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Fitness, Reviews

Stridebox – Feb ’16

February 20, 2016

Oh hey, February (and almost March). We’ve had a couple REALLY nice weekends this winter. We normally do, and then the weather changes by 40 degrees the next day. It’s in the mid-70’s today, which I took full advantage of and went running this morning. Half marathon training starts in 2 weeks!

Stridebox-Feb16

GU Energy Gel: GU is a brand that’s regularly sent by Stridebox, and we’re okay with this! I don’t love gels, but this Cucumber Mint flavor has me super intrigued. This flavor has caffeine.
Value: $1.45
Vegan, Gluten free

Detour Simple Protein Bar: I love when Stridebox sends protein bars! This one has 20g of protein and only 4g of sugar-so it checks off some personal requirements for a good protein bar. The chocolate caramel flavor sounds good, too.
Value: $2.00
Gluten free, Whey Protein

Bumbleroot Superfood Hydration Mix: This hydration mix is made with Baobab, monkfruit and dried coconut water to bring you electrolytes and antioxidants. I love getting hydration mixes and this one is lemongrass flavor.
Value: $2.00
Made with organic ingredients

Honey Stinger Gluten Free Waffle: Honey Stinger is another brand Stridebox sends out fairly often and it’s a brand that we love. We really like their waffles as a quick snack before or after a workout. I don’t worry about cutting gluten out of my diet, so that doesn’t matter so much to me. The cinnamon flavor is a win, though.
Value: $1.50
Gluten free

ThinkSport Shampoo & Body Wash: Nothing feels better than a refreshing shower after a good workout (and maybe food), so this is a great addition to the box. I don’t normally use 2-in-1 shower products like this, but I’ll still give it a go. They also donate 10% of orders to one of five charities!
Value: $0.35

Doc Spartan Combat Ready Ointment: At first I thought this was chapstick, but nope! It’s an ointment used to help heal scrapes, cuts, blisters and chaffing. The lid has a clip if you wanted to attach it to something, too. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t like using Neosporin because of how goopy it is, so this will be a great alternative.
Value: $5.00

LED Flashing Slap Bracelet: Stridebox has sent out a variety of light-up wearables, and while they’re certainly appreciated… I’m starting to have a collection of them. It has two different flashing states and a solid state.
Value: $8.00

I’m really happy with this month’s box! I can’t wait to chow down and try these products.

–m.

Fitness, Reviews

Stridebox – Jan ’16

January 16, 2016

Hello new year! 2016 is getting off on an interesting foot. We’ll see where this year goes. I’m signing up for a trail half marathon slated for May. I believe this is the inaugural race for this particular one. I hadn’t planned on doing a half marathon this spring, but a trail one? Sure, why not!

Stridebox-Jan16

Bite Fuel Granola Tail Mix: I really like this addition! I often eat Greek yogurt as my mid-morning snack so this will be perfect to add. It has 10 grams of protein with each serving.
Value:$2.00
No: soy, GMOs, trans fats, preservatives, corn syrup

Liquid I.V.: Hydration mixes are a staple in Strideboxes, and always welcomed for me. This new product claims to use Cellular Transport Technology to deliver hydration 2-3X faster.
Value:$2.00

3M Reflective Shoelaces: Backup shoe laces are always a great thing to have on hand.
Value:$7.00

Run Gum: Run Gum was featured in a previous box and I loved it! I was chewing some when I set my new 1 mile PR this summer. This flavor – cinnamon – is new. I don’t love cinnamon flavored gum, but that probably won’t stop me from using this.
Value:$1.50

Picky Bars: Stridebox can send me all the Picky Bars they want because I love them. Ah, Fudge Nuts! sounds like a flavor I’m going to love.
Value:$2.75
Vegan, No: Gluten, dairy, soy, GMOs

NoGii: This is a new-to-me product. It’s a pocket-sized treat with 9 grams of protein. I love snacks like this that I can throw in my purse or in my desk drawer.
Value:$1.25
Gluten free

Mixer Ball: I received an email saying there was going to be a little something extra in my box this month. It turned out to be a mixer ball. Great for helping mix up protein and hydration shakes.
Value: $3.00

I think the first Stridebox of 2016 is really great. I loved that it had more snack products. Being winter, slacking on the nutrition front is easy to do. So these snack are much better options to have around.

—m.

Fitness, Reviews

Stride box: Dec ’15

December 12, 2015

I’m having a hard time believing it’s December. I went for a run this morning and it was 60 degrees out! I wore shorts! The weather here as been so weird lately. Less than a week ago I was wearing cold weather gear. It is the midwest after all. I’m doing a 15K race tomorrow. I’m not going for a specific time, but instead to just enjoy the race and have a fun time. Next year though…it’s on.

SB_Dec15

Bonk Breaker Bar: I love the Bonk Breakers brand. This salted caramel flavor is new for the energy bar lineup and I’m really excited about chowing down on this. It has 330 mg of electrolytes in the bar and made with pronounceable ingredients.
Value: $2.00
Gluten free, contains nut products

Glukos Energy Gummies: Stridebox sent Glukos’ energy gel/sport drink back in May, so now I’ll get to try the gummies. Gummies are my favorite, and they’re fruit punch flavor. Win for me. It claims “2x energy, 2x faster” so we’ll see if it’s true! These gummies recently made the 2015 Runner’s World Gear of the Year list.
Value: $2.00
Vegan, No: HFCS, artificial sweeteners or colors, dairy, soy, gluten, caffeine

Hammer Energy Gel: A great staple brand/product for active people. You can take it straight from the package, or even mix it with water if you don’t love gels.
Value: $1.20
Gluten free, vegan

Sword Drink Mix: This is a newer brand to the market created by two guys looking for a better, more effective hydration product. It gets great reviews. I designate one of my bottles to a drink mix when I cycle, so this will be great to try out.
Value: $2.25

LED Light Up Shoe Heel Clip: I love that this was included. With limited daylight hours during the winter, you need ways of being seen. This light can either be continuous/solid or flashing. I haven’t tested it out yet, but it will great for anyone behind me.
Value: $10.00 (Similar ones go for $10-25 on Amazon)

Sant Superfruit Beverage: This is a new product that consists of dried fruit that you drop into your water. You can let the fruit infuse overnight for a cold beverage, or instantly in a hot beverage. The garcinia indica fruit claims to have 5x more antioxidants than kale, promotes digestion, improves sleep, strengthens your heart and several more benefits.
Value: $.90
Organically grown and sun-dried

Hex Performance Laundry Detergent: Laundry detergent developed to eliminate odors in sports equipment and tech clothes. I like using sport specific laundry detergent with my active clothing because I feel like it works better, so I really like this being included. It has a money back guarantee when you buy a full sized pouch.
Value: $.35
No dies or perfumes

I loved this month’s box. It had a great variety of products and brands (as usual). The shoe clip and detergent are great additions, too. I would highly suggest Stridebox as a Christmas gift any runner or cyclist in your life. It has been my favorite subscription box ever.

–m.

Fitness, Reviews

Stridebox – Nov ’15

November 25, 2015

With the holiday season (aka “eating lots of food season”) starting now, I’m going to have to be good about getting out and running or even getting my bike set up on the trainer. Insert Stridebox delivery full of goodies and it’s a match made in heaven.

(I completely missed doing a review of October’s Stridebox because life was so hectic, but to be honest it wasn’t one of my favorite boxes.)

SB_Nov15
Chocolate #9: A two ingredient gel in Chocolate Agave flavor. It says to be “slo-burn” energy and is the only certified low glycemic energy gel on the market. I’m iffy on gels, but I’m normally good with chocolate ones–it’s like dessert!
Value: $2.00
Vegan, low fat

Fuel 100 Electro-bites: These guys are calorie and electrolyte replacement bites. They’re a great alternative to bars, gummies and/or gels. They were “designed specifically for endurance athletes to help extend training and improve race performance.” Can’t wait to try these out.
Value: $2.00
Gluten free, soy free

Four Points Nutrition Bar: I LOVE getting nutrition/snack/protein bars in my Stridebox! These bars are created from raw, natural ingredients like plums, figs, apples, nuts, seeds, etc. I received the apple cinnamon flavor, which is perfect for fall. A lot of times raw bars have a weird texture, but this one didn’t. It was chewy and quite filling, though.
Value: $3.00
Made with raw ingredients

CogniTea Energy Tea: I’m a hot tea drinker in the winter, so I also like getting tea samples. This tea is suppose to help clear your mind and focus, and has mint flavor. Perfect to use while at work.
Value: $1.25

GU Energy Chews: Stridebox sent GU energy chews back in May, and I’m totally okay with getting another flavor to try out! I love gummies. I’m a bit unsure about the salted caramel apple flavor, but I’m excited to try out anyway.
Value: $1.30

Volvo Vitamins Energy Drink Mix: Adding powder mixes to your water is such an easy way to get an extra boost of vitamins, minerals, energy, etc. I love it when I we get two flavors (citrus and berry) of a product to try, too.
Value: $2.00 ($1.00/each)
All-natural, no: artificial flavors, sweeteners, dairy, soy, gluten, sugar

Water Resistant Shoe/Gear Bag: This is one of those items that I would never think of buying, but is great to have. The bag expands a ton—I could easily fit shoes, nutrition items and even a rolled up shirt. Great for throwing stuff into after an event or trail running. I do wish the handle was a bit sturdier or thicker, though.
Value: $10
Similar bag on Amazon

Compared to October’s box, this was a great improvement. I really liked the variety and the new-to-me products. I have some longer runs coming up with my 15K race quickly approaching in a few weeks, so I’m pretty excited to try some of the items I got this months.

–m.

Fitness, Reviews

Stridebox – Sept ’15

September 20, 2015

Over the summer I had decided that I wouldn’t be doing any fall races this year. I wasn’t going to have the time to devote to training because I’m traveling quite a bit and am gone almost every weekend until Thanksgiving. Fall races are the best, so I was a bit bummed.

Well, somehow I got talked into signing up for a 15K run in December. At just over 9 miles, it’s a distance I’ve done before, just not during the winter. I was actually thinking about doing another 12 races in 12 months like I did a couple years ago, so maybe this will just be the jump start of that.

SB_Sept15

GoMacro Macrobar: I love getting snack bars in Stridebox. This is a mini size at 0.9 ounces, where a normal bar is 2+ ounces. I can’t find this specific bar online, but I liked the PB & chocolate chip flavor.
Value: $1.00
Vegan, gluten free, macrobiotic, certified organic, non-GMO

Everlast Fuel: A powder mix with antioxidants, amino acids and electrolytes in a citrus flavor.
Value: $1.35

Ryte Fuel: Protein powders are another favorite item to get in my box. However, this one doesn’t quite meet the standards I have for protein powders. It’s only 15 grams (I prefer 20 or more), and the carbs : protein ratio isn’t quite there either. I still think it’s a good low-cal protein powder choice to add to smoothies.
Value: $4
Whey protein, non GMO, no artificial sweeteners/colors, gluten free

Sneaker Balls: I would have never even thought of purchasing something like this, so I love that these were included! The box smelled good before I even opened it. One ball is going into Tim’s soccer bag.
Value: $5 / 2-pack

Clif Organic Energy Food: A new offering from Clif, this product is geared towards long-duration activities. It’s a liquid that’s made of real food. I got the banana beet with ginger flavor, which I’m super intrigued about. This could come in handy for the 15k I’m doing or for triathlon training.
Value: $2.30
USDA organic, gluten free

Sweat X Sport Detergent: I think this is another great non-edible addition to the box. The detergent’s formula is designed to remove sweat smells, tough stains (mud, grass, clay, blood) and harmful bacteria.
Value: $3.40

Met-RX Electrolyte Gummies: Gummies are my go-to item for longer training days, so I love this being included. The dark cherry flavor is one I could get on board with, too.
Value: $1.80
gluten free

Calsura Calcium Supplements: Each packet contains two tablets that get dropped into your water, giving you 50% of your daily requirements of calcium and vitamin D. The packaging also mentions magnesium.
Value: $2.50 for the trial 3 pack
No added sugars, colors or preservatives

This Stridebox is one of my favorites. There was such a great variety of products included with this month’s box, and I will use every item. I can’t recommend Stridebox enough for active people!

—m.

Fitness

The Triathlon that Didn’t Happen

August 31, 2015

Last summer it was a goal of mine to do an Olympic distance triathlon this summer. The Lake St. Louis Triathlon is the closest one to me, so I kept a watch on it knowing that it has filled up quickly in the past. When the information about it was released, there was a change in the bike course for this year—due to road construction in the area, the long and short course would have the same bike route of 15 miles. Well, there went my goal of doing an Olympic distance race this year.

LSL_Tri

I debated whether I should even sign up for it or not because of that distance change. It also irritated me that the price wasn’t decreased. I get that it takes a lot to put one of these races together, but I didn’t think it was fair to charge the full amount when we weren’t getting to do the full distance. That, or I feel like they could have found a way to do the full 25 miles for the bike. The race organizers did limit the number of registrants by almost half to help with the changed bike course and congestion.

Those feelings aside, I went ahead and signed up. I have a USAT membership and I wanted to make use of it. New Town had already removed the USAT sanction from that event, so I wasn’t getting my money’s worth yet. However, I felt like I could still get a feel for the event by doing the full distance of the swim and run portion. Plus, there was one free practice swim included for registrants. (Practice swims for the New Town tri cost extra).

I did the practice swim the week before and felt really good about it. It was going to be my longest open-water swim event, so I wanted to be familiar with the course before hand. I drove the bike course afterwards, making mental notes about various things. There here hills, but nothing terrible. Plus it was only 15 miles.

Race Day
I just felt like something was off that whole morning. We made it out there just fine, but that was the last that went smoothly that morning.
• Walking into the transition area, we noticed how narrow the bike and run in/out areas were, along with the amount of room available when crossing the finish line. Not a super big deal, but there would likely be congestion. Noted.
• I had a difficult time finding where I should rack my bike. I was used to looking for a group based on my bib number, but instead we were grouped by our swim wave start. I know every race is different, so I just brushed that off and got settled into a spot.
• Since our ankle tracker wasn’t given to us in our packets, I had to go find that along with body marking. Well those two areas weren’t clearly marked, and most racers didn’t know where they were going. I felt like it was disorganized, but again, I tried brushing that off.
• After the first group of racers got in the water, the sky started to look not-so-promising and there was an extra wait while the weather was being checked out. That’s totally fine because when it comes to swimming in water, you want to make sure it’s safe. Well, I think we waited a bit too long. I was 2/3rds of the way through my swim (feeling pretty good), when all racers were stopped, told get out of the water, and directed to the closest way out. That meant the swim portion was being cut short and no longer mattered. So then I had to run through a random part of a neighborhood and find my way back to the transition area. I had hunt down a race worker and verify that we were still doing the bike portion because none of the racers really knew what was going on.
• Did I mention I got kicked in the face during the start of the swim? Because I did and it wasn’t pleasant.
• Almost all of the racers got out on the course at the same time, so it was crowded. Whatever, I can deal. But then maybe two miles into the race, there were pretty scary lightning bolts right in the direction we were heading. Not just thin ones that move across the sky, but thick, bright ones going straight down. Then it started raining heavier with bigger drops. I was almost to the halfway / turn around point when racers were stopped and told the race was officially cancelled.

At that point I was flat out annoyed. Why in the world, if we were pulled out of the lake because of lightning, would we be sent out to continue the race? I realize it’s up the athlete’s discretion to continue on in inclement weather, but I feel like the race wasn’t handled the best. It’s just not the racer’s safety that has to be taken into consideration, it’s the volunteers and spectators, too. I was in the middle of no where, so it’s not like I could have found shelter if I had needed to.

On the way back the rain started coming down even harder and the temperature had dropped so I was quite cold. Everyone out on the bike course kind of hurried to get back to get out of the oncoming storm, but at the same time took their time because it was no longer a race. I’m honestly not sure if I will sign back up for this race next year. I realize that some of the things that happened wasn’t the race organizer’s fault, but looking back on how things felt super disorganized and how the weather situation was handled doesn’t really entice me to try it again. We’ll see how I feel in the spring when the new information on the event comes out.

So the race didn’t exactly go as planned, but I’m still glad I got a taste of how this race worked. I don’t have any races coming up for this fall, but I have a few goals in mind. The first one is conquering a specific hill near where I live.

–m.