Product Review: PRO Compression

PRO Compression provided me with a pair of calf sleeves for this review through my association with SweatPink.  All comments are my own.

I am a huge fan of compression wear.  I own a pair of (super attractive) compression tights and a number of pairs of compression socks.  Unfortunately, a lot of those socks aren’t made for people built like me.

Arrows 2

I am short.  I have short legs.  But my calf muscles are huge.  They always have been, probably because I spent years walking on my tiptoes.  So as I’m trying to size myself for compression socks, I’m always struggling to figure out which measurement is the most important – calf circumference or height?  I usually end up falling somewhere between sizes.  If I go with the larger size, the socks don’t provide the compression I want.  If I go smaller, they are often too short to pull up to the top of my calf.

I had never tried calf sleeves, so when this opportunity arose, I figured it was time I try this new-to-me method of compression.

I had the same issue in terms of sizing with PRO Compression (falling somewhere between), but I wasn’t as concerned about the sleeves being too small because there wasn’t the foot to get in the way.

They arrived just in time for me to put them on after a long run.  Let me tell you, my post-long run loungewear is pretty attractive, so you don’t get a full pic, just my relaxing legs.

IMG_1425Pretty cute, eh?  So as you can see, they’re stretched pretty tight.  But man, are they comfortable.  I wish they came in more size varieties so that I could get the “perfect” fit, but these are pretty darn good.  (Also, I’m well aware that my body is shaped quite ridiculously.  I was clearly supposed to be 5’10″.)

How does compression work?  To quote, “True graduated compression promotes circulation by pushing fluid up from your feet and ankles to toward your knees. This design also helps reduce swelling and inflammation while providing critical support to muscles and tendons.”

I never have visible swelling after a run, but I can say that after wearing these sleeves, my legs were less sore than I anticipated.  And they felt good while I walked around that afternoon.

So why choose PRO Compression over other calf sleeves or socks?

1. MADE in the USA
2. They always have a super fun Sock of the Month!  A new sock designs every month with a discount!  Make sure you’re on the email list.
3. One of the few compression socks companies that makes a true graduated compression sock (the ones that work!).
4. They sell direct, what does that mean to you?  Bigger discounts and more focus on the customer.
Want to try them out?  Not sure about spending the money?  Well, I have a discount code to share with you.  Enter the code PINK at checkout for 40% off.  40%!  That’s awesome.  I’m probably going to pick up another pair for myself at this price.
I know a lot of runners who aren’t sure about the look of compression socks and sleeves and who choose to wear them underneath their pants.  That’s fair. Personally, I say rock it.  PRO Compression has some great styles. Show off those toned legs you’ve worked so hard to get!

Share the discount code with your friends on Twitter! Tweet: I #KeepItTight w/ @PROCompression! Use the code PINK for 40% OFF your entire purchase! @fitapproach #sweatpink

Thanks again to PRO Compression for providing me a pair of calf sleeves for review.

So Very Tired

I’m struggling to keep my eyes open today.  I’m so tired.

And I know, based on yesterday’s workout recap, I shouldn’t be.  After all, look at how many workouts I missed!

I can’t really explain it, but somehow, I managed to sleep through my alarm going off for 90 minutes. 90 minutes!  And now, I’m blogging while waiting for the water to boil for my tea in the office kitchen.  I think this is some quality multitasking.

I also have trouble stringing together coherent sentences while this tired.

I’m definitely burning the candle at both ends right now, and I hope that doesn’t show up in my race this weekend, because I REALLY want to do well on Sunday.  I do get to sleep in on Saturday, so that’s a bonus.  But longer than normal workdays, hour+ workouts, and trying to get my house in order are really making it tough to get enough sleep.  I really wish I were one of those people who functioned well on 5 hours of sleep.  I do well with 7, but anything less and I’m dragging after a few days.

Like today.

(This post really has zero focus and is totally uninteresting, isn’t it.  The joys of trying to blog pre-caffeine.)

Does anyone have tips on how to do it all?  I don’t even have kids to take care of – I know you working moms manage to fit it all in.  What’s your secret?  Power naps?  Professional multitasking?  High octane coffee?  Heroin?

Okay, so I’m not willing to try heroin.  Though it would probably get me fired, which would free up so many hours in my day…

Hey, water’s boiling.  Watch out, body, here comes the caffeine.

Wednesday Workout Recap: Whoops

Well, this is embarrassing.

Monday: Swim drills!  It was an annoying workout thanks to the super tall guys swimming butterfly in my lane, but whatever, I got it done.

Tuesday: Treadmill speedwork – 6 miles total

Wednesday: Bike trainer drills – 1 hour

Thursday: Scheduled – swim.  Completed – nothing.  I got stuck at work until 7:30, which meant there was no way I was getting to 8:00 swim on time, seeing as swim is probably 45 minutes from work plus I didn’t have any of my gear with me.

Friday: Travel day!

Saturday: Scheduled – 9 miles.  Completed – nothing. Well, I played ball with my dog sibling for a while.  That should count for something.

Sunday: Family time

So there wasn’t a lot of working out last week, which is always good the week before a race, right?  We’ll find out.  But it’s not every day that I get to go visit family and celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday, so it was worth it.

Race Cancelled

So one of my upcoming races got cancelled.

And I’m not upset.

Iron Girl Rocky Gap, a triathlon scheduled for the first weekend of September, is no more.  Well, at least not for this year.  I can’t say I’m surprised.  Or disappointed.

IGRG was one of the races that was in question earlier this year when TriColumbia folded.  While the race I really worried about, Iron Girl Columbia, got picked up by the Ulman Cancer Fund (who I fundraise for – see sidebar to donate), the Rocky Gap race got picked up by the World Triathlon Corporation, the people who own Ironman, etc.

They also picked up the local Iron Girl half marathon, and well… that race didn’t go all that well.  It started an hour late because the course wasn’t ready.  Of course, these things happen, but it makes you wonder about the organizational skills and if WTC really cared about this little race.  So I had my doubts that IGRG would go well. It’s one thing to have a half marathon with some issues, but a triathlon with logistical issues can be dangerous.

I also had this race scheduled after a month of busy weekends.  So I can’t say I’m disappointed to have my weekend back.

But I do feel bad for all the women who were going for the Triple Crown award.  If you did the half and both Iron Girl triathlons, you got a special award, which I believe last year was a pretty necklace.

I also know a number of people who chose IGRG for their first triathlon because the water is apparently calm and the course is flat.  Registrants are being given the option to transfer to another Iron Girl triathlon – and it’s suggested that since so many are local, that they go for Iron Girl Columbia.  Unfortunately, a number of people were already registered for both (myself included), and if you wanted flat, Columbia is not going to provide it.

Thankfully, another option was a full refund, so that’s what I chose.  It will take 4-6 weeks to get a refund check, but given that I registered with a group that no longer exists, I’m just glad it’s an option.  I’ll turn around and donate that money to my Team Fight fundraising.  After all, it was money that I didn’t plan to have, and since I’m not replacing the race, it’s a good way to spend it.

Cycling Gear: What Do I Need?

This post was sponsored by The Clymb, an awesome place to get discounted outdoor gear for all of your adventures. 

So you’re a runner thinking of getting into triathlon?  Awesome!   You’ve searched online and found all sorts of great training plans.  But if you’re anything like me, you also want to know what sorts of gear you will need.

Well, to start, you’ll need a bike.  Any old bike will do to begin your training.  And you’ll need a swimming suit.  Preferably one designed for swimming and not one designed for sunbathing.

But the cycling gear.  Oh, the cycling gear.  I love it almost as much as I love running gear.

First and most importantly, you need a helmet.  This is not optional.  I don’t care what the laws are in your city.  You need to wear a helmet.  You can get a good one for under $100, and considering what it protects, it’s worth every penny.

While you can bike in any old t-shirt, I recommend wearing a tech t-shirt, but if you want to go all out, look into a cycling jersey.  The best thing about cycling jerseys is the pockets.  Oh, the pockets.  Three big pockets in the back to hold all sorts of things: snacks, your phone, a good luck charm, whatever you want to carry with you.

Next, you’ll want a good pair of cycling shorts.  Cycling shorts have what is called a chamois inside.  It’s pronounced “shammy.”  You wear cycling shorts without underwear.  That’s right.  No underwear with the cycling shorts.  Why?  You want to do everything in your power to reduce chafing.  The chamois is designed not only to provide you with extra padding and support but it also wicks away moisture and shifts with you so that nothing is rubbing as you pedal.  I know Pearl Izumi isn’t beloved by runners thanks to a poorly designed ad campaign from half a decade ago, but I must say, I love their cycling shorts and they come in a wide variety of sizes.

Now we’re getting into the part some people don’t like to talk about.  Chamois cream.  In the olden days of cycling (the early 80’s and before), chamois pads were made out of leather, so riders needed something to condition that leather.  Now, they’re made out of synthetic materials, but you still want something to prevent chafing, both between the seams and you and between… you and you.  So look into an anti-chafing cream or chamois cream.  And then rub it all up there in your nooks and crannies.  Yeah, I said it.  Also good for running.

If you’re just starting out on a bike you already own, you can just wear your running shoes while you ride.  But you’ll start to hear cyclists talk about clipless pedals.  Here’s where the lingo gets confusing.  So a standard pedal is what’s known as a platform pedal.  This is what you probably learned to ride on.  Pretty basic.  You push down, the pedal turns, the bike moves.  But what if you could get power on more than just the downward part of the revolution?  This is where attaching your shoe to the pedal helps.

One way to attach your shoe to the pedal is with toe clips or cages.  You’ll still see some riders with these, and they’re great if you’re not quite ready to go clipless.  It’s how I started out.  They’re little rubberized (formerly metal) straps on the front of your pedal that you slip the front of your foot into.  You get a little more power from your legs, but not a lot.

Then we come to clipless pedals.  And the lingo gets weird.  Since cages are also known as toe clips, pedals where you attach without toe clips are clipless.  Except that riders talk about clipping in and clipping out.  These work by way of a cleat that’s attached to the bottom of your cycling shoe.  You get on the bike and then clip in, attaching your shoes to the bike.  Yes, it’s terrifying at first, but honestly, it’s not so bad.  The added power going up hills is awesome.

But clipless pedals definitely aren’t necessary.  It’s just an easy upgrade to a bike you already have if you’re ready to take your cycling to the next step.

Cycling gloves are another thing that aren’t necessary, but are awesome to have.  They pad your palms just a bit more, reducing the numbing that can come from the vibrations of the ride, plus they help you keep your grip if you’re nervous and your palms are a bit sweaty.

A saddle bag, which goes on the back of your bike under the seat, is a great way to store a spare tube (what goes in your tire) and a tube change kit.  Learn how to change a tube.  It’s an awesome skill to have.  You can also get a bento box, which is a little pack that goes on the front of your bike to carry things.  And of course, water bottles or a hydration pack are necessary if you’re going on long rides.

So that’s a lot of stuff.  Do you need it all?  No.  To start, you need a bike and a helmet.  Cycling shorts are an upgrade you will want soon after.  But there’s no need to buy it all right away, and you can always look for deals online.  The Clymb has great sales every day.  I just recently received an order from them where I got a box of Clif Bars, a box of Luna Bars and a new pair of cycling gloves that I love, all at an awesome discount.  So check them out!

Thanks again to The Clymb for sponsoring!