Race Review: BARC St. Patrick’s Day Road Races

Race season has come to Michigan! Here’s a great race review from my brother on the run. Now that he’s conquered 26.2, he’s keeping his training going with several short races. Here’s his take on the BARC St. Patrick’s Day Road Races:

There are a number of early season races near to my home in MI that somehow are able to draw a crowd despite the chance for cold weather.  This year, I signed up for the Bay Area Runner’s Club St. Patrick’s day races held in Bay City, MI.  The race featured a 5K, 8K, and Irish Double – participants in the Irish Double ran the 8K and then 5K.  This was my first race following Disney. So, I did the logical thing and signed up to run the Irish Double.

March weather can be unpredictable in MI, with the 2014 race being about 14F (I am told).  Luck was on our side though and the day turned out to be relatively nice.  Credit must be given to the nearly 5000 people who showed up Sunday morning to run while their neighbors started grills and drank beer – yes, we saw multiple people with cases of Miller Light.  There is a parade that follows the races so most people are not there to watch the runners but to prepare for the parade.

The packet pick-up offered prizes to the first 750 in line and sure enough, the line was out the YMCA door and down the road when we showed up.  The volunteers and YMCA staff did a great job of leading people through the building to the packet location (and minor expo).  The only slight here is that some of the announcements were not loud enough or repeated frequently enough.  The expo featured only a couple of vendors, but had plenty of information and stands on upcoming races – we grabbed a pamphlet for everything.

Sunday morning weather was on the cold side, but we still headed out for the 9:00 AM race start time.  The course starts in Bay City, near the waterfront gathering on a street corner.  Parking was a free for all.  I had asked at the expo where to park and was more or less told that it was anywhere I could find a spot.  This is a pet peeve of mine – parking should be clearly marked and easy to access.  Had we only been running the 5K, I would have been worried about finding a parking place.  Going so early, we found something close to the race start/finish and piled out.  The race corrals were easy to find and plenty big to hold the 8K runners.

The race itself goes through the historic district of Bay City and features some impressive houses.  The course is flat, fast, and with very few turns – perfect for setting a PR.  Two highway lanes are provided so at no time did I ever feel crowded or have to dash through a crowd of people.  Water was provided and there were plenty of volunteers directing and cheering.  I think the course and set up was great and the volunteers seemed genuinely happy to be there.  My only complaint – there was road kill on the course.  Someone should have checked the path and taken care of this before we started the race (let alone clean up before the start of the 5K as there was plenty of time).  The finish area was great and staffed by more than enough people to direct, hand out food, and hand out medals.

The 5K followed a shorter version of the same path and was broken into a run and a walk division.  With my pregnant wife by my side, we started at the back of the runners and immediately before the walkers.  We both enjoyed the 5K course (save for road kill) and were pleased to see even more people showing up and cheering.  I was surprised when we reached the finish at the sheer number of people who had shown up – though the weather was about 15F warmer at that point.

Everyone who finished got a medal and those of us who did the Irish Double received two.  The medals are of high quality and look great.  The race t-shirts are made of impossibly soft cotton and while simple in design, were well thought out.  The swag for this race was great and with a relatively low entrance fee made for a great day.

Overall, I had a great time on this race and would probably run it again – staying afterwards for a beer with friends while watching the parade if situations allow (they did not this year).  It probably doesn’t hurt that I set a new 5K PR during the 8K run.  It was a great way to start the race season.

 

Product Review: Shower Pill

My favorite days are multiple workout days. I love a good two-a-day. Between my own workouts and my yoga teaching, I have lots of opportunities for multiple workout days. Multiple workout days lead to serious questions that can only be described as “fit girl problems”. Questions like: “Should I shower now, or 6 hours from now when I get home?” “How bad is it if I don’t wash my hair after this sweaty run, and just wait until tomorrow when I want to look pretty?” And, the real question – “Is it bad to just change clothes and not shower?”

I confess. I don’t shower after every  single workout. Sometimes there isn’t time. Sometimes I just don’t feel like it. Sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it – like those days that I run in the morning and know I have a super sweaty hot yoga class a few hours later. I know this calls my personal hygiene into question. I do shower once a day at minimum. I swear I’m not dirty…I just like to maximize my shower power. I like to earn my shower. Sometimes this results in questionable shower-timing decisions. For a long time, I have used Wet Ones, or other hand wipes in between workouts for a quick clean up. They don’t really do the job. They manage to remove some of the sweat and grime from the gym of the road. I am cleaner, but never really feel clean.

Enter the ShowerPill. I had heard about ShowerPill for a while now from my friends in the fitness community. I don’t know why I never tried them, but I had wanted to. When the team at Fit Approach contacted me about a review opportunity, I jumped at the chance. I had been wanting to try ShowerPill, and now I had the perfect opportunity.

ShowerPill is an antibacterial wipe for the entire body. It is alcohol free, so it’s safe to use on sensitive skin (including the face), and has aloe and vitamin E. I got a 10-pack of ShowerPill to try.

ShowerPill package

 

I decided that the first ShowerPill use would be a double run day. I had a 14+ mile run in the morning, 2 hours off, then a 5 mile race scheduled in the afternoon. The afternoon race was an important one – I would be representing not only my running club, but the RRCA as a state rep. At a minimum, I couldn’t be smelly. This was an important test. I hopped into a changing room at the local running store (location of run #1) post-run.

ShowerPill test

The first thing that I noticed is that ShowerPill is soft and thick, like a real washcloth. It has a great, fresh scent. It *feels* like it will clean the whole body. It is damp, not wet, and the wipe left my skin feeling soft and clean. I actually felt clean. Really clean.

ShowerPill wipe

I was able to completely wipe my whole body with the ShowerPill wipe and feel completely clean. When I emerged from the changing room, one of my friends commented that I smelled nice. Nice! I was shocked. I was so impressed with the ShowerPill that I carried it around and made everyone feel it. Everyone was struck by how soft and thick the cloth was. It really was fabulous – life changing, even.

For my next ShowerPill test, I wanted to up the ante. I used a ShowerPill wipe after a sweaty workout at my weightlifting gym. The floor is black gym flooring and absolutely disgusting. Any time I touch the floor, I’m covered in black dirty. Combine that with sweat and the whole thing is a mess. The ShowerPill easily handled the dirt. I wiped off and found the cloth almost black. Disgusting, but I was dirt-free. I felt clean. It worked!

Overall, I adore the ShowerPill. Now that I have them, I can’t imagine my life without them. I’m heading for Florida today and I packed my ShowerPills! I can’t go without them. I love, love, love this product.

Note: I was provided complimentary product to conduct this test. I was compensated for this review (though I spent all the money on more ShowerPills!), but the review is honest and my thoughts are my own.

Product Review: MealEnders

If you’ve been reading for any amount of time, you know that I’m a total sugar addict. I’ve tried nearly everything to stop myself eating sugary junk. I know it’s bad for me. I know it’s addictive. But I love it. My biggest weakness is dessert. A meal just doesn’t seem finished until I have had something sweet. It’s a problem.

When I was approached by the team at FitApproach to try MealEnders, I jumped at the chance. MealEnders, are, basically, a lozenge that is scientifically formulated to reduce overeating. MealEnders is different that most stop-eating interventions. It’s a small lozenge, a low calorie, drug free, stimulate free, candy designed to help reduce overeating through sensory science. MealEnders  has two parts: a  sweet,  outer  layer  and  a  cooling inner  core.  The sweet outer layer has a pleasing flavor that tastes like dessert. The inner core is a tingly, cool flavor that clears the palate. It works kind of like brushing your teeth after a meal, but without all the effort. The lozenge takes a long time to dissolve, so your mouth is occupied for a while, allowing the brain time to process the fullness signals coming from the body.

MealEnders packages

When I got my MealEnders, I was skeptical. Let’s be honest, I have tried to kick sugary desserts for ages without success. I love my dessert. I tried the chocolate mint first. My thinking – it’s more “dessert-y” than some of the other flavors. Delicious! My first impression was pleasant. The taste really was sugary and tasty, like a light version of mint ice cream. It took a few minutes for the flavor to fade and the cooling sensation to begin. The cooling sensation worked well with the mint and was pleasing. I finished my lozenge in a few more minutes. And….I didn’t want dessert. I was totally satisfied. I had a great dinner and no dessert and that was enough. It was amazing!

I’ve used up my bag of chocolate mint and have tried the other flavors. I was so impressed with the MealEnders, I gave one bag to my mom to try. MealEnders really help me take control. I still have dessert, but I feel less overpowered by my sugary cravings. MealEnders have done as promised – allowed me to curb my appetite and take control of my cravings.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Would you like to try MealEnders yourself? Awesome! You can enter to win your very own sample pack below. The lucky winner will get one bag of each flavor. Open to residents of the US age 18 and over only, no purchase required. One winner will be selected via the Rafflecopter widget. Must have a non-PO Box mailing address to receive product. Winner will be notified and will have 48 hours to claim the prize. Failing to do so will result in forfeiture of the prize and the next winner will be selected. Winner will be provided the product directly from MealEnders.

Note: I was provided with free product to conduct this review, but was not otherwise compensated.