9 Must-Have Travel Items for Athletes

Traveling Can Be Hard on the Body, Especially an Athlete’s Body

Through years of racing internationally and interacting with other travelling athletes, we have compiled what we’ve found to be the must-have travel items for athletes.

1. Travel Roller®

The absolute smallest “good” roller we have found. Strong enough to get deep, but a thin cushion to not be extreme, this roller gives you an amazing recovery rolling session. The best part about it though is the centre is hollow, so you can stuff clothing inside the roller and not lose room in your suitcase. Or depending on your travel destination, the roller will house a bottle of wine just right for you to safely bring a bottle home with you! Shop Travel Roller® Deluxe Foam Roller

2. Compression Socks

Any style will work, and there are many companies making them these days. Compression socks are great to wear on the airplane to reduce swelling of feet, and can be worn during runs or after workouts for recovery. There are so many uses, this is a vital travel item. You can find so many options at your local running store, we always like to buy local, so if you are in Canada, visit Runners United, as they often have great deals on good brands.

3. Universal Adapter

There are way too many available today, but through all the ones we’ve tried and tested, the “WanEway” All-in-One Universal Travel Adapter is by far our favourite. It was a recommendation from Tim Ferriss, and we totally agree with him. About as light as you can get, while offering adapters for just about anywhere in the world, this little thing comes with us on every trip. So if you want to keep your iPod, laptop, kindle, speakers, or GPS watches charged up for runs or workouts, this will be essential for international travel.

travel jacket for athletes

4. Inov8 Rain Jackets

 

Sure they can be any brand, but we’ve tried a few and these ones are the best we’ve tried. A waterproof breathable jacket that is super compact is tough to find, but incredible for outdoor style of travel. Will keep you dry in the rain, can be worn out to dinner (though nothing fancy) but can be worn on runs, these are just a great thing to pack for your trips. Men’s jackets/Women’s jackets

5. Skipping Rope

Whether you are in a crunch for time or simply aren’t sure where to run in the surrounding area, a super light skipping rope can help you build a high intensity workout with limited space. We love the cable speed ropes because they are extremely light, very fast and durable to handle workouts just about anywhere. The one in our suitcase right now is Cable Skipping Rope (by Outrigger)

6. Greens Powder

This can help keep your energy and immune system up and running during your travel or while on the road and not eating as healthy as you would at home. We are obviously partnered with Prairie Naturals because we find they make an outstanding line of products. There Blueberry Greens-Force is pretty wicked because it tastes good even when mixed simply with water.

7. Monkii Bars

Equipment isn’t always easy to find while travelling, and Monkii Bars has made one of the most travel friendly suspension style training setup available. They weigh almost nothing, compact down super small, and still offer you a good variety of exercises to help you get a good strength workout while on the go. Get 5% off a pair of Monkii Bars

athletic travel essentials

8. Dehydrated Food

This one is really only important if you are traveling to a country where the cuisine is unknown or questionable. If you are going somewhere well developed, then your meals should be all set, and healthy food is not too hard to find. But in countries where they don’t appreciate flavour, or ingredients, and finding a tasty meal that is somewhat healthy for you is relatively hard to find, you might want to pack one or two dehydrated meals. They can cover you in a jam, and give you a solid meal by just adding boiling water.  Agreed, a dehydrated meal might not be the absolute healthiest meal, but this industry has changed drastically over the past several years and some high quality ingredients are being worked in. A couple of our favourites are made by Harvest Foodworks and Backpacker’s Pantry.

9. Organo Gold Coffee

Let’s face it, some countries just don’t know what a good cup of coffee tastes like. But are you really ready to buy a crappy instant coffee to bring with you? Organo Gold Coffee is an instant blend coffee that all you have to do is add water. What make them awesome is they are made from a variety of mushroom powders, so they are a superfood powerhouse that will energize you the same a a cup of joe, but with much less caffeine.

 

What Are Your Favourite Travel Items for Athletes?

We’d love to hear them, so share some of your packing essentials in the comments!

Amazing Stretches For Road Trips

We’ve all experienced that feeling of getting out of the car after a long day of driving and stretching out from toes to fingers. It’s one of the few drawbacks to exciting road trips. Whether it’s driving to your favourite music festival, exploring a new country, or even making the trip home to visit family, everyone has reasons for opting for a long haul in the car, rather than flying. Mixing a bit of our knowledge from all our yoga teacher trainings, our ongoing recovery practice we use to combat tight and stiff muscles from ultra marathon training, and our every growing list of road trip experiences, we’ve put together our top 3 stretches for road trips that will help you stay loose and mobile even after a long drive.

1) Elevated pigeon

Pigeon pose is a miracle yoga pose that helps stretch out your piraformis and your glutes, which can both get very tight after sitting for hours on end in ergonomically brutal car seats. The hard part is you rarely ever feel like getting down onto the floor in your hotel or after you just get in the door, to crank out a few useful stretches. This is why we like the elevated pigeon position (And yes, there may be a thousand other terms for it, but whatever). It can be done on a chair, a lower table, even the hood/trunk of your car if you want to stretch at a pit stop, but we find it incredibly easy to simply use the side of your bed as you get ready to go to sleep.
 stretches for road trips

How to get into it?

Pop one leg up onto the side of your bed (or chair or table) and cross your leg in front of your body so that your shin is facing in front of you. (See picture) Keep your back foot planted on the ground and slide it back as far as is
comfortable to you, eventually working your way to having the back leg locked out straight. To make the stretch less intense, move your front heel in towards your hips, and to make it more intense, slide the foot away from your hips until eventually your shin will be parallel with the edge your propping your leg on.
travel stretches

2) Wall Quad Stretch:

This stretch will work wonders on your quads and hip flexors, which have become an infamously tight muscle chain in the first world where sitting is everywhere. Keeping these muscles lengthened will help your hips stay relaxed and level, which will lead to good posture, reducing hip and back pains.
deep quad stretches

How to get into it? 

Find an empty space on a wall or in front of a chair/couch (if you know your quads are super tight the ladder tends to be a little gentler).  Start on your hands and knees and slide back towards the wall as close as you can.  Draw your right heel up to your butt and slide the right knee closer to the wall (eventually we want the knee touching the wall, but start about 6 inches away and move closer from there).  Next step, step your left foot forward so its flat on the floor just outside your left hand. (ps. don’t worry we aren’t graceful making that move either;))  You might be feeling this in your quad or hip already, if so take some time here to let things lengthen.  If you want a little more then bring your hands onto your left knee and slowly rise the chest to end up in a lunge looking position.
yoga for hips

3) Shoulder Opener:

A lot of people have incredibly tight shoulders. This mostly stems from two things in our modern day lifestyles, i) we hunch a lot while sitting and even standing, ii) we workout our shoulders unevenly, creating an imbalance in the interior and posterior muscles. Now whether you have tight shoulders or not in everyday life, if you sit in a car seat for any period of time, its a good chance you won’t be sitting in an “optimal” position to keep your shoulders neutral. The trendy bucket seat designs almost force us to collapse into them and roll our shoulders slightly forward. So getting a bit of shoulder opening will help counteract this.
shoulder opener poses

How to do it? 

You can luckily do this one during a rest stop along the trip, at a hotel between driving days, or at home after a long drive. If you have a wall available, this will be easiest, as you can adjust to your own height, but if your in a parking lot, you can often times use the side of your car. Prop your hands up on a solid surface (wall or side of car) high enough so that your arms are about at a 45 degree angle when standing upright. Now hinge at the hips and drop your head between your arms. Slowly relax the shoulders, and work the crown of your head towards the surface your leaning up against. If your head touches no problem, then move your hands down the wall and go deeper. Still nothing, your shoulders are probably fine!
With each one of these stretches for road trips, aim to hold each one for 2-3 minutes if time allows. So with that in mind don’t force yourself into the stretch. Simply relax into them and let your muscles release. These are amazing stretches for keeping you loose and mobile during long road trips, but at the same time can be super helpful to anyone who drives a lot in their day to day life. If you have any others that you find beneficial during long drives, then please share in the comments so everyone can try them out.
Are you a runner and want to increase mobility/flexibility? Be sure to read our Yoga Poses for Runners!

Key Yoga postures for runners!

Having spent the past year or so working hard to not only complete  our Yoga Teacher Training, but complement our intense ultra marathon training regime with an effective yoga practice to speed up recovery and build mental strength.  We thought we would begin to share some of our favourite yoga poses that we spend a ton of time in post workouts, on rest days and even while at work! 😛

yoga for runners mel meditation

Whether it’s a group runs, running talks, or at our races, we hear so many people throw out the all to common phrases such as “all runners have tight hamstrings”, “plantar fascitis is something you can’t do anything about” or one of our favourites “I used to be able to touch my toes, but then I started running!”  What we want to get people thinking is that these RULES aren’t concrete, you can break through these social stereotypes, and all it takes is a little bit of work each day.  So here are 4 places to start, we find that these poses will address some of the most common tight or problematic areas runners tend to have.

jon yoga pose for run stretch#1Runners Lunge

There are a number of variations of runners lunge out there, depending on what studio you attend. However, this version will target not only your hamstring, but also your glutes and IT band.

Start by stepping back into a short lunge stance, feet hip width apart. With a flat back, fold forward over your front leg, allowing the front knee to take a slight bend.  Note: You should not be feeling a stretch in the front hamstring…YET, so take a bend to the knee.  Now slide your back foot across and behind your front foot, resting the knife edge of your foot on the ground.  NOW, begin to straighen your front leg and say “HELLO hamstring!”

Variations –>  Placing your hands on blocks will help if you’re have trouble rooting your hands to the ground when folding.

run yoga pose lunge mel#2Lizard Lunge

This is a simple posture that can target your adductors, hip flexors, or even your quads, all depending on how you move in the pose.  Once you’ve found your alignment in this one, feel free to make subtle movements to explore and find your body’s sticking points.

From down dog or from standing, find your way to a deep lunge.  Drop your back knee to the ground and place both hands on the ground inside of your front knee (might have to heel/toe that foot out a tad).  Square your hips to the front and choose between OPTION A: lower your chest to the ground, coming down to your elbows or fully outstretching your arms and bringing your chin to the floor.  This option will stretch deep into your hips, but be sure to not let your front knee fall out.  OPTION B: bend your back knee and reach your opposite arm back to grab a hold of your back ankle.  This will bring a deep stretch to your back quad.

lizard lunge yoga pose runner

 

#3Kneeling Arch Stretch

foot stretch for running yogaThis one is so simple yet extremely important.  Many runners don’t notice any foot or arch issues until they have set in and it’s often too late.  We’d suggest to most people find a daily routine that you can sit back into this, such things that would work great would be while eating breakfast, while brushing your teeth, or simply reading for a few minutes before tucking into bed.

arch stretch runners yogaBend your knees and sit back onto your heels.  Curl your toes under so the bottoms of your feet are stretched out (making sure EACH toe is curled under…that includes you baby toe!).  That’s it!!! Your toes may begin to hurt a bit, allow yourself to go to the point of intense sensation, but never to the feeling of pain.  Place a folded towel under your shins if your ankles are uncomfortable, or under your buttocks if your knees are feeling strained.  Whether you can only last 15 seconds, or sit for a comfortable 15 minutes, simply try to stick with it and go longer than you went yesterday.

 

proud pigeon yoga for runners#4Sleeping Pigeon and King Pigeon

Piriformus is something every runner has heard about, and most of us have likely felt its wrath when it gets overworked.  Well this is a great posture to passively and safely stretch and relax it.

From down dog, bring your R knee forward and place it on the ground behind your R wrist.  Place your ankle on the ground wherever comfortable (the more parallel your shin is to the top edge of your mat, the more intense this stretch will be).  Check back and make sure your left leg is outstretched directly behind you and not swaying to one side. Focus on drawing your R hip back and your L hip forward and to the ground.  At this point press your legs down into the ground and find stability in your hips.  Now choose one of the below options;

sleeping pigeon yoga for running

 

 

Sleeping Pigeon

–> Walk your hands forward and lower your chest to the ground. If comfortable in this position, feel free to explore a bit by drawing your chest to either side, changing the angle of the hip stretch.

 

 

King pigeon yoga for runners

King Pigeon

–>  Bend your back knee up and grab hold of this foot with one hand or if your balance is there, with both hands.  Pushing down into your front leg for stability, kick your lifted foot back which will pull your chest open.  Once your at this stage, one at a time bring your hand forward and up overhead and grab a hold of your foot.  **If your can’t quite reach your foot this way, sling a strap around your lifted ankle and slowly with time you’ll find the strap gets shorter and shorter until your grabbing your foot.

 

 

Give these 4 postures a try, let us know how it went, feel free to ask us any questions and if you find any variations that really hit a tight spot for you, please share with everyone!  More to come in the near future 🙂

Hari Om

Mel and Jon

 

Psst – be sure to check out our version 2 of Yoga Poses for Runners

Tahoe 200 Ultramarathon – Race Review

It’s been a little over a week since we finished the Tahoe 200 Ultra, and while we’ve been receiving countless congratulatory messages and emails, we’ve also received many comments like “I can’t even fathom running for that long… how did you do it?? What did it feel like?”, so hopefully this can help explain how this race went, and what we felt like before, during and after. But because this race was such a BEAST and there is just so much to cover, we’re only going to touch on the race itself in this post, then we’ll follow-up with another one talking about products we used to help get us through, how we slept, how we ate, and a bit on how we trained for the race.

200 mile race lake tahoe

Photo by: Scott Rokis

Just to lay things out for those of you who might not be familiar with what this race entails, here are some of the quick stats on the Tahoe 200:

  • 205.5 miles in total distance (start to finish….NO STAGES)
  • 100 hour time cap
  • Loop style course (meaning you rarely cover the same terrain twice)
  • 35,000+ feet of elevation gain (not change!)
  • 15 aid stations throughout the course
  • 105 or so official starters

We signed up for this race in early 2016, and it was definitely in our eyes our ‘big race’ for the year, as it was further than either of us had ever ran before. But this was the quote we stood by as we registered was

“Set goals so big that you can’t achieve them, until you become the type of person that can.”

 

Arriving in the Lake Tahoe area 3 days before the start turned out to be a good idea, as the entire race never goes below ~5,000 ft of elevation, so a bit of acclimation is helpful. It was a stunning location to take on such an epic race and Lake Tahoe along with the surrounding landscapes are beautiful even on the most gloomy days. Luckily for us the weather was calling for about as good of weather as you could ask for. Mid 20’s during the day, between 2-6 degrees at night (Celsius for both) and no rain! With this being such a long race, the number of variables you have to factor in runs pretty high pretty quick, so it’s a nice treat when the weather looks fairly stable.

Pre-Race Check-in and Course Briefing

The day before the start, there were a couple of meetings that helped brief us on the course. Letting us know what we could expect in terms of weather, water accessibility, the massive influx of yellow jacket bees in the area….all those nonchalant things. I won’t lie, the thing that stood out to me was as they weren’t over each of the 16 sections of the course, every time they read off the elevation gain for that section, it was ALWAYS in the thousands. We’ve ran mountains before, but this was literally taking a ‘hill repeats’ workout and jacking it up to ‘mountain repeats’.

tahoe 200 elevation map

Tahoe 200 – The Race

This race started at 9AM, which was a nice treat as most ultras start way earlier, or even the night before. We actually felt about as good as we ever had before any of our previous ultras. We slept well the nights leading up to the race, we both ate a good breakfast, and while the nerves were on edge (at least mine/Jonathan’s were) we both were in a pretty good mental state going into this race. Neither of us were looking to win or hit the podium, we knew that getting too excited early on could kill us on Day 2, 3 and 4, so we knew we just had to hit a steady pace and keep trucking along.

3, 2, 1, GO!

Everyone takes off running for a good 50 feet or so, before the course turns straight up a ski hill. We climb, and climb and climb. We decided to bring out running poles with us right off the hop and that was a decision we were both happy with. The first section was only 7 miles, and we made it to the first aid station in around 1h40m, which we were pretty happy with. At this point, we were hiking everything uphill, and running most of the flat and downhill. Our crew (Jonathan’s dad) was able to meet us at this aid station, but was not allowed at the three following ones, which means we would have access to food and water at these next aid stations, but in terms of gear and clothing, we were stuck with what we had for the next 55 miles or so.

trail running tahoe rim trail

Photo by: Scott Rokis

These next 55 miles kicked our butts! Luckily we were running on fresh legs, because there were some incredibly challenging sections. Just to name a few because some of them are good visuals.

1. Rubicon Trail

Now let’s set a little context for this one, if you’ve ever seen a Jeep with the word ‘Rubicon” on the side of its hood, you’re about to learn why. This trail is INSANE. Massive rocks and boulders, steeps climbs and descents, and uneven in just about any other way you could imagine. Pretty much the only vehicles we saw along this trail were Jeeps, and even they were struggling through it. Seems like a great place to go running! And the best part (which we were warned about, so we went and bought gaiters to wear) but there was a 1-2 inch layer of dust covering most of the trail, so this made the rocks slippery in places, and really hard to gauge the depth and density of you ground your about to step on.

2. Running Blind

This course was marked quite well for the most part, and all the markers had reflectors on them so when running at night, you never had problems seeing the markets. Except one section of about 2-3 miles where someone decided to take down ALL the markets and stuff them into a log! We had been trotting along a dark trail for way to long, and we’ve been lost many times before, so we finally hit that point where we decided to turn around and go find the last market. But about 50 feet back, Jonathan spotted a reflector on the ground, so it must have fallen off right? Wrong. We looked closer and there were about 20 markers all stuffed into a hole in a log, obviously done intentionally. I can understand in some of the international races when the kids that find these flags and reflectors utterly amusing and take them to go play. But when someone consciously decides to do this kind of thing (despite there being many signs posted saying “Trail Race in Progress – Please do not remove trail markers as it could endanger runners lives”. That’s low.

But we kept trucking along, just as planned, into the night, and we got a little cold, but there were warm soup at the aid stations which helped a ton. The last section before the Sierra at Tahoe aid station (which was where we were planning to take a quick sleep) was around 19 miles for a total of ~62.9 miles, and it had some fun times to end day 1 on. Another rocky section covered with dust, but at night your headlamp makes it almost seem like whiteout conditions, so your depth perception is way off. Then they finish things off with a long long uphill climb. Can’t even guess how high or how long, just a really long climb when all we wanted to do is eat and lay down. Coming into this aid station Jonathan was feeling pretty exhausted. This was definitely the first point when he doubted his ability to finish the race.

ultra running tahoe rim trail

Night 1 – Sierra at Tahoe

We opted for 2 hours of sleep, as we had been told the first 60 miles of the course was the toughest. So we hoped that getting a bit of rest after this would launch us into easier times the next day. Luckily we woke up right at sunrise, so the weather immediately started to warm and changed our clothes and filled out packs (breakfast we were told to eat before you slept!).

How a couple hours of sleep and a good calorie hit can change the name of the game. Both of us felt great as we tackled the next 7 miles (the last of the “short” sections) to the next aid. We were able to run a good portion of this section, as there was quite a bit of downhill especially leading into the aid station itself. From here we loaded up with water and extra food, as the next section was a tough one. 18 miles with no water access, over 4000 feet of elevation gain, and reaching the highest elevation point along the course (somewhere in the ballpark of 9800 feet!!!). This section went relatively well, considering we were on day 2, running low on sleep. But fortunately the terrain was modest, at least in comparison to earlier on the course, and neither of us felt any signs of altitude sickness.

This was the first “really good” aid station. For any ultra runners out there, you know what we mean, when you come in and people start asking you, “what do you need?” “can I fill your water?” “want to sit down?”  The ones before here were good, but this one took it up a notch! This was also where we started to take a bit longer breaks at aid stations. While day one were typically 5-15 minutes, we were not taking a seat and usually spending 20-40 minutes at aid stations to deal with any taping that was needed on legs or feet, getting some good food in us, and changing out our gear for what we had up next. Keep in mind that most of the sections were now between 15-20 miles each, so in each 24 hour period, we were only finishing around 3. So this means one we needed sun protection and lots of water, next one we need a light jacket and headlamp, then night one we needed extra warm layers, headlamp and usually some chocolate covered espresso beans.

As we moved through the next section we got absolutely breathtaking views of the sunset over Lake Tahoe, from upwards of 8-9000 feet. This was an interesting section though as we watched an incredible sunset, then wrapped around one of the mountains to take in an incredible view of Carson City (as we were now on the Nevada side of the lake), lit up at night, then brutally finish off with endless downhill switchbacks that never seemed like they were going to end.

sunset over lake tahoe

Night 2 – Heavenly Pass

Although we were hitting this aid station relatively “early” in the night (around 1AM), we decided to sleep here, as we knew the next section was another tough one. So we slept for another 2 hours, and took off just after 3AM. With the next section to Spooner Summit being 20 miles with no water access, a lot of people said its smart to run as much of it at night as possible. It worked out pretty well for us, as we finished the 20 miles half in the night and half in the morning light. Didn’t have any issues with water and were feeling pretty good pushing forward.

After leaving Spooner Summit, we took in some of the most expansive views of Lake Tahoe, as we traversed along some of the eastern side mountains, it was crazy windy for some reason, but the landscape was worth the climb to get to this point. As we came out of the mountains, Melissa had made some notes in her phone from the course briefing, as she wrote this section ends with a 3000 ft descent along 3 miles of dirt road. We weren’t even sure this would be possible, as we had just finished a big switchback section on descending trails, so we didn’t think there was even 3000 more feet to drop before getting to the lake. Well we hit a dirt road, and we can confidently say we had at least 3000 feet of room to drop. That road never ended, and it only got steeper as you went down. In fact, there was even a small section where the course pulled off the road to take a more direct and crazy steep trail for a bit. Then more road, more downhill, more tears from the quads. Eventually we hit the aid station, and we were right about level with Lake Tahoe again. Feeling pretty fatigued and remembering the minor hallucinations we were running through the night before, we both decided to catch 20 minutes of sleep before heading out. We both tried to elevate our feet and instantly fell dead asleep.

15 more miles to our next planned sleep station, and this one is a bit of a love-hate section of the course. You start off by running 3 miles along Billionaire Boulevards where you get to see some of the biggest and most extravagant homes that you can probably find in America. Then you turn uphill and run into THE POWER LINE CLIMB……~1500 ft of gain over 1.2 miles!! We scrapped and clawed and made out way to the top. Only to realize we still had a few hours of trail to go before we hit the aid. This is where we think Jonathan managed to run while sleeping. He was pretty out of it whenever we spoke, but managed to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Hallucinating

Now would be as good a time as any to touch on our hallucinations. By no means did we run into anything “crazy” or “wild”, no little green monsters or that kind of thing. But we both were hitting a state where our brains couldn’t make perfect sense of the world. During the days we’d stop the other one to point out the bear up ahead, only to learn it was a log… shaped nothing like a bear. And during the night, we’d be fully convinced a rock on the ground was some kind of crystal. Some we shared with the other, some we didn’t, some you knew weren’t real, some you were too tired to care. We just kept truckin’!


Night 3 – Brockway Summit

Another WICKED aid station with more help than you would imagine! Even showing up to this one, there were costumes, music, people dancing, it just had an awesome vibe. The best part though for cold and tired runners, is they helped us come in and take a seat in front of the heaters, wrapped emergency blankets around us and took our food orders (they even had HOME-MADE ORGANIC TURMERIC/GINGER KOMBUCHA)! We were feeling in pretty rough shape coming into this one, so we took our time, we probably ate the most food out of any aid station at this one, we slept for 2h30m, and Melissa got her blisters taped up really well by Doc Spike.

ultramarathon taping blisters

This was by far the coldest night of the race, and you take off from here on another 20 mile section, with one water stop only 6 miles in. Because it was freezing when we left, by mile 6 we had barely drank any water, so we kept moving. The sun rose and we were feeling pretty energized by the time we hit the next aid at Tahoe City. We knew this was truly getting close to the finish. Unfortunately though, you still have 30 more miles, even though you know that along the highway the finish line is only 6 miles or so away from where you are. This means back into the mountains!

This next section in particular truly depicts how not accurate the overall elevation profile map is for this race. As this section looked like a massive climb up (2600 ft or so), then a massive drop down. We mentally prepared for this. Started out ready to take on a long slow gruelling climb. But for some reason this doesn’t hit for a really long time. You go up, down, flat, recheck the markets like a hundred times thinking you might be off course. But eventually you hit the grand climb, and it goes up for quite a while. Luckily we hit the summit right as the sun was setting, so now we were in a race to get as low as we could with what little daylight still remained. We probably made it within 3o minutes of the aid station before having to toss on our jackets and headlamps. When we came into the Stephen Jones aid, we so wished this was the finish line. Partly because it would have been done, but also because the people there were so badass! When we asked for coffee, they suggested a mocha! When we asked for a veggie burger, they asked if I wanted guacamole on it! Everything you hope for at an aid station, they exceeded! Even though we knew the finish was close, we remembered it was another 15 miles, and they were calling for some rain that night, which means it could be a cold and tough 15 miles. We decided to lay down for 15 minutes so we could recharge a bit before taking on this home stretch. Once we were up, Jonathan’s dad helped up gear up for the cold temperatures coming that night and made sure we had enough food not to drop 1 mile from the finish, then sent us out to finish this race.

We knew for the most part what we were in for 15 miles. There was a section along a bike path, then a steep, steep climb they said was along an old jeep road, but no jeep could ever make it up (we can attest to this not being at all suitable for any automobile..whatsoever!), then we do a little up-down at the summits, and down to the finish. We very well might have been a little slower getting to the finish, but once we hit the summit the storm clouds rolled in, light snow and hail started falling, and we started to see lightening in the sky. If that doesn’t haul your ass off a mountain as fast as possible, I don’t know what will!

The last  few miles was actually back down the ski hill we came up at the start. The only problem is, I think they raised the mountain, because we don’t remember climbing so high! haha. We knew it was the end and not to hold anything back, so we pushed through the pain. But man was that A LOT of pain! It felt like we were hitting every black diamond run on the way down, one after the next.

Sub 90 Hours!!

Neither of us had cared about our time right from the get go. Finishing was our goal. But when we were getting close we noticed the time and thought that would be a nice milestone to hit! There was only one problem… 1 mile from the finish we see this

200 mile ultra marathon finish

So there ya have it, 90 hours 1 minute and a couple of finisher’s shots!!

What a journey! This sure wasn’t a trip, a trip is predictable, a trip is boring. This journey had so many twists and turns, and in the end we are both so confident that we are stronger runners, stronger people and a stronger couple having finished this race.

 

Any drawbacks to this race? Trying to be as honest as we can, so that future runners will have accurate information. The only sort of downsides to this race were;

  • Not a ton of vegan options at the aid stations. Luckily we were a bit flexible, but if you were strict vegan, you would want to make sure you had a lot of your own food.
  • Course markings were sparse in some areas. Turns and major junctions were super well marked, but something we had to learn along the way was to just stay on the current trail unless otherwise told. And this could mean 10-15 minutes without seeing a marker, at night, which can play games in your mind! (To be clear though: Never did we actually feel unsafe or mislead, this was just sort of unusual)

Would we recommend Tahoe 200 to others?

Absolutely. The race is well organized, and is an incredible challenge both mentally and physically, and if someone was ready to put in the time to train and prepare for a race of this magnitude, we’d both encourage them to sign up.

majo srnik jay kinsella melissa gosse jonathan sinclair

Canadian Runners: Jonathan, Jay Kinsella (winner), Melissa, Majo Srnik (8th place)

Rocktape Rock’N’Roller Review

The RockNRoller is the new foam roller from Rocktape, and we were able to get our hands on one of these just after it was released.  There was no better time to put it to good use, as we were just about to start our AcroYoga Teacher Training in Montreal, and were scheduled to race the Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race shortly after.  So it was safe to say that we had lots of training days ahead of us, which means many sore muscles.  Both of us have always known there are many great benefit in foam rolling to fight off muscle stiffness and boost muscle recovery, so we were happy to put the new Rock’N’Roller to the test!

rocktape canada rocknroller foam roller

Roller Size and Dimensions

We would label the RockNRoller as a medium sized roller, which brings with it limitations as well a perks.  Everyone loved a great big foam roller where you never roll off the sides, and the RockNRoller is just big enough we felt comfortable being on it and rarely hitting the edges.  Big muscle groups were no problem and it covered the width of our entire backs.  On the downside, however, the RockNRoller did not fit in our carry on suitcases, so don’t plan on popping this roller in for a quick business trip or weekend getaway.  It did, however, fit in our standard size suitcase to be checked, as you can see below.  And on the topic of packing, this roller packs some awesome features that we’ll hit now!

rocknroller running travel adventure

RockNRoller Features

Both ends of this Rocktape foam roller screw off to reveal the PVC inner tubing which holds the structure of the roller.  This beautiful open space is yours for the taking!  When traveling stuff some clothes inside so you don’t lose out on all that room in your suitcase.  If you’re just going to the gym, toss in your gym clothes, phone, and wallet and now you won’t need a gym bag.  We’ve even seen someone use this as their yoga mat carrier! It’s pretty ingenious really, when you’re using one, the other one could always help complement!  And after so many mentions of carrying things in your roller, we should say there is an attachable carry strap that links up on the ends.  And last but not least, Rocktape offers a screw in adapter which connects two RockNRoller’s together so you have a bigger foam roller than you could ever hope for!

foam roller rocktape canada ultramarathon running

How Does the RockNRoller Feel to Use

 

mel rocktape canada roller for runnersThe internal PVC tubing structure helps the roller to maintain its rigidity even after plenty of use.  While the foam exterior not only provides enough cushion to make the rolling bearable, but the modest textured design feels great along tight, sore muscles.  As ultramarathon runners, we obviously love to use rollers to keep our legs loose and ready for the next workout, and the RockNRoller did great on all of our leg muscles.  Once you move up into the shoulders and neck area, we found there were places you still needed the pin point effects of a lacrosse ball, but for the most part, the RockNRoller worked through any large muscle areas, slowly working the fascia and helping the blood flow.  We can definitely say that after even a quick roll out on the RockNRoller, you can feel the blood flow moving back into those areas!

 

Would we recommend the RockNRoller?

We would highly recommend the Rock’N’Roller by Rocktape, mostly because it seems to find a comfortable medium ground between a large sized foam roller that take up space in your house, and the tiny travel rollers that can barely stretch the width of your thigh let alone your back.  Grab your Rocktape Roller now, and start your journey to a healthier, more mobile you!

So whether you’re an athlete searching for self-care techniques to keep your feeling recovered between massages, or you simply want a tool that can help you find a little more mobility again, give the RockNRoller by Rocktape a try.  You won’t need to take a course or anything, it even comes with an instructional poster to get you started the day you open it up!

 

And as our old friend from Body Break used to say “Till next time, keep fit and have fun!”

Mel and Jon

 

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