Friday, March 23, 2018

KT Tape Review: Finding the Support For You

“Disclaimer: I received KT Tape to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

Recently I was afforded the amazing opportunity to test out several different products from KT Tape. Now, I have been previously diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my left knee which is a fancy way to say it hurts to use my knee for long periods of time, so suffice to say I am no stranger to KT Tape. I have been using their Cotton Tape with what is referred to as the full knee support tape style for a while now with great success.

With some new products to play with, I began my quest to find the perfect KT Tape product and taping combination best for me.

First stop was the KT Tape website, which has tons of amazing information and tips. My favorite part, the How To Apply section. So many videos on so many different tape styles! There were 5 that focused on knees! I had been using the Full Support tape for awhile, so I decided to try something new. I decided to try the Inner Knee tape because that is where my pain primary is. So I busted out new roll of KT Tape Pro and taped up. The video instructions were super easy to follow.

Pro - Inner Knee

For my trial of this new Inner Knee tape job, I wore it for Leg Day for my Burn Boot Camp class and then for 2 run of 4 miles each for a total of 4 days of wear. The Pro lasted great and I probably could have worn it for a few more days no problem, but I decided that they Inner Knee style wasn't quite working for me. It did give me some support and I was way better than wearing nothing, but I felt there was a better option for me.

Cotton Tape - 
Modified Full Support
Next, after consulting the videos and a friend of mine that is a PT, I decided to go back to the Full Knee Support but with a slight tweak. I added a half strip on the outside of my knee in a "C" shape to kind of pull the knee cap from left to right. For this, I went back to my tried and true Cotton Tape (tbh, that decision was mostly based on how cute the pink Cotton Tape was.)

For this trial, it was long run day, 10 miles. I LOVED THIS TAPING! I ended up wearing it for 3 more days for an Athletic Conditioning class and another 3 mile run. This was it, this was the perfect taping for me!!

Gentle Tape
I then decided to try out the Gentle Tape, because, frankly I can be a wuss when it comes to removing KT Tape. The Gentle Tape is also cotton and has less aggressive adhesive for easier removal. So I taped up with my modified Full Support style and hit the gym. The tape held for my workout just fine, but started peeling off when I was changing, so I don't think it is my best option as I like to wear my tape for multiple days. Maybe if worn in a less sweaty place (my legs get pretty drenched tbh) or a place that didn't move quite as much (seriously, you knees do nothing but move when running) it would have worked better. I love that KT has this option even if it didn't work best for me. I'm sure it is someone else out there's favorite product.

So, I decided to try out what I considered the best of both worlds for my trials. I did my Modified Full Support taping with the KT Pro and DING DING DING, we have a winner!! I wore this taping for a Half Marathon last weekend and I'm not saying that it was 100% the reason that I hit a 5 min PR, but it certainly helped! I wore this taping for the race, then for wandering around a museum, then a for a rest day and for 2 more days of Burn Boot Camp and short runs. All in all, I wore this tape for 5 days and it kept me supported and happy throughout. This is the combo that will be my go to for now on for sure!

KT Tape also offers a Pro Extreme version with extra strength adhesive which I haven't tried yet, but I plan to use this summer when the SC humidity kicks it up a notch out there. How awesome is it that they literally have an option for everyone?

Two other quick things that I wanted to mention that I really love about KT Tape. First is that the strips come pre-cut for convenience. I've used other brands that do not do this and I can never quite figure out the right length and end up wasting a ton. KT Tape being pre-cut takes out the guess work! Also, I love that the KT Tape Pro products all come in sturdy storage cases. LOVE THESE! Makes it so easy to store and carry with you!

Want to try out KT Tape for yourself? Visit them online at and use the promo code BIBRAVE30 for a 30% discount.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Weekend Adventure: The Road to Tobacco Road

received entry into the Tobacco Road Half Marathon as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out to read and write race reviews. 
So, if you read my last post, you'll remember that I was worried about feeling well enough to do well at the Tobacco Road Half. Well, the good news is that I was probably 95% back up to full strength. I still had persistent stuffiness (sorry all the runners that had to see me shooting snot rockets, I don't think I hit anyone), but overall, I was feeling pretty decent, so yay for that!

This was my first time running the Tobacco Road Half Marathon and I really enjoyed it. Race Management sent out ample emails to communicate leading up to the event and the race website was one of the most comprehensive I've ever seen complete with training plans, event maps including the runners village and inspirational stores from some of the people registered. I felt well informed coming into the race. This was a destination race for me, so I decided to pack up the family and make it a fun weekend excursion.

We drove in from about 2.5 hours away so that meant finding a hotel. Decided on the host hotel for the Expo for the ease, an Embassy Suites, which is a bit fancier than I usually stay, but since I brought the family with me, figured it would be easier. Not only was it easy, since packet pick up was on site, it was SO worth it as the hotel totally catered to the runners offering a discounted rate, evening reception, super early (4 am) breakfast and automatic late (1 pm) check out for runners. It was about a 20 min drive to the race. Would HIGHLY recommend any travelling runners to stay there!!

The Expo was a bit small but well organized. You checked in, got your bib number, went the area marked by your number, went to another area for your parking pass, went to another for your shirt and one more to pick up your Feetures Socks (race sponsor). I didn't mind the moving around cause I like to browse Expos, but if you were in a hurry that could be annoying. All your info was on your bib, so once you got that, it was quick and easy to get your other items. There was a store area with anything you may have forgotten from apparel to shoes to nutrition, massages, food vendors, other races and area clubs. I picked up a cute singlet and took the obligatory picture with the race themed wall (and a few goofy ones with the family) and was off. I will say that the race shirts were WAY on the small side. As in I usually wear a M and I got a L and it was super snug. You could exchange shirts, but only at the race site and it wasn't worth it to me to bring it with me. It should work as long as it doesn't shrink in the wash.

After the Expo, the family and I checked into the hotel and decided to find some low-key fun in the area. I'm not terribly familiar with the Cary/Raleigh area being there only once before, so we asked at the hotel desk what would be something fun for us to do with an 8 year old. We were sent off to a place called Frankies Fun Park. It was one of those amusement centers with arcade, mini golf, go carts, rides, laser tag and so on. So, heads up, this place was NUTS for a Saturday afternoon. We chose a few activities, including mini golf and spent about 2 hours having fun before grabbing a to-go dinner and heading back to the hotel for the evening. I had me a super early wake up call after all.

Again, not being local, I decided to opt for the optional parking pass. Best $12 I ever spent! It gave me access to one of the 900 spots close to the finish line so I didn't have to take the shuttle in. My biggest (well, only) complaint about race was they told us that even with a parking pass they could not guarantee our spot if we were not there by 5:30 am! Umm, I got the pass so I could sleep in. Well, it turns out you did, because I guess the shuttles buses only ran until 5:15 am! I understand wanting everyone on time, but making it so that everyone is there an hour and a half early, especially when its fairly cold out is a bit much. I hit the potties, but since not much was going on and there were no heaters (there were tents) I went back to the car and hung out in there for over an hour. Around 6:30, I hit the potties again (plenty on site) and then made my way to the start. It was low 40s and I had borrowed a light hoodie from a Kim and thankfully so as the sun never fully came out, but not terrible for a race day.

Let's get this party started!

The start line was well organized and the Half and the Full started at the same time at 7 am. There was ample paces, about every 10 min interval, and since I was aiming for a 2:10 finish, I found the 2:10 pacer and started a bit in front of them. Prior to the start, the National Anthem was sung and we were off.

Like my awesome mid-run trail photo, lol
The Half and the Full followed the same route for the first 2.5 miles. This covered leaving the Ball Park and through the neighborhood leading to the American Tobacco Trail. Once we go to the trail, the Full turned right to follow the North Trail and the Half left for the South Trail. Both legs were a down and back with the Full doing the North down and back and then continuing onto the South down and back. There were a few pockets of crowds leading to the trail, but once you got onto the trail, space became limited and basically it was the other runners and the trees to keep you company. The miles were marked clearly and regularly and there were several aid stations with Water and Gatorade, so many that I skipped 1 or 2 and didn't have any issues even without carrying. A few stations were also giving out Gu packs. There was minimal elevation and for someone like me used to running hills, it felt super flat. The woods were pretty, but with bit of a grey day, the scenery pretty much all looked the same so it was a bit of a long 8 miles on the trail without much excitement. 

On the trail, you basically ran 5.25 miles, turned around and ran back the same 5.25 miles to the trail entrance. It has rained a bit overnight which was nice as the trail was what I would call hard packed gravel/dirt mainly and that little rain was enough to pack the trail a bit without making it muddy. I could see where dust might be an issue on a drier trail. The trail was also a bit on the narrow side which started to become an issue later in the race when you had runners going both directions, plus the faster Marathoners coming into play. I was off the trail before the bulk of the marathon runners made it over to the half side, but I can imagine you would have a bit of weaving in and out of slower Half runners on both sides of you. Once back off the trail, it was back the same 2.5 miles to the Ball Field for the Finish Line. It was a bit hillier on the road, but again, nothing terrible, especially some of the races I do in the Charlotte area.

PR = Ring the Bell!
At the finish an announcer called everyone's number and there was lots of cheering. There was a PR bell right before the medals which I got to ring! I was swinging for 2:10 (my previous PR was 2:12) and I hit 2:07:11! The medals were really cool, pretty big with a train on them. See, flat and fast course! Past the finish area was the Runners Village where there was lots of food/drink options. You had your standard fruit, but also Papa Johns was giving out pizza slices. There was free water bottles, Gatorade, juices and coffee (YAASS) and a Beer Garden with several beer options that were unlimited for runners. There was also a pretty good band playing on stage at the end of the Beer Garden. I grabbed a quick beer, chatted with a few friends and made a quick easy exit to head back to the hotel in time for breakfast still being served.

After refilling with yummy breakfast foods, I took a quick shower. Thank goodness that Feetures was a race sponsor because I forgot to pack a pair of socks for the day, but thanks to getting a free pair with my race packet, I was set! We checked out of the hotel and headed into downtown Raleigh for some more family adventures. Decided on the Museum of Natural Science, which I didn't even realize was free until we go there, and spent a fun few hours exploring the exhibits there. It was time to take the almost 3 hour trip home, but everyone had a great time and I am really glad my family came with me on this trip.

Such dorks

Snake love

Overall, it was a GREAT race and a super fun weekend! Had a blast and will hopefully do it again next year.

Official Results! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Race Week: The Road to Tobacco Road

This weekend will be my first Half Marathon of the year, the Tobacco Road Half. And, if you are interested in running it as well, let me go ahead and give you the link and info right off the bat because you are not going to want to even wait long enough to finish this blog, seriously, REGISTER NOW as last I heard, there were only 25 spots left open.

Register at and use code “bibrave1” to save $20 on race registration!

There, now that's taken care of, let me tell you a bit about my goals for the Tobacco Road Half. If you had asked me a week ago, I would have said my goal was to run a new Half PR. I've never run Tobacco Road before and hear that it is a wonderfully flat course with parts of it on soft surfaces and is great for hitting PRs. I've been training really steady for it and was in a great place for this race. First glance at the weather 10 days out was looking like perfect conditions. Everything was coming up ME! 

I'm coming for you awesome medal!

Then Saturday morning I woke up unable to breathe out of my nose and with the worst sore throat. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I ended up taking the weekend off from training to rest, skipping my last long run (9 miles) and figuring that since it was a taper week anyway, I could still pull this off.

PR Bell, I could still ring you!
And that is where I am now. Hoping to purge myself of this blasted cold quick enough to have a good showing. Either way, I am still looking forward to a great race. I am still holding on to the possibility of being able to ring the PR bell at the finish, but both my health and the weather forecast since are not being quite as promising as previous to this weekend. 

Either way, I am trying to look on the bright side and planning to have a fantastic race. So far everything I have seen about Tobacco Road looks amazing. First of all, when you sign up for the race, you have access to a training plan that is posted on their website. This was super helpful in planning out my long run schedule. Also, they have been steadily sending out communications both about the status of the race and some really amazing stories about some of the athletes who will be at the races and some of the challenges they are overcoming to run Tobacco Road. Check some of these stories out here: 

I almost don't look like I'm dying

I did head out for a short 3 mile run last night where I pulled things way back as far as speed and I did hit Burn Boot Camp this morning. I'm trying to convince myself that I am not really sick. Luckily, it is mainly just a head cold which, while annoying, isn't terrible. The trick is getting enough sleep with a plugged nose waking me all night long, but as the week progresses, hopefully that will improve. The other concern is that the weather has take a bit of a turn to the worse with the temperature dropping a degree or 2 every time I check it, but luckily it looks like no rain, so there's that. Trust me, I am so OVER racing in the rain. 

I will be travelling a bit for Tobacco Road which is always fun, even more so this time since I am bringing the family along. Cary, NC is about a 3 hour drive for, so packing up the family early Sat morning and going to try to hit something fun in the Raleigh area for the afternoon. I am staying at the host hotel so it will be quick and easy to attend the expo on Saturday and sprung the extra $10 for the parking pass for the race so I have a bit more wiggle room and a bit less stress on race day. 

So that's where we are. T-minus 5 days to race day and slowly overcoming a head cold while obsessively watching the weather. But, I'm still going to enjoy it!! 

Do you have any tips for getting rid of a head cold quickly? Maybe you have an awesome rain dance just to make sure that this one is a dry race for me? Share in the comments below!