Swipe, Eat, Repeat

Not too long ago, I joined BASEendurance, a new company that hooks runners up with products they would actually use. (If you’re a runner and a blogger and are interested in signing up, check this out.) Anyway, I was able to try out this new product, Fuelstrip, through BASEendurance.

Fuelstrip is little strips that test your sweat to detect metabolites to determine when you need to fuel during activity. I used it during my run on Thanksgiving, but you can use it for any activity except swimming.

Ok, so here’s what you do: swipe one of these strips across your forehead every 15 minutes.

The strip will change to one of four colors and then you eat the amount of Fuelchews based on the color. Fuelchews are kinda like Gu Chomps, but not.

Anyway, I ran for 15 minutes then stopped to use my first strip. It was already yellow.

Somehow I doubted my need to eat two chews after only 15 minutes of activity but it probably had to do with my breakfast of Kix cereal and unsweetened almond milk instead of my usual 10+ mile breakfast of plain oatmeal or a low-sugar PB&J.

I ignored the strip and ran for another 15 minutes. The second Fuelstrip was green.

I brought the Fuelchews with me but wasn’t sure if I was going to eat them. (Remember, I can’t eat sugar when I’m running?) Since I was in a park and always, at most, one mile from a bathroom, I decided to play a little Russian Roulette with my stomach. I ate two chews instead of the recommended three, because three is just asking for a pants-pooping.

The Fuelchews were really good. They were easy to chew (like gum drops) instead of rubbery (like gummy bears). Now, I’m not saying this to blow sunshine up Fuelstrip’s, ahem, skirt – but I liked them way better than most of the other gummy-type chews out there. They didn’t stick to my teeth or take forever to chew.

After fueling, I ran for another 15 minutes, used another strip, and it was still green.

I ate one more Fuelchew, instead of the recommended three, and that was all my stomach could handle until I started feeling off.

I used one last strip 15 minutes later (still green) and finished up a seven miler way faster than I normally run.

That pace was probably a combination of the fueling and the 50 degree weather with a dash of me being generally awesome. ;-)

Since I was taking pictures during the run, I stopped to use the Fuelstrips. In a race situation, I wouldn’t want to stop. The strips are pretty small and I’d probably drop them. So that would be my only complaint. People will more coordination, I’m sure, wouldn’t have a problem. I did hear Fuelstrip is coming out with a bracelet unit early next year which sounds like a better option for the clumsy.

Overall, Fuelstrip made me realize that I need to eat way earlier than I have been during races. Usually I won’t eat anything until I’m seven miles in and that’s only if I’m struggling. Eating while running and I have a dicey relationship. I used the strips for my seven miler but I think these would be really great for marathon training so you know how to fuel for a long run. Plus, they’re so affordable that you don’t really have anything to lose.

I’m Bringing CamelBak

First let’s talk about training stuff. I was feeling generally lazy a fat-a-fied (new word!) on Sunday (my normal rest day), so I went to the gym for a 5 mile tempo run. Just before the run, I perfected the full body self-portrait.

Now I don’t have to subject you to these pictures anymore. Although, my hips look really thin in this picture and I assure you they are not. Hmmm. New rule! From now on, all pictures of me must be in aerial view.

The run looked like this:

  • Mile 1:   10:00 pace
  • Mile 2:   9:40 pace
  • Mile3:    9:30 pace
  • Thought I was going to die from all the alcohol Michelle plied me with the night before and walked half a mile. Then I got a second wind and decided to do 2 more miles instead of stopping.
  • Mile 4:   9:15 pace
  • Mile 5:   9:05 pace (8:49 pace for the last quarter mile)

*****

Last night was some strength training with our personal trainer.

4 fast sets of:

It usually takes me 24 hours to feel sore and I’m already feeling it this morning. That workout was a serious cardio/strength training combo!

*****

Why I Love Running with a Camelbak

During races (and even in my running group), I get a lot of questions about how I like running with a Camelbak.

 I’ve run half marathons with it and without it, but I always prefer running long distance with it. If the run is under 10 miles, I’ll usually carry a water bottle or nothing.

A reader even recognized me by my Camelbak in a race once. (Hi Shawntae!)

FAQs:

Does it flop around?
No. You just need to make sure you pull the straps tight enough so it doesn’t move. If you don’t pull the straps tight enough, you can get a rash, which happened after the Gasparilla Half Marathon.

Is it heavy?
It’s about as heavy as a kid’s backpack with two 16-oz bottles of water in it. Honestly, I never notice it. Of course I’d prefer to run with nothing, but that’s not realistic for my water needs.

How much water does it hold?
My Camelbak is a smaller one and holds around 40 oz. (Maybe 50 oz?)  There are larger Camelbaks out there that hold more water. My hubs has a larger one that’s much nicer than mine, but I like to keep it as light as possible.

Does it slow you down?
No. I’ve PRed in races wearing it and I’ve ran total crap races wearing it. Like I said, it’s not something I notice. However, an elitist would probably tell you differently.

Reasons I love Running with a Camelbak:

  • I don’t have to carry anything in my hands (my biggest running pet peeve) or use a hydration belt that’s too heavy to stay in place with my big hip/small waist ratio.
  • During races, water stations are too far apart for me. I generally drink a little water during every mile and water stations can be spaced 1.5-2.0 miles apart. In the Florida heat, that’s just not often enough.
  • I don’t have to wear a SPIbelt or iFitness belt. The belts don’t bother me to wear, but if my tummy decides to do the tango, I’d rather not have something tight and fitting around my midsection if you know what I mean.

 

  • If I’m doing a training run, the Camelbak allows me to run in areas where I don’t have to make sure there’s a water fountain on the path.
  • I can fuel whenever I want to. Gu, Shot Bloks, and other fuel are supposed to be taken with water. If I’m ready to fuel during a run, I don’t have to wait for a water station or water fountain.
  • The extra pockets on the Camelbak allow me to bring all sorts of stuff on my run that’s normally a pain in the ass to carry – my cell phone, extra food, *cough*toilet paper*cough*, body glide, keys, and a camera.
  • Photo opportunities like this:

Do you run with a Camelbak or other hydration pack?

What is the item you can’t run without?

Running Gear

If you’re a long distance runner, you know running gear is important. Since I started running races last year, I’ve spent a ton of money on running gear – some of it works and some of it doesn’t. I haven’t figured everything out yet, but here is what I have found that works for me.

 

CamelBak

 If I could pick one thing I couldn’t live without during long runs, it would be my CamelBak.

It looks nasty for a reason. I use it a LOT. I’ve run a few races without it but I’ve run most of my races with it. Florida is hot and water stations during a race every 1.5 or 2 miles doesn’t cut it. The races that I’ve run without my Camelbak have been miserable. I need constant hydration. Also, I need water when I fuel during a race, so without my CamelBak, I can only fuel at water stations which is never convenient.

My CamelBak doesn’t flop around when I’m running and it’s comfortable. Other pluses, there are pockets to keep extra fuel, my cell phone, and my keys.

Beth over at SwimBikeRunDC has a great hydration pack too, where the pockets are in front.

 

I’ve considered getting this one to try it out because every now and then I need to take my CamelBak off while running to get to my extra fuel. I wouldn’t have to do that with the pockets in front. Hmm, my birthday is coming up…

SPI Belt / iFitness Belt

I used my SPI Belt for most of my races. It was good for my camera and some fuel but I always had a problem with it flopping around if I had more than one thing in it. So, I would have to arrange the stuff inside just so, so it wouldn’t move.

Enter iFitness belt.

I bought this one at the Iron Girl Half Marathon and  like it much better. It stays in place and has 2 pockets – one for fuel and one for my camera. I don’t have to worry about my Sports beans falling out if I just want to take a picture and I don’t have to take my camera out if I just want some sports beans. I have a bigger camera now and the iFitness belt still doesn’t move while I’m running unlike the SPI Belt which is a big ole floppy mess. If you want one and are trying to decide between the two, go for the iFitness belt.

Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS Watch

My Garmin is a must. My Garmin tracks my speed, distance, calories, route, and more. You can see my review of it here if you’re interested. It keeps me working toward my goal pace or lets me know if I’m starting off too fast. Any runner who wants to track progress should have one of these.

My Garmin also stresses me the eff out. But that’s another story.

Knuckle Lights

Normally during my nighttime runs, I carry a flashlight for those areas that aren’t well lit. The last thing I need to do is trip (typoed that as “strip” by the way) on some huge crack in the sidewalk and take a dive. I’ve never been a fan of running with anything in my hands. So, I was happy to run across a Knuckle Lights coupon in my Myrtle Beach Mini-Marathon swag bag.

Knuckle Lights are great because I don’t have to hold them and they are easy to turn on and off. You can see my review of Knuckle Lights here.

Pepper Spray

Because I run at night, I always run with pepper spray in my hand. The area around my house is fairly dark and you never know what’s lurking around the corner. If you run at night and don’t run with some type of protection like this, get it now. Better safe than sorry.

RoadID

Sorry potential stalkers, no personal information for you.

Road ID is another safety precaution. The bracelet contains all my personal information and is readily available for a studly EMT when I pass out and need mouth-to-mouth. It’s also helpful because I don’t have to carry my driver’s license, so I have less of a chance of losing it.

My ID contains pertinent information on all lines.

  • My name/Year of birth
  • Town where I live
  • Home Phone
  • Husband’s cell
  • Mom’s cell
  • That I have no known allergies (NKA) and my blood type

Sure, I could have just my husband’s cell phone on there but if he’s not available, my mom can get a hold of anyone else I know.

When you order a RoadID, the Web site gives suggestions of what to put on the ID. One of the suggestions is an “inspirational phrase.” Well, I’m sure the EMT doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your inspirational phrase and I’m sure as hell not reading my RoadID every time I put it on. If I can suggest anything when ordering one of these, it’s to use EVERY LINE for emergency information. Having your blood type or your known allergies on your ID is going to save your life a lot faster than a phrase that says, “I love running! Weee!”

Clothes

Florida is hot as balls, so I like my running clothes to be as light as possible. A moisture wicking material is best, and cotton is the worst. A lot of people swear by Nike Tempo Shorts, but they look and feel awful on me. Not only do they make my ass look huge because I’m curvy and don’t weigh 90lbs, but unless I want to make a fire with my thighs, I cannot wear them.

Here are a few of my favorite running clothes.

Champion Running Shorts

These shorts aren’t so short that my thighs rub together and the material is really thin which keeps all my lady bits nice and cool. 

Champion Running Tops

My favorite top ever. I have 6 of those and I’d buy more if they were still on the Champion Web site. The top is a sports bra and fitted and the bottom is loose. Most long running tops don’t work on me. I have big hips and an ultra small waist, so everything rides up and ends up looking like the world’s worst half shirt. And no one wants that.

Lululemon Top

I just bought this top while I was in California (but mine is in light girly pink.) This will cost you your first born child, but holy shiz is it the most comfortable running top I have EVER felt. It’s light and moisture wicking, but it FEELS like cotton. It has a drawstring at the bottom if you want to tighten it. I would have gotten more than one, but paying rent seemed to win over that decision.

Old Navy Sports Bras

 

 

I haven’t found anything more comfortable. I have 4 of these and I keep buying more when they go on sale. Old Navy seriously needs to get this in more colors and stop making them in retarded patterns, because I would buy them all.

Running Shoes

I’ve been through a lot of running shoes and even did a post on it here. If you’re going to run – at all – you need a good, supportive pair of shoes. I don’t care if they cost $2.00 or $200.00. If they work for you, you will be so much happier. I ran in the wrong pair of shoes for so long and I had no idea the difference the right pair makes until I found them.

Here they are. I love you Mizuno.

 

What are your favorite pieces of running gear that you can’t live without?

Short Reviews: SPIbelt, RoadID, Nathan Water Bottle

Workout:  Ran outside 10.1 miles (97 min)

This run sucked. I was all gung-ho to get out there but once I started, it was rough. I probably wouldn’t have done the full 10 miles if it wasn’t for me parking the car, running 5 miles out, and needing to get back.

I ran on Cady Way Trail, which was most of the course of the Baldwin Park Half Marathon that I ran in November. I didn’t take pictures during that race, so I thought I would get some today.

I thought that I would do a couple quickie reviews of some of the running gear that I use particularly since I was like a Christmas Tree of running gear today.

First up, my new handheld water bottle. (If you missed my Garmin review, click HERE.)



The Good:

  • It’s much easier to carry than a regular water bottle.
  • It has a pocket to carry small items.
  • The sport top makes it easy to drink out of.

The Bad:

  • The pocket is small, so you can only fit one or two small items in it, like a key and one Gu. I used it for my Driver License.
  • You’re still holding a bottle during your run.

I think I’ll use this one on shorter runs when I know there will be no water fountains, and start using my CamelBak again for longer runs. After about 8 miles, it gets tiresome to hold. But I’m also still hurting from Friday’s chest/back/tricep weights workout, so that probably didn’t help.

Next Up, my SPIbelt. (SPI stands for Small Personal Item

Can you see it? It’s the purple thing. Love looking like I’m taking a picture of my junk in public.

The Good:

  • The band is elastic and adjustable.

The Bad:

  • You can’t keep much more than a cell phone in it without it bouncing around. It’s probably better for an ID, a key, and a Gu (the lighter weight stuff).
  • If you have bigger hips and a smaller waist (like me), it will eventually ride up.

I used to use the belt for my phone before I had a Garmin. I have the Droid X, and that’s all that could fit in there. Today I used it for my camera. I have to keep it really low on my hips to keep it from riding up, otherwise I become the Urkel of SPIbelts.
And lastly, my RoadID.


I love my RoadID, and I think anyone who runs, walks, swims, or bikes outside should have one for safety reasons. I have the WristID Sport. The Sport has a velcro closure and can be itchy. 
I would recommend getting the WristID Elite. The Elite band is rubber and probably similar to a LiveStrong wristband (but adjustable). Once I find a coupon code that saves me more than just a few dollars, I’ll buy the Elite.

Garmin 405 Review

I’ve had my Garmin for over six months now and feel like it’s a good time to do a review. I have the green Garmin Forerunner 405. I bought it off of BodyTronics.com for $194.00 (I think) although, it’s a few dollars cheaper now. (I do not have the heart rate monitor.)

This post was updated on 4/19/11.

The Good:

  • This has been an awesome replacement for what I was using – a Nike ID and iPod. I also used the free Runkeeper app on my Droid (which I liked, but carrying my phone all the time was a hassel).
  • It’s smaller than most GPS watches.
  • Personally, I like that it’s green. There isn’t much variety when it comes to color I’ve noticed, so this one caught my eye.
  • It’s accurate. I’ve run with this and other GPS trackers and it seems like this one is the closest to measuring the actual distance.
  • It’s super easy to upload your runs to your computer where you can view your pace per lap, average pace, map of your run, and more.

The Bad:

    • You can change the display to track 1, 2, or 3 items such as distance, time, pace, etc. The screencap below has three items tracked – the time, pace, and distance. The size of the time is great, but it’s difficult to take a quick glance and see your other stats.
  • The bezel (the silver ring around the watch) is what you use to scroll through menu options. I’ve had a problem with it since the beginning. It’s really hard to get the bezel to go to the menu option I want. I have a hard time viewing my laps because I can’t get to the next one.
  • Loose clothing can change the screen if you don’t have the bezel locked. I’ve had difficulty getting back to the main screen during a run and have had to forfeit looking at my pace. 
  • Keeping the bezel locked is a good way to prevent the screen from changing, however the back light cannot be turned on if the bezel is locked. Not a problem unless you do a lot of nighttime running like me.
  • I wear the watch on the underside of my wrist because the watch aggravates my wrist bone if I don’t.
  • If you sweat heavily (which I often do), the bezel isn’t as reactive. I’ve had a lot of problems with this lately on my runs now that the weather is getting more hot and humid.

Overall, if you are looking to buy a Garmin, I would say definitely do it. But I would suggest getting the Forerunner 305 instead. It’s bigger, it’s uglier, but it’s more user friendly. And it costs about half the price. Most importantly…no bezel. The function buttons are on the side.

Running at Night

I do a lot of night running. I wish I could get up in the morning and run before work but 9 times out of 10 10 times out of 10, it doesn’t happen.

I watch too many movies so of course everytime I run at night, I’m positive that it will be the time I’m kidnapped and thrown into the trunk of a car. Needless to say, I have a couple safety rules that I always follow:

  • No music.
  • Be hyper aware. (I can zone out when I run, so I make sure I’m always scanning the area.)
  • Wear my RoadID.
  • Bring my cell phone.
  • Bring my pepper spray.
  • Bring my flashlight.

The pepper spray and flashlight are always in my hands, and I’m not a fan of carrying things when I run, so I was super excited when I found Knuckle Lights.

I found an ad for Knuckle Lights in my swag for the Myrtle Beach Mini-Marathon back in October. It included a $10 off coupon code.
This bad boy has been on backorder for two months. Because of my patience, they sent me a sweet little Knuckle Lights water cannister and a personal thank you note along with the product.

Before I go on, just know that I have absolutely no affiliation with this company. I just think they have amazing customer service. When I got the $10 off coupon, I was on vacation. The coupon expired before I got home so my friend Michelle suggested I write the company and ask if they would extend the coupon. So I did. I got an email back from the president of the company the same day with a new online coupon code. Sweet.

The company also kept in contact with me to assure me that my order would be fulfilled and I was welcome to get a refund and order again at another time, or just wait until the shipment came in.

Knuckle Lights are $39.99 and come in a pack of two. They come in a few colors: pink, yellow, black, blue, and silver.

I got pink cuz I’m all sorts of girly like that.

They fasten to your hand by a little buckle that you can tighten/loosen.

And the on/off button can be reached by your thumb.


They run on 2 AAA batteries (not included…boo.)

I’m super psyched to try these out. I’ve been using this little flashlight my mom gave me for the longest time and it is ready to be put down like a rabid dog.

Oh, and here’s a picture I just took of myself. I couldn’t let the Knuckle Lights get all the attention.

I didn't wash my hair today. Or my body.