But before I get to any of that, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who responded to my last post…I really appreciate all your kind wishes as I am recovering; a little love brings a heap o’healing! I also got a great stack of questions and comments – I think I will make an effort to do a periodic Q-and-A post, just to round up the ones that need a “longer” answer…stay tuned for that!
I still consider myself a “newbie” runner (NTTAWWT, right?) and so one of the great challenges I have is to Figure. All. This. Stuff. Out!!! I mean, seriously: pronation, hydration, nutrition, technical fabrics, track etiquette, fartleks (I still giggle every time I say it out loud, do you?), not to mention learning how to blend all this with having a real life, too. I have had some wonderful lessons – both positive and negative – over the last few months, and learned enough to know I will never have it all figured out… but also enough to be able to make some reasoned choices for my training and racing needs. And I am SO HAPPY with my newest “find” that I want to share it with you – ENERGYbits algae tabs.
Running is hard work, and a runner’s body burns calories at a steady clip while performing; sustained effort means that, at some point, some refueling has to occur. I learned the hard way what happens when you “outrun” your fuel supply, AKA “the bonk heard ’round the block” (it wasn’t pretty, don’t make me go there!), so I have been working through a variety of options – gels, chews, dried fruit, seeds – and I have found all the problems with each of them…especially stomach issues (’nuff said).
So when I traded a few tweets with the guys at ENERGYbits, and they offered me a sample to review, I jumped at the chance! I had seen a bit written about algae as a food source, through groups working on world hunger issues, but never considered it for myself…until now. Here’s some information from their website –
Spirulina is nature’s equivalent to an energy drink – but its even better because it’s 100% natural, 100% green, is carbon neutral, has only ONE calorie per tab and contains no sugar, no caffeine, no chemicals, no gluten and no soy.
OK. so why is all that important to runners? Read on, from here –
Want more energy, more mental vitality, or a healthy high protein snack you can grab on the go? How about a quick way to boost your athletic performance, supercharge your run or crank up your endurance while working or working out? If so, ENERGYbits® are for you. Made from 100% organicallly grown spirulina algae and loaded with 40 nutrients, ENERGYbits® algae tabs have the highest concentration of protein in the world (64%) all for just one calorie per tab. Endorsed by the United Nations as the most nutritious food on earth, spirulina algae has been a favorite of Olympic gold medalists for decades and is a super food in every sense of the word, delivering instant and enduring energy to your brain and body.
As good as all that is, I have to make a disclosure: I seriously believe I was led to try this product! My sample arrived last Friday; I found it in the mailbox when the Wife and I got home from a shopping trip where I had specifically looked for some running fuel for Sunday’s long run…and left empty-handed. So I just had to try it, you see?
I took the recommended thirty bits, and swallowed them whole, a few at a time while I drank my one cup of coffee that I MUST have to jump-start the brain. You CAN chew them, and I DID chew one…but they tell you it’s not a great idea, and they are right…the taste of green does linger, it does! Anyway, I headed out for 5-6 miles at a nice slow 10:30/mile pace…I’m still very early in my marathon plan…on an out-and-back through my neighborhood I use for runs under ten miles. Usually I start “feeling the burn” around 3-4 miles, and this is about when I fuel for longer runs…but this time, I didn’t feel anything except ready to run some more! The effort needed to maintain pace never increased; I felt as strong at five miles as I had at two! I didn’t push it, because I am trying to practice the discipline of staying on the plan – but I could have! I also seemed to have more mental focus throughout the run, instead of being down to “Just a few more blocks, you can do it!” like I have been lately. I actually found myself counting cadence (!) and adjusting my stride (!!!), things I keep saying I should do, but I’m always too busy running! Recovery the next day was noticeably smoother, as well…I stretch, and foam roll, and everything, and still have a hard time getting started in the morning, day after a long run. This time, not so bad! Less pain, quicker turn-around, good deal. Best of all, my stomach was tranquil, the lower realms remained unheard from, and no bloating or gas – hallelujah!
Now, I was a science major in college, and lab work taught me that results have to be reproducible to be counted. In other words: if you can’t do it twice, you haven’t done anything! I still believe that to be generally true, so I was very happy to see I had enough bits left to try a second workout. I wanted to see if the gains were real, or just a fluke. I didn’t want to wait a week, until the next long run, so I chose my other tough workout – paces on the treadmill (dun dun dun) I love this workout – right after I finish doing it each week! Until then, I
despise do not look forward to paces. I usually finish with shaky knees and soaking wet – in an air conditioned gym! This week, having swallowed 30 bits before leaving home (it’s only a 10-minute drive to the YMCA) I ran 3.5 miles, mostly in 1/2-mile repeats at 7:54/mile – and it felt awesome! I felt more in control of my breathing, and more aware of my body, and how it feels to run that pace – really valuable information to have!
To sum it up: I tried ENERGYbits algae tabs as a pre-workout fuel, for two quite different workouts, a few days apart. Both times I felt that I had performed better than on previous similar workouts, and the only real difference is the addition of ENERGYbits. I will allow you to reach your own conclusions…just because I have already ordered my first full bags of ENERGYbits (and I had to promise the Wife that she gets the next order, for a related product – RECOVERYbits!) In fact, I encourage you to do your own research, and be convinced about whatever products you use! Only you know how your body is responding to anything, so learn your body’s “love languages” of rest, work, and nutrition, and speak them often!
To help spread the word about algae, nutrition, and performance, my friends at ENERGYbits have given me the chance to GIVEAWAY a free sample of this good stuff – click on the link below to go visit my (brand new!) Facebook page and enter the drawing…
And for those who don’t feel lucky, or just hate to wait, when you checkout, just enter coupon code “BLOG” and get 10% off your very own bag! Good luck, and please feel free to share in the comments your own experiences or questions…we’re here to learn and grow together!