Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Archive for the ‘running’ Category

3 Reasons to Get Low in OOfos!

“Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOfos OOmg Fibre Low 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!”

Something that I’ve realized during my running experience is that you must take care of your feet!  Foot issues can lead to knee issues which can lead to hip issues which can lead to back issues. So when new runners ask me where to start, I usually recommend to go to a running specialty store and get fitted for a proper shoe.  And now that I’ve increased my running distance over the years, I’ve found that proper recovery is also an important aspect of exercise.  And one of my favorite recovery tools are OOfos recovery shoes!

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I’ve been using my OOfos sandals for a couple of years now, so I was excited when a new women’s OOmg Fibre Low Shoe was released!  Here are my top 3 reasons why you should get low 😉 in the new OOmg Fibre shoes!

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  • OOfoam – OOfoam is this magical foam technology that “absorbs 37% more impact than other footwear foams.  OOfoam impact absorbing recovery technology has been scientifically proven to reduce stress on your body while walking, allowing you to recover faster after a workout and feel better all day.” (from oofos.com)

I know this might sound too good to be true, but these little foam shoes really felt like walking on clouds!  I spent a whole day standing at a Japanese festival and my feet were dead by the time I got home.  So the first thing I did the next day was slip into my OOfos and my feet felt instant relief. I have arch issues so the cradle design was much appreciated!

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  • Socks or no socks – Another great thing about the OOfos OOmg Fibre Low shoes is that that they are versatile which means you can choose to wear them with or without socks.  I tried them both ways and overall I preferred them without socks just because I felt like it allowed the shoe to better conform to my feet.  But I did like throwing them on right after a run and relaxing in my socks sometimes, too!  They are also pretty lightweight and super flexible which makes them nice for travel purposes.

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  • Project Pink – Just to add to the amazingness of these shoes is that 3% of all sales from OOfos.com go to breast cancer research through the cause called Project Pink.  And for every pair of shoes sold from the Project Pink collection, OOfos will donate $10 to Project Pink.  So not only are you gaining an awesome pair of recovery footwear, you are making a difference at the same time!

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Overall, I was really pleased with these shoes.  Any foot soreness instantly diminished as soon as I slipped these on!  I just wished they came in more colors!

Price: $139.95 – this may seem a little pricey, but I do think it is important to invest in your feet especially if you are an athlete or just on your feet a lot (i.e. nurses, teachers, etc.)

So grab a pair of OOfos OOmg Fibre Low shoes and treat your feet! 🙂

Have you tried OOfos recovery shoes?  What did you think?

~SM

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Why Disney’s Fort Wilderness is a Magical Running Destination

If you are planning your next trip to Disney World, you might be thinking…”Where will I RUN?”  Hotel treadmills are convenient, but they can also get boring and stuffy.  That’s where Disney’s Fort Wilderness comes in! At Fort Wilderness, you have the option of hooking up your RV, renting a cabin, OR you could totally rough it and pitch your own tent. – Bless your soul if you go this route cause it’s insanely humid in Florida. 🙂 So what’s the best part of choosing Fort Wilderness for your stay at Disney?  The option to connect with nature and run through some beautiful scenery!

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Fort Wilderness is actually a lot bigger than people may think.  You will need to catch the shuttle bus or rent a golf cart to get around the campgrounds, which means there is plenty of room to run! So grab yourself a map, tighten your laces, and straighten your crown because you are about to head out on an adventure!

Here are a few things you may experience during your Fort Wilderness run!

Paved and lush running paths – I loved that the paths through Fort Wilderness were paved and flat so I didn’t have to worry about injuring myself before a full day of walking around the parks.  And for all you Mother Runners and Father Runners: paved paths = stroller friendly. 😉 I also loved being surrounded by beautiful green and lush scenery!

Lakes and ponds – If you enjoy running around bodies of water, then you will like running here!  I loved watching the sun reflect off the water each morning during my run! You could even rent some boats or kayaks if you wanted to head out for some water activities.

Coffee Break – Okay, maybe you aren’t a coffee lover like me…but one of my favorite things about staying here was finishing a run and then drinking some coffee on the porch.  And if you aren’t in the mood to make coffee yourself, you could swing by the corner store during your run and grab some coffee to go.  Bonus: The magic band is a runner’s best friend because it works as a key, credit card, and a photo pass!  Also, here’s a Disney tip: If you’re looking for a Starbucks in any of the four parks, they are hidden within bakeries/shops and will not show up on the app so look closely for the signs!

Movie and S’mores – If you head out for an evening run, you can catch some campfire singing, s’mores, and a movie!

Cute Critters – Keep your eyes open because you may meet some adorable creatures along your run! Sadly, they won’t break out in song like in all of your fave Disney movies, though. 😦

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Wine and Shine – Once you’re finished running and after you’ve finished walking around the parks, you’ll want to head back to your cabin and get cleaned up.  Then pour yourself a glass of Fairytale champagne and head back out to enjoy the fireworks!  Magic Kingdom is just a short boat ride away!

Fireworks – Another perk of staying at Fort Wilderness is that you don’t have to stand in large crowds to watch the fireworks if you don’t want to.  You can view the fireworks from the lake/boating area or even on the ferry boat itself!

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Overall, I really enjoyed my stay at Fort Wilderness!  It’s a fantastic option for big families and those who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of other Disney World Resorts.  And even though it was hot, humid, and rainy…I loved my quiet morning nature run to clear my head before shuffling small children through the Happiest Place on Earth.

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You might even say it was Magical. 😉

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Have you ever run through Fort Wilderness?  What was your favorite part?  I’d love to hear because I only saw one other person out there running!  Maybe people just don’t know about this amazing running spot!

~SM

Bright Future, Brighter Shades

Disclaimer: I received two pairs of Knockaround Premium Polarized 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!

Winter is finally fading away, Spring is ramping up, and Summer is right around the corner.  What does that mean?? It means the SUN is coming out and shining brighter than ever (for real, the sun shines bright at 5:30 am here in Japan). So it’s perfect timing to test out some new shades! I chose the Rubber Mint/Aqua Preumium Polarized Knockaround sunglasses to try, but I also received a bonus pair!  Yay for SWAG! 🙂

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I’m all about wearing sunglasses and I feel like you can never have too many pairs!  Another fun fact about Japan – people here don’t wear sunglasses! That’s right, even on a bright day you’ll see most people wearing hats or holding umbrellas to block the sun.  If you catch anyone in shades, chances are they are a tourist, an expat, or Yakuza (Japanese mafia).  It’s also Wisteria season here and these flowers create very whimsical scenery!

When I first saw the black frames, I kind of thought they had a masculine appearance…but I actually liked how they looked with the green lenses! I always like to have a black pair of shades in my stash because black goes with almost anything!

After “knocking around” in my black frames, I took the Rubber Mint/Aqua shades for a spin! I took them around Japan and despite the light-colored lenses, these did a really great job of blocking out the sun! And even though the word “rubber” is in the description, they are really smooth and don’t pull your hair or anything.

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Then I had to put them to the true test – How would they do on a RUN? 

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These sunglasses are super lightweight, so I was surprised that they didn’t budge during my run – and they even held up in the wind! I also didn’t have any issues with the lenses fogging up which is something that can be super annoying.

And the best part about Knockaround sunglasses?  They are SUPER affordable! The  Polarized Premiums are only $20!  I’ve lost expensive sunglasses in the past plus I have small children who have complete disregard for my accessories, so I don’t have to stress too much if I lose these guys (although I would still be sad).

Here are some other things I love about these Polarized Premium Knockarounds:

  • Bigger frames – I like larger lenses so it blocks out more of the sun!
  • Reflective lenses – My kids really enjoy making faces at themselves. 😉
  • Polarized lenses and UV400 protection
  • Fun Colors – They come in lots of fun and bright color combos!
  • Includes pouch – This was a really nice touch – most sunglasses at this price point don’t come with any type of extras
  • Born in San Diego – The company is headquartered in San Diego and this beautiful city will always have a special place in my heart!
  • Snoop Dogg – Even celebrities are rockin’ the Knockarounds!

Overall, I really like these sunglasses and plan to wear them frequently!  The only negative I found was that the lenses weren’t the easiest to clean, but I may try a different cloth and see if that works.

And just to make things sweeter, you can save 20% on your own pair with code “BIBRAVEKNOCKS”!  Plus free shipping on orders over $50!

And join me on #Bibchat on Twitter on 5/8/18 at 6PM PST for your chance to win a pair! 🙂

So are you ready to “knock around” in a new pair of shades?? This guy is…

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~SM

Get Started with Athlinks in 5 Easy Steps

Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review or find race reviews.

If you’ve ever participated in a running event, then you know the pain of searching for your results after the race.  Sometimes the results are posted on the event’s actual website, sometimes there’s a link to the timing company’s website, or sometimes you may even have to look on the race event’s Facebook page. This can sometimes be a tedious and frustrating process, but that’s where Athlinks comes in!  It’s a super handy tool that has all of your race results in one convenient location! Here’s how to get started:

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  • Create your account – You will first need to set up your Athlinks account. It’s super easy and it’s FREE!  You can do this via desktop or even better, you can download the APP! You will just need to enter a few personal details and a profile pic and off you go!

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  • Claim your results – Here’s the fun part!  Enter your name in the search bar and watch all of your past race results pop up!  If you have a common name, you can filter by location but it’s still an easy process.  Simply find your races and click on the blue “Claim” button.  Note: The claiming process isn’t always instant.  Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks for the results to show up on your profile, but you will receive an email once it’s added.

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  • Follow your friends – Start following all of your running friends so you can follow their races and results.  You can also search for “Rivals”.  These are people who have run the same race as you.  You basically have a friendly competition with them since it will show which one of you finished the race first.  I think this is a cool aspect to ignite motivation between runners, although I’m not a huge fan of the word “Rivals” for some reason.

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  • Add your upcoming races – With Athlinks, you can search upcoming races in your area and add them to your profile.  This way, all your friends can see your race calendar and who knows…you may inspire someone to run a race with you!

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  • Check out your stats! – Once you’re all set up, you can look at all of your stats and see how you compare to others.  You’ll also have all of your PR’s in one convenient location!

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Athlinks is a great tool to streamline all of your race results and keep track of your running stats.  What do you think? Are you one of the 1 Million users of Athlinks?!

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Happy claiming!

~SM

7 Steps to Running a Virtual Race

“Disclaimer: I received a free virtual race entry to the San Jose 408K 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!”

Living in Japan has been pretty great, but one downfall is that there aren’t as many local races as there are back in the states.  That’s why virtual races can often be a good option for those living afar, or maybe for those who don’t want to run with large crowds.  I recently ran the San Jose 408k and I was asked a few times, “How does a virtual race work?”  Well, here are the steps to running your own virtual race!

Step 1: Choose your run – The first thing you will need to do is decided which race you want to run.  I usually look for an event that contributes to a charity that I like and that also has good swag.   I really like the 408k because the benefitting charity for the 7th year in a row is the Pat Tillman Foundation! And sign up early or look for a promo code to save a few bucks! Bibrave is currently offering $10 off with code “Bibrave”! You can still register until September 16th!

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Step 2: Find a friend – You are going to need accountability since you are doing this thing on your own.  Running a race in person provides running support and an adrenaline rush that’s hard to duplicate when running a virtual race.  So it’s good to find a virtual running partner to sign up with you or even better- find a local friend and you guys can run together in person!  I didn’t have a local friend to run the 408k with me, but a couple of other BibRave Pros also participated which kept me accountable during my training and on “race day”.

Step 3: Find a Venue – The great thing about in-person races such as the 408k is that the course is already all marked out for you and usually includes some pretty nice scenery to keep the race interesting.  For instance, the 408k ends at Santana Row (a high-end shopping/dining area) and it’s the only event that finishes there.  So you’ll need to decide on your own (or with that friend from Step 2) where exactly you will be running.  Since the 8k is kind of an odd distance (4.97 miles), it’s probably best to run with a watch so you can measure your distance either before hand or during the run.  My plan was to run my 8k on the track, but I ended up having to hit the treadmill due to rain.

Step 4: Train! – Even though you aren’t running in person and won’t win any timing awards (well technically you’ll place 1st in everything if it’s just yourself) 😉 – You will still need to train so that you can run your best race – because it’s still YOUR race after all.  So give yourself enough time to train, especially if you’re just starting out with running.

Step 5: Race Day!- Once you’re all set with your training, it’s time to prep and run!  The cool thing about virtual races is that you can pick any day and time to run.  Not a morning person?  You can run at night!  Have a busy weekend?  You can run during the week! For the 408k I tried to run on the actual day the race was happening (March 4th), but I ended up running the day after.  Also, unlike a lot of other virtual races, you can still run the 408k as a Remote Runner even though the event has already taken place. So you don’t have to suffer from any FOMO. 🙂  And here’s how I prepped for my 8K!

Step 6: Share your results! – Now it’s time to show off your hard work! Take a pic of your time and post it on your social media channels!  Some events will even have special incentives for virtual races – i.e. all virtual runners email their times to the race director or post them to the Facebook page and fastest times win a prize. The San Jose 408k didn’t offer this type of incentive, but maybe it will in the future!

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Step 7: Collect your swag! Another benefit of running a race remotely is that you don’t have to wait in any long lines or go to any crowded expos to get your swag.  Everything is conveniently mailed to you either before or after the race.  I’m still waiting on my swag, but here is what the SWAG looks like! You can also opt to add on other things such as extra shirts, a tote bag, or a hat.

And that’s it!  Congratulations! You completed your virtual race!  Now you can go celebrate with a post-race brunch (or dinner depending on what time of day you ran). Then rest up for the next one!

So what’s another incentive of running the San Jose 408k as a remote runner? It will qualify you for a bonus medal if you decide to complete the Run the Bay Challenge series and run the Silicon Valley Half! Yay, more SWAG!

Have you run a Virtual Race before?  What did you think?!

~SM

Why I’m Sticking With KT Tape

“Disclaimer: I received five types of KT Tape 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!”

This month, I got the chance to try out KT Tape and it could not have come at a better time! My sample box came with 5 different types of KT Tape: Cotton, Pro, Gentle, Extreme, and Wide.

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Last summer, I rolled my ankle while training for the Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon and THEN I rolled it again on the 4th mile of the actual race and kept on going (which maybe wasn’t the best decision)…so ever since then, things haven’t been quite the same with my left foot. I did go to an Urgent Care the day after the race and nothing was fractured.  After RICE’ing it for a while, I wore a compression wrap for a bit, but it got kind of bulky and annoying so I pretty much gave it up.  A couple of people recommended KT Tape to me over the last few months, but honestly, I was a bit skeptical of it.  I didn’t understand how “tape” could help me.

So what exactly is KT Tape and how does it work?

Per kttape.com:

“KT Tape is an elastic sports tape designed to relieve pain while supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments.”

“When an area of the body is injured through impact or over-use, the lymphatic fluid builds up causing inflammation and swelling. This accumulation of lymphatic fluids may cause increased pressure on muscles and tissue which can cause significant discomfort or pain.
It is believed that when applied correctly, KT Tape lifts the skin, decompressing the layers of fascia, allowing for greater movement of lymphatic fluid which transports white blood cells throughout the body and removes waste products, cellular debris, and bacteria.”

In other words, KT Tape does some fancy science-y stuff in your body to relieve discomfort. 😉  Also, Olympians use it so it must be pretty rad, right?? Well let’s see!

Since I am new to any type of taping of anything, the first thing I did was watch 47 YouTube videos on taping techniques.  Okay, maybe not 47, but it was quite a few.  I also read through all of the tips and tricks on the KT Tape website.  They have some great instructional photos and videos on there!

When I first started taping, I had no clue what I was doing and made a few mistakes. I started out with the basic Cotton KT Tape…

As you can see,  I didn’t properly apply the tape…which meant it didn’t last very long.  I’ll list my tips for success a little later on.  Then I tried a bit of a different technique with the Pro tape…

This ended up lasting longer and I felt like it was a more beneficial taping sesh. And in case you’re wondering what the big differences between the Cotton and Pro are:

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Then I tried out the Gentle tape…

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Surprisingly, I actually really liked the gentle tape.  I don’t really have any skin issues, but I thought it was flexible and supportive and I could remove it with no pain or skin-pulling.  Then I went on to try the Extreme

The Extreme is a bit thicker and supposed to last longer, so I really liked the idea of using it for my feet since it’s a sweaty and flexible area.  Then something life-changing happened! I got on #BibChat (It’s like a Twitter party/Educational session for runners every Tuesday) and I discovered that you can mix up the tapes! Whaaaattttt?  I can wear three different tapes at once?  Did I mention that I’m really new to taping??  Anywho…so I decided to put the Extreme under my foot, then use the Pro on top and then wrapped the Cotton next to that one (where I didn’t need as much support)…

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Since I’m not sure what my ailment is exactly…I sort of combined the wrapping techniques from both the ankle stability taping instructions and plantar fasciitis instructions.  I have pain in my arch (first thing in the morning and then while running) and since I rolled my ankle, I like having extra ankle stability.  After messing around with some more taping, I finally figured out a good wrapping method that’s been working for the last week!

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And now, after a few weeks of taping, I’m feeling more confident in my methods!  And what about the pain?  Well, it hasn’t completely gone away and I’m not sure that it ever will…but it has decreased during and after my runs.  I think I would need to use it consistently for a few more weeks to see a bigger difference.

How ’bout the Wide tape though?  I tried out the wide tape on my hamstring because I do get pain/soreness there sometimes.  I definitely need more practice with the Wide, it was a little tricky to apply since it’s so big.  Also, removing it was pretty painful (like a lot painful).  So next time, I plan to try the Gentle on my hamstring since it’s a sensitive area and use the Wide on my lower back because I have issues there as well.

So here are my tips for beginners!

  • If you have severe/chronic pain, see a doctor (common sense, y’all)
  • Clean the area first
  • Apply 1 hour before your activity
  • Don’t pull too hard on your anchor points or else it will create an “accordion” effect and basically the strip is ruined.
  • Don’t pull too tight on the middle part.  The KT Tape website recommends about a 50% pull for many of the methods – just don’t pull 100% – you still want flexibility and blood flow!
  • Putting on too much tape is not going to help you.  Again, you want flexibility.
  • Rub the tape after you apply it because it’s heat activated.  This is a really important step to get the most out of your application!
  • There really isn’t a wrong way to apply KT Tape.  I highly suggest watching the videos and reading the instructions…but you can also test out different methods to see what works best for you!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with my KT Tape experience and I will continue to use it in the future! Here’s what I liked most about it:

  • Pre-cut Strips– The strips are already cut and easy to pull off.  The backing is super easy to pull off too, with no sticky residue.
  • Bright Colors – They are available is super fun colors!
  • Flexibility – I like the support and flexibility they provide without being too bulky, like a traditional brace.
  • Confidence – Something about wearing the KT Tape makes you feel a little bit more hardcore.  KT Tape lets people around you know that a little pain isn’t going to stop you from reaching your goals!  Also, Olympians use it, remember??  You are using something the best of the best use!  How cool is that?
  • Containers – With the exception of the Cotton and Gentle tapes, they come in reusable containers!  So when you are done, you can save them for tiny things around the house, small toys, etc…it’s especially great for travel!

What I didn’t like:

The only issue I had was that I couldn’t get my strips to last 4-7 days.  Mine lasted about 1-2 days. I’m still new to taping so it could be that I haven’t gotten the technique down quite yet.  Or it could be that my injury is in a spot that gets wet, oily, sweaty…that it’s not meant to last very long on my foot.  But if YOU know of a way to make it last longer, please let me know!!!!

Are you curious about KT Tape?  Pricing ranges from $9.99 to $45.99 depending on which product you are after.   The Pro, which was my favorite, runs for $19.99.  And as a bonus, you can score 30% off your order with code, “BIBRAVE30”!  So if you’re interested, now is a great time to try it out!

Go ahead, add a little Joy to your life! 🙂 🙂

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Have you used KT Tape before?  What did you think??

~SM

5 Reasons to Get Excited About the San Jose 408k!

*Disclaimer: I received a free remote runner entry to the San Jose 408k 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 may have left California, but California has not left me!  So I’m super excited to have the opportunity to run the San Jose 408k as a remote runner!  In my previous blog post, I mentioned how I’ve missed running races so it will be fun to feel like I’m running the 408 even if I am in another country!

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So whether you live in San Jose, Asia, or somewhere in between – you can also get excited about this race and here are 5 reasons why!

5.  The Location! – After your run through beautiful San Jose you will finish at Santana Row, which is an upscale shopping/dining/living development and it’s the ONLY event that finishes here!

4. Special Course Miles! – Running the 408k gives you the opportunity to run both the Memorial Mile and the Mariachi Mile.  The Memorial Mile is a chance for runners to show their respect to local military as well as an opportunity for veterans to cheer on the runners. The Mariachi Mile will feature several mariachi bands playing along the last mile of the course. How fun is that?!

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3.  Extra SWAG! – Run the 408k (in person or remotely) along with any of the race distances from the Silicon Valley Half event and you will score some extra BLING!  It will be a great addition to your medal rack!

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2.  Pat Tillman Foundation – This year’s Official Benefitting Charity is the Pat Tillman Foundation.  Fundraising and donations to Pat Tillman Foundation will be invested in military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships.  This is a great charity and there are even fundraising levels.

1. Remote Runner – And my fave thing about this race?  Well, I think it’s pretty obvious…but I’m excited that I can run this 8k on my own and still score some swag! What does it mean to be a remote runner? It means I can run at home and I will receive a bib, official race shirt, and medal in the mail! No traffic, no crowded expo lines! Super easy and convenient!

And if you aren’t excited yet, use code “BIBRAVE” save $10 on your race entry or remote runner entry! 

And of course, if you aren’t up to running an 8k (4.97 miles) you can always head over to cheer on the runners  (we love spectators!) or be a race volunteer!

This is sure to be a great event for all so be sure to register today before online registration closes! And let me know if you register as a remote runner so we can run “together”. 😉

~SM

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