Review: Amphipod PureRun™ Minimalist Hydration Vest

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Disclaimer: I received an Amphipod PureRun™ Minimalist Hydration Vest 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!

There’s few things more important than staying hydrated on a long run, but I think a lot of us struggle with the best way to carry the necessary fluids with us.

When it comes to carrying water on my long runs, I’ve experimented with a whole range of options and never really found a great solution.

Some methods I’ve already tried.

  • Carrying a water bottle in my hand – ended up with sore shoulder, continuously worrying about dropping the bottle (on another note: I don’t know how people run with their phone in their hand).
  • Using a hand bottle holder – this was a little better. It had a pocket as well for phone, keys, etc. Felt secure in my hand but still had issues with sore shoulder.
  • Hydration belt with two bottles – this was my go-to for most long distances. Water felt heavy on my waist and sloshed about a lot, but it was better than nothing.
  • Budget Vest with bladder on my back – was able to carry a lot of water, but man it was heavy! Vest was not super comfortable either and moved around. Bladders are a bit of a nuisance to clean and dry out.

I’ve seen the vests with the bottles at chest level for a long time and have considered getting one, but I had been growing tired of being disappointed each time, with each product I bought.

Thankfully, through Bibrave,  I got the opportunity to try out an Amphipod PureRun™ Minimalist Hydration Vest — and this thing really impressed.

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It comes in two sizes (I have size 2). It’s super lightweight, very adjustable and has loads of storage. You can see from the photo it has plenty of room for my phone (iPhone 7) and multiple packs of gels/gummies.

The vest comes with two bottles. One of the issues I had with my old hydration belt was that the bottles tended to leak a little when full. These bottles do not leak and stay secure in their pouches at all times.

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If you like bladders, it will support one in a section at the back. There is also additional pockets at the back — but I don’t think they’d be that accessible without having to take off the vest to reach them.

I love how the three front straps will slide up and down to where you need them — it’s the little things.

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I’ve taken the vest out for a number of long runs now and have really appreciated having it — as have my running buddies. Though they have teased me quite a bit for running with my “boobies” out, they have benefited from on-the-run fuel and water on a number of occasions!

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Now that the weather is getting warmer here in North Carolina, I tend to switch to running trails, under the cover of trees where it’s a bit cooler. I can’t wait to start using this vest for some long trail runs. YES!

There’s no going back now. It’s lightweight, cool (mesh) and comfortable, and will not move around. It will also not slow you down (I’ve tested this as well). And while your running crew may make fun of you, they all secretly want one. 😉

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Here are some other BibRave Pro reviews for you to check out:
Meredith Daniel // Andrea Heser // Barb Byrum // Brad Zinnecker // Renee Barr // Angie Maske-Berka // Mai Khuong // Kevin Wilson // Amy Penokie // Whitney Vestal

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Review: Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh 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!

This was my second ever Half Marathon race. I have to say I really enjoy racing this distance. I’d never ran a Rock ‘n’ Roll race before, so I was glad to have an opportunity to do so on their last visit to Raleigh, NC.

I went to the EXPO on the Saturday, the day before the race, and picked up my bib and shirt. The shirts are nice — Brooks technical shirts with minimal sponsor logos. The EXPO had some great vendors. My wife managed to get a great deal on some compression socks. There was lots of official Rock ‘n’ Roll merchandise as well. I loved the shirts with every participant name on it. Very cool.

Parking for both the EXPO and race day was very convenient. I managed to park quite easily within a block of the starting line.

I have heard over the years of how hilly a course it is, so I was expecting the worse. To be honest, it wasn’t all THAT bad. Yes, it had hills, but there was plenty of relief on downhill sections of the course.

The funny thing is — Because of the “hilly” reputation, Rock ‘n’ Roll made modifications to the route this year to make it less it less hilly. Well, according to past runner’s Strava records, this years route had a 100ft increase in elevation gain!! 🙂

The Live music along the route was awesome. I can’t recall the number of times it brought a smile to my face. I also loved the energy of the spectators throughout the various Raleigh neighborhoods. They really helped keep me going.

It was so cold at the start of the race that I did something I never do. I went and grabbed a coffee and drank it around 30mins before we started. I’ve never had to use the bathroom so bad during a race before that I needed to stop — until THIS race. At mile 9 something very bad was going to happen if I didn’t find a porta-john. Rock ‘n’ Roll are fantastic for providing so many along the route. Not sure what I’d have done otherwise…!

Aside from messing up my time a little, I was still happy to finish within 2 hours on this course. I’m sad I won’t get a chance to do better next year.

The medals were great, and you could get your medal engraved with your name and finishing time if desired. And there was plenty of snacks handed out as you walked through the end section of the course after finishing.

The band, SUSTO, sounded really good at the post race event. My only gripe is that I finished the race around 9am and the post race party didn’t start until 10am. I was so cold at that point I couldn’t even imagine holding a cold (free) beer. And yes, I made use of gear check and had a coat to wear post-race!

While a specific review of the Raleigh race may not be super helpful to the reader, now that the race is gone, I will say that in general that the race was really well organised and executed. I would not hesitate to run many of the other Rock ‘n’ Roll races across the nation.

Check out a poem I wrote after the race.

Review: Allscripts Tobacco Road Marathon & Half Marathon

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Disclaimer: I’m promoting Tobacco Road Marathon & 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!

I had such a great time at this race, it just didn’t seem right to review it like every other race I’ve reviewed. So, I decided to write a little poem that covers my race experience from start to finish.

Tobacco Road Half Marathon 2018

I went to bed early
To get plenty of rest
My wife was so supportive
There’s no doubt that I’m blessed
(Love you Lizzie!)

The morning arrived in no time
Long before the promised sun awoke
It was freezing bloody cold outside
But I had no plans to wear a coat

After multiple trips to the toilet
It was time to lace up and go
If I still need to empty my bladder
I’ll make the trip to porta-potty row

With a van full of MRC runners
We traveled to the Tobacco Road race
I munched on my energy gummies
Hoping I could stick to my target pace

The participants all began to gather
Three-thousand, two-hundred and fifty two
Nine-hundred and seventy-five the full
I’d be running my first Half with my crew!

The gun give a blast and off we went
Passing under a huge American flag
I tried to keep up with the one-fifty pacer
But very soon I started to lag

As the road leveled out the crowd opened up
And I managed to catch my pacers
There up ahead was one of my friends
She’d passed me and I didn’t see her

After two and a half miles of pounding the road
The Half went left and Full went right
There were plenty of water and Gatorade drinks
If I partook every time, need the toilet I might

The trail was cozy for an out-and-back
The lead pack were returning at my mile five
As runners flew past they were followed by a breeze
The atmosphere was electric, I felt so alive

I was still feeling fresh at mile marker nine
By mile marker ten I was feeling half dead
The energy gels had lost their effect
My legs felt heavy, a battle ensued in my head

Was the last stretch and the finish was close
But again my pacers had gotten away
Determination kicked in and dragged me along
This race won’t beat me, not today, NOT today

Downhill to the end is a wonderful thing
I knew I had it in the bag
Crossing the line with my arms raised high
An eleven minute PR! I know, I brag

 

Athlinks – Centralize Your Race Data!

Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I was sitting at lunch the other week with a good buddy and colleague (for the sake of a reference we’ll call him Elmo). While Elmo is not a runner, we will often talk about running and upcoming races that I’m training for.

Conversation will usually gravitate toward some rough ideas for hosting a race on his farm in rural NC and making a load of money. Easy, right?!

“Yes”, I tell him. “It’s that easy”, rolling my eyes.

This latest conversation was slightly different. Elmo had a new idea. This idea involved building a website (I work in software development) that would keep everyone’s results in one place.

“Elmo, we already have that”, I said.

He wasn’t listening and continued, “And the race organizers would all send the results in and…”

“Elmo, I’m telling you, this exists already”.

“And people would pay to use such a convenient service!”, he said, finishing his proposal.

“Elmo, this exists! I’m reviewing the site right now. It’s called Athlinks AND it’s free to use!”

While Elmo has gone back to the drawing board to think up more ideas, let me tell you about Athlinks.

Continue reading “Athlinks – Centralize Your Race Data!”

Review: Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k Race – Charlotte

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate 15k 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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Race Prep & Signup

In a previous post I’d talked about signing up for the Hot Chocolate 15k in Charlotte, and how I had to upload “proof” of previous race times to get assigned a corral on race day.

I received an email after a couple of weeks to say I had been assigned to corral “D”. I had no idea at the time what that would look like except that they started the corrals off 4 mins apart from each other.

Training for the race consisted of my regular weekday runs with slightly longer runs at the weekend. The two weeks before Christmas that I was out with Vertigo set me back both mentally and physically, and I got a little concerned that my target of a 8.30/mi would be hard to achieve.

Continue reading “Review: Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k Race – Charlotte”

Review: Krispy Kreme Challenge 2018

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Those who complete the Krispy Kreme Challenge, have ran 2.5 miles, consumed 12 Krispy Kreme doughnuts and then ran 2.5 miles more, all inside 1 hour! Oh, and on quite possibly the coldest day of the year in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Well, I tried to eat all 12 doughnuts last year and that was not enjoyable at all. This year I had no intentions of completing the challenge, but just to run and enjoy the atmosphere.

The plan was for the whole family to run it this time — only Nathan and I ran it last year. I was going to push our youngest, Xander, in the stroller and then we’d dump all our unfinished doughnuts underneath the stroller to take home.

Unfortunately my wife Liz was unable to run as she has a stress fracture (she is also a runner). So, we pulled in Vinod from our running club and Liz and Xander stayed at home in the warmth.

Continue reading “Review: Krispy Kreme Challenge 2018”

AfterShokz Trekz Air — Shockingly Good Earphones for Running!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Airs 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’d consider myself a music guy, a musician even — I listen to a lot of music. But look back over the last couple of years of my run selfies on Instagram and you’ll not find many with me wearing earphones.

I think I have funny shaped ear holes or something. I’ve always struggled with finding comfortable earbuds that will a) sit in my ear canals comfortably for an extended period, and b) not fall out or need readjusting during exercise.

For this reason I mostly go without. It just hasn’t been worth the hassle…

Recently I have had the opportunity to try a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Airs — earphones that don’t even go in your ears. That is because they use bone conduction technology!

Continue reading “AfterShokz Trekz Air — Shockingly Good Earphones for Running!”