By Miguel A. Blancarte, Jr., Chicago, IL
All runners need to have mindful and functional running gear. In order to run long distances, and in order to run fast, gear is absolutely essential.
It never is easy finding the right gear – and I can attest to this. In addition to the regular headaches folks go through in order to find the right gear, my story also entails losing 180lbs in 8 months (and a total of 196lbs in less than a year).
In January 2012, I sat at 344lbs and by the end of September 2012 I was at 164lbs! I did this all on my own – no surgeries, no personal trainers, no “magic” diet pills; simply put: a lot of grit, dedication, perseverance and endurance. I was always a bigger person – so it’s not like I put the weight on – I was simply always heavier.
Having gone through a significant weight loss on my own, I knew there would be a bit of a downfall – however, that “downfall” is a small price to pay for my new lifestyle. The downfall here is the excess skin that I have – in my stomach area, my thighs, and in my arms.
I ventured into running in November of 2012 and in less than a year I successfully ran various 5K races, an 8K, many 10K’s, 3 half marathons, an Olympic distance triathlon, a full marathon, and I capped my first year of running with an ultramarathon! (My 1st race ever was a 5K on November 3, 2012 and the ultramarathon was completed on November 2, 2013)
Going into that ultra marathon I knew I needed great compression wear. I needed my body to stay in one place; no room for the moving of the excess skin. 3 weeks prior to the ultramarathon, I ran my first ever marathon. Having ran this marathon without compression gear, I knew I needed to change things up in order to have a better time out there, perform better, and to minimize any post-race pain.
I contacted Zensah to test out their products for my first ever ultramarathon – and my first time wearing compression wear. Zensah provided me with their “Seamless Base Layer Compression Shorts” and their “Mock Compression Turtleneck.” The reliability and performance from these two during an ultramarathon only solidified the fact that I did not need to look any further – it doesn’t get any more ultra than an ultramarathon and if I survived with the Zensah gear here, I could survive other races.
The materials, soft, durable, and compressing did what they were supposed to. They hugged my body, did not move unless I moved them with my hands, they compressed my skin and body so that it does not move, they wicked themselves off, and most importantly, they performed well and continue to do so, keeping my body temperature regulated – in various temperatures.
A couple of days ago, Chicago had record breaking cold temperature; we had colder weather than Siberia in the South Pole! As a now-turned-runner, I could not stop myself from running. I smartly geared up – which included the Zensah base layer compression short and the mock compression turtleneck. They not only helped with the run, they kept me 100% completely warm! In temperature where water would freeze on you, the gear air-wicked itself out and when I undressed, I did not have sweat (nor ice) on my body! I was truly surprised – I rubbed the material and I touched my back to see if I felt sweat, and nothing!
Losing the weight and having the scars to show for it has made my running even more significant because of the support I need from gear in order to be a good, effective, endurance runner. Zensah helps!