"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary entry to the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
With the epic Urban Bourbon Half Marathon just over a week away, I’m getting super excited about finally getting to do this race and experiencing all the things that make this such a fan favorite!
There are free bourbon tastings at packet pickup, need I say more?
I love the bugle fanfare at the start of the race. It is so Kentucky horse country, it is only fitting that it takes place at the start of this classic half marathon.
Course – Fall Foliage
The course goes through downtown Louisville, through many areas of town, including the Beargrass Greenery and Cherokee Park. With it being peak fall foliage time, the scenery is sure to be amazing!
If you haven’t seen the unique medal for 2018, check it out! A bourbon barrel with a spinning bourbon bottle inside!
Immediately following the race, the party is on! It’s called the Bourbon Bash at Fourth Street Live! It runs from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Receive your wristband at packet pickup. Race participants can enjoy a sampling of bourbons from a number of Kentucky Bourbon Trail distillers. You will also enjoy Bearno’s Pizza, Falls City beer (yay!) and plenty of prize and photo opportunities. The popular local band the Louisville Crashers will perform.
Each participant will show their ID on Friday at Packet Pick-up and receive a Bourbon Bash wristband. That will have seven tabs on it: four for bourbon samples, one for a Falls City Brewing Co. beer, one for a slice of pizza, and one for a cup of Kentucky burgoo (local stew).
Jim Beam, pizza, burgoo, and beer will all be on the lower level of Fourth Street Live! All other bourbon samples will be spread around upstairs. There will be a variety of bourbons from which to sample. You'll just hand over your tab, receive your bourbon, and enjoy!
You know you want to!
The race takes place on Saturday, October 20 in Louisville, Kentucky. Join the party and save 10% with BourbonRave2018!
It’s the Monday after Ragnar Michigan, and I’m reflecting on an another amazing Ragnar weekend.
Ragnar Michigan has had a special place in my heart since it began in 2016. I captained my own team the last 2 years, but my gut feeling this year was that I wanted to take a step back and let fate guide me to the right team.
I have been following Michigan Runner Girl for years. She is such a positive voice amongst runners in Michigan, and her podcast is a wealth of knowledge that I happily scoop up every week from Arizona. The last two years I was hoping to even get a glimpse of her or meet her, and I never saw her at all. But this year, after listening to her podcast with the Ragnar MI race director, I immediately messaged her and said I would love to be a part of her team this year if she had a spot.
And here I am! I was lucky enough to meet up with 2 ladies coming through Grand Rapids who could pick me up and get me to the spot where we were all meeting in Traverse City. Along the way, these 2 Ragnar newbies peppered me with questions nonstop, which was hilarious. They were so eager and excited, it was contagious! We met up with everyone and rolled out to packet pickup. We were 12 ladies of all ages, plus each van had a driver! So awesome!
Our start time was 7:30AM, so we rolled on out to Pere Marquette state park. We got to the start line literally 2 minutes before takeoff. Crazy!
The best part about this race is the incredible scenery. Kelly got to do the “Ragnar Leg” which was the longest at nearly 10 miles. She was rewarded with this view. And a bonus medal!
I was runner 6 this year, which I did back in 2016 as well. They changed the route a bit, and I ended up on a nice trail most of the way through Montague, which is such an adorable town. It was AWESOME!
Check out the exchange video here - action shot!
Major exchanges are always a great opportunity to see the rest of your team and and of course take more pics! It always bums me out that you don't get to know the other van members that well at Ragnar.
We headed out for food and then hit up the major exchange. It really didn’t feel like we had much down time at all, at least not the kind of down time where you are bored and can’t wait to get going. We cheered in the amazing Rose and sent off Mallorie.
One of my favorite spots on this course is at the Pentwater Beach. We timed it perfectly at sunset again, and the pictures were incredible!!!
I especially love this photo of myself and Heather. Doesn’t it look like we have known each other for years? It looks so natural and happy, I love it. The wind was really kicking up and it was getting very chilly.
I was super excited that Heather (Michigan Runner Girl herself), who was our driver, offered to run my night leg with me. I typically dread my night leg especially when it is running through remote areas. I was excited for the chance to get to know her better. We had a 4 miler just south of Ludington, and once again the route changed for the better. It still had a mile or two of running on the shoulder of a highway, but then we ended up seeing a little of the downtown and near the water. I talked her ear off the whole time, poor Heather!
After our night legs, we headed to Manistee where we got to sleep for 4-5 hours! Yasss!
It was super cold in the morning, with a “feels like” temp of 37. Yikes. We stopped at the scenic overlook in Arcadia to cheer on Erinn and grab some pics. She was doing great powering up that endless hill!
This place is just gorgeous. Pure, unspoiled Michigan beauty!!!!
Pretty soon, it was time to run my last leg! It warmed up to high 40’s and a little sunny. We were ready to get this done and head to BREAKFAST!
I had a really great run, full of energy and 12 kills! I’m very happy with all 3 of my legs – they all came in under 10 min miles.
After an amazing and indulgent breakfast, we had time to go and cheer on van 2. It was nice for me to see some parts of the course I haven’t gotten to see before.
We headed to the finish line where I Picked up some extra bling – I got my awesome 6x Ragnar bonus medal, yay!
It was unbelievably cold at the finish line. Most of us were wearing multiple jackets or blankets around us. I can’t believe that just 5 weeks ago I was sweating to death at the Ragnar Great River finish line in Minneapolis!
Lots of great finish pics with this incredible team!
This was such a great experience, I just can’t even explain it. I felt so supported, ,so taken care of , got to meet new runner friends, all in my favorite place in the world. Ragnar Michigan, I can’t quit you! I know I will be back.
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary entry to the Route 66 Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
Year after year, I see so many in my online running community run this race and post pictures of the incredible meet ups that take place. Specifically, the Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics throw a heck of a party at what is known as Maniac Corner. Cool! As a Half Fanatic member, I am looking forward that!
The Route 66 Marathon event takes place November 17-18 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There is a 5k, half marathon, marathon and marathon relay. I’m taking on the “double” which is the 5k on Saturday and the half on Sunday. I hear it is hilly. Yikes! My former running partner who moved to Hilton Head a few years ago is meeting me there for a girls weekend. She has been dealing with some injuries this year, so she is going to run the 5k only.
Some things that make the Route 66 Marathon unique:
Just look at this fun medal! Join the massive party and Save $10 with 2018RT66BIBRAVE at http://rt66.run/2018RT66Run !
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary virtual race entry to the DC Wonder Woman Run Series 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 doesn’t love Wonder Woman? I grew up watching her on Saturday morning cartoons and always thought she was pretty cool. So much so, that I bought a wonder woman Halloween costume a few years back and have wore it in several races!
BRAND NEW RACE SERIES!
This all new race series launched this summer with 5 locations in California. It has a 5k and 10k option.
Don’t live in California? There is a virtual option!
Holy cow, as a Wonder Woman fan, I am so excited about the swag for this race. Even as a virtual participant, I get all this swag that I can add to my Halloween costume!
And if this isn’t enough swag for you as a superfan, just look at this shop.!!!
Right now you can save 10% with code “WWBIBRAVE”, even on the virtual option! What are you waiting for?? Lasso this good deal right now!
Disclaimer: I received an Eat Smart Precision Luggage Scale to review in exchange for an honest review.
As a former airline employee, it was ingrained in me not to check a bag, unless absolutely necessary. I thrive on traveling light and not dealing with baggage claim. However, there are a few times a year when it becomes necessary – like my annual family vacation.
I am giving the Precision VOYAGER Digital Luggage Scale from Eat Smart a try. I have reviewed some of their other scales and have been so impressed with the precision of the readings. I knew I would be getting a quality product.
I really wish I had a luggage scale on my trip to Scotland & Ireland earlier this spring. I was so worried that I would be over the limit that I drastically overloaded my carry on bags to the point of being miserable trudging through the airports, only to find when I checked in that I had a good 8-10 more pounds to spare! I could have bought more souvenirs! LOL
Here are the features of this scale:
Ok, now it was time to put it to the test. I added a 20 pound dumbbell to my suitcase. First I weighed my bag on my regular eat smart bathroom scale for accuracy. Them I secured the SmartGrip handle on it and lifted. Within seconds, the weight popped up on the screen. The two weights were in a few ounces of each other.
This scale can currently be found on Amazon for $14.95. Makes for a great holiday gift for the traveler in your life.
"Disclaimer: I received 2 pairs of Knockaround premium polarized sunglasses 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 am pretty tough on sunglasses, I tend to break them easily, or lose them. That is why I try not to pay top dollar for my sunglasses. I really like the current trend of colorful, inexpensive sunglasses that has been embraced by the running community.
I received 2 pairs from Knockaround. Haven’t heard of them before? They are based in San Diego and have been around since 2005. Plus, they start at just $10!!!
They come in a soft stretchy carrying bag, that also doubles as a lens cleaner. You may be wondering why polarized? A polarized lens offers Increased visual comfort. Since your eyes aren't constantly challenged by glare, it is easier to view objects in bright conditions. It also enhances clarity of vision and contrast for ground level objects. The true test, of course, is how they fit, feel, and function. I took these sunglasses on several runs, including my Ragnar Relay in Wisconsin
They didn’t slip with the sweat, and the other great thing was that they didn’t get tangled in my hair, like my aviators. They are made with a lightweight polycarbonate frame, are impact-resistant lenses, and offer UV400 sun protection.
Tons of fun colors available to match your race-day gear. too!
Knockaround Premiums retail for only $15 (non-polarized) or $20 (polarized).
On top of their ALREADY LOW prices, right now you can save 20% with BibRaveKnocks20! one use per person, expires 9/30.
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary entry to the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
Top Rated Race
I have been so excited about running this race. It was voted the top half marathon in the country last year on the BibRave 100! It has all of the things that I look for when choosing a race:
I have to admire a race that is so strong in a particular distance that it just focuses on that. It’s just a half marathon, nothing more and nothing less! Keep it simple, I like it!
I am overjoyed that my sister will be joining me on this adventure. We’ll take in packet pickup – there is general packed pickup at PNC stadium, as well as VIP packet pickup on Friday from 5-8pm – below is the scoop on VIP packet pickup:
Up to 250 VIPs can get an exclusive taste before the race on Friday, Oct. 19, from 5-8 p.m. Enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and Bourbon cocktails.
But the real star of the show will be the EPIC after party, the Bourbon bash! More on that in my next post, along with the cool finishers medal!!!
The Urban Bourbon half marathon takes place on Saturday, October 20 in downtown Louisville.
Join the party and save 10% with BourbonRave2018! Prices go up again on September 12!
The main reason I used to avoid Ragnar races is now the reason why I’m addicted.
Being with strangers, fear of the unknown, and not wanting to get out of your comfort zone is now a good thing.
A few months ago, I put my name on a few different Ragnar race pages as an interested runner looking for a team. One week before Ragnar Great River, someone replied to my message and asked if I was still looking for a team. I just assumed she was talking about Ragnar Michigan and started typing back “nope, I’m all set”, and then it dawned on me that she was talking about Minnesota! I dropped everything and had to google when this race actually was. She had a FREE spot on a team that she was just going to hand over! How do I turn that down???!!!
Once it was cleared with the boss and hubby, I set out to find a great airfare deal. By the next morning, the price had jumped up $200. After much deliberation and searching, I got my original low price and flew all the way to La Crosse, Wisconsin, just 30 minutes from the start. I worked the afternoon from a cool coffee shop downtown and then had a delicious dinner before ubering over to Winona. At the end of dinner, it started raining cats and dogs.
My friend Jenn was in town with her team and met me for drinks while I waited for the rest of my vanmates to arrive from Minneapolis. Luckily the rain finally stopped before we left.
When the team arrived, they were so easy going, efficient and organized. They have done the race together for years, except there was 2 new girls this time. They put their stuff down and were in bed 10 minutes later. I was in van 1. Our team started at 5am from Winona.
Van 1 lineup:
Runner 1 - Kristina
Runner 2 – Brandy
Runner 3 – Tim (Shanny)
Runner 4- Amy
Runner 5 – Ruth
Runner 6 - ME
Our first legs were all very long, most of us had over 7 miles. So even though we had a 5am start, I didn’t run until noon and it was HOT. My leg was 7.6 miles. And a never ending hill.
After handing off to van 2, we drove to Pepin, WI and had lunch an outdoor café. Fabulous. It was VERY hard to resist having some local fried cheese curds from the cheese curd capital of nearby Ellsworth (and in hindsight, maybe I should have just given in!).
We chilled out at a campground while we waited for our turn. There was one charger in the van and our rides in the van were so short that our phones like never charged. It was a personal van, not a rental van, so it didn't charge when the engine was off, unfortunately. We were all hovering around 20% for the weekend, which makes me mental. I found an outlet there and managed to get up to 40%.
I am completely fascinated by water. I loved that we were near the river most of the way, and how it divided the two states. I did not know it was so hilly in southeastern Minnesota/western Wisconsin. Oh, and it seems like trains were going by like once an hour. No matter where we were. Lots of bluffs like this…and bugs!
My night leg was only 3.6 miles, yay! It was mainly country roads, but I pretty much always had someone in sight, which was great. The temps were in the low 60's and it felt great. I finished sometime before 2am and we drove off to Stillwater, MN to sleep. Two of us slept in the van and the other 4 either slept in the gym or outside. It felt great to stretch out and get some sleep. I slept terrible on the hotel floor the night before.
We started seeing teams skip legs or double up and were wondering if we should be doing that. We were running behind schedule, and I had an 8 pm flight home (8pm is when the finish line closes). We had a race official come up to us at exchange 28 and ask if we thought we would make it and she offered us the chance to do the same, basically to get van 2 started right away while we were still running our last few legs in van 1. We decided to go for it, and I’m so glad we did. I really wanted to cross the finish line together and celebrate as a team if possible before I had to leave.
These were some of the views at Exchange 28 at Afton State Park. Really pretty. When Ruth took off running, and we saw her as we drove away, she looked amazing in a sea of gold flower fields around her. Where was the official race photographer when you need them?
I headed out on my last leg, a 4 miler. Once again it was hot but it was hazy so it didn’t feel quite so bad. I found some good energy on this leg and had my best pace of the 3 legs. Gotta love ending on a high note! We grabbed some burgers and then headed straight for the finish. No time to shower in between. We had time for a beer or so while we waited for van 2 to finish. The finish area down by the river at University of Minnesota was beautiful. I’d love to see it in fall colors. Our team name was the "Knight Owls", because the captain's last name is Knight.
I earned my bonus medal, the fanatic. I love it!
In the end, I was happy to meet this new group of people and see this course. They were sweet enough to drop me off at the airport – I looked like a total freakshow at the airport with my Ragnar tat, sparkle skirt and compression socks! I mean what is considered "normal" at a Ragnar relay is not normal at an airport LOL. I made it to my gate an hour before flight and was stoked.
Special shoutout to Lori, whose spot I took - she really went out of her way to make it as easy for me as possible. And I appreciated how welcoming and friendly everyone was. I will say that I've never been with a group of ladies who was so uninterested in taking photos. Not of the scenery, not of each other, nothing. Our team had a really wide age range from 20's to 60's? Great dynamic, though. Hope to run with you all sometime again in the future!
"Disclaimer: I received a set of Karma rings 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!"
As much as I ADORE my wedding ring, there are times that it is not comfortable to wear it. For me, that is lifting weights (the clinking bothers me), or doing any muy thai/boxing where you have to wear a glove. During a humid race, my fingers do tend swell, making it next to impossible to get my already tight ring off.
I had seen a few ads for silicone rings and wondered if this might be a solution. Enter Karma rings! I received a set that came in a super cool tin (hint: you'll want to keep this tin to store your jewelry in when you travel! Mine contained a white “base” ring and then 3 colored “core” bands that slip over the base. I chose the pastel set – a pale pink, a hot pink, and a lavender. The rings are heat save and non - conductive for added safety.
I was most anxious to try these during body pump class. They slip on easily, and are very comfortable on. You definitely forget you are wearing them.
I also took them out on some runs, and still no slippage even when sweaty!
Rings can also serve as symbols – and Karma believes that wearing your karma ring can be a symbol of something you stand for. From the Karma website –
Individual Finger Symbolism
Thumb (Will Power) – The thumb is independent, while working in tandem with our other fingers to accomplish various tasks. The thumb represents logic and will power, a symbol of controlling ones thoughts and actions.
Index Finger (Authority and Ambition) – Also known as the “Power Finger”, the index finger represents Authority, Power, Leadership, and Ambition. Historically, Kings, Priests, and healers wore rings on the index finger because it was believed to be especially powerful.
Middle Finger (Identity and Materialism) – The middle finger, being the tallest, is associated with ones purpose in life. As the center of the hand, it symbolizes personal identity and things most important to us.
Ring Finger (Emotion, Creativity, and Heart) – The ring finger connects to the artery that runs directly to our heart. It symbolizes feelings of affection and love. It is also characteristic of one’s creativity and artistic self.
Little Finger (Relationships) – The little finger or “pinky” is associated with confidence in both personal and business relationships. It is related to our attitudes towards other people, intimacy, and personal attitudes toward oneself. The little finger faces the world, and watches our back as our friends do.
It can also serve as a reminder for something you are committed to – like losing weight, quitting smoking, etc.
Karma sets come in 2 colors for women, the pastel and cinnamon collection – plus a dark colored set for men. Personally, I think they are an AMAZING solution for men. Some men don’t like to wear “flashy” jewelry and work out a lot so the traditional rings may not be the best idea. My husband takes his off the minute he gets home. He also takes it off to swim, golf, mow the lawn, bike ride, you name it! Frustrating. I do believe this could easily be solved with one of these rings which WILL NOT FALL OFF! The men's duo ring sets come in a variety set of dark colors, but also in some cool solo colors of slate blue, iron grey and sage green.
Karma sets retail for $24.99, and individual bands cost $9.99 each. Right now, you can save 33% on set with code BIBRAVE33, plus flatrate shipping of only $1.95, and free shipping over $15! I think I just figured out a stocking stuffer for my hubby!
And, because good karma brings good karma, Karma Ring Co donates a percentage from each sale to a meaningful cause, like Feed the Children!
"Disclaimer: I received a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Air Headphones 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!"
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to try the Trekz Titanium headhphones, wireless headphones that sit just outside your ear, not inside them, and conduct sound through your bones. They were super cool. Recently, Aftershokz came out with an EVEN BETTER model, the Trekz Air.
The box comes with a carrying case, charger and earplugs. Those are in case you need to block out more sound (like on an airplane). But part of the beauty of these headphones is that you get to hear your rockin’ music but still hear the ambient noise around you – birds singing, cars approaching, etc. Safe!
The totally unique aspect of these headphones is the use of bone conduction technology. The sound is just as great as if they were sitting inside your ears, honestly. But your ears are left open to hear approaching cars, etc.
Setup was easy –synching and pairing the headphones to Bluetooth was a piece of cake. I feel like the Trekz Air is a sleeker model - not only lighter, but also a more compact, slim profile that work with any hat and sunglasses combo. You can easily forget you have them on. They only weigh 1.06 oz!!!!
I mostly listened to podcasts with them while I was running or walking. I also listened to music while on the treadmill at the gym. On one particularly hot day, I walked by my favorite local waterfall and could easily hear the soothing sound of the water, even while listening to my podcast. The sound is honestly very crisp and clear.
Took them out for some training runs in the heat. Even sweat didn’t make them slip. These have a nice battery life, too. It says you can count on 6 + hours of battery life. Charging was easy peasy. My one tip is to make sure you press and hear "power off" after you finish your workout. Otherwise when your phone rings it will attempt to have you answer them on your headphones - which maybe you want, but I wasn't quite prepared for that.
I am more than happy with these Trekz Air! They retail for $149.95, and come in 4 colors, including the new canyon red, which has me dreaming of fall.
Special offer below: Right now you can get a bundle of goodies for the same price as the Trekz Air alone!
SAVE $55 OFF the BibRave TrekzAir Bundle when you use the code: "BRBundle"
You can order Trekz Air headphones in Canyon Red (which is what I have), Slate Grey, Midnight Blue or Forest Green. Use code "BRBUNDLE" here to take $55 off the bundle price of $204.95. You get EVERYTHING shown below for less than the cost of a pair Trekz Air headphones alone!
Parting thought: Aftershokz also has amazing customer service, I have personally witnessed them take care of running friends. They really care about you having the best experience possible. Give them a try!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!