Monday, February 20, 2012

Dress to Impress

People have recently not been asking me at all about the details of my training. What kind of exercises I do, my diet, the best accessories to buy, etc. So I decided that instead of politely waiting for someone to ask, I am going to shove random information you don't really care about in your face. Because it makes me feel important. I am the expert, after all. Today I am going to talk about my exercising clothes.

I have one pair of exercise clothes. For someone who works out 6 days a week and only does her laundry every 2 weeks, my exercise clothes go through a lot of wear and tear. So of course it would be logical for me to own something tough and sturdy. And of course because I am so cheap, I don't.

Let's work from the inside out and start with the sports bra.
I had never owned a sports bra until last January. I never wanted to buy one when I started exercising regularly because I was afraid it might jinx my new found habits, just like every person who buys a hot tub or phoosball table and then suddenly never wants to use these things, even if they are professional phoosball players or professional hot tub sit-and-have-a-beerers. It is always best to just have a friend who owns one so you can come over and use it at your leisure. Unfortunately, I have found it difficult to meet people who are willing to work out a sports bra sharing system with me. I even ran a Craigslist ad, but I guess it was too hardcore even for those weirdos out there in the back alleys of the internet.
However when I made the commitment to do the mud run, I knew I would have to break down and buy one, because the idea of hot, southern mud that hundreds of sweaty people have already rolled around in running down under my clothes was just about one of the most disturbing images I could possibly bring to mind. Actually...when you word it that way it sounds kind of hot. But still, pretty gross when you think about all the gross microscopic germs in mud. Besides, I had a friend who swore that buying a sports bra would completely change my workout. And I was getting tired of sweating in a regular bra.
So I made my way to Victoria's Secret, where my friend recommended I go as they were having a sale and she had recently purchased the "best sports bra ever" (her words, not mine), because it allegedly gave real support, unlike most sports bras. I tried on a size small lime green sports bra, the only kind they had left. I have a pretty small chest and shoulders, so I thought this might be ok. I was horribly mistaken.
If you don't really like the way your shoulders and arms look on a normal basis, never ever put on a sports bra, especially one that is slightly too small for you. It will transform you from your slightly flabby self into a horribly deformed Pillsberry Doughboy. Your retinas will burn so that you will screech in agony and fall to the floor, pounding your fists against the 180 mirror and the saleslady will have to call the emergency services due to the concerning noises coming from your dressing room. A Victoria's Secret sports bra also adds the unnecessary and virtually hopeless effort (at least for me) to try to push your breasts up, so as to make you look even sexier when you work out. Because that is an idealistic and totally attainable goal when exercising.
Needless to say, I did not buy the lime green sports bra that made me feel like a giant had reached down and squeezed me from the middle as if I was a corporate stress ball. Instead I headed over to Target, where I found a nice, not so violently colored sports bra that was still too small, but it did not hopelessly try to push what little of a chest I don't have up into sexy work out cleavage when even a regular push up bra can't achieve this feat. I was also saving $9, since it was on clearance and 50% off. So I was ok with this.
After buying and trying out a sports bra, I have come to 2 conclusions:
1. It has made absolutely no difference to the way I run, because my breasts were already so small anyways. Just one of the "perks" of having a small chest I guess. Now if only they could make sports underwear...I have a lot that needs to be held in down below.
2. Sports bras are diabolical contraptions, especially when it comes to taking them off. Getting a sports bra off in a regular state of being is hard enough, but when your sweat is grappling on to every piece of cloth that gets near your skin like a needy boyfriend, a sports bra is extremely difficult to take off. There aren't any fasteners or buttons or zippers on these things...seriously, who designed this shit? There is nothing that instills confidence after putting yourself through a dizzying workout, getting all sweaty and red faced, and panting like a drowning horse then doing the weird little dance/struggle it takes to get a sports bra off. If you are a man and want to experience the full effect of what I am talking about, pretend you are battling a lizard-bird that is wrapped around your shoulders and trying to choke you. That is vaguely what it feels like to try and get a sports bra off.

A depiction of me being super hot in a sports bra, like always.

Alright, now after the sports bra comes the shirt.
There isn't really much to this choice. I, like most people, am perfectly happy to work out in a t-shirt that someone gave them as a gift even though you could never wear it on any normal day, because people would think you are a loser who wears one size fits all t-shirts as an excuse for fashion. Ok...maybe that is just a personal opinion. Although I do wear quite a few t-shirts on a regular basis anyways, if it's any consolation. However I do try to make sure they are rockin' band t-shirts or from obscure cool places like the Piggly Wiggly or Girl Scout Camp so I appear edgy and hip.
If you are really fancy, you might work out in a super-cool high tech spandex tank top. However, I think this would just lead to another sports bra dance-attack situation when it comes to taking them off, and also you cannot alternatively use spandex shirts as your towel for sweat, snot, or tears when out running very easily. If you think that is gross, just remember all those snot stains on your shirt are just battle scars of the work out circuit, so as to intimidate other runners when they pass by.
I warn you though, when picking out a t-shirt to go running, to not choose anything too baggy, because if you sweat too much in it, it will turn into a heavy, loose garment that makes you feel like you are running around in thick trash bag, trailing behind you, flapping sadly in what little of a wind you create.

What are you lookin' at?

And then comes pants.
Once again, I opt for the cotton option rather than the spandex. One day I will get spandex because I am still getting images of mud running up into my crotch in April...ugh. But for now I just have my good ol' cotton capris, which are working out alright, although they have a rather large hole in the crotch. They used to be my yoga pants, but when you go to yoga with a giant hole in your crotch and start splitting your legs all over the place people begin to act a little strange around you. I can't imagine why. Fortunately, this is not a problem when running. Although you have to be careful and only check around your crotch to make sure the seams around the hole aren't breaking any further when there are no other people around. Because again, they inexplicably start acting kind of weird...?
My only qualm about cotton pants is the issue of having a major panty-line problem. Admittedly, the knowledge that when wearing my pants people can see every edge of my underwear used to prevent me from working out frequently. I don't know what people do to get around this. Do they just not wear underwear? Do they work out in thongs? Is there some magical running underwear that I am just being oblivious to? In any case, I have overcome my embarrassment of having my panty line being visible by affirming that when I pass people, they will be able to gauge how hard I have been working based off of how far up my underwear has ridden. So yea, when I run by people and I have a mega-wedgie, I feel pretty proud of myself, because I know they are watching me streak (stumble) by in awe.

Mega-wedgie=Mega effort

Finally it comes to the running shoes.
You can tell someone is a serious runner when their shoes are bright, ridiculous neon colors. You can tell someone is an amateur runner when their shoes are plain white, look half a size too large, and have the little plastic tracker from a 10k their mother ran in over half a decade ago.
My running shoes get the job done though. For awhile, when I started training, I was still in Colorado for break and I was running in my dilapidated converse because my running shoes were back at my apartment. My converse shoes that I trekked all over the Rocky Mountains in during the summer, with multiple holes, half of the left heel missing, and bits of plastic falling out. My only other tennis shoes are the ones my mother purchased for me in 7th grade and have half a shoe lace missing from the time in freshman gym it got caught in the little pulley wedges we had to do relays on. They have gone MIA anyways.Yea, so my hand me down running shoes are a "step" up, and I am proud to flaunt them, even when ladies come up behind me on a run and instruct me that they are wrong for my footfalls and I should really consider getting something with more specific support.

(I am sorry I got too lazy to think of an awesome image for shoes...I apologize for letting you down.)

There are other accessories of course, such as a wristwatch that is the bane of my existence (I STILL can't run a mile faster than 10 minutes...the darn thing must be broken), a headband to keep my hair from flailing all over my face, my super chic white socks that come up my ankles and give me the appearance of having severely swollen calves... and so on. Some people have fancy GPS trackers or iPods in their little arm straps. I am too poor (cheap) for such things. It's better to live a simple life, right?...says the girl on her 17 inch MacBook Pro.
I do also have a few alternate pants. I have a couple pair of shorts which I almost never wear out in public, because I don't want to scare any small children with the sight of my unwieldy thighs, and some cotton leggings that make me feel legit because from far away you can't really tell they aren't meant for running. I also have a multitude of t-shirts to rotate through. So don't worry. I'm not wearing the same gross, sweat encrusted clothes every day. Just most days. It's my way of greeting the people I pass by and saying "You better back off and keep your distance you mother****ers."

Welcome to my version of hospitality.

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