Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2016: my miles. my gear. my year.

Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU Mid-Rise Compression Tights and a pair of 2XU Recovery Tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

Hello and welcome to Day 3 of BibRave series about New Year's Resolutions sponsored by 2XU! I was so excited to be a part of this campaign, as I have fallen in love with everything 2XU. If you have read my post on the MCS Elite Compression Tights or the Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights, I think you've noticed already. If not, well I'll be telling you more about my new obsession.

2015 was a great year for me. I completed my first marathon as part of the Dopey Challenge, and then a few days later did the Castaway 5k to add two more medals to my collection since it was part of the Castaway Challenge. After only about 2.5 weeks, I had already ran 51.7 miles and earned 8 medals. 

I went on to do about 30 more races in 2015, one of which was my second marathon in October (Chicago), which didn't go so well. My training went great for the most part (I had to take a week off early on due to some knee pain, but came back the next week feeling great). I felt ready to go. Unfortunately, race day came, and with it so did 80 degree weather and full on sun. There wasn't a ton of shade on course, and I am a person that doesn't do well in heat, even if I train in it. I felt sick about half way through the race and never recovered. I made it to the finish line, but was very disappointed in my performance. VERY disappointed.

I partially attribute my poor performance to not having enough endurance for the longer distance. Though I made it through the training cycle without much trouble, I felt that maybe if I began training the longer miles more frequently, I wouldn't have suffered so badly. So maybe longer training plans for the next marathon so I can get those longer runs in more often. For me, I think practice is everything, and the more I do something, the better I get at it. Take half marathons, for example: I didn't do so hot my first few, as nerves and newbie-ness played a huge role. A few years later, I'm doing much better. I don't get nervous much, and my time has improved. I'm hoping that with more knowledge and practice at distances over 13 miles, I'll be able to conquer the shorter time requirements for marathons.

Let me add in that I was pretty sore post-Chicago Marathon (hips were sore, as well as my calves), but I tossed on my MCS Elite Compression Tights right after my shower, and wore them out of the town to hang with other running friends, and kept them on when I went to bed. I woke up and felt amazing. As if I hadn't just done a marathon the previous day. The only problem I had walking was due to a giant blister on the bottom of my foot. So for me, yeah, 2XU compression tights are MAGICAL.

Chicago Half Marathon followed by 5 more miles.
MCS Elite Compression Tights helping with recovery.

At Goose Island with fellow BibRave pals after the Chicago Marathon.
MCS Elite Compression Tights for the win!

And so with the first month almost complete for 2016, I share with you my goals. I am upping my mileage. 2015 saw a total of 584.24 miles. I'm gunning for 1200 in 2016 (so, 100 miles a month is the goal). Yes, that's quite the leap, I know. I am on track for my first month, and am extremely happy and proud. My legs and body are feeling good, so I think this goal is extremely attainable.

Part of how I am reaching this goal currently is through a running streak. I started the Runner's World winter streak, which was Thanksgiving through New Years - 37 days. I've kept it going and hit 60 on Sunday. Today will be day 63. 60 is the amount of days I made it on my last streak, which was in the summer of 2014, so I'm really happy to have passed that this year. 

Now, I am a smart lady, and I listen to my body. If eventually I start to feel injuries coming on, or my legs are too sore/tired to continue, I will stop the streak. And that's ok. I'll still be able to hit the 100 mile goal even if I don't run everyday. I know that rest days can be key to staying injury free, so I listen closely to what my body is telling me. Obviously I'm not going full out every day, and some days I'm only doing a mile at an easy pace, so they are sort of recovery days, right? ;) Seriously though, I want to be able to run for a long long time, so I won't risk major injury which can take me out of the this amazing runner's life I've been enjoying.

Thanks to my 2XU compression tights, I've been recovering much much quicker than I used to. In years past, I would take a few days off of running after a half marathon, because my legs were too sore and I thought rest was the best way to get them back to where they needed to be. I run a marathon (couldn't wear tights since it was so hot), put on my tights for recovery, and feel ready to run the next day. It's pretty amazing.

Have I mentioned that I also joined the 2016 in 2016 challenge as well? No? Well, I did. I am combining walking and running miles to reach this goal. This is also going well so far. I know it's early in the year, but starting it off with a bang is really motivational for me. 

Another way that 2XU is helping me crush my goals is that I can still run outside in the winter. Their Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights are warm enough to allow me to get in long runs (which for a slow runner can be 3+ hours!). Plus, they are just so comfy to wear around the house for some extra leg love. I've worn them in 40–10 degree temps, but prefer them on their own at about 15/20–35 max. In 40 degrees I was too warm (don't worry, I have other 2XU tights to wear on warmer days now), and on the cold, windy days they are my base layer.

2XU Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights letting me run outside during winter.

I've also been lucky enough to try out their Recovery Compression Tights (linking to the men's because the women's are currently off the site). They feel oh so good after a long run or when my legs are feeling a bit tired from all the miles. They are made with extra powerful PWX Weight fabric that stabilizes muscles, while graduated compression enhances blood flow for faster muscle repair. I've even slept in them. I wake up and my legs feel refreshed and ready to pound some more pavement (or the treadmill). Another awesome feature? I can wear them under my work pants to get all day compression and relief. 

Pardon all of the dog hair.
It's impossible not to have some on every article of clothing I own.

This is my favorite kind of recovery.
Recovery Compression Tights and puppy snuggles.

And for days that aren't below 30 degrees? You'll catch me in my full length mid-rise compression tights. I have a pair in Black/Cerise Pink , provided by 2XU, and also purchased a pair in the Slate/Lime Light. I love them both. Mid-rise = wider waistband than the regular compression tights. If you plan on doing a lot of bending, I'd recommend wearing underwear that's a similar color. I did find that my bright, colorful patterned ones peeked through a bit if the fabric stretched at all (like if you were doing yoga or bending down to tie a shoe, for example). Wearing black or grey undies to match the tights will help save some embarrassment. They are totally ok though when I'm just standing or running (yes, I had someone else check for me). I did the testing for you so you'd know ahead of time ;) 

Black/Cerise Pink

A view from all angles.
Slate/Lime Light

Some other favorites? Their socks! They are super soft, but offer enough support on my arches to help with my PF. I like both the performance low-rise sock (currently a New Year Bundle sale 3 for $40) and the Race VECTR sock (same deal - 3 for $40). The VECTR offer a little more support, so I prefer those on my long runs.

Pairing my Hyoptik tights with the performance low-rise sock.

I also bought a pair of shorts that I'll bust out once the weather allows for it (anything 50 and up, in my book!). I know, sounds like I bought a lot. I did. But during Thanksgiving week that had an AMAZING sale and I went a little crazy (seriously, with those deals, how could you not?).

I also recently purchased the Element Sport Jacket. It sounded like it would be a good late fall/winter/early spring kind of jacket. It's engineered with a 5:10 STRETCH membrane for complete flexibly and comfort while VAPOR+ SHINE technology maintains maximum protection from the elements. Light weight and breathable, it includes adjustable Velcro sleeve tabs, rear and two from side zip pockets, and shaped upper back panel. There's also a cinch collar toggle for a customized, secure fit.

Attempting to show you the back of the jacket.

It is nice and warm, and I love having some extra pockets to stuff my handful of kleenex. Yes, I'm a kleenex person (I'm a lady after all hehe), and in the winter go through a ton of them on my runs, with my runny nose...

I am so excited for this year of new challenges. What are you doing to challenge yourself in 2016? I would love to hear about it!

PS! 2XU Has offered us a 20% discount code to share with you all so you can gear up for winter—or whatever weather you need gear for... for me, that's all seasons ;) — RUN20 is valid until 2/29/16. Hop to it!

Check out the rest of the BibRave New Year's Resolution posts from my fellow friends and BibRave Pros:
Day 1: Katherine
Day 2: Emily
Day 4: Chadd
Day 5: Jeremy


  1. Congrats on all the races! I did my first wdw marathon in 2015 as well. I would like to do the castaway 5k challenge at some point too. How is it that you get 3 medals? I know one for the 5k and one for the challenge, what's the third one? -M

    1. I remember that you did your first marathon there too :) Congrats! You did Goofy this year, didn't you? You're correct - only 2 medals. Oops.

  2. So much great 2XU gear! Not only does it sound like it's of great quality, it's really cute too! :) I have a few items I need to look into picking up now!


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