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.

 

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Falling in Love with Running AND a Perfect Bar Giveaway!

Disclaimer: I received a sample box of Perfect Bars 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!”

Perfect Bar along with BibRave is sponsoring a giveaway for a sample pack of their yummy bars as part of their “Falling in Love with Running” campaign.

Perfect Bar Giveaway Link

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Falling in Love with Running

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching (JUST A COUPLE DAYS AWAY!!) and all this talk about love has me thinking about one of the other loves in my life (besides my family and friends): RUNNING! People who know me or follow any of my social media accounts know I love to run. Running is my sanity. Running is my salvation. Running is my happy place.

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Between being a mom of two young boys, a wife, and working a full time job, life can get really hectic. When life hands me a bowl of stress-filled lemons, I squish them into lemonade one mile at a time.  I love to go for a quick run to burn off the crazy. It re-energizes me and renews my strength to face whatever the day wants to hand me.

Running also gives me a huge sense of self-accomplishment outside the everyday mundane. I love looking at my medal rack with my race medals. Each one of those medals signifies a huge accomplishment. I did that! I trained for that! I pushed, and sweated, and cursed, and crossed that finish line.

I think I first fell in love with running several years ago when I decided to train for and run the Chicago Half Marathon as my First. Race. Ever.   Yes, a half marathon as my first race. I’d never even run a 5k! I was either stupid or crazy or a little bit of both. I had been running off and on a few miles here or there as a way to stay fit. But at the time I was really more of a gym rat. Six miles was the farthest I had ever run. I was able to virtually train with 3 other girls I only knew through blogging. We picked Chicago as a good central point to meet up and race. We signed up and shared training plans. We encouraged each other and leaned on each throughout the training weeks.

Race weekend came and we all finally met up in person. It was so wonderful to meet these women who were so supportive and encouraging during this huge endeavor. I remember distinctly the excitement and nervousness as we lined up at the start. I remember pulling back the pace and feeling good at mile 6. I remember hurting like hell at mile 11. Then, I remember crossing that finish line and feeling like a million bucks. I finished 13.1 miles and I had a medal to prove it. My first medal. The adrenaline rush. The runner’s high. I was hooked. I wanted more. I had fallen in love with running.

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Running the Chicago Half Marathon in 2006.

Falling in Love with Perfect Bar

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We are big bar people in our house. With our crazy morning routines, we tend to just grab a bar for breakfast and go. I always scrutinize the bars we buy to make sure they are high in protein and aren’t filled with a lot of other junk. Perfect Bars fit the bill and then some. They are:

  • Non-GMO
  • Have No Preservatives, additives, salt, coatings, refined sugar or any other synthetic additives
  • Full of high quality whole food protein (7g to 17g protein depending on the flavor)
  • Gluten free
  • Kosher
  • Packed full of over 20 nutrient-dense organic whole foods
  • Available in vegan flavors

If you haven’t tried Perfect Bars, you should really check them out. I was given the opportunity to try out a sample pack of their bars, the same sample pack one of you guys can win. Oh. Em. Gee. They are to die for! They seriously taste like you stuck a spoon into a jar of nut butter and formed it into a yummy bar. These bars are so creamy and rich and delicious.

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Perfect Bar built their product from the belief that “whole foods are the only acceptable source of nourishment for your body.” These bars are made from real, whole, organic foods and no preservatives. They are sold in the refrigerated section of the grocery to keep the nut butter oils from separating and keep the bars fresher longer. And wow, you can taste it. These thing taste like they were just made and wrapped yesterday.

So far I have tried the Almond Butter (creamy natural almond butter taste with a little crunch), the Peanut Butter mini (sooo peanut buttery and creamy! Very rich), the Fruit & Nut (nice nut butter flavor with a little fruit mixed in), and the Cranberry Crunch (a little lighter bar, not so thick. Good for a mid-day snack). They’ve all been great! I even ate the Almond Butter one before a long run recently with no stomach distress or GI issues. The high protein in combination with the complex carbohydrates in the bar really helped sustain my energy on the run.

If you want to try out Perfect Bars you can order from them directly online or you can find them at health food stores and a lot of major grocery retailers like Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and Publix. There’s a great “Where to Buy”  finder on their website. I was surprised by all the retailers near me that carry them.

As part of the “Falling in Love with Running” campaign, Perfect Bar, along with BibRave have sponsored a giveaway of one sample pack to one lucky winner! All you have to do is click the link below and enter. One winner will be chosen at midnight on February 14th, so enter now! This contest closes quickly. Contest is only open to U.S. entrants.

Perfect Bar Giveaway Link

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