Saturday, December 31, 2016

Soaking the Soreness out

Disclaimer: I received Epsoak Epsom Salts as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

I've seen and heard a lot from other runners and athletes that Epsom salt soaks work wonders on your feet and muscles.  Of course I had never tried it because I just don't have time for everything.  I do what I can to balance my family, work and running but there's not always time to look into new running related items.  Which is why being a part of Bibrave is so great for me because there are always new products to try without me having to go do research or spend time figuring what to get, they just send it to me.

So in this case I was send a HUGE tub of Energizing Epsoak Sport which is a mix of Epsom salt with eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils.  I was intrigued because I just assumed all Epsom salt was the same however I quickly learned from the materials sent by San Francisco Salt Co (makers of Epsoak salts) that this is not true.  I also did not know why soaking in Epsom salt was helpful for a runner like myself.

As it turns out magnesium sulfate (salt) is a mineral that minimizes muscle cramps, increases recovery rates and decreases post workout slumps.  I didn't realize that it actually did stuff, I just thought it felt good and that's why people did it.  Look at that, learnin knew stuff!  In fact, the salt reduces swelling, gets rid of toxins that buildup during hard workouts or races and can even help prevent injuries by helping your body to recover better in between the torture sessions we inflict on it.  The Epsoak sports line is actually made of pure magnesium sulfate to ensure it has maximum effectiveness. 

There are 3 types of Sport salts offered by San Francisco Salt Company: Energizing (kind I got), Soothing and Pure Unscented.  As I mentioned Energizing has the addition of Eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils which not only smells lovely especially in a warm, soothing bath but also helps with deep muscle recovery.  The Soothing Salt is infused with lavender which helps with restoration and relaxation soaking.  I did not have the pleasure of smelling this one but I'm sure the Lavendar is wonderful to smell as well.  As you might assume the pure unscented is exactly what it sounds like just pure, plain salt which is perfect for those who are sensitive to different smells or perhaps too manly to soak in a scented salt ;-) 
Alright now that we all know why we should soak, does it really work?  Granted I only received this product a few weeks ago and therefore have only soaked a handful of times, I still do believe that it's helpful to muscle recovery.  I am currently working on becoming a faster marathon runner which let me tell you is absolute hell after only ultra training for over a year.  I haven't done any kind of serious speed workouts in probably 1.5 years and it really hurts to do them right now.  I feel like I'm just sore all the time lately.
This training cycle is kicking my ass!
The soak feels good while I'm in the tub but then it lasts.  My muscles definitely feel more relaxed and less sore for a day or two after the soak, I can tell it helps them to recover better from the trauma of the workouts I'm doing.  Of course, Emir wanted to check the salt out as well so I was nice and shared.  He agreed he felt better and more recovered after the soak as well.  We both also loved the smell of the eucalyptus and peppermint. 

If you are interested in trying it out for yourself, San Francisco Salt Co is currently having a sale on their website on the 5lb bags of salt.  You can also use the code RAVE10 to save an additional $10 on the 5lb bag, great deal! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Rudy Project Fotonyk Sunglasses

Disclaimer: I received Rudy Project NA Fotonyk sunglasses as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!
The Rudy Project's latest performance sunglasses are called the Fotonyk.  The main new feature being a 'Lens Bumper' system, which provides protection to the face during falls or impacts, as well as a customizable look. The bumpers are available in multiple different colors.  They can also be removed to create a half-rim lens. In addition to this new technology, air channels are at the top of the lens so users can easily manage internal airflow and mitigate fog. The fully adjustable ErgonoseX nose piece and variety of interchangeable lenses, including the unbreakable and photochromic ImpactX lens, make the Fotonyk a very individualized pair of glasses specific to each person and their own face shape. The Fotonyk is also available with high-tech prescriptions.
So now that was the technical terms and explanations but what does all this mean in real life?  At first glance they are a pretty sharp looking pair of glasses.  I received a pair with clear lenses that transition to sunglasses in the sun.  They have black frames with neon green bumpers.

After putting them on, I decided I wasn't a fan of how the bumpers looked on my face.  It's a toss up between scientist and going out to the shooting range kind of look.  I did notice that they do look good on some people.  I think probably the shape and size of my face have something to do with it.  But this was no problem since the bumpers are removable.  I understand the purpose of the bumpers especially for cyclists as it adds protection to their face if they were to fall or have a crash but luckily for me, I have yet to smash my face running (knock on wood) so I don't feel like taking them off is a problem.  Removing them was not all difficult even though you have to remove the lenses from the frames completely to take the bumpers off.  The lenses are super easy to snap in and out of the frames and once the frames are off the bumpers come right off.   I assembled and disassembled them a bunch of times for testing purposes and it would take less than a minute every time. 

Part of the purpose of the glasses coming apart is to remove the bumpers if you don't wish to wear them but also so that you can switch out for different color bumpers or you can even switch out lenses.  There's a variety of options on the Rudy project website

As far as performance these glasses did awesome for me.  Obviously since it's winter most of my runs were in cold weather which is prime time for foggy glasses.  As mentioned above, the fotonyks have air channels at the top of the lenses, I felt these helped tremendously as I didn't have any problems with the glasses fogging up.  I even wore them once inside on the treadmill to get a feel for how they would do in warmer temps since I didn't think I would have that opportunity outside, as it turns out yesterday was about 65 and I ran 18 miles and no fogging problems inside or outside in the warmer temps.

Which leads me into my favorite feature of these glasses the transitioning lenses.  I never really considered how having lenses that transition from clear to sunglasses would be so beneficial for running but now that I've been using the fotonyks, they really can be.  Countless times I start runs when it's light and finish when it's dark or start when it's dark and finish when it's light especially in winter time.  Usually I wear my sunglasses or have them on my head and usually have to move them from one spot to the other depending on if it's dark or light out. 
 And of course there's always those times when it's not really bright out anymore but the setting or rising sun might be directly in your eyes and you are every two minutes switching the sunglasses back and forth from your eyes to the top of your head because when the sun isn't in your eyes it's too dark with the glasses on your eyes.  I also encounter lots of dark shady areas mixed with open areas of sun.  I'm always no matter what time of year or day, switching my sunglasses from face to head a million times.   It doesn't really bother me to switch my glasses around or have them on my head but using the Fotonyks was pretty nice.  I put them on and actually would just forget they were there.  The lenses are crystal clear when it's not light out so you don't even notice you are looking through a lens.   I wore them several times in the complete dark just for eye protection from the bitter cold wind and other than the fact they blocked anything from hitting my eyes, I didn't even notice them because the lens is so clear.  The transition from clear to sunglasses is really so gradual and in perfect sync with the conditions, you don't even realize it's happening. 
 Yesterday on my long run, it was really overcast and quite dark when I went out but halfway through it cleared up and was bright and sunny.  It was really awesome to have put them on from the start and then not have to do anything when conditions changed so much.  Considering how dark it was out and the forecast was for overcast, I may not even have brought my sunglasses in the past but since I had the fotonyks I figured I would just wear them and I was very happy I did.  I didn't even notice when the glasses transitioned to the darker lenses.  They transition so gradually so there's never a time when they seem too dark for when it's not super light out and they definitely are just as good as any other sunglasses when it's super bright out. 

Lastly, the frames are super light which I love and they seem very durable.  Luckily I haven't had to truly test their strength but they feel sturdy and they are specially made to withstand bike crashes so they should be able to withstand my abuses of them.