July Phone Dump!

Product Review and Giveaway: ENERGYbits

I’m going to be completely honest with you here.  I saw a lot of #PoweredByBits tweets and I was intrigued.  I have a hard time getting gels down, so the idea of little bits of energy that I could swallow and not gag on was really interesting to me.  Then I read that they were bits of algae and I, in typical Kristin style, said “that’s gross” and quickly wrote them off as something I wouldn’t like.

I kept seeing my friends post about ENERGYbits® and how they were really great and I thought to myself “Your friends are nuts, they are eating algae.  Those fools probably eat mushrooms too, ew, fungus.”  Have I mentioned that I’m a picky eater?  I am, in case you couldn’t tell.

So finally, one of my good friends, who I know wouldn’t lie to me, convinced me to just give them a shot.  She promised me there was no weird aftertaste and that if I’d just swallow them fast, it would all be okay.  I trust her, so I entered a giveaway another friend was having for them and when I tweeted about the entry, the lovely folks over at ENERGYbits® offered to send me a free sample to try out.  I didn’t really have an excuse not to try them if they were free, did I?

One of the big reasons that I’m not a fan of gels, chews, and the like is all of the “stuff” in them.  I look at the list of ingredients and get overwhelmed with the “stuff” I’m putting into my body.  I try to stay away from processed foods and I just don’t feel good about relying on them for energy.  I really like the idea of using an all-natural product to fuel my runs, something found in nature.  Here’s what the ENERGYbits® folks have to say:

ENERGYbits® algae tabs are 64% protein. Algae has the highest concentration of protein of any food on the planet. Nothing is higher. And why do you need protein? To build your organs, your strength, your lean muscle and also to satisfy your hunger for long periods of time.This is critical for athletes who need energy but can’t burden their body with heavy animal protein (which typically takes hours or days to digest) or artificial chemicals which are toxic to the body and often banned in competitions. Protein is critical for everyone but particularly for athletes since it repairs and builds damaged muscles.

Our algae tabs are over 60% protein (three times that of steak) and since our travel tins easily slip into your hand, pocket or gym shorts so you can be refreshed and renewed any time of day, whether you’re on the gym floor, jamming down the slopes or in the middle of a marathon. Can’t do that with a piece of steak! Even better, our ENERGYbits® algae tabs are 100% spirulina which naturally release nitric oxide into your body along with all that protein and forty other nutrients vitamins.

ENERGYbits® algae tabs have virtually no calories. With no sugar or any artificial ingredients, your body can continue burning fat even after your workout. Each tab is loaded with 40 vitamins and minerals but just ONE calorie so there are no unnecessary calories – just pure nutrition and protein. Since they are so tiny (about the size of a tic tac®), they make you feel satisfied and full, not bloated and fat. Great for performers, fitness buffs as well as pro athletes or weekend warriors.

I received my sample quickly and was really curious about the bits, so I quickly opened up the package and got my hands on the cute little tin.  Seemed pretty harmless.  Then I opened it up and took a big whiff.  Hmm.. not awful, but it smelled a lot like my sons fish tank when it needs to be cleaned.  Not really appetizing.  It kind of put me off and I stuck the tin in the cabinet with my nuun and gels to use on my next run.

I went back and forth between which run to try them for — speed work, an easy run, a long run?  My husband also expressed an interest in trying them, so since there were two servings in the sample, I agreed to let him have one and I used the other.  To be honest, I forgot to use them until Saturday morning when I was wasting time putting off my run because I really didn’t want to run eight miles in the crazy humidity.  I remembered the bits and figured now was as good a time as any.

I took my friends advice and avoided smelling them.  I split them into two piles and took them with a big glass of water.  Surprisingly, they didn’t taste like a fish tank.  They really didn’t have a taste at all and there was no weird after taste either.  The idea of swallowing 30 little pills is a bit odd, but they went down easily.  I could see it being an issue if you’re not good at swallowing pills, but thanks to my battle with supply issues while breastfeeding, I became a pill-popping champ.  (At one point, I was taking nearly 30 pills a day, some of them HUGE, ahhh memories!)

So now for the important stuff, did they work?  I’m not a pro, but I can tell you that I finished eight miles that I did not want to run with energy to spare.  Throughout the entire run, I felt great.  I never hit a wall and felt great when I finished.  I was actually kind of bummed that I promised the second helping to my husband for his run the next day, because I really wanted to use them on my 10-miler this weekend.

I asked my husband what he thought about the bits and his opinion was pretty much the same.  They smelled funky, but it was easy to get past, especially since he ran his 4-miler with zero issues and energy to spare.

I’ll be the first to admit, the price tag is a bit high.  It’s more per serving than the gels and chews I’ve been using in the past, but I only use those on runs over seven miles so a bag should last me for a while.  I will definitely be buying a bag of bits for my husband and I to share, especially since I have some really long runs coming up with my marathon training.

Do you want to give them a shot and see what you think?  Here’s your chance! ENERGYbits® has graciously offered a free sample to one of my readers so you can see what you think about being #PoweredByBits too! All you have to do is enter below!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: ENERGYbits® provided me with a sample of their product to review.  The opinions are my own based on my experience with their product.

Weekly Workout Recap: July 15th – July 28th

I haven’t been doing these for a while, since I wasn’t really running all that much.  Not much to recap when you’re sitting on your toosh :)  Marathon training started though, so I figured it was a good time to get back into the habit!  I may not do them every week, but I do want to keep up with my training times, so maybe every other week.  We’ll see.

Marathon Training – Week 1:

  • Monday – Easy 3 + 4 Strides – Ran 3.38 miles at 10:08 pace.  It was humid and rainy. I made a new friend (unwelcome) friend, Mr. Snake. Yay for Florida critters.
  • Tuesday – Easy 3v- Ran 3.02 miles at 9:51 pace.  Thankfully the snakes stayed away today!
  • Wednesday – Rest
  • Thursday – Tempo (1-2 WU, 1.5 T, 1-2CD) – Ran 4.01 miles at 9:53 pace.  1.5 mile warm up at 10:00ish pace, 1.5 tempo at sub-9:00ish pace , 1.5 cool down at 10:20ish pace
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – Long 8 – Ran 8 miles at 10:48 pace.  Felt great, first time using ENERGYbits, never felt tired and could have kept going! Week 1 of marathon training, DONE!!!
  • Sunday – Rest

Marathon Training – Week 2:

  • Monday – Easy 3 – My training plan has built in bail days and this was one of them.  I chose to use it.  We found out about Sammy today and I was in no condition to run.
  • Tuesday – 4, mid 2 at RP – Ran 4 miles at 10:14 pace.  Supposed to be a tempo run, but had the jogging stroller so I did an easy 4 instead.
  • Wednesday – Rest
  • Thursday – 6, 3/3 Negative Split – Ran 6.01 miles at 10:20 pace.  Did not feel like running at all, but totally nailed it!  My splits were 10:22 – 10:35 – 10:53 – 10:34 – 10:01 – 9:35 all while pushing Mackenzie in a jogging stroller AND I passed a guy running uphill in the last quarter mile. Total runners high!
  • Friday – Easy 4 – I bailed on this one.  No good excuse, just bailed.
  • Saturday – Long 10, strong 15 finish – Ran 10.01 miles at 11:17 pace.  I should have made myself get out of bed earlier, I paid for it with the heat (87 when I finished) and humidity. Got it done though, with some walk breaks.  Forgot about the strong 15 finish until my watch buzzed at 9 miles, so I ran the last mile strong at a 10:28 pace.
  • Sunday – Rest

Sweet Sammy

I don’t write about our boys very often, but those of you who know me, know that my dogs were my first babies. We love them like they are our children and would do anything for them.  Up until we had Braden, they slept in our bed with us and were ridiculously spoiled.  Everyone told us that things would change when we had kids and that our dogs would become pets, no longer our children.  Honestly, it did change.  Our priorities shifted, they had to.  It didn’t change how much we love our boys though and it didn’t change the fact that we’d do anything to keep them happy and healthy.  That’s why our hearts are absolutely broken right now.  Our youngest dog, Sammy, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on Monday.

We adopted our Sammy Bear from a golden retriever rescue when he was a year old.  He’s had a bit of a rough time since then.  When he was two, he tore his right ACL and had Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery to repair it. Basically, they cut off part of his tibia (shin bone), shifted it, and reattached it with a metal plate. Less than a year later, he tore his left ACL and had the same surgery on that one.  At the time, everyone thought we were crazy to have a $4500 surgery performed on our dog (twice), but they told us since he was so young, that it was the best option for him.  Thankfully, we were in a position where we could afford it, so we did it without hesitation.

Soon after, Sammy was diagnosed with epilepsy.  For a while, he did okay without being medicated, but for the last few year’s he’s been on phenobarbitol twice daily to control the seizures.  He has breakthrough seizures occasionally, but thankfully we know how to handle them now (I’m a pro at valium enemas, in case you were wondering).  Other than that, he’s been wonderful.  He’s such a sweet boy and like most goldens, so eager to please.  He’s happiest when he’s sitting on your lap (all 70 pounds of him, down from 90+ when he was diagnosed with epilepsy) and you’re rubbing his ears or scratching his head or laying out by the fence in the back yard with a rawhide.

Sammy’s phenobarbitol makes him a little bit crazy.. okay, a lot crazy.  He’s hungry all the time and until recently, had an insane amount of energy.  He never really walks anywhere, he always runs or jumps all over the place.  Once Mackenzie started walking, it became really tricky for us to manage his energy with her curious nature.  He kept knocking her over, running into her, and since phenobarbitol can cause some unpredictable behavior at times, we were really worried that she’d do something to tick him off and he’d snap at her.  For the last year or so, we’ve kept both of our boys separated from the kids most of the time.  They still got plenty of love, spent the days with me in the house or lounging in the yard, and nights hanging out with Adam.  It was hard, the kids love the boys so much, but we were just so worried about what could happen.

In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have been so worried.  Since his diagnosis, Sammy has been spoiled beyond belief and he and Mackenzie have become best friends.  She insists on giving him hugs and kisses all day long, runs into the kitchen asking for treats for him, and is so kind and gentle with him.  It’s like she knows there is something going on.

At the end of May, Sammy was at the vet’s office having bloodwork done to check his phenobarbitol levels.  He had a breakthrough seizure and his vet wanted to make sure that the levels in his blood were high enough to control them.  While there, she noticed what she called a thickening on his left knee.  We all assumed that it was scar tissue from his TPLO and she gave us some pain meds because he had started to limp on it a bit.  He finished the prescription and seemed fine, so we didn’t think anything of it.

Last week I noticed that he started to limp again, and then when Adam was bathing him we found a huge knot on the front of his left knee.  We figured we’d watch it over the weekend and call Monday if it didn’t seem better.  Sam wasn’t complaining about it, wasn’t wimpering or whining, just wouldn’t put the leg down sometimes.

Monday was Mackenzie’s birthday and I took the day off to spend with her. I called that morning and made an appointment to take Sammy in to have the knot on his knee checked since it hadn’t improved and he seemed to be limping more.  Braden overheard me talking to the vet and begged me to go since he’s never been, so Kenz and I met Adam for lunch, wandered around the Town Center for a bit, then picked Braden up from school, picked Sammy up, and were off to the vet’s office.  Probably not my best idea, taking both kids with me, but I really thought it was just swollen and we’d just need to keep him off of it and ice it.

As soon as the vet saw what we were talking about, she told me she thought it was a tumor but he’d need x-rays to be sure.  They took him back and about 20 minutes later brought him back to us along with his scans.  First she showed me his right knee, said the TPLO looks great but that he does have some arthritis in it that could case an issue in the future.  Then she showed me the left knee.  I’m not a medical professional, but it was easy to see that something was very wrong.  The best way I can describe it is that the top of the bone was just fuzzy and going down the leg looked moth-eaten.  She explained that it was a tumor, a bone cancer, and that it was basically eating away at the healthy bone and regrowing with this malformed, over sized bony tumor.

She said our first decision is whether or not to amputate the leg. The tumor is very painful and normal pain killers will not manage the pain for long. The only way to provide him with relief from it is to amputate. The problem with that is that his other hind leg is not totally healthy due to the prior ACL issues and arthritis. Amputation would only be for pain relief, it wouldn’t slow or stop the growth of the cancer.

After amputation, we’d have to decide if we want to do chemotherapy. This could extend his life for six months to a year, but would not be a cure.  It would help to control the metastasized tumors in the chest so they do not grow as quickly, but it won’t stop them.

Our other option is to do nothing and put him on strong pain meds and anti-inflammatory drugs.  She didn’t say how much time that would give him.

I spent the day Tuesday reading everything I could about canine osteosarcoma and was left feeling overwhelmed and confused.  I had both kids at the vets office with me Monday so it was hard to talk to her and I broke down and told her I’d either call or come back the next day to talk to her when I could focus.  My parents watched the kids for us Tuesday after work so we could go talk to her again.  She said osteosarcoma is very aggressive and in 90% of cases it has already metastasized into the chest by the time it is diagnosed. We had chest x-rays done on Monday and they were clear, but she said that at this stage they are usually there, but microscopic.

We told her that our primary concern is that whatever time Sammy has left is good time. We want him to be happy and in minimal pain. We don’t want to put him through procedures to extend his life if that life is just going to be miserable for him. She was very frank with us. She told us that given his history, and the fact that he has two bum knees and is epileptic, she wouldn’t recommend amputation.  Her concern is that we’ll do the amputation and he’ll spend what little time he has left in pain and trying to recover from that. Additionally, there’s a really high risk that he’ll seize and break the other leg, that a tumor could form in the other knee, or that he’ll simply fall and break it since the leg isn’t really strong enough to support him like a healthy leg would be.  The recovery from the surgery is also difficult, especially with his age, and she said that with how fast the tumor in his knee grew, it’s possible that the mets in his chest could also be extremely aggressive and he may not last more than a few weeks after the surgery anyway.    She said if it was her dog, she’d put him on anti-inflammatory drugs, pain meds, and keep him happy and comfortable at home.

I’m so overwhelmed by it all. I feel so incredibly guilty, I feel like we need to do something but I do not want to make him suffer to ease my guilt.  Apparently this type of cancer is very common with dogs who have had TPLO and it’s related to the metal plates in his leg. I feel like we did this, even though I know that it was the best decision for him at the time.

I know our boys are getting older (Sammy just turned 8, Buddy is almost 9) and I knew this was going to happen eventually, but I am still so heartbroken over it.  It seems like just a year or two ago that we adopted him, he should still be a little guy chasing Bud around the yard.  Thankfully, he’s still himself, just a bit slower.  He’s happy and his tail wags non-stop.

We went and bought him a nice, comfy bed and put it in his favorite spot in the house.  We stocked up on his favorite treats, raw hides, and pig ears, and are pretty much letting him have whatever he wants.  We’re all making it a point to make sure that his days are happy and as stress and pain free as possible.  It’s the least we can do for our sweet boy.

We’re hoping that we have more time with him than the average 2-4 months.  This has been such an unfortunate reminder that life is too short and we need to take time every day to show our family and friends how much we love them and how important they are to us.  I have no doubt that when Sammy does pass, he will go knowing that we all loved him so very much, and knowing him he’ll still be wagging his tail, just happy to have us scratching his head.  We love you so much, Sammy Bear.

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