I like to say that I stopped running in middle school due to shin splints and boredom, but there is a third reason as well, one that causes a select few women (especially nursing mamas) to nod their head in sympathy.
That reason? Boobs.
This is not to say that women cannot be stellar athletes, but it is a lot easier for our flat-chested sisters than it is for those of us considered more “well-endowed.” Since I was 15, I have been about a 34DD (except for a brief, shudder-full time during both pregnancies when I made a brief foray into G territory).
When I started running in earnest, my breasts shrunk to a respectable 34D, which pleased me a.) because I could suddenly wear button down shirts again and b.) because it made running easier.
My worst nightmare is to be one of “those” large breasted women—you know, the ones who have seemingly no knowledge of sports bra technology, who run down the street, their girls flapping and bouncing left, right, up, down. So I strapped my boobs down with industrial strength sports bras—the Enells, the Champions, the Nikes. They all hold me down, but they also have their drawbacks.
The Enell chafes below my breasts and on longer runs the stinging combo of sweat and skin rubbing can be excruciating. The Champions and Nikes require a second bra to give me the kind of compression I need. And none could stand up to the biggest test my boob+running combo was to face: nursing.
Nursing, that miraculous process that helped me go from my nice, comfortable D to a (very) full 34DD. Today on my long run, the entire front of my shirt was covered in blood from the chafing. Fourteen miles and I spent the last one sobbing as blood ran down my stomach.
Suffice it to say, I am in the market for a sports bra that can take me all 26.2 miles, keep me compressed and dry and also not remove any skin.
Here are a couple bras I am anxious to try, although I have not yet been able to get them:
1.) The Lululemon “tata tamer.” If this one lives up to its name, it could be perfect.
2.) Title “3+ Barbell” collection
3.) The Shock Absorber D+ Max Sports Bra
Each of these will be coming with me on my long runs in the coming weeks so that I can best ascertain which will come with me over the 26.2 mile course that is less than two months away. Gulp.
Sasha Brown-Worsham is a writer, a mother and an unabashed, unashamed runaholic. Check her progress each week as she trains to qualify for the Boston Marathon.