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Review: Quest Protein Bars, Peanut Butter Cups and Pastabilities

edit…. I have been sitting on this review for some time, don’t know why it never posted…

questbarsasstI have been hearing/ reading about Quest Bars for what seems like forever now. Friends of mine not only rant and rave about eating the bars raw, but there seems to be this whole cult like chef-ery (ok, I made that word up, I get it) where people melt these bad boys down, add ice cream or whatever else to them. Maybe I will delve deeper into this phenomenon another time, but for now, let’s stick to the bars as they are, and were meant to be, in their rawest and tastiest form.

You can walk into any convenience store, GNC or supermarket and see the usual run of the mill nutrition bars, which for the most part are packed with sugar or artificial flavors, ingredients you cannot pronounce and more. I could name some names, cause as I type I am comparing their nutrition labels to Quest’s nutrition label, but this isn’t a battle I am trying to fight nor am I bashing the “other” more convenient guys, I am just pointing out why you should dump them like a protein shaker you left in the car for 3 days and now reeks to high heaven.

Quest was started as a company that was in it for one thing, to offer the general public a choice, a healthier choice. Their bars are packed with protein, all natural ingredients, no artificial sweeteners (in their all natural line there isn’t, sucralose is used at times in minuscule amounts) and for the most part are gluten free. The carbs are low, and in most bars there are 0 active carbs as most of them are fiber.

I did have the opportunity to try a couple other Quest products as well, such as Pastabilities and Cravings. The review for both of these products will be at the end of this review, as we get into the bar flavors. I can’t wait to tell you about 99.9% of them, so, so GOOD!!

questlemonLemon Cream Pie – Ok, hands down, lemon flavored anything is good in my book, so I was super excited to see this first in the assortment of bars I received. They were not overly lemony, which can kill it sometime as lemon is a strong flavor in and of itself. The taste was subtle, you can even taste the “crust” giving this bar a true lemon cream pie flavor profile. This is on the top of the list of favorites for sure.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Cookie Dough is not the most original of flavors, it’s probably been done to death at this point. As I say that though, there are companies that just can’t hit that right flavor and consistency. Most are too dry, not enough choco chips, etc. Quest hit it right on the mark! If I whipped up some dough right now, I am certain there will be little difference between my dough and these bars. They legitimately tasted just like raw cookie dough!

White Chocolate Raspberry – These might have been my wife’s favorite. She loved the fact that there were real raspberry seeds in the bar, not just a raspberry flavor. I enjoyed them for that, and another one of my favorite things is white chocolate, so again it’s like Quest knew this. Are these guys mind readers? I’m getting a little scared!

quest-nutrition-questbar-natural-protein-bar-cinnamon-roll-793573076397Cinnamon Roll – Straight out the gate, hands down, this is my favorite of all! There was not enough bar in my mind, although it was the same size as all the rest. I have an affinity for anything and everything Cinnamon flavored, these were right in my wheel house. They were perfect! Not dry, not so moist that they bent in the Nashville heat as I drove around in my work van, they were fantastic. I may very well be ordering just a box of these.

Peanut Butter Jelly – It sucks to let the air out of the tires at this point but these were just fair in my book. They were somewhat dry. While the peanut butter flavor was evident they could have used some more jelly. Maybe it would have moistened it up a bit. My son, who is 5, and a purveyor of all things pb&j did say he loved em. So, Quest does still get a small, albeit biased, vote from him!

Ultimate Brownie –  This is another flavor that has been done again and again. Like mentioned in the Cookie Dough description though, it matters if you get it right or not. Dead on flavor with a brownie, extremely yummy! Not too dry, not to mushy, was very enjoyable!

questcoconutCoconut Cashew – I love coconut, and my favorite nut is a cashew… Again, Quest knows me too well, and hell, we just met!! The bar itself is a perfect blend of both flavors, not to dry, yet not as moist as the others. That probably has to do with the coconut, maybe it absorbs some of the moisture? I don’t, I just know this, and that so far Quest has hit every nail on the head when it comes to taste!

Strawberry Cheesecake – This was a great surprise. Trying to clone the flavor of a cheesecake can go horrifically wrong, and it does most of the time. You get those bars that are so sour, like they are actually a cheese product and it has gone bad. I don’t know the folks at Quest but must give them mad props for hitting the mark here, amazingly similar flavor to the real thing. The real strawberries is probably what did it for me too, that stuff matters!

Apple Pie – These bars will come in handy when autumn hits. I can see firing these bad boys up in the micro for a few seconds, tearing em up into bits and putting some vanilla ice cream on it. It’s what the flavor reminded me of at least!!

questchocpeanutbutterChocolate Peanut Butter – If you are looking for that chocolate fix, but are worried about the “sin of it” this is the perfect answer. Like it’s compadre, the Ultimate Brownie bar, it is laden with chocolate-y goodness, with a hint of peanut butter. It’s not over done, it’s a great mix of both flavors and I know that at least myself, my craving for something I didn’t truly want, chocolate or candy, was satiated at last.

Banana Nut Muffin – I really wished I had warmed this one up, more so then the room temperature of my 90 degree work van. You know when your making banana bread and you got to lick the spoon afterward? Yeah, these are that good!

Cookies and Cream – The newest addition to the Quest line-up and hands down, one of the best. There are little pieces of cookie heaven throughout the bar. This flavor has been done for some time via other companies and their product. Sometimes the flavor seems to synthesized and turns you off. Quest hit the mark with this new flavor and have great flavor and texture.

cravings_2Here’s where we get into the other products that Quest produces. The first is the Cravings Peanut Butter Cup. These are supposed to be similar to a Reese’s peanut butter cup, I assume at least they are. Like the pb&j flavored bar, these really didn’t live up to what I was hoping for. I understand the peanut butter part of the cup is a protein blend, but it was extremely dry. The chocolate was tasty, I enjoyed it thoroughly, but had to have something to drink to get these down.

questpastabilitiesQuest Pastabilities on the other hand, were an interesting endeavor. The first thing I noticed was the fishy smell when you open the package. It wafts right out of the package, and had I not read the package and the fact that this is normal, I may never have given this a true to life shot. The noodles are packaged in an alkalized water concoction that gives them that fishy smell. After they have been rinsed a couple times, the smell is gone, completely. My family was having the regular pasta night, so I thought it would be the opportune time to give these a roll. I rinsed them and heated them up in the microwave. I added the same sauce my family was using and sat down to eat. I was pleasantly surprised. The noodles had lost all traces of that smell, and it didn’t carry over to the taste. It was just like having pasta, without all the empty carbohydrates. The one thing I will say, there was a texture similar to eating bean sprouts, this is because the noodle is made from the Konjac root. I enjoyed the noodles, both the plain and spinach.

Overall, I have been sold. I have tried many different meal replacement bars. I have tried a variety of supplements. Quest has won me over 100% and will hopefully become a staple in my diet to continue to gain and maintain lean muscle growth. As well as satisfy me on runs, hikes and those pesky OCR races!!

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Review: Petzl Tikka 2

tikkaThanks Paul for the first, of hopefully many, headlamp reviews!!

The Petzl Tikka 2 is a no frills, affordable, but in my experience rock solid headlamp.

I picked this up in 2012 for the Hurricane Heat, and while it wasn’t needed, it’s been in my pack for two HHs, and two Beasts, plus a million late night dog walks, a million lost-toy-under-the-couch expeditions, and has yet to fail me.

It takes three AAA batteries, and is simply enough to use – a rotating light unit, a single strand headband, and a button that chances light output levels, and enables the flash mode.

It’s not a top end model, but it’s survived submersion, hours of bouncing around in a pack, and dog slobber wit no problems.

Rating: 4 star (good)

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Review: Icebug DTS BuGrip

buggrip Thank you to Erick Coleman for the amazing, and lengthy, review!!

“I’m doing ________ race, what shoe should I wear?”  If I had a nickle each time I read this in this forum I would have a lot of nickels.  I’ve raced in a handful of other shoes, including the Speedcross 3.  Everything my feet have been in were always “okay” at best.  Everything until I was introduced to the answer *I* give every time I am asked this question.

What shoe should you wear? As long as you’re not racing Fenway, or Citi Field, your little piggies need to be firmly in a pair of Icebugs.

I personally wear the DTS BUGrip.  Any time I look for shoes it’s a hassle for me.  I have semi flat feet, and I over pronate when I run.  I wear a max control running shoe for road races and this is not easily duplicated in any trail shoe.  Trail shoes are largely marketed and pushed to a minimal seeking crowd.  At the direction of Paul Jones I called Jill Bogert Butler at Shale Hill.  We had a couple discussions of my needs and we settled on the best shoe for me.  The DTS has a 14 mm drop, full cushion, and a medium flex torsion.  We even tried inserts, I found the “factory settings” to be just fine.

I heard from a lot of folks these shoes had a bit of a “breaking in” period.  I live in a lot of land, including my own private “Amesbury” style trail running in my back yard.  When these arrived I even still had some ice cover in my “back yard”.  I will say this – the shoes were comfortable pretty much out of the box!  The shoe has rip stop nylon – water repellent and takes a beating.  No shoe is “water proof.”  These take on water.  Another “tale” I was told is they held water a little more than the Speedcross3’s.  I also didn’t find this to be true.  After a few steps out of a bog, or water obstacle, I find the water to be shed rapidly.  I personally feel the magic of water is in the socks.

eric1The shoes are VERY comfortable.  But hey, so are Crocs, right?!  So let’s get to the nitty gritty.  What sets these apart?  It’s in the name, the “grip” part of BuGrip.  There is no way I could describe what is under these shoes better than the company does, so please allow me to copy and paste the actual description of the Grip portion of these shoes:

“BUGrip® is the name of Icebug’s grip technology for the most slippery conditions. A BUGrip. sole is made of a special rubber compound and has 15-19 integrated steel studs. The design of the studs, together with the properties of the rubber compound, give these studs a dynamic function. The studs work independently from each other and are not completely fixed. When weight is applied the studs push in toward the surface of the sole. How far they are pushed in depends on the pressure exerted by the user and the resistance from the ground. This dynamic function makes the studs adapt to the surface and provide the best possible traction on anything from dry asphalt to pure ice.”

Soure:  http://icebug.com/se/en/grip-tech/grip/bugrip/

My first race in these was the brutal, punishing, wonderfully amazing Viking Challenge.  A 5.5 mile, 33 obstacle course set in the Catskills of New York.  I instantly fell in love.  Little to no elevation change, so where the shoes made a difference were the actual obstacles, such as Vikings’ take of the “slip wall.”  Take Spartan’s slip wall.  Make it three times the length.  Now make it twice as steep.  Now you have Viking.  My ‘Bugs dug right in and didn’t allow me any slippage.  I immediately knew after that obstacle I was in good hands.  Example of a “like” obstacle, Superhero Scramble’s “The Beast.”  I watched person after person have their feet come out from under them on that brutal wall.  My wife (who also rocks Icebugs) and I?  No issues.

eric2Terrain?  My ‘Bugs and I have taken on Mt. Snow / Tough Mudder, a handful of Spartans, Superhero Scramble…no slippage.  Not only do I have zero issues on hills and inclines, I have the confidence to pass and zip past people struggling on down grades who aren’t confident in their footing.

I almost forgot, that first day I wore them and I actually got to run on ice?  I saw the ice coming and my mind said “go around it, don’t be stupid.”  Then I immediately said to myself “self, be stupid.  Increase your pace, see what these things can do.”  The ice was wet, in the sun, as slippery as slippery ice can be.  My Icebugs and I ran across it as though we were on dry tar.

I’ve never taken my shoes off to remove rocks during a race.  I’ve never adjusted them for anything.  They the standard lace system, which I missed after going to the Speedcross speed lace.  I have already put them through hell and with some care they look new.

I have back to back races coming up, no way they will dry in time over night in a hotel room (they are awesome but can’t defy the laws of physics).  I love these so much I’m buying a second pair.

I can’t recommend these enough!  I will also say this:  Do not order these on line!  #racelocal #shoplocal — please reach out to Jill and talk to her about these shoes if you are interested.  We are all in this together, help each other out.  Jill and company are top notch, I could write a review on her customer service and product knowledge alone!

Rating: 5 star (amazing)

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Review: Icebug Spirit 2

Thank you to Amy Lillis for this great Icebug Review!!

amylillisicebug2It’s no secret that I LOVE these shoes!  I was a bit worried when I first bought them.  I have recurring Achilles tendinitis, which has resulted in lumps of scar tissue at the Achilles area of both heels.  Because of this, I tend to seek out shoes with lots of padding in that area so that they don’t rub.  Icebugs just doesn’t have something like this in a studded shoe, so I bought the ones that didn’t hurt when I tried them on.  Sadly, the first couple of times I wore them, they rubbed the skin right off both heels.  The next time I was at Shale Hill, the Icebug rep was there and he stretched the heels for me.  Now, I have no problems with them!

The shoes do take a bit of getting used to every time I put them on.  With any shoe that I don’t wear daily (and that I wash between uses) I tend to wear them around untied for about 15-30 minutes first so they can conform to my foot again.  As soon as I lace them up, I’m very comfortable.

These Spirit 2s have the studs on the bottom for exceptional grip.  I’ve used them on ice, rock, mud, downed trees, and just about any other surface you can imagine where you might want grip.  I have never lost traction with them and they give me the confidence to tread in places I might have been wary of without them.  They are usable on asphalt, but quite noisy and not as comfortable.  I wouldn’t choose them for road running, but that’s not what they were made for.

While they’re great for running on trails and up and down mountains, they are spectacular for obstacle racing.  I can walk up a slanted wall with them and only use the rope for balance.  I can use them to walk my feet up an 8 foot wall.  They can dig into the ropes a bit while I’m climbing to give just that little bit more confidence that I won’t slip.  They stick into the small ledges on a traverse wall or on the Shale Hill Lincoln Logs.  They keep my feet from slipping out from under me when I’m carrying a bucket of rocks up a muddy mountain.

amylillisicebugMy only word of advice would be that you should never wear these shoes in your house.  The studs have really good grip.  They’ll ruin your wood floors and they are super slippery on tile, which tends to scratch when metal slips over it.

Although Icebugs are not widely available in stores, you can order them from Jill Butler at Shale Hill Adventure.  NE Spahtens even get a discount there!

Rating: 5 star (amazing)

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Review – Train 180, NH

Editors note: Train 180 popped up on our radar recently, and we sent a couple of people along to check them out. They’re the real deal, and provide a great OCR facility for Nashua, NH region residents. Even better, the owner, David Hooper is a New England Spahten himself, and is offering a drop in price for the community of $12.

Check them out!

train180* From: Maureen MacGregor

* Event Details
Train-180.com
603-494-3428 | Train_180@yahoo.com

I first heard about Train180 from a fellow NES FB post stating he had just figured out how to climb the rope. After a series of emails and phone calls I scheduled a personal training session at Train180 meeting with the owner, Dave Hooper. Dave has been a personal trainer for several years now with an extensive knowledge of the OCR world. The location is perfect; the training area is in the old mill buildings with Mine Falls Park in back which provides for endless opportunities for trail running. The gym has nice high ceilings to hang those ropes from and has a large open feel to it.

thewalltrain180

Dave runs OCR small group workouts (usually 1-4 people) on Tuesday evenings and Saturday morning with a full 5K obstacle style training are at the end of the month. He also does personal 1:1 training and small groups for TRX, tabata, and total body. My focus was on the OCR training for my time there.

Dave was great with his expertise thrown in with an easy going demeanor. He was able to tailor the workout session individually for each group member while keeping our motivation up for the whole session. His partner in crime Bobby Bonia puts quite a bit of effort into the mock races.

Here’s a sample breakdown of our Obstacle session:

Warm up: 10 burpees
Weighted tire and TRX straps squat rows and pulls down the length of the gym
15 muscle ups using the extended wood plank on his 6ish foot wall.
Hobie Hops up 2 split flights of stairs.
Quick run around the building
Spear throw time! We got 2 practice throws and 2 real throws. Penalties varied between 5-15 burps each depending on your fitness level.
Burlap bag filled with pebbles going up these stairs again. Oh, did I mention the bag had to be overhead with arms extended?
Climb the rope and ring the bell. He has both a knotted and regular rope.
Bear crawl along length of the gym

1536469_617205564995359_316009648_n
Equipment:
6ft & 8 ft wall
tires to flip/pull/jump on
monkey bars
ropes
TRX straps
medicine balls
kettle bells
pull up bars
traverse wall along the full length of the gym
3 levels of boxes for jumps
and he’s hoping to add more as time goes on.

This coming Saturday 7/26/14 he is even specializing in spear throwing to help save us 30 burpees in Amesbury.

Price: Individual 1/2 hour session: $25
2 people: $15 each
3+: $12 each

Pros:
Located practically in my backyard.
OCR focus on training. Note: he also has other types of training available but I wasn’t focused on those
2 different set training days Tues/Saturday
Personal training available
Price-plus he says he will give a NES discount.
Dave is very flexible, nice guy who loves the OCR world.

Cons:
No air conditioning; just a fan. But thankfully the high ceilings helped out with that and he makes sure you drink enough water.
No mud
Sore muscles.

In all, a great local training gym for Northern Mass/Southern NH.

* Rating
Excellent

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Review: Salomon quicklace replacement kit

salamonThank you to Mike Downey for this great review!!

http://www.salomon.com/us/product/quicklace-kit.html

I was having an issue with the quick-lace lock system on my shoe not holding tight so I scanned the net for options on replacement.

Salomon uses a very thin lace for their shoe and the eyelets do not leave much room for space; so I opted to go OEM on this repair. You can purchase the laces from the link above for $10.00 and currently no shipping charges (bonus) with quiet a few color options if you want to jazz them up. Only took 3 days for me to get the kit and it comes with everything you will need minus tools.

Use this video to help explain step by step on how to install since the kit works for 2 different lacing styles   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjwaEJiWyfc .

My biggest issue was the eyelets on the shoes were very tight fit for the lace so it took some stretching  (I used a wood skewer) to open up the hole and slide the lace through. After that just follow the video step by step and you should be done. Total time took me about 30 mins because of trying to stretch the eyelets open enough to get the laces in.

Rating: 4 star (good)

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Review: LA Police Gear 3 Day Backpack

pack1Thanks to Mike Hastie for this awesome review!!

Looking for a quality pack but don’t want to break the bank?  Look no further than the LA Police Gear 3 Day Backpack.

I’ve waited over a year to submit this review as to put this pack through its paces.  I’ve used this pack for everything – from my race day pack and weekend trips to training hikes and rucks.  Most recently I put the pack through the ultimate test – a GORUCK Challenge – and I was not disappointed.  I truly believe this pack to be the exception to the “you get what you pay for” rule.

Made from 600 Denier Nylon, this pack is as strong as it is versatile.  It comes equipped with dual compression straps that are great for cinching down your load, as well as plenty of MOLLE for any attachable gear you may have.  Personally, I don’t require the amount of MOLLE provided, so I removed a couple strips on the upper pocket and sewed in some Velcro to accommodate my ever-growing collection of patches (see pic).

The padded shoulder straps are extremely comfortable, even under heavy weight.  The main compartment is plenty big (2590 cubic inches) and the 2 outer compartments are also sizable and perfect for keeping your stuff readily accessible.  There’s also a mesh inner pocket.  Additionally, this pack has a removable 2” waist strap, and is also hydration compatible with an inner compartment for your bladder and slot in both shoulder straps for your tubing (very handy if you’re using a Geiggerig pressurized bladder).

The list of cons for this pack is short, and given the price tag, is easily overlooked.

  • pack2A Team Mike McNeil teammate of mine had this pack, and developed a slight tear in it after a particularly heavy ruck with unwrapped bricks.  One quick call to Customer Service and a new pack was shipped immediately.  This isn’t exactly a con, but worth noting.
  • The zippers – The zippers on this pack are heavy duty, and with that comes a little difficulty of use.  I have found that they do tend to move more freely with use.
  • The waist strap – I (along with several other teammates) have noticed that the waist strap tends to loosen with extended wear.  We found a little duct tape on the clasps before heading out works as a quick fix.

All in all, this is a great pack, and in my estimation, can easily stand up there with the name brand packs.  And at 1/10th the price of a GR1, even if you only get 6-12 months out of it, I’d say you got your money’s worth.

http://www.lapolicegear.com/diplomat-3-day-backpack1.html – $30!

 

 

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Review: Elevated Training

1623483_665825763485866_4813351622934354662_n* From: Aaron Farb

* Event Details
There is a new training facility joining the likes of Unleashed & F.I.T. Center, and for once, its actually in Massachusetts, and even better, centrally located in Shrewsbury! Elevated Training is located on Ward Hill, and local ski mountain, easily reached from Rt 9 and the Pike if wanted. Parking is easy, it is a ski mountain, so large crowds are easily accommodated. For the opening, there was a table set up outside the ski lodge with the standard waivers to sign along with a general info sheet for the center to have in which to judge its clients – ie, what races have you done, have you ever run an ocr, etc. Once signing everything, we were pointed off to the left and onto the course we went.

elevatedmap
* Race Details
The course was quite good – very good use of the hills available! Started off down a small incline, then immediately up one of the slopes and across a ridge to the first real obstacle – rolling mud, mud mile, whatever you want to call the mud pits to clamber in, out over the mound and thru the next one. Only 2 pits, and they were close enough to easily jump over, but also about 24-30″ deep, so if you didn’t jump them, you were quite wet. It was much more water than mud in them, so not too terribly dirty. Around a corner once you found the markers, down the hill, over a ‘balance beam’, really a repurposed box from the terrain park, so about 8″ wide, 8′ long and only 4 inches off the ground, and back up the mountain. Reach the top to head down another trail to carry cement blocks around a course and back up the steepest hill of the course. From here, we found an 8′ wall, which I rather liked – had an embankment built up to it, leaving about 6″ of space in front of the wal
l, so you have to actually jump for it, not walk up right against it and try & scale it. The back side, because of the embankment was a further drop, but the wall had a ladder built into it. Onto a nice double track trail run along the back of the hill and re-emerge on the top of the hill to find a large A frame w/ uneven slats to climb up & over – harder than it looks! Back down the hill to the sand bag carry and down, then back up with the bags. Some spotty marking in this area especially, as from the map, this is the middle area where you basically track thru 3 different times in a space about 50′ wide – hard to tell where/what you’re supposed to be heading for. Finish the carry, up a bit higher, then down and under the ski lift to the barb wire crawl. Loved it being in nice grass – feel free to let that grow and have us pound down w/ our bodies – much better than rocks! Up the hill again, and over some fire escape ladders held along the ground as balance rungs, th
en back down, over some hay bale jumps and a final hay bale pile to climb over.
Final tally for myself on distance was 2.2 miles, but I started my watch from the reg desk, when the course doesn’t actually start till further across the base area. They report 1.9 – 2 miles.
There is much to like in this first offering from Elevated. Is it perfect? No, but neither are Unleashed or F.I.T., each has their better areas, and neither offers full on hill climbs added into the training. The obstacles are a good start, but can definitely be improved. Some of my suggestions:
Biggest one – Course marking – the little orange flags utility companies use are nice, but hard to see when grass is long or they aren’t very close by – arrows stuck on stakes are an easy remedy and help direct better than having to look for the next flag. Another option is to let the grass grow, and then mow your course, letting the other grass stay long – very easy way to point out the course.
Make the mud pits further apart/wider, so it isn’t easily jumped – make getting wet a necessity
Balance beam – Ward Hill has a terrain park and I’m sure they’d be willing to let more than a single box be used – a combination box to low rail or incline box, or even creating a raised platform for the existing box – its much harder if the box is 2′ in the air vs 4″ off the ground
Maybe spread some of the course a bit wider apart, with the sandbag carry & an up & down trail on the same thin section, makes it difficult to keep up with where you’re supposed to go.
The new OCR runner with me was a little intimidated by the wall, pointing out that if you run, jump and don’t catch the top, you slide down & end up in a ‘hole’ caused the embankment, she was worried about busting an ankle on it,
What they got right:
Course sends you up & down the mountain a bunch, great use of the terrain
Wall is great, love the location and have to scale it to access the trail run section, and personally, love the embankment/gap.
Trail is great, well marked and a nice change from the front of the mountain
A-frame is challenging with its uneven slats
Cake was awesome – should be an every week offering:)

My other thoughts on the facility are more questioning its availability. As of now, they will only be open on Wednesday evenings from 530 – dusk, a time that works for me, but not necessarily everyone. There are no set classes, the course is simply ‘go play’ or training groups can be set up in advance on certain times. While I’m perfectly ok with this method, it is also fun/rewarding to take a class and be forced to push harder to keep pace with the trainer.

I’m very excited to see a new facility pop up close by and want to see it succeed and hopefully be able to offer more – classes, obstacles, challenges, and fun! Its a great effort and you can tell that alot of thought has gone into what’s there, even better Jeff & John, the owners really want feedback and liked hearing thoughts, so I look forward to seeing what else they come up with. I’ll definitely be back to see more!

* Rating
Average

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Review: Halo II Headband

Thanks Greg Barton for this community review!

halobandI have been using the Halo II Headband for almost a year and I love it. I have two of them. The Halo II is a pullover style headband (non-adjustable). They are one size fits most but stretches pretty well and should fit a majority of people. It’s made with a thin, moisture wicking antimicrobial fabric with a rubber strip that is on the bottom inside part of the headband. When you sweat, instead of a sweatband collecting until it gets saturated, this headband creates a path using the rubber to divert the sweat out past your eyes.

It also comes in thirteen different colors. I can’t say enough about the Halo II. I wear it every time I work out, run and go mountain biking (It’s so thin it works great under a bike helmet). The quality is amazing. They are worn 3-4 days a week and I hand wash them in the sink every time. They still look brand new!

There are only two cons that I have found. The first is if there is no air going over the Halo II the band will get saturated and you will get sweat in your eyes. The only time this ever happens to me is if I am on a treadmill and the air in the room isn’t circulating. I have never gotten sweat in my eyes besides the treadmill. The second is you have a red line on your forehead from the rubber when you take it off.

I give it 5 stars. The line on my forehead for a few minutes doesn’t bother me enough to give it 4 stars.

Rating: 5 star (amazing)

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Review : Massage by Beth at FitCon

1625629_10152409342289853_3233480784323707622_nThanks to Aaron Farb for the review below on Beth Jones’ massage services!

Many of us have been lucky enough to experience short massages or quick wound workout sessions from Beth Jones before or after races or at any other Spahten gathering.  After multiple days spent working on FIT Challenge, I managed to pull something in my hip and wasn’t sure I would be able to complete a wave if I ever had a moment to go out for one.  Thanks to a quick tuneup by Beth, I made my lap mostly pain free and felt good for the next few weeks, but the irritation soon returned, so I called Beth to set up a full work thru.


I have NEVER had a full massage – Beth’s quick treatment is the only massage therapy I’ve ever used – stretching, ice and foam rollers have always worked for me, until now.  I visited Beth at FitCon in Gardner – looks like quite the nice gym, think I’ll have to take advantage of Paul’s buddy pass sometime:)  A quick paperwork fill out and Beth got to work on me.  I don’t know if this is normal practice, but she was definitely careful to make sure she asked what the rest of my day was when choosing lotions to use – didn’t want me going to work feeling greasy.  Hop on the (heated!) table and starting up top, working down.  As anyone who’s chatted with her knows, Beth is easy to talk to, which in my opinion is pretty important to a massage therapist, would rather be able to chat than awkward silence for an hour.


The big areas where I felt major differences – shoulders – didn’t think I carried that much stress there, but definitely looser after.  Hip flexor was sore for a day, but much improved a few days later, not 100%, but much improved, and what I have always seen as IT band issues, seems to be more of an outer quad issue, so something I can work on more than tendon rubbing – always good news here!


Since Beth knows what idiotic things we do to our bodies over weekends, she knows what we frequently need work on without having to explain – somehow, I don’t think most massage therapists would quite understand our bruises and race season knees and know where to concentrate, let alone having to explain what we do for fun!


So, much improved feeling after, ran 2 races this weekend and was much improved on feeling stretched and loose to start – almost didn’t feel like I even needed a stretch!


And then the best part – Spahten discount! 1 hour session $50, which, as I said, I’m not someone to know massage rates, but everyone I asked said its a GREAT rate.


Beth is a great recovery tool that I’m very happy I finally took advantage of – we all need to make sure to do the same!

Rating: 5 star (amazing)