BibRave Product Review: xx2i Australia Sunglasses

Disclaimer: I received a pair of xx2i Australia1 Sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

As a runner, you know a good thing once you see it (or run it, try it, etc). When the chance came up to try another pair of xx2i sunglasses, I threw up my virtual hand to volunteer! I’ve tried the xx2i USA and the Hawaii’s and loved both pairs.

My Australia’s showed up in the mail a few weeks ago and was my first official piece of Bibrave Pro mail since moving to Spokane. We had the option of black, black/white and tortoise frames, and I went with the classic black (although the black and whites would have been a good color combination too!).

Decisions, decisions. @xx2i Australia or Hawaii today? #bibchat

A photo posted by Christine (@cginpnw) on

The Australia sunglasses have a polarized lenses, which helps with adjusting to sunlight. It also has a light frame (easy to forget that you’re wearing them), but stay in place the entire time you’re running, running errands or out and about. Additionally, they come with a removal padded insert that can help with extra protection. The insert easily pops in and out (I tried placing and removing the insert a few times, without issue). I haven’t had a need for the insert, so I’ve not used it, but it seems a bit on the bulky side to me (short runner problems!).

I’ve had a chance to wear the Australias on a few runs out in Spokane, where it doesn’t feel like death outside. They really stay in place well and don’t slide around, even without the insert. I’ve also had no issue with lense fogging and the the polarized lenses are spot on! I’m a huge fan of the way xx2i incorporates the light frames and the durability into their products, it really makes them easy to wear and ‘forget’ that you have anything on

Neighborhood run with my @xx2i! Might as well take advantage of heat for @honolulumarathon! #bibchat

A photo posted by Christine (@cginpnw) on

What’s even better about these lenses?? 8K optical technology. In English, it means that you can still get a clear image of what you’re looking at, even with the glasses on (at least that’s what I get out of it :-)).

Taking a rest day or going out and running errands? Feel free to take the Australias with you. They can double as a casual pair of sunglasses that give you the cool casual feel around town (and make people jealous that you have a pair and they don’t). They hold up in the 90+ degree heat in Spokane well and have a good fit to them!

The specifics: they retail for $124.99 and have a lifetime warranty (because xx2i is awesome like that). Also, you get 365 days to try them out and if you’re aren’t satisfied (but I promise you will be), you can return them, no questions asked. And because we love you, use xx2irocks for 50% off (I mean come on, why wouldn’t you want to try them!!).

Join use on 8/16 at 9pm EST/6PST for #bibchat with xx2i! I promise they’ll be around to answer questions and to help you find the best pair of sunglasses for you!




BibRave Product Review: Amphipod Hydraform Bottle

Disclaimer: I received an Amphipod Water Bottle to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Summer is in full swing as I write this, likely my last review as a Cleveland resident before moving to Spokane, Washington. It’s been consistently in the 80s here recently and I’m sans gym membership (no LA Fitnesses in Spokane unfortunately, it’s been a good run!). That just means more reason to get out and enjoy the long days after work and get some runs in on the pavements. And with summer, all the more reason to stay hydrated!!


When presented the option to try an Amphipod water bottle, I was intrigued. I’ve tried a few other hydration options that I’ve liked, but I’ve never been able to find a hand held water bottle that I’ve actually liked. Enter Amphipod Hydraform Ergo Lite. We had the option of doing a 16 or 20 oz bottle and I went 20 oz.


The nice thing about the Hydraform Ergo Lite is that it’s made for function and safety while keeping in mind runner’s input at the same time. It’s light weight, so for me, I don’t mind carrying it on my runs (though, I’ll probably end up keeping it for shorter runs). Also, it has a pouch on the side of the carrier, big enough for an iPhone 6 (especially if you need to call for help!). I had no problem carrying my phone, IDs and cash/credit cards- still plenty of space. Another perk? A clip for your keys! No more worries about dropping your car and apartment keys into the port-a-potties or down a sewage pipe.


Now, drinking from this sucker. The mouth piece is a one way thing, so either suck or squirt. Easy as pie! no struggling to twist off a lid or go searching for a water bottle. Also, there’s more than enough room to through on some gels if you’d like

Because of being int the midst of moving, I haven’t had the chance to try longer runs or races with it, but I’m more than looking forward to a few of the ones I have scheduled already on the west coast. I’m already looking forward to trying this on some longer runs. My only suggestion would be to make the carrier insulated for the warmer weather so it would keep the water cool on the run, especially with the summer weather.


Either way, go find yourself an Amphipod water bottle and see why we love it! Join us on Tuesday at 9EST/6PST with Amphipod to chat for an hour!

What are other pros saying: Sarah  Alex   Jessica

Follow Amphipod online:

IG: @amphipodrunning  Twitter: @amphipod  Facebook:  Amphipod

Bibrave Race Review: Vermont City Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Vermont City Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

After a few days of digestion of this weekend’s Vermont City Marathon, it’s fair to say that I learned a lot this weekend. With 40+ half marathons and 7 marathons in the book, I’ve been able to say I’ve finished all of them until now, no matter how ugly the weather, circumstances, etc were. This weekend, the deck of cards dealt a different hand!

I ran marathon 1 of the year in March and towards the end of that race, started to feel some heat in VA. Between know and then, I’d been able to do a few half marathons, but due to work, I wasn’t getting runs in until 730 or 8 PM at night. I was looking forward to Vermont City as a chance to visit Burlington and just have some fun during a long run!

Vermont City has a Marathon, 2 person marathon (read 13.1 miles each) and a 3-5 person relay. Registration varied from $99-$135, depending on when you registered and you could register at the expo if there was space available, as there were caps.

I flew out to Burlington the day prior to the race. I had 2 regional planes (read, I had a soft bag that I could stuff in the overhead bin. When I arrived in Burlington, it was in the 70s-80s. Even before I left the airport, I was hearing how this was the hottest year ever for the race and that the days leading up to the race, organizers were thinking of moving/canceling the race. I picked up my rental car and headed to the Sheraton for the expo. It was a small race expo, but there were plenty of merchandise, vendors, etc there, including a bunch of local places, which I appreciate. It was easy to pick up your bib, shirt, etc. They even had a shirt exchange site if you could find your size you wanted and a message board for relay teams that were looking for last minute runners. I also had a chance to meet Jess Cover (the communications person for VCM), who was awesome. She told me about the adjustments that they’d made for the race and their plans for the heat (extra ice, adjustments on course, etc).

I stayed at the Holiday Inn Burlington and headed to check in after the expo and relax. I had my stuff all laid out, filled out the medical info on the back of my bib and got organized. I spent the evening in downtown Burlington. I hit the sack early in anticipation for an earlier wake up call.

I woke up around 6 and got ready in the hotel. Since I was at one of the race hotels, they had water and light breakfast stuff out for runners. They also had shuttles bussing people to the start, which I took full advantage of. I got to Battery Park and checked my bag (extra shirt and plenty of fluids for after the race) before utilizing the porta potties. The race started at 803 for runners (800 for hand cyclists) and it was already in the mid 70s and at a yellow health level for the EAS. As we headed off, I lost one of my 8 0z water bottles on my spibelt (bummer). Plenty of spectators sending us off. We weaved through town and dealt with the weather. It was sunny, no clouds and as we continued on, you could feel it getting warmer and the heat from the pavement. I could feel it getting warmer. The first water stop was 2 miles in or so. We continued to mile 3, where we hit some of the communities. As we got to mile 4, we headed out onto highway that’s closed down once a year for the race. This is where I started struggling. No shade at all and it was getting hotter. By mile 5 (and I was way behind on pacing), we were at a level red for the emergency system. I had already seen 2 runners being pulled off course by EMS and the bike medics were asking people if they were doing ok. We hit some more water stations and the turn around just after mile 6 which had ice and gatorade. By the time I was heading back, I could see the rear of the race coming the other direction, which was disheartening. I hit mile 7-8 off the highway and worked my way through some of the neighborhoods. The residents were awesome and had sprinklers out for runners and their own water stops for runners, which was much appreciated. By mile 10, I was walking more than I was running. I was also feeling like I was starting to not sweat and my calf was nagging me. It took about 40 minutes for me to do 3 miles and the heat was getting worse with the humidity.

I made it to Oakwood Park (mile 13.5) and the halfway point of the race, just past the 2 person relay exchange. At that point, I thought the best decision for me was to stop and pull out of the race. It wasn’t something I personally took lightly, but I was worried that aid stations would run out of fluids, as I had seen the last few prior to stopping starting to not have a lot left by the time I got there. I took the relay buses to the finish line to get my bag and found massage therapists for runners. I had them work on my legs, and as I was there, a family member of a runner checked his phone to find out the race had been cancelled at noon (4 hours into the race) and that anyone beyond a certain time frame wouldn’t get an official time. I wondered a little bit, found some food, bought some ice cream and headed back to the hotel for a shower.

As I reflected on everything, I did a twitter blast to try and find the other bib rave pros running the race. None of us officially finished, but we found out the timer had been left running for people to find family members on the course. Here’s where I thought some things could use a little bit of fine tuning. No one can control the weather. This is up there as one of the top 2 hottest marathons I’ve done (the Chicago 2010 Marathon being the other). I wish that there would have been a direct text alert system to runners so they knew what was going on, in addition to the Race Joy app. I think it would have helped with some of the confusion and so we knew what was going on. I don’t always set up push notifications because it kills my batteries. I’d also do colored flags to correlate with the signs so it’s easier for runners to see on course.

I personally agree with the decision to call the race, as I saw at least 5 squads take people off course. At this point, it’s a matter of me figuring my next step. I’m getting ready to move out west and I have some halves set up. I’ll also have more time to adequately train, so hopefully I’ll be able to get out and train better in heat. I have a December marathon set up for Hawaii, so hopefully I can get some redemption there. All in all, I think there’s a lot to learn here. DNFs happen and I’m lucky it took this long to get. Remember, safety always first, even if there’s disappointment around it. Regardless of what you thought about the outcome of VCM, I really think Vermont City is a race worth signing up for. The staff is wonderful, communicated well and really tried to make adjustments to the race given their circumstances. The only thing I would add is they need to consider a one person half marathon (I would have been all over that!!). I thought their communication post race was spot on. They took the time to explain their rationale, debunk any online rumors and answer any questions about local New England Double and Vermont City Grand Prix. Curious? Read it here in their Letter from the Race Director

Thank you Vermont City, for showing us how classy race organizers can be, how awesome your city and community are in their love for runners and how one can still have a good time even when the weather isn’t kind to us

BibRave Product Review: xx2i Hawaii Sunglasses

Disclaimer: I received a pair of XX2I Hawaii 1 Sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Hello from Burlington, Vermont! This weekend, I’m taking a stab at the Vermont City Marathon (another discussion for after Memorial Day) and I’ll be doing it with some specs from a BibRave favorite partner, XX2i. Awhile back, I got to test out (and immediately loved), the XX2i USA1, so I was excited to try some Hawaii 1s with the Honolulu Marathon now on my race list for December!


USA1 Sunglasses on the left, Hawaii1 sunglasses on the right

The Hawaii1 sunglasses are a lighter weight than the USA1s and have thinner frames. Easy to adjust to your face and you sometimes forget that you’re wearing them. One of the things I’m still working on is that they slip some on my face.

Since the weather’s been nice out and it’s been staying lighter longer, I’ve been able to get in some runs outside after work.


The Hawaii1s stayed in place fairly well during my runs. I’m working to figure how to adjust them just a touch, as they tended to slide some down my nose. They come with 3 different colored frames, but one colored lenses (no big deal!). I wore them out with some wireless headphones that also go over your ears to stay in place. Stayed in place, no problem! Also, I always wear my hair in a ponytail. I have no issues with hair and fly aways getting caught in the temple arms

Specifics about these fine little sunglasses:

  • lightweight
  • made out of carbon fiber!
  • bendable nose piece
  • rubber temple piece
  • lifetime warranty
  • 365 day return policy [but honestly, why would you want to?!]

The nitty gritty and where to find them:

  • Cost: $124.99
  • Website:
  • Free shipping in the United States

If the fact that I have 2 pairs of XX1i sunglasses isn’t enough to sway you, would 50% off with XX2iROCKS hopefully will.  Join us on Tuesday 5/31 for Bibchat at 9/8 EST/CST with XX2i!

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Race Review: Glass City Half Marathon

So I’m a tad (ok, really) late with my Glass City Race Review, but better late than never! I signed up for Glass City back in November and it was $60 (decent for early registration for sure!). Part of my goal was to hit the major half marathons in Ohio before moving out west and I almost hit it, missing only the Flying Pig in Cincinnati.

I happened to be on inpatient medicine the month of the race and ended up driving to Toledo the night before the race after getting off work. It’s about a 2 hour drive from the east side of Cleveland. Traffic was non existent, which was a plus! I stayed about 2 miles from the start at a Holiday Inn (because let’s face it, you’re smarter if you stay at one right?).

The race starts on University of Toledo’s Campus and race morning, I was up bright and early. I quickly got changed, got a quick bite from the complementary breakfast and drove to the start. Roads were already closed off, but I was able to park behind Alumni Hall. The nice think about Glass City is there’s race day packet pick up. The downside is that if you’re unfamiliar with campus, you have to figure out real quick where to go. I found the stadium and ran inside, got my bib no problem. I even made it back to my car to throw my shirt, etc in it. I made my way to the start and waited to sneak into a corral.

The start I wasn’t a fan of. Too many people and the announcer kept hushing people to make announcements that should have been made prior to 7 AM. We ended up starting late and there were too many people trying to get into the corrals last minute. Can we say staggered start next year?

The first part of the course was around campus. It looked nice from what I could see and remember on it. There were hills and such nestled into flatness. I did the half marathon, but there was also the full marathon and a relay. At the first relay split, the flag for the split was behind the split and did no good in directing people. You didn’t really know when it was coming. We kept on chugging along and the course became more residential. There were families and some people out supporting runners, but I was expecting more from it. Around mile 9 was splitsville per say. The half marathoners made a left and the full marathoners made a right. What I didn’t like was the cones on the ground leading up to the split. I felt like I had to look down to see them and there was no ‘big’ signage until you got close to the split. We kept on going through more residential areas and back roads, before getting back to campus for the last mile or so of the course. The last 1/2 mile went through campus and to the football stadium. The downside was that it took you through sidewalks and on campus bridges and parking lots. There were finishers and spectators coming the opposite way who were going back to their cars and it was hard to see what was actually the course. The finish was in front of the football stadium and as you finished you got your medals and finisher mugs.

Post race was decent. Plenty of food, drinks and things to do. I had about a 1/3 mile back to my car and an easy way back to the hotel. However, other people got blocked into their parking areas until 1 pm because the lots were on the race course. Who does that?  I headed back to the hotel and showered before heading out for Tim Horton’s and heading back to Cleveland.

I’m kind of on the fence about Glass City- I felt like I’d heard better than what it was. Maybe it was just an off race day?

Bibrave Product Review: SPIBelt H20 Venture Series SPIBelt

Disclaimer: I received a SPIBelt H2O Venture series to reviewas part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

I’m one who’s all over the place in terms of carrying hydration of some sort on me. Most of the time I deal with whatever’s on course, however, I have a few races coming up where the water stops are spread out and the races involve me running 26.2 miles. Sometimes I like vest type things, other times not so much. I was excited to try out the SPIBelt H2O series because I lost my old spibelt and I wanted to give the smaller hydration carriers a try again.

A few weeks back, I ran the Toledo Glass City Half Marathon and ran home after work for a few things before driving 2 hours to Toledo. I got lucky in that my SPIBelt had shown up in the mail, so perfect timing!!


For the Glass City Half Marathon, I just did the SPIBelt, no hydration clips this time around, just out of preference (it’s been awhile since I’d used them and didn’t want to start on a 13.1 mile race with them). The belt it self is wonderful. It stays in place well, doesn’t move around and is very secure. Since it’s also made to hold hydration clips, the belt size is bigger than the standard SPIBelt, which is nice to have. It also comes with bungees to attach your bib to your belt if you’re not a safety pin person.

Other Perks of the belt:

  • 2 loops for gels if you’re a gel person. I plan on trying to see if a payday bar will fit in one
  • Reflective
  • Decent Size pocket on the belt

Don’t believe me on the belt size?! It’s large enough for at least an iPhone 6 and ID cards (ignore the iTunes gift card, using it for demonstration purposes!)

Taking bets as to how much fits in a @spibelt! Big enough for at least an iPhone 6 & IDs! #bibchat

A photo posted by Christine (@cginpnw) on


The water bottles I used on a handful of runs. I unfortunately didn’t get to use them more because I got knocked down with acute bronchitis, ended up on a 5 day course of antibiotics and wasn’t feeling up to running. I’m still getting use to them. I didn’t have any issues with leaking and the clips stayed on well when the water bottles were full. I felt like they were on the looser side the less water that was in them though. They are big enough for ice to be put in the opening and you can run them through the [top shelf] of the dishwasher when you’re done!

The overall fit of the belt is great and adjustable and the water bottles fit well to your body

As if you needed reasons for @spibelt h2o venture series… #bibchat

A photo posted by Christine (@cginpnw) on


I think the big thing for me will be figuring out the best way for me personally to carry the water bottles around and where they fit best.

Interested in trying out SPIBelt’s H20 Venture series?? Try 10% off with christine10! Join us on 5/24 at 9/8 et/ct for #bibchat with Spibelt if you’re available!

  • Cost: $44.95
  • Website:
  • Twitter: @SPIBelt
  • IG: @SPIBelt
  • Facebook:


Race Discounts

Take advantage of some good deals while it’s still nice out!!

  1. Willimantic Classic ( Willimantic, CT 4/30/16): $5 off with Rave
  2. The Color Run Baltimore (Baltimore, MD): 30% with BIBRAVE through 4/20/16
  3. Bank of Marin Running Festival (Novato, CA 5/22/16): 30% off with BIBRAVE through 4/20/16
  4. Madison Half & Twilight Series (Madison, WI 5/28/16): $10 off with BRSAVE10
  5. Vermont City Marathon (Burlington, VT 5/29/16): $5 with BibRave5
  6. Hospital Hill Run (Kansas City, MO 6/3-6/4/16): 10% off with BIBRAVE
  7. Northern VA Destination Races (6/4/16): $10 off with BIBRAVE10
  8. North Olympic Discovery Marathon (Port Angeles, WA 6/5/16): $5 off with bibrave16
  9. North Face Endurance Challenge WI (9/17-9/18/16): 15% off with BIB15
  10. North County Wine Run (North County, WA 9/24/16): $7 off with winerun
  11. Paso Robles Marathon (San Luiso Obispo, CA 10/30/16):  $10 with BIBRAVE
  12. Milwaukee Running Festival (Milwaukee, WI): $10 off with Bibrave
  13. Honolulu Marathon (Honolulu, HI 12/11/16): $50 off with BIBRAVE
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