Sunday, October 20, 2019

Clors in Columbus Part III

Greg and I made our third trip to Columbus, OH this weekend for the Columbus half marathon. We first ran this race in 2014 as the full marathon, and came back in 2015 for the half marathon. Both of
these races were PRs and we loved the overall vibe of this race. Typically I run my half marathon tune-up 3-5 weeks out from my goal marathon. But I wanted to go back to Columbus, so this one was 7 weeks out.

The Day Before The Race
We flew out on Saturday morning and our quick flight arrived shortly after 9:00am. We were able to check into our hotel and change into running clothes for our shakeout run. I couldn't let the streak stop, after all! We ran for just over 3 miles, with some strides thrown in to keep the legs peppy. There was a riverside park very close to our hotel with a nice running path, so it was easy logistically. After the shakeout run, we had lunch at Jimmy John's where I got my standard turkey sandwich.

We stayed at Hotel Leveque, which far exceeded our expectations. In the past, we had stayed at the Courtyard, but it was all booked up when I made the reservation, so I branched out and was wow'ed by how amazing this hotel was. The room was beautiful, and I was pleasantly surprised by the zebra pillows! It had a huge bathtub and a huge full-length mirror and plenty of space to lay out our race clothes. The bed was super comfortable and I slept really well.

Back to our day. After lunch, we headed to the expo. It was the race's 40-year anniversary and Greg's 40th birthday, so that made it extra special. Just like in years past, when Greg picked up his bib, he received a pin that said "it's my birthday" and a second bib that said "it's my birthday", which he wore on the back of his shirt. One of the many reasons we love the race is this personal touch. Greg always feels the love on his birthday!

We walked around the expo for a short bit. Greg ended up with two new shirts. This race has a really good selection of official race gear and he's gotten extra shirts each year.

After the expo, we went to "North Market" across the street from the expo to get bagels. We knew from experience that all of the bagel places in Columbus are closed on Saturday. We had planned to get some bagels at Dulles airport, but our terminal didn't have any, despite my research ahead of time about the food options there.

North Market didn't have bagels, but we got some pretzel rolls that were close enough. We had brought our own travel sized peanut butter containers so race morning breakfast was ready to go. We then returned to our hotel room where we binge watched "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" on Netflix. I ended up falling asleep for 30 minutes, which was much needed.

Then, it was time for dinner. In previous years, we had eaten at Buca di Beppo. This year we ate at Martini Modern Italian and it was SO GOOD. I had a beet salad and chicken parmesan, minus the parmesan, which can upset my stomach. I had this exact dinner before the Rehoboth Beach marathon last year and it worked well.

When we returned to our hotel, we found two pieces of chocolate on the nightstand, and there was this cool projector that had been brought into the room, projecting stars onto the ceiling. OMG- I loved those stars. It turns out the projector was for sale and I asked Greg to get it for me for my upcoming birthday. When I was a kid, I had glow-in-the-dark stars on my bedroom ceiling. So this reminded me of that. I fell asleep easily at 8:15 and slept for a solid 8 hours, only waking up twice briefly.

Mentally, I was relaxed. I did not have any anxiety about this race and as you can tell, I was focused on enjoying our pre-race day in Columbus. I didn't waste it being worried about my upcoming performance like I used to before I had my mental breakthrough in 2013.

Race Morning- Before the Race
This went smoothly. We woke up at 5:20, ate our pretzel rolls with peanut butter and got ready. I wore the Nike Vaporfly Next%. They worked well in the 10K, although I don't think they helped me run faster at that distance, so I figured they would work well in the half marathon.

We left the hotel 45 minutes before the 7:30 start time. It was still pitch dark. We learned from previous races that you want to get into the corrals early. They get crowded. So we got into our corral about 25 minutes before the race started and it was empty enough to jog around in it for a very short warm up. Normally I would have wanted about a mile warm up, but it was 50 degrees, so I wasn't worried about my legs being stiff in the cold.

About that weather. Pretty good! 50 at the start, rising to 52 by the finish. Mostly cloudy, no wind. I was happy with this weather, even though my ideal would have been 10-15 degrees colder. It was in no way "warm"-- but when it's really cold (like 30's), my superpowers come out and I have breakthrough performances.

I drank a full serving of Generation UCAN mixed with water at the start line, and finished it 15 minutes before race start. I fully expected that I would need to use the bathroom again, but surprisingly I did not. In the past, I have run strong half marathons using Generation UCAN only, and no additional fuel. So I didn't have any additional gels with me.

They started singing the Star Spangled Banner, and fireworks erupted at "The bombs bursting in air". It was still dark, so the fireworks were vibrant in the sky. Yet another reason we love this race. When the race started officially, even more fireworks went off and it was so cool! It put me in a great mood and that set the stage for a positive mindset.

Miles 1-4
My plan was to run the first two miles about 15 seconds per mile slower than goal pace. I would typically start a half marathon 5-10 seconds slower than goal pace, but given that these miles were uphill and it would be crowded, I decided to be conservative.

Greg and I started out together and ran together for the first mile. Then he started to pull ahead and I let him go. We like to run our own separate races. At some point in mile 3, I noticed it was getting really crowded around me. And this was a downhill mile, and I wanted to speed up. But I couldn't because people were packed around me. It was the 3:10/1:35 pace group. Clearly going out way too fast, and it was impossible to break through them. Ultimately, I had to slow down, pull off all the way to the side of the course to go around them. It was frustrating, but there was no other way to pull ahead of the group.

Once I had my own space to run in I felt much better and I could still see Greg about 5-10 seconds ahead of me. During these miles I drank from my handheld, disposable water bottle, with the plan of ditching the bottle during the 5th mile.

Mile 1: 7:11
Mile 2: 7:05
Mile 3: 6:51
Mile 4: 6:57

Miles 5-8
These were the glory miles, and they always are during a half marathon. I felt awesome, I stopped looking at my watch and I ran by feel. Once I ditched my water bottle it was easier to run and I was in full-on race mode. Clearly, I was not looking at my watch because I clocked in at 6:42 for mile 6!

I knew that mile 7 would be one big long hill and I expected to slow down. But I didn't slow down that much at all. In fact, it was here that I caught up with Greg and we were running side by side. Usually he kills me on the hills, but this time, I was able to catch him on the hill. And once we were at the top, I knew we were through the hardest hill of the race.

Mile 5: 6:50
Mile 6: 6:42
Mile 7: 7:01
Mile 8: 6:56

Miles 9-12
At mile marker 8, Greg began to pull ahead. I thought I might be able to keep up with him the rest of the way or even pass him, but he clearly found a new gear and took off. The race was starting to get hard for me, but I was able to maintain my effort level and stay mentally positive.

Mile 11 had some good downhill but the pavement was really beat up. This meant I couldn't "fly" down the hill as fast as I wanted because I was dodging all the potholes and ridges in the pavement. I think the Nike Vaporfly was a disadvantage here. There was so much "shoe" between my foot and the ground, and I was worried that I would trip and fall if I stepped on uneven ground. I am much less worried about this if I can feel the ground beneath my feet. I don't feel like I have as much control in the Vaporfly as I do in a shoe that's closer to the ground. It was during this mile that I lost sight of Greg.

Unfortunately, I also ended up gaining extra mileage here. My total Garmin mileage ended up being 13.24, and I am sure it was due to all the pavement dodging in mile 11 and having to pull off to the side of the course to get out of the 3:10/1:35 pace group earlier in the race.

With two miles to go, I was dead. I knew I was on track to PR and I just had to hold it together for two more miles. I would do everything in my power to PR, but I didn't know if it would be physically possible given how tired I was. I probably could have done with some extra fuel at around mile 9, but I hadn't planned for that. My limiting factor was not my legs, but overall fatigue and lack of energy.

There was another long hill in mile 12. I knew to expect it, but I didn't remember it being this bad. I felt like I was crawling up the hill, despite my best efforts to push and run fast. I used all the mental tricks I had "Get your ass up that hill, Elizabeth!!!" and I made it, but I slowed down substantially.

Mile 9: 6:53
Mile 10: 6:54
Mile 11: 7:00
Mile 12: 7:15

Mile 13- Finish
After that abysmal 12th mile, I knew I had to rally if I was going to PR. Thankfully, the last mile had a long downhill, and I knew this, and the pavement would be nice and even. Time to fly. I decided to ignore the pain and run with everything I had. This was it! Whether or not I would beat my PR from January 2018 all came down to this moment, to this final mile. I had to be strong.

Mile 13: 6:44
Last 0.24: 6:22 pace

And... that final 0.24 was not all downhill either! I sprinted like a madwoman when I saw the time on the clock tick past 1:32. I wanted a sub-1:32 chip time and I had no idea if I would make it!

Official time: 1:31:55
This is a PR by 29 seconds.

After the Race
Immediately after crossing the finish line I stopped dead in my tracks and felt like I had to vomit. I walked a short way, saw Greg, and I told him I needed to vomit. So I went over to a trash can and threw up. I did this after Columbus 2015 too, but I attributed that to taking two gels. This time I attributed it to too much UCAN. And maybe running a sub 6:30 pace for the last quarter mile.

After vomiting, Greg started telling me all about his race. He ran 1:30:50, which is about a minute slower than his PR. But, his second fastest half marathon so he was happy with that.

We walked through the finish line chute together and I saw a PR gong. I walked toward it and Greg had no idea what I was doing. Based on how I looked at the finish, he assumed I had not PR'ed. And then I banged the PR gong! It felt awesome. I had never noticed this gong before, so it was my first-ever gong. And then Greg asked me if I PR'ed. I told him yes!!!

We continued our walk and passed the results tent. This is where I learned that I placed 3rd in my age group. Wow- this is such a huge race to win an age group award. They told me they would mail it to me.

I placed 3rd in my age group (40-44) out of 681.
I was the 46th overall female out of 5,332.

We made it back to our wonderful hotel, where I took a long bath in the huge tub. Tonight it will be PR Birthday cake. Two layers: the bottom layer for Greg's birthday and the top layer for my PR.

Final Thoughts and Takeaways
I'm happy with my PR and my execution, but I was about a minute off of my time goal. Although I wasn't expecting to do so much weaving, so pace-wise maybe I was more like 30 seconds off of my time goal. I ran an average 6:57 according to my Garmin (7:01 official) and my goal was to be at 6:54 on my Garmin (6:57 official). I always expect my Garmin pace to be faster than the official race pace, so I take my actual goal, and then subtract a few seconds for the purpose of pacing it.

I learned from this race that I need more fuel than Generation UCAN before the race. It's served me well in past half marathons, but I could have really used some extra carbs at mile 9. Greg took his gel at around that point and got a burst of energy. I, on the other hand, started to fade from lack of energy, even though my legs were peppy. This is evidenced by my heart rate getting a little lower in miles 11-12 race instead of higher. I didn't have the energy to maintain the high effort, even though the fitness may have been there. I'm going to continue with my UCAN before the race, but take a smaller portion, and then experiment with the Maurten gel or the Huma gel at mile 9. I might still vomit, but at least I'll have more energy!

When I ran the Richmond Half marathon last November, four weeks out from Rehoboth, I was not happy with my performance (1:34:29), but then I crushed the marathon. And I've had tune-up half marathons go really well, but then I've run crappy marathons shortly after. They are two different races. It's encouraging to know that my fitness is in a great spot, but there are so many other factors that go into a marathon other than fitness.

Most runners see their tune-up race as just that: a tune up. I prefer to view this a half marathon race in its own right, because viewing it as a tune up puts it in the context of something bigger and more important. Who knows how the marathon will go? I am celebrating this PR today!

PR Cake (top layer) + Birthday Cake (bottom layer)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Fall Marathon Training Update

I realize that I have not blogged about my training much since the summer. It's been going well, and I am long overdue for a recap.

My two goal races are the Columbus Half marathon (next weekend) and the California International Marathon (December 8). I'll also run my 14th consecutive Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Usually I run my tune-up half marathon closer to the full marathon, but I really wanted to go back to Columbus. I ran a strong marathon there in 2014, and it was my first Boston Qualifier. I went back in
2015 and set a huge PR in the half marathon. It's a fast course that's well organized with easy logistics, and only a short flight.

The California International Marathon (CIM) has been on my list for some time, but the long flight has always discouraged me. Long flights tend to exhaust me and put me off my game, but so many people have said that CIM is a fast course and that I need to experience it. In the spirit of running races I'm excited about instead of the most convenient fast race, I decided to go for it this year. Even if it doesn't go well, at least I can understand what all the hype is about. Greg and I are going to fly out on Thursday morning, which should give us plenty of time to recover before the Sunday race. We're both running it!

The training has been going really well in terms of executing all of the workouts according to the plan, almost always hitting my desired paces, and staying healthy. Usually at this point in training, though, I am looking to see some kind of fitness gain. While I have definitely gained endurance, I haven't run any speed workouts that are any faster than previous cycles. I realize that the purpose of a workout is to build fitness, not to prove fitness, and that it's important to trust the process and trust the plan.

That doesn't mean I'm not looking for progress along the way. It excites me when I run a workout that exceeds my expectations and I realize "whoa... I just got way faster!" It could be because I've only been training consistently since early August, or it could be because it hasn't cooled down to my sweet spot yet, which is anything below 50 degrees. Also, many of my workouts have been short track intervals (100m, 200m, 300m repeats) which are so short that they really don't indicate marathon fitness like a long tempo would.

As I mentioned in my 10K race report last weekend, I think I raced really well, and it would have been nice to have the confidence boost of a PR if the conditions had cooperated. There is, however, confidence to be gained with strong execution, and I have demonstrated strong execution many times over the past two months.

Training Stats
If you've been following my blog, you know how much I love to analyze my training data. My current running streak is 70 days long, with no days off. It's a total of 571 consecutive miles, which comes out to an average of 8.2 miles a day. This run streak began in early August, as soon as I was recovered from my bike accident.

Unfortunately, I am still not 100% recovered from that accident. I have a hematoma in my groin, and it occasionally hurts for no apparent reason. If I am still experiencing intermittent pain after the marathon, I will get some imaging done on it. I'm not going to do anything about it between now and then, so I might as well give it more time to go away on its own.

This graph shows my training by week since the streak started.

In terms of individual workouts, my longest run so far has been 18 miles, which I ran just two days after the 10K, on a Tuesday before work. My legs were definitely tired by the end, but I got it done at an average pace of 8:12.

Yesterday, I ran a workout that was 40 minutes easy, 30 minutes at marathon pace, 10 minutes easy, 30 minutes at marathon pace, 10 minutes easy. That's a total of 2 hours. In the first 30 minutes at marathon pace, I ran 4.15 miles at an average pace of 7:14. For the second 30 minutes at marathon pace I ran 4.12 miles at an average pace of 7:17. My legs were trashed by the end!

My goal is to be right around 3:10 at CIM, so I would need a marathon pace of 7:15. Aerobically, this pace felt manageable for a longer period of time, but having so many miles on my legs from a hard week of training was definitely making it feel hard by the end. I also need to keep in mind that at CIM I will be wearing faster shoes and the course will have more downhill than up. Cold weather would also be nice!

With 1 week until the Columbus half and 8 weeks until CIM, I think I am in a good spot: building fitness, not seeing material gains yet, but feeling strong and healthy for more intense training to come.

Tuesday, October 8

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Fall Classic 10K Race Report

After my clever title for yesterday's post, I am fresh out of creativity today! As the title states, I ran the Potomac River Running Fall Classic 10K this morning. It was the inaugural running of the race as the "Fall Classic" although that course is used multiple times throughout the year as other races. I had never run this course before, although I had run a 5K that overlapped with some of the course.

Let's back up. Way back in the spring, when I was planning out my fall race schedule, I had the Boo! Run for Life 10K on tap for today. There are lots of things I love about the Boo! 10K. Its a pancake flat course with no turns, so it always yields 6.21 miles exactly. I set a PR there in 2014 and 2015. I've set other PRs on that course as the "Veteran's Day 10k" too, back in 2009 and 2011. And also the "Jingle All the way 10K". So yeah, it's fast.

Even though I was registered for the Boo! race, I decided earlier this week to switch to the Fall Classic. Here's why:
  • Boo! is in Washington DC, which tends to be 4-5 degrees warmer than the suburbs in the mornings. The Fall Classic is about 25 miles west of the city, which tends to be slightly cooler. This wouldn't make a difference if it were a cool morning, but 64 vs. 60 can make a real difference. 
  • The Fall Classic in Ashburn has gently rolling hills, which can be fast, and is better preparation for my marathon, CIM.
  • The Fall Classic is part of a race series, which would earn me points in the series.
  • The Fall Classic has better prizes: gift cards to Potomac River Running. I was the 2nd place female finisher at Boo! back in 2015 and I didn't win anything other than a certificate.
  • The Fall Classic would be logistically easier, as it's closer to my house and you can park near the start/finish.
All of this being said, I figured that my time would be slower at the Fall Classic due to the curvy nature of the course and the Garmin likely reading more than 6.21. But, since didn't think I would PR in warm, humid weather, I figured that time didn't matter as much as the other things. 

Anyway, my race was 62 degrees with about 85% humidity. Dew point 57. I think it only ended up being like 2 degrees warmer in the city, but whatever, I had made my choice. This race wouldn't be about my finish time but about effort and execution. I was kind of sad about this because I do believe myself to be in shape for a PR. And I don't often run 10Ks. My PR is from February 2017, so I feel like it has overstayed its welcome. 

I did not, however, rule out the possibility of a PR, I was just being realistic. I was still going to run as hard as possible. But that looks a lot different in 62 degrees vs. 22 degrees. 

Before the Race
As I said earlier, this race is pretty easy in terms of logistics. It was a 20-minute drive, followed by packet pickup at the running store. Greg wasn't running the race but he did run the warm up with me. I warmed up for about 1.5 miles on what I thought was the end of the course. The course is a loop, and I had studied the course map beforehand. As I warmed up, I was mentally preparing myself for this route to be the finish. As I warmed up, I drank my Generation UCAN.

I then went back to the car and changed shoes into my Nike Vaporfly Next%. Followed by going to the porta potty, and then running another half mile in the Vaporfly to get a feel for them. Previously I had written about the Nike Vaporfly 4%. I didn't love this shoe because the fit was sloppy. So I tried on the new "Next %" at the running store, and they fit so much better. Then, I tried on the original Vaporfly to compare. At that point, I realized that I could slide the original Vaporfly off of my foot without untying them! I figured I probably shouldn't run in a shoe that was so loose it would slide right off even when tied tightly. So I bought the Next % and used them in this 10K.

Soon it was time to line up. I saw my friend Lisa at the start line and we chatted briefly before the gun went off. 

Miles 1-2
Based on the elevation profile, I wanted to run these miles at goal pace, or maybe slightly slower. There were some gently rolling hills but nothing major. One woman shot out ahead of me, but I didn't see any others so I was pretty sure I was in second place. These miles were a little windy. The
Mile 1
headwind was annoying, but it also had a cooling affect so I didn't mind it too much. I focused on staying relaxed and settling in.

When I came to mile marker 1, I had already run 1.05 miles according to my Garmin, so I hoped that the marker was simply misplaced. But then when I hit the second mile marker, my Garmin was still ahead on distance, so I was mentally prepared for my Garmin to yield more than 6.2 miles. But I knew this going into the race based on Strava data and the curvy nature of the course. 

Mile 1: 6:49
Mile 2: 6:47

Miles 3-4
I was content with how I handled the first two miles. Ideally they would have been closer to 6:45, but I still had four miles to go, and anything could happen. Shortly after I hit mile marker two, there was a water station. I poured an entire cup over my head in an effort to cool down. I wasn't "hot" per se but the air was thick and sticky. 

I knew that these miles would both be net uphill, so I needed to stay strong. I maintained my placement; nobody passed me and I didn't pass anyone. I had no idea how far behind me the third female was. 

Mile 3: 6:56
Mile 4: 6:52

Miles 5-Finish
I did not get discouraged by how slow miles 3-4 were, as they were uphill. However, I was envisioning them being closer to 6:50. The good news was that the final two miles would be net downhill.

But first, we turned into a neighborhood, ran about 0.05 miles into it, did a hairpin turn, and came back out. I guess they needed to add 0.1 mile somewhere, and this is where they did it? It was super annoying but it wasn't a surprise as I had studied the course map. At that point I was kind of wishing I had run the race in the city, but then I wouldn't get my nice downhill finish!

Heading toward the finish line
I was confused at the very end because we didn't finish like the course map had indicated. We didn't turn where I expected to turn so that threw me off a little. But ultimately that meant fewer turns overall, so I think it was for the best.

My original plan was to run these miles hard and go sub 6:40. I did run them hard, but sub 6:40 wasn't happening. I was at a point where I was struggling to maintain my effort.

Mile 5: 6:49
Mile 6: 6:44
Laso 0.29: 6:38 pace

Official time: 42:52, good for second place female. First place ran 40:02, so there was no catching her.

After the Race
Before I had a chance to mentally process the race, I knew I needed to do the post-race workout prescribed by my coach. He wanted me to stop for no longer than 5 minutes, and then do a Fartlek of 3 x (3 mins, 2 mins, 1 mins) all with 90 seconds of steady running in between. Wow. Greg, who had been taking photos, went back to the car with me and I changed out of my Vaporflys and into the adidas which I had warmed up in.

I thought there would be no way I could run fast after just finishing a 10K, but I was pleasantly surprised:

3 minutes at 7:34
2 minutes at 7:03
1 minute at 6:54
3 minutes at 7:11
2 minutes at 6:58
1 minutes at 6:36

I stopped after two sets because my legs were toast. I think that was the point, as this is part of marathon training. But I have my limits! All of that yielded an extra 2.62 miles at an average pace of 7:58. The awards ceremony started about five minutes after I finished, so I was glad I stopped when I did.

Final Thoughts
I feel good about this race. It's annoying that the weather was what it was, especially since yesterday morning it was in the low 50's at 8:00. But I can't control the weather and I made the best of it.

I missed my PR by 1 minute, 1 second. But considering this course was "longer" than my PR course, the pace was about 6 seconds per mile slower. So, kind of close, which is good.

New zebra socks
Before the race I had looked at Strava data from about 5 different runners on this course. The distances ranged from 6.25-6.27. I paid very close attention to the tangents so I think I ended up with 6.29 because this course was different at the end then what the Strava runners ran. Plus, as I said, the
mile markers seemed off from the very beginning. I don't really care though, since I wasn't going to PR. My point is that my pace is closer to my PR pace than my time would suggest.

Greg wanted to look up the Boo! Run for Life 10K results and find out what the winning time was. I told him not to. If my time was faster than the winning time, I would probably be kicking myself. I made my choice to run the hillier, curvier, "longer" course, and I'm good with it.

I'm very hungry for a PR. I think I'm in excellent shape, but I don't really know since all my tune-up races have been in 60+ degrees.

I like the Vaporfly Next % much better than the original version. I don't think they made me a ton faster in this 10K than I otherwise would be, but I could see how they would really help during a 10-miler and longer. I'll probably continue to wear them in future 10Ks, but I think I have settled on my adidas Adios for the 5K distance.

Next up is the Columbus half marathon in two weeks. Please, PLEASE, let there be good weather. The half marathon PR is also dated: January 2018. I think sub-1:30 might be too ambitious but I think 1:30:xx is totally in the cards if the stars align.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Rapid Reboot Recovery Review

How many "R" words can I fit in a blog title? Today I'm sharing my thoughts on the latest trend in recovery for endurance athletes: compression boots. Specifically, the Rapid Reboot brand. I absolutely love the name they came up with since puns are my absolute favorite. When you wear these boots, you are re-booting your legs by increasing circulation and speeding up your body's natural recovery process.

I first became interested in these compression boots about a year ago when I started seeing runners on Instagram wear them. Either at recovery clinics, or in their homes, many runners were singing the praises of how fast they would recover from workouts with these boots. The price tag (anywhere from $800-$1500, depending on the manufacturer and model) was steep and I had kept myself injury free and recovering well by getting massages every one to two weeks.

But this fall, I knew my training would be more intense than ever. I'm about a month ahead of where I was in my training last year at this time, and my marathon is on the same date that it was last year. So, that means an extra month of even harder work. I reached out to Rapid Reboot, a brand name I loved for its creativity, and asked them if they would give me a pair to review on my blog and my Instagram. They agreed, so here we are!

I don't often review products on my blog, and I only review products that have helped me in my training and racing. Rapid Reboot sent me the boot and hip combination set. They are not meant to be worn at the same time, so I rotate. They came in a duffle bag and were very easy to un-package and setup. There's a main control unit, which plugs into the wall, and you plug either the boots or the hip piece into the control unit.

Below is a photo of the main control unit. You can select your time (10, 20, 30 minutes), the amount of pressure, and which areas to focus on. Once all of the options are chosen, you hit start and the boots or the hip piece begin to fill up with air.

It feels exactly like getting your blood pressure taken, with the pressure increasing and decreasing in a back-and-forth way. You don't need to set the amount of pressure very high for it to work, and I start to get just a little uncomfortable at 100 mmHg, so I never go above that. It's like a massage in that it feels good, but hurts a little bit, letting you know stuff is happening! It works because the compression stimulates blood flow, which is exactly what eliminates the accumulation of waste products from training. The faster that can happen, the more training load you can tolerate, the fitter you will become.

Do I think they help speed up recovery? Yes. I ran a 16 miler last Saturday and used the boots on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. On Monday, I was able to run 10.7 miles with 8 at marathon pace in the middle without any lingering soreness from the 16-miler. Would I have been sore without the boots? There's no way to answer that question, but I will say that the 16-miler took a lot out of me because it was warm and humid, and I ran a hilly route.

Would I spend my own money on them? Someone asked me this on my Instagram and I said yes. I can justify the cost by getting massages less frequently (although I will still get them after races). Also, I am 40 years old and I know that recovery will start to get harder over the next 5 years. Might as well get a recovery tool now in preparation! I'm of the mindset that if I want to keep setting PRs in my 40's, I need to take any advantage I can, like the Nike Vaporfly!

I really like the convenience of being able to do this at home, and the fact that I can multi-task. I currently am wearing the boots as I write this blog.

Add a comment below if you have questions, and use discount code Elizabeth for 10% off on the Rapid Reboot website.

The hip attachment- goes around glutes and hips.