Twenty-Two Squares

Yesterday, Mother Nature played a trick by sending temperatures soaring near eighty with a high and hard humidity. This on a late February Winter day! My scheduled five-mile run was cut short when my panting and sweating evoked a pained and attitudinal me. I like running in the heat about as much as I enjoy Bikram, which I’ve suffered through twice. I know that people love it, but I am bothered that it’s called yoga when it doesn’t stand for anything that my yoga means to me. Both times I went, I left convinced that it’s really a form of torture that should be saved as punishment for the very worst of the human race.

Having just returned from an absolutely frigid yet sunny and bright six miles, I am reminded of why I love Winter running. When the air is cold and you breathe it in it fills and expands the lungs better than anything else can. The sweat that is produced by the movement of the body doesn’t drip into your eyes or fog up your glasses. It evaporates more quickly and the salt works as a heating element, protecting places like a forehead or a neck from the cold. Extremities, mine which are always more hot than the rest of me, don’t mind the sting of the air. As long as a person is dressed properly, running in the cold is about as good as it gets.

As I rounded the final street corner before heading home I noticed three men in hooded sweatshirts walking up ahead of me. I had a choice, either cut across the grass to avoid them or shoot by and hope their eyes wouldn’t become fixed on my rear end as it raced by. I reminded myself that I’m a tough chick who doesn’t need to be intimidated by the hooded backs of strange men sauntering along the road. I pulled my long sleeve Swiftly down tight around my hips and cruised past them on the right.

Once back at the computer, with iCal pulled up, I counted the twenty-two squares until death or glory.

It’s time to figure some things out and attend to the calendar.

1. I must make an appointment for Katniss nails. I don’t know if I should schedule one for my toes to be worked on too, but it may be a good idea should I decide to have a massage after the race. I can only imagine the horror of pulling off my socks after 26.2 and asking some poor soul to rub my soles. Once upon a time I had pretty feet, but all of the running has made it necessary for my toe nails to be cut much too short to avoid any chance of them falling right off. Calluses and bits of toughness have replaced any softness; the price one pays for hours of stomping pavement, often without a good covering of Aquaphor first (sometimes I’m just too busy).

2. The hope that the CW-X pants would be my race go-to’s has been shattered. I don’t love them, I’ve decided. As sad as it makes me to give something a bad review, I’ve been spoiled by Luxtreme and have a nagging itch to head to Lululemon for new race day pants. This is ridiculous as I don’t need another pair of pants. My Dash tights have brought me this far and in a way I do feel a loyalty to them. A loyalty to my pants? Yes, an actual and real loyalty.

3. I’ve got to place an order for more GU. I must not forget!

4. An issue, of sorts, is where to carry my phone. At the beginning of training I was an  iTouch arm band listener, but the twisting of the band to adjust my music became a time issue and I’d more often than not mess it up and have to slow down to fix the thing. Since Christmas, my iPhone has lived happily in the front pocket of the vest or jacket choice for the day. This leads to the question, what will race day weather be like and how will that affect the place I stash my phone? I can hope for weather like this morning, and in that case I’d wear my vest or even my LLL Essential Jacket (which I am loyal to like my pants). If the weather is warm I could still wear my vest with a short run swiftly and probably be alright. My Fuel Belt doesn’t have room for my phone, which is crazy I think. I may have to look into an extra waist belt, but I’d really love to stay away from any more gear purchases if it can be managed.

4. My hair is being colored on the twelfth. I’m not actually coloring my hair for the race, because that would be nuts. I’m pretty “light” already and have relegated hair coloring to only twice a year. Any more than that becomes too time consuming and I honestly don’t care all that much. I pretty much got talked into another coloring by the girl that I saw for my last cut. Once you get hair girls talking about color, their enthusiasm sucks me right in. I guess in a way I deserve a little pampering; a little gift to myself for all this hard work that’s been put toward the cause? I really want a big red streak, but I’ll probably go for what we talked about; a bunch of bleachy highlight like Grace with some strawberry thrown in for Soph.

The rest of the planning will have to wait until it’s closer, because it concerns the other people in my life.

My Peach has decided to spend the night so that I can leave early in the morning and she can bring the girls later to meet me at pit stops along the way. I told the littles that they will have to wave and shout with all their might, “Run, Mom, Run!” I’m unsure if they will be able to grasp what I’m doing, but hope that they’ll have a memory I can explain later (when they are bigger).

I had asked Brian to drive me the morning of, because I don’t really want to be alone, but he isn’t a morning person and might be happier going later with the rest of the family. This will be up in the air until the last minute, I am sure. I might need to focus before the race anyway and fussing with my sleepy husband about his speed on the road or parking ability might not be the way to go.

Next up are twenty miles on schedule for Monday.

I’m not great at math, but I like numbers and find certain combinations of them interesting, like the date 12/02/2012 or how there are exactly five twelve-minute miles in an hour.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that I will run twenty miles with twenty days to go.

It feels like a good sign, but fingers are (as always) tightly crossed.

Aquaphor. Best stuff on Earth from diaper rash to crusty feet!
Flashy Fingers: A Lesson in Katniss Everdeen Nail Art
Katniss from The Hunger Games. My running partner.
Lululemon Run Essential Jacket. Mine is black. Best piece of run clothing I own, next to everything Dash.
RUN: Swiftly Tech LS
Run Swiftly Long Sleeve. A great base layer if ever there was one. I buy mine one size bigger for those moments when I need coverage.

Running Noses, Running Pants

Yesterday was gorgeous and sunny and Peach offered to take the girls even though she was feeling rough. I took her up on her offer and am glad I did, because today is cold and rainy and it’s my turn to feel rough. All my recent tiredness was indeed the pre-cursor to a brand new cold virus. I should have known.

Thankfully, I can report that I have no fever or closed up throat, and had I not run yesterday I would have missed week fourteen’s long run and been unable to review the CW-X Pro pant that came in the mail last week.

Everyone knows how I love my Lululemon. It’s not just that there is thought behind the design; the stuff performs. But still, I’ve had trouble with my hips and couldn’t resist the urge to try out a pair of compression pants to (hopefully) reduce the pain.  I will certainly continue to run long distances once the marathon is over, since I am hooked, so I was hoping I could add them to my arsenal of gear goodies.

After a visit to Raleigh Running Outfitters a few weeks ago, where I invested in a pretty pink and painful foam roller, one of the running geniuses (sincerely) confirmed what I had learned through my research regarding compression gear; they are helpful to some and could aid in quicker recovery. CW-X seemed to be the ones to try and the Pro is made to help stabilize the hips and flexors.

I wore them yesterday and had high hopes. I wanted to love them, but I’m on the fence.

The good news is that the do what they are meant to do; they compress!

From the waist through the legs and to the calves they are tight with very little stretch. It took a while to wiggle myself in and get the placement just right to avoid any chaffing. The bands that act like Kinesio tape, used by sports doctors and trainers to help stabilize and protect the muscles, are made from a material that I could only compare to the sails on boats; rough and hard.

I did notice less pain in my hips while on the road, which was my main goal. My legs didn’t feel lighter or springier, but the compression made for less bouncing, which is always a good thing.

There were things I didn’t love, though.

For starters, the compression around my waist was sort of painful. I bought a medium, since my height and weight fell in the section of the size medium graph, but the tightness left a red mark on my skin long after the pants came off. I usually like a higher waisted running pant (it helps me stay focused on form) but the elastic on these dug into me so much that and I had to gradually move them down as the miles continued on. It took about forty five minutes to feel comfortable enough to quit fussing with them and I was seriously debating a pit stop at home to switch them out for my Dash tights. I missed the stretch and snap of my Lululemon’s, the softness of their luxtreme, but like I said, no hip pain was my motivator so in that sense, job well done.

When I got back to pick up the girls, I hung out on Peachie’s porch and watched the crazies running and falling the tall grass, creating huge stains on their knees. I also watched the salt evaporate through my new pants.

I have never noticed any of my running pants do this before and I had no idea I had such sweaty knees. I suppose this could be viewed as a positive, the wicking properties were working, but who wants to walk around with their pants covered in chalky whiteness, remnants of their workout? I don’t know why, but this grossed me out worse than that stripe of wetness that the lower back and rear end gets from a good sweaty workout.

It was time to go.  I collected the kids’ stuff, buckled them in the car and drove home for tubbies all around.

I didn’t have time for a good epsom soak, so I worried that there would be pain today, but I’m happy to say that I’m feeling fine in the lower extremities. Maybe the pants worked after all?

I’ll try them next Saturday as I set out for the tip top of the marathon training mountain; the final twenty miler. I still have hope that they’ll be useful, so I’ll give them another go.

For now and the next day or two, the only running that’s happening is occurring in my sinus cavities.

If only they made compression pants for my nose.

CW-X Pro 3/4 Pant
Weird Salty Knees. They got a little baggy too (and shifted), maybe from the lack of stretch?
The knees of one of my rough and tumble girls.