Product Review: HOTSHOT

Courtesy of my IRUN4ULTRA ambassadorship, I was given two bottles of HOTSHOT to test for muscle cramping. The origin story of HOTSHOT is thrilling, but let’s get to what it is first.

According to the HOTSHOT site, it is “the proprietary formulation that controls your Neuro Muscular Performance (NMP) and stops muscle cramps where they really start. At the nerve.”

The ingredients are as follows:

Filtered Water, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Gum Arabic, Organic Lime Juice Concentrate, Pectin, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Organic Stevia Extract, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Capsaicin

I like the fact that it’s a fairly small list of organic ingredients. I’m not sure why it has both cane sugar and stevia, because I sure didn’t taste sugar. But we’ll get to that in a second!

HOTSHOT’s origin story is unique to say the least. “After surviving life-threatening muscle cramps while deep-sea kayaking off the coast of Cape Cod, [Dr. Rod MacKinnon] discovered that existing cramp remedies—that target the muscle—didn’t work. Calling upon his Nobel Prize-winning expertise on ion channels, Rod reasoned that preventing and treating cramps began with focusing on the nerve, not the muscle.”

I wasn’t sure when to use HOTSHOT, because I typically don’t suffer from muscle cramps while running. Last night, however, I was hit with the most random hamstring cramps imaginable while doing the bridge pose from a free Amazon Prime yoga video. Holy mother of all-get-out, it was painful.

I immediately ran upstairs to grab my HOTSHOT to see if I could continue on with twenty more minutes of yoga cramp free.


When I first opened the bottle, it almost looked like bubbles to me, and I was surprised to see that it was clear (although it’s hard to tell, since it’s in a black bottle). I’ve heard from other IRUN4ULTRA ambassadors that it tastes like cinnamon Red Hots hard candy, so I figured it had to be red in color. I took a whiff, and it definitely smelled hot.

I made sure to double check the directions before consuming, because they seem oddly specific to me: Drink a 1.7-ounce HOTSHOT 15–30 minutes before exercise to boost your Neuro Muscular Performance and prevent muscle cramps. For best results, avoid food or beverages that may coat your mouth—such as peanut butter, protein shakes or dairy—10 minutes before, and a few minutes after drinking HOTSHOT. A clean palate allows HOTSHOT to activate TRP channels in the sensory nerves in your mouth. Tastes even better cold.

I hadn’t had any dairy or food that would coat my mouth that night, so I figured it was a go. (I was doing this yoga video at 10 p.m., mind you.) Here goes nothin’ . . . !


Here’s a picture of my reaction right after taking the shot.


I’m not going to lie—it has quite the kick! It wasn’t quite as spicy as I thought it would be, but my tongue was definitely on fire for about thirty seconds or so. I didn’t take it chilled as recommended to dampen the bite/kick, but it really wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

I continued on with twenty more minutes of yoga, and although I experienced one foot cramp while trying to do a ridiculous split, I didn’t experience any more hamstring cramps, which is praise worthy.

I took HOTSHOT at the first sign of cramping, while the directions say to take it 15–30 minutes before exercise if possible or at the first sign of cramps. I’m curious to see what happens when I take the second bottle before doing yoga this week.

All in all, I would definitely use HOTSHOT again, although I don’t think I need it in my running arsenal in regular rotation. If you experience muscle cramps frequently, I would say to definitely give it a shot (get it?!)!


Product Review: LaceLocker


I received a pair of LaceLockers® (which retail for $7.95) in my IRUN4ULTRA swag bag the other day and instantly began to sweat and have horrific flashbacks to a similar product that I’ve used before.

I had been meaning to take my Lock Laces® (which retail for $7.99) off of my old shoes to put onto my current Brooks, but they were so hard to originally put on that taking them off seemed like a daunting task that I’d rather avoid—oh, hey, is that a pile of laundry that needs folding?!

Clearly I’m a weakling when it comes to shutting that darn little plastic clasp on the Lock Laces, so putting my Lock Laces on my shoes was a nightmare. I also reused them on various pairs of shoes (which I’m sure isn’t the intent), so taking them off one pair and putting them on another required some imagination. (Think a knife, a lighter, my husband’s help, and lots of swearing.)

I love the ease of being able to pull my sneakers on and off without re-tieing, and I hate stopping to tie my shoes during a run or race, so I figured I should suck it up and put on my new LackLockers.

The instructions were incredibly easy to follow (with pictures for us visual learners, yay!), and I even enlisted the help of the Angry Toddler at one point, although I really didn’t need help.

LaceLockers are basically Velco-wraps of goodness that envelop your tied shoe laces so they won’t get in your way. It took me all of three seconds to apply to each shoe, and I’m diggin’ the fact that I can remove them with ease and put them on my next pair of shoes. Now there’s some bang for your buck!

I would highly recommend LaceLockers to any runner, and they even come in different varieties that include reflective material and colors!

If that weren’t enough to entice you, did you know that all net proceeds from your LaceLocker purchase provide underprivileged young women the opportunity to attend college? How’s that for a worthy cause!

Mini Race Recap: Angela Ivory Memorial 50K

On a whim, I decided to sign up for the Angela Ivory Memorial 50K/50-Miler at Killen’s Pond State Park in Felton, DE. I knew that I wouldn’t be trained for a 50K, plus I had a toddler’s superhero birthday party to attend at 11 a.m. that day, but I figured I would get my feet wet in terms of an ultra experience and a trail race.

Prior to the race, I made plans to meet up and say hi to fellow IRUN4ULTRA ambassador, Martha. She had never run an ultra before either, but little did I know she’s fast as all get out and ended up winning the damn thing on the women’s side.

Hubs and I decided that I would go to this race alone, since the start time was around 8 a.m. I say around that time, because the information said 8 a.m., but the Drive to Run site said it was an 8:30 a.m. start. I’m a Type A, so it bothered me that I didn’t know the exact start time of the race.

I’m also a hopelessly bad driver and have no sense of direction, so getting there was a wee bit of a challenge. I was greeted by this awesome sign on the passenger-side seat when I got in the car:


I was fine until my GPS took me right, when the written directions on the Drive to Run site that I had printed out (how’s that for old school?) said to go left. I ended up making some weird loop on an access road next to some farmlands, but eventually I found my way to the Killen’s Pond State Park entrance.

Martha had texted me before I got to the entrance saying that the gate wasn’t open yet and that cars were just sitting there waiting for someone to open the park.


Thankfully, I only sat for a minute or two before someone came to open the gate. Since I have zero sense of direction, I was very nervous the night before about actually finding the meeting area for the race. The directions on the Driven to Run site were simply to “make a right turn into large parking lot (just past water park); rendezvous at picnic tables.” I had only been to Killen’s once  before, and hubs was driving, so I didn’t pay any attention to where we were actually going. Luckily, I just followed the long line of cars into the park, so I had no trouble finding the picnic tables.

As I got out of my car, I noticed that it was still drizzling a little, but at least it wasn’t an all-out downpour like it had been the few days before the race. I walked over to the picnic tables, sheepishly realizing my rookie mistake of not bringing any sort of fuel to share with my fellow runners (Learning Experience #1!). I said hi to Martha and her mom, and we chatted for a few minutes before we all took a group picture and the race director got up on a picnic table to give us a few words of advice. He told us to follow the orange markers (pay attention here, this is important for later in the recap), where there were a few tricky spots where you had to pay attention in order to stay on the trail, and to just start whenever you wanted. (So there goes my 8 versus 8:30 start-time theory.) I was super nervous about staying on the darn trail, but I figured I’d just follow someone, anyone and make it through. It seemed like there were maybe ten, fifteen runners total, so I figured I’d see someone out on the trails.

Martha’s mom noted that Martha started at 8:08 a.m., and I was only a minute or so behind her, because I stopped to say hi to my friend Ryan who had gotten there a few minutes late (or right on time, depending on what start time you went with, hah!).

Literally less than five minutes into the race, I see Martha turn around and motion with her hands up in a quizzical look as if to say, “Which way do I go?” The guy in front of me pointed her in the right direction, and I followed suit. I had hoped to run my usual 10:30 pace, but I quickly threw that out the window, since duh, trail running was a lot more technical, and I had to pay more attention to not falling flat on my face. I thought the trails would be a lot more muddy, but overall they were fairly dry in most areas.

Not even two miles into the race, the guy in front of me made a sharp left turn, but I honestly thought he was going to squat in the woods. The race director said that there were no bathrooms available, except that he motioned to the entire woods and said that what you see is what you get! So I kept going straight on the trail along my merry way.

Then I came to two areas that just didn’t look right to me. I had been following the orange spray paint on the ground that I thought was either orange markers or just to signify that there were roots/rocks on the trail that folks should avoid. (Learning Experience #2!)

I came to a clearing with a paved road with ZERO markers. I backtracked, found two nice women, and together we set out to figure out where the hell we were. The one woman, Lara, was from New York and was a very experience ultra runner. She was super nice, and I had a great time running and chatting with her. Maybe ten minutes or so into running with her and this other woman (I’m so sorry that I didn’t catch your name!), we hear someone yelling at us. It’s the race director saying that we’re going the wrong way. He yells, “Follow the yellow markers!” Screeeeech. Haulllllllt. What the what? I know for a fact that he said ORANGE markers before the race started. He laughed, apologized sheepishly, and we course corrected. Before we parted ways with the RD, he told us that the yellow marker loop was about 3.1 miles, and the orange marker loop was only about 3.3 miles or so, so we hadn’t veered too far off course.

Lara and I finally came across the picnic-table start and surmised that we ran maybe 3.4 miles or so instead of the 3.1-mile loop of the course, but that was OK. We started out for Loop 2, and this time the course made a lot more sense. I thought all along that we were supposed to be running around Killen’s Pond, and indeed we were this time!


Lara regaled me with her harrowing ultra tales, and it helped to pass the time, along with the neat scenery. I’m used to running around paved neighborhoods, so it was such a nice change of pace out in the woods. I even saw this abandoned car frame (I think?).


Since I only had until around 10 a.m. to run, I stopped after Loop 2 to see how far I’d gone. I was just over 6.5 miles, and also quite defeated pace-wise. How was I running this slowly?! I know of course some of it was walking around lost in the woods, and some of it was just taking my time to look at the sights, but man. I really had hoped to squeeze 10 miles in at least. I had daydreamed of even doing 15 if possible, but that just wasn’t going to happen. That’s OK though, because it was still an awesome time, I had a blast, and I know others did too.

All in all, I absolutely loved my experience at this race, I got a taste of what trail running is like (and I LOVE it), and I got to meet some really nice runners! I would definitely recommend doing this FREE race in 2018, and I’ll be there for sure!




Product Review: Vega Clean Protein Powder (Chocolate)


I’ve been looking for a fairly inexpensive protein powder for quite some time now. I wanted something that was high in protein, but lower in carbs and sugar. Every single time we went to Target, I dragged my family to the protein powder section to salivate over Vega products. To be honest, the word “clean” caught my eye on the packaging, and the Olly brand seemed to have too many options/gimmicks to me.

I asked my trusted registered dietitian, Serena Marie, RD, what she might recommend out of the several options that I sent her, and this seemed to be a good pick. She highly recommends this brand, which I might try in the future.

Vega retails at Target for $34.99 for a 19.5-ounce container, and that was still too pricey for me. However, on Amazon, the same size goes for $24.33, plus right now you can “clip” a 20 percent coupon! I had an Amazon gift card from Christmas, so I got my container for free. Woot woot!

I’ve only tried it once so far—dissolved in cold water—but I’m happy with it! I’ve read some reviews that say it’s too sweet, and it does have a sweet aftertaste, but I’m A-OK with that. It dissolves very easily, and I didn’t find any gritty texture whatsoever.

I’m curious to see what the hubs thinks of it, as I feel like he’d have a more discerning taste that I would. I also want to try it in almond or coconut milk, and I’ll have to update this review if/when I do. So stay tuned!

2017 IRUN4ULTRA Worldwide Ambassadors Club


I’m so over-the-moon excited to announce that I’ve been chosen as one of the 2017 IRUN4ULTRA Worldwide Ambassadors! If you’ve never heard of IRUN4ULTRA, it’s an amazing organization that brings awareness for children with ADHD and autism.

According to the IRUN4ULTRA site, “The IRUN4ULTRA AWARENESS CAMPAIGN uses marathon and ultramarathon races to bring attention to causes impacting children worldwide. Ultra marathon running, in particular, beautifully represents that success is possible with dedication and perseverance. It is a compelling way to capture and inform an audience about children causes without utilizing clinical terminology. Hope So Bright uses endurance sports as an analogy to a marathon runner’s experience to showcase the daily struggle of a learning impaired child and his or her family.”

Hope So Bright promotes awareness, collaboration, education, resources and advocacy for ADHD and autistic children, which I think is such a formidable cause! What I love most about this group is that it doesn’t matter if you walk, run, have run a marathon or not—it’s all about staying physically active and creating awareness for this great cause. I’ll definitely be representing IRUN4ULTRA at the following races so far this year:

Angela Ivory Memorial 50K – 1/21/17 at Killen’s Pond State Park in Felton, DE
Punks v. Geezers 5K – 3/5/17 at Lums Pond State Park in DE
Monster Mash Marathon – 10/21/17 in Dover, DE
Rehoboth Beach Marathon – 12/2/17 in Rehoboth, DE

To connect with IRUN4ULTRA via social media, please visit the following:

Facebook Group


How did YOU become a running coach?

15621933_10210864788636290_2471374566077666534_nAs we come to a close in 2016, I find myself planning out my races using this amazing planner/journal that I received from two kick-ass co-workers! So far I’ve signed up for the 50K that I mentioned in a previous post, and I’m doing the Monster Mash full in Dover, DE on Oct. 21, 2017, as well as the Rehoboth Beach Marathon on Dec. 2, 2017.

In planning out my races, my mind has wandered to thinking about 2017 goals too. I’m currently looking into become a running coach myself some day, and I’m stumbled upon a few certificate programs that look promising.

Road Runners Club of America
The RRCA offers a Coaching Level I certification course for $325, and it includes an in-person two-day training, plus you need to pass an online exam and be First Aid and CPR trained. The downfall is that most of these in-person trainings are already full. I’m on the waiting list for the New Rochelle, NY location (but I live in Delaware).

UESCA Running Coach Certification
This all-online course is $399, offers twenty-two self-paced modules, an online exam, and requires that you are CPR/AED or lifeguard certified.

I know that USA Track & Field has a program, but I’m not interested in coaching track.

How do you distinguish what program you’ll take to become a running coach?

Happy holidays from the Angry Toddler and fam,




I’m Dreaming of. . .


an ultra marathon?! Last night as I browsed Facebook before going to bed (which is a bad habit that I need to stop!), I came across a post from a runner friend whom I greatly admire.

Ryan Goverts is an amazing runner who just completed his first 50 miler (2016 JFK 50 Miler), and he had posted about the Angela Ivory Memorial 50K (and 50 Miler) at Killen’s Pond State Park in Felton, DE on January 21, 2017. And guess what—it’s FREE.

Money’s very tight around here, and I can’t sign up for any races (and haven’t for quite some time), so that caught my eye right away. Before signing up, I made sure to ask Ryan if trying to complete the 50K but failing would look bad in the eyes of the race directors/volunteers/and racers. I didn’t want to sign up for something looking like the chump who could only run a half marathon’s distance or something on the course. I know I can do more than that, but obviously I’m not properly trained right now. He assured me that everyone seemed very nice and that I should just go for it. So, I did!

I felt like I pulled a Sue from the Runner Girls Podcast a bit (I say this in the MOST loving way, Sue!), because now I feel kind of bada** even though I haven’t run the darn thing yet. I can’t wait to hear about the Hamsterwheel ultra that you signed up for!

Thank you for letting me babble (as usual), and I can’t wait to give a race recap in January!

P.S. Are you doing the Runner’s World run streak this year? I have, and I’m posting my runs each day to my running Facebook page, Run, Becky, Run. Pleasse comment on each post to share your run streak runs too!

Life Goes On

runToday was gloomy, rainy, and all-out sad. I’m trying to look toward the future and stick with my #NoExcusesNovember hash tag, and part of that is to not feel depressed or stuck with what happened last night with the election. I stress ate yesterday, and there really is no excuse for it. Today, I’ve done a much better job, and I got in a much-needed treadmill run and abs challenge day.

Also, I wanted to share a really neat fueling recipe from the fabulous Serena Marie, RD! She blogged about a fueling recipe using sweet potatoes and other ingredients. You can find the recipe here. I don’t have Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, but I hope I can buy it some day soon!

img_6673Aaand I found my last packet of Plow On Gum miraculously in a purse I had put away for the summer. Score! This is my sad face, because I don’t have any more. Remember, if you use code “runbeckyrun” you can receive FREE shipping!

A Runner’s Holiday Wish List

We’re approaching that time of year again, so I wanted to compile a list of items that I either already love or want to love!

  1. Run Fast. Eat Slow.: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky 
    After listening to the Marathon Training Academy podcast episode with Shalane and Elyse, I fell in love. This cookbook does not include calorie counts. Whaaaaaaat?! you might be asking. It’s intentional because they don’t want athletes focusing on calorie counting or restriction. Brilliant, I say!
  2. Yaxtrax RUN
    From the website: “The Yaktrax RUN is the only traction device anatomically designed to meet the needs of runners braving the winter elements. Run naturally on packed snow and ice with the Yaktrax Run’s combination of removable spikes and steel coils, providing 360° of unbeatable traction. Continue your training during the winter with the same stability you are accustomed to on dry surfaces. The Yaktrax Run can be worn in temperatures as low as ‑41° Fahrenheit.”
  3. Women’s Adrenaline GTS 17
    Look at this Adrenaline from the Brooks Galaxy Collection! Wowza! I’m definitely a Brooks girl through and through. I had the honor of being a Wear Tester for a yet-to-be-released model, and I’m in LOVE with it. I can’t give out any details yet, but it’s ah-mazing.
  4. Race Bib Tape
    No more using safety pins during races! I haven’t personally tried this, but what a genius invention, huh? Marathon Training Academy featured this in a May 2016  quick tip.
  5. The Fat-Adapted Eating Plan from MTA
    I admittedly don’t know much about fat-adapted eating, but I’m definitely interested. I should probably re-listen to The Running Lifestyle Show’s Episode 52: Serena Marie, RD On Fat-Adapted Diets.