Disclaimer: I traveled to The Running Event and received products products from Addaday, Altra, Arcanum, Brooks, CEP, Handful, Incrediwear, Nuun, Vooray, Vuori and Zwift 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!
There really are no words to describe my experience last week at The Running Event Influencer Day with BibRave but I’m going to try my best. To be honest, I was absolutely stunned when BibRave chose me among the 20 BibRave Pros to attend the event. Maybe my lack of confidence as an athlete got tied to my general feeling that I suck at this blogging/social media thing, but something worked in the end and I got to roll with some pretty awesome peeps in Austin. Even before heading to Austin, just being picked gave me a major boost in confidence, something I apparently needed as I struggle to improve my health and fitness while also complete a PhD. Thanks BibRave just for that alone.
The Running Event is the premier conference and trade show for running specialty retailers. This year, BibRave had the opportunity to bring 20 BibRave Pros to the tradeshow for an Influencer Day jam packed with awesome activities, seeded product from retailers, and just lots of love for orange. In 24 hours I connected with a ton of awesome brands, some new and old to me, visited a new city, sang karaoke when there was no karaoke, and met an amazing group of runners from all over the country. My swag bag was certainly full but my heart was overflowing. Here’s the breakdown:
Day 1: I flew to Austin mid-morning for a lunchtime arrival. I actually crossed paths with my first “orange” friend, Lindsey, in the ATL airport before we separated for a few hours on different flights to meet again in Austin. Most people arrived around lunch and I ended up in the second group of 7 people who met at Austin airport and took Uber to meet up with the rest of the BibRave Pros at a restaurant, our first taste of awesome Austin food. It was really awesome meeting 19 people like we were all old friends even though I had only met 2 previously. Some people like to knock on social media but I think it’s pretty amazing when you have experiences like this.
After lunch we checked into our hotel (I stayed with 3 other awesome ladies) and then we started a scooter gang…I mean, we took Uber scooters across the river to quickly take some touristy pics with one of the Austin murals before heading to the first official TRE event, The Influencer Reception sponsored by Zwift. At the reception we noshed on food and drink while digging into our awesome swag bags including: a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTSn 19, a pair of Altra Escalante 1.5, and a Vooray backpack full of gear from Arcanum, CEP, Nuun, Addaday, more Brooks stuff (a sweet reflective jacket), Handful, Incrediwear, Vuori, and Zwift of course! Hanukkah definitely came early for me this year. While we were digging into our goodies like little kids, there were 4 “chosen ones” pros who ran the BibRave 5k on Woodway treadmills using Zwift. For my cycling friends, you’ll recognize Zwift for it’s cycling in-home training workouts. Zwift launched a run capability back in February and we received the Zwift run shoe pod in our gift bags. I’ve done one of their virtual runs already and it definitely makes treadmill runs more bearable, like playing a video game. It was really fun to cheer on the 4 “chosen ones” while also seeing the hundred other people, including many other BibRave Pros, running the 5k virtually from all around the world.
After the reception we had a little time to drop our new gear off at the hotel and then head back out to meet the group at Iron Works BBQ for dinner (gotta have BBQ in Texas!). You could tell at this point that everyone was tired from early travels (I had to walk around the restaurant a bit to wake myself back up) but we were ready for a bit of a second wind at the Brooks after-party at Cedar Street Courtyard. This party has a reputation for being a bit crazy each year. We had free beer and wine, and there was an awesome live band that went through a ton of awesome dance/karaoke songs. Des Linden was also there and a bunch of the Pros got selfies. I was lame though and tried to be a little too polite so I missed my chance. I was exhausted and we had originally planned to leave by 10 but the music and dancing was too enticing! We lasted an extra hour and headed back to the hotel around 11, although some of the group definitely lasted until last call I heard lol. I was pretty exhausted and we had to meet again the next morning by 6:30 for our BibRave run around Austin! Best behavior I guess this time around lol.
Day 2: Up at 5:45 to then take scooters back across the river for our 6:30 meetup time for the BibRave run! Professional photographer Larry Castillo followed us around on a scooter and took some awesome shots too! Austin is a really cool city and they had a great path along the river; I wish I had more time to explore and do some longer runs around town. Hopefully I’ll get invited back to TRE next year and I’ll make it a longer trip. After about 3 miles around town, including a stop at the Texas State Capitol, we made it back to the Hilton. We had just enough time to make it back to our hotel for speed showers and then right back to the convention center for our 8:30 am meetup for the tour of the expo trade show floor.
Tour of the expo: basically I kept calling this a race expo on crack. Take hundreds of vendors (it probably takes more than one day to properly visit everyone) and none of the crowds normally found at a large race expo and that’s The Running Event expo. We broke into two groups and had a scheduled tour of 10 vendors with product found in our swag bags. At each stop we learned more about the companies and the products, and had the opportunity to ask questions. It was particularly helpful for products new to me, such as Arcanum, where we got a better picture of their story and vision as well as the best way to use the products. I especially loved hearing from the ladies at Handful who developed sports bras that look great (no uni-boob) and also do a lot of great work with women with breast cancer/reconstruction/etc. They also showcased an amazing tank, the flippin awesome tank, which I desperately want when I get rid of some of this holiday debt lol. I’ll have reviews of all the products in follow-up posts over the next few weeks.
After the tour we had several hours until the expo closed to walk around on our own and talk to more awesome brands. I finally got to meet Josh Sprague, founder/owner of Orange Mud. I’m part of their dirt unit/ambassador program and I really LOVE their products. Josh is an awesome guy who’s genuinely excited about his products and the people who use them. I really wish we had more time in the expo because we barely made it through half of the room, and even that was rushed. I chatted with several other brands, many of them new to me, and we scored essentially another bagful of awesome products. It was like race expo shopping without all the monetary guilt.
After the expo several of us walked to a burger joint for lunch and then it was back to the airport and home for me that night. Honestly, I’m still kinda decompressing and unpacking the whole thing even though it was all over within 24 hours. Attending TRE with BibRave was an amazing honor and one I hope to earn again in the future. More than all the awesome swag, it was really the amazing journey with incredible people that has made it one of the best experiences. If you notice me rocking orange more often, it’s because the color gives me such joy. More to come…
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