Running Scared and Preliminary Vega Sport Review
So apparently I am on a runcation. A runcation in which I tried to blog post and it was deleted *sigh*. Let’s try this again shall we? So what is a runcation? Well I like to think it means that you take a vacation and spend most of it running. For us it doesn’t cumulate with a big race at the end, it just means that we get to relax and focus on leisure time and running. The benefit of doing this at the cottage are the hills which are unavoidable and included in every run. I also decided this would be a good time to try out some of the Vega Sport products I purchased through the starter pack.
Monday was a bit of a write off because we got to the cottage at midnight on Sunday, I slept in till 8am and was still super tired. That meant that Tuesday was going to be the day, and turns out it was an 8k penance run. What is a penance run you ask??? Well for those who are catholic this will make complete sense, but for those who are not humour me for a second. In the catholic faith you preform a ritual called “confession”. Through this you confess your sins to God, aka priest, he absolves you and gives you “penance”. This usually takes the form of repeating prayers such as Hail Mary’s or Our Father’s while kneeling on a ridiculously uncomfortable bench. So apparently I decided to partake of a little too much wine Monday evening, and needed to do penance the next day. In this case it was 8 Hail Mary’s or 8k. Oh boy did it hurt. At one point I turned to the bestest dude and said “my body hates me”. These runs are not fun and remind me why I generally don’t drink before runs. Wednesday was 21k so I drank lots of water and hydrated for the rest of Tuesday. I also consumed a large and delicious bowl of homemade chili, filled with veggie goodness.
The 21k was actually a great run. I feel like I am starting to get my mojo back mentally. I went for a 21k run last week on my own at 5am (yup 5am), and really loved the peace and serenity of the early morning quiet. I also ran it rather efficiently, 1:53 which was quicker than my last race and my usual half marathon pace. This weeks was a little slower, and I finished really strong, like gas left in the tank strong. So what happened? I figured it out about 10 minutes post-run. I was running scared. When I am actually on my game this year I can maintain a 5:15-5:30 pace during my long runs. This wasn’t the case last year. Generally I ran 6:00 pace, particularly when training for the marathon, and I spent a majority of those training miles at the cottage. I knew that 6:00 is comfortable for me (there I go with that comfort thing), and would get me through the vicious hills ahead. So I ran the first half scared that my body wouldn’t make it through the second 11km if I sped up. It really didn’t matter what the garmin said, I was “saving” myself. I ended up saving myself a little too much. The good news is that I now know that speeding up isn’t going to kill me, and I will push harder next time. I tell ya though, there is no run better than the long run. The ache in your body that tells you what was accomplished that day.
Now onto Vega Sport. So this is a preliminary review and I will continue to review as the week goes on and I use more products. So far I have used 4 of the products in the starter package. This is what you get for $20 (a great deal btw):
- 2 x Vega Sport Pre-workout Energizer singles in both lemon lime and acai berry flavors
- 2 x Vega Sport Energy Bars singles in apple cherry and chocolate coconut
- 2 x Vega Sport Endurance Gel singles in raspberry and orange zest flavors
- 2 x Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator singles in lemon lime and pom-berry flavors
- 2 x Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator singles in both tropical and apple berry flavors
- 3 x Vega Sport Performance Protein singles in chocolate, berry and vanilla flavors
- 2 x Vega Sport Protein Bars in chocolate coconut and chocolate mint flavors
I have read/seen several people using this product on blogs, twitter, facebook, and instagram and have heard positive reviews. The products are all plant based, which is really appealing to me. I am not a vegan by any means, but the cleaner the better. I try to have a balance between eating clean most (or try most) of the time but there are some things which are my mortal weakness. The awesome thing about the Vega Sport website is the personalize your plan section. For a newbie to supplements like me this is great!!!! It enables you to enter your gender, type of activity, level of intensity, and duration. It then makes a recommendation for how to use their products effectively. This helped to prepare me for my long run yesterday. I didn’t want to waste the product on my penance run because I knew I would feel crappy regardless.
So according to my personalized plan on the website I used the Electrolyte Hydrator (pom-berry) on Tuesday, The Pre-Workout Energizer (acai) the morning of, Sport Endurance Gel (orange zest) during the run, and the Recovery Accelerator (apple berry) directly after my run. The personalized plan recommended the protein powder 45 min post-run but I didn’t have a blender and really want to try these in a shake form. So here is my honest and unbiased review of the products I used. All of the products I tried are very clearly plant based, meaning that they taste planty (is that even a word?). That was the downside. The hydrator was a typical electrolyte replacer, and I could really taste the Stevia. If you don’t mind Stevia, all is well, but if you don’t like the taste of it then stay away. To me, it was actually quite tasty. I mixed it into a bottle of water, and away I went. It seemed quite similar to products like Nuun, and actually I prefer the Nuun. Sorry Vega Sport but they got you on this one. The next day I tried three products for my run. First up was the pre-workout energizer, which was really effective. Again I simply mixed it into water, and drank it about 30 mins before my run. I definitely felt increased energy, and alertness. The important fact was that it didn’t feel “artificial”. This product was more “grainy” than the rest, and actually I was a little alarmed at first. It tasted good though and I would definitely use this again. It definitely helped to get me up the first hill, which is actually the first km of my run. At about 8km in I used the Endurance Gel. To be really honest, my first impression wasn’t the greatest. I brought two gels with me, one was the Vega Sport and the other was my usual GU. I did this because I was concerned that if the gel didn’t work they way I wanted, I would crash and be miserable. This was simply put awful tasting. I took the orange zest one, and it was very very plant tasting. The other thing I didn’t like was the packaging. I know this seems weird, but the package was larger than most gels. This made it awkward to fit into the pocket on my shorts, and even awkward to administer while running. What I can’t argue or complain about is that this product works. Like really works. This was quite honestly better than any other gel I have taken. I usually take a gel at 8km and by about 14km I am tanking and already thinking about when I get my next gel in 2km. I didn’t do this once with this gel. In fact at 16km I felt like I could still go another 2km before taking the next gel. I now realize that the GU gels give me a quick burst and then fade quickly. This gel truly gave me endurance. The other bonus? I didn’t have a single GI issue post-run. This is huge for me. I am super sensitive to gels and supplements because of this. I have come to accept that I will have some degree of pain after a run. This didn’t happen. This alone makes the awful taste worth the product!!! Since this was my first run using these gels, and my first flavour. I am going to continue to use them and see if there is a flavour I may like better. If these gels keep working like they did yesterday, I will definitely switch over. I will miss the taste of my chocolate peanut butter, but not the pain and cramping that usually follows! Good job Vega Sport! The final product I used was the Accelerator. This was the best tasting product by far, and we will see how effective it is when I go for a 5.5km crazy hill run. So thats my preliminary review. In summary, the taste could improve slightly, but the products are definitely effective. I will be continuing to use the gels, and the pre-workout energizer. To come, reviewing the Accelerator, and Protein Powder. I am also excited to see if using the products in combination improves my recovery and running. That’s the grand finale, seeing how all the products work together. I will continue to use the products in this particular way leading up to my half marathon in two weeks. It will be interesting to see how I continue to feel leading up to, and during the race. I will definitely need more gels 😉
So that’s it from this end! The bestest dude and I are off for some golf today, and then a 5.5km hill run tomorrow. Throw your comments my way. Have you ever run scared? Tried the Vega Sport products?