Monday, February 29, 2016

This Weekend's VIP - MoJo MoJo Elite Recovery & Performance Compression Socks Review

I am a huge proponent for compression socks. I wear them on ever long run, every run that is going to be 7 Miles or more.

I have experienced issues with my lower legs since I began running longer distances. Two of my biggest issues are swelling and cramping. I began adding the support of compression socks since February 2014 on an off. I did not wear them last April for my Half-Marathon and I will never do that again! I fatigued so bad toward the end of that run and I feel certain that compression socks would have made all the difference. In addition to compression socks I have been monitoring my electrolyte intake and ensuring proper nutrition before, during and after my long runs but I am 100% certain that compression sleeves or socks improve my performance. 

Compression socks are designed to increase oxygen delivery, decrease lactic acid, prevent cramps, and minimize muscle fatigue, combat deep vein thrombosis and the formation of blood clots by increasing the circulation and blood flow. 

I picked up a pair of MoJo Elite Recovery & Performance Compression Socks recently. As I have begun running more often I have found I need more socks! I found mine through Amazon fairly inexpensive. 

MoJo Elite Recovery & Performance Compression Socks - Pink Small

When I got them out of the box my initial reaction was, oh no… They are super cute, I got light pink size small, but they did not appear that they were going to be tight. The calf section looked wide to me in the packaging. I elected not to let my first impression get the best of me and give them a try anyway. I was a little nervous to wear them on a long run because what if they didn’t fit right… I put them on for a 7 miler and knew instantly that my perception was all wrong. The socks fit perfectly; my legs were “snug as a bug in a rug”!




I took them out for a test run and fell in love!! In addition to my lower leg issues I have also recently experienced some ankle discomfort. These compression socks supported me in all the right places!
As a busy full time working mother runner I failed to read any washing instructions and threw them in the wash run after run. Apparently the recommendation is to hand wash them and hang them to dry. Honestly, I have no time for that. Turns out they have washed and dried just fine for me so no sweat! I do wash my running gear in cold water on a more gentle cycle and dry the gear on light heat. I have noticed any issues at all with this method!

I have since worn my MoJo Elite Recovery & Performance Compression Socks on many more runs, even just yesterday on my 12 miler, and they are the perfect addition to my running gear! I will be buying more! Check them out! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Running and a red face

One of my lease favorite parts of running is the fact that after a long run or a short high intensity run my face is beet red and stays that way for about an hour or two. It is like a severe case of flushing or blushing.

Understandably I am working hard and creating body heat. I am not a heavy sweater. Sweating helps your body cool down naturally. Most likely my face stays red because without sweating a lot I am not cooling my self down as well. I hydrate well on my runs but just don't quite cool down until an hour or so after my run. 


I do hate it! There is no swinging to the grocery store after a run for me!


Uggggggg....

From what I have read there is no cure or fix. Certainly if you experience this similar redness along with any other symptoms you should see a medical professional but simple redness is not all that serious of a condition. 

One product I know helps but just isn't that convenient most of the time is the Mission Cooling Towel. When wet this towel creates a great cooling effect. It just isn't always convenient for me to carry around a wet towel.

I do want to try out a few other products to see if they help at all. As I try out things I will post updates!

Do you get this red after a run? What products do you use or what tips can you share?

Monday, February 22, 2016

This Weekends VIP - R3 Roll Recovery Review

I have found my new favorite thing! I am a huge proponent of roll recovery, until now I have used a golf ball for rolling my feet which has for the most part met my needs. Mainly it helps with my plantar fascia to ward off Planter Fasciitis. 



When I received my R3 in the mail I could not wait to try it out! 




The R3 looks a bit like a chess piece and is small enough to pack for your race weekend but big enough to serve many different foot sizes. 




This recovery tool is perfect for the plantar fascia but it also has the perfect high points to allow for an amazing massage of the outer and inner edges of your foot as well. It is the perfect companion for hard working tired feet! 




I also have issues with trigger points in my upper back/neck area and typically I will do tennis ball self massage, I will wedge a tennis ball between my back and the wall. I gave the R3 a try and I will never use a tennis ball again! This has a much better range of coverage. Simply place it between you and the wall and roll up and down the wall (think wall sits) and you will release much of that tension!



The R3 is reasonably priced and well worth the investment! This is now a permanant staple in my running bag!

 Roll Recovery is a company found by a runner in response to the need of a better recovery tool. Check them out online or on facebook

Monday, February 15, 2016

This Weekend's VIP - BK Sport Bluetooth Headphone Review


OMG I am in love. Ok so I am not that hard to please. I love things. My friends and family might call me a borderline hoarder but that is only because in my opinion I have a profound appreciation for things and so I tend to hold on to things, because I appreciate them and I am not wasteful and I find value in all things... Anyway (I really am not a hoarder but I do love stuff) I have discovered a new love BK SPORT Bluetooth Headphones.

Ok so I have to remind you that I am a finicky runner. I have to have my laces tied just right, I can't have my keys jingle jangling around when I run, I don't exactly like zippers if they flap up and down... You get the picture. I really love my Yurbuds but I have been thinking about how nice it would to eliminate that cord that goes from my face to my arm while I'm running. Yeah I have worked out the quasi sophisticated system of tucking the long section of cord down my shirt to keep it from flailing around while I'm running but then sometimes I get it so tightly tucked that my head has to remain in such a position so as to not pull the cord out of my shirt. So I thought about giving the wireless thing a try. 

Not wanting to spend a lot of money, because what if I hate it, I found these BK Sport headphones on Amazon for under $20 so I added them to my Christmas Wish List. My amazing hubby bought them for me and I finally tried them out at the Hot Chocolate 10K and have fallen in love!


I can not attest yet to how long they will last, I will try to give an update after my half, but they made it through one hour and forty minutes at the 10K no problem. They advertise that for listening to music they should last 4.5 hours so if you run a marathon for example in longer time than that just pick up a back up pair and carry them with you!

 As far as the range for bluetooth goes (not that it will matter when you are running, you are always with your phone right) I'd say the range is great! I'm slightly obsessed with Podcasts and so I listen as I am cleaning house and I typically lay the phone down and can work all around one or two rooms and not loose signal!

They paired very easy and right away with my phone. 

They come with three sets of ear tips and one set of ear bud locks. I felt a little bit like Goldilocks trying them all on for size, too big, too small, just right! For me the middle size plus the ear bud locks fit perfectly and they stay right in place!



So far I love them! I enjoy listening to music through them while I run, I listen to my podcasts while I am cleaning house and I use them to chit chat on the phone on my commute to and from work each day! 


Friday, February 12, 2016

High Five for Friday


Happy Friday!! This has been another great week and I am looking forward to the weekend!


1. It was a really beautiful weekend! The weather was great and the sun was out!


Photo Credit: Tess, my 16 year old, Follow her on Instagram @tacphotography_

2. While the Carolina Panthers didn't win the Superbowl we still got to enjoy this yummy treat!



3.  We had a beautiful Ash Wednesday Service. This video gives just a quick explanation of why you might have seen a few people with something smudged on their forehead Wednesday.



4. I added yoga and pilates into my training plan and I am feeling pretty great about that!



5. I was able to volunteer last night with our Service League at our sponsored Blood Drive. It is pretty awe-inspiring to see so many people come out and so selflessly give the gift of life through donating blood! 




I am linking up with Happy Fit Mama for High Five Friday! Check her out!



Thursday, February 11, 2016

Will You Be My Valentine? Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for your runner girl!


So call me old fashioned but Jewelry, Flowers, Chocolate will always win me over on Valentine's Day! Here are some other great Valentine's Day gift ideas, along those same lines, for your favorite runner girl:


1. Give her a massage gift certificate to her favorite spa

2. Send her for a pedicure

3. Make her a custom display for her race bibs and metals

Race Bib and Medal Holder  - The Miracle isn’t that I Finished the Miracle is that I had the Courage to start - Running Medal Holder


4. Find some special Inspirational Jewelry for her like 



There are so many cute necklaces and other accessories out there as well.

Like this from Hip Mom Jewelry


Or this awesome bar necklace from ShopSomethingBlue

Bar Marathon Necklace Laser Engraved Roman Numerals Runners Necklace Marathon Jewelry Runner's Gift She Believed She Could Half Marathon


5. And last but certainly not least, you just can't go wrong with Chocolate




Wishing you and yours a Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Training update

So far so good! With four and a half weeks to go I am feeling pretty good about my training for the upcoming half! We held back a little this week on our long run this past weekend and instead of doing ten miles again we did 8 at the lake on rolling hills. 


Instead of resting on Sunday I hit the road with Tess and a friend for an easy three miles at the Greenway. 


I practiced Yoga on Monday and ran hills in town Tuesday morning with my half training friends. 

I have not been very disciplined about cross training and I can tell you it is crucial. This past week I simply added a little Pilates and Yoga and I can tell a huge difference. I have to work the other areas of my body or I am totally off balance and subject myself to injury. 

I began "feeling" my IT Band a few weeks ago. I say "feeling" because it was just enough of a twinge for me to notice and get nervous. I knew that I needed to strengthen my hips, been there, done this... I have only been running, running and running, When I am cross training, doing other things in addition to running, I typically do not have issues. Once Basketball season is over I plan to get back to the gym for HITT but until then I will make use of my non running days to add in a little something else. For now that will be some Pilates, Yoga and maybe the bike!

We plan to run 11 miles this weekend, probably 8 or nine the next, then the weekend of the 27th run 12, rest the following weekend and go for 13 on race day! 

I am excited!! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

This Weekend's VIP - Knuckle Lights Review

As most everyone knows, my favorite time of day to run is early, early morning. I'm sort of competitive and so I like to beat the sun to the rise lol! Early mornings actually are just about the only time I can get my run in. I work 8am-5pm and then am usually busy with ballgames or other activities after work. If I waited to run until later in the day I would probably never run. 

Running in the morning also gives me a boost of energy that I can really use throughout the day! I have come to count on it and I notice when I don't run. 

Another reason I love early mornings is the darkness. Don't get me wrong, on the weekends I enjoy sleeping a tad bit later and running after the sun is up and enjoying a beautiful morning but through the week I really enjoy my dark, quiet, early morning runs. 

The only problem with an early morning run is that it is typically quite a bit darker out which makes it a bit hard to see. Some locations I run are well lit, others not so much...

I love my Knuckle Lights!! Knuckle lights are designed to be worn on your hands and are adjustable. The produce different levels of light to meet your needs and have saved me time and time again from tripping and falling on uneven pavement, sidewalks, etc. The on and off is easily controlled while I am running by a click of the switch located on the top and controlled by your thumb! 


I recently also took them along with me on a night race and while again most of the course was well illuminated there was an entire half mile or so that was not lit at all. I simply switched on my Knuckle Lights and had no issues with visibility. I noticed other runners turning to look to see what I had as I breezed by. Knuckle Lights put off so much light that I not only lit my own path but I light up the path for all the runners around me! It was great!

I absolutely love my Knuckle Lights and don't leave home without them when I am running after dusk or before dawn!



It puts off a great amount of light! I am never in the dark with these!




I would say that I have small hands and the fit me nicely, the straps are fully adjustable. I often find things too big on my hands, gloves don't fit well, etc, but these fit great!

 

I highly recommend Knuckle Lights especially for those of you who like me enjoy running early morning or at night! (These will be great for camping this spring and summer too!)

Happy Running!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What good are goals?

Well dang it! Already I am behind on meeting my goal for 2016! I have this crazy notion that I can run 1,000 miles this year. I ran 437 miles in 2015 so why not more than double that this year??

In order to accomplish this I need to average 82-84 miles per month.

This is the calander I created with my 1,000 miles planned out. How to run 1,000 miles this year:



I logged 62 miles in January, that's about 20 miles short of what I need to average per month to meet my goal. But it is 62 MILES which is pretty darn AWESOME!!!  In January 2015 I ran 28 miles and in January 2014 I ran 17 miles... So while maybe I didn't get in the 82 miles I wanted to I nearly tripled my mileage from January 2015!! We must celebrate the small successes! I am ecstatic!

I have 11 more months to pick up the 20 miles I missed. Weather put a hold on many run days this month so I am not worried! and so far 7 miles logged already in February. 


Did I set my self up for failure? Nope, I set my self up for success!! Without having set the goal in the first place I wouldn't have pushed my self to run 3x as much in a month as I ever had before! I have only had two other months where I came close in mileage and that was in the 50 miles range! Without setting the goal you can never reach it and for me without setting the goal I would most likely not even try!

My goals are set, I am not changing them. I will celebrate the small victories along the way and work to make up mileage! Whether I make it to 1,000 or not I know I will make farther than I ever have before!! 

Here's to a new month!






“Celebrate every small achievement and gain strength for grandeur things.”  - Lailah Gift Akita


Monday, February 1, 2016

This Weekend's VIP - Skora Phase Review and Skora Core Review - Run Real

Real as in the way my body was intended to run... I purchased my first pair of Skoras in May 2015! I found them discounted on the Clymb. A fellow blogger had been raving about her Skoras and I was curious about these shoes so I bought a pair of Skora Phase to try!


I instantly fell in love, I run so comfortably in them. I am so finicky when it comes to my shoes! I have tried and returned so many brands it's crazy! My feet are picky!

Something about my run in the Skoras was refreshing! After I ran I felt amazing! It was very different though and I noticed that these shoes were working my legs completely different than my traditional running shoes. It makes sense that my legs would hurt, the soles on the shoes, and in particular the heels are not built up at all so my foot is positioned for a run as it is when I am walking around the house barefoot. My heel was connecting with the ground rather than with the cushion between the ground and my heel. My calf muscles were elongated and stretched much more in these shoes than any other.

I kept alternating between my Skoras and my traditional Brooks. These two shoes are so different but I couldn't decide just yet which I preferred. Over time I began wearing my Skora's more and more. 

I put the Skora Core shoes on my Christmas Wish List but then told my husband "nah, don't by me shoes, my feet are so funny, I would hate for you to spend that kind of money on shoes and me not wear them". He doesn't listen very well and to my surprise I opened up a brand new pair of Skora Core's on Christmas Morning!!! I was so excited and at the same time worried. I had already begun my training for a half marathon and I didn't know if I wanted to fully convert to Skora's or not so I was afraid I wouldn't wear them that much. I even suggested he send them back, he had spent too much on me as it was this Christmas. Again he didn't listen and those beautiful shoes were mine!!! I love him so much!!!

I decided I would wear my Skora's on my shorter, 4 mile runs, and my Brooks on my long runs... That didn't happen either! I have only worn Skoras so far this year! As of yesterday I have logged 62 miles on my new Skoras and my feet, legs and whole body feel amazing!


It is a completely different run and I would suggest that in the beginning of trying a new minimalist shoes your run may be a bit slower, I recall feeling that way, but within a few months I was back to my normal pace! I am an average speed runner, for short runs I feel best at a 9:30/minute mile pace and on a long run I feel best at a 10:30-11:00/minute mile pace.

What I love about all Skora shoes is the asymmetrical layout of the laces, again my feet are so finicky and I no longer feel that tight spot on the top of my foot where the laces tie. This now lies off to the side and goes completely unnoticed on my runs! They have no tongue so I no longer have to wrestle with the tongue placement either. They have an anti-microbial insole to help fight stinky feet lol! I wear them barefoot, no socks, and they also keep my feet dry and really they do not stink! I also love how fitted (I have narrow heels), yet roomy these shoes are! I think they fit true to size, I wear a 7.5 running shoe and I get my Skora's in a 7.5. 


I love my Skora Phase because they are completely reflective so they are perfect for my early morning runs! I love the Skora Core because they are so soft, made of Goat Skin Leather! Both shoes are super light weight so I feel much lighter on my runs and I love the way I run in them. I run the way my body was designed to run, I run now the way my body wants to run. I do not feel unsupported at all, my feet feel protect, I have ran on all terrains and so far haven't encountered any issues! I ran my 15K in Atlanta in my Skora's and got in a 10 miler yesterday. These shoes are great for both short and long distances. I will most certainly be wearing these for my half in March!

I love this picture, I am wearing my Skora Phase for the Night of Light 5K and the flash light up my shoes like the 4th of July lol:

While the Core's are not 100% reflective they still pack a punch! Both shoes serve me well for my late night and early morning runs! You can't miss me!




Now on my next wish list: Every other Skora shoe on the market! <3





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