Disclaimer: I am promoting the Best of the Bay City Guide 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!
To all of you west coast readers, or anyone looking for a great west coast race-cation for early 2020, consider the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon on February 20! Check out the guide above for all the great places to stay, eat, shake-out run, post-race party, and more! Register for any of the 5k, 10k, or half marathon on https://www.getfitkpsf.com/race/ and use code KPSFBIBRAVE for $5 off! Can’t wait to hear more about this race from all the running fam out there. After next week’s Honolulu Marathon, I won’t be traveling too far outside the southeast for races until a little thing known as my PhD Dissertation is complete. Until then, living vicariously through this city guide and all y’all!
“Disclaimer: I received a pair of Aftershokz Aeropex to review and a pair of Titaniums to give as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.comto review, find, and write race reviews!”
It’s that time of year where we all struggle with gift ideas for our partner, parents, siblings, best running friends, dog sitter, etc. 😛 Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be the star gift giver of the season! Aftershokz, the all stars of bone conduction wireless music technology, wants you to brighten someones day this holiday season, and they are once again bringing back their Black Friday Buy 1 Get One. This year the focus of the promo is to #GiveGoodVibez. In order to get exclusive access to the sale, head to https://givegoodvibez.aftershokz.com/ , get your email on the list, and wait for the sale details in your inbox. On Black Friday, use your exclusive sale access to purchase a pair of wireless Aftershokz and you’ll receive 1 pair of open box Aftershokz Titaniums to give to someone else for FREE!
Why have I already converted most of my friends and family to the Aftershokz squad? Aftershokz offers a great family of high quality products but in many ways they’re more than just some snazzy electronic gear. The last few months have been challenging, to say the least, due to pressures of PhD-land, family stress, and personal health issues. It’s definitely hard to stay motivated to keep fit when you’d rather just stay in bed, let alone keep motivated to continue marathon training. At the end of the day, when stress and health have your body craving those extra hours of sleep in the morning, sometimes it’s important to listen. However, finding time to build up some sweat equity is still key to overall health and mental wellness. As you’ve seen in my last few posts, as well as posts in the past, I’ve been an acolyte of Aftershokz bone conduction headphones for a few years now, and have owned several pairs. In the last few months though, Aftershokz have been more than just a cool device; they’ve provided the extra motivation to stay active when motivation was very difficult to come by in my life.
Couldn’t get out of bed in the morning for that early morning run group and now you only have time to fit in a dreaded treadmill workout at the school gym? Listen to pump up tunes ( AC/DC or Led Zeppelin for me!) or an awesome podcast (BibRave Podcast anyone?) on your Aftershokz Titanium. Injury (plantar fasciitis maybe?) and need to take a break from running and do laps in the pool instead? Grab your fully waterproof with 4GB of MP3 storage Aftershokz Xtrainerz to cut the lane line boredom. Just need to talk to your mommy but your only time is on the late night drive home after class? Use your Aftershokz Air for handsfree wireless calls. Yes, I own all 3 products, and yes, I speak from experience.
A brand new pair of Aftershokz Aeropex, the newest model, are headed my way and I can’t wait to try them out. The Aeropex have the longest battery life and best sound quality of any Aftershokz yet with the new PremiumPitch 2.0+ technology and angled transducers for optimal placement “allowing for more dynamic bass range, higher volume, and less vibration.” I’m about to get “Thunderstuck” in the best possible way. I’ll write an updated review once I receive them but you can check out reviews from other BibRave Pros below:
Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Xtrainerz 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! All opinions are my own and no further compensation was given.
The benefit of being in school for my 3rd degree is that I have access to awesome athletic facilities, including a really nice lap pool. When I first started at Kennesaw State in fall 2016 I was in the last 6 weeks of training for Ironman Chattanooga and the access to the pool proved wonders on my swim training. I’m pretty sure I swam more in those last 6 weeks of training than I had in all the previous months leading up that. When I first started triathlon, the swim was my weakest sport. While I’m certainly not fast, the easy access to pool facilities the last few years has allowed me to find a lot of comfort in the swim that I never had before.
Why is swimming awesome?
Great cross-training: this low impact activity allows for a great cardio workout without the stress on the body. I’ve found that any time I’m in a high load training cycle, my fitness and recovery are A+ if I add 1-2 swim sessions a week.
Excellent workout option if injured: adding to the first bullet, swimming is a great workout, and allows you to keep moving even if an injury has sidelined your run or bike workouts. Case in point, I’ve had plantar fasciitis since June and have traded 1-2 of my mid-week runs for a swim instead. I’ve been resting my foot, but still keeping strong cardio, and allowing the foot to recover and be ready for the long weekend runs.
Cathartic and quiet: there’s something very calming about being alone underwater just methodically swimming back and forth following a line on the bottom of the pool.
What sucks about swimming?
Cathartic and quiet: for those of us with an excessive noisy, sometimes self-harmful brain, the quiet methodical following of a line is also extremely tedious, boring, and opens the squirrel brain up for anxiety inducing thoughts.
Enter: Aftershokz Xtrainerz
I’ve used waterproof headphones before but they were generally uncomfortable and the sound would be garbled like…being underwater, duh. Also, the in-ear design of most headphones means you can’t also wear ear plugs. For me, having ear plugs while swimming is the key to avoiding ear infections; I’ve had several while training for Ironman and they all suck. I even ended up with a perforated ear drum from one particularly bad infection.
Aftershokz are already well-known for their amazing open ear, bone-conduction design. With the new Xtrainerz, you get the open-ear design and can still wear whichever ear plugs you choose. I’ve used wax plugs in the past, but the swimming specific plugs the Xtrainerz come with are the most comfortable and effective ear plugs I’ve used. In addition, continuing the magic that is Aftershokz, the Xtrainerz produce amazing sound quality both in and out of the water, with specific settings for both environments. Using the bone conduction technology under water means that the sound quality is excellent, with none of that underwater garble effect.
Since Bluetooth technology does not work through water, and I don’t know anyone who’d swim with their phone anyway, the Xtrainerz are an MP3 device rather than a Bluetooth device. This means you actually store the music directly on the device, no phone required. The setup is really easy. If you use iTunes, set up a playlist and then use the convert to mp3 menu option (File –> Convert –> Create Mp3 Version). You’ll then be able to copy these songs from the iTunes folder on your computer directly into the Xtrainerz. Note: you’ll only be able to do this with music you own, not streaming music subscriptions. So far I’ve added over 5 hours of music to the Xtrainerz, which has been more than enough distraction for hours of back and forth, following the lane line, entertainment. And as always, Aftershokz are great for outdoor runs and rides where you need a little entertainment but still want to maintain situational awareness. I particularly love how I can listen to music without relying on my phone. This is a great benefit for treadmill runs and gym sessions where I don’t want to carry my phone around with me (I’m prone to leaving it behind on the gym equipment).
Here’s some device specifics directly from the Aftershokz site:
Bone conduction technology delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to hear ambient sounds.
4GB of built-in storage to hold up to 1,200 songs with full track and volume control at the touch of a button.
Supports MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, and FLAC files (not Bluetooth compatible).
Enjoy eight hours of premium audio stroke after stroke.
Fully waterproof (IP68 rated) to withstand complete submersion in up to 2 meters of water.
Simply connect to a computer via the USB cradle to drag and drop your favorite songs.
The Aftershokz Xtrainerz finally dropped in the US last week and the BibRave Pros are getting in all the musical laps fun. The same great open ear comfortable design has been made specifically for your underwater enjoyment with 4GB of mp3 storage, IP68 waterproof rating, and an 8-hr battery life. The unboxing was definitely like early Hanukkah for me! So far, I’ve had them on one swim session and they’re even more magical than I had imagined. I’ll be back with more details after a few more swim/run/bike sessions, but I can already tell you that these are life-changing. Grab a pair yourself using code BRBUNDLE for $50 off the endurance bundle at www.bibrave.aftershokz.com. And don’t forget to join BibRave and Aftershokz on #BibChat TONIGHT, September 17, at 8pm ET for your chance to WIN a pair!
So, I may be an “adult” but I still live life like a child in need of a sippy cup. Every time I try to cut back on plastic use, the straw thing always gets me. You’d think I could just drink out of a cup like a normal human being, but without fail I’ll end up covered at some point during the experience. I guess my brain is just so focused on all the other life-changing calculations it handles on a daily basis that sometimes the drink like an adult executable fails to run. Alas, straws re-enter my life. As such, I was really excited to try Go Sili reusable silicone straws as part of being a BibRave Pro.
I feel like the “war” on plastic straws has become viewed, particularly by my parent’s generation, as an inconvenience thrust on them by us “snowflake” Millennials. Can we really blame them when the paper/cardboard imposters that have replaced plastic straws in many places are, quite honestly, absolute shit. Drink your smoothie fast enough kids before your paper straw just gives up on life! No worries folks, there’s an answer to your fake rage; fun colors, easily portable, silicone Go Sili straws!
I’ve honestly loved how convenient and plain awesome it is to carry my own silicone straw; they come with an awesome tin carry case that slips easy into any bag, purse, pocket, etc. Waitress walks off and disappears before dumping straws on your table? Pull out your own. Your favorite cat cafe only uses paper straws? Pull out your own. Want that brunch time mimosa without screwing up your amazing new tinted lip gloss? Add some color to brunch with your own brightly colored straw. And yes, I have tested Go Sili straws in all the above scenarios to great effect.
As if that doesn’t convince you, Go Sili straws are:
dishwasher safe (although I just rinse mine in warm soapy water quick after use and let them dry)
free from BPA, BPS, PVC, lead, and phthalates
available in a multitude of fun sizes
available in 3 different convenient sizes including regular (I keep one in my purse always), extra wide (extra yum for bubble tea or smoothies), and extra long (you ever see one of those hurricane drinks in New Orleans??)
One of the cool side effects of carrying my own straws around is that I’ve started thinking about/implementing what other reusable products I can carry around conveniently. After years of going through travel coffee mugs I hated, I finally found an awesome glass coffee mug that I love, and I’ve made sure to always carry a reusable water bottle. Now, if only I could find the time/interest in food prep I’d probably cut way down on food storage waste as well. This fun size “adult” needs one small step at a time.
I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m officially on the Go Sili straw train. If you want on the train, head to Target.com and use code GOSILI1OFF for $1 off at checkout.
Here’s what other BibRave Pros have to say about Road ID:
Disclaimer: I received a RoadiD Sidekick 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!
Road ID may seem like a really simple product but they make safety fun, affordable, and have a little fun along the way as well. The website is fun, their products range from stand alone wrist options, shoe and watch add-ons, medical bracelets, kid bracelets, and even pet identification, with TONS of customization. From the moment you click purchase, Road ID does a great job keeping you up-to-date about your order status and makes it fun along the way as well with hilarious emails and “quotes” from customers. 😛
My training for marathons, triathlons, bike races, etc. often takes me all around town, at various times of day, sometimes by myself. In a busy life training happens whenever and wherever you can make it fit. I try to be as safe as possible during all my adventures and have owned multiple Road IDs for various pairs of running and cycling shoes. However, the diversity of activities, equipment, gym bags, schedules, etc. has often meant losing or forgetting to wear the Road ID. With the Road ID Sidekick, my identification and contact info is now attached to my daily wear watch so it never leaves my wrist except for when the watch is charging. The benefit of not having to remember ANOTHER piece of equipment for each separate activity means that the Sidekick is a no-brainer for my busy, diverse active lifestyle.
When I was selected to test a Road ID product, I actually received enough credits to purchase the Sidekick for myself as well as the PetID for my 4-legged running buddy, Batoot. The PetID provides a jingle-free pet identification option which simply adds to any collar. Even better, for every Road ID purchase a donation is made to 4 Paws for Ability, which provides service dogs for children in need!
I highly recommend both the Road ID sidekick and petID as worry-free and inexpensive safety/identification options for both you and your 4-legged kids. Save even more on your next purchase by visiting the following link for 20% off: http://road.id/BibRave
Here’s what other BibRave Pros have to say about Road ID:
Danielle F | Amy P | Andrea | Christine G | Corey | Dane | Didi | Erica | Fallon | Christine N | Jeremy | Juan | Kim P | Lisa | Lissa | Michael |
I was super happy to test my 3rd Stunt Puppy product so it’s great to be fully embedded in the Stunt Puppy family of products at this point. You can check out my reviews of the Stunt Runner leash and the Nano Bowl. Adding the Go Dog Glo harness rounds out the complete package for my run/walk buddy.
The harness certainly looks snazzy on Batoot (yup, my kid is cuter than yours 😛 ) but the true benefits of the harness come from the combination of the breastplate with the martingale-style leash attachment. The breastplate is ultra durable and reflective while also being soft and comfortable for doggies, with no pressure points. It’s also really easy to get on, even with a very high energy pup; just slip over the head and then two clips under the front legs. The martingale-style leash attachment glides as you loosen and tighten on the leash which helps check pulling behavior. Batoot also has an impressive ability to back out of other harnesses (maybe he was a contortionist in a previous life) but the easy adjustments on the Go Dog Glo harness have so far thwarted any escape maneuvers.
Check out the Go Dog Glo harness in action!
Here’s what other BibRave Pros have to say about the Stunt Puppy Nano Bowl
Emily | Ken | Brenda | Brittany | Cassie | Deanne | Eddie | Fallon | Christine | Jen Z | Kim P | Lindsey | Matt | Meridith |
I discovered Oofos nearly 2 years ago when I had the opportunity to try my first pair through another BibRave review opportunity. You can check out that review here. Since then, I’ve gone through many pairs and I never have less than 2 pairs in the house at a time, with at least one pair as house slippers and another for gym bag and travel. Several additional pairs have been purchased as gifts, and I’m pretty sure most of the people in my running group own at least one pair. This new review opportunity came at the perfect time since my dog, as cute as he is, is a menace and ate one of my old pairs. In addition, during Bike Ride Across GA at the beginning of June, I spent too much time walking around in zero support flip flops, resulting in my first experience with plantar fasciitis. Once you own Oofos, you will NEVER wear flat, uncomfortable flippy floppies again!
The Oofos Oofoam(TM) technology:
Absorbs 37% more impact than traditional footwear foam materials (validated by 3rd party study – UVA 2018)
Reduces stress on feet, knees, and back
In order to recover from PF I’ve used my Oofos to lead the way:
Wearing Oofos around the house and NEVER walking barefoot
Wearing Oofos at work (luckily I’m allowed to do this) instead of uncomfortable dress shoes/flats which just irritate the PF
Immediately switching to my Oofos after every workout.
I’m still working on kicking the PF for good but wearing the Oofos regularly has definitely helped with recovery and allowed me to keep up with marathon training without making the injury worse.
What else is great about Oofos? They’re latex-free, made of non-toxic materials, and come with a 6 month warranty. Even better, a 3% donation to the Dana Farber Breast Cancer Research organization is made with every pair of Oofos sold on Oofos.com!
Do you love Oofos too? Which models are your favorite?
Still not convinced Oofos are for you? Check out other BibRave Pro Review:
I always knew that being a BibRave Pro was more than just free races and products. For me it’s always been more about the community of people, many of whom I consider friends even before we’ve met. After an amazing orange-filled weekend last December at The Running Event in Austin, I knew that I’d do my best to make it to as many BibRave Pro meetups as possible. The positive energy and joy felt from spending just a few short days with runners from all over the country has continued to fuel my running journey. When BibRave announced the summer BRP Summit in Chicago around the Rock n Roll half marathon weekend, I knew I had to attend. Bonus points for the fact that my NYC Marathon training plan had me running 13 miles this weekend anyway!
After a quick pitstop in NH to visit my parents and grandmother, I left at 3am on Friday to head to the Windy City. I made it to the hotel by 8:15, the room was ready (thanks Marriott!), dumped my bags, had a quick breakfast in the lobby, and then me and mascot Benjamin headed out for a quick run to a park to meet Team BibRave and other Pros who had already arrived. We were supposed to do a service project at the park but it was canceled due to heat; of course this meant we got in a quick run along the lake. I was very quickly reminded that Chicago is the most beautiful city in the US; between the lakefront, the amazing architecture, the awesome transit system, and the impeccably clean streets it’s just awesome. If it wasn’t an arctic tundra in the winter I’d probably consider moving there lol.
We had some post-run donuts, headed back to the hotel for a quick shower, and then it was off with my awesome roomies to the Rock N Roll Chicago Expo. I’m not a huge expo fan but I appreciated this one for it’s medium size, wide aisles, less crowded feeling.
After another quick visit to the hotel and shower rinse (did I mention Chicago was experiencing record high temps?) it was already time to head to the “Orange Carpet Dinner.” Team BibRave treated us to an awesome dinner at drinks at City Winery thanks to sponsors Aftershokz and Knockaround. I used a BibRave Buff as a belt and an orange heat sheet as a shawl so, yeah, that happened…
Saturday morning we were back at the lakefront for a shakeout run and what I’ll call BibRave class photos. The amount of running groups on the lakefront trail was staggering and made for some amazing people watching, although it made me wonder whether there’s anywhere else to run in Chicago.
After a long walk back along the lakefront (I dipped my legs in and, yes, it’s freaking cold!), Millennium park and the bean, we had just enough time for showers…again, before heading to a Cubs game at Wrigley field. I loved visiting the park but with the heat index at 106 it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. The park was handing out travel size bottles of sunscreen, and had showers going in the concourse to keep people cool. We left around the 6th inning (the Cubs won eventually) to head back to the hotel for, you guessed it, more showers (with a room of 5 women we went through A LOT of towels this weekend), before heading to dinner and a live taping of the BibRave Podcast. Team BibRave did a great interview with Cindy Kuzma of the Injured Athletes Club podcast and author of upcoming book, “Rebound:Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger from Sports Injuries After a long walk back along the lakefront (I dipped my legs in and, yes, it’s freaking cold!), Millennium park and the bean, we had just enough time for showers…again, before heading to a Cubs game at Wrigley field. I loved visiting the park but with the heat index at 106 it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. The park was handing out travel size bottles of sunscreen, and had showers going in the concourse to keep people cool. We left around the 6th inning (the Cubs won eventually) to head back to the hotel for, you guessed it, more showers (with a room of 5 women we went through A LOT of towels this weekend), before heading to dinner and a live taping of the BibRave Podcast. Team BibRave did a great interview with Cindy Kuzma of the Injured Athletes Club podcast and author of upcoming book, “Rebound:Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger from Sports Injuries“. It was a really informative discussion and reminder that injury doesn’t have to take you away from the running community and that coming back from an injury can make us into better athletes.
Sunday morning started early again for Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon! We all met at the start line for a team pic at 6am and then the race started at 6:30. The temperature had dropped 30 degrees from the day before but it was still really humid. Rock n roll certainly did a great job preparing for the heat; water every mile, gatorade every other station (I think), several places with ice (they were handing runners bags of ice), spray stations, and ice cold sponges. I think several early days, little sleep, being sunbaked, and probably dehydrated led me to having a really miserable race experience. I couldn’t keep any electrolyte drink down and resorted to chugging water which probably made it worse. Team BibRave told me I waved to them at the mile 6 cheer station but I have no recollection of seeing them; kinda hard to miss all that orange too! Also, note to self, apparently I can’t run over bridges…and there are a lot of bridges in Chicago! Most of the bridges are draw bridges so they have a metal grate service. I think when I ran the Chicago marathon these bridges were actually covered in carpet for the runners, but not during Rock n Roll; they were very uncomfortable to run on and you could see straight down to the river. I ended up feeling like a baby deer trying to run over each one, so I just walked. Also, for a Rock n Roll race there didn’t seem to be much music, so I was glad I ran with my Aftershokz (I don’t normally run with headphones). Admittedly, since I wasn’t feeling well I may have missed a lot. I don’t remember much of the course except the bridges and the fact there were a ton of turns. At the end of the day I had 10 plus miles on my schedule for NYC marathon training so the race served it’s intended purpose.
After my miserable and very cranky finish, and then moping around the rest of the BRPs until I felt better, I walked back to the hotel and staggered into a McDonald’s for an egg mcmuffin. Miraculous recovery after that lmao! Oh well! I somehow managed to cram all my new goodies and nasty clothes into my carry-on luggage before heading out to our final lunch gathering of the weekend. It was certainly sad for the weekend to end but I know I’ll get to see some of Team BibRave and other Pros in Atlanta in February for the Olympic Marathon Trials and Atlanta Marathon weekend. I’m excited to get some more orange down to ATL. I had a very late flight, so when Pro Christine and her friend Stephanie decided to go see Hamilton I figured I should end an awesome weekend on a high note and hang out in the room where it happens once again. 4th time is a charm, especially when you get 2nd row center seats for below face value 25 minutes before showtime; not throwing away my shot, indeed.
I was exhausted by time I got home Sunday night, and Monday was basically a wasted work day, but I’ll work hard, play hard any day for a weekend surrounded by orange. Can’t wait until next time!
Read to the end for a chance to win a free pack SIS Energy Gels!
I definitely have a love-hate relationship with gels and sports nutrition in general. I try to eat as much real food as possible during runs and rides but that often means I don’t eat as often or get in enough calories. The bonk is real people! So to avoid the ugly wall, I reluctantly carry whatever gels I have lying around to fill in the calorie voids and keep up with intake. However, most gels are a pain to swallow, are sticky and get on everything, and I often need to gulp a ton of water to get them down, often making a sloshy mess out of my stomach. No bueno.
As part of being a BibRave Pro I received a large sampling of the 3 variations of SiS gels in 4 flavors: energy+electrolytes (Salted Strawberry & Lemon & Mint flavors) , energy+caffeine (Double Espresso Flavor) and Isotonic Energy (Apple Flavor). Since I’m racing Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon as part of the BibRave Pro Summit on July 21 and SiS gels are provided as on-course nutrition, these gels arrived at the perfect time in my training cycle. I’m also at the beginning of NYC Marathon and Honolulu Marathon training so it’s the perfect time to lock down an improved nutrition plan.
So what’s the deal with “isotonic”? According to the Science in Sport website:
The Isotonic formula allows the gel to empty from the stomach quickly as no fluid needs to be drawn into your stomach to dilute the gel, providing fast energy.
This means that each gel contains 22g of carbs, around 90 calories, around 1 g of sugar and can be taken without water! This means no sloshy stomach, no GI distress, and NO BONKING! The gels are only slightly thicker than water so they’re easy to take on the move (I easily sucked one down while biking down a gravel descent). This is how I’ve been using the gels:
Shorter runs less than 90 minutesor rides less than 20 miles –> 1 gel just before running. If you really need a boost before your morning run, I suggest the double espresso but be warned, it’s STRONG! SiS recommends double espresso before shorter runs or in the last 2 hours of a long-distance/ultra event. All of the gels taste great but they’re even better if you keep them refrigerated (double espresso tastes more like ice coffee if you take it cold – highly recommend!).
Longer runs or bike rides – > 1 gel before, and then 1 gel every 45 minutes. Depending on the length/intensity of the workout I vary my hydration between electrolyte with no added calories or a sports formula with extra carbohydrates to get closer to 150-200 calories per hour.
Overall, I’m really enjoying these gels and look forward to see how they work as I move to longer workouts/races this summer/fall. My one “complaint” is that the gels are kind of large so I haven’t run with more than 2-3 at at time, so I’ll need to carry more for longer efforts. However, they still fit in hydration packs, bike jersey pockets, and flip belts just fine so I think I’ll manage the extra bulk.
Here’s what other BibRave Pros have to say about the SiS Energy Gels:
Here’s your chance to win a free box of Science in Sport gels!
I’ve teamed up with Science in Sport to give away 2 6-pack boxes to a couple of lucky followers. Follow me, @FunSizeAthlete, and @ScienceInSport on Instagram, like and comment on this post with a friend who shares positive energy for your chance to win!
Don’t want to wait to see if you win?? Science in Sport is offering readers 25% off their product! Shop their website and use the code ‘TRYSIS25’. What flavor are you excited to try? So far salted strawberry is my favorite. Let me know below!
Give Science in Sport some social media love here: