Eat Your Coffee (CoffeeBars Review and Giveaway!)


I LOVE LOVE LOVE coffee- hot or iced, tall or grande, black or with a decadent splash of half & half, I love the taste, smell, comfort, and routine found in my daily cup, and of course that good ol’ caffeine boost. When the good people of New Grounds Food asked if I wanted to eat my coffee and try their new Mocha Latte CoffeeBar as well as give away a box to my awesome readers, I immediately said yes!*

New Grounds Food was launched in 2013 by two college freshmen who wanted to find a simple and portable way to stay energized without sacrificing nutrition.  With that vision in mind, they created CoffeeBar: an all-natural, vegan, gluten free, 100% organic, very tasty energy bar infused with a full cup of fair trade coffee.

Research has proven a direct correlation between the effect of caffeine on increased athletic performance. In terms of running, caffeine boosts mental alertness, improves mood, boosts the desire to run hard, and delays fatigue. For longer events- half marathon/marathon- caffeine also decreases a runner’s perception of effort so that running fast feels easier while increasing the concentration of endorphins in the brain, the same hormones that produce that runner’s high. (And as far as I’m concerned, I’ll take all the help I can get!)

The first time I tried a CoffeeBar, I opened the package, was immediately struck by the fantastic coffee aroma, took a bite and YUM!  I could immediately tell that I was eating something very nutritious as well as very delicious.  The texture is dense and easy to eat, the Mocha Latte flavor is not at all overwhelming and is in perfect balance with the other sweet and savory ingredients including dates, chia seeds, almonds, dark chocolate and a hint of cinnamon.


Every weekday morning, I’m usually rushing around feeding the kids and helping get them off to school, making lunches, and getting my running gear together, so have always grabbed some sort of food bar in lieu of breakfast. Armed with a cup of actual coffee as well as one very easy-to-eat-on-the-go CoffeeBar, I’m getting adequate nutrition for the morning as well as working harder at the gym, running easier, and on those mornings when I’m facing a tough workout and don’t want to get out the door, that significant caffeine boost has really helped me out- I will be ordering another box of CoffeeBars very soon!

If all that sounds good to you too, feel free to take a “shot” at winning your very own box of Mocha Latte CoffeeBars by entering my giveaway, here’s how it works…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All entries must be accounted for via Rafflecopter. To earn entries, just follow all the prompts above and if you leave a comment here, please tell me if and how you use caffeine to boost your athletic performance, I would love to hear your opinion! You can also “like” Running4theReason on Facebook, “like” New Grounds Food on Facebook, tweet about the giveaway (following and tagging @LauraRunning and @NewGroundsFood, using #eatyourcoffee). The lucky winner will be chosen next Monday, May 25th and his/her name will appear here on the Rafflecopter widget so come back on 5/25 to see if you won.

If you aren’t a lucky winner but still want to give CoffeeBars a try, be sure to use code running4thereason at checkout for one free CoffeeBar with every order! Follow this link to purchase CoffeeBars.

Good luck and happy fueling!

Have your coffee and eat it too thanks to New Grounds Food!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a box of CoffeeBars from New Grounds Food in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, the opinions I have expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Journey to 26.2, Part 3: The Reality

If you know me in real life or if you have read this blog for any period of time, you know that I aim to always be honest with myself. While I am elated that I finally overcame the 2014 Year of Injury and am back to successfully running the road, I know that I’m just not where I used to be nor where I need to be to tackle a full marathon right now. For these reasons, I decided to downgrade from the full to the half at this weekend’s SLO Marathon. I’m not at all bummed about this, however, I am happy that I am not allowing my ego to overrule good judgement and I know that I am making the right decision.

I started training for this full in January and got up to 16 miles, the longest distance I’ve run since training for my last marathon nearly 3 years ago.  The 16 was great!  I felt good, my injuries were just fine, it was slow (took just over 3 hours) but it was accomplished nevertheless- I was proud of my effort and ecstatic that I was mentally and physically able to finish a 16 mile run after all I went through, physically, last year. Totally planned on 18 miles the following week. I swear I did. The day-of-the-18 came and I just couldn’t wrap my head around 18 nor the impending 20 mile runs. I refused to give running all that time, I simply didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t. I ran 10 instead and thought, “Half marathons are awesome too, darn it.”  Continue reading

Race Recap: Oakland Running Festival (Half Marathon)

I admit my bias- I am born and raised in Oakland so I truly love this city and given that I love running, I HELLA LOVE the Oakland Running Festival! I had so much fun at this race since I successfully trained for it without injury!!! It went very well and I am proud to say I finally did it- after 16 excruciatingly long months of injury- I found the happy place within my pace, shaved off about 35 minutes, crossing the finish line of yet another half marathon with a huge, victorious smile on my face.

Given that I have lived here all my life and that my running community is based here, all along the race course, I ran (literally) into friend after friend and that really made a difference! Seeing my friends’ smiling faces and exchanging sweaty hugs and selfies- from the women who turned me into a runner, to my Team in Training coaches and teammates, to my BFFs- my soul was filled with joy and pride for the ability to run 13 glorious miles through the city I’ve always called home.  Continue reading

Journey to 26.2, Part 2: The Plan

Just about 5 weeks until The Big Day, until the SLO Marathon, until my third 26.2. I’m feeling okay about it… ish. My training has been going fairly well, save for the month I took off to grieve and eat all the carbs and all the sugar. Had to be done. 2 weeks ago, I accomplished a 3 hour and 15 minute 16 mile training run and it went surprisingly well after all that time off. Those 16 miles gave me just the boost of confidence I needed to get back to my training- I completed that run feeling surprisingly refreshed, very happy, and (after a long ice bath) not sore at all!

As a proud SLO Marathon race ambassador, I was lucky to be introduced to Greg McMillan of the McMillan Running Company.  After completing a very detailed questionnaire about my running history, strengths/weaknesses, and time/distance goals, Coach Greg crafted a training plan for me that included my upcoming races plus a lot of fantastic advice about recovery, increasing speed, and running efficiency. Since this marathon will be the first I have done without the support of Team in Training, having a (virtual) coach to guide me through plus a new, custom plan to follow really helps to increase my confidence about this impending 26.2. Continue reading

The Color Run Entry Giveaway!

The Color Run, also known as the Happiest 5k on the Planet, is a unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness, individuality, fun and- of course- COLOR! Now the single largest event series in the world, The Color Run has exploded since their debut, more than tripling their growth, hosting over 300 events in 50+ countries.  I am happy to announce this week’s giveaway thanks to the good people at The Color Run: 2 lucky winners will each receive one entry to any The Color Run 5K city of their choice!  Read on to find out how to enter to win…

This year, The Color Run is shining even brighter with a totally new tour- the Shine Tour- designed to uplift and inspire runners to stand out from the crowd, sweat glitter, and continue to live their lives in a happy and healthy way. In addition to the constant clouds of color The Color Run is already known for, this year’s Shine Tour includes special sparkle attractions along the course, confetti cannons, glamorous photo ops, and new shine elements at the Finish Festival all geared to unleash your inner sparkle! (For a sneak peak, be sure to check out the video above.)

Participants receive a 5K of color-ific fun, custom race tee, gold finishers’ medal, tricolor headband with blingin’ silver stitching, special edition glitter pack, classic color pack, new gold tattoos and much more!

If you haven’t tried a color run before, I can tell you that it is TRULY a fun experience!  Even though I tend to do more half marathons than any other distance nowadays, there is always room for a 5K fun run.  The Color Run is not timed, not competitive, just a super fun, visually stimulating party- grab a group of friends, dress in all white, throw your color around and be happy!   3 miles, all smiles, and fun, fun, fun!!!

All entries must be accounted for by Rafflecopter- to earn entries, just follow all the prompts: “like” Running4theReason on Facebook, “like” The Color Run on Facebook, tweet about the giveaway, following and tagging @LauraRunning and @TheColorRun, you can also leave a comment on this post telling me which city you would like to run and sparkle!  (View all of the locations The Color Run runs here.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please count each of your entries in the Rafflecopter widget only, email submissions will not be accepted. The two lucky winners will be chosen next Monday, March 9th.  I will email the winners and his/her names will appear here on the Rafflecopter widget so come back on 3/9 to see if you won and good luck!

Screenshot 2015-02-17 14.24.54

Feel free to use and share code MLC143657 now through March 15th for $5 of your registration in any The Color Run city.  Be sure to sign up for the VIP list if your city is not yet open to be the first to know dates, plus exclusive pre-sale pricing. (Please note that the $5 OFF code will NOT work for the first month on newly launched cities as new launch prices are much better than what the $5 will save you.)

Good lucky, happy running, and sparkle on my friends!!!

Today’s Reason: Allan Moir

Allan Moir, March 1939 – January 2015

My dear father-in-law, Allan, passed away last month and ever since then, things just really haven’t been the same. As my husband said ever so eloquently in his eulogy at Allan’s memorial, “Death is a bitch.” So true. It’s a tough topic for everyone and a fate we all must face eventually but to lose a beloved parent is especially difficult. This post, however, is not about me and my feelings toward this loss but about Allan- the man he was, the life he lived, and the legacy he left behind.

I remember the very first time I met Allan- I was 16 years old, on a date with my then-crush-now-husband, and Allan was in the intensive care unit, very ill, following a stroke and loss of a kidney. While I thought it strange and nerve-wracking to meet my crush’s dad this way, I timidly came into the room, stood at the side of his hospital bed and said, “Hi, I’m Laura. Come here often?” He chuckled a bit and smiled, patted my hand, and I immediately felt welcomed. Allan miraculously recovered from that bout and went on to live over 20 more glorious years, chuckling and smiling his way through an extremely joyful, happy, and loving life. Continue reading

Build a Better Carb

As runners are very well aware, carbohydrates are our main source of fuel; however, there are “bad carbs” (white flour and sugar) that digest quickly, make energy levels spike then crash, leaving one hungry more often, and “good carbs” (fruits, veggies, whole grains) that work to build muscle, increase endurance, and boost physical activity.  As runners, we love to carb load and always reach for those whole grain carbs in order to propel our efforts, especially prior to our long runs.  Consuming those “good” carbohydrates before, during and after exercise will also provide that glycogen boost/replacement when needed most, enabling one to work out longer and recover quicker.

When the good people at California Lavash contacted me and offered up a variety of their delicious, whole grain, vegan, non-GMO flatbreads to try, I happily accepted, tried a bunch of different pre- and post-run recipes, and gobbled them right on up! Lavash flatbreads are a terrific source of very balanced, low fat, “good” carbohydrates with added nutrients like fiber and protein that the body absorbs slowly, filling you up faster, and keeping you fuller longer.

Continue reading