Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pure Clean 100% Beet Juice Powder Review

Core 4 Nutrition is a provider of nutritional supplements and at-home assessment services.  The products that Core 4 Nutrition provides are 100% food based, not filled with chemicals that you cannot pronounce. Why is that important, you might ask?  With food based ingredients, your body can recognize and utilize the nutrients much easier.  It is much harder to process artificial or chemical ingredients than natural ones.  Your body performs at its best when it has the optimal levels of nutrients and the people at Core 4 Nutrition have products to find that balance so you can perform at your best. 

Some of the benefits from using Core 4 Nutrition products are easily noticed, like having more energy.  The most important benefits are the ones that you probably won’t notice though.  These include restoring and regenerating your body beginning at the cellular level. 

One of the products that Core 4 Nutrition offers is their Pure Clean Powder.  It is 100% natural beet juice powder.  Scientific research has shown that eating nitrate-rich foods on a regular basis will not only optimize your nitric oxide levels, but will increase your athletic performance.  Some people use Nitric Oxide boosters, but like I stated earlier, many of these powders are full of chemicals and can have some rather nasty side effects. 

The instructions say that you should take Pure Clean Powder on a daily basis and that you should eat plenty of nitrate-rich foods like kale, arugula, spinach, celery, pomegranate, berries and chocolate.  You can get your Pure Clean Powder in a tub or in individual packets.  Each scoop or packet is equal to 1 whole beet.  Along with the Pure Clean Powder, it is a good idea to get the Salivary Nitric Oxide Assessment Strips.

The Salivary Nitric Oxide Assessment Strips comes in a package with 10 strips for $15.00.  You simply take the test strip out of the wrapper, put one side on your tongue and bend the test strip in half to transfer the saliva to the area that will provide your reading.  After 45 seconds, you have your results.  The pinker the strip turns; the more nitrates that are present in your body.  That is important because some people will be able to increase the level of nitrates in their body with one serving of Pure Clean Powder per day and some other will need more than one. 

I got 30 of the single serve packets in the mail along with 10 of the Salivary Nitric Oxide Assessment Strips.  I started by adding one packet of the Pure Clean Powder into my berry smoothie every morning.  I tested my saliva every 3 days as per the directions.  My levels were fairly low when I started and after about 15 days, the results were getting pinker, but were fairly faint still.

I decided to start taking 2 packets per day.  I would take one packet in the morning mixed in my berry smoothie, and I would mix a second packet in 8 ounces of 100% Orange Pineapple Banana juice in the afternoon.  I started to see my test strips become more pink. 

So here is the difficult part.  I have been training really hard, using the Run Less Run Faster plan.  While I could just tell you that all of my gains are as a result of taking the Pure Clean Powder, I would say that the training does have a lot to do with my progress as well.  Please take that into consideration.  I ran a half marathon PR of just under 1:50:00 in late February.    I started using the Run Less Run Faster plan shortly after that with the goal (for the year) of reaching a 1:45:00 half marathon.  My tempo runs before this training were around 8:30 min/mile if I was pushing it.

I started taking Pure Clean Powder about 30 days ago and that is when my times really started to change.  With my new training plan and incorporating Pure Clean Powder, I was easily running at 7:45 min/mile on my tempo runs and sometimes as fast as 7:30 min/mile.  I ran a 13.1 mile training run about 3 weeks ago.  I finished it in 1:45:00 and even had to make an emergency pit stop (which cost me about 1 minute).  My total time, not including the stop was under 1:44:00.  I met my goal for the year!

Two weeks after that I ran the Capital City Classic 10-mile race.  My goal was to run at an average pace of 7:45, which is faster than I have ever raced before.  One of my training partners paced me and I finished at an average pace of 7:44 min/mile.  That was good enough for 3rd place in my age group, which was amazing because I’ve never placed before. 

The reality is that I do feel the difference when I run and I feel like I recover more quickly since I started taking the Pure Clean Powder.  Is it 100% the Pure Clean Powder or does my training have something to do with it?  I would have to say that it’s a combination of the two, but the Pure Clean Powder definitely helped. While the taste does take a little while to get used to, I found that putting it in my smoothie or in the juice made it easy to drink.

Great source of nitrates
The single serve packets are easy to take with you
Decent price
No artificial ingredients, just whole beets. 

It doesn’t taste great alone (but is good mixed in with your smoothie or juice).

Core 4 Nutrition’s Social Media Links:

I was extremely pleased with the service and products from Core 4 Nutrition.  The Pure Clean Powder and Salivary Nitric Oxide Assessment Strips worked well and I will be using them again in June. I will begin taking the Pure Clean Powder with the Fundamino blend next month and will do another review after I complete those packages.  You can buy the 30-Serving Canister or 30 single serve packets of Pure Clean Powder for $39.00.  You can get 10 single serve packets of the Pure Clean Powder for $17.00.  The Fundamino’s are $49.00 for 30 servings and you can get 10 Salivary Nitric Oxide Assessment strips for $15.00.  I have worked out a deal with Core 4 Nutrition for my readers and you can get 20% off of the Pure Clean Powder and Fundaminos by entering the code RRR20 at checkout.  Give it a try and find out why pro endurance athletes and the average Joe are all giving beet juice a try.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Capital City Classic 10 Mile Race Recap

This has been a great year for my running.  I started off the year by dropping 25 pounds.  I started training hard and ended up getting a Half Marathon PR (1:49:45 – 8:22 pace) at the Davis Stampede in February.  I was using the Hal Hidgon Advanced Half Marathon Plan and I felt that it really prepared me for the race.  

I ran across a fellow blogger, Jackie at Fit Sparrow.  Jackie is a certified running coach and is extremely knowledgeable.  She recommended that I try the Run Less Run Faster Plan and said that everyone she has had do the Run Less plan has PR’d their race.  I had complete faith in her and decided to jump right in.

I purchased the book off of Amazon for about $10 and quickly drew up my plan.  You use a recent 5k, 10k, or half time (or a goal time that you want to achieve) to determine what paces your training will be at.  I decided to train to do a half marathon at an 8:00 min/mile pace, which was my ultimate goal for the year.  To be completely honest, I really thought it wasn’t attainable.  

The Run Less Run Faster plan calls for 3 days of running and two days of cross training per week.  The runs are based on a specific pace and you need to hit those times.  There are no real easy runs, but they are all manageable.  The weekly runs consist of a speed run (intervals), tempo run, and a long run (20-30 seconds slower than your goal half marathon pace, depending on the week).  I was able to hit my target paces on almost all of my runs and exceeded them on most days.  I would suggest that you have a decent base (amount of weekly running miles) before you start this plan though.

My cross training mostly consisted of cycling 16-18 miles, twice a week.  The rides weren’t necessarily easy, but I felt like I could push hard and the low-impact of cycling let my legs rest a little between runs.  If the weather wasn’t cooperating, I would hit the spin bike at the gym.
I was really pushing my limits at the Davis Stampede, just to get maintain an average pace of 8:22 min/mile.  It was a really good pace and I didn’t know how I would surpass it.  Two weeks ago, I ran 13.1 miles as a training run.  I wanted to see what I could do, so I gave it everything I had.  I finished the run in 1:45:00 (8:00 min mile) but had to make an emergency pit stop.  My actual moving time was 1:43:03 (7:52 min/mile).  I had already exceeded my goal for the year.  

I trained as if the Capital City Classic 10 mile race was a half marathon.  My goal was to run a 7:45 average pace.  Two of my training partners were racing too and I felt ready for the race.  The weather was great.  It was about 58 degrees at the start with almost no wind.  The race was fairly flat, with the exception of a few hills to get up and down the levees.  It crosses the beautiful Tower Bridge in Sacramento twice and was really cool because as you are starting the race and cross the bridge, you see the Capitol building ahead of you. 

My legs felt like I was pushing hard for most of the race.  My average hart rate was 163 bpm (88% of my max HR) and my highest heart rate was 175 (95% of my max HR).  I was above my lactate threshold for most of the race and I definitely feel it today.  I was able to maintain a fairly consistent pace, a little slower than my goal pace.  I made it up in the last mile to finish in 1:17:25 (7:44 pace).  I finished 23rd overall and 3rd in my age group.  It is the first time I have placed and while there were only 220 finishers, I feel really good about how far I have come.  

I have never really been good at any sport.  I would classify myself at mediocre at best.  I started running a little over 3 years ago and couldn’t run more than half a mile before stopping.  My pace was over 13 minutes when I was running.  I ran my first half marathon on April 26, 2014 (the American River Parkway Half Marathon) with an average pace of 9:12 minutes/mile.  Through hard training and surrounding myself with people who are stronger runners than I am, I have exceeded all of my wildest expectations.  

Never let anybody tell you that you cannot achieve your goals.  I always try to get people to come run with me and they always tell me that they are too slow.  They say that they can’t do a race because they can’t run that far.  I couldn’t do it either.  Sign up for a race that is about 4 months out.  Find a solid training plan and stick with it.  The Hal Hidgon plans are free and easy to follow.  If you have any questions or would like suggestions, please feel free to ask me.  I was once told that you can’t keep what you have unless you give it away.  That philosophy rings true with running too and I would love to help out as many people as I can.  Together we can breakthrough our perceived barriers.  Have a great day and a great run!

I would love any support and always am looking for suggestions of topics to write about.  Please visit my blog Running Without Injuries or like the Running Without Injuries Facebook and Real Runner Review’s Facebook pages.

Injinji Toe Socks Spring 2016 Review

If you have been following my blog for a while, then you know that I am a huge fan of Injinji toe socks.  I have been running in them for a few years now.  It all started a when I was curious why runners would want to use toe socks.    I quickly discovered that they offer the benefit of letting your toes splay (spread) while you run.  These are great for people who wear wide toe box shoes made by companies like Altra and Topo Athletic, but are great with any shoes. These socks are funny looking and the first time you use them, they feel a little weird.  With that being said, the weird feeling went away after about 5 minutes and they are some of the most comfortable socks that I own.

There are several benefits of using the
Injinji toe socks.  The socks are anatomically designed for your foot, covering each toe and allowing your toes to spread out as they naturally want to.  Normal socks keep your feet restricted.  While you might not feel that this is a big deal, give the toe socks a try and you will realize what I am talking about.  You will gain stability and feel more comfortable as your feet learn to spread out.

They are great for people who get blisters.  By having no skin on skin contact between your toes, you eliminate that point of friction which can cause blistering.  Each sock is made of moisture wicking material and has seamless toes.  They have a mesh top for more breathability, an arch support band, and an enhanced cuff so your socks don’t slip down.  You can get them in light weight, original weight and midweight styles depending on the amount of cushion you prefer.

Here are links to the reviews that I have done in the past. 

I got to test out several of the new Spectrum Run Lightweight socks.  I tested the No-Show version which is below the ankle and has a tab in the back to protect the back of your heel.  While I really like Injinji’s wool socks, they don’t even compare to how comfortable the new Spectrum material is.  I have always been into thicker socks because they provided more cushion, but I really like these lightweight socks.  I think that they use the same material as their other lightweight socks, which is funny because they somehow feel more soft and fit better (at least for me). 

The Spectrum socks provide more bold colors and graphics while still maintaining the benefits of toe socks.  They use a special print process to create fresh designs that will not distort or fade as they are worn, during your run or over time.  I tried the Orange Flash, Open Water, and Abstract Blue.  My wife asked me “Why does it matter what your socks look like if nobody can see them?”  She might have a point, but I still love how these socks look and feel. 

I also tested the Run Original Weight Mini-Crew Lincoln.  I love these because I can show off my love for the USA with these socks.  The Mini-Crew is above the ankle and the original weight is a little thicker than the light weight, but not too heavy.  They feel great and look awesome too!
Let’s your toes spread out
Keeps your feet dry and blister free
Very durable
Look awesome
Feel great even after months of washing
Decent Price at $14

Injinji’s’s Social Media Links:

I love my Injinji socks.  My new Spectrum lightweight socks are my favorite.  They feel so good and look even better.  You can get them for $14 a pair on the Injinji website or at a store near you (click here for locations).  If you haven’t tried them, you definitely should.  Let me know what you think and please feel free to share a picture of your favorite Injinji socks with me.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.