Running gift ideas


“Buying for runners can be a pain in the ass – especially for the non-running gift buyer.”

Here are some cool gift ideas for you or the runner on your holiday shopping list. Cool running stuff that is a little different from the usual running store gift certificate or running socks.


Happy holidays from Pere Noel!

Many of these items I have reviewed or am going to review – or want to! (Check out my gear reviews)

Cool Running Gifts

AfterShokz headphones (nothing in the ears?!)

Promixx (insanely easy way to mix your sport drink at work/gym)

CrossFIXE muscle rub (Ridiculously Great natural muscle rub)

Roller Recovery (Puts foam roller to shame)

LaceLocker (Great stocking stuffer)

Runscribe (Find out what your feet are doing!)

OrangeMud 1 or 2 bottle hydration vest (very cool)

Endurance Tap (Maple syrup gels!)

Icespike (Uber ingenious way to keep a runner on their feet in the winter)

Ampy – (generate electricity from your motion to power your cell!)

EC3D Compression gear – Canadian compression gear!

Vicsystem (Online training coach – endorsed by Canadian Olympians)

Runtastic (get them cool running/fitness apps)

Kidrunner (for the big spender with a running parent on the list)

Some of my regular favourites

Muscle Milk Energy chews (tasty energy on the go)

Sundog sunglasses (great prices for running glasses)

New Balance shoes and gear – love my NB 1400s!

Polar running watch – I use the M400!


Happy holidays running friends!

See ya out there.

Follow me on Twitter @NoelPaine


Time to FIXE the legs


“Running at first glance seems like such a simple, easy sport – but there can be more to it than meets the eye.”

I have been running for years and had every injury it seems – know to man. You name it and had or almost had it (shin splints, IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, lower back pain, knee pain, hip flexor issues, first joint stiffness….) Father Time is also not helping – at 40-years old I am now seeing the need to adjust and do things I never saw the need for when 20 (stretching, real strength work etc.)

Oh – and just ran a 258km ultra to celebrate that 40th birthday. The legs and body were a wee bit beat up.

It was perfect timing when a package of CrossFIXE muscle rub arrived along with some Climb On skin cream. My legs were tired, shin was sore and a grumpy first joint were in need of some love.


My skin which is always dry from lots of showers (due to lots of workouts) and even worse now with the cold dry winter air arriving – loved the Climb On skin cream.

Climb On cream– their saying is, “if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.” – and the ingredient list is fairly impressive:

Vitis vinifera (grapeseed oil), Prunus armeniaca (apricot kernel oil), *Butyrospermum parkii (Fair Trade organic shea butter), **Aloe barbadensis (organic aloe vera gel), Cera Alba (unrefined yellow beeswax), Triticum vulgare (virgin wheat germ oil), Lavendula angustifolia (essential oil of lavender), Citris vulgaris (essential oil of neroli), Rosa mosqueta (Organic rosehip seed oil), Tocopherol (vitamin E) * Certified by Quality Assurance Int’l **Certified by the Texas Dept of Ag

You do not need much to go a long way and has an oily feel but skin really loved it. They even say on the tube that cyclist can use as to help with saddle friction while riding.

The tube I received which I think can last a while (only need a little) costs about $24. Check it out.

Cross FIXE (apparently a “ridiculously awesome for muscle soreness)

The cost for this little tub of thick cream/paste has a smell that seeps out after the lid comes off (semi-strong) and smells like a muscle rub. The price is about the same as the Climb on Cream (from same company).


Once again-great list of ingredients and like the feel of it going on to legs.

100% Pure Food Grade Ingredients: Hydrogenated Olea (olive) wax, Cocos neucifera, Sesamum Indicum (sesame seed) oil (coconut) oil, Coffea arabica (coffee) butter, Vaccinium angustifolium (blueberry fruit extract), organic Rubus idaeus (red raspberry seed oil), Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn oil), organic herbs and spice blend with Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract non-GMO tocopherol (vit E).

Find out or order some yourself on their website.

The skin cream helped the dry skin on my skinny legs (seemed to also make them feel better (feet too) and the Cross FIXE muscle rub had a very mild sensation to it, smelt interesting and I think helped legs feel better.

Anything to help this ole running fart keep moving!

See you out on the road you fellow crazies.


*Stay tuned for upcoming shoe reviews, cookbook for athletes and more – and maybe a blog update about how this cranky, aging beast is doing.

Reach and grab twice the fuel!


“Staying fueled on a run is essential to you reaching your running goals.”

This week’s blog is on a great 2-bottle running vest from Orange Mud.

I have been running for almost 30-years (turned 40 in October) and have gone from stopping at any store, park etc that sold water or had a fountain to carrying bottles-then ill-fitting fuel belts (hate)(no hips) to running packs with pockets….and then found Orange Mud products.

I have tested and run with Orange Mud’s Hydra Quiver single-bottle vest (loved) (My review)


Hydra Quiver Vest Pack 2

I tested this running vest out on a few short trail runs and it also got used during my 258km, 2.5-day birthday run (thats another story). Loved the feel and comfort of the vest, just like the one-bottle version.

The 2-bottle version is very similar to 1-bottle but you lose the 2 back pockets but do have a strap to cinch something to the vest or order an accessory pack to carry some more gear/fuel etc.) Despite losing pockets in back I still had shoulder pockets (great for 2-3 gels and front pockets that cinch up have room for gels, chews, cell phone, debit card etc.

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Above: Wearing Hydra Quiver on a trail run (left) and at the end of my 258k Ultra (strap poking through).

Bottles are easy to reach-like pulling out an arrow from a quiver (hence the name). I have no shoulder arm issues but this could pose problem for someone who does or when really tired —but I had no problems.

I have no hips and hate belts, hand-bottle holders are okay for shorter runs but arms gets sore if uber long run and sometimes do not need a full on running pack (not running solo 100k) – this is a great option.

*Only real recommendations would be for perhaps some padding or wider strap where snugs under armpit and perhaps some way to attach or keep loose straps from flapping (hear this may be in the works).

This is a 2 thumbs up for me! Great for medium to long runs and could be used for semi-or supported ultras (50K+).

The Hydra Quiver Vest pack 2 retails for $149.95 but is worth it if it meets your needs – uber comfortable and well-designed.

Run on friends.


Long overdue piece about orthotics


“Feet are literally the foundation of the sport we love – treat them well.”

Life has been busy. Being a running-dad has been a transition that has made life fun, interesting and busy and changed the way I run and blog!

Back in the summer when the air was warmer and shorts and t-shirt were all you needed to run – I went to a local foot expert and Pedorthist for some advice.


I have been running for 28-years and an early career choice was Pedorthics (orthotics and evaluation of the most complex bony structure the human body has).(Each foot has 26-bones). I used to wear orthotics but a few years ago found that my trusty orthotics were feeling like they were over-correcting me and kicking me out (laterally). Knowing my feet fairly well – I played around with running without my trusty inserts. I slowly began to wean myself off the added support to see how my feet and body would react. I now run orthotic-free and can wear less shoe than I have ever worn before and have more running shoe options.

Life is never static or black and white – always changing.


So it had been years since I had used an orthotic. Running well and feeling good and my favourite training shoe is the relatively minimal and light New Balance 1400.


Oh did I mention I just turned 40. Things were starting to change a bit. Even less flexible…..first joint on right foot stiff, enlarged a bit and sore after some runs…left ankle sore a bit after longer runs. Was starting to feel my age. Time for advice.

Ryan Grant – Solefit Orthotics (Ottawa, ON)

I turned to Ryan – a fast runner and a guy who knows feet. He did an analysis of my aging feet and body and also talked about his trade.

When should someone think about an orthotic?

How we should think about approaching orthotic treatment.

Talking with Ryan confirmed my current thoughts on orthotics (in a perfect world one would use for support and gradually wean off them as possible). I left with more information and with recommendations and exercises (ex. one leg squats) to keep my feet and legs running.

To contact Ryan and his team at Solefit Orthotics in Ottawa, Ontario you can check out their website.


Life and feet keep changing – remember to always be evaluating and changing to keep ahead!

See you out there on the roads.

*Stay tuned for reviews of HOKA and New Balance trail shoes, Runscribe, Cross Fixe muscle rub and even a cook book!


A 258-Kilometre 2.5-day Birthday run Adventure


“Life and running is all about keeping the feet moving and moving in a forward direction.”

258-kilometres, 2.5-days from Kingston to Ottawa

It all began with a question from my wife about what I wanted to do to mark my 40th birthday and a pent-up desire to run something after missing my goal fall marathon.

Ideas tend to get trapped in my rather thick skull at times. Mention that it would be insane to run some crazy distance from here to there….and soon enough that idea is burrowing itself into my already rapidly churning (1-horsepower)(1-brain cell) brain.

My wife said I should do something to mark my 4-decades of life-maybe she was not suggesting a multi-day insanity….but that is the grub-like running foolishness that crawled in and set up shop in my brain a few months ago. An attempt on the Rideau Trail (327km) unofficial (FKT) record. (Record set in 1983 by Ultra-runner Bob Tysen)(3-hours, 11-hours and 31-minutes)

The planning began in earnest. Maps, directions and ideas....

The planning began in earnest. Maps, directions and ideas….


I went through all the maps on the Rideau Trail Association website and bought their waterproof version at a local hiking shop. I gathered maps of the areas between Kingston and Ottawa and even had a map printed at a great map store in Ottawa (World of Maps).

I spoke with everyone I could think of for advice – the very helpful Rideau Trail Association members, Bruce Watts who hiked the Rideau Trail End to End (and has great website and videos of his trip). I took the advice, trail updates and every bit of information I had to create the plan. I figured I could get 2.5-days free from work and a busy home-life with a new 5-month old to take a crack at the run.

On the road to Kingston, ON.

On the road to Kingston, ON.

The run

With a van to follow me, a friend (Nick Brindisi)(Collingwood half-marathon race director) to run with and maps, binders, gear, food and family and friends for support – the trip was ready to launch. A record attempt though had turned into just a run on as much of the trail as we could (due to planned morning and night-time run/hiking and concerns from family and unfamiliarity with trail).

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Thursday Evening – 40k in 4-hours on trail and road between Kingston, ON and Sydenham, ON. This was a night-time run with headlamps on easy trail and road followed by a quick meal in the van and 4-hours sleep in the back of our 7-passenger van.


A quick supper after 40k and 4-hours sleep in Sydenham, ON.

We had an offer from a great guy in the village of Sydenham but were too tired to leave the van (Sorry Jason!).


Friday brought an 84-kilometre day that felt much longer. The plan was to go from Sydenham to Perth. A 5am start had us walking the cold fall hour on back roads but soon we were on trails. Frontenac Park, wet feet and a long, long time in woods summed up Friday. We ended our day on a dark winding dirt road as the night grew colder – after 14-hours on foot. We called it a day and dragged our tired, cold and wet bodies to Perth, ON.


The silver lining to the hard-fought kilometres on Friday was meeting an amazing Perth couple who open their home to 2 crazy (and smelly) runners and their support crew. Jack and his wife had left the door open to their house, had a warm shower, beds, towels and soup and biscuits ready for us. It was truly amazing. One of the highlights of the trip.


At this point the plan was constantly changing – as life does. My goal had been to mark my 40th birthday with something significant, a challenge and something I would remember. An adventure. We were also raising money for cancer – a disease that affects so many and forces people to deal with life as it comes and try and keep moving forward despite chemo or other complications….and pain. We too were adapting and changing and focusing on the main goals (adventure and pushing ourselves) and we were certainly dealing with pain.

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Saturday (Halloween) we slept in a bit but were soon off running along the road on a frosty morning (on tired legs) on our way to Merrickville. We ran in the morning and were slowed by Nick’s blisters, lake sized puddles and terrain the rest of the day. My goal was 100k. With Nick nursing his beat up feet in the van in the late evening – I somehow found energy reserves and ran the last 20-25k at 3:45-4:15 pace (seems insane) on quiet, dark roads and then along the highway. 106k was the total for the day.


Saturday night the legs were tired and beat up but slithered into sleeping bag and readied the day to come. I awoke Sunday to dark clouds and the sound of rain and a left ankle and shin that were incredibly sore. Sunday turned into a tough mental day for me – it was my turn not Nick’s to be a wounded warrior. I tried a bit of running but to no avail. I changed to more comfortable tights, gritted my teeth and pushed my walking pace to a level that had Nick and two friends (Bridget and Mark) running to catch up every few minutes. I managed 28-kilometres in just over 4-hours and reached our end-point. I screwed up my face, gritted teeth and grunted through pain to run the last 200-300metres.

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Tears of relief and joy were in my eyes at the end – where family and friends had come to greet us.

I had pushed myself harder and farther than I had ever tried, run 258km, made a new friend and we had raised $1000 to help fight cancer. Doughnuts and chocolate milk were brought out to celebrate.

The team


Other photos from the adventure

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  • 7-passenger van to sleep in and support along the route
  • All kinds of running gear, running packs and head lamps
  • Maps, GPS, directions and detailed distance information
  • Quick to prepare food and fuel (gels,bars,chews,drinks)


  • Thanks  to my wife, family and friends for the support. Thanks to Nick for joining me on the crazy adventure.
  • Thanks to Claude for lending us the van that was so essential to our run.
  • Thanks to Muscle Mlk Canada for the Energy Chews, bars and Cytomax to keep me fueled (burned 24000 calories on the run!).
  • Thanks to New Balance Canada for sending trail shoes and gear to keep me outfitted and warm.
  • Thanks to Tyler at HOKA for letting me test out a trail shoe on the Rideau Trail.
  • Thanks to all at the Rideau Trail Association for advice, guidance, information and warnings.
  • Thanks to Jack Tannett and his wife for opening your home to us and for the soup and biscuits.
  • Thanks to Trousdale Foodland for letting us park in your parking lot.
  • Thanks to Jason Silver for the offer of showers for 2 smelly runners.

Link to Nick’s blog piece about our run.

Other interesting information.

Record for Rideau trail end to end run (3 days 11hrs 31 min) Bob Tysen (Ottawa) 1983

Other end to end diaries/hikes etc:

See you all out there on the roads or the trails for the next adventure! Run on.


Chew not swallow! Energy chews!


“I like to run, don’t make me slurp down foul-tasting gels because I think its the only option. Don’t ruin my run.”

Okay – so there are some decent running gel flavours and companies trying really hard to make tiny sacks of syrupy sugar and stuff taste good for energy-crazing runners. (Currently GU Rootbeer, Peanut butter and Apple flavours – not bad)(Avoid the horrid but appealing named maple-bacon flavoured one).

But what I like more often than gels is something closer to food or candy. So here is a review of my supporter MuscleMilk‘s new chew.


Muscle Milk Energy Chews

The black bags are filled with chewy, candy-like orange half-circles. The energy chews come in 2 flavours: orange and tropical, have 27grams of carbs, 80mg sodium, 40mg potassium and the orange flavour has 30mg of caffeine (per pouch). I also like the fact that the chews are naturally flavoured, have no artificial sweeteners and are gluten free.

I take my chews to work for lunch-time runs, as bit of energy before a run home and of course stuff in backpack or running pack for long trail run.

Worth checking out!

Muscle Milk website

MuscleMlk Canada website

* *I also use Muscle Milk protein powder for post run recovery drinks, put in my oatmeal (vanilla flavour is perfect) and add to pancakes. If want something super quick-try the ready to drink Muscle Milk Protein drink.

Keep lacing up my running friends and stay fueled to run well!



Keeping things from being unraveled….or unlaced


“Life can be like a box of chocolates at times. Sometimes you get that weird orange filled one!”

Okay – another running gear review from this aging (almost 40) skinny Canadian runner with a passion for the sport, whole-wheat doughnuts and chocolate milk.

Ever been out on a run and had your laces just untie themselves…or perhaps just seem to loosen up enough that you have to stop and re-tie them. How about when the bloody things are just too long and lash around at your ankles – threatening to trip you up or be stepped on.

Let me introduce to a simple product that may help and I had the chance to try out.


slider02 They are called LaceLocker and an inexpensive way to keep things unraveling-literally. I popped open the small plastic package and took out the small velcro-filled Lacelocker and the small set of instructions. Okay – it did take me a few seconds to figure out…..but once on and laces bundled up and snugged up – prefect.

Went out for a run and no laces moving around and kept the tension on my laces. Liked.

How they work. Pretty easy but I did have to look at the small instruction book that came with them – here is a bigger visual from the LaceLocker site:


For the price of $8-$10 with a whole variety of colours (even reflective) these are worth ordering if you have lace issues or simply want to try. LaceLocker website.

So what about me? Well this new running dad is 40 at the end of the month (wow that flew by). My marathon plans did not happen and I did a training run in September that was 42.2km long – so what to do to mark 4-decades? Stay tuned!!! (Follow me on Twitter @NoelPaine during October 30th weekend to find out what I get up to!

Oh and plenty more reviews coming…MuscleMilk energy chews, Runscribe, maybe a cook book and more.

See you on the roads or out here on the blogosphere running friends!