Review of CEP Compression Socks and Calf Sleeves

If you’re a runner, you’ve at least seen or heard about compression socks.  Compression wear claims to support and stabilize your muscles and joints and promote efficient blood flow before, during and after a race and they’re also pretty stylish to boot!  There are many brands of compression wear out there but if CEP Compression is good enough for the amazing Meb Keflezigi, then they were certainly good enough for me for me to try!

CEP Compression, CEP Run Sock 2.0, running gear

CEP sent me some of their products to try sometime ago but it’s taken me longer than expected to share this review due to my injury.  Any runner would agree that few things are more depressing than writing about running when you can’t actually run.

CEP Compression socks, Josie, Josie's Ordinary World, Hard Rock Cafe

Wendy, Josie and Me in my CEP Run Sock 2.0’s at the Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K 2014.

Since I’m back on the mend (and there are a few races in my future), now seems like a great time to share my thoughts on CEP compression socks and calf sleeves.

When it comes to running, it doesn’t matter whether you’re fast (I’m not) or run long distances (I can’t), runners (all runners) like accessories.  I have a ton of accessories (hats, glasses, fuel belts, my Duran Duran Momentum Foot Notes on my sneakers) but none that are really specifically geared to help the muscles and joint of my legs (other than shoes, of course).

As a petite girl with large calves, it was fabulous to find out that CEP Compression Run Socks and Sleeves products are not one size fits all – they’re based on gender and then calf size.

To measure your calf and choose the correct CEP Compression product:

Take a string – or a shoelace – around the widest circumference of your calf, mark your circumference on the string and then lay the string alongside a ruler to get your calf measurement.

To choose your appropriate size, see Size Chart under Choose Size here on the CEP Website.

I needed CEP Women’s Progressive+ 2.0 Run Socks* Size III

CEP Compression Socks, compression socks, Run Sock 2.0

and 

CEP Women’s Progressive+ 2.0 Calf Sleeves* Size III

CEP Compression Calf Sleeve, running gear

I like black so it was a no-brainer when I chose the color for my socks and sleeves but for those of you that like a little flair, they come in white, black, red, blue and pink.  The socks and sleeves feel a little bit like a very thick version of the men’s dress socks my father used to wear.  They’re made of 79% polyamide, 21% spandex but are antibacterial, breathable, have odor reducing silver ions within the fabric (my father’s socks definitely had none of these very cool properties).

What I liked best about the socks is that they had an “L” or “R” to designate which foot belonged in what sock/sleeve.  This is important because compression socks take a lot of energy to put on correctly – you do not want to put these socks on and take them off to switch feet!

CEP Compression,

ALERT:  Putting on compression socks is almost a workout in itself!  

You must scrunch the sock down, place the toes of the correct foot into the sock and then and slowly inch the sock up the calf toward the knee.

If you’re female and remember the dance you might have done to put super tight jeans on back in the day, the experience of putting on compression socks might bring you back to that very special time….but it’s worth it.  Remember what it was like when you finally got those jeans on?  You felt great, right?  From the waist down, you felt and looked fabulous – Well, that’s exactly how your legs will feel when you put on a pair of compression socks.

CEP Compression Socks

Believe it or not, there are CEP Compression socks under these nice fitting jeans so I feel doubly fabulous.

Compression socks are a lot of sock.  It took a little getting used to running in them.  Living in California with the mild temperatures, I definitely don’t need something quite so thick.  I’ve worn the full compression socks for a race or two during the colder weather but I find that I like them best when I’m flying on a plane or for recovery.  I’ve worn my Progressive + Run Sock 2.0 for two cross country round trip flights (one after my Reach The Beach experience) and I do feel it helped my body feel closer to normal after a long time of sitting and promoted some recovery after my run.

For the mild weather running that I’ll often do in Southern California, I will definitely utilize the Calf Sleeves 2.0!  You get all of the benefit of compression gear without any sort of sock interference.  If you’re someone who is very loyal to your sock brand (many runners are), with calf sleeves you get to keep your feet happy with the socks they know and love protection but give those hard working legs, a gift they’ll thank you for in the future!

CEP Calf Sleeves

Because I’m a recreational runner who doesn’t really run fast, long or often (these days), I never believed that I would be someone who would benefit from compression wear accessories but I was wrong.  I think because I am a recreational runner who is still working on strength and stamina building that compression socks and sleeves might be just what I need (in addition to a stronger core, good shoes and safe running gait) to get me back in the game and remain strong.  I’m not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination but I’m also loving the idea of having more running gear to buy too!

CEP Compression has socks, sleeves, recovery, apparel and orthopedic products geared for more than just running.  To learn more about CEP Compression, see their website or connect with them via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Disclosure:  I was provided a complimentary pair of Run Sock 2.0 socks and a pair of Calf Sleeves 2.0 by CEP Compression but all opinions expressed here are absolutely my own.  This post contains Amazon Affiliate links designated by “*”.

The Tuesday Tune Up – RockSweat Fitness Review

Welcome to The Tuesday Tune Up – because Mondays suck!

Welcome to the beginning of the blog week with a weekly focus on fitness and music.

This week it’s the coolest group fitness class to hit Los Angeles:

RockSweatFitness, RockSweat, Roxy Theatre

When I received an invitation to RockSweat, a music-intensive group fitness experience that claimed to “elevate fitness freaks to rockstar status”, I thought that my people had finally found me:

Music + Fitness + The (legendary) Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip =

OH HELL YES!

RockSweat is the production of two transplanted New Yorkers living in LA (just like me) who love music and fitness. Evan Harrison was one of the creators of the iHeartRadio platform and his wife, Diane Harrison, is an AFAA Group Exercise instructor.

Evan Harrison, Diane Harrison, RockSweat, music, fitness, The Roxy

Evan and Diane Harrison – Aren’t they cute?

RockSweat isn’t just a workout in a concert venue, it’s a full-on experience.  We’re talking club lighting, videos and a DJ with a sound system that accompanies a sweat session.  This is not your general run-of-the-mill playlist from an iPhone kind of workout.

It’s not every day that you get to do burpees on the floor where legendary artists like everyone from Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Prince and even Duran Duran have been.  Once I found out that Duran had played The Roxy, I decided to wear my Duran Duran tank top to RockSweat (like I needed an excuse).

RockSweat, Stephanie Radkay, Actio926,

Albina (of RockSweat), Stephanie@Actio926 and me.

 

Evan’s DJ playlist is varied and he peppers his set with tidbits of music history. If you’re a freak about your love of music on social media, Evan might even incorporate one of your favorite songs into his playlist (Thanks a bunch for “Save A Prayer”).

Diane is sweet while she leads you through a 45 minute full body workout (with components of HIIT, cardio, core work and Pilates with 6 minutes of vinyasa yoga led by a second guest instructor) but don’t think that you’ll get off easy because you will most certainly SWEAT!

RockSweat, fitness, LA, The Roxy, music

Diane and Guest Instructor, Albina catching air.

 

RockSweat is a workout for all levels.  I modified all of the high impact moves because my back was achy and I absolutely worked my core big time!

 

RockSweat, Core Work, workout, LA

 

 

RockSweat has had just 4 sessions to date and it seems to be attracting some high profile attention.  Alexis Bellino, of The Real Housewives of Orange County, made an appearance at the last RockSweat session and Tweeted the following:

 

  • Side note: The Real Housewives has gotten me through some rough times (like every single bumpy plane ride because I convince myself that planes do NOT crash during Bravo shows.   I’m really not kidding).

It doesn’t matter if you’re famous because everyone who attends RockSweat gets a little part(y)ing gift!  When I attended I received a RockSweat sweatband and some Foxy Organic Broccoleaf (which was quite a delight to this Registered Dietitian).  I’d never had Broccoleaf but it was delicious in my post workout smoothie!:

RockSweat, Foxy Organic

A sweatband from RockSweat and Broccoleaf from Foxy Organic. Wild Boy has adopted the stuffed fox.

 

The one thing that I’ve embraced since moving from New York is the LA music scene.  I never thought I’d be able to top going to the Troubadour to see Billy Idol in the afternoon but I think a RockSweat 9am workout at The Roxy might come close.

To find out more or to join me at The Roxy for the next session of RockSweat on 2/21/15 at 9am:

Disclosure:  I was given a complimentary admission to RockSweat but (as always) all opinions expressed here are my own.

Helping Is Easy – Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K for My Friend’s Place

The blog is still technically on hiatus but I couldn’t forego sharing a recap of the very special

2014 Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K to benefit My Friend’s Place

Run Hard Rock Cafe, runner bling, 5K, running medal

The 2014 Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K medal.

“Helping is easy” is an expression we’ve used in my household since Wild Boy was a toddler.  I’m a helper by nature.  I’m easily “called to action” and even went into the helping profession of dietetics nutrition to serve my dual interests in health and helping others.  However after tweaking my back in spin class recently, I haven’t felt motivated to do much of anything but I definitely wanted to give my all to the Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K in Hollywood.  The run was such a blast last year and I very much wanted to do my part to help the small but mighty organization, My Friend’s Place, in their support of helping homeless youth in Los Angeles.

I was excited at the prospect of being among friends during this race.

Some friends that I didn’t see were Jen@FindingMyInnerBombshell, Stephanie@Acti0926, and Jaclyn@JaclynMullenMedia.

Some friends that I did see at the crack of dawn included:

Sam Bangs (one of the first Friday’s Featured Females) from Fleet Feet Burbank and LifeIsBangin’:

Sam Bangs, Life Is Bangin, Fleet Feet Sports

 

My music and run buddy, Josie (the goddess who brought me to the Billy Idol Sirius XM show) and her friend, Wendy.  Aren’t the shirts she made for the race adorable (Bring The Funk/Bass/Beat)?

Josie, Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K,

Some local mom-friends, Jessica, Lynn and Wendy:

Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K 2014

and the very fabulous Anne@AnneHogan (her recap is here):

Anne Hogan, 1st 5K, HRC 5K

Me with Anne

 

But I had no idea that helping would go to the next level when my neighbor Andrea told me that she had never run a 5K before.  Getting the chance to help my friend through her first 5K (and LA Metro ride) made this a race to remember for me.

This year’s race was after Daylight Savings began so even though we missed the sunrise over the famed Hollywood sign (one of my favorite parts of last year’s race), Andrea and I got a chance to see Hollywood Boulevard in a way only few people ever have before.  It was great venue to run a first 5K and Andrea really gave it her all.

RHRC 5K

Andrea running like the wind down Hollywood Boulevard.

 

Along the short out and back course, it was great to get a little boost from the homemade signs of encouragement and thanks on display at My Friend’s Place:

My Friend's Place, Run Hard Rock Cafe

 

Andrea and I finished in 33:46 (10:53 per mile) which is absolutely respectable for a first (or a 1 millionth) 5K.  We were both proud and happy to run and to be able to help the LA community.

 

Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K 2014

Before and After Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K 2014

 

The race may be over but the need for help hasn’t ended for My Friend’s Place.  

This small organization needs a steady influx of money or in-kind donations to serve the homeless youth of Los Angeles.

My Friend's Place, Open House, Homeless Youth, Los Angeles

On November 20th from 6-8pm, My Friend’s Place is holding an Open House in Los Angeles

(click link for details).

If you’re local to Los Angeles and want to understand and experience the center where homeless youth receive services that help them to lead independent lives, click the link above to RSVP.  If you can’t make the Open House but still want to donate, you can give money or find out the items are on the In-Kind Wish List,

If you’re not local to Los Angeles, there are organizations around the country (and the world) that would love your help.  As the season of giving arrives, think about what you can do to help in a way that is meaningful to you.  It will be mean more than you can imagine to the recipients.

Run Hard Rock Cafe, My Friends Place

In a gesture of thanks for your continued support of thevalentineRD.com,

I’m hosting a Momentum Jewelry Foot Notes Holiday Giveaway for just you!

See Rafflecopter Box below for entry details.

Momentum Jewelry, Designs that move you

New Balance Shoes, Reach The Beach Relay, Momentum Jewelry, Foot Notes

My Momentum Foot Notes say Duranie Forever and always make me smile.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Month, Old Injury

Welcome to October – the month of Halloween, the true ushering in of Autumn, all of the pumpkin (please make it stop, I’m just not a fan of the pumpkin onslaught) and the revisitation of my back injury.  This post could have been titled Oops, I Did It Again but I’m pretty sure that I may have post titled with that in the past.

Hello October,

Image: Athenna.com – I like the 80’s Pac Man monster.

 

I’ve reinjured my back so many times and whined about it incessantly (like here and here and here) that I’m very sure you all are all sick of hearing it.  But I should have seen this one coming – I’ve been active but inconsistent about my activity.  I don’t normally weigh myself but when I went to the doctor a few weeks ago, I noticed that I had put on a few pounds (which makes a huge difference when you’re only 5′ 1″) and I’ve paid little or not attention to my core strength.  In addition, I’ve finally been convinced that spinning is not the friend of those with injured back.

I love indoor cycling but the the last two times I’ve injured myself, it’s been due to spinning.  I also believe that the spin shoes I bought a year and a half ago are cursed.  The day these shoes arrived (after I purchased them on eBay), I injured myself in a spin class.

Spin shoes

Can shoes be cursed?

After the injury, I put the shoes on a high shelf in my closet and didn’t take them down until about a month ago.  Yesterday, I put them on and said to myself that I needed to put clips on them (cheap on eBay because they had no clips) because I’d been spinning regularly and then in spin class yesterday, I felt a small twinge of pain – you know the pain that kind of vibrates through you?  It was a tiny twinge so I pulled back my effort, engaged my core muscles a little bit more but didn’t stop until the class was over.

Little Things

I didn’t listen to the little things – Image: OkyDay

 

I thought the little twinge was a sign to pull back or I would get injured NOT that I already was injured.  By the time I got home (after finishing the 50 minute class and going grocery shopping, of course), my right lower back was tender, achy and giving me all of the signs that I was indeed injured and not on my way to injury as I believed.

So now I’m here – icing my back off and on for the next 48-72 hours and slowly incorporating some active recovery.

Icing, Injury, Recovery

I’m ridiculously pissed off (at myself) but I’ve finally realized that I need to go on a break with spinning for awhile.   I’ll be going back to my Physical Therapy exercises, possibly going to the pool for some water core work and recommitting to Pilates (at least 3x/week), in addition to putting some strength work into my routine.  My WundaBar Pilates 60 Day Challenge last year showed me the power of Pilates work for core strength and although I’ve been doing some core work, it’s obviously not been enough (or consistent).

As much as I keep thinking that I’ve worked past this back injury in the past, deep down, I know that I haven’t.  I need to make some very big changes in my body if I want to continue to be active for the long haul.  I’m certain that I’ll be in running shape for the Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K in November but being healthy long term is the overall goal.  I’ll be 45 on my next birthday and I’m not quite ready to be put out to pasture in terms of my fitness activity level.

In the meantime, I’m going to try not to be bitter but it’s pretty likely this will be closer to the truth.

Recovering from injury

I’ll keep you up to date with my recovery progress but I’m open to core strengthening exercise recommendations so feel free to let me know your tips in the comments.

Also, if you’re interested in some cycling shoes (that may or may not be cursed, size 7, purchased for $50), let me know as well.

Run Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood 5K – A Run For Community

People run races for all different reasons – the challenge, the course, the atmosphere, the conditioning and sometimes even just for the medal (no shame in running for bling, IMHO).  

Today I’m proud to announce that I’ll be running the 2nd Annual Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K on November 8th to help benefit homeless youth in Los Angeles…and so could you.

Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K, Run Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood, Los Angeles, My Friend's Place

Learn more right here: RunHardRockCafe.com

 

I’m not sure that many people know that the Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K exists to benefit My Friend’s Place, a very small organization that assists and inspires homeless youth to build self sufficient lives.  Maybe you heard about My Friend’s Place because of Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards raising awareness about the 1.6 million youth who are homeless in America.

My Friend’s Place is a small organization that does big things – MFP  served over one third of the homeless youth population in Los Angeles last year with nearly 30,000 meals, over 540 linkages to on-site and off-site medical care for youth and continue to do intensive case management and move homeless youth into housing.

When I ran the 1st Annual Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K last year, I had no idea that the race was for charity.   I was new to Los Angeles and I was  just excited that I got the unique opportunity to run down Hollywood Boulevard – Hard Rock Cafe is the only 5K to have ever shut down the world-renowned street.  I was dazzled by the race bling and was absolutely oblivious that Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K was a local community expansion of the Hard Rock Cafe philanthropy mission statement of LOVE ALL – SERVE ALL®.

 

Love All Serve All, Hard Rock Cafe, Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K

 

Once I learned more about the community and charity components for the Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K at the Hard Rock Cafe Media dinner I attended earlier this year, I knew I needed to do more than just run the race in 2014.  I approached HRC to ask if I could help spread the word to the Los Angeles community the best way I knew how, blogging so now you’re looking at the new Blogger Ambassador for Run Hard Rock Cafe 2014!

Hard Rock Cafe 5K

Oblivious me after Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K 2013

 

If you live in the Southern California area, this is a race that you don’t want to miss.  

Participate in this unique race for the Hollywood community in one of the following ways:

1.  Register for the Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 7:00am.    This flat unique course is a great first race to run, walk or even PR!  Walk or run or stroll and you’ll get one of these super cool medals*:

Finisher Medal 2014

 

*I will run or walk with anyone who lets me know they’ve registered.  

Bring friends and family (strollers and kids are welcome to participate); there will also be kid-friendly activities available!

 

2.  Give to My Friend’s Place by purchasing exclusive Hard Rock Cafe pins and shirts at the race that benefit MFP.  You can also volunteer, give directly or in-kind donations.

RHRC, My Friend's Place

 

3.  Volunteer at the Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K race.

RHRC 5K Volunteers

Maybe you don’t want to run, walk or stroll this course but want to help out.  Race production takes a lot of effort and any help is appreciated.  Just so you know, there are few things better than watching happy people finish races with their heart.

 

For more information so you can help spread the word, please see the following social media outlets/hashtags:

Hard Rock Cafe and Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K:

RHRC-Course-Map

 

My Friend’s Place:

My Friend's Place

 

Whether you run/walk/stroll, give, volunteer or spread the word about this unique race, I thank you in advance.  Please let me know if you’ll be there at dark-thirty (aka 7am) on Sat. 11/8 at Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood because I’d love to give you a big hug!

 

Disclosure:  I was furnished with complimentary race registration (worth $45 at the time, registration is currently $50) by Run Hard Rock Cafe but have donated to My Friend’s Place.  No other compensation has been provided.  I’ll reiterate that I approached Hard Rock Cafe to become involved in this effort so clearly all opinions expressed here are absolutely my own.