"Disclaimer: I received a supply of Now Foods BCAA Big 6 formula and a shaker to review 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!"
I have used BCAA’s before – Branch Chain Amino Acids – as part of muscle recovery after a tough strength training workout. I was working with a trainer who knew I would be sore the next day, and she suggested I get some BCAAs. I bought a powdered lemonade formula from another brand and I honestly couldn’t stomach the taste. Fast forward to this spring when I was working with a sports nutrition coach and she was helping me with post-race recovery. She suggested adding Glutamine to my post race protein shakes for recovery. This had no taste and seemed to work well. I was anxious to try the BCAA Big 6 from Now Foods because it had a variety of ingredients, including glutamine.
I received 2 jars of Grape Flavor and 2 jars of Watermelon, along with a shaker.
Each 1 scoop serving of BCAA Big 6 has:
- 7 g carbohydrates
- 240 mg sodium
- 5000 mg BCAA formula
-1000 mg L-Citruline, L-Glutamine and Taurine
Available flavors: watermelon and Grape
So what exactly is a BCAA and why do I need it?
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are nine essential amino acids in total, but there's a key trio that helps you maintain muscle: leucine, isoleucine, and valine
In general I knew they were helpful for muscle soreness, but here’s what this product is designed to do specifically: (from nowfoods.com)
Ok, so now time to put it to the test a bit.
Since I was already familiar with it’s use as muscle recovery, I used it for body pump, my main strength training workout. I drank it immediately following my body pump workout, and before my 3 mile run. I tried watermelon first. I found the taste a bit strong, I would definitely dilute it next time. But, I did end up with negative splits!
I was intrigued by the idea that it could help my endurance during a run. However, I have so many forms of liquid competing for my attention already – coffee beforehand, water and Gatorade endurance during. How in the world could I fit in BCAAs too? I am testing this out. I may try combining it in with Gatorade together for a long run.
But for now, I’m focused on using it for recovery. I used it right after the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon last weekend, and felt really good after.
And I am convinced that it helps me after a strength workout. I have tried the grape flavor, and I like it. I think it is a helpful tool when I have multiple workouts – like a body pump workout followed by a run. I was able to drink it during class and after the run.
The formula sells for $49.99 for a canister – but you can save 20% with code 20NOWFOODS on amazon.com or use link https://www.amazon.com/promocode/A1G65M39SCQHX5
Give it a try and see what you think! If you do try it, let me know your thoughts!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary entry to the Urban Bourbon Half 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!"
I have been looking forward to this race for a long time! The excitement of getting a new state under my belt, plus all the fun activities surrounding this race really made it fun to prepare for.
My sister decided to do this road trip with me, which made it all the more to look forward to. We rolled into town on Friday afternoon, and made a plan to go to the expo. I had VIP packet pickup thanks to the awesome race director, but I also wanted to go to the main expo to pick up some last minute supplies. While only located 4 miles from the downtown area, the packet pickup location – Cardinals Stadium – is kind of hard to get to if you don’t have a car. Luckily, we did!
At the expo you could pick up your bib and shirt of course, plus the bourbon bash wristband, and then just the other side of that were the bourbon samples. And boy were they big pours! We had 4 kinds to choose from including an apple flavor and vanilla which were kind of unique. I also stopped and picked up some gels and browsed the souvenirs.
We stopped for a bite to eat at 4th street live, where the finish festival was going to be. So many restaurants to choose from!
VIP packet pickup was something else entirely. Relaxing, laid back, pampered. It was on the 2nd floor of the Jim Beam Stillhouse, and we got personal check in with our bourbon bash wristband, and then there was an open bar with more bourbon (naturally) and some good looking appetizers. There was a bluegrass band playing too. I got to meet up with a few BibRave Pros – Frank and Jonathan. I highly recommend the VIP packet pickup (available for an extra charge) for the convenience and special pampering!
Then we got a private tasting down in the Jim Beam Stillhouse. 4 more kinds of bourbon, and a cool commemorative glass.
After our VIP experience, we walked back to the hotel and prepared for an early bedtime. We were both exhausted – she from driving 8 hours from Michigan, and me from taking a red eye plus part of the drive with her. We were glad that we went very light on the bourbon tastings so that we could feel good the next day!
Start time is 8am, which is such a treat! I didn’t even have to leave the hotel until 715am! Just a short walk and then met up with the BibRave Pros again for a pre-race photo opp - joined by Corey this time too. Race day weather was thankfully warmer than originally anticipated. Temps were in low 50s with a light mist. It ended up being pretty perfect for running.
They have the traditional bugler – presumably the same one that does the Kentucky Derby. It was a very unique start, for sure! I couldn’t get a good view of him, but I could hear it!
Waiting around for the photo opp cost us a little time so we ended up at the back of the pack of the start line. It’s not a huge race though – only about 3,500 – so it wasn’t a major problem. There are no corrals, just one mass start.
I decided to carry a water bottle with Gatorade Endurance, and boy did that work out well for me. The course had more downhill than what I expected, which was delightful. It wasn’t until mile 7 in Cherokee Park that we got our first real hills. They were short, but steep. I was absolutely thrilled in the energy level I had. I’ve been in a major rut for my half marathons for a few years now, and this was better than anticipated.
Overall, the course was a pretty fast course through the downtown area, along the waterfront and back. At mile 12, an ambulance came through the intersection as I was about to cross it – and naturally the officials had to stop traffic. That has never happened to me before! It was very quick, I probably only lost 10-15 seconds there.
I knew my sister would be cheering me at the finish, so that was something else to look forward to. She snapped this as I crossed. I finished in 2:08:58! Best one in a while.
As soon as I finished, the wind suddenly felt frosty. The wind had really kicked up. As soon as you cross the finish line and head into the Bourbon Bash finish festival, you were greeted with bourbon samples, and the live music from the Louisville Crashers. They were really, really good!
There were stations for bourbon, pizza, Kentucky burgoo (stew) and local Falls City beer. You just tore off the ticket from your wristband. There were 4 (FOUR!) bourbon sample tickets - you got to choose from several stations on 2 levels!
I was so cold that I couldn’t think about anything (ok I did grab pizza!) - instead we went into one of the restaurants and got hot coffee to warm up.
Finally time to celebrate with a local beer and bourbon sample. The band rocked until noon, we really enjoyed it. Also got to meet the Race Director, Michael Clemmons. What a nice guy!
Something else fun the race offers for folks to do afterwards is the Bourbon Walk. They partnered with 5 local bar/restaurants and if you went and had a drink or food , you were able to receive a custom pin from each place, as long as you showed your bib or medal. We got kind of a late start, so I only received 2, one place said they were out of pins by 2pm.
This unique spinner medal is a new favorite in my collection.
Overall, the race really knows how to throw a party, and I couldn’t recommend it more. The staff and volunteers were great, and it was a rockin’ good time! If you are a bourbon fan, you will be in HEAVEN! If you aren't, you will still have an incredible time at this world-class event!
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary entry to the Urban Bourbon Half 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!"
With the epic Urban Bourbon Half Marathon just over a week away, I’m getting super excited about finally getting to do this race and experiencing all the things that make this such a fan favorite!
There are free bourbon tastings at packet pickup, need I say more?
I love the bugle fanfare at the start of the race. It is so Kentucky horse country, it is only fitting that it takes place at the start of this classic half marathon.
Course – Fall Foliage
The course goes through downtown Louisville, through many areas of town, including the Beargrass Greenery and Cherokee Park. With it being peak fall foliage time, the scenery is sure to be amazing!
If you haven’t seen the unique medal for 2018, check it out! A bourbon barrel with a spinning bourbon bottle inside!
Immediately following the race, the party is on! It’s called the Bourbon Bash at Fourth Street Live! It runs from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Receive your wristband at packet pickup. Race participants can enjoy a sampling of bourbons from a number of Kentucky Bourbon Trail distillers. You will also enjoy Bearno’s Pizza, Falls City beer (yay!) and plenty of prize and photo opportunities. The popular local band the Louisville Crashers will perform.
Each participant will show their ID on Friday at Packet Pick-up and receive a Bourbon Bash wristband. That will have seven tabs on it: four for bourbon samples, one for a Falls City Brewing Co. beer, one for a slice of pizza, and one for a cup of Kentucky burgoo (local stew).
Jim Beam, pizza, burgoo, and beer will all be on the lower level of Fourth Street Live! All other bourbon samples will be spread around upstairs. There will be a variety of bourbons from which to sample. You'll just hand over your tab, receive your bourbon, and enjoy!
You know you want to!
The race takes place on Saturday, October 20 in Louisville, Kentucky. Join the party and save 10% with BourbonRave2018!
It’s the Monday after Ragnar Michigan, and I’m reflecting on an another amazing Ragnar weekend.
Ragnar Michigan has had a special place in my heart since it began in 2016. I captained my own team the last 2 years, but my gut feeling this year was that I wanted to take a step back and let fate guide me to the right team.
I have been following Michigan Runner Girl for years. She is such a positive voice amongst runners in Michigan, and her podcast is a wealth of knowledge that I happily scoop up every week from Arizona. The last two years I was hoping to even get a glimpse of her or meet her, and I never saw her at all. But this year, after listening to her podcast with the Ragnar MI race director, I immediately messaged her and said I would love to be a part of her team this year if she had a spot.
And here I am! I was lucky enough to meet up with 2 ladies coming through Grand Rapids who could pick me up and get me to the spot where we were all meeting in Traverse City. Along the way, these 2 Ragnar newbies peppered me with questions nonstop, which was hilarious. They were so eager and excited, it was contagious! We met up with everyone and rolled out to packet pickup. We were 12 ladies of all ages, plus each van had a driver! So awesome!
Our start time was 7:30AM, so we rolled on out to Pere Marquette state park. We got to the start line literally 2 minutes before takeoff. Crazy!
The best part about this race is the incredible scenery. Kelly got to do the “Ragnar Leg” which was the longest at nearly 10 miles. She was rewarded with this view. And a bonus medal!
I was runner 6 this year, which I did back in 2016 as well. They changed the route a bit, and I ended up on a nice trail most of the way through Montague, which is such an adorable town. It was AWESOME!
Check out the exchange video here - action shot!
Major exchanges are always a great opportunity to see the rest of your team and and of course take more pics! It always bums me out that you don't get to know the other van members that well at Ragnar.
We headed out for food and then hit up the major exchange. It really didn’t feel like we had much down time at all, at least not the kind of down time where you are bored and can’t wait to get going. We cheered in the amazing Rose and sent off Mallorie.
One of my favorite spots on this course is at the Pentwater Beach. We timed it perfectly at sunset again, and the pictures were incredible!!!
I especially love this photo of myself and Heather. Doesn’t it look like we have known each other for years? It looks so natural and happy, I love it. The wind was really kicking up and it was getting very chilly.
I was super excited that Heather (Michigan Runner Girl herself), who was our driver, offered to run my night leg with me. I typically dread my night leg especially when it is running through remote areas. I was excited for the chance to get to know her better. We had a 4 miler just south of Ludington, and once again the route changed for the better. It still had a mile or two of running on the shoulder of a highway, but then we ended up seeing a little of the downtown and near the water. I talked her ear off the whole time, poor Heather!
After our night legs, we headed to Manistee where we got to sleep for 4-5 hours! Yasss!
It was super cold in the morning, with a “feels like” temp of 37. Yikes. We stopped at the scenic overlook in Arcadia to cheer on Erinn and grab some pics. She was doing great powering up that endless hill!
This place is just gorgeous. Pure, unspoiled Michigan beauty!!!!
Pretty soon, it was time to run my last leg! It warmed up to high 40’s and a little sunny. We were ready to get this done and head to BREAKFAST!
I had a really great run, full of energy and 12 kills! I’m very happy with all 3 of my legs – they all came in under 10 min miles.
After an amazing and indulgent breakfast, we had time to go and cheer on van 2. It was nice for me to see some parts of the course I haven’t gotten to see before.
We headed to the finish line where I Picked up some extra bling – I got my awesome 6x Ragnar bonus medal, yay!
It was unbelievably cold at the finish line. Most of us were wearing multiple jackets or blankets around us. I can’t believe that just 5 weeks ago I was sweating to death at the Ragnar Great River finish line in Minneapolis!
Lots of great finish pics with this incredible team!
This was such a great experience, I just can’t even explain it. I felt so supported, ,so taken care of , got to meet new runner friends, all in my favorite place in the world. Ragnar Michigan, I can’t quit you! I know I will be back.
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!