Review Of The Buddy Pouch

Jannine Myers

Several weeks ago one of my former clients asked me about the possibility of reviewing a product that she had seen at a race expo, a product called the Buddy Pouch. My first thought, when I saw pictures of it, was that it was similar to the various types of running belts that are sold with zip-up pouches, and since I am not a fan of running belts I wasn’t impressed. Upon closer inspection however, I realized that the pouch had no belt attached, and so I agreed to test the product and write up a review on it.

I contacted the company that sells the Buddy Pouches – therunningbuddy.com – and they generously agreed to send me their medium size pouch to test and review (thank you Katey Warren). Below is a summary of the pouch specifications, and my thoughts after running with it:

  • Dimensions: 6” L x 4” W
  • Water-resistant inner pocket
  • Made with dri-fit material; keeps everything dry and sweat-free
  • Made to fit most popular phones, including the iPhone 6™ and Samsung Galaxy S V™
  • Available in Black, Black/Yellow, and Black/Pink

The Buddy Pouch has a back flap, which slides down the backside of your waistband, while the pouch sits on the front side and secures itself with powerful magnets that are built into the material. Since it has no belt or band, it should, in theory, not bounce.

P1060474

The morning I ran with my pouch, I decided to load it up with my phone (yes, that is an old-school flip phone you see; I’ll upgrade one day………), two Hammer gels, my ID card, and my house key.

P1060460

The pouch, stocked with several items, felt a little heavy and bulky at first, and my immediate assumption was that even if it didn’t bounce it would still feel uncomfortable. To be honest, it did feel uncomfortable when I first started running, but that was because I realized that the magnets were not aligned on one side of the pouch. Once I readjusted the pouch so that all the magnets were aligned, it felt much more secure – though still not entirely comfortable.

I started my run downhill and although there was no bouncing, I was initially bothered by the bulky feeling – that is, until I settled into a steady pace and actually forgot that I was wearing it at all. A couple of miles into my run, I reached a hill and proceeded to do a series of hill repeats, all the while still unbothered by the pouch sitting on my waistband.

After completing my hill repeats I made my way back home, and ironically, my cellphone started ringing. I never take my phone with me on runs (since I have no way of carrying it), and even though I only took it with me that morning for the sole purpose of testing my new Buddy Pouch, I did not anticipate anyone calling me at 7am in the morning. As it turned out, the call was relatively urgent, so my Buddy Pouch earned itself a bonus rating point!

All in all, I’d say the Buddy Pouch is a reasonable product that would suit runners who don’t want to carry their items in a belt bag, but who would prefer a storage option that’s larger than clothing and other accessory-type pockets. The Buddy Pouch is also very versatile, in that it can be adapted to other non-running functions and activities (cycling, walking, gardening, shopping, traveling, etc.), and it comes in two other sizes. Compared to other similar products, the price is competitive and shipping to Stateside addresses is fast and free.

Check out all of the Running Buddy’s products here, and leave a comment if you already own a Buddy Pouch.

Do You Start Your Races Too Fast?

Jannine Myers

We’re told over and over again that a negative split is preferable when it comes to racing, and yet, over and over again we start out too fast – and, finish too slow. So why, when we know it’s better to keep a conservative pace at the start of a race, do we often run our first miles faster than our last?

I think there are several reasons actually:

1. Performance Anxiety – leads to a rush of adrenaline and in worst-case scenarios, seriously impaired performance. If the anxiety is minimal, an athlete might still be capable of running well but he or she may make a few minor mistakes, one of which is losing focus and taking off from the start line at too fast a pace.

So, how do runners control feelings of anxiety? A few strategies include:

  • Visualization – sometimes it can help to spend a few minutes actually visualizing yourself running your race and keeping a well-controlled pace from start to finish. I often practice this the day before and the day of the race; it helps me to stay calm.
  • Deep Breathing – this is crucial for anxious runners. It works best when you momentarily remove yourself from the “stressful” environment, so if you’re at the race grounds already, try and find a solitary spot, or if that’s not possible just close your eyes. Take calm, deep breaths, inhaling at a count of 4 or 5 seconds, and then holding for a few seconds before slowly exhaling at a count of approximately 7 seconds (repeat 10 times). http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/treatment/breathing-exercises
  • Focus on the things within your control – forget about all the stuff that you can’t control, for example, the weather, or the performance of other runners. Get your mind focused on “you,” and remind yourself that no matter how nervous or anxious you are feeling, you have trained hard and your body is physically prepared to run a good race.

2. Fear of not being able to pick up the pace later on; I admit that I am guilty of this one. I often convince myself that if I take it too slow to start with, I won’t have what it takes to pick up the speed later on. It seems more logical to start out at a fast but controllable pace, and then try to hold that pace for the remainder of the race (which, by the way, is not a bad strategy either; even-pacing can get good results too). But if you start with a pace that’s too fast, you’re likely to either end up with stomach cramps that will slow you down, or you’ll eventually “hit the wall” and finish miserably.

There’s really only one way to convince yourself that you don’t need to take off like a bat out of hell, and that’s by simulating your pacing strategy during training runs. A lot of runners for example, incorporate progression runs into their long runs; a progression run is where you deliberately start our your run at a comfortable pace but finish the last miles at a faster pace. If you already know what it feels like to start out conservatively and finish strong, then you’ll go into your race with enough confidence to know that you don’t need to reach your peak pace within the first few miles.

3.You’re just wired to always be one of the “rabbits” – you just can’t help yourself. The race environment gets you so pumped up that you can almost see the adrenaline bursting through your veins; as soon as you hear the starter gun there is no holding you back. The problem though, is that the rabbit almost always burns himself out before reaching the finish line.

If you’re a rabbit, here’s what you should do:

  • Move back to a slower starting corral, if that’s possible. Or, if there are no corrals, just move to the middle or back of the crowd. You’ll be less tempted to fly across the starting line if you’re not lined up with all the other rabbits (plus, it’s hard to run fast when you’re sandwiched between hundreds of other runners)
  • Set a pace alert on your garmin, and make a pact with yourself to slow down every time you hear your garmin beeping. Or, check your time after the first mile and if you need to adjust your pace, then do so.
  • Don’t negotiate with yourself; one of the reasons that rabbits often hit the wall is because they mistakenly assume (while running their early miles faster than planned), that since they feel really strong, that they’ll continue to feel that way throughout the entire race.

Those are all the tips I have, but one final piece of advice – picture in your mind the image below and determine not to be that guy (or girl).

cartoon

A Smoothie Recipe To Prevent Post-Race Illness

Jannine Myers

Last week I ran a half marathon, and knowing how cold it would be – for me, at least – I was worried that the combination of feeling cold before and after the race, and the intensity at which I would run, would result in post-race illness. It’s not uncommon for the body’s immune system to take a beating after a high-intensity endurance race, and since I’ve experienced that outcome more than once, I was determined to take some preventative measures this time.

Nutrition has always been my key priority beyond training itself, and so for the purpose of strengthening my immune system, I searched online for “Immunity Booster Smoothie” recipes, and chose the one that I felt would deliver the most effective results. I chose this recipe from minimalistbaker.com, and I believe it may have helped my recovery.

If any of you had seen me the morning of the run (and I know several of you did, and can attest to this), my lips were a dark blue/purple color, and my teeth were literally chattering uncontrollably. By the time I got home later that afternoon and finished soaking in a warm bath, the cold symptoms had already started: the runny nose, head congestion, watery eyes, and general muscle aches. I had to take a decongestant before I went to bed to make sure I’d sleep okay. But guess what? The next morning – no more cold symptoms. The only symptoms that remained were sore leg muscles from running a hard race.

So getting back to the smoothie – I drank a full glass daily for seven days prior to the race. And here’s why I believe it helped:

  • Sweet potato – One medium sweet potato will provide well over 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A, as well as 37% of vitamin C, 16% of vitamin B-6, 10% of pantothenic acid, 15% of potassium and 28% of manganese. You’ll also find small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin and folate. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438.php
  • Orange juice – Vitamins A and C, Folate, and Copper – all help to promote a healthy immune system
  • Ginger, Cinnamon, and Turmeric – all great anti-inflammatory agents, and excellent for warding off colds
  • Flaxseed – contains ALA and lignans, both of which decrease inflammatory reactions and boost immunity http://www.flaxcouncil.ca/english/pdf/FF_Immune_R4.pdf
  • Almond Butter – contains Vitamin E, a crucial immune booster

Ready to try it? Here’s the recipe:

Immune Booster Orange Smoothie (modified from original version)

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 small cooked sweet potato (I kept the skin on, to preserve more nutrients)
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp each ground turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger (if using fresh ginger, use 1 tsp chopped)
  • 1/2 Tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Large handful ice (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. To bake your sweet potato, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and split in half lengthwise. Lightly oil and place face down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until soft – 25-30 minutes. (Or, buy one that’s already cooked, from San A)
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  3. Pour into a glass and garnish with extra cinnamon if desired.

Enjoy!

P1060415

You’re a Speedy 5k/10k Runner, But Are You A Speedy Double Race Runner?

Jannine Myers

Ever heard of double racing? Some of you have probably heard about double races, but if you haven’t then keep reading.

Bob Anderson, the founder of Runners World magazine, is also known for his running, photography, publishing, and film producing skills, but beyond those, he can also be credited for creating what is now officially known as Double Racing.

2014 San Jose Double Febv

While some people think that Double Racing is basically just running two races in one day, there are a couple of key rules that distinguish it as something quite different. First, it is technically one race, done in two segments – the first a 10k, the second a 5k – with a timed recovery break in between. The 5k race begins exactly 105 minutes after the start of the 10k, so the length of each person’s recovery break will differ depending on how fast or slow they complete the 10k.

The Double Race is all about strategy – knowing how to pace yourself through the 10k and then learning how to make the most of your recovery time – these are both important factors to consider. In fact, to show just how seriously the race organizers are about race strategy and optimizing recovery periods, each race has a Recovery Zone that includes nutrition, hydration, exercise equipment (for those who want to stay loose and keep moving), massage, and several other forms of physical therapy.

6D6T5965

One other distinguishing factor about Double Races, is that winning is based on a runner’s total race time; that means that a win in the 10k or 5k will not necessarily result in an overall win. The best Double Race competitors are those who have learned how to run both race segments with equal or near-equal pacing and stamina.

Interested yet? If so, click here to find a list of upcoming events (sorry Okinawa WOOTrs, you’ll have to make your way to the States if you wish to participate, or maybe Bali might grab your attention). There are Double Races held in California, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, and as far abroad as Africa, Greece, Mexico, and Indonesia (Bali). For more information, check out their website, and let us know if you have completed a Double Race before – we’d love to hear your feedback.

For tips on how to train for a Double Race, click here.

Current Records:

Men’s World Record Holder: 31 year old Julius Koskei from Kenya – Time: 44:24 (10k time 29:45 / 5k time 14:39)

Women’s World Record Holder: 25 year old Risper Gesabwa from Kenya – Time: 48:45 (10k time 32:55/5k time 15:49)

We Are Runners – But We’re Also Much More

Jannine Myers

I read an article recently in the Running Times magazine, about New Zealand ultrarunner, Anna Frost, and her return to competition after taking time off due to a double shin injury. What was interesting about her story is not so much her impressive come-back wins in New Zealand and the U.S., nor her part in pacing Killian Jornet to a course-record win at the Hardrock 100 in Colorado, but the depression she experienced during her time of recovery.

© www.annafrosty.blogspot.com

© www.annafrosty.blogspot.com

Hearing about runners feeling depressed because of forced rest and recovery is nothing new; we may have personally experienced it ourselves, or if not we’ve certainly seen it discussed on various running forums and in blog posts and articles (including this one I wrote for Breaking Muscle). What might not be a new concept, to some, is the idea that depression occurs because running strips a person of their identity.

That’s exactly what happened to Anna Frost; she encountered the reality of possibly never running again, and found herself asking the question “Who am I, then, if I’m not Anna the runner?” She wondered how she would spend her time, and worried too about peoples’ reactions, specifically those who knew her as Frosty, one of the world’s leading female ultrarunners.

I suspect even some non-elite runners, if deprived of the ability to run, might also let the feelings of a lost identity push them into a vulnerable and sad place. Most of us, after all, wake up each day and anticipate our morning, afternoon, or evening run, and some of us may even have started thinking about it the night before. And for many of us, much of what we do on a daily basis is scheduled around our runs; versus our runs being completed only after everything else gets done.

It’s easy then, to imagine the downward spiral that Anna Frost experienced; she struggled to fill her time and thoughts with anything unrelated to running – which triggered depression – which led to unhealthy habit replacements such as partying, neglecting sleep, and drinking too much caffeine – which resulted in weight gain and a general decline in both physical and emotional health – and so on. Fortunately, she managed to overcome all the negatives by allowing only positive and empowering thoughts to enter her mind, and eventually, as her emotional health improved she slowly regained her physical health – and, in time, her ability to resume running.

Now, after a full recovery and more wins under her belt, Frost says that her attitude towards running is much healthier and her lifestyle much more balanced. Besides running she also spends time swimming, making jewelry for her online business, and enjoying quality time with friends and family. Her experience can serve as a reminder to those of us who can’t imagine our lives without running, that if such a time comes, we are more than just runners!

 

Review of the S-Lab Exo Twinskin Skort

One of our many awesome WOOT runners, Corinne, came in first at Kunigami trail race in December. One of the sponsors is Salomon and the cool thing about winning, is you get stuff from the sponsors. She wrote up the following review on the running skirt or skort she received as part of her winnings. Congratulations, Corinne and thanks for the review!

Review of the S-Lab Exo Twinskin Skort

WOOT Runner #1

WOOT Runner #1

I desperately wanted to love this skirt! For 3 months I had been hinting to my husband that this is would be the perfect Christmas present.  At $150 this should be the ultimate skirt, but the problems with it just kept multiplying. 
skirt review
The size I received was a medium. I usually wear a small or medium. The first problem that I noticed is that the center seam is situated perfectly up the center line, giving a nice camel-toe effect. Which is fine as long as the skirt doesn’t fly up. Also, I would have preferred the waistline to come up a half-an-inch higher. As a woman who has had a child, I have a bit of extra skin that makes a little pooch that I’d like to tuck in a higher waistline, or at least have a lower waistline the does not highlight this pooch. But, this skirt is high in the back and lower in the front, exposing a bit more belly than I like. Another design flaw is the color. White inner lining in white shorts of a very thin fabric! I planned on wearing this skort during an 85k trail race in the forests of New Zealand. I don’t want to stress out the whole time about being a gross mess by the end! And, God forbid, what if I were start my period out on a long run!
Loved the compression skirt while running in it! I wore it (the one and only time) on a New Year’s Eve Marathon with friends. The compression shorts hugged my thighs and derriere very nicely. The posture control was surprisingly supportive. The fabric was light weight and oh, so comfortable. Luckily, the skirt never blew up revealing anything inappropriate. 
After the run, I washed the skirt by itself on cold in washing machine on gentle cycle, then air dried it. The dirt came out very nicely and the shorts were bright white again. But, the final complaint was the stitching. With one wash the stitching already started to unravel! 
skort review 1

coming undone after first wash!

For the price, this should have been the greatest running skirt ever! But, there were one too many design flaws, so it had to be sent back before it just ended up at the back of my dresser drawers.

A Tart But “Super” Nutritious Berry – Golden Berries

Jannine Myers

golden-berries

Golden berries, a staple food item in some South American countries, are considered a “superfood” – due to their highly concentrated nutritional content and bioactive compounds. Some of the suggested benefits of golden berries include:

  • Antioxidant effects
  • Cancer protective effects
  • Counters bacteria
  • Kidney protective effects
  • Liver protective effects
  • Lowers fever
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Modulates immune function
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Weight loss benefits

[http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2014/05/30/incan-golden-berries-10-benefits-of-a-peruvian-super-food]

Because of their not-so-sweet, more tart flavor, I prefer adding golden berries to savory rather than sweet recipes, such as the following Wild Rice Pilaf.

P1060023

Ingredients

1½ Cups any type of wild rice blend
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

1 Cup Shallots, minced fine

1 Cup Water

2 Cups Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth

2 sprigs fresh Rosemary

1/4 cup chopped celery

1 cup Golden Berries

⅓ Cup Pine Nuts
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse the rice well, and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Mix in the rice and cook for a minute longer, stirring. Pour in the broth and water, and add sea salt and black pepper (to taste). Cover with a tight-fitting lid, and bring to a simmer. Add the rosemary and golden berries, cover again and place in the oven (transfer to a baking dish if you do not have an oven-proof skillet). Bake for 65-70 minutes, or until rice is cooked through and tender.

While the rice is cooking, toast the pine nuts: warm a small skillet over medium low heat. Add the pine nuts, and cook for a few minutes until fragrant and golden brown, tossing consistently to prevent burning. Remove from pan and let cool until ready to use.

Once the rice is fully cooked, remove from oven, add the pine nuts (and optional chia seeds), and fluff with a fork. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Best served warm.

A Fitness Resolution For 2015

Jannine Myers

I was asked several weeks ago by the Marketing Manager of a diverse fitness site (top.me.com), to offer just one fitness resolution for 2015. An abbreviated version of my proposed fitness resolution was published several days ago – here – but I’d like to share with you the expanded version of what I submitted:

If I were to suggest just one fitness resolution for the New Year, it would have to be one with a two-fold approach. My recommendation for the ultimate fitness resolution would be to visualize what your lifestyle would look like if you were in the best shape of your life. What would it take to achieve that lifestyle, and considering all the influencing variables, ask yourself if it really is possible? If it isn’t, go back to the drawing board and visualize the next best scenario. That’s your “key” resolution!

Second, stop setting the same yearly resolutions! When you allow yourself to set the same health and fitness goals each year, you’re essentially selling yourself short. You’re giving yourself permission to repeatedly set those goals, but on the premise that you’ll probably abandon them partway through the year – because as long as there is always a new year there will always be another chance to “try again.” Don’t settle for that; instead, determine in your mind once and for all what it will take to live a happy and healthy lifestyle. Then, with fierce resolve, endeavor to spend every day from this moment on in such a way that you move yourself one step closer to your desired lifestyle.

fitness is a lifestyle

All I Want For Christmas

Jannine Myers

….is a pair of runner’s legs, killer abs, and toned arms! 

athletic woman

Runners are usually telling the truth when they say they “love to run,” but most would be telling a lie if they said that staying in shape wasn’t also part of the reason they run. Then again, most of those who run to stay in shape, would also be naive if they thought that running (or running, combined with strength work) could transform their bodies into one that looks like the image above. Well, maybe not naive, because it can happen for some – and that’s the point – it can happen for some, some being an exceptional few.

I read an article a few days ago; it was about the Victoria’s Secret runway models and their perfectly toned bodies. The author however, wasn’t looking to praise these women for their obvious beauty and athleticism, but to highlight instead the price these girls must pay to acquire such a lean and taut body. She mentioned for example, that a severe change of lifestyle would be required, one that involved never missing a workout, always preparing packed meals and snacks, and rarely accepting invitations to social events. This may not sound too bad, when you consider that the competitive runner or athlete probably follows a fairly restrictive lifestyle anyway, but when training is focused solely on achieving and maintaining lean and sculpted muscles, it tends to be far more extreme – and quite often, not so healthy.

There is a theory (set-point theory) that states that we all have a pre-determined body weight, one that is regulated by a feedback control mechanism located in the hypothalamus. The role of the control mechanism is to ensure that the body’s weight does not deviate too far from it’s “set point,” and if true, it may explain why some people who attempt to lose weight often reach a plateau that stops further weight loss. It may also mean that extreme body transformation efforts can overly stress the body, resulting in adverse effects such as severe mental and physical fatigue, menstrual problems, constant hunger, and possibly even long-term health problems.

While it might be nice to have a pair of runner’s legs, killer abs, and toned abs, the reality is that you probably never will – unless you’re genetically gifted and have the will to withstand a lot of discomfort and social isolation. But if you can accept yourself where you’re at, and recognize that you already have the perfect body – because you run and you eat well and you generally take better care of yourself than the average person – then you’ll enjoy a far greater quality of life than that rare group of extraordinarily toned women who look amazing, but who are likely suffering as a result.

Ask yourself what you really want, and maybe you’ll see that what you really want is a renewed perspective – a realization that you have legs that can run, a heart and lungs that are incredibly strong, and a mind that is refreshed after every single run.

love-your-body