Trying out the UA HOVR Sonic Shoes

Disclaimer: I received a discount on the UA HOVR Sonic Running Shoes delivery service as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I recently had the opportunity to test out the UA HOVR Sonic Running Shoes as a BibRave Pro. I’ve tested out some other UA running shoes in the past and really liked them.

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The first thing I noticed about these shoes was the lightweight mesh upper. I love shoes with mesh uppers. They are so breathable and they hug your foot like a glove. These felt so good when I put them on. They just molded right to my foot. They are really flexible and responsive. Running in Louisiana in the summer months means your shoes get soaking wet with sweat. These shoes dry out quickly with the airy mesh uppers. This is a huge bonus on back-to-back run days. No-one likes running in wet shoes.19378-DEFAULT-l.jpg

These are a neutral shoe with a good amount of cushion. I liked how responsive they were on the road. I did several short runs (3 to 4 miles) and a couple of longer runs (10 miles or more) to test how they performed. I loved these for the shorter runs. They felt really good. I could feel some foot fatigue on these for the longer runs but nothing terrible. I think they would just require a little more build-up running to get my feet and legs used to them.

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Here are the specs on the shoe from UA:

  • UA HOVR™ technology provides ‘zero gravity feel’ to maintain energy return that helps eliminate impact step after step
  • Compression mesh Energy Web contains & molds UA HOVR™ foam to give back the energy you put in
  • NEUTRAL: For runners who need a balance of flexibility & cushioning
  • Soft knit upper dries fast & provides a breathable, compression-like fit that delivers lightweight directional strength & unmatched comfort to help you go the distance
  • Ventilated midfoot panel increases breathability
  • Unique tongue construction is attached to the footbed by stretchable support wings to maintain a snug fit throughout the foot
  • External TPU heel counter for additional support & structure
  • Removable, anti-microbial Ortholite® sockliner molds to the foot for customized comfort & cushion
  • Blown rubber under the forefoot is lightweight yet incredibly responsive
  • High-abrasion rubber placed under the heel to help absorb ground contact
  • Offset: 8mm
  • Weight: 8oz/225g

I’ve enjoyed running in them and wearing them around town for errands. I’m looking forward to running in these more. They not only feel good, they are really cute and stylish.

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Going the Extra Mile with Mercury Mile

Disclaimer: I received a discount on the Mercury Mile delivery service as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Being a runner who works from home a lot I tend to live in running clothes. I wear running clothes when I wake up, go for a run, shower, and then change into more running clothes to work. I love shopping for new running clothes. A new shirt or new pair of Capri tights somehow motivate me to go running.  I recently had the opportunity to try out the Mercury Mile delivery service for workout/running clothes. Before I hear you all groan, this is not a subscription service. I repeat, THIS IS NOT A SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE. You only sign up for a box when you want a box. You only get a box when you request one. AND you can receive more than one box a month is you want.

So, here’s how it works.

  1. You create an account and fill out a runner profile describing your running style, size, and you can even input notes in for your stylist for things you like and dislike. For example, I put in my notes that I do not like sleeves. I prefer tanks to t-shirts. And I like bright colors. This part is free.
  2. Whenever you’re ready select a delivery date to receive a box. There is a stylist fee of $20 charged up front.
  3. Get your box and try everything on in the comfort of your home. I LOVED this part. I could try it on and move around the house to see how it performed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked something at the store to only find out it fits weird after I get moving, bunches up, etc.
  4. Keep what you want. Send what you want back in the pre-paid postage envelope. This was SO easy. I just put the pieces I didn’t like back in the bag they sent and put it in my mailbox for pick-up. Within three days I had an email verifying they’d received it.
  5. They charge what you keep against your stored credit card minus the $20 stylist fee. If you keep nothing then you’re out the $20.

I ordered two different boxes this last month to see what all I would receive. Both had a good mix of shirts, shorts, and tights. I ended up keeping about 2 to 3 pieces out of every box. Size exchanges were super easy. I simply emailed my stylist and asked for a different size in one tank I really liked. She dropped it in the mail immediately and it was at my door in 2 to 3 days.

I would recommend following them on Instagram. They periodically have a huge sale where everything in your box is 50% off the normal price. I scored some really cute pieces that way!

I really enjoyed the Mercury Mile service. I received a few pieces that I would have never chosen for myself in the store but then ended up keeping them after trying them on. It made me venture outside my normal running clothes bubble and try out some new brands and new styles.

If you’re interested in trying out Mercury Mile you can use the code BIBRAVE10 to save $10 off your stylist fee.

Knockaround Premiums sunglasses Review

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Knockaround Premium Sungalsses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Having light colored eyes they are very sensitive to sunlight. So, because of this I am a sunglasses hoarder. I keep several pairs in each car, in drawers on the house, at my desk at work, in the bathroom, in the playroom, etc. But I also have small children and I’m fairly active. I’m hard on sunglasses. I sit on them. I pull the earpieces off. I scratch the lenses. I need sunglasses that are reasonably priced. But I still want ones that are stylish and offer excellent eye protection.

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I had seen several other runners talking about Knockaround sunglasses on Twitter and Instagram and always thought they were cute but had never tried a pair. I was excited to be able to try them out as part of the Bibrave Pro program.

I tried out the Knockaround Premium sunglasses. They come is SO MANY cute, fun colors! It was so hard to decide what color to choose!! I chose a pair with mirrored lenses and a pair with matte lenses to test out the difference in lens quality and durability.

I love the look of mirrored lenses but they scratch so easily. So far these mirrored lenses have held up well! I just put them in the handy cloth protective pouch and throw them in my purse when I’m not using them. I saw no difference in lens quality between the mirrored and matte pairs.

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I really like the wider fit of the classic frames. They offer a really good amount of protection around the eye as well as UV400 protection

So, how they perform on a run?

GREAT! They didn’t budge! They didn’t flop around. They didn’t slide down. They stayed put, even on several of my really sweaty runs. I even wore them to a 5k race and they performed perfectly.

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Starting at only $15 a pair it’s hard not to snatch up every color they offer!! Plus you can customize your own pair for just a little bit more. It’s so much fun to pick out lens, earpiece and frame colors!! And they have some amazingly cool limited edition releases that you have to check out.

Right now you can save 20% off one single order at Knockaround with the code BIBRAVEKNOCKS. I highly recommend grabbing you a pair, or several.

The Wonders of KT Tape®

Disclaimer: I received a sample of KT Tape® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I’ve always seen people taped up at races with KT Tape® and have even asked, “What is that? What’s it supposed to do?” I kind of poo-pooed the idea that tape could really help with an injury and never bought into the idea.

Then I got injured.

Peroneal tendinitis and bursitis in my foot sidelined my running. The pediatrist recommended rest, icing, and then slowly get back into running and tape up the foot. Tape.

So, I bought some cheap athletic tape from the drug store and watched some videos on how to tape my foot. It helped. It really did. But it was also very, very stiff and uncomfortable. It would last a few hours and I was constantly re-taping.

Then I remembered I had received some pink KT Tape® as a gift. I got online, looked into it, watched their video on how to tape up my foot and set out about my day. It stretched! And breathed! and stayed put! and helped with my pain! WHAT???

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I’m telling you guys. It sold itself.

Then Bibrave offered the chance to test out several different types of KT Tape® and I quickly raised by hand. Yes, please!

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What is KT Tape®? To put it into the simplest terms it’s stretchy athletic tape. You can read all about the elastic fibers and benefits here. So, take basic, blah, athletic tape. Make it stretchy and breathable, better widths and add fun colors and you have KT Tape®!

It comes in several different fun colors and prints and widths and adhesive strengths to meet your taping and athletic needs. I was sent the following:

  • KT Tape® Cotton (pink) – this is their normal, basic tape and it was hands down my favorite. The cotton was breathable, stuck to my skin well, stretched, stayed put and didn’t irritate my skin.
  • KT Tape® Pro (blue) – Made with 100% synthetic fibers. It was very breathable and stretchy as well. It stayed on well too. I felt I didn’t get much more use out the synthetic as opposed to the cotton. They were pretty much the same to me. So it would come down to fiber preference honestly.
  • KT Tape® Pro Extreme (black) – This is the Pro tape but with a higher adhesive for wet (or really sweaty) application. I wore this on on a really, really humid, sweaty run and it stayed totally put. I was afraid the extra adhesive might make it painful to remove but that wasn’t the case! I really liked this one for those hot, ultra humid runs.

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  • KT Tape® Pro Wide – the strips are 4″ wide and made to be applied to large muscle groups like the lower back and quads. I didn’t have any injury of large muscle groups so I didn’t use this one, but it’s exactly like the Pro tape, just wider.
  • KT Tape® gentle tape – this one has lighter adhesive and good for everyday wear. I wore this one for work under my socks just for that extra little support while my foot was healing. Super comfortable and easy to remove.

I’ve been using KT Tape® now for over a month and I LOVE the stuff. My foot is healing and mostly better but still achey. So, I use KT Tape® religiously for long runs and races as an added bit of support and precaution.

And if you’re worried about how to use the tape for a specific body part they have tons of great videos that are easy to follow. They explain exactly how to apply the tape and step-by-step instructions. You can find the videos here.

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Check out KT Tape® and you can save 30% off your online order by using the code BIBRAVE30.

A Review of the Aftershokz Trekz Air

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Aftershokz Trekz Air wireless headphones review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

If I’m running by myself, I often carry music with me as a motivator and to offset the boredom. Running with music can be a safety risk since headphones can block out the surrounding ambient noise. Being open and aware of your surroundings is important when you’re running outside.

When I got the chance to try out a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Air bluetooth headphones I was anxious to try them. I liked the Trekz Titanium headphones and was curious how the Trekz Air compared.

The interesting thing about the Trekz Air headphones is that they are completely open. They do not go IN your ears, but rather slightly above your ears. They use bone conduction technology which delivers the music through your cheekbones. This allows your ear to be open to ambient sounds around you, providing a much safer listening experience.

The first time putting them on, they immediately connected with my iPhone’s bluetooth. And I easily started playing music from  one of my playlists. The music quality was GREAT!! AND I could hear everything going on around me! As I ran around my neighborhood I could easily hear cars approaching and people running behind me without losing music sound quality from the headphones. It was amazing!

They are extremely lightweight and flexible. The Trekz Air are 20% lighter than their counterparts and could immediately tell when I put them on. I could barely feel them on my head.. They never became uncomfortable or felt heavy on my ears. The back wraparound titanium connector also seemed to hug my neck a lot better, reducing how much my ponytail would bang around on it. I think this is part of their new “organic design” supposed to increase comfort.

There is a micro usb charging port right next to the volume buttons behind the earpiece. It didn’t take long to charge them fully and they’ve held a charge for over a week! Aftershokz says they’ll stay charged for up to 6 hours of continuous music play.

They are IP55 certified to repel sweat and moisture. I got caught in a pretty good downpour on one run and they performed great! I never lost connection or sound quality and I was completely soaked.

And music quality was excellent. I find that there is loss of music quality in a lot of headphones that are not “in ear” but the Trekz Air really delivers great quality music. The bass (they come with EQ presets) was shocking and music and podcasts were so clear. Their website states that “PremiumPitch+™ guarantees a premium audio experience, including wide dynamic range and rich bass”.

The only comment I have on the headphones is I wish the “power on” button was the first button on the earpiece as opposed to the second/middle button. The buttons are tiny and I found it a little hard to find and press the power button while I had the headphones on. Most of the times I would have to remove them to turn them on or off. This is not a huge issue, but then you don’t hear “Audrey” tell you if they’re on and connected until you start playing your music. After some practice I got a little better at it, but it would be easier if it was the first button on the earpiece.

All in all I was really impressed by these headphones. I applaud the open design. I feel so much better going on open roads with these things than I do with my earbuds (I usually have one in and one out – but lose a lot of sound quality that way!)  They’re lightweight, easy to use, great sound quality, and sweat/water resistant. These have quickly become my new favorite headphones for working out.

Win in 2018 with Athlinks

Disclaimer: BibRave has partnered with Athlinks to promote and engage with the Athlinks platform. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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I have some exciting news! For 2018 BibRave is partnering with Athlinks!

What is Athlinks?

Athlinks is the destination to view, save and share every finish time for every finish line you’ve crossed – all in one place. Athlinks.com and the Athlinks app for iOS and Android is a comprehensive resource for athletes to connect with friends (and fellow BRPs!), compete with rivals, discover new challenges and races, and enjoy a connected, consistent race experience. And it’s all FREE!!

The platform is an great way to create a resume of all your past race results, link upcoming races to your profile, and find out what other runners will be at your events. You can even message friends! Athlinks makes finding, claiming, and sharing all of your hard-earned results easy. If you’ve crossed the finish line in the last 10 years, you’ll find it here.

There is a desktop platform and a mobile app. Both are really easy to use. You simply create an account with an email or facebook, fill out the required information, and then start claiming your races. The Athlinks platform searches races and finds race results for races you may have run. You can then claim those results and they are added to your race resume. It even saves your PRs amongst the races you claim.

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There are several great features on the Athlinks platform besides claiming and storing all of your race results. The app can tell you upcoming races near you. And you can even have Athlinks help you set a goal for an upcoming race based on your past results.

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The Athlinks platform even tells you specific details about races you ran. You can see the weather on the day of the race, your placement details, in addition to your finish time and pace.

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It’s also a fun way to connect with other runners. You can search and follow other runners and even set up friendly rivalries between runners. You can also see who might be running upcoming races so you can connect with friends.

They have a newsfeed coming soon with scrolling information. The desktop platform has great suggestions for different races, such as “Best Events for First-Timers” and “Best Events for Partying”.

For 2018 Athlinks is running the Win in 2018 campaign. Just sign up and claim your results and you could win one free race entry to one of their premier partner events or a one-year TrainingPeaks subscription! Start your 2018 goals off right with Athlinks.

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Running on pace with the Weav Run app

Disclaimer: I received a year of access to Weav Run to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Do you run with music? Music unlocks happiness – sports psychology shows that when you move in-sync with a beat, your body releases endorphins. Regularly active people can improve their performance 10-15%. I run/walk with music often and I usually gravitate toward songs with hard, driving beats. I’ve often read that songs with a beat per minute (bpm) of 165 or higher are optimal for running. Songs with these bpm tend to drive your cadence up and promote better, faster running. But if you’ve ever tried to make a playlist of songs with a specific bpm it can be a nightmare. Just finding songs within your bpm range is tough. Finding songs you like within your bpm range can be even tougher.

The Weav Run solves all of these problems for you! Weav Run “adapts songs so every time your foot hits the ground, the beat matches your step.” Weav Music adjusts the speed of the music to your pace. It speeds up when you speed up. It slows down when you slow down. And it does this without losing music quality. The songs still sound great.

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The folks at Weav Music rely on the Weav Mixer and the Weav Player to achieve this. The composition is mixed and controlled by the artist to sound great as the playback speed increases or decreases. Currently the app has 25 tracks, most of which are fairly current pop/dance/R&B tracks. I really liked the songs. They are a lot of the same type of music I regularly listen to when I run. If I didn’t like the track I could easily skip to the next song. They are working with artists to gain licenses for another 30-35 tracks to be added early next year. I was allowed to beta test the next release of songs, and let me tell you they are great!! I found several new songs that I love to run to both with and without the app. There are a lot of current tracks coming. You guys are going to love them.

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There are two settings when you start up the app. You can have the music follow your pace. You speed up, the tempo speeds up. You slow down, and the song slows down. Or, you can set the tempo to a specific cadence. This is good if you’re trying to achieve a specific cadence or say, you want audio cues to make you slow down.

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Weav Music is creating an interval mode with 9 different programs driven by the music to be released soon.

The app works with your Health app on your iPhone and pairs with Strava to record your runs. You get a lot of great data within the app at the end of your run and it even gives you the option to share it to social media.

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Right now the Weav Music app only works with iPhone. You can download it in the app store here. They are programming and tweaking the app for it to work with the Apple Watch soon with more features being added shortly after.

Overall I really enjoyed the Weav Run app a lot. It was a great change of pace from my usual music playlists. I discovered some great new music to run to. I liked how the songs changed tempo with my pace a lot. It really helped keep my cadence steady and motivated me to push the pace a little harder. I can see me using the app frequently in the future, especially as they release more and more music.

BOCO Gear hats review

Disclaimer: I received a BOCO Gear Trail Hat and 360º Visor to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I’m an outside runner. Very rarely will you find me on a treadmill. I prefer being outside even if it’s 95º with 100% humidity. And because I run outside so much I sweat…a lot. So I’m always wearing a hat or visor to keep the sweat out of my eyes and to additionally protect my face from the harsh sun. I find that I almost always gravitate towards my BOCO Gear hats. They’re super lightweight, comfortable, keep the sweat out of my eyes and they’re machine washable. All huge wins for me.

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I have several varieties of BOCO Gear hats. The Technical Trucker, the 360º Visor, and the Trail Hat. For this post I’m reviewing the 360º Visor and the Trail Hat.

The 360º Visor would be my all-time favorite. I prefer visors. I have a long pony tail and a visor allows me to place it anywhere on my head without the hat getting in the way. The 360º Visor is great for so many reasons.

  • I love the internal sweatband that rests on your forehead. It really keeps the sweat out of my eyes during my run.
  • Wicking material on the outer also keeps the sweat away and helps keep you cool.
  • The elastic back fits my head without squeezing my brains out. Some visors are too tight with that elastic band (I have a big noggin). But the BOCO Gear 360º Visor just hugs it snuggly without giving me a headache.
  • Machine washable – HUGE, HUGE plus for me. I’ve thrown this thing in the wash so many times and it comes out like a champ every time. It gets really smelly after a couple of runs and being able to wash it frequently helps so much!

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Pretty much the exact same thing can be said for the Trail Hat.

  • It also has the great wicking sweatband at your forehead.
  • It’s made of wicking performance fabric
  • It’s super lightweight. I mean this thing weighs nothing!!
  • It’s a little different in that it has an adjustable back closure instead of the elastic band.
  • The Trail Hat also has a flat moldable bill, that can also be custom printed. Mine has a cute BibRave logo on the underside of the bill!

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If you haven’t tried a BOCO Gear hat, you’re truly missing out. They have a huge variety of designs and colors in the BOCO Gear store or you can even have them send you a quote for your own custom design! I promise you’ll be super happy with your purchase!

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Top 10 reasons to run the BCS Marathon

Disclaimer: I’m promoting the BCS Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

If you’re looking for a great December race, look no further than the BCS Marathon and Half Marathon! It’s a great race, flat, fast, well organized, and beloved by runners. Here are the top 10 reasons to run this amazing race!

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10. It’s a fast, mostly flat course. This course is easy to fly and being USAT&F certified and a Boston Qualifying race, it’s perfect for that Boston attempt.

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9. With a marathon, half marathon, and kids race held on race weekend, it’s a great event for the entire family. You can make it a weekend of fun and exercise for everyone.

8.  You get to run through the gorgeous Texas A&M Campus. Majestic oak trees and historic buildings make for inspiring scenery.

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7. Plenty of time to finish the marathon and half marathon. With a 6.5 hour time limit it’s a good race for beginning runners and first time marathoners.

6. Post race beer and tons of food at the finishers festival! Margaritas, breakfast burritos, pizza rolls from Double Dave’s and and did I mention beer? So much good beer.

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5. While you’re in town, you can grab you some great Aggie gear at the MSC Bookstore and take home a little of the “Aggie Spirit”! Everyone looks good in maroon and white!

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4. Get you some yummy vitamin G post race at the Chicken Oil Company. There’s nothing I crave more than a good, greasy burger after a tough race and Chicken Oil Company has one of the best burgers around. Add on an order of Tijuana Fries and it’s a greasy, yummy, match made in heaven.

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3. You’re almost guaranteed good running weather. Bryan/College Station has a historical average of low 43º and high of 63º around race day. That’s perfect running weather!!

2. The BCS Marathon was voted one of the top 20 half marathons and top races for exceptional race organization for the Bibrave 100!

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  1. And the #1 reason…SO. MUCH. SWAG. You get a ton of great swag with this race. You get a participant shirt, a finisher’s medal and a swanky finisher’s jacket that you can wear year round for bragging rights!

 

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If any of this peaks your interest, there’s still time to register!! Go to the BCS marathon site right now and register to run this lauded race. And you can save 10% off your race entry with code BIBRAVER17.

Two things that should be on your running Christmas wish list

Disclaimer: I received a sample of the Health Warrior Chia Bar and the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I like finding and trying out new items for running. Sometimes they’re a winner and sometimes they’re just meh. If they’re a winner I integrate them into my weekly running routine easily. I tested out two new products recently and I’m now obsessed with them: the Heath Warrior Chia Bars and the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel (60L).

First let’s start with the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel 60L. I fully expected this to be your standard, everyday gym bag type duffel. Boy, was I wrong! This thing is so much more! The people over at Eagle Creek really, really, REALLY thought this bag through. It’s features are truly made with the user in mind.

  • It’s ultra lightweight! It only weighs 1 lb 12 oz.
  • It can be carried as a backpack with padded straps. These are removable and it can be carried by the top handles alone as a duffel. I LOVE this feature since I schlep gear through airports a lot and I need hands free as much as possible. This was a HUGE selling point for me.
  • The fabric is abrasion resistant and water-repellant. Combine this with the huge side pockets and it’s great for stowing wet running clothes. I used these side pockets after a rainy trail run and my gear in the middle compartment stayed nice and dry.

  • Foam padded bottom to protect your contents for when you drop it on the ground…like me. I’m lazy and throw my bags around like crazy.
  • Lockable zippers with storm flap to shield the zipper from rain.
  • Six lash points to attach the bag to a roof rack. (I didn’t test this feature out but still cool!)
  • Folds in on itself when not in use into a much small package. I LOVED this feature too. I love that I can stow it away easily in my trunk or closet when I’m not using it or even put it in my luggage for an extra bag for all my souvenirs and SWAG.

Secondly the Health Warrior Chia Bars have now become a staple in my daily diet. I did not to expect to like these as much as I did. I really like things with chia and use chia a lot in my running fuel (smoothies, gels, etc.) so I was anxious to try these.

I got the Vanilla Almond and Chocolate Peanut Butter flavors and they came with this SUPER cute Marathon Training coloring book!!

Out of the two flavors I liked the Vanilla Almond the best. It seemed to meld the chia seeds, oats, nuts and nut butter flavors better than the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor. I’m not a huge chocolate fan (I know, I’m weird) but the chocolate and peanut butter flavors were mild in that bar.

These little guys are awesome. They are only 100 calories and 4g to 5g of sugar. They also pack a nice 3g of protein, 4g of fiber and 1100 mg of SUPER good for you Omega-3s. They’re perfect for a pre-run fuel or daily snack without weighing you down. It’s so hard to find a good snack that’s not loaded with sugar that I can carry around with me. These things are compact and really yummy. They helped curb the cravings and hunger monster. I find I’m now putting them in every bag and stashing a few in the car for snack emergencies. Ha!

The first ingredient is white chia seeds…a mega superfood. Chia is such a great fuel for runners because it has protein, carbs, fiber, and absorbs liquid to aid in hydration.

I enjoyed these so much I joined their reward program and have ordered 4 more boxes!!! EEP! You get discounts for your orders and just for following them on social media.

If you’re looking for something new to put on your or someone else’s running Christmas list, I highly recommend both of these products. Great companies, well-thought-out products, that are actually usable and tasty.