2017 St. Louis Hot Chocolate Race

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the STL Hot Chocolate race 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 was so excited to run the STL Hot Chocolate race again this year. Unfortunately, I ended up sick that week that wasn't able to make it to the race. I was so sad to miss it, especially since I had a great time last year. Despite missing it, I wanted to share a few important links with you all.

3. EARLY REGISTRATION FOR NEXT YEAR. You can't miss these early bird rates. Hurry up an register before the next price increase in 4 weeks!

From what I heard from the other BibRave Pros in attendance, it was a great (but chilly!) race.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of 2017!


Sedona Marathon Series: Best Places to Eat during Race Weekend

Time for another Sedona Marathon Series post! Here are the links to some of my older Sedona posts:

You all know I'm Northern Arizona, and specifically Sedona, obsessed. In prep for the 2018 Sedona Marathon this coming FEBRUARY (register now before the January 3rd price increase!), I wanted to share a bit more about my favorite places to eat while you're in town for the race. 

My mom and I ate here last year on a whim and OH MY GOSH. You have to try the chicken pot pie. Enough said. Consider this proper carb loading the night before the race. 

This honestly isn't anything special but I LOVE their beer. Make sure you get a burger with onion rings and Nut Brown Ale to go along with it. This makes the perfect post-race meal. 

M took me here one year for my birthday and while it's a little nicer than most places on this list, it's delicious. 

Ok, this isn't technically in Sedona but I promise it's worth the short drive to Flagstaff. This is my favorite pizza in the world (and, yes, I have been to Italy). Caleb and his staff will take great care of you. Be sure to try the house-made gelato!

All images via Yelp.


Aftershokz Air: The Perfect Gift!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Aftershokz Air Wireless Headphones 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!

Does anyone remember when I ran the United Relay? It was sponsored by Aftershokz and because I participated, I got a free pair of Trekz Titanium headphones. WELL, they have a new Air version that I just finished trying out for the last few weeks. The verdict still stands that these are my all-time favorite running product.

Trekz Air uses bone conduction technology, meaning you wear the headphones on the outside of your ears. This is great for safety because you can still hear everything going on around you while listening to your favorite tunes, podcast, or audiobook. I almost always run to something, so having headphones that are practical and safe are necessary. In addition, I have tiny ears and in-ear headphones almost always bother my ears, especially on long runs.

My other favorite feature of these new Trekz Air wireless headphones are how lightweight they are. The regular Trekz Titanium are already so light, I was amazed that the Airs could be any lighter. According to their website, the Airs are 20% lighter! I haven't noticed a compromise in the quality or battery life as a result either, which is awesome.

These would make the perfect holiday gift for your favorite runner, walker, hiker, etc. I even use my headphones around the house sometimes! I promise whoever is the recipient will LOVE these.


Why You Should Run the 2017 St. Louis Hot Chocolate Race

Last year I ran the 2016 Hot Chocolate 5K in St. Louis, Missouri. It was my first time participating in a Hot Chocolate race and it was such a blast. This year I'm attempting the 15K (wish me luck, my return to running postpartum has been rough). I really enjoyed last year's race so I thought I would tell you all why you should run it this year!

1. CHOCOLATE. I mean, duh. This race isn't called the "Hot Chocolate" race for nothing. Expect a total chocolate overload. Seriously.

2. ACCESIBILITY. The race was super accessible considering it's in downtown St. Louis. The parking was well organized (though there was a lack of information about that on the website) and they did a great job corralling so many people.

3. SWAG. The zip-up hoodies from last year were my favorite and I wear mine all the time!

Something to remember: there is no packet pickup on race morning, so be sure to have your packet mailed, or make arrangements to attend the expo.

You can check out my full review from last year HERE.

Use the code BRHCSTL17 for bonus Hot Chocolate race swag!


Kansas City Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: I received a free race entry 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!

Last Saturday I participated in the Kansas City Marathon Series. Before you think, wow she's awesome, I did the 5K. Well, sort of. Let me explain.

A little less than a year ago I signed up for the 10K knowing that I would be 4 months postpartum. That was a little optimistic because I've only been able to run about 3 miles since having Asa in June. So, at the expo the night before, I changed to the 5K. I felt really good about the decision and was just excited to race, regardless of distance.

The next morning, I somehow started with the 10k group. So, long story short, I ended up running about 8K. Despite this little mistake, I felt great the whole time and was really happy with my time. It was so nice to get back to racing.

So, onto the race itself:

Expo: The expo was alright. It was at Union Station in Kansas City which is BEAUTIFUL. The parking was free, so that was a plus. We were able to get in and out relatively quickly. However, the expo was basically the same as all others and nothing in particular stood out about it.

Swag: As part of your registration you got a virtual swag bag and a t-shirt. The t-shirts were TINY this year and I'm so glad one of the helpful volunteers suggested I go a size up because even the size up was tight on me. I don't think I'll use anything from the virtual swag bag.

Course: Excellent! I love running in cities and KC is beautiful. The course was super hilly (as anticipated) but since the roads are so wide, there was a ton of space to spread out. The aid stations were sufficient and stocked with electrolyte drinks and water with plenty of volunteers. The course was clearly marked.

Race Management: Well, there was a lot of construction near the course parking lots which made it hard to find parking. I wish the race website would have mentioned this ahead of time so we didn't spend an extra 20 minutes trying to figure out how to access the parking lots with all the road closures. Part of the reason I started with the wrong group was because the 10K started late, which made me think it was the 5K start. I should have been paying better attention but I really dislike when races start late.

Otherwise, we got free race photos which is always a plus, the snacks at the end of the race were decent (apples, bananas, water), and the medals were AWESOME. I am in love with the medals. The post-race party was also pretty cool and they were serving various free drinks (beer, dasani sparkling water) and Chik-Fil-A.

Overall, a pretty decent race that I would definitely participate in again.


SKINS Compression A400

Disclaimer: I received a pair of SKINS Compression A400 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 recently tested a pair of SKINS Women's A400 Compression 3/4 Tights and LOVED them. SKINS A400 compression sportswear is designed to boost competitive athletes’ natural performance by providing more oxygen to their active muscles using dynamic gradient compression. You can wear your A400s while you warm up to get your blood flowing, while you train to minimize the risk of injury before race day, and while you compete so you can push your body that little bit harder for longer when it counts.This video has a ton of helpful information:

These SKINS tights came at the perfect time because my postpartum body needs some serious stretchy material (and tummy control). Since I'm not back to running full time, I really tested out these tights in a variety of situations. I took them running, walking, hiking, camping, you name it. They stood up to the test in every instance. They were cool, dry, lightweight, and COMFORTABLE (my number one criterion).

Something to note is that they are meant to be hang dried, which I don't love. I also noticed some fraying along the seams of the tights after a few wears/washes, but the tights still seemed to be intact. Overall, they're excellent tights and I'd highly recommend them.

Use the code "BIBRAVE20" to save 20% on your order through the end of October. Only valid on full price items.


Running Because of History & Tradition

For as long as I can remember, running has been a part of my family's history and tradition, with my grandpa at the core. He was a pretty stellar dude. He started running at age 48 and our whole family knows it saved his life at that time. Thanks to his influence, my mom and I, as well as some of my other family members are avid runners. 

During his life, he ran over 35 marathons and possibly as many Ultra marathons of 50 to 100 miles in distance well into his sixties. Had Parkinson's not stopped him in his tracks, he surely would have continued kicking some serious ass.

Whenever I am having a particularly tough run or race, I try to remember that if my grandpa could run ultra marathons that late in life, I can survive a freaking 15k or half marathon. Believe it or not, that works every time.

I love the idea of participating in races that my grandpa participated in, which is why I think it's really cool that some races have continued for so many years. For example, Tulsa Run, one of my favorite runs to date, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year! You can use the code “bibravetr” for $5 off your race entry!

Why do you run?

P.S. a million awesome photos to follow. Also, HERE are some fun race results from some of his races you can check out. 


BUFF Pack Run Cap Review

Disclaimer: I received a BUFF Pack Run 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!

I recently had a chance to test out the BUFF® Pack Run Cap. I have to start out by saying that I LOVE this hat. First, it's ultralight (it weights 1oz!), highly compressible, and comfortable. While comfort is always my number one priority, it's also necessary for my running gear to travel well. When you travel with running gear you already have to find a way to fit an extra pair of shoes and running clothes, so having a hat that packs well makes everything easier.

Whenever I hear "compressible" about a clothing item, I immediately think it's synonymous with wrinkles. However, something about this hat's material prevents wrinkles.

The BUFF® Pack Run Cap also dries quickly which is another must for my hats. There's nothing worse than having to pack a still wet hat in your luggage, am I right?

I also have a confession.... I have a TINY head so it's often hard to find hats that fit me well. This running cap is completely adjustable and I was able to find the perfect fit for my head. THIS IS SERIOUSLY A MIRACLE.

Other perks include it's UPF protective material and reflective tabs. I am a huge fan of all BUFF's products and this was no exception!

You can learn more by checking out this great video:


2017 Reading Challenge Update VI

I am currently participating in the 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. Throughout the year, I am hoping to do monthly(-ish) updates on my progress. Our little boy put me on a hiatus from updates the last few months so this is update SIX for the year so far. Obviously my reading has continued to be a bit slow since Asa's arrival, but I have finally been cleared to start exercising again so HELLO all the audiobooks again! I better start to hustle if I'm going to complete this challenge...

2017 Reading Challenge
A book recommended by a librarian (thanks Kate!): The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 
A book that's been on your TBR list for way too long: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
A book of letters: Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (Completed in May; 2/5 stars)
An audiobook: Prodigal God by Tim Keller (Completed in February; 3/5 stars)
A book by a person of color: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (In Progress)
A book with one of the four seasons in the title: My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir
A book that is a story within a story:
A book with multiple authors:
An espionage thriller:
A book with a cat on the cover: A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman (Completed in March;  4/5 stars)
A book by an author who uses a pseudonym: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling
A bestseller from a genre you don't normally read (horror): The Teacher by Katerina Diamond
A book by or about a person who has a disability: El Deafo by Cece Bell
A book involving travel:
A book with a subtitle: Banished: Surviving my years in Westboro Baptist Church by Lauren Drain (Completed in February; 3/5 stars)
A book that's published in 2017: Are you Sleeping by Kathleen Barber 
A book involving a mythical creature:
A book you've read before that never fails to make you smile:
A book about food: Delicious! by Ruth Reichl (Completed in January; 4/5 stars)
A book with career advice: Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp (In Progress)
A book from a nonhuman perspective:
A steampunk novel:
A book with a red spine: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (Completed in January; 2/5 stars)
A book set in the wilderness: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (Completed in February; 3/5 stars)
A book you loved as a child: Chasing Rebird by Sharon Creech
A book by an author from a country you've never visited:
A book with a title that's a character's name:
A novel set during wartime:
A book with an unreliable narrator: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (Completed in April; 3/5 stars)
A book with pictures: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (Completed in March; 1/5 stars)
A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (Completed in February; 5/5 stars)
A book about an interesting woman: Handle with Care by Jodi Picot (Completed in April; 3/5 stars)
A book set in two different time periods:
A book with a month or day of the week in the title: Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs (Completed in March; 3/5 stars)
A book set in a hotel:
A book written by someone you admire: Adnan's Story by Rabia Chadry 
A book that's becoming a movie in 2017: All the Bright Places (Completed in January; 2/5 stars)
A book set around a holiday other than Christmas: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (Completed in January; 4/5 stars)
The first book in a series you haven't read before: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead 
A book you bought on a trip:

A book recommended by an author you love: Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt, recommended by Jodi Picoult
A bestseller from 2016:
A book with a family-member term in the title:
A book that takes place over a character's life span:
A book about an immigrant or refugee:
A book from a genre/subgenre that you've never heard of:
A book with an eccentric character:
A book that's more than 800 pages:
A book you got from a used book sale:
A book that's been mentioned in another book: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (Completed in July; 2/5 stars)
A book about a difficult topic: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (Completed in April; 2/5 stars)
A book based on mythology:

Books read in 2017: 20
Progress towards reading goal for the year: 20/50 (40%)
Progress towards reading challenge completion (excluding "Advanced"): 14/40 (35%)

I am still looking for recommendations for some of the prompts! You all have given me some great ones so far (and I'm still deciding which books to choose for a few of the prompts). I would love more recommendations!

Get a printout of the challenge HERE

P.S. You can always find my reviews by following along with me on Goodreads.



Our son Asa Wilder made his debut one week late on June 20th at 9:16pm weighing in at 7 pounds 4.7 ounces. Our family of three is doing great so far.

As I've mentioned before, I won't be sharing about him here, but I wanted to stop by and at least let you all know he arrived. Nearly a year ago we suffered a miscarriage, and this year we are feeling immensely grateful for this miracle babe. Thank you to all who prayed for us throughout this journey, we cannot be more thankful.


Adidas Ultra Boost X Running Shoes Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Adidas Ultra Boost X Running 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!

Ladies, this one is for you.

Although there hasn't been much running happening on these fronts lately (hello, super pregnant), I have been able to walk a lot. The Adidas Ultra Boost X shoes have been a complete lifesaver. I'm not quite sure how to describe them, because they're unlike any other running shoe I have tried. There are two features that are particularly noteworthy: (1) the boost technology cushioning material and (2) the stretch web technology. Together, these produce a super responsive and lightweight shoe that I have become a pretty big fan of.

The shoes are a little strange the first time you wear them because they're kind of like compression shoes. They can be a little tough to get on because the fit so snugly (a feature I love). The stretch web technology means they grip your feet in all the right places but also offer a lot of comfort and air flow which is super important this time of year. The one thing I find tricky about these shoes is that when I take them off, the insoles tend to slip out because my foot was in there so tight. It isn't hard just to put the insole back in, but it can get slightly annoying.

I must also say that these shoes have been so kind to my swollen pregnant feet. Because of the mesh and their responsiveness, they work really well with how unpredictable my feet are lately. They're also great for a range of activities besides running, so if that isn't your thing, don't count yourself out. I can't wait to actually start running in them in a few months when I'm back to running again. 

Overall, I highly recommend these shoes. I would encourage you to head out to your nearest Dick's Sporting Goods store to try on a pair today. You want to make sure these shoes are right for you as they are a little unique!