Pre-Race Shopping

Before big races, almost exclusive of what kind of taper or training I’m doing, I tend to get even lazier than I naturally am, having to work up the energy for the most minimal of workouts, and even more ambitious in my plans for what I’ll do just as soon as this episode of Law and Order: SVU finishes — the plans generally involve major life changes, fellowships, books, TV pilots. Also, I tend to go shopping.

Usually when I go shopping it’s because I like buying some fancy new thing for a race – because I already have race shorts and strong opinions about what you wear when you run fast. Buying something new for a race makes me feel special and important, just like any good woman in commercials. But, there’s also an part of it that’s just about the act of going to the mall. It’s where I go when I’m bored or stressed or anxious or bored or simply, in some way, want to feel the anonymity of being one of millions of people around the country also trying to solve their problems through purchase. The day Floyd died, after I finally got up off the couch, I put on a sweatshirt to go with my sweatpants and a huge pair of sunglasses, so I wouldn’t look crazy from all the crying, and went to the mall. (While at Kohl’s, in that outfit – complete with sunglasses indoors, a woman started quizzing me about if she could wear such-and-such pair of pants or if they were just for teenagers. Lady, no you shouldn’t wear them, but there aren’t really laws about this kind of thing unfortunately, and what about how I look suggests that I work here or that you should be asking me stuff?)

So, like usual, this week I have wanted to go shopping — looking for that undefined thing that I know I’m looking for, but can’t put my finger on. Shockingly, I’ve been having no luck. I don’t believe in trying things on and I have no patience, so I’ve walked in and out of stores, pronouncing everything ugly and sucky in a under a minute. I even walked in and out of Barnes and Noble. Twice.

Finally, I bought this new race tanktop from Northface:

It's FINE.
It’s FINE.

And, it’s ok (it may even be totally great for racing), but it’s not exciting and it just didn’t quell my pre-race shopping needs. Instead, I went to Target and bought nude heels. Which, obviously, I’m totally going to use for Boston.

Race shoes.
Race shoes.

And, now, tomorrow Steve heads off on some big trip and, then, Saturday I head to Boston. And, hopefully, by then, the cortisone shot will have fully taken effect — it’s sort of working so far? I dunno — and I’ll stop feeling antsy, or just a little antsy, and I’ll be ready to race Monday morning and then I will start drinking. Hmm, maybe I can go shopping in Boston…

Passport to the Boston Marathon

I heard about this blog project/idea/whatever where you take a photo for each hour of your day and post it. But, then, it turned out that my whole day would be pictures of my computer and a pile of notes. So, here is the one awkward selfie of me at the gym instead:

I'm going to practice my selfie expressions in the mirror. Like Tyra says.
I’m going to practice my selfie expressions in the mirror. Like Tyra says.

My Boston “passport” finally arrived, which apparently means all the information they don’t disclose on the internet like times and places to be.

GET READY FOR BOSTON!
GET READY FOR BOSTON!

This, apparently, also included a ticket to dinner. But, you don’t get to pick your time for dinner. The actual instructions say if you want a different time than your assigned time, then you should trade with another runner. So, um, let me know if all the cool kids are going to 5 p.m. dinner?

The idea of a dinner for everyone to go to at assigned times stresses me out.
The idea of a dinner for everyone to go to at assigned times stresses me out.

The whole “Passport to Boston” also included a catalog of all the special stuff you can buy as a special person who gets to go to a super special race — except I think maybe anyone can buy it. It may not come as a shock that I am not the type of person who typically buys merch from races, but part of me kind of wants to — because why not. I just got a tax refund, so let’s go shopping!

When women's clothes seem to have boobs in side of them, but no person, it weirds me out.
When women’s clothes seem to have boobs inside of them, but no person, it weirds me out.

The only problem is that all the men’s stuff is cuter than the women’s. I think. I mean, I’m still just getting my head around women’s cut shirts — why do we need V’s in our necks, is it for our massive boobs? — so when they try and make things feminine-y it confuses me.

This is probably the primary thing that is going to occupy my mind for the next 17 days.

See, men’s clothes:

 

That's like a fun sweatshirt and jacket, if they came in a smaller size.
That’s like a fun sweatshirt and jacket, if they came in a smaller size.
I actually really want the black jacket in the lower left corner. But, men's!
I actually really want the black jacket in the lower left corner. But, men’s!

And, the women’s stuff:

For some reason the women's version of the black jacket is white (in the upper left corner). I guess it's because we're like light and pure or something. But, it just looks so aggressive. What am I to do?
For some reason the women’s version of the black jacket is white (in the upper left corner). I guess it’s because we’re like light and pure or something. But, it just looks so aggressive. What am I to do?

I suppose in the next two weeks (I fly out two weeks from today!), I will also like read the rest of the passport and check my hotel reservations and make plans with the like half-dozen people I said I’d make plans with when I’m there and, you know, get race ready. I will probably also shop. It’s part of my taper.

 

What Shorts to Race In?

For a long, long time I ran in soccer shorts. Because I played soccer and soccer shorts were comfortable and running shorts were weird. Running shorts had that gross liner inside them that looked like an adult diaper. But, sometime in college someone explained to me that everyone cuts the liner out of running shorts. So, when my soccer shorts finally lost so much elasticity they wouldn’t stay up anymore, I bought a standard pair of Nike running shorts and cut the liner out.

Nike running shorts, the gateway drug of running clothes.
Nike running shorts, the gateway drug of running clothes.

The Nike Tempo short is easily their most popular running short. Possibly the most popular pair of running shorts period. Everyone owns like five pairs (I have them in blue, yellow, and custom-Oregon green/yellow) and yet everyone I know cuts the lining out, which causes you to have this weird band of lining around the edge when you roll the top over — because everyone rolls the top over, duh. And, which sort of suggests that perhaps Nike ought to make a version without the lining.

See, weird cut off lining sticking out of the top of the shorts. (Ignore the laundry behind me.)
See, weird cut off lining sticking out of the top of the shorts. (Ignore the laundry behind me.)

But, for the most part, I love these shorts. And, most importantly, I look a lot faster than when I wore boys’ soccer shorts. And, as we all know, looking fast is just as important as going fast. So, for a few years, they were my race shorts.

Race shorts are different than running shorts. Obviously. I have lots of regular shorts. But, you need special shorts for races. And, no, I don’t race in tiny spandex. I mean I have – I did a few weeks ago – but I don’t enjoy it.

Then, like four years ago, I was given a pair of Lululemon shorts and a tanktop after doing a wear test for them, which I never would have bought on my own because the shorts were like $54 and that seemed crazy at the time (oh, how the times have changed). But, I adored the Lululemon Speed Short, which I did not cut the lining out of because it was all soft and comfy. They became my race shorts, until they started to lose elasticity and get all worn down and rub. So, last year, as my pre-race Oakland Marathon purchase, I bought new Lululemon shorts.

I have the all black now. Like a panther.
I have the all black now. Like a panther.

They were fine. I wore them for that race and a few other races and had no problems. But, I didn’t love them like I loved the old Lululemon ones. And, then, they started to chafe — and as we all know, chafing is like the kryptonite of running. A couple runs, I got crazy cuts on the inside of my legs from them. I went back to the old Lululemon shorts and they chafed too. (Yes, easy joke about thighs rubbing together, but I’m not going to do the easy thing and make it, so there.) I decided it was a sign that I shouldn’t be wearing them anyway, because Lululemon is crazy and expensive and possibly evil and, really, all I ask for in a company is that it not be all three.

That meant I needed new race shorts for Chicago, so I went with some boring Brooks ones. (I think it was these ones.) I also, bizarrely, kept the lining in these ones even though it was that weird granny diaper lining. And, they’re ok, but they were 1. not flattering and 2. had no real pockets except on the sides, so then you’re cramming gels in the sides of your shorts, which is also not flattering and makes you paranoid they’re going to fall out the whole race and 3. sort of bunched weird and sometimes chafed.

Not even sure what I'm trying to hard to do here.
See, is that flattering? No, obviously because of the shorts.

So, I’ve been on the lookout for new race shorts for a little while. Something like the Lulu ones, but not them. And, then, when I was at Sports Basement, using my gift certificate I won at the Hellyer 10K — no matter what race you do anywhere in the Bay Area you will probably win a Sports Basement gift certificate (amazing) — I found out Nike has just released some new shorts like the Lulu ones, but not them.

*voices singing, lights coming down from above*

And, after a whole thing — I bought the mediums because they didn’t have the small in the color I wanted, but then medium was too big, so then I went back but they didn’t have small in any color and XS was too small, so then I got my money back and went to the Sports Authority Elite but they didn’t have them at all, so I went on Nike’s website but that website is ridiculously bad and it was possible either they didn’t have my size or that they just were directing me in circles, so then I finally went on some super sketchy RunningWarehouse.com site — I now have in my possession new shorts. That I’m really hoping are my new racing shorts. Testing them out today.

Behold, the Nike Rival Shorts. I have a good feeling about these.

Race shorts. Make you go faster.
Race shorts. Make you go faster.

What are your race shorts?

What to Wear to Run Fast

This is my all-time favorite piece of running clothing. (The Gap Fit tank tops come in a close second.)

Super awesome Brooks running jacket.
Super awesome Brooks running jacket.

I don’t know much about materials and wicking and all that. I just bought this jacket as my pre-race purchase for Chicago — my good luck buy. And, while it’s pretty warm and good for light rain, really I like it because I’m convinced it makes me look fast. And skinny. But mostly fast.

See, though this is sort of a bad picture, don’t I still look super fast and cool:

Me, taking a really bad picture in my room.
Me, taking a really bad picture in my room.

Most of my life I ran in soccer shorts and t-shirts, because that’s what you played soccer in and I didn’t want to look like some jackass runner in fancy tights prancing around thinking I was hot shit. Until three or four years ago, I’d actually spent more of my life playing soccer than ‘being a runner.’ It was also about three or four years ago that I finally started wearing running clothes to run in. Coincidence? Probably not.

What I discovered was: if you wear fancy clothes like some jackass fast runner, then you’re going to feel like a fancy fast runner. And, then, you run fast.

Winning this trail race in Pinecrest. And, no, I'm not pregnant in this picture. I just am running weird or something.
Winning this trail race in Pinecrest. And, no, I’m not pregnant in this picture. I just am running weird or something.

Basically, I started doing a couple races in a sports bra and my Oregon running shorts — which always prompt people to ask if I ran for Oregon; um, do you know who runs for Oregon?? hint: it’s not me — and that outfit made me feel like people were judging me and had certain expectations. So, I figured if I didn’t run fast I’d just look stupid. And, we all know my biggest fear is looking stupid. Since I was dressed like a fast runner, I better fucking be a fast runner.

There’s some clothes you just can’t pull off at certain speeds. That, however, works both ways.

Last year, I was catching the bus over to the start of the Across the Bay 12K and talking to this girl I knew who was getting ready for The Trials (Olympic that is). She was wearing a hella snazzy black and pink and tight and fast-looking outfit, complete with a nice little Nike running backpack to carry the racing flats that coordinated with the rest of her clothes. And, then, of course, she raced in the sports bra + tiny spandex shorts that seems to be a uniform you can’t really pull off with any body fat at all.

I, though, was worried about having to check clothes at the start and wore old, baggy tights (baggy tights!) and a zip-up sweatshirt that work had given me for free. I did not look fast. I did not feel fast. I did not run particularly fast that day.

But, at the same time, I would not have been able to pull off the cool-looking tights with the little zipper at the bottom that all the fast girls wear. I would have become too obsessed over exactly how much they should be unzipped to look just right. And, she would never have shown up in baggy tights. (Really, no one should.)

So, either I need to just wear the fast-looking tights, thus forcing me to fulfill the need to run fast to deserve them. Or, when I am fast enough, I will simply know exactly how much they need to be unzipped and it will not be a worry. When I am fast enough, I will know what to wear.

But, I don’t think that’s how that works.

Dress for the race you want?