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

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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.

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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.

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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

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

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Race Week!

Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Humana Rock ‘N’ Roll San Antonio Marathon and 1/2 Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Image result for rock-n-roll san antonio

Some weeks are just more exciting than others. Race weeks are those kind of weeks.

This Saturday and Sunday, December 1st and 2nd the Humana Rock ‘N’ Roll San Antonio Marathon and Half Marathon will take place along the historic and beautiful streets of San Antonio and I hope you’ve chosen to be there. If you haven’t you can actually still register on the Rock ‘N’ Roll website.

If you are still on the fence and need some extra convincing or if you will actually be there then you can look forward to forecasted race-time temperatures in the 60’s on Saturdays and the 50’s on Sunday. That is something I think none of us could complain about this time of year.

If you aren’t able to spend much time in town during your visit then you will still be able to see things like The Alamo, the Riverwalk, Menger Hotel, and the Tower of the Americas as these important historical landmarks are on the marathon race course.

Image result for rock-n-roll san antonio

 
If you are able to spend a little more time in the city on your visit then there will be no shortage of things to see and do while you are there. Being the holiday season and the city’s 300th anniversary there are lots of events going on. There really are too many to list all of them so I will highlight a few for you.

 
The Destino/Destination San Antonio Event – BRISCOE WESTERN ART MUSEUM, 210 W MARKET ST, 78205

Destino San Antonio presents, for the first time, selections from the Briscoe Museum’s collection of over 600 stereographs of San Antonio, dating primarily from the 1860s to 1930. Inspired by the structure of the stereograph, which is composed of two images of the same scene taken from slightly different points of view, artist and guest curator Anne Wallace incorporates multiple perspectives on the image and identity of San Antonio during a time of profound transition after the Civil War and the final days of the “frontier.” Through the integration of commentary, historical analysis, provocative juxtapositions, and playful inquiry, Wallace invites us to consider narratives that complete a whole. She invites us to engage with the past and consider the future of San Antonio.
This experiential exhibition will include:
• over eighty stereographs of San Antonio, accompanied by hand-held 3D viewers
• a replica arcade with period-style multiimage viewers
• maps, diaries, and city directories from the turn of the century
• video documentaries of personal accounts and interviews with scholars
• an immersive projection space, serving as a backdrop for exhibition programming
• hands-on activities through which visitors can respond to the imagery presented

 

Ford Fiesta De Las Luminarias – November 30 @ 6:00 pm – December 16 @ 12:00 am

Experience the holiday serenity of the River Walk as you stroll along the lush banks of the San Antonio River guided by more than 2,000 Luminarias at night. This century’s old tradition begins at dusk Friday through Sunday only, November 30-December 2, December 7-9, and December 14-16. Luminarias are a traditional Mexican Christmas lantern originally consisting of a candle set in sand inside a small paper bag. Our River Walk Luminarias are a little different in that the flame doesn’t go out. Enjoy the Holiday lights overhead, the luminarias along the banks of the river, and the Ford Holiday Boat Caroling floating by while you stroll or as you enjoy a frothy hot beverage or exquisite meal along the River Walk.

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Health and Fitness Expo

The Expo’s put on by Rock ‘n’ Roll Racing are really not to be missed. The best part is that they are free and open to the public. This expo features the latest in running technologies, fitness apparel, health & nutrition information and interactive displays.

Pick up some last-minute essentials before race day and be sure to visit the Brooks Official Merchandise Store. All runners must visit the expo to pick up their race number, gear bag and t-shirt.

  • Date: November 30 – December 1 , 2018
  • Location: The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center Halls 4A & 4B
  • Expo Hours:
    • Friday, November 30: 12:00pm – 7:00pm
    • Saturday, December 1: 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Directions: For directions, please visit the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center website
  • Free and open to the public

 

If you make it to the race or any of the events listed above share your photos with me on social media!

Happy Racing!

Find Run Rock ‘n’ Roll on Social Media:

Twitter: @RunRocknRoll

IG: @runrocknroll

Spartan Sprint – Glen Rose, TX 10/29/17

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I was talked into this race by my sister and my future sister-in-law (who ran with me and did the Beast, which was 14 miles, the day before) about 3 months ago. Having only ever trained for pure road races I was very nervous about what to expect. The registration process was fairly straight forward. Registering as a team was very easy and insured that myself and my teammate could have the same heat time. The cost with a discount code, which Spartan seems to have one floating around fairly frequently, was right around $100. This was on the high end for what I had seen for race registration costs for a shorter race but I was assured that it was well worth it.

Spartan sent emails frequently for the last month and a half leading up to the race with updates on race slot availability, which I thought was unnecessary because I had already registered. However, attached to these emails were beginner’s training programs for first-timers and that may have really saved me. Outside of my standard running training program I had no idea what would I really needed to do to prepare myself. I was still healing from plantar fasciitis during the last 6 weeks leading up to training so my running prior to the race was very minimal. I could do 2 minute slower intervals without pain and I didn’t want to chance. doing more. I curated my own workouts using the Spartan recommended ones as a framework and they did the trick.

A week or so before the race I was able to check my heat times and the website already provided a list of everything I needed to know about race day (when to arrive, what to bring, what to wear, etc.)

Fast forward to race day and I was really anxious. It was very cold and windy, which I was geared for but it made the prospect of grip strength obstacles very daunting. Parking was managed by the Rough Creek Lodge staff and it was apparent that they were very well prepared and experienced in managing this event. We arrived an hour before race time to pick up our bibs, stretch, store our bags, etc. The Spartan community is very friendly and there were smiles everywhere. Striking up a conversation with anyone around you was very easy and made me loosen up a bit.

The first obstacle was actually clearing a 5 foot wall to get to the start line, which I didn’t expect but it made things seem very real. The waves were made up of 250 people, which was a good limit based on the total number of runners in the open heats. The start of the race, as expected, was crowded and it took a couple of obstacles for it to open up a bit but wasn’t too bad.

Overall the race was 4.5 miles and had 22 obstacles laid out. The course distance wasn’t announced until that day and the course was only released a few days before the race. I really enjoyed this aspect of it because the unknown made me prepare for everything I possibly thought they could throw at me. There were 4-5 water stations throughout the course and the volunteers and other racers couldn’t have been more supportive. Those who needed help with obstacles always found a helping hand of a passer by and not one person seemed to regret their choice to be running this race. It was a very challenging course but as I was promised, as soon as I finished I wanted to run my next race right away. The post-meal goodies included a banana, a Cliff bar, a recovery drink and yes a beer! (Which I didn’t get to take advantage of due to a Halloween event at the zoo that was a can’t miss for my kids)

Post-race I received my medal, a finishers shirt, a piece of a trifecta medal and a coupon code (valid for two weeks) for my next race. I will likely not let it go to waste as I have spotted my next race.

If you are up for a challenge outside of your normal race schedule I highly recommend a Spartan Sprint to start and do plenty of body weigh exercises to prepare (especially pull-ups!).

We are Log

Why?

Why am I starting a running blog?

The simple answer is that I love running. Not just because of the runner’s high (though it is connected to that and I’ll explain in a bit) but because it is, very simply, a part of me. Running is my “me time”, it is my therapy and it feeds my soul.

Running has always been in my blood. My father was a race walker, which always seemed a little comical to other, but it was something I was quite proud of for as long as I could remember. I ran cross country and track in high school. Though in tracker I was a hurdler and not a distance runner. There was just something about going around the track more than once that I just didn’t like.

For the next 15+ years after high school I found myself running infrequently and almost always on a treadmill, which is not my favorite place to run. During that time I fell in love, got married and started a family. I couldn’t have been happier with my life, except that on top of being a husband and a father, I was also an addict. Those that know me well know what I battled with and I will ,perhaps, share specifics at some point but I lead a double life.

The struggle with addiction nearly cost me everything that I had and everyone I loved several times. It wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I really refocused my life that I found true happiness. During that time there was a lot of soul searching and a lot of deep discussions with loved ones that helped me fill the void in my life that I had previously filled with addiction. A year in to the recovery process I tried something that had worked for a friend who was trying to stop smoking. Running.

I hit the road in August of 2016 and for 6 months I put more miles in that I ever had in my life. I didn’t follow a workout routine. I didn’t have a coach. I just ran. I woke myself up 3-5 times a week before sunrise, put on my running gear (which was very sad back then) and I ran. I found out who I truly was when I was on the road and that was a very happy 6 months for me. My last run of 2016 came on December 27th. Just 6 days before my daughter Lucia was born.

Lucia had my undivided attention for the next 6 months but the want to run was always there. Before I was in recovery I didn’t truly know what it meant to be a good father and husband. Now I knew that I could always find running again and that my purpose was to be dad. I did find running again and it was 10 months after I started my journey toward a better life.

I have done some fun things and met some amazing people this year and it is all because of running. I hope to share my journey with you as I aim to push myself and grow into the best version of me that I can. It will be a fun journey at times and I am sure it will also involve pain (emotional and physical) and I’ll probably bore you at some point too.

Thank you for reading this first post (I don’t know how it got this long) and I truly hope you’ll stick with me for the long haul.

– Logan