2018 Season Opener(s)

My 2018 track season has officially opened! After a few hours and an IN-N-OUT burger combo to give me hindsight, I have positive feelings about my race experiences this weekend.

Day #1 Bryan Clay

Heat sheets didn’t come out until 20 minutes before the race, 13 girls were on the start line, the leader went out in 63 and closed in a 60, and I was boxed in (too far) behind her. It was chaos. To quote Kirsten: “your race looked like Victoria’s Secret on Black Friday.”

Takeaways: despite thinking “oh this is a good spot I’m right on the inside” it was in fact not a good spot (unless I wanted to get boxed in #sad). At 300m to go when the leaders surged I was trapped and couldn’t find any free room to run. I managed to finish strong but was frustrated with the 2:07.23 – even though I know times don’t really matter at this point in the season (I will keep telling myself this until I believe it). I know I have more to give!

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Running is hard! I am tired.

Highlight of the meet was watching the 1500s at night. The atmosphere was electric and the depth of the field was insane. It almost made me want to run a 1500m. Almost.

Jack raced 3:48.37 aggressively, looking strong, focused, and springy (until the last 50m when he “sat in the chair”). His time was quicker than he ran all of last season! (#SpeedGoogles). It was also awesome to see Lindsey run 4:10 (I had to get out a second set of speedy goggles) and Justin Knight ran 3:36 in the same race that Josh Kerr broke the American collegiate record in 3:35. WOW, by the end of the night I was wearing so many speed goggles Jack had to guide me to our Uber.

Summary: Bryan Clay really has it going on (especially in the music department, the playlist was as fire as the 1500s #HilaryDuff).

Day #2 Beach Invitational

After finishing Season 2 of the OC (when in California), Jack and I packed up and left our somewhat sketchily-located Airbnb and headed to Long Beach. They’ve completely redone the stadium so it looked nothing like my fond memories racing there in my UBC days.

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2015 UBC 800m Squad @ the Long Beach Invitational

I was in the fastest section and I was the fastest seed so I wanted victory but alas, I finished 4th in my race. Tactically, I ran much better than yesterday, getting out quick and into a better position. But the sloooooow down from 200-400m was brutal. After a decent 200m we went through 400m in 65… Which feels WAY different than the 60/61 I’m lusting after. I heard someone saying it’s more fun to run an 800 off a slow first lap but I have to disagree. It’s an uncomfy pace and the transition to sprinting at the end is a rough one when you’re not in peak racing shape. I attempted to make a move at 300m to go, but my hesitation cost me and instead of powerfully striding to the front I zig-zagged around in a confused manner similar to when I was looking for my Uber pool pick up spot after the race. OK it wasn’t that bad but it was a good reminder that the 800m is not kind to hesitation.

The more I write this the more fired up I am to get back out there. I did have the usual moment before the race of “WHY AM I DOING THIS” but the aftermath is always the reminder: because it makes me feel accomplished, powerful, and alive.

I’ve heard that patience is a virtue. So while I’m keen to showcase my fitness and prove to myself that I’m capable of more, I’ll settle for two negative splits and an injury-free start to the racing season! That’s already more than I can say for last year.

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Love my new racing top – thanks Rackets & Runners!

Trip Highlights:

  • Did I already mention we went to IN-N-OUT? Real talk, Jack said Whitespot makes a better burger and I’m going to have to agree with him. Still worth the hype though.
  • I made an excellent grocery list and we managed to make all our meals off one $36 grocery shop #HumbleBrag
  • Spending time/traveling with Jack (aaaawwwwwwwww)
  • Seeing so many familiar faces at the meets! Track family is the best family ❤

Trip Lowlights:

  • The pollution in LA! My track hack is next level. Explaining track hack to your Uber/Airbnb companions gains you some sceptical looks. I swear I don’t have TB or smoke 5 packs a day!
  • Related to the above… The traffic! Getting anywhere took twice as long as I expected
  • The mucus. I’m feeling way better than last week but the amount of snot I’ve produced over the last few days is certainly a personal best
  • The blisters! There was more fire on the track that my times indicate – the side of my foot has been roasted off. At least my feet looked great in my new ELMN8 spikes

Time to get back to work. I think my next race will be around the second week of May… Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

xoxo Devan

PS Wondering what protein bar I had after my race?

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It was the SimplyProtein Maple Pecan bar – bringing some additional Canada flavour to the races

 

 

The Energy Bar Bachelorette: Episode 5

It’s time to chew into these bar’s values and where they come from. But before I do…

Training Update:

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Chasing good times and the perfect protein bar

Training has been going awesome. I’m loving my new coach and program and focusing on training full-time (instead of working) is making a huge difference in the quality of my workouts.

Speed: I haven’t felt speedy since High School (when I ran my 55.61 400m PB). This is changing. Lynn has me doing sprints, stairs and drills which are sharpening my reflexes and giving me some serious power. Pair that with some consistent work in the gym with my strength trainer Devon (what a great name btw), and I’m getting excited to race.

Managing expectations: I’m excited to prove my fitness but I’m also keeping in mind that results can take awhile to come to fruition. The meat of my season will be in June/July so that’s when I need to be in fighting form. I’m looking forward to feeling the race vibes in California in a couple weeks but I know these races are just for feedback on the last few months training and I need to keep my expectations in check.

I’ll be sure to post an update after my first race so check back at some point after April 21st.


The companies: Time to learn about who raised these bars.

SOLO-GI-Logo-2013SoLo Bar

SoLo was the first bar to catch my eye, and has already made an excellent impression on my family. I can’t deny that I have serious feelings at stake here.

“SoLo Bars were designed using a unique blend of slow release carbohydrates, proteins and fibres that provide a lower glycemic response than other leading energy bars. This means SoLo fills your tank with premium fuel to keep your body running stronger over a longer period of time, so you don’t experience the “highs and lows” that occur when your blood sugar levels go up and down. “

SoLo bar website

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Sounds like stability is a top priority for SoLo, which I love. I am not a dramatic person and my relationships reflect that. SoLo’s website remarks “there are no roller coasters around here!” And that sounds pretty ideal. I don’t want my heart getting jerked around.

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Early days, flirting on Twitter

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I love how the company is local (based in BC) and seems really focused on balance and living a nutritious, fulfilling lifestyle.

Plus, look how many flavours there are! There may not be any roller coasters, but I don’t think there’s any risk of becoming bored.

Everything seems great. Except one thing…. the amount of protein. Post workout I think I need closer to 15g, and most of these bars are 10-13g. I could compromise and pair the bar with some milk… or just eat two?!

TBH eating two sounds like a pretty good idea…

Family Favourite: SoLo is my mom’s choice.


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(Bar)

 

I feel like ONE is speaking right to my soul…

“Stop playing the field and start playing, period: ONE Bar is packed with a whopping 20 grams of protein – but only 1 gram of sugar – all delivered in deliciously decadent, too-good-to-be-true flavors.”

ONE website

Part of me certainly feels like I have found “the one”. Taste, protein, flavour… or “flavor” as the Americans would say. ONE bar is all about avoiding guilt, and living a glamorous, indulgent life. However, the company is all about indulgent snacking – and not athletics. The target consumer seems to be the “in-the-know health suave cool person” at the office avoiding doughnuts and 3pm sugar cravings by opening their ONE-stocked snack drawer, and not a sweaty, protein-thirsty athlete such as myself.

 

This relationship has passion and excitement. But I’m looking for my partner for life here. I don’t want a fling, I need something that will last.

PS ONE touts the idea that you deserve an extravagant lifestyle – and they charge a price that reflects that. These bars near the $5 mark, which is hard to justify for an athlete on a budget


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No doubt, this bar is great for a snack, or after a light workout. Perfect after a pool run. In fact, I just had one this morning on my way home from the Aquatic Centre. Crunchy, tasty, and made with only wholesome simple ingredients – this bar is a serious contender for my heart.

 

“SimplyProtein® products are high protein, gluten free, and contain only 4g of sugar or less. All of our snacks are free from artificial sweeteners and flavours, making them perfect guilt-free snack options. “

SimplyProtein website

My only concern with this bar is if it has enough substance to satisfy me after a hard workout. I could compromise and supplement the (intentional) lack of carbs with some fruit, maybe a loaf of bread…

I know that every relationship is  bound to have insecurities and worrying if this bar has enough “substance” is overlooking the fact that it’s the only bar I’ve found that doesn’t have artificial ingredients and has 15g of protein!!! In that respect, it’s a bit of a unicorn.

 

Two of my favourite flavours: Cinnamon pecan and lemon coconut.

“I liked the flavour, it was a nice light option for right after a run. You don’t feel like you’re eating something heavy. But I don’t know about the texture… I felt like I was eating a rice krispy and I don’t know if that’s for me. It also tastes natural, I don’t feel like I’m eating artificial ingredients. Oh bonus, it wasn’t too sweet!”

– Tamara (Training partner of the Bar Bachelorette)

Simply’s mission statement is “to make healthy snacks for busy people” – I would say they’ve 100% succeeded – maybe now it’s time to grow their relationships? (As in be in a relationship with meeee?)

Side note: Tamara, how can comparing something to a Rice Krispy treat be a bad thing? Check yourself.


Next steps:

It’s time to make a decision.

 

 

The Energy Bar Bachelorette: Episode 4

With the “hometown dates” right around the corner, this is an appetite inducing week. By the end of this blog, the final three will be revealed. #Drama


One-on-One Snack: Vega

My training partner Tamara is a huge fan of Vega and I’m a huge fan of Tamara so I was looking forward to my first snack with this vegan option. I’m a little concerned that there’s only two flavours… but Tam Tam assures me that peanut butter chocolate is the only bar I’ll ever need so I’m keeping an open mind (or at least trying to).

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Post speed session at the South Surrey track

Basic nutritional info: 15g protein, 260 calories, 16g sugar

I tried to manage my expectations but I had high hopes for this bar and wasn’t disappointed. Tastes great, and a great amount of protein. I tweeted that I was trying the bar and they replied right away – wow, so nice! Not only do they meet my nutrition requirements (although the sugar is a bit much), they seem genuinely supportive and nurturing – in more ways than just nutrition.

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BUT… I feel like committing to Vega might be like marrying someone who’s devoutly religious when I’m not. No matter how great they are, it’s hard to look past the fact that we have drastically different values. How am I meant to explain to Vega’s family/friends that I’m not a vegan? How can I endorse the brand when I love steak almost as much as life itself? I don’t feel like Vega is pressuring me to convert, and maybe we can make it work…. I don’t know!


SUGAR: What is it good for?

First-things-first, that heading was meant to be read to the tune of “War” (if you missed this please go back and re-read) .

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I have been operating under the assumption that the less sugar the better. But then I started thinking… there must be more to sugar. Is some sugar actually a good thing? And, more interestingly, if a bar isn’t sweetened by sugar, than what is doing the trick?

So I asked around a little, and learned:

  1. Sugar can be a good as a quick source of energy especially before workouts
  2. Consider the source of sugar, if you’re having a bar made with dates, some sugar will be unavoidable (and natural)
  3. Sugar can be a helpful tool for elite athletes, but isn’t as helpful for the general public

So basically, sugar can be good, and maybe I shouldn’t be ruling out bars because of it. I think the bar this really impacts is the Clif brand… read on to see what I decide.


Group Date:

41oQE59uCIL._SR600,315_PIWhiteStrip,BottomLeft,0,35_PIStarRatingFIVE,BottomLeft,360,-6_SR600,315_SCLZZZZZZZ_Q: How am I only just discovering that the protein count for this bar is only 3.5g?

A: Because on the website it sneakily puts the amount of protein for 100g (which is 10g), instead of the amount per 35g bar (3.5g). I feel a bit humiliated and led on. This is like when a contestant on the Bachelor already has a boyfriend. What are you doing on this blog, you’re not here to find love, you’re here for fame!!!! Get out!!! #SingleTear


Picky-Bars

These bars have been neglected so far because they’re American and difficult to get a hold of. I swear they used to be stocked at Trader Joe’s, but I had no luck sourcing one in San Diego. I feel like Picky might be the contestant that leaves the bachelor for a legit reason (like they had to go back to a real job), before they had a chance to get to know the Bachelor and you always wonder if they’re the one that got away. I fear this is happening with Picky bar. If I can’t find one, how am I going to bite one? Maybe one day the stars will align and I will find them. But until then it doesn’t seem fair to my other contestants to keep holding out for a bar that’s not making themselves fully available to me (geographically and emotionally).


Clif-BarThere is no denying that Cliff is too sweet for me. The sugar content is sky high, and the protein content in regular Luna bars just isn’t enough for me. I do have a soft spot for the mint chocolate chip builder bar, but I don’t know if that’s enough to carry the relationship.


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I’m starting to feel a bit bad for ONE bar as it’s clear they have no friends in the snack cupboard. This bar seems to do no wrong. I tried this flavour after my second track workout in San Diego and loved it. I also saw these bars in Canadian grocery stores, but they are expen$ive – cashing in around $4.40. Also, the sugar content is crazy low, but betting the list of artificial ingredients isn’t as small…


The Chomping Ceremony:

Eliminated: Vega, Clif, Nakd, Vega, Picky

Safe: Simply, SoLo, ONE

The Final Three!!!


Next Time:

Hometown week: time to get to know what makes these bars the way they are