Friday, October 14, 2016

#TeamNuun, Hurricane Matthew, and the Little Kid That I Haven't Seen in a While

  First off, let me state the main details of my time at Ragnar Trails Carolinas-SC running with some Team Nuun and Nuun HQ peeps at the beginning of my post:  Mud.  Rain. Wind.  More mud.  Falling in the mud. Oh, and mud.  But, most importantly, fun!

  Now to the rest of my post.  Several months ago, I was chosen by Nuun HQ to run on one of two teams at the Ragnar Trails - Carolinas-SC.  This would be my 6th relay race, 3 road and this would be my 3rd trail.  It would be my 3rd relay running with Nuun and for Team Nuun.  Each and every relay has been a blast, and I expected this one to be no less.

  I had been nursing and rehabilitating a hamstring so my goal was to get to relay weekend with the ability to finish my three legs.  Everything was going well in my recovery and the weather forecast was looking great.  Perfect early autumn running.

  Then Hurricane Matthew decided to make an appearance and also decide to slide up the coast.

  This Ragnar was in South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, NC, and when H. Matthew decided to swing our way, the forecast changed to where we would be right on the outer extent of the swirling mess of wind and rain.

  The Thursday prior to the race was a whirlwind of its own as I flew into Charlotte to meet up with Brian and Kirsten from Nuun  HQ, helped pick out our weekend's snacks for the two teams we would be fielding, picked up others from the airport, and went to the Ragnar village area to get the Nuun Tent set up and to pick out and setup our Team Nuun campsite/compound.

  Once we had all arrived, as usual, I was proud to be a member of the two teams that were chock full of wonderful people.  Here are the two teams together after some pizza on Thursday night.

My Nuun HQ and Team Nuun teammates

  We were camping out Thursday and Friday at Ragnar Village and we had picked out a great place for our Nuun Compound, as it came to be known.  We got on higher ground in anticipation of rain and by Friday, we had assembled a rather large, plastic encased area of dryness.  This was the key to the whole weekend as we had a nice place to hang, to rest, and to visit that was out of the rain and the mud.

#NuunLife Compound

   So for the rest of our time at Ragnar village and on the trails, the goals were trying to stay somewhat dry, somewhat clean from the mud, and taking care of ourselves and the Nuun tent we were manning.  The trails were bad, I mean really bad, by the time I got to run.  I didn't run until the 6th runner on my team and by that point, it had been raining for a while and the trails were getting really muddy and slippery.  I fell in the first half mile of my first leg, and to be honest, this changed my whole viewpoint for the rest of my time there.  Until that point, I was still thinking I could run decently and was still somewhat serious about how I was going to run.   When I was hopping from one track to another, my leg shot out from underneath me in the sloppy, slick red clay mud, and I went down on my right side in the ankle deep mud and tall grass and then slid on my right side for what seemed like 5 yards.  I let out a loud laugh.  It was as if all of the seriousness that I had when I started that run was laughed away and became mired in the mud.  I stood up, still slipping mind you, with a big old goofy grin on my face, and took off down the trail.  However, this time, the serious runner was gone and had been replaced by a carefree, mud and water stomping idiot who figured he was going to be wet and muddy the rest of the weekend, so why not indulge himself in some true and utter fun with 15 other friends.

   From that point forward, I just concentrated on living in the moment, relaxing with my Nuun friends, playing in the mud, and doing everything I could to make the weekend more enjoyable and more fun for my teammates and the rest running in the Hurricane.  I know I had fun and I hope that I brought some enjoyment to the rest of my teammates.

  By the way, have I mentioned that the Nuun HQ peeps and my Team Nuun peeps are some of the best folks around.  Never once during the weekend did I hear any of them complain or whine.  We just had fun.  Thanks to my teammates and to Hurricane Matthew for teaching me that it is okay to just let go, not be so serious, and just play; play like that kid that I can barely remember who would run outside in the middle of the rain and stomp in puddles and mud.

         Some random photos from the weekend (props to my teammates for some of these pics).  Did I mention that these peeps that I hung with are now a part of the Alabama Clemens Family if they weren't already?

Friday, May 27, 2016

New Nuun Formula Side-by-Side Taste Comparison with Old Formula

So, when Nuun came out with their new Nuun formula, I was really interested in how the various flavors would taste in the new formula and whether they were able to replicate or better the good tastes of Nuun that I had grown used to.

Instead of just buying a new formula flavor over the course of a year or so, I decided to place an order and buy every flavor of the new formula that was offered.  My stockpile at home already included some of all of the old flavors.  I would then perform a side-by-side taste test of old vs. new formula flavors and publish my results when I completed all 9 flavors.  During my side-by-side tests, I would post results on Twitter (@JPC_Marathoner) but I wanted to gather all of my thoughts and results in one place and so this is that place.  The below are the results for each side-by-side as well as an overall assessment of the new Nuun formula tablets.  For the most part, the below is a stream of consciousness on my thoughts.

I hope you find the info useful and I encourage you to perform your own taste tests and let me know what your taste buds think.  Give some flavors a new try.  Expand you flavor stockpiles and spread the #NuunLove.

Overall New Formula Nuun Notes (non-flavor notes)

  • New tablets are bigger, thicker and seem to be slightly wider.
  • New tablets are much more “powdery”.  Be careful when fishing out a new Nuun tablet when wearing dark slacks :-/  You will need to brush them off and make sure fingers are cleansed :-)
  • Given the slightly bigger size and maybe due to them being more powdery, they seem to come out of the tube harder.  I have to work hard sometimes, to get a tablet out of the tube, especially when I get down to the last 3 or so in the tube.  It is as if the tube doesn’t want to relinquish the wonderfulness that it is holding
  • New tablets are less dense (which may go with the powdery part), thus, they don’t sink fast and get stuck easier if you have tossed them in water with ice in it.
  • Did I mention them being more powdery?  Have breathed in my share of Nuun powder when opening tubes.
  • The new formula Nuuns seem to take a little longer to dissolve completely than the old.  Not a significant amount of time difference to worry about it though.

Strawberry Lemonade

  • Like old better.
  • Old was one of my favs (top 3 with Watermelon and Tri Berry)
  • New is 7/10 (which is still okay) but not as flavorful to me as old.  Seems “weaker” in taste which is not my experience with the other new Active Nuun flavors side-by-sides
  • There is a slight aftertaste associated with the new Strawberry Lemonade formula.  Sometimes it borders on more than slight.
  • Not going to lie here.  I am disappointed that one of my top flavors, to me, is not as tasty.  I will still drink it but likely not as often as I used to.

Tri Berry

  • As I said above, Tri Berry is one of my top 3 in the old formula.  Before doing the side-by-side, I was worried this would go the way of Strawberry Lemonade.  
  • I like new formula flavor better!  Tri Berry has been one of my tops so excited that I like it better.
  • Flavor seems stronger to me.  No aftertaste.


  • This was my favorite flavor in the old formula, so I was hoping that the new formula taste was at least as good as the old.
  • I definitely like the new formula flavor better.  Taste is stronger and tastes more like watermelon than old.  Glad that I like it better since it is my fav.


  • Never a big fan of this flavor, so I am interested to see if the new formula changes this in any way.
  • New formula wins again.  New flavor is more lemony
  • After trying new again, it is lemony but sometimes I get more limey too! Great! 2 flavors in 1.
  • Still won’t be one of my top flavors


  • I became a fan of Tropical late in the life of “old” flavor Nuun.  Wonder how it will be with new formula
  • New flavor wins! - surprise, right? - Seeing a trend here (except for Strawberry Lemonade)
  • Like some other flavors, I got a stronger taste with the new formula.  While drinking, I get a melon taste.  Aftertaste moved to a pineapple taste.  Cool.


  • Occasionally get Orange, but not often.  Interested to see if it rises on my fav’o’meter
  • Had to take two taste tests to decide and describe why. Winner is: New!
  • New flavor (stronger) tastes more like Orange, not like OJ or an orange drink, but more like eating an actual orange.
  • Starts out tasting like a cutie (clementine); ends with a hint of mandarin.


  • Rarely bought citrus in old flavor.  Will see with new formula.
  • Winner is *tie*.  I truly cannot decide.  New formula flavor is slightly stronger tasting and what it tastes the most like to me is a tangerine, which is good, but I would rather have Orange, I think.

Fruit Punch

  • I have never been a fan of Fruit Punch anything. Ever since a kid, I have not liked Fruit Punch Kool-Aid.  Was not a Nuun fan of this flavor either.  Will new formula change this?
  • Winner here is *new* formula Nuun flavor, surprise, surprise, surprise.  However, I will caveat that even though I like the new formula taste better, Fruit Punch is not rising into my top 5 flavors.  I will buy some of it in the future just because I like to change up flavors now and then.


  • “Old” grape was in my top 6 probably.  I didn’t buy a whole bunch, but I usually bought some with every order.  Will I like the new formula better given that the past taste tests are mainly stronger tasting and I think I would like that in grape.
  • Yes!  The new formula seems to have a stronger grape taste to me and that is what I was hoping for.  Mark grape down as a winner between the old and new formula flavors.

Concluding Notes

  • Very surprising to me (and others that were following my tweets) how the new formula flavors dominated.  After the first flavor test, Strawberry Lemonade, where I liked the old formula taste better (old was a “10” to me and now is a “7”, but still…), I expected more wins by the old flavors.
  • I may have had a bias coming into the taste test against new formula flavors because I got to sample some “in the works” flavors a couple years ago when running the Hood to Coast with Nuun HQ employees.  They had a couple bags of tablets that they were working on flavors, I assume for the new formula at the time.  Some of the tablets I randomly picked were, well, how can I put this nicely, not very good!  They were still in the works remind you, so some things were still being ironed out, but this left me with a bad taste in my mouth for some of the flavors and how I thought the new formula would taste.  But never fear, the Nuun HQ geniuses nailed it.  When the new formula goes 7-1-1 in head to head taste tests with the old Nuun tablets, I am impressed… and happy given I drink a whole bunch of Nuun!