Monday, November 21, 2016

Running Gifts for the Black Friday Shopper! ALERT: GIVEAWAY & DISCOUNTS AHEAD!

The holiday's are FAST approaching! 
Gift giving will SOON be in full swing! 

Look no further as I have my 4 TOP PRODUCTS of 2016!
I have GREAT discounts in store for you and a giveaway to boot! 

As the holidays get closer and closer, I find myself filled with anxiety.  I want to give gifts that I know someone will love.  But, time and money are factors too - so it can be difficult to find that person the perfect gift.  

Every year, Black Friday is a day long event!  Deals are everywhere.  Some people camp out for great deals.  Others will wait in line for hours for great deals.  Not me!  To tell you the truth, Black Friday is a day I avoid with all of my might!   The crowds, the traffic, the chaos!  Who has time for that?   Most of my shopping is done online and lucky for you I have picked out 4 of my all time favorite running products for you to shop!

Running in the dark in Minnesota can be scary.  That is why for EVERY run I take along my Knuckle Lights .  If you are interested in reading my FULL REVIEW you can click here.  I absolutely LOVE them.  They have been my life saver and I know that your favorite runner would love them too!  Just check out how bright they are!

Get yours for 10% OFF and FREE SHIPPING for a LIMITED TIME with code: "ykaf2233"

My next favorite product of 2016 is MeStrength!  You can visit their website here.   MeStrength is a performance hydration electrolyte drink mix with ZERO calories, no added sugar, and all-natural flavors!

For a LIMITED TIME:  Get this AMAZING product for 25% OFF with CODE:  "VeryMerryMestrength".  

Trust me, you'll love MeStrength and will want more!  My favorite flavors are the orange and the lemon-line! Easy to use and sold in convenient single-use packs!

If you'd like my FULL review of the product follow this link!

Everyone knows how much I LOVE my Spibelt!  And.... to top that off... Spibelt has allowed me to do ANOTHER amazing giveaway!  To enter to win use the Rafflecopter below!  The winner will get their CHOICE of the original spibelt, the limited edition RIO ( pictured below), or the Limited edition Chantilly!

If you'd like to order one for yourself, you get a goodie bag at checkout with my code "gina2016."  Always FREE shipping!  

You will love it and so will someone you love!  It's the perfect gift!   Good luck with the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Last but certainly NOT least is Urban Halo!  Check out their website here.  Urban Halo makes amazingly soft, non-slip headbands!  I truly LOVE them and have been exclusively wearing them for 2 years.  They are inexpensive, come in a variety of amazing patterns, and the business is local in Prior Lake, MN.  How cool is that?  I promise that you will love them.

The discount for these headbands is TIME-SENSITIVE as it only runs from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.  It's JUST a 3-day sale!  Go to the website where you will score 2 FREE headbands with every 3 ordered!  It's the BEST deal of the season. I will be buying more myself!

I truly hope that you can find a great deal with my 4 favorite products of 2016!  Don't forget all of the unique discount codes and GOOD LUCK with the Spibelt giveaway!

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Madison Half-Marathon Race Recap! Urban Race With a Small-Town Feel!

Disclaimer:  I ran the Madison Marathon & Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave to review, find and write race reviews.

The Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin is a sight to be seen!  It glows in the moonlight and is just as picturesque in the daylight!   If you're looking for a beautiful urban race but also a small town feel, this race is for you! 

The BibRavePro team before the race!
I just had to stop to take this picture after bib pick-up! It was too beautiful to pass up!

Madison is a busy metropolis.  College kids everywhere, tall buildings, Camp Randall Stadium, quaint neighborhoods, lakes... the list goes on.   Race management does a great job navigating runners through all of the best parts of Madison.  This is definitely a race to add to your bucket list. 

I arrived in Madison on Saturday and checked into my hotel which was about 1 1/2 miles from the starting line; easily walkable along the bike path.  I chose to drive and was pleasantly surprised at the on-street parking for Sunday's big race!  It was FREE and there was a ton of open spots to park - I did arrive one hour before the race start, so depending on when you arrived, the street parking may be sparse.  However, there were plenty of ramps to park in as well.

The expo was small and quiet, but we got individualized attention at each booth if we wanted it.  I thought that was very nice.  When we arrived at 5pm on Saturday night, the expo was wrapping up, so there was a lot of merchandise already purchased , therefore the picking was slim.  That didn't bother me though.  The finisher shirts were awesome so I was very happy with that!  

How cute are these?  I loved the color and the fit was great! 

The pre-race accomodations for this race were fantastic.  The race starts and finishes on Capitol Square so that is an added bonus.  Anyone for a great photo op?  And did I mention.... FREE race photos!  What an amazing perk and so worth it!  I noticed photographers in at least 3 different locations, but looking at my photos I think they were at more places.  Thank you to race management for the photos because in my opinion that sets this race apart from others for sure!

Porta-potties lined one block of Capitol Square and there was no more than about a 5 minute wait.  I have a tendency to visit the bathroom several times before a race.  The last time for me was literally 3 minutes to race start and I made it there and back before the start.  Very convenient and well organized. 

Bag check was handled efficiently.  We could bring our own bag or use the bag we were given at the expo.  My one and only suggestion for this would be for the race to provide cinch bags with a drawstring.  I ended up bringing my own bag so that I could tie it closed.  Really not a make-or-break deal, but just a suggestion. 

The marathon start was at 7:00 am with the half marathon start at 7:10 am.  There were not corrals, but pacers lined up accordingly and you could follow in line from there.  For this race, I chose not to run with pacers and I did just fine.  I stayed fairly consistent with my 8:40 pace and was very happy with the way the finish turned out for me. 

After looking at my splits, I giggled.  My pace was consistent and steady with 8:40/mile except for the hills.  Oh the hills.  Not too many, but a few were a challenge. 

The photo above was taken at about mile 8.  We were running in a beautiful neighborhood, but the hill ahead awaited.  At mile 9 the view was absolutely stunning,  but you had to work to get there.  Be prepared.  The hill is relatively short, but steep.   Trust me....your view at the top is breathtaking!

At the top of mile 9, straight ahead is the capitol on the other side of the lake.  You run amidst some of the most prestigious homes in Madison.  A fantastic down hill puts you in front of the Governor's Mansion, make sure to look out for it, although I don't think you'll miss it.   Miles 8-10 were my favorites of the race for sure! 

Along the way, there were ample water stops, but spectators were sparse.  I prefer to run without music, but this may be a race to bring your headphones.  If you rely on crowd support be sure to bring some distraction with you! 

Just about when you're at the finish line be prepared for one last hill.  It's a longer one and it's placement puts a runner in a bit of a pickle.  At mile 12.5,  I just wanted to be done.   But, I had one last hill to conquer.  The hills made the medal all that sweeter.  I kept telling myself not to quit and made it up and enjoyed a nice downhill after!  Wahoo!   The half marathon overall was not "that" hilly, but the course was definitely not flat either.  I liked the variety. 

The finish line party was great.  There was no shortage of food at the finish line as Panera had bag lunches for everyone with your choice of ham, turkey or veggie sandwiches.  I loved it!  Each finisher received a beer as well.  There was also a post race band playing until 12:00pm. 

To be honest, and I know this seems crazy,  I really loved this race for the post-race photo opportunity.  Pictures by the capitol were just so beautiful.  I took plenty! 

The medal was super cool!  I loved the ribbon color as well!

I even made fellow Bibrave Pro Casey jump with me afterwards!  It's my signature photo after every race and this backdrop didn't dissappoint! 

My finish time was 1:57:30.  I ended up with 8:51/mile.  I have ran 9 half marathons, and this was my 2nd best.  I was extremely happy with this as I had been struggling to break 2 hours in previous races.  The weather was chilly at 34 degrees, but really perfect for running! 

I really enjoyed myself during this race and hope to one day be back to Conquer the Capitol.  


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Do These Glasses Make Me Look Bad-A#$?

Diclaimer:  I received the XX2i Brazil1 sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave to review, find and write race reviews.

Casual, Sleek, Retro & Bad-Ass!  Yup, those are the adjectives I'd use to describe these sunglasses.  You're probably wondering.... "Why does she need SO many pairs of sunglasses?"  I will come back and say; You can never have too many!  

Truth is, I have been given the amazing opportunity to have tested 4 different models of XX2i sunglasses.  This pair is the first pair of casual sunglasses I've tested.   I have been pleasantly surprised by them! 

At first glance, out of the box, they didn't WOW me.  BUT, when I put them on and  saw the blue, shimmering 8K optics,  I was SOLD.  They are so cool.  I have a little more swagger in my step when I wear these and I'm not kidding.  

These glasses are light-weight and the key-hole nose piece fits my face perfectly.  My eyelashes do not touch the lenses either, which is a huge plus!  They are decorated with two small silver accents on each side - which I love!  They also come in a variety of colors; however I think the black is the best!  I'm transported into the 50's and 60's when converse and rolled jeans were a fashion.  Oh wait - that IS the fashion.  Nonetheless, you can grab these glasses with virtually any outfit and your stylin' in seconds.  

Recently, I wore them post-race in Madison.  Immediately at bag pickup I grabbed them and slipped them on for fantastic coverage and polarized comfort!  Don't these glasses make my medal look big?!?!?!  HA!

I didn't get the opportunity to run with these glasses on, but due to the versatility and the strap that comes with them, you could absolutely take the on a run or ride.   These glasses are permanently in my car or my purse so I can grab them whenever I want!

I would say my only negative for the fit was after a few hours of wearing them, I did feel a bit sore at the top of my ear from the arms of the glasses.  Although, I do feel that they could be adjusted to be a bit looser on the back. 

XX2i backs ALL of their sunglasses with a 365 day return policy.  For any reason, they can be returned for FREE,  no questions.  Although,  I'm sure you'll love them!  Don't forget to use the code "XX2iROCKS" to get 50% OFF! 

***For a limited time: THROUGH TUESDAY, Nov. 22nd. Code: "BRAZIL1" gets you 60% off these glasses. 

Don't forget our BibChat on Twitter! Join Bibrave for #bibchat on Tuesday, Nov. 22nd, 8 PM CST.  XX2i will be giving away a pair of Brazil Sunglasses!