Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Athlete Interview: Paul Starling

This past weekend, a Twitter friend of mine ran a 24 hour race in North Carolina.  Paul Starling is 47 years old and has been running since high school days when he competed in track and cross country. His marathon debut was in 2002 and he ran his first ultra in 2008.  Currently, he has run 37 marathons and 35 ultra races.  Last year, at the 2013 Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra Classic, Paul ran 101.36 miles.  Below is a Q & A I did with him just after this weekend when he went back to Hinson Lake.

Paul at the Gator Trail 50k at Lake Waccamaw, NC - 1st place masters winner!
Brad Zinnecker/Trail Running Faith:  Paul, tell us about your most recent race, why did you choose it and what were your goals going into it?

Paul Starling:  My most recent race was the Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra Classic in Rockingham, NC.  I chose it for several reasons.  It costs only $24---$1/hour!  It is located about 1 hour 45 minutes from my home.  And finally, my past experience with it having run it last year.  My goal going into it was to surpass last years mileage of 101.36 miles.  However, I fell short with 79.5 miles this year.

Brad:  What went well?  What did you learn?  What would you do differently?

Paul:  The first half in daylight went well.  I had a friend to come pace with me.  I learned I needed more sleep the night before the race.  I had tried but only got around an hour.

Brad:  That night before a race is always tough with sleep.  I've heard it said that the night's sleep before doesn't matter as much as the night two days before the race and/or consistently good sleep leading into the race, perhaps during the taper.  But, still, one hour isn't much.  You mentioned the race was tough when we communicated with one another on Twitter.  What was tough about it?

Paul:  It was tough for several reasons.  The obvious lack of sleep.  When the sun went down, my body just didn't want to keep going.  The heat of the day---I do not do well in hot races.  I got sick during the night, becoming nauseated and having dry heaves.

Brad:  Yeah, I can see how the lack of sleep mixed with heat could lead to some unpleasant experiences.  Dry heaving is the worst.  I hate that.  So physically exhausting yet with little, if any, relief for the body.  We know that suffering and endurance are part of ultra & trail running, as well as life.  What do you think we learn through suffering and endurance in running that crosses over to life and vice versa?

Paul:  Life is hard!  We all know that.  Running ultras is also hard.  I have had to learn to endure the pain and suffering in these races just as in life.  Sometimes you have others to help you along, at other times you have to do it alone---the alone time helps develop patience.

Brad:  For sure.  Do you think that trail & ultrarunning can help us confront our struggles in life?

Paul:  Yes, I feel ultra runners have a lot of determination---a characteristic needed to help overcome the struggles of life.  Often I find myself thinking about life's problems while out running. It seems to help clear the mind and help me think about how to work through them.

Brad:  That's true for a lot of people.  Do you think that as suffering pushes us in endurance, endurance can lead us to joy?

Paul:  Absolutely!  If I didn't find joy in running there would be no way I would be running these crazy distances.  The reward of pushing through those difficult moments is very gratifying and many moments are shared with people I truly love.  My running friends are some of the most cherished people in my life and with the shared experiences comes much joy.

Brad:  That's awesome!  And I totally agree.  Those moments of coming across the line and seeing loved ones you care about, who are excited to see you finish and may have been part of your inspiration, is wondrous and awesome, even if we look and feel like death warmed over!

  Paul and his buddy, Nathan running the Virginia 24 Hour Run for Cancer in Hampton, Virginia.

Continuing on, how do you manage through the tough spots of a race?  Life?

Paul:  I manage the tough spots in a race because I've put in the work---training!  It helps prepare me for those moments.  My past experiences going through tough times reminds me that I can do it again.  I also have support of others which encourages me to keep on pushing.  I also draw strength from my faith in God and often find myself singing songs.  One of my favorites is "You Are My All in All."  I like the lines---

"You are my strength when I am weak,
When I fall down you pick me up,
And when I am dry you fill my cup."

This speaks to me physically and spiritually.

Brad:  Totally makes sense when you are running.  How many of us have been dry, weak, or fallen down, perhaps all in the same race.  The same is true in life, how many run around dry, weak, and falling down, looking for someone to sustain them.  God does that, He made us to be satisfied in Him and Him alone to paraphase Augustine in the beginning of his Confessions.  

Paul, what brings you purpose and joy in life?  Where/how/in what do you find joy?

Paul:  My faith in God brings me great joy and purpose along with my family and friends.  I work as a teacher assistant in an elementary school so I find great purpose in my job.  I certainly find purpose in my running as it motivates me---I love competing!---and it helps me stay healthy.

Brad:  Paul, thanks for your willingness to respond to my questions, especially so soon after such a tough weekend.  I truly appreciate your time and honest responses.  Good job this weekend in tough circumstances.  Hopefully sometime I can make it down to North Carolina and meet up with you for a run or race!  Keep on moving!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Scouting Trail for Next Year's Trail Race in Hardin County

Today was the second time in three days that I spent some time scouting trail for a trail race next year in Hardin County, Iowa, just north of Steamboat Rock.  Wednesday two guys that work for Hardin County Conservation and I toured potential trails on the east side of the Iowa River in the Sac & Fox Overlook and Sand Springs areas.  

This morning, one of those guys and I went back and looked at the west side of the Iowa River in the Pine Ridge area of conservation land.  Below are some of the pictures I got with my GoPro which was set to go off at 30 second intervals.
This trail heads up from where the race could start from below in the Pine Ridge campground.
After continuing up a bit and passing a pond on the left, the trail opens up like this...
...and into more open prairie like this.
Eventually you come to a hill that we could mow a path down and go through the trees way down into more open prairie!
Coming back up that hill could route you back around to a hill that would take you down to the Iowa River thru the woods.
You can see the river thru the woods.
For the longer race, we'd like to find a low spot and cross the Iowa River and run into Sac & Fox and Sand Springs.
What goes down must go up, just to the left, steeply up thru the trees---we were huffing!
View from the top is awesome and looks into Sac & Fox.  The strip off right of center is the path up to the overlook at Sac & Fox.
More prairie running.
You can just see the pond off to the right of the trees as we head back to the car.  There's also another loop near that hidden in the woods we'd probably use but didn't have time to hike today.
Heading back to the potential starting area...and my hand!!! :)

Just a few shots to whet your appetite and get them out there for people.  We really want this race to benefit Hardin County Conservation and showcase the great trails and potential enjoyable usefulness of the Pine Ridge, Sac & Fox, and Sand Springs areas near Steamboat Rock, Iowa.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Summer Racing Season, Part 4b: The North Face Endurance Challenge Series Wisconsin, (TNF ECS WI), Trail 5K, September 14, 2014

It was 3 am and I was sitting in a tub of hot water eating Nutter Butters.  It was barely more than 12 hours since I had finished TNF ECS WI trail marathon and had PRed by just over 10 minutes.  Now I needed to get up in about 3 hours to get ready to run and help my eldest daughter finish her first 5K.  But, I wasn't asleep, instead I was trying to relax my legs so I could sleep while satisfying my hunger from being calorie deprived due to the stress of the marathon.

Out of the tub, I quietly slid back into bed, careful not to wake my wife or the kids that were in this room with us.  Then, BAM!  6 am and my alarm went off.  "Oh man," I thought, "I've got to go race again...I'm so tired."  

We got around, had breakfast, moved everything from one room into the other since we could only get an extension on 1 of the 2 rooms we had booked.  Then back down the road to the race start.  

My middle son would start running before us as he was competing in his first 10K.  The clock counted down to 9 am and he was off.  
Ready to go for his first 10K!
Fifteen minutes until my oldest son who has raced several 5K's over the years, myself, and my oldest daughter would take off.  Honestly, I wasn't sure how this was all going to go down.  My daughter had shown signs of good running as we would train together, but also had had several mental meltdowns.  I was concerned that the mental aspect of this race might be very hard for her and take its toll on me, a dad already exhausted from day 1 of this 2 days of racing.

Ready to go for the 5K, daughter with face-paint included!
Initially once we got started, my daughter had some problems with the headphones she brought staying on her ears, so I took her iPod and stuffed it in my pocket.  After that, we got going pretty good. While she had to walk at times, she did even run some of the initial paved hill up to the trails. Plenty of people encouraged her and when she was prone to get discouraged, there was a lot of remembering that if she wanted to be counted as a finisher, she had to do so within an hour to get a medal.  She would walk for a minute and then suddenly start up and I'd have to catch her.  Then she'd stop again and walk.  We went back and forth with several people as she did this and eventually made the half-way turnaround.  We were on par to definitely make it under an hour, though there was some worry about her older brother making the cut-off.  Eventually we passed him and encouraged him to make the turnaround.  Then we came up the hill and hit the 2 mile marker.  Just a little over 1 mile to go with a large chunk of that on pavement.  We made it down the hill and turned onto the road that the park is on where the start/finish line was and I pointed it out to her, except that I was pointing to the wrong place and it seemed so far away to her.  As we got closer, I corrected myself but it still seemed far away.  She was getting tired as we made the final turn onto grass and had less than 1/10 of a mile to go.  She kept telling me it was so far away and I started pointing to her that we just needed to cross this path and run up there a bit and we were done.  Everyone was cheering her on and finally the truth registered and we took off, crossing the line together.  She did much better than I thought both mentally and physically.  We weren't super fast, but we finished, 41:20.

Approaching the finish line, stride for stride, perhaps my favorite pic of the weekend!
My son running the 10K got it done and as the only male 19 and under, won his age division, but we didn't know until later and forgot to get his prize!  D'oh!  My fault!  Should've thought of that before leaving!  My oldest son did good too, and though he's not a big runner, he got the race done before the cutoff.
Our 10K finisher!

A satisfied, butterflied, first-time 5K finisher!  She did awesome!

Another 5K completed for my oldest!  His confidence helped get him home!
On a final note, if my eldest daughter had run the whole 5K at the pace she did when she would take off for a stretch on the flats and downhills, I think she would have left me in the dust.  When she gets this all put together, I'm going to be in trouble!  My son who finished the 10K ran a cross-country meet 3 days before his race and 2 days after.  His times for short distance will soon probably surpass me, and I might find in the shorter races with him, I no longer have the fastest time in the family!  Yikes!  But I don't think any of them will be racing long-long distance anytime soon!  So at least I have that for a while! :)  They all did great, including two of the youngest three who ran the kid's 1K with their oldest sister the day before after I had finished my marathon.  I guess technically, she ran 2 races over 2 days as well!!!

Batman and his sisters are ready to chase Sponge Bob down in the kid's 1K fun run.

The shark tent my friend Scott Gall, (2nd in the 50 miler Saturday) gave us, was a big hit!!!
Praise God for kids!  They make life fun!  We had a great weekend of racing, and now over a week later, I think I am the only one still recovering!  Oh well!  Joy makes the tiredness and the pain worthwhile!  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Summer Racing Season, Part 4a: The North Face Endurance Challenge Series Wisconsin (TNF ECS WI) Trail Marathon, September 13, 2014

The North Face logo.svg

Ten minutes, four seconds.  After a week of dealing with a last minute lower back injury and the subsequent doubts if it could be accomplished, God guided me to a PR at TNF ECS WI trail marathon.  As I turned the last corner to run up to the finish line, I could see the clock counting and knew I had a shot at a 10 minute PR.  Incredible!  At the 17.2 mile mark I was ahead of last year's time by just 2 minutes 59 seconds with 9 miles to go.  That means I ran the final 9 miles 7 minutes 5 seconds faster than 2013 and with a sore back!  Incredible!  Thinking back on it now, wow...just wow...

The entire week before the race I dealt with a bad back, taking ibuprofen, using Bio-freeze, alternating heat and ice as well as going to my chiropractor, Wayson Family Chiropractic on Monday and Thursday, coupled with lots of prayer to God.  This finish is to His glory!  Thanks for all those who prayed and encouraged me as well.

Race-day began as probably the coolest day we have had since late last Spring.  I actually started off in long sleeves, though they were quickly shoved up my arms for most of the run.  I had decided during the week to forego taking two bottles, (handheld and waist-pack) in favor of just the waist-pack along with an additional 5 oz flask I could hook to the front strap.  This gave me 26 oz of fluid as opposed to 42 oz, but I thought I could make it work since the aid stations were only about 5-6 miles apart.  I filled them both with frozen Runner's Tea, adding a bit of water to the larger bottle. The small zippered pocket on my Ultimate Direction water belt allowed me to stuff in gels, salt tabs, a fruit strip, some ginger candy, and a sample pack of Bio-freeze I'd apply about half way through. The Runner's Tea melted during the day, so that as I added water to it, I was slowly downing two cups of tea all during the day for a little extra endurance oomph!  

While I told myself I would need to start out more conservatively than last year, I still began the race a bit quicker than I thought might be good, but it is sometimes hard to restrain yourself!  I still held back some and was much better mentally in dealing with figuring out how to couple my running/walking strategy as well as my potential back issue.  Knowing the course from last year was a great help in planning on when to push and when to ease off.  I knew if I could keep to a particular average pace the first 3-4 hours, this would allow me to go slower towards the finish if I needed to when things might get tough.  In the end, because I was under or held that pace overall for most of the race, I was actually able to come a bit under it overall, accounting for the 10 minute 4 second PR.

26.2?  No problem!
As I passed a final (extra aid station) I was told we had about 1.8 miles to go, which sounded about right.  At that point you slowly ascend uphill for probably 1/2-3/4 mile?  I hiked this whole hill, then ran the flat, descended back down the other side and was almost home free.  I broke through the woods and knew I had a little less than 1 mile to go, which was good, because the muscles in my inner thighs started going into spasms as I ran down the pavement towards the park road and entrance before the finish line.  As I crossed the line, I saw my son, who would next day line up for his first 10K.  My wife was there too and the rest of the kids were milling about in the finish area.  I was spent, but stoked at the results.  Praise God!!!

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "But the Lord said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Look, I grew elf ears out on the run!!! :)
A little bit after I had something to eat, 3 of my younger kids ran the kid's 1K run.  After which my middle daughter said she was never running another race again in her life, to which my youngest son said, "I'm not running another race again in my life either."  Well, I had another race in the morning, so it was time to get back to the hotel, enjoy the night, and get ready for the next day.  More to come!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Athlete Interview: Raina R/Small Town Runner

Hi!  Around a week and a half ago, a Twitter friend of mine finished her first 50K.  I was glad to encourage and pray for her during her training and on race day.  Below is a Q & A interview with Raina of smalltownrunner.com from shortly after her completion of this milestone event.  Enjoy!

Brad Zinnecker/Trail Running Faith: What race did you do?  Why did you pick it?

Raina R./Small Town Runner: I ran the McKenzie River Trail Run 50K, (MRTR).  I chose it because it is close to home and it looked like an "easy" race for a first time ultra. If an ultra can be "easy"...

Brad: Yeah...right!  How did it go?  What went well?  What did you learn?  What would you do differently?

Raina:  This race went really well for me. I had no idea if my body was healed or not from an injury, so I ran very conservatively to begin with.  Early on I found a woman walking all the uphills.  She seemed like she might be experienced, so I got in behind her and started talking to her.  It seems this "walking the beginning through the sharp lava" got her some good race times, (5- 5.5 hours) the last 3 times, so I stayed with her! Then she fell on the lava and her race changed instantly. We had to part ways at the first aid station so she could get bandaged up, which takes maybe 10-15 minutes.

A Collage of Raina's first 50K race!
Later on in the race, I could tell my hip was going to be OK, so I began to run more of the uphills, but I still kept the whole first 16 miles pretty conservative.

I mostly survived on gels, water and Gu Brew. I drank early on, which I think is very important. The only solids I took were at the mile 16 aid station, when I ate some salt and vinegar chips (Lays Stackers), and watermelon slices I had in my drop bag.  I didn't realize I was getting sloshy until I finished, so next time I'll try to eat a bar early.

Brad: Watermelon is great!  I love watermelon on long runs!  What other struggles did you have?  How did you get through them?

Raina: My foot was a little sore from a mysterious injury months ago, so at that same 16 mile aid station I put in a pair of arch supports. They felt better for my feet, but lifted me up and made me a little unstable. Then I turned my ankle, to the outside, and felt it sharp in my foot where it's been hurting... I think I know how I got hurt 11 weeks ago now!  Eventually it calmed down and I was able to start running faster for the last 15 miles.

Brad:  Ouch!  That couldn't have been easy to run on for 15 miles.  How about something more positive: what was your favorite moment of the race?

Raina:  My favorite moment of the race? I don't have one particular. However, the Coke at the last aid station was absolutely fantastic!!! Caffeine and sugar could not have come at a better time.

Brad: Yeah, sometimes Coke and M&M's are a great snack to partake of at the last aid station for a little boost to the finish line.  I used both this past weekend around mile 22+ of my trail marathon.  On a different note, what do you think is the connection between suffering and endurance like we often experience in long distance running?  Do we learn anything from these experiences that can help lead to joy in life?

Raina: I did a fair amount of praying while I ran. I find that prayer helps me to disconnect from thinking about any suffering while running, but also running helps me to focus and pray.  (I wouldn't call either "suffering" though...)

As I got closer to the end, I had more trouble praying because all I could think about was trying to see the finish line.  There were specific people I had on a list based on blog comments, Google+ comments and e-mails, plus personal concerns that I was praying for.

The connection between suffering and endurance?  God promises that this life will not be easy. It IS suffering, but there is a sweet reward for putting up with all of it!  I suppose a race is a really really good reminder of that promise.  But I don't think you have to run races to identify with the endurance theme and Glory of His Grace.

Brad:  For sure.  The race of life can be hard enough at times for many of us.  Anything else about the race?

Raina:  I trained very little for this race, except the long run. God saw me through it!

Brad: Cool!  What's next?

Raina:  I'm already looking at another race!  I'm not sure if I'll do one, both, or either...but I'm looking at a trail half marathon in 2 weeks and another, much harder, 50K in early November if it doesn't fill up. Thanks for interviewing me!

Brad:  You're welcome.  And thanks to you Raina for taking the time out to share your thoughts and reflections on what sounds like a great race experience!

I'll hope to have more of these types of interviews with other runners, so if you are interested, please let me know!  I will also be posting a couple of more race reviews  in the next week or so from my own experiences at this years The North Face Endurance Challenge Series - Wisconsin.

Make sure to check out Raina's own race review and more pictures too at smalltownrunner.com

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Product Review: Runner's Tea, Q&A

Runner's Tea recently became Sportland Tea Co. with the same original blends and brand new ones! 2017.

(Note, this post was originally written before the Runner's Tea became Sportland Tea Co.)

Hi!  Today I want to share with you a Question and Answer session I did with Brandon Schoessler of the Runner's Tea.  Brandon is the founder of the Runner's Tea and is intimately involved in the day to day work of this new product.

Brad Zinnecker/Trail Running Faith:  Tell us about the genesis of the Runner's Tea.  A tea seems like an interesting choice for a hydration drink to use in running. 

Brandon Schoessler: I’ll give you the medium length story:

I used to run a lot.  Then I stopped and sat behind a desk for several years.  I stayed in shape, but definitely lost that runner's edge.  At one point I woke up and realized that I did not want to be "that Dad" that sat on the couch and had his kid always come over to him to show him stuff…I wanted to be the Dad that could get up and move to where my child was, chase her around, and see her grow up and also so that I could maybe see my grand-kids one day.  This was the start of me getting back into shape.

As part of my desk job, I drank a lot of coffee.  I love coffee and everything about it.  One day, some friends at a nearby studio wanted to start a lunch run a few times a week.  Running on a belly full of coffee gave me a sour stomach, and it was miserable.  Then, by chance, I was drinking green tea before our run, and no sour stomach.  I experimented a few different days to see if it was the tea, and it was.  I could run, and I had energy to burn.

I did a lot of research on the benefits of green tea for athletic performance and discovered matcha…the single best (in my opinion) form of green tea in the world.  The health benefits are off the charts.   Combined with a few herbs to help settle the stomach, a few more to boost energy, and I had a drink that was allowing me to push harder, run farther, and recover faster.  That was it---I had a product that I knew other people could use.  Turns out it is also incredibly hydrating and healthy for you. 

Brad:  Tell us about the "ceremonial green matcha tea" that you use.  You mention it on the website, tell us why using this versus "culinary grade" is so important.

Brandon:  Great question.  Culinary grade could work in our blend, and it would be a lot cheaper to buy.  But it tastes like crap.  I want my tea to taste good.  I want people to understand that matcha is a powerful form of green tea, and if you are trying the lowest quality you are missing out on the experience.  Ceremony grade is what you would drink if you went to a tea house and sat down for a cup of matcha.  It’s just better.  I want our product to be better, too.

Brad:  What do you see as the greatest benefit of using the Runner's Tea?

Brandon:  Honestly, I hope that people drink the tea and experience a boost in their performance.  I want to help them get over that wall.  Once you know you can run that mile a little faster, and it does not hurt as much, you want to push yourself.  That, in essence, is what I want to give to people…a little nudge to help them become a better athlete.  

Secondarily, I want people to be healthy. I want people to live longer, stay sharper mentally, and be happier. Our tea can, in some regard, help that happen. I just want people to ‘live’.

Brad:  Tell us about your running journey. 

Brandon:  I was a runner before I was a walker.  Stood up and ran, never really looked back.  I grew up in a small town, my Dad had a house that backed up to a forest and I ran those hills and trails almost every day with my friends.

I ran track in school, sprints almost exclusively, but it wasn’t the same as the trails.  A couple state meets later and I just did not want to do that anymore.  So I gave up running and focused on work.  It took me a while, but now I am back and feeling better, running stronger and enjoying myself more when I run.

I am almost exclusively a trail runner.  I’m a sucker for those 5K obstacle course runs.  And I have just started training for a 1/2 Ironman coming up next year.  I don’t really like riding bikes, so this should be an interesting training experience.

Brad:  What near term future goals are in the works?  New flavors?  Other products, ventures, types of tea, etc.

Brandon:  Oh man…something really cool is in the works.  We have a recovery tea coming out in the near future.  I’ll be sending out samples to my ambassador team soon.  After that, we have a whole new concept that will, hopefully, really take the performance tea idea to the next level.  I can’t say too much yet, but it’s going to be pretty different and, I think, cool. 

Brad:  Thanks to Brandon Schoessler for taking out time to respond to my questions.  I really appreciate it.  As a product ambassador for the Runner's Tea who has used it on interval and long runs up to 22 miles, I really encourage you to try this new and innovative product.  Gluten-free, organic, and low calorie.  Contact me and I'd be glad to give you a 10% discount as well.  Check out the Runner's Tea at:  Runner's Tea

Monday, September 8, 2014

Product Review: Runner's Tea, Ginger Berry

The Runner's Tea recently became Sportland Tea.
(The following post was written before Runner's Tea became Sportland Tea.  Original tea blends remained the same and new ones were added!)

Earlier this summer, I had come across the Runner's Tea on Twitter and was intrigued about the product, but a bit reluctant to try something new out.  Shortly after my run at the 6 hour Dizzy Goat, I was in communication with them via Twitter and they gave me a race discount for my efforts at the event so I decided to give the product a try.

The Runner's Tea is a loose leaf tea, meaning that you need to brew it using a tea infuser, French press, or, in my case, an English Brown Betty, an example of which you can find here: 2 Cup English Brown Betty.

The first thing I noticed when I opened my package of tea was the color, an interesting kind of sage green color.  Then I noticed the smell---wonderful!  I still love opening the package and taking a deep whiff!  The 4 oz package makes about 40 8oz servings of tea.  The tea is  100% organic and gluten-free.  The ginger berry tea flavor has matcha green tea powder, (which is what colors everything in that funky sage green color), ginger root, (great for the tummy), hibiscus flowers, lemongrass, lemon balm, ginseng, natural raspberry flavor, and cinnamon.  When you brew the tea and pour it out, it is quite a visual experience as well.  All the colors of the tea and spices fill my strainer like a small bouquet of colors and aromas.  Pretty cool!

Now, while the Runner's Tea is to be drunk hot about 15-30 minutes to get the best use of the product during a run, the website also mentions icing it and drinking a cup before your run, which seems more appropriate at this time of year.  Since I don't have a lot of time before most of my early morning runs, what I do is brew it the night before, ice it solid in the freezer, and add water to fill up my handheld bottle.  While this does mean I am diluting the tea a bit, I have found as the bottle melts the next morning and I get more of the flavors during the run, I really enjoy it.  Plus, I am getting more of the benefits of the tea later in the run as I am out there and my endurance needs a boost.

The taste?  It is excellent!  Tastes just like the wonderful aroma when you open the package and settles nicely on the stomach.

In the next couple of days I will post a Q&A with the Runner's Tea and let them tell you more about the genesis of the product and why they felt it was a great addition to the current market of sports drinks available for runners.

Saturday, I will take off at The North Face Endurance Challenge WI trail marathon with 2 bottles of Runner's Tea to get me started on what will hopefully be a great day.  The following day, I will have a cup in the morning beforehand as I race with my daughter and help her complete her first 5K at the same challenge series weekend!

As a disclaimer, I am a Runner's Tea ambassador.

I hope you will take a chance to enjoy it too!  For more information about the tea and myself, check out this podcast, which the Runner's Tea also sponsors:

Unapologetically Ultra - Brad Zinnecker & the Runner's Tea

P.S. 3/22/17 Please note that The Runner's Tea is now Sportland Tea.

Hanging out in my new Sportland Tea gear, March 2017.

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