REVIEW: GoSili Reusable Silicone Straws

Disclaimer: I received a pack of reusable silicone straws from GoSili as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!


My car collects trash.

Receipts. Toll tickets. Coke bottles. Just a lot of random trash.

Something that shows up quite a bit though – and probably more than it should – is the ubiquitous fast food soda cup with a plastic straw. That straw often pokes my arm as it sits in the cup holder long after the beverage is gone. Once I do get around to throwing it out, the straw is no longer in it’s vertical home – it’s probably been ripped from the cup, tossed throughout the car, and ends up who knows where. Unfortunately, THAT is the problem with plastic straws – we know where so many of them end up. In rivers, lakes, streams, and – most notably – the oceans.

If only there was a reusable straw…oh wait, there is! Enter GoSili.

What is it?

GoSili straws are made silicone which provides a reusable, non-toxic, and sustainable alternative to the traditional drinking straw. They are dishwasher safe and can also be sanitized with a two-minute boiling water bath. In addition to being reusable, they are free of so many of the chemicals that we now fear in our consumer products – BPA, BPS, PVC, lead, and so on.

My thoughts

I was fortunate to get a wide variety of straws to review. My favorite, by far, is the X-Long straw. It’s absolutely perfect for those larger beverage cups at Starbucks as well as for some of my larger thermal mugs. They’re also great for my one-year-old daughter, Shalane, especially when we forget her sippy cup at home when we go out.

Added bonus is that she loves them too as another thing to play with! Because they are so easy to clean and chemically safe, I have no problem letting her have a blast and – dare I say? – get a little “sili”!

The travel cases for the different sizes is great because it keeps the straw sanitary before use keeps it out of the way. As a consumer, my personal preference is for a travel case that attaches to something via a clip or a keyring. My thought here is that digging around in a bag to find the travel case hasn’t been my favorite thing in the world, but it certainly hasn’t hindered my use of the straws! The straws themselves are colorful, safe, and easy-to-carry — with OR without the case. I maybe don’t use them as much as I should, but I’m definitely making strides to eliminate plastic straws from my daily experience. Hopefully, this also means finding less of them in my car!

Where it counts

Plastic consumption is at an all-time high. As a result, the amount of that plastic that ends up in places where it shouldn’t is through the roof. Think about your own plastic usage and then GoSili.  It could be any number of reasons, but they all point in the same direction – silicone straws are here and GoSili has a fantastic product that can help make a difference while also helping you reach the bottom of that large soda from Jimmy Johns.


Want to snag GoSili for yourself and save a buck?

Head over to Target.com and use code GOSILI1OFF for $1 off at checkout.

Advertisements

REVIEW: Ultima Replenisher

Disclaimer: I received a two canisters of Ultima Replenisher (1 lemonade, 1 raspberry) as well as 15 individual sticks (multiple flavors) 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!


Two reviews in one day?! Why not!

Back at it with another product review and this time I’m looking at Ultima Replenisher. Before I jump into the review, let me put a few things out there:

  1. This is only the second time I’ve ever reviewed a consumable, so please bear with me.
  2. I did not realize until the product arrived that I actually already had a container of a different Ultima flavor in my home – my wife enjoys the Cherry Pomegranate flavor.
  3. While I did receive some of the individual stickpacks to test, I am focusing my review on the larger canisters of Lemonade and Raspberry flavors and Ultima in general.

And away we go!

Ultima Replenisher – WHAT IS IT?

Simply put, Ultima Replenisher is a powder-based hydration drink. It goes beyond that simplification though as it boasts no unnecessary ingredients – such as high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. The flavors themselves – tasty, tasty flavors I might add – are derived from ACTUAL fruits and vegetables.

Ultima Replenisher is a replenishment drink. It’s in the name, y’all! Replenishment takes place by ensuring that the body has enough electrolytes. Speaking of electrolytes…

ELECTROLYTES – NOT JUST WHAT PLANTS CRAVE!

Bonus points for anyone who caught the movie reference above…but I digress.

It’s a long held thought that sodium is the only electrolyte that matters. Ultima calls phooey on that. Electrolytes (plural) play a huge role in how muscles function. As a runner, that’s kind of a big deal! Ultima is balanced with all 6 electrolytes – Potassium, Magnesium, Chloride, Calcium, Phosphorus, and Zinc – to ensure that athletes are ready to reach optimal performance.

OVERALL REVIEW

Coming into this test, I was skeptical of a powder-based drink. I’ve tried some (other brands) in the past and had mixed results. Some drinks lacked flavor, some drinks were syrupy, some were just blah. Ultima weren’t in any of those categories. In fact, I found myself not just adding one scoop of the Lemonade flavor to the requisite 16oz of water, but adding a second scoop of Raspberry as well for an awesome raspberry lemonade! Thanks to my wife, Tammi, for that tip!

Additionally, each canister I received is supposed to provide 30 servings. I’ve stayed within the recommended scoop size every time and it seems like this little hockey puck sized canister will never end – but I know it eventually will!

I will note though that I did find it somewhat frustrating to taste residual powder long after I added it to the water and mixed/shook the contents together. Totally willing to accept that it may be a result of how I mix it all together. Regardless, this slight inconvenience is not nearly enough for me to be disappointed by Ultima. They make a darn good product and I enjoyed getting to try it – as I drink some now!


If you’re looking for something different in the drink mix department, I’d recommend giving Ultima a try. On a 5 point scale, I’d give them a solid 4.75 and that’s pretty darn good – especially since I was hesitant at first! So, head on over to the Ultima Storefront on Amazon and use the code ULBRAVE19 to save 10% on your purchase of any Ultima product.

REVIEW: ShadyRays X Series Shades

Disclaimer: I received a pair of ShadyRays X Series 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!


Hello again everyone! Time for another review and this time around I’m taking a look at the X Series sunglasses from ShadyRays.

Sunglasses are an absolute necessity for me as I have a stronger sensitivity to light in one eye due to an issue a few years back, so trying these out as the summer running season begins was a no-brainer! I chose to go with the BLACKOUT POLARIZED INCOGNITO colorway for this one and as with most products I purchase (and/or test), I look at three primary criteria when I review: 1) function, 2) style, & 3) price. This one will be no different, so let’s dive in!

SHADYRAYS X SERIES BLACKOUT POLARIZED INCOGNITO

FUNCTION

Let’s get the obvious point out of the way, first and foremost – they’re sunglasses. Obviously, they are designed to help reduce glare and provide 100% protection against harmful UV rays.

However, they are SO much more than JUST sunglasses. The X Series shades are built to experience LIFE. Almost every run over the last few weeks has included these shades and let me tell you – they pass the test with flying colors. They stay put and don’t slip around. I’ve never once had to readjust them or had them start to slide down my nose. The arms on the shades wrap the side of my head almost as if they were meant to be there.

As far as running and other activities go, I’m enjoying these sunglasses. It should also be noted (and should go without saying) that they also make for a great pair of general sunglasses for an evening walk with the family or driving across town. Doesn’t hurt that they can also withstand salt-water as there is a family vacation to the beach on the horizon!

 

STYLE

There is always something to be said about a good looking pair of shades. I’ve definitely had some that didn’t function well nor did they look all that great. The X series shades do what they are designed to do AND they look amazing. Looking at them head on, I feel like I’m about to take on the world. Looking at them on me in a mirror, they look like they are meant for this face. They fit well and they look great. Plenty of colorway options to choose from, but I was drawn to the black-on-black-on-black look of the Blackout Incognito option. When done correctly, this concept works very well. Guess what, folks? IT WORKS. 

PRICE

So, they are great for running, great for everyday, great for the beach. They look good and, call me vain, but I really believe they look good ON me as well. What about the price? 
$45.
X Series shades start at $45. Not the lowest price point I’ve seen, but for the quality of product you receive AND how the company backs up their work, you can’t really beat it. Each pair comes with a lifetime craftsmanship warranty AND they provide FREE replacements if you lose or break them (simply pay S&H). On top of that, every order of ShadyRays provides 10 meals to fight hunger in the United States through Feeding America. Looking good and doing good – well done!

OVERALL

So let’s review:

  • Premium Polarized black lenses with 100% UV protection
  • Shatter-resistant
  • Salt water proof
  • Includes Microfiber Cleansing Pouch
  • Lifetime Craftsmanship Warranty
  • Free Replacements if Lost or Broken – just pay S+H fee for lost/broken replacements.
  • Every order provides 10 meals to fight hunger in the U.S. through Feeding America

What’s not to like?! I’m definitely a fan and am definitely considering a second pair in the future. Head over to ShadyRays and grab your own pair of X Series sunglasses. Save 50% off your order of two or more pairs when you use the code RAVE50 at checkout.

REVIEW: Indy Mini Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k) as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!


Rather than bury the lead, here it is:

GO RUN THE INDY MINI.

This entire experience was absolutely phenomenal. From the registration process all the way to the post-race party, the people involved with organizing the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (aka the Indy Mini) know what they heck they’re doing. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though. In 2018,  the Indy Mini was voted #1 half marathon in The BibRave 100!

BibRave Pro meet-up the night before the race!

I decided to step it up for this particular race and participated in the Mega Mini Challenge – running the Delta Dental 5k and then running the OneAmerica Mini Marathon (half). My PLAN was to somewhat sandbag the 5k and go for a really amazing time in the half. That plan went out the window quite quickly as I decided “why not?!” and pushed fairly hard in the 5k. Finished in the top 50, roughly a minute and a half slower than my current 5k PR.

Start line prior to the 5k

After crossing the finish, challenge participants were to stay to the left and follow signage to return to the start area. It seemed as if the volunteers knew this, but there was a little confusion in the finish area. To stay on point, I turned my music back up, put my head down, and do what the race instructions told me. I got back to the start line pretty quick, found Bill – a fellow BibRave Pro! – and we lined up for our second race of the day

Me and Bill (& 6500 new friends) in Wave 2 before the half

I knew before I crossed the start line for the half that it was not going to be a PR. Not after the performance I just threw down in the 5k! I was fine with that. If I could come within 10-15 minutes, I’d still be happy. Honestly though, I wasn’t really focused on that. I was focused on what everyone else was focused on – getting out to the speedway and taking a lap on that iconic track! Although I was posting a pretty good pace through the first half, I slowed up once I got to turn 4 at the track and turned into a tourist for a little bit.

The second half of my half marathon was definitely slower and I could tell that the 5k was catching up to me. My legs weren’t having this run as much any longer. There was definitely some run/walk happening in those last 4-5 miles, but thankfully more running than walking!

Ultimately, I came in around 1:49 for the half marathon – only 8 minutes off of my personal record. Not too shabby at all. Rolled into the post-race party, met up with Bill again as we collected our medals for the 5k as well as for the Mega Mini Challenge.

***

All and all, this race is well worth the trip and definitely lives up to the hype that surrounds it. The history, the tradition, and a very unique 2.5 mile section. Beyond that, this event is incredibly well organized, there is pretty decent crowd support, and it is very evident that the City of Indianapolis (and even the State of Indiana) truly get behind this race.

In conclusion, you should absolutely consider running the Indy Mini in 2020. Registration is open NOW. Seriously. Go to Indianapolis next year and find out for yourself – as I did – why this race is one of the top half marathons in the country!

(I’ll Be) Back Home Again In Indiana: Indy Mini Preview – Part 2

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k) as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Make sure to download the Indy Mini app (iOSAndroid) to track me and my fellow BibRave Pros on race day (May 4)!


Growing up, kids and their parents share a lot of special bonds. For some, it’s special bond made from the shared love of travel. This is true of me and my mother. Our travels, and the subsequent stories, are world famous. The special location trips (like Niagara Falls, San Francisco, Mexico) and road trips across the country. Or that time we went to Europe for a few weeks – her first trip to Europe and I got to be the guide. Yeah, those were some damn good times.

For many though, it’s the special bond that is built with one (or both) parents by going to a major event – like a concert or a sporting event. As someone who grew up in southwestern Ohio, my dad and I built one such bond of our shared love of watching the Reds in Cincinnati. In 1994, our focus changed – at least in the month of May – from baseball – as dad was able to obtain tickets to the Indianapolis 500 and we found something else which became not just a shared love for US, but for anyone we had the opportunity to share it with.

Dad and me at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

From our first 500 in 1994 until our last in 2002, the Indy 500 became our annual tradition. I haven’t been back to the track in MAY since 2002. 17 years. So, when the opportunity came to opt-in to run the OneAmerica 500 Festival Indy Mini, there was no way I was going to pass that up. NONE. 

I get to run 2.5 miles of the course actually on the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? 

I get to take in the view of our old seats from the freakin’ track itself? 

I get to cross (and likely, stop, kneel down, and kiss) the fabled “yard of bricks”?

Bonus: I (might) get to snag a moment with Olympic Marathon gold-medalist, Frank Shorter?

YES PLEASE. However…

Beyond all that, this race – and specifically the lap around the track – is more than a novelty to me. It brings back fantastic memories. EARLY morning wake-ups, breakfast via McDonald’s drive-thrus, parking under a PNC Bank drive-up window, and the long walk from 38th & Georgetown down to the Speedway. It reminds me of the people we used to share the seating area with – the same people around us for 8 years. While we didn’t really know each other or even connect outside of the 500, we always felt connected on that one Sunday in May.

The last 500 we attended was in 2002. That was a week before I graduated from high school and I was fortunate to share that last race with both mom and dad. I was able to have the best of both worlds – the love of traveling (definitely got that from mom) and my love of all things racing (thanks for that, dad). As a runner trying to run all of the World Marathon majors, a marathon in all 50 states, and a race in all 88 Ohio counties – I’d say the special bonds I built with my parents have carried over into my love of running for sure.

***

Tomorrow, I’ll run the Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k (7:00am) and then the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon (7:40am). Want to track me and my fellow BibRave Pros? Make sure to download the Indy Mini app (iOSAndroid).

Indianapolis was never my “home”, but this weekend it almost feels like a homecoming of sorts. All because of 250 laps, 33 drivers, 8 races, and one amazing race course.

Time to start your engines! See you in Indy!

 

We’re Goin’ Streaking!

No. Not like that. Not to the quad. Not to the gymnasium.

However, the month of May IS now upon us and it it (well past) time to lace up and get after it. How so?

The good people at BibRave have put out a challenge – run and/or walk at least a mile a day everyday in May. That’s it!

Want to get in on the fun? Of course you do. That’s a silly question. It’s easy.

Head over to Strava and set up an account for free OR log in if you already have an account. After that, make sure to join the BibRave Strava group. Good? Good. Now – GET GOING. Your progress will get tracked on your individual Strava profile AND on the BibRave club leaderboard.

This isn’t about training, this isn’t (necessarily) about competition. This is about making the commitment to be active EVERYDAY for a month.

So, what do you say? You in?

See you tomorrow…

Indy Mini Marathon Preview

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k) as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Make sure to download the Indy Mini app (iOSAndroid) to track me and my fellow BibRave Pros on race day (May 4)!


25 years ago on a beautiful Memorial Day weekend, I wasn’t sleeping in or reading the funny pages on  Sunday morning. Instead, I found myself experiencing one of the greatest thrills of my life – sitting in the stands at the 1994 Indianapolis 500. To my 10-year-old self, the Indy 500 was HUGE. The race course – massive. The drivers – giants of racing. It was phenomenal. From my first 500 in 1994 until the last race I attended in 2002, Indy was my “home” for one awesome day in May. 

The view from one of my first Indy 500’s, as evidenced by the OLD pagoda!

I’ve been back to Indiana and even to Indianapolis in the years since 2002, mostly for conferences, but this trip though will be different. This weekend, I’ll be “back home again in Indiana” to take on the Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k AND the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. I’ll get to run in a place that means a lot to me – which I’ll dig into later in the week. Like with any race though, there are always things for which I’m excited – and here are just a few!

Running the Double

Those familiar with IndyCar should also be familiar with the term “double duty”. This refers to a driver attempting to complete the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 – 1100 miles of driving – on the same day. That’s comparable to driving from Boston to St. Louis (approximately 1180 miles) with only a 2.5 hour nap after the first 500 miles. I think I’ll pass…

Apply that idea of pulling “double duty” to running? Runners eat that up. So why not run a 5k (3.1 miles) and then follow that up with a half marathon (13.1 miles) immediately after? Well, that’s what I intend to do on Saturday. I’ll start my race day at 7:00am with the Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k, which I’ll likely approach as a warm-up, and then get right back to the start line for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon.

This will mark the first time I’ve ever run more than one race distance on the same day since I competed in track in high school. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous about it, but I will get it done! Perhaps I’ll even lock down a PR in the half (sub 1:40 would be fantastic)!

Orange is the New Orange

The Indy Mini is one of the most popular races around – heck, it was voted #1 Half Marathon in The BibRave 100! Speaking of BibRave, that’s the reason I’m running this weekend. This will be the 3rd event I’ve run as a BibRave Pro and every time I have had an absolute blast. Aside from the races themselves, the best part of race weekend is getting to link up with my fellow BibRave Pros that are also on site. Whether we are running officially to help drive the orange brand or just happen to be running and wearing BibRave gear, being able to put faces to names in person is awesome. This weekend, I’ll get to run with William, who I met a few weeks back at the Blue Ridge Marathon, as well as a few others who I haven’t met IRL, but we’ve chatted back and forth in our Slack channels. My experience as a BibRave Pro – testing & reviewing gear and running & reviewing races – has been fantastic, but being able to have a core group of people to connect with and share our love of running has made it something I truly enjoy.

2.5 Miles

I’m okay with running on flat courses, hills, trails, tracks, and so on. It should be noted that aound the halfway point of the Indy Mini, the course gets PANCAKE FLAT. Why? I saved this one for last for a reason – we get to run a complete lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! I’m sure you figured this out by now, but I had to put it to text.That 2.5 mile track is one of the greatest sports facilities in the world and I get to run there. Excited is a freakin’ understatement! I am going to attempt to go for a decent time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I let up just a little to enjoy the view and the experience or running around IMS for a bit. Plus, the MEDAL has some MASSIVE references to the race – can’t wait to earn it and perhaps even the bonus medal for being one of the first 500 across the line!

Back Home Again…

Indiana was my home for a hot minute in the late 1980’s. My family moved to Ft. Wayne, not far from where I was born in western Ohio. I don’t remember much about those years, but what I do remember always made me feel like I was at home. My time in Indiana as a “resident” may have been short lived as a youngster, but I will always feel at home when I hear “Back Home Again in Indiana”. Even though that particular song isn’t necessarily part of Indy Mini weekend, it is the first thing I think of anytime I find myself back in Indianapolis.

Back home again in Indiana
And it seems that I can see
The gleaming candlelight still shining bright
Thro’ the sycamores for me
The new mown hay sends all its fragrance
From fields I used to roam
When I dream
About the moonlight on the Wabash
Then I long for my Indiana home

From the 1994 Indianapolis 500 Pre-Race Ceremonies – my first 500:

 

Will YOU be back home (again) in Indiana this weekend at the Indy Mini? If so, let me know on social and perhaps we’ll be able to link up as well! See you in Indy!


Looking for some other things to get excited about for this weekend’s Indy Mini? Check out this list of 13.1 things to look for during the Indy Mini from 9-time finisher & 3-time ambassador, Chris Day!