Be Seen with Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips

Disclaimer: I received the Brilliant® Reflective Safety Strips to review 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.

When I was learning how to drive, my dad always taught me to be a defensive driver - to never assume that the other driver is going to do the right thing. I’ve applied this same mindset when it comes to running, especially in the dark. The truth is, I’m a runner and there are many times that I have driven along familiar roads and have been caught off guard by a runner on the road because I truly did not see them there!

Well, this product is a game changer for anyone who has to be outside in the dark! Whether you are a runner, a cyclist or avid dog walker, this product will instantly make you safer because Brilliant® Reflective Safety Strips can be added to anything and everything you already own, making you highly visible to cars as you enjoy the outdoors.

I received two packages of each type of Brilliant® Reflective Safety Strips. 

I received two packages of each type of Brilliant® Reflective Safety Strips. 

Brilliant® Reflective Safety Strips are available in two forms: Iron-ons and Stick-Ons. I received two packages of both forms to try. The Iron-on strips adhere to clothing with a low heat transfer that allows the strip to become permanent on your apparel. According to the package, they should last up to 50 washes. The Stick-On strips are placed directly onto your equipment or apparel. You can place these strips right onto a bike or buggy frame, bike helmet, dog leash or outdoor gear - even jackets!

Brilliant® Reflective is different than other brands because it’s made from 3M Scotchlite Reflective, a highly reflective material that is 200x brighter than a white t-shirt. This is important because most active wear reflective details are purely cosmetic that does not reflect enough to enable drivers to see you from a safe distance.

Did you know that a car traveling at 30mph needs 75 feet of stopping distance? This is in dry pavement conditions and probably on a straight road! While this may seem like plenty of space, it really isn’t, especially if you are running (or cycling!) towards them! That’s where Brilliant® Reflective’s BioMotion comes in:

“Outline the human form with the reflective material - arms, legs, torso – so when the light shines back drivers will recognize you as a person. The sooner the driver sees a person, the sooner they change their driving behavior.”

This makes so much sense! Applying these high-brightness Brilliant® Reflective strips on the proper locations of the body will allow drivers to see you in plenty of time to react and prevent accidents.

These high-visibility Brilliant® Reflective strips are brighter than any other reflective gear I own!

These high-visibility Brilliant® Reflective strips are brighter than any other reflective gear I own!

Conclusions

While I tried both the Iron-ons and Stick-ons, I preferred the Stick-ons. They both stayed on just fine and lasted through at least two washes, but the Stick-ons can be applied to EVERYTHING! Most of my running clothes are not iron friendly so the Stick-ons are a better option for my gear.

The Iron-On Strips are purple while the Stick-On Strips are sliver. This top had virtually no reflectivity before I applied my Brilliant® Reflective Strips!

The Iron-On Strips are purple while the Stick-On Strips are sliver. This top had virtually no reflectivity before I applied my Brilliant® Reflective Strips!

My strips worked best on non-compression materials. It seemed that jackets, quarter zips, shoes and hydration packs were best for me. The Stick-on strips seemed to peel off a bit on my leggings. But since they are so reasonably priced, I think it's worth replacing them every few washes! 

During these dark, Irish winter months, it is typical for my kids to walk to a from school with no daylight. I applied the Stick-On strips to my son's jacket to make sure he could be seen as well!

During these dark, Irish winter months, it is typical for my kids to walk to a from school with no daylight. I applied the Stick-On strips to my son's jacket to make sure he could be seen as well!

Each package costs just $9.99 and contains pre-cut strips that are enough to cover a few different garments. I even cut a few strips smaller for a better fit on my clothes. A couple of packs will get you started and they are reasonably priced if you need more!  

You can use the code "BIBRAVE25" for 25% off your full order (one time use per customer). Hurry! The code will expire on Tuesday, 10 January at 11:59pm. And don't forget that international shipping IS AVAILABLE!

What do the other BibRave Pros have to say?

Jessica     |     Jen     |     Lindsey     |
  

Be sure to join all the BibRave Pros, BibRave and Brilliant® Reflective for #BibChat on Tuesday, 10 January at 8pm CST. You could win your own set of Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips! Be sure to follow BibRave and Brilliant® Reflective for your chance to win.

Generation UCAN SuperStarch Review

Disclaimer: I received a free sample packet of Generation UCAN SuperStarch as part of being a BibRave Pro. All opinions are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

As a Bibrave Pro, I have the amazing opportunity to test and review all things running. But to be honest, I typically shy away from testing anything having to do with food, fueling and nutrition. Firstly, as a plant based athlete, most products do not align with my lifestyle. Secondly, my sensitive tummy does NOT like new things. So I just usually stick to reviewing gear and leave the nutrition reviews to the other Bibrave Pros.

I have been researching different endurance fueling methods as I prepare to start training for my 13th marathon this summer. Over the last few years, I’ve struggled to find the optimal race-day fueling method that keeps me performing late in the race without getting that “rotten gut” feeling. An avid fan and follower of Ben Greenfield Fitness, I read an article about how he changed his diet to train his body to burn fat as a primary fuel instead of carbohydrates for optimum endurance performance. This article convinced me that I had to sort out my gut if I wanted to perform at my best in a marathon.

Then the opportunity to try Generation UCAN Superstarch with Bibrave was presented to me. So exciting! What is Superstarch? This short, 1 minute video sums it up pretty well.

Furthermore, this description is straight from Generation UCAN’s website:

Generation UCAN is powered by SuperStarch, a healthy, natural, gluten-free innovation in carbohydrate nutrition. SuperStarch is a complex carbohydrate (derived from non-GMO corn) that uniquely stabilizes blood sugar and causes virtually no reaction from the fat-storage hormone insulin.

Via Generationucan.com: A carb with no crash and no insulin spike that allows fat burn but doesn't bother your stomach. 

Via Generationucan.com: A carb with no crash and no insulin spike that allows fat burn but doesn't bother your stomach. 

How I Used It

While this product could be used before or after a workout, I tested it by drinking it only before my workouts. It is recommended that you take it 30-45 minutes prior to exercise. The biggest challenge for me is that I usually run at 5am! So, I mixed my SuperStarch the night before and kept it in the fridge overnight. I mixed the sample packets with about 12 ounces of cold water and some ice using the Blender Bottle they provided. On runs that were longer than 1 hour, I also ate a bit of food along with my SuperStarch.

IMG_1342.JPG

How It Felt

I absolutely noticed a significant difference in how my stomach felt after long, hard efforts using Generation UCAN. I ran an extremely hilly half marathon in hot and humid conditions this past weekend. I drank my SuperStarch and ate my favorite pre-run avocado sandwich. The weather conditions combined with the challenging course made it very difficult to maintain my normal race pace. By mile 10, I was absolutely drenched with sweat and felt goosebumps on my skin. That is typically a red flag for me that my body is overheating. However, my stomach never once felt bloated or sloshy. I drank water on the course and ate some orange slices as my fuel. I finished the race strong and did not have any tummy issues even though my body was experiencing overheating! Usually after such a run, I would be out of commission on the couch for a few hours with nausea, exhaustion or some type of stomach pain. Instead, I changed my clothes and headed to the after party!

How It Tasted

There are two components to consider when gauging the taste of Generation UCAN SuperStarch - flavor and texture. Because this is a powder that you are mixing into a liquid, there can be a bit of a gritty texture to it, especially if you don’t mix it well! That said, I believe you can avoid the grit by aggressively shaking the Blender Bottle a few different times as you drink it. That way, the little silver whisk ball can really work its magic. If you don’t have a Blender Bottle, I would suggest using a small blender like a Nutribullet or definitely a small whisk. I tried mixing it with a spoon once and that didn’t go so well for me.

As for flavor, I think every person’s palette is different and you may have to see what you like best for yourself. Personally, I absolutely love the Tropical Orange flavor. It tastes like an Orange Julius smoothie except lighter and a bit frothier! The Lemonade tasted just as you might expect, but the slight grit of the starch kind of made miss an actual lemonade. The first time I tried the Cocoa flavor, I mixed it with cold water. It tasted kind of chocolatey, but was not exactly what I had hoped it would be. Then a Twitter friend recommended trying it in coffee! I had never thought of that! So I used half a packet in a cup of coffee and I quite enjoyed it. The only drawback is that I used a spoon and a lot of the starch fell to the bottom. The next time I tried, I used a tiny whisk that worked a lot better! My fellow Bibrave Pro, Heather, tried mixing her Cocoa flavor with almond milk, which she reported tasted quite yummy!

Bottom line is find the flavor you like most and drink it the way you enjoy! For me, I plan on incorporating Generation UCAN into my training for the Dublin Marathon this fall.

See what my fellow Bibrave Pros think about Generation UCAN SuperStarch:

Erin | Jessica |   

Orange Mud HydraQuiver Single Barrel

Disclaimer: I received a free Orange Mud Single Barrel HydraQuiver as part of being a BibRave Pro. All opinions are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to test out the Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1. That product totally changed my long-run life! You can read my review of the VP1 here. So when offered the chance to test out the HydraQuiver Single Barrel, I eagerly accepted and was excited to compare these two Orange Mud products.

                                                                                        Welcome to the orange mud family!

                                                                                        Welcome to the orange mud family!

The Specs

The HydraQuiver is an alternative to sloshing and bouncing of traditional hydration packs that utilize a bladder technology to hold fluids. Their website states “the HydraQuiver sports silky smooth webbing, long spandex pockets to hold your phone while running, an interior rear cargo storage and a secure zipper pull.” Some other features include:

                                                                                              Photo Via www.orangemud.com

                                                                                              Photo Via www.orangemud.com

  • Thick foam padding and big air channels provide ample support and maximum breath-ability

  • Easy to reach (and replace!) running water bottle, thanks to a wide funnel opening and perfect retention

  • Reusable BPA-free water bottle makes refills quick and easy to wash

  • Reflective logs on bottle holder for nighttime safety

  • Room at the base of the pack to attach jacket/shirts with optional cord and cord lock kit

  • Adjustable straps ensure great fit for any size or gender of runner

  • OPTIONAL padded sleeves available for $9.99 for the HydraQuiver Single Barrel

My Thoughts

While I ordered the bright pink HydraQuiver (which I LOVE!), it is also available in orange, gray and black. The HydraQuiver Single Barrel is definitely smaller than my VP1, which is not a bad thing, just different. It has two very stretchy pockets on the straps that velcro closed and are large enough to hold my Iphone 6 as well as fuel for my run. The zipper pocket in the back was surprisingly large. However, you would have to take off the vest to reach the gear securely tucked away in that pocket unless you have a friend who could get it out for you.

At first glance, you might think the best way to put on the vest is similar to how you might put on a backpack. Well, this awesome little video from our friends at Orange Mud shows a much easier way to wear it, as well as how to adjust it properly.

While some Bibrave Pros, like Frank, used their HydraQuiver Single Barrels for activities such as biking, I tested mine only while running on the roads. Overall, I ran over 100 miles over the last month with my HydraQuiver on my back. Not only did I use it for training runs longer than 60 minutes, but I also ran two half marathons with it. I wore it with long sleeves, short sleeves and even tank tops. I note the different tops I wore because I think it’s important to the fit and comfort of the pack. Some Bibrave Pros, like Rachel, felt the straps might cause chaffing if worn against bare skin. While I did not have any issues with that, I could see how that might be a problem as every runner is shaped differently. Luckily, Orange Mud offers Padded Sleeves to alleviate that potential “hot spot” for runners. So, (potential) problem solved!

(According the Orange Mud website, the Single Barrel is the only product that does NOT have padded straps. All other hydration packs already have them included.)

Bottom Line

While I absolutely LOVE my HydraQuiver Single Barrel, I must admit that I prefer my VP1. I think the biggest reason I prefer the VP1 is because of the chest strap. For some reason, it just feels a little more secure the have it buckled in the front. Also, the VP1 has a few more pockets that are useful when I need to bring lots of food or gear with me. Nevertheless, I will continue to use my HydraQuiver Single Barrel regularly for runs that are 15 miles or less. 

Be sure to join us for #Bibchat on Tuesday, 8PM CT with Orange Mud and the Bibrave Pros who tested the HydraQuiver Single Barrel. Be sure to check out my fellow Pros’ reviews to see what they thought about it!

Janelle | John | Jen | Jennifer | Sarah | Emily | Gina | Jessica |

 

BibRave Pro Product Review: XX2i Bermuda1 Sunglasses

Disclaimer: I was recently sent a pair of XX2i Optics Bermuda1 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!

After reading about how much the Bibrave Pros loved their XX2i Optics sunglasses back in December, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to test them out for myself, especially since this style hasn’t even hit the market yet!

I consider myself a pretty low-maintenance kind of girl. I don’t really enjoy shopping or keep up with the latest trends or fads, or have the faintest clue about accessories. I do my best to dress professionally for work, but truth be told, I prefer my running wardrobe! I owned exactly two pairs of sunglasses before the Bermuda 1, both of which are running specific, so testing a stylish pair for everyday use was quite exciting!

Right out of the box, I noticed how lightweight they felt and how lovely the lenses were.

At first, I thought they might be a little big for my face, but they actually fit me quite well. And the polarized lenses! Just, WOW! Everything is brighter, sharper, more distinct!

I truly used them for everyday use. As a busy mom of two boys, lots of time is spent carting them around to their various activities as well as just taking care of the weekly errands. I love having a pair of high-functioning sunglasses that I can use for everyday activities! I loved them so much that I purchased the USA 1 Polarized Sport Sunglasses using the code XX2iRocks and saved 50%!

Pros:

  • Light weight frames

  • Polarized lenses (my favorite feature of these glasses!)

  • 1 year money back guarantee!

  • Lifetime warranty on the frame and lenses

  • hard shell storage case as well as soft storage bag that can also be used as a cleaning cloth

Cons:

  • They are one-size fits all with no adjustable parts. (For people who need them to fit tighter, I might suggest wearing them with a hat.)

  • While I did not really use them for running, Bibrave Pros Angie and Heather reported that the lenses fogged up a bit (remember, these are not really designed for running).

Although I received Matte Tortoise color Bermuda 1, they will also be available in Matte Black, White & Black, and Crystal Black. Be sure to join Bibrave, the BibRave Pros and sponsor XX2i on Twitter for Bibchat on April 26, 8pm CT to find out more about how to purchase (or maybe even win!) a pair of Bermuda 1 sunglasses. And don’t forget to use the code XX2iRocks to save 50% off your purchase, too!

On-Running CloudSurfers Review

**Disclaimer: I received a pair of the On Running Cloudsurfers 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!

Choosing the right running shoe is serious business for me. I’ve learned to be cautious when trying out the newest fads or latest technology because I can be very susceptible to injury and the LAST thing any runner wants is to be injured!

After struggling with a finicky psoas muscle and IT band all last year, I decided to go back to basics with my training. Reading Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally by Dr. Kelly Starrett has been a huge inspiration. Following his recommended steps, I began to retrain my body, starting with mobility and strength and transitioned out of my custom orthotics. As I approach 40, I know that my hip, glute and core strength are the key to proper form and will ensure my running longevity.

Enter On-Running Cloudsurfers.

I was very intrigued to try these shoes after reading about their incredible CloudTec® technology. While a conventional running shoe sends a high, visible impact from the forefoot though the the ankle into the calf, On Running shoes equipped with CloudTec®, show no visible impact on the body. Here are a few more highlights via the On-Running website:

  • Land Soft... - When you hit the ground, the highly adaptive rubber cushion both vertical and horizontal forces for a soft landing.

  • … but Push Off Hard - Once on the ground, the Clouds lock firm to provide a solid foundation for a natural and powerful takeoff.

  • Activate Your Power From Start to Finish - The Clouds act like tiny stability balls, responding to every movement of your foot.

  • Turn Your Muscles ON - Clouds activate your postural muscles and enable you to stabilize your foot strike without artificial support, putting you back in control.

Cloudsurfer Specifications

Runner Profile: All types of runners looking for a cushioned yet highly responsive training and competition shoe.

Goal: Increase performance, train and compete

Category: neutral

Heel toe offset: 7mm

Weight: 240g/8.5 oz (women’s)

Breathable Mesh: Uniquely engineered mesh places breathability and support exactly where you need it on your foot.

CloudTec® Technology: 13 “Clouds” close and lock for a natural transition for a faster take-off.

So what did I think of them?

The first thing I noticed about the Cloudsurfers is that they felt big. I ordered a women’s 9, which is what I normally wear in my Nike Pegasus shoes. I was a little worried that I might have gotten the wrong size, but they actually were just fine when I started running. I realized that the roomy toe box allowed my foot to expand naturally with each footstrike, something I had never experienced before with other shoes.

The first time I wore them, I only ran for about 20 minutes in them. I immediately noticed their responsiveness on the hard surface of the roads. I took them out for a 10 mile run the second time I wore them, which was both a great idea and a terrible one. The good news was that I ran on many different surfaces, including gravel, grass, concrete and dirt trails. Not a single twig, rock or stick got stuck in any of the clouds. And even better, I ran fast (for me)! I felt every muscle engaging from my shoulders, through my core, down my glutes to my calves. I felt powerful and fluid and enjoyed every mile! The bad news is the next day, I was so incredibly sore! I felt like I had run a marathon. My quads and calves ached and needed lots of foam rolling and recovery. I later learned that you need to give your body a few runs to get used to all your muscles being turned ON by the CloudTec®. Lesson learned!

After a few days, I tried again and only ran about 4 miles. Although my muscles still felt engaged and I was extremely cognizant of my running posture throughout the run, I wasn’t nearly as sore. By the 4th or 5th use, the post-run soreness subsided and I was getting the hang of recognizing my muscle engagement more often.

Bottom line? 

I love these shoes! They have really helped me become aware of my body while running, especially later in a run or when I start to become fatigued. This awareness enables me to make the necessary form adjustments and has helped me carry out some tough tempo workouts. I recently ran a half-marathon in them and truly enjoyed how they performed. I never got one blister or black toenail!

The one drawback is the laces. They are thin and long and difficult to keep tight. I might suggest changing out the laces for something shorter and thicker. I normally don’t have issues keeping laces tied but I have had to stop a few times to tie these shoes during a long run. Not a deal-breaker in my book, but just something to consider. I will be using my Cloudsurfers as part of my regular shoe rotation, especially as I move into marathon training season this summer. 

See what my fellow Bibrave Pros thought about their experience with On-Running Cloudsurfers.

Jen           Danielle            Sarah        

2XU Racing Vectr Socks & Performance Run Sleeves

Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU Racing Vectr socks and Compression Performance Run Sleeves 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!

As a Bibrave Pro, I discovered 2XU (“Two Times You”) after being given the opportunity to test their MCS Run Compression Tights and Hyoptik Thermal Tights. Both these products have become essential items in my running gear collection. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to try their racing VECTR socks and compression sleeves as well.

The construction of the gear is obvious upon opening the boxes. 2XU has expertly created material that is soft to the touch yet extremely strong and durable. The Racing Vectr Socks LITERALLY stand alone. The X.LOCK technology provides a wide range of benefits, including support for the arch and ankle, dry panels for breathability and left/right ergonomic foot fit for improved comfort. Even after several washes, they still hold their shape well!

There are compression sleeves, and then there is 2XU Compression Performance Run Sleeves, specifically designed for runners. They feature 2XU’s signature PWX compression fabric with enhanced power to support the shin and calf muscles.

Other features of the Performance Run Sleeves include:

  • Graduated fit to promote circulation for muscle performance and faster recovery

  • Seamless construction for greater comfort

  • High filament yarns for dryness

  • Antibacterial and UPF 50+ sun protection

Although I used these two products together for the purpose of this review, they most certainly may be used separately. I tested them out over the course of 3 weeks and about 100 miles worth of running.

Pros:

  • There is something magical about a well-made running sock and 2XU Racing VECTR socks set the standard. The ergonomic fit combined with the nylon fabric and X.LOCK technology make these my new favorite running socks!

  • The sleeves are strong yet easy to slide onto your calf. They hug your muscles without cutting off circulation.

  • Both the socks and the sleeves offer performance benefits as well as improved recovery as they reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.

  • They are easy to care for as they are machine washable. I line dry all my running gear, including my 2XU VECTR socks and performance run sleeves.

Cons:

When I first opened my Compression Performance Run Sleeves, I could not tell which way to wear them as they have a logo on both the front and the back. I referred to the picture on the front of the box for reference, which easily solved the problem.

I had some friction occur at my heels when wearing the socks and the sleeves together. Initially I pulled my socks over the bottom of the sleeves, but the sleeves seemed to dig into the backs of my ankles. Another time I wore the socks tucked into the sleeves, which seemed to help. Other Bibrave Pros did not have this problem, so be sure to check out their reviews below.

Bottom line:
I really enjoyed both of these 2XU products separately. I will definitely be ordering more Racing Vectr Socks! For me, I did not particularly enjoy using both products at the same time. For compression around my calves, I’d like to try 2XU’s X Performance Run Socks, which would eliminate the friction I felt around my ankles. Lucky for us, 2XU is offering 15% off any regularly priced products with code TRAIN15. Code is valid until April 30, 2016.

Won my Age group at the Run lucky 5k with 2xu!

Won my Age group at the Run lucky 5k with 2xu!

See what other BibRave Pros thought about 2XU Racing Vectr Socks and Performance Run Sleeves!

Samantha      Sarah     Frank       Rachel      Jessica       Mark 

BUFF USA Merino Wool BUFF

Disclaimer: I received a Merino Wool Buff thanks to Bibrave‘s BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find, review and write race reviews!

There are few products in the running world that are as versatile as BUFF USA’s Full BUFF®. I’ve seen them hanging on displays in sporting goods stores near the hunting and fishing sections, but never realized what a fabulous piece of gear it is for ALL outdoor activities. I was very excited to review the Merino Wool BUFF® and compare it to my Original Full BUFF® and Half BUFF®. 

The Merino Wool BUFF® Specs:

  • 100% natural merino wool

  • 12+ different ways to wear

  • Water repellent, odor resistant, flameproof, UV protection

  • Durable with natural stretch and elasticity

  • Cool in the summer, extra layer of warmth in the winter

  • Thermal protection from cold and wind

  • Semi-seamless - small, unnoticeable seam at top and bottom of Merino Wool BUFF®

  • Quick drying

  • One size fits all adults

  • Classic BUFF® headwear shape, but with few extra inches of length for cozy protection

Benefits of the Merino Wool BUFF®

The Merino Wool BUFF® is a fantastic product for any outdoor enthusiast, male or female! While I personally use mine primarily while running, I also wear it out casually on the soccer fields to keep my ears warm and my hair out of my face while I'm watching my kids’ play. I’m a big fan of wearing caps, but on windy days, they can fly right off my head! The Merino Wool BUFF® is a perfect alternative for windy conditions. 

It is also a product that is suitable for all ages. My 10 year old son liked using it to block the sun out of his eyes so he could sleep during a 9-hour road-trip in the car. We travel quite a bit so having a simple, lightweight BUFF® to make sleep a little easier on the go is a huge plus!

Care Instructions

Caring for the Merino Wool BUFF® takes slightly more effort than the original. According to BUFF_USA’s website, here is the best way to keep your Merino Wool BUFF® in optimal condition:

  • Hand wash in warm water with mild soap

  • Lay flat to dry

  • Do not use fabric softeners

  • Do not bleach

  • Do not iron

In my opinion, this is the only drawback of the product. I have a difficult time with any type of “high maintenance” laundry items. No matter how hard I try, they almost always inadvertently get washed incorrectly. In fact, this actually happened with my Merino Wool BUFF®. It got mixed in with a load of laundry and even went into the dryer! The headwear was not damaged, per se, but I definitely noticed that it was slightly more stretched out than it was prior to the wash.

Bottom Line

The Merino Wool BUFF® is a great item for any outdoor enthusiast, particularly one who might be exposed to cold conditions. The 100% Merino Wool is ideal for wicking moisture while also keeping your warm. Hikers, cyclists, fishermen, and even spectators of any outdoor event would benefit from the Merino Wool BUFF®.

See what my fellow Bibrave Pros thought about the Merino Wool BUFF®!

Heather           Angie          Jen          Mark         Bradley        Janelle   

Christine         Sarah          Katherine         Allison         Jessica 

2XU Elite MCS Compression Tights Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU Elite MCS Compression tights thanks to Bibrave‘s BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find, review and write race reviews!

Over the last few years, there has been a huge growth in popularity for compression garments among athletes of all sports and fitness activities, from recreational to elite professionals. Much has been written about the training and recovery advantages such clothing claims to produce. Cool! I’m all for gaining a little edge where I can find it, especially as I get older. And although I own a couple pairs of compression calf sleeves and a pair of compression socks, I had been on the fence about investing in a pair of compression tights for a while. I have lots of different leggings that I love to wear after a long run so I figure that is pretty much the same thing, right? HA! Not even close!

What is 2XU? 

2XU (“Two Times You”) was launched in Australia in 2005 and has since become the official compression partner for numerous world class athletes and teams. Their mission is to advance human performance through the development of world-leading athletic garments.

What sets 2XU apart? 

What I liked best about 2XU was the variety of products available! Not only do they offer a multitude of sport-specific products, but they also have reflective compression gear and pregnancy compression gear! (I REALLY wish I knew about this stuff when I was having my babies. I struggled with varicose veins through my 2nd pregnancy and was stuck wearing the hospital-type compression socks. Not fun.) But the specific type of compression I tested out for Bibrave was their Elite MCS Compression Tights.

MCS stands for Muscle Containment Stamping, which traces over key muscles, tendons and fascia groups for more targeted and effective compression power. These tights are definitely unlike any of the other running tights I had in my closet! When you turn 2XU Elite MCS Compression Tights inside out, you can clearly see the MCS system at work. They truly are like a second skin!

How do they fit and feel? 

I used the size chart provided by 2XU to order mine and felt they fit perfectly. They truly are like a second skin so getting them on definitely took a little more work than slipping on a pair of baggy sweat pants! I gather them down by the ankle, slowly working them up one leg at a time, kind of like putting on a pair of pantyhose that you don’t want to snag! The fact they are so snug is what sets them apart from all my other tights. They hug the muscles in your legs perfectly and feel amazing. The waist band is more narrow when compared to other brands of tights I own, but it did not bother me at all.

Training and Recovery

When I received my tights, I was just a few weeks away from running the Chicago Marathon. It was still really hot here in Oklahoma so I did not wear them for my long training runs. I did, however, wear them immediately after my hard workouts for recovery. After a long run or really challenging tempo, I normally feel sore for at least a day or two from the hard effort. But that did not happen when I wore my 2XU Elite MCS compression tights! My legs felt fresh, loose and ready to go much faster than I would have anticipated.

I brought them with me to Chicago hoping I would get the same result after the marathon. Within 30 minutes of finishing the marathon, I changed into my tights and waited for my friends to finish. I could not believe how well I was moving just hours following the race. It felt great to walk around in them and I could even go up and down stairs without a bother! I wore them on the plane home the next day and felt really good the entire flight. What struck me was my range of motion. Usually, my hamstrings and/or quads are so painfully tight after a marathon that it is difficult to sit properly or bend down without pain. I did not feel that pain after this race.

Check out what some other BibRave Pros thought about their experience wearing Elite MCS Compression:

Sarah          Heather          Angie               Kim            Allison

Tom            Jeremy            Katherine       Laura B.

Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1

Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1

Since discovering distance running 16 years ago, I have struggled with managing my hydration and nutrition during training. Initially, I just set out water at predetermined points. Although it’s still a strategy I use from time to time, I discovered that my body needed more frequent hydration during my runs so I graduated to carrying disposable water bottles with me instead. Then the invention of the handheld reusable water bottle came into my life.

Read More