Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reco-Fit Leg Compressors

Two weeks ago we were shipped a sample of a full leg compression sleeve and I knew immediately I had to try it out. They were the RecoFit Leg Compressors and I was fortunate enough to get a pair a day before traveling to London for the London Marathon to check out. Well, the verdict (or part of it) is in. They are great.

The reason I liked the concept of the full length sleeve is because I don't like wearing a full pair of tights while traveling. One, they slip down and I feel like I'm sagging like a 17yr old wannabe skater. I just need a flat brimmed hat to wear backward and an over sized T-shirt down to my knees. Two, they're too hot on an airplane while traveling. You never know what the temps going to be. I've used calf sleeves and socks and they're fine but I figured having full leg compression would be more beneficial. So when I saw these, I had to try them.
I've always had pretty bad swelling in my ankles when I fly and thus my legs feel pretty heavy when I get off the plane. Trying to prevent that I've tried socks and calf sleeves. The socks worked the best as they had compression on my feet and ankles as well as my calves. The RecoFit Leg Compressors certainly helped more than the normal calf sleeves but I did still have ankle and feet swelling since they end at the ankles but it definitely wasn't as bad as not having anything.
On the size chart I was right between a medium and a small-long. I decided to go with the smaller as I've noticed the RecoFit calf sleeves tend to stretch out a bit after wearing them. They were tight (as they should be) but not constraining. I still felt I could move pretty well in them as opposed to some tights. I was a bit worried about having a muffin top where the elastic band is around the thigh that holds them up but it really wasn't an issue and wasn't uncomfortable either. It did take some getting used to however. Getting them to stay up was a challenge until I figured out that I needed to pull up some fabric at the knee rather than just pull from the top. After that I had no issues with them staying up and they stayed up way better than other compression tights I've tried.
The thing I like about RecoFit over other compression components is the fabric. It's cool, thin and like a second skin. It has compression zones where compression is needed and allows movement in areas where compression is not needed, such as the back of the knee. And it looks great too. Others I've tried have just been too warm depending on conditions or too movement constrictive to be comfortable.
One issue I did have with these was that the sticky rubber around the upper elastic band did become somewhat irritating toward the end of the 15hrs of travel. It wasn't bad but I was certainly aware of having to sit on the band for that long. But hey, it was 15hrs of sitting, anything is going to get irritating after that. Moving it around a little bit fixed the problem for a while.
The legs never feel great after going for a shake out run after a trip like that and more than not, they just feel heavy and terrible. I kept the leg sleeves on for the shake out run and I have to say, this is where I felt the difference. This was the first time I had a full length compression on, usually I'll just have calf compression, and it made a big difference. My legs felt almost normal on the run and much better than usual after an intercontinental flight. They didn't have the normal stiff, heavy feeling the legs usually have.
The Leg Compressors will definitely be back on for the trip home and I'm betting the legs will be thanking me. These will replace a few other compression pieces in my arsenal just because it's full leg compression but doesn't have the issues of a full tight.
I can see just slipping these on after races instead of just a calf sleeve and for long travel days for full length compression.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pear Blossom Weekend in the Rogue Valley

This last weekend a horde of Central Oregonians traveled over the pass to the Rogue Valley to compete in the 35th running of the Pear Blossom 10 miler held annually in Medford. For me, this race has become a special homecoming each year that I’m lucky enough to run it. It’s got a great following among the community in the Valley that very few races have aside from the major marathons. I love that it gets a front of the sports page preview article in the Mail Tribune the day before the race and a huge front of the sports page photo and two or three individual articles on the event winners the day after. In the Rogue Valley it’s become one of the premiere sporting events of the year.

As a graduate of Crater High School in Central Point I always followed “The Pear” winners each year and hoped that one day I could return and become one of the lucky few, following in the footsteps of greats like Frank Shorter and Rick Sayre (both “Pear” winners). Now I return each year to see my old teachers, classmates and friends I had growing up there. My old athletic director is the RD and has been for the last 20 years or so. My middle school principal yells out the one mile splits the same as he always has since I first ran back in 1997, and countless others that have been volunteering since I was just a wee lad. I was also fortunate enough to be the recipient of the Pear Blossom Scholarship in 1998 as I went off to college, a fund that goes to four area prep athletes involved in cross country each year. It’s been a great way for the community to be involved and give back to the Valley’s youth runners.

It’s an important race for me and it’s great to see that it continues to grow and meet the needs of the running community across the state. A testament to this is the number of Central Oregonians that made the trek including this year’s women’s champion Marci Klimek of Bend and graduate of Phoenix HS in Southern Oregon. There was a great group of Footzone Learn to Run Alumni including Jenniffer Smith, Stacy Case, Valerie Walkley, Patti Brown, and Pam Bicart with a few supportive husbands in tow. One of our CORK youth runners, Jessica Cornett, ran a 1:14. How amazing is that for a 13 yr old? And Frans Alajoki, a regular TPGer (Tuesday Performance Grouper) ran a 59:17 for 17th overall out of 1584 people. And there was still another half dozen or so Central Oregonians that ran that I haven’t mentioned. It was great to see so many familiar faces from the High Desert down in the valley for one of the biggest event of the year.

I made the trip over for my 6th and toughest “Pear” victory. Little did I know that Mike Reneau, a friend and sponsored runner from Corvallis, would show up to give me a great challenge. At 5 miles he had opened up a gap of 1:05 on me and I had to start reeling him in. Picking up the pace I pushed hard to catch him with only a mile to go. I was starting to get pretty nervous with 3 to go and Mike still a good 100m in front of me. With his help we ran the two fastest times in the “Pear” history as a 10 mile race. It was one of the sweetest “Pears” I’ve had the pleasure of running. (pun intended)


Monday, April 4, 2011

Horse Butte 2011

Sunday April 3rd was the 6th running of the Horse Butte 10 miler held on the sweet singletrack Southeast of Bend. The race has built a reputation of a challenging run with a low key atmosphere and some seriously foul weather. Sunday's event had such amazing weather that enough people hung out afterward to eat all the Oregon Country beef hotdogs and drink all the Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Wouldn't mind this becoming a tradition.
I have to call out a serious oversight on my part from Sunday. In my astonishment of the nice weather and all the other stuff that goes with organizing an event I overlooked a course record being smashed. The ladies obviously ate their Wheaties before toeing the line. Overall winner and new course record holder Kami Semick ran a 1:06:26 which seemed fast as I read it at the awards but after things settled down I looked it up and it beat the old mark by almost four minutes. Second overall female Katie Caba also bested the old record with a blistering 1:08:53. Nice job ladies.
Also want to thank the volunteers who graciously donated their time to the event. Rodger Rudolph who cooked all the dogs. Josh Davis who parked cars, course marshal, and official beer tester/server. Andy Barram and the Boneyard cycling team for parking folks and sweeping the course. Nicole Lang and the Central Oregon Youth running club for organizing and running the aid station and the finish chute. All races would suffer greatly with out the generous donation of time by volunteers.
Thanks to all the everyone who came out to be part of the race.