2020 Shop Small Gift Guide

2020 Shop Small Gift Guide

*Disclosure: I am a brand ambassador for Picky Bars and Koala Clip, but I don’t get any bonuses, or financial kickback from including them on this list. I also don’t get any benefits from any companies on this list.* Links open up to the website, and images link to instagram!

This year I’ve really been trying to support more small businesses and BIPOC-owned places, so I wanted to share some of my favorite places to spend money with everyone else. Especially this week as almost every shop listed in this gift guide is running a sale of some sort this week. My list is kind of all over the place, like me, from sports, to food, to art, to candy. I hope you enjoy my first-ever gift guide and find a few new places to start shopping!

First up, Athletes for Yoga. I am not a yogi, and I find stillness to be a struggle, but I do really enjoy using this program. It’s a virtual platform with tons of short videos like hip reset, meditation, calf reset, core and more. The programs are designed for athletes of other sports like running, cycling, swimming, or weightlifters. The program doesn’t take a lot of time or space and is perfect to work on specific areas that need recovery or strengthening!

Alright, you knew that my list was going to be non-traditional, so here’s my favorite tattoo shop in Dallas. Singleton is so welcoming that you’ll feel totally comfortable from the moment you walk in the doors. They’ve got big snakes and scorpions you can check out while waiting for your appointment and you will leave laughing so hard your stomach hurts. If you aren’t into getting a tattoo, it’s still worth a stop because all the artists have their T-shirts and prints available for sale as well.

I love stopping by Spinster Records whenever I’m in Bishop Arts, but they also do a great job of updating their instagram page to shop directly from there. Also love all of their Oak Cliff merch that is created by local designers.

One thing that I’ve loved this year is seeing everybody’s reading list! It seems like since we have been stuck in the house people who were already readers really kicked it up a notch, and people who didn’t read before for whatever reason have started again, and as a former English teacher, I love to see it. So, please be sure to order your books from small bookshops! I recommend The Dock Bookshop. They are the only Black-owned bookstore in the DFW area and they ship their stuff crazy fast.

I am so obsessed with Beam Paints! I ordered a set for my mom’s birthday back in April, and have been looking for reasons to order more. These are naturally sourced, the dye is always from a plant or other natural source, and they are packaged in cedar or birch from an indigenous sustainable lumber operation or wrapped in beeswax canvas, and all orders are plastic-free. I love that this company was created by an indigenous woman, who learned her love of the arts from her parents. Definitely the best choice for the artist in your life.

Lost Pines Art Bazaar is another one of my favorites and where I often go for gifts for myself and others! This small-biz is based in Bastrop, TX, and is owned by a Persian family and run by my dear friend Naseem. Everything in the shop is beautiful and it all has a beautiful story. The majority of items are sourced from fair trade, woman-owned, Texas/local small businesses, BIPOC owned, etc. You can feel good about your purchases here. Naseem has made it so easy to shop online through their website, and she even offers curated gift baskets. Just answer a few questions and she will create a gift for any occasion. Definitely reach out to her via the shop’s instagram if you are shopping online and she can help you!

Back on the fitness side of things, is Fitnesse! Fitnesse is a super small, Black-owned company that offers two types of resistance bands, loops and tubes, for at-home workouts or travel. The tubes can be used in so many ways, including with a door stop so you can really get as much weight as you need wherever you are. They also offer some free workout ideas on their instagram, and workout plans for sale on their site as well.

Time for something for the runners! Koala Clip is literally the best way to carry your phone on runs. They have all sizes and it slips right in the back of a sports bra! If that’s not comfortable, some people carry it in the front of their sports bra, or inside their waistband. Others have used it to carry gels/keys/cards. I use it when cycling to clip in my jersey pocket. It’s super sweat resistant, trust me.

And because we are all hungry, Picky Bars! What I love about this company is that it was founded by athletes (Lauren Fleshman, Jesse Thomas, and Stephanie Bruce) to create a product with real ingredients that fills you up and fuels you. Not only that, but it tastes delicious. Bars, oatmeal, granola, and drizzle are the current food options they have. Within those options there are many vegan and gluten-free choices as well, so this will work for almost every eater. They also support great causes and give back to their local community, and the greater community as well. They just re-stocked their site with tons of new merch (water bottles, sweatshirts, hats, insulated pint tumblers, etc.) and are having their BFS (Big freakin’ sale) where everything is 30% off. Including Picky Club! Picky Club is a subscription service where you can control the frequency of deliveries and what you want each month to get maximum savings. Cancel or pause your club box any time, make changes whenever you want, it’s really the best way to make sure you have some staple snacks in your pantry.

I’ve been a Peaberry stan since they opened because their coffee is delicious, the owner Elijah is the kindest human ever (and a fellow teacher!) and their branding is sick (done by Wheron!). You can get gift cards for the Dallas locals, or order some cans to give to visiting relatives, etc. They have so many canned flavors now, Vietnamese iced coffee, Mexican Vanilla, Non-dairy, etc. Super delicious.

And finally, a biz I just learned about, Cami’s Candies! She makes gummy candy covered in chamoy and delivers it in holographic packaging. Nothing is better than this. I could make myself sick off eating bags and bags of this, so please, don’t let me buy it all.

You aren’t homeschooling and that’s perfectly ok

You aren’t homeschooling and that’s perfectly ok

A few weeks ago schools were upended with coronavirus concerns and forced into distance learning/e-learning without much warning or time for preparation. That’s caused a lot of stress for teachers, families, students, and school districts.

Let’s all just take a collective deep breath and let it go. These are unprecedented times and we will get through it together.

What I want you to know is this is not home schooling. This is crisis schooling. This is triage schooling. This is just getting by. And that’s ok! Take that pressure off right from the top and reframe the situation in your mind. You might not be a home school teacher, you might just be piecing together the lessons and helping your child check-in to 4 different learning platforms as best you can and that is fine.

I was a homeschool student. I’m now a public school teacher. These two things are incredibly different. Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that homeschooling is terrible because even homeschoolers are feeling an enormous range of emotions at this time. Perhaps even some of the same emotions that public school students and parents are feeling as well.

Here are some things to think about.

  1. We are all missing our communities.
    • Homeschool students do not sit at home in isolation all day. They go to sports practice, band practice, church, part-time jobs, visit family, run errands after school errands with their family, spend the night at friends’ houses, go to parties, have study groups, walk the mall…the list goes on and on. Students from all types of schools are missing their friends, their routine, their sense of normalcy. We all are mourning the loss of our in-person community.
  2. This curriculum was likely not Plan A.
    • Homeschool curriculum is carefully prepared, planned, and implemented just like the curriculum that teachers in public school carefully prepare, plan, and implement in their classrooms. For the most part, the online program you are using, the lessons that are created, the zoom sessions that are set up are all serving as triage. Something to get started in this emergency, but it’s not perfect. Teachers know it isn’t perfect, but this is what we have and everyone is doing the best they can do. Teachers don’t want you to have to log in to multiple websites or set up Zoom conference schedules all throughout the day, but sometimes we have no choice based on what’s available to us and what is mandated by our school district. Teachers also understand that you might not have multiple devices to use throughout the day, or you might not have internet access, or your older child might be watching the younger ones so that you can get some work done. Any good teacher will not penalize your child during this time.
  3. Yes, it is impossible to work full time and manage your child’s learning.
    • That’s why teachers exist. It’s our full time job to manage the learning. You aren’t a failure, you just are not a full time teacher. Even homeschool families have all kinds of different systems and structures that allow them to homeschool and the parents to work if that’s what they choose to do. Don’t put added pressure on yourself to do both 100%. It’s impossible and you will wear yourself out trying.
  4. Your child isn’t falling behind.
    • Your child might not be learning as much as they would have if school was still in session, but there are many other valuable nonacademic lessons that they can learn during this time. How do you handle stress? What are ways to occupy time? How do you make X meal for dinner? What can I do with this old cardboard box? There’s plenty of things happening in your home that will teach your child how to be a human, how to have compassion, manage stress, hold a conversation, cook, clean, build, make jokes, and so much more. If you are worried about their academics, the best thing you can do is have them read (or read aloud to them if they are young). Have them read fiction, poetry, science, history, anything! Read aloud to them even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day. Literacy is the biggest key to academic success. If you need suggestions for books and authors, I’ll be posting a list of some of my favorites. In the meantime, Levar Burton (yes, that Levar Burton of Reading Rainbow and Star Trek fame) is doing read alouds on Twitter, with time slots for kids, teens, and adults.
  5. You are doing the best you can and that is enough.
    • At the end of all this, make sure that you can say that you did your best. You found a way to enjoy the extra time with your family. That somedays you were angry and frustrated, but you let those feelings sit for a little bit and then you let them pass. Your kids love you even when it might not seem like it. You are still the best mom, dad, auntie, guardian, of all time. You are making it work with what you have.
A year of reading women

A year of reading women

Last January, my friend Olivia and I started a book club among our local women’s running group. It was so much fun, we read some great (and not so great) books, and had a chance to bond with our teammates over a topic other than our number one love, running.

This year, we decided to only select books authored by women for the 2019 reading list. It’s a fun challenge and a small way to let our women’s group support other women.

Throughout the year, I’ll share our reading list and some reviews of the books. I’ll also update a post with all of our 2018 selections in case you are looking for something to read.

January – THE IMMORTALISTS by Chloe Benjamin

February – THE RECKONINGS by Lacy M. Johnson

Writing in the Margins – Adding structure and questioning for students

Writing in the Margins – Adding structure and questioning for students

This strategy has become something that I love using and can’t imagine teaching without it! It goes by many names, annotation flip chart, writing in the margins chart, the one-pager, that note thingy…you name it! It’s helped my students for the past two years become more engaged readers and has given them some direction for making annotations on a text. So much thanks to my instructional coach for creating this and showing us great ways to implement it in the classroom!

The great thing about this flip chart is that it can be used in any content. Critical thinking is required is every content area and this gives teachers of other contents are great resource to have students engage with primary sources, word problems in math, scientific texts and more. A lot of what I’ve heard from other content areas is that they would love to have students do something like this, but since ELAR is not their expertise, they aren’t quite sure where to start. Also, if you aren’t into foldables, there is a one pager version that is front and back with a grid that has the headings and stems. No cutting, folding or gluing required!

So enjoy this great resource as you (reluctantly) start thinking about the upcoming school year. Below the photos you can read a summary with more specifics on how to use the chart, feel free to send any questions my way!



Writing in the Margins Flip Chart

This flip chart is used mainly in our English Language Arts and Reading classrooms, but last year we branched out and shared it with our Social Studies and Special Education departments.

It has been a great tool in all three departments to help students successfully annotate/close read a text. The tabs feature a definition of the reading skill as well as sentence starters and question stems.

In practice, the students will spend the first few weeks of school using the chart section-by-section with a high-interest text. A mini-lesson goes along with each section of the chart to ensure the student is learning the skill and that the flip chart can be a helpful resource.

The flip chart sections are: clarify, visualize, connect, question, infer, summarize, and respond. Each skill should have a mini lesson to focus on the types of questions that focus on that skill. The entire flipchart won’t be used all at once, but rather the skills will build upon each other.

Once there is a basic understanding of each skill and the students learn how to navigate the chart, we use it every time we read any stories or informational text in class. To specifically guide instruction and practice, teachers will assign students to focus on certain tabs to write their annotations. The chart supports students’ use of complete sentences in writing and speaking as the sentence stems also come in handy for structuring classroom discussion centered around a text.

This chart can be used in any content because the sentence stems provide a structure for analysis of any type of reading activity.

Writing in the Margins Flip Chart Checklist

  1. Provide explicit lessons on each type of annotation with time for practice before expecting students to use the entire chart
  2. Scaffold learning applying one annotation skill at a time
  3. Have students read annotations to a partner
Standards and Assessments – Does it work?

Standards and Assessments – Does it work?

Alright, y’all. I’m finally going to start addressing more of the teaching part of my “teaching, fitness, running, fun” tagline. As most of you know, this summer I started my first semester of graduate school in order to obtain my M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction with a focus on academic coaching. This semester I’m taking Overview of Special Education, Current Issues in Education, Tools Used in Academic Coaching, and Current Trends in Educational Technology. This fall, I’ll be enrolled in Teacher Learning and Professional Development. It’s a lot, but it’s great and making me realize that despite never being interested in a career in education growing up, it’s something that over the past five years has grown really important to me.

We dove right in to learning about the system of standards-based education and assessment in the U.S. The end result for me was coming to the conclusion that the current system is so flawed, we won’t see the success we expect from our students. What students are currently achieving, as a whole, doesn’t line up with the goals of the national standards (Common Core), nor the state standards for those states who use their own. There’s a lot of reform needed, and it will take time to refine the system, but that is at a detriment to our students who are missing out on valuable educational time. If you find this interesting, go ahead and click the link below to read my thoughts on the topic and let me know what you think!

Can students succeed through standards and assessment?



Fast times, favorite race

Fast times, favorite race

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Statesman Capital 10,000 as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aBibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Sunday morning I toed the line for my third Cap 10K and I was so excited! I was really bummed after missing out on last year’s race, so I knew there was no way I was passing it up this year!

First stop was the expo on Saturday! We had to pick up our bibs and of course check out all the swag. The expo here is really great, parking is plentiful in the garage and it’s worth it to just pay the $5 to park there. Bibs are organized by number, so bring your bib number and photo ID to get that. The booths are all great, and there are photo ops with local celebrities (and he is also an actual celebrity and Olympian) Leo Manzano!

I stayed at my parents’ house outside of Austin, and early that morning my Dad, brother and I loaded up and caravanned with some friends to our super top secret parking spot. (Trust me, it’s amazing and much needed in Austin on a race day!)

My family and I walked down to the start line with all my Austin friends! Alyssa, Lesli, Devangi, Jodi, and more! We were a conglomeration of Oiselle Volee, Bibrave Pros, and Shoal Creek Striders. All the team pictures were taken and then we got in our corrals. I was a little bit sad that my dad and brother couldn’t start in the same corral as me, but that’s ok! It was easy enough to find them after the race.

My big plan was to run my first sub 60 minute 10K today, and the weather was perfect for it! The morning started in the 40s, but it wasn’t wet and not too humid either. Literally miracle weather for Texas at this time of year. My friend Alyssa agreed to pace me because I was feeling so nervous about hitting this goal! We started together and she kept me motivated through the first half, which is super hilly. The 5K came and went, and I made the decision to keep the pace for a little bit longer instead of starting to speed up, and that was definitely my mistake. Alyssa stayed right on target, never running slower than 9:45 (many times I had to surge and catch up to her, but oh well.) This race would’ve been a totally different (sad) story without her there. I was sooooo glad to cross this finish line with her in 1:01:41!! That’s a 12 minute PR!! Thank you Alyssa! We are bonded for life now that we went through that race together!

I got my medal, said hi to a few friends (Hi Cate!, Hi Jessie!) and then went to try to watch my dad and brother finish, but my post-race brain couldn’t make sense of the tracking updates, so I missed them.

After wandering around the post-race party for a bit, we all headed back home to eat, shower, and enjoy the rest of our day!

I keep thinking back to my first race, it was this one, in 2015. I thought I had trained a lot. I ran a 1:18. The rest of that year, I ran off and on, completed more races, but I felt so stuck. I knew I wanted to become a better runner, but didn’t really know how. Needless to say, I am incredibly proud of my progress from then to now!

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a lot of thanks and credit to my amazing coach Becki Spellman. I’ve been with her since 2017, and she has whipped me right into shape! I would not be the runner I am today without her, and sure hope she is proud.

Check out my Bibrave Review here

Check out my Athlinks profile here

Start Line Story

Start Line Story

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Statesman Capital 10,000 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 were my first race. I wasn’t nervous at all, though. The waves of people starting before me. Music playing through my headphones. My mom and Dad smiling, snapping pictures, cheering me on. The thoughts in my mind of my dear, sweet Zayde. The man who loved without limits and who would’ve treated my crossing the 10K finish line in 1:18 as if I had just won an Olympic gold. I ran it for him. In many ways, I still run for him. I run for many reasons now, but every time I toe the line, I take a few moments and remember the people I love. I hope that my running makes them proud. I hope I make myself proud. The gun goes off; I start my watch; I begin.

Helping a Hundred

Helping a Hundred

If you follow me on social media then you already know that I spent the weekend of Dec. 9-10 at Trail Racing Over Texas’ Brazos Bend 100 in order to pace my dear friend Jennifer. She was attempting her first 100-mile race and asked me way back in January or February if I would consider being one of her pacers. I jumped at the chance to do this, even though I know I’m way slower than her (I mean she also qualified for Boston this year with a generous time cushion). I was figuring that since I’ll be training all year that maybe around mile 60 I can hold a pace that she needs. There’s no way to fully convey how amazing this was, but here’s my meager attempt.

Over the months before she had some pacers drop and then all of a sudden I was the only one. Then she asked me to switch to her last loop, that means I’d start around mile 80 and be responsible for bringing her to the finish line to get that buckle. If there wasn’t pressure before, there definitely was now. There was absolutely no way that I was going to let her DNF on that last loop.

I’m not sure that Jennifer knew just how much I was focusing on being ready to pace her. I let my coach know what I was planning and anybody asked about my race schedule, I said the most important thing on it wasn’t my race, but Brazos Bend 100 and making sure my friend finished. I read all kinds of articles about pacing people, how to help someone who is hallucinating (a very real possibility when you’ve been running for that long). I was all in on this.

Finally race day arrived.

I was super excited to be at Brazos Bend State Park because it’s maybe 15 minutes from where I grew up, so that brought back lots of good memories. I got there at about 1 p.m., but the race started at 6 a.m., so I knew Jennifer was already out running and it would probably be a while before I got a chance to see her. All around the start and finish line is a tent shanty town (race director Rob dubbed us the 99 percenters!). Runners had their crew waiting for them in the tent areas and we had camp chairs, etc. in our tent and were ready to hang out and help out our runner. I got to meet Jennifer’s super-sherpa Carmen and her boyfriend Brad. Man, those two are amazing! Carmen is such a great crew leader for Jen and knows exactly what she’s going to want at every moment, she tracks her time down to the minute and can almost feel when Jennifer is ahead or behind her pace. This was Brad’s first time at an ultra race and no one would’ve ever known it. He jumped right in and was cooking her oatmeal, hooking up the propane for our heater, and helping all the other runners who were there and also a part of Jennifer’s team, Renegade Endurance.

Did I mention it was freezing? I think it was 60-50ish around the time I got there, but as soon as the sun went down it dropped into the 30s. So I spent almost the whole time cooooooold and not feeling my hands and wrapped in a blanket and just willing Jennifer to hurry up so that I could run and be warm.

We sent Jennifer off for her 5th loop, and I started mentally preparing for loop 6. The final loop where I needed to really work to help her finish this thing. Each loop was about 18 miles and she had been on a great pace of less than 4 hours per loop. Her first couple were super speedy in about 3ish hours. We expected Jennifer back at camp around 12:45-1 a.m. All of a sudden it was after 2 a.m. and she was just walking into camp. That 5th loop alone and in the dark had really done a number on her and she struggled to get through it.

I don’t think Jennifer knows this, but the nerves from waiting over an hour past predicted time really did a number on my stomach. I was running with stomach cramps the entire loop and I was almost certain that I was going to poop on myself. I didn’t ask for any bathroom stops, I didn’t tell her how I was feeling because that wasn’t my job! I was there to run with her and if that meant I had a nasty accident, then that’s just what was going to happen. (I did not have any accidents.)

Anyway, I set off with her on loop 6 and I could tell she wasn’t her normal self. She didn’t want to run and she told me that she just wished she could run a mile without stopping at this point. After about 45 minutes and a lot of run a couple seconds, walk a couple minutes, I suggested we try to run half a mile and then walk for two minutes before running the second half mile. Jennifer said she thought she could do that, so that’s what we did. It worked and we were making decent progress.

My next question to her was, do you want to try to run a little longer than half a mile before we take a break? She said yes and that’s all it took. From then on we ran a mile at a time and took a 2ish minute walk between. We were running pretty consistent in 12 minute pace range which I thought was great at that point. I stayed up ahead of Jennifer and literally felt like I was dragging her along, the whole time wondering if I was running too fast. She said it helped her to chase me and especially on some of the longer and tougher stretches of the course she said it was nice that she didn’t have to be the lead runner.

We talked some, but very quickly got down to business. The most conversation we had was in the first 6 miles of the loop. After that I just called out run and walk breaks, let her know if we were almost done with our mile and if I could see any aid stations. I also mentioned a few times that I knew we were going to pass some people before the race was over.

Jennifer also helped me out, too. My watch died because I stupidly wore it all day instead of turning it off until race time, so she called out the miles. My headlamp was not made for the darkness you find in a state park, so she loaned me the extra one she had in her pack.

When we got to the last 10 miles, I wanted to do some work, so when I saw some people ahead of us on that stretch of trail, I turned to Jennifer and said, “Hey there’s some people up there who we can pass!” And tried to get her to run a little faster. We passed several people on that last stretch, which felt great (sorry other runners!) We called out and received many “good work” from the other racers.

Finally, the end was in sight. Jennifer was behind me and I knew she was tired. I did my best to motivate her, encourage her and pull her to the finish. She asked me to cross the finish line with her, but I said no. That was her moment and she could cross alone. She ran the whole race alone except for this lap, she put in the work, and she deserved all the recognition. I’m not sure if she even heard what I was saying to her to motivate her, or if it was really even working, but I tried!

To top it all off, Jennifer was so freaking sweet that she gave me an incredibly sweet card and this AMAZING mug that she had personalized as a thank-you for being out there. Like…all I needed was for her to cross that finish line in order to feel thanked. But, I do love the mug and am so grateful!

RECAP: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio

RECAP: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio 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!

Wow, what a wild weekend! I definitely did not know what I was in for in signing up for a Rock ‘n’ Roll race, but it definitely didn’t disappoint by any means. I haven’t done too many super massive races, and honestly was worried that this would be too crowded and crazy, but that wasn’t the case at all. So, grab a snack and settle in for my race day recap! For all the technical details of the race, click on over to my review on BibRave.

The Expo

Our first stop was the expo on Saturday. We didn’t have any issues getting there (other than the always horrible traffic on 35) or parking, but that might have just been because we know the area. We ended up entering the convention center from the back of the building and had a long walk to get to the hall. I’ve never been a big fan of getting to the convention center in San Antonio because every event I’ve been to over there is so poorly labeled you have to wander all over the place.

Once we were in the expo, packet pick-up was super easy. You walk in and immediately turn in your waiver and get your bib. Then go to the next station to pick up your shirt, one more station to set up runner tacking (I guess if you need help and can’t do it on your own), and then you get to enter the Brooks store! So many clothes and shoes were out, and I ended up getting a pair of Levitates, which I had been wanting for a while. Thoughout the rest of the expo, you can get tons of samples, make purchases, etc. There weren’t too many gimmicky products and it was pretty easy to navigate. I personally don’t like spending a lot of time at expos, so my dad and I hurried through and got back in the car to head back to Austin.

Race Day

We had no issues with parking or navigating street closures, which again probably had to do with knowing the area. The info from RnR stated that the app WAZE was updated with the race-related street closures, which is great for out-of-towners. I didn’t expect the corral sections to be so massive! But we lined up and the official start time was 7:15, but due to my corral I didn’t get started running until about 7:45. That’s a long time to wait and I feel bad for people in the corrals even further back than mine. The music was great and the announcers kept everything rolling, which really helped with the long wait to start.

The course was great for me! It’s not the most scenic course I’ve ever been on, but it was fun and even the parts with almost no crowd support were still alright. Around mile 10 things started going uphill, literally, and I started crapping out. I wasn’t ready to have a massive climb that far into my race, and so my time went out the window. I still finished in 2:25, which was amazing. When I struggled in a race this time last year, I thought “just let me stay under 3 hours.” This time, I was thinking “As long as I’m under 2:30” I’ll definitely take that improvement!!

Post-Race Party

Unfortunately the post-race party didn’t seem as lively as it might’ve been because it had dumped buckets of rain on us, and everyone and everything was still wet. The beer lines moved quickly, people were getting medals engraved, race winners were announced and fish tacos were on the grill! Des Linden and Stanley Biwott were the respective gender winners of the half marathon!

It was here where I got to meet my inspiration and hero, MEB. He is the kindest and wisest man I’ve met. I was so honored to meet him, and even more honored when he shared more kind words to me on social media. What an amazing ambassador for the sport.


Overall I’d recommend this race, but not if you want to PR. The weather is super unpredictable and a lot of people had to let some big time goals pass them by once the weather ruined their race plans.

Feeling the Love

Feeling the Love

Over the past year I’ve had the pleasure of being a BibRave Pro, which is an exciting ambassador program where we get to test running gear and run and review races across the country (and some international races, too!)

The applications for the 2018 program open up today, so I just wanted to share some of the best parts of my first year with BibRave!

1. The community!

  • The group of BibRave Pros and those who join in on our weekly #bibchat on Twitter are simply amazing! Everyone is super supportive of your goals, and has amazing advice. We have people with all ranges of paces, specialties and careers! If you need answers for anything, this is the group that has your back! Among all the pros, we’ve tested a ton of products and ran in a gazillion races, so you definitely can get all types of insider info!

2. The products!

  • Testing gear has been crazy fun this year! I’ve gotten to try out NuGo Bars, Luvo frozen meals, 2Toms, Aftershokz, Buff, Oofos, and SmellWell so far! That’s not even half of what has been offered to test this year! Other pros have tested Under Armor trail shoes, Garmins, and more! It’s a really great way to try out products and not only find out what you like, but be able to share that information with others so they can decide if they will like it or want to try it, too!

3. The races!

  • So far, I’ve only run one race on behalf of BibRave, but I will be running 3 more within the next 6ish months. Who doesn’t want free race entries? You get a spot in a some cool races all in return for doing some race promotion and writing reviews and recaps of your experience! Most of us runners do this stuff anyway, so the only thing that changes is just keeping track of your posts. The races that partner with BibRave are some of the coolest and it’s a great opportunity to join in on some big name races, too (like Grandma’s Marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll race series, etc.)

If you’re interested in applying, here’s the application materials! If you have questions, comment here or find me on twitter @kolbejack or instagram @kolbejack_ and I can answer any questions you might have! Happy racing!