Bittersweet-Virtual Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte Review

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to run the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte 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.”

As most of you know, over the past year, Virtual has become the new now. Virtual meetings through Zoom and Google Meet, virtual races to somewhat fulfill the void left with the lack of IRL races. The AllState Hot Chocolate 5K/15K Charlotte was not any different as most if not all the Hot Chocolate series has decided to go virtual. I have run the Charlotte installment of the series since it’s inception, so although it pains me not to be able to travel to Charlotte to run, I was happy to have the opportunity to knock it out locally and keep my streak going for the 4th year in a row.

SWAG
To start, I am always impressed about how thorough the race organizers are about getting your race packets out to you in a timely fashion. I received an email about 2 weeks before the race, letting me know my packet had been mailed and included tracking information. I received my package about a week before raceday. I personally treated it like a IRL race and refused to open my package until I had earned it. I took the package with me the morning I planned to do the race and tore it open as soon as I was finished.

And can we talk about swag…SWAG. I have lone said that Hot Chocolate is one of the best races as far as swag goes. Let’s take a look at what I found when I popped open my package.

Jacket
Good quality, full zip black jacket. Hot Chocolate emblem on the chest and removable hood.

Medal
Cool medal in the shape of a chocolate bar, that opens up to reveal a little piece of chocolate.

BIB
2 Packs of dark chocolate hot chocolate
2 pieces of chocolate

Honey Stinger

Nuun
A sample of CBD ointment

The Run 

I couldn’t have picked a better day to run this virtual race, although some would say it was too cold. I think the temps were low 30s but felt like 26 with the wind chill. PERFECT! I picked a route that I was familiar with and only had a couple spots that required me to cross over a 2 lane street. I admit, I am totally not big on virtual races because I find it harder to push myself and I always liked to feed off the race spectators. Regardless, I set out and just let my legs do what they wanted. When I finally reached my 9.3 mile mark, I had finished with a 2 minute PR for 15K distance. Couldn’t wait to go to the website and upload my time. So that’s it, another Hot Chocolate in the books and looking forward to racing it IRL in 2022.

2018 Race Year in Review; Preparation for Hot Chocolate

Looking back at my 2018 race year, it definitely had it’s ups and downs. As I am ramping up my training for my first race of 2019, Hot Chocolate 15k Charlotte, I can’t help but reflect back on 2018. The first half of the year started well enough, I ran my first ever Hot Chocolate race(Charlotte) as well as knocked out a few half marathons. I was within seconds of running a new half marathon PR at Tobacco Road Half Marathon, and I ran Oak Island half marathon for the first time. The first half of the year was also bittersweet, because I ran Rock and Roll Raleigh for the last time. This was my home city’s Rock and Roll and I had run it every year since it began 5 years ago. All the complaints from downtown churches, finally took it’s toll because the Rock and Roll series decided it would not be coming back to Raleigh.
In June I traveled to kansas city to run the Hospital Hill Half Marathon. This was my 2nd year running it as a part of the Bibrave family. By far the hillest race, with its constant up and down. Unfortunately, I also think this race is where I injured myself. I was due to began my marathon training in July and my lower legs were just constantly giving me trouble after Hospital Hill. I admit I began to worry heading into the start of training. I had a goal to accomplish in my marathon…I wanted a sub 4. Since I only run 1 marathon a year, I had been waiting a year to try to redeem myself from 2017. In 2017 I ran the Chicago Marathon and was on pace to break sub 4 easily until mile 23. At 23 I caught cramps in both calves, I hobbled to the finish with a time of 4:01. I was mad and upset, and it bothered me like nothing else.
Training started and I decided to go with a new training program, I was going to do the 3 x 2 training.(run 3 days, bike 2 days) Needless to say, training did not start well, I couldn’t hit my pace marks and my legs were not getting any better. Regardless of the pace, I was still doing the set miles needed and hoping that would pay off when it counted. I finally gave in and seeked help from a physical therapist. Kari at Run Raleigh was amazing, and after 4-5 sessions I began to feel like I was turning a corner with my injury. My pace began to drop back down to normal range and the pain was not as severe. Richmond Marathon was in sight and I felt like I was ready, although I didn’t know if I had done enough in training to get that sub 4. Race weekend comes around and I do all my normal routines, which include carb loading at local italian restaurant. I won’t mention the restaurant we chose by name, but they had 5 stars and made their own pasta in-house. Everything was good the night before the race but when I woke up on race morning…..trouble was waiting. Serious GI issues, and I suspected that I could have food poisoning. I couldn’t stay out of the bathroom, but I knew I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t at least still try.(crazy I know) I was drinking gatorade and ginger ale hoping to rehydrate. I made it to the start line and felt like I was going to go for it. I started out, and things were not too bad and I was running around 9 min pace. At mile 8 I began to feel some uneasiness in my stomach but tried to keep going. I made it all the way to mile 14 before, my body said no more. I was dehydrated and could barely walk. I sat down on the curb, securing my first DNF ever. My runners stopped and asked if I needed anything and someone since the cops back to check on me. Ended up having to be picked up by the ambulance and taken to the emergency room to get pumped up with fluids. I was still determined to run a marathon and luckily I found Kiawah Island marathon that was taking place 3 weeks after Richmond. I signed up.
In between richmond and Kiawah Island, I attended The Running Event in Austin Texas. If you don’t know about TRE, you should go back and read my previous blog posts about The Running Event. I returned home, ready to give the marathon one my try. My last chance before the end of 2018.
Kiawah Island is in South Carolina, which was about a 4 hour drive. Race day it was in the low 40s, almost perfect running weather. I started the race strong and was feeling good. I tried to keep my mind on the mile I was in, but I admit my mind would drift off at moments and I would think about Chicago Marathon. I couldn’t have a repeat performance. Other times I would get excited and think I am going to do it, before I again had to bring myself back to the mile I was in. Once I hit mile 23, there was no cramping but things got tough. My legs began to hurt but I didn’t want to stop, I could taste my goal. I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:57, a new marathon PR and MY SUB 4 Marathon. I was super excited but didn’t really show it as I limped around the post race festivities.
And that’s it, that is how my 2018 race year ended. It ended on the highest of notes and I couldn’t be happier. Now, what awaits me in 2019, I don’t know. I know it will start with Hot Chocolate 15k Charlotte. I will be running Cherry Blossom 10 miler in April and I still hope to run New York City Marathon, after being denied the past 3 years. If I can’t get into NYC, I will either to Marin Corps Marathon or try to redeem myself in Richmond. It will be my 5th marathon so I feel like it should either by NYC or back where it all began with Marine Corps(my first marathon). I don’t know but stay tuned for race year 2019, I think it will be an exciting one.

Check All the Boxes-Brooks Ghost 11 & Canopy Jacket Product Review

I received Brooks products(Brooks Ghost 11 and Brooks Canopy jacket) 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!

The Brooks brand is well-known throughout the running community, whether you have used them or not, is a personal preference. I personally have loved Brooks since I stumbled upon them when I first started running. When I began running, I was clueless to the idea of running shoes. I was running in some Nike Shox and was having severe shin splits. I started doing my research and had a gait analysis done at a running expo for which Brooks was sponsor. After that day, I bought my first pair of Brooks and haven’t looked back since. Needless to say, I was all smiles when I saw Brooks gear in our swag bag from The Running Event. I was given a pair of Brooks Ghost 11 and a Brooks Canopy running jacket.

BROOKS CANOPY JACKET(Nightlife)

·         Wind and Water Protection(breathable wind and water-resistant fabric keeps you dry)

·         Storable Hood

·         DriLayer Seal Fabric(lets air in, keeps rain out)

·         Packs into its left-hand pocket

I love this jacket! Not only does it keep you warm on those crisp mornings/evenings, it is water-resistant. The water-resistant aspect is what I have been lacking with other jackets I have tried. Others brands I have tried have either been too light, thus not keeping you warm, or not breathable, thus you are sweating heavily because no air can get in. This Canopy jacket merges both worlds together perfectly. Extra benefit with the Nighlife color I received, is it has the neon yellow accents as well as built in reflective areas so you can easily be seen at night and pre-dawn. I took this jacket out for several runs and loved that it wasn’t too heavy, as well as, the option to use the hood or snap it back. The last and probably one of my favorite features is it is packable. That’s right, the whole jacket can pack right inside the left hand pocket, zip up, and has a nice band you can use to attach to your arm. I was able to put this to the test during one of my recent long runs. The temps were in the high 30s when I started out but pushed its way into the mid 40s halfway through my run. I was able to take off the jacket, pack it into the pocket and continue my run without having to worry about the hassle of securing the jacket around my waist. 

BROOKS GHOST 11     

I mentioned earlier that Brooks was one of my favorite brands, well their Brooks Ghost are one of my favorite shoes. In all I think I have had at least 3 or 4 pairs of Ghost, dating back to the Ghost 8.  

·         Balanced, Soft Cushioning

·         Segmented Crash Pad, so no matter how your foot lands, you get a smooth ride

·         Soft, Secure Fit

I always have high expectations whenever the new Ghosts drop, and these didn’t disappoint. I had been waiting to buy a pair, but thanks to the generosity of Brooks, I didn’t have too with their inclusion in our swag bag. The Ghost are considered a Neutral running shoe, and that is what seems to work best for me. I felt the same cushioned ride during my runs as I got in the previous versions of Brooks Ghost, with the added feature of DNA Loft softness and BioMoGo DNA responsiveness. These 2 technologies work together to provide a just-right softness underfoot without losing responsiveness and durability. The shoes are not too hard or soft, they fit somewhere in between and when you are running they feel a bit lighter. I could definitely feel the difference in the responsiveness in the shoe on the foot strike, it almost felt like it was bouncing back. This benefit is especially valuable as the miles start adding up during a run. The stretch fabric used to construct these beauties is breathable, so you don’t have to worry about your feet sweating as much.

RECCOMENDATON
Yes and Yes, to both products. I feel like the canopy jacket is a no-brainer, good jackets are hard to find and this once checks all the boxes for me. I also really love the Brooks Ghost 11, but if you require a shoe with more “support” this may not work for you. I know Brooks also makes a support shoe that will check the boxes for you, like the Ravenna or Adrenaline.

Get The Edge-Arcanum Product Review

I received Arcanum products(Sarco Freeze, the Quill, Sarco Breeze) 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!

Prior to The Running Event I had never heard of activated hemp being used as a recovery or performance aid, nor had I ever heard of the brand Arcanum. We received 3 of their products in our swag bag for TRE, but I don’t think any of us actually knew what to do with them. The following day when we got to visit The Running Event, the Arcanum booth was the first one we visited and we learned a lot of great information. If you read my previous posts about TRE, you know what I mentioned that the Arcanum representative was by far the most effective speaker. She delivered valuable information, without overselling her product. After speaking with the representative, I was eager to give them a try.

ACTIVATED HEMP
When hemp is heated at high temperatures, it’s bioavailability increases, meaning it is able to enter the circulation in the body and have an active effect. This activation creates an increase in the effectiviness of the cannabinoids and other healing ingredients in the Arcanum formulation. Activated hemp has been shown to support recovery time and performance by upregulating your cells, allowing them to communicate and carry on the reactions necessary to help the body recover faster and smarter.(via Arcanum website www.arcanumedge.com)

SARCO BREEZE
First product I tried was the Sarco Breeze, which is a moisturizer and sports massage oil. Its features:

·         Hydrates your skin and good for all skin types

·         Facilitates muscle recover and soothes aches

·         Designed for full body use

·         Addresses soreness, discomfort, overuse, irritation

I took the Sarco breeze with me when I traveled for my last race of the 2018 calendar year, The Kiawah Marathon. It was a marathon so I figured I would have a good amount of soreness to give the product a good test. After finishing my marathon and showering, I broke it out. My calves were really sore and I had cramped up after I finished the race, so I decided to start there. I am not exaggerating when I say, I felt an immediate difference once I applied the Sarco Breeze. I am not saying the soreness, immediately disappeared but I could feel the tingle letting me know it was starting to do its thing. I would say about an hour after applying the product, my calves felt like new. The soreness had subsided and I could walk around with that looking like I just ran a marathon(you know the walk. Lol) I later applied to my quads and hamstring areas, to get them back fresh. I was impressed with the response. This is also good to use if you are receiving and giving a massage to/from your significant other.

SARCO FREEZE
Next up, was the Sarco Freeze. Some of its features/benefits:

·         Immediate cooling relief

·         Addresses soreness, discomfort, overuse, irriatiton

When you are impatient and won’t relief instant, you reach for the Sarco Freeze. I slept wrong one night, and I woke up with a little back pain. Before I reached for some icy hot that I had in the cabinet, I grabbed the Sarco Freeze to give it first crack and the pain. It was easy enough to apply and within maybe 3-4 minutes the cooling powers powered up and my pain was gone. I only wish I had discovered the powers of activated hemp sooner.

THE QUILL
Last up and Arcanum’s newest product was The Quill. This seemed to be the product the representative was most excited about, since it is really an item that could be used on a daily basis. Features/Benefits:

·         50 precise 2mg doses of activated hemp in every application

·         Relief in as little as 5 minutes

·         Dermal delivery for more accurate dosage control and better absorption

·         Targeted delivery system of transdermal nutrients

The representative showed us that The Quill is most effective applied to the inside of your wrist and rubbed in using your other wrist(similar to how you see ladies apply their perfume). The amount of time before you can start to notice a difference can vary based on the individual, but for me I think it took about a week and a half of daily use before I felt a little different. I felt a little more energized each morning and also noticed that I wasn’t getting as sore after workouts or runs. I looked at it has daily maintenance and made sure I applied my daily dosage, just as if I was taking daily vitamins.

RECOMMENDATION
I think all three of these products are worth a try. I know you may not know a lot about activated hemp but the stuff just works. Do your own research if you must, Arcanum even has some good information on their websites and you won’t get popped for using performance enhancing drugs. Lol. If I had to pick a favorite of the products, I would probably go with Sarco Breeze. I think the fact that it could be used all over your body and works great for massages, won me over. Give Arcanum as try and get the Arcanum Edge.

CEP Products Review

Disclaimer: I received  CEP products  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!”

 

Anyone that is active in sports activity or fitness has most likely heard of the brand CEP. CEP is an industry leading compression apparel company that utilizes fully graduated technology. Unlike typically compression apparel, CEP products gradually increase the amount of compression from the ankle to the calf. They also don’t work on the typical Small, Medium, etc size chart, you actually have to measure your calf size so their products will have a better fit than normal products. So all the Pros were happy to see a pair of Trail Merino Socks and a pair of Merino socks for Recovery in our swag bag from The Running Event.

 

RECOVERY SOCKS
I will start with the Recovery Socks. When we had the opportunity to walk around and talk to CEP representatives at TRE, I actually learned a lot about compression. The main thing I learned was that compression sleeves/socks should only be worn during active activity. They are made for activity so wearing them while you are just sitting around, would not be beneficial and possibly be harmful. Recovery Socks should be used in those type of situations. Upon hearing this, I immediately thought to myself, what better way to try out the recovery socks than to wear them on my plane ride home the following day. The next morning I slipped them on and heading to the airport. As the morning progressed, I could feel a difference in my legs. No aching and they felt fresh the duration of flight/flights. I actually forgot I had them on when I got home until I was asked about them. That tells you they weren’t tight enough to make it uncomfortable. 

 

MERINO TRAIL SOCKS

Full disclosure, I have never been a fan of compression socks. I have always ran with compression sleeves, part of reason is probably because I like certain socks and sleeves still allow for some freedom with your sock color, etc. Nevertheless, I wanted to give this trail socks their fair shot. We were given the yellow color so they pretty much will go with any color. I headed out on one of NC’s 30 degree mornings to give them a try. At first they felt strange on my legs, mind you I told you I have never been a compression sock wearer. I was doing a 10 plus mile run, so it should give me plenty of miles to see how the socks perform. Halfway through my run, my legs still felt fresh and no signs of fatigue. One slight issue I noticed around mile 8 was my left leg began to get numb. This has only happened one other time and that was when I was wearing some sleeves that were a size too small. I don’t know if my left calf muscle is slightly larger than my right, but once I stopped and rolled down the sock, the numbness went away and I finished the run.

 

RECOMMENDATION

I will 100% endorse the recovery socks, they are great. That was the first time trying recovery socks and now I am hooked. They are so beneficial and are especially useful to wear during plane rides to keep the blood circulation going. As far as the Trail Socks go, I am still not a compression socks type of guy BUT I definitely see the benefit of these for those people who are. My opinion is solely based off personal preference and nothing to do with the way the Merino Trail Socks perform. They definitely do what they are supposed to do. If you are a compression sock user, do give CEP Merino Trail Socks are try.

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.

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

Upcoming Races Discount Codes

HC Tampa https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/tampa 12/18/2016 Tampa, FL 15K/5K @hotchocolate15K @hotchocolate15k https://www.facebook.com/HotChocolate15K #HC15K, #Tampa BRHCTAMPA free visor
Chi-Town Rise & Shine 5K http://www.chitownriseandshine.com/ 12/31/2016 Chicago, IL @RiseNShine5k @chisportsocial https://www.facebook.com/events/339734263050904/ #RiseandShine, #NYE BRP10 (https://goo.gl/wplfCo) $10 off https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BwIVOAGTH4SKWjlDRF90TEtRLWs?usp=sharing
HC San Francisco https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/sanfrancisco 1/8/2017 San Francisco, CA 15K/5K @hotchocolate15K hotchocolate15k https://www.facebook.com/HotChocolate15K #RunSF, #HC15K BRSFHC free visor SOLD OUT
Carlsbad Marathon http://www.carlsbadmarathon.com/# 1/15/2017 Carlsbad, CA full, half @RunCarlsbad @carlsbadmarathon https://www.facebook.com/carlsbadmarathon/ #runcarlsbad #carlsbadmarathon #sandiego #runsandiego BIBRAVE10 $10 off either full or half marathon https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwIVOAGTH4SKb1Q1TzRkeHluNm8
Key West Half Marathon http://www.keywesthalfmarathon.com/ 1/15/2016 Key West, FL Half & 5K, @KeyWestHalf #keywesthalf https://www.facebook.com/keywesthalfmarathon #keywesthalf 19OFFBA $19 Off the Half Marathon Run or Walk. good till 12/26/16 https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BwIVOAGTH4SKdG5oUTlqRmRjNU0?usp=sharing
HC Atlanta https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/atlanta 1/22/2017 Atlanta, GA 15K/5K @hotchocolate15K hotchocolate15k https://www.facebook.com/HotChocolate15K #atlanta, #hc15k BRATLHC free visor 1/8/2017
F3 Half Marathon & 5K http://www.f3running.com/ 1/28/2016 Chicago, IL Half & 5K, @F3Events @F3events F: @F3events #F3Half BIBRAVE17 = $6 off the Half Marathon
BIBRAVE175K = $5 off the 5k
$6 off the Half Marathon, $5 off the 5K 12/31/16
Hot Chocolate Dallas https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/dallas 2/4/2017 Dallas, TX 15K, 5K @hotchocolate15K hotchocolate15k https://www.facebook.com/HotChocolate15K #dallas #hc15K DALHCBR free visor 1/22/16
Sedona Marathon http://www.sedonamarathon.com/register.html 2/4/2017 Sedona, AZ full, half, 10K, 5K @sedonamarathon @sedonamarathon https://www.facebook.com/sedonamarathon/ #SME17 BIBRAVE2017 20% off any event (5K, 10K, Half and Full)

Valid through February 4, 2017.

12/31/17, 2/2/17, 2/3/17
Surf City Marathon http://www.runsurfcity.com/ 2/5/2017 Huntington Beach, CA half marathon & marathon @runsurfcity @runSurfCity https://www.facebook.com/SurfCityUSAMarathon #RunSurfCity BIBRAVESCM 10% https://goo.gl/photos/9fMBk3jKxFXeQWkk6
Hot Chocolate Nashville https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/nashville 2/11/2017 Nashville, TN 15K, 5K @hotchocolate15K hotchocolate15k https://www.facebook.com/HotChocolate15K #nashville #hc15K NashvilleBRHC free visor 1/29/16
BOMF Mardi Gras Chaser https://give.backonmyfeet.org/MardiGras 2/25/2017 Chicago, IL 10K, 5K @BoMFChicago @bomfchicago https://www.facebook.com/backonmyfeetchicago #mardigraschaser RAVE $5 off. valid through 2/23 https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BwIVOAGTH4SKejNxSWctVXphQ1U?usp=sharing 5k $35 until Jan 31/$40 after; 10k $45 until Jan 31/$50 after.
A1A Fort Lauderdale Marathon http://a1amarathon.com/ 2/19/2017 Fort Lauderdale, FL full, half, 5K @A1A_Marathon #A1AMarathon https://www.facebook.com/FortLauderdaleA1AMarathon #a1amarathon BIBRAVE 20% off https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPDp6l_JnHC3GLCr3XR8q28zdu5uDFzap6pYCBzmAY0avNqrI9jXIVRvS8_bSBG_g?key=REhZX0FpQ2J5NjJLWEZWd3lNQjRGWVhheDRXV0Z3
Palm Desert Half Marathon http://www.palmdeserthalfmarathon.com/ 2/19/2017 Palm Desert, CA Half & 5K, #palmdeserthalf @southlandevents https://www.facebook.com/PalmDesertHalfMarathon #palmdeserthalfmarathon BRPD2017 10% off. Valid through 2/15/17 – 12/16/16 price increase
Blooms to Brews http://www.bloomstobrews.com/ 4/9/2016 Woodland, WA marathon, half marathon 10k @GetBoldEvents GetBoldEvents https://www.facebook.com/BloomsToBrews #bloomstobrews
Hot Chocolate Las Vegas https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/lasvegas 2/26/2017 Las Vegas, NV 15K, 5K @hotchocolate15K @hotchocolate15k https://www.facebook.com/HotChocolate15K #vegas #hc15K BRVEGASHC Free visor through December 18th, 2016
through February 12th, 2017
until registration closes
Hot Chocolate Seattle https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/seattle 3/5/2017 Seattle, WA 15K, 5K @hotchocolate15K @hotchocolate15k https://www.facebook.com/HotChocolate15K #seattle, #Hc15K HCSEABR Free visor through January 8th, 2017
through February 12th, 2017
until registration closes
Alamo 13.1 http://alamo131.com/race-info/general-info/ 3/19/2017 San Antonia, TX half @alamo131 #alamo131 https://www.facebook.com/alamo131/ #alamo131 BIBRAVE17 20% off any distance thru 11/8/16 – $85
thru 1/8/17 – $95
thru 2/19/17 – $105
thru 3/15/17 – $115
At Expo – $130
Hot Chocolate San Diego https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/sandiego 3/26/2017 San Diego, CA 15K, 5K @hotchocolate15K @hotchocolate15k https://www.facebook.com/HotChocolate15K #HC15K, #SanDiego SDBRHC free visor through January 8th, 2017
through March 5th, 2017
until registration closes
Livermore Half Marathon http://runliv.com/ 3/26/2017 Livermore, CA half & 5K @runlivermore @runlivermore https://www.facebook.com/runlivermore #RunLiv BIBRAVELIV 10% off – 12/12/16 price increase
Hot Chocolate Philadelphia https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/philadelphia 4/1/2017 Philadelphia, PA 15K, 5K @hotchocolate15K @hotchocolate15k https://www.facebook.com/HotChocolate15K #philly, #HC15K BRPhillyHC free visor through January 22nd, 2017
through March 19th, 2017
until registration closes
Hot Chocolate Minneapolis https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/minneapolis 4/15/2017 Minneapolis, MN 15K, 5K @hotchocolate15K @hotchocolate15k https://www.facebook.com/HotChocolate15K #HC15K, #minneapolis MinnHCBR free visor 15K: $69 through February 5th, 2017
$74 through April 2nd, 2017
5K: $44 through February 6th, 2017
$49 through April 3rd, 2017
$54 until registration closes
Newport Rhode Race http://runri.us/newport-race-info/ 4/15/2017 Newport, RI full, half, 5K @rhoderaces @racetherhode https://www.facebook.com/RaceTheRhode #RhodeRaces #RaceTheRhode #NptRhodeRace BibRave $10 off https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwIVOAGTH4SKQV9WSjB4bDBhOTg 12/31 price increase
Illinois Marathon http://illinoismarathon.com/ 4/20-4/22 Champaign-Urbana, IL full, half, 10K, 5K, I-5 Challenge @ilmarathon #illinoismarathon https://www.facebook.com/illinoismarathon #illinoismarathon bibravebonus $5 off until 1/16, $10 off after 1/16 thru 8/31, thru 10/31, thru 1/15, thru 2/28 thru 4/16
Glass City Marathon http://glasscitymarathon.org/ 4/23/17 Toledo, OH full, half, 5K @GCM_Toledo @gcm_toledo https://www.facebook.com/GlassCityMarathon #RunGlassCity41 brpsavings $5 off 12/31 price increase
Parkway Classic https://www.runpacers.com/race/parkway-classic/ 4/23/17 ALEXANDRIA, VA 10 mile, 5K @runpacers @runpacers https://www.facebook.com/runpacers #PARKWAYCLASSIC 17gwpBibRave $5 off 10M, 5k, NOT Sugar Shack Kids
New Jersey Marathon http://www.thenewjerseymarathon.com/ 4/29 – 4/30 Oceanport, NJ full, half, 5K @NJMarathon @njmarathon https://www.facebook.com/NJMarathon #NJMarathon 17njmBibRave $5 off Full, Half, Chair, Relay. Not 5K or Kids
Cap City Half Marathon http://www.capitalcityhalfmarathon.com/ 4/29/2017 Columbus, OH half, quarter half, 5K @CapCityHalf @capcityhalf https://www.facebook.com/CapCityHalf #CapCityHalf #USAHalfChamps #runincbus #lifeincbus BIBRAVECC17 $10 off https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwIVOAGTH4SKOXl0Z3FGVU9uejg
Destination Races Santa Barbara http://destinationraces.com/runsb/ 5/13/2017 Santa Barbara, CA half @winecountryhalf @winecountryhalf https://www.facebook.com/sbwinehalf #SBWineHalf BIBRAVE10 $10 off https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPDp6l_JnHC3GLCr3XR8q28zdu5uDFzap6pYCBzmAY0avNqrI9jXIVRvS8_bSBG_g?key=REhZX0FpQ2J5NjJLWEZWd3lNQjRGWVhheDRXV0Z3
Buffalo Marathon http://www.buffalomarathon.com/ 5/28/2017 Buffalo, NY full, half, 10K, 5K @BuffaloMarathon @buffalomarathon https://www.facebook.com/BuffaloMarathon #BuffaloMarathon 2017-BibRave-JS (Jen)
2017-BibRave-SA (Samantha)
2017-BibRave-JJ (Janelle)
2017-BibRave-MM (Matthew)
2017-BibRave-DM (Dodie)
All $5 off prices increase the 1st of every month
Vermont City Marathon https://www.vermontcitymarathon.org/ 5/28/2016 Burlington, VT full & relay @RunVermont @runvermont https://www.facebook.com/RunVermont #RunVermont, #Run802, #vermont BibRaveDsct17 $5 off $99 + transaction fee (October 10, 2016 – January 15, 2017)
$110 + transaction fee (January 16, 2017 – March 31, 2017)
$120 + transaction fee (April 1, 2017 – May 23, 2017)
$135 + transaction fee Race Weekend
Willimantic Classic http://willimanticathleticclub.org/Willimantic_Classic.html 5/6/2017 Willimantic, CT half, 10K, 5K @WillimanticRuns #willimanticClassic https://www.facebook.com/Willimantic-Classic-121750181357933/?fref=ts #willimanticClassic, #WillimanticRuns RAVE5 $% off valid through 4/15/17
Maine Coast Marathon http://mainecoast262.com/ 5/13/2016 Portland, ME marathon, half, 39.3 challenge @mainecoast262 @shipyardmainecoast https://www.facebook.com/MaineCoastMarathon/ #mainecoast #runmainecoast #mainecoastmarathon #mainecoasthalfmarathon bibrave10 10% off https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwIVOAGTH4SKODl0WG5hZWo3dFE
Hospital Hill Run http://www.hospitalhillrun.com/ 6/3/2017 Kansas CIty, MO half, 10K, Re-run @HospitalHillRun @hospitalhillrun https://www.facebook.com/HOSPITALHILLRUNKC #HHR2017 BIBRAVE 10% off 5K, 10K, half, & re-run. – first price increase is 1/1/17
North Olympic Discovery Marathon http://nodm.com/ 6/4/2017 Port Angeles, WA full, half, 10K, 5K @nodm2613 @nodm2613 https://www.facebook.com/NODMRace/?fref=ts #nodm2613 BibRave17 $5 off https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwIVOAGTH4SKMHI3bTdJM1NXdFU – 1/1/17
Grandma’s Marathon http://grandmasmarathon.com/ 6/17/2017 Duluth, MN marathon, half, 5K @grandmasmara @grandmasmarathon https://www.facebook.com/GrandmasMarathon/ #grandmasmarathon #gmas17 no discount code NA https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwIVOAGTH4SKREZGZmtLTzhFclU Nov 1 – Dec 31 Current Price $125.00
Jan 1 – Mar 31 $135.00
Apr 1 – Jun 1 $145.00
Missoula Marathon http://www.missoulamarathon.org/ 7/7-7/9 Missoula, MT marathon, half, 5K @MslaMarathon @missoulamarathon https://www.facebook.com/MissoulaMarathon #mslamarathon #missoula Price Thru 01/31/17
Price Thru 06/15/17
Price Thru 07/05/17
Price Thru 07/08/17
Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon http://www.oldporthalfmarathon.com/ 7/8/2017 Portland, ME half, 5K @oldporthalf5k @oldporthalf5k https://www.facebook.com/oldport/ #runoldport, #maine bibrave10 10% off https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwIVOAGTH4SKWXhlQkVhTS10b2c Low Tide Registration: 10/22 -12/31/16
Rising Tide Registration: 01/01 – 05/12/17
High Tide Registration: 05/13 – 07/06/17
Mad Marathon http://www.madmarathon.com/ 7/9/2017 Waitsfield, VT full, half, relay @Mad_Marathon @madmarathon https://www.facebook.com/mad.marathon.7/ #RunMad BR2017 $10 off  img_8180img_8180