Category Archives: chafing

Improvement Season: Recovery

In looking back at Philly, this is perhaps the most confusing part of my performance. Unlike my normal training cycles where I balance school, coaching and training, I was essentially off to train. Yes, I was still coaching and taking classes, but I was able to get 9 hours of sleep every night and had ample opportunity to nap during the day if I needed to. Furthermore, I had a totally flexible schedule which meant that if I needed another day before a workout, I could take it. Despite this, I felt like my taper was the least effective of any taper I’ve done. In some ways, I’m curious about how running goes now that I’m back on my regular crazy schedule.

Sleep: I start Surgery on Monday and furthermore, start on the night shift. I actually prefer running while on Nights because I can run at 3 in the afternoon on rested legs. When I flip back to days, my plan is to run at 4 am and then do strength after my shift. I know some people can run after a day in the OR, but I can’t stand the ache of “OR legs.” In general, if I can get 6 to 7 hours of sleep, I’m a functional human so this is my goal going forward.

Compression: As warm as it can be in compression socks while scrubbed in, I just need to get over the fact that I’m always the sweaty kid and do it.

A rare dry moment. Must be pre-op.

A rare dry moment. Must be pre-op.

Foam Rolling/Flexibility: This is a place where I really didn’t excel during the Philly cycle until the end. I have a simple routine that takes about 10 minutes. I do 8 rolls over my glutes, hamstrings, calf muscles, IT band and hip flexor on each leg, 30 seconds of hamstring stretch per side with a stretching rope and 30 seconds of calf drops off the basement stairs. My goal for going forward is to do this routine after my morning runs rather than waiting until I’m sore.

Run Paces: I suspect this last item plays the biggest part in my underperformance at Philly. In past cycles, I’ve done my recovery runs and many of my regular runs really.slowly. For this cycle, however, my recovery and easy runs just didn’t feel as easy. I think I was feeling pressure to “catch up” after the anemia fiasco and not necessarily listening to my body. Going forward, I am going to start wearing my heart rate monitor on my recovery runs again, with a goal of keeping my heartrate under 135. If I am still feeling under recovered, I may start wearing it full time. If that happens, I also need to find a way to protect the skin on my sternum, which is permanently scarred from my chest strap…

How do you assess your recovery? Any tricks for keeping chest straps from digging into your skin?

The Wisdom of Winnie the Pooh

In Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin tells Pooh “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Wise words from a children’s book…

My teammates have spent much of this week encouraging me that I’m stronger than I think going into tomorrow. Like many runners in snowy climates, this winter was hard on training. Between snow and ice plus coaching, I spent much of the winter just plain exhausted and although my mileage volume was fine, my legs feel pretty darn rusty. I’ve done some targeted workouts but I’m not nearly as sharp as I was going into Philly. It’s hard for me to view a race as a training opportunity and to lower my expectations. I’m still at a place where my ramped up training over the past couple of years has reaped PR after PR, so not being ready to PR is hard to swallow.

My plan for tomorrow is simple: run hard, work on the small things and get 18 miles done. The course is a combination of Philly and New Bedford; it features a 4 mile downhill section in the middle of the race and hill at 12 like New Bedford, but significant hill climb between 5 and 7 like Philly. My hope is that I can get through the hills at tempo effort, work hard to use the downhill to my advantage then dig deep to grind out the last few miles. Time and place is a tertiary thought.

The rain and cold provides a different challenge. Low 40s and wet is very different than racing in low 40s and dry and I have no less than 15 outfit combinations with me to try to be prepared. In the end, the really important detail is keeping feet and chafe zones comfortable with as much Body Glide and Vaseline as possible.


Product Review: Lululemon Inspire Crop II**

**These crops were a gift from Lululemon, Burlington. I received no other compensation to review them.

Crop tights are a necessity during transition seasons, which seems to be about all we ever do in Vermont. They can give you a little warmth on a windy day or take you through a run that seems to waffle somewhere between fall and winter. I’ve worn these crops a lot this fall, both standing around at cross country races and in training. Just this morning, I wore them to survive a 7 am windy-rainy-53 degree sloshfest. I even accidentally wore them once in August when it was cold and rainy at the start of the run, but 70 and sunny by the end. I have never been so happy to have a large mesh panel on each leg.

All in all, I really like these pants. Unlike other tights, these don’t sag. At all. No need to do the awkward hand on crotch- pull up that I do in other pairs, these go on snug and stay there. They wick well and the pocket in the back holds keys without jiggling. I’ve had no problem with chafing and I generally find them comfortable to wear around. I love the waistband. Somehow, all it takes to make me happy is some purple piping.

What’s not to like? The mesh means that they won’t be good on those 32 degree ice/rain days where you might not need a full tight. They are tight and low rise, so not all people will like the fit. And like all Lululemon gear, they are expensive. Part of that expense comes with fabric that doesn’t smell bad (seriously, smell me anytime) and seams that lay flat. I also get the sense that these pants will last as long as I do, so they are worth it for an investment piece if you are someone who loves a crop tight.

My Life is Complete

I was totally that badass kid who wore Tuesday underwear on Friday. As an adult, I’m still breaking rules and have to relearn at least once every couple of months that my turquoise thong is the WORST running underwear ever. When I heard about these on Runner’s World, I knew my troubles were over. Who’s getting me these for Christmas?!

Hot in Herre

The one thing we can’t control on marathon day is the weather, but that doesn’t stop us from checking it incessantly from two weeks out. The weather for Sunday looks…grim. Most marathoners would agree that 55 is about as warm as you want it. Even Boston, which topped out at about 65, felt very hot. So what’s a runner to do in the heat?

A hotter day means more sweat, upping your hydration requirements. While hydration is a slippery slope (and new runners tend towards over-drinking rather than under-drinking), pay attention to your thirst. Consider drinking more sports drink than you had planned to compensate for additional salt loss. Pay attention to how you feel. Hydration is tricky; if you wait too long, it can be impossible to catch up. What’s your plan for drinking?

A sunny day also requires sun protection. Don a hat and sunglasses and make sure to wear sunscreen, which will keep you cooler over the duration of the race. If you are a profuse sweater, skip sunscreen on your forehead. The hat should protect you and you won’t spend 3+ hours trying to keep sweat out of your eyes.

An unexpectedly hot day (like 75 in May, when we’ve been cool and rainy for weeks) requires an honest re-assessment of goals. Heat affects most runners profoundly and we should adjust our goals down if the day is hot. If we wake up on Sunday to heat and humidity, how will you adjust your goals?

Finally, showers add a bit of excitement to the whole picture. Damp conditions necessitate a full assault on chafing. If you think it might chafe, body glide it. Then Body Glide it again. I often put Aquaphor on my feet, especially between my toes. This gives a little more water-repellent action and keeps me blister free. Places you might not think about? The neck of your tee shirt or tank and the backside of your shirt where safety pins rub.

While we can’t control the weather (so stop hitting refresh on your browser), we can adjust our plans to make it the most comfortable run possible.

See you Sunday…