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REVIEW: Icebug Gripmasters


From: Paul Jones

Product: Icebug Gripmasters

Review: Recently, I picked up my second pair of Icebug shoes – a pair of Icebug Gripmaster’s, in a color I like to call “moonboot silver”.

Now, these are a very very different shoe to anything I would normally pick up. I normally lean towards much more minimal shoes, with as low a heel to toe drop as I can – but when we were looking over the shoes Shale Hill had in stock, these looked like they would be the perfect winter stomper – something I could use to stomp through the slush and junk when walking the dogs, or crossing parking lots – and head onto light trails.

As a shoe – they have a fairly wide toe box – certainly comfortable enough for me and my wide feet. They also have a pretty thick sole, which makes them pretty sturdy and lifts you out of the small puddles my minimal shoes get soaked in. The upper is breathable, and I don’t expect them to be super warm, unless I add socks, and they have a pretty steep heel to toe drop.

But – they are comfortable. Way more than I expected. They are perfect for driving and stomping around, and light trail hiking is no problem. The grip is pretty aggressive, but they don’t have the carbide tips many Icebugs do have (those can be added with the BugWeb system for the winter though).

Looking for something thats close to a trail shoe, but suitable for day to day wear in the winter? Call Shale Hill, they have them in stock – and being an old model, they are on close out – also, Shale Hill offers a 10% discount to all Spahtens.

I wouldn’t run in them, but I’ve found myself wearing them all the time, for pretty much everything.


Rating: 5 star (amazing)

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REVIEW: High Carb Low Fat Raw Vegan Lifestyle

Contributed by James Mscisz

Throughout my time of working out, running, dieting, and fitness I’ve found nutrition to be the most interesting and controversial. I always see new posts of thoughts and ideas on it. I even research numerous things on healthy foods, supplements, etc. from time to time.


I recently stumbled across this diet/lifestyle while looking through the website of Durianrider, a popular Youtube blogger who promotes a high carb vegan lifestyle. The book I found was 80/10/10 by Douglas N. Graham. I looked into reviews and checked out some videos of the author online. I could kind of figure out how the diet worked and what one would need to do to follow it but I bought it anyways for more detailed information and to use as a reference guide.

80/10/10 stands for percentages of your total daily calories while following this High Carb Raw Vegan lifestyle. 80% minimum for carbs, 10% maximum for fats, and 10% maximum for protein. How is this achieved in a healthy manner? Eating fruit of course. MASSIVE quantities of fruit.  To follow this diet you must consume fruit throughout the day and tender leafy greens (lettuces) for dinner (also some seeds and nuts are optional). Now first off this is highly extreme and a lot different than most people are accustomed to. It’s definitely something that most people aren’t brave enough to try or just don’t have the will power. Although it can be transitioned to over a period of time adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. I can’t go into incredible detail about the diet itself because it would practically be a book so I’m going to get right into my own experience with it and my review.

So, back to where I started.. I found out some interesting information in the book and online and decided to give it a try for a day or weekend. Well, it ended up turning into ongoing as I’m still doing it. I gained so much energy from it, my insides have felt a lot lighter, my meals don’t take forever to digest, and there’s no crash either. I’ve even lost a little extra fat I didn’t really need without any calorie restriction whatsoever. I actually over-consumed calories and still dropped the fat. The hardest part of this diet is getting in the calories. Most fruit has actually very low in calories so to get a meals worth of calories you have to consume a large volume as opposed to smaller calorie dense meals most of us are used to.  I could easily see people failing in this aspect, I had trouble in the first day or so. I quickly found bananas and dates to be the main staples of the diet. Both bananas and dates are high in calories. Dates tend to be sweeter and a lot smaller than bananas making them a bit easier to boost calories as well. A lot of times I mix it up with different vegetables, rice, corn pasta, etc. so it doesn’t get too monotonous.

I have been following this lifestyle although having some cheat days hear and there and am not strictly following it, strictly would be all raw all the time, some of the vegetables I eat are frozen or need to be cooked to eat which are not typical foods on the diet. What about protein and fats? Of course we need these macro nutrients in our diet and we certainly get them in this lifestyle. Fruits and vegetables contain fats and proteins. When consumed in high volumes, they add up to necessary amounts needed. I do both strength and endurance work, a lot more endurance work and haven’t seen either my strength or endurance decline. They have actually improved a lot more and post workout recovery has been faster and the soreness less nagging. I feel that the diet/lifestyle has actually allowed my body to adapt faster to my workouts and perform at its peak. During races I feel a lot lighter and faster. Compared to how hard I worked in the past and the small incremental results I was getting, I was blown away by how dramatically this improved my health and performance. I really want to encourage people to at least experiment or try this if they’re serious about improving race performance, health and vitality or even for just health reasons.
Given I went to personal training school in the past and had some basic knowledge of nutrition this totally changed my whole perspective on it. Fruits and vegetables are the most nutrient dense natural foods on the planet. No one can dispute that. It’s the other foods that begin to complicate things. But if you clear you mind and go back to the basics it’s very simple and it makes common sense.



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DandyCase Waterproof Case

I have a bad habit of taking my phone places I shouldn’t.  I like to take it out in the kayak, tubing down the river, out in the rain, all places that if I wasn’t super careful I could ruin my phone.  With two different events on my horizon, the first being the Spartan Sprint in Amesbury along with a Hurricane Heat, the second being PaddlePower, a two day kayak down the Connecticut River. I wanted something that would protect my phone, that would also allow me to use the camera, Instagram, and Twitter.  After some searching on and reading of reviews, I decided upon the DandyCase Waterproof Case.

When the case came, I followed the directions and put a paper towel in the case and submerged it fully in the sink.  After drying the case of completely, I inspected the paper towel and it was bone dry.  Perfect.  Fast forward a few days and I was at the Spartan Sprint and ready for my Hurricane Heat.  Into the case went my phone and into my backpack went the case.  After 3 hours of sweat, water, and mud, I was pulling the case back out. My phone was bone dry, I was able to leave it in the case to take photos, send some text messages, everything I asked for.  This coming weekend is PaddlePower and I will be taking it out on the water.  Can’t wait!

Sporting the DandyCase in between the Hurricane Heat and the Team Heat. 
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SPI Belt

I started running 3 years ago, following a couch to 5k program.  I had downloaded an app for my phone that would tell me when to walk and when to run.  Carrying it on an outdoor run sucked. I hated the arm bands, I didn’t like wearing my Camelbak just because I wanted to carry my phone, and I really didn’t like carrying it in my bra.
As I was running more and more this year having signed up for the Spartan Sprint in Amesbury, I wanted something to hold my phone while running.  I had seen on other blogs a type of band that would hold your keys and phone, I don’t remember what it was called.  This band didn’t look like it would work well with my current body type.
I found a different belt that had a small pouch much like the fanny pack of my childhood.  This belt was just big enough for a phone, a key, and ID.  It was called a SPI Belt and seemed perfect.  I hemmed and hawed and spent several weeks debating the purchase.  Finally I took the plunge and purchased one. I went with the peace sign design and couldn’t be happier with it.
I have worn the belt hiking, running, walking, bike riding, tubing down the river, it stays in place, is comfortable, most of the time I don’t know I am wearing it.  I even wore the belt under my clothes out to the bar to hold my ID, money, and cards.  I wasn’t needing to constantly check my pocket or carry a bag.   You can even get a waterproof pouch to fit inside the pocket.

I highly recommend a SPI Belt for everyone who runs, hikes, walks, and is generally active.


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Brooks Cascadia 8’s

By Sean Meehan


I wanted to drop a quick review of the Brooks Cascadia 8’s off to you Spahtens.  I know that there are a large number of racers out there that believe minimal shoes are the only way to go; but I beg to differ.  I am a “traditional” runner and run and race in more supportive shoes then Inov8s or Vibram Five Fingers.  The Cascadia is one of Brook’s more popular shoe lines and may be the most popular non-minimalist trail shoe out there.  It is often highly touted and widely loved by the trail racing community.

First let’s cover some shoe metrics for the Cascadia 8:  It is considered a neutral shoe, weighs in on the heavier side of modern shoes at 11.9 oz for a size 9, has a stack height of 27mm in the heel and 17mm in the toe, giving it a heel to toe drop of 10mm, fit is fairly true to size, and is constructed for a medium volume foot.  For cushioning Brooks uses BioMoGo DNA a form of cushioning that adapts to a runners stride, and impact stress.  This supposedly gives you cushioning and support when and where you need it based upon stride and terrain.  It contains a rock shield to protect against stone to foot destruction.  The upper is constructed of a durable and breathable microfiber with welded overlays and a strong synthetic toe guard.  The overlays reach the not overly padded tongue and create an asymmetrical lacing system, which creates a secure and comfortable feel for the foot.  The sole of the shoe has a fairly aggressive lug pattern to add in climbing and braking on decent.  The lugs are not overly pronounced and seem to have little problem shedding mud or running on flat hard terrain.

I’ve logged lots of miles in my 8’s and I’ve grown to love them.  These shoes helped get me through Death Race.  I’ll say that my initial impression out of the box was that they were heavy and a bit sloppy.  Had I stuck with my initial impression I would have missed out on an awesome shoe.  My first couple of short runs yielded less then great impressions and if the ability to bring them back had still been viable they would have been returned and I would have been wrong.  I removed a quick lacing system I installed shortly after purchase and laced the shoes to the last eyelet, something I don’t normally do; presto, my heel was locked in, the shoe fit perfect.  I’ve run these babies through mud, streams, up mountains, scrambled over scree, and even done some extreme gardening in them.  They’ve taken it all and begged for more.  In fact, it there appears to be minimal wear on these things, they are super durable.  The only gripe that I have in regards to them is the weight.  They are noticeably heavier than my Mizuno Wave Ascends and then the New Balance MT 1210 Leadville; but they appear to be twice as durable.  So I guess that appears to be the tradeoff, weight for durability.

These may not be your go to shoe for shorter races or pedestrian terrain; but when the going gets tough and you need a shoe to get tougher, these are it.  Pick up a pair and try to destroy them I dare you.

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Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves


i know this is one product where you are in one of two camps either you swear by them and think they are the greatest thing in the world or you cant stand them and think they dont do anything.

I am in the camp of thinking they are the greatest thing in the world. i am still what would be called a beginner runner so i still have a lot of calf cramping and shin splints issues so after a little research i figured it wouldn’t hurt to give compression sleeves a try. the zensha sleeves are light weight and breath very and even when your getting deep in the much they stay in place and dry off fast as well unlike some other sleeves that feel more like a wet suite material. when you start to run and you feel the tightness in your calf starting you will feel these get a bit snug and stop the cramping from getting worse and within a min or two your legs will start to de cramp and feel refreshed and help you to keep pushing at the gym or at your run. post workout you will notice a benefit of a quicker recovery time and your legs feeling fresher. one more benefit to wearing the sleeves is that your legs will have that much more protection from that all dreaded dash rash.

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SPI Belt

I bought a SPI Belt about a year ago, after constantly borrowing one. This is a *great* piece of running gear. It’s an extremely lightweight belt that can hold a phone while you run. It used to hold my Razr and keys quite nicely. It takes an iPhone well, but I’ve not tried with keys recently. It is also very fast drying and can go through the laundry.

SPI Belts have an insane array of colors and patterns to choose from, so you are almost certain to find one to catch your eye. They are also extremely adjustable, making this a great buy for couples or families to share. Check them out here:

I highly recommend this product


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Honey Stinger Energy Bar, Protein Bar and Energy Chews

Endurance races such as marathons, triathlons, ironmans have been around a while now. With things like Ultra-marathons gaining popularity, as well as adventure racing and obstacle racing, it only makes sense that more and more products hit the market as well. You’ve got this start-up business coming up with their own gels, protein and energy bars, chews or whatever else they think is the “cool” thing to do.

Having been around since 2002, it seems to me Honey Stinger might have been ahead of the curve a little bit. Their product line is refined and not clogged up with unnecessary items. Well, I’m not sure what the deal is with the Waffle’s, but that’ll be for another day when I try them out! They have been around long enough, and know how to do things the right way. Their product is labeled 90-95% organic ingredients, which oddly enough, seems to be straightforward and darned honest to boot. As the name entails, the main ingredient that they have built around is… wait for it…. HONEY! Who’d have guessed right? I love this because it means no other sweeteners or excess sugar was added. The ingredients are all pronounceable, it seems they are preservative free as well. Most of their products are also gluten free.

Now onto what I tasted…

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cherry Protein Bars – These were my favorite out of the three things that I sampled. Not only do they have 10g of whey protein, but they are stacked with 30gs of caffeine!! I devoured one before a run and had one mid way through a shift at work. My job is pretty physical, seeing as I have to lump around an 85lb ladder most of the time, so this bar gave me a definite pep in my step. The flavor was fantastic, nearly amazing is the fact the bar is good for you and gluten free to boot.

Blueberry Buzz Energy Bar – Just cause I liked the Mocha Cherry bars doesn’t mean these were bad, far from it. They had a great flavor, and were a nice filling snack throughout the day. Per the Honey Stinger site “All Honey Stinger energy bars are made with over 30% honey, 20% of the daily recommended allowance of protein, 22 vitamins and minerals, calcium, antioxidants, natural flavors and all the benefits of our energy gel.” The flavor was clean, and did not taste like most “blueberry flavored” bars out there, as these actually had blueberries in them. The yogurt dip on the bottom added a nice touch to an already perfect energy bar.

cherrycolaCherry Cola Energy Gels – I was sent two sample packs of these, so I used them for to separate runs. I ran 6 miles on Sunday, and 7+ on Monday. Normally, I have never taken anything with me, except water in my hydration pack, but it’s become clear that after 3 miles my body starts screaming for nourishment so these were perfect to try out and see what they did. As usual, right around mile 3 the pissing and moaning began. First it was my calves, “but, but we hurt…” Then it was my hamstrings, “you need to rest, we can’t handle anymore…” I had heard enough! In mid stride I opened my pack, fished around in it with my arm twisted behind my back which must have looked awkward to other runners on the trail, hell it looked and felt awkward to me. I popped about 3-4 of them in my mouth and felt like I was transported back to being a kid. It was very reminiscent of the texture of a gummy bear, but a heck of a lot less sticky. These chews did not stick to my teeth, were not overly sweet and had a pleasant taste to them. About 5-10 minutes later the chatter from my legs was dying down, they were working. Thank you Honey Stinger, my iPod was getting awfully jealous that I wasn’t listening to it, and it was conspiring malicious things against my legs for taking all the attention away!

The gist of this review is, Honey Stinger products are exactly what you have been missing. Good for your taste buds and good for your body. I love the packaging too, listing activities such as climbing, splitting wood, running as the optimal “sports” for these products. Highly recommended, I am a huge Honey Stinger fan!!

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V-Force Weight Vest

I recently treated myself to a V-Force 40lb vest from, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. I had been wanting a weight vest for my training for some time. My intention was to wear it while running, and perhaps to wear it to my Crossfit box while WODding. But, I’ve mostly ended up using it for hiking, and I couldn’t be more please. Specifically, I ordered the short vest – the longer style rests heavily on the stomach, making it ill suited to running or active persuits, and I went with 40lbs. The elephant in the room – price. is expensive. They offer trade in on old weight vests, and they do sometimes have deals on stock or display items – but, you’re paying for something more than just a jacket with some weights. The vest is incredibly well built, and that build is done in the US. On top of that, you get a life time guarantee and they’ll fix or replace any problems in a similar way to the GoRuck bags we all love. Mine ended up costing a little over $200 shipped, and it was money well spent. 2013-07-04 11.18.34 HDR-2 If you’re looking to increase your training intensity, and get stronger and faster with a weigh vest, this is an excellent buy, and are a fantastic company to get it from.