Support For My Running, Please

I have been running recreationally since December 1994.  It all started when I worked at a summer camp where all the counselors (1) were more athletic than I was and (2) had these Timex watches from K-Mart (the Iron Man).  First I bought the watch, but then felt stupid because I only used it to tell time. I decided to start running.  I plan to run until my old body wears out, and I am forced to do something lame like stay inside and use my grandkids’ Wii.

Runners have a lot of gear.  One year Jeff got me a Garmin watch so I could obsessively track my mileage and routes.  It’s a perfect runner’s gadget.  Because Chicago has an 8-month winter, I also have lots of great winter clothes with fancy fabrics that allow me to run through snow and sleet, which is totally as awful as it sounds, regardless of the fabulous advances in Gore-Tex.

During my pregnancies, I missed the running the most. I wasn’t one of those pregnant ladies who wanted to jog through the neighborhood with my protruding belly.  (I was more the type who wanted to sit on the couch with mac & cheese and a side of French Vanilla Bean ice cream.)

Now I am nursing mom, and I back up to about 5 miles per run.  You know what’s harder than training for a marathon? Finding a running bra when you are nursing.  I have tried lots of different bras and nothing has sufficiently supported m’ladies during a run, so I usually double-up and wear 2 (sometimes 3) bras for a run.  It’s a decent solution, but it’s also a pain because (1) it’s hard enough to take off 1 sweaty bra, try 3; (2) it’s annoying that I haven’t found a single bra that can do the job; and (3) it’s extra laundry and extra baggage.  (For a four-day trip, if I want to run twice, that’s up to 6 running bras.)

It shouldn’t be that hard.  I don’t have a gigantic chest, but I am still nursing so let’s just say I am somewhere past a D-cup and somewhere short of a Z-cup.

Totally NOT my body

Totally NOT my body

It’s not nuclear physics; it’s a running bra.

Today, I got the mail and there was not 1, but 2 Athleta catalogs.  For those of you who are not familiar with Athleta, check them out. As I understand it, Athleta is a division of Gap that sells work-out and yoga clothing for women mostly on-line, but there is a brick-and-mortar store in San Francisco.  (Think Lululemon but slightly cheaper.)

“Eureka!” I thought to myself. “Why didn’t I look here sooner for a great bra for running? SURELY A COMPANY FOR WOMEN HAS A BRA FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS A BIGGER CHEST.”

Flipping through the catalog, I scanned the hard, tanned bodies of the women and wondered if this catalog was really for women. (I don’t think any of the women are bigger than a size 4, except maybe the woman in the bathing suit on page 47 is a size 6 (after dinner, 3 days before her period starts).)  It’s definitely not as touchy-feely as the Title 9 catalog.

Whatever. I will look at those women’s 8-packs all dang night if I can get a good sports bra.

On pages 28-29, I see there is a whole “anti-movement . . . with supreme support” bra system available. It looks very promising.

But.  It isn’t.  There are 6 different tank bras styles with New Age-y, pseudo-empowering names like “Horizon Tank” or “Intention Tank.”  None of those tanks offers any support for a woman who wears greater than a DD cup.  So, that sucks.  My best bet will be the either the “Energy Tank” or the “Va Va” tank, both of which provide “medium” support for DD.

Medium support is the maximum I get for $60-$80 of bra.

Does Athleta know that plenty of women who run or jog or do triathlons or do jumping jacks or Zumba also have big chests?  I hate to even say big– let’s just say bigger than DD.  I can name 7 female friends right now who could use a tank with more than medium support.  (I won’t name names, but you know who you are.)

To be fair, there are some more traditional bras on page 58 that offer up to “high” support for our lady friends who wear a DD cup (and none of them have the feel-good names).  I can go with the T-Bird sports bra (for $58), which offers “high” support for cups B-DD.  Assuming I am bigger than a DD, which is a fair assumption, what should I do?

If I can’t get it at the Company whose motto is “Power to the She,” where can I get it?  Since when does She mean only She Who Has Little or Average-Sized Breasts?

I am angry enough to go on and on, but I gotta do a round of laundry if I want to have my sports bras clean for my morning run.

–Christie O. Tate, Outlaw Mama (