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

 

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Trail Running Film Fest coming to Concord!

Trail Movies, Beer, Friends! What could be better than that?!?! (except maybe peanut butter?)Film Fest Photo

 

This week I’m going to be attending the Trail Running Film Fest being put on by Rainshadow Running.  I first heard about this online from The Ginger Runner, and I was pumped to find from my local running shop that the festival was making a stop in my area. This Wednesday night you can see a ton of films all about trail running! The films start at 6pm at Red River Theaters in Concord.  Runner’s Alley will be there raffling of some gaiters, gift cards, and  giving $5 coupons to each person attending.

If you want to know more about the films being shown head over to The Trail Running Film Fest website here, and you can buy your ticket in advance here. I’m pretty excited that they’re making a stop in NH (which can sometimes be a pretty boring place) so check this out Wednesday night cause it should be a great time! Who wouldn’t have fun with movies about running, beer, raffles, and friends!

 

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)

 

Wednesday Giveaway Link-Up

As many of you know I enter a LOT of contests via twitter, instagram, and through others blogs. Believe it or not I’ve won a lot of cool stuff this year! One of the ways I’ve found a lot of these contests is through blog link-ups, specifically from Running with SD Mom’s Wednesday giveaway link up. This week I’m linking MY GIVEAWAY to her post as well. So if you’re looking for a great way to get your giveaway out there or want to win some cool stuff check it out!link up logo

Favorite Things Part 1: Nuun Hydration Review & Giveaway!

Throughout the last year I’ve learned a lot about running; I’ve also learned even more about running gear, nutrition, and what works for me. I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you the companies that I’ve fallen for. Not only do I love the products that they make, but I’ve often found them a pleasure to interact with online, and love some of the things that they stand for.  This will be a multi-part post so look out for the rest of the posts in the coming weeks! I hope you all enjoy these brands as much as I do!

If you’ve been paying attention to me online it’s no surprise to you that I love Nuun Hydration! I first heard of Nuun from my girlfriend KB because she was bringing them with her to Tanzania. I didn’t really think of them as a hydration source for runners at the time, but once I started running through the summer months I remembered the fizzy little tabs she had shown me. I did a little more research and found out that TONS of other athletes were using Nuun. I figured I would give them a shot and see if they worked for me. I wasn’t disappointed! First off I thought the flavor was great. I bought tubes of strawberry lemonade and the citrus to start. The flavor was subtle without being too overpowering, it made the drink palatable without feeling like you were guzzling down a sickly sweet beverage. I also didn’t get any GI issues from Nuun which was the biggest plus. Sometimes when you’re already feeling overwhelmed my heat/dehydration sports beverages just make my insides squirm a little bit more than usual. There was none of this with Nuun.Nuun Tubes

So what’s in it? You can find more specifics at the Nuun website here, but to sum it up each tab of Nuun active has:

Active Ingredients
Sodium (carbonates)
Potassium (bicarbonate)
Magnesium (sulfate)
Calcium (carbonate)
Vitamin C
Vitamin B2
level (mg)
360.0
100.0
25.0
12.5
37.5
500 mcg

I also found Nuun to be pretty affordable. At my grocery store the tubes are about $5 a peice (12 tabs). I figured compared to the average sports drink that costs anywhere from $1-$1.50 that was a steal when you compare 12 servings at about $0.42 per serving. I also like how portable they are, one tube is all you need for days of hydration and it easily fits in your pocket, jacket, backpack, car, locker, etc. I now have little tubes of Nuun stashed all over the place between my house, the car, and school. Another thing I didn’t think of at first was repurposing the tubes themselves. I’ve now started using them to store headphones, snacks, money/keys, ENERGYbits, and anything else that fits inside.As well as fewer than 1 g of carbs, less than 8 calories, no sugar, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no artificial flavors/colors.  I like that there’s not a lot of extra crap in them, they just give you what you need. There are also other varieties of Nuun to meet other needs. They have a Nuun active with caffeine added; Nuun All Day for when you’re not sweating it out; and Nuun U Natural which is all natural and has a lower electrolyte profile than the Nuun Active. I have tried the Nuun All Day and the Nuun Active and love them both. For my next purchase I plan on grabbing some of the Nuun Active Energy to give me a boost on those early morning workouts.

Great waterproof storage

Great waterproof storage

As you can see I love Nuun for the taste, simple ingredients, affordability, and portability. I have truly become addicted to it and have at least 1 tab of Nuun every day. I love Nuun so much that I even applied to be a Nuunbassador for 2015 and can happily say I was accepted! I plan to spread the #NuunLove as much as I can this year. Nuun was nice enough to supply a sample of two tubes of your choosing to one lucky reader. Simply enter through the Rafflecopter link below! (WordPress won’t let me post a widget)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ciele Athletics GoCap Review

10625095_434219366717025_4377320850153320498_nI had never been much for running with hats, but this summer as I started running through the heat and sun I realized how great they are. At first I thought running with a hat on would make me over heat. Instead I found the protection from the brightness of the sun, UV rays, and the ability to keep some buckets of sweat out of my eyes were all bonuses. Now I love running with hats, no matter what time of year.

I first heard of Ciele Athletics from the team over at Believe In The Run a few months ago, they posted a review and had a rafflecopter for a few GoCaps for some lucky readers. I was one of those lucky readers and couldn’t wait to receive my GoCap!

IMG_20150102_145619_810A few weeks later a GoCap in the Indigo colorway arrived on my doorstep. As soon as I pulled it out of the box I was in love. This thing just looks cool. I’ve worn it not only on runs but even around town. Ciele just makes a great looking cap.

The material is moisture wicking, light, breathable, but still feels very sturdy. I’m not sure what material the brim is made out of but it’s very pliable, bendable, and won’t stay crushed even if you bend it in half. I’m sure that if I threw this thing through the wash it would survive no problem, which is a big bonus as it’s already seen a lot of sweaty miles. This also means I don’t have to worry about ruining the brim when it gets shoved into my weekend bag for travel. The GoCap also has a few reflective patches on it, which is a nice touch, and UPF+40 on the brim/front panel. The GoCap is more expensive than other athletic caps, but I think it’s worth it. You can tell it’s gonna to go the distance, and if it doesn’t they offer a “million miles guarantee”.

There’s not much else to say other than I really love this hat!