Altra Altra, Read All About Them-Altra Escalante 1.5 Review

I received a pair of Altra Escalante 1.5 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 have never owned a pair of Altra running shoes, nor have I ever tried on a pair so I was intrigued when I saw we received a pair as part of our Running Event swag bag. I received a pair of Altra’s new Escalante 1.5 in gray and yellow. Having never owned a pair, I was anxious to hear about what the Altra representatives had to say at The Running Event when we walked around. If you read my previous post about TRE Influencer’s Day, you know that I mentioned that the Altra booth was the most passionate about their product and now I can understand why.

1.5 UPGRADES FROM 1.0
* updated the knit with 360 degree reflectivity
* increased breathability
* tongue stay 
* new color pattern
* sleeker heel cup

BENEFITS
* Footshape Toe Box – to be honest, this was one of the things that kept me from considering Altra running shoes in the past. I thought they looked funny, which had to do with the footshape toe box; however, now I know the reason for it. This shape gives your toes more space and gives the big toe space for a more powerful toe-off. In addition, this shape also helps reduce over pronation and enhances stability for an all-around better feel.

* ZeroDrop- each and every Altra shoe is built on a zerodrop platform that puts the heel and forefoot an equal distance from the ground. This particular natural foundation helps aid in optimal alignment, cultivate better form and encourage low impact landing

TEST RUNS
Enough of all the technical stuff, I know what you really want to know is how did they perform. The first test run was actually the day after we received them. I chose to take them out on our BIBRAVE pro group run through downtown Austin. I immediately felt a difference when I slipped them on, almost the same feeling as when you slip gloves on your hands. I am sure my feet were confused too, because with the footshape toe box, my toes all of a sudden had more room to breathe. I didn’t know if I would like the zero drop, but it was surprisingly comfortable once I began to run. They were light and fast as I pounded that Austin, Texas pavement with my fellow Bibrave Pros. I could feel the extra power I was getting when I pushed off, thanks to my big toe having that extra space to flex.  I finished my first one impressed.
I took them out on a few other runs and the performance I was impressed with on the first run, held up. I rarely run on a dreadmill, but I had to use one and I chose to run in Altra for it. No change, they still felt light and I didn’t feel in discomfort, even after the miles started to add up.

RECOMMENDATION
If you are a zerodrop shoe lover, I will definitely recommend you giving the Altras a chance. Even, if you aren’t used to zerodrop(like myself), these shoes feel comfortable enough that you just might change your mind. I plan to keep adding on the miles, and throw in some double digit mileage just to see how they will hold up at half marathon distance and beyond.

Incre-dible-Incrediwear Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a Icrediwear socks and tights 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 will be honest, I had never heard of Incrediwear prior to The Running Event but any company that makes quality running socks, I am in favor of. As part of our TRE swag bag we received 3 pair of socks and a pair of tights. Before I get started on my review, I just want to say the Incrediwear representatives were exceptional. I had requested size large but received size medium in my bag. When we walked through the running event, I informed them that I received the wrong size and they gave me the right size on the spot. Then even told me to keep the smaller pair.

 

TECHNOLOGY

So how does incrediwear work? To start with, incrediwear does not need compression to work. How so you may ask? Incrediwear uses technology that incorporates semiconductor elements within its fabric, which when it is stimulated by body heat, releases negative ions. Those negative ions activate molecular vibrations that increase blood flow and speed. Increasing circulation helps bring more oxygen and nutrients to the target area, which optimizes the body’s natural healing process and accelerates recovery. A few benefits of increased blood circulation is reduced swelling, reduced fatigue and accelerated recovery.

 

PRODUCT(SOCKS & TIGHTS)

From the moment I put on the socks, I felt comfort. They kind of gave my feet a big hug but I it didn’t feel like compression at all. I have tried a few other brands of socks and have been quite fawn of one in particular, but I will say the incrediwear socks are as comfy if not more comfortable than my usual brand. I wore the socks on a few runs and the performance was exceptional. My feet were not tired or numb at the end of runs, like they are sometimes with other brands. Not only were they good for running but I also wore a pair to work on casual day and I could really tell the difference. I almost wanted to lose my shoes and walk around the office in my socks, but that wouldn’t be very professional. Lol

 

What can I say about the tights…they are the most comfortable tights I have ever tried. First off, they are true to size. A lot of tights I tried previously say they were a certain size but just didn’t fit that way. How would they perform in the cold? I took the tights out for a spin on a couple of our 30 degree mornings, and I give them an A. My legs and bottom half were kept comfortable and warm. Some tights you have to wear another garment over to stay comfortable but the incrediwear tights performed well on their own.

 

GOOD ENOUGH FOR AN OLYMPIAN

While at The Running Event, I was fortunate enough to meet one of Incrediwear’s ambassadors, Manteo Mitchell. Who is he? If you recall back to 2012 London Olympics, you might remember a athlete running the 4x400m relay that broke his leg in the middle of the race but still finished. Well, that was Manteo. He explained to us that after that occurred, he was connected to Incrediwear brand by chance. He credits incrediwear for helping him recovery from this inquiry and he has been loyal ever since. It was cool to meet an Olympian and even get a pic. I later found out that Manteo is actually from my home state.

 

RECCOMENDATION 
Don’t walk, run and try incrediwear products. I can vouch for the socks and tights, and I am sure the rest of their products are just as good. Experience the compression alternative with Incrediwear.

Terrific TRE (The Running Event)-PS Austin,TX I ❤️ You

Disclaimer: I received entry to The Running Event 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!”

ARRIVAL
I don’t know where to begin. After being 1 of 20 Pros chosen to attend this year’s The Running Event (TRE) in Austin, TX I was beside myself. We were notified over a month ago so that left 30 days to anticipate the trip. It felt like forever before finally trip week arrived. After packing all things orange, I was ready to fly out to Austin. I was lucky enough to get a direct flight from RDU to AUS, took off 9am EST and was touching down in Austin around 12 CT. I got off my flight and was walking to the airport, within 5 minutes I was being tapped on the shoulder. I turned to see 2 other Bibrave Pros decked out in their orange. After introductions we nabbed an Uber to head towards our hotel. We were all thinking we would have to leave our bags before heading to lunch but surprisingly enough, the Hilton already had our rooms ready. Huge relief to be able to put our bags in our rooms and sit for a minute before heading out.

LUNCH w/ Pro Family
While in route to the hotel we get messaged that another group of Pros were heading to a place called Moonshine that was down the street. All the pros ended up meeting there so everyone was able to meet each other, a lot of them for the first time. I knew a few Pros from a meet in greet after Chicago Marathon in 2016 but I hadn’t met the majority of the pros in person.  We laughed, took pictures, enjoyed some good food and chatted about the upcoming weekend. I had a pork belly sandwich that was AMAZING.

WALKING TOUR
After lunch we had a few hours before we were supposed to meet up for our first event, so half of us decided to do a small walking tour. We walked down to one of the Austin signs and took some pictures. After that we headed to the Drischell Hotel to check out their lobby and large Christmas tree. I think the Drischell is the oldest hotel in Austin. On our walk back we had to make a stop at the famous Voodoo Donuts. I am not huge on sweets but my fellow pros got some interesting ones, the most interesting was the vegan $4.00 donut called “Cock and Balls”.(yes, it is what you are thinking)

FIRST MEETING/ZWIFT RUN
Our first official meeting was set to kickoff at 5:30. This would be where we would finally get to see everyone AND we would receive our “swag bag” for TRE. Everyone was excited to see what would be in them. In addition to receiving our bags, 4 of our Pros were chose to do a 3 mile run using the Zwift app which allows you to run will anyone across the globe on a treadmill. This event was pre-planned so there were hundreds of people running at the same time and you could see them on screen or your phone. After cheering on our pros, we were given our swag bags and THEY DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I will be reviewing each item received in our bag in the coming weeks but to name a few; we got shoes from Brooks and Altra, compression from CEP, compressions from Icrediwear, Nuun, hooded jacket from Brooks and Zwift pod to name a few. After more pictures and mingling, we headed to our rooms to put up our stuff before heading to dinner. We also learned we had been invited to party being thrown by Brooks later in the evening.

DINNER
You can’t go to Austin and not at least try the bbq, right? We had dinner at Iron Works BBQ, which was a few blocks away from the hotel. Since I had pork belly for lunch and went with the brisket for dinner. The food once again was amazing, and we all just enjoyed each other’s company. We learned about each other’s families and where everyone was located. We basically closed down the joint, before packing up and starting the trek to the Brooks party.

PARTY TIME
We were one of the first to arrive at Cedar Creek Courtyard, and the venue was very nice. We hit up the bar and everyone was looking at us because we were all in our Bibrave Orange, it’s like we were an orange gang. As we were all talking, our community director walks up to me and motions for me to look behind her. Behind her walked in, no other than the 2018 Boston Marathon winner, Desi Linden. We all know she is a Brooks athletic but had no idea she would be there. We were all snapping pictures as she stood at the bar. We she turned to walk out, I had to do it. I asked if she would take a pic and she happily did. She was really nice. After that, everyone came over and asked for pictures…And you know what, she took a picture with every single person that asked. That’s how you would hope all your elite athletes are in person, humble and nice. A cover band took the stage and begin to play music, ranging from Bruno Mars to lots of 80s rock and roll. By this time it was packed with people and so was the dancefloor. The highlight of the evening, after meeting Desi, had to be when the DJ played the Wobble when the band was taking a break. I started it and before you know it, I had the whole dancefloor doing it. Who knew Austin could “wobble”. J  We had a scheduled group run at 6:30am the next morning so I left the party around 12:15am and headed back to the hotel. Some people stayed until after 1am, bless them. Lol

GROUP RUN
Everyone managed to pull themselves together enough to make it downstairs to meet for the run. There were a lot of red eyes but everyone was happy. We took a few group pictures before heading out into downtown Austin. We had our on photographer, so he was riding around on a scooter getting action shots as we ran around. We ran to the capitol building where we again took some group photos, including an infamous jumping photo. After photos we ran back to hotel for a quick breakfast from Panera and heading up to shower. We had about a 45 minute window before we had to meet at The Running Event for our tour.

TRE
The Running Event was in the convention center and it pretty much took over the whole place. They split us up into 2 groups before we headed out to visit. We were to visit the booth of each of the brands that had products in our swag bag. It was great hearing more about some of our favorite brands AND learning about some new brands we had not previously heard about. A few of the booths that stood out were Arcanum, Handful. Incrediwear and Altra. The spokesperson for Arcanum was exceptional, she provided a lot of detail without over selling it. Arcanum makes a product that makes use of activated hemp. Handful makes workout bras and tights for women(so I didn’t get any of their product) but the owner was entertaining. Amazing how she had an idea and without a couple weeks had her first prototype for the bra. All the ladies in the group said they loved the product. Incrediwear makes compression socks, sleeves, and tights. They had Olympian Manteo Mitchell in their booth telling us about how the product help him rebound from injury. If you don’t know Manteo, he was on the USA Olympic 4 x 400 team in the London 2012 games. He broke his leg on the first leg of the race but still finished. Finally Altra spokespersons were all passionate about their shoes. They showed us all the upcoming shoes and special edition shoes in the making. We actually ran out of time talking to them, so you know the conversation was a good one.
After we finished our required tour, we were free to walk around to all the other booths and see the products. We were on a time crunch since it was starting to shutdown but still managed to see a few booths. Learned out a brand Untapped, which use pure maple syrup to create energy waffles and gels. They product was REALLY tasty. Also learned about a new company called Muir who makes a kind of food paste instead of the usually gels runners used. We were able to try several of their products and they were exceptional. Since it was more of an expo, majority of the products were not for sale but some people were still able to score some products for FREE. Someone got a free bra from Handful, another was able to get a free duffle bag mailed to her from Vooray and one guy got a whole outfit(shorts and shirt) from a brand called UGlow.

Graffiti Park
In between the expo and before dinner a few of us decided we wanted to go sightseeing on the scooters. I had never rode one of the scooters and figured I wanted do it back home so I joined them. The scooters are so much fun and really inexpensive. A thirty minute ride ended up only being about $5, you just had to be careful not to take out the pedestrians walking on the sidewalks. Lol. We had heard about this place called Graffiti Park that we wanted to find. It was everything we were told. It is basically a huge park that graffiti artist can come and paint their art. We walked around and took pictures before climbing to the top where you could see the whole Austin skyline. Breathtaking view. Hopped on our scooters and headed back to hotels to change before dinner.

DINNER
A few pros flew out after the expo but still a good amount remained. A good amount were flying out on Saturday(including myself) so we decided to try to do one last dinner with everyone.  We made reservations at the House of the Rising Tuki-San. I had a Mongolian beef that was AMAZING. Outside we said our goodbyes since everyone’s flights were leaving at different times and even a few people were staying until Sunday.

BACK TO REALITY
My flight was at 7am on Saturday morning, so I scheduled an uber for 4:45am. Before I could even get to sleep, I had to figure out how I was going to fit all the stuff from the swag bag into my carryon suitcase. I had to Tetris it up, and loose the shoe boxes but in the end I made it all fit. The uber was on time an I was at the airport by 5:15am. I worried about getting through TSA because some of the products we got were over the 3oz limit, but I guess I was lucky. I wasn’t stopped and they didn’t pull my bag…WIN. Later in the day I heard from a few different pros that said their bags were pulled and some even said their Nuun tubes were all swabbed, but eventually they were able to get through with no future delays. The flight took off on time and I was in the friendly skies headed to NC, back to reality.

FINAL THOUGHTS
TRE was simply an amazing weekend, and I couldn’t have asked to spend it with a better group of people. The Pros are all from different areas of the world but you would have thought we had known each other for years because when we might it was like seeing a friend you hadn’t seen in a long time. Everyone got along and genuinely enjoyed hanging out with each other. The laughs were endless, and a lot of the pictures were epic. I can’t think BIBRAVE enough for allowing me to participate in such a epic event. Maybe I will be back to TRE in 2019. 😉

Wrap Your Body and Your Car Seats Tight-Orange Mud Seat Cover and Changing Towel Product Review

“Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Seat Cover and Changing Towel 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!”

 

Anything that helps preserve your car seats is a huge plus in my books, so enter Orange Mud and their new Seat Cover and Changing Towel. I was excited to be testing this product, especially since I have recently got a new car and I would love to keep it clean and funk-free as long as possible. I will say I think Orange Mud hit a homerun with this product. Let me go through a few things that I liked most about the Seat Cover/Changing Towel.

MATERIAL
It is my understanding that this is the 2.0 version of the product, the first version was made of cotton. This version greets you with plush microfiber to make it even softer. In addition to the change in material, the 2.0 version also made the belt PU coated the belt to make it look cleaner. You can definitely feel the difference in softness the first time you rub your hand across the towel.

CHANGE WITH CONFIDENCE
Have you ever beast mode your run/workout and was just too sweaty to ride home? Went to the beach and enjoyed the ocean water? With the Orange Mud Seat Cover and Changing Towel, you don’t have to worry about stopping at some gas station to change your clothes, instead you can do it on the spot. The Orange Mud Seat Cover and Changing Towel comes equipped with an adjustable belt and secure clip. That means you can wrap the towel around you, and securely undress yourself without any fear of there being a full moon. I used this feature several times after my track workouts and I knew I had to make a few stops before heading home. None of the others at the track was the wiser as I quickly changed out of my sweaty cloths, all under the cover of my changing towel.

SEAT PROTECTION
The Orange Mud seat cover and changing towel comes with a zippered section that when zipped can go right over the headrest in your car, converting it to a seat cover. No time to change, no sweat (pun intended), convert the towel into a handy seat cover and be on your way. This year’s summer felt like one of the hottest in a long time, couple that with the high humidity and it made for endless super sweaty returns from long runs. I got my new car in July so I was super nervous about getting it all stinky after runs but Orange Mud cleared that issue right up. The towel successfully kept the sweat locked in and never transferred to my new seats. Once the towel gets to funky, you can simply toss it in the wash with the rest of your running attire.

SIZE AND WARRANTY
The towel is 30” wide x 60” long so it is plenty big and can wrap some of the largest football players with no problem. Last but not least, the product comes with a 1-year warranty. Buy with confidence and trust assured if anything happens to your product in that year, Orange Mud’s excellent customer service with get you straighten out.

ARE YOU READY FOR YOUR OWN? Use code: OMTRX to score 15% off your orange mud purchase.

Hot Chocolate Charlotte, I’ll be back. Run Bucktown 5k

“Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate Charlotte race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

After running the inaugural Hot Chocolate 15k this year, I decided to keep the streak alive and do it all again in 2019. This year I had no idea what to expect from this race, I had never ran a hot chocolate before but heard good things. I was caught off guard by how hilly Charlotte is, but no surprises in 2019. I’m ready for more hot chocolate treats.

Before we get to 2019, there are still lots of good races left in 2018…. One being Bucktown 5k in Chicago, taking place September 30th. One of the coolest things about this race, besides the swag, is that they support 100 club of Chicago.

The purpose of the organization is to provide for the surviving spouses and dependents of law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics who lose their lives in the line of duty. This includes all federal, state, county and local officers, firefighters and paramedics stationed in Cook and Lake County.

If you live in Chicago or surrounding areas, you should definitely consider running thud race. Use code on pic to score free pair of sunglasses.

One HILLuva love/hate relationship-Hospital Hill Half Marathon Review

“Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to Hospital Hill Half Marathon 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”

For the second year in a row I was given the chance to run Hospital Hill Half marathon, and for the 2nd year I accepted. I experienced a well managed race last year, so I opted to do it again. Not to mention I have a good friend that lives in Kansas City, that provides me with a place to stay. The Hospital Hill race is in its 45th year so I knew there would be in for some nice goodies to celebrate. It had originally supposed to be a family trip, but do to some circumstances, I made the trip solo. I signed up for the Re-Run challenge with included a 5k Friday night, followed by half marathon on saturday morning.

I flew out of NC late thursday morning, and after a short layover in St. Louis, I arrived in Kansas City around 3pm CT.(had to keep reminding myself they are an hour behind my normal eastern standard time) I proceeded to rental car area to pick-up my rental vehicle. I got a great deal through Hotwire for a premium car. I walked outside to booth to pick out my vehicle(I like that National lets you choose your own car from an assortment). An older gentleman and a younger lady were working. he asked if I had a premium car, I responded “yes”. He pointed to 5 cars parked on the side and said I could choose between any of them more I could take one of the 2 cars parked under the breezeway. The 5 cars consisted of a Caty suv, infinity 4 door, infinity suv and the others weren’t has noticeable. The 2 under the breezeway were both infinity coupes and they were SWEET 2-doors. He suggested one of them, but I was thinking practical. Being in a new place, I didn’t exactly want to be driving around in something so flashy. I said I wanted something 4 door, and he pointed to an infinity 4dr. It wasn’t as flashy so I agreed. There was just one problem, he didn’t have the keys. He said he had to walk to back to grab keys and he would be a few minutes. I wasn’t in a rush, so I said ok. After about 10 minutes I began to wonder where he was. The young lady working said “I don’t know why its taking him so long”. She said he had been working there 25 years and knew everything about everything. A few minutes later, she says to me ” I know what he is doing”…I think he is trying to upgrade you”. I responded “really?”. A few minutes later he drives up in a Mercedes GLA hybrid. He jumps out and looks at me and says “will this work”. I had never driven a Mercedes so I was kind of excited. He didn’t have to do that for me, so I thanked him several times before driving off. I would tell you how I had to read the manual to find out how to adjust the seats but my learning of that car would take up several paragraphs. lol

I left rental place and drove straight to the expo for the race. After I successfully parked using the backup camera, I made myself inside to the packet pickup. They had a designated area for runners to the Re-Run challenge to get both their bibs. I walked up and provided the lady my bib number. She started shifting through bibs and couldn’t find mine. She advised me that they had several stacks of bibs that had not been sorted yet, so she began to go through stack by stack, still she couldn’t find my bib. She asked the guy working with her for help, and he started going through the stacks. STILL NOTHING. By this time a line is starting to form and another lady had came up for her bib, and they couldn’t find hers. After about 10 minutes of them searching, they sent me down to another table to get a new bib assignment. Im honestly beginning to get upset. I go to the table and explain to them the situation. Lady says that she couldn’t reassign me a another number if I already had one in the system. She said she would walk down and look through the bibs herself. After about 5 minutes of looking, she finds my bib in the same stack the previous 2 individual had been looking. I thanked her and headed over to VIP to pick up my band. As I was walking a looked at my bibs…the first one was right but the 2nd bib had a totally different name. Frustrated, I walked back to the same lady that had just helped me and showed her. Her response was “I don’t know what is going on with them”. She walks over and tells a coordinator what’s going on, then she goes to the 5k area to see if my correct bib was there….IT WAS. After finally getting my bibs and VIP bracelet, I went for the swag. Last year swag consisted of pajama bottoms and a beach towel, this year they had duffle bags and performance shirts celebrating the race’s 45th anniversary. I collected my goods and decided to walk around the expo to see what free stuff I could grab. My favorite booth was the taste testing of the beef and wine tasting, both were great. I stayed about an hour before heading to my friend’s house to prepare for the next day’s 5k.

About 9pm thursday night, I receive an email from race organizers saying they were going to move Friday night’s 5k to saturday morning because of the weather. The forecast was causing for 90 degree weather at 7pm Friday night, with high humidity. Rather that subject runners to potential dangerous conditions, the decided to move the race. I appreciate them letting us know well in advance, although I was disappointed. By moving the race, they pretty much put an end to any runner that was trying to do the Re-Run challenge because now the 5k and half marathon were starting at the same time, so no way you to do both. They said that we could still receive all three medals after the half and we would get a voucher to move our registration for the 5k to 2019. I don’t like getting medals I didn’t earn so I got up Friday morning and did my own 5k. I went out at 6:30 and it was already extremely hot and humid. I think they made a good call moving the 5k to the next morning.

The next morning I was up at 4:30 to get prepped for the half marathon. I woke up to thunder, lightening and some rain. My first thoughts were “please don’t let them cancel this race”. I left the house at 5:30 and headed towards the start. By the time I got there, the rain had stopped. VIP had designated parking area, but I just could never find it. I ended up parking in regular parking which was just as close if not closer to the starting line. I headed to VIP tent, where they had coffee, porter potties and last minute essentials that you may have forgotten.(band-aids, sunscreen, etc) The race was set to start at 7, but radar showed a thunderstorm was heading our way, so they delayed the race until 7:30 and told runners to seek cover. We watched the rain and thunder hit us for about 15 minutes then it cleared up. The race started promptly and 7:30 and we were off. Once we started running the route came back to me, and I remembered…this course was HILLY as HELL. Up, down, up, down we went for the full 13 miles. I don’t recall one section of the race that was level. It began to get hot and you could tell the hills were really challenging the runners. I saw a lot of people walking the hills because they just couldn’t recovery fast enough between hills. In spite of the hills, their was beautiful views to see as we ran through KC, past the hospital and through several neighborhoods before ultimately finishing downtown. The final mile of the race was downhill, and you could try to take advantage IF you had anything left in the tank after the hills. I had a little bit and was able to finish in a respectable time. I checked my watch and saw that we had run course with 975ft if elevation. My course graph looked like a heart beat signal. lol

I gathered my snacks and 3 medals, and headed back to the VIP tent. We were treated to free massages and mamosas, in addition to receiving a free gift. We all got power banks. I thanked the organizers again before heading back to my friend’s house to shower and pack in preparation for my flight back home that evening. I returned my Mercedes and was at the airport 2 hours before my plane took off. My plane took off at 5:25pm, and I left behind Kansas City and another great race weekend. Can’t wait to claim my results on Athlinks. Sigh up and get all your race stats in one place. http://www.athlinks.com

This race is definitely challenging, but if you enough a good challenge and LOTS of hills, I would recommend it without question. Thank You Hospital Hill 2018.

We Could All Use A Little Luv-o- Luvo Flipped Bowls Review

“Disclaimer: I received Luvo Flipped Bowls 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”

Luvo Story

Luvo uses a fact-based approach to their nutrition that is backed by 3rd party sources like the World Health Organization and the Harvard School of Public Health. Their meals are packed with veggies and fruits, whole grains, responsibly sourced proteins, all while limiting sodium, added sugars and artificial colors/flavors.  In addition to quality ingredients, Luvo gives back through partnerships with non-profits and community organizations.

Arrival

Not all frozen meals are made equal, and Luvo is proof of that.  When I was given the opportunity to test out some of Luvo’s new Flipped Bowls, I jumped at it. I am usually not a fan of frozen meals, but I was willing to give Luvo a shot based on what I have heard from a few friends.  Ordering was simple from their website, and I received my order within a couple days in a cooler packed with dry ice.   I was worried with the heat in my area about if the meals would still be frozen when I got home from work. Most of the ice had melted but the meals were still frozen. Win!

Flavors

In my package I received 2 servings of each flavor of their Flipped Bowls: Chicken meatballs in tomato basil sauce, chicken meatballs in garlic wine sauce, chicken meatballs in creamy stroganoff sauce, and chicken meatballs in creamy pesto sauce.

All flavors are made with either whole wheat rotini or penne pasta. The bowls didn’t completely fill me up, but they pack enough punch to take the edge off your hunger. You aren’t supposed to get too full when you eat anyway, so these bowls are just enough.  I won’t go into detail on all of them but I will highlight my 2 favorites.

My Favorite-Chicken Meatballs in Garlic Wine sauce. The wine sauce really separates this particular bowl for me and the bowl is packed with a few other goodies. In addition to meatballs and sauce, the bowl has white beans, greens and topped with a blend of parmesan and mozzarella.  I will admit that the meatballs on the box are not as big as the ones in the actually bowl BUT there are more of them. You see about 4 large meatballs on the box, the actually bowl probably has about 6 smaller ones.

2nd Favorite– Chicken Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce.  This one gave me more of a Italian flare with the tomato basil sauce. Along with the tomato basil sauce, there is a mixture of kale topped with a blend of parmesan and mozzarella.

Nutritious Value

Protein- 17 grams (except Creamy Stroganoff which has 16g)

Whole Grains- Between 31-34 grams depending on the bowl

All contain ½ cup of vegetables

Sugar- 0 grams 

Recommendation

These bowls more than lived up to the company’s reputation.  Each bowl provides you with a tasty meal, packed with tons of nutritional value. At $5.99 a box, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank to have a healthy meal. Do not hesitate to give these a try. If you are ready to tickle your tastebuds, use code BIBRAVE at checkout to Buy 7 bowls, get 1 Free. Enjoy

Boston Marathon-like -Run Sunset Beach Half Marathon recap

I recall watching this year’s Boston Marathon, and seeing how those runners fought through some of the worst conditions to accomplish their goal. Downpour, plus 30 degree weather, could not have been fun. Fast forward to this past weekend, when I was set to take on Run Sunset Beach half marathon in sunset beach, nc. The whole week leading up to the race, I was watching the radar and each day I saw rain percentage stay between 80-100%. I started to mentally prepare myself for possible rain and hope the rain would hold off until after the race was over.

I arrived at the expo Friday and all the runners were talking about was the possible rain the following day for the race. The percentage had changed to 40% but the possibility was still there. The resort we were staying was about 1.5 miles away from the start, so my plan was to walk to start.

This would allow my family to sleep in and not have to worrying about getting up at the crack of dawn to drive to the shuttle pick-up. Race morning I got up, got dressed and started my trek to the start line. I could tell it had rained over night, but there was no rain as I started my walk. By the time I got about half mile in, it began to drizzle and by the time I got to start line, there was a light rain. It was not bad, considering it was still warm(high 60s, low 70s). The race was set to start at 7am, and at 6:30am it was still just a light rain. All the runners were optimistic that the rain would not get any worse……well we were all wrong. As soon as the speaker announced that it was 5 minutes to the gun, the rain showed up.

The gun sounded and off into the rain we went. The rain was steady with big raindrops. The first mile of the race takes you over a large bridge onto the outlet and as we hit the bridge, the rain showed no mercy. It was so hard, that you could barely see in front of you and it was stingy your face as you tried to maintain your pace. I could hear other runners yelling out some choice words as the battled the uphill bridge mixed with the downpour. For the first 6 miles, the rain did not let up at all and we were running through puddles that came up over my shin when stepped in. After the first few miles you get used to being drenched, even though running in soaked socks is not fun. Outside of the rain, the race itself was well organized. There were water stops every 1.5 miles, and even an ice pops stop between miles 10 & 11. I finished the race and finisher’s medal was SWEET!!! The medals for this race series are called BAM(big ass medals) and they earned that title. I finished top 3 in my age group.

Thank you Sunset Beach, next up in the series is Holden Beach.

Mic Drop-Race Review of the Final Rock and Roll Raleigh Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Rock and Roll Raleigh Half Marathon race 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!”

Before I get into my review of the race, I wanted to share some thoughts about this race as it’s time has come to an end. Being a native North Carolinian, I was pumped when the Rock and Roll Marathon Series brought a race to Raleigh in 2014. I told myself I would run this race every year it was here, it is only right. You can imagine the heartbreak when I learned that after this year, Rock and Roll Series would not be returning to Raleigh. You may ask, why would a popular race pull out of a beautiful city after only 4 years.. A few different factors played a part in the decision.

1.    Participation dropped. The inaugural year in 2014, I remember talking to a police officer at the expo and he told me there were over 15,000 runners expected, from every state and several countries.This year there were only about 6,000. The inaugural year they had both half and full marathon distances, but through the years the marathon became less possible and it was dropped completely off this year’s schedule. This year only had half marathon, 10k, and half marathon relay(latter two were added this year)

2.    Businesses complained every year. Some local businesses, along with several churches in the downtown area would complain every year about the road closures. I guess it didn’t help that the races were on Sundays and always appear to happen around Easter time.

3.    Runners Complained. If you have ever visited Raleigh, NC you know that it is not the flattest place. There are hills on top of hills on top of hills, but don’t runners enjoy a challenge? Apparently not. The first year there were unfortunately 2 runner deaths on the course and numerous complaints about the marathon route. The next couple years they changed the route but the participation never fully recovered. They later added a 5k on Saturday to start a remix challenge weekend

I, like many people of the local running community, are sad to see the race go. For a lot of them, this race was their first half or full marathon. Bittersweet indeed. Now for the final review of Rock and Roll Raleigh.

EXPO
I decided to make my trip to the expo on my way home from work on the first day it opened. I got there around 5:30 and it was a pretty quick process to get my bibs and shirts. (part of it was probably because it was the first day and a lot of out of towners hadn’t arrived). I had already told myself that since this was the last year, I wanted to buy something to commemorate it’s final year. For the inaugural race, I bought a hat, that I still wear during runs so that was my first choice. They had hats, but sadly he hats did not have the year listed on them, only “Rock and Roll Raleigh Marathon & Half”. I got one anyway. I also purchased one of their 13.1 shirts that listed all the males or females that were running the half marathon. I thought that was cool idea, it who doesn’t like to see their name in print? As far as vendors, it was pretty light for an expo. The venue was huge but the vendors only took up about a quarter of the space. The vendors they did have were of quality, so you could still find some nice things.

Raceday #1
It was a remix challenge weekend and an extra medal was up for grabs, so you know I had to accept the challenge. Up first was a 5k on Saturday morning. It was a little chilly and rainy for a spring morning but we can’t control the weather. The 5k took place on Dorothea Dix campus, so both spectators and runners had to catch shuttles to the location. Having ran on this campus numerous times, I knew we would be in for some hills. I fought through the hills to a 19th overall finish and 2nd in my age group. Local news station even got me crossing the finish line. I had several people tell me they saw me on the 6 o’clock news.

Raceday #2
Finally it was time to toe the line for the RnR Raleigh half marathon for the last time. I wasn’t sure how I would feel at the start knowing that this would be the last opportunity for anyone to run the Rock and Roll series in NC. The weather was in the mid 30s, which in my opinion is perfect for a race. I was also eager to see this new course they had been advertising “supposedly” with less hills. Before I knew it, the horn sounded and we were off. Running through all the government buildings of downtown, running past the huge globe of the science museum and past numerous local establishments. After mile 2, I began to realize something…..THEY LIED ABOUT THE HILLS. There were just as many hills, if not more, than previous years. The whole race you felt like you were either going uphill or downhill, and I noticed the hills starting to get the best of some runners. I managed to keep a steady, I knew a PR on this course was not going to be in reach. Throughout the race, I noticed friends from my running family lined up and screaming their support. When I hit the mile 13 marker, I knew this journey was almost complete….BUT not before an uphill to the finish line. Smh. My finish time was 1:48:13 2 races, 3 medals and years of memories

Final Thoughts
If it was still an option, I would recommend everyone running it at least once. Yes, it is a challenging course but everyone should enjoy a little challenge. I will definitely miss this April race, and glad I was able to participate in it every year it was here. I can only hope, another race can step in and fill the void the Rock and Roll Series is leaving. Now I just have to wait for all my results to hit Athlinks. Join athlinks if you aren’t already a member, all race stats in one place. http://www.athlinks.com Rock On!