scoop size every time and it seems like this little hockey puck sized canister will never end – but I know it eventually will!

I will note though that I did find it somewhat frustrating to taste residual powder long after I added it to the water and mixed/shook the contents together. Totally willing to accept that it may be a result of how I mix it all together. Regardless, this slight inconvenience is not nearly enough for me to be disappointed by Ultima. They make a darn good product and I enjoyed getting to try it – as I drink some now!


If you’re looking for something different in the drink mix department, I’d recommend giving Ultima a try. On a 5 point scale, I’d give them a solid 4.75 and that’s pretty darn good – especially since I was hesitant at first! So, head on over to the Ultima Storefront on Amazon and use the code ULBRAVE19 to save 10% on your purchase of any Ultima product.

REVIEW: ShadyRays X Series Shades

Disclaimer: I received a pair of ShadyRays X Series sunglasses 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!


Hello again everyone! Time for another review and this time around I’m taking a look at the X Series sunglasses from ShadyRays.

Sunglasses are an absolute necessity for me as I have a stronger sensitivity to light in one eye due to an issue a few years back, so trying these out as the summer running season begins was a no-brainer! I chose to go with the BLACKOUT POLARIZED INCOGNITO colorway for this one and as with most products I purchase (and/or test), I look at three primary criteria when I review: 1) function, 2) style, & 3) price. This one will be no different, so let’s dive in!

SHADYRAYS X SERIES BLACKOUT POLARIZED INCOGNITO

FUNCTION

Let’s get the obvious point out of the way, first and foremost – they’re sunglasses. Obviously, they are designed to help reduce glare and provide 100% protection against harmful UV rays.

However, they are SO much more than JUST sunglasses. The X Series shades are built to experience LIFE. Almost every run over the last few weeks has included these shades and let me tell you – they pass the test with flying colors. They stay put and don’t slip around. I’ve never once had to readjust them or had them start to slide down my nose. The arms on the shades wrap the side of my head almost as if they were meant to be there.

As far as running and other activities go, I’m enjoying these sunglasses. It should also be noted (and should go without saying) that they also make for a great pair of general sunglasses for an evening walk with the family or driving across town. Doesn’t hurt that they can also withstand salt-water as there is a family vacation to the beach on the horizon!

 

STYLE

There is always something to be said about a good looking pair of shades. I’ve definitely had some that didn’t function well nor did they look all that great. The X series shades do what they are designed to do AND they look amazing. Looking at them head on, I feel like I’m about to take on the world. Looking at them on me in a mirror, they look like they are meant for this face. They fit well and they look great. Plenty of colorway options to choose from, but I was drawn to the black-on-black-on-black look of the Blackout Incognito option. When done correctly, this concept works very well. Guess what, folks? IT WORKS. 

PRICE

So, they are great for running, great for everyday, great for the beach. They look good and, call me vain, but I really believe they look good ON me as well. What about the price? 
$45.
X Series shades start at $45. Not the lowest price point I’ve seen, but for the quality of product you receive AND how the company backs up their work, you can’t really beat it. Each pair comes with a lifetime craftsmanship warranty AND they provide FREE replacements if you lose or break them (simply pay S&H). On top of that, every order of ShadyRays provides 10 meals to fight hunger in the United States through Feeding America. Looking good and doing good – well done!

OVERALL

So let’s review:

  • Premium Polarized black lenses with 100% UV protection
  • Shatter-resistant
  • Salt water proof
  • Includes Microfiber Cleansing Pouch
  • Lifetime Craftsmanship Warranty
  • Free Replacements if Lost or Broken – just pay S+H fee for lost/broken replacements.
  • Every order provides 10 meals to fight hunger in the U.S. through Feeding America

What’s not to like?! I’m definitely a fan and am definitely considering a second pair in the future. Head over to ShadyRays and grab your own pair of X Series sunglasses. Save 50% off your order of two or more pairs when you use the code RAVE50 at checkout.

We’re Goin’ Streaking!

No. Not like that. Not to the quad. Not to the gymnasium.

However, the month of May IS now upon us and it it (well past) time to lace up and get after it. How so?

The good people at BibRave have put out a challenge – run and/or walk at least a mile a day everyday in May. That’s it!

Want to get in on the fun? Of course you do. That’s a silly question. It’s easy.

Head over to Strava and set up an account for free OR log in if you already have an account. After that, make sure to join the BibRave Strava group. Good? Good. Now – GET GOING. Your progress will get tracked on your individual Strava profile AND on the BibRave club leaderboard.

This isn’t about training, this isn’t (necessarily) about competition. This is about making the commitment to be active EVERYDAY for a month.

So, what do you say? You in?

See you tomorrow…

Indy Mini Marathon Preview

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!

Make sure to download the Indy Mini app (iOSAndroid) to track me and my fellow BibRave Pros on race day (May 4)!


25 years ago on a beautiful Memorial Day weekend, I wasn’t sleeping in or reading the funny pages on  Sunday morning. Instead, I found myself experiencing one of the greatest thrills of my life – sitting in the stands at the 1994 Indianapolis 500. To my 10-year-old self, the Indy 500 was HUGE. The race course – massive. The drivers – giants of racing. It was phenomenal. From my first 500 in 1994 until the last race I attended in 2002, Indy was my “home” for one awesome day in May. 

The view from one of my first Indy 500’s, as evidenced by the OLD pagoda!

I’ve been back to Indiana and even to Indianapolis in the years since 2002, mostly for conferences, but this trip though will be different. This weekend, I’ll be “back home again in Indiana” to take on the Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k AND the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. I’ll get to run in a place that means a lot to me – which I’ll dig into later in the week. Like with any race though, there are always things for which I’m excited – and here are just a few!

Running the Double

Those familiar with IndyCar should also be familiar with the term “double duty”. This refers to a driver attempting to complete the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 – 1100 miles of driving – on the same day. That’s comparable to driving from Boston to St. Louis (approximately 1180 miles) with only a 2.5 hour nap after the first 500 miles. I think I’ll pass…

Apply that idea of pulling “double duty” to running? Runners eat that up. So why not run a 5k (3.1 miles) and then follow that up with a half marathon (13.1 miles) immediately after? Well, that’s what I intend to do on Saturday. I’ll start my race day at 7:00am with the Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k, which I’ll likely approach as a warm-up, and then get right back to the start line for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon.

This will mark the first time I’ve ever run more than one race distance on the same day since I competed in track in high school. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous about it, but I will get it done! Perhaps I’ll even lock down a PR in the half (sub 1:40 would be fantastic)!

Orange is the New Orange

The Indy Mini is one of the most popular races around – heck, it was voted #1 Half Marathon in The BibRave 100! Speaking of BibRave, that’s the reason I’m running this weekend. This will be the 3rd event I’ve run as a BibRave Pro and every time I have had an absolute blast. Aside from the races themselves, the best part of race weekend is getting to link up with my fellow BibRave Pros that are also on site. Whether we are running officially to help drive the orange brand or just happen to be running and wearing BibRave gear, being able to put faces to names in person is awesome. This weekend, I’ll get to run with William, who I met a few weeks back at the Blue Ridge Marathon, as well as a few others who I haven’t met IRL, but we’ve chatted back and forth in our Slack channels. My experience as a BibRave Pro – testing & reviewing gear and running & reviewing races – has been fantastic, but being able to have a core group of people to connect with and share our love of running has made it something I truly enjoy.

2.5 Miles

I’m okay with running on flat courses, hills, trails, tracks, and so on. It should be noted that aound the halfway point of the Indy Mini, the course gets PANCAKE FLAT. Why? I saved this one for last for a reason – we get to run a complete lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! I’m sure you figured this out by now, but I had to put it to text.That 2.5 mile track is one of the greatest sports facilities in the world and I get to run there. Excited is a freakin’ understatement! I am going to attempt to go for a decent time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I let up just a little to enjoy the view and the experience or running around IMS for a bit. Plus, the MEDAL has some MASSIVE references to the race – can’t wait to earn it and perhaps even the bonus medal for being one of the first 500 across the line!

Back Home Again…

Indiana was my home for a hot minute in the late 1980’s. My family moved to Ft. Wayne, not far from where I was born in western Ohio. I don’t remember much about those years, but what I do remember always made me feel like I was at home. My time in Indiana as a “resident” may have been short lived as a youngster, but I will always feel at home when I hear “Back Home Again in Indiana”. Even though that particular song isn’t necessarily part of Indy Mini weekend, it is the first thing I think of anytime I find myself back in Indianapolis.

Back home again in Indiana
And it seems that I can see
The gleaming candlelight still shining bright
Thro’ the sycamores for me
The new mown hay sends all its fragrance
From fields I used to roam
When I dream
About the moonlight on the Wabash
Then I long for my Indiana home

From the 1994 Indianapolis 500 Pre-Race Ceremonies – my first 500:

 

Will YOU be back home (again) in Indiana this weekend at the Indy Mini? If so, let me know on social and perhaps we’ll be able to link up as well! See you in Indy!


Looking for some other things to get excited about for this weekend’s Indy Mini? Check out this list of 13.1 things to look for during the Indy Mini from 9-time finisher & 3-time ambassador, Chris Day!