Friday, April 10, 2015

SLS3 Compression Socks {Review and Giveaway}

It's no secret that I love compression wear. My socks and calf sleeves are a necessary part of my recovery regimen after a long run or long day at work. As someone who lives with varicose veins on top of being a marathon runner, compression wear makes they daily ache bearable. I recently had the opportunity to try out the FXC Butterfly Compression Socks from SLS3

Let me cut to the chase ... I love them! There you go, review over! Just kidding, here's why:

First, the fit. I've had other compression socks that just don't fit right. They are either too short and don't cover my calf or my foot just doesn't feel right or they squeeze my toes too much. The FXC Butterfly Compression Socks are a perfect fit. In the sizing my calf measurement puts me just over the Small/Medium, but the Medium/Large would be too big in the foot. I was sent the S/M and they are absolutely perfect! They give me just the right amount of squeeze for my large calves, the foot fits perfectly for my size nines, and they fully cover my calf all the way to the knee.

Second, the feel. The Micro-Nylon/Spandex blend is super soft. There are no annoying seams that would cause chafing.

Third, the look! They come in bright, pretty colors and the butterflies add a cute design.

Azure Blue (stock photo)
Hibiscus Pink (stock photo)
Teal (stock photo)
And for the guys out there, SLS3 has compression socks and sleeves for men too!

FXC Running Compression Socks (stock photo)

Here are some bullet points from the company:
  • 20-30 mmHg of graduated compression
  • Less water absorption through superior materials
  • UV protection
  • Improved muscle support
  • Improvement of strength
  • Reduction of muscle tension
  • Reduction of lactic acid
  • Speed up of cell regeneration
  • Relief of pain and muscle soreness
  • Designed by medical professionals

I have worn my SLS3 socks after all my long runs and recent Race the Runways Airport Challenge (14.1 miles). Note: I don't like wearing compression socks while running because I need my toes to fully spread out, so I did not test these on the run. I do wear calf sleeves during the run, though. Immediately following Race the Runways, I had to spend the next 9 hours at work on a concrete floor. And I really mean immediately, I had to change out of my race clothes in the work bathroom and use baby wipes to make myself presentable. Anyway, my FXC Butterfly Compression Socks saved me. I managed to get through the rest of the day and I experienced no calf or ankle soreness the next day. It really does seem like magic! I'm looking to grow my collection and get all the colors, I like them that much. Maybe a pair of sleeves next...

FXC Butterfly Sleeves in Teal (stock photo)

SLS3 also offers a variety of items including, race tops and bottoms, arm sleeves, fuel packs, and jewelry. You can check out their full line of products at

And now the fun part! SLS3 has generously offered a pair of sleeves or socks to one lucky Maine Mom on the Run reader! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway will run from 4/10/15-4/17/15. If you didn't want to wait to see if you win, you can immediately get 40% off with the code Carrie40!

Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was provided one pair of SLS3 FXC Butterfly Compression Socks for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Shamrock Sprint 5K {race recap}

Over the weekend prior to St. Patrick's Day, the City of Bath holds their Blarney Days celebration. There are many festivities that occur to celebrate our Irish heritage and one of those is the Shamrock Sprint 5K. I also ran in this event last year and plan to in the foreseeable future.

Ian dropped me off at the start on his way to work and I planned on walking back home after the race. Yet another benefit to living in the city. I was all decked out in my best green, white, and orange which, of course, included Spandits!

They held a best dressed contest beforehand, but the cuteness of the little girl in the blue jacket won over the crowd. Maybe next year!

It's been a long time since I've run in town due to the vast amounts of snow this winter. It just hasn't been safe to run with the sizable snowbanks blocking visibility at the intersections and shrinking the width of the roadways. Because of that it has also been a long time since I've done any sort of hill training. And Bath is all hills.

This race was planned as a fun run and I knew that I would be hard pressed to PR, so that wasn't even a goal. The race started and I got caught up in the crowd and ran the first quarter mile at a sub-7 pace. I quickly slowed it down to just under 8 minutes per mile, but then I kept getting slower as the hills kept coming. Mile one beeped over at 7:46. Mile two came in at 8:21 which was only a little slower than where I was in 2014. I managed to pick up the pace a little in mile three with an 8:07 and then the awesome, super fast finish down Centre Street! My Garmin registered a 5:48 pace for the last .1!

photo courtesy Don Penta - Maine Running Photos

Final stats:
24:40, 8:01 pace
38/126 overall
12/72 women
3/9 AG 30-39

Even though I was over a minute slower then my 5K PR, I was only 16 seconds off my time from 2014 on the same course. Considering the lack of hill work, speed work, or overall miles, I'm happy with how things turned out. This was the second year in a row of placing 3rd in my age group and out of awards...I plan on changing that next year!

photo courtesy Don Penta - Maine Running Photos

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Solo Long Run

The first 18-miler of our marathon training plan was this past weekend and was the longest run I would complete since the MDI Marathon in October of 2013. I was scheduled to work during the morning on Saturday when we usually do our long run, so Jen and I would have to do this run apart. She had an insanely great run and did all 18 miles on the treadmill. Amazing! I scheduled my run for Monday and I was actually really looking forward to it. 

Don't I look excited?

One great thing about having a training partner to go on long runs with is you have someone to talk to which makes the time and miles go by a lot quicker than when running alone. I don't run with music, mostly because I can't help but run with the pace of the song and find it distracting. I suppose the distraction is one reason that people run with music, but I rather be a little more in tune to how I'm feeling and breathing than having my brain struggle with matching my pace to a song. I did download some podcasts to my phone so I could have someone "talking" to me to pass the time.

It was pretty busy at work in Sunday night and that left my legs feeling a bit dead feeling come Monday morning, but I was still positive that this would be a good run. The sun was shining and although the temperature was still in the teens, it was going to warm up to the 40s throughout the day.

Two of my favorites - Spandits! and Mizuno Wave Rider 18s

I headed to the bike path where I would be breaking the run into three six-mile out-and-back legs. The path is only 2.63 miles long, so I had to run past the trailhead for a bit (which also added on another little hill) to reach 3 miles one way.

I started without my headphones, wanting instead just to warm up and enjoy the run. There were a few icy spots where the snow along the sides had melted, run on to the path and then froze overnight, but overall it wasn't too terrible.

A few more days like this, the river will no longer be frozen!

My hope was to keep the pace in the mid-9s and if I felt able, run the last 3 faster. I kept with my fueling plan of a GU every 5 miles and would stop at the end of each leg to grab some water out of the car. I could certainly feel my energy lagging in the miles leading up to miles 5, 10, and 15 and this was evident when analyzing my paces after. I also practiced taking on fuel while running and it usually takes me a good .75 miles to finish one. I did get really thirsty after my third GU, but mostly because I was a full three miles from my car at that point. I had run with a water bottle in my hand the week prior for 16 miles, but I really hate carrying something in my hands. I suppose it is time to get out my Camelbak.

My legs really started hurting around mile 14, but once I reached that point I could really start counting down the miles. Once I reached 14, the next step meant I only had 3+ miles to go. At mile 15, I got to turn around one last time and then had 2+ miles to go. 

I decided not to listen to anything on the second leg and even the third. I figured that I got this far without it, I didn't want to mess around with headphones and just focused on getting the run done. I really don't know what I thought about for nearly 3 hours, but I got through it and not once, even when my legs were close to giving out, did I not want to be out there. I did wonder what the walkers thought of the crazy girl in bright tights running back and forth umpteen times!

Take Me Away Spandits! 3/4 tights just shout spring!

With the exception of mile 16 when I had to stop to use the bathroom along the route, I kept all the miles under a 10 minute pace...just where I was trying to be.

My only "injury" occurred at 17.75 miles in. Apparently I had blister forming between my big and second toes on my left foot. For whatever reason, I occasionally get a blister in this same spot. Anyway, with a quarter mile to go, it decided to pop (sorry, gross) and was crazy painful. I was sure I was gushing blood. When I finally took off my sock it wasn't too bad, but I actually have two small blisters on top of the bigger blister. Crazy. I'm just hoping that this doesn't happen during the marathon, because it felt like I had stepped on a nail or something!

My quads are a little sore today, but I did an easy 7.5 miles on the bike this morning to get them moving. I also wore some awesome new compression socks all day yesterday that were delivered just as I got home from the run. I'll be doing a full length review on those in a bit. 

Leg savers!

I've got the Shamrock Sprint 5K in Bath coming up this Saturday. I'm not thinking PR at all, but it will be fun to get dressed up for this St. Patrick's Day themed race. I also don't want to go all out because I will still need to get a 16-miler in next weekend for a drop down week before Jen and I tackle our first 20-miler of this training cycle. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What's the Skinny?

Oh, you know. 

The usual. 

Been running a little (yes, still running a marathon in less than 10 weeks...AHHH!), but it is still insanely cold. 

We woke up to this last Tuesday...
But, it is supposed to reach 40 tomorrow! 40? That is like bathing suit weather...well, at least shorts. 

After nearly two weeks of a run slump after a crappy treadmill run (feeling sick, stressful crap going on, not used to running in one place in a warm room, definitely didn't hydrate enough, blah, blah, blah)... 

I'm crawling back.

For February I ran 55.15 miles (1 race...the Mid-Winter Classic...perhaps I'll get around to recapping that before summer hits) and biked 124 miles. I've got to get that run total higher, but I'm very happy with my cross-training!

My recumbent bike has been my new best friend. Last week I did 90 biking miles! Then Jen and I ran our 16-mile long run on Saturday...OUTSIDE!  

It was a little chilly, but most of all it was a big confidence booster. Sure it was a little tough and I petered out a bit at the end due to a fueling snafu, but we did it and I'm again believing that I can do this crazy marathon thing. 

Following the run I took the boys ice skating. They have never been. I haven't been in at least 20 years. 

I don't recommend ice skating after a long run, but it was fun and the boys had a blast. 

It shredded my legs though. Basically skating in a squat position to hold the boys up for an hour mixed with my own balance challenges meant it felt like I had run a downhill marathon afterward. I could barely walk down stairs for two days. 

I'm feeling a bit better today and have been doing some recovery miles on the bike. 

I just finished reading Lauryn Evarts new book, The Skinny Confidential. She's the voice behind the fitness and lifestyle blog of the same name. 

I found the book to be full of great little tips on how to better your life and touched on many topics including healthy recipes, tightening and toning exercises, skin and hair care, and more.

The book is written in a conversational style. It was more like talking about it over coffee rather than your standard how-to book. I'm really looking forward to incorporating some of her exercises into my routine and trying out some of her recipes. 

There is a big focus on eating simply with whole ingredients, but she also doesn't hesitate to mention that it is okay to cheat every once in a while. The cravings that we have are natural, but completely shutting them out isn't necessarily the healthiest either. It's about moderation. 

And Lauryn doesn't shove all this down your throat. She's honest and approachable and not the least bit preachy when sharing her experiences. 

I definitely recommend checking out The Skinny Confidential, there is a little bit in there for everyone. I know I'll be revisiting it again and again.

It's also available both in paperback or e-book versions on Amazon and from Barnes and Noble.

Until next time...

Friday, January 30, 2015

Let's Do This...

Oh, hey there! So I've been keeping busy and am always updating on Instagram in case you've missed me, but the Maine Coast Marathon is 14 weeks away (oh crap!) and I'm thinking I'm about ready to do this blog thing again! 

And since this is my first blog post of 2015, I'll do a quick recap of the past year. 

Miles run - 659.4
Considering I pretty much just ran when I could/felt like it, I'm happy with this number. It was higher than 2013 (491.8) and I ran a marathon that year. It also explains why I sucked so much at that marathon.

Races run - 11
Despite the heat, the Bath Heritage Days 1 Mile and 5 Miler were my favorites. I love racing in my hometown I was a super proud mama to see both boys finishing their first mile race.

PRs earned - 4
The Murph 5-Mile Trail Race, Bath Heritage Days 5 Miler, Topsham 250th 5K, Great Osprey 10K, and the Maine Mile, by default as it was my first mile race. 

Me and Jen at Great Osprey 10K

So how's 2015 going so far? 

I'd like to say that it is awesome and that I haven't missed a run. Of course I'm lying. It's been snowy and cold and icy and cold and...well, my run mileage is no where near where it should be. A measly 26.8 miles for January. I have, however, covered 164 miles on the indoor bike. I read somewhere that a bike miles to run miles ratio is 3:1, so every 3 miles biked equals 1 mile run. So if I counted those I did about 80 miles in January, which is pretty great for me. I'm not really counting my biking miles as running miles, but if I didn't have this bike I would be freaking out a lot more because I wouldn't be doing anything. 

The Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler is supposed to be on Sunday and I'm just awaiting word on if it will still be held since today we are getting snow yet again. 

For sure going to be wearing something warmer as the forecast is a high of 17*!

I was hoping to be in a little better shape at this point (I'm surely not feeling PR ready - 1:21:28), but given the conditions I think it will just be for fun and treat it as a long run.

I've got more to share, but I'll save that for my next post...I promise I won't be away too long!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Top 5 Holiday Fit List

There are a lot of gift ideas going around, so I thought I'd share my top 5 fitness-related items I can't live without!

#1 FlipBelt

This little belt is simple in design, but sure holds a lot! There are four openings where you can slide in your phone, money, ID, running fuel, or key. There is even a little clip attached that holds your key secure.

They come in a rainbow of colors. I chose the aqua to match my favorite shoes! The FlipBelt stays in place with very minimal movement or bouncing and I'm really looking forward to using it during marathon training. The FlipBelt retails for $29 but you can save 10% with the code Sweat10 here! I also have some special coupons for a few lucky Maine Mom on the Run readers for 33% off a FlipBelt! I'll email the first 14 people who comment below a code for amazing deal...and make sure I can contact you back!

#2 Spandits!

A few from my Spandits! collection!
It really goes without saying how much I love my Spandits! The colors and patterns, the fabric that feels like a second skin, the great fit, and the fact that they are made locally here in Maine are all reasons I am a huge fan! They have something for everyone in the family including the kids. Save 10% on all orders with the code SPANDITSLOVE or 15% off all in-stock items through the end of the year! Visit them here and make sure to tell them Carrie sent you! 

#3 Mizuno Wave Rider 18

I've been wearing Mizuno running shoes for over two and half years now and they just work for me. I first wore the Wave Rider 17 and while I loved them, however I love the most recent edition the best. I picked up a pair of 18s at my local running store after trying a couple of other shoes of another brand and fell in love. They are honestly the best shoe I have ever worn and my favorite out of all my Mizuno shoes. They are a much better fit than the 17s and give my toes plenty of space, provide good support, and the materials are far superior and are holding up after many, many miles. I truly forget I'm wearing them. They retail for $120 and sorry no coupon code for these. For me, they are worth spending full price! Check them out here.

#4 Garmin Forerunner 10

I don't need a lot of bells and whistles for a running watch, but I am a numbers person and like to know how far I've run and look over my paces. The Forerunner 10 does just that. It's easy to use and program, and apart from occasionally taking a long time to connect to satellites (only when I'm running in a new place) it hasn't let me down! I like that it is small enough to even wear as a regular watch and the battery life is decent for a basic GPS. The Garmin Forerunner 10 retails for $130 and comes in several colors. Learn more here.

#5 LRS Gift Certificate

While it's not a specific item, I love getting gift card to my local running store. Sure, I like to shop online for a good deal, but you can't get that personal attention and care shopping from a website. I'm a big believer in supporting local business and give my local running store my business whenever I can.

And speaking of local running stores, my friend Seth Hasty, is opening up a shop in Hallowell very soon! From the photos he's been posting, it is going to be an amazing space. Check out Granite City Running on Facebook or on Twitter for updates!

Well, that's it! Don't forget to let me know below if you'd like a special code for 33% off a FlipBelt and have a Happy Holiday!

Disclosure: I was provided a FlipBelt for inclusion within the Sweat Pink Holiday Campaign, but all opinions are my own.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Great Osprey 10K {race recap}

Seeing that I registered for my first race of 2015 this morning I suppose I should get around to posting the recap of my last race of 2014.

A couple few weeks ago I ran the Great Osprey 10K in Freeport. I ran this race back in 2011, about 9 months after I started running again and I earned a 10K PR of 50:11. I just missed going sub-50 because I walked the last hill. You can read that recap here.

Great Osprey 10K 2011
Photo Credit: Maine Running Photos

Since then I've only run a handful of 10K races and they have been in the heat of summer when I just can't manage to race well. After three years I was due to earn myself a new personal best. 

I wasn't stressing about the race at all. I am just getting back to building up my mileage before marathon training starts so I haven't been following any sort of training plan, I've just been running. That also means I haven't done any sort of speed work. I did surprise myself with a new 5K PR in October, but the course was pretty flat. The course at Great Osprey is anything but flat. While I was pretty sure I had a PR in me, I didn't want to worry about it and would be fine with whatever the day brought. 

I did convince Jen to run it with me...though it wasn't hard. You can read her recap here. We got there at the same exact time and she gave me my birthday present! I'm already having a winning day and the race hasn't even started yet! They are really awesome arm sleeves with thumbholes and my blog name down the side! I love them and immediately put them on. It was cold!

Pretty cool, huh?

We did a quick warm up and found a place at the starting line. My Garmin refused to find a satellite. Jen has the exact same Garmin as me (only purple), but mine would just not lock on in time. Now I knew I had to keep up with her if I wanted any stats! 

The beginning of the race is a bit of a bottleneck as the course first goes on a dirt path to get out of Wolfe Neck Woods State Park, but we managed to stick together however had no idea really how many people were ahead of us. We both commented that our pace seemed fast, but it was showing just over an 8-minute pace. I needed to average less than an 8:06 pace to PR.

We passed by David of Maine Running Photos. The things he and the whole crew that volunteers their time to give the runners of Maine free racing photos is just awesome and so appreciated!

Photo credit: Maine Running Photos

The first mile came in at 7:58, so we had banked a few seconds of time here, but knew that some good sized hills were coming. I was trying to stay relaxed and get into a good groove. Mile two split was 8:20, but there was a hill or two in there. I can definitely tell that I'm a much stronger runner both physically and mentally than I was three years ago with how much easier the hills felt. Jen and I seem to even each other out, I would pull Jen up on the incline and she would make sure we keep up the speed on the declines. We couldn't talk much because we were racing, but we were working together and I was having fun!

Miles three and four splits, 7:54 and 8:11, which meant I was currently on the pace for an equal time from three years ago...though my fuzzy runner's brain couldn't figure that out at the time. I knew that we were very close. 

A little before mile 5 we hit a dirt road that was a little tough on footing as well as having an overwhelming smell of cow manure. Ugh. Once we hit the mile marker and Jen announced a split of 7:35 I knew I had a PR. I may have done a little fist pump and jumped in the air at that point. I felt incredibly strong at this point and there was no slowing me down now. David was taking more photos at this location and there was no wiping the smile off my face.

All smiles! Go Team Spandits!
Photo credit: Maine Running Photos

There was one last hill to go, the one that my brain and lungs forced me to walk three years ago, but this time I charged up that sucker and did not turn back. I did feel a little guilty at this point only because Jen fell behind a bit and I had thought I should slow up so we could finish together. 

Soon I turned into the park with a quarter mile to go. I rounded the corner to the finish and saw 49:3x on the clock and was ecstatic! Not only would I PR, but I got that elusive sub-50. Jen finished just a few seconds behind me.

We grabbed some water and headed back to our cars to get warm thinking there was no way we placed. Ward, Jen's husband, told us that there weren't many women in front of us...maybe there was a chance. We made it back just in time to hear them call the third place woman's name and time in our age group and we had faster times! We collected our medals, squealed and hugged like a couple of teenagers (hey, it was exciting!) and then headed out.

Photo credit: Running With The Girls

Final stats:
49:41, 8:00 pace
45/202 overall
8/107 women
1/49 in AG (30-39)