fitness

RECAP: A Christmas Story 10k

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the A Christmas Story Run 10k 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!


I’ve known about the A Christmas Story Run for quite a while, but have never had the opportunity to run it, despite it being on my list of “must run” races. To say I was excited would be an understatement!

“You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!”

A Christmas Story Run 5k/10k pays homage to the movie of the same name, where the proceeds go directly back into supporting and maintaining the A Christmas Story House & Museum as well as the neighborhood that surrounds it. Many participants in the event are costumed up ranging from Ralphie’s bunny suit to dressing like a leg lamp (It’s a major award!). The race even allows runners to run with their dogs (er, Bumpus Hounds) – I passed on this, but it would be something I’d consider doing with our dog, Ruby, in the future!

“Oh Fudge!”

First, to understand this part of THIS post, you need to have read my pre-race travel post. To anyone who did read it, please know that my best-laid plan was absolutely thrown out the window. I woke up about an hour later than I had planned on, which threw off the rest of the morning leading up to the race. However, once I was in Cleveland and a few deep (thankful) breaths were had, everything went amazing!

“Fra-gee-lay. Must be Italian!”

Before the race started, I was fortunate enough to meet two other BibRave Pros – Amy from Green Bay, WI and Jackey from Buffalo, NY. It’s always nice to meet up with fellow BRP’s and it was a good thing we met up before the race, because afterward was a little hectic!

Speaking of the race, it’s pretty simple when you get right down to it. The 5k is a point-to-point and the 10k (the one I ran) is an out-and-back. The race starts at Cleveland’s Public Square and follows a pretty straightforward course to the Christmas Story House. After leaving downtown and passing Progressive Field (home of the Cleveland Indians), the route crosses the Hope Memorial Bridge, providing a great view back on the downtown skyline. A mile or so later, the view is made even more spectacular when runners enter Tremont by passing a large “Cleveland” sign – perfect for photo ops!

The course makes its way to the titular house where the 5k runners finish, grab their medals, and perhaps a beer while runners in the 10k turn around and head back downtown. As part of registration, all runners receive complementary admission to visit the A Christmas Story House & Museum (a $13.00 value). This perk is cool, but be ready for a LONG, LONG line on race day. I ended up passing on this perk as I had made other plans for the rest of the day. Another line that was anticipated was that to get on one of the many buses from the house back to downtown. Passed on waiting in that line as well and walked back to downtown with a few of my friends and their dogs.

“It’s a Major Award!”

The medal is pretty neat and captures perfectly the “Oh Fudge!” sequence from the movie. The medal is almost covers my palm completely, so it’s not small!

The other swag for this race included a red long sleeve cotton shirt in addition to a green drawstring bag. The shirt is nice, but personally would have preferred a dri-fit or other tech-type shirt. Aside from that, the random LED light bulb we were given in the swag bag was unique, but hey – free bulb!

***

Overall, this race more than lived up to my expectations and provided a great experience. The things I enjoyed significantly outweighed anything I might not have – and that’s a good thing. I would definitely recommend that you check out this race, especially if you’re a fan of A Christmas Story!

Runner Travel Series #2: A Christmas Story 10k

Disclaimer: I received an entry into A Christmas Story Run 10k 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!


On the morning of Dec 7 (tomorrow), I’m waking up at the crack of dawn, running down the stairs in my pink bunny pajamas, and hopefully finding a official Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time! Wait a second, that doesn’t make sense. Tomorrow isn’t Christmas, but it IS the A Christmas Story Run 10k in Cleveland! Here’s a brief primer to get you up to speed. If you haven’t seen the movie A Christmas Story, it chronicles the story of young Ralphie Parker and his quest to get a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas. I know there is a 24-hour marathon (on TBS?) of the movie right around Christmas. But I digress…

In the real world, the house used in the movie (located in Cleveland, Ohio) has been renovated to its movie glory as the A Christmas Story House & Museum. It is the centerpiece of the A Christmas Story Run 5k/10k. 

***

As mentioned, I’m getting up pretty early to head to Cleveland for this run. How early? Keep reading! For this trip, I have no hotels or airports to deal with and it’s just a few hours by car. However, there are some things that are important to plan out in advance. With that in mind, here are three things that will help make this trip easier – for me, at least!

1. Travel TO Cleveland

I’m only focusing on my travel TO Cleveland as it’s the only part of the trip that could have an impact on the race. I live on the southwestern-most side of Columbus, which means I have roughly a 2.5 hour drive. Keep in mind that I will still have to pick up my race packet AND ensure I’m ready to go for the 9am race start. With that in mind, I’m looking at a 5am departure so that I can ensure the next step works in my favor!

2. Parking / Transportation

It’s not a secret that if one is driving into a large metro area, parking will be a concern. Thanks to my Cleveland Marathon experience from 2017, I feel that I’ve got a pretty good plan. After making the drive up from Columbus, the plan is to park at a metro (RTA) station near the airport – blue dot below – and take the Rapid (train service) into downtown – the orange dot. The ride time is about 20 minutes and would still give me an hour or so to spare before the start of the race. Using the train was super convenient in 2017 for the marathon and cheaper than parking downtown.

Alternatively, my backup plan is to simply drive into downtown Cleveland and park at one of the many garages nearby the start/finish. This will add about 10 more minutes in the car and a few more $$ to the trip expenses, but depending on travel TO Cleveland and the weather – see below – it may become a reality!

Note: The A Christmas Story Run 5k race follows a course from downtown (orange) to the A Christmas Story House & Museum (red), while the A Christmas Story Run 10k turns around and heads back downtown.

3. Weather

Winter in Cleveland means anything is possible. Thankfully, the forecast looks “decent” for a 10k. No precipitation in the mix and a high right around 32 degrees at the start. Of course, Cleveland is on the shores of Lake Erie, which means cold wind and the possibility of lake effect snow is always lurking. My plan here is to layer, layer, layer and keep as warm as possible before the race (read: stay inside)!

Have a Plan, But Be Ready to Ditch It

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Sometimes the best experiences come when you have to call an audible, but getting to that point might bring stress as well. Thankfully, my trip to Cleveland is only a day trip, but having at least some kind of plan is still absolutely essential.

Stay tuned (on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) on Saturday and see how this all plays out!

REVIEW: Knockaround Fast Lanes SPORT

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knockaround Fast Lanes SPORT 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 and use code BIBRAVEKNOCKS3 save 20% your ENTIRE order – one use per customer.


The fall racing season is almost over – for me at least – but the need for a decent pair of shades never ends. When the chance to link up with Knockaround again to test their new Fast Lanes Sport series sunglasses, I wasn’t going to pass that up.

What do you mean – AGAIN? Well, back in April, I had the opportunity to test out the Knockaround’s Fast Lanes series. You can read THAT review here, but long story short: I quickly added a new favorite to my sunglasses collection. The same can be said about the new Fast Lanes Sport.

What is Knockaround?

Simply put, Knockaround sunglasses (regardless of series) are simple, stylish, and durable. They are able to fit seamlessly into daily life, no matter what you’re into.

The Fast Lanes & Fast Lanes Sport aren’t the only shades they make, though. However, all Knockaround sunglasses have impact-resistant lenses and UV400 protection. For those who want a little something extra, almost all of their offerings are available in a polarized version.

Fast Lanes vs Fast Lanes Sport

Right out of the gate, the most noticeable difference are the rubber nose pads built into the frame of the sunglasses. This is a game-changer for Knockaround as it allows fans of the Fast Lanes (who may happen to be runners like me) to now have an option that will absolutely stay put and not slide around.

One of the key features of BOTH editions of the Fast Lanes is that 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!

My Takeaways

For this review, I went back to a simpler look, opting for the Matte Black / Smoke Fast Lanes Sport. Truth be told, I actually LOST my shades about halfway into this test! So this was the first time I was testing a product AND had the opportunity to purchase that same product. The experience could not have been easier and I even snagged a custom pair of the original Fast Lanes in my new favorite colorway – orange with amber (brown) lenses.

But I digress, here are few things I really have enjoyed about the new Fast Lanes Sport:

  1. The Nose Pads. A lot of brands attach nose pads to their frames and, unfortunately, they often break off. I’ve been using these Fast Lanes Sport shades for almost 6 weeks, running consistently in that time frame, and I’ve had absolutely no issues. The nose pads win the day.
  2. Simple. One thing that stands out is that the branding on the glasses isn’t obnoxious. Still not a huge fan of the additional branding in the upper corner of the right side lens, but it’s a detail I can get past.
  3. Durable. Any shades I own must be able to stand up to LIFE (running, getting tossed pretty much anywhere, getting snagged by my daughter, etc) and, let me tell you – they definitely fit the bill.

Final Thoughts

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!


Like ’em? Go snag a pair (or more) for yourself! Order your Knockarounds and use code BIBRAVEKNOCKS3 to save 20% your ENTIRE order (one use per customer).

CHICAGO!!!

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Bank of America Chicago Marathon through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team In Training 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!

Consider helping me reach my goal for Team in Training and support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. CLICK HERE to show your support and give what you are able. Thank you!


It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses. -Elwood

Hit it. -Jake

I may not be one of the Blues Brothers, but I’m finally making my own pilgrimage to Chicago. With that said, I am so excited to share that I will be participating in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2019, representing Team BibRave as a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s  Team in Training (TNT). This effort is the epitome of the idea that it takes more than one person to make up a team and reach a goal. This is why I’m asking for your support to hit my fundraising goal.

Cancer, in one form or another, has had an impact on my family on a number of occasions. While these experiences have not been the result of blood-specific cancers, the emotional and psychological effects are just as powerful. In honor of those my family has lost – and to help keep others from experiencing similar loss, I am proud to support the efforts of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. LLS provides care and hope while continuing to search for cures to the various types of cancers that affect so many.  Your donation will help fund treatments that save lives every day; like immunotherapies that use a person’s own immune system to kill cancer. You may not know it, but every single donation helps save a life with breakthrough therapies such as these. Patients need these cures and they need your support.

Please consider showing your support for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and help get us all closer to a world without blood cancers. Give what you are able to give and keep in mind that EVERY GIFT MATTERS. Show your support at http://bit.ly/presrunschicago19.

Stay tuned for updates as we get closer to race day. Thank you in advance for your support!

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!

 

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!