SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt Review & Giveaway

A while back the folks at SLS3 reached out to me about reviewing their new Dual Pocket Run Belt. I gladly accepted as this kind of belt wasn’t something I was already using. I wasn’t sure how often I would actually use it since I already have a couple of different belts with bottles built in, but I figured it was worth a shot. To my surprise I used it on almost every run I did (up until I fractured my foot a few weeks ago).IMG_20160225_094406

 

Here’s what I liked the most:

I liked that both pockets have a water resistant lining to them. In the past I’ve had my phone or money get all soaked with sweat when they’ve been tucked into arm bands or other storage devices. This time none of that happened, it was nice to hand the woman at the coffee shop a dry five dollar bill for a change instead of one saturated in filth. The second thing I liked about the Dual Pocket Run Belt was that the pockets were very stretchy. They easily fit my Droid Turbo cell phone with a case on it, I could stuff a ton of gels, snacks, money, ID, keys, etc. inside without worrying about anything falling out since they zip shut. The other thing I liked about it was how well it stayed put. The waistband is one size fits all and is easily adjusted, and the strap is also elastic so it moves when you move. I wore it front facing and rear facing, and both ways it worked with minimal bounce. I was even able to tuck it under my shirt so no one even knew I was carrying my phone or keys with me. I also liked the fact that instead of one big pocket it was two divided pockets. This meant that I could keep the stuff I didn’t need access to while running like keys, money, ID, and phone separate from my gels and food. I wasn’t worried about losing that stuff on the move because it was totally sealed off from the stuff I was going to be grabbing on the run. I only used this item for road running, but I can see myself using it for trail running a lot as well. When I have my AK 2.0 Vest on I like the bottles upfront, but that makes it harder to store food in an easily accessible place. With the Dual Pocket Run Belt I can see myself storing my food in the belt so that I can carry water in the vest or in a hand held bottle more easily.

Plenty of fuel, and the essentials

Plenty of fuel, and the essentials

Fits it all with room to spare

Fits it all with room to spare

 

Here’s what I think could be improved:

There was honestly nothing I could find to criticize about this run belt. It served it’s purpose quite well and I know I’ll be using it a lot more once I’m back on my feet.

 

GIVEAWAY!

Now if you want your own SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt the folks at SLS3 were kind enough to offer one up for raffle to one lucky reader. Just enter through the Rafflecopter Link below. If you don’t win but still want to get your hands on one of these belts SLS3 is having a promotion through Amazon right now. The belt usually retails for $29.90, but they’re taking off 57% so it’ll only cost you $12.90. Good luck everyone, hope you enjoy the Dual Pocket Run Belt as much as I did! Also 

Link to Rafflecopter

(this product was provided for review purposes, however all opinions are my own)

 

PS don’t forget about the link-up with Erica over at Erica Finds! You can enter a whole bunch of great giveaways each week.weds-giveaway-roundup-2016

Whoa it’s 2016 already?

Creeeeekk….What’s that? Oh the sound of this blog slowly being pulled open again after nearly 8 months. That’s right I’m BAACKK. The past 8 months have been some of the busiest of my life and for my sanity I had to put the blog on the back burner for a while.  I can happily say in the last 8 months I’ve graduated nursing school, begun the process of moving to New York City, and most importantly spent more time running than ever before.

This past summer I ran more trail miles than I ever thought I would before, and one of my favorite days was spent alone running up and down Mount Adams in northern New Hampshire. Besides escaping to the mountains I also ran my first Fell Race, which if you haven’t heard of this style of racing you need to check it out! I would love to see more of these in the United States. I also got my butt handed to me at the Wapack Trail Race. I thought it would be smart to run 18 miles of trails, in 85 degree heat, having only a long run of 10 road miles under my belt….let’s just say I bonked hard and it if wasn’t for the help of two dudes named Bob I would have probably gone home in an ambulance from dehydration/heat stroke. As summer turned to fall I backed off from racing and just tried to put in some consistent miles between finishing my last semester of school. I figured spending less time blogging, and more time running was a good trade off.

Right now most of my time is spent hunting for my first nursing job. I was going to write how excited I was to announce my plans to run the Vermont City Marathon this spring, however last week I finished a run with a familiar nagging pain in my foot. I am assuming it’s another stress fracture but haven’t been able to get an appointment with my doctor because he’s on vacation. Until then I’m wearing the boot that I had from the last stress fracture I had (on my other foot last time). It’s a real bummer but I’m trying not to get too bent out of shape over it because obviously I was pushing too hard and need to back off for a bit. In the meantime I think I might join the local YMCA and try doing some pool running/swimming to keep my fitness up in a low impact way. Some good news is that I’ve got a new product review and giveaway of the SLS3 dual pocket running belt coming up this week. Stay tuned to hear my thoughts about their new product, and for your chance to win one of your own.

P.S.  Here’s some pictures I was able to scrounge together from the past 8 months, that’s all for now!

Post Fells Race

Post Fells Race

Top of Mt. Adams

Top of Mt. Adams

My first DNF from this fall

My first DNF from this fall

Half Marathon the day after the Fell Race

Half Marathon the day after the Fell Race

After the 1st climb up Bretton Woods Ski Resort

After the 1st climb up Bretton Woods Ski Resort

My First Trail Race

 

This weekend I ran my first official trail race! It was the Emerson Trail Race in Concord which helps raise funds for the Emerson Pre-school. There were two race options available; a long course (9.9 miles) and a short course (5K). I opted for the short course since I’m still working on SLOWLY building my mileage back up this year to prevent more overuse injuries. I woke up Saturday to a beautiful sunny day, and was excited and anxious on my to the race. I met some of my friends from Runner’s Alley at the race and for most of us it was our first trail race so we were all pretty excited for a new racing experience.

Runner's Alley Crew

Runner’s Alley Crew

Coming into the race I had looked at last years results and saw that a lot of the really competitive runners from the area ran the long course last year. This made me hopeful that I might be able to place on the short course. I’ve also been running these same trails in Winant Park since it’s literally right behind the hospital that I work at. My friend Ty and I lined up near the front since we were hoping to get out front early. The race went off and a few guys speed right to the front. I knew they were in the long course so I didn’t try to catch them, but they were flying at a pace faster than my 5K pace. It was really impressive to see how fast these trail guys can motor up the hills we hit about half a mile in. There was a split where the long course and short course separated and when I looked back I couldn’t see anyone behind me. I was didn’t realize how fast I had gone out until this point. From that split on I just tried to keep a steady pace and not burn myself out before the downhill finish. Luckily I was able to stay up front and ended up winning the short course! I have never won a race before so this was kind of fun, and my friend Ty came in second right behind me. I know that most of the real competitive guys ran the long course so it’s not real impressive, but none the less it was fun leading the pack for a change.

Team Saucony Peregrine

Team Saucony Peregrine

Emerson 2All in all I had a great time racing the trails. I liked that it was a much smaller field than a lot of other races, it made things more laid back and you could tell a lot of the other runners knew each other pretty well. I knew running a trail race would take a lot more out of me as I’ve been running more trails this spring already. I had no idea just how sore I would be after racing though. Even just doing the short course really beat me up. My knee feels normal, but my quads, glutes, hips, and calves were pretty sore the next morning. I took Sunday off but ran yesterday (in the middle of the hottest day we’ve had yet…yes I’m a glutton for punishment) and my legs still felt pretty lead filled. Despite my soreness I can’t wait to do more trails this summer and I’m already planning out my next trail race.

 

Coffee Bar Review & Giveaway

One morning you snap awake and suddenly that sinking feeling hits you. You’ve slept through your alarm! You break into a cold sweat rushing around the house trying to make it to work or class on time. No time for a shower, no time for breakfast, and worst of all no time for coffee! When this happens don’t fret because New Grounds Food has you covered with their Coffee Bars!coffee bar package

I first saw these from another blogger’s site and was immediately interested in trying them. I often have to rush out of the house early in the morning (like 4am early) for work, or class. Sometimes when I get up that early I don’t feel like eating much and guzzling a mug of coffee can upset my stomach. The idea that I could munch on a snack bar that would also provide my morning caffeine sounded awesome. I sent New Grounds Food a message and they were kind enough to offer me a sample, and a whole box of Mocha Latte Coffee Bars for one lucky reader! So what did I think of them…newgrounds coffee bar

Overall I thought they were good. They definitely had a coffee flavor, were sweet, and kept me satisfied and energized. One morning I ate one on my 4am drive into work and it kept me full and energized until my 10am break where I usually refuel. I like that they’re made with things I usually eat in the morning like dates, chia, almonds, (and yes sometimes chocolate) so they didn’t upset my stomach at all. The only thing I didn’t love was the texture. They had a bit of a coffee grind quality to them. It makes sense since they’re made with espresso, but it was just something I wish was less noticeable. It wasn’t enough to deter me from eating them, but they could take some getting used to. The fact that they’re tasty, portable, and have as much caffeine as your morning coffee makes them a great on the go snack. So check out New Grounds Food’s Mocha Latte Coffee Bars if you’re looking for an alternative to your morning coffee and bagel! Once again the folks at New Grounds were nice enough to offer one reader a box of their very own Mocha Latte Bars!! Just enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Greta Grahams, Homemade Dog Treats

This is my first guest post! It is brought to you by my girlfriend KB since she takes the lead on baking in our house and is the best dog mom I know. When not baking, KB can be found working towards social justice, reading, doing yoga, wrapped in fleece, hiking, drinking citizen’s cider, buying more scarves, and snuggling me/GretaSo here’s my first guest post:

Our rescue Bernese Mountain Dog Greta (#InstaGreta for her internet followers) has had chronic ear infections for the last year or so. After treatment and ruling out other causes, we came to the conclusion that she may have food allergies. For dogs, this usually means a sensitivity to either poultry or grains. She is currently eating a “unique protein” food (Taste of the Wild’s Pacific Stream Salmon) and meat & grain-free treats. Of course, these restrictions mean the treats are only found in more speciality pet stores and run $6-10 a box. So I figured I should make my own!

This is a recipe of my own creation adapted from other blogs and websites. Making homemade treats is easy and I feel better knowing exactly what’s in Greta’s diet, especially with so many pet food recalls these days. You can and should play around with different ingredients and flours and adapt it to your own pup’s diet and taste.

For example, we have some powdered peanut butter in the pantry that neither Ben nor I are very fond of. I threw in a ½ cup of that in this recipe because Greta is a sucker for everything peanut butter. Just make sure to stay away from ingredients like grapeseed oil and nutmeg which are both harmful to pups.IMG_20150322_092436

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (without spices, not pumpkin pie mix) OR 1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed OR a little of both!
  • ½ cup oil, I used canola oil but sunflower oil or coconut oil is even better
  • 2 cups chickpea flour (Bob’s Red Mill is only about $3 for 1 lb or you can blend dry chickpeas in the food processor.)
  • ½ cup Brown Rice Flour for rolling out dough and to keep the rolling pin from sticking
  • Optional: ½ teaspoon cinnamon and turmeric-  both are great for your pup’s digestion and are anti-inflammatory. That’s especially helpful if your dog has chronic ear infections like Greta.

 

IMG_20150322_094809Method

  1. In a big bowl or stand mixer, combine the pumpkin/sweet potato and oil.
  2. Add the chickpea flour, ½ cup at a time until a dough forms
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees  and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Sprinkle brown rice flour on your surface. I found rice flour to be more elastic and better for non-sticking than the chickpea flour. You could make the whole recipe with brown rice flour. But I found chickpea flour to be cheaper and more nutritious.
  5. Form the dough into a ball and roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is about ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so use more flour as needed.
  6. Use a cookie cutter to cut out treats and place on baking sheets.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the edges are browned. Then turn off the oven and leave the grahams to dry out in the oven for about 40 additional minutes.
  8. Let cool and enjoy!

IMG_20150322_114510_552(makes about 2 dozen)

anxiously waiting for a warm treat

anxiously waiting for a warm treat

 

Tiux Compression Sock Review

I’ve been wearing compression socks for a few years now ever since my mom bought me some as a Christmas present when I started getting serious about running. I didn’t really know much about compression socks until I did some research, and I found that many people believe them to help with performance, as well as recovery. Although there is debate as to whether or not these claims are scientifically true I do believe that they have helped me both during hard runs, and afterwards for better recovery. I even use them some days at work since I often spend all day on my feet running around the hospital. A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be offered a sample of Tiux Compression Socks to try (disclaimer: this sample was provided to me for free from the folks at Tiux to review, but all opinions are mine alone). The socks arrived super fast and I insert bad pun here hit the ground running.Tiux Logo

Who is Tiux

Tiux is a start up still taking pre-orders for their compression socks to be released near the end of April. They’re able to sell their compression socks for just $35 (shipping included)!! How can they sell their socks for such a great price? Well Tiux is planning on selling strictly online cutting out all the “middlemen”, which allows them to sell their socks for about half of what many of their competitors sell for. This is a great idea and poor nursing students like myself should really appreciate this. Another great thing about Tiux is their partnership with Mines Advisory Group (MAG).  Tiux donates 1% of revenue to MAG to help save lives in communities dealing with unexploded landmines and other ordinances. As you know I love companies that also have a social conscience (like Janji) so this was a big reason I was excited to try out Tiux’s compression socks. It’s always nice when your purchase goes towards something more than just getting yourself some new gear.tiux-infographic

 

What about the socks?

Tiux featuresMy first impression was that the socks looked great. I liked the dark color, and the yellow highlight gave them a needed pop. I also noticed that they felt a lot softer than some other compression socks I’ve tried. One pair I don’t use anymore seemed kind of rough and actually gave me some pretty bad blisters. The Tiux socks were the opposite. They’re super soft, and I’ve already put a lot of miles on them with zero blisters or hot spots. I thought that after washing them they wouldn’t be so soft, but I’ve worn them a bunch and washed them each time (air dried them) and they are still super soft.  I thought the level of compression they provided was spot on as well. They weren’t suffocating and didn’t leave a big ring around my calf afterwards, but still provided that snuggly tight feeling. I wore them for a variety of runs, hiking and even to work one day. Under all conditions they felt great!

 

Would I get them again?

IMG_20150322_111520_016Definitely. I will be buying a few pairs of these since they come at a great price, are wicked comfortable, and perform great for me.  Right now I’m just starting to ramp up my miles again after coming back from an injury so focusing on recovery is huge right now. I know that Tiux Compression Socks will be part of my new routine.

If you’re interested in buying your own you can find all the deets on the Tiux site HERE!

PS they have this cool little message inside the collar

PS they have this cool little message inside the collar

 

Ohyo Collapsible Water Bottle Review and Giveaway

The past few weeks I’ve been testing out the Ohyo collapsible water bottle. The folks at Ohyo were nice enough to send me a sample of both their 1000ml bottle and their smaller 500ml bottle. Ohyo is based in the UK and was started by environmental scientist Guy Jeremiah. Part of the companies goal is to get people to stop using single use plastic bottles, and to start utilizing perfectly safe tap water that most people have access to already. The bottles are BPA free, carbon neutral after two refills, and top rack dishwasher safe. Here’s a little video from Ohyo that sums things up pretty well:

Here’s what I thought:

What I liked

Portable! I really liked how compact the bottles were when collapsed. Most days I’m carrying a lot of stuff when I leave the house because I bring everything I need for school, lunch, work, the gym, etc. My messenger bag runs out of space pretty quickly and trying to carry a large water bottle can be a challenge sometimes. Being able to collapse the bottle for transport was a big win, and I found that clipping it to the side of my bag was nice and it didn’t swing around too much. I brought the bottle with me on my trip to North Carolina last week as well. It came in pretty handy when my flight got delayed and I spent an extra few hours at the airport. Luckily I didn’t need to spend money on buying a drink since I had my Ohyo stashed away in my carry on.

saving me at the airport

saving me at the airport

collapsed

collapsed

It fits

It fits

What I didn’t like

The only thing I didn’t like was the feel of the bottle. Since it’s collapsible the material is kind of soft. I just worry that one day I’ll snag it on something sharp, or it will get impaled by a pen or something in my bag. It hasn’t happened yet but it’s my only real concern with the Ohyo bottle. According to Ohyo they’ve tested it by doing 10,000 open/closes and it still worked like new.

Will I continue to use it or recommend it

I will definitely continue to use the Ohyo bottle. I loved how convenient it was, and it saved me from dehydration at the airport last week. I would recommend it to anyone who travels a lot or people who often run out of space in their bag for their water bottle. If you’re interested in getting one they’re only available on Amazon for US customers, BUT two lucky readers could win their own. Ohyo has been generous enough to offer up one of their 1000ml bottles and one of their 500ml bottles for a giveaway! (first place gets the 1000ml and second place gets the 500ml) JUST CLICK ON THE RAFFLECOPTER LINK BELOW

a Rafflecopter giveaway