Thursday, December 29, 2016

illinois marathon new year's day 2017 resolution registration sale

Disclaimer: I received an entry for Illinois Marathon 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 you might have read, I am registered for the Full I-Challenge at Illinois Marathon weekend April 21–22. That means the 5k on Friday night and the full marathon on Saturday morning. You can read a bit more about why I chose the race here if you like.

A few quick bullet points:
  • Finishes on the U of I football field
  • Not too far of a drive (about 2 hours)
  • Time of year that I was looking for my spring marathon - May can be too hot
  • Other out of state friends running it
  • Marathon finishers get a fleece blanket and medal
  • For completing the Full I-Challenge I'll receive 3 medals
  • Pasta Dinner (not included with registration)

Full Marathon Course Map

They recently revealed the 5k shirt. It's blue (my favorite color). Some details:
"The Campus Sportswear team is rolling on designs and screen printing our 2017 race shirts. They have begun printing thePresence Health 5K Run/Walk shirts. Our designs this year will celebrate the Sesquicentennial Celebration of the University of Illinois. This shirt features Red Grange’s “Galloping Ghost” statue, located on the west exit of Memorial Stadium. The 5K Shirt is printed on an Alo Sport Unisex 100% Polyester Shirt in Sport Royal."

Illinois Marathon is hosting a fun New Year's Day 2017 Resolution Registration Sale. You can register and save $5 with code 'bibravebonus' (does not include Youth Run, but for any other race - 5k, 10k, half marathon, full marathon, marathon relay, or the I-Challenge (5k + 10k, half marathon, marathon relay, or marathon).

If you register on New Year's Day, you'll be entered into a prize drawing. Four lucky winners will receive:
  • a $75.00 shopping spree in the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon race merchandise booth at the health & fitness expo on race weekend
  • 2 complimentary tickets to the Biaggi’s Pasta Feed (total value of each prize package = $107)

On Sunday, January 1, 2017, use code bibravebonus at the end of the registration process to receive a $5.00 discount on the entry and you'll automatically be entered into the drawing for the prize above. The discount is valid until registration closes, however, to be entered into the drawing, you must register on January 1.

Here's a little preview of the course, posted on the Illinois Marathon Facebook page:

Hope to see you there! I wish I was able to register that day - awesome prize package! You guys know I love to buy all the gear at the marathon expos haha.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

rudy project fotonyk sunglasses review

Disclaimer: I received the Rudy Project Fotonyk 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!

I think after all this time, if you happen to be an avid follower/reader of my blog, you know how much I LOVE and NEED sunglasses. Even on cloudy days. I have very sensitive eyes and without sunglasses (and usually a hat or visor), I end up squinting a ton which leads to a major headache (and crows feet). Also my eye doctor always reminds me to wear sunglasses or a hat when I'm outside due to my astigmatism (I think that's why she reminds me, anyway - not that I need reminding since I know my eyes are so sensitive).

Though sick, I was going to run Rudolph Ramble 5k,
but while sleeping I got an email it was cancelled.

Anyway, so I love having different styles of sunglasses so it's not always the same thing day after day in all of those photos I post online haha. The Rudy Project Fotonyk have a ton of frame colors, lense colors, and bumper colors to choose from. I requested the crystal graphite/white with multilaser blue lenses, though also really liked the yellow fluo/black with multilaser orange lenses. They also have photochromic to black lenses (so they transition in different lightning – I know a ton of runners that love this option, and wondered if maybe I should have gone that route too hah). You can even purchase different number colors to swap with whatever frame/lense color you chose, or buy different colored lenses. AND you can get them with prescription lenses. Score.

Running errands.

I was hoping to have them to bring to Mexico with me, but they came during the end of the week when I was gone (delivered Thursday I think and I got home late Friday night). Unfortunately for me, I immediately fell ill when I returned home with a nasty sinus infection. I tend to get them 1–2 times a year, and when they hit they HIT HARD. I had been able to keep them at bay most of the year (and for the marathon which was my main concern). I was so weak and sick I was basically bed ridden for 1.5 weeks, and even now, about 3 weeks later, I still have a cough that makes running too difficult. 

Impossible not to have dog hair on everything haha. Walking on a sunny, cold day.

I did have the chance to take them out for some walks and errands, and the first thing I noticed is hot lightweight they are. After a few minutes I forget I'm even wearing them. That's a big deal for me - I don't want to be bothered by the feeling of wearing sunglasses (they can be tight on the head sometimes which can lead to its own headache). They are extremely comfortable. The nose pads are also adjustable, so you can fit them how you like. The lenses have good coverage, so keeps out the sun well.

Testing out my new 2XU vest and sunglasses on a crazy windy day.
 25 MPH winds, but it was sunny and 53 degrees out (feels like 44) at the
end of December, so had to get out there. 2.5 miles was the longest exercise
I had had in a while. Felt great after eating all the junk food the past few days.

They were very comfortable with my headphones too, which is a bonus because I need my music when I'm out walking or running haha. I use Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, which go over the ear, so I need sunglasses that will sit on top of those comfortably. These passed the test.

The bumpers were great for keeping the wind and dust out of my eyes on the super windy days. I wore them for a walk when the winds were at 25MPH. Usually with that kind of wind my eyes would get teary and often get some kind of dirt or dust in there, which never helps with seeing and can be painful with contacts, but these kept my eyes dry and pain free. And if you decide the bumpers aren't for you, or if you only need them on once in a while, you can easily remove them.

The DBL (distance to lenses) is 17, eye size 66, temple 131, and weight of .97oz, and they are a medium face. They also come with a fabric case to protect the lenses (thank you - I'm a throw in a bag kind of person and often end up with scratched lenses, so a lense protector is awesome to have).

Some other details about the Rudy Project Fotonyk:

Two years of intense research and countless hours of design have culminated in Rudy Project's latest performance sunglasses: the Fotonyk. Featuring an all new 'Lens Bumper' system, the Fotonyk provides enhanced protection to the face during falls or impacts, all while offering a customizable look. The bumpers, which are available in an array of colors, can even be removed to create a half-rim lens with an unobstructed view. In addition to this new technology, air channels are strategically placed at the top of the lens so users can easily manage internal airflow and mitigate fog. The fully adjustable ErgonoseX nosepiece and variety of interchangeable lenses, including the unbreakable and photochromic ImpactX lens, make the Fotonyk an individualized gear piece specific to the wearer's unique style and face shape. The Fotonyk is also available with high-tech prescription solutions such as the brand new Optical Dock, capable of high strength corrections in a sturdy removable platform.

Product Description:

Fotonyk Crystal Graphite / White With Multilaser Blue Lenses
Product Colors: Grey
Lens Colors: Blue
Lens Type: Non Polarized, Neutral Lens
Lens Light Transmission: 20 Percent
Product Size: Medium Face


Interchangeable Lenses
The system of interchangeable lenses called Quick Change is one of the basic technologies of our sport sunglasses. Every sunglass has different ways of fitting and removing the lenses. Quick Change technology enables you to easily and swiftly change out your lenses to manage any light condition.

Adjustable Anti Slip Nosepads

Any good sport sunglass needs an adjustable nosepiece. This gives you the ability to fit the glasses to your exact nose bridge shape and width while keeping the glasses snug on your face during extreme activities. Rudy Project sport models employ one of several types of adjustable nosepiece sysems that are both comfortable and sturdy. Made of either soft antiallergenic silicon or Megol®, they keep the glasses secure on your face and prevent them from sliding down your nose.

Safety Hinges

Safety Project is a unique Rudy Project feature that creates fold-in-hinge without any sharp edges. Designed to minimize injury in case of impact or falls.

RP-D Centered Optics

The optical axis is maintained parallel to the main axis of vision, permitting maximum utilization of lenses with an extensive curvature, while respecting the need of optical quality and visual clarity, and minimizing eye fatigue.

Price for Fotonyk ranges from $149.99–$199.99. Spare lenses range from $64.99–$104.99. Bumper kit is $9.99. RX Optical Dock Fotonyk are $79.99. They often have great deals and sales, so if you are interested in getting these, I'd reccomend signing up for their newsletter and to keep an eye on their website. I know currently you get a free Rudy hat with any order for $75 and there's also a deal where you when you buy a pair of sports sunglasses (Fotonyk included in the list of sunglasses to choose from for this deal) you get a TON of free items worth $500+. When you choose your sunglasses, you then choose your free items from 6 different categories. It's a really sweet deal. Free items include a hat, additional lenses, back pack, Sterling Helmet, t-shirt, and neck cord (+handling & insurance fee of $24.95).

I would definitely recommend the Rudy Project Fotonyk to anyone looking for a great pair of sunglasses that include adjustable nosepiece, interchangeable lenses, photochromic lense options, RX options, and easy to remove bumpers. Once I'm back to running (hopefully this week), I'll edit my post to talk about how they are when running (though I doubt much will change - I'm sure it'll be more spewing of my love for them haha). 

Angie and Mark both tested them in the Midwest winter, so you can check out their reviews if you have some harsh winter conditions to run in as well. Just about any pair of sunglasses will fog up in extremely cold conditions, especially if you happen to use BUFF® to protect your face - the air just goes into the lenses and doesn't give them enough air to stay fog-free, however, if you don't use a BUFF® and remove the bumpers, it allows more air flow and can help with that problem. Just a suggestion if you are having fogging issues. I haven't had that problem yet, but again, I haven't had a chance to get out with them too much yet, and definitely not on the freezing days.

Connect with Rudy Project:

*from the website

Sunday, December 18, 2016

rudolph ramble 5k review

Disclaimer: I received an entry for RAM Racing Rudolph Ramble 5k 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!

The 2016 race was to be held on Sunday, December 11 and was a 5k (previous years it had been an 8k). I think this was the first year that RAM Racing took over (as it was a Fleet Feet event and they partnered up for 2016 where RAM was in charge of the event (like SF10).

I was VERY disappointed in the swag. When I registered it had me pick a size for sweatpants (and honestly was the only reason I decided to run this race as I was returning from vacation a day before) was. Sweatpants are unique and fun, so I was super excited about them. About a month before the event it changed to a red fleece hat. Boo. The quality isn't great and since it's fleece it doesn't have much stretch, so for my smaller head it is too loose, and I imagine for others too small. RAM is usually on point with SWAG, so for the hat to take over the place of the sweatpants was a real bummer. I don't know why if the sweatpants weren't locked down, why that would even be on the registration/website. I would have preferred TBD to be displayed. In the future, I hope they nail down the product before adding it to registration and website so people don't register for something they might not end up with.

I had my packet mailed as I was returning home from vacation on the Friday before and knew I wouldn't want to drive into the city the next day. It was a $15 fee (which I paid for), but I felt worth it so I didn't have to spend the time and frustration of driving into the city the day before. I do wish they had race day pickup though rather than having to pay for mailing.

What the hat looked like.

A little before midnight I received an email from RAM that the race had been cancelled. Looking at the weather the night before, I was weary and on the fence about going at all. I figured I'd wait and see what it was like in the morning, as on a good day my drive would be about an hour (which means if roads were bad it would take MUCH longer). Luckily, I didn't have to make the decision.

Other than the email, they made it known to keep an eye on their FB page for any updates, and the cancellation was also posted there. So I think that was handled well and in an organized fashion.

The course.

Email read: 
Hello Rudolph Ramblers, 

We are sending this email to let you, our valued volunteers, partners, staff and runners, know that RAM Racing has made the decision to cancel tomorrows Rudolph Ramble 5K (12/11/2016). While we had hoped to be able to hold the race, the National Weather Service - Winter Storm Warning will now remain in effect until midnight Sunday and is expecting significant snowfall overnight through Sunday evening. Light snow will persist thought Sunday evening and with accumulations from 7 to 12 inches. Significant amounts of snow are forecasted that will make travel dangerous and the National Weather Service is asking everyone to only travel in an emergency. 

Given this situation, we are unable to confirm that the running course will be plowed prior to race start, thus meaning that RAM Racing cannot be certain that we can activate our medical/safety protocol based on the conditions. Please give us 24 hours before asking questions as our first priority is to try to make sure that the thousands of runners, volunteers, and staff will try to make it out to the event in the morning. Our number one concern is safety. 

Thank you for your understanding, 
RAM Racing

I appreciate that they took runner/volunteer/staff safety so seriously. I have my doubts that the course would have even been cleared of snow, which makes it dangerous for runners (and hard for medics to get to said injured runner). I think they made the right call and following the National Weather Service was smart.

A few days after the event, they emailed runners again to let them know they could register for any 2017 RAM event with a special, personalized code to get 50% off. Also, any kids' registered would be able to receive their goody bag with medal and treats from Dec 16–31 (bring in Bib). AND all 5K participants were still able to enjoy a FREE Do-Rite donut and cup of Dark Matter coffee by showing their bib number at any Do-Rite Donut & Coffee location in Chicago through Saturday, December 17th.

The course was on the inner path, going past the Lincoln Park Zoo with the start and finish near Peggy Notebart Museum. I was planning on parking at the zoo. There was one aid station with Nuun around the half way mark, so even though there was no race, I know the scenery enough to give it 4 stars and for a 5k any aid station gets 5, as I don't deem one necessary but think it's nice (though I'm not a fan of Nuun).

They also noted that since there wasn't a toy drive at the race site with the cancellation, they would be purchasing and delivering gifts to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, which I think is a great gesture.

Notes from the website: 
The Rudolph Ramble was the first race we have ever had to cancel in 16 years due to weather. It was a decision that was not made lightly. 
We truly appreciate your understanding that our main concern was the safety of not only you, the runners, at race time but also the volunteers and staff who were facing the kind of potentially dangerous conditions in the hours leading up to the race that had the Weather Service and Chicago’s Office Of Emergency Management and Communications advising people not to go outside unless absolutely necessary. 

We are also unable to offer a refund to runners despite the cancellation - as is standard in the racing industry. There are non-refundable costs associated with planning and preparing each and every race, regardless of the time of year, and those do not go away even when a race has to be cancelled. 

In addition to the disappointment of not being able to stage the race, RAM is cognizant of the fact the toy drive for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital was impacted by the fact that you were unable to bring donated gifts to the race. In the spirit of the season, we have committed to purchase gifts to be delivered to Lurie before the holiday to make up for the shortfall. 

Thank you for understanding the situation and best wishes for a safe and happy holiday to you and yours!

I'll give this race another chance next year – hoping no problems with the SWAG like this year. I honestly think the problem was that RAM didn't seem to take over the race fully until a month out. The website didn't launch until after registration was open, all of the info on the Fleet Feet website was from 2015, so maybe they should have held off on opening registration until everything had been settled. I'm usually pretty happy with RAM races and feel like this was just a strange mishap and don't expect the same to happen next year.