Friday, February 24, 2006

One happy runner

Monday, February 20, 2006

Austin Freescale Half-Marathon

Just my luck, I got to run my very first half-marathon on one of the coldest days of the year. It hovered below freezing for the entirety of my time on the course. People had frost on their hats.

Having said all that, I must say the run was also probably the most pleasant run I've ever had. The course, billed as the fastest course in the United States, was either flat or downhill most of the way and I'm sure that contributed to the sensation I had of just coasting over the road. After some muscle tightness in my legs and numb toes in the first three miles, the rest of the time I felt really, really good. No problems with energy, no problems with pain, no problems with self-doubt.

I decided in the end to stick with my running partner, and not to run with a personal time goal. I can run for time and ego in another race. We both crossed the finish with a chip times of 3:06. I'm happy with it. I got a pretty medal, I got to cheer for the awesome marathoners at their finish line and I got to eat a fat hamburger, pizza and homemade peach cobbler at the end. It was a solid, satisfying (and cold, did I mention cold?) day and everyone who participated deserves a Texas-sized star:

Friday, February 03, 2006

The heartbreak of Jeans

I've been feeling homely lately. Most of my clothes are a few years old, showing signs of fraying or are permanently stretched out of shape. It doesn't help that I've gained about 10 pounds lately, despite 6 months of fairly consistent adherence to a running program.

It has recently come to my attention that the vast majority of my wardrobe falls into one of two categories: office clothes and workout clothes. The pickings are pitifully slim for something appopriate for a night out on the town. A nice pair of stylish, comfortable, good-fitting jeans would fill this gap admirably.

Unfortunately, I don't have such an item in my wardrobe. I even question the existence of such mythical jeans. The one pair I currently own are so horrendously uncomfortable in the crotch and waist that I only wear them if I know the event I'm attending will last less than 2 hours and no sitting down will be required.

I hate shopping in general, and shopping for jeans more specifically, mostly due to the consequences of what I call the FABB phenomenom (Fat Ass, Big Belly).

Exhibit A: the FABB in action, comfortably draped in workout pants:

Let me just state, for the record, that the FABB are my friends, my faithful companions in life. I hold no grudge against their bountiful charms and have mostly fond feelings for them. But a girl can only wear yoga pants so many times to a bar before she starts feeling sadly deficient in style and good taste.

The FABB one-two punch, however, makes it virtually impossible to shop quickly or with any semblance of enjoyment, due to the Pooching, Offensive Waistband (POW!) syndrome, which will be detailed momentarily.

But first, these are my minimum requirement for jeans, which also complicates the search:

  1. boot cut or straight leg, none of that flapping flared style, please
  2. a stretch/denim blend for the all-important crotch comfort
  3. dark wash because it seems more sophisticated
  4. petite leg length so I'm not tripping over yards and yards of denim
  5. mid-rise because low-rise can only be worn correctly by 2% of the population, though, sadly, this rule is flagrantly violated on a daily basis
  6. no wierd rhinestones, distressing, white fade-outs or deliberate rips/holes/shreds because I'm not 12.

So today I set out to shop. Who would win? Sheer persistence on my part or the FABB?

Up first, a contender from the GAP Curvy line. Quite acceptable straight on:

But then, POW!:

On to Lane Bryant (by doing so I have broken a years-long boycott based on their tendency to design clothes that would only fit women who are 6 feet or taller. It's wierd). Here, the waistband gap was less obvious, even workable with a long shirt, but the jeans failed to pass the crucial squat test:

At Mervyn's, the Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans were a lovely dark wash but were still vanquished by the FABB:

At Dilliard's I tried on some Calvin Klien low-rise jeans to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of the dominance of this trend, as my butt is practically falling out of the pants:

I also tried on Levi's, Lee's "One True Fit" label, and some no-name department store brands. It all ended the same, with a resounding FABB victory. I would show you some more photos, but I figure you've seen enough of my underwear already.

FABB clearly walked out of the mall as the winner today, not I.

I suppose the problem might be solved with strategic use of a belt, assuming for a moment that I can get over my hatred of belts. When you have any kinds of hips, unthreading the whole damn thing in order to get your pants down over your hips is a colossal pain, especially for me since I mainline water and visit the restroom a jillion times per day.

Taking jeans to a seamstress for waistband alteration is also an option, though I have my reservations about what the final product would look like.

Truly, I don't expect ready-to-wear, mass-produced clothing to fit everbody, but surely the FABB phenomenom is not limited to just me. Surely, somewhere out there is a pair of jeans that will embrace the FABB. A girl can dream.

Round Two: boobs vs. the button-down shirt.