GU Brew Reformulated

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Earlier this fall, GU reformulated their GU Brew to put the focus first and foremost on the athletes hydration and electrolytes. This means it has fewer calories and carbohydrates and an even lighter taste profile than the previously light taste. Now the flavor is “ultralight”!

The new flavors are:

  • Lemon Lime
  • Orange
  • Lemon Tea (caffeinated, 20mg)
  • Blueberry Pomegranate (double sodium)
  • Watermelon
  • Tastefully Nude

The new formulation has 70 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrates per serving, with 250mg of sodium and 30mg of potassium (except Blueberry Pomegranate, 2x sodium – 500mg sodium!)  The carbohydrate source combines complex carbohydrates (in the form of maltodextrin, a glucose polymer) with simple carbs (as fructose) in a 50-50 balance, to make it easily digested while still providing lasting energy. The idea is that it can be used for shorter workouts, or in combination with gels or Chomps for longer duration.

I have been drinking it PRIOR to runs without any digestive distress. It mixes up easily in a water bottle, dissolving almost instantly so there is no wait time, clumping or built-up fizzy pressure. It comes in canisters, as well as single-serve packets which could easily be shoved in a belt/pack for midrun mixing.

I am impressed with the flavors as well, none of them have been particularly horrible and I was surprised at the fact that Watermelon ended up being my favorite. I usually hate watermelon-flavored things… other than actual watermelon! :-) I didn’t have any “Tastefully Nude” to try, but that’s a fun name!

GU is also being pretty innovative with their gel flavors of late… ever craved a Root Beer Float midrun? Well… neither had I, truthfully, but it’s pretty tasty! I found the Caramel Macchiato loathesome, but I don’t like many coffee-flavored things.

Lastly they have Roctane electrolyte capsules, for runners who want to get extra electrolytes in without the flavored drink.

GU is doing some great things and it’s fascinating to hear their process. Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, an elite runner AND the Director of Research for GU Energy Labs did an interesting podcast for Another Mother Runner on nutrition, which you can listen to online.

A New Nut “Milk” in my Fridge – Silk Cashewmilk

I haven’t had regular cow’s milk* in about… (hang on, I’m getting older, let me do the math…) 23 years. At least. To go along with that… I’m a cereal-eater, that’s been my go-to breakfast since I was small. So when you eliminate dairy, you need something to put on your cereal. (Trust me, water or juice isn’t going to cut it. Just yuck…)

* I do eat yogurt… the live active cultures and all make it easier to consume.

So in the early days of milk removal, it was hard to find a substitute that would work. These days I’m very lucky, and Silk is one of my go-to brands for cereal-topping. Almond milk, coconut milk, almond-coconut milk… all in regular rotation at my house. Then I received the news that they had just released a new variety… Silk Cashewmilk!

Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk

There are two varieties available: Original and Unsweetened. I usually go with Unsweetened options, so that’s what I picked up. (Side note… I had to make a special trip to Walmart to buy this. It was the only store near me on the Silk store locator that carried Cashewmilk. I don’t like shopping at Walmart… it’s always so crowded and it makes my blood pressure skyrocket. So apparently I was dedicated to trying this! LOL! But I will be happy when I see it in my regular grocery stores too.)

Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk nutrition panel

There’s not a lot of cooking going on at my house right now. I was in a bit of cooking funk, and then our kitchen remodel got underway. So I don’t have countertops… or a sink… it makes for a strange environment for cooking, probably not all that hygienic. But I do have paper bowls and spoons and the use of my refrigerator, so I can have a bowl of cereal!

I wish I could serve cereal for every meal. How do I make that a balanced approach? Because it literally takes no time and I don’t have to worry about living with a picky spouse or a toddler who might or might not be eating at that moment. There’s a cereal for everyone!

Did you know that if you microwave shredded wheat sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with nut milk and drizzle it with honey or maple syrup and add frozen (or fresh/defrosted) berries it makes a wonderful hot breakfast? I’ve been doing this for years and thought I was particularly brilliant in coming up with this… yet my most recent box of shredded wheat actually suggests to do this! I will just claim I elevated it with cinnamon and berries.

Shredded Wheat Cashewmilk Hot Cereal

But I have successfully used Almondmilk in place of regular milk in a wide variety of recipes, so I assume Cashewmilk would work the same. I do know that Almondmilk does not work in instant pudding, it never thickens. I wonder if Cashewmilk is the same, hmmm…. Of course, I kind of want to try this recipe for Creamy Cashew Pudding and use Cashewmilk instead of the almond milk it recommends. That’s a much more wholesome recipe than a boxed pudding!

Signing up for the Silk e-newsletter will let you know when they release new products and also give you an instant coupon code. They also encourage a dialog on the Silk Facebook page about what people think about products.

Do you drink nut “milks” and would you try Silk Cashewmilk? Why or why not?

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Honolulu Cookie Company – A Tower of Cookies

Looking for a gift for a cookie lover in your life? The Honolulu Cookie Company has cool gift sets of their shortbread cookies in great holiday presentations. They sent me their Mele Snowman to sample.

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“The 2014 Holiday Collection offers cookies in 24 irresistible flavors, several dipped in white, milk or dark chocolate. They are gift-packaged in a wide range of selections and sizes, priced from $4.95 up:

  • Mele Pineapple Ornament ($4.95)– add a delicious tropical flavor to Christmas trees and holiday settings with 3 signature cookies, perfect for a stocking stuffer or holiday party favor.
  • Mele Swirl Box ($6.95)– a sampling of 6 cookies featuring all 4 Peppermint holiday flavors is sure to bring a smile.
  • Mele Mini Bites ($8.95)–  these Peppermint Mini Bite cookies make great quick snacks that cookie lovers can enjoy throughout the season—8 ounces of pure indulgence.
  • Medium Mele Quilt Gift Box ($17.95)– contains 16 cookies, featuring all 4 of the new peppermint holiday flavors.
  • Large Mele Quilt Gift Box ($25.95)– contains 24 premium shortbread cookies, pairing all 6 new holiday flavors with 2 classic favorites, Butter Macadamia and Chocolate Dipped Macadamia.
  • Mele Gift Tin ($26.95)—beautiful keepsake tin contains 33 chocolate dipped shortbread cookies, including traditional and holiday flavors.
  • Mele Snowman ($39.95)—a fun and capacious tower contains all 24 flavors, plus Peppermint Mini Bites!
  • Mele Round Holiday Collection ($44.95)–holds two levels within one box. Tier One presents a selection of 22 Peppermint and Ginger Spice holiday flavors; Tier Two presents an assortment of 22 signature flavors.  A bountiful gift, it’s sure to be a hit at the office holiday party!

To ensure delivery by Christmas, orders being shipped to the continental U.S. must be placed by phone or online by December 17th.”

My personal assessment… the peppermint flavors are all the bomb-diggity. The coffee ones were a big fat MEH for me, but if you are a coffee fanatic, you may feel different. And almost any flavor that had a chocolate-dipped counterpart… the chocolate-dipped version was better! My husband was unimpressed… but he doesn’t care for shortbread cookies at all. So that was kind of a given, right? A tip on this snowman set: the “hat” and “head” are full of the peppermint goodness.

Visit Honolulu Cookie Company on Facebook (www.facebook.com/honolulucookie) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/honolulucookie):  @honolulucookie.

For more details, visit www.honolulucookie.com or call toll free at (866) 333-5800.

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

Braving Winter… or “Winter”

When I’d lived in Las Vegas for about a year, I had to have some kind of service professional help me with something at my house. It might have been sprinklers, I don’t recall exactly. What I do know is this person was in my garage and he asked me, “You used to live somewhere cold, huh?”

I was kind of surprised, “Uh… yeah. How did you know that?”

“You have 3 snow shovels over there.”

Oh… yeah, those things. And I’ll have you know that we used one of them one time in the 9 years we’ve lived in Las Vegas.
Snowy Backyard

Did we really need to? No… it was more just because we could or the humor of the situation. But we still used a snow shovel!

The other day when my husband was watching football, I walked through the room as a Nike commercial was on screen and it instructed the viewer to “Choose Your Winter.”

Choose Your Winter

Okay, I choose this winter.

Most people wrongly assume Las Vegas is hot year round, but I do recognize that I have pretty nice winter weather for running. We get some pretty cold days, but the coldest temperature that I’ve run in here was in the teens and that was an anomaly. Frequently mornings in the “dead of winter” are in the 30’s and if I have the opportunity to run around 9 am instead of in the dark, I can usually run in the 40’s or even 50’s. So my winter gear needs aren’t as intense as most people.

One of my winter gear favorites is arm sleeves. (Take this as a recommendation for your fall/spring attire if you live somewhere with real extremes!) They’re easy to pull on with a regular shirt, and to pull off if you no longer need that layer. I got my first pair of arm sleeves in 2008 or something, they were a simple white pair by Asics and they felt kind of like a tightly woven sock. They were soft, they kept me warm and they washed up well.

But arm sleeves have gotten more and more high-tech over the years. I own a couple of pairs that are compression with reflective stripes down the side and have a little pocket on the upper arm. I got them for the reflective qualities, I still don’t see why I would want compression and the tiny pocket is worthless… it could maybe hold a quarter?

For my 2nd leg during my recent Ragnar Relay, I wore a pair of those arm sleeves and when I pulled them off upon conclusion, I found a small chafe spot on my arm from them. One of the seams somehow rubbed me wrong. (Running is amazing, somehow you can get a chafe wound in a spot where you can’t think of any possible way there was friction happening!) But that little spot is still on my arm, nearly a month later!

But while I was out running, I had received an email from Louva Gear, offering me a pair of their sleeves to test. And it felt like going back home to those very first sleeves I ever had! Except these new ones had thumbholes. (Thumbholes are so exciting… for some odd reason!)

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(I realize, that picture kind of looks like I’m wearing a cast, huh? It’s hard to take a picture of yourself and frame in the sleeves!)

You can have people write messages on them for you if you are running a key race and want to carry that love with you. You could dye them yourself if you want them a different color. You can decorate them and treat them like a blank canvas. Or you can do like I do… and just wear them. To keep warm on slightly chilly mornings. They have plans to expand the color palette, but for now white is the option.

But you can’t beat the price… $12!

Now, if you’re really frugal you may say, “But Jill, you can make your own arm sleeves with a pair of socks, just cut off the toes.”

BAH! I’ve heard that trick and I don’t buy into it. All I can imagine is that they would be all baggy and falling down. I choose this kind of option, knowing something is put together and won’t fray apart all run.

My running staples for a Las Vegas winter are:

  • capris
  • long sleeve tech shirts
    OR
  • arm sleeves pair with a short sleeve tech shirt
  • gloves

Pretty simple, and I appreciate that. I’m not saying living in a real winter environment is a complete impossibility. But I do really appreciate what I’ve got right now!

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

Motion Geek Video Analysis

I recently had the opportunity to test out the video gait analysis service from Motion Geek. I’ve been intrigued by this concept for YEARS and it was so exciting to get this chance.

Motion Geek

Here’s the gist: you record 6 video clips of yourself doing various things. Two clips are of running and the other 4 are doing some functional movements: squats, 1-leg squat, lunges, stepover. You register with the site, complete your profile and upload everything. Then your account is reviewed by a physical therapist and the turnaround on receiving your report is just a few days!

Last Wednesday or Thursday I had my husband help me record 6 video clips. I filled out my profile on the site where I explained any past injuries or niggles I’ve had, what my running goals are, what my regular mileage is, and any other information I thought was imperative.

Then a couple of days later, I automagically got a web page FULL of recommendations. Here’s the extremely shrunken version so you can see how much detail is in it:

motion-geek-recommendation

There are still shots from my video clips where they’ve drawn lines and angles to illustrate where I have tightness in my ankles and how my hip drops when my right foot hits the ground. Most of the issues they spotted were due to my hips and I need to work on strengthening and stretching that area. (One more reason that sitting at my desk all day long is terrible!) All of the prescribed moves are easy enough to do at home with minimal equipment involved. (That was a special consideration to me because I mentioned I didn’t have a gym membership, maybe if you explained the equipment you had at your disposal they would give different recommendations. In fact, I would suggest they add that to their intake form: What kind of workout equipment do you have available?)

The coolest part of the whole service (well, aside from everything mentioned above!) is that it is highly affordable. It’s so affordable, I’m amazed at this… Normally the service is $89 for the evaluation but they’re having a limited time special taking it to $79. I’ve entered races that cost a lot more than that!

I’m going to rave about Motion Geek… I think it’s a really cool help resource and I can’t wait to see how my body/health improves after putting these exercises into place. They even offer a satisfaction guaranteed clause… if you give it a go for one month (honestly, truthfully attempt to pay attention to your recommendations) they offer a money-back guarantee.

Lastly… I just need to point out there is a SWEET LivingSocial deal going on for Motion Geek’s service. Buy it for yourself, buy it as a gift for another… I can’t believe it’s only $39! This deal expires in 6 days, so snag it now while you can. Seriously! I don’t get all fangirl over much I review on the site… but I can’t get over this deal! (I bought it… I’m going to re-evaluate in a few months!)

Metaball Fitness System

A while back I was asked if I wanted to test out the new Metaball Fitness System. It looked like a pretty cool setup, so I agreed. This system is amazingly diverse, and sadly I barely scratched the surface of how to use it during my time with it.

Disclaimer: This system was sent to me so I could test it for the site. And then I sent it back. Holding it while standing in line at FedEx was a nice little workout itself!

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So the basic idea is that it is a compact set of weights and tools that is designed to replace a whole range of fitness equipment, giving the user a diverse home gym for a much cheaper overall price tag.

All the equipment a Metaball replaces

I admit that I was surprised at just how compact it was when it arrived. It’s all tucked neatly inside a small bag. The system is built extremely efficiently!

Metball bag, full of all the components.

It’s easy to use as well, everything just snaps together or apart the way it should. It even comes complete with several workout options on DVD and poster exercises too. The system is selling for “three easy payments of $69.95″ right now in its pre-sale period. Then in 2015 it will be released to the general public for its regular price. Pre-sale orders are guaranteed to arrive by the holidays.

The Metaball Fitness System is the brainchild of fitness expert Greg Plitt.  Greg has appeared on the covers of more than 200 fitness magazines and 25 romance novels in the last four years. That’s an awesome resume line! I had the opportunity to ask Greg a few questions and he was kind enough to answer them:

Why Metaball? What made you decide that this was the way to package a workout tool?
– Metaball Fitness System is the first exercise equipment I’ve actually put my name because I believe in it. Whether you’re working out at home, in the gym, in your backyard, on the beach or in a hotel room, it really travels with you which is an important factor for being able to stay in shape regardless of a busy lifestyle.

How did you come up with the concept? Did you have to go through a lot of versions to settle on this one?
– I wanted to take out the excuses a lot of people have for why they can’t get in shape — whether it’s time or money. Seven years in the making, the finished product meets my 100% approval.

What’s your favorite move to do with the Metaball?
– Wow-that’s hard to say since it can do so much but if I had to choose, I personally like using the Metaball for rotating push-ups; the Metaball breaks down in half to two rotating handles to really get that perfect push up in your work out.

How would you recommend a distance runner incorporate the Metaball into their training regimen?
– The Metaball is a perfect tool for someone adding weight or strength training to their regimen, especially for a runner. While you are going to get that great fat burning and cardio with running, Metaball will allow you to train targeted areas on your body to increase strength in your stride.

If you’re looking to stock a home gym in a small amount of space or for not that much money… or if you’re looking to supplement everything you’ve already got or replace some of that stuff, the Metaball Fitness System is a VERY cool option.

Armpocket Racer and Ultra i-35

I’ve mentioned on here that I upgraded my iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 is bigger… as such, I needed a new way to carry it. The timing of this is all so fortuitous… I was recently asked to be an ambassador for Armpocket armbands! I used my first Armpocket way way way back in 2009 or so and it’s something that I have purchased for myself. As part of my newly appointed ambassadorship (that sounds so formal, huh… I need a coronation ceremony!) I received some new Armpockets.

Armpocket i-30 and Racer both hold an iPhone6

Both the Racer and the Ultra i-35 are large enough to hold the new iPhone 6 (not the 6 Plus… I can’t imagine wanting to carry that one around ever. But if you do, they’ve got it covered… their Mega i-40 will do the job!)

The Armpocket Racer™ is an ultra-thin sport armband ideal for the minimalist.
The Armpocket Ultra i-35 is more in line with their typical designs.

Some of the standard features of the Armpocket family:

  • Water and sweat resistant, with a large storage compartment to carry what you need
  • Touch-through screen for “on the move” device operation
  • Available in 3 strap-lengths, as “one-size” does not fit all: Small for arm size 7″ – 11″, Medium
    for arm size 10″ – 15″ and Large for size 13″ -18″.
  • Audio ports—allows you to easily connect your headphones to your phone or device
  • Double pull zippers- allows easy “on the run” access – and “top-side” ear-bud wire access^
    (Racer has sport Velcro closure)
  • Durable, comfortable, and securely carries multiple items—does not bounce
  • Does not slip: ultra soft – padded with breathable memory foam” contours to your arm
  • Moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial, natural bamboo rayon back and vented strap- keeps you cool and dry
  • Eco-friendly – primary fabric is constructed from recycled plastic bottles (PET), and uses bamboo rayon
  • Versatile – great for running, hiking, hiking, running errands, traveling and more!

I may be the exact opposite of how these Armpockets are labeled. The Racer is more of an everyday, going running straight from my front door holder for me. It’s minimal and won’t hold much beyond my iPhone6. The top doesn’t use the zipper enclosure, instead it has a velcro flap. I’m not entirely sold on it, but I can see the point with the minimal design. It’s a tight fit on this one with my iPhone in a very slim case. Basically, I have to put the phone in the Armpocket Racer first, then strap it to my arm.

armpocket-racer.jpg

On the flipside, the i-35 is bigger and will hold more. Which means if I’m going to a race, I can stash my car key in there, or a pre-packed face wipe for post race or some gels or… well, you get the picture. Basically, it’s more accommodating!

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Over the years, I’ve found that when the Armpockets are brand new, they tend to still be a little stiff. They need some wear time to really learn to contour to your arms. After several good sweat sessions, the memory form tends to start molding to the shape of your arm a little bit quicker and they become more and more comfortable over time.

I may be a little weird, but I don’t like to use the headphone port on the Armpocket armbands. Since Apple moved the headphone jack from the top to the bottom of the iPhone, I’ve been putting my iPhone in my Armpocket upside down. Plus with the larger Armpocket, like the i-30, if I do this I can easily unzip it, grab the phone for a quick photo without worrying about unplugging the headphones and/or rethreading it through the port on the go. But the thing is… they’re versatile enough to allow for this practice!

Currently they’ve got a free domestic shipping promo going on their site, so if you’re one of the many who have moved to larger phones over the past, check them out. It’s a way to carry your device (and more) without bulky waist packs. (Okay, it’s adding bulk to a different place, your arm… but it’s comfortable!)

So Over The Cold

Not the temperature… it can’t be categorized as cold here yet. And many of you would say that even at the coldest, Las Vegas doesn’t know cold.

No… I am over the illness “the cold” and getting one every month or so. I don’t know if it’s 100% due to the fact that I have a toddler in school or if it’s due to having a weakened immune system from not getting enough rest. Whatever the case… I am feeling cold-ish far too often. And yes, this means that today I am feeling a little under the weather.

I don’t know if it was a blessing or a curse that some samples from RECOVERYbits® AND ENERGYbits® showed up at my house just in time for this. Are they potentially going to help me kick it or did their mere presence act as a subliminal message to the viruses that I should be infected?

Disclaimer: Samples were sent to me for free. Thoughts on the site are always my own.

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I received two doses of the Recovery formula, I tried the first dose on Saturday after my race. I wish I’d had two doses to use now that I’m feeling the familiar throat tickle, but I downed the second dose today.  A dose is 30 tabs… which seems like a lot but I actually didn’t have any problems taking that many.

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partial dose

I did a little bit of reading on the health benefits of algae as a superfood. I didn’t want to just take the word of the Bits people… their website and marketing pieces are done extremely well and paint an awfully appealing picture. But it’s also built to sell their product. So my goal was to find information from other sources on whether or not the chlorella algae in the RECOVERYBits really helps with immunity and repair.

Chlorella can potentially help with immune function, as well as hypertension and fibromyalgia. [Superfood: Algae via Greatist] Even at high doses, algae appears to be safe but some tabs can be contaminated with other potentially toxic substances. And pregnant/nursing women should talk with their doctors before using. [University of Maryland Medical Center] I found lots and lots of anecdotal stories talking about what a difference various algaes made in people’s lives. There are lots of “early studies” that show benefits, but not a lot of definitive, conclusive evidence. [WebMD]

But there was enough information out there that I was convinced to give it a try. I’m really sick of losing days in my training and focus at work/home due to all these colds. So I decided, yep… I’ll give it a try on a regular basis. But then I looked at the price for a one-month supply of RECOVERYBits… $115.

Yeah… That’s $1380 for a year. I’m a cheapskate and I can’t justify that kind of expense! I mean, it’s about $2.80 a day and some people buy $5 Starbucks every day… but I don’t. So that seems steep!

All the stories online, the positive preliminary research and the rich history for algae in Asian cultures sounds tempting, but that’s a hefty price tag!

And one final bit of advice… never ever ever ever ever try to chew the Bits. Well, technically you can chew them… but they just taste pretty horrible.

recovery-bits-swallow.jpg

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

Friday Fête

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like you’ve gone through about 3 weeks in just 3 days? It has been one of those weeks for me. Despite having Monday off work, the following three days were so full of work weirdness that I’ve been thrown off all week. Emails have been piling up in all my accounts (I have way too many email accounts!) and it’s getting a little overwhelming to look at them all.

But I got an invite to use Inbox, Google’s new app to try managing manage your gmail account. So if I ever get a chance to really test it out maybe I can get an inbox or two under control! (HA HA HA!)

Inbox by Gmail

I downloaded the app Motigo recently. It’s an app that allows you to collect “cheers” from friends/family, then at the beginning of a race you start the app and you get those motivational boosts at specific points in the race. I’m going to give it a go tomorrow. Right now I only have one cheer in there, one I made of my daughter babbling. So if you feel like leaving me one for my race tomorrow: download the app, look for me in the Trick or Trot 10K in Las Vegas and record away!

motigo-icon

My daughter has always loved books, but lately the “Want to read a story Mommy?” inquiry has been coming even more frequently. She wakes up in the middle of the night asking that question. First thing out of her mouth in the morning is asking for a book. It’s awesome… but I’m so tired of all her books. I’ve tried to read my books to her so I get a chance to read for myself, but she has told me “No like that. Read another one.” Guess we need to go get a stack from the library every week!

I pulled out the book The Runner’s Bucket List: 200 Races to Run Before You Die to read to her, thinking that since it’s not really a long book but more a collection of short “stories” I could get away with it. It didn’t fly… however I did get to read her a little blurb about the Boston Marathon to her, since I’m getting more and more giddy about running that race as part of Team Stonyfield with each passing day.

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The book is entertaining, although it really is a collection of personal opinions. I mean… I think a large majority of runners would put the Boston Marathon on their bucket list. But the book includes the Badwater Ultramarathon as a bucket list entry. I know a few people personally who actually have that race on their to-do list (or have already done list) but for the most part, I think it wouldn’t be high on a lot of runners list.

The book is a fun way to get some ideas though. Since it’s grouped into chapters with a general theme, it’s easy to find races you might not have heard of otherwise. Races that take place on famous or multiple bridges… races that are clothing optional (are these bucket list worthy?)… races that take place in the night… relay races, fast courses, indoor races… there are a lot of races I’d never heard of and that made for an interesting perusal!

I’m hoping that this weekend I get a chance to power through some of my emails and get a little more caught up and organized on my personal life. At least I have my work inbox somewhat under control, despite the out-of-control feelings it has evoked of late! And I’m running a 10K Saturday morning (see above mention in the Motigo reference), so that should be fun!

What are your weekend plans? What email app do you use on a smartphone? Got any to-do list/organizational tactics you swear by?

You Need to #OpenYourEars

I have been harping on this for years now… Pay attention to your surroundings when you’re out on your run! (Or walk, or bike ride, or if you’re a high school kid walking across the street in front of parents who are picking their kids up from a nearby school and you just drift across streets without ever looking up from your phone while wearing giant headphones…) From recently talking about it…

… to years back when talking about my time coaching Team Challenge and how runners would be completely unaware of us coaches running up to talk with them until we’re right in their face. It really bothers me to see people being so cavalier about their own wellbeing.

So when Panasonic reached out to me to test and share their Open-Ear Bone Conduction Headphones and the #OpenYourEars campaign I was very excited. First, I’d never tried an ear-bone conduction headphone (I usually run with a single earbud) and was intrigued to see how it works. Second, obscuring your sense of hearing while running is my pet peeve. If I was a Mrs Running America pageant contestant this may be my platform issue.

panasonic-open-ear-bone-1.jpg

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I wasted no time in opening the box, pulling out the headphones, plugging them into my iPhone and starting up a song. I heard the song just fine, so I asked my husband, “Can you hear my music?” And he looked at me and said, “It’s all in your head. There’s no music.” He’s a smart aleck. But it’s still kind of strange, to have your ears completely open and hearing the music just fine but nobody else can hear it. I loved that!

So I took the open-ear headphones out on a run. And then another, and another, and another. I really like them, they are quite comfortable and don’t bounce around at all. I have found that when you are listening to a podcast/audiobook/spoken word and a noisy vehicle drives by, you tend to miss some of the words as you really do hear the road noise more. So if that is something that really bothers you, try these anyway and keep your audio that needs close attention for other times!

wearing-the-panasonic-open-ear-bone-1.jpg

So how does the ear-bone conduction work? Basically, it transmits sound vibrations directly to the inner ear through your cheekbones. So without covering up any part of your ear canal, you still get the benefit of great sound. And your ears are open to hear cars, cyclists, other people, dogs, etc. that are around you.

They are lightweight and even though they are not adjustable to snug right up against the back of your head, they don’t move when on. They have reflective strips on the sides and back to help increase visibility in night/low-light conditions. They are water/sweat-resistant and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

wearing the panasonic open-ear headphones

The only complaint I have about them is how long the cord seems, I feel like I could wear a calf strap to hold my phone, plug the headphones in clear down there and it would be fine. Well, that’s an exaggeration… but there is plenty of cord to go around here. Just jam it down your shirt, it will be fine.

Another thing that would be a “nice to have” feature is an inline remote. If I’m going to have all that cord, I might as well be able to control my tunes with it and take calls.

The headphones retail for $79.99.

In addition to the headphones, Panasonic was kind enough to send me a bag of schwag. Some of it is general precautionary things runners might need: GU, BodyGlide, sunscreen. But they also sent some items that are visibility-specific. Reflective headband, light-up armband, bright-reflective waist belt. All of it came bundled in a nice big Land’s End tote. Thank you Panasonic for sending me the headphones and all these goodies.

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Panasonic sent me the headphones for free to review, but it was in regard to a need that I feel particularly strong about and all opinions are my own.

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