Friday, January 31, 2014

Fuelstrip Review and Giveaway

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

If anyone out there has the answers on fuelling for your long runs, please raise your hand…anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  That's what I thought.  Figuring out what works for you is often best summed up as a guessing game and can seem like you're shooting at a moving target.  There's a plethora of informative reading on the interwebs about the topic, but in the end it really comes down to applying the concepts to the individual…something most of us just aren't all that great at doing.

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I recently heard about a company called Fuelstrip that were putting a new spin on the fuelling equation…they were making it based on your individual real-time results.  Fuelstrip uses testing strips to give you personalized real-time feedback about where your glycogen levels are by testing your sweat…pretty neat idea, right?  It is our glycogen stores that our bodies feed off of during runs (or rides, or whatever your workout of choice is) and the only hope we have of sustaining high-level performance is to keep on top of our fuelling and refill our glycogen tanks before our body relies on fat and muscle for fuel.  That may sound good because you think you are getting rid of those love handles, but it just isn't the case…your body is likely going to go after muscle first.  Plus it just isn't a good source of quick energy as it takes a long time for the body to extract it, compared to our glycogen stores that are more of a quick-release…kind of like paying at the store with your bank card versus waiting in line to see a bank teller to withdraw your cash and then going to the store to make your purchase.

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What Fuelstrip has developed is a sweat-activated test strip that you simply swab against your sweaty area of choice, check for your results and then decide if fuelling is required and if so, how much.  If you have a pool or hot tub, these strips are just like the test strips you use to get your chemical levels correct…that was my first thought anyways.  The Fuelstrip has four different colours which represent different stages of activity…orange, yellow, green and blue.

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Along with the colour changing based on the composition of your sweat, there are recommendations on the number of chews you should take to keep those glycogen levels high.  Fuelstrip also make their own chews and sport drink that they recommend using, but you should be fine using whatever product you are most comfortable with.

I received some strips and chews from Fuelstrip to try out and I decided to give it a go the other day on the bike trainer, knowing that I would work up a really good sweat.  I would have done it on a longer run outside, which is where I would get the most use out of the strips, but it has been so cold that I don't really sweat when running outside…well I do sweat, but I'm so bundled up that I can't access my sweat (if that makes sense??).  So I setup my bikeside table with my Fuelstrips and chews and I was ready to go.

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Fuelstrip suggests that you take your workout, divide it in 4 and that gives you your testing intervals…so if you are going to be out running for 2 hours, then you will want to test your sweat every 30 minutes.  I was planning on riding for about an hour, so I would test my sweat every 15 minutes.

It was really easy to use; I just grabbed a strip, swiped it across my sweaty forehead and waited for the result.  After 15 minutes I was still orange (as I expected I would be), so I just grabbed one chew and kept spinning.  The chews were pretty good too…I had mixed berry flavour and I didn't mind the taste or the texture.  Overall they were "pleasant", which for a sport chew is high praise from me (not usually a big fan).

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Another 15 minutes and a lot more sweat later, it was time for another swipe.  This time it seemed to be a little more yellow than orange.  The instructions say that if there are traces of two colours then you go with the higher number, so two chews in this case.  Here's where my issue is with the strips though…I'm a little bit colour blind.  While I know the colour orange as well as the colour yellow, I have one heck of a time telling them apart.  I know I'm by no means the majority here, but I would love if there was a second way of telling which level you were in that wasn't dependent upon colour.  Declan commented on Instagram that it was kind of like an exercise pregnancy test, and jokes aside it would be great if a line would appear four each level you were in…for example, the green stage would have 3 black lines show up, which would also indicate that you should take 3 chews.  Just a thought Fuelstrip!

I really like the idea of Fuelstrips…it is certainly something that I would use on long runs to get a better understanding of what my fuel strategy should be.  I'm looking forward to trying it out once the weather improves and I can access my sweat.  Like so many runners, I have experienced the bonk…I have hit the wall…and it s.u.c.k.s.  Fuelling (properly) is one of the best defenses against bonking, but it really is a mystery to me.  This is a tool that I will use to help me get a handle on proper fuelling and who knows where that will take me.  When I ran the Chicago Marathon in October I hit the wall at mile 23, 5K from the finish line.  It really is like slamming into a wall at full speed.  If I had avoided that it is very likely that I would have qualified for Boston (I missed by 5 minutes), and I vowed that I would do a better job of fuelling from that point on.  If you are looking to try and solve your own fuel problems, I say give Fuelstrips a shot.

If you are interested in trying Fuelstrips you can purchase them from fuelstrip.com or you can enter our giveaway below to win a tube of strips and a package of mixed berry chews.  To enter leave a comment below letting us know how you would use Fuelstrips in your training.  Extra entries for following us and/or sharing the giveaway on Twitter!

Contest Closes February 4 at 11:59pm.  Winner to be revealed in February 5th post.  I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

 
 
 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

When Daddy's away - the children will play

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Happy Thursday friends! In happy news today Mike is currently on the train on his way back home!!! Yeah!!!!....except - I don't get to see him until Tuesday night...I am off to work at my regular time this morning, and then early this afternoon - 4 of us from my office are heading to the airport...for some much needed warmer weather and sunshine in good ol' Fort Myers, FL...oh yeah, and for some work too I guess ;

So drumroll please.....


I DID IT!!!!!! On Monday I told ya'll that I was planning to do my longest run ever of 15 miles, and as you can see I did it!!!! (I even threw in an extra mile, just so that I could finish my movie)...it took me 3hrs14min..and you know what...it wasn't too bad at all - insert my own little pat-on-the-back. And I just wanted to say a HUGE thank-you to everyone that wished me well, and was excited to hear how I did - you guys are all such a great group of encouragers (yes that it a word today)

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Yes "we" have missed Mike a lot...but the week has been jam packed - so that has certainly made the time fly by. I ended up having both kids home on Monday with me...after the dumping of snow we got again over the weekend, we woke up to cancelled school buses - so we decided that K would just stay home instead of my driving her to school (her school is an "all bused" school...so the last time this happened, and I drove her to school, there was only her and 1 other kid that showed up). So after my run on Monday I got cleaned up, we grabbed some lunch and then headed to the mall. While I was busy looking for some dress pants for Mike...what else would my children do...


I think they have mastered the art of selfie...what do you think?!?

On our way home from the mall, we stopped at the grocery store and made sure we picked up popcorn 'cause after dinner we were going to watch a movie together. Well that did't exactly turned out as planned


After about 45min of trying to get it to work and texting back and forth with Mike for his help...I finally gave up and we watched an episode of Phineas and Ferb (yeah - don't judge...even I like that show). Tuesday night ended up being a little more successful with a trip to the local FroYo (...and for those of you wondering...yes this was necessary, even during our -30 weather yesterday...lol)


I had received a coupon for 20%off at Old Navy, and by now ya'll should know that I can't pass up a great deal - and boy oh boy there were deals to be found. Here's just a little sample


I was able to pick up 1 blouse, 2 button down shirts, 2 wool vests, 2 dresses and a tee-shirt all for $55!!! Seriously how amazballs is that.

As I head to the south keep your fingers crossed for me that I'll be able to take advantage of the weather, and got some of my runs in...if I'm 100% completely honest - I'm a little worried that with my schedule, I'm not going to be able to :( and the hotel I am staying at no longer has a gym...

Again a big thank-you to ya'll - each one of you inspires me each and every day!

PS. This totally happened last night...and it was delish


Anyone racing this weekend?...where?


Any Biggest Loser fans?...who are you cheering for?


Favourite song this week?


 

 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Love Themed Dinners!!

Posted by CheapRunnerRhoda

Good morning!

My Saturday morning started off with a long run.

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2014 is the year that my family (Dad, his wife, siblings and nephews) decided that we were going to plan family nights throughout the year to ensure we get more quality time together. Saturday night was the 1st family night of the year.

My dad and his wife spent three years living in Hong Kong (2009-2012). They went back at Christmas time for a couple weeks and brought back a few goodies (Sake) for us.

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My sister, Char, had volunteered to host this family night and this “Sake” (Japanese wine made from Rice) is what inspired her to make it an Asian Infused evening.

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This was the first time Char had hosted dinner for this many people (13 of us) and I would say she did a fabulous job!

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Her neighbor makes sushi so we had a nice big plate of fresh sushi made for us.

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After we got started we had a toast, with the “Sake” to a great family night together.

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For dessert we all brought our leftover baking from Christmas and polished that off, no probs!

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What do you think? Are they related?? My brother’s kid and my sister Beth.

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We followed up dinner with a good round of “Apples to Apples”.

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And the event could not be complete without a selfie.

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#lovemyselfie

Did anyone else watch Sean and Catherine’s wedding Sunday night??

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It was the perfect way to spend my Sunday evening!

Anyone watching “The Bachelor” this season?

What is the longest run you have ever done on a treadmill?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Off the Rails in Montreal

Posted by CheapRunnerMike
Good morning from cold and snowy Montreal! I'm in town for some meetings for work and while I don't really like being away from the family, Montreal is a great city and I love coming here...just maybe not in January!
I got up early yesterday morning and got a ride to the train station, where I hopped on Via1 (first class all the way...when the company's paying) for a 9-hour train ride (including an hour layover in Toronto). I wasn't crazy about how long the trip was, but when we woke up to a whole bunch more snow, it made rail seem like a really good call.
They treat you well in Via1 with lots of coffee, decent food (way better than airplane food), free drinks and complimentary wifi...all in all a nice way to travel. I was lucky and had an empty seat beside me the whole way, so I just made myself comfortable and settled in to finish my book.
Great book by the way...if anyone out there is a fan of triathlon and Ironman, you'll enjoy this read. I wasn't a Macca fan going into this book at all, but I have a great appreciation of him now and would certainly cheer him on in the future...I have a whole new look on the guy now.
One of the nice things about rail travel is the scenery...you get to see a different side of the country than you may be used to. Except for Ontario in winter, where all you see are snow, trees, snow, highways, snow, farms and snow.
After being cooped up on the train for 9 hours I was looking forward to hitting the hotel treadmill. There's a nice fitness centre here and I also brought my swimming gear so that I can try to get in some early morning laps. Sneak up to the pool and you might catch me in my speedo haha
Here's an interesting fact about where I'm staying...it's the same hotel that John Lennon and Yoko Ono had their "bed in" and recorded Give Peace a Chance. They have pictures and plaques commemorating it, and of course this famous photo...
I didn't even bother bringing outdoor running gear, so it will be a few days of treadmill running for me and I'll mix in some swimming too. This past weekend I racked up a few miles on the bike trainer as well...maybe this will be the year I decide to tackle some longer distance triathlon...I just might have my eye on a couple of 70.3 Half Ironman's :)
And finally, congratulations to Autumn, the winner of our StrideBox giveaway! Email us your details at 3cheaprunners (at) 3cheaprunners (dot) com as soon as you can as February orders need to be placed by Friday!
Any of you enjoy travelling for work?

In honour of John Candy...your choice; Planes, Trains or Automobiles?


Monday, January 27, 2014

What's a week (and a bit)?

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Good morning friends…well I don’t know about ya’ll…but we really got dumped on this weekend…it’s been wicked cold this past week = no snow flurries…’cause it’s too darn cold…but that all changed on Friday night…it warmed up enough for us to wake up to this on Saturday morning:


…but Friday night wasn’t all storm…I went to the hockey game with my mom, and the Knights kicked some serious bootie, and it looks like I’m getting a free lunch again


Other than seeming to be as slow as molasses these days on the treadmill, I am very happy with how consistent I have been with my runs this month...and today I am planning in doing my longest run e.v.e.r - 15miles...wish me luck!

Now I just hope that I’ll be able to find a way to keep at it this week, as life for the next week and a half is going to be a little cray cray. Mike left bright and early this morning for Montreal for work, and he doesn’t get back until late Thursday afternoon….at which point I’ll already be on my way to the airport to head to Florida for my bi-yearly work trip…and then I’ll be home the following Tuesday. Mike and I were talking earlier this week, about the fact that this is the longest in our (almost) 14 years of marriage that we have been apart. It’s a good thing that neither one of us is very needy – oh and there’s this thing called technology these days that sure helps ya keep in touch ;)

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I came across an article earlier this week and the post really got me thinking, and I am a firm believer in focusing on the really important things in life, and not to sweat the details, so I decided that I would pick a few to answer and share with you all

1. Am I doing what I really want, or what I think I should be doing?

If I had answered this question 6 months ago my answer would probably be very different. Outside of work – in which I consider to be my “real” life – I know I am really doing what I want. Maintaining an active lifestyle and being able to incorporate that with my love for travel!...as far as the work thing...let's just say that it's a work in progress...and leave it at that


2. When was the last time I said, “I love you,” to myself?

Now isn't this an interesting question...and if I answer it completely honestly...I'm not sure that I can say that I've ever said this to myself. Now don't get me wrong here...I 100% do love myself and my life but knowing it and saying it to yourself are two different things. I think that at the age Kennedy is at this is something I need to start discussing with her, that she needs to be telling herself. We are a very loving family and both Mike and I make sure to tell our children multiple times a day that we love them, but as Kennedy approaches life's changes...this is going to be so important for her to be able to say to herself

3. Am I looking for the good in others or am I expecting the bad?

I admit that I am a tough nut to crack, and as humans it can be easier to focus on the negative...let's just say that sometimes this is a battle within


4. Am I more concerned with how my life looks, or how it feels?

Definitely with how it feels. I feel like I am truly blessed and at peace with the fact that other than those in my inner circle (family and friends) I really 100% honestly do not care, or am not concerned with how my life looks to others. Everything I do each and every day revolves around those that mean the most to me in my life, and as long as we are living and enjoying life together - that's all that matters

5. What am I thankful for?

First and for most - a righteous and faithful God. My health, my family, my job that affords me the "extras" in life that I am thankful for ex. the ability to travel and create memories along the way

What did you do this weekend?

Your turn…you pick one to answer

PS. Don't for get today's the last chance to enter the giveaway...so if you haven't done so already go check it out!

 

 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

3 Cheap Runners' Weekend Wrap

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

While the 3 Cheap Runners enjoy their day off, here are a few of the happenings that caught their eyes during the past week...

 

Links we Liked

 

In case you missed a day...

 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Snapshot Saturday

Posted by CheapRunnerMike
Enjoy some photos snapped by the 3CheapRunners this week as seen on Instagram.
 
 



Follow MichelleInstagram Follow RhodaInstagramFollow MikeInstagram

 

And don't forget to check out our StrideBox review and giveaway!

 

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Exciting Life

Posted by CheapRunnerRhoda

Good morning blog land! How is everyone this morning?

So, I go to write my post this morning and of course, I look through my phone first to see what I have been up to this week that everyone might want to hear about…..

Not much. Run, work, eat, sleep, repeat…oh and some sock shopping. So I will share that…

I was working later this week (except for one ridiculous morning) so I got my workout/runs in before work. This morning, I put down 12 km/7.5m.

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We have been knee deep in rolling out a new initiative at work for the last couple of weeks and this week I was awarded a new toy. I bet none of you have one of these at work…

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Yeah, that’s right, a light wand. I am so lucky!

With accepting that award it also meant that I had a very early morning.

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And yes, that’s right, my wake up call was 3:30 am. Nice! I’ll take the bad for the good. Even if it makes me feel psycho!

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My dinners have been the exact same all week long too. See, it really has been an exciting week.

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Kale Salad with Shrimp on the side. I had already eaten the shrimp when I remembered to take a pic. #bloggerfail

A couple weekends ago, I went through my sock drawer and got rid of a lot of old socks that had holes and whatnot so I have been in need of some new ones. I took a trip to Ardene and found some scwheet bargains!

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I looked at the 5/$10 racks and found 3 packs of socks (with 6 pairs in each pack), and 2 toques. That is 18 pairs of socks and 2 toques for $10 bucks!! And some of you say, we aren’t really all that cheap for 3cheaprunners.

Some of you asked for the recipes to my Quinoa Tabboleah and Sweet Potato Casserole, so here they are:

Quinoa Tabboleah

-1 cup of cooked Quinoa (converts to 4 cups cooked)

-3 tomatoes, diced

-2 bunches green onions, diced

-1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

-1/4 cup olive oil

-1/4 cup lemon juice

-2 tablespoons minced garlic

-1/2 teaspoon of salt

***mix it all together and let it chill for a couple hours

Voila!!

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Sweet Potato Casserole

-Baked Sweet Potato

-Cooked Ground beef with some taco or fajita seasoning

-plain Greek yogurt

-grated cheese

***this is totally a thrown together recipe, nothing fancy

Enjoy your weekend everyone!  And don't forget to enter our StrideBox Giveaway!!

Do you prefer getting your run on before work, or after work??
I am still undecided …. Pros and cons to both

Plain socks or colourful socks??
Duh, the more obnoxious, the better!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

January Stride Box Review & Giveaway

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

CheapRunnerRhoda turned me on to the StrideBox program last summer with her reviews of all the goodies she was getting so I decided that I ought to sign up as well.

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For those of you who haven't heard of StrideBox, it is a mailing program that caters to runners.  They assemble different product samples that runners would use and send them out to you on a monthly basis.  The program costs $15/month in the US or $20 in Canada (damn international shipping costs).

I received my January box last week and here's what was inside…

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PowerBar Energy Gel Blasts
Strawberry Banana flavour.  I've used these before on the bike and they are really quite tasty.  I'm not usually a big fan of chews, but these are an exception.  I'm actually big on most PowerBar brand products I have tried, so these chews are a winner in my books.  They are nice and chewy and have a little burst of gel in the middle.  $23.99/12 Pouches (all prices courtesy StrideBox)

Honey Stinger Gel
Vanilla flavour.  I use energy gels on my long runs so this will also get used up.  I've tried Honey Stinger waffles before and they were good, so no reason to think their gels wouldn't be as well.  Vanilla is a plus with me, my favourite flavour!  Honey Stinger gels are organic and gluten-free.  $33.36/24 gels

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Zing Nutrition Bar
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavour.  I love trying the different bars that are included each month in my StrideBox…I will throw them in my lunch bag for work and enjoy them after my runch.  I'm excited to try this bar out as the flavour sounds yummy and it is loaded with 10g of protein and 4g of fibre, great for recovery.  Zing bars are vegan and 100% natural ingredients.  $31.95/12 bars

NoGii Protein D'Lites
Chocolate Caramel Bliss flavour.  Carmel is another fav flavour of mine so this will get eaten up after runch one day for sure, though NoGii says their bars are good before, during or after your run.  NoGii bars are all natural and gluten-free…seems every bar out there is all natural/gluten-free/vegan these days.  I don't think this would make me more likely to buy a product, but it is a nice addition to a product that I would buy.  Nice to actually recognize the ingredients you are putting in your body.  Apparently NoGii bars are endorsed by Elizabeth Hasselbeck, so that must make them good (or cute at the very least).  $22.50/18 bars

StrideBox Sticker
Every month's StrideBox includes a little running-themed sticker…this month's says "Worry Less, Run More".  I actually like the stickers and take them to work where I decorate my cubicle with them.  Yes, I am that big of a loser.

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Generation UCAN Sports Drink
Lemonade flavour.  StrideBox usually includes some type of sports drink every month and this month we have Generation UCAN.  They use something called "SuperStarch" that is supposed to be an complex carb that quickly exits your stomach without causing GI distress.  Ya, I think runners might appreciate that!  There was also an information brochure included that goes into the science behind the drink and it's benefits, including sustained energy, optimized performance and enhanced fat burn.  Plus it is endorsed by Meb, so it must make you fast ;)  $19.50/6 packets

Coco Hydro
Pineapple flavour.  To be honest, I don't really care for coconut water…but I'll give it a try.  That's one of the best things about the StrideBox, you get to try out products you never would otherwise.  At least it is pineapple flavour, that's a plus.  Each packet of Coco Hydro contains the equivalent of the water from two whole coconuts and is vegan/gluten-free.  StrideBox also included a 20% off coupon code if you decide the product is for you.  $22.50/15 packets

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ShowerPill Athletic Body Wipe
Exactly what it sounds like, a giant, whole-body moist towelette for when showering isn't an option.  I'll throw it in my gymbag for use in an emergency situation, but I'm lucky enough to have shower facilities at work for after my lunchtime run.  $9.99/10 wipes

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SAFETY - Reflective Slap Bracelet
StrideBox usually includes a small piece of running gear each month and this month's gear is a reflective slap bracelet for your runs that take place in low-light or straight up darkness.    Helps to keep you more visible and SAFE.  Ya, it looks like it works…  $4.99

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Well that's it for my January StrideBox…lots of good stuff that I'll be sure to use.  I like my monthly StrideBox so much that I want you to try it out too, so I will give away a February StrideBox to one lucky winner.  To enter leave a comment below letting us know which products you would use from the January StrideBox.  Extra entries for following us and/or sharing the giveaway on Twitter.

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Contest Closes January 28 at 11:59pm.  Winner to be revealed in January 29th post.  All opinions above are my own and I have not received any compensation from StrideBox or the merchants represented above.  A one-month StrideBox gift subscription will be awarded to the winner and will be paid for by me, out of my own pocket, because I'm such a high-roller. Open to US & Canada only as StrideBox does not ship internationally.