Clif Family Winery Part I

DISCLAIMER: I received a care package including wine and specialty food items from Clif Family Winery to review the company as a sponsor for the Napa Valley Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!”

Adventure is in the DNA of every runner. From the unique and challenging race locations, pushing your body to its limits and attacking that tough hill at the end of your long run. From the roads to the trails, we are pushed by the adventurous spirit. This is one of the reasons I have enjoyed getting to know more about the Clif Family Winery and why I use their products.

It is impossible to talk about the Clif Family Winery without talking about the the full Clif Family businesses. The first thing to know about the Clif Family company is that it was born out of a spirit of adventure. Adventure is at the core of all things Clif Family. This is evident in their products but also their sponsorship of races, both cycling and running. The Clif Family Winery located in Napa Valley is a major sponsor of the Napa Valley Marathon.

Maybe more widely known for the Clif Bars, but this family and employee owned company offers a full range of products from food to wine. I was lucky enough to get a taste of both which I have shared with you in the video below. The idea of the Clif Bar came to Gary Erickson, owner, in 1990 during a 175 mile ride. The winery was brought to Napa Valley by Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford after cycling across Italy. The dedication to the outdoor wanderers can be tasted in each of their products. Please watch my unboxing video below to see a sample of the amazing products brought to you by the Clif Family.

Clif Family Winery Unboxing Video

Each item I received exceeded my expectation in quality and taste. I received a red wine called The Climber, solar grown raw honey, dark chocolate sea salt almonds and organic rosemary roasted almonds & pistachios. The wine was very smooth with chocolate, earthy tones. I really liked the simple label showing an individual climbing in Yosemite National Park. The honey tastes amazing and I use it in my coffee every morning. The dark chocolate almonds did not last long and went very will with coffee and the wine. The rosemary roasted almonds and pistachios had the perfect blend of seasoning. As a vegan these were the perfect afternoon power snack.

So feed your adventurous spirit with the Clif organic energy bars to the Cliff Family Wine and organic foods. If you are in Napa Valley for fun or the Napa Valley Marathon be sure to visit the Clif Family Winery. If you can’t make it to Napa Valley you can learn more about the Clif Family Winery by visiting their website at http://www.cliffamily.com

Cheers!

DOUBLE BRIDGE RUN 15K RECAP

This is a fun and fast race that takes you on a scenic view of Downtown Pensacola to Gulf Breeze and finally ending at Pensacola Beach. It also ran over the new 3 Mile Bridge (Pcola to Gulf Breeze) which has a better contour than the last bridge. This is my third year of participating in this race. It is a must do local race!

YOU EITHER FORGET TO STOP YOUR WATCH OR THE FINISH LINE POSE

The race director is a local non-profit that sponsors multiple sports for youth and adults as well as a few races. The Double Bridge Run has been around for a while so they have the logistics worked out pretty smoothly. There are two options a 5K or 15K. I always run the 15K. This race is a point to point which I really like. You also get a lot of spectators cheering you on as you pass through the two towns and at the finish line.

As this is a local race, the expo is smaller and features mostly local vendors. It is decent for a local style race. You receive a voucher for a pre-race pasta dinner at a local restaurant. You receive a nice quality shirt and finisher medal for both distances. Each year the shirt is long sleeve performance style. The medal this year was very nice. It is in the shape of the race logo, but this year a section with the race name and year spun which was a very cool touch. The course is mainly flat and fast with the exception of three very nominal inclines (319ft of vert) on the two bridges and one overpass. The course has ample water stations but no other forms of nutrition. There are also a few DJs on the course playing hype music. The race director also secured high quality free race photos throughout the course.

POWER PLAY THREE MILES IN.

The race begins on the bay at the Maritime Park in Downtown Pensacola and ends at the beach. For those having to drive, there is ample parking at the finish line and the race director provides buses to take the runners back to the starting point. This is very convenience and an easy process. The starting line is set against Pensacola Bay which is a really nice spot in the morning with the sun rise. There are self policed corrals based on your projected pace and the starts are staggered by 30 seconds. Another cool touch with this race is a local mardi gras krewe brings their pirate ship float out and fires a cannon for every corral start. The after party is on the beach and there is an after after party at a local venue as well. There is much fan fair at the finish line which is awesome and helps bring the energy for a strong finish. There was free beer, water, fruits, sample flatbread pizza, muffins, etc. at the finish. A restaurant, located at the finish line, provides not only the pre-race pasta dinner but also a post-race lunch (red beans and rice this year) as a sponsor. Both are free for racers. There are multiple restaurant and bar options to continue the after race part well into the afternoon. For a new addition to the race, the race director worked with a local restaurant to create a signature cocktail and with a local brewery to create a signature beer and both were available at the finish line for free to racers. And both tasted great!!

SAMPLING THE SIGNATURE RACE DRINKS.

I went with some standard gear for this one. BibRave Buff USA tech hat, Orange Mud Dirt Unit race tank, Injinji socks, Aftershokz, Altra Duo, Garmin 235, Saucony shorts, and Orange Mud Gear Pack to carry my phone and keys.

DOUBLE BRIDGE GEAR PREVIEW

Again this a great race for locals and visitors. It is a lot of fun with excellent support from the community. The after party can be as fun as you want to make it. However, the free beer tends to run out quickly so you are left with purchasing beer and food at local watering holes, which is not a bad thing. At the end of it all, you get to go veg out at the beach across the street from the finish line.

FINISH LINE GLORY

Race Time: 1:24:38
Race Pace: 9:05 min/mi.

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CHEERS!

Joe Relaxo 24hr Challenge Recap

Sunrise over Pensacola Bay Saturday Morning – January 25th

This was unlike any race I have ever ran and possibly to toughest to date.

But some housekeeping first! The race is put on by a local Race Director RunPensacola. Over 70 racers began the challenge with few DNF’ing. You had the option of running solo or in a two person team. Race temps were as low as 30’s at night and as high as 50’s during the day. There was no expo. Packet pickup was at the race location and began a few hours before the race. Each racer received a quality long sleeve hoodie shirt with the Race logo on the front and the sponsors and the name of each participant on the back (which I think is a really coll touch). Each racer also received a performance reversible beanie by Headsweats with the race logo on the front and race director logo on the back. The finisher medal was in the shape of Joe Relaxo with the year hanging below. It is designed to add a new year banner for each subsequent year you participate. Aid stations were not necessary as this was a 1 mile looped event. However, the race director secured two restaurant sponsors who brought soup and sandwiches to the race location three different times. The race was located in downtown Pensacola at the Maritime Community Park with the staging area right on Pensacola Bay. Therefore, 80% of the run was was bordered by the water with the other 20% following the road. You could not ask for a better setting for a race like this. We saw two sunsets and one sunrise over the course of the race. The course was concrete with some brick. The unforgiving nature of the running path began to wear on your body over the 24hrs. The runners were able to stage their gear on a grassy area at the start line. This was nice as it promoted socializing with other racers and I actually met several new runners from my community. The runners had access to clean, large bathrooms which was very nice.

Sunset over Pensacola Bay Friday Night – January 24th

This race was both mentally and physically tough. The goal of the race is to run 1 mile every 30 minutes for a 24 hour period. You completed a total of 48 miles. Every mile had to be started and completed in that 30 minutes period, and there was no banking miles. I logged a total of 1,776 ft. of elevation gain for the 48 miles, so each loop was negligible. The race began at 7pm on Friday night and ended at 7pm on Saturday night.

I approached the race as an interval workout. So I pushed hard on each mile. Other than hitting a wall miles 39 to 41, I fluctuated in the 7 to 8 minute mile mark. Personally the toughest part of the race was mental. Discomfort was the operative word Friday night. It was cold, windy, and wet from both dew and sweat. In the lull between miles the mind did not stop telling you to quit and go to your warm comfortable home. The 15 minutes of waiting before lining up in the corral for the next mile sometimes it went by very fast, but most times it went by excruciatingly slow. And believe me your mind did not SHUT UP! It took a lot of mental fortitude to stick with the race and keep pushing overnight. There was an amazing burst of energy for every racer at sunrise on Saturday morning. The camp seemed to come alive, I know I did. But Friday night was extremely difficult mentally and physically and I wanted to quit several times! It was also important to stay loose between miles. I alternated between stretching, using a foam roller on my legs, and to just continue walking until the next mile started. The legs still tightened up on me (see comment re: hitting the wall above).

Joe Relaxo 24hr Challenge Night Kit (Left) and Day Kit (Right)

I had a night kit and day kit. Other than underestimating the cold Friday night/Saturday morning, my gear worked perfectly. I started the race in Altra Escalante, changed to Luna Mono Gordo sandals after mile 32, and ended the race in Altra Duos. I supported both of my ambassadors Orange Mud and BibRave by wearing their gear during the race. I rep these two companies because I love their culture and they are true to the runner and adventurer. I encourage everyone to check out their sites when you have time. I prefer real food nutrition on longer races, so I brought black bean wraps, Pringle’s Salt & Vinegar chips, and gummy bears. I had tailwind and water for hydration. My goal was not to just participate but to run strong and I ultimately finished in the top 10% based on my time tracking and knowing who finished ahead of me each loop (official results have not been posted as of this date, but I will update this post when received).

Post Race Picture with my Joe Relaxo 24HR Challenge Medal – January 25th

I recommend this race to anyone wanting to challenge themselves mentally and physically. It will test your toughness as long as you approach it with the intent to run hard every mile. I managed a 9:08 avg. pace for the 48 miles (that includes a celebratory walk for the last mile with friends). I felt very accomplished after this race and will do it again next year, because my medal needs at least two banners…right!?!

Protein Balls!

I’ve been wanting to make a healthy, dense energy food. Fast energy rich snack is very handy to have around when you are training hard. So I decided to make some protein balls. The goal was to make something, tasty, gluten free, vegan and packed with protein. The picture above is the finished product. I know…it looks amazing AND it tasted perfect. These things are very dense. One ball will make you feel nourished and ready for the workout ahead. So here is the recipe!

What you need:

  • 1 1/4 cup of old fashioned oats. I used Trader Joe’s brand Oven Toasted Old Fashioned Organic Oats.
  • 1/2 cup of Orgain Organic Protein – Creamy Chocolate Fudge.
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut.
  • 1/4 cup of Reese’s Peanut Butter chips. You can use chocolate chips if you prefer.
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds.
  • 2 tablespoons of flax seeds.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter. I prefer Jiff Creamy.
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or to taste.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Almond-Coconut Milk.

In a large bowl you want to combine the oats, protein powder, coconut, peanut butter chips, chia, flax, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until fully mixed. Fold in the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. Mixture will be granular. If mixture is too dry fold in milk as needed. However, you want the mixture to be crumbly rather than creamy.

Roll mixture into bite size balls and place on a baking sheet. Refrigerate protein balls for half an hour.

I store mine in the refrigerator in an air tight container. The protein balls keep very well. I have been eating on them for several weeks and they are still fresh and tasty. The great thing about these is you can modify the recipe to your taste. So have fun and eat clean.

RUN LIKE A CHILD

WHY SO SERIOUS…?

The most important lesson of communion with nature was an awareness of the narrow limits of our own existence.

— Alexander Von Humboldt (1769-1859).

As a group of people who spend so many hours outdoors, runners can be a negative lot. Much of that has to do with with our competitive nature and is generally a self directed negativity. Meaning we are much harder on ourselves than necessary. How often do you read or hear a a runner (as a runner I will focus on that sport, but this applies to all endurance athletes such as runners, cyclists, or triathletes) make an excuse for any performance that does not result in a 1st place finish? I read a post on Twitter this morning that did exactly this. This performance neurosis (I just made that up!) plagues amateur and professional runners alike. It may be more prevalent in the amateur group as we attempt to justify our place in the sport or on the race course. I am guilty of it many times.

For such a solitary sport running can be very social in the worst way sometimes. You have an instant metric to compare yourself. Every other racer is running the same course, the same miles, and dealing with the same elements as you. Apps like Strava, which I use and like, are great for encouragement but can also be a source of negativity as we compare our effort against those of someone else on the same segments. We are all familiar with the standard deflections…”I ate the wrong food last night; I drank too much last night; I have a nagging leg injury; I’m getting over a cold; My training has been inconsistent due to work or family; or I need to focus my training more on HR, tempo, fast/slow twitch muscles, or one of the other million variables and tips you read online.” These have all come out of my mouth after a race or even a group run!

Fuck performance neurosis! You cannot allow negative thoughts to occupy your mind rent free. It is easy to be hard on ones self. However, once you have critiqued your actions and corrected any deficiencies, you should expel any lingering negativity as no longer productive to your further development and growth. As a father of two I remember watching my children play in our backyard. I remember them running around until they almost passed out tired where they were standing. But what were they doing? Laughing, smiling, feeling the joy in running. I remember that feeling running track when I was an adolescent and teenager. The pure joy in floating around the track or the cross-country trail. It was fun! It was exhilarating! It felt like freedom from all human constraints! On your next run re-connect with the feeling. Smile. Laugh out loud when your grinding that long run out and your body is begging you to quit. Enjoy the process. Stop being so hard on yourself and be happy with your effort in that moment.

At some point the burdens of life made us too serious. It is time to return to the good old days of experience the joy of running (I am writing this for me as well). Whether you are on the podium, middle of the pack or the very last person, enjoy yourself! Don’t make an excuse for your performance. Just accept where you are and strive to improve daily on your own terms. So the next time you run, whether for training or a race, think childlike.

CHEERS!

Hello, my name is Jeremy and I am a runner.

This is a safe place. I’m going to share my thoughts on running, running gear, food, share some pics and anything you might want to talk about. I am 44 years old and seeking the speed and athleticism of my youth. Please join me on this journey. More to come, but in the meantime please read my first blog post above.

CHEERS!