Sunday, April 9, 2017

Xterra Black Mountain 15K Recap

Last month, I won a race entry to the Xterra Black Mountain event from Movin Shoes- I was excited to explore a new to me trail and I have heard great things about Xterra events.  To help get ready for the event, a couple weeks prior  the race I joined Movin Shoes at their Hoppy Trails event to do a preview run of the course.  I’m definitely glad I did the preview run—it helped prepare me for race day.

The pre-race communication was good and frequent—they kept us up to date on all the important information, including weather, parking and directions to the start area.  It was recommended that we arrive early for parking—the lot adjacent to the park was a little small, but a shuttle was also available at a nearby school.  I arrived with plenty of time to spare. Check-in and bib pickup were scheduled to start at 7am, but this actually opened early.  I love that they were not only prepared, but they were ahead of schedule.  After getting my bib and shirt, I headed pack to my car to get race ready.  I still had plenty of time so I headed over to the Movin Shoes booth to hang out before the race.  

The Course
The Xterra Black Mountain event has a 5K which started at 8:30am and a 15K which started at 8:00am.  I was running the 15K.  Thirty minutes prior to the first start time, they made some announcements/reminders and before I knew it, we were ready to run.  Since I had recently run the course, I knew what to expect.  The first mile or so was pretty congested but not overwhelmingly so.  There were about 250 runners in the 15K and 150 runners in the 5K.

On the course, there were three aid stations offering both water and Gatorade.  Although I carry my own hydration, I always take some from the aid stations so I can ration mine as needed.  There was also one street crossing with volunteers stopping traffic and directing us across.  The volunteers were so friendly and encouraging.  

Having run this course prior to the race, I knew that I would be dreading the end.  Although the race communications offerer a “fairly flat and fast course,” there are some pretty intense inclines, especially at the end.  But I pushed through and my time was definitely better than it was at the course preview. 

Once we crossed the finish line and received our medal, there was a the post race area offering different treats.  I enjoyed a vegan breakfast burrito and some oranges, as well as a sample of Naked mango protein shake.  I hung out and watched the award ceremony and it was fun—I usually leave right after a race so it was a nice change to see it all.  Because it’s a smaller race, there was definitely a different vibe.    

Overall, I really enjoyed this race.  Although the course is moderately challenging, it also pushes you to be a stronger runner.  All the recent Southern California rains made the views beautiful—the wild flowers were in full force.  The event was organized and everyone I encountered was so friendly. If you ever have the chance to do an Xterra race, you should check it out.  I know I’ll be looking to see what other Xterra events I can add to my calendar.  

What's the most challenging course you’ve run?  Until next time, happy running.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

CLICK Active Review

Coffee is my friend, so when I was given the opportunity through Sweat Pink to try CLICK Active, a protein mix that has coffee in it, I was was excited.  Although I received the product for review, all opinions are my own.

Coffee and Protein—was it too good to be true?  I start most mornings with a protein shake.  Sometimes I add cold coffee to my shakes to give myself a little boost. So how much coffee are we talking about?  According to their website, CLICK has “150 mg of caffeine from pure, premium espresso coffee to boost alertness, improve performance and decrease recovery time. Natural caffeine from real coffee, not synthetic caffeine or added coffee flavor.”

When I received the canister of CLICK, it also came with a shaker bottle.  Although I have a few of these, I was excited for the purple color of the shaker bottle.  (Purple is my jam!). The canister lists three different ways to prepare the powder and I decided to try all three.

Using the shaker bottle, I added some water, ice and my measured out the CLICK using the scoop in the canister.  I was pleasantly surprised at how fine the powder is—it dissolved nicely and didn’t clump to the bottom as I drank it.  The taste was good, not overly coffee nor overly mocha.  Some protein mixes have a chalky taste and this did not.  I typically don’t like protein mixes in the shaken form but have had it three times this week served this way.  So easy and so good- perfect for those mornings when you're in a hurry!

Because there is coffee in the mix, it makes sense that you could drink this hot.  In order to fairly give my opinion, I decided to try it this way too.  After heating up some water and adding the CLICK, it was a go.  It was okay, but in all honesty, this was my least favorite way to drink the CLICK.  That being said, I am not a huge fan of hot coffee and very seldom drink it.  

The final way that you can prepare the CLICK is to blend it.  The first time I blended it, I just used some ice and water—it reminded me of a blending drink from a local coffee shop.  Yum!  The next couple of times I switched it up, adding frozen fruit and such.  My favorite way was with a frozen banana and a little bit of peanut butter.  So delicious!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with CLICK Active.  It doesn’t have that power/chalky taste that many protein mixes do.  I’ve been drinking it everyday for almost two weeks and I’ve noticed that I haven’t been having my daily coffee.  The CLICK is giving me the right amount of boost that I need. 

Are you a coffee drinker? If not, how do you get that extra boost?

Until next time, happy running.

Ultra Runner Crate

A few weeks ago, I went on Instagram to see if anyone I knew has tried the Ultra Runner Crate subscription box.  I was intrigued at the idea...