Sunday, March 27, 2016

stop the chafe: 2toms review

Disclaimer: I received 2Toms 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!

Getting ready for BoMF Mardi Gras 10k. First time running outside in shorts
since receiving 2Toms. Rolled on pre-race and brought the wipe for any
chafing that might occur during. Wipes are great to put in my pack.

Chafing is a common occurrence among runners. Sometimes we can have all the perfect gear, but chafing can still occur. I've found for myself, it's a random thing. Sometimes I have chafing problems, and sometimes I don't. With the same exact gear. It's quite the anomaly. I think often the main factors of my chafing are weather related and how sweaty I am, and not always related to what clothing I'm wearing at the time. All of my gear has been tested pretty thoroughly, so I don't really blame my clothes. 

Anyway, I often wouldn't even notice the major chafing until I took my shower after my run or race. I'd step into the hot water, and AHHHH/OUCH. The chaffing showed itself (and was horrifically felt).

BoMF Mardi Gras 10k was shorts/skirt weather. You know 2Toms was applied.

Now, chaffing locations can be quite sensitive... and a sensitive topic depending on where that chaffing is happening. My most common spots are thighs and sports bras locations. So, I've grown accustomed to using anti-chafe cream where my sports bra band is and on my thighs, but I hadn't found a product I particularly loved. 

Cold weather running testing out 2Toms. Worked great.

In comes 2Toms. They so nicely sent me the SportShield for Her! Roll-On and three SportShield for HER! Single Wipes. They also sent a helpful note with the products.

10 miles and no chafing. Boom.

The Roll-On applicator is fantastic! It's so easy to apply wherever you want and is fragrance-free and long lasting. It feels so silky and nice. I've found not all anti-chafe products have a nice feel. 

Gym bag staple!

The SportShield for Her! was exclusively formulated for women with added benefits for comfort and protection specific to women. The intent was to deliver the perfect balance of protection and comfort in a silky smooth formula that lasts all day. It performs under the most grueling conditions and will not rub off. It even works under wetsuits, bathing-suits, and sports bras.

SportShield:
• Won't melt
• Rolls on quickly and easily
• Sweatproof
• Waterproof
• Delivers all-day protection against rubbing and friction


The For Her! difference:
• Moisture rich protection
• Contains aloe and shea butter to moisturize and soothe
• Natural anti-microbial ingredients help protect sensitive skin
• Fragrance free
• Dye free
• Contains no animal products

Usage:
SportShielf is removed from the skin with soap and water (leaving no residue) and is ideal for: running, hiking, biking, swim suits, wet suits, sports bras, underwear, and heart rate monitors.

Flat Heather ready for the Chicago Quarter Marathon. Yes, 2Toms is always in my pile.

Shorts weather is upon us, which means that protecting myself from chafing is even more important now. Roll-On some SportShield on my legs and I'm good to go. We've had a lot of jumping in temps and weather patterns, so I've been able to test it with just about every possible layering I'd do - from 5 degrees and crazy windy, to 50s (for me that's a tee or tank and shorts). It's held up well in all variables.

2Toms even makes a guarantee: If not completely satisfied, return package (unused portion) and a receipt/proof of purchase for a full refund.

The gym I go to is extremely warm, and so I sweat a lot, which I think leads to even more chafing. I haven't had any problems since I started using 2Toms. It's amazing. No more surprises when I jump in the shower. Thank goodness. There's no sticky residue and doesn't feel gross, but it washes right off with my loofah and soap.

Post Chicago Quarter Marathon. Smiling because there's no chafe!

The towelettes are super easy to put in my Orange Mud VP1 and have with me if I missed any spots or some new place is chafing while I'm on the go. To use the wipes, you just need to tear off the top, push up the wipe, and pain on like a brush. It prevents getting SportShield on your fingers and also allows for multiple applications. Speaking of, if I have short sleeves on and am using my pack, I'll add some 2Toms to my arms where they would rub on the pack to avoid chafing there as well.

2Toms also has some other great products that I'm interested in - Stink Free Gear and Shoe spray and Stink Free Sports Detergent. I know Amy bought the detergent, so can't wait to hear what she thinks on that.

You can purchase 2Toms on their website and the Roll-On is only $13. AND BONUS: Use 2Toms20 for a 20% discount. Your body will thank you when you stop the chafe.

I know not everyone chafes on the regular, but I'm not sure I've ever met someone who hasn't at least once. I think it's good to have product on hand just in case, and I would definitely recommend 2Toms to my fellow active friends and followers. And I don't know about you, but even if I don't always chafe, I'd rather add on some extra protection every run rather than have those random acts of chafing that are so painful in the shower and could have easily been avoided with a quick swipe of some 2Toms.

Connect with 2Toms:
website | facebook | twitter | instagram (parent company media-dyne)

What the other Pros thought:

Monday, March 21, 2016

2016 rundisney wine and dine half marathon weekend

As the registration date looms for the 2016 runDisney Wine and Dine Half, I thought I'd do a quick post on the changes that were made this year.

Photo from runDisney Facebook page.

I've done the Wine and Dine half every year since 2012. It was my first runDisney event, and I fell in love. I loved running at night, getting to go through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. And then enjoyed some special late night time at Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival. Yummy treats.  It was only my second time to Disney World, my first being when I was a teenager and my parents and I only had time to make it to Magic Kingdom for a day. I've become a tad obsessed with runDisney and Disney in general since running there in November 2012.

Photo from runDisney Facebook page.

As most of you know, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights had its final season in late 2015 to early December, with a final goodbye on January 6, 2016. With no lights in Hollywood Studios and all of the construction going on, it seemed a likely decision that HS would be taken out of the Wine and Dine course. So sad. I'm not sure about you, but I was not expecting the amount of changes they ended up making.

As Annual Passholders began to have anxieties over early registration on March 8, when an announcement came on March 7 that registration would be delayed while they put the final touches on the weekend. Most people were speculating as to what the changes would be. I was pretty annoyed that the registration date had changed, as it takes some special scheduling to make sure I'm able to be at a computer at 11 ready to register. Anyway...

Luckily, we didn't need to wait TOO long to find out. They announced the New Items on the Menu on March 10.

runDisney added a new challenge to the weekend (Lumiere's Two Course Challenge = 10k and half marathon), but with this change came a disappointing news. The Wine and Dine Half would no longer be a night race. Womp womp. I know a lot of people hate night races, but it was one of the things I loved most about this race. I am not a wake up early and run kind of person – I much prefer running at night. But I digress.

Also, with the night race being gone along with Hollywood Studios construction and no more Osborne Lights, there will be a course change. There isn't a map up yet (those come usually pretty close to the event), but it does mentions the 13.1 mile course through ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (does this mean something similar to the marathon? That was my least favorite part of the race... I almost could have managed more highway instead if you can believe it), Animal Kingdom, and Epcot. I imagine the 10k will be similar to the 10k course for Marathon and Princess weekend. 

With the challenge meant that the race weekend would begin on Thursday with the expo, Friday morning would be the 5k, Saturday morning the 10k, and Sunday morning the half. Don't worry – there's still an after party. This is one change that ends up being good for me and I'll explain why.

The After Party now takes place Sunday night from 8pm–1am at Epcot. From what I understand, the After Party was for runners only, and for friends and family that purchase a ticket. On the runDisney website it mentions after-hours at Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, so that's what I'm taking from it. 

Anyway, with your exclusive entry (either from being a half marathon runner or purhcase a ticket) you get early entry into Epcot at 8pm, can purchase indulgent offerings from more than 30 Global Marketplaces at the International Food and Wine Festival, ride select Epcot attractions, enjoy character meet and greets, and listen to musical performances.

Why is the After Party a better deal for me than it was before? Because I'll be able to enjoy it the entire time! Being a slower runner meant quite a bit of my After Party time was spent running, with only maybe 2 hours left to enjoy the party (once taking photos, getting through security, etc). So, though I am very disappointed it's a morning race now, I'm excited to enjoy all 5 hours of the After Party.

Photo from runDisney Facebook page.

Schedule of Events:
Expo: November 3–5 at ESPN WWoS
Mickey's Holiday 5k: Friday, November 4 at Disney's Animal Kingdom. 6:30am
Wine and Dine 10k: Saturday, November 5 at Epcot. 5:30am
Wine and Dine half marathon: Sunday, November 6 at 5:30am. Start at ESPN WWoS, Finish at Epcot. 
Post Race Party: November 6 at Epcot from 8pm–1am

Entry Fees:
Lumiere's Two Course Challenge: $330
Wine and Dine Half Marathon: $190
Wine and Dine 10k: $120
Mickey's Holiday 5k: $70

If you plan on registering, take note that only you can pick up your race packet. 

If you are an Annual Passholder, get ready for early registration beginning Tuesday, March 22 at 11am CT. Regular registration opens a week later on March 29 at 11am CT.

Photo from runDisney Facebook page.

While disappointed with a few changes, generally I'm still excited for this race. Not all the changes are bad, and it is Disney, so it'll still be lots of fun. As long as I can score a registration spot... Keep those fingers crossed for me, would you?

Who's registering for the 2016 Wine and Dine? Which races? Are you disappointed in the changes? Thoughts?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

love to (de)compress in 2xu calf sleeves and vectr socks

Disclaimer: I received 2XU Performance Run Calf Sleeves and Race VECTR Sock 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!


I'm sure you all know by now that I have a very strong, deep, loving relationship with 2XU. Ever since I tried their MCS Elite Compression Tights, I've gone on to have the opportunity to try some other products as well as purchase almost the entire line of compression tights and capris since then. (Though of course now they have a new Spring Collection out, which is amazing.) I wrote some other reviews if you're interested in reading: Hyoptik Thermal Tights (helped me get through winter training), Compression Tights, Recovery Tights, and Element Sport Jacket, and the MCS Elite Compression Tights.


This time around, 2XU was giving BibRave Pros the chance to try out their 2XU Performance Run Calf Sleeves (we even got to pick which color, which for me was a tough decision because there were so many great options) and the Race VECTR socks (they chose the color that best went with the sleeves, which was thoughtful and an unexpected surprise).


First off, I LOVE the color I chose for my Performance Run Calf Sleeves - they are a beautiful bright, fun Ice Green with Yellow thread for the 2XU on the front and back. I know compression can be controversial – not everyone believes in their power, but personally I believe they help me recover quicker. Here's a quick video that explains how the Performance Run Calf Sleeves help runners and their muscles.


So the first two times I wore them, they might have been on backwards. Oops. I had initially put them on correctly, but wanted to double check and referenced a photo of someone else wearing them wrong, so turned them around, but when I looked on the box to double check (and on the 2XU website), noticed they were on the wrong way. My bad. The logo that's on the top belongs in the back, and the logo on the bottom is the front. As shown in the video above. I guess I should have just looked there first :-/

Proper wear.

Some product details on the 2XU Performance Run Calf Sleeve:
They feature zoned breathability panels for maximum airflow and comfort. Seamless, graduated compression zones for increased blood flow and maximum muscle containment for increased performance and enhanced recovery.

• Graduated compression promote increased circulation for recovery.
• Highest power denier targeted support to calf + shins
• Reduced fatigue in lower legs through muscle oscillation
• Reduced muscle soreness
• Greater power output

The garment features PWX compression fabric with enhanced power supports the shin, calf, and ankle; graduated fit to promote circulation for muscle performance and faster recovery, seamless construction for greater comfort; high filament yarns for dryness - wicks sweat from the skin to the fabric exterior; and antibacterial and UPF50+ sun protection.

During my 111 day run streak, there were days that my calves were just tired and sore, but wearing the sleeves during my runs helped me keep my streak alive for as long as I did. My legs felt great running in them, and I even wore them sometimes after the run as well for compression recovery. One such day was after being on my feet in heels all day long for a wedding. My legs weren't feeling so hot the next day, so I wore them for a quick run and then the rest of the day to relieve sore muscles.

First time in them... the sleeves are backwards. Whoops!

For fighting out calf sleeve size, you want to measure your calf size. Since I have some pretty decent sized calves, I went with a large. They were defnitely the proper size for my calf size, however they were a bit longer than I think they should be on someone my height. I didn't have any problems with the length – I would just make sure to have the bottoms be around my ankles so it didn't interfere with my shoes or feel uncomfortable. I feel generally it's the same with all sizings of calf sleeves – they are made for a certain calf girth, and generally my size of calf is what is expected in a taller person. Didn't bother me at all, though, just thought it was worth mentioning.



Care instructions for the 2XU Performance Run Calf Sleeve:
Machine wash in cold water with like colors.
Do NOT tumble dry.
Hang to dry in a cool shady area away from sun.
Do not use bleach, fabric softeners or dryer sheets.
Do not iron.

While wearing the 2XU Performance Run Calf Sleeves, I also wore the Race VECTR Sock. Mine were the white/silver logo color, which worked well with my sleeves. I have problems with PF, which certainly had some flare ups during my run streak. Having some extra arch support really helped keep it in check while running. The sleeves and socks really helped me keep my run streak going strong for much longer than I was anticipating. So perhaps you see why I'm such a big fan of 2XU. 

Second wear... still backwards! Get it together, Heather. Am I right?

Some product details on the Race VECTR Sock:
Engineered for faster performance than ever before, this impressive Race VECTR sock is designed with 2XU's X:LOCK support system powered by 2XU's Compression technology for secure, ergonomic fit to the foot and stabilization of the ankle and arch. Delivering maximum abrasion protection, extra heel and forefoot cushioning, dry mesh panels for ventilation plus a linked toe cage for comfort, the Race VECTR Sock is ideal for racing and training alike.

Garment features:
• X:LOCK support system
• X:BLEND fiber formula: nylon
• Linked toe + anti-blister
• Dry mesh panels
• Cushioned heel + forefoot

The care instructions for the Race VECTR Sock is the same as the 2XU Performance Run Calf Sleeve – wash in cold water with like colors and hang to dry away from the sun.


I really loved the support the Race VECTR Sock gave to my arches and helped the PF not be as painful as it was in socks that didn't have that support. I honestly believe that my run streak would have ended closer to day 70 than 111 (and the only reason I decided to end was for a minor quad injury that I didn't want to become a major injury). 2XU makes quality products and I stand by everything I've used 100%. I'm a big believer in compression and 2XU has become one of my favorite running brands. I've never had issues with chaffing or blisters with any of their products.

Relaxing in my sleeves and socks.

Give 2XU a shot for yourself. You can get 15% off on full price products (cannot be used in conjunction with any other coupon offer) with code TRAIN15. Offer is valid until April 30, 2016. Their new 2016 Collection has some amazing stuff. I'm currently eyeing the mid-rise ICE and Pattern shorts, tech vent short sleeve top, pace 3" 2-in-1 short, and the compression quad sleeve. For reference, the Performance Run Calf Sleeve cost $39.95 and the Race VECTR Sock are $19.95. I find both to be reasonable prices compared to similar products.

2XU will be sponsoring BibChat on Tuesday, March 22 at 8pm CT. Come join us for an hour long chat with other running enthusiasts and maybe win yourself some 2XU for yourself :)

Connect with 2XU:

What the other Pros thought:

Sunday, March 13, 2016

love to the buff: merino wool review

Disclaimer: I received a Merino Wool BUFF® 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!


If you've seen in the past, I've had the chance to test out a few BUFF® products: UV Half, the Original Full, Thermal Hoodie, and now: Merino Wool.

I have a pair of Merino Wool socks that I love wearing in the winter. They keep my feet warm and are super soft, so the Merino Wool BUFF® intrigued me. When the package came, I felt the material and to my excitement it was so nice and soft. Dimension wise it's a bit longer than the Original, but about the same width.



I really love the color options, and the one I got is a beautiful grey stripe that pretty much goes with anything. Not that I'm a super matchy person most of the time, but it's nice to have some items that you can grab without even thinking about colors clashing - you'll know it'll just go well no matter what. The print is called Cugnot and I just love it.



When I received the Merino Wool BUFF®, weather here in Chicago was starting to warm up, which made me nervous, since for me, merino wool means cold, winter weather (I know, it can be worn in summer too, but it's just not for me with how much I overheat once it hits 50s and I'm being active outside haha. I'm in that camp that needs to have on as little as possible in order to not pass out - if my eyes weren't so sensitive, I would ditch even the visor). Luckily, it cooled down some more with some very windy days, which were great for testing it out.


My favorite way to wear it was as a headband (though I suppose in the 'ways to wear' Buff calls it Hairband). It would cover my ears and keep all of my little stray hairs out of my face. It also come in handy as a neck warmer/scarf, and even as a way to keep my face warm while I waited outside for a Bruce Springsteen concert (face mask). I was very happy that I decided to toss it in my purse for a quick trip to Milwaukee. 

One run, the transformation of BUFF Merino Wool usage.

On the super windy days, which hurt my ears if they are uncovered, it was perfect for keeping them wind-burn free and warm. You guys know how easily I overheat, so I love that it could go from a hat, to a headband, to a wristband easily. Sometimes it went from headband to wristband and back to headband depending on how the wind went throughout the run. I also love that it scrunches it up well so that I can put it in the pocket of my Orange Mud VP1 if I was getting too hot to have it on at all. 


Waiting to get inside to see The Boss.

They have a great variety of colors and prints to match your style or mood. I'm eyeing a few myself. I love that there are so many great qualities about the Merino Wool BUFF®: moisture management, microclimate control, 100% Merino Wool, odor resistant (I think we all know how important this is!), thermal protection, wind resistant, semi-seamless, and natural stretch.

Most used style - 'hairband'.

A few details about the Merino Wool BUFF® from the website:
It's the classic BUFF® headwear shape, but with a few extra inches of length for cozy protection in the fabric outdoor enthusiasts love most. Made from soft 100% natural Merino Wool and feature subtle tone-on-tone designs, the Merino Wool Printed BUFF® feels great next to the skin, and it keeps you warn even when it's wet. It's the soft, breathable extra layer of insulation you need for chilly days. Plus, BUFF® donates 1% of the proceeds from Merino Wool Printed BUFF® to the plate so you can feel warm and fuzzy on the inside too.
• 100% natural Merino Wool
• 12+ ways to wear
• Merino Wool's natural qualities include: water repellent, odor resistant, flameproof, durability, UV protection, and natural stretch and elasticity
• Thermal protection from cold and wind
• Cool in the summer, extra layer of warmth in the winter
• Semi-seamless — small, unnoticeable seam on top and bottom of Wool BUFF®
• Quick drying
• One size its all adults.

Like I said, I heat up easily... and sweat a lot even on a short run.

Care instructions:

• Hand wash in warm water with mild soap
• Lay flat to dry
• Do not use fabric softeners
• Do not bleach
• Do not iron

Ways to wear:

• Neckerchief
• Sun Guard
• Face Mask
• Hood
• Cap
• Neck Gaitor
• Do Rag
• Pirate
• Foulard
• Hairband
• Headband
• Hair Tie


In all honestly, I never hand wash anything. Seriously - nothing gets hand washed. Our machine is easy-going with clothes (there's no agitator, which I think is what used to ruin some of my clothes when we had an older machine), so I wash it on delicate and then toss it on our drying rack. It's been working just fine, though I'll admit I don't wash it very often... you know, thanks to that whole odor resistant aspect ;)


The Merino Wool BUFF® will cost you between $27–32, depending on which color style you choose, and really - so many great options to choose from. Definitely a reasonable price for such a solid product.


I love BUFF® as a company - they make quality products, and they are very active on Twitter and Instagram. If I have a question they always answer promptly, and they are very nice with the likes and comments. I'd suggest giving them a follow.


BUFF® will be sponsoring #BibChat on Tuesday, March 15th at 8pm CT. Come join some fun runners/people for an hour of answering questions and discussing food, beer, running... just about everything you can think of!


Connect with Buff:

website | twitter | instagram | facebook | youtube | pinterest

What do other Pros think?
Jen | Angie | Mark | Janelle | Christine | Bradley | Katherine | Laura

Friday, March 4, 2016

bomf mardi gras chaser 10k recap

Disclaimer: I received entry into Back on My Feet Chicago Mardi Gras 5/10k 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!


I had heard of Back on My Feet before, however I never really looked deep into what it was. When given the chance to run the Back on My Feet (BoMF) Chicago Mardi Gras 5k or 10k, and I was available, well... you know me. I love racing! I of course said yes. And since the race is organized by BoMF, I looked further into what it was. It really is a great organization and I feel it's only right to share a little bit about it before getting to my full race review.

Race shirt and the mask I picked out.

Back on My Feet isn't just in Chicago - there are cities nationwide that they are also based in. You can find a chapter in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, DC, Indianapolis, NYC, Philadelphia, LA, and San Francisco. Their mission is to combat homelessness through the power of running, community of support, and essential employment and housing resources. The unique running-based model demonstrates that if you first restore confidence, strength, and self-esteem, individuals are better equipped to tackle on the road ahead and move towards jobs, homes, and new lives. BoMF aims to provide practical training and employment resources for achieving independence, an environment that promotes accountability, and a community that offers compassion and hope.

I know I personally never though I'd be a runner, and even once I began, I didn't think I'd finish a half marathon. Now look at me, a bunch of half marathons completed along with TWO marathons. I said I would NEVER run a marathon, and now I've finished two (not to say they were both super successful or fast, but going through the training and crossing the finish lines gives you a certain rush that I can't completely described). It's amazing what some training, and the finish of a mile, then two, and so on can give you the confidence to do things you never though you'd do. This confidence carries over to other parts of your life, so I can definitely see how BoMF is a great idea. 

Source.

Anyway, I was really happy to be participating and helping to promote a race where ALL PROCEEDS from the race went to supporting BoMF in providing programming to change the lives one job, house, and mile at a time. 

Registration was very simple - the form was right on the event page. Pricing was as follows:
5k early bird - $35; 5k Feb 1 -$40
10k early bird - $45; 10k Feb 1 - 50

The 10k actually sold out on Feb 17, so that was quite exciting. They also offered a 'Sleep in Option' for $20 - this meant that you could support BoMF, still receive your race swag, but don't have to leave the comfort of your bed on race day. However, race morning was so beautiful I can't imagine staying in bed on a day like that! Registration for the 5k was available on race day from 8–9:30 for $45. One final thing was to spend $35 to sponsor a member of BoMF to run the Mardi Gras Chaser 5k.

Packet pickup. Source.

Packet pickup was originally scheduled on Friday at the Fleet Feet Old Town location, however, the Old Town was still undergoing the re-build from the fire that it wasn't going to be open on time. Location was moved to Lincoln Square, and was from 10am–8pm. Decent hours. Lucky for me, they also offered race day pickup from 8–9:30am. It was encouraged to get packets in advance if possible.

Source.

I always have a hard time the night before a race deciding on what to wear. I was obviously wearing my BibRave shirt, but did I need a shirt underneath it? Would it be warm enough for shorts? Too cold for shorts? Anyway, I usually give myself a few options and then the morning of, I'll check the weather before getting dressed and make my final decision.

Flat Heather mostly ready for race day.

Since I don't know the Montrose Harbor area very well (I'm so used to Grant Park or Lincoln Park area races), I wanted to make sure mom and I had plenty of time to figure out parking and grab out packets. Traffic wasn't too bad, and we arrived at about 8:25. There was a ton of parking spots on the street for free - I was expecting meters or to have to find the other parking lot a few blocks away. Luckily, being there so early it was easy peasy.

We went to get our packets. There was one person in front of us, and it was easy to get our bibs and shirts. It was then that I introduced myself to Meredith who was helping with packets. I recognized her from the spot they did on Fox News a few days prior to the race. She was also the name the emails for the race always came from (aka the race director!). She is BoMF Chicago's Senior Development and Marketing Director. It was so nice to meet her and to chat briefly. I didn't want to hold up the line, so moved it along. Along with our bib, we got our long sleeve, white tech shirts with the logo on the front, and were able to choose a Mardi Gras mask.

Bimbo showed up!

Since there was still plenty of time till the race began (10am for the 10k and 10:15 for the 5k), we went back to the car to hang out. At about 30 till, we got out to head to the porta-potty line. It seemed really long, but it was only because for whatever reason, it was just 1 line for the entire 8ish bathrooms. That system doesn't bother me. Since it was a single line, it moved pretty quickly. And with the porta-potties, they had the hand washing station with soap and water! Much appreciated.

About 5 minutes before the race, they had everyone line up. They split the 10k into two groups so that they could release us in a wave start to help with some congestion. We were in the second group, and before we knew it, we were off. We went to the LFP and went south before looping back north. The course itself wasn't anything special if you've been on the path so many times, but I don't usually run that far north, so it was nice to have a little bit of new scenery.

At the start line.

The BoMF volunteers, workers, and everyone involved out with the race were so awesome. There were groups cheering on the runners, all of the volunteers at the aid stations were friendly - great group of people! The miles were marked with signs in the ground, and the turnaround for both the 5k and the 10k were clearly marked with cones and there were volunteers/workers there to also let you know it was the turnaround for whichever distance.

Mile marker 2.

5k turnaround markings.

Mom and I did a 40 sec run, 1 minute walk interval for the whole race. Around mile 4 I started to get really tired. It might have been that I ran 2 miles at 9pm the night before. Or that I hadn't really eaten anything before the race. Whatever it was, I thought our nice pace would vanish. However, we still PRd, so I was really happy with how it went. I decided during the run that since I was pretty warm, I could have managed without the base layer, but it wasn't too bad.

10k turnaround.


At the finish, we received our medals, which were on Mardi Gras beads - very unique touch. Then was the line of goodies! So. Much. Stuff. Bananas, apples, Thomas' mini-bagels of a variety of flavors (I saw cinnamon and regular), Bimbo goods including cookies, Sara Lee cakes, and Etenmann's Little bites (I grabbed the crumb cakes - yum). What a spread. They also had cups of Gatorade.

Was able to bother Meredith post-race for a photo. She was so sweet!


The goodies! They were all a delight.

This was a fun race and I felt well organized. I enjoyed running the course (and on such a beautiful day!), and everyone I interacted with was friendly and enthusiastic. I will definitely be keeping this race on my radar for 2017. You can read my BibRave review here and see how I scored the race (high marks!).

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

do you pick your races based on swag?

Are you someone that takes into consideration a race’s SWAG before you decide whether it’s a race you’re interested in or not? Sometimes SWAG can really influence a runner into signing up for a race. I sometimes have had some races on my radar, but what really sealed the deal to get me registered was some sweet SWAG. 

A few examples of races I’ve done that have had great clothes, food, medals, etc with race entry:

Any runDisney race:
I love the cut and fit of their tech shirts (and especially love when it’s a winter race so you get long sleeves), plus their medals are always creative and fun every year. Plus, they change each year – even though the characters/theme stay the same, it’s a new design for the medal and ribbon, which makes running every year exciting. They also sell some great stuff at their expo. I know merchandise for purchase isn’t considered SWAG, but I do love when a race sells fun/unique items.


RAM Racing Hot Chocolate Series:
ALWAYS great SWAG - usually some type of jacket or sweatshirt, but it’s different every year and usually also include a drawstring bag. They offer different colors for men and women, though you can choose whichever you prefer when you register. The 15k race also has a super fun ‘chocolate bar’ medal, themed towards the city you are running in. And of course you can’t forget the chocolate when you are done along with all of the dipping treats (marshmallows, pretzels, etc.). Unfortunately for me, the past two years it's been over Wine and Dine weekend, so I haven't been in Chicago to race. Lucky for me this year it's in October, so you know I'll be registering for it!



RAM Racing Rock the Night 5k:
I’ve done this race two years so far, and plan on my third this year. Race registration includes a fun shirt (this past year was a long sleeve shirt that was super soft, moisture-wicking, tech material, reflective logos, and in electric purple for women and bright blue for men) along with a drawstring backpack. It also includes an amazing food spread when you are done - corn on the cob and a hamburger! Also, craft beer (last year’s option was Bell’s). I think you all know I’m a sucker for craft beer post-race. I get upset when it’s a not delicious beer option. This race is held on a weekday evening, but it’s a fun time. There are bands and it’s just a plain old good time.


Nom nom nom.


Burgers and Beer 5k:
Another weeknight race. The past two years there were tech t-shirts and afterwards, burgers (or vegan option I believe) from the Billy Goat and Goose Island. There were also chips, and the first year I ran this they had Rainbow Cone. Yum. As you can see, I love a race that basically gives you a dinner option when you are done racing haha.

I was so hungry I didn't even get a photo before
practically inhaling the whole thing. Oops.

Hot Dash 5k & 10 Mile (Saturday, March 19, 2016 in Minneapolis, MN):
Participants of the Hot Dash 5k and 10 Mile receive an awesome navy blue 1/2 zip tech shirt by Storm Creek. I love the logo on the front and back - super cute. Plus, I love blue. Another perk of registering for this race? Finisher medals, which are new for 2016. The Hot Dash has a Lumberjack theme (there’s a contest for best costume, winter beard, and Minnesotan). Head over to the website for rules. After the race, warm up by the onsite fire pits AND enjoy a hot dish (new options in 2016) and a free beer! Sounds like an awesome race. Just a heads up, as of yesterday there were only 150 spots left, so better register pronto before you miss your chance!


Want to add to your Hot Dash SWAG? I’m giving away THREE pairs of Hot Dash FITSOKS - a super cute orange and blue plaid with the logo on them (they’ll go well with your jacket or costume for the race!). Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below and I'll email the selected winners. US residents only, please (and sorry for those that aren’t). 





Do you choose races based on SWAG? Do you like dressing up in costumes for any/all races? I’m not a big costume person, but I do often wear a fun sparkly skirt, and if it’s a runDisney race, I’ll pair it up with a fun Disney-themed shirt. I’d love to hear what you like to wear for themed races!

PS You can also enter the same giveaway from Angie and/or Gina!