Say “Buh-bye” to runner chafe with Sport Shield!

Disclaimer: I received a sample of 2Toms Sport Shield 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!”

If you’ve ever run for any extended period of time and you have skin, it’s likely you’ve experienced the dreaded chafe. You know, that burning, red, screaming, patch of skin that you usually don’t even find until after the run or worse, when you jump into the shower and scream your head off after the hot water finds it for you. Chafing is caused by repeated friction on your skin with pressure points, most usually clothing or other skin. I am especially prone to chafing around my sport bra area. I have scars from my sport bra rubbing me raw, especially underneath my arms.

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My chafing “ouch” after a recent half marathon

So, I was excited when 2Toms sent me a sample of their Sport Shield Skin Guard and Chafing Prevention to try out.

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The first thing I noticed about the Sport Shield when I applied it was that it was NOT GREASY. I’ve tried a few other skin protectants and they usually go on really thick and have a greasy consistency. Not the Sport Shield. It was very light and it has no odor. I really like that it has a roller ball applicator too. Makes for really easy application and you don’t have to get your hands covered in the stuff to apply it.

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I’ve been using it for about 2 months now and let me tell you, this stuff works! I put it on my usual chafe points before a run and I’m good to go. I live in a very humid, wet Southern climate and the humidity and my buckets of sweat don’t even budge the Sport Shield. It is totally sweat proof and waterproof. I used it all during my marathon training and on race day and had zero chafing in my usual friction points.

2Toms also sent me a few samples of their single use packets. I love these for my purse or gym bag. I keep one in my purse for work, especially if I know I’m going to be walking around a lot in dress shoes. I just rub it all along my heel and Voila, no blisters! It works like a charm. And because it’s non-staining and non-greasy it doesn’t leave any kind of residue on my shoes or clothes.

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And 2Toms backs Sport Shield with a 100% guarantee! 2Toms also makes a whole like of Blister Shield and Butt Shield products for blister, chafing and rash prevention as well as a Stink Free Shoe and Gear Spray to help eliminate runner funk odor from your gear.

And you can receive 20% off your 2Toms order through the end of April with the code “2Toms20”!

I am now a 2Toms convert. This stuff is great! With Sport Shield you can totally say “Buh-bye!” to shower burn!

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2XU Compression Calf Sleeves and Socks Review

Disclaimer: I received a sample box of 2XU Performance Run Calf Sleeves and a pair of Racing VECTR socks 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!”

I love compression gear. Like LOVE, love it. I have several pair of compression calf sleeves and full long socks that I wear both during runs and after for recovery. I was so impressed with my 2XU Hyoptik Tights that I jumped at the chance to try and out review a pair of their calf sleeves and socks for BibRave.

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Out of the box, the first thing I noticed about both the sleeves and the socks was how lightweight they were. I have some compression sleeves and socks that are pretty thick material. But don’t let the lightweight material fool you. These things have a very good compressive feel. For most of my trials I wore both the sleeves and the socks together, overlapping the socks over the sleeves a bit to give me almost a seamless squeeze from my toes to my knees.

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The Training VECTR Socks feature the 2XU proprietary X:LOCK Support System designed to optimize footstrike and push off while preventing abrasion. I could definitely feel the added support around my arches. I also really liked the dry mesh panels in the socks. In our warmer climate my socks can get soaking wet with sweat after a good, hard run. The thinner material and dry mesh panels will help them dry out quicker. That plus the celliant yarns – a technical textile that thermoregulates body temperature make these a great sock for my warmer spring runs.

I was equally impressed with the Performance Run Calf Sleeves. I really liked the graduated compression around my calves and the integrated zoned breathability panels: again a huge plus for me in our warm, humid weather.

I wore the calf sleeves for my recent marathon where it got really warm and really humid quickly. I had zero issues with the sleeves during the race and was thankful that I wore them the next day when I was able to walk without too much pain or shuffling.

Austin and mommy

 

2XU has a good video describing all of the technical details behind the Performance Run Calf Sleeves.

All in all I can see me using the socks and sleeves both together and separately repeatedly in the future. They provided very good compression, were lightweight enough for me to use them year-round, and did not rub or cause any blisters. Plus the sleeves come in a huge variety of colors. The brighter the better for me. 🙂

You can save 15% off your 2XU purchase right now with the code “TRAIN15” too!

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So you bonked your marathon…now what?

If you read my recent Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans marathon race recap you know that the race was a real struggle for me. I really wanted a time goal of 4:30 or 4:45 but I knew a little over halfway into the race that just finishing was my new goal. I had completely bonked. I still got in (barely) under 5 hours but it wasn’t the performance or race I had wanted. So, of course, for the past few days I’ve been beating myself up and beating myself up over it. Here’s what I think went wrong:

  1. It got hot quick. I don’t perform well in the heat to begin with and I’ve done ZERO heat training. I wasn’t ready mentally or physically for running in 70+ degree weather.
  2. I went out too fast on the first half. While I kept my pace 1 minute slower than my usual half time, I should have factored in the heat and slowed it down a little more.
  3. I was undertrained. I had run two 20 milers, but I think I was still undertrained for this race. I don’t think I had the weekly mileage I needed. Work, sickness, kids, life had sidelined several runs and I was barely finishing out 100 miles for February.
  4. I’m still working out fueling and hydration on those longer distances. I thought I was drinking enough water on the course but judging how I was feeling and the color of my pee after the race (sorry if that’s TMI) I was NOT. While I had trained with my hydration vest, it was in much, much cooler temps and I didn’t need to drink as much. During the race I was running through water stops and just sipping from my vest when I should have been DRINKING much, much more water. I got dehydrated.
  5. The marathon is just Not. My. Race. To be honest I don’t love it. I’ve done 5 now and I’ve struggled with each and every one. I love running, but it becomes a chore to me with those upper distances. I lose focus and lose motivation. All of the training is time consuming and tough on my family and my body.

And now I sound like a whiny little baby. I totally applaud those people who can run marathon after marathon and love it. They are amazing. I just can’t. I have yet to love one. I LOVE half marathons. I love training for them. I love running them. But I just cannot get on board with 26.2 miles. I’ve tried…five times! So, I think I’m giving them up for a while. I need to get back to what I love, just running the shorter distances for fun. Will I run a full again? Sure. If it’s the right one. If I get into NYC I’ll run it. I’d run Disney and maybe the Houston or Oklahoma City fulls. If it’s the right race and right time I’d totally do it, but now’s not the right time. I want to enjoy my two littles while they are still little. Training for the full was taking that away from me.

In the midst of wallowing in self-loathing on Sunday night and Monday morning, my husband and several running friends gave me a good wake up call and runner smack to the head though. “Look at all you’ve accomplished this year!”

  • I essentially started over running early in 2015 after having Baby Z-peat. I forget this. A lot. I didn’t even start running again until late January 2015 and I slowly eased into it.
  • I went from a 2:24 half in March 2015 to a 1:58 in January 2016. That’s a 26 minute reduction in less than 10 months.
  • I set a half marathon and 10k PR in late 2015.
  • I ran 5 half marathons in 2015.
  • I’m running consistent 100+ miles a month.
  • I’m running injury free.
  • I ran 26.2 miles in under 5 hours.
  • I’ve met some amazing and wonderful people who have become dear friends through running.

So I’m going to stop beating myself up. I had a bad race, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less of a runner. I’ve had a GREAT come back running year and that’s what I’m going to focus on. I’m going to rejoice in these victories.

But right now I’m going to go play Leggos with my son.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans marathon recap

Well I did it. I crazily signed up for, trained, and ran my 5th marathon on Sunday. I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans full marathon and finished all 26.2 miles of that beast. This was kind of a bucket list race for me. I had signed up for the full two times before and had to defer to the half both times. The first time I had the flu the week before. The second time I was pregnant with Baby Z-peat. So, third time was the charm. I was GOING to cross that finish line if it killed me (and it almost did!! or felt like it).

I had trained with two wonderful frunners Sarah and Denise for this marathon. It was going to be their first and since coming back to running after having Baby Z-peat it felt like I was totally starting over and re-training for my first. They helped me so much with motivating me to keep going on those long runs. My amazing ultra-running friend Kerrie kicked my butt and kept me going when I was whining daily to her that I just wanted to quit. My husband was a huge support, helping juggle the kids while I trained. I could not have done any of this without these people.

The Saturday before the race we left around mid-day to head down the expo and pick up our race packets. I usually hit up the expo on Fridays so it’s not very crowded when I get there. Ummm..Saturday at 2:00 is a CRAZY time to go. Let me just tell you. It was pretty crowded. Booths felt a little smooshed together and it was hard to walk around and just look. We picked up our race packets, ran into several people we knew, and looked at some of the race merchandise.

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I didn’t really find anything I had to have at the expo (shocker, I know!) but it’s always fun to browse and window shop for new products.

I loved that I was able to visit with my dear friend Heather. She’d just come back from Disney Princess weekend and was going to run the half on Sunday on a cranky IT band. I don’t know how she does it!

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We ate dinner at a little pizza place down the street early and then decided to call it a night at the hotel…after raiding the lounge at the Marriot for cookies and deserts. 🙂

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Race morning we woke up around 5:30 to get dressed and eat a little breakfast before our walk over to the race start a few blocks away. I checked the weather again for the 1,000th time and it hadn’t changed. It was going to be a warm one. Ugh. I don’t run well at all in the warm weather. In fact, I’m terrible in it. I was worried.

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But I put on my big girl panties, my shoe bling, my great Move Ya Brass shirt, and my 2XU compression socks and tights. We were suited up and ready to run!

It took us about 22 minutes to get to the start line in our corral but we finally snailed our way there and it was time to go. My race strategy was to initially run a slow and steady 10:00/mile pace for the first half and then slow down as needed to 11:00/mile on the second half.

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The race route sent us down St. Charles for the initial few miles. I’m very familiar with this route as we run it for many New Orleans races. The roads are bad. I knew this. But, now the roads were bad plus add 10,000 additional people plus add heat and humidity plus add construction. Yes. Construction. It was a crazy, crowded, hot, humid, and then they had to shut the roads down to single lane in one section. Every time I found I good pace I would get bottle-necked and have to slow down. It was a mess.

My 10:00/mile pace actually felt really good and easy. I wasn’t struggling with it and I was doing really well dodging pot holes and trolley car lines and walkers. Before I knew it we were turning back into the CBD. We ran through the Quarter and up Esplanade to head towards City Park. I was still feeling good and was finding a better groove now that we were on the wider parts of Esplanade. I saw that mile 12 split – full marathoners to the left and half marathoners to the right. Whaaa. I wanted to go to the right but I put my head down and veered left.

Then the sun came out in full force. At mile 14 I started to get tired and decided to slow down. At mile 15 I started to get hot. At mile 16 I started to get nauseated. At mile 17 I started to get miserable. Luckily I saw Sarah and Denise’s entire family waiting at mile 15. They were cheering us on and giving high fives, shouting, “You can do it!” as I passed. It was so great to see them!

I texted my husband at mile 15 letting him know I was struggling and that I was really slowing down. I knew he was waiting for me with the boys at mile 18. That’s honestly one of the few things that kept me going. I stopped and walked a bit and ate some Honey Stinger chews and pretzels. I tried to consciously drink water from my hydration vest to make sure I was hydrating with the heat.

The race volunteers were handing out salt with the water and Gatorade and I took one, feeling the salt crusted up on my face from all the sweat. That and the solid food on my stomach helped a little bit with the nausea.

I turned the corner up to Lakeshore drive and started looking for my husband and boys. I see them a little down the road and I cannot wait to see their smiling faces. Then I see another person with them. Wait a second! That looks like my mom. That IS my mom!! She had snuck in the night before to surprise me on the course. It was so wonderful to have her out there cheering me on too!

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The bottom right picture is me realizing that she was there with everyone!! My husband had special t-shirts printed up that said “My mommy rocks 26.2” and “My wife rocks 26.2”. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!???!

I gave them all big, sweaty, runner hugs and kisses and told them I’d see them at the finish line. Whimpering, I slowly trudged my way back out onto the course to finish up those last 7 miles.

The back half of this course is pretty desolate and there are a few bridges to go over. Not much shade and not much race support out there so having my family at mile 18 was a huge uplift.

By mile 20 I had resigned myself to run/walking it in the rest of the way. Time be damned, I just wanted to be DONE. I was hurting, I was tired, I was hot, and I wanted to throw up. Ugh. But I pushed and kept going one step at a time. Right around then is when Sarah caught up with me. THANK GOD she did! She and I ran in those last 5 miles together pushing each other up those bridges and  around the corners. I’m not sure I would have made it without her.

It’s all pretty much a blur until mile 26 when I knew we were ALMOST DONE! We entered the chute for the final stretch and we were powering it in to finish. Sarah got my attention and pointed to my family cheering off to the left. My husband dropped my son over the fence and he grabbed my hand and ran in the last part of the race with me. He was beaming from ear to ear and we ran down the finish and everyone was cheering. He loved it, and honestly, I did too. It was a special  moment.

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We crossed the finish line and got my medal. One of the best things they were doing immediately after you crossed was they were handing out icy cold, wet, towels. It felt amazing to wash the salt and sweat off of my neck and face and arms. I chugged a cold chocolate milk and more water and found the rest of my family. We cheered Denise in not long after our finish and all hugged her neck after she crossed the finish line. We did it! We did it! We finished 26.2 mile in some pretty rough conditions! These girls powered through a tough, tough course for their first and they made it look easy. I was so, very proud of them!

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Not long after our finish we made a bee-line for our finishers jacket. I wanted that damn jacket! I’d earned that baby!

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Now I think I may never take it off again.

You can also see my race write up on Bibrave.com here: Rock N Roll New Orleans Race Recap