Living and loving life in vermont

One Size Does NOT Fit All

I think it’s pretty commonly recognized that there’s no such thing as “one size fits all.”  And yet, the phenomenon persists.  There are one size fits all leggings, shirts, hats, socks, and various other articles of clothing.  And whether you are very thin, or tend toward the other side of the spectrum, you’ve likely been frustrated by the one size (doesn’t) fit all problem at one point or another in your life.  Companies have finally gotten wise and changed the party-line to “one size fits most,” but we all know it means the same thing–these probably won’t fit you.

Recently, I began a search for performance underwear.  We all know that cotton is the devil, and so I’ve never worn cotton underwear for running.  Unfortunately, however, running “commando” causes me a significant amount of personal chafing (yup, TMI again.  Seems to be a trend around here lately).  So, I looked around.  Oiselle has their “Randies,” at $16 a pop.  Googling “athletic underwear” led to lots and lots of results for men, but not as many for women.

And then, I found that Under Armour has a “pure stretch” line of performance, sweat-wicking underwear in 3 different styles and lots of cute colors.  And they’re 3 pairs for $30, which is actually a pretty good price.  And I have an Under Armour outlet near me, so they were easy for me to get right away rather than buying online and waiting for them to ship.  So on Friday, I bought three pairs.

underwear

The problem?  One size fits most.  Or, as their marketing so glibly suggests, “One size fits all ATHLETES.”  Now, I consider myself an athlete.  I run three times a week, and usually hit the gym at least one other day a week.  I am definitely not overweight.  And yet, these underwear DO NOT FIT.  Sure, I can pull them up, and they fit over my thighs and butt.  But they cut into the fat around my hips and give me the world’s meanest muffin top.

muffintop

Legit almost this bad

These things are so tight that they actually roll down off of my hips, making the muffin top worse.  These underwear are completely useless to me, and therefore a waste of money.  Granted, I can return the two pair I didn’t actually wear, but still.

I can lay most of the blame at my own door–I should have known immediately that one size fits most would not apply to me.  I’ve fallen into that trap before.  But Under Armour has to take some of the rap.  What kind of company makes “one size fits most” underwear?  I think we all know that most people do not wear the same size anything, let alone underwear.  And since underwear occupies such an intimate space, shouldn’t it be the best-fitting, most comfortable article of clothing we put on each day?  Shouldn’t it actually come in a variety of sizes to allow optimum fit?

And this is not even touching on the impact that the marketing can have on individuals.  If I consider myself an athlete, but don’t fit into these underwear, am I then not truly an athlete?  Am I not thin enough?  Do I not have enough muscle?  It’s unfair to say that these are underwear for athletes if they don’t fit all shapes and sizes.  Peoples’ identities of themselves and their own qualifications of the “athlete” title can vary incredibly from person to person.  To try and pin that title to a single size of underwear is just plain wrong.

And then, of course, there’s the body image thing.  I think we all know what I’m getting at here, so I won’t beat a dead horse.  Suffice to say, if an article of clothing is branded “one size fits most,” and you don’t fit into that article of clothing, you are automatically alienated–you are outside of the realm that “most” people occupy.  You are different.  Too fat or too thin or whatever.  And that sucks.

Thankfully, my sense of self-worth does not hinge on fitting into Under Armour’s Pure Stretch underwear.  But some people are that sensitive.  So listen up, clothing manufacturers–One size fits “most” does not work.  And one size fits all is a lie.  Please make clothing that people of all shapes, sizes, and athletic abilities can wear and enjoy.  This especially goes for sports bras.

How do you feel about “one size fits all” or “one size fits most” clothing?

Any suggestions for comfortable, reasonably priced athletic underwear?

Race Recap: Color Run 5k

What:  Color Run 5k

Where/When:  Champlain Valley Expo in Essex, VT on Saturday, September 13.

Pre-Race:

Packet pickup was held at the Expo center from 12-7 pm the day before the race.  There was plenty of parking and it was very well-organized;  I was in and out in 10 minutes.  The swag bag was pretty nice–a vinyl sling bag, a cotton/polyester blend t-shirt (a step up from the cotton T I got at my first Color Run), two temporary tattoos, a bracelet, and a sweat band.  They also included Shout Color catchers to use in your laundry after the race–very clever sponsorship, right there!

Photo Sep 12, 7 57 31 PM

Since I knew the Color Run isn’t timed, and I would be sticking with my friend Stef regardless of how slow or fast she wanted to go, I really didn’t take “race prep” too seriously.  I had two beers on Friday night, but got plenty of sleep.  I was up and at ‘em at 7, had a bowl of multi-grain Cheerios with milk for breakfast, and headed out.  The weather was quite chilly, which, to me, is optimal running weather :)

Traffic in Essex was pretty bad, but that’s Rte. 15 at the best of times.  I had Ben drop me off outside the Expo so he could run some errands, and so he didn’t have to deal with the parking craziness.  People were parking at lots of area businesses in order to avoid parking in the Expo center lot, which actually ended up making things worse.  The expo had more than enough parking.

When I arrived, they were in the middle of a Jazzercise warm-up, which was really fun.

Photo Sep 13, 8 45 20 AM

The mythical Runicorn

The mythical Runicorn

I had no trouble finding Stef, her hubby Scott, and their two adorable girls, who had come to cheer on their mommy at her first 5k.  We got into the starting chute and danced and talked our way through 4 starting waves–we ended up being in wave 5.

We also took lots of silly pictures

We also took lots of silly pictures

The Race:

It was kind of weird running through the fair grounds.  It was also kind of a tease–seeing all the food stands made me really want nachos and pretzels!  First color was yellow, and the folks applying the color were pretty sedate–I only got a small puff.  Next up was pink.  I thought I had made it through with only a dusting, and turned around to look for Stef.  When I turned back, one of the color people was right in front of me.  She looked at me, screamed “NO PINK?!?” and proceeded to cover me from head to toe in pink corn starch.  It.Was.Amazing!  Stef and I laughed about it non-stop for the next 10 minutes.

There was one water stop at a little less than the halfway point, which was also a turnaround to head back into the fairgrounds after winding out one of the access roads.  We took plenty of walk breaks because Stefanie had a strained muscle in her ankle and wasn’t actually supposed to be running at all!  Third color station was purple, and they did a great job of getting everyone.  The final color station was blue, and I have to say, these guys were definitely the most enthusiastic and energetic of color appliers–they were all smurf blue from head to toe, and there was a massive cloud of blue dust that was visible from half a mile away!  After we got through blue, I turned to Stef and said, “Hey, those guys back there BLUE me.  Hehehehe.”  High fives ensued.

The cloud of blue promised more fun yet to come

The cloud of blue promised more fun yet to come

After another few minutes, and Stef and I managed to run across the finish line, where we were promptly handed packets of color.

About to finish

About to finish-photo courtesy of Scott :)

Post Race:

I have no idea what our final time was–I didn’t even bother to start my Nike+ app because I wanted to be able to take pictures, and my phone battery doesn’t do well in cooler temps.

Every Color Run has a post-race party with lots of music, dancing, games, and periodic “color throws,” where everyone throws packets of color all at the same time, and you get even more covered in color than you already were.  The party here was very cool–much more fun than the last Color Run I went to.  I have to say though, I was somewhat disappointed that I wasn’t handed water upon finishing.  I’m sure there were water and snacks available somewhere, but I never saw them.  It would have been nice if they were right outside the finisher’s chute.

Flo Photo was there, taking pictures for people.  The lines were long, so we didn’t bother.  Also, I wasn’t clear on whether or not you had to pay for the pictures.  But there were lots of other cool props scattered all over the field so you could take your own pictures.  And of course, the color throws made for some pretty awesome pictures too.

10446505_10152763349888982_1122620680704213702_n

By this point, most of my pink had dusted off

Photo Sep 13, 10 17 44 AM

Thankfully, Ben brought me a giant sandwich, so the lack of snacks wasn’t an issue, and I had brought my handheld bottle, so I had a drink (although bringing it ended up being a poor choice, as my bottle and holster are now covered in colored corn starch).

Conclusion:

On the whole, I recommend doing a Color Run.  While the price is somewhat steep at $45, it’s an amazing environment, especially for a first race, or if you’re looking to get a group of friends together to do something fun and active.  And the upgrade in t-shirt quality definitely made me a happy camper.  My only complaints were the lack of water/snacks, and the fact that we only ran through 4 color stations, when I always thought there are supposed to be 5–one for each km.

Manic Monday – 09/15/14

Welcome to another edition of Manic Monday, where I recap the previous week, and lay out a plan for the upcoming week.

This was an excellent week.  I completed all of my scheduled runs, and managed a bit of cross-training.  I still haven’t made it to Body Pump, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

Monday (Scheduled Cross-Training Day)

I hit up the gym and did 25 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes on the recumbent bike.  After stretching a bit, I did a few plank variations and some crunches, and my abs were definitely feeling it the next day.

Photo Sep 08, 5 53 16 PM

Tuesday (Scheduled Speed Work)

Hills were on the menu, but I didn’t feel like doing them.  I hopped on the treadmill and did a 3.5 mile progression run.  I started at a slow jog, and worked my way up to an 8:49 pace for the last half mile.  I felt miraculously good the whole time (probably because I didn’t have any elevation), and was inspired to try and run a whole mile at 8:49 for my next run.

Photo Sep 09, 6 52 09 PM

Wednesday (Scheduled Body Pump)

I didn’t go to Body Pump.  I went home, did laundry, watched House on Netflix, and went to bed.  Thrilling, huh?

Thursday (Scheduled 4 mile run)

After my success on Tuesday, I decided to do another progression run, and try to run the last full mile at an 8:49 pace.  SUCCESS!  This is my fastest mile in a VERY long time, and I felt really, really good the whole run.  Again, this is most likely because I had zero elevation, but I’ll take what I can get.  Now that I know speed is coming along, I need to add in the hills so that I can handle outdoor running when the time comes.

Photo Sep 11, 6 44 36 PM

Friday (Scheduled Rest Day)

We were house-sitting this weekend, so I didn’t do much of anything.  I had an early dinner, a couple of beers, lots of water, and I was in bed at a reasonable hour, which is exactly what I needed after a long week.

Saturday (Color Run 5k)

This was great.  I’ll have a full recap later this week, but this Color Run was much better than the last one I did, and it was awesome to see my friend.

Photo Sep 13, 10 07 01 AM

Stef’s husband is a champion photobomber

Sunday (Scheduled Rest Day)

After we got back from house-sitting, I helped Ben’s parents do some cleaning projects around the house-they’re doing some renovations in the basement (which is where our room happens to be), so I wanted to pitch in.  I spent a few hours vacuuming up cobwebs and wiping down dusty pipes, and the basement is now much cleaner, fresher, and less dusty.  I’m hoping this will mean less respiratory issues this winter.  And then I spent the rest of the day lounging in sweatpants and playing video games.

Schedule for this week:

  • Monday:  Bike, arc trainer, and light weight training (legs?)
  • Tuesday:  35 minute tempo run
  • Wednesday:  Body Pump (for real this time)
  • Thursday:  4 easy miles
  • Friday:  Rest
  • Saturday:  8 miles LSD
  • Sunday:  Rest/yoga?

I really want to get a good yoga stretch in after the long run on Saturday, and I WILL go to Body Pump on Wednesday if it kills me!  I have a Frozen and ice cream date with my friend Emily after, and I’ll feel a lot better about eating an entire pint of ice cream if I go to Body Pump first.

Did anybody else race this weekend? (Congrats to Kim for kicking butt in spite of not feeling well, and to Kellie on her new half marathon PR!)

 

Friday Free-For-All (Fourteen)

Welcome to Friday Free-For-All, where I talk about anything and everything on my mind.  This is usually just a great big brain dump, so brace yourselves!

I ran a super fast (for me) mile yesterday!  I ran mile 4 of my 4 mile progression run at an 8:49 pace.  This is HUGE for me.  In high school, I barely made a 10-minute mile, and that was only running a single mile.  To be able to pull out that pace at the end of a run is kind of amazing.  I hope I never stop feeling excited about how far I’ve come with my running–I was walking on sunshine (woah, oh!) all night last night.

I’ve got some tough family stuff going on right now.  I can’t go into any details, but suffice to say, it’s very yucky and stressful.  Thank the universe that I’ve got running endorphins, otherwise I would be a very unhappy girl right now.

I’m doing the Color Run tomorrow.  I started a team called Back to the Fuchsia, and originally I had a group of friends who were going to join me.  Two of them bailed, so now it will just be me and my friend Stef.  She’s just getting into running, so it will be a leisurely 5k for me.  It’s not timed anyway, so I don’t have any goals other than to stick with my friend the whole time, take lots of pictures, and have fun :)

color-run-

We’re house-sitting again this weekend.  Same place as usual, only this time we get an extra doggy–a lab named Tessie.  We’ve met her before, but never watched her.   It’s all different branches of the same family, which means that Annie and Tessie know each other, so we don’t have to worry about doggy fights or anything.  And as far as I’m concerned, the more dogs, the merrier!

Have you ever done a Color Run?

Anybody else racing this weekend?

I’ve been doing a lot of treadmill running lately.  Where Ben and I are living right now is not the most runner friendly area, and I literally have to drive right by the gym on the way home from work, so that’s just kind of the way it is.  Initially, I was worried that this would be a bad thing.  I’d be bored, or I wouldn’t be challenged enough.  But I’m here to tell you that I’ve changed my tune.  I know, I know, you’re thinking I’m crazy.  Who likes the dreadmill?  Who wouldn’t rather be outside?  Now, I’m not saying I prefer the treadmill–treadmill running will never give me the same satisfaction as the sights, sounds, and variety of outdoor running.  However, for where I am at in life right now and what I’m trying to achieve in my running, it’s totally working for me, and here’s why.

treadmill

You’re (relatively) safe on the treadmill.  You won’t get hit by a car, chased by dogs, mugged, assaulted, or kidnapped.  You won’t slip on ice.  You won’t get a sunburn.  The temperature is moderate, so you don’t have to worry about heat stroke.  Yeah, you could still fall off the damn machine or roll an ankle or something, but overall, you’re safer on the treadmill.

You can watch Netflix.  Or read a book or a magazine.  I know if I put on a marathon of The Walking Dead, I could run on the treadmill for hours.  As long as I’m entertained, I’m less likely to get bored and quit, or start focusing on all the little niggles that discourage me and make me want to stop running.  This may come back and bite me in the ass when it’s actually time to run a half marathon outside with no distractions, but for right now, it’s working for me.  My gym has wi-fi, so I can just load up my Netflix queue and the minutes whiz by.

Speed work is simpler because you can nail you paces.  I find it nearly impossible to do speed work without the treadmill because I don’t have a Garmin, ergo I have no idea how fast I’m going in the moment.  And even with a Garmin, you have to be constantly looking at your wrist, or adjusting your speed up and down every time your watch beeps.  With the treadmill, you can just set your pace and go, and know exactly how fast you’re going.

It trains you to keep a consistent pace.  I don’t know about you, but when I run on the road or trail, my paces are all over the place.  Uphills make me slow down, downhills make me speed up.  If I see another runner, I might speed up to try to look good in front of him/her (you know you do too!).  But the treadmill maintains the same pace for the duration of my run, forcing me to run at the same pace.  This will hopefully help me gain the muscle memory to run at a consistent pace when I get back out on the road.

You can adjust elevation.  This is great for many reasons.  If you live in a flat area, the treadmill can help you simulate at least uphills, and if you’ve got a nice one with negative elevation, downhills too.  Conversely, if you live in a really hilly area, the treadmill can allow you to get some easy, flat, recovery miles in.

These are just a few of the reasons why I’m totally digging the treadmill right now.  I’m sure I’ll think of others as I bang out my training miles.  And I’m also sure I’ll also come up with a list of reasons why the treadmill IS the worst before this is all over…

Do you like or hate running on the treadmill?  Why?

What’s the longest treadmill run you’ve ever done?

We’re gonna get all up in TMI-land here, folks, so if you don’t want to read about bras and boobs (specifically mine), you should just click away now and come back another day when I talk about normal runner TMI stuff like blisters and poop.

Still with me?  Cool.  This is a post that’s been percolating a long time.  And this is a topic that I’ve explored a lot in other venues, like the one-woman play I wrote for a class my senior year of college called “Sweater Muffins.”  So I’ve got a LOT to say.

In case you haven’t caught on through various hints and complaints throughout my blog history, I am what you might call “busty.”  In fact, I am a size 32G.  Yes, that’s a real size.  And actually, bra sizes can get even larger than that.  But, yeah.  I have big boobs.  And while general consensus would have you believe that being big-chested is the ideal, I am here to tell you that it is not, in fact, awesome.  It is, in fact, a giant pain in the neck/back/shoulders.

This video from Buzzfeed pretty accurately portrays just a few struggles faced by busty women:

I have always said that for a society like ours that idolizes large-breasted women, you’d think that lingerie, sporting, and bathing suit companies would do a better job making large-breasted women feel comfortable, supported, and sexy.  But my friends, that is simply not the case.  So I’m gonna break down for you a few of the struggles that I and other busty women face, and why it really, really sucks to have huge boobs.

Bra shopping is impossible.  Most commercial lingerie retailers only carry up to size DD.  For someone like me, this is obviously a problem.  I have to go to specialty stores.  I am VERY lucky in that my city has not one, but two specialty stores that actually carry bras in my size.  But then there’s the fact that most larger cups size bras are U-G-L-Y ugly.  There are automatically less color and style choices for women with larger breasts.  Straps are automatically thicker and less attractive because we need more support.  Our bras have 3 or 4 hook and eye sets on the band, rather than the typical 2, so the bands are wider and more likely to show when wearing a low-back top.  And to add more insult to injury, specialty bras are generally WAY more expensive.  You think paying $50 for a VS bra is bad?  Try paying $150 for a bra you don’t even like, but are stuck with because it’s all that fits.  Yeah.  It blows.

Sports bras are the devil.  Finding a sports bra that a) fits and b) keeps my breasts from punching me in the chin when I run is like finding a unicorn–the realm of mere fantasy.  Not only that, but they’re once again butt ugly.  See photo below.

Sports Bras

On the left is the sports bra I currently wear–the Panache Sports Bra.  First of all, it costs $70 minimum.  Second, look at it.  It practically comes up to my neck, which means that anything lower than a crew neck top shows the top of my sports bra.  The straps are thick and wide-set, which means that they usually stick out from under tank sleeves.  It is so “supportive” it feels like I’m wearing a chastity belt around my chest–I can’t wait to take it off after a workout.  And the color?  Snore city.  AND, the hooks in the back chafe the crap out of me if I forget to bathe in Body Glide before a run.  I actually have scars on my back from the first time I wore it.  ALSO, because it’s so expensive, I have one, repeat, ONE sports bra (I can run in) to my name right now, which really doesn’t work.

On the right are just 4 of the myriad options out there for less-busty women.  Interesting colors and patterns, cute, thin straps, breatheable, mesh material.  And generally a much lower price point.  Just go Google D+ sports bras and take a look at the options–they’re all bulky, ugly, and expensive.

It’s not even that I’m concerned about my breasts sagging some day–let’s be real, gravity takes its toll no matter how supportive your bras are.  It’s just that it’s plain uncomfortable to go for a run with my boobs bouncing all over the place.  I would give anything to be able to buy a $16.99 C9 sports bra from Target and not feel like a bowl full of jello was strapped to my chest, and have my boobs be more sore than my legs after a run (yes, this has truly happened to me).

There is a huge, wide-spread misconception that larger breasts are only found on larger women.  This is simply NOT TRUE.  Look at me–I have a relatively slender rib cage, and large breasts.  Many, many women fall into this category.  And yet, take a look some time at a size “large” sports bra or bathing suit top.  Yes, the cups are larger, which is to be expected.  But the band size is also larger.  This means that when I grab a size large (or extra large, let’s be real) sports bra, sure, it fits my boobs, but it doesn’t come in snug against my rib cage, meaning that my boobs will just hang down through the bottom of the thing and it’s totally useless.  But if I grab a medium or small to fit my ribcage, I’ve got breast tissue spilling out the top and sides.

There are SO many other things I could touch on with this topic, and I’m sure I will at some point.  I’m just feeling really frustrated by my lack of options right now, when I’m more active than I’ve ever been.  I need good sports bras, but I can’t afford them.  I want cute sports bras, but I can’t find them.  I need more sports bras in general, but am too frustrated to buy them.  Boo.

Any other busty runners out there?  What do you do to balance cost and efficiency with your sports bras?

Manic Monday – 09/08/14

Welcome to another edition of Manic Monday, where I recap the previous week, and lay out a plan for the upcoming week.

This was the first week on the new schedule, commuting at least 1.5 hours every day.  So far, it doesn’t seem awful, but it’s definitely an adjustment.  We have to get up earlier, but haven’t quite gotten the whole going to bed earlier to compensate thing down, so I’m wiped.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to Body Pump like I wanted, but c’est la vie.

Monday (Scheduled Cross-Training Day) 

Hauling boxes around all day counts as cross-training, right?  Originally, we were hoping to hike Mt. Mansfield and do some other fun, summery things, but we simply had way too much to do still.  The day was spent moving our stuff out of its temporary home in the garage and into our new bedroom, unpacking, putting up shelves, cleaning, and organizing.

Tuesday (Scheduled 5 x 400)

This went surprisingly well.  I decided to take it a bit easier on myself this time around, since last time sucked so bad.  I did a one mile warm up, then did my repeats at paces of 9:31, 9:22, 9:13, 9:05, and 8:57, with 400 recovery at a 10:30 pace in between.  I finished with a half mile cool down.  I have to say, I felt like I could have gone longer.  I think the combination of taking my recovery a bit slower, and starting slow and getting faster with the 400s really helped.  This will be my new tactic with 400s, starting a little bit faster each time; meaning that next time, my first repeat will be at a 9:22 pace, and get faster from there.  Yay, speed work!

Photo Sep 02, 6 24 48 PM

Wednesday (Scheduled Cross-Training Day)

I had intended to check out my first Body Pump class, but I was too exhausted and still had a buttload of stuff to do at the house re: unpacking.  I also needed to do laundry to prepare for my weekend away, and since Ben’s folks don’t have a dryer, this requires allowing plenty of time for clothes to air dry.

Thursday (Scheduled 4 Mile Run)

I wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to just go home, pack for the weekend, and rest.

Friday (Scheduled Rest Day)

I drove up to Shadow Lake in Glover to stay with my family at their rental for the weekend.  Arrived just in time for dinner and cocktails.

Photo Sep 05, 6 19 03 PM

Saturday (Scheduled 7 Mile Run)

I still wasn’t feeling well, but managed to slog out 6 nasty miles.  Between the humidity and being mildly ill, I had to take a lot of walk breaks, but at least I got out there.  I was supposed to do 7, but 6 was about all I could manage.  I jumped in the lake clothes and all after finishing, and spent the rest of the day relaxing, reading, fishing, and getting my ass kicked in Canasta.

Photo Sep 06, 11 04 52 AM

Sunday (Scheduled Rest Day)

What a beautiful rest day it was.  Slept in.  Woke up feeling like hell.  Sat around.  Thought about running a couple of miles, but decided against it.  Went for a boat ride. Got my ass kicked in Canasta again.  Helped clean up the rental, and drove home.

All in all it wasn’t a bad week, considering that I felt pretty gross for the latter half.  I’m still not feeling 100% today, but trying to just keep moving.  I’m not sure if it’s an actual illness or just bad allergies, but either way, it stinks.

The Plan for This Week:

  • Monday:  Elliptical, bike, and abs
  • Tuesday:  Speed work (hills or tempo)
  • Wednesday:  Body Pump
  • Thursday:  4 miles easy
  • Friday:  Rest
  • Saturday:  Color Run 5k
  • Sunday:  Rest

This is a step-back week for me, and I’m really excited to do the Color Run with my friends!

When was the last time you jumped in water with all your clothes on?

 

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