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?

OMG. Muscular Men in Spandex

Yes, it’s that time of year again – time to watch the Tour de France. As usual, there is something for everyone.

Scandal. You didn’t think they’d pull off another Tour without allegations of doping did you? Of course, I for one am shocked, shocked that there could be doping in professional bike racing, but it seems it would not be the Tour de France without allegations, investigations and excuses. Everything from the dog ate my drug test to the latest – Alberto Contador’s positive results from tainted meat? Personally, if I were a Tour contender who did not want to risk doping allegations, I’d only eat food harvested from my own organic farm to avoid such utter nonsense. But where would be the fun in that?

Drama. How about Mark Cavendish head-butting his fellow competitor on the very first day? With a Lance-free race, there’s room for everyone to shine or draw shame. 

Horror. Today, in stage five, there must have been at least ten crashes. Blood on the highway, Tour-ending injuries for some. Determination in the riders who finished despite injury, pedaling away, heads down, trying to catch up as their shredded jerseys fluttered in the crosswind.

Athleticism. These guys are the most athletic competitors, hands down, among any other athletes you’ll ever see on TV. One could even say they’re riding with physicality, except they do it all day, every day, for almost a month, not just for the last few minutes of a one-hour game.

Charm. What would the Tour be without the charming commentary of cycling’s beloved Phil Liggett? Funny, entertaining, always the gentleman. He talks about the cyclists as if they’re his dearest sons – calling them boys or lads. He’s the only person I know who can pull off expressions like “Mercy me” without sounding silly.

Endorsements. With a Lance-free Tour, the commercials are actually interesting this time around. No silly nonsense from Lance and the Radio Shack nerd ad nauseam, as Lance pedals away on his bike in the office. That’s what I do in my office by the way – come to work in bike clothes and pedal all day. No Lance riding behind the Nissan Leaf. I was beginning to think he came with the car. They had to come up with real commercials this year.

And last but not least, for the ladies: muscular hotties in Spandex.

My muscular hottie in Spandex (© Huffygirl 2011)

So, the Tour does have it all. Watch for more drama in the sprints as feisty Mark Cavendish vies for the green jersey over the next few stages. Once in the mountains, expect to see Alberto Contador, last year’s winner, duke it out with Andy Schleck, whom some (okay, me) say he cheated out of winning last year’s Tour. Andy’s brother Frank, who dropped out with an injury last year, may be another yellow jersey contender.

And while you’re at it, dust off your own Huffy, get out and ride, and pretend that you’re part of this year’s Tour de France.

© Huffygirl  2011