Finding the perfect running gear isn’t as easy as one would think. Sure there are all sorts of getups that scream “Pick me!” simply because they are so flashy and vogue, or simply cute and comfortable. But there is a lot more that goes into it (for me, at least), that doesn’t always involve appearance.
I started my running adventures wearing street clothes, and quickly found that the constant motion equated to the constant annoying riding up of my normal shorts. I spent more time pulling and adjusting, which was taking away from my performance. When I noticed other runners battling similar dilemmas, I felt a little better, but nonetheless, it was quite frustrating. Then there were the teenage girls who didn’t seem to care, shorts scrunched up crack-style, airing their butt cheeks for the world. While I was proud of my body, I wasn’t okay with the whole “showing my butt to strangers” deal. I did try to let go of that modesty and leave my shorts in one race, and it wasn’t entirely terrible. At least I thought…until I saw this picture.
Needless to say, I’ve since evolved into wearing running clothes. I started off with the standard flowy, built-in granny panties Nike shorts with matching long bras, and for awhile, I was feeling good. Then I got this crazy idea to run a marathon, and as I upped my mileage beyond the seven-mile marker, I came face to face with my arch nemesis: chafing. Those of you who’ve experienced this know how painful it can be, especially when it occurs and you still have many miles left to go. I became very familiar with the extended bird wing stance (also known as the flustered turkey look). So marked the beginning of skin that appeared to be sandpapered off, and the unsightly scabbing and healing that followed.
After googling some how to’s, I tried Aquafor to alleviate this problem, only to still end up chafed and scrubbing my stained shorts three times with Dawn dish liquid. As it turns out, Aquafor is oil-based and will stain your clothes. Dawn really does take grease out your way. 😉
I went on to find my new BFF – Body Glide. It rolls on clear like deodorant, leaving no trace of itself on your clothing. However, if you are running for more than 15 miles, or sweat a lot, it will need to be reapplied. I would think that is the case with anything though. I show no shame as I glide up before the Pittsburgh marathon, unaware that my brother-in-law took this as a good photo opportunity.
I’ve since tried a variety of different running shorts, including UnderArmour and Nike DriFit compression shorts, and have been testing them during my long runs. So far, my Nikes are the only ones that don’t ride up at all, but they still cause some chafing discomfort. I recommend going for darker colors if you are the least bit shy about showing your sweat-soaked clothing. I chose a medium-gray, and let me tell you, it looks like I had an accident every time I wear them on any run longer than seven miles. Thankfully, I operate on the “I’m a runner – it is what it is” theory, and no longer sweat the small stuff. Voluntarily, anyway.
When I went for a 20-mile training run in preparation for my next marathon, I wore my UnderArmour compression shorts and running tank, and of course, my Body Glide. While my shorts rode up like crazy, transforming into running underwear, they didn’t rub at all and my inner thighs still have all of their skin intact. My underarms, however, weren’t so lucky. To make things even better, in the process of reapplying my glide stick around mile 12, it fell out of its container onto the trail, leaving it caked with dirt and rocks. I ended up tossing it, but not before desperately taking a goop of it to apply to my sandpapered underarms (hey…a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do).
Despite the lack of extra Body Glide to my thighs, my shorts were the best yet. Very soft and comfy, and I got to keep all of my skin. I realized while running that I’ve seen many runners airing it all, and never thought twice about it. Gone is my modesty, and I no longer care about how little I appear to be wearing. I don’t have time to worry about the small stuff – I’m a runner, and it is what it is. My theory has now expanded to include shorts turned underwear. From the looks of a lot of other runners out there, I know I’m not alone. 😉
I’m not sure I’m against converting to running in the actual elite runner underwear.