This week, we look back at 2014 and see if we accomplished our goals. We name some of our top races of the year including, most scenic, toughest and best bling.
This week, we talk about how soon to race after donating blood. Rita Jeptoo’s B sample has been tested. Tips on how to make the right food and drink choices over the holiday season to not derail your training. And our week in training.
It’s been a busy year for GU, introducing several new flavors of their energy gel, as well as their roctane gel, chomps and brew. Their most recently released gel flavors are Root Beer and Caramel Macchiato and of course I had to try them.
Before I get into the Root Beer flavor I have to admit that I had to rewrite this section because I originally thought it was Root Beer Float (yummy) flavor. I have no idea why I thought that except for wishful thinking. Or maybe the foam on the package made me think about a float? Regardless, it is Root Beer GU. I’m a fan of root beer in general and this gel definitely tastes like root beer. I think they really hit the mark with the flavor. It’s also one of a few GU flavors that does not contain caffeine which is a plus for those of us who are sensitive to caffeine. As you have probably already guessed, I’m also a fan of root beer floats (although I prefer Coke floats) and when I originally tasted this gel I thought it was missing the “float” part of it so it made me wonder if it would taste like a root beer float if I mixed it with their Vanilla Bean flavored gel. I’ve mixed gels in the past with great results (Chocolate Outrage + Salted Caramel = Rolo!) so I had to try this mixture. I’m happy to report that mixing Root Beer gel with Vanilla Bean gel does actually taste like Root Beer Float. I guess I wouldn’t have thought to try this mixture if I had read the package correctly the first time.
I had a very different experience with the Caramel Macchiato gel. It tastes just like you would expect it to. Reminiscent of the drink I can get from the popular coffee shop it did play with my mind a little that I was getting that flavor in the consistency of a gel. The great flavor makes that adjustment easier though. It’s a nice blend of coffee and caramel flavors, neither one overpowering the other. It is one of the many gels that contains caffeine-40mg, which is more than some of their other caffeinated gels and is equivalent to about half a cup of coffee.
Both of these flavors contain 100 calories per gel packet as well as sodium and potassium which are much needed during training.
This week, we talk about eight hot running shoe trends for 2015. Ragnar Trail Tahoe is back for 2015. The female winner at the Dallas Marathon has an interesting finish. No running allowed at Smith Park in Tennessee. And our week in training.
We have our list of 10 gifts that every runner will love.
1. Bondi Band Headbands – No slip no drip available in lots of colors and many designs.
2. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances – This book by author Matthew Inman, aka The Oatmeal, is a hilarous collection of comics and stories about what runners experience.
3. Feetures! Elite Socks – Anatomically constructed socks to provide targeted support where its needed most. With its great fit the foot and sock become one and will keep you blister free.
4. Asics Arm Warmers – These soft arm warmers stay in place without constricting the arm. Available in several colors and best of all a very reasonable price.
5. Jewelry – One of our favorites Scott James Jewelry sells all kinds of handcrafted charms and earings for runners, shipped right to your door. Use code RAGTREC for free shipping
6. Allied Medal Hangers – These are basically the best made, best looking medal displays you can get. Available in lots of designs and sizes. Best of all you can have one custom made so that its personal to you.
7. Road ID – Durable line of identification gear. Has your details listed in case of emergency. We particularly like the Shoe ID version, which of course attaches to your shoe.
8. Wahoo Tickr Heart Rate Monitor – Track your heart rate while on the run with the Tickr. Has Ant+ and bluetooth so you can connect it to your GPS watch or smartphone. Works with apps such as Runmeter, Runkeeper, Runtastic, Strava and more.
9. Salted Caramel GU – A grab bag of gels, chews or bars make a great gift for a runner. Just be sure to include our favorite flavor-Salted Caramel.
10. Embrace Running Trucker Hat – This stylish hat looks great and is comfortable. Help spread the word and tell others to get out there and Embrace Running. Holiday sale going on now until Christmas.
Tailwind – It’s complete energy, electrolytes and hydration thats easy on your gut.
Body Glide – A must have for every runner. Chafing is never fun.
Zensah Calf Sleeves – Great calf support and decreased fatigue.
Therapearl Sports Pack – This comfortable pack is great to cool or heat aches and pains.
Massage Gift Card – Every runner could use a good massage.
This week, we talk about our top ten gifts for runners. The Northface Endurance Challenge SF was this weekend and Hoka athletes finish on top. Some lottery results for Hardrock and Western States. A new treadmill 100k record is set. Volunteering at a race aid station. A new female course record for CIM was set this weekend. Elena is part of the Modesto Marathon ambassador team. And our week in training which includes some trail running.
Use the code ELENAC to save $5 off registration for the Modesto Marathon
I’ve come across books written by Ray Charbonneau in the past, such as Overthinking the Marathon and The 27th mile. Fortunately I had the opportunity to read his most recent book, Idle Feet do the Devil’s Work. “Idle Feet” as it’s called for short, is a collection of his writing from various publications, including UltraRunning and The Boston Globe. The writings are running related, as you would expect, and vary in length but are typically no longer than a few pages each. The book is a fun and easy read for runners, or those who enjoy reading about running. Some of the first few stories which he refers to as “Early Stuff” are from several years back as you can tell when reading about running with music and a cassette player and MiniDisc player are mentioned. But as the author points out, it serves as a reminder of how quickly things change. There are several interesting stories related to the Boston Marathon including the 5k split distribution at the 2014 race (overall and also by age and gender). For those of you into race and/or pace analysis it’s a story with a perspective you will enjoy and there are plenty of other charts and graphs in the book to keep you happy. My absolute favorite story in the book is the one in which Ray describes his experience of guiding a vision impaired runner at the Boston Marathon in 2013. Several other stories I enjoyed reading are the race reports, bringing to life places and races I’ve never been to. Reading this book has piqued my interest even more in his other books such as the 27th mile, which is a compilation of stories from contributors such as Amby Burfoot and Kathrine Switzer and whose proceeds go to support the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. If you are looking for a running related book for yourself or to gift to a runner in your life this holiday season you should check out Idle Feet do the Devil’s Work.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive a copy of the book to review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.