Took a road trip to Big Sur

Disclaimer: I received a Marathon Relay entry as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Hey all of you out there in the digital space. I’m sorry the blog has fallen a little flat, sometimes I’m on a creative streak and can bust out posts like crazy and other times I gotta squeeze it out. But a few months back, I was excited to find out that I was able to participate in the Big Sur International Marathon, in a relay spot with my friend and fellow BibRave Pro Kelly!

Now, just clicking on the hyper link to the marathon is going to show you some beautiful sights, and believe me when I tell you, the pictures do them no justice, if you can believe it! I was blown away! But let me backtrack a bit.

Big Sur Meets Bib Rave

Since I happened to be on spring break from work, I was able to make a week long racecation out of this race, and booked flights to San Francisco with my husband for Monday. (Yes San Fran is about 1.5-2 hours outside of the race but I havent been on this coast before so I wanted to explore!) We spent the week dining out, walking about and being super touristy until Friday night when Kelly flew in.

Had fun exploring San Fran

The following morning we started our drive into Monterey (The expo, our next hotel, and the race sponsored Pasta Dinner are all located there). Upon checking in we made our way to the expo, where we were able to meet up with other Pros who were running the race as well! After being virtual so long it was crazy cool getting to meet other pros in person!

Me, Sherry, Kelly, Jess, Megan, and Mai

Oh, and I feel like I should mention this is my first BibRave event in person! COVID ran rampant right after I joined so all of my campaigns and races have been virtual thus far!

The expo was pretty packed, so the claustrophobia was definitely in effect, but they had a great selection of race merch, as well as hydration/fueling brands. As I mentioned earlier there was a Pasta Dinner as well. Now, if youre like me and pasta is your thing, definitely partake in this dinner pre race. $40 a person and its an all you can eat pasta buffet with salad, dessert, and beer/wine, it was a win all around (both for Kelly and I who are pasta before race-ers and Jude who is also a pasta guy).

Get in my belly

Following the dinner we made our way back to the hotel, where we all got ready for bed, our 2:15 morning alarm mocking us as we closed our eyes while the sun was still out. I will say, still being on EST in my brain helped since the alarm didn’t feel crazy early! I had trouble sleeping, Hurricane Point, 2 miles 500ft climb, kept pounding in the back of my head.

Me and Kelly bumping into Sylvia!

But Mike, why 2:15, the race doesn’t start til 6:30! Oh that’s because the race was gracious enough to provide shuttles to the beginning of the race, which is a great deal from the hotel (the finish line being much closer, and the shuttle being 4 minutes from the hotel). Kelly Boarded the first bus to the start (she was running the first leg) and we ran Into fellow pro Sylvia, who spotted my orange gear as I parked my car!

My bus to the second leg was 25 minutes later. The ride wasn’t too bad, and kind of gave me a sense of when/where I wouldn’t have service on the race course. We learned that this year there were new relay points but that wasn’t relayed to the bus driver, since he tried dropping us at the 21 miler location 😵

There are worse places to wait

Once we got squared away in the right location, myself and the other leg 2 runners chatted and tried tracking the race as best we could with limited service. It was cold for sure, the bus provided warmth but as runners began reaching the 8.4 mile mark, we were piling out of the bus to cheer on! I saw a few of my friends run by, and then in the distance I saw Kelly!

The Handoff!

Once we took a selfie and assessed fatigue, I was off! Instantly remembered I was supposed to give her car keys so I sprinted back 1/4 mile to give them to her before starting again. Before I knew it I was at hurricane point (~2 miles after I started) my best comparison would be the on ramps at Disney races, but with much better views.

I swear I took more photos during the race than I did the entire week I was in San Francisco’s my time would have likely been 10 minutes quicker had I not stopped for so many pictures haha

I managed to catch up to Jess (one of the founders of BibRave) and we got to run and chat for a few miles with a friend of hers! My legs were reaching a walking point after a few miles so I fell behind a bit to make sure I was listening to my body instead of wanting a running buddy. (And yes, I did do a shot of tequila on course when it was offered, thanks for asking)

Fancy running into you here Jess

I truly had such an amazing time, and I’ll tell you, that ‘last two mile camaraderie’ is exactly what I missed about racing. Everyone is your biggest cheerleader as you finish up, and we NEEDED it, since the last mile and half was UPHILL!

The last aid station (and 1.5 miles) UPHILL

As I neared the end Kelly had texted me about a Starbucks order, and an iced coffee was all the motivation I needed to propel across the finish line! After crossing the finish line, Kelly and I got our medals and were overwhelmed by the energy buzzing in the finisher village!

Power Team

This was such an amazing experience, I’ve never been on a more beautiful course before. And being able to complete this with my best friend made it all the more wonderful! Check the race out and make sure to enter next years lottery to try and get yourself a place! Happy Running! -Mike

Do it for the bling

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s the Virtual Superman Run!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry into this race to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

Hey all! I’m back! Mini Hiatus from the blog as I’ve primarily been running maintenance, training for future runs, and enjoying the summertime!

Me: reveling in the joy of indoor running when it’s 500° outside
When it’s hot out, but the track beckons ft. Kelly

But I know what you’re thinking, “Mike, you mentioned ANOTHER superhero themed virtual run, I thought you did them both already!?” And you’d be right, the company that brought you the Batman Virtual Run and the Wonder Woman Virtual Run have a new virtual race: Superman!

Being a virtual race, and keeping in line with the previous installments (check out the links to my previous race posts here and here) I knew I had to participate!

Let’s check some distances, shall we? We have 3 to choose from: one mile, 5K and 10K! For this race I chose the 10K option, as I felt like a needed a nudge to move a little bit more!

Swag! Oh boy, the swag, the DC races have historically provided me with the MOST COMFY sweaters I’ve owned, and The Man of Steel did not disappoint! For registering you receive: A sweater, a medal, a custom Bib, a Fanny pack, and your own personal finish line! PLUS if you register and use the code DCSUPERMANPROMO you’ll receive a free drink koozie!

I made a TikTok for this race too 🙂 (@mikepapasfritas)

For this race, my Husband Jude joined me for this one, he’s currently training for the Disney Half Marathon and had a little over a 10K on the docket, so It was very nice to have him join me

Winner winner chicken dinner

All in all, I absolutely love the Virtual Superhero Series. And for a bit of advertising from the company themselves:

See the info below!

“Experience the Justice League™ Virtual Run Challenge with the right tools to keep you moving! Enter our super sweepstakes for a chance to win the ultimate prize pack, valued at $4,240.

Alongside two of our incredible partners, we’re offering a lucky winner a revolutionary smart treadmill from, a year’s supply of our favorite running fuel from @honeystinger, and two Justice League™ Virtual Run registrations!

You do not want to miss a chance to win these incredible prizes. Click This link to enter for a chance to win today!”

The Challenge of the Gods!

Disclaimer: I received an entry into this experience to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Hello fellow mortals! I’m here to tell you about my experience with the Gods and Goddesses, spoiler free of course!

So as I previously mentioned, in my last blog post you start out with your first puzzle, which, figuring out the answer will give you your first run distance! Match it up with your Runkeeper app and hit the road!

As you run the gods will play their intro chime and drop some knowledge on you while you run! So it’s definitely recommended to wear a pair of headphones while you run, maybe wear your Aftershokz so you can also focus on your surroundings!

Miss a clue? Don’t worry, Hermes has your back (and the recordings of what the gods have said) Still stuck? Hermes also has a few hints to steer you in the right direction!

Hermes is here to help you out!

For me, I had the most fun figuring out the post run clues, because you would only know if you it’s correct a) if it helps you to unlock the next race, and b) if the answer makes sense

The characters all had such great personality, and it was fun getting to listen to them tell you about the world that was created for the experience!

Not to brag but I collected all the virtual medals

This was such a fun experience, and it drove me to run outside and explore new routes since I’m a treadmill runner at heart, and Runkeeper requires a moving GPS to deliver the clues!

Find out more info, and register for yourself over at Run to Escape and use code BIBRAVE10 for 10% off! Happy Running!

Running and Puzzles and Clues, oh my! Run to Escape Series

Disclaimer: I received a free entry into this race experience to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

Hey all! I’m back again to share some exciting news with you! My friends over at BibRave have an awesome one of a kind running experience for you to take part in! It’s called the “Run to Escape: Mission Mt. Olympus” experience. If you’re here that means running is probably in your blood, but if solving puzzles is your cup of tea, then this experience is for you! Now, notice I keep referring to it as an experience and not a race, or a challenge because it’s MUCH more than that! Let me break it down for you!

THE WHO: You! The Gods of Mt. Olympus are breaking the status quo and allowing there to be a 13th seat for a God/Goddess! The Goddess of Running, Atalanta, is one such deity vying for the coveted seat, and she has chosen you as a mortal representative to showcase what she embodies!

Atalanta, goddess of running

THE WHAT: Okay, so we’re running, sounds on brand right? WRONG! Not only will you be running to get our girl her seat (lets face it, being the Goddess of running she definitely could use some rest!) but the other deities on Ol’ Mt. Olympus have a say on it, and they will be issuing challenges and puzzles for us to solve, and solving correctly not only wins their favor, but also unlocks the next race in the experience?

THE WHEN: Have I got you hooked yet? GOOD! (insert godly laugh) …here’s the catch: It doesn’t begin until 4/21! So I’m sure you’re chomping at the bit to get in on this. As consolation for leading you on, albeit briefly, I HAVE A DISCOUNT FOR YOU! Use code BIBRAVE10 for 10% off your registration, cool right? Once you register, you can start whenever you please, as the experience itself is virtual!

THE WHERE: This section is two-fold: Firstly check here for the splash page for this experience, it’ll give you access to information on the featured Gods/Goddesses, a link to get notified when this begins, and more as the series starts! Second: While this is a VIRTUAL experience, it is going to require you to run outside (sorry fellow tread runners) The next section will go into more detail but it is going to require a GPS signal to get you what you need!

THE HOW: I’m sure you’re thinking, HOW ARE THEY DOING THIS!? What you’re going to need to do to participate (aside from signing up on 4/21, but you know that already) is create an account with RaceRoster as well and download and create an account with Runkeeper (on iOS and Android). How it works is: you will receive your first race in an email that you will sync through the Runkeeper App. By adding the run to the app you can find it under your races section in the app (its a checkered flag) MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THE BOX FOR RACE MODE AUDIO (its all caps because its suuuuper important) this will allow you to hear your clues AS YOU RUN!! This is why you cannot complete this on a treadmill, the app tracks your distance and you will receive clues to your puzzle at predetermined mile/km markers! I will say, headphones work best for this so you aren’t straining to hear the clues (the mortal realm is quite the noisy one) may I recommend some AfterShokz, one of our fine sponsors?

Once a race is completed, you will receive a missive (email) from the messenger god himself, Hermes, which will contain not only the audio files from the run, but a link to the featured Gods puzzle! Solving the puzzle will get you a clue, which when inserted into the registration page (the same on you use to register for the race, accessible starting 4/21 as you remember) under ACCESS CODE, you unlock the next Godly challenge!

I know this was a lot of info, but I truly cannot wait to complete this experience and I hope you’re just as excited as I am to get Atalanta a seat on the council!

As an added bonus, there’s a current riddle in the works which could net you a free registration, a pair of AfterShokz and more!

Have you got what it takes?

It’s the Holiday Season

Hey! New post here, and it’s not a race review?? Crazy

The last few weeks have been strange! With a 2 week quarantine and some PT growth I’ve been able to get a bunch done strength wise!

With the OK from the physical therapist, I’ve been incorporating a lot more running into my repertoire, and I was able to complete the Honey Stinger Hive Hustle which was 10 miles (done on my tread since I couldn’t leave the house).

But Mike, you may think, with your knee/MCL… HOW?! So weirdly enough running isn’t bothering my knee, like at all, as long as I stretch before and after. The pain comes when I kneel/sit cross legged (which I actively avoid) when I’m standing for too long, and when I wake up, so primarily from inactivity, motion is lotion as they say!

Mom and I also went out for the Running on Wine and Virtual Cheer 5K, which was my moms first race! This was a walker race since, due to quarantining, we couldn’t get out much to train and being her first one she didn’t want to hurt herself. But we finished and had a great time!

While I said this wasn’t a race review post you got some fun little race intel anyway, sorry not sorry 🙂

In other news we had a great Christmas and my husband and I got matching pajamas to match his daughter and our family and now we’re getting some relaxation time after a present filled Christmas morning. Hope everyone has a safe and happy Holiday Season

Na na na na na na na na na na na na na- The Batman Run

Disclaimer: I received an entry into this race to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Two posts in a week? That means I’ve been busy! Close on the heels of my Turkey Trot, I channeled my inner vigilante for the Batman 5K. If you remember I’m still attending physical therapy and taking it easier on my knee than you know I normally would, so this one was also a more relaxed event for me.

What you get! If you remember the Wonder Woman run (boy am I plugging my own blog today or what?) the sweater you get is the same fit, and damn the same comfort (amazing) but Batman themed! In addition you get this awesome velcro backed Batman hat! The medal is the Bat-Signal shining onto the name with a cool yellow logo backed lanyard, and your customary Batman run bib =) they even threw in a GU brand stroopwafel, flavors varied. The race company offered both a 5k and a 10k option for this race, which is great because who doesn’t love the option to push themselves?

My Goodie Bag

Prep time! So I entered into this race with the intention of training with a friend of mine, Chander (who also happened to be the officiant of my wedding). He is a casual runner, in the sense that he will enter races that he finds interesting, but doesn’t run on his own. Generally when him and I enter a race together we will do some short practice runs, or long walks for mileage. Between my MCL injury (my bear fight) and remote/blended learning taking its mental toll on us (I’m a speech therapist in the school system, he’s a history teacher) we got about one couple mile walk in almost a month and a half ago.

Flat mike part 2!

They day of the race we planned on meeting up by his house, and praying that the weather would hold out, as it was supposed to rain and be cold. Fortunately we were #blessed and the weather was GORGEOUS moving the horrible wind and rain to the following day.

Got stuck a a railroad crossing so snapped a quick pic

The 5k took us about an hour, but we intended to walk it from the start. Was it a PR? No, but we had a really good time while we participated. Thats the thing you have to remember, just because it is listed as a race, does NOT mean you have to kill yourself to finish it, whether in person or virtual, you need to listen to your body! We got to talking about a ton of things, like our upcoming end of campaign in Dungeons and Dragons, and tv show recommendations and we had an all around good time!

With the race completed, we went back to his house and submitted our time through the races tracking website, and reenergized with our waffles!! This race was definitely one where the swag was a big draw, since Batman fans can use it as an opportunity to increase the Bat-swag they own, and also have that accomplishment of completing a 5k.

Medal Time

Gobble Gobble, a Turkey Trot!

Disclaimer: I received an entry into this race to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Hey Milers! I know its been a while since I posted, but I’ve been out on injury after spraining my MCL, and according to my physical therapist I should tell people it was in a bear fight!

Pretend that hit my MCL

So I’ll tell you about training. Training was not as traditional as per normal. This was a 5K so typically I don’t have an intensive training plan in place, as my typical ‘maintenance runs’ are ~3 miles. When you add an injury to the mix that inhibits running, you have to shake things up. I incorporated a TON of walking (and biking) to get ready for this, I needed to build up my knee strength and endurance (which I highly recommend for ANY race) but I have been off of running since ~September 22nd… 😱 a few days before I had mentioned the 5K to my PT and she said that I should try running 1/2 a mile on the track to see how it felt. While it was torture on the lungs (body hasn’t acclimated to cold weatherNY running yet) I managed it pain free!

Race info time! So there were numerous race options to choose from, which I find to be excellent practice for virtual races so that it doesn’t limit people wanting to participate. This one in particular had a 1 mile, 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon option! Signing up for this race I knew I would be on the mend, so I scheduled myself for the 5k option, knowing that I would have to resort to walking a little bit if necessary.

Swag info! You can still sign up for this race, as of today (11/30) they are even offering a discounted price for it at 25 as opposed to 40, which won’t net you a medal but the rest it up for grabs. This sweater fits almost identically to the Hot Chocolate one, if you needed a frame of reference. I’ve gotten so many compliments on the colors of this one. The hat is perfect for NY weather right now and the medal is gorgeous!

Had Hubby run it with me =)

Day of the race! MY husband Jude and I relaxed a bit in the morning, decorated our tree (our thanksgiving tradition) and got ready for our run (hoping this can be a new thanksgiving tradition). Like I mentioned earlier, I knew I was going to be taking today on the easy side, listen to my body, walk when needed… but this run went so smoothly! Jude enjoys running with me, but hasn’t run in a while because of work so my idea of not running the entire 5k appealed to him, as he normally would have worked himself up with training for this race.

All in all we had a great time! The weather was perfect, we got to spend some time together on Thanksgiving, something we don’t normally get to do, since he usually has to work, and still had time to cook for dinner!

Obligatory Medal Finisher Pic!

~Chocolate makes everything better~ Denver Edition

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to this race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

I have heard stories of the Hot Chocolate race series. And let me tell you, Denver lived up to the hype, even virtually!

All state sure knows how to put together a race! First of all, they give you hot chocolate for participating, how awesome is that?? (It’s very awesome, in case you didn’t know) But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you the race details!

There is an option for a 5K and a 15K (and while Denver’s race may be over, you can still sign up for the other city’s virtual runs as well! I’ll link it HERE)

Now I haven’t done a long run for a bit with surgery and my most recent fun knee sprain, but All State has decided on a specific day, along with an after party that really had me in the right mindset to get back on the proverbial horse and train!

Let’s talk about swag (you knew it was coming)
For registering you get an awesome provisions pack including a string bag, which has some bars of chocolate, a honey stinger waffle, and a nuun tablet (for recovery). Not only that, but they also include 2 bags of hot chocolate (appropriate, also delicious) and the cool openable medal (which ALSO has a bar of chocolate in it). Last but not least you get the finishers jacket!

I was waiting so long for this jacket to come in, not only does it look awesome with the removable hood, but it looked warm and comfortable as well! My only issue I came to was when it came in I had a broken zipper on the pocket!! But they were super cool about it and offered to send me a new one 🙂

Now race day! I took to half indoors and half outdoors, starting outdoors because it was gorgeous, but opted to finish on my trusty tread because I had a feeling my knee would start to bother me after a certain point and I wanted to be home for if (and when) it happened! I had to take a few breaks while running to stop and stretch ( calf felt weird as a result of the knee) but with my trusty nuun bottle and recovery honey stinger waffle I made it!

The cool, almost back to normal, thing about this race was the after party they had planned in the Facebook event page! There was music and prizes and giveaways that was really cool and got everyone hyped for more!!

Finished the outside portion

I can’t wait for racing to be in person again so that I can attend a hot chocolate race myself in person! Keep an eye out for fellow pros as they review this race, as well as the other races in the sweetest race series!

No need for the Lasso of Truth, the Wonder Woman race review!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry into this virtual race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Hey out there, I’m back with another awesome virtual race review. I will mention this again later, and provide a link for you, BUT, you can still sign up for this race too!!

So, I loved the strong and empowering message this race, and how their social media presence not only incorporated a comic book standing, but also promoting women in athletics with the tag #IAMWONDERWOMAN.

Being a virtual race, I was free to decide when, and where I wanted to race, and even though I do miss the “in-person” races, I do find a sense of serenity knowing I can do a race on my time. Better yet, this race offers a 5K and a 10K option. In reference to my previous posts, I registered for this one before I had scheduled a surgery, but I was strong minded and opted for the 10k. This made the Wonder Woman race a “Get back into a longer run” race for me, and I found that to be highly motivational.

What even is a W?

Now, being a BibRave Pro (check out this link or the one above for more information on that) I donned my BibRave shirt and hat, my knockaround shades, and being a super hero themed race (and me being a super hero fan) I also sported a Green Lantern cape that I got from a trip to Six Flags last year (sorry I didn’t have a Wonder Woman one), in addition to this I wore the sweatbands included as part of the swag which I will talk about shortly!

How can you resist?

Now things I learned during this race:

  1. Wearing a cape while running sounds cool, but it will twist in the wind and try and strangle you, even if you think it’ll make that cool swish effect like a super hero. I am reminded of Edna Mode
  2. If you wear a cape in public, people WILL stare
  3. I tried making a cool Wonder Woman logo in my run map, but I guess I forgot what a W looks like

Here’s a link to register! BONUS if you register for this race and their partner Batman race you can get $5 off of both races!!

I’ll link some other Pros below if you want some more input on this race!


Disclaimer: I received an entry into this race, as well as an adjustable dog collar as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Last week I had the opportunity to take part in RAM Races’ Scooby Doo Virtual 5K. I even had a special little companion for this one, my dog Quinn! We (I) opted for the 5K as opposed to the 10K option as I recently had a minor surgery on my shoulder and had to take almost 3 weeks off of running/exercising/sweating, which I knew would affect my distance capability considerably!

Now, Quinn is kind of a lazy dog and wasn’t really into the ‘training’ runs we did, mostly just plodding along behind me as I ran. But when we had a day as beautiful as we did that day, we had to seize the moment.

Before I get into the run, let me tell you about the swag for this race, all of which comes INCLUDED with your registration! Without purchasing any add-ons, you get a Scooby Doo Run hoodie, a finishers medal, a personalized race bib and a Scooby Doo water bottle!! If you want to as well, you can add on an adjustable collar for the pup, and a Scooby bandana!

The swag!

We began our race with our heads held high, and Quinn (my 7 year old Coonhound) was ecstatic that he could move his legs more the usual walking pace. Let me tell you, the day couldn’t have been more perfect, gorgeous 75 degree weather, a light breeze, if all of my races could be like this I would be in heaven!

At around a mile Quinn started to realize he didn’t pace himself properly, so we walked for a little bit and had some water to regain our composure.

Peep that Scooby collar and that groovy bandana (its not the Scooby bandana, he got this from daycare!)

We continued this trend of running and walking to ensure that his first race wouldn’t be his only race, and while we didn’t get a PR for me, I’d say our time was a PR for him! (~68 minutes)

Quinn wore his medal with pride as we sat in the A/C and cooled off with some snacks, Honey Stinger and Nuun for me, Water and Beggin Strips for Quinn!

Registration is still open for this race, and you can run it on your own time, wherever you want ( the sheer beauty of a virtual run) but this race is available until 10/4/20, so if you’re a nostalgia fan, and are looking for something fun to do with your pup they have a 5K and a 10K option available! Don’t have a dog? No problem! An old coworker of mine signed up and did the distance walking (yes this is a run/walk) with her 3 year old who LOVES Scooby!

As more of my fellow BibRave Pros complete this race and post about it I will link them below, so stay tuned!!

Stephanie Shannon