Monday, January 30, 2012

RecoFIT Compressor Leg Sleeves Review

It occurred to me sometime last spring, during my heavy training phase, that most long runs are followed by a decently long car ride. This may not be true for everyone, but in the winter, I frequently drive an hour or more to run dirt trails for my weekend long run. Even in summer, I might drive up to 90 minutes to hit the amazing Sierra trails south of Lake Tahoe. You may have noticed, as I have, that sitting for an hour following five to ten hours of running isn’t ideal for recovery purposes.

Coincidentally, last spring is also when I fell in love with my Compressor Leg Sleeves by RecoFIT. (Okay, maybe not such a coincidence.) 

If you haven’t read my review of the RecoFIT CompressionCalf Sleeves, you might want to skim through that one first, especially if you're new to compression components. It is  one of my most popular all-time posts here at Daily Adventures. In that review, I outline how compression technology works and the benefits to athletes. The short version is that compression helps recovery by aiding in circulation. I actually find both the calf sleeves and the Compressors to be important tools for my training and racing.

The Compressors are a full leg sleeve that fit from the ankle to the top of the thigh. Yes, they’re thigh-highs, not tights. And with that in mind, I do not suggest, upon receiving your Compressors in the mail, that you immediately strip down in your living room and try them on with your panties. Unless you’ve lately not been receiving appropriate attention from your husband, in which case I highly recommend it. Ahem.

The advantages of individual leg sleeves, as opposed to a pair of tights, may not be obvious at first. I like them because you can just throw them on with your shorts right after a run or race. They also fit more comfortably under other pants with no bulk around the waist or hips. I wore them under my jeans for days after pacing at Hardrock.

The carbon-based Resistex fabric breathes wonderfully and disperses heat and moisture. The sleeves have graduated compression to help prevent fluids pooling in the lower legs. They also have zone-specific compression and are left and right specific. In other words, you have good compression across the muscles where you need it, but a lot of flexibility around the knees.

Another thing I really appreciate about these sleeves is the specific sizing. Ladies may find the size chart familiar from the packaging on a pair of nylons. Your size is dialed in by both your height and weight, which helps ensure a very accurate fit. Mine are a small-long and fit great, but there are ten different sizes available! Very cool for those of us with finicky fit issues.

Size Chart

Currently, they retail for $75 from Wilderness Running. Not even a steep price tag for what you're getting in recovery benefits.
It should be clear by now that, as with RecoFIT’s calf sleeves, I became a big fan of the Compressors very quickly. I wore them after every Sunday run in the canyons last year, on the drives home from Miwok and AR50, and all around Silverton in July.

The un-sciencey part of compression-wear is that it just feels good. It’s soothing, and it definitely takes the edge off a pair of aching legs. Whenever one sleeve gets lost in the laundry, I get all panicky. I don’t want to go into my heavy training phase without them!

Have you tried the Compressors, or other compression-wear? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 Product generously provided for review by RecoFIT Sports.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January Adventures

I sit in my tiny office at home, staring out the wide window, watching the wilderness grow white. Snow, at last. The whole town celebrates. Christmas comes late.

It’s been one of those times where I actually have so much that needs saying, I don’t know where or how to begin. Thoughts dance around, frenzied, in my brain where things get so crowded that there’s no room left to open the door and let them out. While outside it’s been a winter of drought, a blizzard rages in my head.

With so many trails available, I’ve managed quite a bit more running than normal for this time of year. I feel strong, physically. I even ran a half-marathon PR during a quick trip to visit family in SoCal – 1:33:something. The time doesn’t sound that fast to me for some reason, but it hurt. Oh yes, it did. Like only a short road race can.

I’ve been a most-of-the-time participator in the 31 Days of Adventure, as well. Although I haven’t found time or opportunity to do all of them, I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve done and filed the rest away for the future. One theme I’ve noticed among the adventures is mindfulness. Many of them involve things I might do normally, such as watch the sunrise, but the difference is doing them with intention, paying attention.  I like this because it’s so easy to fly through your day without noticing things, and what a waste! Here’s a quick snapshot of a few of my “31 Adventures” this month:

Day #2 “Notice the Little Things” I noticed the sound of the ice on Marlette Lake. Not exactly little, but a sound I rarely get to enjoy. It was like giant reverberating drums, like futuristic guns fired by unseen Stormtroopers echoing between the mountains. Eerie, beautiful, and completely mesmerizing.

Day #5 “Cook up Something New” Caramelized pears. Not difficult, but requiring a little planning ahead since they need 4 hours of refrigeration between baking and sauteing. So delicious. So appreciated by my husband. (They go well with rosemary garlic chicken marinated in white wine.)

Day #19 “Choose a Color and Notice Where it Shows Up” My chosen color was orange. I think we were supposed to notice it in the natural world, but my classroom is my natural world most days so I just rolled with that thought. Here are some places orange appears in my classroom:

Nemo, (lucky-fin side) as crocheted for me by a student.

Teacher's bookshelf.

Angelfish. (Not as funny as clownfish.)

Day #21 “Check Out the Constellations” This one wasn’t tough for me, and definitely one of those things I’d have done anyway. A 4:50 A.M. meeting time for a 10-miler before work with my friend Jenelle revealed a moonless sky incredibly bright with stars. Even better was the double dose of their reflection on a glassy Donner Lake. Stars above and below, we ran through the chilly night sky. Ran through the heavens.

Fun stuff, for sure. And in the vein of adventures, if you’re interested in a few of the epic type rather than the daily type, I have a few opportunities for you.

First, for the surfer girls and wannabe surfer girls out there: The Las Olas Surf Safari Scholarship. Write a 200 word essay and you could win an all expenses paid surf safari in Mexico. I have to admit, the women-only trips at Las Olas look absolutely dreamy: daily surfing with instruction, beautiful accommodations, gourmet food, yoga, and massage. I haven’t written my essay yet, but I definitely plan to! Submission deadline is January 31.

Second, Greg, from Mayan Running Adventure is offering a $250 discount on trips at When you register for your trip, just mention that you heard about it here. I, unfortunately, have never been on one of these trips myself. I perused the website though, and they look pretty sweet – custom trail running adventures in Guatemala. If anyone has been on one of these trips and has feedback, please leave a comment. And if you plan on going, seeing as how it’s a Mayan thing, I suggest completing your journey before December 21.

I do have a slew of (unwritten) blog posts I’m hoping to share in the coming weeks. (See aforementioned blizzard.) Until then, here are some pictures from a run last weekend exploring trails in the east bay:

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Thank You, Robert and Linda

2012 seems off to a rough start. It’s early afternoon, and the list of chores I’d tasked for the day has been all but ignored. I’ve taken the box of Christmas decorations upstairs – one step closer to the storage closet. Otherwise: nothing.

As the sun’s glow filters lower through the trees, my enthusiasm wanes for the afternoon’s planned track workout (5X800). I downgrade it to a seven-miler around Donner Lake and think about cleaning out my closet (#1 on my shunned chore list). I settle for cleaning out the microwave (not on my list) and roam restlessly through the house until I realize the dogs need a walk.

It’s a typical procrastination pattern for me, except the thing I’m trying to shove aside isn’t something I should be doing, it’s something I don’t want to think about. It’s this feeling in my heart, the knowledge that two friends, Robert and Linda Mathis, were killed last night by a motorist while crossing the street in Incline Village.

I head out the back door and off into the woods with the dogs, their deaths heavy on my mind. Robert and Linda were the RD’s for the race series, and I try to reach back into my memories and recall the first race of theirs that I ran. I’m pretty sure it was Lake of the Sky, which was probably also my favorite of their races. I find myself wondering if I will ever get to run it again and think how nice it would be to run a memorial race on that course in their honor. I smile because I know I am no RD. Still, with the winter we’re having, we could run that race next weekend. Not a race, but a community run perhaps.  It’s a nice thought because it feels like doing something. Something! In a situation for which nothing can be done.

The dogs run far ahead and I am alone on the pine needle path. As the sun slides closer to Donner Peak, I realize if I’m to get my run in, I’ll have to do it by headlamp. I shrug. I let go of the workout altogether and choose trails that extend the dog walk. I blame it on PMS and laziness. I don’t feel like running.

I feel the dirt and sticks and pine needles through my thin-soled shoes and take comfort in feeling a part of the landscape. The dogs return to check on me before quickly catching a scent and bolting for another romp. I allow myself to be alone with my memories.

I had just been talking with Jamie the day before about how when you’re new to ultra running, you seek out mentors – people who can help you learn the trails, find gear, and meet other runners. Robert and Linda did much of that for me through the races they put on. Their events were typically low-key affairs, but done with care and professionalism. There were always well-marked courses, plenty of aid, and smiling folks there to help. I learned many of the trails in the Sierra Foothills through running their races, and I also met many friends there for the first time. People like Peter, Catherine, Scott, Lainie, and Dave, just to name a few. Twice I competed in their race series, taking third place in 2007 and second in 2009. It was not a highly competitive series, but they always had great prizes, and the pile of Inov-8 shoes I won got me through many wonderful miles of trail.

In addition to their own races, Robert and Linda could often be found volunteering at other people’s events. Their smiling faces (and Linda’s homemade chili and grilled burgers!) were everpresent. Last spring, I ran their Auburn Trails race for the third time. It rained all day, and if you think that’s tough to run in, you should try standing around at the finishline trying to keep the timing software dry and grill burgers for a bunch of muddy, stinky runners. They were a beautiful sight to see when crossing the line.

The sun finally drops and the temperature swiftly follows. I don’t mind the cold hands, but I reluctantly turn for home to avoid getting caught out in the dark. I never feel like I deal well with death, but then, I suppose no one does. It’s so … strange. So damn permanent.

The running community lost some very special people yesterday. We can only be glad that we knew them, and appreciate how much better off we all are for what they gave us. I guess my way of dealing with the sadness is to share these memories here, with you. If you knew Robert and Linda, or have fond memories from their races, please share in the comments. I’d love to hear about them.

Robert and Linda taking care of things behind the scenes at the 2008 Rucky Chucky Roundabout.

[Update: A memorial group run has been planned for Saturday, February 25. Meet at the Auburn Overlook Park in Auburn at 9:00 A.M. Details can be found at the event page: For additional info, contact Jen Dicus -]