For the Runner on the Road: Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Review

Disclosure: I received an Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Active Set 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! All opinions are my own.

I often find myself squeezing a workout into the most random places, whether it’s an early morning, Saturday afternoon, or Friday evening before hanging out with friends. Usually, I’m going somewhere before or afterward, and sometimes, I’ll remember a plastic bag to put my wet clothes into when I change. However, I have to admit, I’ve totally forgotten about them before, which results in stinky, smelly clothes. When I heard about the Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport products, I was so excited because I knew they could remedy some of the issues I have with stinky clothes. Whether or not it helps with forgetfulness is to be determined. ūüėČ


At first glance, I thought the Active Set that Eagle Creek sent me had a backpack with an insert to put your clothes into. Once I realized that this was actually a Foot Locker and Wet Dry Fitness Locker for your workout clothes, the wheels started turning. The set so versatile! 

The Foot Locker is simple – just put your shoes inside and go. For those of you with big feet, there is a larger size available. The Wet Dry Fitness Locker has a pocket in the front that is lined to avoid having your wet clothes touch your dry ones. It’s pretty breathable, and there is also a dry pocket on the back side where you can slide in an extra set of clean clothes. 

I knew I could use this for so many more occasions than just back and forth to the gym – I could also use it when traveling! Especially after seeing pictures from the London Marathon this weekend, I’m thinking a runcation is in my future.

However, travel, especially when packing light, means you have to limit the number of bags you take/stuff it all into one bag. I personally dislike having to put my shoes in the same bag as my clothes. They always have dirt, grass or any number of germs on them, and it simply makes me nervous. Now, I don’t have to be.

The other challenge when traveling (especially between multiple cities, like European travel) is either:

a.) not enough space to hang dry clothes right away, or
b.) not being somewhere long enough to let the clothes dry.

Again, theWet Dry Fitness Locker can be utilized to keep the dirty, wet clothes away from the others, until you get somewhere you can dry them. I used this when I was at my parent’s over the Easter holiday weekend; after a hot, humid run, it was super convenient to tuck away my sweat-soaked clothes and unpack them when I got home. 

Only con is that the Wet Dry Fitness Locker doesn’t hold that much. I was able to fit a jacket, tank top, sports bra, socks and capris, but if you have multiple outfits, you may want to consider purchasing an extra pack. 


Have a run-cation planned soon?

The Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Active Set is $40 normally. If you would like to purchase this set, or different items, they’ve offered us the code SPORT15, which you can use for 15% off any of the Pack-It Sport products. You can view all these products here: http://shop.eaglecreek.com/pack-it-sport/l/1505

Cheers to traveling the world as seamlessly as possible!

Where will you go for your next runcation?

On the Road with Road ID – Wrist ID Elite Review

Disclosure: I received a Road ID Wrist ID Elite 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! All opinions are my own.

As someone who spends hours outside and away from my loved ones to pursue this wonderful thing called running, making it back home is incredibly important to me. Because we never know what the road holds for us, we have to be conscious of safety. Even before I started running, I’d helped out with races and had heard all about how Road ID helps athletes (or just active people) stay safe.

Naturally, when the opportunity came to try out the Wrist ID Elite, I accepted without hesitation.

The concept is quite simple: if you run into trouble out on the road/trail/track, Road ID ensures whoever finds you can access your emergency contacts and know of any health issues. Frankly, I don’t know how I’ve made it this long without one. There are plenty of testimonials of how this life-saving information has, well, saved lives. If the time comes where information is needed, every second counts; if I were being rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, I’d want my power of attorney to be notified ASAP, to be able to share any medical records they needed. I’d also just want my family to be there.¬†

Ordering online was quite simple.

I loved having the ability to choose customization options to suit my needs. I picked out the black edition faceplate with a black collection band. Sometimes, I end up forgetting to take my jewelry off, and if I ever find myself going from a run to a big meeting, I won’t look unprofessional. Plus, the peek of purple is just fun! There are also unique little badges, but I personally wanted the black edition more than the badges. I opted to save a line to write my own message (that I have asthma and my blog moniker). With 6 lines, there was plenty of space to write my name, location, all emergency contacts, leaving one more line for a message of my choosing.

Because of the customization aspect, shipping took a little over a week, which actually isn’t bad at all (though I grew impatient because I was pretty excited). My Road ID arrived in a¬†lovely¬†black box, and was packaged well!

Once unboxed, I loved that the Road ID Wrist ID Elite was simple to fit perfectly to my wrist size. My wrists are tiny, so it’s difficult to find bracelets, watches, etc. that fit. I had a little bit of trouble figuring out how to open the clasp to adjust the band, but once I watched this handy video, it was smooth sailing.

As far as wearing it goes, the Road ID is lightweight and I barely notice it. I don’t find it gets sweaty or feels heavy on my wrist. The attention to detail with a double clasp is also nice, in case I hit one of the buttons on the side during my run, the extra protection keeps it from coming off.

The only aspects I wasn’t crazy about was that the Road ID is another thing to wear on my wrist, adding a little bulk, and that the black edition hasn’t been super durable so far. To solve this problem, Road ID does offer options for wearable devices (which I’m fully planning on purchasing when I receive some birthday money)! I haven’t been wearing it constantly, but I do wear other bracelets that I think have rubbed and made minor scratches on the material. Just be mindful of this – with a $10 up-charge, I would hope there would be a little more durability (since they have a rugged option that costs less).

The Road ID Wrist ID Elite starts at $29.99, and you can get $5 off by using the link here: bit.ly/2ocFWMl

Question: what customization options are most important to you in an accessory?

Cheers to staying safe out there!

Nutrition Made Simpler: Beachbody Performance Review

Disclosure:¬†I received Beachbody Performance’s Advanced Performance Stack 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! All opinions are my own.

‚Äč‚ÄčI’ve long been curious about performance supplements, especially because I feel like it’s not as common to use them in the running community. Maybe that’s an incorrect perception, but I just don’t feel like I hear about it as much from other runners as I do from weight lifters, cross fitters, etc. However, I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been paying as much attention to my nutrition, and when I got the opportunity to test Beachbody Performance products, it seemed like kismet.

Beachbody generously sent me four of their performance products: Energize, Hydrate, Recover and Recharge. Each of these products serves a different purpose:

  • Energize: a pre-workout drink made with green tea extract to give you an extra energy and hydration boost.
  • Hydrate: a during workout beverage to replenish your electrolytes so you don’t become dehydrated.
  • Recover: a post-workout shake to quickly give you protein and nutrients to speed along the recovery process.
  • Recharge: a before-bed shake that is supposed to reduce soreness and offer additional muscle recovery support.

What I liked

I truly enjoyed that these products were simple and effective to use. With my busy schedule lately, it’s been important to me to make sure I’ve been properly fueling, and I like that I don’t have to think too much about this routine. All there is to do is mix one scoop with 8 oz. of water. The amount of water per scoop is the same across the board, so that also makes it easy!

Taste is also very important to me. While many fitness enthusiasts sacrifice a little in this department, I just don’t think it’s worth it to work so hard to eat something that tastes nasty! The good thing about the taste of the Beachbody Performance products, though, is that they taste pretty darn good, and have minimal ingredients.

One would thing that there would either be a ton of sugar or strong stevia flavor to give these products a good taste, but that was not the case. None of these has more than nine grams of sugar per serving; actually, everything but the Hydrate formula had six grams or less. I also liked that they don’t include creatine right off the bat (it’s an added supplement, if you are into that); creatine just doesn’t agree with me!

 

Most importantly, I did feel like following the diligent regimen helped my performance on runs. Especially by using Energize, I had a lot of energy towards the end of tough days. I also felt less sore after using the Recover (post-workout) and Recharge (nighttime) drink mixes.

What I wasn’t crazy about

There wasn’t much I didn’t like, other than the price and consistency of some of the mixes. This set of products contains about 20 total servings, meaning if you work out 3 times a week and follow the routine to a T, this will last you 6-7 weeks. At $200, that’s a pretty steep investment, so I’d recommend finding which of the products work for you. I see myself using the Energize and Recharge mixes most often, because I like the flavor and found they seemed to consistently work the best, without some ingredients that I don’t like.

The consistency can also be a little grainy, so if you’re a texture person, you might find this bothersome.

Another important note is the Energize mix does contain green tea extract, so if you’re sensitive to caffeine, it might not be a good idea to consume this during an evening workout.


At $199.95, you can purchase this full set here, or items can be purchased a la carte for the following prices:

Have you ever tried exercise supplements before? What was your experience?

Cheers to good health (and clinking plastic shaker bottles)!

SmellWell Product Review: Scent-sational Stink Protection

Disclosure: I received SmellWell 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! All opinions are my own.

Growing up, my mom would give us these floral sachets to put in our closets to soak up the odors from our shoes. Since running, I haven’t had quite as many issues with my running shoes, though I have noticed it more lately. I do have issues though with my gym clothes. I’ve tried several products that attempt to remove the stink from my shoes, clothes, etc., to varying degrees of success. When I heard about SmellWell, it sounded different from remedies I’ve tried recently, but similar to something I knew worked in the past.

These tiny packets arrived by mail and the second I opened them, I knew I liked them. They have a nice, floral scent that is not too overpowering. And the design is really fun!

Using them is even better! I’ve noticed a difference in the odor of the clothes, shoes, etc. since I’ve been using them. By keeping them in my gym bag and in my laundry basket, the stench of running has been drastically reduced. I also enjoy using it with my flat shoes because get stinky so quickly (you can’t always wear socks with them).


I also appreciated how versatile the pouches were. You can use them pretty much anywhere there are sweaty odors, since they work by absorbing the moisture that causes them. That opens them up to being useful for gym lockers, your car, shoe racks, etc.

By their very nature, they’re not messy at all! I liked that I didn’t have to worry about them discoloring my stuff, waiting for them to dry out, etc.¬†


Most of all, they really do work. You’ll have to replace them every couple of months, but so far, I’ve had mine for about 6 weeks and they’re still going strong.

My one wish is that they were offered in more colors (I’m not a camo or animal print kinda girl). That’s very minor, though. Who cares what they look like, really?

Sold on SmellWell?

You can purchase some for yourself at¬†www.bluechip-usa.com for $10! And if you buy three sets (moms, I see you), you’ll get an additional set for free.

How do you keep your running clothes smelling flower-fresh?

Cheers to not having your whole house smell like sweat!

Falling in Love All Over Again: UV Reflective Half BUFF¬ģ Review

Disclosure:¬†I received a UV Reflective Half BUFF¬ģ¬†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! All opinions are my own.

I’ve written about the UV Half BUFF¬ģ before, and was so excited when I found out BUFF¬ģ would be sending me a new one – this time with reflective material!

Here’s why I’m in love with the BUFF¬ģ all over again.

What makes the UV Reflective Half BUFF¬ģ stand out from other BUFF¬ģ headwear is that it is half the length of the original BUFF¬ģ. This is the perfect weight for summer, and it’s even better for summer mornings and evenings when trying to beat the heat. It’s so important to make sure you are wearing some sort of reflective equipment in low light conditions. No one wants to get run over!

You can also enjoy the same key benefits that are synonymous with BUFF¬ģ brand products, including superior odor control. For something that ends up soaking up all your sweat, I can’t stress how important this is. I don’t have a single piece of clothing that’s done as well as BUFF¬ģ products have.
I love the versatile, fun, solid colors available. I received the citron color, which is nice and bright. Also love that they are unisex, which is nice if you’re buying as A gift.

As I’ve stated, the UV Half BUFF¬ģ was a little stretchier and seemed a little more slippery, but I didn’t have that issue here.¬†

The versatility of BUFF¬ģ Products is another benefit. The UV Reflective Half BUFF in particular offers a method to guard your face from dust and wind, as well as a headband or hair tie. My favorite way to wear is as a headband. It soaks up the sweat and keeps hair off my face during workouts, and it keeps the hair off my neck if I’m wearing it down. Pro tip: during the blistering summer heat, you can freeze your UV Reflective Half BUFF for about a 10 minute cool blast.

You can check out past reviews of the UV Half BUFF¬ģ,¬†UV BUFF¬ģ, Merino Wool BUFF¬ģ and BUFF¬ģ Hoodie.

I‚Äôve said it once and I’ll say it again – I never met a BUFF¬ģ product that I didn‚Äôt like.

You can purchase one for yourself at www.buffusa.com for $14.99! It’s comparable in price to so many other headbands I’ve used, but is so much more versatile.¬†

What‚Äôs your favorite BUFF¬ģ product?

Cheers to another great BUFF product! 

Currently Wearing: XX2i Brazil1 (Plus a SPECIAL Discount)

Disclosure: I received a pair of XX2i Brazil1 Sunglasses 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! All opinions are my own.

Does XX2i sound familiar to you? That’s because I reviewed the XX2i USA1 awhile back. XX2i recently came out with a new line of causal sunglasses, the Brazil1, so I wanted to give them a shot.

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To refresh your memory, I loved that the USA1 was fairly comfortable and that the quality seemed great for the cost of the glasses. The Brazil1 sunglasses are different because they’re meant to be worn as casual sunglasses. That is, they are not for running specifically like the USA1.

What I noticed right out of the box is that the Brazil1 comes with many of the accessories that accompany the regular running sunglasses. This includes a nice case, a soft, microfiber pouch, croakies and a set of stickers.

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Another benefit is in the lenses themselves. These are nice lenses, and they are also polarized. That’s awesome for those who spend a lot of time outdoors (it reduces glare), like myself. Prescription sunglasses are also available from XX2i. For people like my husband who hate contacts, but are blind without glasses, that’s also wonderful!

Other things I liked about the XX2i Brazil1:

  • The classic silhouette. It’s still on-trend, but a simple style that will be stylish for years to come.
  • There are also a variety of colors available (
  • Unisex design means that, were he wearing contacts, my husband could wear these, too.
  • Lightweight design means they don’t weight my purse down.
  • 365 day return policy: I love that XX2i stands by their products, especially because sunglasses are such a personal purchase.
  • Another example of their commitment to their products is their outstanding warranty.¬†If you break or scratch them, send them back for a replacement.¬†No questions asked (there is a small shipping/handling fee).

img_0169Despite all the positives, there were a few aspects that I was less than enthused about. While on their website, these are listed under women’s specific glasses,¬†these are not made specifically for women. They’re also listed as a men’s style. Like the XX2i glasses before these, the glasses were very large on me because they are unisex and I am a small woman. They fit my husband, but don‚Äôt fit me half as well. I would totally recommend them for guys, but the style is very large on me, personally. The frame material also felt inexpensive, and I don’t know if I would pay full price because of that. However, it could be that matte black color has an odd texture/feel.

img_0162Overall, these glasses would make a good gift for a special guy in your life that is constantly outdoors. Today, XX2i has given us a great discount code, bringing the cost for these to $39.99 when you buy them at xx2i.com. The code is BRAZIL1, and it will get you 60% off through midnight Tuesday, November 22. I do think that you get a solid pair of glasses for that cost. The value is definitely there for $40. Who says all the best deals come after Thanksgiving?

Cheers to

Stuff-Stasher for Endurance Athletes – SPIbelt Performance Series Review & Discount

Disclosure: I received a SPIbelt Performance Series running belt 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! All opinions are my own.

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I purchased a running belt to house my essentials in during races. I got it at TJ Maxx, it cost me $20, and I used it for a couple of months, basically until I started getting sick of putting all my fuel in my pocket and having to fish it out during races. That was before I tried the SPI H2O Venture Series early in the summer (you can view my full review here). After trying this hydration belt and realizing better hydration solutions existed, I wanted to try one of their running belts to see if I felt the same way. When I received the opportunity to test out the SPIbelt Performance Series, I couldn’t wait to come home to my new SPIbelt in the mailbox.

Showing y’all everything that fits inside. Sometimes, I like to take my Buff and loop it on the outside of my belt.

As I have mentioned, SPIbelt was designed by a woman who needed a place for her¬†essentials – ID, phone, keys, etc. – that wasn’t her sports bra. Can’t we all relate? Using the tension of what’s in the pouch, combined with a high-quality elastic, the SPIbelt functions as a stuff-stasher with a smooth ride.

The key difference here between the SPIbelt Performance Series and the Venture Series that I’ve tested previously is that the Performance Series is lighter-weight. The elastic is thinner, and the belt has 4 gel loops. Personally, if you are running around ample water stations, the SPIbelt Performance Series is an excellent choice for long runs and races. So far, I’ve taken the SPIbelt Performance Series on all of my long runs lately.

The SPIbelt is meant to be worn at the hips. I normally wear belts at my natural waist, so I was unsure how well this would work. To my delight, this results in a¬†seamless and comfortable ride. The belt also carries just enough fuel for an 18 mile run. I have been able to fit two Gu’s in the gel loops for marathon training long runs. Note: this is probably not recommended by the company, as you might stretch out the elastic. However, the elastic seems pretty sturdy from my experience; if you don’t double up all the time, your SPIbelt should last.

I also like that you can purchase bottles to use with this SPIbelt, meaning it can be worn with or without a hydration option. The same is true of the Venture, but the belt is thicker, offering stability for the two water bottles. Personally, I would opt for the Performance Series if you plan to solely use the belt more often. Which option you choose solely depends on how you plan to use it.

Other pros include:

– Water resistant pocket, which should protect your belongings from most sweat and light rain.

– A spacious pocket that fits larger phones, like the iPhone 7 Plus.

– Bounce-free (even on the hips)!

– Highly adjustable on both sides, to fit a variety of shapes, sizes and body types.

– Thin elastic band that is very comfortable!

– Economical (I spent nearly the same cost on a simple running belt, without loops for gels, that was mesh/not water resistant).

Cons? Well, nothing structurally. Because of where it rests, I am slightly nervous about putting my phone in the pouch, leaving it on to listen to music. Call me a worry-wart, but I am wary of the potential effects. That’s more of a preference than reason not to purchase, though.

Overall, I’ve been super happy with the SPIbelt Performance Series. For just $26, it offers such useful features that comparably-priced belts do not.

The SPIbelt without the Gu’s – Still comfy and free of bouncing!

You can purchase your SPIbelt Performance Series for yourself at www.spibelt.com. AND with code “bibchat2016” you can take 20% off through 11/18! That makes this belt less than $21 before tax.

Thanks as always for reading and cheers to not carrying your phone in your sports bra!

Today’s question: what do you carry with you when you run?

Ekiden Coaching – Training Recap, Review and Discount!

Disclosure: I received complimentary coaching from Ekiden Coaching 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! All opinions are my own.

In over 2 years of running now, I have had many ups and downs training for different races. I’m actually quite proud of all I have accomplished just through research on the internet. However, “going it alone” has¬†its drawbacks, like a lack of motivation sometimes. I have been so curious to try a coaching program just to see if it helped me to become a more consistent runner. Through BibRave, I had the opportunity to partner with Ekiden Coaching and try working with a coach for the very first time in my running career.

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What is Ekiden, exactly?

Ekiden is¬†a new coaching platform that harnesses the power of the World Wide Web to connect runners with a coach that is right for them. According to the Ekiden website, “from the beginning, our mission and vision has been to bring a great human coaching experience to every athlete, not just a training plan.” So, after years of using template plans and making slight tweaks, I said “sign me up” to an approach that would actually tailor my running schedule to me!

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Images above are from the Ekiden website.

For the past several weeks to a month, I’ve been on the Personal Coaching plan. It has been super convenient to have a coach (Jenny, who is awesome) tell me what to work out, and when to do it. Actually, she’s done a lot more than just that. We had an initial call to hash out what I wanted, my goals, the type of runner I am, etc. It was definitely helpful to have a time to chat normally!

Additionally, week to week you’ll use the Ekiden website or text message notifications, if you choose, to get your workouts. Within reason, coaches can make accommodations for your schedule as well. There is also a messaging capability, so you can give and receive feedback. Overall, it’s pretty simple and seamless.

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How I’ve Benefitted from Having a Running Coach

Now that I’ve been training with Jenny and Ekiden a little over a month, I can say that having a running coach has helped my training consistency.¬†Hopefully, this will translate to an overall more enjoyable second marathon (not that one runs marathons to enjoy themselves). Basically, I’m hoping to not feel quite so beat up by it!

One thing that Jenny has done that I’ve really liked, is that she’s listened to me overall about my desire to incorporate a lot of cross training into my routine. While she recommended to run 3-4 days per week, I have still been able to get in a bit of cross training each week. For me, that’s important to keeps things fresh!

I also feel more confident, having a resource that I can ask directly for advice and guidance. Someone who has been in my shoes and knows where I am coming from. Friends and family are normally great for that sort of thing, but their advice doesn’t always translate to the running world.

img_4071Aspects that Haven’t Been my¬†Preference

One of the best things about Ekiden –¬†connecting through technology – has actually been one of the things that I haven’t liked as much. Though it makes the coaching much more affordable, I do wish I was able to chat more with my coach. She’s been super responsive, but I am not the type of person to check an individual website to deliver feedback. I wish there was a way to just have a weekly, 5-15 minute check in call, where I could¬†chat about my workouts for the week and deliver feedback right there. It’s more of a preference though, and I still plan to use Ekiden after my trial has ended.

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Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking of venturing into the coaching foray, but the cost of such programs gives you a fright, I recommend Ekiden! Compared to many other personal training and/or coaching options out there, this is a much better way to get exactly what you need, without sacrificing your firstborn child.

What’s even better is that you can try Ekiden with this unique discount code,¬†BibRave16, which gets you one month free when you purchase a 3 month plan. And, if you sign up for a longer plan, like a six month plan, you’ll only pay $53/month. Go to ekiden.com to sign up (scroll all the way down to view more pricing details).

Also, hope you’ve enjoyed some of the scenery from my recent Ekiden runs!

What’s the biggest change in routine that’s helped you become a better runner?

Cheers to deciding not to go it alone with my training any more!

Nutrabolt Oktoberfest Half Marathon Recap and Review

Disclosure: I received a complimentary race entry for the Nutrabolt Oktoberfest 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! All opinions are my own.

As most of you know, I’ve been training for the BCS Marathon, with the Nutrabolt Oktoberfest Half Marathon as a bit of a benchmark midway through. This past weekend (October 16) I finally made my way up to College Station for the race. Not only did I look forward to seeing how my former home has changed, but also to experience a city that I haven’t seen¬†yet on the run.¬†

Pre-race

The race did a great job of communicating updates leading up to the race, through emails and social media. They also ran several giveaways with their sponsors on Facebook, which kept race goers engaged with the page. Actually, this is incredibly smart, because if timely messages need to be communicated, any page must have an active audience for Facebook to push out content.

img_4099In terms of the expo, it was held at the Nutrabolt headquarters. There were only 4 booths in total, including Nutrabolt’s area and the race packet pickup – not exactly what I’d call an expo. While signup and packet pickup were easy, the expo wasn’t anything to write home about. However, since there is no other way to pick up your packet for this race, it must be done!

Side note: we stayed at the Holiday Inn. It was clean, comfy and a 10 minute drive from the race. The staff were also friendly and accommodating.

Racing time!

The race starts at 7, but it’s a good idea to aim to be at the start line by 6:30, if you are meeting people, no later than 6:45 if you are riding solo. Parking and walking takes an extra 10ish minutes. You must pass through the underground tunnel leading to the start line before 6:45 to make it on time (it’s part of the race course).

Porta potty lines were as expected; there are plenty for the number of race participants, but there is always a line. Anyway, there were tons of announcements and of course the national anthem, the Aggie fight song (whoop!), and a prayer. Just get there early if you want to chat or use the bathroom.¬†Unfortunately, I was running late… between all of the announcements, Erica at Another Half Please and I couldn’t¬†snag much of a pre-race conversation, but we did catch up the first mile of the race and afterward. The race started, and we were off!

The first several miles of the course, we caught a view of the most beautiful sunrise as we ran through campus. That always makes the early mornings worthwhile.¬†The course itself was fairly flat, with mild hills. For this Austinite, the course wasn’t particularly challenging.

The race field was not too big, and not too small (about 650 total for the half).¬†There was no crowding on the course.¬†The aid stations were consistently every 1.5 miles, and they were staffed with pleasant, friendly volunteers. I did not see any long lines for porta potties either; just 1 or 2 people total in line at a time, so they had an appropriate amount. They even placed Gu’s appropriately at around miles 4 and 10, as wells as oranges and bananas. This is a nice touch and an area where the race excelled.¬†Any race I’ve attended that has fuel on the course puts it at mile 7 – kinda late to start fueling for a half. At the end of the course, where the path winds through a residential neighborhood, volunteers stood throughout to¬†guide¬†runners (also much appreciated)!

Finishing strong…

In terms of my time goal, I tried not to set one until I felt it out. Race morning was sunny and between 71 and 75 degrees. I did well before the sun was overhead. I tried to push myself in the last half to see if I could at least finish between 2:25-2:30.¬†The heat got the better of me and I¬†had to finish conservatively. I ultimately finished at 2:36:12. Not Austin 2016 at all, but I’m happy to have finished uninjured and enjoyed the experience overall. The finish line was also inside Kyle Field, which was really neat. I didn’t stay in there long though, because I was ready to get out of the sun and into the post race party.¬†

My face after my husband found me, drenched in sweat!

Post Race – Time to party!

One of my favorite parts of the Nutrabolt Half was the post race party. Karbach beer was on tap (4 different types). It would have been nice to have a cider choice available, especially to serve gluten-free folks. However, I sat down with a wheat beer, Weisse Versa, which was refreshing and appropriate, as my time in College Station was the peak of my beer drinking days. For runners, they also had pretzels and bratwurst, complementing the Oktoberfest theme, in addition to the other runner food staples of bananas, muffins, etc. There was only a line for beer, which also made it easy to enjoy the party!

This recap cannot be complete without a note on the wonderful swag we received. Before the race, we received a nice Nutrabolt bag (similar to lululemon shopping totes). Inside the bag were a couple of FitJoy bars, and a large beach towel. After the race, we received a super soft, triblend finisher’s shirt, a ceramic beer stein and a sweet medal. Even though none of these pieces were super technical, they are actually pieces that I will use outside of running, which is awesome. I prefer to¬†get a few quality pieces of non-running swag than one tech shirt/jacket that is not made well, because I’ll just never use it! I’ve been wearing the t-shirt to sleep in all week, actually.

Overall, it was worth the trip to Aggieland;¬†I will absolutely make the trip back if given the opportunity in the future. Thanks again to the race director for making this possible. I’m excited to return to C-Stat¬†for my 2nd marathon in December.

Today’s question – what was your hottest race experience?

Cheers to “fall” races in Texas (and the beers that follow)!

 

A Runner’s Snack: UCAN Snack Bars Review (& Discount)

Disclosure: I received samples of UCAN Snack Bars 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! All opinions are my own.

In my attempts to¬†eat healthier to fuel my body, I tend to reach for bars when I’m on the go, or don’t have enough time to grab a proper meal. These are especially good for days when I unexpectedly have to work late –¬†a fairly regular, but unpredictable occurrence¬†for me. Still, most snack bars are protein-heavy and low in carbs, AKA the opposite of what I need heading to run. UCAN Snack Bars are different, and I’m excited to share my experience with them.

UCAN Snack Bars

The UCAN Snack Bars are unique due to a proprietary SuperStarch that the company has developed, which is carbohydrate-dense. These bars still contain protein, fiber, and healthy fats – all of those things you need to keep from being super hungry – but the unique carb content makes them a highly suitable pre-run snack.

What I loved most about UCAN Bars was that they were tasty, while still being low in sugar and gluten-free. I don’t have celiac or a gluten intolerance, but I still think it’s important that nutritional supplements cater to the dietary needs of many people. In terms of flavor, they even passed the highly-scientific Chris Flores taste test. They must be good if my non-runner husband likes them.

UCAN Snack Bars also come in a variety of flavors:¬†Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate,¬†Cinnamon Swirl, Coffee Bean¬†and¬†Peach Passion. I tried out everything but the Chocolate Peanut Butter, which wasn’t part of my sample package. My personal favorites were the Chocolate and Coffee. Everyone I’ve known that has tested these out seems to have a different flavor preference. Therefore, it’s a good idea to purchase the Multi Flavor Box first¬†to decide what flavors you prefer.

How to Use:

Well, obviously, you eat them! I found¬†that eating the UCAN Snack Bars before a run/as a snack on a carbloading day gave me a good amount of energy during the subsequent workout. The caveat here is with food products, what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for everyone. I know of some other Bib Rave Pros that also tried the bars on their actual runs – this isn’t the right application for me personally, but if you need to refuel during a run, or if you’re doing an all-day race like an ironman, and you can handle solid food, I would consider the UCAN Snack Bars.

The only¬†aspect I wasn’t crazy about¬†was the actual texture. It is to be expected that any time you are eating something starchy, it’s going to be a bit dry. That’s what I found with these bars. I don’t think that’s a huge difference from any other comparable snack bar; no snack bar is going to taste or feel exactly like its fresh food counterpart. It was not bothersome to me initially, but I did notice I needed to get a glass of water to wash everything down. However, I don’t really see a way to avoid this because of what makes them so great – having a lot of carbs! I just point it out to help manage your expectations in case you are a texture person.

To try the snack bars for yourself, visit store.generationucan.com. The Multi Flavor Box described above is 10 bars for $20, which is comparable to other bars on the market. AND with discount code¬†BIBRAVE you can take 15% off UCAN’s website!

Which UCAN Snack Bar will you try first?

Cheers to eating healthier as we move into the holiday season.