Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vi Endurance Gel Giveaway

Let's talk about gels, shall we?

I am really picky about how I fuel while running.  I've just had too many bad experiences with nausea, throwing up, and worse.  My stomach doesn't do well with most gels.  I've tried almost every kind out there and found one brand that I can stomach.  Well... now I can say there are two kinds.  

I was lucky enough to be able to try Vi Endurance gels the past couple of months.  And while I've tried them on a few long runs, I've also tested them on an empty stomach before an intense spin class, and on a couple of 3-4 hour hikes, and a couple of snow shoeing treks.  

My biggest complaint with previous gels has been 3 fold.  First: the taste.  Some taste like frosting.  Some flavors just taste fake.  You know the ones.  Mostly vanilla.  Second: the texture.  Some are super runny, which I favor over the super thick ones: again akin to frosting.  Or worse, gritty.  And third: the digestibility.  I vividly remember after my first marathon being completely sick to my stomach and spending the rest of the day in the bathroom.  Yes, the feeling of accomplishment was all worth it.  But I knew I didn't want to feel that way again.  I experimented with several gels quickly figuring out that I have a sensitive stomach and just can't do most gels.  I even ran a marathon with no gels.  Yeah, it's no wonder my first marathon was my fastest to date.  So if a gel is good on my stomach, I will gladly sacrifice taste and texture.  Fortunately, with Vi Endurance gels I don't have to compromise on any of the afore mentioned criteria.

Vi Endurance gels are made by endurance athletes.  Their "lab coats are tech shirts and running shorts."  Each of these three friends are ultra runners.  They have tested them in harsh conditions.  And every ingredient serves a purpose.
My favorite of all the features of these gels is the taste.  They are just good. The chocolate flavor is my favorite.  It tastes like an expensive dark chocolate.  Not like overly sweetened frosting.  It tastes gourmet.  Every flavor does.  The vanilla tastes like real.  Like vanilla bean.  Think ice cream flavors.  It's the difference between plain grocery store brand vanilla ice cream and vanilla bean ice cream.  And the peach cobbler.  Oh man.  I live in Peach City USA. We have a celebration each fall around peaches.  And peach cobbler is a favorite dessert of mine.  This gel is extraordinarily close to the real thing.  Flavor is a big deal to me.
The viscosity is perfect.  Not too runny so that it runs down your hand as you open it.  And not too thick so that you're gagging it down.  It's just right.  Yes, I sound like Goldilocks, I know.  But it's true.  It's just right and it's because of the ingredients.  They use coconut oil.  And it's not just for the viscosity, but it is a fat that is used by the body as a carbohydrate.  It goes straight to the liver and doesn't require energy to be absorbed.  It also helps with the brain fog issue late in the game where simple math and general thinking becomes difficult.
And lastly:  the digestibility.  This is the main reason I was willing to try these gels.  Every single ingredient is made to be easily digested.  These people know firsthand why that is so important.  Go here to read more about the science behind this.  One thing I want to note is that each gel has caffeine.  I am generally against using a caffeinated gel each time I fuel, but they state that the amount of caffeine in each gel is used purely as a digestive aid.  If you want the caffeine high you need to get it from some other source.  I also like how they point out that caffeine can cause frequent urination, diarrhea, and loss of essential electrolytes.  These guys really know their stuff.

These gels make my tummy happy.
I've shared my gels with my brother and a few friends.  Everyone has said the same thing.  They love them.  

Now on to the best part.  Vi Endurance is going to give you the chance to win a case of these gels for yourself.  That's 24 gels.  And 3 of you get to win one.

Leave a comment here and then visit their Facebook page and like it.  Then come back and leave another comment for doing that.  Post the contest on your blog or Facebook page and leave another comment.  3 possible entries!

Good luck!  And for everyone else, I'll have a coupon code for 20% off next week.  Contest goes through Wednesday.  Spread the word!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Saying good bye

 There are moments when your life changes without notice and you are forever changed.  There are times when your life is going to change, you have the foresight, and you can plan for these changes.  Such has it been with the events in my life as of late.  My life has been forever changed.  I knew it was going to happen and as such took time to prepare for it.  But as I found last Wednesday, you can never fully prepare yourself for major changes in life.  

We got family pictures taken.  I was pleased with how they turned out and can't believe how grown up our family looks.

My son, Justin and I took several hikes together.  I will treasure those times for the rest of my life.  We talked and hiked and struggled and saw sights.  Golden times really.

He shared with me places that are special to him.

This old sheepherder's cabin at the top of a mountain. We saw a moose on that trip and several bald eagles.

 His dad and I took several hikes in the mountain behind our house at least once a week.

He took me to a couple of mines.  One hike in particular was extremely steep.  It was the hardest hike I have ever been on in my life.  It started to snow right as we got down.  We were lucky to go on that day because the snow hasn't stopped since then and we wouldn't have had another day to go.

These are the remains of the old hotel that used to be up by the mine at the turn of the 1900's.

I really dislike small dark places and so it was a miracle that I went in as far as we did.  I humored him though and we were in there for about 10 minutes.

And then last Wednesday we took him to the Missionary Training Center.  It was a very emotional day.  The car ride there was very quiet.  I kept thinking back to the day I brought him home from the hospital.  I thought about the days of him learning to talk and walk and him going to school.  He has grown into such a fine young man.  And so it is with very mixed emotions that I am proud of the man he has grown into.  I have wanted this for him his whole life.  It's what we do as parents. We raise them to be independent and successful.  And yet the sadness that I experienced as he walked away was so consuming.  I was not prepared for it.  

Running has provided me with a way to run off some of the anxiety.  Running alone has been good for me to think clearly and running with my closest friends has allowed me time to sort out my emotions and be able to express them.  How grateful I am for running and the sense of relief that it has brought to me.

Later this week:  a giveaway that you won't want to miss!