Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My Run Kit and More!

So many of you have asked me in messages, emails, Tweets, and on Instagram:


I wrote about this over a year ago,but obviously some updating was necessary.

I am currently a size 18/20 and my flat feet are a size 11. I have boobs that nursed my child for 18 months. They are not and never have been perky.

I have thighs. Big, strong, BARREL-SHAPED thighs. I own that.

I have big, super strong calves. My pride and joy--I mean, after my son...

I have a midsection that is floppy and sometimes like to peek above the top of my pants to check out what's going on.

I have arms that are nicely toned in some areas and are floppy in other areas. 

I need clothes that make me feel good, support me in the right places, and don't look like they are from another century, or are and feel like an afterthought. 

This is why I am putting this out here.  I'll write some more posts as I experiment with new gear in my eternal quest to find the perfect clothes (Basically, I  think TNF capris and tights are close to perfect, but PROVE ME WRONG!)

My run kit has gone through many different iterations. I went buying my earliest "running" clothes at Target, to buying most of my gear online. Unfortunately, this is the way many of us big gals have to shop, since most stores will not carry anything over XL. Most XL's are designed for sizes 14/16-18. Sometimes there are pieces that are actually TRUE TO SIZE, but not many. Other companies have weird, "unique" sizing that means nothing unless you can actually try them on at a brick and mortar store...and it's unlikely to occur unless you live near said store. I typically buy a piece online and if I like it, I will buy several of the same to last a few months/years.

Okay so here are a couple of my run kits. Keep in mind that:

1. I always prefer to run on trails. Most of my running clothes I choose because they work well on the trail. This does not mean that they won't work on a road run or a treadmill run, however.

2. I run long. I like shorter runs (3-5 miles, say) but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE long runs. They are my GF bread and butter! I also make sure that my clothes can handle being out for hours at a time.

3. I don't go for fashion, although there are some really cut things out there. All of my friends and family are currently rolling their eyes. Don't worry, I HEAR about it all the time. But wanna know something? My running clothes are WAY MORE fashionable than my work clothes.

4. I don't have separate clothes for yoga and gym workouts. If I could, I would wear my running clothes, well, EVERYWHERE.

5. I don't like baggy running clothes. In fact, I'd rather them be fitted and showing the curves than anything else. Getting used to your body in fitted clothes is a great lesson in self-appreciation and self-love. This is how your body looks. LOVE IT.


6. Good, long-lasting, well-fitting clothes cost money. You may have to buy one piece at a time, even every few months. I will skimp on work clothes but I will not skimp on running clothes!

This outfit is (mostly) brought to you by Torrid. I'm wearing a pair of their Colorblock Legging and the Spacedye Zip Hoodie. Underneath, I have on my UnderArmour UA Tech Tank in pink. My pack is the Nathan VaporCloud 2L Pack, and my sneaks are Adidas Energy Boost (first version, I believe). Socks are Swiftwick. Head band is by Hats Off Headbands. Perhaps most important is the bra. In this pic I'm wearing the Panache Sports Bra. No lie, I've been wearing it as my daily bra, it's so flattering and well-fitting..I found the tights to run a bit on the big side, they did slip down a little bit--I've been losing weight because of all the training I've been up to (ha, just not this week because I have a cold-thanks son!) The best thing about the tights is that they are high-waisted and they hold all that stuff in while you're bouncing around, running, jumping up and down... I love that. Never did I worry about the butt peeking out on this 15 mile run. Even though the legs were sliding down a bit, the waist held tight for dear life. The jacket is GREAT! I love it. The headband works well to absorb the head-sweat and to keep errant strands of hair from tickling your face. I love the Adidas sneakers, but only for road and treadmill runs, as they have very little tread. They are super comfortable for my flat fleet, and aren't extremely bulky. They're just right for long or short runs on the road.

This outfit also brought to you (mostly ) by Torrid: Abstract Print Crop Leggings and Mesh Tank. Again, I wore a Panache Sports Bra with this ensemble. The socks are Swiftwick. The shoes are my old Pearl Izumi Trail M2s, which I will wear until they absolutely fall apart, they're so comfortable. Note: They're not very useful on the trail anymore--they've got many, many miles on them, but are still usable for short runs (1-3 or 4 miles) on the track and road. Headband is another by Hats Off Headbands.

This is a pre-run run-kit, that I assembled before my second Georgia Jewel 35 Miler. From the far left: The newest version of the Pearl Izumi Trail M2 shoes. These are great trail shoes, for both technical and smooth trails. They are particularly comfy and supportive of my low-arched feet. Above those is my favorite Trail and Ultra Running cap, covered by another Hats Off Headband. Next is a lovely cotton/poly blend tech shirt, available from my friends at Trail and Ultra Running. My top layer on what would be a very rainy day was an old Nike long-sleeved tech shirt. My rain-jacket (the little green stuff sack) is exactly that. It's the Patagonia Houdini (men's version, because the women's versions run very small and very narrow. This jacket is also narrow and it has taken me a year to actually be able to pull it over my tummy. Otherwise, a great jacket to help keep your core dry. My socks were Swiftwick wool running socks, my pack was the Nathan VaporCloud, and my capris, which you cannot see here, were The North Face GTD Capris.

Non-running exercise kit ( I was in a live PiYo Class) - These capris are UnderArmour, which you may be able to snag on sale now since the summer is officially over. The top is by Stonewear Designs. My bra is here is a Victoria Secret Incredible Sports Bra.

For my trikonasana: I have 8-inch UnderArmour shorts on and an old Nike tank. And the bra peeking through is a Victoria Secret Incredible Sports Bra.

And here, it's The North Face Capris, Adidas Racerback Tank, Victoria's Secret Incredible Sports Bra. This was at mile 9 of 10 miles. As you can see the capris held up perfectly. They have a hidden drawstring that ensures that the top of your pants don't roll down your tummy roll. Makes running way more comfortable! Shoes are my trusty road shoes, Adidas Energy Boost. I believe the headlamp is my cheap one, Energizer...from Walmart.

Here, I'm wearing my Stonewear Designs tops again, with Road Runner Sports Compression shorts. The Bra is most definitely the Victorial Secrets Incredible Bra. Socks are Tubeless Socks by Swiftwick. Shoes are Pearl Izumi Trail M2s. Pack is the CamelBak Ultra 10 pack--has way more capacity than the Nathan VaporCloud (which is my favorite) but is somewhat bulky for that reason. My trekking poles are Black Diamon Distance Z Poles. If you are doing trails with lots of elevation, these poles will change your life. More about them in a later post.

These are the UnderArmour capris I was wearing during the photo shoot for the 
Runner's World piece. Socks are Swiftwick. Cap is from Headsweats.

These capris were not my favorite. They are Adidas capris (XL) whose material feels excellent against the skin but whose design is not for someone who has a shelf butt. My butt may look pretty flat and it is, but there's a shelf up top. Those capris did not like my shelf, and therefore kept running away. The shoes are Adidas Terrex Boost. They run a bit narrow, but are excellent shoes for muddy and technical trails. And look at my calves...just sayin'

I love this The North Face Impulse 3/4 Zip outer layer. This was a fairly cold day, if I remember correctly, and paired with my old Nike thermal, and my trusty old Moving comfort Bra, I was pretty warm after a mile or so. Also featured are The North Face GTD Winter Tights, No need for layers here. The TNF tights are WARM!

This is the race kit I laid out the night before attempting the Lenape Trail 34 Mile Run (of which I only did 20--ten out and 10 back) The only new items here are: a cheap pair of "disposable" running gloves from NY Running Company, a pair of Altra Compression Socks (which also functioned as another layer for the lower half of my legs). Other items featured are: TNF GTD Winter Tights, TNF Impulse Winter 3/4 Zip, Trail and Ultra Running Cap, Trail and Ultra Running Buff that managed to keep my head warm, even though it's super light and breathable. My trusty old Nike thermal (that I've had since 2009!) still works magic and keeps me warm, even in 6-degree, windy and bitterly cold weather. 

Links to gear mentioned above:



  1. This is a great list! I have recently started jogging/running and have been scouring the internet for a brand of leggings that will stay put. I am not sure if you have tried the Enell sports bra? It literally changed my life and made exercise a real thing I could do, instead of being a real pain in the girls before and after and I was able to stop wearing two sports bras. Again thank you for the great post.

  2. Thanks for sharing ! Your frank descriptions for each also helped.

  3. Thank you for being so beautiful. I just saw your blog and i'm so glad it's here. : )

  4. An online company called Team Estrogen is a good source. They carry a line called Shebeest that carry large sizes. Check them out.

  5. http://ultramonk.blogspot.com/2015/10/ultra-preparation.html

  6. I have to wear knee compression because of my arthritis. Find that Tommy Copper is the only place to find knee sleeves that fit. I also wear their performance compression leggings- they stay up very well. I haven't been able to feel comfortable wearing just leggings- so I wear my Avon Curves pants over it. Avon is not too bad for clothes- they usually go up to a 3X- but the selection at any one time is limited.

  7. Congrats on becoming a Women's Running Magazine blogger and inspiring so many - You kick @$$!

  8. I would never have thought of Torrid for workout gear, so thank you for that! I am in between sizes but as a gift to myself plan on getting some new workout gear soon. Love this post!

  9. I love your body acceptance - wish I would have known you years ago; I might have not waited so long to get active.

  10. Ooooh lots of links to check out, thanks! My beef with running tights is that the fair majority of them are cut too low, what's with that? Unless you have a flat belly they are going to roll down and sit awkwardly. So I am with you that when you find the perfect "fit" for you, that's what you keep coming back to. My two fave running tights now are "Running Bare" tights, they tend to come up a bit higher and fit nicely up on my waist, and eh, well they have some way cool colours. Plus they have a plus size section so I can get something to fit. Here's their link:

    And I've just got a pair of the new 2XU tights, they are compression and instead of low rise they are mid rise and oh so comfy and hold me in just the right places, I reckon I even run taller in them.

    Really enjoying your blog, so glad I stumbled on it.

  11. So uhhh ... do you have a way of keeping your gear stored neatly? I have a couple of dresser drawers for mine, but I always feel like things are either falling out willy nilly, or I can't find my favorite visor, or WHERE ARE MY SOCKS???

  12. Have u tried CWX leggings I use them and am pretty curvy myself.....no rise/fall, chafing, very comfortable, cool in summer and warm in winter....can't beat that with a stick

  13. Thank you for your post. I think there is a niche there in the market with running clothes in larger sizes. My husband is large and he has trouble with running clothes a lot - especially here in Germany where an XXL is not as large as an American XXL. But he found a store for bicycling clothes - called Fat Lad in the Back - that makes bike shorts and shirts in larger sizes. He has started to wear the shirts for his runs as well and is happy he finally found something for his wide shoulders and chest.
    And I personally still think the most important running gear for any women above an A-cup is a good bra. After having been nursing for nearly 5 years without a break. I have a Shock Absorber Bra that is the most amazing thing ever. If I could nurse in it, I would wear it all the time.

    1. Agreed 1,000,000 times over. Even though I'm several years past nursing, I find that the older I get, the pickier I become about the bra. It has to have comfy wide straps, come pretty close to eliminating bouncing and a fun color or pattern.

  14. I just bought these http://m.jcpenney.com/xersion-ombre-geo-capris-plus/prod.jump?ppId=pp5005870195&Ntt=Xersion%20plus

    They seem to stay up well and hold in my flabby stomach. I had sleeve surgery and have excess skin and a bigger stomach still. Can't wait to run my first 1/2 marathon.

  15. I read your blog you have shared verities fashionable workout clothing and nice girls gym style it's inspires me a lot of- really nice fashionable-gym-wear.Thanks for sharing here you will get more relative clothes if you have time please go camouflage pants.

  16. Thanks for sharing this. I have a hard time finding bras that hold my girls down! The ones I have are getting old. OK, I'll face it; they ARE old. And, I know sports bras for my size 34 DDD are going to be expensive. I'm OK with that. I just want to make sure my investment in a sports bra is one I'll love. I don't want to make a $70 mistake!

  17. Your calves ARE rockin'!!!!! Keep up the amazing work!

  18. Happy with purchase. I was looking for a longer capri. I have large calves and most capris hit right in the middle of them. These were longer. I measured the inseam and they are 22" as advertised. I washed the alo yoga and hung dry with no issues.