Happy Sunday! It's been a while since I've posted a training update, but I've been super busy because I just took the bar exam this past week and my final prep period seriously took up all of my blogging time. Luckily, even though I wasn't having time to blog, I was still getting my runs in for the most part. The week of the test, I did scale back a little because I was so short on time and studying every free chance I got but other than that I am still on track. I'm also still dealing with the intense humidity that we have been having which has really been messing with my long runs as it becomes difficult to run when you feel like you are breathing through a straw. The good news is that these runs will only make me stronger and when this weather lifts, I am going to feel so good. I have also been keeping up on my strength training and working on my quads so that they are ready for all of the downhill running. I have been doing lots of wall-sits and squats and I have thrown in some ab circuits to strengthen both my abs and back.
Training has been going well overall, but I definitely cannot wait for fall. I'm coming up on a half marathon because I won a free entry courtesy of my friend Rachel and I'm getting excited about that! I will also be getting better about posting my training updates now that I have more free time!
I had the awesome opportunity to review compression socks by Tiux. In the name of transparency, I received a pair of the socks from the company for review. I made sure to thoroughly test out the socks in different kinds of uses, distances, weather, and to wash them, before writing this review. Read on for my full review of the product!
So first off, if you follow my running, you know that I fell in love with compression socks after the 2014 Cleveland Half marathon where I first ran into an issue with calf cramping. On the suggestion of a few other runners, I bought my first pair of compression socks and tried them out. They worked like a charm and I haven't done a long run or race without them since. Until Tiux offered to let me try their product, I had only used one other brand, and was pretty happy with them, so I was interested to see how these compared.
Tiux offers an indepth sizing guide which really helps out with purchasing the socks for the first time and making sure you get the sizing right. I worked out to be a small, even though I came in on the upper range on one of the measurements and I have to say that they fit perfectly, even though I was worried that my sizing for the calf circumference could have technically put me into medium as well.
Product Packaging and Appearance
From the moment the socks arrived in the mail, I have to admit that I was impression. The other kind I've ordered come in a packing envelop with a label around them. The Tiux socks came in a sleek looking black box, which slides open and then the socks are in a bag inside. I found that to be a nice, professional touch which ensures your socks aren't damaged in transit.
Additionally, before I tried them out, I kinda inspected them to see what was different from other pairs I've tried. I noticed that the middle colored band provides a little extra compression and support (which is good because it hits at a critical area where cramping is common). Additionally, there was increased support in the arch of the foot and on the achilles tendon. I have seen the arch done before, but never the achilles and I really liked knowing there would be extra support and compression there. Looking at the foot of the sock, I was wow-ed at how reinforced the sock was there. In my former pairs, I actually ripped through the toe during my last marathon. That does not look like something that is possible based on my glance at these. Even my running partner was impressed when I showed him the extra support there. Finally, though it's maybe not as important, because it isn't a functional aspect, I love the bright colors and on the inside of the top of the calf sleeve it says "Run, jump, go", which I thought was cute.
Ease of Putting Them On
Seems silly right? But with compression socks, half the battle is just getting them on. While this can have to do with improper sizing, some kinds are just a pain to try to get on. Even worse, is the fact that I usually have KT Tape on some form on my foot or ankle or shin, and trying to get the socks to not pull that up when you put them over top can be a struggle. However, I immediately noticed a difference with Tiux socks. They have a little more flexibility to them, so I was able to stretch them over the tape much easier and then they snapped back into place and compressed. Huge benefit. I definitely give them a 10/10 on ease when it comes to putting them on!
Okay so they look great and have great packaging, but what do we really care about? DO THEY WORK! The short answer is yes, they rocked on the runs I used to test them out. My first run with them was a 15 mile long run. My calves usually will go at about 8 or 9 without the socks, so going 15 was definitely a good opportunity to see if the socks were up to the challenge. After a few miles I could tell that they felt really good and my calves felt fresh. When I would run up hills, I could feel the compression and it was just the right amount. By the end of the run, I was really happy with the socks, I was sore, but not in my calves, and that's how I know if a pair works.
Round two was a test during a 5k. The 5k was actually the day after the 15 miler, so if the socks were gonna work, this would be a good time. I noticed when I woke up that my calves weren't sore from the day before, meaning the socks worked on that run. During the race, they felt just as great as they did in the slow long run. I was running pretty fast, and I could feel the compression, but it felt good and it was massaging out any tightness that attempted to work into a cramp.
Recovery Use and Washing
First off, briefly let me talk about washing them. So with a couple other pairs I've had, they shrink slightly after the first wash. Not exactly what you want with socks that are tight to begin with. And I don't dry running clothes or wash them in hot water, so there's really no reason for that. But when I washed these, they came out looking like they did before the wash. They were the same size, held their shape, and the colors had not faded.
Okay, second, I used the socks for recovery because this is a way I've always used compression socks in addition to running in them. They still work even if you just relax in them. So I pulled them on for a couple hours and I definitely found that they helped in aiding in that recovery as well.
So what's the verdict? I would definitely recommend these socks and I'm definitely gonna need to get myself another pair...or two! I was glad for the opportunity to expand my horizons and try a new brand and I was surprised by how awesome they were! So if you are looking for a pair of compression socks, definitely check out Tiux!
Happy Monday! This was definitely a crazy week of training for me (both good and bad) with different workouts thrown in, staying in a different place so running in new areas, an injury, a rapid recovery, and a race! But it always works out and the craziness makes it meaningful!
On Thursday I ran my speedwork on the treadmill and hurt my back a little over halfway through. I tried stretching and icing, but the icing seemed to aggravate it more and I wasn't sure what that meant for my long run. After some research, I decided to try heat instead of ice and that worked like a charm. Additionally, I applied my KT Tape and the heat/tape combo worked wonders. I ultimately skipped my long run on Saturday and pushed it to Sunday, because while I was feeling better by Friday night, I wasn't quite good to go. By Saturday afternoon the pain was gone and all I had was a little tightness. I continued heating and I'm pretty sure what happened was a spasm, rather than an actual muscle strain because of the rapid onset and the way the pain just disappeared once it relaxed.
Other than the injury, I worked in hill training, speed (until I hurt myself), abs/quads, and a race to turn my long run into speed work. It actually worked out to a pretty good week overall.
Since I raced on Sunday after a long run Saturday, I took Monday off to give my body some rest. I did make sure to do an quad workout and an ab cycle. When Tuesday came around, I started off with 1.5 easy miles with the dog I was watching, and then dropped her off to do 3.5 more on my own. The place I was staying was super hilly, which made for some good uphill and downhill training.
On Wednesday I decided to really make use of the hills and use the 1.5 mile loop I found that was half uphill and half down hill to really get in a good workout. My legs were tired from the day before and from the ab and quad cycle that I repeated on Tuesday, but I knew this would be a good way to work hard on tired legs. I did 3 loops and then a little extra to get it to 5 miles total.
Thursday - Speedwork
Ah Thursday, the day I hurt myself. I had a crazy morning so I wasn't able to get my run in until later in the day and it worked out to be about 90 degrees and 100% humidity. I knew my speedwork would be terrible and I was risking dehydration in that heat if I went outside. "Oh, I'll use the treadmill, it'll be perfect! I've done a 14 miler on a treadmill, I can easily do speedwork." As it turns out, speedwork on a treadmill is quite different from regular treadmill running. The plan was to do a 1 mile warmup, and then 10x800s, alternating the 800s between fast (7:00/mile) and slow (8:00/mile). I got through the 1 mile warmup and then 6 of the 800s and at the tail end of the last one, my back started cramping. I ran out the 10th of a mile I had left and stopped, knowing I might hurt myself if I pushed on. I tried to stretch out, but it got progressively worse and I called it a day. By some miracle, I could still do a side plank, so my steak stayed alive on day 153!
Sunday - Hat Trick Race/Long Run Speedwork
I didn't want to do my long run alone and I also didn't want to go out half way and find out the pain came back and be stranded, so I looked for a race. I found a unique race called the Hat Trick race. I was a 5 miler, followed by a 5k, followed by a 2 mile. Perfect! 10 miles and I knew I would do them a little faster than a usual long run, with the option to drop if there was any pain after a race.
I showed up and registered that morning and then ran about 1/2 a mile to see how my back felt. I had no pain or tightness but I still had KT Tape on just in case. The deal was you had to switch out your bib between races and the 5k would start an hour after the 5 miler, and the 2 miler would start 45 minutes after the start of the 5k. The 5 miler had its own course and the 5k and the 2 miler shared a course with the turn for the 2 miler (obviously) being earlier. If you ran all three, you got a hat to celebrate completing the "hat trick" and there were awards for each race.
We started the 5 miler and I felt good. I noted that we ran downhill for about the couple miles and told myself we were going to go back up it, even though I wasn't sure of the course. I was holding about 7:35s and passing runners as I went. My plan was to run the same way I did at the last 5k because I ran a nice negative split there and felt good. At 2.25 miles we turned onto trails. I don't do trails and needless to say, I was not thrilled. It was all uphill on dirt trails for about half a mile. At that point, one female runner passed me as I backed off to 7:50s, not knowing how long we would be on the trails or going uphill. I was so happy when we got on the road, but then the hot sun was bearing down on us as we made our way back. I gladly took water at every stop, and told myself to just hold 8s and push through. The humidity was rough and I was not enjoying myself by mile 4. At 4.25 we had to do a loop through a parking lot to get some additionally distance and for some reason, that made me feel good. I guess because I saw how far ahead of the next closest person I was. When I had the finish in my sights, I heard someone behind me and I dead sprinted for the finish. I wanted that AG award and knew they were big (10yr) ages. It turns out it was a guy, but I was grateful for the push at the end. It worked out to about 7:55/mile average for the 5 miler. I had about 20 minutes to grab some watermelon, water, Nuun, and a gel to get ready for the 5k.
When I got on the line for the 5k, I told myself I would take this one easier (ha!). I set off at about a 7:45/mile, and you could tell that people were tired from the first race because they dropped off quickly. I was hanging with a man in neon compression socks, using him as a pacer. When I hit about 1.3 miles, the lead man passed me on his way back, and the other leaders started coming through. I started to notice that there were no girls. When I was about .1 miles from the turn around I saw a girl on her way back and a second not to far behind her, and then no more. "I'm in third!" I looked behind and saw no girls and I kicked it up. When I rounded the turn, I noticed there was another girl about 2/10s of a mile behind me. I kicked it up to 7:35s and then once I hit a mile to go, 7:30s. I kept looking over my shoulder and for a while, I could see a guy, but no girls. I pushed it to 7:20s and then 7:15s and I saw no one behind me. When I crossed the line, I looked at the race director and mouthed "3rd?" and he said yep! It worked out to be about 7:45/mile for that race. I grabbed more water and Nuun and chatted with the guy in the neon socks until the next race. We were so deep in conversation that we almost forgot to switch our bibs and I managed to stab myself with a pin while frantically changing mine.
Again, I said, "okay, 2 mile cool down". We took off and I settled into a 7:45/mile pace. I let the three girls ahead of me go, deciding not to race. But as we got going, I felt pretty good and I could tell 2 and 3 were struggling. By the time we got to an uphill, I passed them and they dropped back. I figured they'd catch back up but I never saw them again. I had 1F within a tenth of a mile of me, and I kept her in my sights as we hit the turn around. With about 3/4 of a mile to go we were next to each other. We hit the downhill and she went slightly ahead, but then on the uphill, I shot ahead of her and she high fived me as I went by. We were down near 7:20s at this point with about .35 to go. I held the lead for a while but around .15 to go, she went ahead. I pretty much let her go at that point, but went with, keeping her in my sights as we dropped down to 7:05s. We finished close together, with her getting me by a couple seconds. 7:35/mile for that one. I later found out that she was 15, so I'm happy about holding with someone 10 years younger than me!
Ultimately I worked out to be 1st Female 20-29 in the 5 Miler, 3rd Female in the 5k, and 2nd Female in the 2 miler. 10.1 Miles at 7:45/mile and it was a fun way to get my long run in and to do it for speed. Most importantly, no pain!! Oh and I got my hat for completing the hat trick!
Was it a crazy, different week of training? Yep! Was it still a good week, that ended in a way I never saw coming after an injury on Thursday? Definitely! Long mileage coming up next weekend, and I'm ready to tackle it after a confidence boost this week!
So yesterday I ran the Lake County Captains' Grand Slame 5k and I had a blast doing it! This race is a 5k through the area surrounding the minor league ballpark, where the last tenth of a mile is on the warning track, finishing behind home plate. Additionally, the race directors were able to book Carlos Baerga (former 2B for Cleveland Indians) to hand out medals, and to do a meet and greet after the race. The race was only $25 to enter and all participants got a shirt, a medal, a meet and greet, a ticket to any Captain's home game, burgers/hotdogs/beer, and discount tickets for their friends and family.
For me, I had a 15 miler the day before, so I knew I would not be trying to run a PR! I talked with my running partner, and he told me "no faster than 7:30. But that doesn't mean you have to do 7:30 if you aren't comfortable. No racing." When I woke up on Sunday, I actually wasn't that sore, so I was feeling like I would be able to push through it at a decent pace. I met my mom at the park (she was walking the race because she is a huge baseball and Indians fan, and loved watching Baerga play) and we went inside to check it out. I saw the finish line on the field which looked exciting. I ran into my Insta-friend Steph and talked to her a little, and then I ran into Veronica, another insta-friend and talked with her a little as well.
When it got to about 10 minutes to go, I headed to the start line and found a place about 5 or 6 rows back. I then saw a Cleveland West member, Hasani, standing near the front and I went to talk to him. He's ridiculously fast and was running this as part of the NERC racing series. Apparently they caught our conversation at the start in a photo!
I headed back to my spot with about 5 minutes to go and loosened up my ankles like I always do. Carlos Baerga came out to greet us all and counted down from the last 10 seconds. The horn went and we were off! I really was checking my watch because I am notorious for taking off too fast in a 5k. Sure enough, we were at 6:45/mile and I backed down as people went zipping by me, telling myself that they would all be coming back to me in no time. I settled in at about 7:25-7:35, which felt comfortable. Sure enough, halfway through the first mile I was passing people who went out too fast. By the first mile, I was at 7:35, which I knew was pretty comfortable. I stuck with it and continued passing people, feeling pretty good, and around 1.5 miles, I really loosened up. There was a slight hill, on an otherwise flat course, from about 1.7-1.9 miles. I used it as an opportunity to pass more people, because I tend to handle hills better than most. Mile 2 came in at 7:40. The first half of mile 3 was mostly down hill and when we rounded the corner at .4 miles, I knew we were on our way back and started to kick it up a little. I passed a couple more people and suddenly I was pretty much alone, with a pack far behind me and a pack far ahead of me as we turned into the parking lot for the ballpark. We looped around the back of the park and I realized I had begun my kick too soon and was getting worried if I could maintain it, but then we suddenly turned and headed down the ramp onto the field. My watch dinged at 3 miles and I saw it was a 7:27. Being on the field was awesome and I started my final sprint in and around the track. People were cheering and the announcer was awesome and I sprinted across the finish at 23:29 (7:34/mile). Not a PR, but pretty solid for the day after 15 miles!
After I got done, I talked with Steph, whose boys won their age group! And then I talked with Hasani who rocked it with a new PR of 18:53 (told ya he was fast). Then I waited for my mom to cross the finish. When I saw her walking in on the warning track, I yelled run in! And she actually did!
We then grabbed some food and made our way to the autograph line to meet Carlos Baerga! The line was very organized and moved pretty quick and we were able to get our stuff signed and take a picture with him. He was super nice and just happy to be there, congratulating all runners on a great race.
All in all it was a great race, with a super flat (PR -worthy) course, and lots of fun! Definitely a great value race too, but what else would I expect from Lake Health Running? They always put on great value races. Happy Fourth of July! And good luck to anyone racing today!
Last week ended a big week of training for Big Cottonwood and included a lot of new workouts, which ultimately made my long run quite the challenge. I have started my strength workouts for my quads so that they will be able to handle all of the downhill and this was the first week of me really putting the speedwork in. I also ran a race yesterday (5k) which was interesting the day after the long run, but actually seemed to be helpful for loosening up my muscles. So let's get into it!
Monday - Speed work
This was my first speed workout of my new training cycle and I was honestly hesistant, because I really hadn't gone fast since before the Cleveland Marathon. This training cycle, I am working on slightly slower mile repeats but with less recovery in between. Therefore, the miles themselves should be about 7:10-7:15, with about 1:30-2mins off in between.
1 Mile Warmup - 8:15
3x1 Mile Repeats - 7:15, 7:15, 7:25 (7:17 avg)
.25 mile walk to cool down.
I was planning on 3 repeats, but it was so hot and humid that I thought I might only do two. But after the second, I knew I had enough left in me to try for a third, and I was mostly in the shade at that point so I went for it. I was definitely a little tired on that one, but still pulled out a 7:25 so it wasn't too bad overall. This workout tested my confidence, because I never felt tired in the miles, but I kept doubting myself the whole way. I pushed through and got it done. Followed up immediately with 30 squats and a 6 minute plank.
I intended on Tuesday being a recovery longer run, but it ultimately ended up being 6 miles at 8:24/mile. It was another hot and humid day and that definitely got to me a little as the last half mile I began to dog it out when I was passed by two other runners. The combination of not liking to get passed and feeling that if they could push through, so could I got me through the rest of the run. I drafted off of them for the rest of the way, holding a 7:45. We ended up talking at the end and they told me that I helped them too because having me at their heels pushed them to the finish.
Wednesday - Hill work
I met up with Harness Cycle to run the bridges because you can't ask for a much better combination of up and down hill training than this group run. I got there early and logged 2.5 solo miles before meeting up with the group. When I set out with them, I really tried to keep the pace slow, because I really wanted that recovery paced run and I know I tend to go too fast with them. I did better than usual, because I kept it to an 8:40 for the first mile and a half with them, but once we hit the downhill, the pace picked up. When we got to the second killer uphill bridge, I was impressed at how good the hill felt and let myself push it up the hill at 7:55. I ended up with 6 miles at 8:30/mile.
I really took this run easy because I knew my legs needed it. My goal was to go visit the new Cleveland sign at Edgewater park, because I was dying to see it and I knew it would be a perfect 4 mile run. It came out to be 4 miles a 8:42/mile. Later that evening I did 60 squats and 30 lunges, which became a problem for my long run...
Saturday - 16 mile....well, it became 15 miles, long run
When I woke up on Saturday, I was seriously sore. My hips were locked up and my quads were tight. DOMS. The squats probably didn't cause the problem, but the lunges did. I was a little worried about how the long run was going to feel but I knew I had to get it done. I met my running partner early for 6.5 miles before the club and once we got about a mile and a half in, everything started loosening up and felt fine. However, after we met the club and took off again, all of the soreness was back and I was super tight. By about 9 miles in I was really sore and tight. I could tell my running partner was hurting too because of his injury from earlier this year. We toned back the pace a little. What was really killing me was downhill, which, on the upside, means I am training the right muscles! At 11.5 miles, by quads really cramped up on me, which I recognized as low electrolytes (because it happened to me in Cleveland and Detroit) and so I stopped, and downed all of my Nuun and massaged it out. That seemed to help and we were able to keep going and even kick up the pace. My running partner tried to make me call it at 13, knowing I was running a 5k the next day, but I negotiated him up to 15. Once I had replenished the electrolytes, I was really able to push on, and the last mile ended up being close to 8:24/mile, with the last quarter being under 8 and my final kick was 6:45. 8:58/mile overall.
Sunday - Grand Slam 5k
On Sunday, I ran an awesome 5k which was at one of the minor league ballparks, finished on the field, featured a former Cleveland player (Carlos Baerga) who put our medals on and signed autographs, and let us hang out with burgers and beer in the park! I'm going to write a recap on the race, so I won't say too much now, but I was happy with how my legs handled the race the day after a long run. I was told to go no faster than 7:30s but to go on feel. I ended up running a 7:34 comfortably and it seemed to loosen up all of the soreness!
Another solid week of training, with 38 miles logged. I will definitely be more cautious in throwing in workouts close to the long run, but hopefully, my body will react to them better now that I have a base. Happy Fourth of July!!