Epsoak – A Review

Disclaimer: I received Epsoak Sport Epsom Salts to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

As a runner (with multiple marathons this year alone), and someone who loves to lift heavy weights I really enjoy soaking in an epsom salt bath. Over the past few weeks I have been testing out a new (to me) brand of epsom salt – Epsoak. Epsoak is from the San Francisco Salt Company, which has been a leader in the salt industry since 2002. I was interested to learn that their epsom salt brand is the premier choice for float tank therapy across the US – which I have not yet done, but hear great things about float tanks. Epsoak uses quality epsom salts and essential oil blends that create formulas specifically for athletic muscle recovery. Epsoak SPORT is made with premium grade Magnesium Sulfate, a mineral known to minimize muscle cramps, increase recovery rates, and eliminate post-workout slumps.

All of that sounds pretty impressive. However, I will say as much as I love epsom salt baths, especially when they include oils like lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint, there really is no scientific study that has actually proven that they are as beneficial as they say when it comes to recovery. When I first started running I did a lot of “research” (which means I googled ‘benefits of epsom salt baths’) and what I found was the idea behind epsom salt is that it helps to soothe muscle pain, speed recovery, reduce inflammation and detox. I also found many people saying epsom salt baths don’t actually work they way claim, and it is likely just a placebo effect. Whatever your view is about epsom salts, I will say that I enjoy incorporating epsom salt baths into my recovery routine. Personally, I do think they help with recovery and help to make my muscles less sore.

What can’t be denied is the calming effect of a nice warm salt bath. I received the Energizing Epsoak SPORT to review (with eucalyptus & peppermint oils). In their Sport line they also have Soothing (lavender) and Pure Unscented. The peppermint oil used in Epsoak is much stronger than what I am used to, which I very much liked. While taking a bath or soaking my feet I could feel a nice cooling effect because of the peppermint. I would agree that it feels energizing, and the cooling effect feels great when you are soaking your sore muscles. Epsoak recommends using 2-4 scoops (scoop provided) for optimum recovery. 2 scoops is standard and 4 scoops for maximum sports therapy. Personally I didn’t notice a difference between the 2 vs 4 scoops. I used Epsoak after long runs, speed work, squats & deadlifts – basically whenever I worked my legs pretty hard.

Pros:

  • Pleasant scent, or unscented option if that is your thing
  • Helps with my recovery by soothing my sore muscles
  • Comes with scoop and directions (how much epsom salt to use & how long to soak)
  • Great quality
  • Can be used as an exfoliating scrub

Cons:

  • No scientific proof that epsom salt baths actually work as claimed (for athletic recovery)

I’d like to note, that while I didn’t notice a huge difference in recovery between Epsoak vs other brands I have used in the past, I did notice a big difference in the scent. The peppermint and eucalyptus was much stronger and it made my bath more relaxing and enjoyable. The stronger peppermint also made my legs feel a bit more energized during and after my soak.

If you would like to check out Epsoak SPORT use code “RAVE10” for 10% off the 5lb bags in all scents. Join us for #bibchat on Tuesday, January 3rd at 6pm PST and check out what other BibRave Pros thought!

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Kolbe Writes

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You Don’t Have to Love Running 

I love running. A lot of people do. There are also a lot of people that don’t, and yet some of those people force themselves to run. This morning I overheard a few ladies talking about how much they hate running but they “have to do it” – this was while they were running. Why do people feel like they have to run? Based on observations and conversations with friends, acquaintances & strangers I’d say the number 1 reason is to lose weight. That’s not a good reason to run, especially if you are forcing yourself. My trainer recently asked me why I love running. There are a lot of reasons, but I think it comes down to that sense of accomplishment I feel after completing a run, no matter how long. Each run is a reminder of how strong I am and that I can do hard things.

I love running, I have to do it.  I’ve loved it since December 4, 2011. If you know me or read my blog you know the story (it is in the last post I wrote). I wanted to run because I went to watch my friend run a race and the energy of the runners, the spectators and the thought of experiencing crossing a finish line myself is why I decided to run. As corny as it sounds, it was magical; that day changed my life in many ways. I can’t describe the feeling I had, I just knew that I wanted to run. If my choice to run was because of weight loss I know wouldn’t have kept it up. I know this for a fact because in 2008 I started running to lose weight. I ran for a few months, hated it but acted like I liked it and then stopped. I never imagined I would love to run the way I do now.

It is December, we all know what is around the corner. A New Year, and for a lot of people that means, “a New Year and a new you!”. Gym memberships go up, weight loss challenges start happening, and for a few months being active is the thing to do, but often for the wrong reasons. Maybe that describes you. It described me until that day in December. I didn’t know better. I wanted to exercise because I wanted to “be in shape” and by in shape I mean skinny. What I do now, and what I try to encourage others to do is to bring movement into their lives for their health and enjoyment. Because, I believe, if you truly love doing something that is what will make you happy. If you think looking a certain way will make you happy (as I did) I think you’re mistaken. So in this new year don’t fall for the bs advertising that you are going to see. You don’t need to make yourself into something new. You don’t need to do something you hate to look a certain way. Find something you love to do that will make you strong and happy.

Thank you to the ladies that I overheard during my run this morning. They reminded me to be thankful I have movement in my life that I love. I choose to have movement in my life because I know what I could be like if I didn’t. I see people around me slowly wasting away because they don’t have movement in their life that they love – but they would call it “old age”. I share these thoughts with you today because I hope we can STOP focusing so much on how we look, and rather how we feel and what we are capable of – no matter what our age. I hope that we can be thankful that we can move, and stop finding excuses not to. I really hope, in 2017 and beyond that we realize what a gift our lives are and to treat ourselves and others with respect. Treat your body with respect, be useful. 

In honor of running, movement, being thankful, being capable and doing something for others I want to invite everyone to my 3rd Annual Run For Mando. In 2014, on the 10 year anniversary of my uncle’s accident I decided to run for him. On Christmas Eve we will run 6 miles for my uncle – a mile for every year he was unable to move. This event takes place in Sacramento (check the link for details) but it can be done anywhere. If you are in Sacramento, CA and would like to participate please RSVP here.  If you’re out of town you can still participate! If you hate running you can still participate! Run where ever you live, or go skate, do yoga, go climbing…If you’re not running, maybe for 6 minutes during your chosen activity remeber to give thanks that you can be active. For 6 minutes try to think of what it would be like to be confined to a bed or a wheelchair for 6 years of your life. Forcing yourself to run even though you hate it seems kinda stupid now, doesn’t it?

 

California International Marathon 2016  

This past Sunday was my 5th time running the California International Marathon and it was exactly 5 years to the day that I decided to become a runner. Stop me if you’ve heard this story, December 4th 2011 my friend ran the CIM. It was her first marathon and my first time spectating a race. I fell in love – with running, with the community, with the idea that I could be out there crossing the finish line. 5 years later, 5 CIMs later, 8 marathons & a ton of other race distances later and I am still in love with running.

In fact, I love it so much that I volunteer my time to work expos. 27 year old me is like, “who are you?” But I really do enjoy spending my time around a bunch of other runners who are excited to go run 26.2 miles so I worked the info booth for race weekend, I got to hang out with friends and it was so great to be back home in Sacramento.

This year has been a tough one for me as far as running goes. Living away from home, family and friends, working 5 part time jobs, and dealing with stress isn’t a good recipe for big, fast race goals. So my goal for CIM was to have fun. Which is obviously easy to do during a marathon in your hometown. My boyfriend and our friend were at two spots along the course to cheer me on, at mile 23ish there was the Kaia cheer group (as always). I had to run up to my former boss ladies and give them big sweaty hugs, mile 24 is the Sloppy Moose RC cheer group. I think the Humpty Dance was playing when I ran by and that was fucking awesome. I really needed the energy at that point. In your head you think, “cool, only 2 miles” but after 24 miles 2.2 more is hard AF.

But let’s back it up to mile 22. I was thinking about Chewy. She was our family dog, we adopted her when I was a senior in high school. Once I started running my mom and dad always brought her to my races. I have so many post race pictures of me and Chewy and she is wearing my medal. Well, about 3 weeks ago Chewy passed away. She gave this world and our family all that she had. So at mile 22, when I started to think of her and wished she was there for me like every other race, it was then that I saw my dad with a picture of Chew (pictured below). I smiled and waved at him and then started crying. Chewy was the best and I know she was there with me. Just as I was thinking of her, she showed up. I thought of her the rest of the race and finished for her.

The CIM is always a great race. No matter what happens. Luckily this year the weather was pretty perfect, I finished about the time I had in mind and I had my bf there for me at the finish line.

I am really happy that we will be moving back to Sacramento soon. While we’re both thankful to have had to opportunity to call San Diego home, Southern CA just isn’t for us. I mentioned to a few people that training for this race in San Diego was weird. It didn’t feel right. I didn’t have the American River trails to run on, I missed the local races that I would use as training runs, I missed my friends. I am really looking forward to next year and getting back to focusing on my running goals, trying to hit PRs and maybe even that BQ. So get ready to see me running the streets of Sacramento again and yes, I’ll be at CIM 2017!