Saturday, July 7, 2012

Skirt Sorrows

Today was one of the least fun runs I've ever had.  I was going to say "one of the worst", but I'm glad to have a ham-ass on the mend and glad that I'm able to run at all.  Lots of people on the injured list would LOVE to have a crappy run, because a crappy run is better than no run, so I'll just stick with "least fun".

I had 9 miles on the schedule, and woke up at 5am to meet the Running Fit 501 Club at 6am for a group long run.  I decided to wear one of the new skirts I got on sale from RunningSkirts.com (Shown at right.  That is not me.  I wish.)  They size their skirts weird (Sizes 1-5, with the numbers having no correspondence whatsoever to "normal" womens sizes).  I got a "4" which is supposed to correspond to a women's 10/12.  I read in the reviews that you should "size down for the best fit", but I figured since I generally wear a size 12 jean, that 10/12 would kind of be like sizing down, and going for the 6/8 ("size 3") just seemed ridiculous.  Their skirts are normally like $60, but I got mine on sale for $30, which unfortunately means no returns.  Anyway, it came and it was pretty loose.  It actually looked pretty good on, mostly because of the looseness, so it wasn't cutting into my gut at the waistband.  Turns out it is TOO loose though.  I tried to run in it today and it kept falling down!  I literally had to pull it up every 8 seconds or less.  I counted.  I didn't even realize it was falling at first, so I apologize to everyone behind me who got a nice view of my underwear this morning.  I felt like an idiot yanking and futzing with my skirt all the time, so I moved to the back of the pack where I could at least tug in peace.  But even then, it was miserable.  You can't zone out and get into a good groove with your run when you're hiking up your skirt all the time.  So I turned around at mile 2 and headed back for a total of 4 miles.  Then I drove home, put on a different skirt, and headed out for a 3 mile loop around my house.  I felt really hot and tired and just couldn't get my legs to move.  It was hot today, but no worse than it has been, so I'm not really sure why I was dragging so bad.  Plus I was STARVING, and I couldn't stop thinking about how bad my stomach was growling.  And the sweat was pouring into my eyes despite my Halo headband, and burning like crazy.  So after the 3 mile loop, I came back home, had some Gatorade chews to shut up my stomach, and then hit the dreadmill for what I thought might be 3 miles (to make 10 miles, the 1 extra mile to make up for the fact that I walked so much on the other 2 legs of this disastrous run, and for the fact that it wasn't continuous since it was kind of 3 separate runs).  Of course when I got to 2 miles I decided to call it quits for 9 miles total for the day, since that is technically what I had planned.  I have no idea what my pace was either, since my Garmin was dead this morning.  I charged it in the car on the way to the group run, and it lasted for the first 4 miles, which were at a 12:30 pace, including walk breaks and stops for water (I didn't pause it).  The last two on the dreadmill were at a 10:00 average pace.  I just put it in my log as 9 miles at 12:00 min/mile.  So, yeah: dead garmin, losing my britches, heat, humidity, hills, hunger, burning sweat, walk breaks.  Could've been worse. I could have crapped my pants.

I'd like to take a moment to talk about running skirts.  I know some people are adamantly against them, usually with some argument about "you're RUNNING, you're not supposed to try to look cute" blah blah blah.  Or that you look silly and girly or whatever if you wear them; not like a "real" runner.  I'd like to set the record straight, at least from my perspective.  I don't wear skirts to look fun and girly or fashionable, etc.  I wear them as a matter of practicality, as a runner who is not "runner sized".  Women with any thighs whatsoever can usually not pull off "normal" short running shorts, because the fabric gets caught and rides up between your legs.  Not pretty.  The alternative is tight shorts (ie compression shorts), which solve that problem, but not all of us are confident enough to walk around in skin tight clothing. Plus, they sometimes ride up anyway, and there's also underwear lines to worry about, or worse (the dreaded camel toe, although apparently they have solutions for that (link stolen from SUAR)).   Skirts are the best of both worlds, because they have the feel of compression shorts (underneath), but the coverage of a skirt on top.  If I could wear "regular" running shorts instead of skirts, I certainly would.  They're cheaper, for one thing.  And I wouldn't have to deal with people muttering about running skirts being dumb, or "not seeing the point" or whatever.  I used to wear running shorts on top of longer compression shorts, but that's kind of hot and uncomfortable, and (I've been told) not very fashionable.  
  
Argh, I am so sick of running clothes.  I feel fine about my body/weight most of the time, except for when I have to put on running clothes.  I can't find ANYTHING that is comfortable and that looks decent.  Even skirts don't solve all my problems, because they still tend to be cut too low-waisted to be flattering for me.  (Creating the wonderful "muffin top"). 
This may be true for jeans, but it definitely does NOT WORK for running clothes.  Unless you enjoy it when your shorts fall down mid-run. Or maybe it's just me and my "all gut, no butt" shape that are the real problem. 
I know what some of you (group A) are thinking:  "Umm, why don't you just eat less and lose the gut you glutton".  Wow, thanks!  What a great idea.  I never thought of that.  I'll address that in another post...eventually, but basically it's not worth it to me until I'm confident that I can maintain a lower weight.  I don't want to start a yo-yo cycle by losing weight and then gaining it all back and then some.  (Been there, done that:  130, 100, 210, 150, 175, 135, 185, 155).  I've been between stable between 150 and 158 for almost 2 years, and I'm not willing to give up that stability.

Some others of you (group B) may be thinking: "Who cares what you look like? Stop being so self-conscious and just put on some clothes and run."  I like you better than group A!  I agree with you, and I'm working on that. 

Group C is probably: "You look great.  I WISH I looked like that.  What are you complaining about?"  Newsflash: losing weight doesn't fix body image issues.  I've had the same issues at 100 lbs and at 210 lbs, and everywhere in between.  If you're overweight you might as well start trying to feel good about yourself now, because it won't necessarily get much better if you do lose weight.  And you have a better chance at eating healthy and exercising consistently if you don't hate yourself. 

Anyway, pending weight loss and/or an attitude adjustment, the best solution so far?  Maternity running clothes.  (No I'm not pregnant.)  Check it out:
 It's like magic!!!  All pics were taken in the same shirt, on the same day, and I swear I'm not "sucking it in".  Also, I know that that skirt design is hideous, but the normal price is $68 and you can get the ugly ones on sale for $34, so ugly it is.  There's one that's even uglier on sale now at RunningSkirts.com that I might buy.

The secret is revealed in the image below.  Actually, in the photos above I have the top folded in half, because it is still high enough to solve the problem, and actually looks better because it gives more compression that when it is unfolded completely (perhaps this is because I am not *actually* pregnant).   That said, I wasn't able to run with it folded down, because it caused the whole skirt to ride up really bad.  It stayed put and was more comfortable when I wore it like this (unfolded, see below), though it wasn't quite as slimming:

Again, not me, in case *that* wasn't obvious!
I also have one pair of maternity compression shorts that I got from Old Navy.  Apparently they were discontinued though, because I want to go get another pair in a large and can't find them.  I have the medium, and I like them, but I think the large might work a little better: 






Finally, to anyone else struggling with running clothes and thinking about trying a running skirt, here are some running skirt reviews, at least of all the ones I've tried.   If any of you have any suggestions for some high-waisted skirts or compression shorts, PLEASE send them in the comments! (Anybody who doesn't want to hear running skirt reviews should stop reading now). 

(If you prefer the visual version of the review, just click here to see all of the skirts below "in action").

1) My first running skirt was/is my favorite: the North Face "Eat My Dust" (version 1) skirt. (Photo 1, Photo 2) The problem is that they've changed it.  The one currently named "eat my dust" on their website is actually the 3rd iteration (that I've seen).  I like the first one.  It has a wrap-style front, and a large pocket built into the right outer thigh on the compression short, in addition to a back zipper pocket.  The shorts are a very thin, breathable mesh, and they stay put.  The skirt is a good length and relatively high waisted, and the skirt material isn't paper thin, so it gives good coverage from lumps and bumps.  Unfortunately, mine is a size XL and is a little too big for me now.  Plus, I wore holes into the seams in the crotch from wearing it like EVERY DAY back when it fit me well.  (I just keep sewing them up!) I can't find it ANYWHERE to buy a smaller size now.  I accidentally bought the 2nd iteration EMD skirt (Photo) last year, and it is TERRIBLE.  The shorts ride up, the fabric is too thin and is always wrinkly, the waist doesn't stay put, it sucks.  The 3rd/current iteration doesn't look too promising either, but I haven't actually tried it (it does look like they returned to the original waistband at least, and it has pockets in the shorts, so if I can find them with free shipping both ways I'll try them).  (Addendum: Read this update.  I tried the 3rd iteration EMD skirt and a new NB model).

2) Skirt Sports Gym Girl Ultra skirt is probably my 2nd favorite.  (Photo) I actually didn't like it when I first got it.  It is much more constricting than my #1.  The shorts part is thicker (and hotter).  The skirt has splits on the sides.  I like the length (long enough), and I like that the shorts don't ride up.  The length would probably actually be a little too long, if I didn't pull the skirt up high over my gut.  I wish that the skirt had a little straighter cut (less of a flare to the sides) and little more structure (less flowy movement when I run), because it usually doesn't look that good in pictures where I'm actually running.  But, it is comfortable, and it hides the places I want to hide pretty well, so it is still one of my faves. Also, it has TWO giant side pockets built into the undershorts (one on each side).  I love pockets built into compression shorts, because you can put ANYTHING in there and it won't bounce (ie an iphone or other large, heavy device). You don't even notice it.  Try that in a pair of regular shorts!

3) RRS Fastinista Skort. I kind of hate this skirt, but I kind of love it.  I almost NEVER wear it by itself.  It is WAY too short.  The shorts tend to ride up, and the waist tends to ride down, leaving me with not a whole lot in the middle to work with.  On the other hand, it is VERY light weight and breathable, so I am able to wear it over a pair of longer compression shorts for a good compromise.  I also wear it over a pair of tights in the winter for a little extra coverage, and to get the benefit of the pockets.  (It does have a pocket on the shorts part! Yay!)

4) RRS Run, Walk, Play Skort.  This has the same "wrap" style as my #1 skirt, which I like.  I can't really review this one completely, because I got a medium and I think it is a touch too small.  As it stands, the shorts ride up, but maybe that wouldn't be a problem with the large.  Also it is a little too tight on my stomach.  (Photo) I would buy one to find out, but I also can't stand the fact that it doesn't have a pocket on the compression short; only one on the outside in the front.

5) Reebok capri skirt.  I got this as a gift for Christmas.  (Photo1, Photo2) I've worn it running twice, but in this item, the large is a little too big.  (They fall down when I run!)  I love the material and the look though, and wear them frequently around the house or out and about, just not running. 

 6) North Face Eat My Dust Skirt (version 2?).  (Photo).  This skirt doesn't even deserve a rating.  I can't wear it without compression shorts underneath (too short, rides up, and the skirt is so thin it might as well not even be there).  Nothing good about it.  Actually, maybe it has the pocket on the outside of the shorts that I like, but I don't even know because I've worn it only a couple times.  It is always wrinkly.

7) RunningSkirts Athletic skirt.  (That is the one that I tried to wear on my long run today, and you already heard how that went.)  I would try a smaller size, but the fabric itself is very revealing, so I wouldn't want to see me in the smaller size!  (Stock Photo) Pockets are on the skirt instead of the shorts (which I don't like), and they're too small, with Velcro closure on them (indifferent).  The "athletic skirts" are longer than the "running skirts" and have shorts underneath instead of briefs.  I have not tried the "running skirt".  I would like to try the "ultra swift athletic skirt" from this company, because it is a different material than the "original" athletic skirt.  Perhaps if one goes on sale.  Although I probably still won't like the pockets.  (Addendum.  Read this update. Apparently I got a lemon on this skirt, and they don't usually suck as bad as the one I got).

X) Not yet rated: RunningSkirts Maternity Fitness Skirt. You already saw the photos of me in this one in the above blog post (black/pink/yellow paisley?!?).  I think I really like it, but I've only worn it once, so I won't commit to a rating yet.  I don't like the pockets (same as #7), and I definitely don't like the price ($68 if not on sale).  It gets kinda hot having all that fabric over your belly, but that's the price you pay for support/coverage I guess.  I got the medium, and it's a little snug, but the large probably would lose the supportive features.

So in summary my "dream skirt" would have:
  • High waist
  • Pocket(s) built into the compression shorts
  • Nice, mid-length. 
  • Straight cut/not too much flare to the sides.
  • Shorts don't ride up.
  • Not super compression-y or constricting. 
Has anybody found it?  If I could find #1 again I'd be soooo happy! :(

I wish skirts weren't so expensive.  I'm stuck with skirts that I don't wear (can't return them after I run in them, and don't know for sure what they'll be like until I do, and can't return the clearance ones at all).  Local running stores don't have a huge selection of skirts (if they have any at all), and places like RoadRunnerSports.com and RunningSkirts.com charge shipping (RRS only charges for return shipping, RunningSkirts charges BOTH ways).  It makes shopping difficult.  However, places like runningwarehouse.com and zappos.com offer free shipping and free returns, so perhaps I'll take the remainder of today and buy one of like EVERY skirt I can find, and return the ones (probably all of them) that don't fit the bill.  Ha.  (Addendum: Done and done.  Read about my shopping and returns, and updated reviews). 

6 comments:

  1. Auntie Ty, you so pretty! Have you looked on eBay? Mama buys all sorts of crap there!

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    Replies
    1. I've checked there intermittently. Right now there's one of the model I like, but it is the size XL that I already have.

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  2. Thanks Ty! On your recommendation, I just ordered one maternity skirt from runningskirts.com :) I have one of their skirts in size 4 and two in size 5 - all bought on sale. I do love them very much. The size 4 isn't great on me any more - wanna try it?

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    Replies
    1. Haha, I thought you might be in the market for one of those!!

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  3. I've never thought to try maternity skirts! I have lost a little over 30 pounds with about 30 more to go and I already have loose skin on my belly. I am so self conscious when I wear my compression tops and this would smooth things out and solve that problem. Thanks for the tip! I am going to have to try this. :)

    www.simplyhealthymama.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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