Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Product Review: SPIBelt Performance Series

The Performance Series SPIBelt is lightweight and easy to use.

Disclaimer: I received a Performance Series SPIBelt 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!

Who wouldn't like an extra pocket to go running with occasionally?  There are those runs, year round, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring, where sometimes, often due to the shorts, tights, pants, etc. that we are running in, that we think, "Why didn't they include a pocket?" Or..."Why didn't they make the pocket bigger?"  Or..."I don't really want to take a whole pack, I just need a pocket for...my keys, a piece of candy, some TP, etc."  

Enter to the rescue...the SPIBelt Perfomance Series Belt, https://spibelt.com/shop/spibelt/spibelt-performance-series/.  Weather resistant and able to hold some of the larger phones out there, this is that pocket you need when the one included in your kit just isn't big enough or simply doesn't exist. It's very light, and I hardly feel it on at all.  (Maybe I would if I put more stuff in the pocket, including my phone?)  I typically stuff in a couple of Ginger People Gin Gins, a baggie of TP, and my old school (the square chunky one) iPod Nano.  There is a ton of room left over after this and adding a phone would be no problem. Nor would gels be a problem since there are 4 gel loops on the belt.



Getting packed up to go run!

The SPIBelt is made to be worn with the pocket on your front.  But, it can be worn in the back...which is good, for some of us have been wearing gear with the pockets in the back, (think fanny packs) for a very long time, and wearing the pocket in front...seems like a violation of some natural law...so, as a trail runner who often has to learn how to adjust things on the fly, I have with the SPIBelt...I wear the pocket in back...

For those who may be wondering, the belt fits waists from size 29"-52" and has no bounce when running.  It's a basic black, with the zipper being your only color option, (7 choices).  Here it is on me before I went for a 5.5 mile run this morning.





If you are interested in trying one out, you can save 20% right now until 11/18/16 with code: bibchat2016.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Product Review: First Impressions of the LEGEND Compression Performance Socks

The LEGEND Compression Performance Socks in blue.
Disclaimer: I received a pair of LEGEND Compression Wear Compression Performance Socks to review 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. 

Over the weekend I received a pair of LEGEND Compression Performance Socks to try out and review.  I threw them on yesterday for my first four mile run since getting injured last week.  Usually I wouldn't wear a compression sock for such a short run, but I wanted to try them out and see how they performed.  I was surprised by how easy they were to put on compared to many compression items I have had over the last several years, including some socks that actually would rip if they were not put on right because they were so tight.  LEGEND has a saying, "Compression done right not tight."  There compression socks are more moderate compression having a therapeutic effect during exercise.  They are much, much easier to get on and off than anything I have used and I had no fear of ruining them.  

I am looking forward to trying them at work as well since I am often on my feet for an 8 hour shift on hard floors, so these might also get some time there, especially after a hard run before work.  The socks seemed a little big to me, but we will see how they are after a wash or two.  So far, so good.  I think these might be a nice addition to my footwear arsenal.  More to come.

P.S. Get 15% off with code "bibsave".

Monday, October 10, 2016

2016 Racing Season: Ready Set Glow Trail Run, Dryer Road Park, Victor, NY, October 8, 2016


Watching the finishers, (lights), come in at the end of the Ready Set Glow Trail Run, Saturday, October 8, 2016.
I run a lot in the early morning, so using a headlamp is pretty common for me, especially this time of the year.  But, typically as I run, the sun is coming up and so by the time I am done, I am in the light and have often seen the sunrise.  But, the Ready Set Glow Trail Run was a different experience Saturday night.  Instead of running into the coming daylight, we'd be waiting for it to go down before we even started and then would head off into the woods where there were lots, (LOTS!) of tripping hazards!!! Normal, daytime, trailrunning has the same tripping hazards, but at night, you have to watch for them with the eyes of an eagle while running at the speed of a gazelle...or in my case, perhaps a fast elephant...

One of my boys and I drove down south of Victor, NY, to Dryer Road Park and arrived as the sun was still going down. The Ready Set Glow Trail Run is a race put on by the Trails Roc running group that I have run with several times this past summer.  Eric and Sheila Eagan head it up and had plenty of solid volunteers helping them in the dark.  Now I've directed several races, and there are always a ton of things to be concerned about, but directing a race in the dark, with very little natural or artificial light to help you, that's an additional challenge, and I'd say based on my experience, Sheila and Eric did a very good job Saturday night.


In our BibRave Orange waiting for the sun to go down and the race to start @ 7:35pm.  Headlamps are mandatory.
The race started in the soccer fields, the opening lane being "flagged" by flashing glow sticks.  The rest of the course was continually marked by orange flags, as well as the occasional glow stick.  That said, it was very easy to go off course in the dark since you can't plant a flag every few feet over a 5 mile course nor expect staff to do so.  Therefore, you really had to pay attention out of the edges of your periphery vision for flags while also looking directly in front of you for tripping hazards, especially roots and short stumps, while also looking down the course and at the person/people in front of you.  

Once we got onto the trails, it seemed like the roller coaster of ups and downs was pretty continuous with a lot of switchbacks. Note the map below:
The course for the Ready Set Glow Trail Run, courtesy of www.trailsroc.org


Even after the "Upper Field" stretch of open field as we dove back into the forest, people were going off course.  I found myself jumping up several people due to this and actually running by myself a little bit away from a smaller group of people.  Running alone in some ways that first mile or so might have been good, as I could just concentrate on my own race without pressure ahead or behind me.  This would change as I got closer to one of the other runners in front of me.  

The two of us ran together for probably a couple of miles of the course, with him stumbling a few times, as well as myself.  This seemed to occur more as the train of lights on a large group of people seemed to ever near but never catch us for what seemed like an eternity.  With all the switchbacks, we kept seeing the group behind us and I thought for sure they'd catch us in all the hills, switchbacks, and tripping hazards, but we held them off for quite a while.  I think it was on the Owl's Maze section (or maybe it was Juicy Bacon) where we would not only switch back and forth with the group right on our heels while also going up and down in every turn like a banked race course.  Somewhere on one of the flatter sections, (which there were few of), I hit a root/stump just right that I caught my balance but felt like I hyper-extended my back.  (It literally felt like my back stretched along the spinal column.)  Shortly after that, I could feel it in my right upper hip and then my right foot, where I have had some plantar fasciitis recently, went numb off and on a couple of times.  My running uphill seemed like shuffling occasionally, especially as we climbed up the elevator.  The group behind us seemed fine with the two of us in the lead hiking rather than running it.  We almost went off course once, but caught it quickly.  Then, at the top of the hill as we exited the forest, we unfortunately started to turn back into the woods at the top instead of going into the fields. Again, we caught ourselves withing 30 feet or so, but I ended up behind the whole group I had been helping to lead and lost several spots!!!  All the time I felt like I had had this train of lights behind chasing me and we had held them off until almost the end, and then have it get messed up with less than a mile to go!!!  Ugh!!!  I think I would have finished around 15th +/- if not for that.  Oh well!!! 

As we came through the final section of forest, we ended by running through the sports fields once again and racing down the black top to the finish line.  My son was already done and came in 4th place!  I was 21st out of 87 and attribute much of that to good route finding in the first 4 miles.  If I'd been quicker to catch the flags at the top of the final hill I might have been as high as 13th.  Next year I guess!  Amazing, considering I think my pace was like 13 min/mile!!!  2016 Ready Set Glow Trail Run Results

Thanks to the Trails Roc group for putting on a great race!!!  Definitely a different nature of a race when you running in the dark!  Pretty cool!  Try it out some time, you won't notice the hills as much because you'll be looking for flags, stumps, and lights more than anything else!!!  Enjoy!



Thursday, October 6, 2016

Product Review: 2Toms StinkFree Sports Detergent & 2Toms StinkFree Shoe & Gear Spray

Getting ready to spray my current trail-running shoes  with 2Toms StinkFree Shoe & Gear Spray.
Disclaimer: I received a sample of 2Toms StinkFree Sports Detergent & 2Toms StinkFree Shoe & Gear Spray to review 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. 

I have always wanted to try those sports detergents that say they will get the stink out of your clothes and gear.  So, when there was a chance to try some products from 2Toms, I thought I would give it a go.  This review is for two products from 2Toms, the StinkFree Sports Detergent and the StinkFree Shoe & Gear Spray.

First, the detergent.  


A 2 pack sample of 2Toms StinkFree Sports Detergent.

The first load I did with the 2 Toms product didn't come out as I thought it would, and I believe that is my fault.  Laundry detergents have become more concentrated as they turned from powders to liquids, and I think I filled my washer too full for the amount of soap I used in this case based upon rereading the instructions afterwards.  That one's my fault.


Make sure to read the directions clearly so you use the right amount of soap for the appropriate sized load of laundry.
So, the second load, I sized appropriately and the load of laundry came out fine.  There was no smell. Now, that's important, for we live in an age of overly perfumed expectations of laundry soap...what? What does that mean? It means, that 2 Toms uses no perfumes. So the load of laundry not smelling like a dirty sock, or a "summer breeze," or "alpine meadow," is all equal.  Just not smelling bad and not smelling like perfume, means it's golden!  It worked. Remember that as we come to the second product...

Second, the spray.


Just like the detergent, the spray should make things not smell bad, but they won't smell like a "mountain fresh stream," either.  That means it's working!


The spray also leaves no scent when it is working.  You know it is working, and that you've either used enough or sprayed it enough times, when your shoes simply stop smelling...like stinky road or trail shoes.  This took a few applications for the main pair of shoes I did my testing on, but it did work. However, I ran in them today, and because the shoes get dirty, your body sweats, things are wet in the early morning, guess what...you've got to spray it again in order to keep the smell away.  The instructions say you will have to do this, and it is a normal expectation of the product.  But, oh...what some people would do to make shoes not smell like...you fill in the blank_____.  Some of my kids' shoes smell worse than my trail runners!!!

Overall, these things work, but you do need to understand how they work and adjust your expectations.  Right now, you can get 20% off with code 2Toms20 on any 2Toms products through the end of 2016!!!  Enjoy!









Sunday, October 2, 2016

Product Review: Generation UCAN Snack Bars


Generation UCAN Snack Bars are made with a SuperStarch Carbohydrate.


Disclaimer: I received a sample package of UCAN Snack Bars to review 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. 

I enjoyed the Generation UCAN SuperStarch drink mix so much, when the chance came up, (as a BibRave Pro), to try Generation UCAN Snack Bars, I jumped and said, "Pick me!!!"  UCAN sent me 6 bars, 2 each of chocolate and coffee bean, and 1 each of cinnamon swirl and peach passion.  

The Generation UCAN Snack Bars are not made to be a protein bar per se, but a "steady energy bar," according to the company.  The SuperStarch carbohydrate that the company has developed was made to deliver steady energy resources throughout the day.  These bars are smaller than many bars from other companies, and seem to range from about 170-190 calories each.


The Chocolate UCAN Snack Bar, 180 calories.

I remember when the first sports nutrition bars, made by another well known company, first came out in the late 80's/early 90's.  They were like eating (more like tearing and chewing tar) flavored dog food/cardboard.  Things have changed in the last 25+ years.  These bars are great.  They start just a little dry in the first bite, but then start to melt in your mouth.  They are very soft once you start to eat them and very strong flavored.  Some may feel that they are overly strong, but I think that actually that is the olfactory system kicking in along with the taste buds.  I actually found that the strong sense of flavor was quite pleasing on a mid-range run.  Being hungry, the taste/smell sensation worked to please my desire for a good tasting food and left me happy to have eaten the bar.  One note, the coffee bean flavor may throw some people as the taste for many of us is actually more akin to raw cookie dough...which still rocks!!!


Prepping for a trail run with my Generation UCAN Snack Bars.

I liked these bars a lot.  They tasted good, but weren't overly filling.  They weren't hard to chew while moving, and they seemed to do what they promised, keep my energy levels steady.  You can enjoy them now, (Generation UCAN Site), and get 15% off with code BIBRAVE.  Enjoy!


Devouring my last Generation UCAN Bar earlier this week!


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