Bibrave Product Review: Buff Thermonet

Disclaimer: I received BUFF® ThermoNet Gear 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!

One week down in the PNW and we’ve already hit winter. Yup, 3 days of snow already in November (although places in MT decided Sept/Oct was a good time to get snow). No really, we’ve hit winter.

 

This makes the ThermoNet series from Buff a good product to have anywhere that gets winter, cold or snow. I’ve got my fair share of Buff Products and getting to add the ThermoNet to the mix came at the right time.

The Nitty Gritty

The ThermoNet Series uses PrimaLoft Yarn. What that means for you is the heat gets kept in, the cold and moisture out and that it’s 4 times warmer than microfiber. It also means there’s a high warmth to weight ratio so there’s less bulk needed to keep you warm. When you’re like me and hate having a bunch of extra layers on, this is a plus!

Ways to Wear

The ThermoNet series has a Buff and a Hat. It’s easy enough to use the hat only, the buff only or combine the two. The buff has 12 ways to wear it

Multifunctional!

I’m a fan of the neckerchief, neck goiter and face mask options. The hair tie is something I’d like to try, but I don’t have long enough hair for it.

 

Cost

The hat and the Buff are $27 each ($54 for both). If you hurry, you can get 20% off the ThermoNet series with BIBRAVETHERMONET20  Through 11/17/2017

When to Wear

Think of this as more of your cool to cold weather days. I feel like I could wear it on days where it’s 40-50* out or when it’s cold enough for snow (and trust me I’ve done both

 

Buff Care

Expect them to smell after awhile after sweating in them. ThermoNet series can be machine washed warm and then laid out to try flat.

Overall

If you’re somewhere that sees cold, snow, or winter, look into the ThermoNet series. It does a lot to keep you warm without a bunch of bulk and is easy to pack and take care of. I’m more of a fan over the Buff than the hat, but that’s just personal preference.

Don’t forget to join us for Bibchat at 9 pm EST/6 pm PST on 11/14/2017 with Buff to win your own!

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Product Review: Fun Run Box

Disclaimer: I received a FunRunBox 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!

Box subscriptions are something that’s big these days. Some are fashion related, some are make up related, some are fitness related. One that’s running related is the Fun Run Box. I’d never heard of it before Bibrave, so I was curious. What is it exactly?

  • A “running subscription box with a running experience” as they like to describe themselves
  • Good for novices up to experts
  • A monthly box with gear and challenges to inspire to get engaged.

Sounds simple enough! I had the chance to try the Oktoberfest box over the month of September. When it came in the mail, here’s what I opened up:

I got a shirt, hat, massage stick, beer flavored jelly beans, a bib number, a magnet and a granola bar. Additionally, you got a challange with two different routes to go down in terms of miles and time. For the month, it was the 5 Mile Dasch challenge. You were also assigned a team, for me, it was Team Diggity.

Over the course of the month, the goal was to get pictures of you using or somehow engaging with everything in your box. Whether it be rolling out with your massage stick, working out in your shirt or hat, completing your 5 mile challenge, afterwards you posted pictures with different hashtags. After the month was up, whichever picture got the most likes, engagements etc, was the winner (can we say gift cards and free $$??).

My training got mixed in with the amount of halves I’ve been doing. My 5 miles ended up being the first 5 miles of a hilly half marathon so my time was not that great, but I still have the over/under work outs to go off

Cost: only $45 for $70+ of gear. AND you can use BIBRAVE for 15% off your order by going through here

Fun Run Box is a good way to stay motivated and get competitive for any range of runner, whether it be getting back into running or starting out. Hey, it’s even something that can be used amongst a running group for some good fun. I personally had a hard time getting into it, but it’s solely because I was in marathon training mode, so I felt like I was trying to do two completely separate things. Part of what I also struggled with was the beer flavored jelly beans/granola bar as I’m not a fan of the taste of beer (I ran a race this weekend and gave another BRP my beer if that says anything!). Regardless, take a look at FunRunBox for yourself and give it a try!

Join us for Bibchat on October, 17 at 9pm EST/6 pm PST with Fun Run Box and get more questions answered!

The (Half) Boring Half Marathon

It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I did my first back to back half marathon weekend. On September 16, I ran the Bridge of the Goddess Half Marathon, which was moved to Vancouver WA due to the fires in the Gorges of the Cascades. On September 17, I drove half an hour from Portland to Boring, OR (I can’t make the name up) for the Boring Half Marathon. I was up bright and early (530 AM ish). After changing and waking up some, I was off and taking some side roads to Boring. I got to the start around 6:20 and found some parking. The start was close to one of the local schools. Since I couldn’t make packet pick up, I got my (not so) Boring Half Marathon bib and Men’s XL shirt. Don’t judge, when you sign up late and have to pick a shirt, you go with it. The marathon was off at 6:30 AM, with the half marathon starting at 7 AM. We were followed by the (consistently Boring) 8K at 7:30 AM.

Pre race, they had some food set out, bagels, bananas and some small things, as well as some water and gatorade. I also looked things up a bit on their website before the race. Water and gatorade every 1.5-2.5 miles, depending on which distance you ran.

My legs were on the stiff and tired side from half number one of the weekend, but when you’re trying to get another state off your list, you deal with it and just go for it. There were some mild inclines, though not terrible. Only you feel it when your legs are on the tired side. I was doing ok and thought I could pull a 2:05 or so. Then things started to waiver. My wireless headphones decided to cut out (with a full charge) 5 miles in. Daggon sweat. Sometimes it’s nice to get into your own head, but when there are two runners running together and having conversations over their headphones, it gets old real quick. That coupled with some people cheering in high pitched voices at the top of their lungs, it gets old real fast. After going under some underpasses, crossing a side street and hitting 6.55 miles, we turned around to make our way back, while the marathoners kept going straight. The course itself was on a bike/running path that was paved and without traffic. There were a few points where we had to cross streets and look for traffic, but it wasn’t anything major. There was also section  under construction which led us to go on the side of the road for about .1 miles each way. Once we got within eye shot of the finish, people were around and cheering. Ultimately, finished in 2:07:41, not awful for sore legs.

After grabbing a water and my metal, I went to find some food. They had a food truck there and I ended up getting a slider to hold me over until I got back to Portland. I also checked with the gear people and was able to get my Men’s XL shirt switched to a Women’s Small (score!). After driving back to the hotel and downing some chocolate milk (the joys of having a fridge in the room), I got a shower to warm up and went off to find some lunch.

Overall, a decent race. Small (147 finishers for the half) field of runners and not horrible with hills. If you’re local or in the area for something else, it’s worth doing for sure.

Craft Classic Phoenix

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Craft Classic Phoenix race 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!

In my continued quest to hit all 50 states in terms of half marathons, I’ll finally make it out to Arizona for the Road Runner Sports Craft Classic Phoenix race. So far, Craft Classic has been in Seattle, San Diego and Atlanta this year. I mean, getting down to somewhere warm when fall is taking hold in the rest of the country is always a good thing, right? With one month left before race day, what better time to start to get used to the course? Read, if you haven’t started doing some hills, might want to throw some into your  training sessions

Normally, I’m really good about getting hotels set up for races well in advance, but I just did mine a few weeks ago and ended up choosing a hotel closer to Scottsdale, but easily drivable to Fountain Hills. I figured being able to enjoy a bunch of Phoenix would be warranted while I’m there. If you’re in the Phoenix Area, be sure to check out their last social run on Sept. 28 (head over here for details!)

Still searching for reasons to run this race?

  1. Post race beer! And if you find me, you’ll probably get mine too
  2. Yes it’s October, but it won’t be fall like temperatures like the rest of the country
  3. FREE PHOTOS!
  4. Hills, but good bling afterwards
  5. Enough time for college football watching after the race.

Registration is still on going with the Half Marathon being $85 and the 5K being $55. Have no fear! $10 off with BIBRAVEHALF for the half marathon and $5 off the 5k with BIBRAVE5k.

Who’s coming to join me in Phoenix?!

Bibrave Race Review: Rock n Roll Liverpool Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock n Roll Liverpool race 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!

After a hectic week of battling jet lag, I’ve lived to tell about RnR Liverpool! I can’t remember the last time I did a Rock n Roll event (it’s been at least 4-5 years), partially due to them being a bit on the pricey side. I used RnR Liverpool as a destination race and an excuse to go overseas.

I flew into Manchester and got in the Wednesday before the race. It also happened to be 36 years hrs after the attacks on Manchester Arena, so things were still blocked off around the arena, including some of the businesses and attractions close by. There was a police presence with machine guns to boot. Thursday, the UK had a moment of silence at 11 AM, and I hung out for it at St. Anne’s Square in Manchester. I spent about a day and a half in Manchester, had a chance to run while I was there, including getting lost trying to find my hotel after my first run, seeing some of the sites and just getting adjusted.

Friday, I headed off to Liverpool by the National Rail, as it was only 4 stops and 12 British Pounds. I got off at the Lime Street Station and took a cab to my hotel, though if I knew where it was, I would have walked. I was close to the start of the race, as well as the Expo. I walked over to the Convention Center, where there was a line out the door (in all fairness, it was right at the start of the expo too). The police presence in general for Liverpool was more than Manchester, but I’m guessing it was because Liverpool is a port city. In any case, bags got searched. I ran the 5K and Half Marathon (more on the 5K in a different post), so I had 2 bibs and 2 shirts to get, in addition to a wrist band to get extra bling for doing 2 races afterwards. It was fairly easy to get shirts and bibs. They did offer a shirt exchange, which I took advantage of. I also took advantage of moving up 2 corrals for the half because training was going well. The expo itself was fairly small for RnR. I’m used to larger expos for them, but there were some local stores and business and not much else (or so that’s what it seemed like).

Race Day was Sunday and the race was a late start for a race. The Half Marathon started at 9 AM and the Full Marathon started at 10 AM, which made no sense to me. I would have started things the other way around since the full takes longer, or even started at 8 and 9 AM. At any rate, I grabbed breakfast at the hotel and walked over to the race start, not even half a mile from my hotel. By chance, I ran into Laura T., a fellow Bibrave Pro who lives in Dublin. We chatted and got caught up while going to the start and then went to our corrals. It was a bit windy and chilly out, so I slipped my long sleeved shirt under my Bibrave Shirt.

We started about 15 late, but I was able to move up another corral. I crossed the start about 930 and was off. There were some pacers, but I didn’t see any of them until late in the race (and I didn’t feel like they were that frequent). The first 3 miles or so were fairly flat. The only real hill came around mile 4. The first few miles took us through downtown, Liverpool ONE, the Liverpool Cathedral, the major Beatles Highlights and more. We took turns through Sefton Park, before heading on a little trip down Penny Lane and past Liverpool Collage. We headed back towards town and spent the last few miles running along the waterfront. I spent the first 10 miles underestimating how fast I was really going, and I didn’t realize that I was right around a PR. After I realized I was going to be just over or just under a PR, I somehow picked up the pace enough to run a 2:01:52, which was under my previous PR (at RnR NOLA in 2012) of 2:03:01.

Waterstops seemed like they were every 2-2.5 miles apart, which seemed on the further end of things. Something that was different was they had 8 ounce water bottles at the water stops. Though it made it easier to drink out of, since they were sport water bottles, I also nearly stepped on a few, which would have been more on the dangerous side. This is also probably the first half I’ve done with no electrolytes, because there was some sport drink that I’d never heard of (which after I caught up with Laura after the race, found out it was really sweet).

Post race: bling and food were right at the finish. We were directed into the Echo Arena for more food. Bag check was there as well. You went out through the escalators and back to the front of the arena. There was music, merchandise and an area to pick up extra medals (rock star or remix medals). I hung out a little bit, but with a tight hotel check out and being a bit skittish with the events from Manchester, I didn’t hang out all that long.

After the race and showering, fellow Bibrave Pro Laura and I went and got some lunch. It was fun to get to know each other and to see how some of the international races are done (since she lives in the Dublin, Ireland area). Afterwards, I took the train back to Manchester and stayed close to the airport for a ridiculously early flight to the US on Monday.

Overall, It was a good destination race for someone going overseas. I’d take a look at the water situation though. I feel like they needed to be closer together and I’d rather have cups over water bottles ( I saw 2 people trip on them). Do yourself a favor and look into this race!

Rock N Roll Liverpool: The Need to Know

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock n Roll Liverpool race 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!

It’s race week for Rock n Roll Liverpool! I arrived Wednesday morning in Manchester, England. To say I was a bit nervous is fair given the events of Monday night in Manchester. I’m here through Friday before I take the train an hour and change to Liverpool for race weekend. I’ve done my fair share of homework of the whats, whens and wheres, just because of this being the furthest I’ve traveled for a race (read, 4,000 miles!). RnR Liverpool is smart enough to have a race app and race center weekend website for essential information, but here’s some good to know information, especially if you’re coming from further away

Events: 5K on May 27 (9:30 am and 10 am start times depending on bib color); on May 28th, Half Marathon (9 AM start time), Marathon (10 AM start time), Fun Mile (1 pm start time). limited full marathon registration will be at the expo as all other events are sold out

Time Limits: 6 Hours for the Full, 3.5 hrs for the Half Marathon [from GUN TIME!]

Confirmation Sheets: Follow this link to look them up. MUST be printed and brought to the expo (not pulled up on your phone!)

Expo: May 26 from 1-7 pm; May 27 from 8-10 AM for the 5K and 10 AM to 5 PM for all other distances at the ACC Convention Center, King’s Doc. NO RACE DAY PICK UP for the Half, Full or Mile races.

Race Security: Full details here and on RnR Liverpool’s Facebook site. In short, bag check only available between 730 AM and 430 PM, bag sizes no larger than 50 cm x 30 cm by 20 cm and expect heightened security given the events in Manchester

Runner Tracking: Download the SportHive App!

Travel/Parking information: Take a look at the recommendations and come early!

Hopefully this helps put everything in a quick, easy to find spot. Stay safe, have fun and enjoy Liverpool!

Bibrave Race Review: Alamo 13.1

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Alamo 13.1 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!

Weekend getaways to warm places are always too short. This weekend, I was in San Antonio, TX for the Alamo 13.1 Half Marathon. I was last in San Antonio 4-5 years ago for a race (that ended up being short for whatever reason).

After getting stuff done throughout the week, I headed out to Texas Friday morning after waking up ridiculously early for a spin class. Needless to say, going from 40 degrees to 80 degrees was much needed! I took an Uber to the Menger Hotel downtown and checked in without any issues. I walked around downtown and the River Walk to find dinner. The amount of St. Patrick’s Day shinnanegans going on was insane!

Saturday was expo day. In the past, it had been held in downtown San Antonio, but this year it was moved to the Granberry Events Center about 15 min from downtown. I had the chance to talk to the RD, David, and in the past the expo had been downtown. With Spring Break and the Texas Rangers taking over downtown, the past year or two, people had been driving around for 40 minutes and paying $50 to park and walked in ready to beat someone. I ended up taking an Uber to the expo (about $15-$17 one way), which wasn’t all that bad. Packet pick up was easy. There were areas for the Half Marathon, 10K and 5K. I wish before hand, you had the ability to look up your number instead of having to just give your name at the pick up. The Expo was small with some local places et up there and some photo op chances. If you were from out of town, you had the option of picking your bib up at The Menger Hotel that evening, but no expo vendors were there.

IMG_4462

Saturday afternoon, I found some lunch, went to church and found a wine bar with college basketball on for March Madness. There was the added amusement of sitting next to someone at the bar who asked for Coors Light and chips and salsa. What the what?

Race Options: Half Marathon (individual or 2 person relay), 10K and 5K.

IMG_4476

Sunday morning, I was up early and got changed and ready to go. The race was right in front of the hotel, so getting there was the easiest it’s been for me in a while. No parking, no shuttles, no issues what so ever. The half marathon was set to start at 7:15, but we headed off about 10 minutes late. The 5K and 10K were scheduled to start at 7:45 to give us a good amount of leg time. The first part of the race took you around downtown and back to the front of the Alamo. We then took some roads through some neighborhoods of San Antonio. Some parts weren’t the best and there were some parts that had someone not been there, I might have been a touch confused. We also went through Breckenridge Park and around some athletic complexes before turning back and ultimately ending up on the River Walk. Though I appreciate the amount of stuff we saw, here were my issues. We ran on no fewer than 5 surfaces: gravel, pavement, sidewalk, brick and brick with holes in it and pothole filled roads. I hardly ever get sore after halves anymore, but I was feeling this one. The mile markers seemed a little off to me as well. I wish the course had less of the iffy areas and less of the river walk with amount of narrowness that there was (it was only 2-3 people across along the river!).

Aid Stations: every 1-2 miles it felt like with some impromptu ones set up along the way.

The Finish: literally, right in front of the Alamo with announcers calling out people as they came across. Post race there was plenty of food, but the line to get it was long. It would have been helpful to have people be able to go either side of the food tent in order to move things along a little bit quicker. They also had music, massages, medical tents and the ability to check your time. The Krispy Kreme Donut truck was an added perk if you could stomach it!

IMG_4495

Overall I think this was a good race. Definitely one to look into if you need Texas! A few things to work on though: getting the course a little bit fine tuned (not so many surfaces, less of the iffy areas), faster food lines, etc.  I also think social media could be improved. I don’t think their twitter account has been used in a few years!!! The Race Director, David, was a good guy and I think is one who takes all suggestions to heart in order to improve the race! Keep this race on your radar, because it’s one to do every March!

Race this weekend? Don’t forget to go to Bibrave and review!

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