The color of running


I am head over heals in love with running clothes. Bright orange tech tees. Purple socks. A periwinkle blue “technical base layer” shirt. Technical base layer? Who would have thought I would ever be the kind of person who would need a “technical base layer?”

Then there’s the fabric. The fabrics of my real life are mundane, routine. Denim. Polyester. Cotton. But in my secret identity as “runner” I wear exciting cloth with exciting names: Merino wool from Australia. Compression Lycra. Moisture-wicking nylon. Gortex. All I need is a cape to complete the feeling that I’m running in a super hero costume. Except a cape would create drag and slow me down, so forget that.

This is my first experience owning exciting athletic clothes, and I’m basking in it. Sure I’ve had athletic clothes before. I’ve got plenty of bike clothes, but let’s face it, except on those svelte professional riders, bike clothes do not look all that great. My second son cowers and declines to be seen with me in public in them.  My first son refers to them as “my ridiculous outfit.” But running clothes? Nobody ever makes fun of those. Do Usain Bolt’s kids make fun of his clothes? Well,I don’t even know if he has kids, but if he did, I’m sure he wouldn’t get any grief over his running unitard.

The best part of running clothes is the tech features. Running shirts are not just tees. They have panels and gussets and inserts designed to lessen drag, support muscles, and wick moisture. My sports bra has angled layers to get the job done. My base layer shirt is designed to keep me warm under the top layer while wicking away moisture, and has handy slits that let me pull the sleeves down over my hands, but still see my watch. In stark contrast, my everyday clothes sadly lack special features, and often disappoint.

If (when) I get to the point where I can no longer run, I will mourn the loss of my running clothes. I could be like those aging senior citizens who wear jogging suits as everyday wear, a little blue-haired woman with a gaudy necklace and jaunty scarf  made to match my zip-up sweats. But then I’d have to drive a Buick and live in a senior citizen compound, both of which I’ve already sworn to never do. For now, I’ll delight in my tech outfits, and savor every day that I’m able to don and use them.

What is your passion of color and fabric?

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25 thoughts on “The color of running

  1. Great that you’re back running and loving the clothes. I just love bike jerseys. They are my “athletic addiction” for now. Though I do splurge on a yoga top now and then and of course have quite a collection of running clothes too!

    • Thanks Lisa. It’s feeling good for the moment – I hope it lasts.

      I should have added that I too like bike jerseys – mostly because I love the pockets and am always searching for the perfect pocket configuration. Wouldn’t it be great if all of our clothes had pockets across the back? But, I don’t really like the way I LOOK in bike jerseys – they are always too long on me and make me look frumpy.

  2. “What is your passion of color and fabric?”

    Socks! Oh, how I love socks – the more different colors and patterns, the better. But why? Partly, I think, because they’re cheap compared to more “serious” pieces of clothing, but even more because I have a disallowed body type, short and broad and curvy, and finding anything north of socks (or, for that matter, outside of socks – just try to find shoes that your feet will even go into when you’re walking around on high-arched E widths!) – anyway, trying to find clothing other than socks means searching for days and settling for something I don’t particularly like.

    I love socks.

    • I’m with you on the socks Sharon, and I like them too. It’s comforting to know that even when we can’t find clothing “north of socks” that fits or that we like, at least the socks usually fit.

    • Great Gilly. I like purple too, but often have a hard time finding the right shade. You are lucky if you’re savvy enough to wear scarves and look good in them. In my own klutzy way, I usually find myself catching my watch on the scarf, and I never know how to wrap them. And I can’t wear them to work any more since I get my stethoscope hopelessly tangled up in them. Maybe you can do a post on wrapping scarves and enlighten me.

  3. When you wear the right clothes, don’t you feel more like a runner, HG? When I wear my yoga outfit to class instead of sweatpants and an old t-shirt, I think my workout even goes better. Plus, I look darn cute in them! You’ve given me a great idea for my daughter for a Christmas present: running clothes!

    • Exactly. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way. I put on those clothes, and suddenly I think “so a half marathon can’t be THAT long can it?” I feel like I can do anything. I hope your daughter likes the clothes – there’s so much neat stuff out there. Some of it I don’t even know what it’s for. Like my “base layer” shirt. This implies that it’s supposed to be worn under a top layer, which I don’t have and probably never will, because if it’s cold enough to need that many layers to run outside, I’ll probably never get out there.

  4. The Cape never seemed to slow Batman down 😉 You’ve given me a good laugh because I could never take up running… so wearing running kit is not going to happen. I’m also aware that a lot of people who have never done anything but be a couch potato wear sports clothing all the time – not just senior citizens! So… As I’ve just treated myself to a new bike, I’m going to break out oll those old cycling jerseys just as soon as I can fit in them again 😉 I think that Deutsche Telekom shirt will just about fit me now!

    • Wonderful Martin. I know the cape never slowed Batman, or for that matter Superman, but it’s possible that they don’t know about drag 😉 Plus, they are usually up in the air, where the cape might act as an accessory sail, or conversely slow them down like a descending parachute, hence, the drag problem again. You’ll have to post a picture of yourself in that cycling jersey and the new bike. If you ever get over here, we can bike together, though I must warn you that most people think I’m far too slow to ride with.

      • At the moment I’m sloooooow… My son is almost as quick as me on his childs bike that’s too small for him. Got a bigger mountain bike on order from our local shop so hopefully we can go out riding together on Sundays 🙂 I will need to get a photo of me plus bike – that should give some people a laugh 😉

      • Well, I’ll look forward to seeing it Martin. And I doubt that you are as slow as you say. I have tried biking with other people who claim to be slow, then they take off and I never see them again. On the other hand, I truly am slow, but I have finally accepted it.

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