Poem: The Trails, They Are Calling Me

the trails they are calling me
where the trees form a canopy
dancing sunlight and shadows
Narrow pathways and meadows

the trails they are calling me
along the river, mountains to sea
rocks and roots, senses fully aware
damp soil afoot and soothing cool air

the trails they are calling me
to connect with wildlife running free
a fox here, an opossum there
eyes locked in a stag’s stare

the trails they are calling me
to enjoy being lost momentarily
to breathe in deep the serenity
the trails they are calling me

Alastair Vance, 23 May 2019

I’m taking off my boot and streaking!

Have you ever participated in a run streak? I haven’t, but that is changing from tomorrow. Along with my wife, Liz, a load of my running friends, and of course my BibRave family, I will be running at least one mile every day in May!

We want YOU to join us! All you need to do is log your run (or walk) on Strava and join the BibRave Run Club Strava group. Get YOUR friends involved too for some local support! I know it’s generating quite a bit of excitement among my running buddies.

I’m soooo looking forward to it to be honest, and a little nervous at the same time. I just got out of my aircast boot at the weekend. I had to wear it for 30 days to allow my peroneal tendon to heal after injuring it while training.

I’ll be taking it real easy starting out, to ensure I don’t end up back in the boot. My eventual aim is to get back to my regular 22-25 miles a week.

The most consecutive days I’ve ran without a break is around 8-9, so this will definitely be a challenge, but it couldn’t have come along at a better time.

So, are you in? If you post your runs to Instagram or Twitter also, you can use the tags #StravaRun and #BibChat.

POEM: ROCK N ROLL RALEIGH (2018)

On Sunday past
I went for a dally
Up and over
the hills of Raleigh
The songs that played
were new and old
It was fun to run a
Rock n Roll

The streets were lined
with smiling faces
As runners whisked by
at their own paces
Most hoping to crush
their personal best
With no pressure at all
to run past the rest

As cold a race
I cannot remember
Twice-as-cold as a race
I ran in December
But tell me this
before I go any further
Who can predict
NC’s crazy weather?

My second Half Marathon
is now in the books
And I’m fairly happy
with the time that I took
It was definitely way more hilly
than Tobacco Road
But I’d been expecting worse
based on what I’d been told

It saddens me now
to see the race leave
As running it faster
is something I perceive
Me doing next year
if given the shot
But it’s not to be
chance of that is nought


Alastair Vance, April 14th, 2018

Race Recap: 2018 Running Of The Bulls 8K

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One of my favorite races of the year, is the Running Of The Bulls 8K in Durham, NC. It’s a really great course with a few challenging hills and a finish on the track at the old Durham Bulls stadium. It always coincides with the Food Truck Rodeo in Durham which is a fun reason to hang out after the race and enjoy some food!

I knew this year would be a bit slower for me. We have been experiencing very humid weather and higher temperatures than normal for this time of year, so that was bound to affect my performance.

In the end it didn’t turn out too bad when the official results came back. In 2017, I completed the course in 39:56. This year I officially completed the course in 40:40 (although Strava has 41:46!).

You may remember I ran this race last year with my son, Noah. He was also signed up to run this year but came down sick and wasn’t well enough to run. Fortunately my friend Niles was there and we ended up running the majority of the race together.

The medal this year was a functioning cowbell again. I’m only going to have so much room on my medal rack for these things. 😉

There is one thing I’ve noticed about Bull City Running Co. races. They like to take you close to finish line when you still have 1-2 miles to run. It one way it’s great to see all the runners coming back toward you to finish, in another way it’s just plain agonizing to know you still have 15-20 minutes left. Race Across Durham also employed this feature.

Immediately after the race there was plenty of Nuun, Fullsteam beer, fruit, granola bars, etc. but it can get a little crowded in there. Niles and I stayed for a little while before leaving for home. She said she’d run it again. I know I will.

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

Added: Tobacco Road 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!

Here’s me and my running buddies on Sunday past, training for the Tobacco Road Half Marathon on March 18th in Cary, NC. We’re putting on our best smiles for the camera, but this was probably one of our toughest runs in a while.

Tobacco Road will be my first official half marathon race and I’m already suffering some pre-race nerves. Does anyone else get these?!

Continue reading “Added: Tobacco Road Half Marathon”

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!”