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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Came Early (thanks to Vega Sport)

Do you get excited when you get something in the mail? This is one of the reasons I love ordering things online. I love to get "fun" mail. I also love the holiday season because I get something "fun" in the form of a Christmas card almost every day.

A few weeks ago, I got something really fun in the mail. It was like Christmas came a little early. I got this box full of goodies. The type of goodies a runner loves. And since the box arrived, it has been the gift that keeps on giving (name that Christmas movie).

The box from was full of Vega products. It claims to be "the first complete natural, plant-based sport performance system." And based on my experience, I think it just might be.

I'll be honest. I was a little put off by the Vega name. I am not vegan or vegetarian. I like my meat. But then I realized a lot of sport nutrition products are probably vegan or vegetarian without even trying. So I have been adding the Vega products to my diet and workouts where they fit best. This has been made easier by the fact that each item is labeled with the purpose to Prepare, Sustain or Recover.

The first thing I tried before a run when I was seriously lacking energy was an Acai Berry Endurance Bar (also available in mocha). I couldn't get through the entire thing. I am not a fan of energy and protein bars that look like mashed up baby cereal with some dried fruit thrown in and shaped into a bar. The taste and texture just doesn't like my mouth. It reminded me of a Larabar, so if you like those, you will love Vega's Endurance Bars.

So I tried a Chocolate Coconut Protein Bar instead. And holy yum. This is exactly the kind of thing my mouth does like. And with chocolate coconut or chocolate saviseed to choose from, how could I be happier?

After another run, I tried a Performance Protein shake. It had a different taste than other protein shakes I have tried, which threw me at first. But it grew on me as I drank it. It mixed up well (a must!) and was pretty tasty. And it only has 120 calories and 0.6 grams of fat. The calorie total is pretty consistent with other protein drinks, but the fat content is lower, which I like. And it comes in vanilla, chocolate and berry, so everyone can be happy.

My next Vega experience was trying out the Acai Berry Pre-Workout Energizer (drink). When I dumped the powder into my cup, I was a little nervous because it literally looks like sawdust. It mixes up much better than I imagine sawdust would and tastes incredibly better. Yes, I've tasted sawdust.

The Electrolyte Hydrator (in lemon lime or pom-berry) also mixes up well and tastes great. And last but not least, the Recovery Accelerator (in tropical or apple-berry) and Endurance Gel (in raspberry or orange zest) go down easy and taste great, which says a lot coming from me since I am usually not big on fruity drinks and gels.

Vega products are clean nutrition to help you build and maintain health. Find out more at or (Twitter hastags: #VegaSport #AskVegaSport). Then try them yourself.!

*Fine Print: I was provided Vega products to try in exchange for my unbiased review.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The (Runner's) Christmas Song

Runners braving the elements,
boogers freezing in their nose.
Yuletide carols blasting through their headphones,
and toenails missing from their toes.

Everybody knows a Garmin and some chocolate GU,
help to make the run go right.
All the runnerds, with their eyes all aglow,
will run 'til they get that high.

They know that running makes their booty tight,
and crazy runners will even go at night.
And every runner's child is gonna spy,
To see if mommy or daddy runs by.

And so I'm offering this simple phrase,
to runners from one to 92...
Although it's been said, many times many ways
Happy Running to YOU.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Little Runnerd

The Princess got new running shoes the other day. The next morning, she woke me up to tell me she had learned how to tie her shoes. That is how excited she was to wear her new running shoes. There was no waiting for mom or dad to tie them. She was going to figure it out herself. And she did.

Then she wore her new shoes ALL day. And insisted on taking them for a real run on the treadmill. All the running and jumping around the house wasn't testing their run-ability enough for her. So she ran on the treadmill. 1/2 mile. And loved every minute of it. When I grabbed the camera to take her picture, she told me I should take pictures of her running and put them on my blog "to show everyone my little runnerd." Her words. Words that made me smile. A lot.

(She insisted on a picture of the tread. She likes every inch of her new Sauconys, even if she keeps forgetting how to say Saucony.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Race Report: Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

I know it has almost been a week since the RnR Las Vegas Marathon/Half Marathon, but it has been a busy month week. And it is still busy, so I'll do my best to keep it short.

We headed to Vegas on Saturday afternoon. I spent most of the drive playing on my phone and annoying the hubs. When we finally got there, we checked in at the hotel and headed to the expo, which fortunately was just across the street from our hotel.

I picked up my bib and then found out they had run out of goodie bags. LAME. So we wandered around for an hour, since that was all the time left before they started boxing up everything. And they didn't wait a minute past the 8:00 pm closing time. I tried to buy a t-shirt at the last minute, but they had already roped off the area and were herding people to the exit.

The expo was a little disappointing. I had pretty high expectations based on the size of the race and the comments from other people who have been to other RnR race expos. The view from our room, however, was not disappointing.

We slept in and had a late breakfast on Sunday. We did some window shopping and then headed to the hotel so I could get ready. I left the hotel just before 4 pm to get to the starting line by 5:30. It took me the entire hour and a half to get from my hotel to the start at Mandalay Bay. Then I couldn't find the gear check area, so I ended up at the starting line about 15 minutes after the first wave crossed the start and after being jostled and pushed and shoved into the bushes while trying to get there (I have the scrapes and bruises all over my legs to prove it). I finally made it into a corral and started running. Here are a few pics the hubs captured before I found him about two miles into the race:

The empty strip. The best part of the race by far.

Why it's nice to be fast.

Pretty much how crowded it was the entire race.

Running the strip at night.

After I found the hubs, I took off the shirt I had on under the one in this picture, told the guy yelling in my ear to stop screaming "WHAT CORRAL WERE YOU IN?" because it wasn't going to matter at this point, and kissed the hubs goodbye.

Shortly after that, I needed to pee. But I couldn't find a port-o-potty for six more miles. And I kept drinking at almost every aid station because I didn't want to get dehydrated. So when I finally found a line of potties at mile nine, I was pretty happy.

Because I wasn't racing, I was able to take my time to go potty, to walk through the aid stations and to chat with the hubs when I saw him. I also left my Garmin at home, so I just ran whatever pace felt comfortable. I could tell I was running slower than my usual pace, but I didn't care.

I finished in 2:18, my slowest half ever. But I am totally fine with my time. I wasn't as fine with the chaos as I crossed the finish and tried to find the hubs. You know it is bad when you plan to meet by the "M" in the family reunion area and you are both there for more than 15 minutes before you find each other. By the time we headed to Mandalay Bay to the gear check, I was freezing. My teeth were chattering and I was shivering from head to toe. And I had put on my coat by then. I felt so bad for anyone who was wearing shorts and a singlet.

When we finally weaved our way through gear check and back out of Mandalay Bay, we found the shuttle. It was a little bit of a walk, but it was better than walking all the way to our hotel or paying to wait for the Monorail again. My stomach started to bother me on the shuttle, so we headed to the public restroom inside the Venetian as soon as we got off the bus. That is when my body really became unhappy. I apologize in advance, but the truth is the proof that I was sick was coming out both ends. At the same time. And I'm not sure I have ever puked that hard or that long. It was actually not as entertaining as it sounds.

I thought it was really strange that my body was reacting like that after I took it so easy during the race. Then last night I read THIS article (after finding out about it on SUAR's blog). Basically, I was not the only one sick after the race. And there is suspicion that all the post-race sickness was caused by water handed out during the race that came from fire hydrants.

And because that wasn't enough, I developed a raging UTI on Monday. I can't decide whether to blame it on having to "hold it" for over an hour while running or on the water that caused all the other problems. Either way, it has taken all week and some strong antibiotics for my stomach to get back to normal, my kidneys to stop hurting and the urge to pee every 5 minutes to subside. Like I said, it has been a busy week.

How has your week been?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Future's So Bright...

I don't have an amazing outfit planned. I have only talked to one person about meeting up. And I haven't printed out (or even read) the race info I keep seeing in my email inbox. But I am running a race on Sunday and it is starting to sink in, if only because it forced me to do a load of laundry today so my running capris are clean to pack tomorrow. I also thought about the race a little while I was running this morning, debating whether or not to pack my Garmin. I am doing the race for fun, with no time goal in mind. So what do you think -- take the Garmin or leave it home? It would be my first half without it.

One thing I know I will be leaving home: my running sunglasses. I have a pair of Smith sunglasses I wear when I run. But with an evening start time, I don't think I will need them. Instead I'll be packing my awesome new(ish) Margaritaville shades.

Usually I wear a pair of $12 sunglasses I got at Aldo. I haven't had a pair of sunglasses that cost more than $25 for a really long time (other than the ones I wear running). Pretty much since I had kids. Between the little people at my house and my own klutziness, I can't bring myself to spend more. Then Margaritaville/Jimmy Buffet sent me a pair of their Calypso sunglasses.

They are awesome. Here are a few things that make them great:

MPT (Margaritaville® Polarized Technology) nylon lenses (Love Polarized lenses! They make the colors so pretty.)
100% UV A/B Protection (No crows feet!)
Heat Sculpted Polymer frame (Durable. Back to that having kids thing.)
SunGrip rubber nose pads (Stay in place. Gotta love that.)
SunGrip rubber temple tip insert (No headaches. My least favorite thing about most sunglasses is that my head starts to hurt after wearing them for very long.)
Spring hinges (Yay!)
Integrated Margaritaville® Leash System (Haven't used this yet, but it might come in handy someday.)
Island Style details (Refer to the pictures. Focus on the sunglasses, not the goofy grins.)
Ships with custom Margaritaville® Case and microfiber cleaning bag (Almost as awesome as the glasses.)

Margaritaville has a few pairs that look like they would be great to wear running, and they all have rubber grips and nose pads to keep them in place. So if you want to be cool like me, you WANT a pair of Margaritaville sunglasses. And they are 50 percent off right now for the holidays, so don't waste time heading to the web site to load up on sunglasses for everyone on your holiday shopping list (including yourself, of course).

*Fine Print: I was provided one pair of Margaritaville Eyewear in exchange for my unbiased review.

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