Friday, August 30, 2013

Product Review and Giveaway: The Protein Bakery

I was recently contacted by The Protein Bakery to do a review of their products and a giveaway on my blog.  While I received free product for this review and free product to giveaway, my opinions (as always) are my own.  

The packaging was very pretty!

 The classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate will always be my favorite, so without hesitation, this was going to be the one I tried!  The Peanut Butter Brownie mini is a solid 1oz. of pure sweetness.
You can't do peanut butter and chocolate wrong... I was just hoping for a little more flavor.  The sweetness and the goodness isn't going to punch you in the face, and maybe my sweet tooth is a bit of the "sock it to me" type.

This is a subtle sweet that is a little bit more amaretto than chocolate.  I don't know why I thought that, but that was the first thing I jotted down in my notes.  Then reading the label I see that the chocolate used is chocolate liquor.  Maybe that's what I was tasting?!  I'm such a foodie.  Or maybe it was just the  pure vanilla extract?

The label also says "corn starch from non genetically modified corn."  Get out of town!  I'm in love with you.

The brownie is very soft and very dense.  I microwaved the goodie for about 15 seconds and it was just enough to make it warm without being too melty.  The texture is smooth and very delicious.  1 oz is gone way too fast.  But don't worry!  That's just the "mini"  there are lots of products to choose from!
CookiesBrowniesBlondiesMinis and assorted gift sets.

The Protein Bakery says they've found the secret to happiness:  Balance.

“We chose the name Protein Bakery, for a good (and healthy) reason. Muscle-building protein is a huge component in all our delicious cookies, brownies and blondies. Every delectable, guilt-free bite is high in dietary fiber, low in gluten, and delivers up to 5 times more protein than the average baked treat”.  They also say: “Our trans-fat free, preservative free, and wheat flour-free recipes are also nutritionally balanced. We combine natural ingredients like heart-healthy rolled oats, light brown sugar, and the finest chocolate”.

These little treats are trans-fat free, made without wheat flour and very low in gluten, higher in dietary fiber to satisfy hunger, and higher in muscle building protein.  However, my gluten free friends or vegans would not enjoy these treats so much.  "Contains eggs, milk and soy.  May contain wheat..."

My sweet 1 0z treat was 100 calories, 70 from fat.  Sugar 2g and protein 4g.

That being said, this is a prefect bit of "junk food" to not feel terribly guilty about after a long run.

I am excited to give them a try post workout and interested to hear what you think about them too!

The Protein Bakery also has a giveaway going on too.
They'd like for the winner of my giveaway and for any others who have purchased their products to enter their giveaway:  "Show us your muscle!"

Submit a photo of you holding the product and making a muscle!  Email it to for your chance to win a free Bakers Pick gift set plus a t-shirt.   They also will highlight the blog that you learned about them through.  ;-)


Click HERE to enter my giveaway for your chance to win:  one "Wicked mint Brownie" (3 oz.); one Black & White Blondie Mini (1 oz); and one package of Peanut Butter White Chocolate Chip Cookies (2 oz.).

Evidence that Bugaboo enjoyed her bite. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Attack of the sport sock! It will eat your toes.... (Impromptu Product review?)

 Last week I had a bit of issue sneaking in a morning run....  You know how it goes... the day just starts slipping away and by the time the baby is down for her nap and everyone is dressed and I'm ready to go, someone wakes up early from nap or an appointment comes up...  You get the idea.

Anyway....  We decided that a family picnic style dinner at the park would be an enjoyable evening. And i could loop the park to get in my miles while my husband was playing with the kids.

I got a mile and I had this TERRIBLE pain in my foot!  It felt like the knuckles on my middle toe was being rubbed by the neighboring toes.  It sorta felt like there wasn't enough room on my foot for that toe!

I should probably preface this post that when it comes to my shoes, I'm sorta "the princess and the pea".  I have to sweep out my shoes before they go on and examine the socks for any strange snags or anything that's going to "rub weird" (like the sock seam at the toes!).

That's why I'm sorta surprised that I didn't notice this issue sooner, like when I put my sock on!  But I thought I was just being too sensitive and powered through it.  After that one mile, I wandered to the picnic blanket and took my sock off to adjust it.

My toe was trapped in thread loops like a little hammock!

Champion  "Duo Dry" Socks
After trying another mile, it hurt too bad.  Another examination on the blanket, and it became obvious that I had cuts on the toe from the threads rubbing.  I purchased these Champion Duo Dry Socks on the cheap at Target, and now I know to avoid them!!  When I got home, I turned every pair inside-out and all of them have this loopy issue.  Ick.  As if my life doesn't already have little things to stress about and big things to worry over, now I have to cut the loose threads out of my socks?  No thank you.  

I first purchased some Fitsok socks at Portland Running Company, and now I know that there are some things it's just best not to skimp on.  Love you Fitsok!  Thanks for not cutting my toes off!

At least the injury was short lived.  Today I got 10 miles done!  In the pouring rain.  I loved every minute of it.  Sometimes it's just good to get out and get a run in.

Any painful gear lessons you have endured?  Please share them with me!
What kind of socks have won your heart or helped your feet?  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Race Recap: XTERRA PDX Hagg Lake 10k (and half marathon)

Race Recap:  XTERRA PDX Hagg Lake trail run: half marathon and 10k...  (I participated in the 10k) 

Showing my "team spirit" prerace with 65+ temporary tattoos on my legs
On August 11, 2013 the XTERRA PDX "Epic Off Road Weekend" wound down to an end with the half marathon and 10k races.  The day before had been a triathlon!

This was my first timed 10k (my first 10k race being a "fun run" the weekend before) and my first trail race.  Maybe it wasn't the ideal trail for a complete newbie, but I wasn't a total novice to getting torn up on the trails.  (My last trail run was a slow ramble with a running group through some trails in Portland, OR.  The end result was torn up quads, my ITB screaming and me limping for several days.)

Anyway, I'm no pro either, and this was my first race on a trail!  I really started to wonder what the hell I was thinking and started to feel sick to my stomach.  "Keep it cool"  I told myself as I pretended to have it "all together" with my friends with me.

Racing with other people is soo much more fun!  7 other gals from my local Moms RUN This Town chapter had joined in on the fun.  (It also helped to find a super sweet deal on "Living Social"- an online coupon/deal of the day type site.)

As we wondered over to the water's edge to que up to race, the 53 half marathoners were sent off through their course on Henry Hagg Lake Park.  The 176 participants for the 10k were sent off in four waves.  The gazelles in the first wave and the "10 min milers after and then the 11" (according to the race director)...  uh oh.  Maybe I'm too slow for this?

Doubt always has a way to sneak in and make me fearful.

The course starts out at a slight uphill, in tall grass... hiding the gofer holes that pock mark the hill side.  Once you get through that, the course is a cinch!

Naw.  All kidding aside, with the elevation changes and the trails proving to be quite technical in some areas,  the race wasn't going to be for the faint of heart.

Some parts required a bit of jumping over the large gouges in the path and being mindful of those sneaky tree roots that jump out and grab you!  The trail also had deep ruts carved through them from many bikes trudging over it.  Deep ruts.  Don't roll your ankle!

But overall, the course was very beautiful.

After being pulled into the deep shade of the thick woods, I ran by the lake and wound around over a couple foot bridges, next to a babbling brook (so glad I didn't wear headphones!), through a couple meadows and down the road for a short ways until being pulled back into the woods.

I really with a photographer had been stationed at this bridge!  It would have made a fantastic photo op.
I think I might have had a better time if i hadn't stopped to take so many photos... but I really wanted to soak in where I was and remember bits of it later...  :)

Hugging the edge of the meadow.  
 Throughout the trail, I could hear the finish line in the distance and this was either encouraging as I thought I was getting closer, or antagonizing as I'd glance at my garmin and realize I still had quite a bit to do....  The trail was not marked with actual mile markers, but did have "flags" and arrows tied to trees to keep runners in the right direction.  For someone as directional challenged as me, I did alright!  I didn't tack on any extra miles by the time I got to the finish line (and perhaps because of the winding trail and tree cover, I ended with not quite a full 6.2 miles).
Running next to the lake.
 After clearing the final piece of trail and hitting the asphalt of the parking lot, volunteers were stationed to clap and cheer finishers in.  Some of my friends who had finished before me were at the final bend in the road clapping and cheering me in.  That was so much fun!  As they ran next to me, i decided to go all out and sprinted as hard as I could into the finish.  I beat an hour and a half, and I'll take that with a lot of pride!

Each finisher was handed a stainless steel pint glass and could fill it up with endless amounts of beer provided by Base Camp Brewing Company and a slice of pizza.

There was also a raffle ticket in each pint glass and fun competitions for some cool prizes.

With the 65+ tattoos that adorned my legs, I was awarded the stainless steel "growler" which holds 64oz and has a super cool flip top.  I'm in love with this thing!  (And if you really want one, you can pick one up here.)  

Over all, the race was a ton of fun!  There was even an after party the following Wednesday at Base Camp Brewery in Portland, but I wasn't able to attend that.

I did however hear some criticism that made sense to me.  The course was a "lollipop" loop course that had the faster people trampling over some of us slower racers on parts of the course as they started their way back to the finish and we still fought our way to the halfway point.

It is a narrow trail with not a lot of opportunity for passing other runners, not to mention have two-way traffic on it!

I felt so bad as I kept shouting back to the gals behind me if they wanted past me... and they said "No."  They started their own conversations (about wishing they wore hiking boots instead of running shoes and that this wasn't a "run" so much as mountain climbing...) I never heard anyone else wishing to pass... When I got to open road about a half mile from the finish, the first half marathon finisher darted around the girls behind me and then past me.  I cursed out loud and hollered "Sorry!" at him, and he waved and darted off to the finish.

Poor guy.
I hope my slow pace and the narrow trails with other runners right behind me didn't slow him down too much.  he still finished first.  ...And he had competed in the triathlon the day before!!!!!!!!!!

Overall, criticism noted and technical course in mind, it was still a lot of fun, and something worth doing.
I'm really glad I did this race and enjoyed it with the friends that I have and stopped to enjoy the amazing views.

I also didn't tear up my quads or render myself unable to walk again!  Bonus!

Finisher's Pint on the left and "Growler" on the right

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: TrailMix App.

I was recently asked to review the App TrailMix and was instantly loving the idea of music that is calibrated to your pace!  How cool is that?!?  Unfortunatly for me, the product is not yet available for people whose techno-gadget toys are android devices....  This app is suited for iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, or 5; or an iPod touch, 3rd, 4th, or 5th generation (earlier devices not supported).  I asked a friend over at Stay The Pace to help me out with a review of this neat concept....  this is what she had to say:   

App Review of TrailMix Pro Step to the Beat

I was recently asked to help a fellow blogger and runner do an app review of the Trail Mix Pro by Resonant Technologies, LLC. This app is a music player to be used on an iPhone or iPod for the runner, jogger, and walker who enjoy listening to music but with a unique feature by matching your pace.

I was given a redemption code to download the TrailMix Pro app on my iPhone 5. As soon as I downloaded the app, all of my music and playlists where automatically read. Before I began to use the music I wanted workout to, I needed to make sure the music was downloaded onto my device from iCloud, which only took a couple of minutes. If you don’t have any music stored in the iCloud and it’s on your device then the user should be fine right from the start. Once that was completed, I then selected the playlist, calibrated the app to set my personal BPM (beats per minute) and then I headed out for a run.

How it Works

As soon as I began running, the app immediately detected my steps taken and matched it to a perfect tempo to accompany the music I selected.

The built in accelerometer in the device is what helped determine the pace from each of my footsteps during my run.

As I speed up, TrailMix Pro matched my pace instantly and as I slowed down it slowed my music down to a slower tempo. When I stopped at an intersection or stopped to a slow walk, the app slowed down even more to match my pace and thus recalibrated to have the music I selected to do the same. 

The functional capabilities allow the user to choose to shuffle the entire music library or a selected playlist as well as repeating the musical selection(s) as many times as the user wants. I preferred the shuffle feature just to be surprised on which song I will listen to next as I ran.

There is a middle heart button that allows the user to interface with social networking applications like Facebook and Twitter or going directly to TrailMix Pro’s website.

As soon as I finished my run, a screen would pop up allowing me to end my workout showing the stats of my workout. The stats TrailMix Pro records is steps taken, time spent moving, and average pace just like a pedometer but this is all built into the app. It would also give you an option to post these stats on Facebook or Twitter which makes it nice for those folks who want to get the support from their social networking friends. As a runner, I know I like those cheers from my Facebook followers.

Lastly, at the end of the workout there is little pop up tab that allows the user to redeem Kiip Rewards from an affiliated sponsor. It’s a nice way to reward the runner, walker, and jogger for all their hard work on their latest workout. I received a $2 Kiip Rewards through Amazon to apply towards the purchase of Bengay Menthol Pain Relieving Gel.


I think this app is great for anyone who runs, walks and loves music. It’s great for the user to put their mobile device or smartphone in their armband, backpack, waist pack, purse, stroller, etc to simply go out for a workout or take a stroll to the park or store nearby their home. The app is a fun way to listen to music by getting folks out exercising, staying fit and healthy.

Review Compiled By:

Loretta Wadner of

I haven't had a chance to play with this app myself, but I do know that looking at the webpage, I really really hope they move to android stuff so I can try it on my smart phone!  Their website has this to say:

 Although you can listen to music with any number of beats per minute (BPM) while you walk, jog, or run, it can be especially fun to listen to music with a BPM that matches your pace, so that you can step to the beat.
In addition to being fun, scientific evidence suggests that moving with the beat improves performance. According to an article published in LiveScience,
Syncing beats per minute with an exercise pace increases your efficiency. In a recent study, subjects who cycled in time to music found that they required 7 percent less oxygen to do the same work when compared to music playing in the background. Music can also help block out the little voice in your brain telling you it’s time to quit… synchronised music led to a 15 percent improvement in endurance. (Peterson 2009)
Experience increased fun and increased performance as TrailMix syncs your music to match your motion. TrailMix remixes any song so the BPM matches your movements, making it easy to step to the beat of all your favorite songs.
Peterson, Dan. Music Benefits Exercise, Studies Show. LiveScience. 21 October 2009. <>What do you think?  Do you listen to music while you walk, run, workout...?  Any fun apps out there I should know about?  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Race Recap: Superhero Fun Run 2k 5k 10k

On August 3rd, my family participated in the second annual "Superhero Fun Run"

A bit of the pre-race party

I had been looking forward to this race like a kid looking forward to Christmas!  I love comic books and superheros... and Free Comic Book Day just doesn't come around soon enough.  My family needed another super fix.  

That's why I wanted to cry the night before the race when hubby started to lose his cookies in the bathroom.  "Well, there goes the race."  I selfishly thought.  

Wait... is that selfish?

I frantically got on facebook and started begging for a double stroller.  I could take both kids on my first 10k, right?  It was a "Fun Run" and no matter how slow I ended up being, it would still be a PR. Right?

I secured a double stroller (and backup arrangement,)  justifying it that if hubby was sick with something he ate or drank, or a virus, he'd like some rest the next day.  (I'd like to race!) ...And it would be good to keep the girls busy out of the house.  

Well, poor guy pulled an all nighter at work and then didn't sleep at all that day, so he was convinced that his episode of being ill was completely based on exhaustion.


He couldn't be convinced to stay home.  I guess he was looking forward to this as much as I was! 

So after a night of rest, off we all went to the super race!  And exhausted ourselves again, even more than before.  :)

I am such a bad judge at how many participants are at these types of things, but it was an intimate setting and not a huge crowd.  Maybe 300 people?  I do know that I registered a week before the event, and the first 200 people got a free cape.  I was one of those first 200 people.

The price was right too.  Get a group of 4 runners and pay $6.25 a piece.  Nice!

The Superhero Fun Run is a race created to benefit the charity Oregon Music Hall of Fame (which supports music education in Portland's public schools and offers scholarships for continuing music education in college).

Before the race began, there was a fantastic pre race party.  There was a DJ blasting upbeat tunes to get your heart pumping and lots of superheros to get photos with. 

I don't think I have had so much fun before a race!

My friend, in her sexy batgirl costume, attempted to teach me the Oppa Gangnam Style and I'm pretty sure I came off completely clumsy... even in a Wonder Woman outfit.  

Dr. Strange and Spider-Woman
Before the race began, it definitely was a big party scene. This might not have been in everyone's favor. A bit of constructive criticism received on the event's facebook page stated it very accurately: 

"...I know this was labeled a "Fun Run", so when we signed up to have our kids run their first small race (Dad runs marathons so we are familiar with races), we thought it would be a bit more organized. We are used to races with registration, bibs, and a start and finish line. The idea is fun, but to be honest we were pretty disappointed. Maybe this can be corrected for next year otherwise we will probably never do this again.

With bringing young children to these events, there is usually some semblance of order and not a big crowd of chaos. My autistic son had a very hard time, so in the end we left before it even started because we couldn't even figure out where to go to get away from the noise without leaving. Why were the streets not 
closed? This doesn't seem like a very safe idea."
 While the street was not closed, I also didn't notice any cars attempt to even enter our block. However, that alone doesn't make it safe, or a good idea.
Superhero Fun Run responded:

"We are only in our 2nd year, and like all things, it takes time, but we always appreciate feedback, so thank you. Please understand it takes money to do this and more, everyone volunteers their time freely.

We would love to have more sponsors, but raising sponsorship takes time, as they don't all just jump on board, as we grow more sponsors will come on along, and thus more money, so we can afford to close the street (that is not cheap). We’d love to have more volunteers?

We paid for the permits out of our own personal pockets; $1,156.00 dollars today, to us, it's not about how much, but to build upon what is raised goes 100% for music education, as we donate 100% to the charity, again we're growing, so if you hang in there, we promise things will only get better.

We can't have a finish line, gun start, etc. just yet, as the city won't allow it on the Esplanade. We're not big enough for the streets yet, not until we reach about 4 to 5 thousand, as that takes again a lot of money to close streets.

We heard concerns, as we actually went around and asked runners, we heard a lot of positive things as well, and next year the street will be closed, also we’ll offer bibs, shirts, and a pre-registration (two days prior to the event). We will also have volunteers with signs at each turn of the races. Again, we work with what we have now, but we’re growing, and we love all of your support, but we promise to keep getting better!!!!!!

The goal is to keep the same cost, offer more, and always donate 100% to the charity."

I completely respect their response and really have no idea what it must be like to plan an event like this. Especially without a lot of financial backing. I've taken for granted that the races I've registered for are hosted by larger venues who have held races a dozen times.

It would have been nice though to have a little sidewalk chalk directing our paths a bit. It doesn't take much for me to get lost and in no time at all I was the only superhero trotting along the sidewalks of Portland's Waterfront.

Homeless people flicked dimes at me.

But some nice shoppers at the Saturday market cheered me on "Go Wonder Woman!" and every single runner I said "Good Morning" to happily responded with a "Good Morning" back at me or a wide smile.

It wasn't a complete loss... I had signed up for the 10k and in the opposite direction of the 10k route, the 5k racers were to compete (with less loops). I saw a lot of 5k superheros pass by and wasn't too lonely with my lasso of truth swinging from my hip.

The race was a 2k, 5k and 10k... with the 2k being a kids' fun run. I left the kiddos with "Super Dad" to participate in the 2k together, but he got confused and didn't que up with the 2k participants.  

Probably for the best.

 If I had known it wasn't going to work out for them though, I'd have taken Bugaboo along with me. She loves to run and really was disappointed to miss it.

But not as disappointed as to miss out on doughnuts.

On the race's facebook page, they had posted that VooDoo Doughnut was a sponsor and that doughnuts would be available for runners at the finish.

There were none.

Race volunteers seemed confused by my questions about the doughnuts and their existence so I dropped it. ...but it is really hard to let it go when you're three years old and have been promised a doughnut. Maybe even bribed by it to get out of bed so early and get to the race that morning.

I know. Bad Mommy!

It really would have been nice for the doughnut to have been there. Not just to console an unhappy Bugaboo... but I had really wanted one. I was looking forward to it! After a walk around the corner to VooDoo Doughnuts, the line was a 45 minute wait.

Maybe next time. (Even though 45 minutes is considered a short wait time. I was ready to get off my feet and go home.)

So, with that, Batgirl and I made a slow journey back towards home... (Our running partners Supergirl and "Mother Nature" had already wandered to their next destinations).

Even though we passed the mural "Keep Portland Weird", we were ogled a bit in our attire and asked to pose for photos. One man offered to be our "spiderman".
My fantastic running partner greeting me at my finish.  First 10k done!

The party was definitely before hand.  The "big after party" fizzled out as soon as racers finished.  It seems that people went and retrieved their free comic book, and then either got in line for a caricature drawing or just went straight home.  No group dancing and no unified spirit as it had been before the race.  Oh well.

I had fun.

I'm still undecided if I would do this event again. 

The charity is good.
The swag, not so much.
It was tons of fun before hand.  Festive environment.
The finish was a bit of a let down.  Run your distance and wonder to the pub to get your comic book and go.

Next time I'm down town, I'll probably don some more traditional running attire and check out some other paths featured in Runner's World.  

The geek in me can't let it go.  If you don't know me, my hobbies outside of running include:  comic books, Dr. Who, Nintendo, pinball, dice games... and a couple other geeky things.  So I sent them a facebook message asking if I could help out next year.  They haven't responded... but I think I'd make a damn good volunteer.

Do you volunteer for races?
How have you handled races that were a bit disappointing?