Here was my plan for this past week: After running the Celtic 5K on Sunday, I planned to rest Monday, do speed workouts with run club on Tuesday, try out some core strengthening on Wednesday, hit the treadmill or run with Colin – depending on the weather – on Thursday, and on Friday Drew and I were supposed to leave for DC to visit some friends.
The week didn’t exactly turn out as hoped. I succeeded at resting on Monday (hooray!) and at least tried to do speed workouts on Tuesday. We were doing 8x 1 lap fast, 1 lap recover; 2 laps fast, 1 lap recover; 3 laps fast, 1 lap recover; rinse, repeat. I made it almost 2x through before crippling shin splints made me stop. (Not hydrated enough? Didn’t warm up properly? Not fully recovered from the race Sunday? No idea. Hurt like hell though.) Luckily I’m so slow that by the time I limped off the track, the fastest fellow run clubbers had just completed their 8x [seriously?!] and I was able to ask our fearless leader for advice on killing the shin splints dead. He and another super-speedy person talked me through some stretches and treatments, and Steve also suggested compression socks, something I’d been considering trying out for a while (more on this later in the post!).
So I sort of flunked Tuesday’s plans, but Wednesday I could handle, right? Wrong. After a bright start where I was able to escape the reference desk for a walk during lunch…
…a bit of a spanner flew in the works for the rest of the day. Drew and I were good little citizens and did our taxes after work, then decided to treat ourselves to dinner out. I opted for a cheeky cocktail, one that sounded refreshing and harmless, but this restaurant apparently makes their drinks just a tad strong. That, coupled with my not eating much of my meal because it wasn’t very good, led me to spend the rest of the night singing Dashboard Confessional at the top of my lungs on the couch, rather than strengthening my core. I was just feeling nostalgic for my emo days, I suppose.
I decided to attack the treadmill the next day, but work was so busy that I didn’t have time to make it to the gym, and by 4:00 I was exhausted and just wanted to go home. And not run. However, that afternoon I found out my DC trip had to be postponed, and I decided to sign up for another 5K that had sounded fun but I thought I wouldn’t be able to take part in. Colin signed up too, and we promised each other we’d run after work on Friday.
At last some plans were stuck to! Huzzah! Excited to run around the pond after work with the sun still shining, Colin and I hit the trails. Gently. I was still nursing sore shins, and his Achilles have been bothering him, so we took it easy. Even still, we had to walk the last quarter-mile or so because we were both in too much pain. At least the view was pretty:
Saturday was spent resting before our race the next afternoon, and I took the opportunity to run some much-needed errands. I was determined to find some compression socks; after hunting around online, the cheapest I could find was about $35 for a pair… I had seen some at Target during my last visit, and I figured theirs had to be cheaper.
While stopping at the nearby mall for lunch before heading to Target, I dragged Drew into Sports Authority to see if they had compression socks at a reasonable price, just in case it turned out Target didn’t have any. I found a pair for $30, but didn’t want to commit because, frankly, they looked like the sort of compression socks people wear to prevent deep-vein thrombosis on flights and, being the gear head that I am, I wanted something that looked a bit more flash.
I found an end-cap of Adidas Team Speed compression sleeves (arm and calf), and thought I had hit the jackpot. There were a variety of fun colors, calf sleeves seemed a bit more manageable than full socks, and – the clincher – they were only $15! I was pumped! Clutching my chosen color (silvery gray with lime green stripes), I strutted around the store browsing the clearance racks, proud of myself for finding a great deal on a much more flash product. It wasn’t until I got home that I discovered why my compression sleeves were such a great deal…. there was only 1 sleeve per package! D’oh. The package clearly says “calf sleeve” not “calf sleeves,” but still. Every other compression sock/sleeve product I came across in the store was sold in pairs. Tricky, Adidas. Tricky.
Ah well. It let me experiment during my race today – I could have one test shin and one control shin! I wore the sleeve during my 5K, and was a little disappointed to experience shin splints in my test leg, despite my having warmed up properly (mostly?) and stretched it pre-race. The pain went away after the first mile (exactly what happened in the race the week before), and around Mile 3 I was noticing that my sleeved leg was feeling different than my non-sleeved leg… stronger somehow, like it would last longer than my other leg. Maybe it was just psychological, but I took it as a good sign. It was after the race, however, that I fell in love with the sleeve. It definitely helped with recovery; I kept it on after the race was over and after I changed into other clothes, and my sleeved calf felt fine as the afternoon went on, while my non-sleeved calf was throbbing and tender. I’ve been won over… now I just have to buy a second sleeve!
My other exciting find at Sports Authority was a new pair of cold-weather running gloves! After my Nike ones fell apart at an alarming rate, I’ve been on the lookout for a new pair, and I’ve been hoping that I’d come across some clearance deals now that it’s [supposedly] almost spring. There was an end-cap of clearance New Balance accessories like hats and gloves, and it was there that I discovered the Power Runner PDA Glove:
The e-tips are nearly identical to the ones on my Nike gloves, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on them to see if they start to fray as quickly. I gave them their trial run today and they were brilliant. My hands stayed nice and toasty despite the temperature being in the mid-20s with an icy wind coming in off the lake we were racing around, the e-tips worked perfectly, the grippy things on the palms made me feel like I wouldn’t drop my phone when I held it, and there was no obnoxious loop just inside each glove that snagged my fingers (an irritating feature that my Nike gloves had). Bottom line: I love them. However, I loved my Nike gloves after my first run with them, so I’ll love these gloves with an asterisk until I’ve had them for a few months. Until then, though, I adore them!
Have you gotten any exciting new running gear lately? How did your workouts go last week?