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Bottle of Play Again Now

Play Again Now


About 5 days after I ran the Parowan Half Marathon earlier this year, I was at the tail end of my post-race soreness when I received an email telling me about the virtues of this product that helped reduce soreness so athletes can get moving again. Still feeling the residual pain from running downhill for two hours, I was eager to take a look.


Play Again Now is a bottle of liquid hyaluronic acid that is taken orally. It contains no calories, gluten, carbs or caffeine. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally produced substance that helps cushion joins and provide elasticity to muscles. By taking it orally, it is readily absorbed by the mouth and lining of throat for use by the body to combat stiffness and soreness.

It tastes kind of like berries and if you are used to gels for sport, you shouldn’t have any problem with this. It’s not nearly as viscous as most sports gels.


They recommend a loading phase for the first two weeks, people who are over 250 pounds take 4 tablespoons a day and those who are less than 250 take 3 tablespoons a day. Once the loading phase is over you are supposed to drop down to 1-2 or 2-3 tablespoons a day, depending on your weight.

I’ll be honest with you, it seemed weird that somebody who weighs 249 pounds would have the same dosage as someone who weighs 120 pounds. So I did the loading phase but I just did 2 tablespoons a day.

I finished up my loading phase and was a couple of days into maintenance when I did the Cedar Half Marathon. I had zero soreness after that event. It’s very possible that I had already inflicted all those micro-tears in my downhill running muscles 4 weeks earlier in my race before and they were all healed and rebuilt into a stronger system. But it’s also very possible that Play Again Now helped.


They have success stories on their site from athletes (strongman competitors, cyclists, ninja warrior), medical professionals (MD, chiropractor, physical therapist) and everyday people. Basically they’re trying to convey that pretty much anyone can benefit from this product.

My running lately has felt pretty smooth and I bounce back from harder workouts pretty easily. I am willing to assume it has helped me. In fact, I ordered another bottle of it from Amazon to keep trying it. If I can keep my joints and muscles feeling overall pretty happy, I’m on board!

It retails for $49.95 per bottle on the Play Again Now website, but it’s about $10 cheaper on Amazon. (affiliate) You can also get it through GNC.

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.


The Badwater 135 race kicks off today… For those of you who are unaware of this unique torture, the race takes runners on a 135-mile journey through Death Valley in the heat of the summer. There’s a lot of different stuff happening this year compared to previous years after last year’s event couldn’t even go through the park as it usually did. Some of the significant changes this year are: a new night start instead of a morning start so runners are running through the night hours so runners are above 2000 feet elevation by 10 am (to avoid the highest heat), runners can only have one support vehicle and the event has to take place during a full moon. [Change details]

Another change this year is the addition of title sponsor Nutrimatix. And since I owe you (and Nutrimatix) a review of their product, I figured the timing to coincide with Badwater was as good of time as any!

Disclaimer: This means I was a sent a product for free to review.

Nutrimatix is a vitamin drink packet.

Packet of Nutrimatix drink mix

When combined with a glass of water, it turns into a tasty orange beverage. Kind of like Tang. (Mmmm…. Tang. Like the astronauts drink!) Okay, I haven’t had Tang to drink since sometime in the 1980’s… so this is based on my vague recollection of what Tang tasted like.

Orange Nutrimatix drink in a cup

That makes it sound so simple, huh? But it’s pretty much WAY MORE than that.

So while yes, Nutrimatix is a vitamin drink packet, it’s also a CUSTOM blend. And how is that blend determined?

The user downloads the Nutrimatix app. (iOS and Android) The first step it offers is to connect a tracker/platform/app to share your fitness habits with the app. This step can be skipped if there is no tracker available. But the services you can connect to as of this writing: Strava, RunKeeper, Dailymile, MapMyRun, Fitbit, Jawbone, MapMyRide, Withings.

Next step is to add your basic measurements of gender, age, height and weight.

Then we move onto a questionnaire. It asks about your dietary habits/preference. It asks about your smoking/alcohol/caffeine habits. Do you have joint discomfort? Are you training for an event? Sleep, mental energy, physical energy, stress, and more… The questionnaire covers a wide range of topics, but it’s very easy to answer as the interface is easy to use, and the answers are all multiple choice.

So after all this, it evaluates everything and spits out results just for you. The app even took into account my location to determine that I probably don’t have a Vitamin D deficiency due to my “location below the 37th parallel” and it adjusted my formula to account for that. It gives explanations for why the questions were asked and how that can play a role in your health. And it delivers a list of nutrients that are to be placed in your blend, complete with an explanation of why that item was included, uses, and possible side effects.

Partial list of recommended custom blend of nutrients from Nutrimatix.
Partial list of recommended nutrients. Add on several more above this and you’d see the complete picture. There were a lot of them.


Honestly, the whole thing fascinates me. Both the sports nutrition nut and the geek sides of me are satisfied with this experience. I mean… it’s a drink that uses an APP to make a blend that is designed for an individual. And that app ties into other apps to gather a more complete picture. That just really makes my inner-nerd-girl giddy!

Once you’ve got your blend, it comes time to order. The packets are dairy, soy, nut, artificial sweetener and artificial coloring free. They are made in a pharmaceutical-grade facility in the US. They’re vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free… pretty much everything people might look for.

The price? $48 for a 4 week supply. But the more weeks you buy, the more you can save. (12 week supply, you save 6%, 24 weeks = 12% savings, 48 weeks = 24% savings). Although, my shipment came in a fancy-pants box. If they could chop some of the price off by sending the packets to me just loose in a box, or shoved in a zip-top bag… I would be fine with that! The box loses its WOW factor after the first couple openings.

I’m very tempted to purchase more… but my inner cheapskate is fighting that. I’m sure if I add up all of the costs of taking supplements and replace it with this it would balance out or possibly be more cost-effective. Also, it seems that perhaps you wouldn’t want to order too many weeks in advance in case your goals changed. What if you were training for a marathon, but then in 3 months you were going to be done with that and wanted to focus on weights? I’m sure the nutrients it recommends would change.

That said, I’m fascinated by this approach, and they’ve done a great job with their app, as well as with their product. With their new title-sponsorship for the Badwater 135, it appears they’re moving up in the industry and want to make themselves known with endurance athletes, especially those tackling the BIG stuff.

Check them out, download the free app and play around with it. It’s fascinating to see what is recommended and why!

Final Disclosure: I was sent a box of Nutrimatix drink packets for free to review on the site. The words posted here are, as always, my own.

How Ultramarathoner Michelle Barton Trained for the Heat of Badwater

Las Vegas is hot. HOT. HOTTTTT….. We all know this, right?

Earlier this year I was introduced to SaltStick caps and I used them for my training in the Boston Marathon. That race was the exact opposite of hot, but the SaltStick caps still made such a huge difference in how I felt on all my training runs and during the race. I frequently have stomach troubles during races and I think these caps helped me avoid that. The stomach is, after all, a muscle and keeping your electrolytes in check helps prevent muscle cramping.

When I had the chance to partner with SaltStick during their #30SaltyDays campaign, I was happy to do so because a) I’m a salty sweater so I know the importance of replenishing that essential mineral in the body; b) They were going to provide information on how an ultrarunner had success in Badwater with their product; and c) it was a way for me to potentially pick up on some new information and share it with all of you! So…. without further ado, I present for your reading pleasure:

This post is part of our #30SaltyDays summer campaign, in which we hope to educate YOU about the benefits and science behind electrolytes. Follow the campaign with the hashtag #30SaltyDays on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram and the SaltStick blog. We’re offering our brand new product, SaltStick FASTCHEWS, as a giveaway for participants. More information here: http://bit.ly/1Rz0avu.

salt stick capsOn May 4, 2015, SaltStick-sponsored athlete Michelle Barton finished the Badwater Salton Sea ultramarathon, a 81-mile race through extreme heat, from below sea level at the shoreline of the Salton Sea, across, up, and over Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, to the top of Palomar Mountain, almost 5,500 feet above sea level. When she finished, Michelle had broken the female course record by several hours. Joining her was fellow elite ultrarunner Majo Srnik, and together, they took first place in mixed doubles (male and female) team.

Badwater Salton Sea is one of several Badwater-branded races, one of which is the Badwater 135, the infamous “World’s Toughest Foot Race,” through Death Valley, California (which Michelle has also run). The inaugural 2015 Salton Sea race took place in 2013.

*If you want to learn more about Michelle’s experience racing Salton Sea, check out this Endurance Planet podcast and this Tri*Tawn blog entry.

As any Badwater finisher will tell you, these races involve long distances through extreme heat. Thus, athletes need to change their training to accommodate for the tough conditions they’ll have to endure during the race. We asked Michelle to tell us how she prepared for Badwater and to share some advice for age-group athletes looking to compete in similar conditions.

Tip No. 1: Michelle dramatically increased running mileage:

After a steady amount of training at “only” 60 miles per week, Michelle began to up her weekly mileage after February, or three months out. By the time Badwater arrived, she was routinely running up to 150 miles per week.

“I was getting obsessed on Strava,” she says. (If you’re on Strava, you can see her training under ‘Michele Barton.’)

Michelle also reduced the amount of cross-training each week to make time for all those miles. During her 60-mile weeks, she would often mountain bike or swim to fit in more cardio and give her running legs a break, but in the weeks leading up to Badwater, she stuck to running.

“I rarely (if ever) take any days off training,” she says. “My body adapted great to the distance. In 15 years of running, I have never logged this kind of mileage in my life.”

The endless running paid off: “Typically I was a run, bike, swim kind of training the last 10 years,” Michelle says. “But I kept blowing up at mile 80 of my 100 mile races. This time my legs were solid. I wasn’t sore after the race.”

KEY TAKEAWAY: The best way to prepare for a race is to imitate race conditions as much as you can. Ultramarathons require long, slow training for hours at a time each week. You will not be racing fast (Michelle and Majo raced at a 10-minute-mile pace, and they are elites!), so you do not need to run fast in training. By slowing down, you’ll be able to incorporate more overall miles each week, which is the most important thing in preparing for an ultra.


Also, consider finding ways to train in a similar climate: “I recommend logging as many miles as possible and also to sauna train,” Michelle says. “Train hard to race easy. Get uncomfortable during training.”

Tip No. 2: Michelle changed her nutrition strategy to include more liquids and electrolytes:

Michelle routinely consumes all her calories from liquid, regardless the temperature and location of her race. However, to prepare for the heat, she altered her race nutrition to include more SaltStick than normal (she consumed 1 SaltStick Cap every 45 minutes; Majo consumed 2 per hour) and more water — especially ice water — to stay cool.

“Stay on top of your electrolytes and hydration!” Michelle says. “Do NOT be lazy!”


Michelle says the liquid calories kept her stomach from cramping: “I recommend staying with liquid nutrition. We never had any stomach issues whatsoever. Next time I would take SaltStick Caps PLUS [which include caffeine] later in the race because I was falling asleep on the final climb up Mt. Palomar from miles 70-81.”

KEY TAKEAWAY: It’s harder for your stomach to digest solid foods during a hot race because much of your blood is redirected away from your digestive system to your skin to help release excess heat. Obviously, you also sweat more when it’s hot, so you need greater amounts of water and electrolytes. The hotter the race, the more calories you’ll want to consume in liquid form.

Also, be sure to stay on top of replacing electrolytes. As we blogged about in February, most sports drinks do not contain a high enough sodium-to-water ratio to adequately replace electrolytes lost through sweat (otherwise your sports drink would taste like seawater). Also, a study published in March 2015 found that triathletes who supplemented sports drinks with SaltStick Caps finished a half Ironman (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run) an average of 26 minutes faster than the control group that only supplemented with sports drink.

Tip No. 3: Michelle adapted her pace to account for the heat:

While the overall pacing goal was 10k (6.2 miles) per hour (about 10-minute miles, which is very fast for an ultramarathon), Michelle and Majo intentionally slowed down for during the hottest part of the day.

Michelle also noticed training in the heat vs. training in the cold helped her in the race conditions: “Majo was training in the snow in Canada and not much heat training at all,” she says. “He did fantastic considering and once the sun went down, he was flying. I, on the other hand was awesome in the heat and once it got cold I felt like I slowed a bit. It was a perfect match because we helped each other a lot.”

KEY TAKEAWAY: Don’t overdo it when racing in the heat. Realize that your body will have to run more slowly, especially if you haven’t been training in hot conditions.

“It is important to train at your race pace in similar conditions (if possible) meaning, if the race is on pavement, train on pavement,” Michelle says. “If the race is in mountains, train on mountains. Seems simple, but people don’t always do what they need to do. They rely on talent or speed, and that doesn’t translate well in to a solid 81-mile finish.”


Ultramarathons in the heat are one of the toughest racing challenges, but with adequate preparation, you can find success in a race similar to Badwater. As you’ve seen above, Michelle’s training isn’t rocket science. She puts in the miles, she stays on top of her nutrition, and she adapts her pace to the racing environment. You can use these tips as well to find success in your own racing. Good luck, and happy training!

What is Michelle up to next? Michelle is racing the infamous Badwater 135 on July 28, and she says she plans to join Majo again next year for the 2016 Badwater Salton Sea. She also plans to keep using SaltStick!

I seriously would be in trouble if I didnt use your product for the decade,Michelle told us. It is so automatic to use Saltstick, I dont have to wonder or worry because I know it always works perfect for me.

Each year I follow along as the Badwater 135 runners tackle the infamous course… so I’ll be cheering for Michelle!


USANA Health Sciences Product Sampling

A little while ago I got an email offering me the opportunity to try some products from USANA Health Sciences. I saw the email and immediately thought, “Where do I know that name from?” And then I remembered… “Oh yeah! I used to drive past their US offices every week on my way to work when I lived in Salt Lake City!” That was back in 1999-2001, so I’m granted a bit of a pass on temporary memory loss, okay? And even then, I saw the name USANA on the building and never knew exactly what it was. Now I know that USANA sells supplements, foods, and personal care products.

I was sent a box that contained two items to review. First up the Berry Nutty bar.

USANA Berry Nutty bar

These bars are built upon a foundation of cashews, almonds, cranberries and cherries. There are a few other ingredients involved (oats, flaxseed, coconut oil, agave, sea salt, etc.) but the ingredient list is pretty straightforward. Other things to note:

  • All-natural ingredients
  • Gluten free
  • Soy free
  • Dairy free
  • Low glycemic
  • No trans fats
  • Low sodium
  • Non-GMO
  • Prebiotic fiber

And if they are shipped to your house in Las Vegas during the hottest June on record… they kind of melt.


They’re tasty bars and I liked having a snack that seemed pretty wholesome and satisfying. I didn’t like the super sticky wrapper after it had melted. Woe is me…

These bars sell for $43.95 for a box of 14 on their site.

The other item I was sent was their probiotic. These are delivered via a little packet of powder (like those “to go” drinks come packaged) but the difference is these have no flavor. No flavor, no calories, no anything… except a bunch of little bacteria ready to be ingested. (Hey… that’s what probiotics are!) I’ve seen other powdered probiotics that require refrigeration. These ones are shelf-stable and last for up to a year.


They have foreign characters on the packet. I don’t know what those say. I’m not even sure what language they are, but I know it’s not Japanese because I can totally read Japanese. Or…. at least recognize it somewhat after studying Japanese for two years in high school.

I really can’t taste this when added to a drink, so you can pretty much add these to any COLD drink you may want. I’m not a scientist, but it does seem counterintuitive to add these live active bacteria things to a scalding hot drink and put them to death before consuming them.

These cost $28.55 for a box of 14.

Both products are of good quality, but they seem kind of expensive. I’m not sure that the bars are worth that price when there are other bars that have solid, whole food nutrition for less cost and easier accessibility. But a probiotic… if you find one that really helps you feel better then I guess it’s worth the price. I only tried these a couple of times so far, not long enough or consecutive enough to experiment to see if they help me feel better in any way.

I know they have some kind of sponsor/seller program for people who want to sell USANA products/make that their career or whatever. I am not interested in that so I didn’t look into that information. I also saw that USANA is a partner of the Dr. Oz show and that guy kind of seems like a nut to me, but I guess that could be overlooked if the products were life changing.

Disclosure: I was sent these products free for the purpose of review. All thoughts posted are always my own.