Watermelon? Yes, please!

Disclaimer: I received Watermelon Gatorade Endurance and Mango Energy Gels 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!

Fueling and I have a bit of a rocky relationship.  I have a tendency to run with just water.  Want to know a little secret?  I ran Big Sur on zero fuel.  I realized a few days before that the pack of gummies I shove in my pack every race day but never touch was actually expired.  Oops!  I don’t eat breakfast before races either.   Part of it is because I am always concerned about my stomach acting up and part of it is that it has never seemed to hinder me.

Yet, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t missing something.  So, occasionally I try to step outside my tiny box and try new things.

Enter Gatorade Endurance Formula and Endurance Energy Gels.

Ok, though- in truth- on the rare occasion that I ran with pumped up hydration- it was good ol’ Gatorade- the orange flavor is my jam.  Mix a bottle with some water and that would be my “last minute” race prep.   The Endurance version was new to me though and the flavor even newer.  Just in time for the heat of summer, Gatorade is introducing a tasty Watermelon flavor to the Endurance line.

And tasty it is.  I was actually super concerned about the taste, I Love watermelon but hate watermelon “flavored” things.  No worries here!  I love the taste!  It does not taste like it is watermelon flavored, it just tastes like watermelon!  I was hard pressed not to drink it all at once.  Also, I generally run with luke warm water so I was curious what it would taste like when ice cold.  The answer?  Even better.  I had a migraine while at work recently  and I was trying to hydrate well.  I had the Gatorade Endurance Formula with me at work so I figured why not?   Ice cold Watermelon Gatorade Endurance was kind of amazing.

So what makes Gatorade Endurance different?

Gatorade
Along with no artificial sweeteners or flavors

I love the taste and it makes me actually want to drink more while running.  Which is great as summer has made its presence known and it’s over 95* most days in home town.   That’s half my struggle right there- making myself drink the hydration when I know I should.

How about the Gels? 

gel desc

I am not a huge fan of gels.  I normally can’t choke them down even with water which is why they have never been my fuel of choice.  That is so not the case here!   In fact on first taste, I wondered if I even managed to taste any it was so subtle and smooth.  In fact I had, it was just so easy and the new Mango flavor was tasty, I just couldn’t believe it.  I didn’t even need to drink water after it.  Who knew??

As for energy- I haven’t run a real long run since San Diego.  So I used the gels more as a pre-run boost.  Which considering how tired I’ve been lately was probably a good idea.    At first I didn’t think it was making any difference, then I noticed I was holding a 10 minute flat pace on 100* runs on my running portions without trying.  These days, that’s fast for me but we’ll leave that for another post.  Hey now, maybe there’s something to this fuel thing?  I am looking forward to trying it on my long runs.

Ok, so some potential downsides-

  • If you mix the Endurance Formula powder with super cold water it tends to clump. I’ve noticed this with most drink mixes though, it’s probably why I drink mostly barely cold or room temp water.
  • I wish the scoop was a little smaller for smaller mouthed bottles.  I made a little bit of a mess when I forgot my soft flasks and had to use a plastic water bottle one day.
  • Right now they are both only available to buy online or at a few specialty retailers.  Ok- this actually isn’t a drawback for me- I live in tiny town, USA, so would be ordering online anyways but this could be a factor for someone else.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I like the new Watermelon flavor from the Gatorade Endurance line and I am going to continue to work on my fueling with the Mango Energy Gels- I have big race goals this fall.

How do you hydrate?

Want to hear more thoughts on the new Gatorade Endurance Formula?

Lindsey Karen Lissa –  Katy –  Jessica –  Kevin –  Amy –  Jenn Vanessa –  Ang

Levitate My Way

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Brooks Levitate 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!

Shoes!!! I love shoes!

Even when they don’t love me.  If you’ve been around the blog for a while then you might know that I’ve been having shoe issues for a few years now.  My favorite shoe ever went through a massive overhaul back in late 2016/ early 2017 and I hated the changes.  Ever since then I’ve bounced around from shoe to shoe and varying brand.   Somebody help!

Brooks introduced the Levitate into it’s lineup in late 2017.  It looked pretty and I was hearing good things but I was hesitant because it looked like more shoe than I was used to.   Yet, I kept hearing good things.  Then I started training for Big Sur and I was a mess when it came to my shoes.  Where were these??? I really shouldn’t have been afraid to try them.

So when I had the chance to try them post Big Sur, I said Yes, Please! Then I waited impatiently for them to arrive.    Once they did, I did a little happy jig and every mile run since has been in the Levitate’s.

Ok let’s get the technical stuff down-

  • Energized Cushioning-With the most energy return of leading performance running shoes, Levitate’s DNA AMP midsole technology gives energy nowhere to go but up, straight back to you.
  • Quick Transitions- A flexible, arrow-point pattern on the outsole helps you move from heel to toe quickly, without losing energy.
  • Intuitive Fit- The 3D Fit Print and FitKnit upper comfortably accommodates your foot as it moves and expands.
  • Quick Transitions-The Midfoot Transition Zone and Segmented Crash Pad provide quick heel-to-toe transitions.
Levitate Specs
all data from brooksrunning.com

Ok, so how did they feel?

Not gonna lie, the first few runs took some getting used to, it’s been a while since I ran in a “normal” running shoe- I went from a zero drop to these so I had an adjustment period.  A couple of runs and a shoelace adjustment and things were feeling much better.

In fact the more I wore them, the better they felt.  I was really liking the cushioned feel they offered.   They made me want to keep running!  I also threw down some of my fastest mile splits in over a year.    Which might not have been the greatest idea as my back/glutes haven’t been 100% since Big Sur which I partially blame on my poor shoe choice there.  By mile 20, I was considering running barefoot.  I wish I had the Levitate’s then!  But that also shouldn’t surprise me- my first marathon was run in Brooks.

Now- full disclosure- I’ve longest run I’ve run is 13 miles in the Levitate so far.  However there were zero hot points or pressure spots so winning!   I’m also don’t see another marathon in my near future so I doubt I’ll be going over 13 miles any time soon.  😛 I am notoriously hard on shoes but so far these still look fairly new other than some dirt and there’s nothing wrong with a little dirt.   I wore significant amounts of tread off my last pair of new shoes (different brand) within 30 miles so right now that is a huge plus in the Levitate’s favor and I have almost double the miles on them.   Some online reviews expressed thoughts that they felt heavy but they felt perfectly fine to me.

All right, slight down point- they are a little pricey.  However, I think they are worth it- I’d rather pay a little more for a good shoe then buy something just because it’s on sale.  That’s a quick way to end up hurting something that wasn’t hurting before.  And yes, that’s the voice of experience talking- been there, done that, lesson learned.

I am loving the shoes so far and am looking forward to putting more miles on them, I think these and one pair of my zero’s will make the perfect shoe rotation.   I will check back in if something changes in how I feel about the shoes but now I just want to #runallthemiles.  When’s my next race?

What do you run in?

Want to hear more? Check out other Pro’s thoughts-
Amanda

Let’s Rock Seattle!

Disclaimer: I am promoting the Infinite Energy Seattle City Guide 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 took the train from SLO County all way up to Seattle for a family trip when I was a kid.  For those who don’t know, that’s almost a 2 day trip- one way.   While I never want to do that again, I do want to go back to Seattle.

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I remember visiting the Space Needle. I felt tiny and insect like just standing next to it.  Was I going to be brave enough to go up to the top??? I was.  However, I am not sure I am that brave now so it would be kind of interesting to test that theory.  😛

The rest of the trip was spent doing things I can barely remember – I was young, but over the years I’ve learned of so many other things you can do or see in Seattle.  It’s a place I would like to go back to one day soon.

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My problem is that when I go to new places, I need a Paint by Numbers guide-seriously.  I could get lost in a paper bag.   So sometimes my sightseeing in new cities is very restricted because I know I am on shortened time frame and I am afraid of my natural tendency to get lost.   That is why I think the Infinite Energy Seattle City Guide that Brooks Running prepared is so awesome!

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Not only does it point out some of the best places to go, it tells you how to get there!  It’s Slacker proof!  You know I want to know where to find the best donuts, I’m always thinking about food.  And running stores?  Yes, please.  I’ve never been to a Fleet Feet but I’ve always wanted to find one.

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How about the Fremont Troll- how cool is he? Ok, I need to go back to Seattle sooner rather than later.  😛

Can I get on of these for every city I travel to for a race??? Pretty please??  Well and more time to see all the things.

What about you?  Ever been to Seattle?  What’s your favorite part?

2018 Rock n Roll San Diego 13.1

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock n Roll San Diego 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!

Last year I loved this race and I jumped at the chance to go back.   The course is great, the crowd support was awesome- sign me up!  However, I also knew that I was would be one month out of Big Sur, so realistically I had no idea how that would affect me.  So I was going in with the only goals of having fun, enjoying the race and crossing that finish line.

I joked in my previous post that with 8 aid stations this would be the race to try running without carrying water however I knew I was too paranoid to actually do that.  Except I forgot my flasks.  I didn’t figure it out until after the expo so it was too late to buy anything.  I thought about carry a plastic bottle but that just didn’t sound appealing to me.   Guess I was relying on aid stations after all.

Race morning dawned all too early after a poor night of sleep.  I was ready fairly quickly which was surprising as I was having major indecision about what to wear on my bottom half, I settled on my Skirt Sports skirt, made a quick compression sock change and was out the door to meet Kate.  I love my hotel because the race morning shuttles pick up 1/2 block down and the finish line is 3 blocks away.  Met up with Kate, we boarded a bus and in less than 10 minutes we were at the starting area.  We wandered for a bit before getting in a porta potty line.  We missed the National Anthem- too noisy- and separated to our corrals after that.   I appreciated the new larger corral markers- it made it easier to find mine (17 of 33) but we were still packed in like sardines.  I also started to question what the hell I had put down as a finishing time.  The 2:15 pace group was in the corral behind me.  Say what?!  But we steadily made our way up and then we were off!

Miles 1-3 10:17, 10:44, 11:43

I love that there is a man shouting encouragement though a bull horn as we run past .25 mile in.    It can pretty crowded in the first few miles but my goal was to just keep my effort steady.  I had told my mother that I wasn’t really concerned about my finishing time but in the back of my head, I figured 2:25 ish wouldn’t be too off the mark.   However during mile 3 things started to get rough and I realized there was one thing I forgot to take into account- humidity.

Miles 4-7 11:21, 11:03, 11:36, 12:01

I was still running just a lot slower.  It was so damn humid.  It was mile 4 and the people running near me looking like their shirts could be wrung out.  The men running shirtless looked like they just got out of the shower.   I happened to pull out my phone to text my mother that is humid- actually I used much more colorful language- and she reminded me to use my inhaler as humidity is one of my asthma triggers.  But when I pulled my phone I saw that it showed 80% humidity.  What the what? I am used to like 15%.  The sun was pounding down on us and I could tell we were all struggling.  I texted Kate and told her to be careful.   I did all this while running, haha.  I was still enjoying the race, I love running through North Park and Normal Heights.   Mile 5 also brings us the Wear Blue- Run to Remember section and I like to try and pay more attention in that area.

My strategy was to run everything but walk the entire aid station- getting water and Gatorade at each one as it was offered.  Clearly this was not the race to not carry my own water.

Miles 8-10 11:57, 11:49, 12:41

Oh my gawd, I was hot.  Temp wise, it wasn’t even hot but the humidity was kicking my butt.  I was now taking more time at the aid stations.  One cup of Gatorade and one cup water.  If the station only offered water, I would get one cup of water at the very beginning, drink it while walking the station slowly, then get another to drink at the end.  I took off my hat and dumped water in it before putting it back on. The stations were also struggling to keep up with demand from the runners- in fact I would be surprised if the one at mile 9 lasted the entire race.

I took my first non- aid station walk break around mile 9.5.  I just had to.  I was starting to feel nauseous.   Kind of like I had consumed too much water.  Which I coudn’t see how as I wasn’t carrying any and they don’t fill those cups up too full.  But I skipped an aid station just before mile 10.

Miles 10-13 111:56, 11:30, 12:22

From then on it was a run- walk to the end.  Which is a bummer because I really like the last 3 miles.  We come back into Balboa Park, run under the big guitar guy, up a hill past some Taiko drummers, by a golf course, then there’s a sweet downhill that brings you back into the city.     I may have been feeling rough but I was still trying to enjoy as much of my surroundings as I could.   Then it was through downtown with a slight down hill to the finish-

Finish- 2:33:38

I honestly hadn’t been looking at my watch at all so I had no idea where I was at time wise until after crossing the finish line.  That time is fine by me.  So fine, I’ve already gone and input my results into Athlinks.  😊

I stood around for a couple moments needing a moment if that makes sense before getting my medal and heading out of the chute.  One of the volunteers became my new favorite person as she was handing out bags of ice.   I stuck it on my head as I walked to the meeting point to find my mom.   I still felt way too hot so I jammed back to the hotel for a cold shower before flying back to the finish line to see Kate.    Success.

The weather may not have been my friend but I still love this race and it was only made better with friends out there too. And Kate got a PR!!!!!

What’s your weather nemesis?

Shipping Down To San Diego

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock n Roll San Diego 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!

It’s race week!

I loved Rock N Roll San Diego and I am looking forward to returning to enjoy everything that I loved last year.  Throw in the new upgraded aid stations and miles markers and more music along the course and I am stoked.  Oh- did I mention that Des Linden is pacing the 2:00 hour half and Meb Keflezighi is pacing the 1:30 half group?

Holy crap!

Now, I am notoriously bad at spotting celebrities- though I do have a pic of Kara Goucher hauling past me at one race- so I am not sure how likely it is that I will run into or see either of them but I am going to keep my eyes peeled.

And aid stations- I read that there are 8 aid stations for the half. 8!  My last marathon had 11- so that’s 8 for only half the miles!  If there was ever a time to practice running without my own water this would be it but I think I would be too paranoid to do that so I just need to make sure that I don’t drink too much liquid.

But the best part???  Friends!!!!!! Kate and Mai!  I haven’t seen them since Las Vegas so this is like a reunion- woo hoo!!!! Kate’s coming all the way from Texas!! Makes my 6 hour drive seem piddly! I’m so excited!!!!!

Now- the less exciting part.  I’m having some issues in the hip/glute area so I’m not quite sure well this is going to go.  I’m actually less concerned about the miles than the 6+ hour drive to get to San Diego- sitting has become distinctly uncomfortable.😒  So with that being said, I have zero goals for this race.  Well unless you count have fun and finish.  I would take finish off but we all know if I start, I’m finishing even if I have to walk it in.  I hope it doesn’t come to that but I am prepared for it if it does.   There could be lots of pictures in my recap if that happens.

Is it time to leave yet????