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Tailwind Nutrition : helped make a long long day worth it!

I give to you my review of Tailwind Nutrition….

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I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with proper nutrition on long runs.  Knowing something had to be done, and taking advice from some of my well-respected running friends…. I bit the bullet and ordered some Tailwind.  The reviews on their website were stellar, but whose aren’t on their own website.  I do appreciate the fact that http://www.tailwindnutrition.com was easy to navigate.  I ordered two large bags of endurance fuel (lemon and raspberry buzz) and hoped for the best.

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Less than a week later, my package arrived… Less than a week! It is kind of like they knew how incredibly impatient I am. I was impressed.  Inside were my two bags of fuel, a sample stick pack, a sticker, a temporary tattoo, and a hand written note thanking me for the purchase.  There was a problem though … I had a 50 mile race (Cayuga Trails 50) in two days and had never trained with it.  Being an “outside the box” kind of runner, I decided I would go for the gusto.  So I made my own stick packs in ziplock baggies (2 1/2 scoops in each bag) and crossed my fingers.

Race Day:

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For the race I carried two bottles via my Orange Mud Vest Pack 2…. one water and one tailwind.  The water was a back up in case the tailwind turned into a fiasco.  Even my wife thought I was nuts to product test on race day… hence the back up.

It took me a couple hours to dial it in, but wowza….. what a difference it made!!

  • aid station stops were shorter
  • my stomach never once got upset
  • felt hydrated all day
  • affected my running in a positive way

Once I knew what my body wanted to intake, and how often… I was set.  Nutrition was no longer a problem! It was just me and the trails.  Exactly how it should be.  So I recommend Tailwind Nutrition for anyone looking to up their nutrition game.  Hey… it worked for the crazy bearded guy that tried it for the first time at a 50 mile race!!

Here are the nutritional facts off the Raspberry Buzz:

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THANKS AGAIN TAILWIND NUTRITION!!! AWESOME STUFF!!!

ps… my youngest daughter loves her new tattoo!

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running, trailrunning

2015 Cayuga Trails 50 : Ultra Awesome!

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A good trail run can strengthen your resolve.  Cayuga Trails, however, can rip your soul out and instantly revive you at the same time.  Let’s start from the beginning.

After tossing and turning all night the crappy motel alarm clock echoed in my head.  It must be 4 am… go time! After getting ready and failing to shake the jitters out, I arrived at the North Shelter to check in around 5 am.  “This is really happening” is all I could think.  I saw people of all shapes and sizes, all walks of life, full of and lack of confidence.  We all had a common goal … to conquer this beast.  The fact that I wasn’t alone in my endeavor began to put me at ease.  The clock was counting down.  With bout 5 minutes to go time, I double checked my Orange Mud hydration pack, gave Gia a kiss, and filed into the start.

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*the faint sound of a rams horn*

We were off and rolling! The front runners were like the wind, but I trotted along at an easy pace with my buddy Keith.  Taking our time, approaching our goal… just finish.  Around the beginning of the second mile I lengthened my stride, and soon after, realized I had left my friend behind.  Onward I went.  I felt great…. had a renewed vigor for life!

I made nothing but friends along the way.  Plus since it was an out and back loop course, I got to do one of my favorite things…. cheer other runners on.  I saw so many people grinning from ear to ear.  All I could think was…. I love running!! Then Buttermilk Falls happened.  Or has I will always call it … the stairway of death.  I left a piece of my soul on those slippery steps.  Never will I gain it back either. Cause I was stronger.  Still a lot of miles to go though.  I would see Gia at the occasional aid station… her smile gave me strength.

It is a good thing I love running in the rain.  Cause it was off and on showers and drizzle all effin day! Made the course a muddy mess though.  Which to be quite honest, was fun.  My legs were aching.  I could feel my knee clicking.  My mind determined.  On I went.  Before I knew it… I was back at North Shelter.  Halfway baby… I got this.  Just one more lap.  One more lap? How was I gonna do another lap?!? “Because I can!” <—- That is what I told myself.  Lap two underway.  I passed Keith as he was coming into the halfway point.  Gave him a “you better catch me” look. Next thing I knew, I was at the Underpass aid station.  They had bacon by the way.  Epic score!

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Side note: Speaking of aid stations.  I would like to thank everyone at the aid stations.  They did an awesome job!  Very motivating and supportive.  Tip of the cap to you folks!

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The second trip up Buttermilk Falls sucked as bad as the first.  Probably because I knew it was coming.  I slogged along upbeat.  Found hidden energy and kept speeding up.  Then disaster happened somewhere around Lake Treman… I got complacent.  My foot found a tree root to trip on.  While I was “supermanning” through the air, I thought this was the end of my running today.  It took me a minute to think of anything but curse words.  I wasn’t mad at anyone but myself.  I wanted nothing more than to drop out of the race.  Having never dropped out before, I couldn’t let that happen.  So when I arrived back at the Underpass aid station Gia ultimately asked me if I could finish. “Kevin… you have never not finished a race.” That was my mantra the last 7 miles.  Turns out I broke two toes on that tree root.  Sounds funny…. but I am kinda proud of it.  Ran a chunk of the race in absolute pain and still finished.  Speaking of finish…..

Coming into the home stretch I felt like a little kid.  So much so that I airplaned the finish!

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Wasn’t the time I hoped for… but I will be back next year to conquer the course again.  What other race can you go to and win a stainless steel beer growler for having the narliest beard?!  So thanks to Red Newt Racing, Ian Golden, All the Volunteers, and everyone that had anything to do with this race.  It was the hardest race I have done yet, and I can’t wait for next years!

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My run… My joy

My mind always has operated a mile a minute.  It wasn’t until running found me that I was able to slow down and feel “normal.”  Everyone always has their reasons for running.  They will tell you it changed them in some shape or form…. and they are right! It does just that.  It may have differences from person to person, but it can change lives.  Finds its way into your pores… soaks through your skin… immerses you in it.

Heck, I will be honest with you … I don’t even know why I am typing this.  Could be because I actually have a couple of minutes of free time in my normally packed schedule.  Could be because I have tapering madness going into a race on sunday.  Maybe I just wanted to share what running is to me.  Why I have to keep running longer.  How it changed MY life.  You are about to hear my own take on running, so if you object, please don’t be “butt hurt.”

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To me running helps keep an even keel.  Is it good physically for me… yuppers! The mental aspect tho… it can be even better if you let it! All my best thinking is done while running.  Great life decisions through putting one foot in front of the other.  At the base of it all is this question that haunts me: How far is too far? So everyday I attempt to answer it.

Not one to give up, I quickly went to ultra running.  The people are chill.  Out in nature is always a great place to be.  Every time I lace up my shoes to go out on a run, I get excited like a kid on Christmas morning.  Yet I feel the need to “break” myself.  To push my limits.  Always with a smile tho.  Even through the pain, always smiling.  You don’t see too many short distance runners smiling.  Ultra runners though… always living in the moment.  I love that.  I truly get that.

I am not competitive at all.  I don’t come up with exaggerated race plans.  I wing it.  Take each run or race one step at a time.  I’m not an elite athlete… no record-breaking times here, but I have the upper hand. I have the joy of running.  A joy most spend forever searching for.  I have it always.  That’s what it is all about after all…  Feeling free.  Discovering who you are as a person.  Figuring out life’s everyday problems. Maybe it is just a mind-set.  Maybe I am crazy. I prefer to choose the word enlightened.  I do my best always… but the joy comes first.  Something I hope my kids understand one day.  Something I hope everyone learns one day.

That’s all the babbling I’ve got.  So the next time you go out running… feel the joy.  Let everything go and just be happy.  Immerse yourself in it.  You deserve it!!!

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Orange Mud HydraQuiver: Hydration has NEVER been so good!!

It is no secret… I love to run!  One of the obstacles in running is finding the best hydration system fit for you.  I’ve tried many different brands.  Hand-helds, bladder packs, vests with bladders.  They all promise perfection, but do they truly deliver??  Enter the Orange Mud HydraQuiver (cue awesome inspiring music):

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It is simple, yet genius in design.  Josh Sprague, Orange Mud owner, has broken the molds of the hydration systems.  It is almost like Orange Mud has challenged every other company, and it would seem they will never catch up.  So let’s go over what I like about the HydraQuiver….

No Bounce.  Literally, no bounce. Easy as heck to put on as well!  Once you put in on and cinch it down, it doesn’t move.  Huge plus! Nothing is more annoying than feeling your hydration pack moving around.  Leaves you worry free knowing this thing is solid.

Bottle instead of bladder.  Boom!!!!  You are telling me that I can have a solid water bottle instead of a bladder that is flexible and slaps your back when you run?!?  Do we really have to go over this? Hahaha.  Bladders can be a pain to take care of as well, but everyone can wash a bottle with no worries, and no mess involved.

Plenty of storage space.  If you are like me, you like to run for a long duration at times.  Going to need to bring your nutrition, your phone, your car keys, and whatever else strikes your fancy.  With stretchy pockets on each shoulder and a big zipper pocket in the pack, you are covered!

There are plenty of other great things to comment on, but I am short on time…. I’ve got to go run (with my hydraquiver of course).  I can’t go back to using bladder hydration systems now.  I am destined to be Orange Mud forever.  Go out and try this bad boy… you won’t be upset.  In fact, it’ll change your running for the good! Great product Orange Mud!!! Keep up the fine work!!

Nothing like worry-free, happy running!!!

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Skora Phase-X : That Dead Sexy Shoe

I’ve been putting off reviewing the Skora Phase-X for far too long.  Before owning this particular pair of shoes, I owned the Skora Core (which I ran a 50 miler in) and the Skora Fit (which I run in if it is strictly a road running day).  I feel horrible for my Core and Fit however because the Phase-X, in my opinion, blows them away!   I went with the Stealth black/Cyan color pattern.  Here they are:

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I’ve never been a fan of people blacking out their cars.  It always felt kind of a douche bag move to me, but peep these sexy things out.  A virtually all black shoe that has amazing reflectivity at night?! Holy wowza people! Lemme show you…

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Now I do a good chunk of my running at night, so this is a huge plus!  Safety first.  After all, I have kids I like to come home to.  I wouldn’t blame you if you purchased these just on their hyper reflectivity alone. Or as my 11 year old calls it… Beacons of Blindness.  There are a few more factors of these puppies that make me love them even more everytime I lace them up.

The ground feel in them is legit.  Skora gave just the right amount of ground feel for me… and I run a lot of trails.  That is another thing: they rock on every surface I’ve thrown at them… Road, Track, and Trail!  That makes the Phase-X my go to footwear if I wanna go for a run but have no idea where I will end up.  So anyhow ground feel, in my opinion… more than the average running shoe and less than most Merrells (which are too thin for me).

A couple more things and I will let you go…. Asymmetric lacing is a huUuge plus.  Feels like the perfect hug on your foot.  Not too tight, but definitely not all loosey goosey either.  And don’t tell me you don’t like hugs.  Everyone likes hugs.  They are zero drop, which i like.  Lets my foot move more naturally and accommodates my midfoot strike.  Last but not least they weigh next to nothing!  Sometimes I forget I even have them on!! You can’t beat that!!

Well that’s all my scattered brain has to divulge to you about the Skora Phase-X.  I am a fan of these shoes and recommend them to anyone looking for a lightweight, reflective, zero drop shoe that can be put to the limit and still keep going!! Well done Skora… Well done!!!

ps….. did I mention they are awesome for cross training as well???

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Hand-held Domination

Let me start off by saying this: I am not a fan of handhelds what so ever

 That being said here goes my short and sweet review of the Orange Mud handheld….

I’ve used various handhelds in my stretch so far as a runner.  Just never been keen on them personally.  Then one day a friend of mine, Ben Pangie, sought out to change my mind, and I owe him for it.  He sent me his Orange mud handheld to try out… and I am glad he did.  It performed better than any I have used to date.  I must say, I am impressed.  It doesn’t bounce.  It doesn’t shift.  Might as well be an extension of your arm!  Velcro on the strap… genius!  Even better… the elastic pocket.  No cumbersome zippers, just a simple stretch pocket that holds up great.  I go out on the trails, which sometimes I have to drive to, so the key clip was a very welcomed feature.  I recommend this handheld to anyone in the hunt for a quality piece of hydration equipment.  Well done to Orange Mud … you should get a Nobel Peace Prize for making the running community happy!!

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After just a few runs with this beast, it has changed my perception on handhelds.  A stance I never thought I would waiver from!

Let me end by saying this: This product has revitalized my short- mid distance runs.  Thank you Orange Mud!

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