How to build a "running survival kit" January 31 2016, 0 Comments

How to build a Guest write Jenn Collins read more

Mostly Vegetarian Lifestyle January 21 2016, 1 Comment

Mostly Vegetarian Lifestyle

On January 5, 2015, I decided to give up meat for a month. Yes, I know most “New Year’s Resolutions” begin on the first of January, but I’ve always been a procrastinator. I can’t say why I originally picked this goal for myself-mostly I suppose it was a challenge. I didn’t think I could do it, so I wanted to see if somehow I could.

The interesting thing-that very same day, mere minutes after my goal began, I sustained a (re)injury that would affect my fitness for months. Long story short, I hurt my back in 2007 during a car vs. 2 18-wheeler car accident. While driving to work on the 5th (I normally bike), I coughed, and threw out my back. This was my first flare up. I was confined to my couch for 2 weeks, and ran very little for the next three months. At a time when I normally would have been tempted by emotional eating, I had a goal to strive for. Because of that goal, I didn’t gain any weight during that first month of inactivity (I literally ran 1 mile in January). After I reached my month long goal, I figured I might as well keep with it and see how long I could go. In April, I finally started picking up my fitness again, and over the following months, I’ve been training for a 100 mile race (my second ultra-my first was a 50k training run for this race) taking place on December 5th. I’ve also taken up yoga recently, and I still try and fit in all my hobbies occasionally (climbing, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking). I know that my food lifestyle (it’s not a diet-diets are temporary, and generally bad for you) has definitely been a factor in my overall health improvements in the past 11 months.

Let me offer a disclaimer here: I am not vegan, nor am I a vegetarian, nor a pescetarian (a lesser known term that means the only meat source consumed is seafood). After my month long goal, I told people I was a mostly pescetarian. Now I say I’m a mostly vegetarian. I never buy meat products at the grocery store, and I rarely purchase them when dining out. I will occasionally consume meat, only so that my stomach can handle such foods when I’m really craving a juicy burger, some boneless wings, or something comparable. And, I live in Louisiana-I definitely enjoy raw oysters, shrimp po boys and crawfish boils occasionally. But those occurrences are rare. For the most part, I consume LOTS of produce (I’m a member of a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group). A hashtag I frequently use on Facebook is #poweredbyproduce. I also eat lentils, quinoa, cous cous, whole wheat pasta, rice (although there’s talk of too much rice being toxic, so I’m careful about how much rice I eat), beans, and chickpeas on a regular basis. And I haven’t given up all animal products. I LOVE eggs, and use them as a source of protein on a regular basis. Cheese is infrequent, more of a special treat. Fortunately, I never really liked cow’s milk, so substitutes like almond and rice milk work well for me.

In order to make sure I’m getting the all the nutrients I need, I take dietary supplements including: Calcium 600+D (1 tablet per day that provides 400 IU, or 100%, of my vitamin D needs, as well as 600mg, or 60% of my daily calcium); as well as 65mg of iron, or 361% of my daily needs. I also take a glucosamine/chondroitin capsule on a daily basis. Although research is back and forth about the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, I feel like it helps me, so I continue to take it.

Overall, I feel my nutritional changes have done nothing but good for me. I love knowing the fuel I feed my body is natural-if I don’t recognize an item on a nutritional label, it’s probably not for me. I haven’t noticed any negative changes in my energy levels, and I feel better both mentally and physically when I’m not eating all the processed foods that are so frequently shown to us in advertisements and below bright lights in our grocery stores. I haven’t eaten at a McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s etc. since that first day, January 5th, because what’s the point of going to a fast food place for a salad? Really. And I’ve lost weight (down from approximately 130 to 122-I’m 5’5”), but more importantly, I’ve lost fat. I can feel it, and I notice it in my clothes. I was a size 6-8 (ladies, we know how each brand is sized different), and now a size 2 feels a little roomie. That’s definitely a good feeling!

Although some people make more extreme nutritional changes than I have ie Scott Jurek ( or the No Meat Athlete Matt Frazier (, I’m proud of the changes I’ve made, and I feel my choices are sustainable, for me. Sure, I give in to a steak and potatoes dinner occasionally, and yes, some processed candy was proooobably consumed during the month of October (dangit, Halloween), but overall, I’m a much healthier individual than I was 11 months ago. Additionally, I know I’m causing less harm to the environment than my meat-eating peers. It takes “2,500 gallons of water, 12 pounds of grain, 35 pounds of topsoil and the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline to produce one pound of feedlot beef ( -not to make you feel guilty or anything, my friendly carnivores. And finally, I don’t have to watch those videos of animal abuse at factories and feel like I’m contributing to their mistreatment. In the end, my story is proof that you can lead an active lifestyle, while eating healthy, natural, “mostly-vegetarian” meals.

* No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog, although the last piece of Halloween candy may or may not have been consumed during such.

A typical daily meal plan during training season

-Breakfast: sweet potatoes, green peppers, and onions steamed with water and coconut oil, topped with siracha; an orange

-Snack #1: red pepper strips and a hardboiled egg

-Lunch: mixed greens salad with grape tomatoes, avocado, sunflower seeds, red pepper strips, olive oil, pink Himalayan salt, black pepper (and any other toppings I have available at the time); sweet potato chipotle chili topped with Greek yogurt and avocado

-Snack # 2: grape tomatoes

-Post workout snack: roasted turnip wedges, almonds, and a banana

-Dinner: whole wheat pasta with roasted Brussel sprouts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil (will substitute pasta with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles, quinoa, cous cous, lentils or rice; and will substitute veggies depending on what I get in my weekly CSA)

-per day, I usually drink 1 cup of black coffee, 1 cup of green tea, a good beer (or two), and lots of water

-not pictured: something sweet, such as a small piece of dark chocolate or yogurt covered pretzels

Guest post by Nickie Klein

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Get off the Proverbial Path: First Trail Race December 28 2015, 1 Comment

Get off the Proverbial Path: First Trail Race

Tips for Beginners

Thinking about doing your very first trail race? Many runners start their running “careers” on pavement or sidewalks (not all of course, but some). When we first start running I think we look for something close to home, someplace safe. Someplace not far away so we can get back to the comfort of our front doorstep quickly in case we’re near death from putting in those first couple of miles. After time, of course, we get more comfortable in our running and start venturing farther from home.  Some of us gravitate towards trails and fall in love with them. Whether you live in the mountains, the plains or on the coast, there are typically trails nearby.

Running trails is one thing but to do it with a BIB number is another. It can become a bit intimidating. If you prepare properly, however, you can minimize that factor. Once you decide on a race, make sure you understand what the terrain will be like. For your first race on trails you may want to think about doing something in your local community. You’ll most likely be able to find a course map and will be able to check out the terrain and even run the course prior to the race. There are a plethora of distances to choose from. Choose a distance wisely and within your current skill level. If you struggle with marathons on pavement you may not want to start your trail racing career with a hard, technical 50K. Be smart.

Trail racing is typically not done on “pancake flat” courses. Keep that in mind. Your pace may not be anywhere near the pace you run on asphalt. Go by “perceived” effort and not by what you see on your GPS. I would challenge you to forgo the watch. Every course is different and pace can change dramatically. Sometimes our pace expectations are not met. This can affect us mentally if we dwell on our GPS’ too much and could possibly dictate the outcome of our race. This is certainly up to personal preference but give it a try sometime. You may surprise yourself.

Getting ready for that first race will of course, require training. Preferably running more trails similar to what the race terrain will be like or as I stated before, running the actual course itself. To be successful racing on trails requires training on trails. Trail shoes are not required but I strongly suggest them. They’re made for the varying topography of the trails we run and typically have better “gripping” power.  Depending on the length of the race you choose, hydration could also be a factor. Whether you choose handhelds or a pack, it would be prudent to have one or the other. Longer trail races will most likely have aid stations. Unlike road marathons, however, they are typically not abundant and are spaced father apart. Some trail races are in remote areas, so please, be safe and take water with you.

During the race you’ll want to stay focused. Trails (even easier ones) can be tricky and you need to pay attention. I like to look ahead several strides and mentally determine where I’m going to go. In other words I “plan” my foot strike well in advance of getting there. For me, that’s 10-15 feet, a tad longer if I’m going downhill. This is different for everyone and distances will vary. It’s something that takes practice. I will “scan” periodically (forward and back) as well. If you are constantly looking straight down or looking close to your feet, you’ll find it difficult to determine the “lay of the land” and the probability of a misstep increases. Knowing where your feet are going to land will help minimize the chance of falling.

Going uphill I typically use my arms a bit more.  Pumping them will help you get up those hills more efficiently. On the downhills keeping your arms out from your body (elbows slightly up) will help with balance. Once again, we are all different and how far we hold our arms out and how hard we pump can vary. Practice will help you determine what works best for you. I also like to keep my stride short on the trails. It’s more efficient and will help keep your foot strike under you (or even a little behind). This helps tremendously with efficiency and shock absorption.

For the first race I suggest not to take it too hard, at least in the early stages. Getting a feel for the trails is very important this first time out. Having fun is really what it’s all about. Just do that, have fun! I like to say “run happy”. Smile big and often when you’re tackling your first trail race and I guarantee you’ll have a wonderful experience. The camaraderie I see is truly unparalleled. Some of the best people I have met have been at a race. It’s a fun way to get out and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer and to give yourself new challenges. It’ll leave you yearning for more. So what you waitin for? Get out there and do it!!


Big thanks to our guest writer Ed Thomas for this article. 

Ed Thomas Ultra Runner

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Runner Files: Richard Rivera December 24 2015, 1 Comment

Runner Files: Richard Rivera

Athlete Spotlight: Richard Rivera, how he found the fun in sport and lost 75 pounds!

Richard is one of those guys you just love to be around. He is enthusiastic, inspiring, and always on the move! He will admit to you that he was not always this way. "The way I was living was neither productive nor healthy for my family or myself. What led to my break through was having kids and not being able to play with them like I wanted to as well as not being able to do simple things like tying my shoelaces."

Two years ago he discovered Obstacle Course Racing (OCR). He thought, "Looks fun, I want to try it!" Little did he know OCR would change his life.

What started as "just something to try", his biggest accomplishment to date is the ability to complete the Double Trifecta in Spartan Races. There are three race distances towards reaching a trifecta 1) Sprint (approx. 4 miles and 15+ obstacles) 2) Super (approx. 9 miles and 20+ obstacles) 3) Beast (approx. 13 miles and 25+ obstacles). In order to get a trifecta, a person must complete all three races in 1 single year (Jan. - Dec.). A double trifecta means he did that twice in one year!

Being an obstacle course racer requires speed, upper and lower body strength. Running and full body strength workouts are all equally important. When it comes to the more challenging obstacles, his trainer creates workouts that will help him improve in those areas, whether it be grip strength or rope climb technique for example. "I keep a log of all my training, this allows me to have a reference point for measuring my improvements. I believe these things have and will continue to be the keys to my success both now and in the future."

Richard Rivera, Spartan Racer

His goals include being ranked in the top 25 for his age group as well as to get 'The Coin'. In Spartan races, to get one means you are officially invited to compete in the world championships.

Richard's biggest challenge is managing family, work and training/competitions. (He likes to think of it as a 'blessing.') "The ability to make sure I’m relevant in each of these areas is very important. For example with training sessions, I have to train in the morning and be done by 7:30am or wait until 8pm after the kids have gone to sleep. Being a husband and a father is my greatest joy."

You will recognize Richard at the Spartan races and other OCR courses by his 'jet pack.'
This one is race legal and holds his hydration/nutrition, it's the Orange Mud HydraQuiver.

"I found Orange Mud when I started doing research on the various hydration packs that were on the market. At the time I was using a bladder pack but I felt it was just too bulky so I set out to find something that would better fit me. I came across the HydraQuiver Double Barrel, I did some research on it, and the rest is history!

"I LOVE HELPING OTHERS!", says Richard. He is a certified personal trainer with ISSA, Chaplain for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept., he has 4 kids from the ages of 5 years down to 10 months, he's been married for 10 years and has been with his wife for approx. 20 years.

His favorite quote, “There’s people who are going to participate and there’s people who are going to win.” Dave Castro.


Richard is an awesome ambassador for Orange Mud. We appreciate what he has done for us and look forward to watching him continue to grow as an athlete. Keep up the good work Richard!

-Josh and the Orange Mud Crew. 

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Orange Mud Named - Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America, 2015 by Entrepreneur Magazine December 23 2015, 0 Comments

Orange Mud Named - Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America, 2015 by Entrepreneur Magazine

We're proud to make Entrepreneur Magazine's list in the category of "Best Practicers" of 2015. 

"These star companies do everything evidence-based management wisdom says they should do and achieve everything they're going for. They set high-growth targets and are confident of hitting them. They are employee champions, staying highly attuned to staff needs and input and promoting more agile, decentralized decision-making, as well as innovative and proactive action. Company cash flow tends to stay strong. They're able to time their expansions well, and they keep up with changing customer needs and potentially disruptive technologies. It all pays off: These firms report not only sustained but especially rapid growth, and almost no problems in any area of management or performance."

Key characteristics

  • Best Practicers tend to be in rapid-growth industries, and are mostly national and international in focus rather than local or regional. They are also more likely to be urban-based.
  • Avoiding top-down, command-and-control management, they emphasize empowering employees through distributed decision-making, transparency, sharing information and frequent, deep communication both up and down in the organization.
  • They are big on rewarding employees, by sharing profits, promoting from within and emphasizing good benefits, good quality of life and a positive work environment.
  • They set high growth targets and make a point of clearly communicating those aggressive plans to employees, customers, suppliers and even the local community.
  • They see fast growth as a competitive edge in its own right and are driven to constantly increase market share.
  • They seek to be both brand leaders and innovators, and encourage risk-taking.
  • They rely heavily on internal metrics and external market research.
  • They expand proactively, without waiting to book the orders that would necessitate it.
  • They give to charity for its own sake, and not just to help the company grow.

    Read more here on how the analysis was performed and see the 6 archetype categories. Click here to see Orange Mud listed in the "Best Practicers" category



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    TRE Interview with our CEO, Josh Sprague December 11 2015, 0 Comments

    TRE Interview with our CEO, Josh Sprague

    The Women's Fitness and Running Event in Chicago was a lot of fun this year. It's specifically focused on gear for the wonderful ladies who love to run. Zelle is a female specific sub brand of Runner's World who conducted the interview. Thanks so much! Please checkout the video below to learn more about the latest with Orange Mud, and also how our products relate to the women's market. 

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    Runner Files: Ron and Bobbie Ruhs December 09 2015, 1 Comment

    Runner Files: Ron and Bobbie Ruhs

    The couple that runs together...Meet Ron and Bobbie Ruhs!

    This inspiring couple not only work together, they work out together too! Bobbie has been running for over 20 years, Ron has been running for 8. The power couple were power lifting before they started running together. Ron sustained a shoulder injury from lifting and fell into a bit of a funk. Bobbie suggested he try running, so he started training to run a 5k in Hawaii. That was a success so they decided to train for a marathon together. (Bobbie swore she wouldn't run another one after her first, but some challenges in life are better with your significant other by your side!)

    They had a great time training for and running the Kona Marathon, dubbed 'Team Ruhs' by their newfound running friends. In fact, they had so much fun, they decided to go beyond 26.2 into the world of ultras. From there, Bobbie said, "they never looked back."

    With a sensible and conservative approach to training, Ron completed three 100 mile races this year without injury. Bobbie's goal is to complete a 100 mile race in the next year or so. (She did complete 100 miles of running on a treadmill to raise money for MS in 2013.)

    They both love the connection they have with other runners, the camaraderie plays a big part in their commitment to the sport. "Our kids ran cross country in high school & we were always impressed at the camaraderie & how positive the sport was. We’ve found that same thing in trail running. We’ve made some great friendships and our own relationship has grown." says Bobbie.

    Picking 'A' races and then scheduling smaller races to build up to the big ones has been a key to their success. "No better way to train than to race." Is their motto.

    Just like with running, Bobbie introduced Ron to Orange Mud hydration packs. She was ecstatic to find a pack that held bottles that didn't chafe like others she tried. Her favorite pack is the HydraQuiver Double Barrel, Ron loves the VP2. "I grabbed one right away and it has been my go-to pack for every thing!" Between the two of them, they have most of the Orange Mud line. They also love the Transition Towel and the Handheld for shorter distances.

    When they aren't being inspired by their fellow runners at races and in their local running group, The GOATz (Greater Omaha Area Trail runnerZ), they find each other to be a limitless source of inspiration. "Ron's a great dad/ grandpa, he’s my best friend and my biggest cheerleader. He’s there for me...NO...MATTER...WHAT. Running with and watching/helping him race, shows his true character. Not only is he a runner, he’s a teammate and he’s there helping and cheering others on too."

    With their upbeat attitude and love for the sport, they are certain to have continued success. "If you’re not having fun, why are you doing it?" says Ron. "Just get out there!"

    Ron and Bobbie Ruhs

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    Top 10 Gifts for Runners That are Sure to Hit the Mark November 10 2015, 0 Comments

    Top 10 Gifts for Runners That are Sure to Hit the Mark

    It's tough to determine which gift to give your favorite runner that will help them reach their athletic goals without weighing them down. Luckily, these 10 top gifts for runners from Orange Mud and a couple other brands we dig, will take all the guesswork out of the job for you. 

    An Efficient Gym Bag
    Every runner needs a good gym bag to rely on that has features like lots of pockets, a separate shoe compartment, and a dedicated place to store wet clothes.   $169.95 Link

    Moisture Wicking Socks
    Runners can never have enough moisture wicking socks in their arsenal, as they keep feet dry during long stints and help to minimize blistering too. Link

    Challenge Head Band
    A challenge head band offers ultimate support for the runner in your life by allowing them to display race and marathon badges of pride on a customizable band. $14.95 Link

    Running Belt or Race Number Belt
    Running belts, often known as Race Number Belts, save that nice high tech shirt or short from being ruined with safety pin holes. There are a variety of types on the market, but one simple and effective standby can be purchased here. $9.95 Link

    Transition Wrap
    No runner likes getting in the car while hot and sweaty after a run, and the transition wrap puts and end to this scenario. It serves as a changing blanket right after a run and can then be used as a seat cover in the car to keep things clean and tidy. $39.95 Link

    Calf Compression Sleeves
    Shin splints, muscle pain, and fatigue are all things a good pair of calf compression sleeves can help to stave off after a run. They can even increase blood circulation, which is helpful for especially long jaunts. $Varies Link

    Gear Quiver
    Sometimes it's necessary to carry along some food or other bulky items during a run, and the runner in your life can do just that with the help of a Gear Quiver by Orange Mud. $69.95 Link

    Paracord Bracelet
    These are great for wearing on your wrist on clipped onto your gear. You never know where some string can come in handy, and the whistle may help to get you or your loved one out of a jam. $8.95 Link

    Water is always a concern once running shoes hit the pavement, but the HydraQuiver ensures that your favorite runner isn't stuck without a sip to gulp when the need arises. $84.95 Link

    Strava App premium subscription
    Strava is the king of workout data and analysis and can use your smartphone as a data collection hub. The free plan is great, but why not upgrade your running companion with a premium account so they can look like a pro and get access to an enormous amount of data? $59 annually Link

    These 10 top gifts for runners are sure to spark some fire in your favorite runner. Pick up one or all ten for a great holiday gift!

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    Zombie Runs: Run for Your Life! October 22 2014, 0 Comments

    Zombie Runs: Run for Your Life! For runners of all skill levels, there’s no better way to get into the spirit of Halloween and stay fit than running for your life while being chased by... read more

    The Runner Files: Nathan Rewerts October 13 2014, 0 Comments

    The Runner Files: Nathan Rewerts Nathan Rewerts is a busy guy - the father of 5 is currently running and training for obstacle course runs like the Tough Mudder and the Spartan races. H... read more

    Running, Life and Between's Review of the Hydraquiver Vest Pack 2 October 11 2014, 0 Comments

    Running, Life and Between's Review of the Hydraquiver Vest Pack 2 We love Ben Pangie's blog Running, Life and Between, and we especially love his review of the Hydraquiver Vest 2. (Although we concede that putting tato... read more

    Spartan Race: An Essential Gear List September 29 2014, 0 Comments

    Spartan Race: An Essential Gear List Spartan. Just the word conjures images of a harsh culture, austere way of life and—perhaps most notable—superior physical fitness. (History says that ev... read more