Currently wearing: FlipBelt Crops (& promo code)

Disclosure: I received a pair of FlipBelt Crops 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! All opinions are my own.

Clumsy girl confession: I’ve come to hate carrying things in my hands on my run. Holding onto something like my phone became such a pain after a while, because I constantly drop it.  A lot of leggings provide some sort of key pocket or temporary solution for this, but due to the ever-changing sizes of phones, I feel like there’s always something that doesn’t fit in comfortably, or there’s something to carry. And, of course, other options have a tendency to cause chafing on my hips or bounce.

No more, I say! No more.

Sure, you can just suck it up with these things, but if a seamless solution existed to mitigate these issues, why wouldn’t you try it?

When I was given the chance to try the FlipBelt Crops, I was initially just drawn in by their looks – they seemed like a cute, high-quality pair of black running tights with a decent amount of storage. If they didn’t work out for me, I felt like I’d still come away with something good. After trying them, I realized how thoughtfully-crafted they were.

Not too running-focused, not too gym-focused… just right. 

The FlipBelt Crops are the goldilocks of workout tights. 

The FlipBelt Crops are perhaps the first truly successful multi-functional workout pants I’ve ever owned. I wore them to yoga and had zero issues with them being flexible enough (yes, this can be an issue with other running capris). I was even able to get in a couple of warm-weather miles beforehand wearing the same outfit. So convenient.

With a full waistband of pockets, including a zippered pocket on the back, they’re just so freaking functional. I realized this especially on Cap10K race day, because I wasn’t constantly worried about dropping something. I could slide my things into the handy pockets; they felt incredibly secure, while remaining easily accessible. 

Down dog? No prob.

Here’s everything else these fancy pants have to offer: 

  • The material is a breathable, moisture-wicking, stretchy material. It’s not unlike the material dance leggings are made out of. 
  • I ordered a small, per the sizing chart, and they fit like a glove WITHOUT BEING SEE THROUGH! Hip hip, hooray.
  • The actual design is really flattering, with stitching detail around the calves and a mid-rise waist. Even with my phone in the pocket, I didn’t look like I had a big pooch.
  • I was worried the tights would ride up or down because there was no drawstring, but they stayed in place during my runs.
  • Even though there was no drawstring, my sisters with love handles will rejoice, because there was no unflattering elastic waistband!
  • There’s also a subtle reflective logo on the shin – good for safety purposes.
  • While I generally didn’t worry about my belongings falling out, because the waistband felt perfectly secure, I found the additional key clip on the right side gave me added peace of mind. 

I don’t know how they did all of these things, but these pants are magical.

No more chapped lips during races.

 

The only thing even slightly disappointing is the lack of color options and lengths. Speaking of lengths, I’m 5’2″ and these fit like a 3/4-length tight, which I prefer.

However, I believe they are a fairly new addition to the FlipBelt line up. My selfish hope is they’ll expand this product line, because I can’t keep these washed often enough and am ready for my second pair.

The FlipBelt Crops are comparable to other running tights in terms of price, at $89.99, and with the code BIBRAVE, you’ll get a 25% off discount on the Crops at flipbelt.com.

What’s your goldilocks, can’t-live-without running item?

Cheers to looking and feeling stylish and comfortable at the same time!

Statesman Cap 10K 2018 Recap and Review

Disclosure: I received a race entry to the Statesman Cap 10K 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! All opinions are my own.

Just two weeks ago, I capped off my 2017/2018 training season for the summer with the Statesman Cap 10K here in Austin. It’s the largest 10K in the great state of Texas, at 23,000+ attendees, and it takes place in April of each year.

Personally, it’s my favorite way to stay motivated through the end of spring, since the best running months in these parts are roughly September through April. The crazy Texas weather has been different each year I’ve run it, which is part of the adventure, in a way. This year, it was quite chilly (between 40 and 50 degrees is RARE for this area, especially after February), but still amazing!
Hey there, Leo Manzano! 

Pre-Race

Per usual, signing up was easy, and I really appreciated that the Cap 10K provided a $5 off discount code for friends to use.

I was also impressed by the expo this year. In years past, it’s been smaller, though still significant when you consider it’s just a 10K. However, the quality of vendors at the expo was even better than in previous years. They had a lot of natural product companies with samples, a fairly expansive Cap 10K store, races later in the year providing discounts and running stores offering great deals (Garmin products were $50 off at one booth). It’s a fun opportunity for someone who’s dipping their toe into races to see all a race weekend has to offer.

Packet pickup itself was line-free and simple. Swag this year was a women’s or men’s tech shirt in a pretty blue color, sweat towels from one of the sponsors and finisher’s medals. Obviously, you don’t receive the last one until you cross the finish line.

Race Day!

Parking is tough every year. Last year, we lucked out and found some of the free parking in the TxDot lots, but we had to get there quite early. This year, when we pulled up at 7:30, parking was nearly gone. They ended up opening the stroller parking to the public (which also felt kinda weird) and we got a free spot. Moral of the story: take public transportation or get there about an hour early if you are wanting free, close parking 2 blocks from the start. And if you get there less than 45 minutes early, prepare for lots of traffic to find paid parking spots.

Race start time is 8 a.m., so it’s not a super early morning (yay!). Finding corrals is also easy, and there’s a staggered start. Corral B started on time at about 8:10, which they controlled effectively.

 

The Race Itself

If you’re looking for an awesome crowd and awesome music at at least every mile, this is the race for you. If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge with a whole lot of scenery, this race is also for you. The course is lively, and goes through some of Austin’s most scenic areas, like the Capitol and Lady Bird Lake, with some tough hills! I’ve said it before – look back at the SEA of people at some point – it is an incredible sight.

Great aid stations are just under 1.5 miles from each other, and they had Nuun on the course this year.

I clocked in this year at 1:02:27, which was pretty awesome! It wasn’t quite a PR, but I was still proud. I’ve improved my time by more than four minutes over the years.

Post-Race Party

The Cap 10K finish line festival was another Texas-sized party in 2018. Food trucks were lined up with delicious post-race meals and coffee. Auditorium Shores had a lovely view of the skyline and more live music to enjoy. We sampled a few things, but it was quite chilly out, so we headed back home sooner than usual.

I’ll be back again and again and hope you’ll join me next year. You can sign up right now for just $35!

What’s your favorite race distance and why?

Cheers to keeping at it through the best and worst of the weather!

Austin Half Marathon Race Recap & Training Update

It’s hard to believe more than a month has passed since my unexpected PR at the Austin Half Marathon. As I write this post, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come, and how much the sport of running continues to both inspire and humble me.

What happened?

I woke up the morning of the Austin Half Marathon fully complacent with whatever outcome awaited at the finish. I resolved to give it my best. The day before, I’d analyzed how closely I’d kept up with my training plan, and the conditions (humid to the max) that awaited the next morning.

As I entered the fray, I realized my headset wasn’t paired, so I had to pair it before starting the course. I also wore my Beef Team jersey for the first time during a long distance, and newish pants.

I did so many things that I probably wouldn’t recommend,but in the end, my mental grit is what allowed me to get past the finish line more than five minutes faster than I had ever completed a half marathon.

Only my training mattered.

The more I run races, the more I am reminded of this.

I almost psyched myself out though into thinking the times I made mistakes were what would come to define that day, and ultimately that wasn’t true. I get off track, I move around my schedule. Sometimes, I eat things I probably shouldn’t, or I work too late and don’t get enough rest. But I’m more than my weaknesses, and I can still challenge myself and overcome obstacles.

My new PR was 2:16:27, from 2:21:59!

If you want a full review, my analysis of the race really hasn’t changed much, so you can check it out here. It’s definitely a race I’ll come back for again and again. Something about the hills gives me the ability to surprise myself.

I still loved the course (minus the ‘stairway to heaven’ as it’s called – the huge, steep hill above within the last two miles of the race) and all of the course support. It seemed like there were even more people out this year than the last time I ran it two years ago.

Additionally, this was my first race as a Beef Team member, and I definitely felt the love. There were some Beef Team members spectating/cheering on other runners, and the encouragement definitely lifted my spirits when I wasn’t sure how I would do.

What’s next?

Next up, the Statesman Cap10K (aka the largest 10K in Texas) is coming up this weekend. I’ve been running a pretty consistent 12 or so miles, and incorporating cross training like Body Pump when there’s time. Running has finally become such a part of my life that I don’t feel as much of a need to map out a specific schedule quite as much as I used to. I just push myself during the short workouts, and go at an easy pace for the long ones. It seems to work and I’m enjoying this renewed sense of the unknown.

By the way, it’s still not too late to sign up, and you’ll get $5 off with the code “BibRaveRunsCap10K.”

Now bring on the hot temps of summer and ask me how I feel in a month. 😉 Looking forward to sharing with you all how the Cap10K goes.

The definitive guide to getting your carb on: Austin

Austin is known for being weird, which makes for some pretty amazing food. However I’ve learned firsthand that navigating Yelp reviews can be a bit difficult (especially with such a specific goal like carboloading)!

Eat like a local while you’re here for your race, and definitely say hi after you’ve killed it on race day at the Cap10k finish line!

Holy Roller

509 Rio Grande St.
Austin, TX 78701
512.502.5119
 

Yellow cake pancakes? Check. Chicken biscuit? Check. Holy Roller has an indulgent variety of southern fare, serving breakfast all day. They’re even open late, and the ambiance has that fun, quirky vibe that is quintessentially Austin.

Cenote

1010 E Cesar Chavez St.
Austin, TX 78702
512.524.1311 

Good coffee, an array of gluten-free carbs, and easy parking: this is surprisingly hard to find all in one place in Austin. Plus, you get a nice taste of the east side of I-35 and can sip your latte on the beautiful porch if the weather’s nice.

Pinthouse Pizza

South Austin location
4236 
S. Lamar Blvd.

Austin, TX 78704
512-502-5808

North Austin location
4729 
Burnet Rd.

Austin, TX 78756
512-436-9605

What list would be complete without pizza? Pinthouse has my favorite pies – in particular, I love the honey pear pizza, but the armadillo and cannonball are also tasty if you want a little more protein.

Juliet

1500 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78704
512.479.1800

Italian is also a popular carboloading option, and Juliet has been my favorite place for Italian in Austin. The linguine and clam sauce is on point and they serve the most wonderfully buttery, garlicky foccaccia bread as an appetizer.

Trudy’s

Three Austin locations

Trudy’s is the place to go if you are craving Mexican food. Their menu has everything from fried avocados to beef tinga quesadillas to fried chicken, so it’s also good for a group/have a lot of different appetites to satisfy.

Galaxy Cafe

Four Austin locations

Galaxy is basically a diner with an Austin twist and a lot of variety. Everything at Galaxy is good (their breakfast menu is served until 4 on weekends), but you’ll find me noshing on the Chimichurri Steak Wrap and Sweet Potato fries.

Bao’d Up

1911 Aldrich St.
Austin, TX 78723
737.717.3002

For an Asian flair on carbloading, try this steam bun-dedicated eatery in the Mueller neighborhood. Their juicy pork bao and egg cream bao are two of my faves. Their bubble tea also makes a delicious takeaway (if you are watching your sugar intake, ask for the lower sugar level because it’s quite sweet).

Easy Tiger

709 E 6th St.
Austin, TX 78701
512.614.4972

Easy Tiger is carb heaven. They serve sausage on homemade pretzel buns, sweet and savory pastries, and have an extensive beer menu. And the Biergarten atmosphere makes it a great place to relax before a big race.

Not quite a carb:
Summermoon Coffee

Six Austin-area locations

For better or for worse, Summermoon’s moon milk is my jam, and is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before in a latte. They also have pastries and breakfast tacos available while supplies last. Get your caffeine fix here if you’re looking for a good cup of Jo.

If you try any of these places I would love to know what you thought and if you tried something else, let me know how it turned out.

Cheers to eating well because of running!

SKINS’ DNAmic Review: the Beauty isn’t Only Skin-Deep

Disclosure: I received a sample of SKINS’ DNAmic Compression Long Tights and Speed Sports Bra 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! All opinions are my own.

One of my goals for the year is to talk more about life both inside and outside of running/fitness, so to test SKINS’ DNAmic line of compression pants and sports bras was a great opportunity to try something new that fits into all aspects of my life. Serendipitously, I was getting ready to replace my one pair of full-length running tights (because it’s rarely cold enough to wear them, I only have one ill-fitting TJ Maxx pair).

The Style.

The sports bra itself is really well made, incredibly flattering and super comfortable. The actual look of it and the details are adorable – I opted for the plum “Exotica” print, which matches perfectly with the “Merlot” pants. The bra also has a very cute translucent detail on the straps, which adds a little extra something to it!

To be honest, I’m actually a reluctant fan of the mesh sportswear trend; when your whole pair of leggings end up looking like they’re all mesh, it seems they’re no longer functional and you might as well just wear shorts. However, I LOVE that these leggings have a super cute mesh accent that makes them trendy, so I can be hip and stylish without detracting from the functionality of wearing a pair of compression pants.

The Substance.

The greater news is that what’s awesome about these products doesn’t just stop at how pretty they are.

Both the pants and the bra have done what they are supposed to do. When I’ve worn the pants, I’ve noticed a difference in my post-workout fatigue; I definitely felt less fatigued, less quickly when running in these pants, and didn’t experience some of the typical soreness after a hard workout. I really do think compression makes a difference in recovery, or at least it does for me.

Additionally, the bra straps are really thick and supportive. For reference, I typically wear size small shirts and am a size 4 in dresses; I ordered the medium per the size guide, which fits perfectly (my band size is a little wider than the average 5’2” person).

The Fit.

I mentioned the fit of the bra, so let’s talk tights.

The size guide recommended a small, and while they’re fine in the length, and they fit tightly. Yes, that’s how compression pants are supposed to fit, but I still think I could have fit a medium because of the waist band. It’s a bit tighter than I’m comfortable with and I am not the biggest fan of elastic waistbands (I prefer the combination of an adjustable waistband and a bit of elastic). The fabric is also a little bit sheerer than I expected, so I wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable wearing these for activities other than running.

Both pieces can be found on here in the US at skins.net/usa. $99.99 for the leggings is actually pretty comparable to other luxury athleisure brands, and I really like that these marry both form and function. The matching bra is $49.99, and you can use the code “20BIBRAVE” for 20% for both (as well as any other full priced items).

How has compression factored into your routine? Let me know in the comments.

Cheers to gear that is both cute and functional!

Product Review: Pjuractive 2skin Anti-Chafing Gel

Disclosure: I received a sample of Pjuractive 2skin 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! All opinions are my own.

At this point in my running journey, I’ve tried several different ways to avoid the dreaded chafing problem. This includes using nothing, which resulted me thanking the running gods for volunteers with Vaseline at Rock N Roll San Antonio. When I heard about Pjuractive’s 2skin product, I wanted to see how it stacked up against other products that I’ve had positive experiences with.

 

Pjuractive 2skin is a water and sweat resistant gel that helps protect against chafing and blisters for athletes (including runners). It creates an invisible, protective film directly on the problem area. I have been testing the product for a month, including during the Austin Half Marathon and through my training for the Cap 10K, and it definitely does what it claims to do!

What sets it apart:

 

The application of 2skin is pretty simple – simply squeeze a pearl-sized amount at a time and apply with your hands to the desired area. With other products, I’ve had to wash my hands due to the dry time/sticky feeling, 2skin dries almost instantly and doesn’t leave a residue. I was skeptical of the application method at first – I’ve used stick and roller ball products previously – but it turned out to be surprisingly convenient. I had a lot more control with this method, and for those who want to apply multiple layers, I imagine you would like that, too. 

 

I also loved the texture/feel of 2skin when it was on. It didn’t feel like I was wearing any product once it dried, and while my skin felt soft, it never felt oily, waxy, or wet.

Other benefits I found worked for me:

  • Non-pore clogging formula
  • Lasted for several hours
  • Sensitive skin-safe
  • Worked in the hot and cold temperatures of Texas
  • Didn’t stain my clothes

What’s the rub (pun intended):

Well, there was no rub to be seen on my feet, waistband, thighs or arms (or anywhere)!

Honestly, the only thing I’m unsure about is the ingredients (they are not ingredients I’ve heard of before). I did some quick Google searching and didn’t see anything truly alarming, though I’m not an expert. I also place a fair amount of trust in the folks at BibRave who work directly with a lot of the companies whose products I test. They are like-minded people and research the opportunities presented to us to ensure the products are reputable. I recommend you learn more about each of the ingredients, if they are a major concern to you.

About a minute after this, the product was completely dry. 

2skin can be purchased on us.Pjuractive.com.  While $21.99 for 3.4 ounces may seem pricy initially, it actually costs less per ounce than other products I’ve tried for this same issue.

Thanks for stopping by, as always. Let me know if you have any funny chafing stories in the comments.

Cheers to helping reduce the number of said funny chafing stories!

Product Review: Getting My Running Life Organized with Athlinks

Who else out there has been on the struggle bus of constantly looking up their old race times when trying to set goals?

Well, the new year is here, and there’s a free resource that can help solve this problem when you’re goal setting in 2018. It’s called Athlinks!

Each new year, I find it’s helpful to reassess and reevaluate how I organize my life, spend my time, and approach my goals. Timing was perfect, as I found out about Athlinks through my friends over at BibRave just a couple of weeks ago. Now that I’m all set up on the platform, I’m excited to share with all of my runner friends, because it’s such a helpful tool. And the best part is: it’s FREE.

Signing up was really easy – I actually signed up from my phone browser in less than five minutes. Once I picked a password and username that worked, I got started in no time. The website prompted me to claim my race results, which it pulled from their database using my first and last name. I simply went down the list and clicked “claim” on the ones that were mine. Users also have the ability to search, which may be easier for folks that haven’t done a ton of races recently, to avoid scrolling. After claiming my results, my personal records, as well as my rankings for each race, were saved in a user-friendly dashboard.

The app for iPhone and Android devices is also intuitive to use, and I like the flexibility of being able to look up my results while I’m at a race. You can even get competitive by following along with friends’ progress (just ask for a link to their profile and there will be a follow button – easy, right?).

When following other people, Athlinks also makes it possible for you to see what races they have coming up; you can show everyone what your goals are by searching for an upcoming race, clicking on their profile, and adding yourself to the start line.

I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to be able to quickly look back at my progress over the years and reflect on how hard races back in the day would now be much easier for me. I am hopeful I will be able to hit a 2:20 half marathon this year, and it now seems much more within reach. Athlinks has definitely helped motivate me in that way. 

All you have to do to use this for yourself is visit Athlinks.com and click “sign up” in the top right hand corner. Once you get situated, let’s follow each other! Here’s a link to my profile: https://www.athlinks.com/athletes/322197073

As I chase my sub 2:20 half marathon, I am excited to see what kind of goals you accomplish in 2018!

Cheers to getting organized for the new year.

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon – Race Recap and Review

Disclosure: I received a complimentary entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon 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! All opinions are my own.

Growing up with both sets of my grandparents in San Antonio, I’ve been more times than I can count. And since I moved to Austin (less than two hours away), I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to make it down to San Antonio for a race. After enjoying the race in Dallas so much earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to see what Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio had to offer.

Pre-Race

Sign ups were easy and there was ample communication beforehand, though it was almost information overload! As it turns out, a conflict came up and I wasn’t able to make it to the expo, but from my last experience, I’m sure it was expansive and I wish I would have had time to stop by and shop around.

Race Day

Race day morning this time was a bit more complicated than last time, as we were driving from New Braunfels to San Antonio (we’d driven to New Braunfels late the night before). However, thanks to all of the information that they sent ahead of time via email, the morning wasn’t as frantic as I thought it would be to make it to the race’s 7:15 a.m. call time. We followed the directions to runner drop off areas downtown, and found ample surface parking lots along the way. The walk to the start line was short, but when I got there, I couldn’t believe how massive the crowd was. The race was one of, if not THE largest I’ve run and felt much larger than RNR Dallas, which also felt large. It was pretty tough to get around to my corral because there were just so many people.  They prepared though – there were so many porta potties and I was even able to find a section without a line (*gasp*).

Side note: you may be wondering how I got my packet. It’s not commonly known, but there is a solutions tent that can be utilized in extenuating circumstances on race day morning to pick up your packet.

 

After taking a quick restroom stop, I headed to my corral to wait for the crowd to move up. I was in one of the earlier corrals, but it still took about 30 minutes for us to make it to the start. Knowing that there was a course time limit, it’s tough to imagine what the runners even further back (who were likely run/walking or running at a slower pace) would have to do to finish within the time limit.

However, the emcees were still spirited and once I made it across the start line, the real challenge began.

Selfie with the Alamo!

Overall, the course was interesting and relatively flat, which was quite enjoyable. It wound in and out of downtown San Antonio, which was beautifully decorated for Christmas! There were also not too many hills. Due to the size of the race, I found that there was a ton of crowd support the whole way through.

My favorite part of the course was running through the park (I believe it was Brackenridge Park). The leaves normally change colors around Thanksgiving or in December here in Texas, so all of the tree leaves had turned into a lovely yellow canopy. At the same spot, a veterans group placed memorial signs for fallen service members that ended with a lengthy flag salute. We were running through a picturesque fall canopy surrounded by reminders of those that have given everything for our country’s safety and security. It literally took the breath from my lungs because it was so beautiful and is a sight I’ll never forget.

Pictures are not doing it justice, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

The weather itself was not ideal, with rain for about three miles soaking everyone and creating so many puddles on the course. It wasn’t the race’s fault of course, and I think this race would have been nearly unbeatable on a good weather day.

Oh, and who could forget the music? All of the bands stationed on the course were fantastic, and there was a good amount of variety. There was even a local mariachi band spread out all the way up one of the course’s only hills, which was a fun, festive and local touch.

Post Race Party

Tucked away a little bit behind the finish line, the post-race party was on point. There were so many snacks once I crossed and so many places to grab a photo with the photographer. Meb was there (Kolbe met him!) and there were great live bands playing. I had to head back to Austin for a baby shower, but was really happy to see that the finish line festival lived up to my expectations. The swag did not disappoint either – the shirts provided were so nice and the medal was too!

Ultimately, no PR for me this time, but I’m still thankful that I got the opportunity and truly enjoyed everything from the race’s perspective. This would be a fantastic race for just about any runner, due to the simple course, amazing crowd support, and organized race management. If you’ve never run a race before, I caution you to bring plenty of water (especially if the Texas weather takes a turn for warmth), because there aren’t as many water stations as other races provide.

Once again, cheers to the unexpected challenges of each race day!

Happy Taste Buds, Meet Healthy Body – Health Warrior Chia Bars Review

Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of Health Warrior’s Chia Bars 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! All opinions are my own.

Quick read for you guys this evening – I’m sharing my thoughts about the Health Warrior Chia Bars, which I’ve been tasting and testing for the past month! Health Warrior sent me 15 of the Vanilla Almond and 15 of the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavored chia bars to test, as well as a fun marathon training coloring book. 

As you may recall, I’m not super picky about the specs of the food I’m eating – I don’t have any allergies or specific restrictions on my diet, and I mainly just try to avoid eating too much junk and processed foods. Given that Health Warrior products are so “clean,” and because sometimes things that are so clean taste gross, I was pleasantly surprised I liked them. A mid-afternoon Chocolate Peanut Butter binge has successfully replaced my routine raid of the candy drawer at my office. This makes me feel better about my life choices, and makes my actual body feel better. I also had Chris, my husband who’s less of a health nut than I am, try them. He actually enjoyed the Vanilla Almond flavor as well (dude amazingly doesn’t like peanut butter).

Of course, Health Warrior’s Chia Bars are largely comprised of chia seeds, which are rich in nutrients like fiber, anti-oxidants, protein, calcium, omega-3’s and healthier carbs. The goal is for the chia seeds to expand in your stomach and also make you feel fuller, without all of the extra calories and processed junk that makes other bars, well, bar-like. 

It’s also reassuring that I understand everything that’s in each of these bars. Everything is pronounceable, not that it’s a bad thing if there’s something that’s difficult to pronounce, as long as I know what it is.

In terms of when I eat them, I’ve tried a couple for breakfast, as a snack, and as a pre-workout fuel, and they’ve worked pretty well for all three. Because they are so high in fiber, I worried that they would not make a good source of pre-long-run fuel. However, they gave me a little extra burst of carbs without making me feel weighed down (and I didn’t have any GI issues, which I’m sure is the real question you all have). That says a lot – there are a ton of foods that I just can’t eat before a long run. Anything with any amount of dairy (aka most breakfast food), pop tarts, apples and oatmeal are all foods that work for other runners but are disastrous for me. These work for my running routine and that’s what’s most important. 

My one complaint is that I wish they had a bit more protein, as there are 110 calories in each and only 3-4 grams of protein (at least in the flavors I tried). For this reason, while they filled me up temporarily (thanks, chia seeds), and they filled me up more than chips or other junk I reach for when I’m unprepared, they didn’t keep me full for longer than similar protein-rich snacks. You can guarantee I’ll be trying out their Protein Bars when I finish the samples they gave me.

The other great thing about this company is that they understand how much of being healthy is mental. The branding of warrior is just something I like, but I really did find the coloring book to be therapeutic. It helps to visualize yourself as a warrior, cheesy as it sounds. 🙂 I’ve been goal setting and considering what will be a success at the upcoming Rock ‘n’ Roll race in San Antonio, and taking the time to color has been a big part of it.

#goals: to hit 2:20 this season, which may require a unicorn cloud of magic to accomplish.

You can try out samples of the different bars by visiting the Health Warrior website, and you only have to pay shipping and handling. Be sure to try the coloring book with this unique link: http://healthwarrior.link/colorbookbr They also sell them at Target, Whole Foods, Wegmans and Sprouts. To give you an idea of price, their sampler pack has gone for 16 bars for $19.99, though it’s currently sold out. That’s quite reasonable!

What’s your favorite pre-run food?

Cheers to finding something that makes my taste buds happy and keeps me healthy!

2017 Nutrabolt Oktoberfest Half Marathon Recap

Disclosure: I received a complimentary race entry for the Nutrabolt Oktoberfest Half Marathon 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! All opinions are my own.

As mentioned last week, I kicked off my racing season with the Nutrabolt Oktoberfest Half Marathon again this year, and was really looking forward to a well-run race with awesome swag. Well, Mother Nature had other plans – sadly, they ended up having to call off the race part. However, that made me realize just how much else a race does that makes it successful, so let me tell you about all of the parts that made me love this race even more.

Pre-race

Before race weekend, management was communicative well ahead of time. There aren’t many updates made to the website, so most of their communication was through email (for example, all parking information is sent via email). The race did a great job of notifying everyone via Facebook to check their email, so once I knew to do that, I had everything I needed in my inbox.

Additionally, the race also has social media giveaways just about every week, so there are really great opportunities to win everything from Lululemon to nutrition supplements. I love that they do this because it keeps everyone engaged!

They also partnered with the Stella Hotel in Bryan this year, to give runners a killer rate. I had to sign up a little later and missed out on this, but the hotel is normally over $200/night and it was under $130 a night if you signed up for the race’s block of rooms.

Expo

I mentioned last year that the expo was quite small, but they definitely stepped it up this year. It was still small relative to other expos, but they improved on variety and activities. There were booths representing nutrition supplements, head gear, a local running club and a local running store. The race also had a fun photo booth were you could get a nice printout to commemorate the event. Well done, guys!

Race Day Communication

This is where their excellent planning truly showed. When a cold front blows through right at start time, there’s not a whole lot you can do to control the situation, but you CAN communicate. Via social media and email they did let us know the race had been delayed multiple times (first to 8:00, then to 9:00). When we didn’t see any additional updates at 8:45, we figured they were probably only going to have minor delays, as it appeared to be clearing off slightly. We headed to the start line and they had just made the decision to call off the race. It was a bummer, but they made the best of it and ushered us all to the after party, which was still ready to go!

Post-race Party and SWAG

The post race party had all the bells and whistles, with delicious craft beer, plenty of food to go around, and of course, swag. Since I didn’t race, I decided to forgo some of the food this year (I had, after all, carb-loaded thinking I was going to be racing). I did, however, take full advantage of the swag.

They went ahead and handed out finisher medals – not totally sure how I feel about having a medal for a race I didn’t actually run, but it’s really pretty, so I decided not to be legalistic and took it. The medal was large, colorful and complete with a bottle opener. We also received really soft finisher’s tees (in some ways, I’d rather have more of these than tech tees, because they’re so darn comfy) and a sweet tote bag at the expo. They definitely think outside the box with race day swag.

Moral of the story: just because a race gets cancelled doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Race management handled a difficult, unpredictable situation well and I was impressed.

Have you ever had a race get cancelled? How did they handle it?

There’s always next year and I hope to be back. Cheers to that!