Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I'll be taking a break to celebrate the holidays,
so today I'm sending you all my best wishes for a
very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Be sure to come back in January because I have lots
of fun reviews and giveaways planned for 2010!
I'm looking forward to sharing it all with you!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

GoLite tote review

Two weeks ago, I received a GoLite tote bag from OutsidePR to review. They sent the one in green (it also comes in red and black) and it looks just like this:


As soon as I opened the package, I decided to change over my regular bag to the tote and give it a true test of usability. The first thing that I noticed about the bag is that it really is light. For as large as it is, it is not heavy at all. So, if I complain at all about my bag being heavy, it's not the bag. It's me and all the junk I put in there!

The second thing I noticed about the bag is that it has tons of pockets. That's great. I put so much stuff in my bag (I travel with a 2-yr old and they just happen to need stuff!) that I knew the pockets would come in handy.

And they did. There was a pocket-like area that worked perfectly for my Wet Ones (yes, I travel with a big, honking container of them), a pocket for my cell phone, one for my wallet, a large one for diapers and wipes, and still others. I loved all the pockets!

What I didn't like, though, was the interior color. It was black and because the bag is deep, the dark interior makes it a little tough to find things.

Another feature is the top zipper. I liked that I could zip everything into the bag and not have to worry about it falling out (it happens to me -- a lot). But I didn't love that the zipper made the opening of the bag smaller than it needed to be. That's minor, though.

Overall, I liked the bag. In fact, when I was at Williams-Sonoma over the weekend, I carried the bag and a woman stopped me to tell me how much she loved it. She loved the color, loved the shape and loved all the pockets. That compliment made up for my mother's comment, which was, "What's with the green bag?"

Ah, mothers :-)

I've decided that the bag is too large to be a handbag, but the right size for toting my toddler necessities: Extra outfit, Wet Ones, diaper, wipes, snack, drink, etc. So, I'll continue to use it for those trips to the library, playdates, gymnastics class and all the other places I drag my little guy :-)

Accoring to the web site, the tote retails for $70. You can check it out here. In looking around their site, I saw a ton of stuff that I would love. The longsleeve zip looks good and so does the black mountain thermal wind jacket. And, they have cool hydration backpacks.

I also read about the company and I'm super impressed. Take a moment to read about GoLite here. They use recycled material to make their products and are working toward using 100% Environmentally Preferred Materials by 2015. They're committed to sustainability and to fair labor and supporting volunteering. All good stuff! Go, GoLite!

You can purchase GoLite products on their web site, at EMS stores and online retailers like prolitegear.com, moosejaw.com and backcountry.com.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winner announcement 12/18.

Thanks to everyone who entered the Winter Motivation Booster giveaway! Yay -- I enjoyed putting this one together and I'm happy that one of you will get some extra motivation this year :-)

So . . . the winner is Carlee with this comment: "Looks like a great giveaway. Those sound like great books! I already follow."

Congratulation, Carlee! Shoot me an email with your address and I will send the package right out to you!

Have a great weekend, everyone. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chocolate #9 review

I recently received a box of Chocolate #9 energy gels to try out and, wowzer, is it good stuff!

First, let me give you some information about the product. The low-glycemic index energy gel contains only two ingredients: organic agave nectar and dark Belgian chocolate. From the web site:
The nectar from the agave plant provides us with our slow burning carbs and sweetens the dark roast cocoa. The dark Belgium style cocoa has small amounts of naturally occurring caffeine, magnesium and potassium . . . Chocolate #9 is the only certified LOW glycemic energy gel on the market. This is the driving idea here, athletes who refuel there muscles, body and mind with a pure and simple energy source will feel and perform better than those who use similar products loaded with high glycemic sweeteners, preservatives and the rest.
Each gel pack is 70 calories, 10 calories from fat.

So, I tried a Chocolate #9 about 15 minutes before a run last week. From the first sip, I knew this stuff was good! In fact, it is delicious! So delicious that I could probably eat it all the time. It tastes like hot fudge. Or maybe dark chocolate brownie batter. Just yummy!

Chocolate #9 is an energy gel so the fact that it tasted so good was a bonus, but it also needs to work. And, from my experience, it did. I normally can't tolerate eating too close to a run -- I need about 1.5 to 2 hours to digest whatever I've eaten. I've been able to handle gels in the past and Chocolate #9 was no exception. It didn't bother me at all out on the run. I can't say that it gave me extra energy, but it didn't bother my stomach one bit, and that's important!

Overall, I like the Chocolate #9 gels and will use them on my long runs when needed.

You can learn more and purchase the gels at their web site here.

PS: Don't forget to enter my Winter Motivation Booster giveaway (which happens to include two packs of Chocolate #9 -- yum, yum)!

Review disclaimer: I received a box of Chocolate #9 from the company for my own use.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Great Winter Motivation Booster (giveaway)

Let's see . . . its cold. It gets dark early. There hardly seems to be enough hours in the day. So what falls to the wayside? For many, it's running and exercise.

But it is important to stay active in the winter! So, to help you keep motivated through the winter months, I have a fun package to giveaway.

The Great Winter Motivation Booster package includes:
  • Fit Body, Fit Soul -- by Mark Allen and Brent Secunda
  • The Extra Mile -- by Pam Reed
  • See Dane Run -- by Dane Rauschenberg
  • Package of Exercise Anywhere cards from nuruplanet
  • 2 Chocolate #9 energy gels
  • 1 coupon for a free bottle of POM tea
The three books included in this package are sure to inspire you to push yourself! The first is Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You. I enjoyed this book and picked up a few tips that (I hope) will improve not only my running but my life in general. Here's what the publisher says about the book:
From setting appropriate goals for each type of fitness to learning how to feed both body and soul, this ground-breaking guide goes beyond the typical health mantras—eat right, exercise regularly, reduce stress—and explores the emotional and physical obstacles to corporeal and spiritual fitness. Based on the immensely successful training of a six-time Ironman triathlete by a renowned Huichol Indian healer, this handbook seeks to remedy the conspicuous absence of spirituality in typical Western exercise regimens by explaining how to incorporate the divine into everyday exercises and why the two issues are inexorably linked. After years of respective training, both parties realized that the art of prayer and its signature mindfulness could increase not only one’s physical abilities but also the mind, and that fitness wasn’t just a matter of good cardiovascular health and strong muscles. Whether training for intense competition or just reaching fitness goals, this indispensable resource discusses how to exceed mental limitations and become successful in any physical, emotional, or spiritual journey.
The next book is The Extra Mile: One Woman's Personal Journey to Ultrarunning Greatness by Pam Reed. Pam astonishes me with what she is able to accomplish -- she's a top ultramarathoner and a mother and a wife and a marathon race director! Phew! From the publisher:
One year after her astonishing victory at the Badwater Ultramarathon, Pam Reed again made distance running history when she braved the hottest weather in years—135 degrees—to successfully defend her title. How does this 100-pound mother and stepmother of five muster the endurance and courage for the 28-hour climb from the hottest desert floor on Earth to the shadow of the continental United States’ tallest point?

In The Extra Mile we watch this ultramarathon champion seek balance in her life as a wife, mother, athlete, and entrepreneur. With astonishing candor she tells of her 15-year-long battle with anorexia. And she helps us to understand her passion for ultrarunning—to discover how far the human body can be pushed.
The last book is probably my favorite: See Dane Run. I couldn't put this one down. It's Dane Rauschenberg's account of the year he ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise money for L'Arche Mobile. I enjoyed reading his take on each of the marathons that he ran, just as I enjoyed reading how well he ran in those marathons. He finished almost all of them in under 3:30 and posted one sub-3 hour time -- all while running one marathon a week! Amazing. From the publisher:
See Dane Run is the account of Dane Rauschenberg's journey to run 52 consecutive weekly marathons in one calendar year all while working a full-time job in the greater Washington D.C. area. The book tells the tale of how Dane progresses from neophyte runner to sub-3 hour marathoner. This book serves not only as a guide to 52 distinct and unusual marathons across North America (for those looking to find that right race) but more importantly, is an inspirational tome for anyone looking to push themselves further than they thought possible. With Rauschenberg's athletic history as a backdrop, he paints the picture of how running never was the real sport of his choosing. From record holder on the swim team in high school, to rugby player in college, to Golden Gloves boxer in law school, Rauschenberg only began running after having already tested all these other sports. He shows how his first few marathons were abject failures and how it took him years to realize what worked best for him in running. Even then he went from just 6 lifetime marathons to planing 52 consecutive weekly marathons in one year. filled with anecdotal humor and a week by week recap of the people and places Rauschenberg encountered, See Dane Run is not a book about running. It is a book about life, while running.
The giveaway:

If you'd like to enter to win the Great Winter Motivation Booster package, leave me a comment on this post.

After doing that, you can get some extra entries by doing the following (please leave one comment per entry!):
  • Follow this site or The Happy Runner (or let me know you already do) -- 1 entry
  • Link to this giveaway on your blog -- 2 entries
  • Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter -- 1 entry
  • Leave me a comment about your favorite winter activity -- 1 entry
There you have it: 6 possible entries for the Great Winter Motivation Booster giveaway!

The giveaway will run through 11:59 pm (EST) on Thursday, December 17th and the winner will be chosen using random.org and announced on Friday the 18th.

Good luck -- and have a great weekend!

Giveaway disclosure: I received the products in this giveaway for review and personal use. None of the companies asked me to host this giveaway.