Thursday, October 11, 2012

The emergency purchase

My male readers might want to skip this post.... :)

A few years ago, one of my very first posts was about the world's greatest sports bra, the UnderArmour Endure. I picked up two at REI and I have mad love for them (well as much as it's possible to love clothing that is designed entirely for function). Ok, perhaps it's not the greatest ever, but like shoes or jeans, I found something that works for me, and I keep using the same brand / model indefinitely.

Fast forward a few years. I alternate between the two, immediately rinse out the sweat, wash on delicate, but they both still seemed to be slowly falling apart and just not providing the support they should. I thought I had myself convinced one was in better shape than the other, but no, they're both shot.

Grudgingly I went to Amazon and ordered 2 replacements, for an extremely painful $95. Oh it kills me! Definitely not in the budget, but as I told my friend - $95 is a whole lot cheaper than plastic surgery to lift the girls after they painfully fall to my belly button.

It's the same dilemma Marcie had over the summer. I said a really good bra is an ESSENTIAL so don't sweat having to buy it, and I didn't hesitate to follow my own advice. Besides, let's put $50 in perspective: when my Mizunos were $50, I bought 6 pairs in one transaction, I wouldn't think twice about spending $50 on really good jeans, I don't even blink when the gas pump goes past $50, so I need to get over it and have the same nonchalance for a few dollars that bought me YEARS of comfort and protection.

I tend to think most things should last forever. I wondered, though, how long should a sports bra realistically last? The ideas online were very surprising and I certainly don't believe them.
After 30-40 washes most sports bras need replacing. As a rule of thumb you will need three new bras for every one pair of running shoes," [Seriously? I go through 2-3 pairs of shoes a year, so Runner's World UK recommends 6-9 bras PER YEAR? um yeah, not going to happen]
Another opinion:
Anywhere from three months to a year, depending on how often you wear it and how well you take care of it. 
I first bought the Endure when I was training for the Motor City Triathlon in June 2008, so I guess I got my money worth.

Here's some interesting information as further justification for shelling out for a good bra:  
The average breast weighs between 250 and 300g, and any unsupported movement – such as running – causes three-dimensional movement: up-down, in-out, and side-to-side.
The Shock Absorber Sports Institute (SASI) at Portsmouth University research also shows that on average, a woman's breast moves 9.08cm with every stride when running.
This can result in discomfort, chafing and strain on the breasts' supportive tissue – the Coopers ligaments – which in turn can eventually lead to sagging [which once damaged can only be fixed with surgery].
To explain the chafing that's been going on since ummm February:
Sports bras usually start to chafe when the elastic has begun to age. It can also occur more frequently on longer-distance runs – this is because of the increased movement of the bra against the skin, due to perspiration.
I placed the order Tuesday at 10pm. With free shipping, they were still on my front porch by lunch on Thursday. Amazon rules!

For comparison I held up the new bra against the old one. The old one had stretched almost 1 1/2 inches. Yikes! I wore the new one today and it was great! Well worth the cost :)

Running tip (courtesy of Hal Higdon's twitter feed): Before marathons, begin carbo-loading seven days in advance. Not only pasta: Fruits, vegetables, and grains will get you good to go.

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