Monday, November 10, 2014

Powered by Bits: Review and Giveaway of Energy Bits!

There are about a billion energy replacement products on the market. From gels, chews and drinks to beans, blocks and bites, you definitely have a variety of products to choose from. In my experience, some are fantastic while some are not so fantastic. For someone like me, with an extremely weird stomach and a major sensitivity to sugars, it can be a full-time job trying all of these different products, often ending with some not so pleasant results. So when the awesome folks over at Energy Bits contacted me to try their products for endurance and recovery, I jumped at the chance.

I have to admit that I had never heard of Energy Bits before they got in touch. But after reading through the information on their website, as well as the information they sent me, I was intrigued and excited to try their product. What is it? Well, they're bits! Little bits of algae. You're probably thinking, "Um, gross?" And I'll admit, I was a little weirded out myself at first. But after reading through the information about fueling workouts with algae, I was ready to give it a try.

Algae is a very nutrient-rich food source, packed with protein and glucose, both of which are necessary for endurance athletes. Algae is pure amino acids, which can be broken down very quickly to glucose. This allows quick energy during your workout. I'm sure you've heard that taking in protein while running can be hard on the body. This is true if you're taking in animal protein. It takes quite some time to digest animal protein sources into usable amino acids while the plant-based protein in algae (already usable amino acids), is digested into glucose in minutes, providing fast fuel when you need it most. In addition, algae is high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as B vitamins, nitric oxide and iron, all of which help convert the glucose into energy and reduce muscle and brain fatigue. This little bits pack a bug punch and are definitely worth trying.

Bits do take some practice to eat. In fact, you don't really eat them but swallow them whole. If you have trouble taking pills, this may be an issue for you. The first time I took them, I thought I was going to choke but then I got a system down. First, take a drink of water to wet your mouth and throat. Swallow the Bits. You can either throw them all down at once (30 Bits are a serving) or take them in shifts. I found taking most, if not all, at once was easiest. However you take them, be sure to chase them with plenty of water. You don't really taste anything this way. But if you let the Bits linger, you will taste a salty, seaweed-like taste. I eat a lot of sushi and nori, so it doesn't really bother me. But tasting this at 5:00am before a run is a different experience entirely ;)

I've now used bits on 4 runs of varying distances: a 4-mile, 8-mile and 10-mile run on roads and a 15-mile run on trails. For the 4-mile run, all I had right before the run were the Bits. I took one serving of Bits (30 bits) about 15 mins before the feet hit the ground. These are a really good option if you if you can't wake up in time to eat anything before your run, but know you should because it would help you feel better while running ;) For the 8- and 10-mile runs, I took one serving of Bits right before the run. This was in addition to a pre-run breakfast of toast that I ate about an hour before the Bits. I drank my yummy Skratch Labs sports drink throughout the run. Between the Bits and the Skratch, I did not need any additional fuel. I felt great throughout the entire run and never had any real energy issues. In fact, that 8-mile run was shortly after running the Marine Corps Marathon, and I was afraid I hadn't given myself enough time to recover. But I felt great and I know the Bits had a lot to do with it. I hadn't tried them on enough runs before the marathon, or I would have used them during that race too.

For the 15-mile run on trails, I took one serving of Bits before the run (in addition to a half-PB sandwich and hour before) and another half-way through the run. Because trails require a little more fuel (you burn more calories because of all the varying terrain, lateral movement and more), I did take in more calories (mainly from Skratch and energy chews). It was a hot, humid day on the trails in the Cleveland National Forest. Tons of climbs and lots of sunshine. It was a tough run because of the conditions, but I think the Bits really helped keep my energy up. I felt fairly good most of the time, especially considering the conditions.

I'm pretty much sold on Bits. I think they're a great way to get instant fuel in a healthy, chemical-free way. In fact, I've enjoyed running with Bits so much, I'll be partnering with them in the future to giveaway samples to my running groups and clients, as well as offer a discount code for anyone anywhere to try them. For now, you have the opportunity to win a sample prize pack right here. Simply enter using the Rafflecopter below. Good luck! You have until midnight Friday, November 14 to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Chia Seed Pudding

Even though, as I'm writing this, it's close to 90 degrees in the San Diego area and I'm wearing shorts and a tank top, Fall is supposedly upon us. There's pumpkin-flavored stuff everywhere to remind us that it is, indeed, Fall. Most of the pumpkin-flavored stuff out there grosses me out as it's not really pumpkin but true, pure pumpkin is a wonderful addition to snacks and meals. Not only is it yummy but it is one of the best foods out there; a Superfood, if you will. I've written articles about the pumpkin, I've posted recipes including pumpkin and I'm about to add to my pumpkin repertoire. I came across this recipe on a whim and I had to try it. I've modified it some and the result is some pretty awesome stuff. It feels decadent and naughty but this gem is less than 300 calories per 1 cup and makes for a great breakfast or snack. It's loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and healthy fats, so don't feel badly eating it. Enjoy it and when you're done, feel free to lick the bowl. I did :)

Pumpkin Pie Chia Seed Pudding
This makes about 4 1-cup servings

1 cup light coconut milk (the canned kind)
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (look for one without added artificial ingredients like this one from Frontier)
5 medjool dates, pits removed
3 tablespoons chia seeds

Add everything but the chia seeds to a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until everything is smooth, combined and thick. Pour the mixture into a bowl or container that can be sealed. Add the chia seeds and stir well to combine. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and stir again to be sure the chia seeds are mixed throughout (the often settle to the bottom). Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but the longer the better as the chia seeds will expand. The more time they have to expand, the more your pudding will actually have a pudding-like consistency. I topped mine with a dash of cinnamon and some pumpkin seeds but add some fresh fruit or coconut cream for some added decadence. YUM! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Momentum Jewelry giveaway!

I was so excited to get the mail yesterday as my shiny new Momentum Wrap bracelet and Foot Note charm arrived!

I came across the company kind of randomly on another blog (which I don't remember or I would link it!) and after reading about them, I contacted the company right away. Momentum - Designs that Move You - is a small women-owned business born during a workout (just like mine!). They make beautiful workout-friendly items that will inspire you both while you're running your long run and running your errands. And they donate 5% of their profits to Action for Healthy Kids, a national non-profit helping kids lead healthier, more active lives. Pretty awesome.

After contacting Amy and gushing to her about how awesome I thought her company was, we arranged for me to do a product review and giveaway of their awesome wrap bracelet or foot note charm. Yay! And thank you! They make it super easy to pick out your bling. You can choose an oval, rectangle or copper plate for your saying. They have several sayings you can choose from such as "Live Fearlessly" and "Make it Happen" or you can have your own custom saying placed on the plate for $4. Then you choose your wrap color. They have black, olive, eggplant, cardinal red, hot pink and teal. For my bracelet, I chose the eggplant wrap (I do love me some purple) and I chose to have a custom word on my bracelet: "Believe." There is NOTHING you can't do when you believe in yourself. If you truly believe you can do something, whether it's running a race, climbing a mountain, giving a speech or dealing with newborn twins + 1, you can conquer anything. I remember one day early in my twins' lives where I had to take them to a pediatrician check up and I had to take my oldest with me. By myself. Two newborns and a high-energy 5-year-old at the doctor's office. By myself. And if you've ever had a baby, you know they get shots fairly often so there were shots involved (times two) plus my son running around the place like it was a playground. I had to deal with it all by myself. Did I mention I was by myself? Anyway, after everything was done and I got everyone in the car, I sat in the driver's seat and just said to myself, "I can do this." It was a moment for me. It opened the door for me to believe in myself and that however hard things seem to be, I can do it. This may seem like a ridiculous thing to be proud about, but it was a huge victory for me. Running a marathon is easy compared to twins + 1. Seriously.

My bracelet is so beautiful. I put it on and right away I noticed just how soft the fabric is. It IS like getting a hug from a bracelet (it says this on the package!). But what's more important is that it will fit ANYONE! I have small wrists and have a hard time finding bracelets that fit me well without flying all over my arm and even falling off. With this wrap, you wrap it around your wrist until you get it at the right size for you. And once it's on, you don't even feel that it's there. But I love being able to look down and see the word "Believe." It makes me smile every time I look at it. And I've received several compliments on it already, from my clients and friends to my kids! I can't wait to see how the girls I coach for Girls on the Run like it!

During my workouts, it was great having the bracelet on. Just knowing that word is there fills me with motivation. I can't wait to wear it for my next race. Being able to look at my wrist and get instant inspiration is going to be huge. Practically speaking, the bracelet doesn't chafe or get annoying since it doesn't move. The fabric is moisture-wicking, which is great since I sweat like a hog. You hand-wash the material when you're done and let it air dry. Easy peasy.

For my foot note charm, I chose a single charm though you can get a pair of charms. I chose their saying, "Be Brave." Just like with their bracelets, they have several sayings to choose from or you can have your own saying added for a $4 charge. I chose "Be Brave," because there is a choice you have to make every time you face something challenging. You either choose to walk away out of fear or you be brave and face it. It doesn't mean you're not afraid, it just means you're going to face it. When I'm running and I want to give up, now I can look down and decide to be brave instead of giving up. I love this little charm because it's so simple yet makes a big impact. It's easy to slip onto your laces and will provide miles of motivation. And all Momentum's plates are lightweight and will not tarnish.

And now that you know all about the wonderful-ness of Momentum jewelry, it's your chance to win some for yourself or someone you think will love it. You can win either a Motivate Wrap or Foot Note Charms of your choosing! You can enter through this Rafflecopter system so your entry is counted! Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

If you can't wait for the giveaway results, or if you don't win :( Momentum has wonderfully provided me with a discount code. Use MOTIVATEME15 for 15% off your website order (from now until 1/1/15).

The winner will be announced Monday, November 10th. It starts tonight at midnight and you have until midnight Sunday, the 9th, to enter. Winners will be contacted through email (be sure there’s a way to contact you when you enter!) and will have 24 hours to respond. If I don’t receive a response, another winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Monday, November 3, 2014

California 10/20 10-miler Training Program announced!

An all-new training program is set and ready for roll-out! We are excited to announce our next training program for the super awesome California 10/20 10-miler! This race is now in its second year and many of the first-year kinks have been worked out. My biggest complaint was having to pay for parking at the race expo held at the Fairgrounds. Well, as if reading my mind, race organizers moved packet pick-up to Road Runner Sports, San Diego. Score!

Our program will be a 12-week program, meeting Sundays starting November 30th at Moonlight Beach, Encinitas. We'll be training along the race course every weekend, ensuring your familiarity and comfort with the course come race day. You'll know the course like the back of your hand so there will be no surprises come race day. In addition, you'll receive a detailed training plan, weekly coached runs, weekly newsletters, information sessions on running form, nutrition, hydration, injury prevention and management and so much more. You'll also receive a discount on race registration as well as discounts on gear from the Running Center in Carlsbad. There's also tons of product samples, giveaways and a tech t-shirt for all participants. Not to mention motivation, guidance, support and encouragement along the way. Oh and FUN!!

Here are the details:

What: 12 Week 10-miler Running Program
When: November 30th through February 15th
Where: Moonlight Beach, Encinitas
Time: Every Sunday at 8:00AM (some runs will meet on Saturdays instead, dates TBD)
Price: $100 (race registration is not included)

Register online:
More details on our website. Go there now!