October Degustabox Review ’17

October Degustabox Review ’17

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Degustabox. All opinions are my own.

First off, Happy (belated) Halloween! I’ve made the decision to not dress up as anything—just drop by a department Halloween party, and then head home. I know, I am such a partier I have no control 😛

With November here, and Thanksgiving (and my first FALL marathon) coming up, it’s time again for another Degustabox review!

October Degustabox
October Degustabox

Unlike last month’s box, October’s offerings were much more appealing to me. It contained old favorites, and new brands I’ve been meaning to try!

I was ecstatic to see a bag of Hippeas chickpea puffs thrown in. I first spotted them at Starbucks, and then I happened to pass by their warehouse near downtown Santa Monica since it’s right along the Expo Line! I was beyond ecstatic to try the new and local vegan-friendly alternative to cheese puffs.

Hippeas -
Hippeas – Vegan White Cheddar

These were beyond crazy delicious. They had a firm texture, a nice crisp crunch, and each puff was coated with just the right amount of vegan cheese flavoring.

Since it was a box arriving in time for candy’s famous holiday, it made sense that a bag of Cow Tales made a comeback. It’s always been a childhood favorite of mine, but Degustabox has partnered with them before in the past. I also noticed the new colorful, cartoon-y packaging.

Cow Tales Minis
Cow Tales Minis

Then there were two cups of original SunButter…I was certainly awestruck. Fortunately, I can have peanuts and foods with peanut-based ingredients, but I think I still prefer sunflower butter over peanut butter. It has a much smoother consistency in my opinion, while still keeping peanut butter-like thickness.

I had one cup serve an unconventional purpose: as a dip for plain Boboli pizza crust, which was also a featured product in this month’s box. Honestly, it was a pretty good combo!

Sunflower butter and pizza crust
SunButter cup and Boboli Original Mini Pizza Crust

I had the other cup scooped into a cottage cheese chocolate proyo bowl, which is something along the lines of what I’m normally used to as an after-dinner snack.

Just like old times
Just like old times

The Bush’s White Chili Beans contained “chicken base” as one of their ingredients, so I had to pass on trying it. I don’t see why it did though…I’m sure the recipe would have been just as good—if not better—without the addition of a meat product.

Does it have to have chicken in it?
Does it have to have chicken in it?

I was however able to try the Bush’s Kidney Beans in a Mild Chili Sauce, after thorough examination of the ingredients for any meat source. I initially thought about adding it to one of my crockpot dinners, but then I thought why not try it on its own? I warmed it up for lunch in lab one day, and it was definitely nourishing through its well-mixed flavors of ripe tomatoes, chili peppers and cumin. It had enough fiber to keep me satiated as I worked the rest of the afternoon.

Suitable for a lunch break.
Suitable for a lunch break.

The Quadratini Raspberry-Yoghurt wafer cubes were an interesting snackable. I normally don’t prefer wafers over other types of cookies and biscuits, but these wafers were certainly an exception. Each cube has four layers of raspberry-yoghurt flavored cream, sandwiched between mini crunchy wafer squares.

Quadratini
Quadratini Raspberry-Yoghurt Wafer Cubes

They definitely had a yogurt-like aftertaste, but that did not detract from their delicious taste.

Unlike other wafers I've had!
Unlike other wafers I’ve had!

When I saw a small cup of overnight oats, I was reminded of my early blogging days when overnight oats and OIAJ (oats in a jar) were super trendy. Now that brand name companies got a hold of this one-time, food-bloggers-only secret, I wasn’t surprised to find this container from Dave’s Naturals in this month’s box.

Dave's Naturals Overnight Oats - Apple Nut
Dave’s Naturals Overnight Oats – Apple Nut

This flavor had dried apple cubes, chia seeds, and dried oats. All I added was enough almond milk to soak the oats in, and after letting it sit in the fridge overnight, I pulled it out and it made for THE best stuck-in-lab-analyzing-data-all-morning snack.

The Welch’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt snacks were light, poppable, and had a creamy yogurt coating that worked well with the chewy cherry flavor. These were able to keep a gummy-like texture due to pectin. No gelatin was seen in sight, which was a mark of approval in my book!

Welch's Fruit 'n Yogurt Snacks
Welch’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt Snacks

I didn’t get a chance to try the two Kernal Season’s Popcorn Seasoning bottles (White Cheddar and Kettle Corn), since I gifted them to my sister, who is a greater consumer of popcorn than I’ll ever be, haha!

Which of these October Degustabox products would you try?

Race Recap: RNR LA Halloween Half

Race Recap: RNR LA Halloween Half

I may have had an uneventful Halloween this year, but I guess you could say I got my dose of costumes, adorable dogs, and candy post-race snacks the weekend before the holiday, at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Halloween Half Marathon.

 RNR Halloween Half in LA: benefiting those with our friends with paws :)
RNR Halloween Half in LA: benefiting our friends with paws 🙂

Since the race course was marked in and around DTLA, walking to the start line was a breeze. Even though it was dark out, the streets were already sectioned off and police were at their posts, so I felt safe walking over to the Staples Center.

 Walking over to the race start.
Walking over to the race start.

Once I got to the start line around 6:45am, I quickly checked in my drawstring bag that was given to me at the expo, and found my corral. The parking lot across from LA Live was a convenient location to place gear check!

 Gear check area after I finished the race. It was super dark before 7am.
Gear check area after I finished the race. It was super dark before 7am.

Along with trying to keep my muscles warm, I tried to walk myself (in my mind) through the course. I knew where I would be going up until Mile 5, but had no idea where I would be running between Mile 5 and the finish! Just somewhere in downtown was all I knew…

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The race was slated to begin at 7am, with the half and 5k runners running together. Since we were in corrals, we were released every 30 seconds or so to stagger the amount of people on the course. Once I did hit the start line though, I was looking forward to seeing what costumes, live bands, and sights I would come across!

Mile 2 was when I started to feel a lag in energy. We were beginning to approach the University Park area and I started to feel somewhat tired. We ended up making a loop around the LA Coliseum, and it was such a sight to see a horde of people both in front of and behind me. I was shocked (and slightly embarrassed) by the fact that some of the people way in front of me were in heavy, full costume and were still running at 8:00 min/mi or less. Seriously though, how does that work?!

I guess the coliseum loop did the trick because I felt pumped around Mile 4 as we made our way back to the start line/downtown.  There were bands (mostly playing rock), high school drill teams, and the occasional spectators with posters every couple yards, so that helped keep the morale of the running pack up. 

But once we entered downtown again, my energy began to sag around Mile 6. It’s funny how since the course at this point was positioned adjacent to the finish line, I could see the elite athletes rolling on through as I was just getting to the half-way point. I suppose it should have been motivating, but it was more like, “How is that humanely possible?!” in a joking way of course 😉

After a making our way over a mini paved hill, I started to hear echoes of EDM coming from a tunnel. Now the music was starting to get good! At the end of the tunnel, I learned that the sweet selection was courtesy of a DJ dressed in a full gorilla costume.

What I remember of Miles 8 and 9 were winding, flat roads through the Toy/Art Districts and Little Tokyo, up until we reached the hill. We were basically set-up to run up a massive slope onto the Sixth Street Viaduct which at first seemed conniving, but then I understood why it was included as part of the course when I turned around at Mile 10. The most incredible view of DTLA was in front of me as I made my way back down the slope. I tried not to pound my knees too much, but it was difficult to not want to speed up with the sounds of Duck Sauce’s “Barbara Streisand” pounding in my ears, thanks to another EDM DJ 😀

I have come to dread Mile 11 based on my experiences from past halfs, but the mile didn’t mentally attack me as much as I thought it would in this race. I tried to keep my mind distracted by the various cheer squads and (growing number of) spectators, who finally managed to make it outside on a Sunday morning. I pictured myself soaking up the energy as I made it back through the tunnel at Mile 12. I let the music push me through as I focused on the last mile. I felt that surge of energy I needed for that moment just in time, and I let that guide me to the finish.

 People leaving recovery area---just finished race!
People leaving recovery area—just finished race!

After passing the finish line, grabbing a water bottle and medal, and taking a legit post-race photo (not the mid-run kind where you look like a zombie!), I glanced down at my Garmin to see I had run a little over 2 hours, but did not PR. I wasn’t too bummed though, because I’ve been glad with how consistent my pace has been since summer.

rnr2014 (23)

Also, I feel like this half marathon wasn’t worth the PR 😛 . I thought the race organization and course were fine, and I like how it was accessible for me to get to by foot, but I’m still not sure I would do this race again, unfortunately. The recovery zone was blocked off to runners, and once you left you couldn’t re-enter. This meant limited freebies collection, but I did get two bottles of chocolate milk, a Powerbar, and Alaskan Airline snacks.

SAMSUNG

I thought it was odd that the Noosa yogurt tent was place right outside the recovery zone, but I had to pass on their samples since they contained gelatin. Seeing as I didn’t get any yogurt samples, I wondered if I could get another Powerbar or two, so I walked along the perimeter of the gated-off recovery area.

 Noosa tent
Noosa tent

I literally asked one of the Powerbar reps if I could have a bar, and she looked at me like I had said the most horrid thing about her. They said they couldn’t pass samples over the fence otherwise “Competitor would revoke their sponsorship”, and while that is understandable, it was disappointing.

 Recovery area
Recovery area

Post-race celebrations this time around weren’t nearly as fun as when my gal pals and I went out to eat at Saturn Cafe after my SJR Half in June, or when I stuffed my face with Biscoff for the next two months after my first trail race. Not only did I not have my “crew” to collect freebies and eat out with me, but I also had the pestering “I should be studying” thoughts swimming around in my head, since I had two exams (on the same day!) that I had to take later in the week.

I still took the time to enter and check out what booths and tents were up though.

SAMSUNG

I mean, how can one leave a race without even trying to celebrate 😉 ?

SAMSUNG

I skipped past the merch tent (I didn’t even have any cash or cards on me, so…), and lined up at the first booth that I saw had a prize wheel.

SAMSUNG

I didn’t get anything from them, but I did get two pairs of earbuds from Yellow Pages! Now that’s a freebies that would come in handy 😀

SAMSUNG
Only one is pictured here.

I eyed enviously at the fortunate “GEICO-sponsored” athlete who got a free massage. I wasn’t in need for one anyways, but having the option would be nice!

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I went further down the road and saw the ASPCA Bark Park.

aspca_tent

After taking some time to admire the adorable puppies that were being shown off, I scooped some complimentary shortbread biscuits…

SAMSUNG

…and snacked on those while I contemplated over if I should stay for the headliner concert or not…

SAMSUNG

In the end, I passed on the concert and ended up walking back home. I forced myself to study and get a late lunch later on in the day, but I ended up taking a 20 minute power nap before I got to any of those tasks. I may not have felt as sore post-race as I did in previous half marathons, but I certainly could not ignore my body’s cues to get some sleep—even if for a short while!

 Wasn't a fan of the shirt, but I love the medal! It's too heavy to hang on my wall though...
Wasn’t a fan of the shirt, but I love the medal! It’s too heavy to hang on my wall though…

Have you run in an RNR race before?

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