REVIEW: Amazing Grass Protein Superfood & Giveaway

I received a container of Amazing Grass Protein Superfood through my association with FitApproach.  All opinions are my own.

I’ve been talking about my search for a good and tasty protein powder for a while now.  I tried Vitamin Pit Stop’s USANA Nutrimeal earlier this year and it was ok, but left a thick aftertaste.

So when my friends at FitApproach gave me the chance to try Amazing Grass Protein Superfood, I was intrigued.  I’ve tried some other Amazing Grass products and enjoyed them so I thought this might be a great fit.

Amazing Grass, Protein Superfood, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chia, FitApproach, SweatPink

 

So what’s different about Amazing Grass Protein Superfood?  First off it’s called Super Food!

From the website: It is an all in one nutritional shake including:
20 grams of Complete Plant Protein from organic hemp, organic chia, organic quinoa & organic pea proteins.
7 alkalizing greens including organic grasses, organic acai, goji, organic pineapple, organic sweet potato & more.
2 servings of fruits & vegetables

That’s a lot of stuff in one scoop.  And to top it off Amazing Grass Protein Superfood is certified USDA Organic, Vegan, Kosher, GMO & Gluten Free with no added sugar.

Protein Superfood promotes lean muscle, satisfies hunger & aids digestion.

Amazing Grass, Protein Superfood, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chia, FitApproach, SweatPink, Pure Vanilla, The Original

Protein Superfood comes in 3 flavors, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Pure Vanilla & The Original.  I picked Chocolate Peanut Butter because I wanted to try something different.

I will say if I would like to try the Pure Vanilla & The Original because I think would be able to be used in a lot more flavor combinations.

Amazing Grass, Protein Superfood, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chia, FitApproach, SweatPink

As with the other protein powder I tried, the first thing I did was mix one scoop with 12 oz of water (as shown on the container) add a little ice in the blender and try it out.  I’ll admit it was a little light on flavor probably because I added in too much ice, but the flavor was yummy.  The kitties all wanted to try it too, but Protein Superfood is only for people, not little kitties ;).

Amazing Grass, Protein Superfood, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chia, FitApproach, SweatPink

Next I tested it by mixing it with some steel cut oats and created a peanut butter apple oatmeal as part of my breakfast and it was super yum.

Amazing Grass, Protein Superfood, Chocolate Peanut Butter, FitApproach, SweatPink, Suja, Smarty Pants, Vitamins, Coffee

And then I made a chocolate peanut butter smoothie, which I really enjoyed.

Amazing Grass, Protein Superfood, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chia, FitApproach, SweatPink

1/2 c Silk chocolate soymilk
1/2 c Silk soymilk
1 scoop Protein Superfood
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
Handful of ice cubes

You can find recipes for each type of Protein Superfood online including Maple Blueberry featuring Pure Vanilla, Green Island Groove with The Original and Chocolate PB&J.

I’ve been really picky with choosing a protein powder for my smoothies and I really like that Amazing Grass is all organic and plant based as I don’t drink cows milk any longer and try to stay away from dairy as much as I can.

Amazing Grass, Protein Superfood, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chia, FitApproach, SweatPink

Amazing Grass Protein Superfood retails for $34.99 online for a 10 serving container or $39.99 for 10 single serve packets.  You can save 30% one time by using code SWEATPINKJenNak16 if you aren’t lucky enough to win the below giveaway.

 

You can win one container of Amazing Grass Protein Superfood in your choice of flavor by entering the Rafflecopter below.  Giveaway ends May 4 at midnight.  US Residents only.  Product will be sent by Amazing Grass.

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Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate + A Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a case of Core Hydration pH Balanced water for this post from Core & FitApproach.

I’ve been talking a lot about my hydration status lately and I admit during the winter, my hydration falls off because it’s cooler out.

But with all the running I do and having found that my stomach issues are may be correlated to how hydrated I am, I really need to make it more of a priority and be more #TrueToMyCore.

Core Hydration, FitApproach

So what am I doing to make sure I’m staying more hydrated and drinking more water?

1) Drinking at least 8 ounces as soon as I get up

2) Infusing water with fruit, I’m all about citrus flavored water

3) Trying to keep water on my desk all day

4) Taking a bottle of water with me on my runs

Core Hydration, FitApproach

5) Find a water that you like, not all waters are created equal, in fact, in LA, is the US’s only water sommelier and he’s teaching people about how different water brands can be.  I was super excited when I heard about this because I’ve always thought that different brands and in different cities the water tasted different.  I wasn’t as crazy as people might have thought, lol.

As for me I’m loving the taste of Core Hydration pH balanced water, right now.

From the Core website: CORE® Hydration water is ultra-purified using a seven stage proprietary process including U.V., carbon filtration, reverse osmosis and ozonation that removes harmful impurities and contaminants. It’s then balanced with the perfect blend of electrolytes and minerals that complement the levels that naturally occur in the human body. The result – a clean and crisp tasting water with the “Perfect pH” of 7.4*

Since the weather has gotten nicer, I’ve been been drinking a lot more water and I’m noticing that I’m feeling a lot better overall and especially while running.

Core has a great tasting water that is in a 100% recyclable BPA free bottle that fits well in your hand for a short run/walk/hike and the smaller size has a nice cap on it.  I did notice that the bigger bottles (which I got when we were in Utah) had a twist top vs the cap which I liked better.

Core Hydration, FitApproach

Now for the good stuff! Want to win some water coupons for yourself?  In San Diego, I’ve seen Core Hydration at Arco, 7-11 & Windmill Farms, but it looks like it’s sold all over the place.  You can find the closest location to you by going to their store locator here. There are over 2,000 places to by Core Hydration in Southern California alone!

Contest open to US Residents only with a valid mailing address, prize will be delivered by Core Hydration.

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REVIEW: XX2i Bermuda1 Sunglasses

Disclaimer: I received a pair of XX2i Bermuda1 Sunglasses to review 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!

I was really excited to get to try the new XX2i Bermuda1 sunglasses and as a BibRavePro I was able to try them before anyone else.  If you too are interesting in trying new products and running races, we are still looking for new Pros, you can apply here.

XX2i, Bermuda1, san diego, bibrave

I really like my XX2i USA1 glasses that I reviewed earlier this year as you probably can tell since I’m wearing them in 90% of my running photos lol.

The Bermuda1 are more casual sunglasses.  The pair I got is a matte tortoise color with Polar brown AR Lenses.  They come in a nice case with a soft pouch.

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First impressions, well they aren’t like the USA1 because they don’t have flexible arms or nose piece.  In fact the first time I put them on I got an instant headache because they were way too tight on my head & nose.

I immediately sent a message to XX2i on Twitter and asked them about it and they told me that I could pull the arms out about 30 – 40 degrees to loosen them up a bit.  I did that and they were still a snug but fit a lot better.

I have to say though that the lenses are amazing! The brown lens gives everything a yellowish glow and I didn’t feel like I was squinting at all with them on, like I do with some sunglasses.

These glasses aren’t really meant for running, but because that’s pretty much all I do, I did go for a few runs in them and they were pretty comfortable on while running.

Zion, National Park, XX2i, BibRave, Altra Running, Orange Mud, Lululemon

I’ll admit, I still reach for my USA1’s more than the Bermuda1’s but I love the brown colored lenses, I have a bunch of sunglasses and these are the best lenses I’ve worn.

Zion, National Park, XX2i, BibRave, Altra Running, Orange Mud, Lululemon

If you are looking for a pair of more casual sunglasses, come to #BibChat on Tuesday, Apr 26 for a chance to win a pair for yourself.

Or go to www.xx2i.com to check out their other glasses and use the code XX2iROCKS to save 50%.

Race Recap: Leona Divide 50k

Last year, I ran the Leona Divide 50k with Sean as my first 50k.  I had a few mishaps and DNFs at my next 2 50ks before finally finishing & PRing at Old West with Jenn & Vanessa.

At some point during the last few months, Sean & I decided that we couldn’t let the streak end and we needed to go back to Leona.  But this time, Sean was going to run the 50 mile and I would run the 50k by myself.

After drinking $30 worth of juice & water the day before Old West and not having any issues, I figured I would try it again.  I drank 3 Evolution Fresh juices, a bottle of GT’s Chia Kumbucha, a bottle of Blue Print Cashew Milk (my favorite) and a bunch of water, oh and a Sprinkles cupcake.

hydrate, core hydration, evolution fresh, blue print, chia kombucha, sprinkles cupcakes

We drove up to Palmdale on Friday evening, eating on the way up so that we didn’t have to rush when we got to up to Palmdale.  We wanted to get our gear out and then get some sleep.  The race is about 30 minutes from Palmdale and starts at 6:00am.

Orange mud, altra running, lululemon, running 4 those who can't, garmin, tailwind, ultima, procompression

We got a decent night’s sleep and then we were up at 4am getting ready and out the door by 4:40ish.  I ate a container of Apple Walnut Oatmeal on the way there and drank a bit of water.

Once we got to the race, we headed over to get our bibs.  The line for the 50 mile was super long, but there was no one waiting for the 50k so I was in and out super quick.  We got a cute little bag with the Leona logo on it and a Patagonia tank, some people got black & some got red.  I’m not sure what the difference was, but I got a red one and Sean got a black one.

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We headed back to the car to put our stuff in the car and stay warm for a little while longer, unfortunately we waited a bit to long and when we got over to the Port-a-Potties there was a huge line.  It was almost time for the race to start but we didn’t want to get out of line at that point.  We ran into our friend Adrian and of course got a photo.

Runner Friends

And then it was time to start.  At 6am it was just getting light so there was no need for a headlamp.  Sean & I started together but soon split up pretty soon after the start.

It was a little chilly as we started and there was a bit of wind.  I felt good on the run up to the trail and did a nice run/walk up the hill.  Once I got on the trail I followed this girl and guy for quite a while.  We got to the first aid station 2.6 miles up and then turned right onto the PCT.  I was still feeling good, it was a different experience than last year when I ran with Sean, because I was in a big pack of people.

We hiked & ran up the trail until we got to the top and then we were able to run down. It was unfortunate I was stuck in the pack because the peeps I was running behind were not really good at running downhill so instead of the 8/9 min pace I was hoping for, we were more in the 10:30/12 min pace, much slower than I would have liked.

Paksit Photo, Runner girl, Leona Divide, 50k, Running 4 those who can't, lululemon, xx2i

It was a beautiful 2 or so mile downhill, there were a bunch of photographers and it was just a beautiful day!

We finally made it down to the 2nd aid station at Bouquet Canyon, where I filled my bottle with water and ate a ton of watermelon.  I made the rookie mistake of not putting my tailwind/ultima combo in my bottle so by the time I reached mile 15 I was feeling sick from lack of calories.

Heading back up the hill, I walked a lot of it and surprisingly after having been in such a huge pack on the way down, I didn’t see anyone behind me on the way up for at least a mile or 2.  At that point, 2 girls, one of which was Adrian’s girlfriend, totally powered up that hill like it was a bump in the road.  I seriously felt like I was standing still compared to them lol.

Paksit Photo, Runner girl, Leona Divide, 50k, Running 4 those who can't, lululemon, xx2i, altra running

I finally made it up to the top and was able to start running down.  It was  around this point that I was starting to feel a little weak, probably from not adding my tailwind into my bottle.  It was such a nice run down, and so peaceful.

Paksit Photo, Runner girl, Leona Divide, 50k, Running 4 those who can't, lululemon, xx2i

I made it up to the aid station again and filled up on more watermelon & some cutie oranges.  This time I did add the tailwind/ultima combo to my bottle and then in a very short time I headed out for the next aid station.

When I got about a mile into this section, at the Leona Divide sign, I ran into Heather, @sloluckyruns.  I gave her a hug and I was like how much longer to the aid station lol.  I wasn’t in the best of places at this point.

I was mostly walking & trying to run a little.  My tummy was not super happy, I ended up walking a lot of this section and cheering everyone on.

Finally this girl ran up on me, she was like I know you from Instagram and we introduced ourselves and then Amy, who was running her first 50k, passed me, but I was able to keep her in sight until we got down the hill.

I finally got to the downhill to San Fransquito Aid Station and man, did it feel like that was the longest downhill ever! I noticed that my heel was feeling like I had a blister forming by the time I got down to the aid station so when I got there I filled up my bottle, added tailwind & ultima, ate like 1/2 a watermelon and then sat down to clean out my shoes.  I thought maybe that was the issue with my heel.  I quickly got up and then headed up the hill.

Amy was with me as we headed up the hill and then next thing I knew she wasn’t there any more, oops.  I found out later she stopped to dump out a little of the water in her camelbak because it was too heavy.  I felt amazing as I powered up the hill, I was running on the downhills & a bit of the flats, and powering up the hills.

Howie Stern, Runner girl, Leona Divide, 50k, Running 4 those who can't, lululemon, xx2i
When I was hiking up the winner of the 50 miler passed me on the downhill and I remember saying, probably out loud that it meant he would finish before I did, and in fact that is what happened, I believe 4 50milers finished before I did.

Not long after that I saw Sean running towards me.  I was able to get a few photos of him and congratulated him for running so strong and then we were off in different directions.  This was probably around mile 25 for me.

I finally made it to the last aid station, Spunky Edison for the last time.  At this point, I had been checking my Garmin to see how much time I had to beat my previous time at Leona and my new PR at Old West and by this point, I knew I had about 40 minutes to hit my PR time.  I really quickly had my bottle filled with water & ice, ate a bunch of watermelon and then took off.  It was 2.6 miles to the finish with a big final hill to climb.

By this point it was hot and I just needed to finish, I was so thirsty and hot during this section, but I had a goal and I needed to hit it.

Up and down I went, I hit the road and the girl told me that it was a little over a mile to the finish, I just kept moving and let me tell you that was the longest mile ever! But I finally was by the parked cars and then there was the turn and I was done!  I had a 6 min PR off of Old West!

I run because I love it, it makes me happy and it’s brought so many amazing people into my life and most of the time I’m excited to have finished a race, but it’s not really life changing.  This race, though, was a big deal on my ultra journey. I was so proud of myself for not only PRing but I finally was able to run and finish a 50k by myself.

Finish/Medal Photo

As soon as I finished, I got my medal and Heather congratulated me.  She waited for probably hours for me to finish to cheer me in.  It was super sweet and so nice of her to do.

Runner Friends

The medals were super cool, our friend Eric at Elevation Culture made them out of wood.

I waited for Sean to come in and chatted with this nice lady from Bishop, where some of Sean’s family has a Japanese restaurant.  She and her daughter hiked the PCT a few years back and she was telling me about how they were doing the second section of the CDT this summer.  It was really interesting.

We cheered everyone in and I got a few photos with Amy & Tam.  They had subway sandwiches, chips, vegetarian chili & minestrone and some fruit for us after the race.  I was starving after I had a chance to sit down for a few minutes.

Amy & I

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And then Sean came in and had a course PR of 9:22:41!  He was so excited and talking a mile a minute lol.

I love this race and I think we’ll probably be running it for years to come.  If you are looking for a fun, well put on, challenging 30k, 50k or 50 mile race definitely check out Leona Divide!

Post Race Bliss

 

Running Photos from Paksit Photos & Howie Stern Photography

REVIEW: AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Headphones

Disclaimer: I received a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones to review  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!

My friends at BibRave gave me the opportunity to test out the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones the last 6 weeks.  Now with all the wireless headphone options out there, what makes the Trekz Titanium unique?

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

From their website:

  • Bone conduction technology delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to hear ambient sounds
  • Titanium wraparound headband is lightweight and flexible for durability and portability
  • OpenFit™ design ensures maximum situational awareness and comfort during long-term wear
  • PremiumPitch+™ guarantees a premium audio experience, including wide dynamic range and rich bass
  • Wireless Bluetooth® 4.1 connectivity and convenient multipoint pairing
  • LeakSlayer™ technology significantly reduces natural sound leakage
  • IP55 certified to repel sweat, dust and moisture, from workouts to wicked weather
  • Enjoy six hours of continuous music + calls on a single charge
  • EQ presets boost bass and reduce vibration on the go
  • Dual noise canceling microphones exclude surrounding noise, effectively enhancing speech
  • Audrey Says™ voice prompts guide users through power, pair, play and talk
  • Hassle-free 2-year warranty

So what does that all mean to me? The most important thing to me is that it means that you can wear wireless headphones without having to worry about not hearing cars, animals, other runners, etc. If you read my review on the Plantronics Back Beat Fit headphones from last year, that was my biggest complaint with them because I really want to be able to hear if a car is coming for safety reasons.

When you open the box, there is a nice case, the headphones and then a packet with the instructions, a USB charging cable, little rubber things and a set of ear plugs.

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

I immediately took them out of the box and put them on only to get a not so nice surprise when I put them on and the top of my ears hurt immediately.  The hard plastic was hitting that part of my ear and I was like uh oh. But I opened the instructions and saw that the 2 little rubber pieces were there to help keep the headphones off the ears.

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

Once I put the rubber pieces on then they felt a lot better on.  Basically the rubber pieces stick to your hair/hat etc. to keep the headphones up and off your ears.

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

So how is the sound quality since they aren’t in your ears?  It was surprisingly good.  The headphones sit on the bone in front of the ear.  They use bone conduction technology to deliver the music.

I wore them for the Hot Chocolate 15k back in March and I have to say that I was impressed at how good the sound quality was.  I will say though that if you are in an area with a lot of noise they don’t work well.

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

That being said, in keeping with my honesty policy, there are a few things that I don’t like about the Trekz Titanium.

1) I think that the headband is not very flexible, it’s not easy to fit into a pack for long runs/races.  I think these would be perfect with a more flexible headband for storage because really, I can’t fit the headphones in the case in my Orange Mud Pack and would I take the case with me on a run? No, and I don’t always want to wear them the whole time so a more flexible band would be nice.

2) I had a hard time with them fitting well when I was wearing a hat and sunglasses.  They fit perfectly with neither of those and with just a hat but with both, I couldn’t get them to hit my cheekbones.

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

All in all I think that these unique headphones are great and for those of us who want to be able to hear cars, people and anything around us but also listen to music with a wireless headphone the Trekz Titanium are amazing!

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

In addition to having awesome headphones that are safe, this spring AfterShokz is partnering with United Relay of America.

From the United Relay website:

United Relay of America is the first non-stop running relay setting off from Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles and meeting in New York City!

Three routes (Red, White & Blue) from the West to the East coast of America, over 9,000 runners and one aim: inspire, empower and connect people across America – to not just be part of running history, but to be united for a better world!

There are a lot of opportunities to be a part of the United Relay and if you are interested in running a leg, click here for more info.

LINK UP!I’m linking up with my friend Running with SD Mom for Try Out Thursdays.  Want to check out what others are trying out?  Head over to her page click here 🙂 and check out what others are trying out this Thursday!

Race Recap: Zion Trail Half Marathon

This past weekend, we headed to Utah to run our 2nd race of April.  Zion 100 for Sean & the half marathon for me.

I’ve been to Zion once before for the first trail Ragnar there back in 2014 and there was a freak snow storm so I was excited to see what it was like in normal weather.

Well, that was short lived as we got a little closer and we started getting emails from the race director telling us that the forecasts were calling for rain, which turns the trails to muddy clay.  He had a contingency plan for the rain but offered up a deferment option if we wanted.

Sean & I flew into Las Vegas and then drove to Zion, it’s about a 2.5hr drive.  We could have flown into St. George which is only 30/45 mins away but it was significantly more expensive.

We got to Zion on Thursday, headed to our hotel and then after double checking on when the drop bags were due and quickly getting them made, we headed to packet pick-up.  Thanks to Jenni & Jesse for the photo.

Zion Packet Pick-up

They didn’t have parking at the actual start/finish so we had to park about a mile away and take a shuttle to the start area.  They did have camping options nearby, but I’m not a big fan of camping (I’ve only ever done it at Ragnar).

There were actually quite a few tents with different vendors at the packet pick-up.  We went straight over to pick up our packets, and then one of my fellow Altra ambassadors, Cory Reese of Fast Cory came up and was like are you Jenny? So we chatted for a few minutes, got a selfie and then I got my bib too.

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I was really impressed with the swag they gave all the runners.  A lot of times when you run a shorter distance at race with a 100 miler, they get way better swag than the shorter distances.  In this case, we all got nice cottony gender specific T-Shirts (I know most people like tech shirts, but I love this type of cotton shirt and wear them all the time because they fit perfectly), a choice of hat (Trucker hat, Beanie or a head band) and a choice of pizza or tacos after the race.

We ran into a bunch of friends before we got a quick run in so Sean could get his streak run in before going for dinner and get our stuff ready because Sean’s race was starting at 6am and we needed to get there early enough for a parking spot and to take the shuttle.

I’m going to skip over most of the crewing for the 100 miler for right now except to say that I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep.

When I finally made my way over to the parking area for the start around 5:30ish it was pouring and the parking lot was a muddy mess. I took the first spot I saw, set my alarm, pulled my Orange Mud Transition towel over my head & went to sleep after checking to make sure the race was going to start on time.

Sure enough not long after I fell asleep I got a text saying that the race was delayed an hour so I set my alarm for a little later & went back to sleep. Eventually my alarm went off & I got another message saying we were delayed another hour so I was able to get a bit more sleep. All this time it was a cycle of torrential downpour & then nothing. All I could think about when I got up was that poor Sean had been out there for a while in this crappy weather.

Finally I got myself up, changed into my race gear, finishing up just in time to catch the shuttle to the start. It was probably around 8:20 when I headed over and our 7am start time was pushed back to 9am.

Zion, Half Marathon, Altra, Procompression, Running 4 Those Who Can't, Orange Mud, Aftershokz, jolly rancher, Oiselle, ultima, garmin, momentum jewelry, dirty girl gaiters

I was watching to see if Sean was coming so I could cheer him in as well as maybe borrow his poles 😉 lol.  He didn’t finish in time so when they announced we were ready to go, off I went.

The original course for this race was for us to run up Flying Monkey (approx 1,500ft climb), do a loop at the top and then come back down (This was the first loop in the 100m/100k course).  Because of the rain they changed the course for the safety of the runners and so not to destroy the trails any further.  That meant we would run approx. 4 miles through the desert (the last 3ish miles of the 100m course) and then climb up Smith Mesa Rd which was paved and then come back.  The course changed didn’t make it easier but it did make it safer.

Sean told me afterwards that Flying Monkey would have been a disaster with all the mud and it was on the edge.

I had decided as soon as I started the race that I was going to run conservatively because we have 2 more races this month including a 50k and I didn’t want to get hurt running in the mud. And I absolutely hate mud!  You aren’t going to find me running a mud run intentionally, the only reason I did this one was #1 I traveled to Utah & paid for the race & #2 if Sean could run for hours in this crap, I could do 13 miles.

So I just chugged along for the first 4 miles, run/walking.  I ran into Sean around 2 miles in and he was slowly making his way to the finish, where he would wait for me.  The trail wasn’t too bad here when I went through the first time at least ;).

At mile 4 we got to a steep 2.5 mile uphill, which I proceeded to hike up. The views really were amazing and as we started up the hill the sun started to come out and it was sooo pretty.  I didn’t take any photos because I was in the zone trying to get up the hill.

I finally made it to the top just in time for it to start raining again lol, I filled up my water bottle, added more tailwind & ultima, grabbed a few orange slices, my favorite trail run staple and hit up the makeshift bathroom before heading back down.

The downhill was a lot steeper than I was expecting but I managed to maintain a 10 min mile pace or a little faster all the way down.  By this point my left shin was starting to hurt a little.  I’m not sure if it was all the mud or that my compression socks were soaked and that was the issue.  Nonetheless I continued running down.

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Once I got back to the mud, I attempted to run the downhills but they were super slippery.  After tweaking my back one too many times I tried walked a lot during this section, kind of a reverse run/walk with more running than walking.  I could see two people a head of me and I just kept trying to catch up, they were both walking more than running as well.

At mile 11 one of the lead 50k guys flew past me with no care at all for the mud and I’m pretty sure I just laughed out loud and kinda wished I could run like that.

Finally, I made it back to the road to the campgrounds and I ran it in.  It was nice to have people cheering and when I made the final turn, Sean was dead center cheering me on and getting this awesome finish photo.  I thought it was really awesome since I was wearing my Altra shirt and the inflatable finish line was theirs too.  I definitely had a #runmatchy™ photo ;).

Zion, Half Marathon, Finish Line, Altra, Procompression, Running 4 Those Who Can't, Orange Mud

Considering the conditions, the fact that my shoes weighed 10 pounds each, and lack of sleep, I’m happy with my time and just finishing in general.  It was by far my slowest half but I’m totally ok with that :).

Muddy Shoes

After the race, I got to pick out my “medal”.  The Ultra Adventures team doesn’t do traditional medals (except for the buckle for the 100m) and instead for the half marathoners we got to select a bracelet for our finisher award.  There were a bunch of colors to choose from, but I selected a blue/purple colored bead.

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We then headed over so I could get some water and my pizza. They had a company out there making pizza’s to order and they had their own little brick oven on top of a truck, it was super cute.

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I wish the weather could have cooperated like it did on Sunday when we visited Zion National Park, but that’s the way it goes, Mother Nature doesn’t care that we are running a race lol.

Zion, National Park, Runner, Orange Mud, Running 4 those who can't, altra running

Race Recap: Carlsbad 5000

This past weekend Sean & I kicked off our four races in April with the Carlsbad 5000.  This was my first time running this race and Sean’s second.

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The nice thing about this race is that since it’s a shorter distance you can pick up your packet the day of the race vs. having to pick it up at the expo the day before.  This was a huge plus for us because Sean was doing trail work the day before and we live about 40 minutes from the race.

We registered when the price was really low, I think we paid something like $15/20 each which was a great deal since I believe it jumps up to $50 as you get closer.

The fun thing about this race is that it is called the World’s Fastest 5k because they do the elite races after all the other age group races and a bunch of world records have been set here.  In fact both the current 5k road records for men & women were set here at the Carlsbad 5000.  Sammy Kipketer holds the men’s record set in 2000 with a time of 12:59:50 and Messeret Defar (who also won this year’s race) holds the women’s record set in 2006 of 14:46.

They also have a thing called the All Day 20k (it used to be 25k when Sean ran it in 2012) where you can run all 4 5k races and get a special medal.

We decided to just do our age group 5k since we had a lot of other races coming up.  The waves are split up into 4 age groups, Masters Men 40+, Masters Women 40+, Men & Women 30 – 39 and Men, Women 20 – 29 and Walkers in the last group, followed by the wheelchair athletes and then the Elites.

So that meant that our wave didn’t start until about 8:40am.  We got there around 7am, picked up our packets, which was set up a bit strangely.  You pick up your bib over by the start line and then you have to go down 2-3 blocks to the Expo area to get your shirt and bag.

I didn’t see any signage except a hand written note saying that bib pickup was on Harding St so that was a little confusing.  They probably should have had a bit more directional signage.

Parking:  Parking for this race can be a challenge because it’s pretty much all on residential streets.  We found parking a few blocks away in a school parking lot so that worked out nice.

Expo: It was a decent size considering that this was a 5k race.  There were a lot of vendors including ProCompression, Nuun, Sweaty Bands to name a few of the more recognizable vendors.

Race Shirt: We got a nice tech shirt, I always get a medium with the Rock n’ Roll shirts because they run a little small and they always do a crew neck which ends up being really tight around my neck.  This years is brown, which is an interesting color choice, but with it went with the Endless Summer theme graphic.

Course: This was a pretty course, during the middle part of the race we ran right by the ocean.  And then towards the finish you go under the Carlsbad sign and then down to the finish.

My race: I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, 5ks aren’t really my favorite because you are supposed to go fast the whole way.  I just decided to run and started out a little ways back where I ended up weaving in and out of people for the majority of the first mile.  They don’t have a corral system for this race, it’s all based on the honor system.

I started out feeling really good, I was breathing normally and while the legs felt a little tired, they weren’t sore or anything from the trail run/hike the day before.  I looked down at my watch at one point and I was running at a 8:12 pace, which is a lot faster than I have been going.

During the middle/end of mile 1, Sarah, a fellow BibRave Pro @SweetBlondesFitLife ran up to say Hi!  We took a quick runfie and then I continued on.

IMG_6027

It was a bit warm in this section of the race, but it was short lived because as soon as we made the turn to be on the ocean side it got really windy.  I just kept chugging along feeling pretty decent.  And then we hit mile 2 and I started to feel the lack of speed work.  I was still passing a few people, hearing Carlee McDot yell my name when she saw me, she and her husband were just a few seconds behind me, but I was starting to feel a little sick.  I got a cramp in my side and my breathing was starting to get off.  I slowed down significantly during the 3rd mile and fought to hang on to the finish without getting sick.

I did however manage to finish in a decent time of 26:52 which is 6 seconds off of my current PR in this distance.  I thought my PR was 26:12 or I probably would have run just a little faster at the end to break that.  Lesson learned that you should probably look at the actual PR prior to the race so you know what it actually is! Lol

But I’m extremely happy with an 8:39 avg pace – I haven’t run that fast in quite a while so while I didn’t hit a new PR, I know with a little more speed work I definitely could.

I’m super proud of Sean, he totally killed it on his race running a 6:45 average pace to finish in 20:59!!  I saw him way up ahead of me on both the out & backs.

Medal: Rock n’ Roll had a special medal for those runners that finished in the top 250 in each race.  I really thought that it was the top 250 overall runners and so I told Sean that he should push it so he could get one since I knew I wouldn’t be in the first 250 total runners.  But apparently it was top 250 men & women in each age group because when I finished, they were saying men to the left, women to the right and I got one of the special First 250 medals.  So we both got one!  I finished as the 209th female in my wave.

Carlsbad 5000, Rock n' Roll, First 250, Race Medal

The First 250 medals have world record holder Sammy Kipketer on the front and then a little info about him on the back of the medal.  The medals that the runners after the first 250 got were life savers with a bottle opener in the middle.

Post Race Snacks: Rock n’ Roll had a lot of good snacks for after the race.  We got bottles of water & Gatorade.  On the food side we got Kind Bars, Dole Fruit Cups, Oranges and Corn Thins (kind of like a corn rice cake).

Carlsbad 5000, Rock n' Roll, Race food

The only downside to this race is all the time between events. The Elites didn’t run until 11:15am so we had a while from the time we finished to the time they ran so we took our snacks back to the car, got some Starbucks, took some photos, met some friends and then it was time to watch the elite women run.

The elites run a different course from the rest of us.  It is a 2 loop course that finished at the same place we did. We got to see them pass us 4 times before heading to the finish.  We watched the women do both loops before heading to the finish line.

Elite Women, Carlsbad 5000, Rock n'Roll, 2016

World Record holder Defar won easily and had the best fans.  They were so excited!  When we saw her after the race her smile was electric.

We met up with Sarah and headed back to the start line to watch the men.  An interesting thing about this race is that it goes over some railroad tracks so each race is run between the trains.  Which means some odd starting times.

The men got started and we ran down to get a spot by the finish before the men got there.  They were flying although they were significantly off world record pace with the winner at 13:24.  However, the US’s own Bernard Lagat broke his own Master’s World Record by 2 seconds with a 4th place finish in 13:38.

IMG_6256Overall winner Cheptege & Master’s World Record holder Lagat

All in all this was a pretty fun race and I’m glad we had the opportunity to run it.  I’m especially happy that we got to meet so many instafriends like Melissa who crushed it coming in just behind Sean, Kristina, who I’ve been seeing at all the races (we chased her down for most of the Old West 50k), Paul, who ran all the races that weekend.  I ran into 2 fellow Bib Rave Pros, Sarah who I already mentioned and Haley, who despite an ankle injury crushed her race!

IMG_6260

And I can’t forget my fellow ProCompression ambassadors, Smitha, Carlee, Jenn & Linzie.  Carlee & Linzie both ran Ragnar Socal right before this race!!

Procompression, ambassadors, Carlsbad 5000, Rock n' Roll

PR Racer – The Convertible HDL Kickstarter & Giveway

When my friends at Fitapproach told me about the new Convertible HDL from PR Racer, I was super excited and as an runner who runs a lot in the dark (especially in the winter) I knew that this was a product I want for myself.

PR Racer, The Convertible HDL, Action Shot, Fitapproach

So what is the Convertible HDL? From PR Racer: The Convertible HDL is an innovative skull cap and headband combo that helps you run smarter. In warmer weather, it can be worn top down with the cap neatly tucked away as a sweat wicking headband – and when the weather gets cooler, you can simply pull it up and over for extra warmth.

But that’s not all…It also is a powerful headlamp and voice activated camera!  See below for all the Technical features.

PR Racer, The Convertible HDL, Tech Features, Fitapproach

(Italics from the kickstarter website, bold my comments)

Convertible: This is the lightweight, moisture wicking, fashionable headband that converts to a skull cap. Perfect for any climate, it is the Convertible that is the base of our new technology.

HD: The camera allows you to capture your run in FHD (1920×1280) or HD (1280×720) format with still photo capability. In addition to video, you can take photos using single shot, burst mode, or time-lapse mode. In addition, the camera carries a GPS, altimeter, and accelerometer to capture all the vital statistics from your run. So basically it’s a watch & a camera all in one? Amazing!

L: The headlamp shines at more than 400 lumens, ensuring your path is clearly lit, during even the darkest runs. This high-powered light also makes it possible to catch clean video during dawn, dusk and nighttime runs – something no wearable camera offers.   The headlamp features 4 pre-sets so you can change the lumen level based on where you are running, which is pretty cool & would help save on batteries.

PR Racer, The Convertible HDL, Action Shot, Fitapproach

That’s a lot of stuff packed into one small device!  And they also have an app.  I, for one, am looking forward to trying out the camera in the dark because I can never get good photos.

Normally I wear a trucker hat while running but it’s not easy to use a headlamp with the hat, you have to turn the hat around and then I have to lower my ponytail, etc. which makes it a hassle.  If I don’t wear a hat, the headlamp can be a little uncomfortable on my forehead.

Trucker Hat, Headlamp Combo

The Convertible HDL is a great solution for these problems and I personally haven’t seen anything like this out there.

Now how can you get one?  Well PR Racer launched their Kickstarter campaign today and you too can get in on the ground floor and get your very own Convertible HDL when it comes out in early fall 2016 (target date subject to change).  Which is perfect timing for those dark winter runs!

PR Racer, The Convertible HDL, Action Shot, Fitapproach

There are a lot of different levels to choose from on PR Racer Kickstarter page including a limited offer where the first 50 people can get 50% off the retail price starting at $149.,The next 50 people can get the Early Bird price of $179 or anyone can get the discounted price of $199 ($100 off retail price for the entire kickstarter campaign).

As a Thank You for checking out my post & the Kickstarter today, I’m also giving away some cool stuff from PR Racer.

PR Racer Giveaway

Winner would need to provide the state they would like on the RUN t-shirt (if chosen), state they would like on the RUN hat, and finish times for the race decals

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest open to US Residents only with a valid mailing address (not a PO Box), prize will be delivered by PR Racer .

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think about this cool new product.

 

**This post is sponsored by Fitapproach & PR Racer however as always all opinions are my own**