Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Product Review: EPSOAK SPORT Pure Unscented Epsom Salts by San Francisco Salt Co.

EPSOAK Epsom Salts feel great in the tub and help you recover for your next run.

Disclaimer: I received a container of EPSOAK SPORT Pure Unscented Epsom Salts by San Francisco Salt Co. to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. 

I've been using epsom salts to help my muscles recover from the stress of running for the last several years.  I have always loved a hot bath and epsom salts make it so much more comfortable.  Therefore, I jumped, (figuratively, not literally), at the chance to try EPSOAK Sport Epsom Salts by San Francisco Salt Co.  As they note, in addition to recovery, epsom salts are great for reducing inflammation and detoxifying the body.  I received a large 8.5 lb. canister of unscented epsom salts along with a little bamboo scoop.  The scoop looks so small compared to the size of the container.  On the side of the container it said to use 4 scoops.  Hmm...I wondered if maybe there was a bigger plastic scoop in the tub, but I didn't see one and nothing appeared when I moved the salt around a little.  Therefore, having used epsom salts quite a bit before myself, I decided to use around 16 of the bamboo scoop servings for a bath.  That seemed about right to me.  And today, when the plastic scoop finally appeared halfway into the use of the container, that was about equal!!!  LOL!!!

The small bamboo scoop and the large plastic scoop.  I'd say 4 of the former is equal to roughly 1 of the latter.
EPSOAK says that they use premium quality epsom salts and I will say that I definitely feel the difference in the tub.  They seem to be a little bit more tingly/salty, like you might experience in the difference between taking a freshwater swim and a saltwater swim.  My legs definitely feel more rejuvenated after an EPSOAK tub.

Some of the info. that came along with my test product. 

In addition to the unscented salts, EPSOAK also has a Soothing mixture that includes lavender and an Energizing mixture that includes eucalyptus and peppermint.  The former sounds pretty good when I am thinking about sleep and the latter sounds pretty good when I still have a full day of activity lying ahead of me!!!

8.5 lbs. of salt takes a big canister as you can tell in these pictures.

Epsom Salts are sports therapy and San Francisco Salt Co, has produced a great product in EPSOAK.
If you've never soaked in an epsom salt bath, give it a try, especially after a hard long run or race.  I think you'll find you feel a bit more relaxed and your legs especially will thank you for it.  If you have a chance too, check EPSOAK out online and give them a try!  They are currently running a sale: http://www.sfsalt.com/epsoak-sport.  Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Product Review: Generation UCAN Protein Drink Mix

Enjoying a Chocolate-Strawberry-Banana UCAN Protein Shake while I write up my review!!!

Disclaimer: I received a sample package of UCAN Protien drink mix to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. 

This is my third product test for a Generation UCAN product, and they continue to impress. I received both chocolate and vanilla cream protein mix samples and have thoroughly enjoyed them.  As usual, this UCAN product has their revolutionary SuperStarch carbohydrate that is natural and slow-releasing in order to help keep steady energy levels for the individual consumer.   

A banana-blueberry-vanilla cream-peppermint protein drink! One of many flavors I came up with for this test!

Both flavors are gluten-free with no sugar added.  The vanilla cream tops out at 160 calories and 11 grams of protein, the chocolate is 200 calories and 13 grams of protein.  I found that the thickness/consistency of the shake when blended with fruits/vegetables/etc. mostly has to do with how much water you add.  But, whether it was a thinner more water based drink, or a thicker shake consistency, I found I enjoyed the taste of both flavors even while I mixed them with things as different as peppermint, carrots, spinach, blueberries, strawberries, and bananas.  In addition to the recipes I created, there is a booklet I received of 30 recipes of how to mix up your protein shakes with all types of ingredients whether as a pre- or post activity drink, a drink for during activity, or a healthy snack.  If you aren't competent on how to mix things up, then just use the book, and you'll do great.  If you are an old pro like myself, then have at it...you can't really go wrong as the Generation UCAN products have a great taste and blend well with most fruits and vegetables.

Banana-Blueberry-Spinach-Chocolate.  Sounds weird, but you don't even taste the spinach!

I generally feel pretty solid after a Generation UCAN product and have plenty of stable energy, even after I have exercised and have to work an 8 hour evening retail shift.

Strawberry-Carrot-Spinach-Banana-Vanilla Cream.  It tasted great!

Right now, if you go to their site and use code "BIBRAVE" you can save 15% off all UCAN products!  Enjoy!!!

Friday, December 9, 2016

2016 Racing Season: Mendon Trail Run 20K, Mendon Ponds Park, Honeoye Falls, NY, November 5, 2016

The parking lot is full for the Mendon Trail Run 10, 20, 30, and 50K Races.

The Mendon Trail Run 10, 20, 30, and 50K races were run on November 5, 2016 in beautiful Mendon Ponds Park, Honeoye Falls, NY.  Some of the trails included in this race were from one of my earliest blog posts back in 2014, East Esker Trail, Mendon Ponds.  I enjoyed running those trails back then, and I thoroughly enjoyed going back and racing them in the 20K.

A note on why I chose the 20K distance:  For the last four years in the Fall, I have raced either a trail marathon or 50K, (one year attempting to do both but acquiring my first DNF as they were too close together with a 15K PR sandwiched in between!), but this year...has not been the last four years.  I knew I could do the 10K pretty easily, the 50K no.  That left either the 20 or the 30.  I figured based on my training and lack of long runs, I would be able to do the 20K, though even it might be a stretch, but the 30K...not so sure this time around, so I stretched to the 20, but decided not to push it.  I am glad I did so.  The 10K would not have been worth it, the 30K might have been possible, but the third loop might have been tough.  Like Goldilocks, the 20K on this day, was just right.

It was a beautiful day, cool, but not too bad, shorts and long sleeves.  The leaves were still brilliant, golden in some places!  The course was a 10K loop, starting and finishing at one of the lodges. While the 50K races had started earlier in the day, the 10, 20, and 30K racers all started together.  I saw several people either in the events or as spectators from the local trailsroc group that I knew.  

Taking pics while moving is always hard, I tried to stop and slow down, but this still has that warped look!

The sly thing about Mendon Ponds Park is that because it is located at the edge of a large city, you might be tempted to think it isn't very hilly...and you'd be very wrong!  The course description for the race said that it had 1000 ft of climb per loop.  My Garmin would drastically disagree with that, being closer to around 400+ ft of gain and around the same loss per loop, for maybe a total of 16-1700 ft of total change for 20K.  But whether I am right or the race organizers are, that's still a fair bit of "rolling hills" tucked back in those woods.

As I noted above, I chose the 20K, primarily because I really have not had very many long runs or any type of solid consistency to my running this year as we moved half way across country and started new careers.  In fact, this race was probably my 2nd or 3rd longest run of 2016 which is totally opposite 2015!  But, this was a fun 20K...I simply went in with a good attitude and a desire to run, race, and enjoy it, especially as it was kind of a birthday present from earlier in the week.

Nearing the aid station on loop 2.

Back to the course:  the 6+ mile loop is very rolling and mostly secluded in the woods.  Most of the course is wide or double-track.  Very little if any was wet.  There are stretches where you have to watch your footing due to roots, rocks, and the fact that the leaves were falling, but it's not too bad in terms of tripping hazards.  But, as I noted back in 2014, one of the great things about running an esker is that you often feel like you are higher up in altitude than you actually are in reality.  I always feel like, (maybe it's my imagination running away with me again...), I am running in the mountains. That feeling, combined with perfect weather, and awesome fall scenery, made this a fun day.

Sorry for the blur again, but you can tell it was golden out there!!!

It was also a fun day, because I knew much of the course even though I hadn't raced it before, yet it wasn't so fresh as to be boring.  I was able to keep a fair pace, and down the final stretch I actually had enough left in me to sprint it out.  I came in 48th out of 72 for the 20K and was satisfied with the day.  It was simply a great day to race and I loved it.  This race was more about just enjoying the chance to race along with the beauty of the day, and the challenge of the course.  Praise God for an awesome time!

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