No Pin Revolution – A Bibboards Song

Recently we were asked to come up with a 90 second (max) video for a Bibboards campaign that I was involved in for BibRave. As a BibRave Pro, I get to test out various running products and run races in exchange for reviews on my blog and social media channels.

Bibboards are plastic fasteners that secure your race bib to your shirt without damaging the shirt. They are also much less fiddly than safety pins and don’t need a lot of readjusting that come with that.

My favorite feature however, is the fact you can get your own logo or text printed to them using their online designer.

Here’s the song I wrote for the campaign. I got the idea from the actual bibboards packaging, which had the hash-tag #nopinrev printed on it.

The first cut of the song was just over 2 minutes, so I had to remove a verse and some of the outro to make it fit to the required 90 seconds.

It’s been a while since I’ve had my guitar out and actually wrote anything, so this was a fun (but scary) project for me.

Race Recap: Bull City Race Fest, October 21st, 2018

On a cold, crisp October morning, a few friends and I headed into Durham, NC for the Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon.

Me, Arun, Niles, Zach, AJ and Ashita at the start line

It was my fourth half marathon (1-Tobacco Road; 2-Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh; 3-Umstead Half) this year and to be honest, I wasn’t feeling in good shape for it — not compared to my fitness levels back in March. Training through the summer in North Carolina was not easy with the constant humidity.

My running buddy, Zach, had ran the course a couple of years back, his first half marathon in fact, and confirmed all the reports I’d been hearing of its hills. I’d only ran the 5 mile course before and was looking forward to the half.

I’ve never really been deterred from entering a race because of hills. I simply adjust my expectations based on it. 

Zach had yet to run a half marathon in under two hours, so my plan was to run a steady pace together and push him to a PR. After our hilly half marathon at Umstead, back in June, I knew this may not be easy (for me!).

Me and Zach ready to go!

The race started according to our plan. For the first mile we hovered in around 9:00/mi. If we kept this up and we’ll rock in just under the goal time.

I checked my watch at Mile 2 — 8:40/mi. We probably need to slow down a little bit, we thought. Nope, miles 3-6 flew by easy at the same pace. Yikes! We were going too fast! We were too concerned about catching up with AJ, who shot off like a rocket at the start.

At mile 6 we eventually caught up with AJ. That’s when the first of the hills started rolling in. Mile 7, while not the toughest hill-wise, was our slowest at 9:04/mi, but all was still good. Runners are always doing the math in their heads. We had time to spare.

My fueling plan was the usual, Gatorade Endurance gel pack every 45 mins, and a drink of water at every other aid station. This didn’t go exactly to plan.

I waited a little too long for the first gel pack which maybe explains mile 7. There were some hills during the last third of the course, so I took another one around mile 9.

Mile 9 is when I usually start to suffer in a half marathon, but this time I didn’t feel that. I felt much stronger than normal. The last third of the course hardly slowed our efforts at all. Maybe all that training in North Carolina’s humidity prepared me for this after all?

Again, doing the math, we rocked into mile 10 with big grins on our faces. We knew we had this race in the bag. It would take a really bad 5K now to miss our goal time.

In a final what the heck moment, I consumed an additional gel at mile 12 for the last stretch!

The course kept throwing hills at us in the last couple of miles, but my last two miles were my fastest on the course. I kept my eyes on the prize — the cold beverages at the end.

A lot of our team walked away with HUGE PRs — #breaking2 baby! 😉 Did Zach and I smash our goal? Of course we did! We came in well under the 2 hour goal. Turned out to be my 2nd fastest half marathon after Tobacco Road.

Me, AJ, Ashita, Niles, Zach, Shravan

I’m so happy about that. It definitely helped me overcome my summer training slump and restored some confidence as I reach for bigger goals next year.

We’ll be back again, Bull City Race Fest.

Race Recap: The Cupcake Race At Brier Creek, Oct 20th, 2018

Liz and I enjoying a cupcake after the race

This race was supposed to be on Oct 13th, but they had to move it due to Hurricane Florence. I was a little concerned as this new date was the day before a half marathon race I was running!

I love this 5K race though. It’s local and we always try to get the family involved. In fact this year I managed to get free entries in exchange for a photo of our family from last year. The race directors used it to promote this year’s race — much to my daughter’s embarrassment. 😉

We’ve ran this race twice before, but this was the first year I ran without pushing Xander in a stroller! With this new-found freedom, I probably ran this race a little harder than I should have and I was worried it would affect my race the following day.

(It didn’t though, as you can read later in another post).

The Cupcake Race At Brier Creek is an out-and-back course, and has a few hills to keep it interesting. Lots of kids from local elementary schools use this race to close out their running programs, so it’s very family oriented.

After the race, everyone gets a big tasty cupcake from Gigi’s cupcakes. Unfortunately, the actual Brier Creek store didn’t open until 10am otherwise I would have bought a load more to bring home as well.

I got to test out my bibboards for the first time on this race. They remove the need for safety pins and securely attach your bib to your shirt without damaging your clothing. Check them out!

Bibboards Rock!

Light Up Your Path with a SPIBeams LED Hat

 

Disclaimer: I received a SPIBeams LED Hat 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!

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I do a lot of running early in the mornings before work, and it’s always pretty much pitch black outside. I’m also planning a good amount of training on the American Tobacco Trail as I will run a full Marathon there in March.

While the trail is paved, it is not lit at all. I was actually shopping around for a head lamp when the opportunity to test the new SPIBeams LED hat came along.

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The hat has four white LEDs built into the bill which do a great job of lighting up the path in front of you (128 lumens), and it also has two red LEDs embedded into the back strap that can operated in two modes (flash, or constant).

It is super-light and comfortable to wear and feels just like any other running hat that I own. The battery packs for boths sets of LEDs are very acccessible for replacing the batteries (CR2032) — I’ve not had to replace any yet.

The only thing I was slightly concerned about was washing the hat. Everyone is different, but I normally wash ALL my running gear after each run, including hats, belts, etc.

The information on their website specifies the hat must be hand washed. The battery packs can be removed from the hat, but not entirely, meaning you could not submerge the hat fully in water.

Even though I have used my SPIBeams hat quite frequently since getting it, I have not yet attempted to wash it. The hat material dries out well and doesn’t seem to hold odor (yet). So, while it is passing the sniff test I’ll keep on wearing it and eventually get around to washing it. 😉

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Aside from the benefits of lighting up your path, and weighing much less than most head lamps, there is another great thing about this hat — and that is the sense of safety it provides.

I definitley feel much safer on the road. I know that cars can see me coming or going, no matter which direction I happen to be facing.

When I’m crossing intersections, a quick look in the direction of any car immediately alerts them to my presence on the road. This is a big deal for any runner who needs to get their runs in outside of daylight hours.

The hat comes in three colors: black, hot pink and lime for $29.99. A visor is also available for the same price. If you use the code BIBRAVE on SPIBelt.com, you’ll receive 20% off any SPIBelt item including the hats and visors.

The SPIBeams Hat is from the same great company who make the SPIBelt, one of the most popular running belts on the market.

 

 

Luvo — An Instant Bowl of Goodness!

Disclaimer: I received a Luvo Bundle 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!

Anyone that knows me, knows I enjoy a bit of spicy food. Indian cuisine is by far my favorite food, followed closely by Thai. So I was very pleased to get a chance to test one of Luvo’s frozen meal bundles — the “hint of spice” bundle in particular.

The “Hint of Spice” bundle included 8 meals, 2 of each of the following:

  • Mighty Masala & Greens
  • Great Karma Coconut Curry
  • Chana Masala
  • Thai-Style Green Curry Chicken

All the meals in my bundle were gluten and diary free, and all meals except for the Thai-Style Green Curry Chicken were vegan. These dishes are just packed full of goodness.

  • Quality protein, whole grains and vegetables
  • Very low sodium and sugar
  • No artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners

And this shows! The vegetables taste so fresh and delicious!

When I received my bundle I was sure my favorite would be the Thai-Style Green Curry Chicken, simply because it had meat in it.

But, no! The one I thought I’d like least jumped right to the top — Mighty Masala & Greens, with a close second being Chana Masala.

Aside from the delicious blend of vegetables and spices, I found the Luvo bundle really convenient. It took the thought out of what I would do for lunch everyday — quite the dilemma, I can assure you.

All I had to do was grab one of these from the freezer and head off to work. I kept the box in a cool-bag along with an ice-pack and it remained frozen until I needed it. Perfect!

All the dishes took around 4-5 minutes in the microwave, and when I opened the door they smelt so good — every time! A few people at work were asking about them because of that.

Check out luvofoods.com for more information.

Runner Safety: Use Garmin LiveTrack to Share Your Activity in Real-Time

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Recently we are hearing more and more stories of harassment, assault and even murder of predominately female runners across the US. It’s so tragic, and has naturally stirred a huge discussion in the running community about what we can and should do to protect ourselves.

It’s no coincidence that companies are launching lots of runner-safety themed solutions, and one area that seems to be getting a huge boost is real-time activity tracking. As most runners know, it’s usually the people you leave behind at home that do most of the worrying.

Let’s look at some of the available offerings…

Strava has beacon, which is now part of it’s Summit safety pack. I have not used beacon, as I use Strava’s free tier, and this feature is a paid extra. I know most people I’ve talked to have not regretted moving to the premium tier of Strava.

Road iD, the guys that brought us the awesome Road iD bracelet, now have an app to help friends and family track you in real time. I have not used this service, but from what I read online it’s free and has a couple of neat features I should mention.

You can have the Road iD app send a stationary alert (if you stop moving for more than 5 minutes), and you can customize your phone’s lock screen with emergency contact information — very nice!

The application I will be focusing on in this post is Garmin Connect’s LiveTrack. This feature is bundled with Garmin Connect, paired with selected Garmin devices (e.g. Forerunner, Fenix, etc.). I have used LiveTrack on every activity for the last year or more, so my wife always knows where I am and how my training is going.

For such an important feature, Garmin doesn’t seem to do a great job at publicizing LiveTrack. I searched online and found a Garmin blog post that gives a brief overview of it — but that’s it.

The very reason I’m putting this post together is because of a recent Twitter thread, where many Garmin users didn’t know this existed.

Fortunately, LiveTrack is really easy to set-up and use and works really well. To find it, open Garmin Connect on your phone and select the “More” menu item. Then click on the LiveTrack link.

Once on the LiveTrack page, you have multiple options. You can choose to start LiveTrack automatically on each activity [1], or manually start it.

By default, the recipient(s) will only be able to view your activity while you are active. If you want the activity to stay accessible after you have finished, you can extend this by 24 hours only.

Recipients can be informed by email and/or Twitter. The Facebook option is currently unavailable, I’m guessing due to some recent Facebook policy changes. I have currently two email recipients, one to my wife and one to me.

I have never used the Twitter option. I guess this would be fun to use for a race event, but I would not broadcast training runs live to Twitter. No way.

When an activity starts (or when you decide to start LiveLink), a link is sent out that will take the user to your live activity page where they can track your position and current activity data.

Providing they know how long you had planned to be out, and a rough idea of your route, this data should help the viewer determine if you’ve ran into trouble or not.

If you have to run alone, always tell someone where you’re going and when you think you’ll be back. If you’re a Garmin user, do check out this great tool and tell others about it. Keep safe out there.

Question: What other tools/technology do you use to stay safe?


[1] I had trouble recently with the automatic start of LiveTrack. After reading online, it appeared the best solution was to remove the app from my phone and re-install. This resolved it for me.