No matter what your pre-race ritual might be, one thing every runner does at some point before a race is attach their bib to what they plan to race in. Maybe it’s their shorts, their tank top, bra top, or their oversized fleece layered over 4 other shirts. Some runners might do this the night before as they lay out their outfits or some might do it right as they head to the start line. Either way, if you plan to race, you must secure your race bib.
If you’re like me, every time you go put on your bib with a safety pin, all you can think of is, “Oh, man. And there goes another hole into this shirt.” Sure, they might be small pinholes, but I find it frustrating. Why would I want to voluntarily put holes into my shirts?
In January, when I had raced in the Chilly Cheeks 5 Miler, I ended up racing in one of my new fleeced lined Nike long sleeve tops that I had received as a present for Christmas (and no, the race wasn’t the first time I wore it. I did wear it for a few runs after I got it). However, when I went to pick up my race packet and put on my bib, I cursed myself for wearing it and now putting 8 small pin holes in a practically brand new top. An expensive one at that!
At some point after that race, I was spending some time on twitter and I saw something come across my feed about these things called RaceDots. I was intrigued and knew I must found out more, especially since I knew I would be racing 30 races in 2015. If I could eliminate those darn pin holes in my nice athletic clothing, I wanted in. Sign me up! I immediately contacted RaceDots and were kind enough to send me a set of 5 to review and test out! I had planned on testing them out at the Valentine’s Day 15k, but that race didn’t have race bibs (yes, I am still bitter about this). So needless to say, I had to wait until this past weekend to test them out at the Spring Thaw 10 Miler.
The wait was worth it though. Since it was about 10 degrees that day, I had on about 4 layers on top, the outermost layer being a thick fleece top. This was the first time I had applied my RaceDots to a shirt. (Lesson learned — practice putting them on beforehand). These things are STRONG!!! They are created from rare-earth magnets and actually need over 5-lbs of pull force to separate them.
I took the first RaceDot and had the top on the outside of my fleece and in a weird manner, took the backside to apply on the inside of my shirt. As long as you have the positive side up, it will attach with no issues. The first one I applied was almost in the middle of the bib. Whoops. But the nice thing about RaceDots is that I didn’t have to take them apart to move it to the corner. The RaceDots actually slide easily across the bib and shirt. I will admit, my second one didn’t go on as easily. In fact, I actually dropped the back part! Once retrieved, I was able to finally get that one on. The third and fourth ones went on much easier. Again though, I was able to pull the RaceDots to the outer most corners to flatten my bib as much as possible.
Even though I had successfully attached my RaceDots, I still had two concerns as I headed to the start line: 1) Would the RaceDots interfere with my timing chip on the back of my bib? 2) Pulling my bib off during my race by accident.
To answer my first concern: I didn’t have any issues. My time recorded from Saturday’s race was accurate. In their FAQ section, they actually mention this issue. They’ve worked with a few different types of timing chips and haven’t found any issues themselves. Their only recommendation is to not put the RaceDot directly on the timing strip.
My second concern never became an issue. I thought since I wear a race belt and when I grab water or gels, I might hit my bib and even if I did, nothing happened. It was stuck there and wasn’t moving. After 10 miles of racing, my bib didn’t move once! Even as I was stretching after the race, the bib stayed put.
Now, I will admit, taking these off can be tricky. RaceDots actually put together a how-to video and it might seem silly, but it’s very helpful (something I probably should have watched before hand. Oops!). The mistake I made is that instead of taking the RaceDots off and putting them back into the container, I just put them on the bib. Well, after all were off and on the bib itself, they immediately snapped together. Lesson learned and now I know what NOT to do next time.
As you can see in the above picture, I also recommend to keep your RaceDots in the plastic casing and cardboard they come in. You can easily just throw it in your gym bag and then you always have them for a race. This also prevents them from sticking to each other in a big pile. A trick I also learned is that if they do stick together with nothing in between them, use the cardboard piece in the plastic sleeve to wedge between the front and back piece to help pull them a part. This trick came in handy more than once.
I will definitely keep using these for all of my races this year and am looking forward to never seeing pinholes in my clothes again! I just wish I would have known about these earlier. Sometimes as a runner, it’s the small things that can make everything better.
Intrigued? Want to try these yourself? You’re in luck! RaceDots if offering one lucky Pittsburgh City Girl reader a package of 5 RaceDots as a giveaway!!! However, if you can’t wait and want to try these now, RaceDots has their on-line store up and running and they currently sell RaceDots in packages of 5 or 10. If you want custom RaceDots, they will work with you with a minimum order of 500 – Great for a team or running group.
Disclaimer: RaceDots provided the product for me in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.