"Disclaimer: I received Zensah Compression Sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
I had never worn any compression gear until last summer when I was training for the Detroit Marathon. It felt SO good to put on those socks after a 15, 16, 18 or 20 mile long run! I had only tried the socks, not the sleeves, so when I was offered the chance to review Zensah compression sleeves, I jumped at the chance.
I chose the bright pink sleeves. Why not enjoy a little girlie goodness?!
My Zensah arrived and I went to put them on. Holy smokes are they tight! When I ordered them I saw a note that advises that the sleeves run small. I ordered a medium. They are crazy hard to put on, and I don’t really have large calves. However, once they are on, I don’t notice they are even on.
I first used them after a half marathon a few weeks ago. I kicked back on the couch for a few hours and just let them do their job. Everything felt great. I also took them out for a walk and felt cute and sporty. I’m torn whether I prefer socks or sleeves. The gentle pressure on my feet feels pretty good in socks. But, being that I live in Arizona where it is hotter than the sun, being able to just pop on the sleeves leaves my feet cooler and my body a little cooler in general. And that is a very good thing!
Bottom line, I would totally recommend Zensah. I will probably pick up a few more colors, like my favorite - orange! I would just caution anyone with large calves to get the largest size possible. Even getting them off is a chore, but it is worth it :)
I’ve thought about doing this race before, but the location kept me from doing it. I live in the East Valley and I thought that driving to Glendale sounded painful.
This year, I decided to go for it. I ran it in partnership with my running group Run Eat Tweet AZ. I found the Race Director and his wife to be extremely engaging on social media. Anytime that I mentioned the race, they were right there doing favorites and retweeting.
Although they offered packet pickup the day before, I chose to pick it up on race morning. As it turns out, we made it there in about 35 minutes, no traffic. Parking was a snap. The pickup area was crowded, but we got through it quickly. We received nice St. Patricks Day themed shirts that will certainly be handy each year. There were booths set up from Girls Gone Sporty, Hippie Headbands, Nothing Bundt Cakes and many more. They had a fun photo booth area with props where you can take your picture with fun shamrock-themed items. You could also have your picture taken with the leprechaun.
There were about 2000 people running the races – there was a 17k, 8k, 4k and 1 k distance to choose from.
I chose to run the longest distance – 17k, which is 10.5 miles. The course was about 50% road and 50% paved trail. I made the wise choice of carrying my own water this time, even though there were plenty of water stops along the course. I was not shooting for any particular finish time, I was more or less treating it as a long run for the week. There were a few points in the middle of the race where we passed other runners at the turnaround. And the last 2 or so miles we join up with the runners & walkers from the 8k. Each kilometer of the course was marked. I had the motivation of my medal and free beer motivating me to get to the finish line. The medal also serves as a convenient bottle opener!
The downside of running the 17k is that you are the last group of runners to finish. That means you get the long lines at the post race beer garden. I waited in line for 10 minutes with absolutely no acknowledgement from the bartender. I gave up. My friend, who only did the 4k so was done early, shared hers with me. The line behind me was out the door, and it just wasn’t worth it. I don’t feel like the Irish bar was equipped enough for this size of group. There could have easily been stations set up on the patio. They could have had pitchers of green beer ready and lining them up and filling them. All that space went unused on the patio.
The Irish band seemed a bit lackluster to me, and was unfortunately located too close to the announcer. He had trouble being heard over the music.
I have been a fan of Startline Racing events ever since I first heard about them last year. My friend was doing races in their sunrise series, and posting pictures with cool medals that hung from each other. I got medal envy. As a result, I ended up running several in the series last summer. Startline also partners with the Max Cure Foundation, which raises money to fight B-Cell Lymphoma. You can drop off your old running shoes at most Startline Races, which goes to benefit the Max Cure Foundation.
This year, I dove into the “Going The Distance” series. They started with a 5k, then had a 10k, 15k, half marathon, and will finish with the marathon on April 7. It really is a smart concept, to let someone gradually build their way up to a half or full marathon. In January, I had already run the 10k and was scheduled to run the 15k on the dirt trails at the Reach 11 sports complex. However, due to some unusual January rainstorms, we were advised that the race was moving to the concrete trails near Rose Mofford Sports Complex. Startline had to move quickly to make that happen. They are really on top of things!
I decided to sign up for the half marathon. It would give me the opportunity to qualify for the Half Fanatics – an exclusive group of crazy runners who enjoy running a plethora of half marathons. The minimum entry point is running 3 half marathons in 90 days. I was able to achieve 3 half marathons in 49 days. The half marathon was also scheduled to be at Rose Mofford Sports Complex, so I knew exactly what to expect.
You can register for the whole series, or just purchase races a la carte like I did. They have a unique medal presentation. You are given one hanger, and each race “medal” plate hangs from the hanger. Then if you get an age group placement, that little placard hangs from the same hanger. I love that! They also give you a different tech-shirt at each race. This time it was orange – my favorite!
One of my other favorite things about Startline Events (there are many favorites) is that logistically everything is so EASY. When I ran the 10k back on January 3, it was literally 25 degrees. I was able to stay warm in my car until about 5 minutes before the gun time. No traffic, no shuttles, no lines, no drama! Even though they offered packet pickup the day prior, I chose to show up before the race for my shirt and medal (yes they give you your medal BEFORE you actually run!) You might be tempted to hop back in your car and skip the race – but what fun would that be?! Plus you would miss out on possibly scoring some age group bling!
I was able to pick up my goodies, then head back to my car to drop off things and get situated. I did the race with 2 other members of the #RunEatTweetAZ family. All of a sudden it was race time and we were off! It was about 65 and sunny at race start, and about 72 at the finish. There is little to no shade along the course. It’s a paved trail on the canal system. Every half mile or so we dipped down under a cross street and came up on the other side. In between those dips, the course was flat as a pancake, but by the 10th time you encounter one of these dips, it suddenly seems like you are climbing a mountain!
I started out way too fast, per usual, and between the heat and sun and those uphill climbs, watched my possible PR float slip right through my fingers. I left my go-to fuel Island Boost at home on the kitchen counter by mistake and mentally I felt doomed. The race director did explain that there would be energy gels and water/Gatorade on the course, so I felt like ok, at least I won’t die out here today. Although there were water stops roughly every 2 or so miles, I would have been better off had I hand carried my own.
Even though my time was way off (2:01), I still managed to win 2nd place in my age group, hooray! I was happy to keep the string alive.
This was another well-managed race by Startline, and I’m looking forward to coming back for the Sunrise Series in May!
Exciting giveaway announcement!
Esprit de She has given me THREE custom Esprit de She performance Moxie Cycling jerseys (valued at $58 each) for a March Madness Giveaway!
Want to score one of them? Just register for ANY Esprit de She event between March 6 and March 31 with referral code EDS053. Once you let me know you have registered with this code, you'll be entered into a drawing for one of 3 cycling jerseys. Great odds to win here!
Choose from any of these races!
Here's how it works:
1) Register at espritdeshe.com/events and enter code EDS053 at checkout
2) email me at firstname.lastname@example.org when complete
That's it! You'll be entered to win one of these gorgeous jerseys and the winners will be notified the first week of April and receive it by end of April.
I have personally participated in the Esprit de She 5K, 10k and Triathlon relay here in Arizona. I can tell you they are all top-notch events, that make you proud to #runlikeagirl!
Share with your friends and Good Luck!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!