Disclaimer: I received admission to The Running Event, a travel stipend for my trip and products from Addaday, Altra, Arcanum, Brooks, CEP, Handful, Incrediwear, Nuun, Vooray, Vuori and Zwift 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!
Every Tuesday evening, BibRave Pros join virtually on Twitter for the weekly #bibchat. But this past Thursday and Friday, I was able to find my virtual friends in person just by following the orange.
Nineteen fellow BibRave Pros — only two of whom I’d ever met before in person — and five staff members of Team BibRave and I all got to explore and be part of The Running Event in Austin, Texas this year.
There were three main activities that the Pros got to be part of during the inaugural TRE Influencer Day — The Influencer Reception sponsored by Zwift, a BibRave group run and The Running Event expo tour. This was an awesome experience, and I’ll go into detail about each event below.
The Influencer Reception sponsored by Zwift
Our first official activity to attend as BibRave Pros during The Running Event was The Influencer Reception sponsored by Zwift, which was held the evening of Thursday, Nov. 29.
I was one of four “chosen ones” who would run on a treadmill at the event using Zwift. There were two pace groups, and I was assigned to the slower of the two, which was fine by me (and more appropriate for my pace).
Before we got onto the treadmills, though, all 20 of us BibRave Pros were given our ultimate swag bags. The amount and quality of items we received was truly impressive, and we all set out to see what we’d received and snap a photo of everything. We also received travel stipends from Diversified Communications, which owns The Running Event.
I opened the two shoeboxes — I received a pair of the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 and a pair of the Altra Escalante 1.5 — and unloaded the Vooray bag, which held items from Addaday, Arcanum, CEP, Handful, Incrediwear, Nuun, Vuori and Zwift.
I got a quick look at the items, arranged them for a photo, and soon, it was time to start the run on the treadmill, which began at 5:45 p.m. local time.
There were four of us “chosen ones” and two treadmills, so each of us would run about half of a 5K. I went first on the slower-paced treadmill. I was supposed to stay between about a 5.0 and 5.6 miles per hour pace, so I decided to keep it steady at a 5.3 mph pace, which was about an 11:19 mile.
The BibRave Pros that weren’t running were crowded around the treadmills and cheered for Chris, who was the first runner for the faster group, and me. Using Zwift, I could look up at a TV and travel along a virtual course alongside others who had joined in the run. Names showed up above some of the avatars’ heads, and BibRave Pros and I recognized some of the names of the other runners.
Because Lindsey and I would be splitting the run, we ran with a Zwift character rather than as ourselves, but I’m excited to try running with the app as Vanessa, too. After I ran 1.5 miles, Lindsey took over on the treadmill. Brenda took over for Chris on the other treadmill.
I hadn’t run on a treadmill in a long time, but I had a lot of fun with this, and I think it would actually help me look forward to treadmill runs. I know players are also able to unlock certain things as they go — like different outfits for the avatar — and that there are different courses. I’m hoping to be able to make it to another virtual Zwift run that will take place with BibRave Pros.
The treadmills were also super nice — the brand was Woodway.
After I finished my run, I got a beer and some snacks, and also watched and cheered for the second round of runners. The reception had an open bar and free food.
People said I looked comfortable on the treadmill, which was nice to hear. I had purposely not signed up for any paces that would be questionable for me because attempting an 8:00 mile in front of a ton of people when I haven’t run one in a long time wouldn’t be good. When checking on how to pause the treadmill, I did accidentally hit the button to put it at 10 mph, which gave me a little bit of a scare because it started going super fast, but I didn’t fall off and was able to get it back to a normal range quickly.
After the reception ended, we had a little bit of time before dinner. I was able to take a Lyft back to my Airbnb, drop off all of my new stuff, take a very quick shower, change and head back to the downtown area. We ate at Iron Works Barbecue. After that, the orange group migrated to Cedar Street Courtyard for the Brooks party.
A group of us were among the first to arrive, but it filled up soon after that. Among the attendees was Boston Marathon champion Des Linden! Since we were guests at the party, some of us weren’t exactly sure how to react. Should we bombard her for photos? However, people did start getting photos with her, and she was very gracious. I made it in for a photobomb, and another pro, Jessica, and I were going to try to grab a photo together after kind of waiting on the sidelines. Unfortunately, Des slipped away before we got a photo, but it was still awesome to have been at the same party.
The party included free beer and wine along with a live band. The venue was cool, too — we went down a few stairs, and there was an open area, where the band was playing, along with a bar on either side and a third bar. I was not the first BibRave Pro to leave, but I was also not the last to leave. I left a little after 10:30 p.m. I had woken up at about 3:30 a.m. Eastern Time for my 5:22 a.m. flight, and we would have to be back downtown for a group run starting at 6:30 a.m.
The BibRave Group Run
I had originally planned to run to the start of the group run, but as I just mentioned, I was out kind of late (10:30 p.m. in Austin is 11:30 p.m. in Salisbury, and I got up at 3:30 a.m.) on little sleep. I did make it to the run on time — getting there right at 6:30 a.m. — but I took a Lyft over from the Airbnb.
We had a professional photographer there to take photos — Larry Castillo Photography. I was really impressed by his photos. There were motorized scooters everywhere in Austin, and he traveled on one so he could keep staying ahead of us in the run.
In addition to the BibRave Pros and members of Team BibRave, we were also joined by a couple people from RAM Races, which puts on the Hot Chocolate races and others.
Larry got a few group photos of us at the Hilton Austin, where we met for the run, before we headed out.
We ran in the downtown area, ran a small stretch of the path around Lady Bird Lake (which I later returned to — blog post here) and headed to the Texas State Capitol. It was fun to run with such a large orange group, and it felt like we were in a photoshoot, because we were. We got some individual and group photos at the Capitol before heading back to the Hilton, where there were coffee and food from Panera for us.
Next up would be a tour of The Running Event. I had planned to take a shower, but I didn’t have enough time for that, so I took a Lyft back to my Airbnb, grabbed my badge for the event and a portable phone charger, but unfortunately, not a bag.
The Running Event Expo Tour
I easily found my orange group at the Austin Convention Center for The Running Event expo tour. I had forgotten to bring the paper that said what group I was in — oops! — but it turned out I was in a group being led by Andy from BibRave.
The trade show was massive. Andy led our guided tour starting at 8:30 a.m., and I stayed there till it closed at 1 p.m. There were still plenty of booths I didn’t get to, but it was fun exploring those that I did. I especially liked getting the guided tour with the group because it was very informative. We got to learn more about the brands whose products we would be testing, hear from the enthusiastic reps and ask questions.
At each of our tour stops, I added to my Instagram story, which I saved as a highlight called “TRE!” if you’d like to view it — my handle is @VanessaJunkin. I also took some photos and jotted down some notes in my phone on our tour stops.
I’ll talk a tiny bit about the products we received, but stay tuned for further posts that will go much more into depth.
My group’s first stop on the tour was Arcanum, which makes activated hemp products. In our swag bag, we received Sarco Breeze, an activated hemp moisturizer sports massage oil; Sarco Freeze, which has the description “topical cooling action” on the website; and The Quill, which representative Lindsey Mintz described as like a daily vitamin. For The Quill, a pen-like shape dispenses a 2-milligram dose.
She said the Sarco Freeze could be used before soreness sets in.
She also handed out samples of Arcana-Lyte, a new product that she said encourages the body to produce more electrolytes.
In addition to better sleep, she said Arcanum can help provide a better mood. The products include cannabinoids, but hemp is different than marijuana. She also clarified that THC is not detected — it will not show up on a drug test, for example.
Our next stop was Handful, where we heard from Jen Albert. CEO Jennifer Ferguson was there, too, although unfortunately, she had lost her voice.
However, I could still see Ferguson’s enthusiasm even though she couldn’t say much. She showed off the Flippin’ Awesome tank, which she was wearing. It’s two shirts in one.
Jen Albert talked about how Handful was basically created to avoid uniboob — the bras are made to be flattering to female runners. She showed The Closer, a new bra that will be out in February. It has a zipper in the front and also a clasp on the inside front.
I received a Y-Back Bra and Squeeze Play Leggings in my swag bag. I wore the bra for the group run and around the expo (and for a run I did later with my boyfriend in which we ended up going to three breweries along the way) and I found it very comfortable and supportive. I wore the leggings for my flights home and liked those as well.
We heard from Luis Alvarez at the Vuori booth. He said the California-based brand is in its fourth year of distribution and started with men’s products, because the yoga-based clothes available for sale were more for women. Vuori now offers a women’s line as well, after women were sizing down in the men’s pants, he said.
I received the Vuori Omni Performance Short in my bag and wore them for the group run. I like the color and they look nice, and I liked the pocket in the back. Next time I’d wear Body Glide with these, but I’m looking forward to doing more runs in them.
Our next stop was Vooray. We received the Ace Backpack in Black Nylon, and at the booth, we also got an Active Fanny Pack.
There were all kinds of pretty patterns, and various types of bags. One on display was the Active Backpack, which will be coming out in March.
I used my Vooray backpack the following day, when I rode to a few places on a Bird scooter. I also brought it as my personal item for my flights home.
While Addaday is known for its massage products, as of the day before we visited the company’s booth at the expo, it’s now selling Runner’s Tea. I’m not much of a tea person, but I did try the sample and liked it, so hopefully when I try making it at home, I can make it in the same way.
We got samples of the Runner’s Tea to bring home and make at home, and we also received an Addaday Type C roller in our bags.
I also got a chance to sit down at the booth and try the Addaday Magic massager, which felt really good on my neck, even though I’m normally ticklish on my neck.
Nuun makes tablets in three main categories — immunity, vitamins and electrolytes. We got canisters of various flavors in the three categories, along with a water bottle.
One thing I learned that I remember someone else being surprised about too is that the canisters that include caffeine have a colored cap. We got to try samples of flavors, and I remember liking the cherry limeade.
The next stop was Incrediwear, where we heard from Manteo Mitchell, an Olympic athlete and medalist who actually broke his leg during the Olympics (story here).
He found Incrediwear via an online search and definitely seemed passionate about the product. We received three pairs of Incrediwear socks, one of which I wore for the group run, and capris — which fit nearly as pants on me at five feet tall — which I wore for my run around Lady Bird Lake.
We next heard from Jeff Irvin of CEP. The brand had a new version of their long compression socks displayed, which Irvin said is launching Feb. 1. The yarn is different for the new sock, he said.
Even though there will be new ones, he says he has calf sleeves that are 11 years old and still work. We received recovery compression socks along with trail socks. I wore the compression socks for my day of flights and a pretty long layover.
He said CEP is famous for its graduated compression. The compression is highest in the ankle — that’s explained in the FAQ here.
We were shown numerous shoes at the Altra booth. There were three things highlighted in particular about the Altra shoes — zero drop, meaning the heel is not elevated; a foot-shaped toe box; and “Fit4Her,” which means that women’s shoes are not just a smaller version of men’s shoes.
We learned that a new shoe called the Kayenta will be released Feb. 1, and a new Escalante comes out in July. Altra Founder Brian Beckstead also highlighted his favorite, the Escalante Racer, which has been customized for various city races.
I received a pair of the Escalante 1.5 to try. I’ve heard running in Altras is different, so I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like.
Our last stop on the official tour was Brooks, where we heard from Drew Watson. The brand has been around since 1914 and used to make various shoes, but since 2001, Brooks has just been making running shoes, he said.
I received a pair of the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19, which is actually the shoe I normally wear (I currently have the 18s, but have been wearing the Adrenalines since my senior year of high school). We also received a reflective LSD Jacket — and that’s short for Long Slow Distance, of course.
The Rest of the Expo
After completing the tour, we were free to walk around the rest of the expo until The Running Event closed. I spent a decent amount of time walking around with fellow Pros Chris and Erica, and met up with some other Pros as well. People were giving out all kinds of stuff, and I came home with numerous bars — RXBARS, Larabars, EPIC bars, Skratch Labs bars — Skratch Labs cookie mix, shirts, a fanny pack, UnTapped mixes and fuel, gloves, a ring, and more.
I definitely didn’t make it to every booth, but I had such a fun time exploring. It was also amazing to get to interact with so many fellow BibRave Pros and Team BibRave.
Stay tuned for more in-depth reviews of the products once I get a chance to do some more testing!
See what fellow BibRave Pros had to say:
- Fun Size Athlete
- Barking Mad About Running
- A Girl on a Search for Adventure
- Scoot a Doot
- Fitful Focus
- Jenna Runs
- Husband, Athlete, Father, Marathoner
- Road Back to Boston
- I Run on Beer
- Running Around the Boyz