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.

Embrace the Turtle 🐢-Turtle Gloves Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Turtle Gloves Midweight Winter soft gloves 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!

FEAR THE TURTLE

As winter approached, one of the many things I started to think about is “winter running”. I mean i run outside all year long so I am always looking for ways to avoid frostbite and keep my digits properly circulated. I had heard of turtle gloves but never owned a pair….and to be totally honest, I never seen myself running with mittens. I have always had some version of 5 finger gloves with the fingertip material so you could still use your touchscreen. The opportunity presented itself and I couldn’t pass it up.

AVAILABLE COLORS

There is no lack of variety when it comes to color choices. There is sure to be one or two colors that tickle your fancy.
*Charcoal w/ Orange Trim

*Charcoal w/ Blue Trim

*Charcoal w/ Kelly Green Trim

*Kelly Green

*Lime Yellow

*Orange

*Pink

*Red Crimson

*Royal

SIZES

FEATURES

*Technical Fabrics

*Wicking & Breathable

*Wind Resistant

*Water Repellent

*Adjustable Venting

PERFORMANCE
I was delighted at how these turtle gloves performed. I am an early morning runner so it wasn’t too hard to find some mornings that were cold enough to put this mittens to work. On each of my runs, i started with them in mitten form and by mile 1, my hands would already be sweating. Each time I would have to convert the mittens to fingers out version to finish the run. Throughout the run, I never had any feeling of cold or freezing from my hands which is a big difference from the normal gloves. Previous gloves I have tried would often require me adding some handwarmers to make sure I didn’t get frostbite.

RECOMMENDATION
Without a doubt, I recommend this turtle gloves to any winter runner or anyone doing anything outside in the cold; going to a parade(those were the days), etc.

Are you ready to order your own? Visit turtlegloves.com and use code TURTLEBIBRAVE for 15%.

Savannah Bridge Run (virtual) Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Savannah Bridge Run(virtual) 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!

With the pandemic wrecking havoc on everyone’s running calendars, I took the time to start looking into some virtual races. My rationale being virtual races will help keep me motivated to crush out the weekend miles through the winter months. I had heard about the Savannah Bridge Run in previous years, so when I was given the opportunity to participate virtually, I jumped on it.

Not only was the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run ranked in The Bibrave top 20 of races under 10 miles, but runners also refer to it as “The South’s Toughest Bridge Run. Although I certainly missed the opportunity to run of the beautiful bridge in Savannah, I made sure to incorporate some bridges in my virtual run. 

I chose the Double Pump Challenge, which consists of a 5K, followed immediately by a 10K. I took on the strategy of taking the 5K a little faster and coasting through the 10K. I knocked out the 5K in a time of 22:20. I followed that up with a 10K time of 51:50. The weather probably accounted for why I didn’t see very many runners out on the trail.

Post run was very organized, as the race provided a link for you to upload a screenshot of your completed run and also an opportunity to submit a photo for a contest. All finishers swag will be mailed out after 12/5 and I plan to update this blog with some pics.

Hopefully some normalcy will return soon and maybe i will be able to participate the Bridge Run in person for 2021. Until then find you some fun virtual races and keep running. Running Is Not Cancelled.

Let’s face it, it’s the new Norm- Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask Review

Disclaimer: I received a Body Helix Ultra Light Face Mask 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”

It’s been a while since my last post, and the world has gone through more than a few changes. Most, if not, all of us have had our entire race calendar cancelled due to Covid-19. I was lucky enough to get 1 live race in before everything started to shut down. As runners we are starting to have to embrace the new norm(or new norm for the time being), which involves face covering and social distancing. So when the opportunity to test Body Helix new face mask was presented, I jumped at the chance.

Let’s look at the tale of the tape for the Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask:

1. Reusable and Washable:
it goes without saying, most people want something that can be washed and reused vs having to keep buying disposable items

2. Flexible, closed-cell fabric which prevents the transmission of water, viruses and germs

3. Disposable filters 

4. Large over-the-ear strap helps reduce the ear soreness you typically get when wearing something for an extended period of time on your over your ears.

5. Very Light and fabric is only 0.5mm which helps during hot temperatures

6. Optional nasal bridge controls air leakage and also helps reduce the dreaded glasses fog

7. Simple measurement helps to ensure more customizable fit for your mask and maximize protection.

Installing the filter

Style
As far as masks go, this is one of the more stylish ones I have seen. I kind of felt like Bane(from Batman) when I was out running or Jason in Friday the 13th, depending on who you ask. Lol

Test Runs

Let me start by saying, I’ve never run with any type of anything covering my nose and mouth. Even in cold weather, I will still have my nose uncovered so I knew this was going to be a new experience. The summer heat has been no joke here in NC, and it is made even worse by the high humidity percentages. The first morning I went out on a 10 mile run, temps were 77 degrees and the humidity was 100%. I know….I know.. pure torture. I was amazed at how easy it was to breath while running in the ultra light mask. I was able to breath freely through the miles but I did have to stop and remove to get hydration.

My second run was a shorter distance but I experienced the same results. My breathing was fine, but again the high humidity just made everything more difficult so mask was soaked with sweat by the end.

RECOMMENDATION
This is a product I would recommend, not only because of the current state of the world but I can see myself using it after we finally get through this Covid craziness. The only thing I could see as an improvement would be if they design a snap in for the disposable filters, rather than adhesive. This will take out the issue of trying to line it up so that all the holes are covered. Head over to bodyhelix.com and grab yours. Use code BR15 to get 15% off your order of $40 or more.

Here are what some of my fellow BRPs had to say

Jessica Danielle

Safety is the New Sexy-Road iD Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a Road iD sidekick 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

Safety when you are out biking or running is essential, so what if you could make safet…SEXY. Enter the great people of Road iD.

Quick  Background
The idea of road iD was born in 1999, when one of the co-founders was training for his first marathon and almost became a road pancake by a truck. Lucky for him, he wasn’t hit but if he had been, he would have been rushed to hospital as a John Doe because he had no identification on him. Edward and his father created road iD in the basement a few months later. 

Styles
One of the first things you notice when you go to their websites, is just how many styles of road iD is available. Let’s take a look at your options.

Wrist ID $19.99-$39.99
Just like it sounds, the wrist ID is id that you wear directly on your wrist. About the size of a fitbit, it carries all your emergency information engraved on a small metal plate. You have 3 styles to choose from Stretch, Sport or Elite.

Pet iD $19.99
Man/Woman’s best friend can be lost too, enter the pet iD. It attaches securely to dog collars up to ½” wide(small) or ½”-1” collars(med/large). It is secured to the collar so you hear no jiggling. 

Sidekick iD $19.99

This is the one I chose for myself. The sidekick attaches to the band of you Fit Bit band or Garmin band. I like to minimize the amount of things I wear as much as possible(makes me faster), so being able to just add the iD on something that I already wear instead of having to wear a totally new item, won me over. The stainless steel plate just easily slides right over your band in seconds. You can get the faceplate in rose gold, graphite or slate.

Apple ID $29.99
Just as the name suggests, this id will fit the band of your apple watch series 1 through 5.

Kids iD $19.99

I know no one misplaces their kids, but just in case your kids decide to venture out in the park one day, you have the kids id. These are made of durable silicone and comes in several fun colors including sandcastle and electric.

Accessories
After you pick out your iD, put your own touch to it by adding some accessories. From bands and clasps, to my favorite badges. They have a whole library of badges you can add to your band like: 13.1, 26.2, Bike, Believe, Run, etc.

Ordering Process

Ordering is as simple as easy as it can get. After picking out your iD, the site walks you through the steps to entering your engraving. They do a good job of providing suggestions for what you should put on each line. You can either follow their suggestions or wing it and put whatever you like(24 character limit for each of the 4 lines) Once your order is submitted, they do a great job of keeping you updated on the process of your order through the shipping.

I know you are ready to order your own, right… Visit www.roadid.com and use code SAVE25BRP to score 25% off.

Chocolate Dreams-Allstate Hot Chocolate Charlotte race recap

I received an entry into the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte as being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about becoming a bibrave pro (ambassador), as well as, find read and write race reviews on bibrave.com.

For the 3rd year in a row (every year since it’s been in Charlotte) I ran for chocolate. This year was a little different as upon completion, i would be a legacy runner. It was never a sure thing as my son had been sick and i had been fighting something for a few days leading up to the race. I was still coughing but i figured i had enough to at least finish the miles.

I didn’t even consider trying to PR, instead i settled on a B goal of trying to maintain a sub 8 pace. It is a hilly course but nothing I’m not used to. Mile 6 is the great equalizer and typically separates the runners as it’s a street that is an incline for about ¾ mile. The amount of spectators on the course is low, but I’m hoping they will increase in coming years. As I mentioned, the race had only been around 3 years so still fairly new. I accomplished my B goal and while doing that actually ended up being about 20 seconds from a PR(I was unaware 🤷🏾‍♂️)

What really sets Hot Chocolate races apart are the swag and finish line treats. This year’s swag was a full zip jacket, with ample lining to keep you warm on those cold days. The men’s color was a light blue and ladies was magenta. The finish line treats consist of: hot chocolate, melted chocolate, marshmallow, rice crispy treats, pretzels, banana and honey stinger waffle. This was on top of the finisher’s medal and extra legacy medal.

Hot Chocolate 15k was a success and I got my chocolate fix, as always. Put this one on your race calendar for 2021.

Give Good Vibez-AfterShokz Aeropex Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Aftershokz Aeropex headphones 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 rave reviews!”

I’ve been an Aftershokz customer for a number of years so when I was presented with the opportunity to try out the new Aeropex as part of their “Give Good Vibez” campaign, I was all in. Let’s first talk about the Give Good Vibez campaign because I think it’s a sweet deal and great idea.

So what is it? Starting on Black Friday, while supplies last, whenever you purchase a pair of headphones you get a pair of Aftershokz Titanium FOR FREE. You read that correct, you get a free pair of headphones and all Aftershokz is only asking you gift them to a deserving person. I chose to gift my headphones to the owners of Boricua Soul. This couple started a food trucks couple years ago with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. The food they serve is a Puerto Rican and soul food fusion. Recently they opened their first brick and mortar location, so they are super busy. The headphones will help, especially on the truck, to allow them to answer calls but still be able to hear their customers. I captured the moment I presented it to them on IGTV, so you should definitely head over to Instagram and check it out.

Now let’s talk about these awesome new Aeropex headphones. Prior to this I had been a loyal user of the Aftershokz Airz, so I was interested to see how they stacked up. I will do my review based on the differences between the two.

COLOR

Airz: Black, Grey, Red, Midnight Blue

Aeropex: Black, Grey, Red

BATTERY LIFE

Aeropex Airz

8 hours 6 hours

CHARGE TIME

Both are fully charged in 2 hours

WATER RESISTANCE

The Aeropex are waterproof, while the Airz are water resistance.

WEIGHT

Aeropex are actually 4 grams LIGHTER than the Airz.

PRICE

AEROPEX $159.95

AIRZ $119.95

After all that, I think I found a new model of Aftershokz! You can’t argue with increased battery life, waterproof and with the same awesome sound quality. Yes, they are slightly more than Airz but I think the update is worth it. Sign up for give good vibes and bless a deserving person, after you make your purchase. Sign up here: givegoodvibez.aftershokz.com

Aftershokz Trekz Airs For All-Product Review

I received a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Airs to review as park 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 know, I know, you have heard me scream my love for Aftershokz Trekz Airs before so I won’t riddle you with information that you have already heard from me before. This time around I thought I would do my review a little different. This time Aftershokz is pushing a campaign for Aftershokz being the perfect mother’s day, father’s day, and graduation gift. I have decided to put together some of the most frequent questions I get from followers regarding the Aftershokz Trekz Airs and hopefully that will make your decision to purchase a pair for your mom, dad or grad, that much easier.

FAQs

They look expensive, how much do they cost.
– The Aftershokz Trekz Airs go for 149.99, but if you use my code you can get extra goodies for the same price. Code: BRBUNDLE, gives you $50 off the Adventurer bundle that includes: a pair of Trekz Airs, a 10L dry bag, stainless steel water bottle and multifunctional headwear. The original price of this pack is $199.99

I like colors, and the slate grey just doesn’t pop enough for me. Are there any other colors?
-of course there are. Right now you can get your pair of Trekz Airs in 4 different colors; midnight blue, forest green, canyon red and of course slate grey.

How is the clarity?
– Before I was introduced to Aftershokz, I had a pair of Bose headphones that I loved. I can 100% tell you that the Trekz Airs can give them a run for the money in the clarity area. Bose still is better for bass, but that isn’t the purpose behind Aftershokz. They give you the clear tunes, with the added ability to let you hear your surroundings.

Can you really hear the music and your surroundings….really?
-Absolutely! The majority of my runs are before sunrise and all back roads and I wear my Trekz Airs every run. I can clearly hear cars approaching or any animals in the vicinity, along with still enjoying my running tunes. Even if you aren’t running, they can be useful. If you listening to an audiobook or Netflix at home, you can hear that and still hear your kids calling you.

What if I am legally deaf in one ear, would I still be able to hear the music since these are supposed to be bone conductive? 
-This is something I never thought about previously but from what I have witnessed, the answer is yes you can. While working Aftershokz booth at a race in DC, a lady walked up and was asking about the headphones. She was legally deaf and was curious. I honestly didn’t know if they would work, but told her to give it a try. She put on a pair of Trekz Air, I started the music and her eyes lit up. She could clearly hear the music playing. I think she bought 2 pair that day, one for her husband.

How heavy are they?
-The Trekz Airs live up to their name and weight. They are very light, so much that you can forget you are wearing them. In most cases, my sunglasses are heavier than my Airs.

How is the warranty and customer service?
-Both are amazing. They come with a 2-year warranty against defect, and if anything happens in that window….you get a new pair. I have experienced this first hand, as my slate grey pair started having issues with sound quality. I contacted customer service via email, did a quick claim and I had a new pair of Airs within a week’s time. Customer service didn’t drill me with a million questions about what happened, just instructed me how to proceed with my claim.

Are they durable?
-very durable. The Airs are very flexible and able to bend without breaking. You would really have to try to break these headphones for it to happen because mine have been stepped on on several occasions and they still look good.

 

Reccomendation
You already know I highly recommend these headphones, I just hope my FAQs helped removed any doubt from you purchasing your own pair.

TAR HEEL TOUGH-Tar Heel 10 miler race recap

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Tar Heel 10 Miler 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!”

As a graduate of UNC-CH, this race will always hold a special place. I’ve run it every year for the past 5 years, so I jumped at the chance to run this race while representing Bibrave.

As in the last couple years, I choose to partake in the Double Down Challenge. The challenge involves running the 4 miler and finishing it before the start line of the 10 miler closes, then running that as well. The 4 miler started at 7:15, and the starting line for the 10 miler closes at 8:00.

The race management was exceptional when it comes to the double down challenge, the had a dedicated lane for the participants as they finished the 4 miles, so they weren’t held up getting to the 10 mile start.

This year’s race was a little different, as I was crazy enough to register for a half marathon the day after this race so I had to control my effort. Weather was not kind as it rained all morning and half way through the 4 miler. We all know what happens after the rain, that’s right, humidity skyrockets and it did just that.

4 Miler

My plan going in was to semi-race the 4 miles and then take it easy on the 10 miles. If you take out the humidity and hills, the 4 miler pretty much went as planned. I finished in 32 minutes, which have me more than enough time to walk back to the 10 mile start.

10 Miler

The 10 miler was rough. The humidity wasn’t letting up and there were 3 times as many hills, including the dreaded Laurel Hill. Yes the hill that is so bad that they time you to see how long it takes you to reach the top. I didn’t even bother trying to run up it, I like many, choose to just walk up. I actually walked up the majority of the hills just so I could save my legs for the following day. I finished around 1:30, with a total Double Down time of 2:03.

Medals

For completing the challenge, you receive medals for the 4 mile and 10 mile, along with a double down Medal.

Recommendation

Despite the hills, I still 100% recommend this race. It is well managed, beautiful course through campus, great shirts and amazing medals. Put this one on your calendar for 2020.