Two-a-Days & More Adventures in Ugly Running Fashion

Got to run twice today.  Whitney is a happy girl.

I ran into Petya this afternoon and did a little over four miles with her by the river.  The weather was perfect and chatting with Petya made the miles go by quickly.  Afterwards, I headed to Salty Dogs and finished the day with a tempo 5K.  I wore my compression sleeves today and they felt muy bueno on my tired legs.

For about a year now I have been wanting some compression sleeves. I have a (minor) addiction problem with expensive running gear, but even I had trouble justifying paying $40 for what basically amounts to socks.

While I was at Breakaway the other night though, I decided to take the plunge and invest in a pair of the CPE sleeves.  They come in fairly specific sizes, so the folks at Breakaway graciously measured my sweaty calves and put me in a size 2.  That night when I got home, I wore them around the house under my pajamas just to check them out.

My initial thought was that maybe I wasn’t a size 2 after all.  I knew they would be tight, but good grief- pulling those babies up my calves felt like trying to put on jeans after eating Thanksgiving dinner.  The longer I wore them though, the better they felt.  It’s similar to the feeling KT tape gives me- I felt very supported.  

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So stylish

Last Saturday I put them on for my long run.  It was chilly and rainy out, but my legs felt good in the compression sleeves.  I felt like it took me less time warm up and get into the groove than it usually does on a solo training run of that distance.  Running in the compression sleeves reminded me of playing soccer and wearing tall socks and shinguards which made me feel like I didn’t look so stupid after all.  By the end of my long run my legs did feel a little fatigued and when I went to run at hash that afternoon it definitely felt like I had run 16 miles- my legs were tired and stiff.  

The next day though, I felt fine.  I got up and cleaned the house, cooked, did laundry, and then walked to the movies to meet some friends.  It was like my runs on Saturday never happened.  I also wore my compression sleeves for yesterday’s 10 mile race and again today runs and felt the same.

The verdict? I’m not sure the compression sleeves make me run faster or keep my legs from getting tired while running, but they do seem to speed recovery.  In any case, there definitely wasn’t anything negative about them.  

I think I will plan on wearing the compression sleeves for NYCM since St. Jude is just one month later.  Any advantage I can get on race day or to speed up recovery is worth it.

Have you used compression sleeves or socks before?  What did you think?

Road Race Series 10 Miler

So after a taking a week vacation from running, I woke up bright and early to run the RRS 10 miler today.  

This course is no joke.  There are some big, steep hills with tough climbs and the downhill is so steep you can’t fully take advantage of it for fear of falling on your face.  In the last half mile of the race is a series of switchbacks that take your breath away (every year I’m like WHY are there switchbacks in a ROAD race???).

Just as in years past, we had perfect crisp weather for the race this morning. I could have gotten away with wearing less clothing, but I wanted to use this as a trial run for potential NY gear, so I wore my new socks (Balegas), arm warmers, and some compression sleeves.  I probably looked like an idiot, but oh well.

Looking at my splits for last year, I felt like I may have went out too fast, so I wanted to aim for better pacing this year.

Mile 1: 7:39, Mile 2: 8:08, Mile 3: 7:53…okay things are moving along according to plan.  Not too shabby.

But then during miles 4 and 5 I lost some speed.  Instead of feeling excited and full of endorphins like I usually do, I felt frustrated and slow.  

Mile 4: 8:26, Mile 5: 8:30, Mile 6: 8:36

We came to the biggest hill of the day and I shuffled up it well enough, but as we ran down it and came to plateau where I could pick up my pace, I began to get a side cramp.  Crap.  To make matters worse, the dude running next to me was breathing so hard I thought he might have a heart attack, so that was frustrating and concerning.  Rather than stubbornly push through the cramp, I relaxed my pace a little bit, stretched my arms out and after a minute or two it was gone.

Mile 7: 9:10

I kept telling myself we had less than a 5K left, which was pretty good motivation.  I finally found my groove as we ran down a narrow, rocky path.

Mile 8: 8:20

Mile 9: 8:00

We hit a nice downhill around mile 9 and like a crazy woman I cheered out loud and picked up my pace to pass a couple people.  The guy behind me started cheering too and yelled, “Heck yeah!  I LOVE gravity!”

The little group I was pacing in picked things up.  I began to remember why I love this course- that sense of camaraderie, of running those tough hills together.  

As we approached the switchbacks, I saw Miles cheering on the runners which made me feel pretty good.  The other runners were already muttering about the switchbacks.  I shook my head.  I’ve run this race before, those switchbacks aren’t that bad.  

Well, apparently I erased the memory of the switchbacks from my head. They were that bad.  I did an awkward jog/hike as I made my way up.  I was a little out of breath when I reached the top, but there was no time to worry about that- I could hear the people at the finish line and it was time to go!  

As I approached the race clock, my heart sank a little bit.  I came in at a little over 1:24 (not a PR).  I forced myself to never check my total time on my Garmin and only let myself check my mile splits as I ran, so I wasn’t sure where I would come out for the day.

Mile 10: 9:02 (included switchbacks)

So not a perfect race by any means, but I’m glad I was able to turn things around and enjoy the last couple miles of the run.  10 strong miles on a beautiful day followed by a serious breakfast is good enough for me today.

ALL the breakfast- ham, cheese, spinach, mushroom, tomato scramble. Noms.