Compression Without the Fuss – My CEP 3.0 Tall Socks Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of CEP 3.0 Tall Socks 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!”

When I received my CEP 3.0 Tall Socks it had been about 6 weeks since I had run last and I wasn’t planning on running for a few more weeks. So why would I need them? The easy answer is that I am heavily reliant on compression gear. Especially socks. My feet and lower legs are problem area for me and I need support when I’m working out.

While I am not running right now (to keep my Achilles safe) I am doing intense circuit training and HIIT workouts on my stationary bike and with a jump rope. I still need the support and compression to help with blood flow. Not to mention the compression for recovery.

The CEP 3.0 Tall Socks rely on medi true compression technology for optimum recovery and performance. The 3.0 goes “with a new design that takes advantage of high-tech yarns, new HEIQ clima management, and a more natural fitting toe box…”. Let’s touch on these things. The yarns used for the sock make it stretchy enough to get on and off without a ton of effort, which makes them different than other brands I’ve used and do use. This is big for me because after an intense workout I don’t feel like wrestling with my socks to get them off.

The clima management technology is also something that endurance athletes will appreciate. As we get into spring and into warmer temperatures that means we will all start to sweat more. The 3.0 is designed to keep you cool when the temperatures outside rise along with your body temperature. This technology isn’t just for keeping you cool but keeping you dry as well. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to have to contend with my compression gear being super wet after a run either. I never once had to deal with that. This technology works. It means you can even wear them without having to wash them after each use.

A toe box that is naturally fitting now seems like something I took for granted. Just because something has good compression doesn’t mean the toe box has to be narrow to be tight. The 3.0 nailed it here. Once on I didn’t feel any restriction in the toe box and I still felt a good amount of compression across the whole of my foot.well.

For performance during my workouts the 3.0 Tall Sock exceeded my expectations. The handful of times I threw on the socks for recovery immediately after a workout or after I felt like my feet and calves responded very well. As I mentioned earlier, my feet, Achilles and calves are areas I have to baby because it will come back to bite me if I don’t. These are a pair of socks I would highly recommend you check out if any of the points I covered are important to you.

Follow CEP Compression on Social Media:

Twitter: @CEPCOMPRESSION

IG: @cepcompression

FB: @CEPSportswear

You can see how some of my fellow BibRave Pros feel about the CEP Compression 3.0 Tall Sock as well.

Danielle

Lissa 

Kim

Becky

Jenn

 

 

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All Natural Snacks with a Huge Helping of Flavor – My Food Groove Mission Super Food Bites Review

Disclaimer: I received box of Food Groove Mission Super Food Bites 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!”

 

I think it is fair to say that as an adult, whether you have kids or not, it can be a challenge to eat healthy when life pulls you in a thousand different directions at high speed. Bars are a popular go to snack and more specific than that, all natural food bars. Why? I’ll tackle the all-natural part of that first. Unprocessed food is generally going to be easier to digest and better for absorbing nutrients. Why food bars? That is actually pretty easy. Food bars are small, easy to carry and even though they are small they can be filling enough to hold you off a while and if they are all natural then they can provide plenty of energy between meals.

Food Groove Mission has thrown another option into the mix and their Superfood Bites are everything you need. They offer three flavors: Holy Truffle Punch, The Nutty Adventurer and Mother Earth. Ingredients for all three flavors include a combination of seeds, nuts, berries, chocolate and honey. Mother Earth and Holy Truffle Punch are paleo friendly and all three are all-natural and are filled with organic ingredients. Just about everything you could want out of a snack. You can find their nutrition information HERE.

Remember when I mentioned that are natural bars are good because they can be filling? That is true. Sometimes it is too true and one bar is too much. So why not only eat some of it and save the rest for later? Have you ever tried to re-wrap a bar you’ve opened? It isn’t easy and if you don’t get back to it soon enough it may dry out. These Superfood Bites have the advantage there. They come in a resealable pouch and are perfect on-the-go or for storing in the pantry at home. Just a handful of bites (about half a bag) is enough for a pre-workout energy boost, in my experience from using them to fuel myself prior to my double digit training runs, and a whole bag (or more) post run goes a long way. I polished off a whole bag of The Nutty Adventurer after the Houston Marathon last month on my drive back to Dallas and it was a perfect snack.

Having healthy snacks around the house whether I am running or not is important because I am almost always being asked by one of my children to share my snacks. Not only did I not have any qualms about sharing these with my kids because they are all-natural but I was excited to share them because it is a really good way for them to get essential nutrients that they normally don’t get from food because convincing them to eat nuts and seeds by themselves is not an easy task. I happened to be partial to The Nutty Adventurer because I am a sucker for peanut butter. Throw in honey and I am hooked. My kids, on the other hand, went nuts for the Holy Truffle Punch.  Something tells me it was the combination of dark chocolate and coconut chips. That is not to say that they didn’t enjoy all of the flavors because they actually ended up eating a majority of the bites I received. These are 100% kid approved in my house and also 100% runner and active parent approved.

You can currently save 15% on your order, whether it is a variety pack (10 pouches of your choice or individual packs using code ‘BIBRAVE15’. This code is limit 1 per customer.

Check Out What Other BibRave Pros thought:

Karen W

Becky C

Ken B

Jennifer T

Katy C

Erica

Jessica

Mary Jo 

Kim

Vanessa

Dane 

And follow Food Groove Mission on Social Media:

Twitter: @food_groove

IG: @foodgroovemission

Total FOMO – My Hot Chocolate 15k Dallas Review

“Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Dallas 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!”

Most of you know this already from my social posts but this was a race for which I never made it to the starting line. Both of my Achilles tendons were severely inflamed after the Houston Marathon, I was in a lot of discomfort generally and running was painful. I ran the Dallas Hot Chocolate 15k last February and I absolutely loved it. Because of that experience I was even more disappointed about missing a race than I normally would be. My training for this race coincided for my marathon training, because that race was 3 weeks prior to this one. I have to say that I was feeling quite good for the majority of my training and knowing that this course is on the easier side my training wasn’t too intense. That was until 2 weeks before the marathon when my inflammation forced me into cross-training workouts only with no running.

Thankfully the one part of race weekend that didn’t require actual running was the race expo. Since I’d been to the expo last year I was really looking forward to seeing what treats they had set out for us. I say us because I decided to bring along my son to share in the chocolate and give him a taste of what race expos are like.

As I expected the packet and swag pick up were very smooth processes and the staff members/volunteers were very friendly and helpful at every turn. I started wearing my Hot Chocolate hoodie right away. It is perfect for running. Lightweight and a little warm yet it has good ventilation and thumb holes in the sleeves, which are a big plus for me.The vendors were all smiles and treated my son as though he were racing too. They answered his questions and the Nuun booth was very interactive with him as he was taking samples.

My friends from Aftershokz were even there and both he and I got really excited! The chocolate treats table run by the Hot Chocolate folks didn’t disappoint. The treats were delicious and the Hot Chocolate was divine! It was very welcomed on that day because it was actually quite chilly.Sadly that is where my Hot Chocolate 15k race weekend ended. There are usually so many smiles on race day from runners and volunteers that you can’t help but smile yourself. Course support is great and the post race goodies are second to none. There isn’t much better on a cold race day than hot chocolate and treats to dip in more chocolate.

Here is a link to my Bibrave.com review from last year’s race so you can get a better idea of the full race weekend experience is like: Hot Chocolate 15K Dallas – 2018

You can follow the Hot Chocolate Race Series on Social Media below

Twitter: @HotChocolate15k 

IG: @hotchocolate15k

I Will Never Forget That – My Chevron Houston Marathon Review

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Houston 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!”

There was lots to unpack from this race so it has taken me a while to compose all of my thoughts and feelings about this race.

We will start with race management. In my mind the race management for the Chevron Houston Marathon knocked it out of the park. There was ample pre-race communication  that was excellent and timely without being over done. The website include all of the information a first-time and veteran racer would need for race weekend and didn’t make this information hard to find.

I traveled from Dallas and stayed two nights at a hotel a few blocks away from the convention center. My wife booked this hotel so I can’t take credit for how smart this choice was. They were not only located in a great spot but they offered a very late checkout on Sunday for all of the racers. Thank you to the Homewood Suites Downtown Houston!

I attended the expo on Friday afternoon and it was packed with racers. All of the vendors I spoke with were very friendly and there were tons of deals to be had. The Fleet Feet booth at the center of the expo was quite large, had a wide variety of gear and brands represented and if I had brought more money with me I’d have gone broke! The Packet pick-up prior to entering the expo floor was super easy. All I needed was my ID and the QR code sent to me the week before and I was done with that process in less than 5 minutes. I meet with my fellow Bib Rave Pros, Juan, Jenn and Brenda after packet pickup and I couldn’t have been in better company. Juan is local to Houston and was the very best host. He was introducing us to people that he knew at the expo left and right!

 

On to race morning. Spoiler alert: The race itself was awesome! I found my fellow BRP’s in the pre-race staging area inside the convention center, got a little more advice, lots of encouragement and some hugs. Since I was in Corral A I needed to leave a bit earlier than Brenda and Jenn, who were also running the full. Being in a downtown area that I am not familiar with I was a bit discombobulated. The volunteers outside the convention center were abundant and very communicative before the race about where each corral was and when they closed.

It was pretty chilly,  air temperature in the low 30’s, at the start of the race but a base layer under my shirt and tights under my shorts was sufficient. It was the perfect running weather.

Here is where I need to give a huge shout out to Juan. Without this guy I can honestly say I wouldn’t have finished the race. I came into the race having taken about 3 weeks off from running due to an Achilles injury so while I wasn’t feeling great physically during the run I was never once worried that if I couldn’t continue I would be in a bad place. This injury flared up just before mile 2 and I knew I would be in for a long day. I have pushed through runs with injuries before and I ended up doing a lot of damage. This was my first marathon and I am really stubborn so, as you can guess, I didn’t stop. Even though I felt like I was going to several times I didn’t. Juan met me three times along the course (all after the first half of the race) and I needed him each time. He paced me, he talked me up and coached me. When I thought about giving up I remembered all I had to do was make it a little further and I would get a boost. Thank you, brother, for getting me through this race.

The amount of volunteers and spectators on the course blew me away. I heard cheers that included my name from countless strangers. If you have run a race with good crowds you know how good this feels. Even with a windchill in the 20’s early on the crowds were nuts. I saw lots of great signs and there were plenty of high fives to be had along the way. Volunteers for this race were the best I have ever experienced. The aid stations were absolutely loaded up with water, Gatorade and Gatorade fuel. The medical staff along the course were very attentive to the racers who appeared to need help.

I did plenty of walking between miles 16 and 26 to get me through this. I want to say I would’ve done a lot less if not for my Achilles but I will honestly never know. What I do know is that the cheering coming down the home stretch was amazing. Another shoutout to Juan, whose voice I picked up over the crowd with less than a quarter mile to go.

Houston Marathon Thumbs Up.PNG

I somehow found the energy for a kick at the end and the feeling I experienced once I crossed that line can only be described as wow. I cried, I laughed and I smiled. I was stripped down completely on an emotional level. I’ve never been so proud of my accomplishment. And never more physically spent.

Houston Marathon Finish.PNG

Everything after this was a blur for a hot minute. I received my medal, snagged some photos and a couple of bananas and headed inside the convention center. I was very happy to find Jenn just after finishing and gave her a really big hug. Then things went downhill a bit. After the race I had a little bit of trouble warming up and was having a hard time standing. Jenn flagged down a medical staff volunteer who got me back to the first aid tent. There was a perch set up inside the convention center that was looking for anyone that might need help so it was easy for them to spot my friend flagging them down. I spent quite a bit of time in the tent and I was well taken care of. They got me a under a heat sheet ASAP provided me with warm water to drink and a banana for my blood sugar. Since I was cramping up and still quite cold and shaky they had some sports massage therapists come by to help me keep my leg muscles warm and got me under a heat sheet ASAP. They checked my vitals several times to make sure there was nothing serious going on and they were incredibly friendly. They kept me smiling and laughing, which was important because I was not feeling well at all. I can’t speak highly enough of the medical staff at this race. They and the volunteers were OUTSTANDING.

After I was released from the tent I found Brenda and Jenn, who was thrust into holding onto all of my stuff, which included my phone. My wife sent me the sweetest text when I crossed the finish line telling me how proud she was of me. I meant to answer her as soon as I got settle inside but that didn’t happen before I was taken back to first aid. They walked with me to get the post-race meal, which included a hot breakfast sandwich, which was exactly what I needed, and then to collect my finisher’s shirt and sweet glass finisher’s mug. I didn’t expect either one of these things after getting a shirt with my packet so I was very pleasantly surprised.

The course, the weather and the people make this a great race for potential PR’s and for great spectating. I highly recommend this race.

Post-race, I was able to jump on Athlinks.com and claim my race results. You can check out how I did it here, and while you’re at it, jump on and make an account too. Don’t forget to add me as a friend so we can go head-to-head in future races! 

If I haven’t mentioned it enough yet I can’t thank my BRP fam enough for this experience. Brenda, Jenn and Juan, all of the advice, laughs and hugs got me through this and you are the reason I will remember this experience forever. Thank you all very much.

Follow Brenda, Jenn and Juan on Twitter and check out their reviews for this race using the links to their blogs in the story above. Don’t forget to check out my race review on Bibrave.com as well as the Chevron Houston Marathon on Social Media:

Twitter: @HoustonMarathon

IG: @chevronhoustonmarathon

And Here We Go – Houston Marathon Race Weekend

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Chevron Houston 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!”

The last few months have been quite the adventure. I’ve embarked on a journey I never thought I would have ever been on ten years ago. I started and completed training for a marathon. Tomorrow I will line up with thousands of other people trying to do one thing. Run 26.2 miles.

This was me nearly three weeks ago after cutting a 4 mile easy run short due to a sore right Achilles. Since then I have only used the stationary bike and done low impact cardio to keep my fitness at a certain level. I didn’t want my first marathon journey to end before it started. According to my Garmin I have maintained my fitness and now that it is race weekend I have officially made it.

Packet pickup is done. Race short pickup is done. Both were done very easily as the system for check in and pickup was incredibly easy and the volunteers were helpful and all smiles. Meeting my awesome fellow Bib Rave Pros Juan, Jenn and Brenda was awesome and I feel incredibly blessed to share this experience with such awesome people.

The weather on Sunday is slated to be on the colder side (32-35) at the start of the race. For that reason my wife and I decided that it would be easier on her and the kids to stay back in Dallas for this one. I have had them cheer me on in the cold before and it wasn’t easy on her and little kids from warmer climates don’t do well with the cold. My wife and I were very torn up about this because she knows what this means to me and wants to be here for me to see me finish. I wanted her to see me do what I had worked so hard to do. She was at home watching the kids for my long training runs so she is as much a part of this as I am. This race is for her far more than it is for anything else.

Thankfully I have my fellow BRP’s here with me to make sure I finish in one piece.

I hope you will follow me for just one more run until this adventure is completed. You can download the Chevron Houston Marathon app on your smart phone or track my progress HERE.

Follow the Chevron Houston Marathon on Social Media:

Twitter: @HoustonMarathon

IG: @chevronhoustonmarathon

Happy Smells – My WIN Detergent Review

Disclaimer: I received an bottle of WIN Detergent 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!”

Running makes me not smell good. There, I said it. I sweat… a lot. Unfortunately for me and others, it isn’t a neutral smelling sweat either. My guess is that the smell of my sweat could rival just about anyone else’s. Now that I have let that all out you can understand why I was excited to find something to help me with that. Thankfully I have a lot of performance gear so a lot of my sweat gets wicked away but that only works to a point. It still absorbs sweat and something I didn’t know is that this type of clothing attracts oils. The same properties of the clothes that wick moisture away absorb the oils from your skin.  Regular detergents are made to make items smell better but they aren’t designed like WIN to separate these oils from the synthetic materials that performance gear is made out of.

This stuff is made specifically to tackle performance gear. Try as I might to wash my workout gear quickly after a workout there are always work and school clothes that take priority when it comes to washing clothes for the week. With only so much time in the day to get all of the laundry done I am usually resigned to saving all of my workout gear from the week for a single wash. Remember those oils I mentioned earlier? That stuff is home to the very bacteria that makes your clothes stink to begin with. This stuff lingers as it is. Now imagine 3-4 days worth of gear that has been sitting in a pile together for days. I’ll spare you any details but it isn’t pretty.

This time of year when the temperature drops the layers increase and so does the amount of laundry. The amount of sweat poured into those clothes also increases as I get warmer on longer runs. Since I am in the middle of marathon training my long runs are frequently in the double digits and last hours. On my shorter runs I am not able to notice just how much I stink but during these long runs I am able to smell myself half way through the run. I think you get the idea on how much I needed WIN by now but there is a point to all of this. I am on the extreme end of someone who benefits from the formula WIN uses to de-stink clothes. It doesn’t take much of it to work its magic either. 1 capful (the cap isn’t that big) in a standard size machine for a small/medium load is sufficient. For larger machines and loads you may need to use 1-1/2 to 2 caps.

The bottle is 32oz so if you are using a single capful once or twice a week then this is well worth the cost as it will last a while. So, my verdict on WIN detergent. Not only does it work but it works well. Before WIN letting my clothes all sit in one pile was a gamble. The clothes that went in the pile last were generally fine but anything that sat for 3 or more days stood a 50/50 shot of being re-washed because the stale smell of sweat still lingered. I didn’t have to re-wash anything while testing WIN. I didn’t take any chances because I loathe having to re-wash clothes so I did use a little more detergent than recommended if the gear I used for my double digit runs had to sit for a while. I experienced no lingering smells after washing and even felt comfortable enough including my daughter’s gymnastics gear in the same loads, which I would have never done before. You can find WIN on Amazon right now for just $10.95 a bottle, which is a very fair price.

WIN

If you happen to need a dye and scent free detergent because of sensitive skin or want a more green-friendly detergent then you can try out WIN GREEN.

 

From now until January 15th you can save 20% off any WIN purchase, which includes individual bottles, 2-packs and 4-packs, with code “RAVE4WIN”.

 

You can shop for WIN HERE

Follow WIN on social media

 

IG: @windetergent

TW: @windetergent

Run Globally From Anywhere – My Zwift Run Review

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Pod 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!

The treadmill is one of those tools that many find necessary for their training and yet not nearly as enjoyable as being out on the open road. One can see why though. Treadmills aren’t out in the fresh air, the scenery is always the same (unless you like to move your treadmill around) or it requires a trip to the gym. Sometimes it is a combination of all three. Luckily, I was able to test out something that is a partial solution to those problems and makes the treadmill experience A LOT more fun.

What is this magical solution? It is Zwift Run. Zwift Run is a way for you to connect virtually with other runners, from around the world and knock out those treadmill miles. All you need for Zwift Run to work is a treadmill, a footpod and a device (tablet, phone or computer) to run the Zwift app. You can use Android or Apply and it is recommended that you use a tablet or a computer for optimal results. I used my phone and while it worked there were some things I didn’t get the full benefit of because of that. You can also hop on a Bluetooth treadmill and do it without the footpod and device.

The first step is to check what equipment works best for your Zwift run experience here.  Then, if need be you can purchase a footpod from their shop here and then setup an account at https://zwift.com/en/run/. Once you have your footpod there is a very quick pairing process with your device through the app that leads you to calibrating the pod to your treadmill speed. This is a very important step as not calibrating the speed can lead to some funky results. In fact, the more times you do this calibration the better your experiences will be. I paired it the morning before a BibRave 5K virtual run for the first time and it worked, for the most part, quite well. I had a few hiccups during the run with the speed being off but was told that more calibrations would get the two to sync better.

Zwift Pairing

Now to the running. Zwift Run has created virtual routes in places like Richmond, New York and London for you to run alongside strangers or friends either on your own time or during a specific even setup within Zwift. The main screen on the Zwift Run app has a calendar that shows the events for the day and where they take place. You can literally (virtually) run through the streets of London without leaving the comfort of your home on a Tuesday afternoon. If you are the kind of person who happens to love group runs but are out of town and away from your group or most of your running friends are spread across the country you can set up virtual events to get together with them anyway!

I am, quite honestly, the latter. Almost all of my running friends (and fam) are all over the place so this is the only way I can run with them without traveling. Running on the TM is also something I do out of necessity but don’t enjoy because starting at my garage wall is not a ton of fun. When I have Zwift open on my phone and I hop onto one of their courses while on the treadmill then the garage disappears around me. The best part about Zwift Run is that the app is free. All you need is a connected device, a treadmill and the app. Don’t be afraid of the treadmill anymore or let it be an excuse to skip a training run. This app adds a little bit of zest to your TM runs!

Right now code “BibRave15” is good for $15 off the cost of the Zwift RunPod at Zwift.com.

Follow Zwift Run on social media:

IG: @gozwiftrun

Twitter: @GoZwiftRun