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Archives for February, 2010

Saturday long run through Sausalito.

We went back to Sausalito to tackle the hills again.  We have no reason to run in the hills other than the pure joy of running there.  It makes think about doing the Point Reyes 25K.  Point Reyes is a very hard run that you get nothing for finishing the run except the possibility of poison oak.  You also get a huge sense of accomplishment.  We had a lot of fun this week running along the hills.  My photo blog can be found here Saturday run photo blog.

Clif Bar launched a heavy marketing campaign for its Clif Quench drink, a new line of electrolyte products aimed at endurance athletes. Originally announced last March, Clif, a company well known for recovery products for athletes, continues to release quality products that are both good for the body and environment.

The Quench line features four flavors – Fruit Punch, Lime-Ade, Orange, and Strawberry Citrus – but the Quench drinks are designed as a tasty re-hydration drink, not a traditional sports drink.

Each bottle is 16 ounces, and has 90 calories, 20 grams of sugar, 70 mg potassium, and 260mg of sodium.

I mainly use it as a reward after a hard bike ride or run, but Quench should be ideal for anyone who has a hard time drinking something such as Cytomax or Gatorade while training.

I drank another bottle after finishing my ride. It is a tasty, functional drink that is relatively inexpensive.

Clif competitor Accelerade also has a pre-made drink for athletes, though I’ve had trouble drinking some of it after a hard workout because of the added whey protein mixed into the drink. The Clif Quench, however, offers the important nutrients athletes need without making it unbearable to drink. The older athletes who need the sodium to prevent cramping apparently like this simple mixture a tad bit more than other drinks.

In keeping with Clif’s well known organic and environmentally green philosophy, the drink is 88 percent organic and doesn’t use high fructose corn syrup. The drink, in fact, has just seven ingredients: Filtered water, organic evaporated cane juice, natural flavors, real salt, citric acid, magnesium lactate, and potassium phosphate.

I’m not a fan of high fructose corn syrup — although tasty, it’s horrible for you — and try my best to avoid it at all cost.

The new bottles are in stores now – with a retail price of $1.49 – though can be found on sale. My local Safeway has it for just $0.99 until Tuesday, March 3.  If you have a Safeway near by, it may be the best time to pick up a couple of bottles and try it out.

Healthy peasant burrito

Healthy peasant burrito

I was planning on making some stuffed chicken the other day when I realized I  had chicken thighs not chicken breast meat.  I already had half the ingredients made when I noticed the error of my ways and had to come up with a new plan.  I generally eat healthy food and I am definitely in the peasant class of Alameda and I used burrito wraps to put it all together.  Hence the name. Read more… »

Alameda Runners recently caught up with GU,  a well-known company in the endurance community.   We chatted with GU officials about the company, discussing their most popular products, including whey isolates and other nerdy recovery product information.

Even though you see a lot of other athletes using GU products, the company still has a niche consumer market it caters to.

“We definitely continue to focus on endurance athletes (or team sports athletes building endurance as a base for game time),” GU PR people told Alameda Runners.  “Virtually all of our products are for use during activity.  They provide energy, concentration and recovery benefits.  There is plenty of competition, but we’re pretty confident that taste and efficacy have folks returning to us more often than not.”

I asked GU about its best selling flavors and products, and they were more than happy to oblige.  The vanilla and chocolate GU gel flavors are the best selling flavors, according to the company, though I’ve always enjoyed the Tri-Berry best.


“Competitors can’t touch us on taste here.  Well, you try and you decide.”  Blueberry Pomegranate is the most popular Roctane flavor, while strawberry Chomps are the top electrolyte block flavor.  The Strawberry Watermelon Recovery Brew is the most popular recovery drink offered by GU, while the Blueberry Pomegranate Electrolyte Brew serves as GU’s most popular drink.

Full article/interview available after the jump.  GU gets a bit more technical, and discusses whey protein and 2:1:1 recovery drinks. Read more… »

This isn’t the type of drink I’d normally purchase in  the grocery store, but I couldn’t help myself since I see the company’s ads everywhere I turn.  I decided to take the plunge and quickly share my thoughts.

I recently purchased a can of the “FRS Low-cal Peach Mango”  (1 can = 11.5 oz.; non-carbonated) at a local Safeway grocery store, with a final price around $2.50 (regular price).

The can instructs you to shake well – and you definitely want to listen.  The drink doesn’t have the consistency of water or Gatorade, it is quite a bit thicker.  You also don’t want to try to drink it if the quercetin has settled, several FRS drinkers have told me in the past.


I’m not a fan of the peach mango flavor,  It was a bit more bitter than what I was expecting.  It does taste like a drink with a large amount of vitamins, but doesn’t taste like a typical “low-calorie” drink.

Some people looking to cut down on caffeine may be interested in FRS, as I’ve chatted with several heavy coffee drinkers who noted they began switching to FRS in the afternoon.

One can has 25 calories, 5g sugar, 7g carbs, 260% of daily vitamin C, 130% daily vitamin E, 130% Vitamin B12, and other vitamins and important nutrients the human body needs.

The can says customers should drink 2 to 3 servings per day.  At ~$2.40 per can, paired with a taste I didn’t particularly enjoy, I don’t think I’m going to become a regular customer any time soon.  If you take a daily multi-vitamin, the need for FRS seems to diminish even further.

If anyone at FRS is reading this:  I like how you sponsor running, cycling and MMA Web sites, among others.  Your banner ads promote your product, Lance’s face, and isn’t overly annoying and overbearing.
As noted, I paid for this review product.

Alameda Runners on Twitter

Just a friendly reminder to all of our new visitors:

The two screwballs who run this site are both on Twitter.

Michael’s Twitter and Ted’s Twitter.

Alameda Runners also has its own Twitter account.

If you’re also on Twitter, feel free to say hello!

Many endurance athletes need water, electrolytes and carbs during a long event, and they can be difficult to consume on an unsupported solo run.  The use of a hydration belt may be necessary, and Fuel Belt currently leads the industry for runners, cyclists and triathletes.

Vinu Malik, Fuel Belt President & Founder of Fuel Belt and multiple-time Ironman, recently chatted with Alameda Runners about Fuel Belt.  Their products and the difficulty of ensuring each product can withstand being on the road for hours.

“Fuel Belt was the result of having a few hydrating moments during my first dozen Ironman races, Malik said during the chat.  “Back then (1990s) there were no comfortable hydration designs for runners.  Applying a little common sense to the development process went a long way.  The first Fuel Belts were not super stylish, but they functioned incredibly well.”

Working on the winning combination of a high-quality endurance product that is usable (read comfortable) has proven difficult, with Malik briefly discussing the methods he came up with.

“These things take time to get right because you need production partners who have the ability to listen, understand the function of the products and who understand the demands of our customers.  It really helped that I was a strong beta tester as I continued to train and race for Ironmans.”


The company now has its H2O collection of products, which Malik discussed.  “Our new H2O collection is a fully adjustable one-size fits all hydration belt.  It’s the first of its kind for our popular Helium collection.  Of course, we still have our award winning custom fit designs.  Each of these is like buying a pair of jeans: if you know your waist size, we have five sizes to choose from.”

Even with its H20 line, other Fuel Belt products have also sold well:  “All of our hydration belts are off the chart.  We pioneered the category, we continue to innovate and we are serious athletes.  Everything we make is tested countless times before it hits the market.  With multiple Hawaii Ironman wins and hundreds of other wins, the brand just continues to grow.”

Some companies have shown interest in creating disposable fuel hydration, but that’s a strategy unlikely to reach Fuel Belt.

I asked about the possibility of prepackaged containers for the belt that are disposable.  Something like a GU bottle.  His response- “We explored this route but the sheer cost of production at a sensible scale is very expensive.  More importantly, there’s no need to waste money on additional packaging.  The best thing I can say about a Fuel Belt is that it’s arguably the most reusable product a runner or triathlete will ever have.  That has a much higher value to us than preloaded flasks and bottles.  The world just doesn’t need that.”

In addition to selling products to athletes, Fuel Belt remains committed to the endurance community.

“Fuel Belt sponsors more than 900 events annually.  Many of those are tied to charities and fundraisers.  We are also the official hydration belt of Team in Training.  We give back 10% of all profits to TNT.  The number of good will sponsorships we support is beyond a number I can keep up with.”

Alameda Runners would like to thank Vinu for taking the time to answer our questions.  Keep up the great work at Fuel Belt!

If you’re coming from out of town and need a place to stay, the Marriott City Center Hotel in Oakland has special room rates and will give guests the ability to run the Oakland Twilight 5K on Saturday night (evening before half marathon and marathon).

The following was part of an e-mail sent out to all registered runners:

The e-mail is after the jump!

I just want to publicly thank the city of Alameda (and whoever else was responsible, possibly East Bay Regional Park District?) for removing several pieces of graffiti on the little wooden bridge on Bay Farm that is used to get from Bay Farm to the actual bike bridge.

It took a week or so to be removed, but it was finally taken care of.

Here is one of the pieces of graffiti that was painted over:


Glad the city took care of the problem relatively fast.  Hope they catch this kid and make him do graffiti cleanup across the city as punishment.

Shooting Down Excuses #1

I was chatting with someone outside See Jane Run in Oakland a few Saturdays ago, and she mentioned that she wanted to exercise but couldn’t find the time.  She thought quitting work to take care of the kids would be easy, but found that it can be more time consuming and difficult than her previous job.

Never fear, Olympian Jeff Galloway is here to talk you through a couple of different excuses.  I’m going to post one every few days — or if we can’t think of anything else to ramble about — so here we go!  (I’m not sure where the following Galloway quote was published, but will let you know when I track it down.)

I don’t have my exercise clothes with me: Load an old bag or backpack with a pair of running shoes, a top for both winter and summer, shorts and warm-up pants, towel, deodorant and anything else you would need for exercise and clean up.  Put the bag next to the front door, or in the truck of your car.  Then, the next time you are waiting to pick up your child from soccer, etc., you can do a quick change in the restroom and make some loops around the field, school, etc.

Most people I know who drive to the gym usually have a bag packed and prepared in the car ahead of time — perhaps because they want to be prepared, or don’t want to forget — or because they’ve mentally trained themselves to be prepared to head to the gym.

Even though I live around the corner from the gym, I still usually have a change of clothes ready in the car just in case I’m on my way home from somewhere.