Lets begin with one of the long-sitting around product, but at least now this one is useful for endurance athletes. Meet "Recovery" from AllProScience - a company that makes their product basically all hyped-up stuff-free: High-Fructose Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free, All-Vegan, Collegiate-Compliant. It almost begs the question: what IS in there??
Recovery product has the following write-up on the website:
Recovery is made with APS protein, you get the benefits of a complex array of amino acids which your body uses to sustain many of its critical parts; from muscles to bones, blood and skin. Our whey protein comes from all-natural grass fed cows which are never treated with antibiotics or bovine growth hormones. Unlike other sources of whey protein, which may come from cows raised on diets of fillers and corn, grass fed cows are free of unnatural contaminants.
There are 4 flavors (Natural Pineapple Orange, Natural Fruit Punch, Natural Lemonade, and Natural Blueberry Ice), it dissolves quickly and uniformly, tastes pretty good, but I think at 145 cal is lacking a caloric replacement that a real long run would call for (I ended up adding protein powder to my Recovery drinks).
* 7g of Protein per Serving
* 21g of Carbohydrates
* Only 8g of Sugar
* Vitamin and Mineral Fortified
* Good Source of Calcium* and Amino Acids*
* No Artificial Flavors, Sweeteners, or Fillers
* Hormone-Free Dairy (BGH-Free)
* Net Weight 24.7oz (700 Grams)
That said, I tried it by now numerous times, and it does work - but not any better or worse than any other recovery drinks I had tried before. If you are an allregic to any of the listed items (gluten, GMO, dairy, etc.) this company avoids when makes their products - this could be your choice. In any other case, just mix 3 parts of simple carbohydrates to 1 part of protein (caloric mass) - and enjoy your recovery, as long as it's within 30 min post-exercise!
Trail Toes...what can I say. John Sharp (our local guy) had talked about it a lot when he did his 200M Solo Texas Relay, as well as Lisa Smith-Batchen in her summer 2014 Badwater Quad (!!!) crossing. Basically, it is a Hydropel-like blister and chafing prevention creme. I don't put things on my toes - I use Drymax socks, and the only blisters I do get are a) lost toenails from pounding downhills with my leaping gait, and b) on the bottom of my balls of the feet when I walk too much at the end of a very long race (re-distribution of weight not supported by trail running shoes). But I am human, and I do chafe - occasionally, but do. We ARE in Texas, after all, and summer is here with 95% humidity runs, or, shall you choose less humid afternoon (only 60%) - you'll be met with 105F. So, my weak spots are armpits and upper thighs, as well as parts where the pack rubs the body.
Here comes the newest product I was given - Energybits! Most recent, claimed to be most needed - I was emailed numerous times (I know, took me a few weeks to form an opinion I could share), and something I don;t think I, personally, will use - but who knows, let see! You can read the details on their website linked to the name, but in short, it is Algae-based energy, also all stuff-free, butt even more so, it's like EVERYTHING-free!
Algae is a food that grows in the ocean - basically, a seaweed. It is claimed that Algae per gram has 1,000 times more energy and also a bunch of good benefits on vessels and cell wall (a scientist in me is fascinated). The side effect is - well, it tastes exactly like a seaweed. And unless you're a big fan of it (how many Americans on SAD are fans of that stuff?) - well, you might be better off either swallowing a few tabs with lots of water ahead of your run (bike ride/whatever), or avoid altogether. I did that - and seem to have processed it OK with no belly aches, but also no visible energy increase. I tried to swallow a few prior run, than a few instead of a gel - and the bonk was ensured.
Then I decided to try it couple of times to dissolve in water and carry with me consuming on the run. Only when the water was ice-cold (like, first 10 min of Texas running) was it manageable to drink - once it warmed up, the "green", "EARTHY" flavor was overwhelming. May be we all get tired from sweet taste of gels and simple maltodextrine/fructose combo, or hate Taurine bitterness, but Earthy flavor did not do it for me. Once you are able to get past that issue - the next comes: it foams! 5 tabs in 16 oz bottle created a volcano, and while it did NOT explode the bottle (unlike NUUN or Fizz that always do) - it looked disgusting, and when I was trying to re-full the bottle, I couldn't top it off, as the foam kept rising. Not a good thing for a race-related short stop at an aid station.
My conclusion - a no-go for me, no positive effect on my run, no extra energy (whether with addition of gels or the lack of them), and yet a bunch of negative side-kicks. Sorry!
Last one on the list - an item that has been sitting the longest - and honestly, has very little to do with running but rather with living (even if outdoorsy), and definitely NOT with living in Texas (may be few of the winter days we do happen to have).
Free Country is a clothing company which apparently has been around since 1990. It originated in NY - as I learned through their history page, and has been trying to merge style, originality and functionality. They have a lot of variety clothes to offer, from swimwear to heavy winter jackets, and I wish I could get my hands on some tank tops or something, but somehow they sent me what is called Lightweigth Softshell Jacket. I did explain that my wear and tear on it will be rather limited, so here we go .
It has a few pockets, but the zipper is stiff too. It probably IS good for skiing - but mostly for sitting out in the Ski Lodge, I'd say, as when I ski, I like my movement to be completely unrestricted.
I ended up giving it to Cris's daughter Alex, and the girl enjoyed it as a "regular cold weather" jacket. Below are here words:
"The jacket is great at being water resistant and keeps you warm if you’re WALKING but if you are biking it gets EXTREEMLY drafty. Overall I like how it has convenient pockets everywhere and is soft on the inside. It also keeps the warmth in if you going on a walk in 27-degree weather for example: going to watch the tree lighting in the capitol. It offers immediate warmth for example; if I’m in the house that is 62-64 degrees and walk outside to walk to the bus stop and it is 32-34 degrees out it keeps the warmth that it had gotten from the house and keeps me warm for the rest of the day. With a light sweatshirt or long-sleeved shirt the jacket is form fitting and a bit drafty at the sleeves."
Bottom line - it's ok, but not for a seriously active style people.
These photos below just as an add-on to the post to make it more personal, so to speak, from my last 2 long runs: I still feel OK, I even pretend to train to some extend, and I might be able to finish my 2 100M races this Fall on a handful weeks of 45 miles with longest run being 20. Ha! Good luck!