Tag Archives: fuel

June came so soon! (A Stridebox Review)

14 Jun

I woke up to a beautiful sight this morning – the sun was back out and ready to play! After running a couple of errands, I set myself up on the front porch for some blogging, reading, snacking, hydrating, and icing (for tomorrow’s 5K).

image_1It seems like it wasn’t very long ago that I got around to reviewing the May Stridebox and here I am with the June box ready and waiting for me to enjoy it. Let’s open it up!

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As I started pulling the items out, I was immediately excited about the Foot Rubz Massage Ball. Mark and I had just had a conversation about how he should use a foot roller to help with his new running pains. Now we don’t have to go find one! According to the package, there are over 160 stimulating fingers on the ball that help massage sore feet, hands, or any where. I gave it a try and it feels gooood!

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This month’s fuel and hydration picks:

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  1. PocketFuel Crunchy Banana Blueberry Almond Butter with kick. Vegan, gluten free, 100% natural whole food fuel with 8g of protein. I’ve never had a crunchy squeeze fuel before, so I’m curious about how that added texture will affect the fueling experience. You can read all about the company philosophy here.
  2. Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix in Lemons/Limes flavor. This is known as “Secret Drink Mix” because athletes claim it has performed better than the leading brands and doesn’t cause bloating or stomach discomfort. I’m looking forward to trying it out, but I’m pretty skeptical that it’s going to be better than my favorite nuun.
  3. Electro Delytes Energy and Electrolyte Citrus Bar. This bar has electrolytes, simple carbs, all natural ingredients, no caffeine and only 55 calories!
  4. PowerICE Lime Kicker Electrolyte Ice Bar. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice freeze pop on a hot summer day? Well, now you can replenish electrolytes after a hot and sweaty summer workout in the same fun way you did as a kid (but better for you). Gluten free, Kosher, no high-fructose corn syrup, 30 calories…and it’s frozen! I’m popping this in the freezer for another one of those 90 degree days!

I’m not one to usually change the laces on my shoes, but I might consider it now that I’ve got a set of Lock Laces. This is a cool elastic shoelace fastening system that keeps your laces tight and secure without the need for double knots. The company also lists improved circulation and prevention of heel crushing as product benefits. They come in a variety of colors and you can use them for any athletic shoe and for multiple activities. I might put these on my Saucony Mirage II’s, since the laces don’t stay tight and the tongue likes to move around.

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Remember that time I ended up with some serious chafing after a 10 mile run? This anti-chafe cream with tea tree oil from Blue Steel Sports sure would have come in handy to prevent that painful mess! It can be used to prevent chafing OR to help soothe and calm irritated skin after activity. The tea tree oil (which I love!) adds a natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. image_4When I first opened this month’s box, I was a little less-than excited about all the lemon-limey products because it’s not usually my favorite flavor. Now that I’ve had the chance to really look closely at each of those products, I’m looking forward to testing them out even if my taste buds aren’t so jazzed. As usual, the $15 monthly subscription proves to be a worthy investment, as the retail value of June’s contents is over $26!

And finally, keeping in line with the efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle, here’s how I re-purposed May’s box:

strideboxreuse2It makes a great fuel bin for the cupboard!

If you haven’t already subscribed to Stridebox, what are you waiting for?! Go here and get it now so you don’t miss out in July!

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May I have another Stridebox?

23 May

As you could probably tell, May has been a very busy month around here! It seems like quite a while ago that I came home to the May StrideBox gloriously waiting on my doorstep.

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When I opened the box, I immediately broke into a happy dance.

Good thing no one was around to see that…

The reason for the ridiculous happy dance? This month’s StrideBox was PACKED with awesome! Just take a look at everything they stuffed into this little box:

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As I started pulling out the items, I noticed there was a pretty large box on the bottom. It’s a Klitch footwear clip! This is a really cool device that holds onto your shoes and clips onto your bag. That means no more wet, dirty, or sweaty shoes stinking up your bag or taking up all the space. If you didn’t get a May StrideBox but you want a Klitch, they are offering 20% with the code SPRING.

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Considering they retail for $14.99, this StrideBox paid for itself with this item alone! Pretty awesome if you ask me. (And you did, didn’t you?)

Multiple endurance fuel samples were included in this month’s box in several forms.
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  1. Jelly Belly Sport Beans in assorted flavor – Carbs, electrolytes, vitamins and natural sugar give these beans their performance power. I’ve tried these before and they just seem like candy to me. I can’t say I noticed much of a difference, but I’ll give them another go.
  2. Honey Stinger Energy Chews in Cherry Cola (new flavor) – Organic, gluten free, non-GMO ingredients, caffeine, and soft consistency make these appealing. The flavor is really tasty and they do seem to give a burst of energy. Since I can’t chew and run at the same time, I’d probably use these as a pre-run fuel (or snack….).
  3. VFuel Endurance Gel in Peach Cobbler – I’ve heard some buzz about Vi Fuel’s tasty natural flavors and easily digestible ingredients, so I am excited to try this out. They use dextrose instead of fructose, which is more expensive but easier on the tummy. Check out their website for tons of information.
  4. Bonk Breaker Bonk Bites energy bar in Peanut Butter and Jelly – Bonk Breaker is the official energy bar of the Ironman Triathlon Series that are packed with “high energy and high protein.” They also claim to bake them fresh daily – how awesome!

Next up is Betty Lou’s Just Great Stuff Bar. These are vegan, gluten-free, and packed with antioxidants. The flavor I got was Cacao + Acai. It’s all fruit, nuts, rice protein, and cacao nibs.

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I ate it as a side to my banana bread english muffin the other day. It definitely looks a little strange and the nut bits give it an odd texture, but it tasted pretty good. I’d be willing to try the other flavors – Superberry Acai, Fruit and Veggie, and Chocolate Dream Greens.

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One of the items I’m really excited to try is the Perfect Fit protein powder by Tone It Up. From their website:

“Perfect Fit Protein by Tone It Up™ provides clean, organic nutrition – and helps to burn fat, shape a lean physique and aid in muscle recovery. Each delicious serving contains 15 grams of protein and is Organic, Gluten-Free, Raw, Vegan, Non-GMO, Kosher, Non-Fat, Low in Sodium, and Free of Sugar, Dairy, Lactose, Cholesterol, Soy, Corn, Wheat and Allergens.”

image_7Sounds great! They also have many recipes on their site with creative ways to enjoy the benefits of Perfect Fit beyond adding it to boring old water. I’m thinking strawberry shortcake protein pancakes might be the way for me to go…

As I mentioned in my previous review of StrideBox, we share the same mantra! They added this little sticker in the box and I love it. If only I could figure out where to put it! Any ideas?
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You know that ickiness that happens to water bottles after a while? Well, Bottle Bright from Clean Ethics is a chlorine-free and non-toxic tablet of wonderfulness that will clean those bad boys right up. Just fill your hard-to-clean vessel with water, drop a tab in, wait 15 minutes, and rinse. Think that’s cool? Well, for every purchase made they donate the same amount of Bottle Bright to people in need of clean water containers. Now that’s ethical.

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And now the last item: Pro-Tec Athletics Blister Bands. The LiquiCell technology creates a blister to cushion areas where rubbing occurs so your body doesn’t have to! It’s kind of like adding a little pocket of skin to your skin. Fortunately, I don’t usually get blisters from running (thanks to good socks and shoes) but I could see myself trying these out in a pair of flats that tend to rub me the wrong way.

image_14Whew – that was a lot of stuff! According to the Stride Guide, the retail value of the contents in May’s box was just under $28! Since the monthly subscription is only $15, that’s nearly a 50% savings! Even if you don’t fall in love with every item in the box, it’s worth the money to try out new products that would cost a lot more to buy individually.

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One last cool thing about the new StrideBox packaging is that it is made from 100% recycled materials. They included an announcement detailing the change and encouraging subscribers to reuse or recycle the packaging. Well, StrideBox, I am happy to report I was already reusing my first box as a home for my growing pile of running gear!
image_19Who else got the May StrideBox? If you haven’t subscribed yet and are considering it, I say go for it! 

It’s taper time!

6 May

When I was training for my first half marathon, I followed the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training plan pretty closely. This time around, I only loosely based my training on that plan in terms of weekly mileage. For the most part, I kind of did my own thing and worked in a few tips from other half marathoners. We’ll see how that works out…

Anyway, now that the Jog4Jugs Half Marathon is on Saturday, that means it’s taper time!

Here is the plan:

Sunday – Cross training. Took a nice walk with friends and then got started on my Spring cleaning (it totally counts.)

Monday – 4 easy miles.

Tuesday – 3 easy miles.

Wednesday – 2 easy miles.

Thursday – Rest.

Friday – Rest.

Saturday – RACE!

I am giving myself two full days of rest because my legs need to be nice and fresh to tackle those hills. This morning’s run was another “naked” run for the Run Free For Me challenge. What better way to ensure I’m taking it easy than not obsessing over pace and distance? I just ran a usual route that is about 4-ish miles at a comfortable pace.

runnaked5_6Along with taper week comes carbo-loading, hydrating, and SLEEP!

Carbs

All of the tips I have been reading recommend increasing carbs during race week, especially the 2-3 days beforehand. It’s not just enough to load up with hordes of pasta the night before a race. It is better to start earlier and spread out the carb intake across meals for a few days. I made sure to plan a week’s worth of carb-tastic dinners, with the heaviest on Thursday night and eating a nice big carby lunch on Friday and keeping it a little lighter but carb-alicious for pre-race dinner. For more about carbo-loading before a race read this, this, and this.

Hydration

It’s important to be getting enough water in the days leading up to a half marathon, so I will be drinking lots of water. I will be avoiding any sodas or alcohol and limiting the espresso as much as possible (yeah, right). I will be sure to mix in nuun, as usual. Have to be sure to keep those electrolytes at a healthy level! For hydration tips, read this.

Sleep

Two nights before the race is the most important time to get in as much sleep as possible. Nerves are typically on high alert the night before, so it’s safe to say that I will be tossing and turning. All week I will be focusing on getting to bed at a decent time, but letting myself sleep in as long as possible on Friday is going to be the big goal.

Here’s a Monday Meditation that’s perfect for race week:

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about. “
– Patti Sue Plummer

If you have other race week tips, please share!