September Stridebox Review

Stridebox is a fun subscription service that delivers a box of trial-sized running goodies straight to your door once a month for $15 (or $20, including shipping to Canada).  Both Prairie Princesses have paid subscriptions to Stridebox.

The Good

  • NOW – A3 Bar – Honey Graham Smores
    • Princess Lindsey:  I thought the flavour of this bar was good.  I consumed it about half an hour before the start of Melissa’s Road Race last Saturday.  If you’ve read my race review, you’ll already know that I crashed hard, so despite being tasty, maybe it’s not appropriate pre-race fuel…
      Princess Lisa:  This might be one of the tastiest “bar” foods I have ever eaten in my life.  It did not taste powdery nor like some weird chemical version of the food it was supposed to taste like.  It actually tasted like S’mores.  I wasn’t expecting much, especially since S’mores are one of my favourite treats, and I was pleasantly surprised.  I would actually consider buying this again…if I could find it locally.
  • PROBAR Bolt – Energy Chews – Orange
    • Princess Lindsey: I packed these for a mid-race snack at Melissa’s Road Race (I know, I know – never eat something on race day that you haven’t tried before…but the ingredients seemed benign enough, and I didn’t have a chance to go pick up my proper gels, so I just used what I had on hand…).  You can check out that race recap for a bit more info, but I ended up scarfing these around mile 2, and by mile 4/5 I was feeling much better.  They were also easy to eat, the quantity was good, the taste/texture was good, and obviously the impact was good, so I’m going to give these 5 stars all-around.
      Princess Lisa: I have yet to try this product.

The Mixed

  • Fuel100 – Electro-Bites – Salty Vanilla / Apple Cinnamon
    • Princess Lindsey: I have yet to try this product.  I considered packing it as race fuel for Melissa’s Road Race, but went with the PROBAR chews instead – these didn’t seem like they would be very easy to eat mid-race.
    • Princess Lisa: I received the apple cinnamon flavour and was surprised that it was savoury–and it was quite pleasant.  The only thing that I didn’t enjoy was the fact that the bites were a bit chalky.  I washed it down with the Happy Squeeze COCO drink (see review below) and it kept my hunger away for my spin class.
  • AeroShot Energy – Air based energy shot.
    • Princess Lindsey: I 90% liked this product.  Concept: cool.  Packaging: nice and small, easy to carry.  Effect: good, I think.  Taste: not the best.  It was supposed to be green apple flavoured, naturally, and although I did taste green apple, I also tasted something really bitter.  I imagine that’s what powdered B vitamins taste like.  All in all, I liked it, and I think I would probably pay the $3 and use it as a pre-race pick-me-up.
      Princess Lisa:  I have yet to try this product and to be honest the concept is weird enough that I might not ever try it–we’ll see.
  • Happy Squeeze – COCO Orange Mango
    • Princess Lindsey: I’m not really a fan.  The flavour was OK, but the texture threw me off – it was thinner than most gels, but thicker than water/juice.  The package is also quite large in terms of portability; for portion size, it’s alright.  I didn’t hate it, but I definitely wouldn’t run out to buy it.
    • Princess Lisa: I was mixed on this item, too.  It was definitely thick, but it helped sustain me for the spin class I went to when I had no time to have breakfast.  I drank it warm and that probably didn’t help things–it would likely be better cold, perhaps mixed with some vodka.  Haha!
  • StrideBox – Runners’ Training Log
    • Princess Lindsey: This isn’t for me.  I’m not going to sacrifice space in my gym bag for a paper book and pen when my iPhone running apps track all that data and more, and do all the math and calculations and store the routes, etc.
    • Princess Lisa: I really, really love hand written journals and stationary, so I sorta loved that I have a paper journal (despite the fact that my mileage is all tracked on my garmin).  I always fall off the wagon with documenting my runs–hopefully this small journal will help me be more diligent.
  • Stridebox “Eat  Sleep  Run” Sticker
    • Princess Lindsey: I liked the size of this sticker and, obviously, the slogan, so I slapped it on the back of my Otterbox iPhone case.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t even lasted the week.  The sticker is staying put (which was actually my primary concern), but the graphics are rubbing off – I can no longer see an “R” in front of “Run.”  I like the concept, but clearly this isn’t durable enough to stick to anything other than a simple notebook.
    • Princess Lisa: I stuck this to my carry-on suitcase.  Since it won’t face a whole lot of trauma, being a carry-on bag and all, it is likely that mine will last.  On a side note, the “Rather Be Running” sticker included in the August Stridebox, is not very durable and is falling off my larger, check-in style luggage.

The Unknown

  • Eboost – Natural Energy Booster

This product is untested by either Princess so far.

Are you a Stridebox subscriber?  What did you think of the September box?  Let us know in the comments!

* Disclaimer: The purpose of Prairie Princess Runners product reviews is to provide information based on real- life use of fitness products in order to inform readers and help them make shopping decisions. The product reviews in this blog are based on our own opinions and experiences.  Unless otherwise stated, all reviewed items have been purchased for our personal use. 

Race Recap: Melissa’s Road Race

Eeeeeek!  It was finally here!  Melissa’s Road Race 2013!  Despite some crappy injuries and training setbacks throughout the summer, I was prepared for this to be my best race yet…

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Oh, what to wear?!

I registered for Melissa’s online waaaay back in February, so this had been a long time coming!  Race package pickup was fine, uneventful at the Running Room Eau Claire.  On a separate but related note: man, do I hate downtown race package pickups.  No, I do not want to drive around the neighbourhood 15 times searching for a spot, only to have to go to the parking meter machine, pay $4 for 10 minutes, take the ticket back to my car to put it in the window, go into the mall for 30 seconds to pick up my bib, and go back to the car to drive through all that downtown traffic on a Friday afternoon.  …But, I digress.  They made everyone test their chipped bibs on the way out of pickup, which I thought was a smart move.

I was in full-on race planning mode the night before: new playlist, outfit selection, packing a post-race bag.  For anyone who needs some new fall playlist inspiration, this is what I was racing to:

Playlist

I had a really terrible sleep – I was just too excited! – and the morning came early.  We left 2.5 hours prior to start time in order to negotiate the drive there, entry into the National Park, parking, and a walk to the start line.  I had my usual pre-run breakfast of peanut butter toast and some juice, and we were on our way.

The drive was beautiful, as always, but we did encounter two construction-related traffic slow-downs.  I got crazy-panicky at both of them: “Do we have enough time?  This better be short.  Why are they making all of us go into one lane?  This really needs to get moving.”  In the grand scheme, they were pretty minor and only cost us a couple of minutes each, and before I knew it we were parked and jumping out of the car in Banff!  We headed toward the start line, making a pit stop at McDonald’s so that the other half could get some breaky, and I could have one last bathroom break with a toilet that actually flushes and doesn’t make me claustrophobic!

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Waiting, waiting, waiting at the start line!

Once we got to the race site, it felt like it took FOREVER before the race started.  In reality, it was probably 20 minutes, but I was chilly, and alone, and trying to keep my nerves in check, so it felt like 20 years!  I tried to get chatty with people at the start line to pass the time.  The Running Room provided pace bunnies for the 10k as well as the Half, so I sidled up next to the 55 min pacer.  I knew that was a stretch, but I figured it would at least get me out in front of the walkers, and if I saw the 1 hour pace bunny pass me, I knew I had to pick it up.  Finally we started!

Thankfully, I had seeded myself appropriately this year (last year I had to duck and dodge people who were doing run/walk).  This was going well so far!  That is, it WAS going well, until I crashed.  We started the big climb up Tunnel Mountain, and by the time I saw the 3km marker, I was beat. “I think I need a rest. … I think I should stop. … Maybe I will just get to the next water station – maybe they have some food there.”  I had packed myself PRO Bolt Electrolyte Chews from my Stridebox, which I planned to eat later in the race for some extra finish line umph, but I couldn’t wait.  I started walking, and chowed down.  By about 5km we started our descent down the mountain, and I just let it rip.  Going downhill really got my knee pain flaring up, but I felt like I had to make up time from all the walking I had done so far. “OK, this sucks.  Can I be done now? I’m done. I just want it to stop. … But…I haven’t seen the 1 hour pacer go by yet…?”

We finished the downhill around 7km and from there it’s pretty flat to the finish.  I finally started to perk up and felt like I was emerging from the haze.  My playlist ran out at 9km, but thankfully we ran by a great band who gave me something to bop along to.  I thought I had about 14 songs on my playlist, so surely I was around 1:10.  Evidently, the 1 hour pace bunny MUST have gone by me, at some point while I was zoned out.  Ah well, it just wasn’t my day.  When I turned the corner and saw that the clock said 1:03-something, I was really surprised.  This race totally felt like crap…but obviously it didn’t go quite as badly as I thought.

Official time turned out to be 1:03:01.  Last year, I was healthy, didn’t take any walk breaks, and also didn’t take any food or water, and finished 1:01:42.  So…considering I had a bum knee, a potential fueling problem, and lots of walk breaks, this was actually a pretty decent finish, being only 1:30 off PR pace.  It was also my fastest 10k finish this year.  …Maybe I’m starting to get my mojo back…

melissas03

Have you ever seen a more picturesque finish?

Post-race I snagged my t-shirt (you don’t get these ones at package pickup; you actually have to make it to the start line to get them!), and refueling goodies including juice, yogurt, and a cake donut.  We didn’t stay for the festivities – I was starting to get chilled, and the other half was getting bored and cold as well.  I’m thankful that he actually pulled out his iPhone to snap a few finish line shots, as the official ones turned out to be overpriced, and just not that great.

…So, that’s the story of Melissa’s 2013!  I will definitely be back again next year – I love the competitive crowd that comes out to this race, and the scenery is unbelievable.  It’s my most challenging race of the year, but it keeps things exciting, and is always a highlight!

Did you run Melissa’s this year, or have you ever?  It’s a great destination race, for anyone looking to make a trip to Canada…! 🙂

xoox
Princess Lindsey

Healthy Fitspo Challenge

Good Day Everyone!

Recently I’ve read a number of articles (a, b)  about the fitspo (aka fitness inspiration)  quotes, memes, etc. that one finds on fitness blogs, Pinterest and the like, and about how unhealthy and unrealistic they are.  Things like this:

<<BTW…if you search “fitspo” on Pinterest, eventually you get a lot of pictures of fellow Canadians Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds, shirtless….(so glad I did this post). But I digress.>>

As you can see from above,  there are a lot of crazy messages and unrealistic images….and I think there needs to be a movement to create some realistic fitspo memes, pictures, messages, mantras, etc., and get them out into the world.

I want to propose a challenge to other fitness/running/health blogs out there to create healthy, responsible, HEALTHY fitness inspiration memes,pictures, quotes–one a day (if you can), for the month of October .

If you want to join the challenge and help create a responsible, HEALTHY fitspo movement, pop in a link to your #healthyfitspo submission in the comments so we can share it with everyone else.  Please tag your memes/posters/photos/quotes/mantras, etc. as #healthyfitspo–post them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest…whatever platform you want. Once a week, Princess Lindsey and I will pick our favourites and share them with you on our blog.

One more thing, use real photos–no professional pics with airbrushed models posing in a gym with their bums or boobs hanging out.  We want to see real people, situations and inspirations as healthy and fit bodies of all shapes and sizes are possible in the real world.

I’m going to get a head start and share my first submission…it’s an obvious choice, but it really was my #healthyfitspo for the entire summer of 2013:

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Stay Healthy!

~Princess Lisa