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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.

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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.

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!

REVIEW: Knockaround Fast Lanes

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knockaround Fast Lanes sunglasses 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!

Get your own pair of Knockarounds. Enter code BIBRAVEKNOCKS1 save 20% your ENTIRE order (good once per user) through April 18.


If the sun’s out, then you can bet that I am as well. Unfortunately, due to a random eye inflammation a few years back, I can’t enjoy being outside without severe sensitivity. As a result, this means having a pair of quality shades is absolutely essential.

I have tried – and lost – MANY different pairs of sunglasses. Some passed the test with flying colors and some…well, I’ll never see again. The point here is that I need to have a pair of sunglasses that help me see with much less sensitivity, are durable and hold up to everything I can toss at them, and – obviously – they have to look damn good.

Enter: Knockaround Fast Lanes.

What’s the Story?

Knockaround Fast Lanes are, to me, two things – simple but stylish. Offered in a variety of colorways and made to be durable, these sunglasses will fit seamlessly into daily life, no matter what you’re into. One of the key features of this particular line is that they will look good on most any face shape, especially those with medium and larger shaped faces. That means no more stretched out sunglasses and/or imprint marks on the side of your head from the arms of the shades!

The Fast Lanes aren’t the only shades they make, though, and all of the Knockaround sunglasses have impact-resistant lenses and UV400 protection. Best of all – for me and that eye sensitivity – is that almost all of their offerings are available in a polarized version.

Well? How are they?

For this review, I opted to go with the Frosted Rubber Blue Ice / Silver Smoke Fast Lanes. In the past, I’ve almost always gone with standard black sunglasses, so I figured it was time to change it up! Besides, I do enjoy blue when it is done well and let me tell you – they knocked it out of the park. Here’s a few things I really have enjoyed about them so far:

  1. Simple. From the moment I pulled them out of the box, I’ve absolutely enjoyed these sunglasses. Speaking of the box, there wasn’t a whole lot to that either. This company sells sunglasses and that’s what they send you – sunglasses…in box…and that’s about it. One thing in particular that stood out is that the shades themselves are simple in that the brand marks on the glasses isn’t obnoxious. I will say that while I am not a huge fan of the additional branding in the upper corner of the right side lens, it’s a detail I can easily get past.
  2. Stylish. Once out of the box, I was impressed with the minimal amount of packaging, but also impressed with the presentation. It was a consistent look from the box down to the shades inside. Speaking of the shades, the ombre frames on these particular shades is actually a little bit darker in person than what is shown online – and I’m fine with that! The polarized smoke lenses absolutely seal the deal for me. Simply put, they look good and aren’t too crazy.
  3. Durable. I am notorious for just tossing my sunglasses around and pushing them to what I would consider to be the extreme. I’ll toss them on the counter, drop them, put them in a pocket of a jacket, sit on them (ouch), and who knows what else. I’m sure at some point my daughter, Shalane, will get her hands on them – here’s hoping they stand up to her as well! All that being said, they need to be able to stand up to LIFE and, so far, they definitely fit the bill.
  4. Runable. Any shades I have MUST be up to the challenge of my running life. They have to hold up against the heat of the day, the humidity of Ohio, the rain that I love to run in more than anything. I ran in this pair during the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon this past weekend in Roanoke, Virginia. Didn’t even need them during the first few miles, but once the sun started to peek out – they were amazing. Didn’t fog up nearly as much as I anticipated that they might and the polarization – as expected – helped to make some really awesome views even MORE amazing. They held their place on my face incredibly well without slipping OR without causing stress on the side of my head. Some shades are too little, some are too big. These Knockaround Fast Lanes were just right.

Final Thoughts

They’re kind of my new favorites. They’re relatively inexpensive ($20 a pair, $10 for kid versions), durable, stylish, simple, and they fit amazingly. I definitely see myself ordering more – especially the Fast Lanes – as I still do have that propensity for losing sunglasses! Hopefully, I won’t lose THIS pair because I really like them!

Simply put – yes, there are LOTS of options out there when it comes to sunglasses. My advice as you shop for your next pair? Live life in the fast lane and get a pair of Knockarounds!


Get your own pair of Knockarounds. Enter code BIBRAVEKNOCKS1 save 20% your ENTIRE order (good once per user) through April 18.

How to Travel: #BlueRidge Marathon Edition

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon 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!


Let me get something out from the onset. This post was supposed to go live last Thursday night and I thought for sure I had hit publish late Thursday night. I did not. Boo on me. As a result, you’re now in for a treat – my pre-race travel tips…from the future…about the past. Don’t worry, I’m confused as well. Enjoy the post!


If you’ve been following me (here, Instagram, Twitter, etc), you probably know that I’m heading to Roanoke, Virginia this weekend for the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon. I won’t lie – I’m excited AND slightly terrified for this one, the reasons for which are best summed up in my OTHER preview post. However – and again, no big surprise – it really was only a matter of time before one of these race weekend preview posts inevitably focused on the travel aspects associated with such a trip. So, here are some of the tips, tricks, and best practices that put into action to make my race travel as easy as possible.

Plan Ahead

Once I’ve finally determined what race I’m going to do, I have to figure out two basic things: 1) how to get there, and 2) where to stay. Without these things sorted out in advance, the trip can get more hectic and more costly. For this particular trip – happening TOMORROW mind you – I sorted out both of these details more than a month or two ago.

First, how to get to Roanoke.could have opted to fly, but that would have involved leaving (and paying for) a car at the airport, being at the airport 2+ hours early on BOTH ends of the trip, checking a bag (I usually don’t, but depending on the trip it could happen), renting a car, and navigating from the airport to my accommodations. I’ll pass on all that, thank you very much! I’ve opted instead to drive the 6(ish) hours from my home just outside of Columbus, OH. It will allow me to travel on my terms and take breaks when I like, eat what I need/like, and so on. The obvious downside is being awake and driving for 6 hours, but I’ll take it. All it costs me is gas and a little money for the West Virginia turnpike – thank goodness my car gets pretty decent gas mileage!

So, how’d that whole driving thing go? It wasn’t too bad. The drive down felt like it went fairly quick. Minimal stops, no delays on the roads, decent weather. The trip BACK to Ohio, however, was the driving equivalent to watching a sloth – slow and not very exciting. LOTS of stops to stretch, hydrate, and walk. 

After making that decision, I have to figure out where to stay. The initial and probably more obvious option is a hotel relatively close to the center of the action. While this is great and probably offers more amenities, there’s also very likely a higher price tag that comes with it. For such a short trip and for as little as I’ll actually be in the space, I don’t need all that a hotel offers. For the Blue Ridge Marathon, I secured a really fantastic location via AirBnB. I’ve had really great success in the past – we used the service for our honeymoon in 2014 – so it was definitely worth a look. My rental is less than a mile (a 15 minute walk) from the start/finish line and for less than $90 for one night. This is HUGE for me because proximity to the start/finish, overall cost, and ease of access were paramount. Obviously, everyone’s preferences are going to vary and specific needs will dictate what type of accommodation work the best, so do your homework and find what works for you and your specific situation.

How was your AirBnB? It proved to be a GREAT decision. Perfect location in reference to the start/finish and super simple. There were the essentials and that was it – bathroom, shower, tv, bed. I was only there for a night, so that’s all I needed. Hands down, one of the best AirBnB’s I’ve ever booked.

Have a Plan? Good. Be Prepared to Throw It Out Because Things Happen

This piece of advice applies to many aspects of life – not just travel – but it does bear repeating. Whether you are a seasoned business traveler or a casual leisure traveler, being unfriendly or just plain rude can come back and bite you. If your flight is delayed or you get stuck in traffic, etc. – trust me, there are other people experiencing the same issue(s). Know your plan, but be ready to ditch it. Thankfully, I didn’t need to do this. I had things laid out in such a way that there were contingencies in place, but didn’t need them at all. The plan actually workout and I had an amazing weekend! Be patient even when your patience is tested to the max. Finally, be flexible. Sometimes the best experiences come when you have to call an audible. Keep these things in mind when traveling, because occasionally, you may find yourself being rewarded for it in the end!

Whether you are running the Blue Ridge Marathon, the Boston Marathon, or anywhere in between – here’s wishing you all a fantastic weekend of racing!

REVIEW: Addaday Pro Massage Roller

Disclaimer: I received an Addaday Pro Massage Roller 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!


Fear not, friends – the review I’m rolling out today is NOT one about a torture device, though it may at times feel that way! It’s the Pro Massage Roller from Addaday and let me tell you something: IT. FRICKIN’. WORKS.

Prior to getting my hands on the Pro Roller, the only roller-type product I really utilized was (oddly enough) the Marble Muscle Roller on my shoulders and quads. I was skeptical about roller devices – and still am to a degree – because I’ve never heard anything except how much it hurts when using them. When the opportunity was presented to try one out, I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss – the good AND the bad – was all about.

What exactly does it do?

Simply put, all of Addaday’s rollers help roll out knots and reduce muscle tightness & fatigue. The 21-inch Pro Roller (pictured above) uses three different rollers to focus on a variety of muscle issues. The BLUE gears are soft muscle rollers designed for kneading. The GREY gears are medium muscle rollers that help to flush out lactic acid and reduce muscle fatigue. “But Preston, what about that little RED one?” That’s the pinpoint gear and is perfect for rolling out the shins, the achilles, and preventing/treating shin splints.

How I Use It

Since receiving mine, I’ve used the Pro Roller after nearly every run I’ve gone on and – as you might guess – after my leg day weight workouts. My initial concerns were spot on as it isn’t a particularly pleasant experience WHILE using, but the result AFTER using of having refreshed legs/muscles that aren’t nearly as sore is well worth it.

Time to ROLL out…

With that in mind and if you’re on the fence like I was, I’d absolutely recommend picking up an Addaday Pro Massage Roller for yourself – or any of their other roller products for that matter. Your muscles will thank you. You’ll thank your muscles. It’s a win-win.