Friday, August 21, 2015

Review Time! Sigvarus Compression Socks from BrightLife Go!

I'm a fan of compression.  

I've experimented with socks and sleeves, wearing them during a long training run, or after a run for recovery. While training for my first marathon I hadn't discovered compression yet, but I did use the socks for my second, to great effect.  I honestly felt a huge difference in my recovery and performance that time around.  

Since I work at a running store, I learned about the science behind compression. Basically, the material is tighter by the ankle, and gradually lessens as it stretches up the calf and to the knee.  This helps force the blood back up to the heart, to increase circulation.  This action helps keep the muscles fresh, to give support as needed and even help with injury recovery. 

BrightLife Go

Thanks to the lovely folks at BrightLife Go, I had a chance to choose a pair of compressions socks from their vast selection of different styles, price points and compression levels.  I had a hard time picking just one, some of them were really cute, like this pair from Zensah:

  I ultimately decided to go with a pair from Sigvarus, which was from the Athletic category:  

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The first thing that I noticed was how soft the socks were, with a cushioned bottom.  They were definitely more comfortable that my other brand, and seemed more pliable, and easier to put on.  Compression socks are a bit of a struggle to put on, like super tight panty hose, but these were a breeze.  

I also liked the different panels, which you can see by the grey seams, one hugged my calf, the others, the arch of my foot. 

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I wore these a few times on the treadmill as I started training for the Boilermaker 15k, giving myself some extra help near my injured ankle. I was trying to be cautious as I slowly made my way back to longer runs.  

I have a half marathon coming up on September 12.  The other morning I ran nine miles, then spent the morning packing up the car for one of our trips to the ADK.  I decided to put the socks on after my run, and wore them all day, until dinnertime, after we unloaded the car, unpacked, and made dinner.  I happily woke up the next morning without any soreness or stiffness, just fresh feeling legs.

If you're in the market for compression (and I highly recommend it) head right over to BrightLife Go and get shopping!!

*Note: I was sent a pair of socks for the purpose of this review, the opinions on the product are my own.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Boilermaker 15k #8 Race Recap!

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You know that saying, "Time Flies when you're having fun?"  That seems to be an understatement, as it's suddenly August.

I have been feeling good these past several weeks.  I have been running consistently, taking every opportunity I have to do so.  The kids are now done with their summer camps, so this morning I forced myself out of bed and out the door to run six miles before Mike left for work.  It was so worth it.

I know I have lost some weight, but I'm afraid to get on the scale, I'd rather go by my clothes than obsess about a number.  I did put my skinny jeans on last week, I can button them, but if I sat down, I would blow the button off. My eating habits have gotten cleaner, it's so much easier in the summer with all the produce available at the farmers market. Now when I need a snack I try to ignore the chips and heat up some leftover roasted veggies, or pair them with hummus.  I have figured out some minor things with my Doctor that have been going on with me physically, wich has also helped, and I'll go into more details about that in another post.

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Post run, post shower, wet shirt, size 12 feet. 

It's been almost a month since the Boilermaker, my eigth one! I trained well for it, my sister in law J and I tackled some pretty intense hills during our long runs leading up to race day. J and I ran it for the first time nine years ago, and in the past couple of years, ran with various groups of friends.  This year, our friends had to drop out of the race for various reasons, so it came full circle, as it was just the two of us again this go around.

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Race day was actually really nice, the sun was out as usual, but there was a breeze and no humidity, it didn't get hot until mile 8.  I kept a consistent pace, drank water just when I was thirsty, and had a couple of GU chomps here and there.  It's funny how my perspective on time has changed, unlike past years, I didn't even look at what my finish time was, I was just happy to run a good race.  We didn't stay at the after party for too long, choosing instead to head home to a lunch of chicken from the smoker, courtesy of my brother in law.

I had a chance to try out Sigvarus Compression socks from the lovely folks at BrightLife Go, so check back tomorrow for my review!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Progress!

It is February 25, and in this month alone, we have had 20 days of sub-zero temperatures.  The kids maxed out their snow days, our driveway is shrinking due to snow banks, and our family room ceiling has cracked and water has been leaking on the floor for the past week due to ice dams.

But Daylight Saving is next weekend, so Spring must be on it's way!

Since we last spoke about my health and fitness goals, I seem to be making some progress.  I still haven't stepped on the scale, I have a tendency to obsess about the number so I decided to forgo it and continue to let my clothing be my guide. My "larger" sized jeans are fitting much better (ex: I can button them) so the weight I gained after breaking my ankle must be gone.

Food wise I've had my ups and downs, my birthday in January plus Valentine's Day ended up with cake and chocolate on my kitchen table.  Now that it is Lent I've given up chocolate, which is what I usually do. I had a battle with a bag of BBQ Lay's chips, and ended up sending them to work with Mike to save myself.

I'm still eating my fruits and veggies, which has never been a problem.  I've been making soup on the days I'm not working, besides a great lunch, a bowl at four o'clock when the snacks are calling to me seems to help fight the hunger pains.  I do love vegetables, always have.  The other day Mike came home from the store with a cabbage, he saw it and thought I would like it. Who needs flowers? Nothing says love like a head of cabbage.

Next weekend is the Shamrock Run, which I'm really looking forward to.  Today I ran/slow ran on a high incline four miles on the treadmill, my longest post injury.  My last three mile run, I tweaked my knee on the same leg that has the ankle/Achilles issue, so I must still have some weakness there.  But today I felt great, rode the bike as well and did some planks and PT exercises.  Great day in the pain cave!

I tried out a new pair of shoes that I got from work, they are the Newton Kismet.  They aren't a true stability shoe like I usually wear, but my orthotics fit the shoe really well, and they felt great.  They have five lugs under the mid-foot, and end right before your toes.  It does take a bit of getting used to, my toes feel like I'm hanging off the edge of a box.

Plus they're pretty, and if you look closely at the above photo, Frank is practically standing on them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I'm not dieting, I'm being more aware.

I don't usually enjoy January.  It's cold, and all the holiday spirit has been packed away. This year is different though.  My mind is clear and focused on what I want to accomplish this year, and hey, there is always something to look forward to.

On area that I have been working on is my fitness.  I'm looking at my broken ankle and achilles tendonitis not as a blessing, but after healing, I now have a true clean slate to get my body back.  Mike got me a bike trainer for Christmas, I set it up in the basement next to my treadmill, and moved some weights there too. Now I have my very own pain cave! I was good about going to PT, and was cleared for activity last week. As long as I stay on top of keeping the achillies healthy, I can start running.

Starting from the beginning again is hard, but I've done it before.  Instead of weighing myself, I've decided to just put my head down and soldier through.  When I get back into my favorite size 8 jeans I will then weigh myself so that I have a number that I need to hover around to stay healthy.  I will say that I do need to lose 30 pounds.  Ugh.  It's one thing to know it in your brain, it's another to see it in print.

Instead of following a specific diet, I am going to make smarter choices.  By now I know what I need to eat to lose weight, my problem is that I'm not disciplined.  I need to be aware of what I'm putting in my mouth.  I've realized that I eat mindlessly. At work I walk by the snack table and reach out to grab an m&m. It happened the other day, and I pulled my arm back when I realized what I was doing.  As I talk to Mike in our kitchen after work, I watch myself turn from him, open the cabinet, then the bag of chips.  Again, I stopped myself.  It's little things like that.  Taking a few bites of the kid's leftovers. Having just a couple of Mike's fries at lunch.  A little bit of this and a bit of that adds up.  To a lot!!

It feels really good to move again. In this area I have to keep focusing on cross training.  Today I got on the treadmill and slowly ran two miles! I felt good, I kept my pace around 11 minute miles, but I have to be cautious until I get my ankle sleeve.  After that I rode the bike for 20 minutes, which is going to be key, if I have only ten minutes I'm still going to use the bike to complement my running.
I'm hoping to go to the pool as well, when my schedule allows it. Finally, every day I need to do the exercises my PT gave me for my injuries, and I've added planks to my sessions as well.

So that's my plan.  I'm looking at it as a lifestyle change, that I will stick to long term, not a diet that will have an end point.  I want long term success, not a short term fix.

Okay, here I go!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What 2014 Meant For Me

I have missed writing my blog.

It seems that this year my creativity was used up by writing the intro of the newsletter where I work, since it's focused on running, it's a perfect fit for me.  It's hard to believe I've had this blog for six years, but it has served me well.  I started it as a way to find direction while being home with my kids, and morphed into something to keep me on track as a runner and food lover. I made friends with fellow bloggers who I "spoke" with on a daily basis, and counted as true friends.  Then it seemed my blog filled it's purpose as I went about my days, I felt like I didn't have much to say.  In the past there were times when my blog was a forum for sharing my frustrations.   As I read about others who are truly suffering for different reasons, I felt weird complaining about my seemingly mundane issues.

Although I am generally a happy person, I feel like a part of me is missing.  I no longer run the way I used to, running used to be an almost daily occurrence, one that made me feel like I could take on anything.  After I ran the NYC Marathon and my father in law had a debilitating stroke, I still ran, but it was less frequent.  I was very sad, and supporting my husband and family through this time.  I started to put on weight but I still ran, swam, walked, biked, and did races.

Fast forward to today. In 2014 I didn't race much at all, mostly because I work at a running store and it's hard to get a day off for a race.  I can't believe it, but I only ran the Boilermaker, and for the first time in years, didn't run a single Half Marathon, or Marathon for that matter! Then in September I fell and broke my ankle, breaking it for a third time.  After the bone healed, it was determined that I have pretty bad Achilles tendinitis and have started PT.  It's feeling so much better, but I can't tell you how much I want to go for one last run before the New Year!  So back to the bike I go.

This year I have had some lovely highs, and some bumps in the road.  I learned who my true friends are, and who are not. My family supported me but like all families, I got frustrated a couple of times.  I love the area I live in, but realize that there is always going to be something in my house that needs fixing. I'm lucky to have my children, husband, family and friends.

I'm looking at 2015 with optimism.  I have decided to not make resolutions, although I do resolve to focus on being a better person, physically and mentally.  I have decided to look at what makes me happy:

Now I will look forward to 2015, wishing for peace, love, health and happiness, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What Made Your Dog Great in 2014? Photo Contest and The Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge Sweepstakes!

Frank spent 2014 doing some of his favorite things.


Riding in the car:

Relaxing in the yard:

Dressing up for Halloween:

We feed Frank Purina One Smartblend for Large Dogs, but he's going to give Purina Pro Plan a try.

Each variety targets your dog's exact needs; Sport promotes strength and endurance, Focus offers specialized nutrition for unique needs, Savor has outstanding taste for everyday excellence, while Select is formulated for skin and digestive health.

Purina Pro Plan is currently holding their Incredible Dog Challenge Sweepstakes, where you can win the grand prize:
  • 2 round-trip plane tickets to Huntington Beach, CA for the Incredible Dog Challenge® Western Regionals
  • A 3-day, 2-night hotel stay
  • Ground transportation and spending money
  • Plus a $500 PetSmart® gift card
You can click HERE to enter, there is no purchase necessary!

In the meantime, I'm sharing a giveaway for my fellow dog owners, three winners will receive a Purina Pro Plan coupons valued at $17.99, each (that means a free bag of Purina Pro Plan for each winner).

So what did your dog do in 2014 that made them great?  To enter the giveaway, use the hashtag #GreatDog2014  and share the photo on Twitter (tag me @MollySBaker) or Instagram (tag @sleeperbake262).  I will choose three winners on Tuesday December 23, 2014.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Healthy Holiday Season

Yes, it's that time of year again. A time of lights and snow, cold and crowds, friends and food. All the extra excitement and activities added to an already busy schedule, make me want to grab a blanket, head to my couch and sip eggnog in a Marty Moose glass.


A side effect of all of this celebrating is the dreaded holiday weight gain, but it doesn't have to be a disaster. There are ways to enjoy this time while still being good to yourself, and staying physically sane through the month of December.

Track your activity by wearing a pedometer, especially while you shop. Turn it on after you park your car, then start counting your steps as soon as your feet hit the parking lot. You'll be surprised at how many miles you can cover trekking from one side of the mall to the other. Check it from time to time, when you're close to ticking off another mile, speed walk away from the food court and get it done. Don't forget, hauling around those heavy shopping bags helps to tone the biceps!


I'm particularly sad this year because my next-door neighbors have moved away. In past years, in exchange for their gift of potato latkes, I would send over a plate of Christmas cookies. Over the next few weeks, the treats and special dishes will be coming out in full force. When faced with a buffet, I take a look at all the offerings, focus on a special dish that I don't have very often, then take a pass on the usual fare. I can have mashed potatoes anytime, but green bean casserole comes around just once in a while. At dessert time, I snag a bite of my husband's pie, or a nibble from my son's cookie. Yes, I'm still eating a treat, but it's a sliver, not a slice.

Lastly, like every other activity on the calendar, schedule time to work out. Write down that you're going for a run, and then check it off the list when it's complete. Take advantage of outdoor activities that you can do with family or friends, such as ice skating, skiing, bundling up for a woodsy hike or a walk around the neighborhood and enjoying all of the festive decor.

Move when you can, relax when you get a chance, and just enjoy this time. That way you can welcome 2015 on the best note possible.