Top Reasons I am Excited to Run the 2021 Missoula Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a registration to the Missoula (Half) Marathon 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 cannot believe I am writing this – but I am getting to run the Missoula Half Marathon in June 2021! Y’all this has been a dream race for me since I learned about it several years ago. I have heard nothing but stellar things about the Missoula Marathon and all of the activities surrounding the event. Here are some of the things I am very excited about:

  • The race schwag – while it varies based upon race distance, my half marathon gear includes a tech tee, custom designed medal, virtual race bag, free race photos, and a free beer at the finish line!
  • The race management – From what I hear, the people behind the scenes make this race amazing. Over and over, I continue to hear about the way this company performs in terms of making the race a great experience for the runners that travel from all over to run here. There is a reason why this race has been “named as the Best Marathon In The U.S. on several occasions – in 2010 by the readers of Runner’s World Magazine and in 2017 and 2018 by The BibRave 100. Runner’s World has also named the Missoula Marathon as a Top Marathon For Back-Of-The-Packers (2017) and a Top 10 Bucket List Marathon (2018 and 2019).”
  • The food and brews – Fresh local food is what’s for dinner in Missoula. Check out the Eating Local page here. The area is also known for it’s amazing brews from one of 11 mirco-breweries that call Missoula “home”.
  • The course and the great outdoors – Missoula is rated in the top 25 best cities for active people -fishing, biking, hiking, access to national parks and more awaits in this beautiful place! I plan on exploring the area and taking in all the sites and sounds while I am there. And let’s not forget the race course itself. Check out some of the most beautiful scenery you get with your race registration fee (borrowed from my friend Juan Arrieta, who raced there in 2019).

Use code “BR2021” for $5 off your registration now! Click here to register.

Check out this 2019 review of the half marathon from my friend and fellow BibRave Pro, Juan. There are many other great reviews of this race and all distances over on BibRave.com so check them out!

You can follow the Missoula Marathon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well!

2020 Running Wrap-Up

I don’t know about you all, but I am writing my “Year End” wrap up blog a little early this year…let’s move this thing along, shall we? I am ready for 2021 just like all of you.

Yes, 2020 was crazy weird and we all know that. No, I didn’t get to run my “A” race and no I didn’t even hit 1000 miles this year (my first time in 3 years), and yes, I ended up contracting COVID in November and stopped running the last two months of 2020. Sounds appropriate for a pandemic year, right?

I could sit here and wallow in all of the things that went south, but that’s not the choice I am making. There were still some great things that happened to me running-related that I want to share with you instead.

BibRave Virtual Ambassador Summit – Normally, BibRave Pros would come together from across the U.S. for an in-person summit. I was able to attend my first summit in 2019 and it was amazing. The pandemic might have changed the look of the summit, but we made it the best experience possible. I loved seeing my fellow BPRs, getting to know more about them as well as learning more about nutrition and sports psychology from the experts. We participated in virtual scavenger hunts and had the opportunity to try out some great swag from sponsors. As always, I felt very happy to be with “my people” even if it was virtual.

-I became a COROS ambassador – my friend and fellow BRP at the time, Corey, introduced me to the world of COROS. As soon as I used the watch for the first time, I was sold. I have had a great experience with this company and the product opened me up to more knowledge and new people. I have thoroughly enjoyed representing this brand in 2020.

-I completed my first virtual marathon as part of a virtual race series in April. DC Timing’s “Alone, Together” race series included 4 distances: 10K, 15K, 13.1 miles and 26.2 miles. I finished these pretty closely together as I was already trained up for a 100K distance and that race was cancelled. Nothing will test your mental fortitude like running those distances ALONE. It was great training for me and the race swag was excellent.

-I became a member of Team Ultra – I ended applying and being accepted as Michelob Ultra Athlete. It was fun to be able to rep my favorite domestic beer on social media!

-I learned to run in a mask. Never thought I would say that! It was different, but it wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

-I was named a Team Captain for BibRave! This was really the icing on the cake for me in 2020. Taking on a leadership role for such an amazing group of athletes is very humbling but also very exciting.

As I said before, while 2020 was very rough, I was still able to have amazing experiences with people. I continue to learn and grow. I definitely look forward to 2021 and more opportunities that come with it. I hope you stay healthy and happy as we approach the New Year.

Flipping out over Turtle Gloves Turtle-Flip Mittens!

Disclaimer: I received an pair of Midweight Winter Soft Turtle-Flip Mittens 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 so happy to say I finally got my hands on (or maybe I should say inside) a pair of Turtle Gloves Mittens! As a BibRave Pro, we get to try out some pretty sweet gear. These Midweight Winter Soft Turtle-Flip Mittens are no exception. I have had my eyes on these gloves for awhile.

My first impression of the mittens:

  • They are very soft
  • They are lightweight
  • They have a distinctive, standout design (peep the Bibrave Logo)

We are so lucky to have four seasons here in Kentucky! Our winters do not get as cold as other parts of the country, but we definitely get down into the teens and single digits in January and February. I received these in December and the weather was averaging 40 degrees at that time.

My time out with the gloves it was pretty warm (45 degrees), so they came off right away. But, the next time I went out with the dogs to walk and it was chilly and close to freezing and these gloves kept my hands so warm. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to get the “flip” technique down- it definitely took a little practice to be able to do it smoothly, but now that I’ve used them several weeks, it really is easy.

If you haven’t tried Turtle Gloves, let me tell you they are comfortable, lightweight and warm and so might even say “magical”. I have the Midweight style that is not lined, so I don’t recommend them for wet or snowy weather. However, the company makes a variety of brands to fit the type of weather you will train in; check them out here.

Code TURTLEBIBRAVE gets you 15% off orders, including sale items!

Check out what some of my other BibRave Pro friends say about the Turtle-Flip Mittens: Kim ChrisTeddyJuanRyanJaimeleeChris M.KellyMark

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast Episode 25: Embracing Your Inner Unicorn with Michelle Phillips

Michelle Phillips is a runner relatively “new” to the running scene.  However, many people already recognize her from her bright smile, positive attitude, and signature purple hair. In this episode, we hear why she started running and chat on strategies she recommends to runners of all sizes that may help motivate them to start their own journey. And, of course, we talk about what makes a BAMR a BAMR!  I hope you enjoy this fun episode.

Show Notes

Learn more about Mirna Valerio at https://themirnavator.com/

Find Michelle on Instagram at www.instagram.com/mimi_is_changing/

Listen to the full episode now.

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast Episode 24: Wife, Mother, Runner and Type 1 Warrior with Melissa Inmon

Listen to Melissa’s story now!

Melissa began her running journey with a 5K, then took a hiatus. After having 2 children, she returned to running and has completed several races up to the marathon distance.  In this episode, we talk about her running journey and what it is like to be a runner with Type 1 Diabetes.  I hope you enjoy this light-hearted conversation and learn more about T1D along the way!

Show Notes

Learn more about Type 1 Diabetes at https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/type-1

Calla and Forget Me Not Ministries:  https://fmnministries.org/donations/category/cherished-calla/

The Falls 100 Ultra Trail Race – https://www.falls100.com/

The Louisville Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K: https://runsignup.com/Race/KY/Louisville/LouisvilleMarathonHalfMarathonand10k

Get a little kick with Science in Sport Caffeine+Energy Gels

My Review of Science in Sport Gels

Disclaimer: I received SIS GO Energy+Caffeine gels 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!

The (not so) secret is out – Science in Sport is my preferred nutrition source for long runs/training. You might remember my previous posts on their Isotonic Gels and Hydro Tabs. In this review, I want to speak specifically about the SIS GO Energy+Caffeine Gels (75 mg). I received a 6 pack of Orange flavor gels, which I was pretty excited about as I had not tried this flavor yet. I read up a little on the “Which Gel, When?” from the Science in Sport site and then decided to test out the caffeine gel the next week on my longer run.

I don’t know what the weather is like where you are this summer, but in Kentucky, it’s usually already 80+ degrees with 80+% humidity by 8 am. This weather kind of slows me down and definitely can make me feel sluggish on my runs, especially towards the end of the run. I have to admit on my first 2 hour run with this gel, I felt great. I took this gel about an hour before the end of my run, in conjunction with the electrolyte gels, and I felt good at the end of the run and in the hours after the run. The gel is easy to take and does not bother my stomach at all; I cannot say that for many gels I have tried in the past. I think that the easy of use along with the quality of the outcome on my runs is really what sells this gel for me.

Pros for me:

  • They are isotonic and can be taken without water
  • 22 grams of carbs per gel
  • Easy to take
  • Vegan and allergen friendly

Cons for me:

  • Packets are sometimes difficult to open (I have learned to start the tear before my run so I don’t struggle to open them while I am running!)
  • They aren’t sold in many stores in my area so I have to think to order ahead online before I am out!

Are you ready to try Science in Sport gels? Check out their information it ScienceinSport.com and use code BIBRAVE20GEL for 20% off (not applicable to already discounted products or special offers.)

You can also read some reviews from my fellow BibRave Pros below.

Sarah B.

Kimberly

Amanda

Scott

Shannon

Ken

Racing in 2020: The Urban Bourbon Half Marathon Safety Changes

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon 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!

Stating the obvious here: Everything in 2020 is so different and racing is no exception! How bad do you miss it? I know opinions vary, but I am really starting to miss the race morning routines, getting up early, eating my pre-race breakfast and heading out the door. In Louisville, the running community is close knit and you were sure to get a few hugs and high-fives as you lined up in the corral pre-COVID19!

While racing has been paused, many race directors had the chance to regroup and reorganize in order to put on a safer racing experience for their runners. While I have not been racing, I’ve been watching races across the United States and it is interesting to see the changes/improvements made related to runner safety. The Urban Bourbon Half Marathon in Louisville, KY is one of those races. As of today, the race is still a GO for in real life (IRL) racing. This was the latest we received in their August newsletter:

Calling all runners!

Some of their changes, including a course location change, were also listed in their newsletter and are found on the website:

If you are interested in signing up for this race, don’t forget about the cool bourbon themed swag and medal! You can register at https://urbanbourbonhalf.com/ and use code BOURBONRAVE20 for 10% off your registration. (If the race If the race is cancelled, we will offer refunds or no-cost deferrals.)

Loving this 2020 medal!

Running the Virtual Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Indianapolis

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the virtual Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Indianapolis 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 jumped at the chance to run the Virtual Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Indianapolis, mainly because I am very familiar with this city. While I don’t live there, I travel frequently there to attend youth hockey games as well as in real life (IRL) race-there is lots of great racing to be had in Indy! It is only about 2 hours from my house, which is a bonus. This year, the race might be virtual, but I plan on running the race in Indy because we have a scheduled hockey game the same weekend that the IRL race was supposed to happen-how cool is that?

If you are thinking about your route for racing this virtually, consider all of the great places in Indy you can do this race–Some of my favorite places to run there include:

Monon Rail Trail – This is a great rails to trail path that spans throughout wooded areas-you can get quite a bit of mileage and alot of it is shady.

Eagle Creek Park – This is a great city park that has both paved and dirt trails! Lots of fun trail runs happen here throughout the year.

White River State Park & the Zoo Loop – This route has a nice urban feel to it-lots of art and people out for some great scenery as well! I have even ran a triathlon, starting at the Canal and around the Zoo -it is a really fun place to run.

You can check out more places to run and things to do in Indy here. If you have suggestions on places to run in Indianapolis, I would love to hear about it.

I am ready to run, are you? Sign up for this race and you are sure to snag this “sweet” SWAG KIT here.

Sweet HC15K/5K Swag
Check out this sweet SWAG KIT!

My BibRave Pro friend Lisha will also run this race! Check out her blog on past race experiences and her plan for the 2020 virtual race here.

Masking Up to Run:Review of the Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask

Disclaimer: I received a Body Helix Ultra Light Face Mask 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.

Review of the Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask

We’ve all see the social hashtag #MaskUp as the pandemic continues in 2020. Wearing a mask is optional in some places, but mandated in several areas. I personally know several runners who mask up on every run, per local health guidelines. While it is not currently mandated to mask when running in Kentucky, many of us choose to wear a mask on our run to help minimize the spread of COVID-19…enter the Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask…it is a game changer!

Prior to receiving my Body Helix mask, I was using handmade masks or cotton gaiters on runs, especially when passing others on crowded routes. I felt very hot when wearing them and quite frankly, I wasn’t sure how protected I was using these types of masks. Features of the Body Helix mask I feel like you should know about include: the nasal bridge wire strip to control air leakage, flexible closed-cell fabric that helps to prevent transmission of viruses, and disposable filters that help reduce risk of transmission. Most importantly, I enjoy their statement on compliance:

CDC COMPLIANT

Complies with CDC recommendations for use by the general public. Our closed-cell technology fabric prevents potential asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic transmission and the included filters add another layer of protection.

Once I received the mask, I have to say my first impression is that the mask is uber -comfortable. The 0.5 mm fabric makes this mask so lightweight; I also love the feel of the material. This mask is available in various sizes; I highly recommend measuring for the best fit. You can see my unboxing video below to get an idea on how well it fits.

I have really enjoyed wearing the mask to run in, but also to go to the grocery or other places that get “people-y”. I cannot really come up with any cons to this mask. Some users report putting the filters on may not have the desired results, but I personally have not had an issue with this. You can see a full video of mask use/care here: https://bodyhelix.com/howto/

If you are looking for an amazing quality mask that can help keep you safe, this is quite possibly the face mask for you. Visit their site bodyhelix.com and use code BR15 for 15% off any order of $40 or more.

You can also see reviews from my fellow BibRave Pros below.

Alastair

Charline

Danielle

Erica

Jessica

RunNerd Girl

Scoot-A-Doot

Shannon

TMiles

JINKIES! A Review of the Scooby-Doo Run Family and Pet Virtual 5K

Scooby-Doo Run Family & Pet Virtual 5K

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Scooby-Doo Run Family & Pet Virtual 5K 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.

Let me start by saying this is the first 5K that my son has ran with me in over 2 years. I was beginning to think he was too cool for me. But, when I told him about the race and that the dogs would be joining us, he was all for it! So, I feel like this race is a great way to get your kids involved in walking/running if they aren’t already doing so.

Training: My son and I decided to start training once a week together and then add the dogs gradually into the mix. It was nice to have that one day a week to look forward to having this time just with my son. He’s thirteen, getting older, and doesn’t spend as much one-on-one time with me as he likes to with his dad, so the training runs felt special! We even ran a 5K two weeks before this race without the dogs just to see how it felt and he was tired afterwards but was happy, which made me happy! 🙂 As for the dogs, my oldest dog has run many miles with me and is quite established in running on the leash. However, we still took her several times a week on runs just to get her acclimated to the heat here. Our youngest dog, well, he could probably run miles with all of the energy he has, but we don’t let him because he is so young. So, our training was a gradual build of miles up to 1.5 miles for each dog. We made sure to take walk breaks if they needed to and always had fresh water available as needed.

Race Day: We decided to run the 5K the day after my scheduled long run. I had my son prep the 48 hours before with a good amount of fluids-it was going to be hot! We also made sure we had sunscreen and bottled water available for the run. Due to the heat, we decided to take the youngest dog for the first part of the run and then my oldest dog would finish with us. We even put the Scooby-Doo Run collar our youngest during the fun; he looked really sport in it!

We ended up going slower than we normally would for that distance, but part of that was because of the heat; each dog ran about 1 mile and walked the remainder of their legs. My son also stopped to drink water halfway through, but we paused our watch for that.

After we finished, we placed the finisher’s medal on both of the dogs necks for a photo op-they both looked very proud of their achievement! Then we all went inside for some well-deserved post-run hydration and snacks. We also checked out the cool swag that came in the kit, which included not only the bib, but also a nice water bottle, tech hoodie and finisher’s medal.

Once we cooled down, I made sure to upload our offical time from my COROS Pace watch -it was super easy and we were able to download a finisher’s certificate right away.

This virtual race really is a great value for the race entry and the charity race is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital– how can you go wrong? Registration is still open-register here. You have until October to walk/run. Don’t have a dog? That is okay, you can simply be a Scooby Fan to do this one.

You can see a review of my race over on BibRave.com

Here are some reviews from my fellow BibRave Pros as well:

Mike (& Quinn)

Shannon (& Honey)

The Pinay Ajumma

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Mike & Sherry Do Stuff

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Scootadoot

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Angie Runs

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runningdoornbos

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My Feet in Motion

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The Diabetes News

Living With A World of Diabetes.

thedihedral.wordpress.com/

Climbing, Outdoors, Life!

Running with Ken ROCKS!

@kenstandsonthings

TMilesAndRunning

Follow my running journey as I train for upcoming Races and review some of my favorite products

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Just one more half marathon...

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