I'm not sure what it is about long runs that makes me enjoy them so much more than my shorter runs, but that seems to be the going trend for me at the moment. Well, I enjoy the run itself, the post-run issues, not so much. Because the hubs is leaving today for 6 weeks (which is so much better than a 7 month deployment, so I'm not complaining, just moping), I had to do a little juggling with my training schedule this week in order to ensure that I got my long run in without the stroller, which is why I did it yesterday morning instead of today. I was actually quite proud of myself, since I got out of bed at 5:45am and hit the pavement at 6:30. Generally, I'm rolling over and hitting the snooze button at 6:30, but it's been getting hot early and I melt. I was fairly nervous starting out though, even more than my usual pre-run nerves. I had thought it was a 4.5 mile run, but it actually jumped from 4 miles to 5 miles this week. Plus, I decided to try out my new Amphipod hydration belt for the first time.
Ok, so I know I'm running for myself, and it shouldn't matter what other people think when they see me running. And for the most part, I've gotten over my fears that people are laughing at me as they drive by and see me-red, sweaty, and panting-slowly shuffling my way along the road. Hell, when I first started running I used to joke that I was the newest tourist attraction on Ford Island, because I know there are Japanese tourists who have pictures of me running into the wind while pushing the double stroller and struggling to keep up with my two big dogs. I would glare at them as they snapped photos from the cool comfort of their passing tour busses. Jerks. However, the more I ran, the less attention I paid to people passing by in their cars or flying past me like gazelles. Now, the only time I even think about it is when I actually PASS some active duty guy running during their morning PT, and then it's only to chuckle about how bad it must feel to get passed by a fat girl pushing a double stroller. But that's just because I'm mean.
In any event, the point is that while I'm over being self-conscious when I run, I was a little more anxious starting out yesterday because of the belt. I looked like I was setting out for an all day, cross-island trek. I had my ipod shuffle clipped to my shirt, my giant Garmin strapped to my wrist, and my new hydration belt slung around my hips. It has 2 neon green water bottles that I positioned on each side of my lower back and a pouch at the front. I looked...well....um...a little ridiculous. But I know that eventually I'm going to get to the point where I need water on my long runs, and I hate carrying anything in my hands, so I got the belt. I wanted to test it on a slightly shorter long run. And it worked. I was able to get the water bottles off the belt, drink, and put them back without falling on my face. Success! What I was not able to ignore though, was the painful and familiar feeling of chaffing that started around mile 3.
Now, I'm sure everyone who runs has danced with this irritating partner at some point, regardless of body type. But for us, um, bustier women, this seems to be a particularly nasty running companion. Some of it I can control. I don't run in shorts so I avoid the inevitable chub-rub on my thighs, and I avoid any kind of top that has seams or tags in places I know will chaff. That being said, sports bras are the bane of my running existence, especially on longer runs. First, I have to double up and layer 2 at a time just to avoid giving myself a black eye while I run. Then, even wearing two, I have to buy them so tight just to keep the girls in check that I can barely breath. And after the run....well, my husband has laughed almost to the point of tears watching me try to get the damn things off when I'm sweaty and sticky. I'll spare you the description, but it is NOT pretty. And after yesterday's 5 miles, it was even worse than usual. I didn't even realize how bad I had chaffed until I stepped into the shower and let out a screeching howl as the water hit my raw skin. It sounded like someone stepped on a cat and totally freaked out my dogs. I'm now sporting a scabby, raw, red ring of skin the entire way around my ribcage where my bras were. Such a downer after such a great run too. To add insult to injury, the ring sits exactly where my regular bra sits as well, so I can be reminded all day of how running gear is not generally designed for my body type.
But this latest tango with chaffing has inspired me to go on a quest for the perfect high-impact sports bra for well-endowed women. Wait, did you hear that? It was the sound of my husband and our bank account cringing. Because there are companies that do, in fact, make sports bras designed for larger women. But I may have to sell a kidney to pay for them. And the shipping to get them to Hawaii, because, for the most part, they can only be purchased online. I ordered three from Amazon-an Enell, a Moving Comfort Juno, and a CW-X Ultra Support (which, upon seeing the picture online, my husband said looked like it could not only stop bullets, but could jump off and smack someone in the face if they got in my way. Nice). I already received the Enell and the Moving Comfort. The Enell is actually too big, which is a pleasant change from the issue I usually have with clothes, so I'm sending it back for a smaller size even though I'm unsure about the fabric. The Moving Comfort arrived today, and after trying it on, I cannot WAIT to try it tomorrow. It is actually adjustable and seems fairly comfortable. Whether or not it can tame the ta-tas during a run remains to be seen though. My hope is that at least one of these bras will, if not altogether solve, then at least minimize the issue of chaffing and the inevitable post-run bra-removal wrestling match and painful howling from the shower. My husband may be disappointed to lose such an amusing spectacle, but it will certainly make my post-run life a lot more pelasant.