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

Flipping for Luvo

Disclaimer: I received Flipped Bowls from Luvo 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!

Food! My second favorite subject after running!

Except, real talk- I can’t cook.  And I am lazy, I eat out way more than I should because by the time I get home from work I just don’t want to do anything else.  As for lunches? I usually only get 45 minutes and sometimes that doesn’t happen uninterrupted.  I like my lunch to be something that is easily prepped, easily cleaned and I can eat quickly.  Anything that fits my issues doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy.   I’m the first to admit I need help.

When I read about the new Flipped Bowls– where 1/3 of the protein comes from plants- that Luvo was rolling out, I was intrigued.    Pasta, chicken meatballs and good mix of veggies?  I could get behind that.  Plus, the convenience factor was so up my alley.

So I went online on a Monday, placed my order and by Friday, a big white box showed up at work.    Everything was nice and frozen, in fact the dry ice was so cold I almost burned my hands.  😛  Which would not be the first time I’ve burned myself with ice so maybe it’s just me.

So what did I get?

  • Chicken Meatballs in Creamy Pesto Sauce
  • Chicken Meatballs in Stroganoff Sauce
  • Chicken Meatballs in Garlic Wine Sauce
  • Chicken Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce

Beef Stroganoff (my mother’s recipe) is actually my favorite meal ever so I really high hopes for that meal but it also had really standards to measure up to.😛

I loaded them all into the work freezer and planned for some healthy lunches the following weeks. So what did I think?

Like I said, the Chicken Meatballs in Stroganoff Sauce was my prime choice- in fact I ordered more of that one with high hopes and just paid extra.   I followed the directions on the back and less than 5 minutes later, I had a steaming bowl of pasta and veggies in front of me.    I liked the taste of the sauce, the chicken meatballs had a good kick to them and I was eating kale!  The only downsides were that I realized I needed to add about 15 seconds to the cook time for the noodles and Luvo adds legit mushrooms to their Stroganoff.   *My mother does not- I hate mushrooms!  So I was eating around those.  😛

Next up was the Chicken Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce.  Holy, yumminess.  And my 5 year old palate didn’t have to avoid any ingredients.  I adjusted the microwave time and the whole wheat penne pasta noodles were perfect.  Plus I was still eating veggies!

The Chicken Meatballs in Garlic Wine Sauce is pretty good too but like I had to avoid the mushrooms in the Stroganoff, I have to avoid the white beans.  I did mention I have the taste buds of a 5 year old right?  As for the Chicken Meatballs in Creamy Pesto Sauce?? Well, those juvenile taste buds are too scared to try it.  I’ve eaten everything else-only have 1 left of the Tomato Basil, which makes me sad- but I can’t bring myself to push that far out of my comfort zone yet.   Why am I writing this review before eating it?  Well… I am hoping for some good old online encouragement to make me branch out.  So…help?!

Overall, I am definitely ordering more.  The Chicken Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce ended up being my favorite which made me glad that I had ordered more of those as well.  I loved that I could pop one in the microwave, go the restroom and get a few things done while my lunch was preparing itself.    Plus, I was getting protein and more veggies than usual.

Now, there were a few downsides–  Mushrooms.  Sorry, I hate mushrooms so to me that’s a downside, but I’ll keep eating around them.    Lastly, I never received an email notification that my order had shipped so I had no idea when it was coming.   As I was having these meals shipped to work, that could have been problematic as there is no one there to receive packages on Saturdays or Sundays.   I was surprised when they showed up on that Friday- glad but surprised.  Right now the Flipped Bowls are only available to order online but I am hoping that they will soon be in stores too.  That said, shipping is very reasonable.

Have I made you want to order yet?Use code BIBRAVE to get 1 free when you buy 7.**This works for everything on their site!

Carry All the Things

Disclaimer: I received a Gear Vest from Orange Mud 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 don’t always carry a lot when I run but I am very particular about how I carry it.  Then there are times that I feel like I am running with enough supplies for an ultra when it may just be 10-13 miles.  Which is funny considering I rarely fuel but I carry it!   So with that being said, I need someway to carry everything right?

Enter Orange Mud’s Gear Vest.

“]Gear Vest

Look at all the pockets!!!

3 on each side plus the bladder on the back? Score!  Once I had it, I couldn’t wait to take it on a test run.  And then a few more runs.  Every run since it came in the mail has been with the Gear Vest.   So I have plenty of thoughts.

Perks

  • The front pockets are huge! My giant Iphone fits with no fears of it falling out.
  • If not carrying a bottle, I can fit a key, pepper spray, Buff, chapstick, and Honey Stinger chews in the other large pocket with room to spare.
  • My inhaler fits perfectly in one of the shoulder pockets.
  • The 1L bladder is a good size, not too big and not too small for those hot runs.
  • The bladder is much easier to wash than other bladders I have used- it is also dishwasher safe.
  • The pack seems very sturdily made- which holds true across all my Orange Mud packs- this is my third.
  • It fits a 600ML water bottle perfectly and the pepper spray fits in a trash pocket when I carry a flask.
  • I love that there are color options- like the white!
  • I have a tendency to stretch by bending at the waist and touching the ground- nothing falls out!!

Quirks

  • The trash pockets- don’t put a small body glide in one.  It won’t stay in the pocket while running.  It bounces out.  I had to chase it down 3x before I moved up the other shoulder pocket.  It fits perfectly so I really hoped it would work.
  • My back is fussy right now so the bladder comfortable as it is is too much for it.  Flasks are how I carry water but unfortunately I can’t carry 2 flasks.  If I do I have nowhere to put my phone.  Let’s be real- my phone is the one thing I ALWAYS carry on any run.
  • The fit across my umm… chest. Ok, not to put it bluntly but I’m not small up top. Combine that with the fact that I am carrying more than a few extra pounds right now (it’s the truth, I know) and the pack and I were have some disagreements. I think I have it figured out now but I wish I could get the bottom chest strap under my ummmm chest but I can’t. I think that would solve my issues. So let’s see what happens if I lose a few pounds. I’ll let you know.🤞

Overall I really like the pack. I feel it works best for me for runs up to 10 miles or anything else supplemented with water. As the temps rise here, I will need to carry more than one soft flask. So I should probably keep doing those PT exercises for my back huh? Until then I’ll keep using the back pocket for a change of socks and some emergency cash. You never know when you might need one of those right?😀

Want your own? Use BRGV15 for %15 off!

How do you carry things on the run?

Add the Lime to the Coconut

Disclaimer: I was given Detach Coconut+ to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I would like to say that my hydration game is strong but if I am being honest it’s been a little lacking lately.  That’s not a good thing heading into marathon training.  Combine that with my tendency to run my long runs/ races fasted and I was open to suggestions.

However between my already picky taste buds and extremely temperamental stomach, trying new things doesn’t always goes so well.  😯 My concern with Detach did start with the taste- I am not the biggest fan of coconut water.  However, this is my year of trying to push my boundaries (that post will go up someday) so I figured why not try it?

The bottles are an adorable, little 12oz size and I was pleasantly surprised by the taste.  It’s called Ellie-Ade– named for creator’s wife as he created the drink as a way to ensure that she was properly hydrated throughout her work outs.  You can barely taste the coconut flavor and instead it’s a very subtle lemony-lime flavor.  More lime, I think.  Whatever it is, I like it… and that’s coming from the person who drinks water, coffee and Diet Coke.  Kind of bland over here.  😛

Ok, the healthy details-

  • Beta-alanine commonly found in trace amounts of legumes, seaweed has been shown to improve the muscles energy production at intensity and in some studies improving 800m times by ~10s for 1 time use and ~15s after cumulative use.
  • Citrulline commonly found in melons is a known vasodilator, improving Nitric Oxide levels in the body.  This opens up your blood vessels and improves blood flow.
  • Theanine – commonly found in many teas especially white and green teas. Theanine is also known as a neurotropic as it impacts feelings of positivity and focus.
  • All of this with only 60 calories per bottle and NO “fake” sweeteners which leave a nasty after taste.
  • Last but not least light refreshing citrus flavor that you will love!
  • Instructions: Best to take 1 bottle 30m before workout and 1 bottle during exercise. Can be mixed with other drinks as well.

Now, I was sick while testing this and my stomach was having one of it’s flare periods -yay me- so I actually only drank it before one run.  Everything was making me sick.  So instead, I had it post run or in my daily lunch smoothie.  That one run went well but then I got nervous when I started to get sick.   You know, as I type this I realize I was never sick after drinking it even if I had been sick during the run or before lunch.   Ok, maybe I should have written this sooner or paid more attention over the last few weeks.  Excuse me, I need to go order another case to test my new theory.

Oh and this may have been my lunch one day when I was sick.  #balance

One thing I loved is that even when I felt a headache coming on post long run, a bottle of Detach would knock it out.  Thank you very much, Detach.   😊

Detach Coconut+ is available at their website or Amazon.

How do you hydrate? 

Do you like coconut water?

For other thoughts on Detach, check out-

AmyMeridithCoreyLindsey