Review: LEGEND Compression Performance Socks

Well, hello again! I will spare you from my now traditional opening paragraph of blogger shame – it would say basically the same as my last post, so if you feel the urge, you can read that one – in the interest of just getting on with it. Shall we?

Disclaimer: I received a free pair of LEGEND compression socks as part of being a LEGEND Ambassador. This review was not solicited, and opinions are my own.

I’ve been dabbling with compression socks/sleeves for a while, ever since my first major attack of the shin splints a few summers ago. I didn’t have a lot of luck with the sleeves – they didn’t really seem to help much – but the socks seemed to do the trick. Thanks to a few grab bag clearance sales at ProCompression, I was able to get a few pairs for much cheaper than the usual going rate ($50 per pair), and rocked them at various races:

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Marvel at my MS Paint skillz!

While I enjoyed the funky designs (especially the shamrock ones!) and the fact that wearing them helped my shins feel like they weren’t about to eject themselves painfully from my calves, I found that I couldn’t wear the socks for very long, as the elastic band at the top would start squeezing me uncomfortably. Then, the one time I tried to wear them for recovery, I had to pull them off in a slight panic (no easy feat, as compression socks are no joke to get on and off!) after an hour or so, as my legs started feeling a bit tingly like the circulation was getting cut off.

I didn’t bother to experiment with other compression brands, given the steep price tag of all the products, and just assumed that if I wanted to rock compression socks, I’d have to make sure I didn’t wear them for too long.

When LEGEND contacted me about becoming an ambassador this past summer, I was intrigued. For one, it meant a free pair of socks, which meant I could give compression socks a go again without breaking the bank (hooray!). For another, their slogan of “Right not Tight” made me think that perhaps I could get the benefits of compression without the loss-of-circulation feeling and squeezy sensation under my knee. I opted to try out a pair of their Performance Socks, and eagerly awaited mail day.

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Mail day! I love this color.

When the socks arrived, I tried them on right away and wandered around my house in them for a while. They were slower than your average socks to pull on – just like other compression socks I’ve tried – but once they were on, they were so comfortable. I didn’t feel squeezy at all. But, to be fair, this was just a trial run in my house… the real test would come later!

Okay, quick break from my personal tale to share the deets of these socks from the LEGEND site:

LEGEND® Compression Performance socks are designed for all sporting activities to enhance power and endurance while supporting the shin, ankle, achilles, calf and arch of the foot. The product design and manufacturing process of our sports compression socks make them among the best performing socks on the planet. These sports compression socks were developed through extensive research in the compression industry. These socks are unique because they implement design aspects that our LEGEND® team pulled from its years of experience with medical grade compression products. By applying those medical learnings to our Compression Performance Socks, we were able to create a graduated compression product that we believe is the best on the market. Featuring 15-20 mmHg of graduated compression it provides everything you need to perform at your best.

KEY FEATURES AND BENEFITS:

  • 15-20 mmHg Graduated Compression for improved athletic performance
  • Compression Performance socks for all sports
  • Greater power output
  • Enhanced Endurance
  • Faster Muscle Warm Up Pre-exercise
  • Increase oxygen levels and blood circulation
  • Faster recovery time
  • Seamless toe and terry sole construction
  • Promotes circulation for muscle performance
  • Reduction of lactic acid
  • Improve muscle support and injury prevention
  • UV protection
  • Moisture wicking
  • Achilles and arch support
  • Open ventilation and breathable design for comfort

(There’s a whole bunch more information on the website that I won’t copy here, but if you’re curious, check it out!)

Test #1:

So, with promises of these socks providing “greater power output,” “increased endurance,” “decreased shin splints and calf cramps,” and “improved recovery time,” I put them to their first real test at the Beach 2 Beacon 10K. I hadn’t run a lot before that race, and I didn’t really warm up at all due to my desire to be social rather than a responsible runner, and these things are usually a recipe for shin splints, sore calves, and DOMS in my legs for a few days after the fact.

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How were they? Well, I’ll refrain from calling them miracle socks for fear of hyperbole, but, reader, they were awesome. I put them on around 5am, stood around in them for quite a while before the race, ran in them for an hour and 20 minutes, sat around in them for at least an hour, then walked another 2 miles in them before taking them off. All told, I’d had them on for probably 7 hours. And there was absolutely no squeezy or loss-of-circulation feelings. My legs felt totally fine. I had no blisters (full disclosure: I did Body Glide my toes before the race). My legs weren’t even that sweaty, considering the socks are long.

But maybe the best part? Remember how I said I hadn’t warmed up at all before the race? When I neglect to warm up, I usually spend the first mile of a race battling shin splints before they calm down. I had zero shin splints at B2B. My calves felt fine. And I had absolutely no residual soreness in my legs at all afterward… not that afternoon, not the next day, etc. It was weird (for me), and I liked it.

Test #2:

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In case B2B had been a fluke, I figured I should test the socks in another race before reviewing them. Fast forward a month to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 10K. Once again, I donned the socks early, wearing them for a while before running for an hour and a quarter, then stood around/rode the Tube in them. And again, no discomfort or squeeziness. And, once again, despite my not having run in the month between races as well as doing a paltry warm-up, my legs felt fresh after the race and didn’t get sore at all. (I had been a little worried about DOMS given that I had two flights home the day after the race, but my legs felt totally fine!)

Test #3:

(This was a bonus test, since I got lazy with blogging and didn’t get around to writing a review until now.)

So, I’m pregnant. One of the common side effects of pregnancy is swollen legs/feet/ankles as all the extra blood in your body has a tendency to pool at the bottom if you’re not moving around too much. At an appointment a few months back, my midwife suggested compression socks for the days when I knew I would be mostly stationary. At the time, I was being pretty good about taking lunchtime walks – plus all the nearest ladies’ rooms are small epic quests away from my cubicle – so I didn’t really have a need to try them out.

That is, until the day of the Massachusetts Speaks Out Against Hate rally in Boston. Figuring that I’d be standing around for a while without a place to sit, I thought I’d give my socks a non-running go. And you know what? They didn’t let me down. I wore them all day, standing mostly still in them for an hour or two midday, and once again they were nothing but comfortable. And my preggo feet and ankles were happily not swollen when I took them off that night – huzzah!

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Can you see my socks under my massive belly?

The Verdict:

I love these socks. I love that they’re compression socks without the squeezy feeling. I love that they don’t make my legs all sweaty and gross, even when worn under long trousers. I love that they’re comfortable to run in, and that they seem to magically rescue my legs from post-run soreness.

But wait, you may be asking… what about the promises of increased endurance and power output? Good question, reader. In all honesty, I can’t really answer that. To give a fair review of those aspects, I feel like I’d have to try them out when I’m at least a little bit fit. Since I ran in them in races I didn’t train for, when my fitness was diminishing thanks to the growing presence of my new running buddy, it wasn’t easy to compare my power or endurance to previous non-sock experiences. Once the wee bairn arrives and I get out there running again, I’m going to take them on more test runs to see what effect they have (or might not have) because I’m curious too. Watch this space!

Want to give LEGEND Compression Performance Socks (or maybe one of their other products, like sleeves or recovery socks?) a go? If it’s your first time buying LEGEND gear, follow this link to get $15 off!

Not your first purchase but want more gear? Use the code AmbFriend2016 to get 15% off any LEGEND purchase!

Beach to Beacon 10K, 6 August 2016

What: 10K

Where: Cape Elizabeth, Maine (course map)

Who: Me and a bunch of Shammies, with moral support from Drew

Time: 1:22:40

Splits: (according to Simon)
-Mile 1: 11:13
-Mile 2: 15:49*
-Mile 3: 15:24*
-Mile 4: 12:06
-Mile 5: 11:36
-Mile 6: 13:13
-Mile 6.2: 3:22

*These two mile splits include porta-potty stops:

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Two giant canyons in the first half represent long, long porta-potty stops. The other dips are walks up hills.

Check out my race review on BibRave!

Running in the footsteps of giants:

Two quick points about this race, to set the stage:

  1. It’s Joan Benoit Samuelson‘s race, and the course apparently follows her training route. That’s pretty stinkin’ cool.
  2. History was made this year, as native Mainer Ben True became the first American to win the race in its 19-year history. (Note: his winning time, 28:17, is faster than my best 5K time. Mind = blown.)

The background:

Beach to Beacon has been on my radar ever since I joined the Shammies. A contingent of the club heads north every year to run, and I’ve heard so many stories about what a great race it is, how fun it is, how you get to run with elites and sometimes even see Joanie, etc.

The more I heard, the more I wanted to run. The only problem is that it’s a notorious race in terms of getting in; this year, general registration sold out in less than 4 minutes! Most Shammies end up getting in by entering the team lottery, but it’s not always a given that they’ll get to run.

Well, luckily for me, general registration opens at 7am, exactly when I’m usually standing at my bus stop killing time on my phone. On that fateful day in March, I was stood on the sidewalk with my phone poised, and I somehow squeaked in within that 3:43 window. It was the second time the magical race gods were smiling upon me, and I was pretty smiley myself!

The expo:

Drew and I left work early on Friday to attempt to beat weekend traffic, but still wound up sitting on the highway for 4+ hours (it usually takes about 2). We still managed to arrive in Cape Elizabeth in time to hit the expo, which I was pumped about. With the exception of the Boston Marathon expo I sneaked into during a volunteer stint, I’d never experienced a race expo before.

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Inside the expo at Cape Elizabeth High School

Granted, it wasn’t very big, but I was still nerdily excited to be at my first expo! Bib pickup was well organized and quick (other Shammies said it took forever earlier in the day), and my bib came with a nice Nike Dri-Fit t-shirt and a car magnet. More goodies came in the expo, too: gift cards to LL Bean, Olympia Sports, and Dunkin Donuts, as well as free reusable grocery bags and snacks provided by Clif Bar and a local pasta place. Not too shabby! There were vendors and run clubs there too, but by that point Drew and I were hungry and wanted to eat an actual meal.

After a tasty, tasty dish of homemade gnocchi at Enio’s (go there if you’re ever in South Portland!), we returned to our Airbnb and settled in for an early night’s sleep.

Pre-race:

We were up with the sun, literally, on race morning:

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Sunrise over SoPo

I’ve never run a race big enough to need shuttle buses and such, so I’m not used to crazy-early wake-ups. 5:20 felt way too early! I stumbled around, donned my kit, shoved some mini stroopwafel (thank you, Kennebunk Service Plaza for surprising me with those treats!) and water down my throat, and then Drew was driving me to a shuttle point.

Another first for me – a point-to-point course. I’ve always run loops or out-and-backs, or point-to-points where the start and finish are so close that they’re not even considered point-to-points. So this made logistics interesting in terms of getting to the start, finding Drew at the finish, and the like.

Anyway, I squeezed onto the 6:20 shuttle (a good, old-fashioned yellow school bus) and we trundled down lovely wooded back roads for 5-10 minutes before arriving at the start area. And what a start area it was! I’ve never seen so many porta-potties – with every 4 alternating which way they were facing so all the lines weren’t on one side – plus there were so many volunteers! Some were staffing water and snack tables, which also had Gatorade and coffee, and some were loading up gear bag buses. I felt like I was in the big-time!

I was supposed to meet up with the rest of the Shammies at 6:45, so I had some time to kill. I ate the Clif Bar I’d gotten at the expo, wandered back to the tables to get some Gatorade, and pretty much just people-watched until I saw a bunch of green singlets coming my way.

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I love these ladies!

I also shoved a Honey Stinger waffle in my face (which is why I look so goofy in the above photo – I was chewing), not because I wanted to eat it, but because I didn’t want to carry it and no one else seemed to want it. Oh well, one can never have too many pre-race waffles… right?

We chatted and killed time until we heard the national anthem, then we walked over to take our various places at the starting line. Shammies E and K hung out with me near the back of the pack; it was going to be a hot day (“sneaky heat,” as one article called it later, due to high humidity and dew point) and we wanted to enjoy the day and each other’s company without needing a trip to the medical tent.

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View from the back(ish) of the pack… you can just make out the balloon arch where the starting line was

The race:

The wheelchair athletes had started around 7:30 (I think), and the elite women took off at 8 on the dot. Elite men and the rest of us (who were a respectable distance behind the elite corral) got our start at 8:12. It took us about 8 minutes to cross the start from when the race actually started.

The first mile was nice and chill. E, K, and I were going fast enough that my conversation was broken up with lots of breathing pauses, but not so fast that it was uncomfortable. All of a sudden, we saw balloons up ahead signalling the first mile – huh? E and I were both having some race nerves and decided to pull over at the porta-potty, and K ran off with a fellow runner who she had started chatting with about his t-shirt. We stood in line for about 5 minutes, realized we didn’t really have to go after all, and carried on.

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Looking relatively fresh and happy when the first photographer appeared

Mile 2 flew by as quickly as the first and, again, I made the decision to pull over at the aid stop’s porta-potty. E was being a trooper and running my race with me, so she grabbed us some waters and waited. It was another long wait, and my nerves were still playing tricks on me, so we set off once again.

Honestly, the rest of the race is a blur. Thanks to those epic porta-potty stops, I ran my personal worst time-wise… though it’s heartening to know that if I shaved those ~10 minutes off, I would have ran about my usual time in spite of the heat. So that’s cool! But despite the slow time, it was seriously the fastest race ever. The mile markers were flying at us, and E and I kept saying how quickly the race was going. It must have been the great company! We chatted up a storm the entire way.

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There were at least 4 photographers at Mile 5, where there’s a gorgeous ocean view behind the runners, but unfortunately we’re in focus, not the view!

The awesome crowds and scenery helped, too! I’ve never run a race with so many spectators, and they went all out to cheer for us. Though my name has been on bibs before, this was the first race where people actually cheered for me by name (such a cool feeling!), and people were ringing cowbells, holding witty signs, blasting motivational music (I remember E and I singing along to the Rolling Stones as we crested a hill), and even passing out bacon (Beach to Bacon, get it?). I truly felt like a rock star… a very red, tired one with a sheen of sweat, but a rock star nonetheless.

The course ends with a few steep hills, one of which is in Fort Williams Park. That part of the race was a little disheartening… you run into the park and up the “final hill,” and I sort of expected the race to end there. But no. We wound through a section of the park, curve after curve, with the end nowhere in sight. It was such a relief to finally see the balloon arch in the distance, and I zeroed in on it. Little did I know Drew was practically right next to me, shouting my name! E spotted him and posed for a silly picture as I stared off at the finish:

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At last we victoriously crossed the finish line. The Shammies had warned me that it would be a while before I could get my hands on some water (seriously, one of my biggest race pet peeves), so as soon as I crossed the line I had my eyes peeled for the far-off land of water tables. I was so focused that I jumped a little when E said “Thanks, Joanie!” and when I looked in front of me, there she was! Less than an arm’s length away – Joan Benoit Samuelson! I managed to say “Thanks, Joanie!” and she looked at me and smiled as I lurched past, wondering if it would be improper to take a picture with her. (I decided not to, even though I kind of regret it now!)

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Here we come -the finish at last!

Post-race:

E and I kept walking down the finishing chute, up a steep grassy knoll, and at last reached the far-off water tables. Drew found us, and together we all walked through the park to find the chocolate milk – our designated Shammies meeting point. We found the chocolate milk stand (unlimited free, ice cold, local chocolate milk!) and the rest of the Shammies, and I collapsed into a heap on the grass. There was a massive food tent with crackers, cheese, yogurt, blueberries, granola bars, trail mix, etc. etc. etc. as well as vendor tables, but I was so tired I couldn’t bring myself to traipse around anymore. And anyway, Drew was carrying a paper sack full of goodies from Scratch bakery, so we tucked into a raspberry coffeecake.

Despite my lethargy, Fort Williams Park was a really cool place to end a race, with a huge expanse of grass to splay out on, bits of old forts to climb on, a little beach with some Atlantic Ocean to cool off in, and Portland Head Light, the beacon we ran to:

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Photo credit: Drew

We sat around, chatting and eating snacks and comparing our race experiences (which ranged from our fastest getting 7th in his age group – in a race with 6,600 runners – to E and I hitting personal worsts) for just under and hour, and then set off for some much-needed showers. The Shammies did what Shammies do and hit downtown Portland for some well earned beers, while I attacked one of Scratch’s famous Super Duper Cinnamon Rolls:

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Freshly showered with a cinnamon bun the size of my head

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Now that’s what I call recovery!

Overall thoughts:

I absolutely adored this race. Despite my personal worst, despite my pet peeve water situation, despite lack of bling, this is a race I want to run every year for the foreseeable future! The course, the scenery, the crowds, Joanie!, and all the little details made it a fantastic race to run. It’s clear that it was a race created by a runner, and it’s also run by the same race director who runs the Boston Marathon. These people know what they’re doing, and know how to put on a good race! The registration fee is a little steep at $50, but for what you get, I think it’s worth it. I mean, the gift cards from the expo make up half that cost, plus there are plenty of 5Ks around Boston that cost $35-$40 and all you get is a pint glass. B2B is the race for me!

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My dodgy gait and I love this race!

One final thought:

Drew and I opted to walk the 2 miles back to our Airbnb from the finish line, since traffic was ridonk. However, after all my failed pit stops during the race – and no thanks at all to the most disgusting porta-potties I’ve ever seen after the race – it was an uncomfortable walk back, to say the least. Enter The Cookie Jar, a lovely little bakery on our route. They let me use their gloriously clean real bathroom, and we returned the next morning for breakfast as a thank you. People rave about Holy Donut in Portland, but seriously – if you’re ever in South Portland and like donuts, you must stop at Cookie Jar! Maple glazed donut + Maine blueberry coffee = excellent way to cap off an excellent race weekend.

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad…

…and there you have the facts of (running) life. Am I right?

I know I owe a race recap from the Worcester Firefighters 6k (spoiler alert: I PRd by 5:30!!), but this post has been bouncing around my brain since last night’s suboptimal track workout, so it gets to go first.

  
Right. Track workouts. Speedwork. It’s terrible and it’s awesome and and I hate it and I love it all at the same time. Coach Steve is great at putting together tough workouts and people always give him a joking hard time because everyone hates them, but they’re also so good. Even before I was working on changing my gait, the speed workouts I was doing with the Shammies were definitely making me a little faster. 

Anyway. Last week’s workout was one of the “you take the good” kind. It was 12x 200s with 200 recoveries between, and I killed it. It was hot and humid but I was ready and hydrated and I killed those 200s (for me, at least!)! I felt awesome during (I’m running fast! I’m running pain-free! This is awesome!!) and I felt awesome and accomplished after. I couldn’t wait to do it again the following week. 

And then last night’s workout happened. It was rough. It started with a 10-minute tempo run at 10k pace, then went to ladders on the track at mile pace – 3x 200, 2x 300, 1x 400, 2x 300, 3x 200. 

I attempted the tempo and made it barely 5 minutes in before I got all kinds of side-stitches. Since I had already warmed up, I cut the tempo short and took a water break while I waited for everyone else to finish. 

Then the 200s. I was so excited for these, after nailing them last week. But, silly me, I wasn’t only doing 200s this time around, so I should have paced myself, right? Heh.

I took off on the 200s (mile pace? pshh) and, once again, killed them. Then I ran the first 300 and promptly died (metaphorically, of course). Seriously though, why do 300s feel so much longer than 200s??

I had a crazy cramp in my side and an attack of shin splints, which I haven’t had in almost 2 years. What the heck? I was miserable and barely made the last 100m. I limped off to my bottle of Nuun and sat out the next 300, then promptly realized there was no way I could do a 400 without something going wrong. 

Maybe I was just being paranoid, but I am so scared of injuring myself now before my horrifying half marathon on Sunday, and so I used that as an excuse and I stopped the workout. I stretched and sipped my Nuun while I watched everyone else zip around the track. And I felt anything but accomplished on my way home, a much different scenario than the previous week when I was practically throwing myself a mental victory parade. 

But that happens, right? How many bad runs have I had over the past few years that I’ve bounced back from? Quite a few. But even knowing that, I really let last night’s run get to me. I felt like a facsimile of a sham of a runner and that was a bit of a bummer. I’ve never had to quit a speed workout that fast before, and I’m still bummed out about it today. 

But, trying to think on the bright side, what better time to learn from a crappy run than now? What went wrong that made the run so crappy? Let’s see…

  1. I probably wasn’t hydrated enough (anyone surprised?). That could explain the side stitches. 
  2. I wore different shoes than I’ve been wearing for track. Maybe this is why my shins freaked out?
  3. I completely ignored any kind of pacing, let alone my goal pace. Steve has a chat that lists goal paces for each distance based on your most recent 5k result. My 200s were way faster than my goal pace, which is probably why I crapped out so quickly. 

So, yeah. I wrote this rambly post mostly to hammer into my brain what can happen when I don’t do anything I’m supposed to do, like drinking water and following Steve’s instructions, and, you know, using proper footwear. You think I’d know these things by now, but… alas. 

I’d say I’m hoping for a better workout next week, but that will be 2 days post-half so I probably won’t be doing any speedwork yet! But hopefully the week after or so will be better. 

When do you stick a fork in a workout that’s not going so well? 

How do you move on after a run or a workout totally bums you out?

Global Running Day 2016

Happy Global Running Day! (Or, as I’ve seen on various social media accounts… “as runners call it, Wednesday.”)

grdI’m not sure when National Running Day became Global Running Day (this year? Previously? I can’t find that info… though admittedly I haven’t searched too hard), but what I do know is that I’ve been injured or ill on National/Global Running Day for the past three years and am super excited that I can actually take part this year.

(To read my sad, injured tales from years of yore, see 2014 and 2015.)

Looking for ways to celebrate this world-wide day of running?

-Pledge to run on GlobalRunningDay.org:

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-Find a Global Running Day event near you

-Take part in Runner’s World‘s #WorldsBiggestRUNch

-Enjoy a discount on registration to a Rock’n’Roll race

-Speaking of discounts, get up to 50% off sale items at Gone For a Run today

-Check out tips from Active and Competitor

-Grab a book about running and find a cozy place to ready it (I recommend Running Like a Girl if you’d like some laughs… or check out any of the exhaustive lists of recommended reads for runners)

-Feeling the writing bug? Start your own book around running! Or a blog post. Or a journal entry. Or…

-Just pop on your shoes and go for a run! Injured? Pop some ice on there, or do some stretches, or rest, and dream about your glorious return 🙂

Are you jumping on the Global Running Day bandwagon? If so, how are you celebrating?

Let’s Do This Again

I have exciting news to share, readers! I actually ran for the first time since mid-August!!

That’s right. I wrote in my last post (quite a while ago now, apologies) that my ortho had OK’d some elliptical action, and had said that if I could manage the elliptical without pain, then I was clear to try running gently on the treadmill to test out my dodgy metatarsal.

And yesterday I did just that! Drew and I hit the gym and I had treadmill tunnel vision – I wanted to run so bad. I hopped on that bad boy and started walking, and then fired up my trusty ol’ Couch to 5K app once again.

(You may remember my recent(ish) C25K adventures from a few months back… my new running buddy Julie and I started up the program together with our dodgy knees, and we were doing quite well before:

  1. I got the Blister of Doom and abandoned her for not one but two fun summer races
  2. I ran off on a European adventure 
  3. I stressed out one of my metatarsals on said adventure

Before yesterday, I hadn’t run since August 19, when I was in Cleveland. Holy mackerel. That was a long time ago!)

Anyway, back to my Treadmill Run of Glee. I jumped right back on the C25K bandwagon and it felt amazing. My foot didn’t hurt at all, and apart from being pretty seriously out of breath and/or shape, it was incredible. I felt so giddy… I was running again!! Huzzah!

I was trying very hard to take it easy so as not to stress my foot out again, and I think I succeeded. I had a few what I would describe as “ghost pains” during the ride home from the gym – ever-so-slight echoes of pain right on the point of injury – but they were gone within a minute and my foot has felt fine since.

I am kindling a very large flame on my candle of hope that I will be met with no further injuries for the remainder of this year, and for the foreseeable future!

And I can tell you this much for free: after a pain-free Treadmill Run of Glee, I will totally be out on the mean streets with the Shammies Thanksgiving morning, wearing my turkey hat proudly.

Who else will be running on Thanksgiving? Will you be racing a turkey trot or doing your own thing?

When was the last time you had a Run of Glee, treadmill or otherwise?

Friday Randoms

Happy Friday peeps! I’ve been so terrible about posting lately that I figured I’d throw together a brain-leak-type post because that’s better than nothing… right?

I ran this week! Twice!

Granted, it was only for 4 minutes each time, but I ran!! Like I mentioned in my last post, I haven’t run in, well, nearly a month now, and I was very excited to give it a go once more!

After saying that I could try gentle running as a warmup for PT last Friday, my physio wasn’t thrilled when I asked if I could do just that at my appointment on Tuesday. (?! Why dangle that carrot in front of me only to take it away?? So mean.) She wanted me to stick with the bike, but I had been so excited all weekend at the prospect of running again that I stubbornly stuck with the idea of treadmilling, and she reluctantly gave in. I walked for 3 minutes, ran nice and easy for 2, walked for 2, ran for 2, and walked for another 2. I tried to keep a mental eye on my knee, but was focusing so hard on it as I ran that I wasn’t sure if I was feeling a little pain or if my brain was just picking up on any little nerve firing and making a huge deal out of it. Who knows.

My physio was satisfied that I didn’t have any serious pain, and said I could repeat the exercise on Thursday, as long as I promised to go slow and be gentle with my knee. I was so excited all day yesterday, and after getting home from work and waiting out a torrential rain storm, I drove to the gym for my second run in a month.

My legs always look ridiculous when I take treadmill pics... like I'm sitting down and stretching them on the belt. Hmph.

My legs always look ridiculous when I take treadmill pics… like I’m sitting down and stretching them on the belt. Hmph.

I hit the Expresso bike for a 10-minute warmup (once again forgetting how much more difficult the video game races are on there than the regular bike at PT that’s set on easy/flat) and then did my 2-min walk, 2-min run, etc. for 10 minutes. I stayed just shy of a 14-minute pace and took it nice and easy, again focusing on my knee for any sign of pain. I had just a slight twinge above my kneecap, but hopefully that was nothing. (I’m hoping so hard.) Yay running!

I have a race on Sunday.

No idea how this is going to go. Obviously I’m not going to race it and push myself for a PR or anything, but at this point I’m not sure if I’ll be walking the whole thing or trying to gently run-walk it or what. Or even if I’ll be able to walk the whole thing… I haven’t traveled 3+ miles by foot since Kick in for Kids so I don’t know how my knee will behave. We’ll see what the physio says about it tonight.

Regardless, I’m excited to be taking part in this race this year! It’s the WFPL 5K, a fundraiser for the Watertown Free Public Library. I used to live in The H2O (as the cool kids call it) and used this library often, and I’m always game for supporting public libraries, so it seemed like a perfect race! I signed up for it last year with Colin but ended up DNSing it for a weekend in NYC. So I really really want to take part in whatever way I can this year!

Watertown Free Public Library (source)

Watertown Free Public Library (source)

PRO Compression grab bag goodies!

I’ve fallen a little in love with PRO Compression’s marathon socks, so when I saw they were having a grab bag sale a week or two ago, I splurged as a way to cheer my injured self up. (They’re still offering the grab bag deal, but only for XS socks.) I love getting random designs, and 2 of my 3 were *awesome*. The third pair is the same color as the first pair I ever bought, lime green:

sockIt’s not bad to have a duplicate pair I suppose… but if anyone out there has a new pair they’re not happy with, perhaps also from a grab bag, and wants to trade, let me know! They’re size S/M.

Ear worm(s) of the week.

The last time I did a brain-leaky post, I wrote about my nerdy, archivist interpretation of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Carrying on that tradition, let’s talk about what’s been stuck in my head this week – a mashup of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud:”

A mashup of that song and what, you ask? A fine cover version of the same song, sung by one Hawkeye (thanks to Jimmy Fallon):

The mashup of these songs is pretty entertaining… as the song runs through my head, I sing lyrics to myself like “Darlin’ I will be loving you til we’re 70… I promise I can do so much more than just archery” and the like. It helps keep me entertained at work as I process boxes of newspaper clippings, anyway! (My headphones broke last week and it makes me a sad, music-less panda.)

Happy weekend! Who’s got fun plans? Anyone racing?

Once More Unto PT, Dear Friends…

Ah, physical therapy… we meet again.

Nearly accurate representation of me Tuesday night. (Nearly because I'm not ginger!)

Nearly accurate representation of me Tuesday night. (Nearly because I’m not ginger) (source)

Tuesday was my first PT appointment to fix my Runner’s Knee (you can read my “Ballad of Runner’s Knee” in my last post). It was a 45-minute evaluation – the PT asking questions, prodding different places on my knee and asking what hurt and how bad, testing the strength and flexibility of my various leg muscles – then I got assigned a few exercises to do and was on my way. Though it was pretty no-frills, I’m excited that this might be my best PT experience yet.

I’ve gone to physical therapy 3 other times in the past:

1) In 2009, I went to my first ever PT for an ankle sprain. I had gone to see the ortho about a badly bruised knee (a recurring soccer injury… apparently I like to smash my knees into other people when I play, like, all the time) and he spotted the ankle brace I was rocking and started asking questions. He was horrified that I had sprained my ankles multiple times but had never gone to PT before, and referred me right away. The PT I chose was literally around the corner from my apartment, which was very nice, and consisted of visiting a woman who would massage my ridiculously tight calves so hard that I’d cry and then yell at my toes (literally at my toes, not at me) for moving too much. I went to most of my prescribed visits, then just kind of stopped going once she started trying to make me completely change how I walk. That seemed like too much, plus the calf massages really freaking hurt!

Ouch. (source)

Ouch. (source)

2) In the summer of 2013 I injured my neck/shoulders/upper back (bad posture is bad, mmkay?) and was going to both a chiropractor and PT for a while. I picked a PT office that was close to work, and they were amazing. Each session started with a nice massage to loosen up my wicked tight upper-body muscles, then I did exercises to train my shoulders to un-slouch. It wasn’t too painful, the staff were all really nice and knowledgeable, and I felt like they really helped me. It rocked.

3) May of last year was the last time I was in PT. This was to fix my ankle after I tore a tendon, and the ortho I saw reeeeally wanted me to go to a different PT than the one I had seen the previous year, even though they had been awesome. This other PT specialized in sports injuries (in fact, the head therapist there – the only one, I think… he was the only one I ever saw there – had treated a bunch of professional soccer players) and the ortho thought it would be the right fit. It ended up being kind of weird. The one PT ran around between the 3 treatment tables that were crammed into his tiny office, as well as to the chairs out in the lobby where we practiced our exercises, and did a lot of ultrasounds and Graston scraping, which was crazy painful. When I showed up for my second appointment, the guy kind of yelled at me for being there when I was pain-free (even though I hadn’t finished the treatment plan) and essentially told me not to come back. So, yeah, that was weird.

Graston... more ouch (source)

Graston… more ouch (source)

This time around the new ortho I saw gave me two options – a different PT close to work, or one down the street from my house. Though it’s kind of nice to have an excuse to bunk off work for an hour, things have been so busy lately that I really can’t justify leaving for PT, so the one closer to home made more sense. And, as it turns out, they’re the same PT group that was running the massage tent where I had my knee looked at after Kick in for Kids, and my Shammies friend K is currently going there and really likes them, so it seemed like a good call.

And so far it seems pretty good. My therapist seemed really knowledgeable, and the exercises she gave me to do are basically strength training exercises, which is something I should be doing anyway. Two birds, one stupid, injured stone. Or something like that. Plus, she seemed relatively confident that I’d be back running in time for my half at the end of June, so that’s good… even though it probably means that training properly is out the door. Hmph. So much for that!

Have you gone to physical therapy? What did you think of your experience?

Ever experienced Graston scraping?
Ouch!

Honest opinions – is my half on June 21 still doable? Or should I be looking to switch to the 5K option for the race? Or should I just DNS (again)?