Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gone for a While

Friends, I haven’t been keeping up with blogs this week and probably won’t get back to it for a while.  My very, very dear friend’s 14-year old son was hit by a car while he was bicycling home from school on Wednesday.  Tom is a great kid with a big heart, and he is fighting for his life in intensive care right now.  My world has been reduced to staring at my phone, waiting for updates on Facebook and pacing my house.  I am sleep-walking through work, I shuffled through my race yesterday and I am struggling to keep my fears from affecting my kids.  All the while thinking to myself how much worse it is for my wonderful friend.  I truly appreciate – because I know how thoughtful and kind you all are – the moment you’ve just spent sending healing thoughts to Tom.  Thank you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Double Digits! (or, “How Zumba Saved my Long Run”)

It’s funny how life has a way of reminding you (and of course by “you,” I mean me) not to take yourself (errrr, myself) too seriously.  Mere moments after proclaiming to the world that I never run races I haven’t trained for, the running gods blew me a little raspberry:  I got an email yesterday morning from a duathlon friend, asking me to join her triathlon relay team for a race THIS SATURDAY.  Apparently the runner she’d been counting on is battling a minor injury, so she wondered if I could take on the five-miles-of-single-track-trail leg of the race.  “Of course I can!” was my response, because, really, why the heck not?  I am about as unprepared for this type of run as a girl can possibly be, but I’m giddy with excitement anyway – what a fun challenge!

So, with a few readjustments here and there on my training plan to work out my mileage, it turned out that I was going to need to get in my long run today.  Oh.  Alrighty then.  I ate some pasta for dinner last night and pre-hydrated so I could be ready Freddy for ten miles this morning.

I was already looking forward to this week’s long run – double digits!  For the first time this year!  Running ten miles sounded like I was finally going on a “real” long run.  With all that anticipation and preparation, you would think I was rarin’ to go this morning, right?

Ugh, not really.  I got up around 4:45 or so and did all my normal morning stuff – coffee, blog reading and “business” – so I could be out the door by 5:30.  It struck me by the time I got to the end of my block that it was…well, I won’t use the word “hot” because you’ll laugh at me, but 60-something degrees at 5:30 am didn’t feel like the cool and refreshing morning I had hoped for.  And silly me, I had made a Gatorade to bring with me and left it on the counter!  D’oh!

The first mile was hard.  So hard I found myself whining in my head, “How am I going to run ten miles if I can’t even run ONE?”  My goal for the run was marathon pace, but I decided that anything within one minute of marathon pace was close enough for now.  Usually after the first mile, my legs loosen up and I can settle into the run.  Not so much today.  I made it to the two mile mark still bargaining with myself about my pace goal.  I put my headphones on so I wouldn’t have to listen to my own huffing and puffing anymore, thinking that might help me get in the zone.

Mile three rolled around and even the Black-Eyed Peas hadn’t been able to turn my feet from lead into gold.  Then something funny happened – one of my Zumba songs shuffled into the mix and my legs started to bailar.  That’s “to dance” in Spanish, and yes I know that means I just said “…my legs started to to dance,” but since I only learned that word a few days ago, I’m not quite up to conjugating it just yet.  I know Restaurant Spanish from my many years of apron-wearing service – “Mas platos, por favor!” – and I can swear quite colorfully thanks to the busboys’ fine tutoring, but I know very little other than that.  One of the girls in the Zumba class I teach told me about bailar and now that I’m listening for it, I can pick it out of a lot of songs.  Zumba songs frequently talk about dancing, go figure!

So there I am, running along, listening to Que Te Mueve, and my hands sort of involuntarily start doing a little Beto Shuffle.  Next thing I know, I’m cruising along at a really nice clip and feeling great.  My legs kept running, but in my head, I was moving and grooving like I was teaching a class.

I totally look like this when I’m teaching my class.  Totally.

In the end, I managed to negative-split my run and even squeaked in with an average pace a few seconds under my marathon goal pace.  Ten miles, spanked.  w00t!

Post Long Run 003Savoring my post-run compression tights and a chocolate-banana-spinach-and-peanut butter protein shake.

Have you ever taken a Zumba class?  Do you understand any of the songs?

What’s your favorite post-run meal or drink?  Have you ever put spinach in a smoothie?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Miner’s Ravine 5K–Race Report

Oh, man, what a morning!  My 5K was a tiny little race (202 participants), but it ran the gamut for dramatic moments.  We should’ve had Jim McKay there announcing, “Spanning Central California to bring you the constant variety of sport…the thrill of victory…the agony of defeat…the human drama of athletic competition…This is the Miner’s Ravine 5K!!”

Remember how on Thursday I was all, “This race has no pressure, I’m totally okay with whatever I run”? 

Yeah.  I’m a big, fat liar. 

Here’s the thing:  I don’t race for fun.  I wish I could.  I tell myself all the time to relax and enjoy the run and take things as they come, etc.  But you know what?  I’m not that girl.  One time I did a race that wasn’t my primary goal and I will never do that to myself again.  I train for specific races and then I run them to the best of my ability.  It’s why I only do about 8 races a year.  It’s why I found myself in a tight ball of nerves at this morning’s starting line, thinking to myself, “Maybe I have a great race in me.  I’ll have to push it to find out for sure.”

Miner's Ravine 5K 004Ready to run, trying to keep my coffee down.

In my opinion, 9 am is a little late for a race start.  I had already been up for hours and I was beyond antsy to get going.  We watched the super cute kid’s race go at 8:30, then the 10K went off (a few minutes late, because they were waiting for all the kids to clear the course) at 8:55, and then it was finally time for the 5K at 9:10.

This race was tough right from the get-go.  The first stretch was a really steep downhill (which of course would be the last gasp uphill at the finishing chute!), with a sharp right turn followed immediately by a sharp and narrowing left turn with more steep downhill and then another sharp right turn.  Yikes!  I positioned myself a little off the starting line because I knew I wouldn’t be able to go out super fast in those conditions.

Miner's Ravine 5K 027There were lots of kids at this race.  They all started right in front of me and all but one of them came to a screeching walk after about a quarter of a mile.  That wasn’t annoying at all.

Miner's Ravine 5K 037Navigating the last sharp turn.  You can see that lots of people passed me on that first downhill section.  It’s okay, I caught most of them later.

After that first part, we settled in to some gentler turns with some mild climbing.  I felt good and I started passing people.  The hills kept coming, sort of like stair-steps:  climb for a bit, then level off, then climb some more.  This was fine by me, as I’m not a strong downhill runner.  None of the hills were overwhelming by themselves, but they definitely had a cumulative effect. 

About half a mile in, the crowd had thinned out and I found myself hanging out behind a group of cross-country aged girls and one very young boy.  I could tell I was gaining on the group, but I didn’t want to waste the energy to go around them, so I sort of crept into the middle of them instead.  They parted like the Red Sea and I kept running hard.  One girl hung with me and we both hung with the little boy who was still running strong.

It took forever to get to the 1 Mile mark.  There was no end to the hills and I was wondering if I’d gone out too hard.  “Wondering” – ha! – I always go out too hard!  What I was really wondering was whether or not I was going to crash and burn before the turnaround.  I glanced at my Garmin, though, and I went from thinking, “This is too hard,” to thinking, “OMG, I’m holding a sub-8 pace on these hills?  I rock!”  That mental boost kept me pushing.

Just after the first mile marker, I could see the lead runners coming back.  As I approached the turnaround, I saw the lead girl.  Wait, what?!?  I was second place female??  Oops, make that third place female, since my little cross country friend was back in front of me again.  But, still.

After we turned around, the course became net downhill, which was a huge relief.  I tucked in behind the XC girl and the little boy and we hammered back toward the finish.  Right about Mile 2, a little girl (seriously, she was 8 years old!) went flying past us.  I was already giving it everything I had, so I let her go.  Around Mile 2.5, I could feel both the little boy and the XC girl starting to fade.  Both of them were suddenly breathing a lot harder and slapping their feet a little more.  I had a total “Mom moment” though, and didn’t want to pass them!  After a few seconds’ hesitation, I knew I had to push myself to do whatever I could, even if it meant passing children, so off I went.  There was one more guy up ahead and I really wanted to reel him in.

Miner's Ravine 5K 046Gotcha!  I passed the guy right before the last two big uphill sections.

Miner's Ravine 5K 049Final turn, giving it every single thing I had.  You can see how much it hurt!

Miner's Ravine 5K 053Cross-country girl had more.  It was a family venue, so I kept it quiet, but here’s photographic evidence of me dropping an F-bomb because I just got passed in the finishing chute!  Ha, ha!!

Miner's Ravine 5K 069The agony of defeat was incredibly short-lived, because right about then was when I saw the clock!  I knew I was a little off the start, but didn’t know how many seconds.  Could this be a PR???

I came flying up to the Finish Line, stopped my Garmin and checked my time – 23:35.  Holy smokes!  But I still didn’t know if that was a PR!  I couldn’t remember!  I grabbed a water and a bagel and racked my brain to remember if my PR was 23:35 or 23:36.  Either way, today was huge, but I made IronHubs look it up on his phone.  While he was doing that, they posted race results and it turned out that I PR’d by two seconds!! 

Official time – 23:34!!

Miner's Ravine 5K 082Making the day even sweeter – really, making my YEAR even sweeter – was the fact that I won my age group!  Boo-yah!!

I know good and well that 23rd overall, 4th place female and 1st in my age really just means that all the fast girls were racing elsewhere today (seriously, there were like four local races to choose from this weekend!), but the two second PR?  That was my hard work, and I’m going to bask in the glory of those two little seconds until my next PR.

How was your weekend??  Anybody else shave two seconds off their previous best??

Friday, September 16, 2011

(Rather Random) Friday Five!

One of these days (but apparently not this week), I will write a blog post that includes an actual narrative.  Until then, however, I am all about the bullet points.  Ha, ha!  Here’s my Friday Five:

  1. Today was pretty much the best mail day EVER!  First up, I ordered a pair of these bad boys from runningwarehouse.com yesterday afternoon and they showed up on my doorstop this. morning.  Dang, I love Running Warehouse!  And I suspect I’m going to love these Merrell Pace Gloves, too.  I haven’t taken them off my feet yet.  Initial review coming later next week after I’ve had a chance to test them out.
    Random 013Merrell calls this color “acacia,” but I would go with straight up yellow.
  2. You might be wondering - why did I get the Merrells when I already love my Vibrams so much?  Let’s call it peer pressure.  I hear an unbelievable amount of crap nonsense from people at work about my Vibrams and I’ve grown tired of trying to explain why I wear them.  Notice the word “trying” in that sentence.  People simply don’t understand why I would want to wear a shoe that mimics being barefoot.  On the other hand, though, I’ve noticed that when I wear regular shoes to work, my feet and legs hurt by the time I get home!  I’m hoping the Pace Gloves will be the best of both worlds – barefoot shoes that look “normal.”Random 010Bonus - they match my new favorite skirt that I got at Sports Authority for 14 bucks! Why wouldn’t I wear running shoes with a skirt??
  3. Looky what else came in the mail today:  Random 012Study stuff!  I know for a fact I was never this excited about a text book when I was in high school or college.
  4. IronHubs and I went for a lovely ride on the American River Bike Trail this morning.  It was perfect weather and mighty nice company.  TurkeysOh, wait, the turkeys weren’t good company, I was talking about IronHubs!  D and PWhy yes, we were extra visible in our neon yellow!
  5. And now here’s a funny photo of my cat sleeping in Big Boy’s bed (complete with vintage Star Wars sheets that belonged to IronHubs circa 1978):  Random 001Did you seriously wake me up to take a picture for your blog?  WTF?

Happy Friday, everyone!!  What five random things are on your mind today??

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Triple Ts

Happy Thursday!  It’s my Friday for the work week, so I’m feeling good and bustin’ out some bullet points!

  1. I ran nine miles this morning!  Yes, I know I was just crowing about my eight mile awesomeness on Monday, but this week’s long run had to be moved up a few days.  More on that in Bullet Point Number Two.  Nine miles felt spectacular!  I ran here in town, which means that there was exactly one hill on my route and it doesn’t actually count as a hill because it’s just an overpass.  Lucky me, it’s pretty easy to run nine flat miles.  Talk to me when I do hills again next week for my ten-miler.  I hit marathon pace with no problems and saw a surprising number of other runners (surprising because it was 6 am on a Thursday, not exactly running rush hour).  Pretty soon I’m going to stop mentioning this, but today’s run was my longest run of 2011!
  2. I’m racing this weekend!  It’s “just” a 5K, but I’m pretty excited about it.  I haven’t raced a 5K in a rather long time (March 2010, to be exact).  Crazy, right?  But I PR’d by so much at that race that I frankly don’t see myself beating that time ever again.  And being the kind of girl who is ridiculously competitive with myself, I sort of didn’t want to race any more 5Ks and “lose.”  This one is perfect, though, because it’s a very hilly course, so there’s pretty much no chance of a PR.  There, now the pressure is gone!  I’m going into the race thinking of it as speedwork and hillwork combined, both of which I need to train for the CIM.  My goal is to run strong and push hard.  Time-wise, I’m okay with whatever comes to me.
  3. Blogging has turned me into a person without shame!  This week isn’t the first time I’ve noticed it, but I had to laugh at myself and the state of my blogging life on Tuesday when I picked the winner of the PROBAR giveaway.  I had my blog open in the browser and little slips of paper all over the floor  when Little Boy came home from school.  Without even taking off his backpack, he hustled over and said, “Ooooh, a bloggy giveaway!  Do you need me to take pictures?”  I was unembarrassed as he filmed me chanting eenie, meenie, miney, moe.  I don’t even think twice anymore about snapping selfies in public or posting unflattering pictures of myself on the internet.  In fact, here are a few outtakes from past posts to give you a little giggle on this fabulous Thursday:

Core Work 091Don’t do core work like this.

Sweaty Post Run Pics 001This was the very first selfie I ever took for the blog, way back in June 2010.  I remember feeling terribly self-conscious and hoping IronHubs and the kids wouldn’t wake up while I was taking this photo!

Easter 011Nerd Alert!  I took no fewer than a dozen photos in this silly pose the day I was blogging about bare arms.

Power of Ten Virtual Race 003I have so many headless photos of myself it’s re-donk-ulous!  Selfies are harder than they look.

Adventure Winner 004Some people really shouldn’t wear hats and make that stupid duck face.  And by “some people” I mean me.

What’s the silliest/most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done for your blog??

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Winner, Winner, PROBARs for Dinner!

Actually, more like PROBARs for lunch, but that doesn’t rhyme.

Okay.  So remember when I won the RLAM giveaway and I was all excited about getting a box of HALO bars and a box of the PROBAR meal replacement bars?  Well, the HALO bars arrived on my doorstop unaccompanied and I thought maybe I was wrong about getting both boxes and really, who cared because the HALOs were so yummy and I didn’t need to get all greedy, right? 

Holy cats, guess what showed up today?

PROBAR Winner 018Yes, there was already one missing by the time I took this picture!

I walked in the door after work to find this box of beauties waiting for me and lemme tell ya, there was no other option but to snarf up the Koka Moka for lunch.  Nom, nom, nom!!  Definitely a meal replacement, these bars hover around the 350 calorie/18 grams of fat mark.  It’s good fat, of course, with all those nuts and peanut butter.

The Koka Moka didn’t disappoint – it was nutty, chewy, delicious and definitely filled me up.  I’ve already put my dibs on the Apple Cinnamon Crunch and Kettle Corn bars, but I suspect I’ll have to arm wrestle the kids and IronHubs for the others.

Mighty good timing for these bars to show up when they did, since today was the day to pick a winner for my PROBAR giveaway!  I hope you know me well enough by now to know that I couldn’t possibly do this the easy way.  Here’s how one lucky reader was chosen:

PROBAR Winner 00160 comments = 60 little slips of paper.

PROBAR Winner 003Each slip of paper got folded for anonymity and mixed up for randomness.

PROBAR Winner 005All the entries, waiting to be chosen.

Oh, but how did I pick the winner?

Do the math–60 comments, only one winner. Yes, that means I did this 59 times!

A bazillion years later, there was just one piece of paper left:

PROBAR Winner 016Lucky number 47!  I’ve never noticed until today that the comments aren’t numbered on posts, so I scrolled down and counted them until I found…

PROBAR Winner 017The WINNER!!!

Congratulations, Sophia!!  Shoot me an email with your shipping address so you can enjoy your very own box of HALO bars!

Thanks to everyone who entered!  If you didn’t win, remember that you can order your own PROBARs online and score 40% off with the discount code “BLOGGER”!  Happy nomming!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

Another Monday…how’d that happen?  I had one of those weekends that doesn’t feel very weekend-y (I worked), so today’s post is brought to you by my dear friend, the bullet point:

  • I ran EIGHT MILES yesterday!!!  You might not think that is worthy of three exclamation points, but I totally do.  Eight continuous miles is my longest run so far this year.  Yes, the calendar year 2011.  Eight miles.  It’s been a long, slow recovery year, for sure!

8 miler 001You can see from the little “swapping arrows” that I moved this run from Saturday to Sunday.  I am incapable of following a training plan in its entirety.

  • I met my goal pace, but it was a close one.  Yesterday’s route was a hilly one and I found myself averaging well over Marathon Pace nearing mile 6, so I picked it up.  A lot.  Good to know I have two really strong miles in me at the end of a hilly run!
  • Yesterday’s run finished up my second highest mileage week of the year (with the week of my half-iron being the highest mileage so far) at a little over 19 miles.  Sa-weet!
  • Saturday was Big Boy’s first cross country meet of the season and he did exceptionally well, busting out a 6:22 pace!   I’m so glad he got IronHubs’ genes, because speed like that sure isn’t coming from me!

rosemont cc 2011 067Tired and happy!

  • I bit the bullet this weekend and decided to get certified as a Personal Trainer!  I looked into it over a year ago, then landed my current job.  I’m a fitness trainer, which basically means I do the same thing, but I’m not certified.  Therefore, I only make about half of what a certified trainer makes.  Why was this a tough decision??  It shouldn’t have been, and I kick myself all the time that I didn’t follow through last year.  C’est la vie.  Study materials arrive this week and I’ll be taking my test sometime in the next six months – wish me luck!
  • Today is the last day to enter my HALO bar giveaway, so go and get your entries in now!!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Evolution of a Training Plan, Part Three

Where I finally wrap things up!  If you’re interested, you can also check out Part One, The Newbie Years and Part Two, When Things went from Bad to Worse.  Part Three is still a work in progress, but I feel good about this one having a happy ending!  Insert standard clause about not being a coach or an expert, blah blah blah.  If I’ve learned anything over the last five years of running and racing, it’s that we are all an experiment of one.  If something you read here seems helpful, yay!  Otherwise, feel free to ignore or mock it.

The seeds for my current training plan were planted way back in January, when I read the article “Way of the Renegades” in Runner’s World.  On the one hand, I choked at how the author referred to peaking  with 70+ mile weeks as a “less is more” plan.  Sounds like just plain “more” to me, a girl whose biggest week ever was 32 miles.  But on the other hand, some of the thinking behind the plan really resonated with me – train on tired legs at marathon pace to simulate the final grueling miles of the race.  After years of robotically plugging in numbers on SmartCoach with limited success, I felt really excited to try something new.

Of course, then my year of running turned into a year of learning how to run with my new and improved form, which kept my mileage low, low, low.  (Seriously low.  It’s September and I’ve just now reached 300 miles for the year.)  So when marathon training plan-making time rolled around, I didn’t have near the base mileage I needed to work the Hanson plan.  No matter, I was ready to make up my own Frankenstein plan, pulling from things that have worked for me in the past and incorporating new ideas to shake up my training.

CIM Training Plan 001The Plan posted in all its glory on the refrigerator.

A few notes about the plan:

  • The way it looks is totally important!  Bright colors and fun fonts honestly make a difference to me, dorky as that sounds.
  • I always title and sub-title my training plans.  This one, in case you can’t read it, says “P {hearts} the CIM…sub-4! sub-4! sub-4!”  Keeping my goals right there on paper to see every day works for me.
  • The Boston magnet is there for good luck.  I’m sure after reading about my previous marathons, you’re thinking to yourself, “Really, P?  You think you’ve got a BQ in you?”  Yes.  Yes, I do.
  • Each week is built on the same routine.  Of course there are variations here and there for races (mine or somebody else in the family), but for the most part, Monday = Easy 2, Tuesday = Speedwork, etc.
  • Every workout has a purpose.  I think this is my favorite aspect of this plan.  I really love having a goal, so reaching for a specific pace or purpose on every single run completely satisfies that “checking things off the to-do list” part of my nature.  Monday’s goal is to run easy, so I don’t even wear my Garmin and I go as slow as I want-to-slash-can while maintaining decent form.  Tuesday’s speedwork goals are very specific and I chose paces that are challenging but reachable.  Thursday’s run is a “middle distance” marathon pace run, meant to hone in on running MP on fresh legs, which is weirdly hard to do!  When I feel good, I want to fly, but I make myself rein it in, just like the early miles of the marathon where you’re tempted to bank time, but need to keep it steady at goal pace.  Of course, then I go too slow, so I have to remind myself to pick it up a little.  Hitting MP on the nose is more of a mental challenge than a physical one, to be honest.  Saturday’s long run is also at marathon pace, so I can really learn exactly what that pace feels like and just click into it automatically come race day.
  • The workouts are in their order for a purpose, too.  Wednesday is a rest day because my “real” life (whatever that is!) is crazy busy and fitting in a workout actually makes me feel stressed out.  Sad, I know.  Thursday and Friday are good workouts, but not necessarily long ones, leaving me fresh and ready for a long run on Saturday.  Then Sunday’s bike and Monday’s easy run gear me up for running hard on Tuesday’s speedwork.

While making this plan, I found myself adhering to a few “core values” that really shaped the final product.  Most importantly, I was emotionally attached to the plan.  This was an element sorely lacking in other plans I’ve used and I truly think it makes a difference.  When you don’t know or don’t care why you’re running a certain distance or a certain pace, it leaves you lacking the confidence and commitment that are crucial on race day.

Somewhat related to the emotional attachment was the fact that I thought a lot about what would make me happy while training.  Silly, right?  But if I’m not happy with my training then why the heck would I do it?!?  Routines make me happy, so I set up regular weekly workouts.  Spanking my speedwork times makes me super happy, so I set goals that I’m pretty darn sure I can hit. The colors and fonts on the plan are part of my “train happy” idea, too.  I run marathons because I like them!

Just as important (though sadly, more serious.  Whatever.) was the principle of training like I’m going to race.  So many plans have had me running marathon pace plus a minute or more for my long runs and I have always felt that all this did was prepare me to run slow on race day.  I know the conventional wisdom is that you’re training for time on your feet.  But even though I understand that, I don’t agree with it for my own training.  I’m a creature of habit and after weeks of running at a certain pace, I get “stuck” there.  I’m counting on that working in my favor this time around.

So, there you have it.  How to make a training plan in three easy steps, though you can totally skip Step Two and not hurt my feelings.  I’ll let you know how it all worked out for me in a mere 87 days!

In the meantime, have you entered my HALO bars giveaway?  What are you waiting for?  Go now!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hello, HALO! 200th Post! Review and GIVEAWAY!

Happy 200th post to me!!  And – yay! – I’m celebrating with a giveaway!  Think I’m gonna stop with all the exclamation points?  No way, I’m too excited!

Remember when I won the box of PROBARs from Another Mother Runner a few weeks ago?  And I predicted that my review would be all, “Nom, nom, nom!”  Yeah, well, here’s my review:

Nom, nom, nom!!

HALO Bars 003Obligatory wildly unflattering photo of me trying to eat the whole box.

Oh, okay, there’s more to the review:

I’m not a super healthy eater.  In fact, I’m something of a recovering Cheeto-aholic.  I have eaten a bag of microwave popcorn and called it dinner (don’t you judge me – popcorn has a lot of fiber; thus, it is a health food).  But last year, when IronHubs was training for Silverman, we started cleaning up our eating a little bit at a time.  I’m not going to act like I never microwave dinner anymore, but I’ve at least started to make some healthier choices.  One of the biggest changes I’ve made is really reading labels on my prepackaged food.  I’ve always paid attention to fat and calories and whatnot, but I’ve never given a lot of thought to what the food is made of.  Nowadays, if there are lots of ingredients I can’t pronounce or don’t recognize, I (probably) won’t buy it.

halopressroom

*seamless segue way*  The HALO ProBars are 100% natural – every single item in the ingredient list is actual food.  They are certified organic and vegan.  Did you know that there’s such a thing as vegan marshmallows?  I just found that out by reading these labels.  Even if you don’t care about the ingredient list, lemme tell ya – these things are freakin’ delicious!  Here are the flavors, in the order of how much I loved them:

  1. S’Mores – when my box arrived, I ripped it open and devoured one of these puppies right away!  Yes, please, I would like s’more!
  2. Rocky Road – super chocolatey and nutty!  I don’t like rocky road ice cream at all, so this was the last flavor I tried, but I was very pleasantly surprised by how yummy it was.
  3. Nutty Marshmallow – this one could actually be a tie for second place with the rocky road, it depends on whether or not you’re in a chocolate mood.  Ha, ha – like there’s such a thing as “not a chocolate” mood!  I crack myself up.
  4. Honey Graham – the only reason this came in fourth place is because I’m not a huge graham fan.  I like graham crackers, but only after I’ve eaten all the chocolate chips in the house.

My thoughts on all of the bars:

  • They’re very, very moist.  In my opinion, this is a good thing.  I like chewy cookies more than crunchy ones, soft granola bars more than crispy ones, cake more than celery, etc.
  • They’re totally nutty.  Not like they tell zany jokes or love a good whoopie cushion, but they’re actually full of nuts.  Again, this is a good thing.  I keep nuts in the house all the time for a quick snack because I love ‘em.
  • They’re super sweet.  You could easily eat them for dessert.  In fact, I did.
  • They’re much more filling than I expected.  When I opened the first one (at about 1:30 pm), I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed because it was sort of small, but after I ate it I was full until dinner.  And I’m generally a two-snacks-in-the-afternoon sort of girl.
  • They’re hearty.  By this I mean they’re not an especially low-cal or low-fat snack.  The 1.3 oz Rocky Road bar has 160 calories and 8 grams of fat, so it’s more robust than just a light snack.  It’s a lot of good fat, of course, from all the nuts, but still, you probably don’t want to plow through three of them at a sitting.

So!  Wanna win a BOX (seriously, 12 of them!  Not just one measly bar) of these for yourself??  HALO, yeah!  Here’s how (please leave a separate comment for each):

  • Mandatory – Be or become a follower of my blog. Thank you!
  • Mandatory – Go to the PROBAR website and check out all their delicious flavors.  There’s way more available than just the HALOs!  Tell me which one is/would be your favorite.
  • Optional – Post about this giveaway on your blog or your FB page or on “the Twitter” (please include @PahlaB and @theprobar in your tweet)
  • Optional – “Like” Adventures of an Average Athlete on Facebook (link on sidebar)
  • Optional – “Like” PROBAR on Facebook
  • Optional – Follow me (@PahlaB) on Twitter (link on sidebar)
  • Optional – Follow PROBAR (@theprobar) on Twitter

Yes, this means you could have up to nine entries to win!  I will accept entries until next Monday, September 12 and announce a winner on Tuesday.  Good luck!!

What if you can’t wait to win and you love a good bargain?  Oh, yeah, baby, I’ve got a discount code for you!  Head on over to PROBAR’s online store and enter the code BLOGGER at checkout for 40% off your first purchase!!

Don’t say I never did anything for you. Smile  Happy Labor Day Weekend!