5K Crate: A Treasure Box for Runners

DIkgp7LUwAA7N3T (1)Disclaimer: I received a 5K Crate 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!

Next to setting a PR, there is no greater feeling for a runner than new gear. Whether its shoes, shorts, socks, headphones, gels, etc., we love our gear and look forward to that first run and subsequent ones with this new gear.

If you follow runners on social media, chances are you’ll see us bragging about this new gear. Like most things, running gear can be expensive. We save up for a certain piece when necessary.

However, now thanks to the great people at 5K Crate you can get a box of gear every quarter for a very reasonable price of $59.99 that covers you with running essentials from head to toe. Now, when people see other boxes they think: “Sure I’ll get one nice item and the rest are not useful.” That is not the case with 5K Crate. Not only are all the products useful, but they have partnered with excellent and reputable running brands.

I was excited to receive my first 5K Crate in August. I kept an open mind not knowing what I’d receive. When I opened the box, excitement ensued. The customer experience began positively with a personalized note.

As I went through the contents of the box, the first thing that caught my eye was a Mission Athlete Vaporactive shirt and Enduracool towel. Being from Miami, I’m very familiar with Mission Athlete. They make great quality products that keep runners cool in the high heat and humidity. They also manufacture cold weather gear.

The next piece of gear I saw was Spigen bluetooth headphones.While I don’t run with music often, these headphones are great on the run and in the office.

Then I made my way to every runners favorite piece of gear – socks. 5K Crate included a comfy pair of Zensah compression socks that work well especially in sweaty conditions, making sure my shoes don’t turn into ponds.

Speaking of the heat and humidity of Miami, 3 packs of La Fresh travel sunscreen wipes came in handy and made me a fan of the brand. One of the things we forget before a run is sunscreen. These wipes make it easy to remember and protect you.

Lastly, two huge Epic wipes. I’m not going to sugar coat it. I sweat a lot on runs and yes that tends to mean I get stinky. These full size body wipes work great, and they were appreciated by the patrons at my local bakery that I hit up after a weekend run to get breakfast for the family. I would be remiss if I didn’t congratulate Epic Wipes for their recent victory on Funderdome. It was much deserved.

Six great, usable items in one 5K Crate. As previously mentioned, the cost per quarter is $59.99. The total retail price of the items I received was $129. That’s a phenomenal deal and extra money saved that can go towards a race entry. A true runner’s treasure box.

If you haven’t checked out 5K Crate yet, head over to their website and see what they are all about. You won’t be disappointed.


Hot! Hot! Hey We Got It! Hot Chocolate (15K)

Hot Chocolate 15K Tampa MedalDisclaimer: I received a free entry to Hot Chocolate 15K Tampa 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!”

My son’s favorite movie right now is Polar Express. Yes, its August. And yes, he watches it every day. You see he loves trains, like most 5 year olds do. He’s intrigued by how they move, the gears, the lights, the steam. I’ve read him the book several times, but to him there is nothing like the movie. 

There is a scene in the movie where Tom Hanks gets on the loud speaker and asks “Is anyone in need of refreshments?” Then servers come out singing and dancing to the Hot Chocolate song. When this part comes on, if I’m not in the room already, Gavin yells for me. We jump, dance, and sing the song too.

Gavin and I share a lot of great things with each other. Movies, sports, playing games, building forts and running. It was he who got me back on the running wagon. After he was born, my weekly soccer and basketball leagues went to the wayside. Not wanting to lose my fitness, I strapped Gavin into the running stroller and took off. He loved the wind in his face or blowing the flags that he usually held. Now, he rides his bike while I run.

Given all this, I can’t find a more fitting way to make my BibRave Pro debut in the Hot Chocolate 15K in Tampa on December 17, 2017. I’ve heard a lot about the Hot Chocolate series and am excited to be running in my first one. Just as exciting is a race in a new location for me.

My sister lives in Tampa and I have run parts of the course already. But never raced there. The trek on Bayshore with the water on your side is awesome. It is so picturesque. And you never know who you will see out there. I’ve run into Hulk Hogan, Triple H, Warrick Dunn, Derek Jeter and others.

I’ve never run a 15K, which makes this race even more intriguing and an automatic PR. For me, I haven’t mastered the middle distances yet. And this will be right smack in the middle of marathon training. At the same time, I’m not missing a chance to post a fast time. I feel it fits right into my training, as this cycle I will be focusing a lot on speed work.

HC_HATThis race is going mean a lot for me. I’m sure I’ll be singing the Hot Chocolate song the whole time as I’m waiting to see my entire family at the finish line. I also can’t wait for all the fun and cool swag.

Best of all, you can join me at the start and finish line too by registering for the race. You can get a cool HC15K had too by entering the Hot Chocolate 15K Tampa discount code BRHCTAMPA17.

Get Your Race Discount Codes

As a runners we’re always looking for new races and race codes. As a #BibRavePro I’m happy to share our discounts with you. Hope to see you at the start and finish line of some of these great races.


9/23/2017 – Rhode Races Jamestown – Jamestown, RI

Use code “BibRave” to save 10% on race entry.

9/23/2017 – North County Wine Run – Battle Ground, WA

Use code “winecountry” to save $7 on race entry.

9/24/2017 – Clarendon Day Run – Arlington, VA

Use code “17cdrBibRave” for $5 race entry.

9/24/2017 – Chicago Half Marathon & 5K – Chicago, IL


Use code “BRCHI17” to save $20 on the half, and $10 on the 5K.

9/30/2017 – Freedom’s Run – Harper’s Ferry, WV

Use code “BIBRAVE5” to save $5 on race entry.


10/1/2017 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Denver – Denver, CO

Use code “BRHCDEN17” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!  

10/1/2017 – Running 4 the Kids 5K/10K – New Lenox, IL

Use code “R4TK5KBR” to save 5% on the 5K and code “R4TK10KBR” to save 10% on the 10K.

10/7/2017 – Bellin Women’s Half Marathon – Green Bay, WI

Use code “BibRave10” saves $10 on race entry, expires 8/31/17.

10/7/2017 – Zooma Women’s Series Cape Cod – North Falmouth, MA


Use code “BIBRAVE” to save 10% on the half marathon or 10K.

10/08/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose – San Jose, CA


Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 on the Half, valid until 10/1.

10/15/2017 – Craft Classic Phoenix – Phoenix, AZ

Use code “BIBRAVEHALF” to save $10 on the Half and “BIBRAVE5k” to save $5 on the 5K.

10/15/2017 – Run Inspired 10K – Winterthur, DE


Use code “BibRave” to save 10% on your race entry.

10/14-15/2017 – Milwaukee Marathon – Milwaukee, WI


Use code “BibRaveMKE” to save $5 on your race entry.

10/13-15/2017 – Detroit Free Press Marathon – Detroit, MI


Use code “DETROITBRP17” to save 10% on race entry.

10/14-15/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn – Brooklyn, NY


Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 on the Half, valid until 10/1.

10/14-15/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver – Denver, CO


Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 on the Half, valid until 10/8.

10/14-15/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis – St. Louis, MO


Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 on the Half, valid until 10/8.

10/15/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Lisbon – Lisbon, Portugal


Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save 3 €/£ off Half and Full, valid until 10/8.

10/21/2017 – 47th Annual James Cunningham Seawall Race – Vancouver, BC


Use code “BIBRAVE10” for to save 10% on race entry!

10/21/2017 – Urban Bourbon Half Marathon – Louisville, KY


Use code “BourbonRave2017” to save 10% on race entry.  

10/21/2017 – Kansas City Marathon – Kansas City, MO


Use code “BIBRAVE17” to save 15% on your race entry. Valid for online registrations only.

10/21/2017 – Pumpkins in the Park – Chicago, IL


Use code “BibRavePP17” for a bonus RAM Racing drink bottle!

10/22/2017 – Nutrabolt Oktoberfest Half – College Station, TX


Use code “BIBRAVER17” to save 10% on race entry.

10/28/2017 – Tulsa Run – Tulsa, OK


Use code “bibravetr” for $5 on your race entry.

10/29/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA


Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 on the Half, valid until 10/22.

10/29/2017 – Ocean State Rhode Race – Narragansett, RI


Use code “BibRave” to save 10% on race entry.

10/29/2017 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Chicago – Chicago, IL

Use code “BRHCCHI17” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!  


11/4/2017 – Bike the Coast – San Diego, CA


Use code “BRBTC2017” for 30% off, includes ride & jersey combos!

11/04/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Merida – Merida, Mexico


Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 or 270 Pesos off Half, valid until 10/28.

11/04- 05/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah – Savannah, GA


Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 off Half and Full, valid until 10/28.

11/5/2017 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Columbus – Columbus, OH

Use code “BRHCCOL17” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!  

11/5/2017 – South Shore Half – Norwell, MA


Use code “BRSSH10” to save 10% on your race entry.   

11/11- 12/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV


Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 off Half and Full, valid until 11/05.

11/12/2017 – Honor Run Half Marathon – Florence, KY


Use code “BIBRAVE10” to save $10 on your race entry.

11/12/2017 – Madison Marathon – Madison, WI


Use code “RAVE10” to save $10 on Madison Marathon or Half Marathon.

Code will expire Nov 8 at 11:59PM (close of online registration)

11/12/2017 –  Monterey Bay Half Marathon – Big Sur, CA


Use code “BRP17” for a bonus 13.1 magnet!

11/18-19/2017 – Williams Route 66 Marathon – Tulsa, OK


Use code “2017R66BR” to save $10 on your race entry.

11/23/2017 – North Shore Turkey Trot – Highland Park, IL


Use code “BibRaveTT17” for a bonus RAM Racing drink bottle!

11/23/2017 – Art Van Turkey Trot – Chicago, IL


Use code “17BIBRAVE10” to save 10% off all distances!

11/23/2017 – Century Link Turkey Day 5K Minneapolis – Minneapolis, MN


Use code “TURKEYDAY2017” to save 10% off all distances!


12/2/2017 – Run Laughlin –  Laughlin, NV


Use code “BIBRAVE20” to save 20% on your race entry.

11/02- 03/2017 – Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio – San Antonio, TX


Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 off Half and Full, valid until 11/26.

12/3/2017 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Scottsdale – Scottsdale, AZ

Use code “BRHCSCOTTS17” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!  

12/10/2017 – BCS Marathon – College Station, TX


Code “BIBRAVER17″ saves 10% on your race entry.

12/10/2017 – Honolulu Marathon – Honolulu, HI


Use code “BIBRAVEHNL” to save 20% on your race entry!

12/10/2017 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K St. Louis – St. Louis, MO

Use code “BRHCSTL17” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

12/17/2017 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Tampa – Tampa, FL

Use code “BRHCTAMPA17” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!



1/7/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K San Francisco – San Francisco, CA

Use code “BRHCSF18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

1/13-14/2018 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona – Phoenix, AZ


Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 off Half and Full, valid until 1/7/18.

1/21/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Atlanta – Atlanta, GA

Use code “BRHCATL18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!


2/3/2018 – Sedona Marathon – Sedona, AZ


Use code “18BibRave” saves 20% on race entry!

2/3/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Dallas – Dallas, TX

Use code “BRHCDAL18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

2/17/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Nashville – Nashville, TN

Use code “BRHCNASH18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

2/18/2018 – A1A Fort Lauderdale Marathon and Half Marathon – Fort Lauderdale, FL

Use code “BIBRAVE” to save 15% on the Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K.  

2/25/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV

Use code “BRHCVEGAS18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!


3/4/2018 – 13.1 Miami Beach – Miami Beach, FL

Use code “BIBRAVEMB18” to save $5 on the half marathon!

3/4/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Seattle – Seattle, WA

Use code “BRHCSEA18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

3/18/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K San Diego – San Diego, CA

Use code “BRHCSD18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

3/18/2018 – Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon – Cary, NC

Use code “bibrave1” to save $20 on race registration!


4/7/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA

Use code “BRHCPHILLY18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

4/14/2018 – Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Minneapolis – Minneapolis, MN

Use code “BRHCMINN18” to score a BONUS Hot Chocolate branded cap!

4/26-28/2018 – Illinois Marathon – Champaign-Urbana, IL

Use code “2018bibravebonus” to save $5 on race entry!

Running on the Road

bibrave 100Yesterday, as I was packing for this week’s business trip to Dallas, I texted my boss two simple words – “running clothes.” She responded almost immediately that it was the first thing in her suitcase.

I’ve often been asked how I keep to my training schedule when traveling for work. It’s actually extremely easy. It helps to have a co-workers who are runners as well. We help keep each other honest, and go for at least one run while on the road – two if the trip is more than 3 days.

In some cases, I’ve reached out to the #BibChat and #RunChat communities for advice on routes. The other good part is meeting fellow runners who I’ve become friends with through social media.

This has afforded me to run in some great locations and explore different terrains. Not to mention put faces to names, and more than likely have a beer with them after. Running on the road is actually a lot more fun and something I look forward to while traveling. It helps break up the time, and get me out of the hotel.

Last year, I ran in 10 states and 18 cities. So far this year, I’ve hit 4 states and 11 cities. After this publishes, it will be 5 and 12. My goal is to run in all 50 states at some point during my running career – right now I’m at 17 since returning to running in 2013.

Speaking of running different routes around America, BibRave just launched its “The BibRave 100” where they are compiling a list of the top 100 races. Races can be anything including marathons, 13.1, 10K, and 5K. Whether it is best bling, best expo, best course, best all around, BibRave wants you to nominate it. It is easy to do, just go to www.thebibrave100.com.

If you’ve never heard of BibRave, you should also check out their website – http://www.bibrave.com/. There you can search reviews of races, and review races you’ve run. You can also join the community on twitter every Tuesday night at 9 pm EST for #BibChat where you can talk to other runners, meet some great people, and learn everything you need to know about running.

So, when I’m asked how are you able to run while traveling? The answer is easy – everyone helps keep me on track. I’ve set up goals, am eager to meet friends I interact with weekly, and I like pounding the pavement in new locations. It’s as simple as just packing my running clothes.


Fueling the second half of 2017

nuunIt’s hard to believe we are halfway through 2017 already. So many of us have had a great first half of the year, and we are poised to continue the momentum through December. In terms of running, this year has brought many great things for me.

January began with getting my first ambassadorship with a company and product that has been a staple in my life – Nuun. Training in Miami, I need to focus on hydration just as much as any other aspect of running. With Nuun, I can do that through a clean product that tastes great.

Every morning I have the Nuun vitamins with energy (blackberry citrus) to start my day. In fact, because of Nuun vitamins, I was able to kick my three cup a day coffee habit. Before a run take down a glass of Nuun energy to give me the extra kick I need for training. And now through their new product, Nuun performance, I have an extra boost on long runs.

My first big test of the year was the Miami Marathon in January. I went in feeling great and looking for a PR. Right before my corral hit the start line, it began to pour. It was already cold – about 55 degrees – to make matters worse there was a 15 mph wind. The rain didn’t stop the entire race. I just told myself to push through and hit my marks.

Crossing the halfway point I was 8 minutes under my goal pace. I didn’t know whether to slow down to conserve or keep going. I felt great, but knew a wall was coming. At mile 20, I was shivering bad, but still felt good. I was also 10 minutes under my pace at this time. At mile 23, I looked at my watch and knew I was going to hit my goal, so I backed off and enjoyed the last wet and cold miles.

As I saw my family and one of my running partners, who pushed me during the training, 300 meters from finish line, the celebration began. Not only did I set a PR, it was by 33 minutes. It was a great confidence booster after an extremely tough 2016. Running

After taking one week off, I went right back into training there was a half marathon and two 10Ks on the schedule. I hit March strong, setting PRs in all three races.

May brought a completely new challenge, racing the Wings For Life World Run. It’s hard to describe this race, since it is unlike any other. Racing against 150,000+ people who are running at the same exact time around the world, is an amazing feeling. Adding to it, not knowing where the finish line is because you’re trying to out run a car.

The feeling a car chasing your adds a completely new element to the race. My goal was to get in a 15K before the car caught me. Around mile 10 I began to pull off my pace knowing I hit my goal. Then I heard a faint honking. It was time to sprint as the cars were coming. I ended up finishing 11 miles crushing another goal.

As the weather began to get hotter and knowing my next races are not until September and October, I took June off from hard training. It was a maintenance month, keeping my base but resting my legs. However, another accomplishment happened on World Run Day – Brooks endorsed me.

So far, 2017 has been a strong year for running, but there are still many goals to achieve. As the second training season begins, it’s my most hated time of the year – hot and humid in Miami. But enough of the complaining – training makes a stronger for a reason.

How was your first half of the year?

What do you have in store for the rest of 2017?


You’ll Still Question Tapering After Reading This… But Don’t

taperThere is a constant tug-of-war going on in a runner’s mind during the final two weeks of a training period. That’s the only easy explanation for tapering. You’re told to scale back your miles, but your mind asks how that helps.

Today is my first day of tapering for my fifth full marathon. It’s always a tough day struggling with my head. The good thing is I know I’m not alone. I think back to my first training session when I didn’t trust the taper, and really didn’t trust my training either.

My mileage stayed high, my effort was around 85 percent, and I laughed at people who told me to scale back and taper correctly. They were right. When I hit the wall around mile 17, it nearly leveled me. But hitting the wall that hard began with what happened weeks before.

At the start of the race, I could feel I had heavy legs. My right knee begans letting me know it was there around the fourth mile. Slowly my right quadriceps made its presence known as well. The signs were there six days before the race. I had a tough training run, so, I went back out the next day and tried to make it better. Wrong move – I didn’t trust the taper or my training.

As the race kept on, by mile 15, I could feel just about every muscle fiber in my right leg. To make matters worse, my left leg started to cramp as well. Then at mile 17, total lock up. The next two miles were horrendous. Finally, I was able to get over the wall and to the finish line.

It was the next training sequence, where I said I’ll trust the taper. The tug-of-war began in my head, but this time I was able to keep control. It paid off. On race day, not only were my legs fresh, my whole body was – not to mention my mind. I was able to run through the wall, not get knocked down by it.

After the race, I analyzed many things from my training: mileage, speed, nutrition, and the taper. Each one played a vital role, but what changed the most was the taper.

Here are a few tips to help you taper correctly, and allow your mind to trust the process:

  1. Reduce your weekly runs by 20 to 25 percent, both in length and effort. Yes, your mind will second-guess you. As it does, look at your training logs from the entire period. This will show you that you’re ready for the race and give you the confidence you need to get to the finish line
  2. You just finished a training period that induced fatigue through increased mileage. It is time to reward your legs – and entire body – with a nice recovery period. Focus on nutrition and hydration. By scaling back on miles and effort, and ramping up nutrition you’ll be rested and at optimal condition for your race.
  3. Use the time from scaling back your mileage to make sure you are getting eight hours of sleep nightly. Stay off your feet as much as possible. When laying down, elevate your ankles with a pillow. Use a foam roller to get knots out of your muscles. Don’t change eating habits.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to trust your training. And the taper is a big part of that.

What taper tips do you have?

Does Your Community Do This?

On Wednesday afternoon, I was feeling sluggish. I knew I was already signed up for speed training at the track, but my head wasn’t into it. Not after a marathon of morning meetings and three deadlines I had to hit. So I did what many people do: I went to social media.

No, not to check the latest gossip or to see who posted what political rant, but say I was unmotivated to go to the speed training session. A lot of you reading this already know about the great running community on social media – especially twitter. However, many people don’t know about it.

Thanks to the many people I’ve met over the years on #runchat #bqchat and #bibchat I received the motivation I needed to get out to the track on Wednesday night. Granted, the weather was horrendous for an early December evening – 83 degrees and 95% humidity – but I had gotten my mind back in the game thanks to the running community.

So I got home from work, prepped my bottle of Nuun, threw on my gear, and was off to the track. It was a tough workout given the conditions, but well worth being out there. And to think if not for the great running community, I wouldn’t have gone.

But that’s what the community is here for, to motivate and push each other to be better – not just in running but life. So the next time you find a runner on Twitter, be sure to give them a follow. You won’t be disappointed.