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.

The Gear Goodies

Since I can’t write about an actual run today, I figured I’d write about one of my favorite things; winter running gear!

Back in the day, when I first started to run, I would wear a plain old t shirt, sweatshirt, and whatever leggings I had on hand. I remember buying a fleece hat from the Gap to keep my ears protected. I looked like a goof.  My arsenal of goodies has (thankfully) gotten much more functional and cute, and has upped my game, sincerely.

I’ll go from head to toe!

Zeal Optics are the sunglasses I’ve been wearing for about a year. Their website is down but they can be found on amazon. They also have a great facebook page filled with photos of athletes wearing their glasses and goggles. I love my Orb’s. They are shaped a little like goggles, a little like aviators (big ones), so they block out a lot of gunk, wind, and other irritants when I’m on the run. They also make a great headband (a must in my book). If it’s too dark out, I can put them on top of my head and forget that they are there. Love them!

Lululemon Running Toque’s and  wide headbands have made my winter runs bearable. I loathe cold ears, so I never leave the house without one or the other. The ones I have are made of luon, though I believe they’ve changed the name of the fabric this year; it’s now called rulu, for running luon. They also have a Brisk Run Headband that I probably should get, since it’s even wider than the headband to cover the entire ear. My neck warmer from them has been a lifesaver when it’s freezing outside as well.

I have boobs, which I try my hardest to strap down. For years I wore two bras, but have found success with the Moving Comfort Fiona.  It has a racer back and three hooks and eyes that help to hold me in really well and minimize bounce.

Because of the boobs, I never like running tops on me. I have tried them all, but am too self conscious. I have many from Lululemon (the run swiftly really performs nicely), Nike, Oiselle (love their short sleeve shirts for Summer), to name a few. The top I reach for the most is the Seamless Athletic Tee From Target. I like that it is thicker and fits close, but doesn’t show every bump and lump. It’s cheap too, at $24.99, so I don’t feel so bad blowing my nose on my sleeve when I run out of kleenex. Runners do what they have to do. Believe me, I have heard of worse!

I often like vests to keep my chest warm. Any will do from hi-brow to low, from L.L. Bean to Lulu. In the dead of winter I layer with pullovers and Lululemon always comes out with fantastic ones. My favorite is the Alpine from last year. The Define Jacket, made of Luon, is great too. They both fit close, which helps me feel warm, but wick so I don’t get clammy with drying sweat.

Last year, when I first learned of Lucy Athleticwear, I ordered a pair of their Propel Capris and a pair of the Propel Tights. I’m often a 10/l in bottoms, but customer service said I should order a medium. I’m glad I did. They have a bit of compression, which is nice and keep me toasty. I have heard good things about C-WX Pro Compression Tights, so they are on my list of things to try in the next couple of months.

I am in need of new running socks and was going to restock my Lulu No-Show Ultimate or my trusty Nike 6 pack, but I recently tried Zensah Compression Socks and love them. I think I might try a few other brands and see which I like best. The RunLove Running Compression Socks from are adorable (they have hearts on the calves). The black ones are backordered until November 30, but I definitely want to try them.

When I was training for my first half marathon last year, I went to my favorite Raleigh running store to get my gait analyzed and to try to pick the best running shoe for me. I was surprised to learn that I needed a neutral shoe. The Mizuno Wave Rider 13 in a half size larger (9) than my regular shoe size (8 1/2) that I bought that day were fantastic. I found that I am the kind of runner who likes to “feel the ground.”  I always thought I preferred cushioning, since I’m (ahem) a little cushioned myself. I bought two more pair of the 13 and figured I’d be fine buying the Wave Rider 14 online. Dumb move. It turns out that the 14 fit shorter in length than it’s predecessor and I spent the Spring and Summer running in shoes that didn’t fit properly. In July I ran the Old Port Half, in Portland, Maine and struggled the entire way. My toes were cramped, and at mile 9 I wanted them to just fall off. I went back to Raleigh Running Outfitters in September and they sized me up in the 14 (a whopping 9 1/2). I wasn’t so sure they’d work, but again I was wrong. The moral of the story; get fitted by people who know about running shoes instead of being new models online. Lesson learned.

The Zensah Compression Socks and the enormous Mizunos

Finally, I couldn’t run long distances without my belt. For the past few years I have strapped on the GoLite HydroSprint Women’s Pack, but I’ve recently purchased the Classic Collection 4 Bottle Fuel Belt. I was hoping to use it tomorrow for my 11 miler, but that will have to wait until the ankle is feeling a lot better and the swelling has gone down.

Oh, and how could I forget my favorite Gu? The Vanilla Bean is delicious! I actually crave it when I’m not running!

What do you love? Any of the goodies on my list?