In my chronic sleep-deprived state I have done many stupid things. Tops among them include pouring just boiled macaroni into a colander over the counter top and onto my feet.
Then there was last Sunday, at the half-marathon start, where my long-time training pal Laura noticed I had my running tights on inside out. Hard to miss with the tags hanging out. We laughed. And laughed. And laughed. And man, you can't imagine how grateful I was that these cute black capri tights did NOT have a white crotch, like so many do. The tags were easy enough to miss. A white cotton crotch set against the black lycra... not so much.
I wish I could say that was my only wardrobe malfunction of the day.
Before I point out my other misdeed, let me focus on what I did right.
Shoes. I remembered to buy a brand new pair of running shoes a few weeks before the race.
I should say, I was reminded. By my knees. In the 20 or so years I've been running my knees have remained very quiet. Unless I'm 9 months pregnant, or at the end of my running shoe life cycle. Some people log the miles their shoes have run so they know when to replace them. I don't have to do that. My knees just start hurting. At first I think, "Oh, so this is what it feels like to get old." Then, out of the blue I'll remember--and be so relieved--"No, I just need new shoes!"
Another thing I got right on marathon morning was my top. I subscribe to the "look good, feel good," philosophy. I knew this half marathon would be slow for me. Still, there were other ways to "rock the course." So I wore this:
You know if you get compliments on your attire, which I did, then you can't help but have a good day. I also feel good about my new top because, as part of the "Kendall Kollection," my new shirt helps raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
So, for the most part, people were checking out my cute top, not my inside-out pants.
But there was one big blunder. I failed to wear the right jog bra.
Since returning to running in August after the birth of The Boy, I thought I needed to wear two jog bras to run. To small-chested women, this sounds like I'm bragging. As a small chested woman, I'll admit, I am. But I realized this: two jog bras are only needed when they are so worn, threadbare and elastically challenged as not to do the job on their own. When I took inventory of my jog bras I discovered that most were in the 8-10 year range. A couple were only 4 years old. If not for nursing, I would never notice the jog-bra fatigue. But the bounce--even though it would be temporary--was disconcerting. So I bought two new jog bras that confined the girls quite well, but also felt like a boa constrictor around my lungs.
Then, just a few weeks ago--kismet!--I received an email asking if I wanted to try a new sports bra. As a weaning running mother (why does that sound obscene?) I was in search of the right fit, something that would help me transition from dairy cow to put-out-to-pasture. Even during this transition, the girls fluctuated depending on the time of day, so what might be tight in the morning could be breathable by afternoon.
Soon I received "The Handful" in the mail. I liked it before I took it out of the packaging just for its slogan: "You're active. You're versatile. You're one-of-a-kind. You're a... handful." Who, me? I was smitten.
At first look I thought it was a bra I'd wear with real clothes. It didn't look like it could be trusted for a workout. Especially because it came with it's own set of aunties. (Aunties, are the extra padding one may choose to insert into one's bra for a little "help," not that I'd know anything about this...) Aunties? In a sports bra?
I put the bra on and looked down. I had cleavage. "Very nice," I said in my best Borat accent.
Since the bra looked too nice to be a sports bra I wore it under my street clothes. A few hours later, I realized it was too snug for me to wear all day. Plus, due to the criss cross design, the straps came in closer to my neck, halter style, which would be fine under workout clothes and great under a tank, but under my open neck t-shirt, I kept pulling them back under my shirt (because I never caught on to that fad where it's cool to let your bra straps show).
Next I tried it to workout (sans Aunties--I didn't want to be distracted by my own cleavage). Worked great for yoga, tennis, and lifting. The big test, though, was the 11-mile pre half-marathon run. When I got going I noticed a wee bit of bounce and was concerned. I'm not used to bounce since I've been wearing a bra I'll call the Tourniquet. Most women, I told myself, have a little bounce. Relax into the bounce. Be one with the bounce. And then, as I became one with the bounce, I wondered if it really was my boobs that were bouncing. Maybe, it wasn't my boobs. Maybe it was "that squishy thing," as my children refer to that soft place circling my belly button. What was really bouncing? And do they make a bra for that?
Ultimately the girls did just fine in the Handful and I decided the bra passed the run test. Because workout partner Pam was visiting me that weekend I shared my find with her. In Pam-perfect, quick-witted form she asked: Do they make one called the Mouthful?
One of the selling points for me with this bra is that it fits from A cup to C cup, encompassing my range throughout the day, and I was probably somewhere in the middle. The design is advertised to flatter, not flatten. In my dairy cow state, it does flatter. But would it still, if you were a true A? I made Pam try it on (yes, she put on my sweaty bra and she's also the kind of friend who picks my nose when necessary and allows me to reveal her cup size on my blog). Yep, the Handful, with the Aunties, provided the same "very nice" reaction.
I decided that wearing the Aunties while I run would probably provide the extra support I was looking for (since confirmed on a 5-mile run) and, if you ever have a problem with "headlights" those Aunties wouldn't let them shine.
Earlier in this never ending blog post I mentioned that my half-marathon blunder was not wearing the right jog bra. Because I was afraid to trust the pretty, flattering Handful for the half marathon I wore the Tourniquet instead. By mile eight I could feel the sting across the top of my chest where the bra was rubbing my skin raw. The bra was not inside out like my pants. Maybe it should have been.
Even with the wardrobe blunders I enjoyed myself immensely. I got to spend 13.1 miles with my dear friend Laura and I also got to meet one of my favorite bloggers. My husband ran the race too, and although we didn't run together, it was a lovely way for two runners to spend Valentine's Day (the cozy new running shirt he gave me was sweet, too).
The scab from the Tourniquet is gone. Last week I ran in my Handful. It's easy to endorse a product you get for free, so to prove my new bra love I purchased another Handful to start replacing my ancient bra collection. After all, I'm active, I've versatile, I'm one-of-a-kind, I'm a handful...