Product Review - Stridebox - Boxes 2 & 3

Heifers!  I'm in love.  I'm changing my facebook status to "in a relationship" with Stridebox.  Last month's box was amaze-balls.  I reviewed it here.  This month's box didn't disappoint at all, either! If you're following along on my blog here, y'all know I'm new to the delivery boxes.  I really loved last month - every trip to the mailbox made me feel like a kid at Christmas!  Did it arrive? Is it here? What's in it? Can I open it? IS IT HERE YET???  OMG the excitement.

So - imagine my happiness when I received not one but TWO Strideboxes in a week.  I received the one I purchased, as well as the one that I WON during a Twitter chat online.  TWO Strideboxes! Oh me oh my!  I know, I know. You're thinking I must lead a very boring life. But really, when you're a runner, and you get all kinds of new products, it's LEGIT exciting.

Stridebox Arrived! So exciting!

Stridebox Arrived! So exciting!

Ahem.  Anyway ... check out the boxes that arrived:
 

The first box.

The first box.

And the second box.  The Tshirt was a bonus that i won - I don't think it's included in the regular boxes - if it is, I've never received one.

And the second box.  The Tshirt was a bonus that i won - I don't think it's included in the regular boxes - if it is, I've never received one.

Now, look at all these goodies!  I can't even!  Let's talk about the first box. I know I'm easy to entertain, but when that sticker fell out, and I read it, I laughed. Maybe they watch my #weatherweenie videos on Twitter most mornings, and they custom-delivered that sticker right to me.  I hate cold.  I post anti-cold videos on twitter (@MelissaKahn7 if you want cheap bad entertainment) and I figure they know me, they really know me!  I digress.  I was pretty excited about the shoelaces (again, I know you're thinking I need to get a life) but my shoelaces fray sometimes, so these are a welcome addition to my "first aid running kit" that I keep in my car (do y'all have one of these? maybe we should discuss that soon).

So the shoelaces were a win.  Then, I see these two packets of Run Gum.  Caffeinated Gum.  I'm a new-ish runner.  I've been running less than 4 years.  I never heard of caffeinated gum. Like, ever.  I was pretty intrigued by this.  I run at o'dark thirty and so I figured this was going to be the CLEAR winner of the box.

 

Caffeinated Gum.  What could possibly go wrong?

Caffeinated Gum.  What could possibly go wrong?

So, I get up and get ready for my 0500 run last week.  I bring my trusty pack of caffeinated gum.  Normally I don't eat or drink before a run (fasted cardio, it's my jam) If I drink, I feel the water bouncing around in my belly, and that's not a feeling I like - so ...)  I pop a piece of the fruit flavored gum into my mouth with high hopes. I mean, it says FRUIT flavored.  Ummmmm.. no.   It looked like one of those chewy Sweet Tart candies - shiny outer shell which was pleasant enough - I'm assuming that was the fruity flavor they mentioned on the packet.  Then I bit into it.  Gag me. No, seriously.  Gross. It tasted like I was chewing a Tylenol tablet. It was sour. Bitter. Gross.  I kept chewing, waiting for the caffeine to kick in because, hey, at this point I was all in, committed, so what the heck.  It did get nice and soft and was very chewy, I will give it that.  That's about all I can give it. I was essentially chewing on a bitter piece of gum.  I gave it 30 minutes and tossed it sometime during my run when I saw a trash can (don't litter, littering is bad, even if it's just gum).  Did the caffeine help? I'm not sure.  The packet instructions (gum with instructions!!! this has to be for real pros) said to enjoy one piece before your workout for a kick, and one afterwards.  No chance I was trying another piece LOL. Nope, just nope.   I'd be lying if I told you I threw the other piece away - I was curious.  So I did actually try the second piece.  It was just as gross as the first.  I didn't notice any extra boost of energy and while making grimacing faces (because heaven forbid I could just be grown up about it and discreetly toss it... I had to make the faces that would rival a 3 year old eating Brussels Sprouts for the first time)... a friend told me they thought caffeinated gum was something made specifically for truckers.  My response was that maybe truckers have no taste buds?? Or they're really desperate and don't like cawfee.  Either way - this was the one product in the box I give two thumbs down.  The other flavor was no better. I tried both pieces at once from that packet and the taste was still bad.  I did, however, have enough energy to clean my house and the house of everyone in my subdivision. So there's that.  If you're looking for hard-core caffeine, I suggest a few shots of espresso, save your money on the gum. (Sorry Stridebox, I still love you so much!)

The VFuel Ginger Twist endurance drink mix was yummy - a pleasant, light taste, that you mix with about 20 oz of water.  Shake it up really well, guys.  And enjoy - this is from their website:

"Each packet contains 200 calories of Endurance Fuel with electrolytes! Containing Non-GMO Dextrose and our proprietary blend of supplements, VFuel Endurance Drink Mix is the perfect fuel for all of your endurance pursuits! Easy on your stomach, smooth energy, and enough electrolytes to keep you properly hydrated, this product is your new secret weapon!"

I've yet to work up the nerve to try the Hammer Gel - I'm not big on the texture of Gel type products - but I'm thinking I will try it on Thursday during my run.  

Now, let's talk about the Gu Energy Chews- these were surprisingly good.  They have no caffeine (which, after all that gum, I was ok with).  Each serving has sodium and carbs as well as amino acids (which help reduce mental fatigue and help decrease muscle damage) They recommend eating 4 before your activity as well as 4 more every 45 minutes or so during your workouts/races.  I have to say, I liked the blueberry pomegranate taste.  Two thumbs way up.

One final note on the first box - that Bonk Breaker mint chocolate chip bar - ERMAHGAWD.  Yummmmy.  I'd bonk more often if I could have an excuse to eat this.. it's delish.  Two more thumbs way up.

Moving on to the second box --- If I wasn't already in love with these guys - this box DID IT for me.  First -the shirt (which again, I won, so I don't know if others get that) I get it - I'll be a walking advertisement for them but that's ok because I love them.  So this is a shirt I'll wear because I WANT to tell all my runner friends about this stuff!  You need Stridebox! And You! And YOU!!!

Next let's talk about the headband by Rundana -- it is my most favorite item ever!  Check this out:
 

No, seriously.  I freaking LOVE this.

No, seriously.  I freaking LOVE this.

Pardon the rest of me.  Just ran, haven't showered yet in this pic - but look at that headband!!!! I can not love it any more.  It can be a neck cover (it's pretty long) and it can be worn 32,001 different ways (ok slight exaggeration)  Check out their website.  You need one.  Or two.  They're reasonably priced, too, I think.

Pardon the rest of me.  Just ran, haven't showered yet in this pic - but look at that headband!!!! I can not love it any more.  It can be a neck cover (it's pretty long) and it can be worn 32,001 different ways (ok slight exaggeration)  Check out their website.  You need one.  Or two.  They're reasonably priced, too, I think.

Anyway - best product yet.  LOVE it.  I'm still wearing it because it makes me feel badass. Get one.

A few other products included in this box which were really awesome were the anti-chafing get by pjuractive.   What I like about StrideBox is that they send you products that aren't things you would necessarily find at Dick's sporting goods or your local running shop.  I've never seen this particular brand before so I was happy to see something new.  It's a gel that's sweat resistant (which is good for me because I sweat like a dude) and it's actually long lasting and doesn't stink like BenGay.  Trust me, that's a good thing. Nobody ever wants to stink like BenGay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

 

Men, pay attention to the nipple area.  This stuff can help you and save you from days of post-race discomfort... just sayin'.....

Men, pay attention to the nipple area.  This stuff can help you and save you from days of post-race discomfort... just sayin'.....

Another intriguing product was in this box - the SPORTea teabag.  From their website, here's a bit about SPORTea:

What is SPORTea®?

SPORTea® is a delicious, high-performance beverage formulated for active people desiring a nutritious alternative to coffee, soda, alcohol, and sugary "athletic" drinks.

When SPORTea® was first created by a well-known Colorado herbist, he developed this unique beverage with 4 goals in mind:

  1. It needed to provide them with not only a good taste, but also a bit of a lift, a feeling of sustained energy, whenever they need one.It was not that typical energy burst/bust feeling.
  2. It needed to offer a real honest-to-goodness healthy alternative to all the sugary, caffeine loaded, artificially sweetened, and carbonated beverage choices in the marketplace.
  3. It needed to provide key everyday health and nutritional benefits as well.
  4. It needed to fit their active, busy lifestyle by being easy to make and consume.

What makes SPORTea® so unique, is also as much about what it doesn't contain as it is about what it does contain. The formulators wanted people to have a beverage that was good for a person to drink all day long and therefore, it was important to them that SPORTea® have no negative attributes.

SPORTea® does NOT give you:

  • The "surge-sink' let down syndrome so often associated with drinking regular caffeinated and sugary beverages.
  • The extra calories associated with juices, soda, or sugary sports drinks.
  • The potentially negative aspects of consuming diet drinks with artificial sweeteners.
  • The dry unsavory after-taste associated with beverages that really do not quench your thirst.

SPORTea® has a clean and refreshing flavor with no after-taste and truly does quench your thirst.

  • SPORTea® is a decaff equivalent and has NO sugar! It energizes via overall body performance efficiency improvement and not a riveting injection into the central nervous system.
  •  SPORTea® has "0" calories!
  • SPORTea® contains nothing Artificial and is 100% natural!

SPORTea® has a clean and refreshing flavor with no after-taste and truly does quench your thirst.

I found it to be a pretty light enjoyable flavor - and I have to say, beats the caffeinated gum for a little extra boost.

Finally, let's talk about the Sports Beans.  I mean, they're from Jelly Belly, so I figured, how awful could they be?   They're not awful at all. They're kind of like very concentrated jelly beans.  You can read about them here.  I've seen these at most sports stores at the front, near the registers, but never tried them.

Very sweet, with a bitter aftertaste, but a good concentrated source of energy and caffeine on the go.

Very sweet, with a bitter aftertaste, but a good concentrated source of energy and caffeine on the go.

The serving recommendation is one whole packet 30 minutes before your activity.  They're good, but no.  One whole packet would render me buzzing for hours, like a bumble bee on crack. No way. Maybe a few.  They are very concentrated in their sweet flavor, and almost taste a little bit salty (which makes sense, because, salt) and I think they definitely helped me feel a little extra pep in my step during my run (sidenote - I try these products separately, not all together, in case you're is wondering)... and I think I would definitely bring them to longer races as my secret energy bullet.  The aftertaste is bitter - similar to that caffeinated gum - so maybe it's the caffeine in all these products that tastes so bitter...)

The muesli in the box was amazing - this was something I'd already tried (I think I reviewed it separately, too, in another box delivery post) and I still love it.  Two thumbs way up, again.

All in all - (you deserve a medal if you're still reading)... I cannot recommend Stridebox highly enough I love these guys - I love the products that they sample.  Some are hits - some are duds - but I'd never pick up most of these in the store on my own, so it's a great way to try new products and find something you may LOVE, like this headband that I'll never take off.  Ever.

Even their boxes are cool:

 

For a discount on your first stridebox, use code 5RHR16 for $5 off your first box.

(disclaimer - I paid full price for my subscription, and they don't ask me to say any of this stuff, they just send me love notes sometimes which is almost as nice)

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