Friday, April 24, 2020

Earth Day Recap - Knockaround Style

Disclaimer: I received a Knockaround Sunglasses to promote Plogging and Earth Day 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!”

So yesterday was Earth Day, and I thought a great way to celebrate was to go on another plogging adventure. I had gone for a 6 mile run around my neighborhood and noticed a few places had trash again since my first plog 2 weeks ago. You can read about that here:

After my run, I stopped back at my house to grab some bags, some gloves and this time, my little one. I was already wearing my awesome No Signal Knockarounds to protect my eyes from UV Rays. 

So we set up to tidy up. There was much less trash this time, but there was more at the playground than there had been before (it looked like someone had a picnic lunch and didn't bother to clean up) and there were some of the same offenders, like cigarette butts and straws scattered about. This time it went much more quickly as I walked one side of the street and my little walked the other. We were able to clean up the 1.7 miles of our neighborhood in about 40 minutes. And after, the streets were looking great again.

Later that evening, after getting cleaned up, the little and I again took to the outside to spend some quality time in the back yard. She's been working on climbing our tree out back and dared me to try it as well. Since there's nothing wrong with a bit of tree hugging, especially on Earth Day, I figured, why not and hopped up into the tree as best as I could. It was loads of fun. 

A special thank you to Knockaround and BibRave for issuing the Plogging challenge and motivating me to get out there and get cleaning! Also for challenging us to become tree huggers to celebrate Earth Day. I swear I am happiest, especially these days when I am outside. I think I must be partially solar powered.

If you are interested in getting a pair of Knockaround shades like mine, or one of their other cool designs (seriously, you can even custom design a pair, I have and they are on the way) check out their website here: and use discount code BibRaveKnocks4 for 20% off your entire order.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Half and Half Virtual Half

received entry into the Dicks Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Half Marathon as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out to read and write race reviews. 

Okay, so I have this crazy idea, yeah? I'm gonna run a Half and Half Half. Crazy right? 

No idea what I am talking about? Let me back up a bit then for the full story. 

As a BibRave Pro, I am very lucky in that I get a lot of really cool opportunities for promoting and running some amazing races all over the country. See, if money and time were no object, I would run SO many many races in SO many places. And by many, I mean literally any race I could. But alas, here in the real world I have to pick and choose races based on travel costs. So most of the time, unless the race is located within a few hours drive of where I live in northern South Carolina, then I have to sadly pass. 

There is however, a few locations that are an exception to that rule. Locations where I have family living. And there is no place in the US that I have more family than in Pittsburgh, PA. So when I learned that BibRave had partnered with the Pittsburgh Marathon sometime in mid-2019, I immediately put my name in. I love Pittsburgh, it's an amazing city with spectacular views and amazing bridges to run over and the huge added bonus of several dozen Nypavers living there that I could beg a few nights stay off of. 

I was so excited, I doubled down and registered for the Steel Challenge, the 5K on Saturday, May 2 and the Half Marathon on Sunday, May 3 (technically you could do any distance on Sun and it be a part of the Steel Challenge - Half, Marathon or Relay). 2 days of racing, 3 medals, 2 shirts, a pair of custom Pittsburgh Knockaround Sunglasses for running in Pittsburgh, over some amazing bridges and the cherry on top I get to see my family. HELLS YEAH! 

Fast forward to a bit over a month ago. COVID 19. Global Pandemic. Races being cancelled right and left. I knew it was coming, but I didn't want to believe it. Maybe it'll just be March races cancelled. Maybe just March and April. But no, eventually the email I knew would be coming came on March 17 - "We regret to share with all of you that the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon will not take place in 2020..."

I was gutted! But the good people at the Pittsburgh gave us runners 2 options to proceed. One option, and one that not many other cancelled races was offering, was to get a full refund. I'll be honest, I was a bit surprised, but pleasantly so that they offered this option. 

The other option that was given was to run the races as Virtual Races. Basically, runners can run their race distance whenever and where ever they are and they will receive their medals and SWAG in the mail once completed and time submitted. Additionally, the Pittsburgh Marathon team is not just going to just leave us runners to do this on our own, they are issuing challenges and cheering on the runners on social media. And once it is safe to gather in groups again, they will be hosting a mini-festival in Pittsburgh where they will set up the finish line for photos. They also updated their website to go into more detail about how to run the race as a Virtual with information about challenges, perks and other details here: The virtual option is good for all race distances including the kids races. 

I decided that I will be doing the Virtual Race option for my two races. And even though by the new rules, you can run your Virtual Races anytime between April 1 and the original race date of May 2, and 3, I plan to still do my race on the actual race dates. 

So now this is where things get a bit trickier. See, there are lots of good things about Virtual Races. I've written several blog posts on this site about Virtuals. But there is one con that has been creeping up on me lately with several races and challenges going Virtual - how to keep things interesting. I've already done several Virtual races recently, including a Half Marathon, and I'll be honest, I'm getting a bit tired of running the same routes from my house. Enter, the crazy idea of the Half and Half Half Marathon. 

Founders Trail
The idea started forming when I was curious how far away one of my new favorite trails to run, the Founders Trail, was from my house. So I mapped out the distance out from my house to the trail head on MapMyRun and turns out it is 3.3 miles from my house to the trail head. It is then 6.5 miles on the trail and another 3.3 miles back home. An lo and behold... that is EXACTLY 13.1 miles!!! Half on Road, Half on Trail - hence the Half and Half Half Marathon! It's almost too perfect to not do. It's a route I've never run before and it will encompass some of my favorite areas to run. And, I even have to run over a bridge to get to the trail! It may not be the West End Bridge, but it's something.

The grapevine is already my unofficial aid station
Plus, as an added bonus, right at the trail head is one of my favorite local shops to hit up post-run, The Grapevine Riverwalk. The owners are amazing and I've known them for years, so what I am hoping to set up with them to act a an aid station. I would stash my trail shoes and a water bottle there so I can run there, change out my shoes and refill my water if necessary, run the trail, change back into my road shoes, refill the water, and then run back home. They are used to hosting us crazy runners so I am hoping they will be cool with this plan. And of course when I'm finished, I will of course need to go back to pick up my shoes and bottle and MAYBE (ok, definitely) pick up a few refreshments to celebrate my success.

So that is my plan for my Pittsburgh Virtual Half Marathon. It will by no means be my fastest time, I can never seem to pull a PR unless in actual race conditions, so I figured why not make it fun and interesting! 

What do you think of my plan? Crazy? Fun? 

What about you? Have you been doing any Virtual Races? What have you done to keep them interesting and avoid getting bored of the same routes? Let me know in the comments below. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Release the Runner: Breaking Down Barriers

So last week, as a part of the Release the Runner series that BibRave is hosting, I posted about My Running Story here:

This week we'll be talking about some of the Barriers that new runners can face and discussing some tips to overcome them. 

Barrier 1: Thinking you need fancy gear or expensive gear? Nope, all you need is the desire to go out and do it. While it is helpful to have some quality shoes to get you started (my number 1 tip would be to get yourself fitted by a professional for running shoes, this will save you from lots of potential injuries and uncertainty) as far as fancy, expensive gear like running watches and designer clothing, none of that is truly necessary. In fact, I say, wait on all of that, find out what kind of runner you really are before you invest in gear and tech. A lot of it won't fit your style, once you discover what it is. A good pair of shoes, some breathable clothing and a free phone app like Strava to keep track of your miles are all you need to get started. 

Barrier 2: Maybe you're not sure how much you should be running as a beginner. There are so many free training plans available online though a quick Google Search. Or, how I personally got started was by downloading the Couch to 5K app on my iPhone. It was free and it walked me right though exactly what to run and when. It was the perfect training tool for a beginner and again totally free. 

Barrier 3: Finding the time to run. This is a big one, perhaps the biggest in normal circumstances. Our schedules are so busy, but trust me, if it is important to you, you will find a way to fit in 30 min to an hour a few times a week to run. After all, this is your health we are talking about, what is more important than that? This is why now, when it is more likely that you are working for home, or maybe like me on a furlough from work, that makes it a good time to get started. Once you learn to love it, and I bet you will, you will find the time, be it after work, early mornings, maybe during your lunch break, or during your child's activities. When I was on my regular schedule, I would plan out my week of which days I needed to do morning runs and get up early and which days my daughter had Taekwondo class and I could run then. Once you get going, trust me, this part becomes easier. 

My first race EVER, the Come See Me Road Race 5K
Barrier 4: It seems too hard. Well, I am going to be straight with you, yes, running is hard. But, it will get easier. I promise. When I first started running, I couldn't run more than about 30 seconds at a time. But like with anything, with practice, you will get better. It will get easier. You will hit milestones in your running that will make you feel amazing and push your to want to do more. Today is the 6 year anniversary of my very first race. It was a 5K and the first time I ever ran the distance without stopping to walk. 6 years later, I've since run a marathon and trained for an Ultra. I will never say that it is easy because you will find ways to challenge yourself, but it does become easier. 

Barrier 5: Need motivation to get started and don't know where to look? If you need motivation, trust me, the online running community has your back. Get on Twitter and search #BibChat. We'll be there to get you started and before you know it, you'll have more running friends than you know what to do with. Find a local running store, most communities have at least one and ask if they do group runs. Most do. Ask at your local bar even! Where I live almost all of the local breweries have a weekly run club. There are people out there who can steer you in the right direction. Trust me, there is no one friendlier than a runner talking about running!

Did I miss a Barrier that is effecting you? If so, what is it? I'd be happy help you brainstorm ways to overcome it. And be sure to check out the BibRave Pro community by following #bibchat on both Twitter and Instagram for more tips on how to Release the Runner in you. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Comfort Meet Style: Nabee Compression Sock Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Nabee Socks 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! 

There's a question that I see a lot online - Should I run with Compression Socks? It's a question that can spark lots of debate with runners. Scientific studies have shown to be inconclusive, but in general, purely on anecdotal evidence, many runners believe that compression during a run helps them with muscle fatigue and for recovering much more quickly. Most agree that post-run, they are for sure super effective.

For me personally, I primarily wear compression socks for main 3 reasons: 

First, and probably foremost, I use compression socks for long runs (those over 10 miles). I suffered from reoccurring shin splints when I first started running and compression seemed to really help me. For the past several years now, I have worn compression socks for pretty much all of my longer races, Half Marathons (and my single Marathon) and occasionally for shorter distances too. Maybe it is just the mental aspect of them, feeling the snug comfort brings a bit more confidence more so than actual science based reason, but for whatever reason, they do well for me in preventing muscle fatigue. 

Second, I use them for recovery. When I have had rough run or race, nothing feels as good as wrapping my sore legs in an nice warm hug of compression socks. They work to increase blood circulation in your legs helping to aid in quicker recovery. The times I remember to slip on a pair of compression socks after a particularly long or rough run, I have always felt better faster than the times that I haven't. They are awesome.

Third, I wear compression socks when I go trail running, especially when wearing shorts. This is for two reasons 1) for the same reason as mentioned above in my first point, my trail runs tend to be longer and they help with muscle fatigue and 2) to help keep bugs, thorns, sticks, and poison ivy away from my legs. I cannot tell you how many times I have avoided scrapes, bites or plant irritations thanks to tall compression socks. 

I've tried several brands of compression socks, so I was very interested when given the opportunity to try out Nabee Socks recently. So what did I think? I can honestly say that Nabee are the most comfortable compression socks that I have ever worn. Seriously, they are super soft and feel amazing on.

One of the reasons that Nabee Socks are so comfortable is that the company founder of was a nurse and originally created this product for nurses who would wear them for super long shifts. Nabee uses its own non binding, non slip design to keep the socks from sliding down but also doesn't constrict by loosening the cuff so it doesn't bind. I literally wore these after a crazy rough trail run all the rest of the day (under a pair of PJ pants) and totally forgot I had them on they were so comfy.

Another huge plus for me is that they come in super cute designs. Seriously, it was so hard for me to pick one when placing my order and I finally defaulted to classic black stripes since most of my running shorts are black, but I so plan to order some more of the brighter, more fun colors now that I know how amazing they work for me. Nabee Socks are one of the only FDA-registered, medical-quality, designer compression socks on the market. Fun, fashionable and super effective, what's not to love!

What about you? Do you wear compression socks? 

If you are interested in checking out Nabee Socks for yourself, I can pass you a discount code - BIBRAVE20 for 20% off good for any sock purchase, but it is only good for one use per customer. I am thinking about getting the Louie style for my next purchase. 

And for a limited time, when you buy one pair of Nabee Socks, they will donate two pairs to frontline healthcare workers who are fighting the COVID-19 virus! Help yourself and others at the same time! How awesome is that?

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Virtually Running Wild with the Lincoln Park Zoo

Disclaimer: I am participating in the Lincoln Park Run for the Zoo 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!
So as this whole Covid 19 Pandemic thing is happening, it has been easy to get a bit overwhelmed by all of the bad things that have come of it. This was me until just recently. All of the changes and losses had become a bit too much and looking on the bright side was getting harder and harder to do. But I've been trying to turn that around recently. I mean, I'm healthy, the people I love are healthy and ultimately that is what is most important. But there are some other bright sides that I've begun to notice now that I am focusing more on looking for them.

One of those bright spots have been the increase in cool Virtual Races. Virtual Races have always been around in some form or another, and have always boasted a variety of benefits (you can read more about my thoughts on that here: with more and more races that were location specific going virtual due to necessity, there have been more opportunities for runners to experience races that were otherwise unavailable to them. 

One of these races that I am excited for is the Lincoln Park Zoo Run for the Zoo 5K/10K. The Lincoln Park Zoo is an amazing Zoo located in the heart of Chicago that is free for all to enjoy. How they able to accomplish that is through fundraisers much like the Run for the Zoo race that will run for it's 42nd year this year. Unfortunately, they Zoo has had to close to help lessen the spread of Covid 19, but to help make sure that when they do open, they are able to continue to be free and open 365 days a year, they changed the event to a Virtual. 

Here's how the Virtual Run for the Zoo Experience works (info from the Lincoln Park Zoo Website): 

Enjoy the run wherever you are. Complete your distance at home on the treadmill or outside in your own community while practicing social distancing. Either way, you’re competing for your personal best while supporting Lincoln Park Zoo.
Run anywhere in your neighborhood, take photos, log your time and miles, and share your experience with us!  Email us your stories ( and encourage your fellow running community members on the event page. Participants release liability to share submissions with the public.
All virtual 5K/10K participants will receive their packets in the mail. They will include a themed tech shirt, and those who make an additional donation of $25 or more will also receive a Supporter Medal. Please be sure to verify your mailing address during the registration process, as Lincoln Park Zoo is not responsible for misdirected packets.
Each week from April 6–June 7, a virtual 5K and 10K participant will be randomly selected and awarded with a special animal plush from the Gift Shop. 
In addition there are some really unique awards that all virtual 5K/10K participants can earn:
  • 1st place male and female runner for the virtual 10K and 5K races will each receive a special animal plush from the Gift Shop. To qualify for this award, participants must submit a photo of GPS verification.
  • In honor of the 42nd year of Run for the Zoo, the 42nd-place male and female runner for the virtual 5K and 10K races will each win a membership to Lincoln Park Zoo. (This will be based on the honor system.)
  • In honor of the 152nd year of Lincoln Park Zoo, the 152nd-place male and female runner for the virtual 5K and 10K races will each win a large animal plush from the Gift Shop. (This will be based on the honor system.)
Register here before May 22 in order to participate:

And, for an added bonus, I have a 10% discount code to share with you! Register with code BIBRAVE10 for 10% off your registration fee. And once you register, be sure to join the Facebook Event page here:

My running bestie, Kim, and I have decided to do the Virtual together since we both are excited about this event. Hopefully by June 7th, things will be a bit better and we can actually meet up in person plan an event together. I will head over to her neighborhood where Kim is planning out a 5K route for us. She's doing the 5K and I will be doing it twice for the 10K distance. She's planned out a few cool things that I'll wait to share because if it all works out, it's gonna be awesome. Let's just say, there will be photo stops and an aid station and post race refreshments and food. I am super excited about it. Here's a quick run down of the race that Kim posted on her blog:

And be sure to swing by both here and Barking Mad About Running after June 7th to read our follow up posts on how our Virtual went!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Plogging around the Neighborhood

Disclaimer: I received a Knockaround Sunglasses to promote Plogging and Earth Day 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!”

So since I have been temporarily furloughed due to the ongoing Covid 19 Pandemic, I have had a bit of extra time on my hands, especially since last week was "Spring Break" for my daughter, so I didn't even have to do home school lessons with her. So, to fill the time, last week I went on a Plogging Adventure. 

What exactly is Plogging? 

It’s when you pick up trash while going for a walk/jog. And it’s a great way to keep active and also to help keep your neighborhood to be clean. And it is super easy to do, both for a group activity (you know, in different times) and by yourself. 

First, I gathered my supplies:

Bags, gloves and since I was doing it on a bright, sunny, beautiful day, a bottle of water and my Knockaround Sunglasses. I've been a Knockaround fan for awhile, and these new No Signal Special Edition Frames have quickly become my favorites. 

I set out, walking up each street in my neighborhood scanning for trash. I was really impressed to see that there was actually not too terribly much litter strewn about. Still, I was able to fill 2 bags full of trash in the 1.7 miles that span my neighborhood (I run it a lot, especially lately, so trust me, I know the exact mileage). 

It was a beautiful day out and I spent about 45 minutes or so collecting trash. Halfway through I dropped my first full bag off at my house, which is conveniently located on the middle street of the 154 house subdivision. 

Random Observations About What I Collected:

  • Most frequent thing I collected: Cigarette butts. Some (not all) smokers seem to think that throwing their butts out the window is not littering. I am here to tell you that if you think that, you are WRONG!

  • Largest thing I collected: A bag that was full with other trash just sitting on the side of the road.
  • Most dangerous thing I collected: Broken glass, yikes!
  • Most expensive thing I collected: An AirPods Charging Case! Technically, I didn't actually collect this. It looked a bit scratched up, but otherwise in good shape so I just placed it on the sidewalk right where I found it and left it hoping the owner would see it and claim it. I went for a walk a few hours later and it was gone, so hopefully it was reunited with the right person.
  • Most surprising thing about my plogging: The neighborhood playground was a lot cleaner than I expected it to be. Go kids! Though I did find a hoodie that was left behind. Again, I didn't collect this, but laid it over the playground bench hoping for it to be reunited with it's owner. It's been a week and it is still there unfortunately. 

After I finished, I was so excited to check out my hard work, I went for a run right after on the same streets... twice plus a little for 4 miles! And it was awesome to see the streets looking so clean. I plan on doing a quick maintenance Plog once a month to keep everything looking nice and safe. 

A special thank you to Knockaround and BibRave for issuing the Plogging challenge and motivating me to get out there and get cleaning! And now I’m challenging you! See what you can accomplish out on a Plog this week, post your photos on either Insta or Twitter and tag me - I'm @runnerdgirl on both. Stay tuned for other ways that I will be celebrating Earth Day this month with BibRave and Knockaround! 

And happy PLOGGING!!


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Release the Runner: My Story

So things are weird right now, yeah? Most places are on Lock-down or Stay at Home orders that allow us to only leave home for a few situations - essential workers (thank to those!!) and exercising are pretty much it. 

For both physical and mental well being, it is important to stay active and get some movement into your day. While some situations have made this harder, gyms closing, group activities and classes being cancelled, there's one major, popular option this is open and accessible to almost everyone: Running!

Maybe you are already a runner, AWESOME, go get those miles. 

Or maybe you are someone who has stopped running, well, there is no better time to get back out there and go get you some miles, the road is just waiting for you. 

BUT, maybe you've never run before. Now is the perfect time to get started. Think you need fancy gear or that it is hard to get started? Nope, all you need is the desire to go out and do it. To prove it, let me share with you my story, and how just over 6 years ago I had never even run a single step in my life outside of PE Class. 

My Running Story:

I had struggled with being healthy for most of my adult life, never really happy with how I looked or how I felt, but not really unhappy enough to do much more about it than sporadic dieting and/or exercise. I wasn't really obese, but I wasn't thin by any stretch of the imagination. Just in that zone where you get comfortable.

For reference, me on the left, photo from that 2014 Disney Trip
Me on the right, same shirt, 6 years later
In Feb. 2014, we decided to take my little one on a birthday trip to Disney World. When we got home, I started the daunting task of going through the over 1,000 photos we (and others in our group of 9) took during the week long trip. Looking at photo after photo after photo, there was no denying it, I looked FAT. I felt awful and right there, right then I decided that was it. I was going to get into shape. I didn't have a whole lot of disposable income due to just dropping $5,000 on a week long Disney trip, so I figured, hey, it's free to run, I should do that. 

I used a gift card left over from Christmas to Kohls to buy a pair of Nike running shoes and downloaded a free Couch to 5K app on my phone and hit the road. Just over 6 years later, I have learned so much more about being a successful runner and I'm still at it. I've lost around 60 pounds, become so much healthier, accomplished a number of huge goals (see some of my other blog posts) and made life-long friendships. Running has literally changed my life in every way imaginable.

Just a few of the friends I've made along the way

So for me, ultimately it started as a free/cheap way to lose weight, but running has become a bit addictive to me now. I start to get antsy if I go to long without a run now. It has become a part of who I am. It brought me to other activities such cross training at Burn Boot Camp and becoming so much stronger and meeting even more incredible people. This is a warm, fun and welcoming world, and we'd love for you to join us. 

What about you? If you are a runner, why did you get started? Or, if you are not, why not? Is there something that is holding you back? Let me know if the comments below. In my next Release the Runner Blog Post, I will talk about overcoming some of the barriers to getting started running. 

And you can read more about the BibRave Release the Runner Movement here: