Star so Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades-Knockarounds Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knockaround shades 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!”

Suns Out, Shades Out! Whenever Summer rolls, your shades becoming an essential component to any outfit, in additional to everyday running accessory. With that in mind, there was no way I would turn down helping Knockaround and their Summer Running Kick-off.

Unboxing

FEATURES

When the package arrived, I had not 1 but 2 pair of Knockaround Torrey Pines Sport shades. Both came equipped with their on soft protective pouch, to help keep those scratches at bay. Some of the key features of these amazing shades are:

  • Polarized lenses
  • Rubber nose pads
  • Metal spring hinges
  • UV400 protection
  • FDA approved, impact resistant lenses

 

The rubber nose pads may not seem like a big deal but they make a big impact. The rubber nose pads ensure that whether you are running a mile or 20 miles, the shades maintain a high level of comfort and stay snug on your face(no bouncing). No need to worry about having that indention on your nose once you take them off, like some other shades. The metal spring hinges give the shades sturdy support and gives you the added comfort that these shades are made durable.

COLORS

I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to the color options for Knockarounds, because there are tons. The 2 colors I received were: Victory Lap and Clear Gray/Red Sunset. In addition, you have colors like Black Ocean, Pool Blue/Sunset, Desert and Battleship. There are at least 5 pages of color combinations, and if you still don’t like any of those….you can customize your own pair.

Summer Time

PRICE

Knockarounds are very reasonably priced, with a range of around $20 up to $55(deluxe and special editions). Even with he prices being so reasonable, it is hard to find a time when Knockaround doesn’t have a nice discount code available. Like right now, use code BRKnocks1 to get 20% off your order. (offer expires 6/30)

RECCOMENDATION

It’s a no-brainer, if you need some new shades or even just want some more stylish ones, Knockarounds has got you covered. Don’t just buy 1, they are better in pairs, so buy 2. Remember BRKnocks1 for 20%off your order.

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%.

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.

Redemption is Sweet-Richmond Marathon Revenge

I received Gatorade Endurance products to review as part of being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro(ambassador), and check out Bibrave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.

If you have been following my blog you know that in August, I started what I coined as the “Redemption Tour” with the help of Gatorade Endurance. Quick backstory… In November of 2019 I set out to run the Richmond Marathon. Everything is fine leading up to the day of the race. The day before I usually carb load at a local Italian restaurant and I choose one that had a good rating, Bombalini. I woke up the next day with food poisoning and extreme GI issues. I tried to rehydrate as much as I could but I only made it through 14 miles of the race before taking a nice ride in ambulance for dehydration.

Fast forward to this year, and I was determined to redeem myself. I trained my butt off, which consisted of me getting up at 3 and 4 am to get runs in. I felt ready. To avoid a similar fate from last year, I drove 15 minutes out of the way just to go to an Olive Garden to get my pasta. Woke up race morning with no issues and was ready. My bib simply said “TK’s Back”. It was a chilly 39 degrees but I still chose to go with shorts and short sleeves because I knew I would warm up.

At 7:45am we were off. I didn’t look at my watch, just trusted my body and settled into a comfortable pace. As I was running, the course was coming back to me from the year before. Going over the bridge at mile 8, which is where I had to start walking for the first time in 2019. When I got too mile 14 and recognized the exact spot I had to stop and sit, my stomach tighten up and I just ran harder. I knew that was a mental hurdle I had to get over and I did with no problem. During that mile A spectator read my bib and all i heard was “TK’s Back! Hell yeah he is!” I smiled and thought to myself “damn right” At mile 20, I noticed I was on pace to PR and by a good bit. I was determined to finish strong, I was down to my last Gatorade Endurance (Apple pear) after downing ones at mile 7 and 14. I tore open the last gel at 22, hoping it would get me through the last 4. Richmond Marathon is unique in that the last mile is a steep downhill and I took advantage. Still had fuel in the tank so I went full throttle and crossed the finish line with a time of 3:41:29… that’s a 16 minute PR. I relished ringing the PR bell and smiled knowing redemption was mine! Gatorade Endurance kept me energized and with no signs of cramps. Great product.

Hot Chocolate Express-Allstate Hot Chocolate Charlotte

Disclaimer: I received an entry to Hot Chocolate Charlotte as being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro(ambassador), and check out Bibrave.com to review, find, and write rave reviews!”

Super excited to be heading back to Charlotte to run the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K in 2020. I’ve run this race every year since it began so it will be that much sweeter becoming a legacy runner. You become legacy and get a special medal after you run it 3,5 and 10 years.

It most certainly is not a easy course, matter of fact it is rather hilly but still fun. They changed the course between the 1st and 2nd year to help, so interested to see if there will be another change this year. The weather is also unpredictable. The first year it was kinda warm and rainy, and last year it was down right cold. So much that most runners are huddled around heat towers before the start.

Why should you consider joining me?

Distance: it’s only 5K or 15K, so you won’t be super tired like you would after a half or full marathon. Trust me, the 4 less miles make a difference.

Treats: The post race treats are amazing. All the treats you can think of that are good for dipping in chocolate. Rice krispie treats, Graham crackers, and marshmallows to name a few. Not to mention all the other good food available from sponsors.

Medals: The medals are specifically designed for the city, so always cool to see what they come up with.

Swag: Some of the best swag around, usually some type of half zip pullover or jacket.

If you want to join me, use code BRHCHARLOTTE19 to score a free hat. Hope to see you there

Redemption Tour Has Begun

“Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance products 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!”

 

Today officially begins what I have coined “The Redemption Tour”. Each training day will be a different tour date, as I work toward getting my redemption at the Richmond Marathon. The training will be tough, but lucky for me, I have teamed up with Gatorade Endurance to help me reach my milestone.

 

WHAT LED TO MY NEED FOR REDEMPTION
My strive for redemption began at the Richmond Marathon 2018. I had trained my butt off all year, in hopes of breaking the 4 hour mark in my 4thfull marathon. My training leading up to the race went well, I mean not every training run was peaches and cream but I felt strong coming into the race. The day before the race, I followed my usual routine. That routine involves some serious carb loading with some Italian pasta. When I travel for a race, I typically try to eat at a local Italian restaurant, instead of the usual chain restaurants. I did my search and found a local spot with very good rating that made their own pasta in-house. We got there about 7pm and ordered our food, I got spaghetti and meatballs. With the exception of needing a little salt, the food was pretty good.

 

Fast forward to the next morning, race day, and things took a turn. I woke up and didn’t feel great, I had GI issues that were off the charts. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, then I realized….it had to be food poisoning. It was hard for me to stand, and resulted to me laying on the floor or trying to crawl. I started to drink water and Gatorade, in an attempt to stay hydrated. As bad as I felt, I knew I had to attempt to still try and run the marathon. Anyone besides a runner would probably think this is crazy, but I had trained too long not to at least give it a go. I continue to drink Gatorade as I made the 1 mile walk to the starting line. I felt good enough to make the walk but I still felt the GI issues lingering. Nevertheless, the gun went off and I started out. The first mile wasn’t too bad, but by the time I reached mile 8, I could feel out of sync. Over the next few miles I had to walk a little and then run, but my pace was plummeting. By the time I reached mile 14, I had to throw in the white flag and just sat on the curve. Runners would slow down and ask how I was doing, I just told them I couldn’t physically go another step. Some cops walked up to me and told me they would call me an ambulance. Ambulance arrived and I was put on a stretcher for my first,and hopefully, only ride in an ambulance. They said I was dehydrated, which didn’t surprise me. I just couldn’t replenish my body enough to counter the effects the GI issues had done. So there we have it, my first every race DNF.

 

I was pissed for weeks about this race. Although, about 5 weeks later I ran Kiawah Island Marathon and broke the 4 hour mark, I still didn’t like the taste that Richmond had left in my mouth. I vowed to return to Richmond in 2019 and finish what I started.

 

THE REDEMPTION TOUR BEGINS 
When registration opened for Richmond Marathon, I signed up and marked my calendar. The redemption tour has officially begun, so be on the lookout for the tour dates. Hopefully, with the help of Gatorade Endurance I can make this milestone a successful one. 

Tar Heel 10 miler (Double Down challenge) Prep

Looking ahead to Tar Heel 10 miler, the countdown is on. I’ve run this race the past 4-5 years and always enjoy it. Training thus far has been going pretty good for most part. I’ll mentoring a group of runners in the PR Squad, so I’m training along side of them. PR Squad is a subpart of the larger Fleet Feet half/full marathon training program. We have done a lot of hills and Interval work during the session. The hill work so definitely help when it comes to tackling the monster known as Laurel Hill at the Tar Heel 10. Just think of a mile long 45 degree angle hill.

There has been one hiccup during training, I caught a stomach bug the had been going around. My whole house had it at some point. Not fun and it derailed one of my long runs. I did go back a few days later and try to do the run. I cut it short because although my pace was ok but my heart rate was high, so I knew I was working harder than I needed to. Aka i wasn’t fully recovered. ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AND BE MINDFUL OF YOUR HR. Majority of your training runs should have your HR in Green or orange zone, of you’re in red, slow down/stop.

That’s it for now, stay tuned when I post my post TarHeel 10 miler recap.

For Chocolate and Hill Lovers-Allstate Hot Chocolate Charlotte 15K/5K Race Review

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com

I was excited to be able to run the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k for the 2nd year in a row.  I was anxious to see how the race had evolved after it’s inaugural race in 2018. 

EXPO
Sadly, my better half couldn’t get off work early enough for us to make it to Charlotte in time for the expo. I was looking forward to the chocolate samples, but lucky for me, a couple of my Bibrave sisters picked up my packet for me and even dropped it off at my hotel for me. 
SWAG
I can honestly say that Allstate Hot Chocolate races has some of the best swag I have ever received at a race. This year was no different, as the participants received a full-zip winter running jacket with hood. The guys received black and women color was a reddish maroon color. To top it off, the jackets have thumb holes.
RACE DAY
The forecast for race morning had changed a few different times. Up until friday, there was a 60% chance of rain on saturday morning but it changed friday night. The rain was supposed to hold off until around 11am, which would give me more than enough time to finish and get back to my hotel. I stayed at Aloft and the starting line was like a 4-5 block walk, so not bad at all BUT it was low 40s. It was cold but I still opted for shorts and short-sleeve shirt because I knew I would warm up pretty fast once the race started. The starting line area(also the finish line area) had booths already set up for the finishers. Huge shoutout to Allstate for being the only booth that though to bring heater towers. They had 3 and a lot of the runners gathered around them to stay warm before the race start. The 5k began at 7:30, and 15k was scheduled to start 15 minutes later. We started 3 minutes later than scheduled because some of the 5k runners arrived late so we gave them time to get out on the course. The 15k started and within quarter of a mile, we had already hit our first hill. As with the whole route, it was full of uphill and downhills. The crisp temperature helped keep me refreshed throughout the battle with the hills. About halfway through the race, it began to drizzle. Thankfully it wasn’t a downpour, but the drizzle wasn’t bad enough to really cause any issues outside of making it hard to see out of my sunglasses. The volunteers maning the water stops were great and were constantly yelling their support. The police officers controlling traffic were also a huge help. You had to fight through 1 last uphill before crossing the finish line. I finished about a minute and a half slower than 2018, but I was satisfied seeing how the course had more hills than last year.
POST-RACE
Crossing the finish line you are greeted by volunteers handing out medals, before you can pick up a cup of Nuun and bottle water. The post-race festivities were about a 100 yards away from the finish so just a short walk. In the finisher’s area, you could take a picture in from of the Hot chocolate inflatable, but more importantly you can pick up your post-race chocolate mug. The mug contained a section of warm melted chocolate, cup of hot chocolate, rice crispy treat, marshmallow, banana and chocolate sticks. None of that food stood a chance, I finished it all off before starting my walk back to the hotel. There was also a booth that was serving tacos and rice.
Recommendation
No brainer, Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Charlotte is a must run. Yes, it is challenging but it is still a fun race and very well-managed. Did I fail to mention, FREE RACE PHOTOS. Hopefully I will run it again in 2020 to make it 3 years in a row.