Holiday Runlist/Product Review: PRO Compression Calf Sleeves

Tis the season for gift giving!

If you’re looking for a great holiday gift for that runner in your life, look no further.  PRO Compression brand sleeves and socks are the way to go!

PRO Compression Sleeves-Black $45

A few weeks ago I was awarded the opportunity to review PRO Compression brand calf sleeves.  If you’re a runner or know a runner, then you’ve probably heard about these handy accessories or at the least have seen another runner donning a pair.  

I noticed my first pair when I saw someone’s race photos.  They were wearing a bright neon pair of them and it had me hopping onto google to see what I could find out about them.  Why were runners everywhere rocking these compression sleeves?

According to PRO Compression the benefits are many….

Marathon Calf Sleeves combine the optimal blend of advanced materials and innovative design to deliver maximum benefit. True graduated compression technology helps improve blood flow and oxygen delivery, resulting in better, more consistent performance with less fatigue and faster recovery.

Thanks to our advanced design, Marathon Calf Sleeves also support critical muscles and tendons, helping reduce inflammation and soreness associated with running and other activities.  Put it all together for the perfect compression sleeve for training, racing, recovery and travel.”

They sounded like a dream!  Whilst training for a marathon the body is fighting constant muscle abuse.  Recovery time is often limited while following a busy training schedule so it’s important to find ways to aid in that routine.  I’m still a fairly new runner (I only truly began running and training in April 2013) so a lot of this training and recovery is new to me, but the one thing I learned early on is that having the proper support during a run is key to maintaining a healthy body.

From stability shoes to KT tape, I’ve found that the little things really do play a big role in overall performance, recovery time, and injury prevention.  So you can imagine how eager I was to try something new!

I’m not severely prone to injuries, but I am a “heavy-stride” runner.  My feet really pound the pavement when I run so shoes with cushion and support have been a huge help in preventing injuries, but I still on occasion (especially during my long runs) feel pain in my left shin.

I tried my sleeves the day of my first run back after having been sick for 2 weeks.  I knew that my body would be angry with me, but as soon as I slipped those sleeves on I felt like my calfs were wrapped in a warm hug.  Though they were a pain to get on, the struggle was worth the effort.  I wore them during my run and then again in the evening after my run and slept through the night with them.

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During my run I appreciated the snug feel, it was like wearing a sports bra for my muscles!  My shin didn’t ache and the next day my calves weren’t sore.  I can’t wait to see how they feel on my longer runs!  Unfortunately, I cancelled my marathon plans and haven’t been mentally capable of doing anything over 5 miles in the past few weeks so I’ll need to update you on how they aid in long run recovery later.

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I do look forward to picking up my training though and hope that I’ll have another long distance race planned soon.  I know these sleeves will be a new part of my routine.  Another added bonus during the winter months is that they turn my capris into long pants!  BONUS!

If you’re interested in trying a pair or buying them for a runner friend be sure to visit http://www.procompression.com and use PINK2 discount code thru December 15th for 40% off your purchase.

 

 

 

 

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Product Review: FlipBelt

I finally had the chance to test out my new flip belt! AND I LOVE IT!  I really didn’t know how I would feel about it because I figured it would bunch up and look weird, but once I popped my phone in and flipped it over I was good to go.

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I ran for 5 miles and with my iPhone5s tucked away it stayed in place just fine.  It didn’t ride up or bounce around as one would expect, but I did need to wear it over my pants so that my mommy pouch wouldn’t be squished.

I think this belt would be great for a variety of people, but can see larger individuals or people with excess loose skin (like myself) struggling to feel comfortable.  I was able to solve this problem by wearing the belt over my running tights.  My tights help to hold everything in so my gut wasn’t flopping around over the belt as I ran.

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Overall, it’s a great product and I would recommend it to my friends (and you!).  The only con I can see is for larger individuals.  I know that this is something I would have avoided like the plague back when I first started my journey and can understand that it’s not something that is meant for every body.

I should also note that I ordered a size large for my size 10/12 hips so it’s a fairly standard fit.

If you’re interested in buying one of these at a super discounted price let me know ASAP (leave your email) so I can share my special discount code (I have 15 codes available for 33% off).

Also if I run out of super saver codes you can use code: Sweat10 for 10% off your entire FlipBelt purchase!

Be sure to visit http://bit.ly/flipbeltsweatpink to checkout their full collection of belts!
If you want to get your hands on one for cheap please fill out the form so I can send you the 33% off code!

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Every Runner’s Nightmare: Let’s Talk About The ‘D’ Word

October and November were rough months.  Just as I got over my October cold I was hit with a horrible case of bronchitis.  I was completely incapacitated for a few days and then it took an additional week and a half for my cough to die down enough before I could run again.

My first run back brought me to the realization that I had missed too many very important long runs.  After many days without running those 4 miles felt like a 10 mile run.  It was brutal and my lungs burned.  In fact, weeks later and my lungs are still feeling the pain.

In the wake of my illness we were also met with a variety of unexpected financial burdens and just before Thanksgiving I came to the saddened realization that I might be facing my first race deferral.

The “D” word that every runner dreads.

FOX TV / Via degrassi.wikia.com

I just couldn’t fathom scraping close to $2K together for the trip to Disney to run in a marathon that I now felt I would be undertrained for.  It was a very tough realization to accept, but this week’s happenings have made the blow a little less harsh.  We were faced with yet another jab to the gut.  This past Monday we hit a deer and it did substantial damage to our vehicle.  This means we’re hemorrhaging money right now and had I bought plane tickets a couple of weeks ago we would be facing the same rough decision to cancel the trip.

I was excited to see that RunDisney does offer a deferral option, but bummed to see that a fee would be involved.  I would have to pay an additional $75 just so I could race again next year?!  Talk about frustration!  It would be nice if Disney allowed for bib transfers, but nope!  What’s worse is that I was fully ready to pay the deferral fee until today when I hopped on over to their website to find that the deferral slots had already been filled.

It looks like my big “D” is no longer going to be a deferral, but rather a DNS (did not start).  Talk about devastation!  Months of training down the drain.

Yet, I remain optimistic.  I WILL run another marathon in 2015!  I will even try to sign up for a few spring halfs to keep myself on track.  It’s not always an easy journey as an athlete, but it will be worth it in the long run. My training isn’t for nothing, it’s made me stronger and faster and increased my endurance.  In the end it’s not the race the makes me a runner, it’s my ability to run despite the races (or lack thereof).

Race Recap: 5K Chili Challenge, Ithaca NY 11/2/14

It was another bitter and brutally cold day for this year’s 5K Chili Challenge (last year’s weather was just as bad).  It took a lot of effort for me to make it out of bed and brave the elements, but I sucked it up and made it happen.
463633_846711335362788_1076732083611111049_oI had been fighting an upper respiratory infection during the week and my lungs had been feeling tight so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had only been able to put in 4 miles that week and missed out on my 17 mile run so I figured this would be something that would at the least help me maintain some level of fitness.

Another motivator to get me out was that my two biggest fans came along to support me!  Craig and Connor braved the cold with me until the race started , but they later took refuge in the car while I ran.

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It was cold!  The wind was tough, but I dressed for the part.  I really loved the course for this 5K because it was a change of pace from mundane road races.  Trail running has become a new love of mine!  I often prefer it over other options and love that it provides a different level of challenge.

 

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In the first half of the race (the uphill portion) I was sure to take it easy.  This is where knowing the course really helped!  I was glad to reach the turn around point because I knew I could pick up the pace and improve my time during the slight downhill.  I even managed to pass a few groups of people!  This is something that never happens for me!

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I am a comfortable middle of the pack runner and usually end up on my own during the race, but it was nice to knowingly pass people and keep them at my tail.  I paced my fast mile in mile two and kept a strong and steady pace for mile three.

Like a perfect midpack runner, I finished off in 32:59 and placed 112/224 beating last year’s time by a hair.

 

 

Race Recap: Trick or Trot 5K-Cortland, NY 10/26/14

This past Sunday I had the painful joy of partaking in Cortland’s Trick or Trot 5K.  I say painful because my body was not too happy with me that day and it had every right to protest.

Why was I in so much pain?!

Oh, ya know, because I switched my training run around just so I could participate in said 5K.  I crammed in 15 glorious miles the day prior (16 if you count the extra mile I had walked to get home) and my body was feeling it.

Regardless of my lactic-acid drenched thighs, I was able to do the best with what I had and fared better than expected.

Even more exciting than my ability to move the day after such a long run was the fact that my little guy, Connor was able to participate in his first “race”!

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This event is definitely a must-attend for any parent!  Not only did they provide daycare during the race, but the little tykes were able to participate in their very own 100 yard dash.

Connor is still a tad young to understand the concept of when to run (though he does it on command any other day) so when the horn went off he just stood there.  I leaped in and trotted by his side until he got the idea.  He was VERY eager to catch that little shark ahead of him and finished his loop with a little help from mommy.

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Then it was mommy’s turn.  I didn’t quite know what to expect or how hard I would be able to push myself, but I managed to bring some life in my tired limbs.  I was tailed the entire race by a woman in a bright neon green shirt and I could tell that she was pacing me and trying to keep up so seeing her in my peripheral was just enough to keep me going when every inch of my legs burned.

A pair of flamingoes and superheroes just ahead were also there to keep my motivated.  I so badly wanted to pass them.  I did finally manage to pass them, but superhero batman had to pass me in the final seconds of the race and I finally felt like that infamous bird flipping runner.  All in all I was rather pleased considering I had physically exhausted myself the day before and still managed to place respectably 54/142 overall and 9/22 in my division.

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It wasn’t my best rest, but it was fun and I am eager to give it another go next year.  I’m even thinking that if I work on my training it could be a potential placement race in the future (unless it gets bigger and draws Ithaca crows–why are they so damned fast?!).

Have you participated in any Halloween themed races this month?

Marathon Training: Weeks 4-7 In Review

So, here I am feeling like a slacker!  These past few weeks have been nuts and I missed a big long run and a bunch of shorter runs.  I am a bit bummed, but am hopeful that it hasn’t hurt my training.

Screen shot 2014-10-01 at 1.03.20 PMOn the day of my 14 miler I was holed up in bed with a pounding headache.  I just couldn’t pull it together enough to go out and run for a couple of hours and by the time I felt better it was dark out and conditions weren’t prime for running solo.

Week 6 proved to be a challenge due to a mix of scheduling conflicts and an unwelcome bout of vertigo.  I only ran twice that week and when I went out for my 10 miler I could feel the difference in my performance over my prior 10 mile run.  I didn’t push myself as much as I could have and I was still breaking in new shoes so I am hopeful that it played a role in my slightly slower pace.

I am a little nervous for my upcoming week and haven’t quite figured out how my body is going to feel jumping from 13 miles to 16.  I’m just going to have to play it by ear and see how it all pans out.

Marathon Training Review: Weeks 1-3

A few weeks ago I decided to switch over from my 3x/week running plan to a more intense 5 day running plan, Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 2. The first week went fantastic!  I only missed one short run and was able to stay on track for my other longer runs.

I was also killing those runs!  My 10 miler was a new PR and my shorter runs were getting more speedy.

Hal Higdon Intermidiate 2 Training Schedule

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Sadly, week 2 is when I began to slack.  It was mainly because I was completely and utterly wiped out.  We shot a double wedding that weekend and after two 12 hour days of shooting the last thing I wanted to do on my first day off was go out and run 11 miles.  Let’s not forget to mention that I could also feel myself getting sick.  I know my body and know that I made a wise choice in staying in that day.

My cold was very mild and passed quickly and I was able to get back on track in week 3, BUT I still missed two of the longer runs.  We were out of town that weekend shooting in Buffalo and I wasn’t about to get up early and run 6 miles in an unfamiliar city.  The following day I was far too exhausted from the 12 hour day of shooting so I decided to skip yet another long run.

I know this is bad.

They say to never skip a long run.  They say that if you’re going to miss any runs try to make it those short ones.  But, we’re still fairly early on in the training and I think I will be okay.  You see, I always have the Intermediate 1 plan to fall back on.  When I look at that schedule and think about my current fitness level I know that I am well ahead of the curve.

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I only opted for the higher schedule to begin with because my longest training run from my prior 28 week plan was 9+ miles.  I knew that my body was already fully capable of going the 10 mile distance and saw no problem with the increased mileage.

So far, the training has been going well.  I don’t feel like it’s burning me out and I don’t feel like it’s too much too soon.  The only conflict I have had been due to a ridiculously busy schedule and illness.

It will get better now that wedding season is dying down and I do plan to work hard to stay on track for week 4.  It’s my goal to have a full week of training under me for this coming week.  So far, I am doing my best to stay on track and plan to do the same for the weekend.  It’s not always easy finding the time or getting up early, but I know it’s going to be a necessity.  I want to push myself harder so that I can PR this next marathon and even hope to run a half at the end of this month (10/19) so I can PR that distance as well.

I can feel both my mind and body getting stronger and know that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. How are your training plans going?  Have you ever change things up during training?  What plan are you following?