Running and Living in Vermont

FFFA (1)

Remember that sports bra I got last year for review, and loved? The one from Lynx Sportswear? Well, I just ordered another one in a different style and let me tell you, it’s AMAZEBALLS. I’m not sure if it’s just the different style, or if there have been overall improvements to the design, but they pretty much addressed every single one of my “cons” and it’s now the perfect sports bra for me. Up until recently, I only had the one that was good for running, so having two feels like a luxury. I may need to get another one, though, because it really is so amazing. Busty ladies, GET YOURSELVES A LYNX SPORTS BRA. Your boobies will thank you.

Valentine’s Day is this Sunday. I’ve always had very mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. When I was single, it was a shitty reminder of how single I was. In my first serious relationship, he took the holiday very seriously, whereas I was leery of the forced “celebration” of our love. With Ben, we started out doing the whole traditional fancy dinner date thing, but as the years have gone on, we’ve become a lot more pragmatic about the whole thing. If we celebrate at all, we do a dinner not on the actual holiday itself so that we don’t have to worry about crowds. This year, though, I think we’re finally just saying, “Screw it.” We don’t need a manufactured holiday in order to recognize how much we love and appreciate each other. We don’t need the stress or expense of buying each other more junk or going out for a fancy dinner. We’ll probably just get takeout and watch Firefly or something.

Our office has been under construction for the last two weeks. For the most part, construction noises don’t bother me, and the construction is to improve/expand our kitchen/break area, so I’m generally very happy it’s happening. Unfortunately, a lot of the construction is happening near, around, or even IN my personal office, so it’s been tough at times to be productive and focused. Plus, our office is in a shambles. Theoretically, the construction will be done by the time Tuesday rolls around, which will be a relief.

I only have to work one day next week! Monday is a holiday and our office is closed. I work Tuesday, and then my colleague/gym buddy Freda and I are off to St. Petersburg, Florida for a conference at our corporate offices for the rest of the week. I’m excited for sunshine, warmer temps, and being away from the office for a bit. I’m also super excited because we get to see the Broadway tour of Book of Mormon while we’re there, and hopefully do some outlet shopping as well.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Who else has a three day weekend??

Disclaimer: I received a pair of MCS Thermal Compression Tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Photo Jan 15, 3 34 44 PM.jpg

As I said in my Buff Hoodie review, I live in Vermont, and Vermont winters are no joke. For the most part, I run pretty warm as a person, but the one thing that always gets me when running in the cold is my legs. I can be sweaty and warm everywhere except my quads and my butt–sorry if that’s TMI, but it’s true. Many a winter run has ended with bright red, semi-frozen legs and buns.

Now that I’m training for a May marathon, cold winter runs are part of my norm, and I’ve been working on getting my winter gear stash up to snuff. Luckily for me, BibRave teamed up with 2XU once again for Pros to test some of their thermal tights. Full disclosure here, all of my fellow Pros received the Hyoptik Reflective Thermal Compression Tights, but due to a shipping SNAFU, I received the MCS Thermal Compression Tights.

I have to admit, I was bummed about the mixup. I do a lot of dusk and dawn runs, when having some extra reflective gear would have been really useful. Also, the Hyoptik tights have a wider waistband, which I would greatly have preferred, as you may recall from my review of the regular MCS Compression Tights.

Disappointment aside, I was still excited to have some new cold weather gear, and I was determined to give the MCS Thermal Tights a fair shake. My first impression upon opening the package was that the thermal tights felt of a much higher quality than the regular tights. Not thick or woolly like I might have expected, but heavier weight. The first thing I did was pull out the drawstring–I’m sorry, but I don’t see much use for a drawstring in tight compression pants. And the next thing I did was to try to stretch out the waistband as much as possible. And then some more. Unfortunately, the waistband on these tights just DOES NOT work for me. The rise isn’t high enough to come up over my stomach, so it cuts into my tummy and hips. I also found length to be an issue–I’m 5’7″ and according to my height and weight measurements I got the correct size, but the tights leave a good couple of inches of ankle exposed, and cut into my lower calf a bit.

Photo Jan 25, 6 02 18 PM

You can see that’s a whole lotta exposed ankle

Other than those two issues, these tights feel AMAZING on my legs, like a soft, warm hug. You can see the Muscle Containment Stamping (hence MCS) right in the material, and it’s designed to support individual muscles and muscle groups for optimal recovery.

I had the opportunity to wear these tights for a couple of runs in different conditions, to really put them through their paces and see how much protection they offered in the extreme Vermont weather. I found that in conditions any colder than about 35 degrees, or if it was windy, these tights weren’t enough on their own, although they would definitely make a great base layer. In middling temps (35-45 degrees), the tights were perfect. My legs were definitely warmer than with other tights I’ve worn, and the compression feels so good on tired legs. The only thing that would keep me from wearing these tights during runs of 6 miles or longer is the waistband issue–it is truly uncomfortable for me, although this might be a personal problem. Many of my fellow Pros have worn the MCS tights with zero issues.

My favorite way to wear them has been for recovery around the house after long runs or on rest days. I wore them as a base layer under snow pants when I knew I’d be standing around watching a Nordic ski meet for hours after an 8 mile run, and I was toasty warm, and my legs felt awesome.

Photo Jan 30, 10 01 33 AM

Features:

  • PWX Flex Thermal Fabric for warmth
  • MCS is targeted to the calf for ultimate muscle protection
  • Graduated compression increases blood circulation for improved recovery and reduced muscle stiffness post exercise
  • Flatlock seams to reduce chafe for greater comfort
  • Powerful Invista LYCRA® for exceptional fit, support and recovery
  • Moisture-wicking material
  • Antibacterial and UPF50+ sun protection

Pros:

  • Just the right amount of compression on legs
  • No chafing
  • Warmer and softer than regular compression tights, though not ideal as a single layer below 35 degrees or in windy conditions
  • High-quality, well-made product

Cons:

  • The key pocket is one of those floppy add-ons attached to the waistband, which I personally don’t like. I’d rather have nothing at all
  • The narrow waistband is too tight/too narrow and cuts into me
  • Not long enough for my legs (I’m 5’7″ and ordered the correct size)

These tights retail for $129.95, which seems expensive, but is actually pretty comparable to what’s on the market. While they aren’t a match made in heaven for me, those of you without quite so big a spare tire around your middle may find that these are just what you’re looking for. As my fellow Pro Angie said, “It’s like the MCS tights and the Hyoptik tights had a baby–the best of both worlds!”

Do you wear compression when you run, or when you recover, or both?

 

 

Manic Monday – 02/08/16

Manic

Vermont City Marathon Training Week 4: What Was Planned vs. What Happened

Monday 02/01/16: 30 Min Easy Run30 Minutes Easy 

I’m so pleased that the sun is setting later and later. I was actually able to run outside after work with some daylight left! And because it’s been weirdly warm here lately, the bike path was clear of snow so I could run my normal route.

Tuesday 02/02/16: 45 Min Easy Run45 Minutes Easy

It was colder today, but I was still able to complete my entire run with some daylight, which is such a treat.

Wednesday 02/03/16: Spin ClassSpin Class + 50 Minutes At-Home Yoga

I was tired and sore after 3 days in a row of workouts, so I decided to treat myself to a nice deep stretch. I discovered Yoga With Adriene on YouTube and did her Yoga for Hamstrings and Yoga for Weightloss: Hips and Hammies. I’m excited to incorporate more of these videos into my training.

Thursday 02/04/16: HillsHills

I did a one mile warm up, then 4 x 600ish hills (600m is about .37 miles, which is tricky on a t-mill), then ran a slow cool down until I hit 3 miles for the workout. I used incline level 3 for the first 3, then level 4 for the last one. It was tough but not awful, so I think next time I do hills I’ll try to crank up the incline more.

Friday 02/05/16: Rest | 3 Hour Dance Rehearsal

All week, I somehow thought I didn’t have rehearsal, and then not only did I HAVE rehearsal, but it was three straight hours of dancing, and I somehow tweaked my neck, which resulted in reduced range of motion, pain, and a headache for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday 02/06/16: 10 Miles Easy10 Miles Easy

I had a lot of anxiety going into this run, and while it wasn’t rainbows and magic, it was definitely the best 10 miler I’ve ever done. I’m hoping that now that I’m over the double digit hump, I won’t worry about it so much. While my neck thankfully didn’t bother my during the run, I was REALLY uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

Sunday 02/07/16: YogaEasy Dance and Stretching at Rehearsal

My neck was still really bothering me so I didn’t want to aggravate it, but I was able to do some nice, gentle stretching during down time at rehearsal, and the “dance” we were doing is very light and easy.

Total Weekly Mileage: 20.8

Total 2016 Mileage: 65

Another week of marathon training down! This is the highest mileage week I’ve ever had, which is pretty cool. I confess, I’m feeling a bit tired. In the past, I’ve usually only had 3 run days per week rather than 4, and usually max out at 4 total workouts per week. I’m also dealing with some feelings regarding food, fueling, and weight gain, but I’m trying to work through it. I’ve started tracking my food again just to try to get a grip on things. I may do a post on it, I may not. I’m still trying to sort through what’s going on in my brain.

Other than that, though, training is going well. I’m doing my best to just trust the plan and trust my coach, and that really helps take a lot of drama out of the whole thing. From here on out, my long runs each week will be Personal Distance Records (PDRs), at least from a training standpoint; the longest training run I’ve ever completed is 10 miles, and the longest distance I’ve ever run period is a half marathon. I’m excited to start hitting new milestones!

How many runs do you usually complete each week?

FFFA (1)

I have a 10 miler on the docket for tomorrow. 10 miles is the farthest I’ve ever run solo/in training, and every 10 miler I’ve ever done has left a bad taste in my mouth. Either it sucks and I hate it, or I don’t fuel properly and end up sick all day after. I’m hoping that tomorrow’s run will break the 10 mile curse and get me ready to face longer distances that are forthcoming with marathon training.

I am now obsessed with Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. My friend Nicole suggested the videos when I lamented my seeming inability to get out of bed for a Sunday morning yoga class. Now, I can do yoga in the comfort and privacy of my home, and totally on my own schedule. It’s so awesome. Adriene is down to earth and funny, but I still feel like I’m getting most of the same benefits as going to class.

I’m signed up for another race! The Vermont 100on100 relay is similar to a Ragnar race, but it’s only 100 miles in one day. You still have a big team and you still drive around in a van and get sweaty and smelly, but it’s a little less of a crazy commitment. Six people per team, each runner has 3 legs for a total of 13-18 miles. My friend Chris is a team captain and asked yesterday if I wanted to join his team “J’adore Hardcore.” Um, YES! We’ll rent a room in Stowe for the night before, and a room at Okemo for the night after, so it’s a big fun weekend event. I can’t wait!

Have you ever done a relay race like Ragnar or 100on100? Did you have fun?

 

 

Manic Monday – 02/01/16

Manic

Vermont City Marathon Training Week 3: What Was Planned vs. What Happened

Monday 01/25/16: 30 Min Run Easy32 Min Run Easy

I just wanted to get this run over and done with, so I headed out right after work. Running outside while recovering from a cold was a mistake, though. I was fine during the run, but afterward, my cough was a lot worse for the rest of the night.

Tuesday 01/26/16: 45 Min Run Easy45 Min Run Easy

After having my lungs protest on Monday, I took this run to the treadmill. I started out at an 11:30ish minute per mile pace and finished around 10 minutes per mile, and felt strong the whole run.

Wednesday 01/27/16: Spin ClassSpin Class

My regular instructor was out of town, so I got to take a class with my friend Sarah, who is also the owner of the studio. We met during Legally Blonde last year. She is fit and fabulous, a super badass, and just being around her makes me feel like I want to work harder. I was totally beat after this class.

Thursday 01/28/16: Hill Repeats 4 x 400 Hill Repeats

I did a one mile easy warm up and then went to town. Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while know that I love me some hill repeats. And I’m going to need them for this course:

KBVCM-ElevationChart_14

Friday 01/29/16: Active RestActive Rest

I did a few strength exercises, but otherwise I was SO HAPPY it was a rest day. My legs were beat, and I was feeling tired.

Saturday 01/30/16: 8 Miles Easy + Strides8.25 Miles @ 10:57 + Strides

It took me almost 4 miles to really warm up and feel ok about this run. Once I got there, it was fine. I did some strides the last mile or so, which was a nice way to distract myself at the end of a less-than-stellar run.

Sunday 01/31/16: YogaDance and Stretching at Rehearsal

Ben and I were out way too late on Saturday night, so I slept in and did some errands before a dance rehearsal.

This was a good week. I did all of my runs and workouts except for yoga, which seems to be a recurring theme. I’m often so tired by the time I get to Sunday that I’d rather sleep in than drag myself to class. The focus for this week is to really try to get enough sleep/rest, so that I can get to yoga. I know I need the deep stretching and strengthening of a good yoga class, so I’m gonna try really hard to get there.

Do you incorporate yoga into your cross-training?

FFFA (1)

I got my own office this week. Technically speaking, I am a receptionist, and generally, receptionists sit at a desk out in the middle of a reception area to, you know, receive guests and phone calls. But I do a lot of stuff other than answer phones, which requires some goddamn peace and quiet sometimes, which I don’t get sitting at a reception desk. So now, I have an office. With a door. I can sit in there on my lunch break and watch Netflix on my computer. Or nap. And when the HR team decides to have a standing meeting out in the lobby, next to what was once my desk, I can shut my door and get on with my work. WOO! My door still faces the reception area, and we have a webcam so I can see the front door and know when clients or vendors need help. But I. HAZ. OFFICE. I’ll try to remember to post some pictures once I’m a bit more settled in.

My friend from run club just decided to run the Vermont City Marathon with me. I am super pumped about this development. Ashley and I are very similar runners, in style, attitude, and pace, and we’re both just looking to finish our first marathons without any super lofty goals. It will be really nice to have a partner on race day, and hopefully for some of my longer training runs.

I am le tired. This is the first week of marathon training so far that I have completed all of my scheduled workouts. I have worked out 4 days in a row now (technically 6 if you count Sunday’s dance rehearsal, which backed up to Saturday’s long run), which is way more than I usually do. Today is rest day, and I don’t have rehearsal either, so I’m PUMPED. Hellooooo, Netflix! I’ll probably end up watching movies and drinking wine while baking snacks for Ben’s ski team’s meet tomorrow. Speaking of the ski meet…

I’m volunteering at Ben’s meet after my long run tomorrow. Ben’s team is hosting a meet, so he’s been running around all crazy and stressed for the last couple of weeks. Apparently, all of his skiers really want to meet me, and Ben needs help, so I’ll be waking up early to drop him off to catch the bus to the meet, running my long run of 8 miles, showering, eating, and then driving over to the meet to help out however I can. It’s going to be a long day, but it will be fun to see Ben in action.

Who else is pumped for Friday?

Manic Monday – 01/25/16

Manic

Vermont City Marathon Training Week 2: What Was Planned vs. What Happened

Monday 01/18/16: 30 Min Run Easy32 Min Easy

I ran outside, on the bikepath, in the snow, because DAY OFF. It was so nice to get to run out in the sunshine for once.

Tuesday 01/19/16: 45 Min Run Easy36 Min Easy

I took this run to the treadmill, because the temps were below freezing and there was a fresh coat of slippery wet snow on the ground. Unfortunately, my stomach was not at all thrilled with the idea of running at 8 pm, and I had to call it quits after 36 minutes.

Wednesday 01/20/16: Spin ClassSpin Class

The theme was Wayback Wednesday, and it was all 80’s music, and it was glorious! I ate a piece of bread and butter before class when I usually don’t eat beforehand, and I felt extra strong, so I think a small snack before workouts is the way to go.

Thursday 01/21/16: HillsRest

I woke up with swollen glands in my throat, and by the end of the day, had a terrible sore throat and low-grade fever, so I took a rest day in the hopes of nipping it in the bud.

Friday 01/22/16: Active Rest | Rest

I called out of work for the first time in about two years and slept until 2 pm. When I woke up for real, I was feeling somewhat better, but lightheaded and groggy because I hadn’t eaten or drank anything all day. I still went to rehearsal, which thankfully was very short and didn’t require any dancing.

Saturday 01/23/16: 6 Miles Easy6 Miles Easy

My sinuses were full of gunk, but my throat felt better, so I just decided to go for it. I took it to the treadmill in case I needed to bail out early, but I made it with minimal discomfort. I spent the rest of the day in compression pants on the couch, alternating between watching movies and playing video games.

Sunday 01/24/16: Yoga | 2 Hours Dance

I was still feeling yucky so I bailed on yoga yet again to get more sleep. I knew that rehearsal had a LOT of dancing in store, and I just wanted to save my energy for that. Thankfully we spent some time stretching after warm ups, so I felt like I didn’t completely miss out on mobility stuff for the day.

I’m feeling ok today. My sinuses are still really full and that has made sleeping well difficult, but during the day I feel mostly fine, other than needing to blow my nose every 10 minutes. I plan to at least try to keep up with my workouts this week, especially because today and tomorrow are relatively short, easy runs.

When you’re sick, do you still work out?

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