Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Coming up with fresh content for a blog post can often be a challenge. When running lots of races, sure, I have heaps of things to talk about. But as 2018 comes to a close, I realize that I’ve been pretty quiet the past few weeks. And that’s OK. Things start fresh again…tomorrow, right? For now, I’ll reflect on the past year with my ‘Best Of’ for 2018!

Stats for 2018

Total Kilometres Run: 1900km
Total Elevation: 26,646m (according to Strava)
Number of Races: 20
Longest Race: 42.2km (Eugene Marathon)
Shortest Race: 1.67km (Ambleside Mile)
Number of Destination Races: 3
Number of Medals: 12
Number of Weeks Sick when I didn’t run: 6

Favourite Race

Every race has its good points and some have their own challenges. Every race I did in 2018 was awesome. But I think the Around the Bay 30k in Hamilton, Ontario was my stand-out race of the year. In part, this is because it was combined with a family visit; also, it was a training run leading up to Eugene Marathon, and I executed the entire race as planned.

best of 2018

Biggest Change

Although not specifically running related, we moved! After nearly 14 years in the same wee condo in downtown Vancouver, we made the decision to sell and relocate to a slightly bigger space in beautiful North Vancouver. This has impacted our daily commutes, training location and running crew, proximity to the trails and overall lifestyle. All for the best, for sure, but a huge shift for us.

north van run
View from the North Shore

Biggest Disappointment

I got sick. Like, really sick. Nothing that a doctor could diagnose or do anything about, but a cough-turned-chest congestion knocked me on my ass and kept me from running for 6 weeks. The unfortunate consequence was not just one but two DNS (did-not-start) races for 2018 – the Gunner Shaw Cross Country (which I missed last year for the same reason) and the revived Moustache Miler. Fingers crossed I can try again for 2019!

Favourite Medal(s)

This is a tough one because every medal holds meaning. But I have to admit that I’m a bit of a sucker for the bling and a bit of heftiness in a medal. This one is a draw between:

The Hot Chocolate 15k medal from Seattle, which includes a Space Needle keychain and looks like a freakin’ chocolate bar!

hot chocolate 15k seattle

And the Vancouver Scotiabank Half Marathon medal, with its primary colours and slick, modern design.

Scotiabank Half Marathon

Favourite Race Shirt(s)

I’ve got three categories for this one, because I can’t choose just one!

Favourite tech shirt: the Eugene Marathon shirt made me so happy – comfortable fabric and fit by Nike, a snazzy design, and great memories of a successful race.

best of 2018

Favourite casual shirt: the SHLF Run found me a perfect medium-sized shirt – beautiful soft material, soothing colour and a simple logo.

best of 2018

Favourite long-sleeved: the Hot Chocolate 15k had these cozy quarter-zip shirts in a gorgeous teal – ideal for cold-weather running. I also like that it has a wee zip pocket beside the logo to hold keys and/or a bus pass!

hot chocolate 15k seattle

Unexpected Success

I participated the 2nd annual North Van Run 5k and somehow managed to come second in my age group (Male 40-49) with a chip time of 23:11. Running with so many amazing athletes, I am absolutely humbled by this result. Loved the extra medal, too!

best of 2018

Happiest Race Photo

At the start line of the Granville Island Turkey Trot, this little snap of my signature Japanese-style pose for the camera!

Granville Island Turkey Trot

Best ‘Face of Pain’ Race Photo

Thanks to ‘paparazzi’ extraordinaire, Seann Sheriland, for capturing the final, painful moments of the Ambleside Mile.

best of 2018

Proudest Moment

Hands down, Eugene Marathon 2018. With 3 marathons under my belt, I was determined to achieve my goal of breaking the 4-hour marathon in 2018. Thanks to the amazing support of my running buddies at Forerunners and Mile2Marathon – and the expert coaching of Tony Tomsich – I finished Eugene with a time of 3:55:45.

best of 2018

What about 2019?

Great question! I haven’t set any really specific goals for the year, but here are a few things I’d like to focus on:

  • Sun Run 2019 – this will be the 10th anniversary of my very first run! Obviously, can’t miss it!
  • North Shore Trails – now that I live in North Van, the trails are calling. I’ve done a couple of trail runs in the past (5 Peaks; MEC), but I’d like to get into this a bit more.
  • Grouse Mountain – I’ve got an annual pass, we have new snowshoes – I expect to spend more time on / climbing up Grouse!
  • Cycling – our place downtown didn’t have space to store a bike, and I had easy access to Mobi bike share when I wanted to cycle. Getting a bike and doing some riding is definitely on my list.

Thanks to all my readers for the support over the past year! Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2019!

Knockaround shades

Disclaimer: I received two fabulous pairs of Knockaround Premium Shades 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!

Sunglasses are a must-have piece of gear for me – whether I’m running or simply outside in the summer months. That is, once the clouds and rain that envelop Vancouver give way to the spectacularly long summer days we are blessed with on the west coast. I can never have enough pairs of sunglasses! And that’s where Knockaround shades come in!

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SKINS DNAmic Compression TightsDisclaimer: I received a pair of SKINS DNAmic Compression Tights 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 have just learned that SKINS filed for bankruptcy back in January of this year, so their products are no longer available. You can read about the SKINS legacy here.** – June 7, 2019

Despite the fact that Vancouver has pretty mild weather year-round, it definitely gets chilly enough during the winter months to need a bit of extra coverage. Not only that, but with a spring marathon on the horizon, extra-long training runs are a necessity. Having compression to aid in recovery is essential. Combine these factors, and some reliable compression tights are the way to go!

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to test SKINS DNAmic Compression Tights! Not only does the Skins brand make an awesome looking product, they have a cutting-edge compression technology that makes them an indispensable piece of running gear! Here’s my experience with SKINS…

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bibboards

Disclaimer: I received a set of BibBoards 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!

Do you run a lot of races? Have a lot of favourite running shirts that you don’t want ruined? Sick and tired of fiddling with safety pins and stabbing yourself when trying to get your race bib in place? If this sounds like you, then BibBoards are exactly what you’re looking for!

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BOCO Gear Run Hat

Disclaimer: I received a BOCO Gear Run Hat 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!

You may have been introduced to BOCO Gear in my previous blog post, A Bit about BOCO Gear. If you want to learn more about the company and their range of products – or just need a recap – swing by and read that post. Today, however, I want to talk about the actual BOCO Gear cap I got to try out!

BOCO Gear Run Hat

The Cap

The product I got to try is the BOCO Gear Run Hat. Because orange is my signature colour (and the colour of BibRave), I was stoked to get this hat in the mail!

My first impression was skeptical – I’ve never been a big fan of flat-brimmed hats, as I tend to like them more tightly rounded. I have generally shied away from ‘trucker caps’ for this reason. It’s not really my style.

Having said that, once I started wearing my BOCO Gear Run Hat, I was sold. Here’s what I like about it:

It’s Comfortable

The BOCO Gear Run Hat using technical fabrics that I’m not geeky enough to describe in detail, but it just simply feels good on my head! It’s light and it’s breathable…and, best of all, I don’t think about it when I’m wearing it. This is a sign of quality in any item of gear – whether shoes, tights, running belts, or hats – if you don’t notice it while you’re running, it’s good.

It’s Adjustable

Running caps have varying degrees of adjustability. Some have snaps, others have drawstrings. Trucker caps are notoriously bad (in my mind) because they adjust like belts; one snap can be too loose, but the next level up too tight. The BOCO Gear Run Hat has a back snap buckle, and you can tuck the excess into a pocket.

BOCO Gear Run Hat BOCO Gear Run Hat

It’s Fun

I know this is rather subjective criteria, but I just really like the playfulness of the BOCO Gear Run Hat. The colours, the design…it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Any areas for improvement?

I’ll admit that all things considered, I just don’t know if this design looks good on my head! Because of the softer, more comfortable nature of the material, it tends to bulge a bit on the sides near my temples. But maybe that is one too many selfies talking, and I’m just worrying too much. It would be interesting for me to try a few other BOCO Gear products to compare.

BOCO Gear Run Hat

Conclusion

The BOCO Gear Run Hat is a great running cap, and I’ve enjoyed wearing it both at races and during my training runs.

BOCO Gear Run Hat

Visit BOCO Gear online, and check out their fantastic product line:

Websitewww.bocogear.com
Twittertwitter.com/BocoGear
Instagramwww.instagram.com/bocogear/
Facebookwww.facebook.com/bocogear/

#bocogear #bocolove

BOCO Gear Run Hat

BOCO Gear

Disclaimer: I received a BOCO Gear cap 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!

Before being offered the opportunity to test a BOCO Gear cap, I’ll admit I hadn’t heard the product name. A few short months later, however, and I’m a big fan! Here’s a quick introduction to this fantastic brand!

BOCO Gear produces a line of performance gear for endurance athletes, specializing in technical headgear and accessories. Although I couldn’t find any information confirming my theory, I believe the name is a porte-manteau of the brand’s hometown of BOulder, COlorado. BOCO. Get it? (But, again, this is just speculation!)

Products

BOCO Gear has a number of product lines, including:

  • Technical Trucker
  • Visors
  • Run Hats (including Tri, Endurance, and Elite)
  • Cold Weather Gear (toques, beanies, headbands and neck gaiters)
  • And more…!

What really makes BOCO Gear stand out is that their products are fully customizable. Check out the BibRave cap:

BOCO Gear BOCO Gear\

The BibRave-branded BOCO Run Hat features:

  • Custom colours (orange and white)
  • Front logo
  • Hashtag
  • Brim design

Plus, it has all the things you expect from a run hat, such as lightweight wicking materials in the top and front panels, Dry Tech polyester side panels to keep the head cool, a polyester mesh wicking sweatband (which I am in particular need of!), and an adjustable back snap buckle.

Of course, they have their existing line of products, too. I’m particularly fond of the Colorado Collection, since I fell in love with Colorado when I ran the Platte River Half Marathon last year!

I’ve been wearing BOCO Gear for a few of my recent runs and races, and will be providing a full product review soon!

Learn more!

Visit BOCO Gear online, and check out their fantastic product line:

Website: www.bocogear.com
Twitter: twitter.com/BocoGear
Instagram: www.instagram.com/bocogear/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/bocogear/

#bocogear #bocoloveBOCO Gear

orange mud phone. flask. vest.

Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Phone. Flask. Vest. 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!

Ever since I first heard about the Orange Mud brand, I’ve been wanting to try out their products. Something about the name really appeals to me (you know, me and orange, my signature colour!) – plus, their selection of gear is diverse and tremendously practical. You can imagine my excitement when I finally got the opportunity to review a brand new product – the Orange Mud Phone. Flask. Vest. (I’ll give you a hint: I was really excited!)

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OOFOS OOmg

Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOFOS OOmg Recovery Shoes 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’d heard about the OOFOS brand, having seen reviews and blog posts about their sandals. I’d always wanted to give them a try, so when we were given the opportunity to test their yet-to-be-released Recovery Shoes, I jumped at the chance! Because of the time it sometimes takes for products to cross the border into Canada, I was concerned I wouldn’t make the blogging deadline – but I’ve made the most of them!!

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