Friday, September 30, 2016

Medal Envy... It's a Real Thing! It's Runfession Friday!

It's my most favorite time of the month!  Runfession Friday!  
The time of the month where I get to air my dirty laundry without regret!
I get to complain as much as I want! Tune in! Oh... and make sure to visit Marcia at her blog and read others confessions too!

To say I've lacked some mojo in the blogging department would be a severe understatement.  I really love blogging.  But, it's a hobby and in the day-to-day shuffle of life, it takes a back seat to other tasks that need to get done.  I RUNFESS,  I've been so lazy I can't wait to lay my head on my pillow at night and unplug.  Or, just watch that hour of TV before I have to do the day all over again.

Let me re-explain lazy.  By lazy I mean, I still get my ass out of bed at 4:45 am - four to five days a week to run.  I work full time, do the heaps of laundry, make dinner ...... although sometimes dinner is PB & J.  Hey - a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do right?  What else... homework with my oldest - since WHEN does first grade have homework?  Try to have some relationship with my spouse - who does his fair share if not MORE than I do with parenting.   On a side note:  I have THE BEST husband in the world!

I could keep going.  The truth is,  runners are multi-taskers.  I think we can do more than the average bear and I'm sure many of you reading this are doing the EXACT same thing on a daily basis.  The problem arises when we start to lose ourselves just a bit.  We get so wrapped up in our daily life of go-here, go-there, do-this, do-that....there's little time for anything else.  So, the blogging has taken a back seat.  BOO!  I'm working on a solution to keep the writing up, because I miss connecting with all of you on a regular basis.

I also RUNFESS,  I get way jealous of everyone ELSE'S racing schedule.  I have major medal envy.  Below is a pick of my medal wall in my closet.  It's feeling a little left out and not nearly heavy enough.

I do have a girls run-cation planned in two weeks and I'm over-the-moon excited.  My husband and I don't get away much solo to be with friends, so this is extra exciting for me.  I will check two states off my "been there ran that" board and add 3 medals!  I'm getting there.

I also RUNFESS, my closet truly is 80-90% running gear and beer shirts!  Hey, I like my craft beer and breweries make great shirts - what can I say?  Most of my closet chaos is caused by my obsession with cute running clothes and also casual clothes I can wear everyday,  all of which are running related.  Yes,  I'm aware... I have a problem.   But in my defense,  I am a dental hygienist.  I wear scrubs everyday and I change at work.  Who wants to get fancy just to change right away when you walk in the door?

But, seriously... could you pass up this shirt?

In no way was I paid to say this, or given this shirt.  I just like supporting local businesses.  If you want to check out more of what State of RUN has you can follow the link.   They may have cute shirts for your state too!  And, their shipping was amazingly FAST!

Ok, I feel better now.  My goal for October is to be a better blogger!  Have a great month everyone!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Generation UCAN: The Next Generation in Superstarch Nutrition

Disclaimer:  I received a sample box of UCAN Snack bars from  Generation UCAN 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.

In a world where nutritional supplements are everywhere.  How do you choose?  I find myself asking: 'Will I like it?' 'How much does it cost?' 'Will it do what it says it will do?'
 Around every corner, we are bombarded daily with unhealthy food choices.  Do I choose snickers for that afternoon pick-me-up?  Or what about Twix?  

Obviously, we all KNOW there are better options out there!!  For this review I'm going to highlight the positives of these little bars that pack a HUGE punch!

The history behind these super-food snack bars starts with the founder's son, Jonah.  He is suffering from a rare blood disease the requires him to maintain stable and steady blood sugar levels;  so evolves the SuperStarch.  SuperStarch is what makes these bars unique.  Consequently, they are the ONLY nutritional bar that contains it. 

This SuperStarch is very different from the other sugars found in other competing energy bars.  As athletes, we want our nutrition to sustain us throughout our workouts and give us the much needed energy to push to the next level.  These bars are designed to give quick bursts of energy over a longer period of time.  Here's the catch - without the crash!  Wouldn't YOU want a bar to do that for you?  

Here's an example of the way this SuperStarch works.  But to make it more fun... I'm going to use my favorite afternoon pick-me-up; Twix.  Yes - don't judge.  I have my weaknesses too.  But the point is:  If I would grab for a UCAN snack bar instead of the candy bar - I'd find myself a lot more satisfied and full! 

250 calories, 24 g. sugar (WOW - 24 grams!)

Here's the stats behind the UCAN bar! 
  1.  Between 170-190 calories
  2.  10-15 g. SuperStarch
  3.  5-6 g. of sugar per bar
  4.  4-5 g. of fiber per bar
  5.  5-6 g. of protein per bar

Now for the science!  It's always been thought that in order to maintain proper performance during an endurance event, we need to have sugars and carbohydrates delivered rapidly.  That is why energy chews and gels have been so popular.  They deliver a quick boost of energy, but oftentimes the athlete bonks because they run out of energy, or they are required to continue eating these chews or gels for sustained energy.  With UCAN - all of this changes! 

Here's the problem.  With the sugary carbs, like in the Twix bar, you will absolutely get a quick boost of energy.  But, you'll quickly crash.  The Twix bar delivers too many calories and too much sugar too fast.  This, in turn, causes highs and lows in energy.  With the SuperStarch that UCAN delivers, there is no need to constantly refuel, and no nasty sugar crash after.  This bar simply delivers all the stable energy you need to take one your day!  While eating a Twix can be fun, I think next time I'll reach for my UCAN bar for my afternoon slump.

I have used these bars in a variety of different ways.  Typically, I have eaten them within 30 minutes of my workout completion.  They did a great job at curbing my hunger and getting me to my morning snack.  I have also stashed them in my purse when I'm on-the-go.  They are easily accessible and help curb my afternoon jitters.  

Recently, I cut them into bite-sized pieces and tried them during my run! 

To be honest, this was difficult.  I should have cut them up even smaller.  The size and texture while I was running was not easy to swallow.  I had to drink a lot of water and it slowed me down and was cumbersome.  I think I'll stick to using these bars as an energy pick-me-up. 

  • 5 different flavors
  • Low sugar
  • All-natural
  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegan Varieties

  • Texture for me was unappealing
  • Flavors were ok - but this is absolutely unique per person
  • Expensive at $2.75/bar (multi-packs are less expensive)
  • Difficult to eat for runners during long runs

Unfortunately, I had a very difficult time with the flavor and texture of these bars.  But, they do smell absolutely fantastic!  The peach literally smelled like a fresh peach, although this was my least favorite flavor.   You can see from the photo below just what these bars look like.   Pretty package, but not appealing to the eye while eating it.

The coffee bean bar was my least favorite.  Unfortuatnely, I am not a coffee drinker, and I think that that this bar actually had grounds in it!  The flavor was too much for me so I just couldn't finish. 

My favorite and easiest to digest bar was the cinnamon swirl.  I found this bar flavor to be appealing and it had a hint of sweetness as well. I was lucky to have a few of this flavor so I found myself reaching for this flavor over the rest.   The chocolate came in close second,  but it is very rich. I ate that one in phases over about 10-15 minutes.

In my opinion, food reviews are difficult because everyone's taste buds are all across the board.  I found that even between my fellow pros we all had differing opinions of what bar was our favorite.

What this bar did confirm for me was that the SuperStarch really did work.  I found that I did have a sustained energy and I didn't feel a crash.   I also appreciate the all-natural ingredients and the low sugar content. 

Will I be a life-long lover of these bars?  The jury is still out.  But, if you'd like to give them a shot and find out what this SuperStarch is all about use code "BIBRAVE" to save 15% off your order!  Here's a fun fact:  Meb loves UCAN!

REMEMBER:  Don't forget to check out the Bibrave Twitter chat - #bibchat on Tuesday, October 11th at 8PM, CST.  Just by participating in the chat you could win some bars to try for yourself!  I'd be interested to hear which flavor is your favorite!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Wanna Be Fast and Super-FLY? Choose Ampla Fly!

Disclaimer:  I received a pair of Ampla Fly Women's running shoes from Amplasport 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. 

Runners are known to be a bit obsessive-compulsive.  We are known to be a bit crazy.  We run long distances.  We get up at insane early-morning hours just to get those miles in before work.  We train to be faster.  We train to be smarter.  We train to be a better version of ourselves.  

As runners, we are also a bit particular about our running gear.   We have to have all of our ducks in a row before races.  We lay out our "flat-annies" the night before and put our mental checklist to work.  We have our must-haves! What do YOU have to have for a great race or run?

Now let's talk about a MUST-HAVE for all runners!  SHOES!  Let's face it.  Your shoes can make or break your run or race.  Are they too stiff?  Are they too tight?  Are they too loose?  Do they fit you like a glove?  Do they give you blisters?   

I have been in the same running shoe for 5 years!  I have always been curious to try other running shoe brands, but have never been brave enough to move away from my tried-and-trues.  Until now! 

I was given the opportunity through BibRave and Ampla to try out these innovative shoes!  I was very excited and immediately took them out for a spin.  They now have become part of my daily running routine! 

What makes the amply flys extremely unique is the carbon fiber plate.   This plate allows the force of your foot strike to propel you through and forward to your next step.  They were developed to be like the carbon fiber blades amputee sprinters wear.  Although these shoes will likely help you run faster;  their true purpose is to help you with your running form.  Look to the video below to see just what I'm talking about! 

I have worn these shoes for about one month, and in that time I have gotten a great feel of them.  When I first put them on, my first expression was "Wow, these feel different!"  They are bouncy and incredibly light! They are also padded in all the right places.  I would characterize these shoes as a neutral cushion shoe.  They also fit me like a glove.  I ordered true to size with a 1/2 size factored in for my foot swell during running.  Checklist Number One: Complete! 

When walking, these shoes roll forward;  initially you have to pay attention to your foot strike.  This is due to the unique property of the carbon fiber plate on the bottom.  At first, I thought maybe this "roll" would be a problem for me while I was running.  It absolutely was not!   I noticed my step was lighter and the force plate did not cause me to fall forward; which was my initial concern.

One obstacle I did face was heel slippage.  However,  I noticed the slip more with walking than running.  I also quickly discovered a lacing technique that locks the heel in place.   When I changed my laces to the "heel-lock," the slippage nearly disappeared!  On the photo below - you can see how I laced my shoes.  The right shoe (left in the picture) is most obviously laced more snug at my ankle.

My longest run in these shoes has been 10 miles and I completed that with ease.  Please note:  these shoes are really designed for shorter, more static runs like sprints.  However, even though they were designed for speedwork, they definately can accommodate the longer runs as well.  I really have been enjoying them as an alternative to my everyday training shoe.  For a regular runner, these shoes make a fantastic 2nd pair.  I'd leave all the short runs to Ampla and the longer distances to your other favorite.

Due to the design of these shoes and the action of propulsion, they should only be worn on the road or the track.  I found out the hard way on gravel.  These shoes do not allow for much movement side to side, so the uneven gravel roads in my town make it tricky.  I stay to the track or the road with these!

Here are the PROS:
  • Ultra light-weight
  • Promotes good funning form
  • Allows maximum propulsion forward
  • Great training shoe for speedwork
  • Reasonably priced; direct to consumer brand so no third-party mark-up
  • Great design
  • Love the retro-design, feel
  • Comfortable
  • Small company 
  • TOP-NOTCH customer service and personal one-on-one email communications
Here are the CONS
  • Not versatile on different terrain
  • Heel-slippage; this could be a nuisance for some
  • Some abnormal wear on sole - fairly quickly; customer service addressed this need immediately and it was found that it did not effect performance
If you're looking to expand your horizons and try a different and innovative training shoe - look no further!  These have been a fun addition to my routine and I will continue to wear them on my runs!  

If you want more information join me and my fellow BibRave Pros on Twitter for #bibchat, on Tuesday, Sept. 20th.  8PM CST.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Be A Part Of The Cure!

Disclaimer:  I received a pair of PINK TREKZ TITANIUM bone conduction headphones from Aftershokz 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 had the privilege of having TWO pair of these amazing wireless headphones.  How can a girl get so lucky?  They honestly are my all-time favorite headphones.   Please follow the link here for my last review of the TREKZ TITANIUM bone conduction headphones.  Rather than commenting on all of their amazing features, this blog post will focus on just how amazing the company Aftershokz is! 

The Aware With Pink campaign is now LIVE.  Read on for more details.

For these super-fly PINK headphones,  Aftershokz has partnered with Bright Pink®Bright Pink® is a non-profit on a mission to promote awareness for breast and ovarian cancer.   Most importantly, they want to give women the life-saving tools for detection!  Their mission is to focus on educating and empowering women to take control before they become a breast or ovarian cancer statistic.  

Many of us, if not ALL of us, have known someone that has been affected in some way by cancer.  In addition, most of us look for any way we can support the fight.  As a runner,  I'm always looking for great gear to make my runs more fun.  If you are looking for a pair of fantastic wireless headphones, look no further!  

Aftershokz had a great statement recently about one of the reasons they partnered with Bright Pink®.  Because their mission is to make women more aware, Aftershokz thought their headphones would be a great partner for the SAME reason - to be more aware on your run.  How cool is that!  Due to the bone conduction technology, runners can hear surroundings and still enjoy their music, or podcast; in turn making them more aware. 

Last week, the BibRavePros banded together in a social media storm to promote how YOU can help!  

From Sept. 1st - October 31st,  25% of all sales of the PINK Trekz Titanium will go directly to the non-profit Bright Pink®.  In addition, to score a super cool FREE hardcase with your purchase, add the case to your cart and use code "PINK" at checkout.  Congratulations your case is FREE!  You can't beat that!

I'll even make it super easy for you!  Place your order here –  

It's possible you already own an awesome pair of these headphones.  Don't despair, you can still help! If you're active on social media use the hashtag #AwareWithPink on all of your social platforms.  Every time that hashtag is used 25 cents is donated to the cause!

Or, click to tweet!