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

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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

 

 

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

Favorite Things Part 4: Chia Bars from Health Warrior

Health_Warrior_Logo-0Recently I’ve become addicted to Chia Bars from Health Warrior.  I think I first heard about them from Jonathan Levitt on twitter, but never pulled the trigger. Then they had a great deal from Abe’s Market to try two for a buck each so I figured it was worth a try. A few days later two Acai Chia Bars showed up and I was hooked.

The first thing I liked about them was the taste. They were sweet, but not overly sugary, chewy, and a had a little crunch from the chia seeds themselves. When I first pulled them out of the package though they looked a little small and I thought they weren’t worth the cost. Here’s where I was wrong. Don’t let their size fool you they will keep you pleasantly satisfied. Since chia seeds are hydrophilic they absorb 10x their weight in water. I usually eat them with some water and they tend to satisfy any mid-day runger sneaking up on me. I also like that they don’t sit like a rock in your stomach. I’ve found them easy to digest, and don’t give me any GI issues when I’m running. I also like that they’re compact so I can tuck them into my shorts or UD waist pack for longer runs. I’ve found them to be an excellent source of on the go energy. They’re also really good for you! All the nutritional details are laid out on their website but here’s the highlights for me:  100 calories, 5g sugar, 4g fiber, 3g protein, 1060mg Omega-3, and are gluten/soy/GMO free, and are 100% Vegan. Many people call chia seeds a “superfood” and I would have to agree. They offer big benefits in a small package.chia bars

Health Warrior not only sells Chia Bars, but also sells bags of chia seeds in bulk. They even have a recipe section of their site to offer some suggestions on what else you can do with chia seeds. One of my favorite things is to make “chia pudding” using a little almond or coconut milk and some oats. It’s an easy breakfast that I can prep the night before if I know I’ll be out the door early the next day. This year I know I’ll be a regular chia bar eater and plan on using them more during long runs in place of some gels. I hope you’re all as pumped up on chia as I am because Health Warrior has been kind enough to offer some samples to one lucky reader! Just enter via the Rafflecopter below and a sample pack of chia bars could coming your way!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Favorite Things Part 3: Janji Running Apparel

This week I’m switching things up a bit and highlighting one of the running apparel companies that I love. Not only do I think they have some pretty cool products, but more importantly I really love what the company stands for. Of course I’m talking about Janji! This Boston based company makes great running apparel while simultaneously finding a way to give back to the world by providing access to clean water in a bunch of different countries.

I first heard about Janji from the folks over at Believe In The Run. They posted a great review and also spotlighted Janji’s philanthropic mission. I was immediately interested because I’ve lived in Boston, ran in Boston, and like to shop local when I can. I headed over to the Janji website and started reading about all the great stuff they do and gawking at their cool clothes. I didn’t jump right in and buy anything though because I knew they would be at the Vermont City Marathon Expo that I was going to be at in a few weeks.

At the Expo I actually met one of the founders Dave who was super friendly and really down to earth. I chatted him up for a few minutes and walked away with one of their Tanzania Breeze running t-shirts (since at the time my girlfriend KB was volunteering in Tanzania herself).Tanzania Breeze Shirt The shirt was made in the colors of the Tanzanian flag, and said “Run for Tanzania” on it. I did my shakeout run that day in the shirt and loved it. Its a tech shirt so it wicked sweat away, kept me cool, and since it was brightly colored kept me visible. I’ve since worn the shirt on tons of runs, to the gym, and even hiking. It has held up well and it’s my go-to running tee.

When people see the “Run for Tanzania” logo sometimes they ask me what it’s all about. I love being able to explain how I was able to help provide access to clean drinking water for people in Tanzania just by buying this shirt. All of the Janji products help their partner organizations provide water for people in Tanzania, Haiti, Kenya, Peru, Rwanda, and the United States. If you want more info how they help they have a great section on their website here. It just feels good to support a smaller company like Janji, especially because you can help someone else just by purchasing apparel you would probably purchase anyways. I’d rather support a company who has values of their own rather than just corporate greed (hippie rant). It’s great how the running community is very involved in contributing to charities, but I like how I can also raise awareness just by wearing their products. So if you’re looking for some great running clothes, but also want to do something good for someone else, I suggest looking into Janji for your next purchase. I personally really like their printed 1/4 zip, and their men’s running pants.  Dave over at Janji was kind enough to offer up one lucky reader a seasonably appropriate Janji Running HatJanji Running Hat to keep you warm during this time of year. Just enter through the Rafflecopter link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Favorite Things Part Two: ENERGYbits

To continue with my favorite things part two is about ENERGYbits! I first heard about ENERGYbits on twitter and started joining in on their weekly twitter chats. It was a great way to learn more about topics related to nutrition, running, exercise, and a great way to connect with other athletes. Their community manager at the time Jonathan is also a November Project tribe member so that made me immediately interested as a former member of the Boston tribe.  Anyways so what are ENERGYbits and how do I use them?TwitterHeader_Energybits_Tin

ENERGYbits are a pretty unique source of fuel/energy because they’re considered food! Specifically algae. Now don’t gag yet…they’re not slimy or smelly or anything like that. ENERGYbits are dried, pressed tabs of algae that you swallow, and only contain one calorie per tab (you can chew but I don’t recommend it, they do have a real “green” flavor that way). If you want a complete breakdown of what ENERGYbits are here’s a link to their website, but they are just one ingredient, spirulina algae. Spirulina algae is one of the most protein dense foods (64%), and contains around 40 other nutrients including a lot of B vitamins. The algae used in ENERGYbits is 100% organic and Non-GMO.energy bits nutrition

So why are they one of my favorite things, couldn’t I fuel with gels or other sweet treats? The answer is I could and to be honest I do still use gels sometimes. The reason that I often use ENERGYbits though is because of the type of energy I get from them. I find that when I use them I don’t feel a surge or boost of energy that I can get sometimes from gels (specifically caffeinated ones), but I find my energy stays more level throughout my workout. This is why I still supplement with gels when I do feel I need a little boost, but most of the time if I’m already feeling good before a race ENERGYbits work just fine. I also like bits because I’ve never had an upset stomach when using them. Sometimes my burps will taste a bit green, but I never get GI distress from ENERGYbits. Since they provide a more constant level of energy and focus I also sometimes use them when I’m not working out. I’m in a full time accelerated nursing program so I have really long days of lecture almost all week. Sometimes for those afternoon blocks I’ll pop a few bits if I feel that I’m fading. I notice a difference and find that I can focus better and stay more alert after a serving of ENERGYbits. Over the past year I’ve found them to be a great source of constant, easy to digest energy.

If you’re looking for an alternative to sugary gels to fuel your workouts, and want something that only contains one ingredient give ENERGYbits a shot. In fact ENERGYbits has been kind enough to offer one reader a sample of ENERGYbits to try! Just enter through the Rafflecopter link below (wordpress won’t let me post the widget)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclaimer: I’m not a dietician or Dr, I’m just sharing my experience with ENERGYbits and would urge you to make your own decisions about what foods/supplements you decide to consume)