Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Two Stalwarts Honoured by their Community

This evening at the Kenaston Running Room Aldo Furlan and Lorraine Walton were honoured for their devotion to Winnipeg's running community.  They are known widely in running circles and are dearly loved by all.  These two stalwarts give freely of their time and expertise, expecting nothing in return save the warmth of a hug or the good cheer of a smile. Yes, these two are well deserving of our accolades.

About 75 people stood alongside Running Room founder John Stanton and cheered mightily for Lorraine and Aldo. Manitoba Marathon Race Director, Rachel Munday, was present  along with Event Director, Chris Walton. The Iron Man Crew, fresh from victory, were there in force and added strength to the evening. There was levity. There were tears. Their was warmth all around. But you ask, "was there cake".

Relax friends, runners love their cake and there was plenty to be had (as we quietly estimate calories and burn time... Oh just a sliver please, I'm training for ... ). 

Lorraine Walton and John Stanton
Lorraine Walton is retiring from almost 10 years as manager of the Kenaston Running Room.  She was roasted for her ability to "twist the arms" of pace bunnies and clinic instructor.  Having had my arm twisted many times by Lorraine I can personally attest to the twist... it doesn't quite hurt, it's not full force, but it's a hair's breadth from a total snap.  Yes, she looks sweet on the outside, but we know she's a real dynamo, a real leader, and a real good person.

Lorraine is not retiring to greener pastures.  She says she will continue to be active in the community. She promised she will come back as a pace bunny and clinic instructor.  She will make the best clinic instructor.  She's dedicated, hard working, knowledgable and, by gosh, she has the shoe clinic nailed!

Lorraine ended her presentation in near-tears, holding back for later. Rachel was seen drying her eyes off in the corner and several others smiled pensively as Lorraine spoke of the true love she holds for her community, her family.

Thank you Lorraine Walton. We are better, stronger, healthier because of you.

Aldo Furlan and John Stantio
Aldo Furlan was presented with the Running Room Volunteer of the Year award by Chris Walton. Aldo is a friend to many but I like to think our friendship runs deeper than most. Aldo is lovingly known for his ~ abstract ~ bizarre ~  thinking.  I tease Aldo saying before I met him I was 6' 2" with a full head of hair and was frequently mistaken for Robert Redford.  Having worked and played with Aldo for ten years I'm now a mere shadow of my former self.  If that what it takes to call Aldo my friend then I consider myself a winner.

Chris Walton embraces Aldo Furlan
Aldo is a founding member of Ted's Run for Literacy.  His contribution to the little race that could is invaluable. His expertise and willingness to help out in any capacity, his unbridled energy, his positivity, his humour, and so much more has contributed strongly to the success of Ted's Run for Literacy (September 22, 2019... just saying).  Aldo goes further than anyone can reasonably expect of a volunteer and then he goes beyond the impossible.  We are deeply gratified (and lucky) to have Aldo on our committee.

Twice a weekend all summer Aldo 'pops up' on trails in and around Winnipeg. He provides tired runners with the hydration and sustenance necessary to complete their goals. He chats and laughs with the runners and makes them feel good about themselves and their goals.  He volunteers with dozens of races. He is an executive member of Manitoba Runners' Association. Quite frankly, our community is stronger, much, stronger for Aldo.

Thank you Aldo Furlan.

It's a good day to be alive in the presence of Lorraine and Aldo.


Monday, September 17, 2018

The Fix Bites, Raw Energy Reviewed

She was told if she folded 1,000 paper cranes the gods would grant her wish, she wished to get well. She folded 644 cranes before she died.

Eleanor Coerr, from her book Sadako and the Thousand Cranes.

Kamsack, Saskatchewan is a town of 1,899 kindly souls nestled snuggly in the Assiniboine River Valley at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Whitesands Rivers. Kamsack is the home of Eleanor Coerr, author of Sadako and the Thousand Cranes. According to Mayor Nancy Brunt Kamsack is "a great place to call home".

Kamsack is also a great place for recent entrepreneur Susan Leis to launch her small batch, organic, mostly local Fit Bite protein snacks. She imports the hemp for from Manitoba so you know it's got to be good! A slice of Manitoba in each bite, just saying. 

Susan approached See Mike Run to ask for a review of Fix Bites.  We hammered out the rules over a Stella's sandwich and coffee. 

  • Rule #1, we won't compare Fix Bites to other local Energy snacks reviewed earlier on See Mike Run.  
  • Rule #2, keep it light, keep it fun.  
That's about it; ezy pzy.

It's a good day to be alive.


The Big Review!

Seven people of varying fitness levels were provided a sample pack of all six Fix Bite flavours.  Some are walkers, some runners, some busy moms and professionals on the fly, some are Iron Man competitors, and some are ultra runners planning their next 100 mile event.  All are nutrition conscious and savvy consumers.  They were asked to answer six questions while sampling Fix Bites:

  • Out of the box.  Describe in a tweet what you see in terms of packaging and general appeal.
  • Sniff Test:  Sniff all 6 samples.  Comment/ describe.
  • Taste Test:  Taste all six.  Award 6 points to favourite flavour, 5 to next favourite ... 1 to least favourite.
  • Sustainability:  Describe in a tweet, did the Fix Bite hold up to your workout?  Was it fresh despite not being refrigerated, carried on the run, squished at the bottom of your purse or gym bag? 
  • Satisfaction:  Did Fix Bite satisfy a hunger urge and keep you from defaulting to sweets.  How satisfied are you in terms of 'happy tummy'?
  • No Holds Barred: Comment openly and truthfully.  Would you recommend Fix Bites to a friend?  Would you buy Fix Bites? What's the best part/ worst part of Fix Bites?  
Out of the Box

CW: The coloured foil makes me think of chocolate truffles; appealing visually. However, it gives off a very homemade vibe, which can have its pros and cons.

MH: Very appealing box and nice colours for the wrapping. Not sure if that’s the qty for a box that size but felt a little empty.

AM:  The appearance of the individual Fix bites reminded me of quality Street chocolates from my youth, So I was excited to try them.The only negative comment I have about the appearance of the fix bites, Is that the wrappers appeared cracked and the colour was rubbed off a few of them.

TMIt’s like a gift box containing a rainbow of healthy treats. Packaging is basic but I assume this will shift as the product becomes more ‘factory’ produced

JY: As I am not a twit, I have no idea how to tweet. I like the presentation. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the nice box. Opening up and seeing nice shining foil wrap was pleasant. At first I thought, good sized portions. For 6 samples though, the box was a bit too big.

DWFirst impressions - I liked the packaging of the Fix Bites, especially that it's not over packaged with plastic and can be recycled or even reused. I will say that the name of the product was not very noticeable to me which is probably important to the company. The coloured wrappers for each Fix Bite work fine.  I found all of the bites to be filling and love that the ingredients are all 'real' food.

Sniff Test

CW: They all kind of smelled the same. The lemon one probably stood out most b/c it’s a different flavour/smell than most energy products.

MH: Most orange wrap (cookie dough), least silver (truffle) – almost no scent

AMThe fix bite that I found most intriguing by smell was the yellow one. The least intriguing for me was the purple one.

TMLemon Fix Bite: no lemon smell, in fact no smell at all. Not much lemon taste either. I was anticipating this one the most – it was good but a bit of a let-down on the absence of lemon flavour.  Truffle Fix Bite: absence of scent but very appealing cluster of nuts visible from the moment the foil came off. Excellent nutty flavour and crunch. Loved this one. PB & J: my favourite. Lived up to the PB element, not so much the J.

JY: They all had lovely aroma. I like the smell of cinnamon.

DW:  Truffle smells great, PW & J smelled like peanut butter which I love the jam was more subtle, Coffee smells like coffee but tasted more like molasses,

Participants rated the flavour based on 6 points f
or favourite, 5 for next favourite... 1 for least. 

CW: Carried in purse and did not squish. Held shape when unwrapped. Some flavours crumbled a bit once you started eating. Certainly was fresh; no stale taste. 

MHSurvived a 3km run in a run belt and a 30km bike ride in a jersey pocket. No crumbling, packaging held up.

AM:They held up really well in my gym bag. There was no squishing or falling apart.

TM: None of these could be classified as ‘fresh’. They all have a stiff consistency that would remain unchanged if I drove over it. That said, most were pleasantly chewable, if you like nuts. However, I Loved the nut free fix bite as an option for my other daily workout - going to work daily. 

JY:  The Truffle Fix Bite crumbled in my hand and tasted very dry.

DW:  I only ate them after a workout and not during so did not test for running with one in a fuel belt or how they would hold up if re-wrapped to eat throughout a run.


: Very much so, used it as a mid morning and mid afternoon snack.

CWUsed as my 3 o'clock snack to beat the crash. Had just enough sweetness to satisfy the time of day. Could probably eat two to feel truly.  

AMI was surprised at how well these fix bites curbed my hunger. I was full for about 2 hours post-workout.

TM: Post workout  of satisfaction but they are small and dense – tempted to eat more than one at a sitting. 

JY: I did consume 5 of them at different time either before or after a run or workout and found them to keep me satisfied.

No Holds Barred
CW: I think with it being a raw product you have to be flexible with the texture. Personally, I found that the ones with coconut and hemp kind of got stuck in your teeth, which if you were using during a workout is kind of annoying; no one likes to be still swishing bits of food around in your mouth while working out. However, as a snack it can be forgiven a bit more. I think we’re used to “bar” formats so there’s a certain expectation of compact ingredients.

I really liked the lemon one. I think it stands out from the traditional energy products which usually are chocolate or PB flavoured. It was fresh and zingy.

I found the rest of the bites to all have a similar taste, with the hemp being the overriding flavour – aside from the coffee one which the molasses made stand out (I personally like that taste; some might not).

The simplicity of products is a pro and con. Of course everyone, myself included, enjoy unprocessed products with simple ingredients. The small size format of this is great. But, that being said, I might not be so inclined to buy something I could probably make myself (aka I don’t feel confident in creating a homemade GORP bar, but could probably make a sturdy energy ball).

MH: I would recommend them as a light snack to take the edge off between meals or prior to a shorter workout. Not sure there is enough carbs/serving for a single one to help on an a longer endurance workout (>1 hour). Would have to take quite a few. Would suggest bumping carbs up to hit a 3 or 4 to 1 ratio of carb/protein if being marketed for recovery. Truffle has too much fat and, in particular saturated fat, for a healthy snack. I would probably buy some to have on hand.
AM: I enjoyed these bites a lot. I like the portability, and size. I also appreciated the healthy taste. I probably would use these more for an afternoon snack as opposed to post-workout, as I prefer to have a bit more protein right afterwards.

JK:  Most Favourite is the gold Lemon Fix Bite.  Not much smell, but not unpleasant. Delicious flavour, good texture, lemony, but not acidy, good lemon/date flavour, not greasy.  I really like the overall nutrition content. Tastes really fresh and real.
Least favourite is the purple Nut Free.  Not much smell appeal, flavour is not awesome, more wholesome, reminds me of eating a fresh fig, could use more flavour, the lemon is also nut free, but has more flavour.  

TMPost workout sense of satisfaction but they are small and dense – tempted to eat more than one at a sitting.

JY:  Would I buy them? Coffee, Lemon, and PB & J, Brown, yes depending on price point. Truffle? - definitely not. If marketed well, they should be a good seller.

DWTruffle, almost tastes like a rum ball, noticed an odd after taste but it faded fairly quickly. Taste like molasses, this one was not for me. I'm not usually a fan of cookie dough flavours because I find them to be too sweet but this one was quite good

* With thanks to Jen Kirkwood, Tim MacKay, Carly Walsh, Darcie Wadelius, Jo-Anne Yuskin, Ainsley MacDougall, and Marc Hache.