This February I undertook a multi-day ultra run across England to begin a fundraising challenge, all in aid of Rapa Nui (Easter Island). The challenge has three stages, and now that stage one, the ultra run, is complete I’ve had some time to reflect on what worked, and what didn’t – and how I need to prepare for stage two (a bicycle ride across South America). Stage three is on Rapa Nui itself, but more about that later!
The run in England took me from Darlington in the north, to a small village just outside Southampton, on the south coast. I was covering on average a marathon a day, for thirteen days – no small task. Luckily I had a support car and runners or cyclists who came out to accompany me on certain days. The mileage was tough going, and my body did start to ache but I ploughed on as best I could. Ice baths, protein shakes, yoga and foam rolling helped greatly to keep my mind and body in tune and moving, but Zensah compression gear was also extremely beneficial to my comfort and recovery. In fact there were four products in particular that were most useful during the run, outlined below:
- Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves. These undoubtedly saved my calves from the mileage I undertook! The support was great, they were comfortable to wear and the neon pink colour was an extra bonus! The sleeves also kept the draft out from around my ankles! The design was helpful – with extra support around the back of the calf, and also the front of the shin, my calves felt and remained happy and healthy during the 320+miles of the run.
- Tech+Compression Socks. Each night to recover from the day’s mileage, and to ensure I would be ok for the next morning’s departure I stuck to a strict routine: eat, drink, stretch, ice bath, shower, pull on Zensah compression socks, roll, eat, drink, stretch, sleep. The main benefit I could feel from the snug, knee-high socks was the relief for my legs from the support of the dense, but not overly thick, material. The effect seems almost immediate – a comfy hug to lessen the load for the circulatory system. This in turns aids recovery, the healing process from the miles of running, and the readiness for the next day. I didn’t actually sleep in the socks although I know people who do for extra recovery assistance!
- Smart Running Gloves! The Zensah smart gloves were so incredibly useful throughout my entire run. In this day and age of social media and portable devices it was important to document as much of my journey as possible, and being able to quickly tap into my phone’s camera without having to take off my gloves, unzip a pocket, stash a glove and then try not to lose it etc. was very handy – no pun intended! The gloves can actually be clipped together so you don’t lose one! There was also a smooth patch of material on the outside of the glove for, you know, wiping raindrops off your face… The lining of the gloves was soft and cosy, plus they kept the wind at bay on chilly mornings. With a history of Raynaud’s disease I was relieved not to worry about keeping my fingers warm and working in the winter.
- Skull Cap Beanie. The Zensah beanie was perfect for wearing under a trucker hat and keeping my hair tucked away. It made the perfect head-base-layer, so to speak and was comfortable to pull on, especially on days when the wind whistles in your ears! I am also very excited to take the hat with me to South America for stage two of this project. Cycling from Buenos Aires to Santiago during April and early May, fall in the southern hemisphere, is going to be chilly – and all layers available will be needed!
The final stage of the fundraising challenge, stage three, will take place on Rapa Nui – Easter Island where I’ll run in the marathon on June 1st. There are many miles ahead on the bike in between now and then but you can bet that I’ll be continuing to use Zensah gear to help me recover from the cycling and prepare for those last, but not least, twenty six point two miles on the island!
To read more about the fundraising that Susie is undertaking for Rapa Nui please see the dedicated webpage: http://www.longrunergy.com/running/running-after-routledge/