Monday, July 27, 2015

Hopefully ... I Have Tri'd

Well, it's Monday.  And if all went well over the weekend, once you read this post I will have completed my first ever outdoor triathlon.




Hopefully, anyway. 

I say hopefully because I'm writing this post on Thursday afternoon and scheduling it to publish Monday morning.  So I'm trying not to jinx myself. 

And also, I'm trying not to have a pre-swim panic attack.




As you know, I've been working up to doing a "real" triathlon for quite some time.  In addition to attending indoor swim classes now for ... what, close to two years maybe, I dunno ... back in February I raced and indoor tri called the Tri-U-Mah and pretty much nailed it.  No, I don't mean I was fast-fast, but I did well considering it was my first ever tri ... and I kept a 30mph pace on the bike, so there's that. 

Anyway, as soon as I completed Tri-U-Mah, I knew I was ready to transition into outdoor tri racing.  In preparation for what was to come, I did some wetsuit shopping, bought some open water swim gear and I started contemplating races.  And in fact, I had a race all picked out and was waiting to get in some open water swim practice before I registered ... but then, dang.  I realized it was the same weekend as a trip I had agreed to take with my husband, and we had already paid for a hotel, etc.  Shoot.

Back to square one and looking for a new race, a few months ago I started researching tris all around the area.  In my searching, initially I came across the "Chase the Police" tri and thought it looked interesting.  But, I wanted to weigh my other options.  So, I himmed and hawed through all sorts of races, with Chase the Police always sitting in the back of my head. 

OK fine.  Let's be real.  You know as soon as I read the course description, I was sold on Chase the Police.  I really had no intention of doing anything else:

"The course starts in the charming Walker City Park, where police, EMS, and military personnel will start the race by chasing the ceremonial doughnut into Leech Lake. Once the police and EMS personnel are on their way with their “head start,” the racers will then start the race and “chase” the police, attempting to catch up to them and finish the race before them."




Before I had truly admitted to myself that I was doing Chase the Police, though, I still continued to review my options.  Factoring in a multitude of other personal commitments (meaning I had a limited amount of open weekends when I could actually race a tri), and the reality that I wouldn't be in shape for anything more than a sprint distance in 2015 simply due to lack of training time, I had essentially filtered down my race requirements to a sprint distance race the weekend of July 25-26. 

So, up until about 2-3 weeks ago, I was seriously considering both the Chase the Police and the Shell Lake tri (Shell Lake, Wisconsin), which were both scheduled to happen the same day.

But Shell Lake, dog!  What were you thinking?! 

Shell Lake - 0.33 mile swim, 15 mile bike and 3.5 mile run. 
Chase the Police - 0.25 mile swim, 17 mile bike, 2.8 mile run.

Knowing my swim is my weakest sport and biking is my strongest (for now anyway, which isn't saying much), comparing Shell Lake to Chase the Police was a no brainer.  Not only did Shell Lake make me swim and run further, it cut the bike down by 2 miles - where I was likely to do the best, it was shorter.  Boo! 

That meant, not too long ago, I was posting this:




So ... that's where I stand.  A premise to my first ever tri and a suggestion to pee in my wet suit.  Heh.

That's all I got for now.  You'll just have to sit tight for the official recap, which like all my race recaps, will be published Wednesday.

Friday, July 24, 2015

I'm Just Sort of OK

So, it's been a bit over a year since I wrote this post about my miscarriage.  While I don't want to spend any significant time on this blog talking about it, since that's not really why I write here, it seems like the time is right to make some sort of comment about where I'm at.

Mostly, because I think it is quite obvious some days that I'm just still ... only sort of OK.

I guess I should start by saying ... you know, having a miscarriage is a funny thing.  So many people have no idea how miserable it really is, and how long afterwards you are messed up from the experience.  For example, in the last year, I've had people expect me to be back to normal and wanting to party as early as 2-3 weeks, or even 2-3 months, after.

Let me tell you something.  For most people who have miscarried, their body isn't even back to normal in the first 2 months.  Not that I want to get into the gory details of what all is going on down there, but for me ... yeah.  Let's just keep it simple by saying my doctor didn't even want me swimming in a public pool for 6 weeks.  So you can guess just about how "normal" I was feeling until month 2 ... at least.

Even in the first 6-8 months, things were really hard.  Especially when I started seeing friends and acquaintances who were due about the same time as me start to have their children.  It was so hard to want what they had so badly ... and not be able to have it.  Knowing it had been lost to me.

In the process of trying to recover from my miscarriage in the first 6 months, things got exponentially worse.  I started having issues with my feet that forced me to give up running and limit my exercise.  Even with giving up a good 50% of my weekly physical activities, most mornings the pain was so severe in my feet that I thought I wouldn't be able to get out of bed.  While I've debated for some time if those plantars fasciitis signs were somewhat triggered by my miscarriage induced mini-depression, I do think it was legitimate ... as I've never been one to let things get me down to that extent.  But it was interesting timing.

Of course, this reduction in activity coupled with my desire to offset my depression via caloric intake was a terrific combo.  So, not only did I put on about 10 pounds during the initial stages of my pregnancy, I put on another 5-10 after that.  Yes, for awhile I was making an honest effort to try to fight that gain.  But then things got worse.

Unfortunately, just when I thought I might finally clear through the frustrations of my miscarriage and plantars, I ended up finding out about 4-5 months ago that my father has/had kidney cancer.  During the first rounds of diagnosis, doctors feared that it had metastasized into his lungs, and things were looking very grim.  The latest news is that though the swollen kidney they removed was in fact cancerous, thankfully it appears that the issue in his lungs is perhaps just a minor infection.  So for now, the doctors keep an eye on it, and we just continue to wait to make sure that proves true.  But to be honest, by the time this event rolled around, I was so dull to the emotions that I just kind of ... stared wide eyed through most of it.

Meanwhile, during all this, obviously I'm still hoping each month that I'll become pregnant again.  And it's just ... not ... happening.  Which is maddening, considering how quickly I got pregnant before.  And that means every month I'm living through this constant process of counting days, counting cycles,  and restraining myself from the things I love on the days when I might be pregnant, only to find out it was all for naught.  Not to mention the running stroller my husband gave me for my birthday back when I was still pregnant, which sits in our workout room gathering dust.  Some days I can barely mange to look at it, and close the workout room door in disgust when I see it.  I keep thinking I should pack it up and put it into storage, but for some reason I just can't stomach that finality.

So, I guess it kind of goes without saying that things for me have been extremely stressful in the last year or so.  Which is why ... yes, I'm up 15-20 pounds.  But there is just too much going on right now, so I'm not going to pressure myself over it.

And although I've typed all the above, the reality is ... I'm getting better.  I finally made it through an entire month without stressing monumentally about any of the above. 

Plus, I'm finally able to do workouts again without major foot pain.  And, I just found out I got into the TC 10 mile this week.

So, things are starting to look up again.  With my first tri on the schedule for this weekend, and some major races on the docket for this fall ... I think I'm finally starting to get back into a normal rhythm again.

Let's hope this time, it sticks.







Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Gandy Dancer Fly In Trail Run 5K 2015 (Finding a New Fan)

 
 
Gandy Dancer Fly In Trail Run 5K (3.15 miles)
34:27
Average Pace 10:56mile



Last Friday, I took the day off of work and found myself doing this.






Why, you ask?  Well ... because the Gandy Dancer Fly-In weekend had arrived, of course!! 

You may remember that I mentioned this event two years ago on this blog.  And yes, unfortunately last year I had a wedding to attend on the same weekend as the fly-in, so I missed it in 2014.  But this year, I was free to attend!  So, needless to say, bright and early Friday morning my husband and I packed up Bubba and took off from Flying Cloud headed towards Siren Airport. 

Oh, with wonder dog in tow.




It's true, my 15 year old beagle likes flying better than I do.  Most the time, once the motor revs up, he just curls up into a ball and sleeps in the back seat.  Which just so happens to be the exact opposite of what I do.  And ... lets just say, since this was only my second "through the clouds" flight ... well, at least I didn't pee or cry.  #WINNING!!

Anyway, after waiting around at Flying Cloud for the early morning fog to burn off in Siren, we finally popped through the clouds and made our arrival.  Though, upon landing, we had a little issue with trying to work out parking since the airport was already proving quite full (the day prior to the actual fly-in!!).  After about 45 minutes of working to figure out temporary over flow parking and trying to locate loaner stakes to tie down the plane, we were finally settled and headed to the cabin.


---


Fast forward: race morning.

Much like when I ran this race in 2013, I found myself again quite pleased on race morning to complete check in at the local government center.  (*ahem* indoor flushing toilets and running water in the sinks *ahem*) 

Check in was also quite smooth, likely due to the fact that most of the 70+/- participants appeared to already be checked in by the time we arrived.  This was a good thing because, despite our early registration, we did find a minor error with my sister's information and she ended up re-reporting her age on race day.  A little frustrating, as I remember having a lot of issues with this in 2013 as well.  But, no deal breaker.

Once we settled my sister's registration information, we were provided our bibs and race shirts - which I thought were much improved over 2013.  Though personally, I'm not a fan of wicking shirts, since I prefer to wear my race t's as everyday wear and performance t's aren't really suited for that.  But again, no deal breaker.  Besides, since this shirt was a nice light color, and I decided it would be perfect to leave at the cabin as a "boating shirt" (IE a nice wicking cover up for when I'm out on the pontoon and likely to get wet).





After check-in in, since my husband was still at the government center, my sister and I went back out to him to drop our "swag" and then queued up for the race shuttle.  Just like in 2013, the race coordinators were again using what I assume is their local sports team's bus to shuttle participants to the start. 

While I appreciated the shuttle service, I do think they need to make an amendment as to how they manage moving runners to the start in 2016, since the process of getting all 70+/- runners to the off site start ended up taking much longer than it ought to.  And unfortunately, this translated into a significantly late start.  (As you know, a personal pet peeve of mine).  If I recall correctly, I vaguely remember this being an issue in 2013 as well.  My recommendation in 2016 would be to either (1) make note on the registration that a shuttle is required to get to the start, with shuttle service starting at 6:45 am and last pickup at 7:15 (just making up numbers here - but that timeline seems reasonable, as it allows for one last shuttle sweep to get later comers to the start before 7:30), or (2) redesign the course into some sort of out and back so that a shuttle is not required.  Honestly, if this race grows any larger, I think option 2 will end up being forced on the organizers, as I can't see how they would continue to be able to shuttle so many people to an off site start.

Anyway!  I'm digressing.

Despite the 7:30 listed gun time of the race, at 7:40 we were still milling around the start awaiting the gun.  This became a bit of a problem as the biting flies and gnats were out in droves, and many people were swatting at the flies as they stood in wait.  As we batted around our heads with the best of them, several people approached my sister and I inquiring about our nifty outfits, which were InkNBurn of course.




Finally, the last of the folks arrived on the shuttle, and the race director made his opening speech - which included an explanation of the course and listing off a bunch of sponsors.  Then, a second speaker took over to announce how this race was the final event in a series of races called the "Siren Super Cell", and he spent some time talking about how those races were all scored cumulatively with this race as their final opportunity to score points.

Being that we were already 10-15 minutes behind, and the bugs were biting, I was excessively impatient during these speeches.  I know they are a necessary evil, since the sponsors make the race possible, but ... what can I say?  I just wanted to run away from the bugs! 

After what seemed like forever due to the incessant bugs, both speakers wrapped up.  Then - BANG!  They fired a gun, and we were off!!

As I recalled from 2013, a good portion of this race was run on the Gandy Dancer trail, which is a relatively flat crushed gravel recreational trail that wraps around the airport.  Back before I was knocked out of running a little over a year ago due to plantars issues in my feet, I used to occasionally train on this trail.  (Here's to hoping that happens again in the near future)  Despite my reduction in running in the last year, I still bike on this trail quite frequently.

Within the first quarter of a mile, my sister and I agreed that she was in better running shape and likely to beat me, so we parted ways.  Of course, I was frustrated with myself to be in such a deconditioned running slump and carrying extra weight as a result, but I couldn't have been happier for my sister and her monumental running gains in the last year. 

As I watched her dart off into the distance, I heard a "hey, are you the one who writes the blog?!"  LOL!  I happened to interact briefly with a new blog fan and local runner in Siren, which helped with my funk a little.  At least until the humidity started to catch up with me.

Unfortunately, the humidity started to bog down my sister as well, so I ended up catching up to her before we hit the water station at the 2 mile mark.  There, since the heat was wearing us out, we both decided to take a walk break and fully enjoy a cup of water.  You can see where we slowed down in orange on the map below.




On the plus side, that was also when we exited the gravel trail, so running from that point on was much more enjoyable.

And although the final stretch was a run on an open grassy field, that was a tad slick due to the rains the night before, it seems like we never slowed down after our walk break.  If you review the chart below, it appears we kept a nice even pace to the end.  However, this year, there were no planes flying over as we completed this portion.  Aw.  :-(





Finally, sweating profusely due to the heat and humidity, my sister and I tromped into the finish.  Though it wasn't a PR for either one of us, given the heat and the gravel trail, our finish time was good enough. 

Once we cleared the chute, we promptly met up with the rest of our party who had been waiting on us for over 15 minutes (due to the late start), and scurried off to the pancake breakfast that they were eager to eat.






Let's not lie.  I was hungry, too.  Besides, who can say no to a breakfast with ice cream, AMIRITE?!

After we were all filled to the brim with pancakes, my sister gladly accepted a 2nd place medal in the 20-29 category (hooray to her, but boo - no medal for me), and then we wandered around the air show taking in the sites.






Eventually, despite the fact that Kinetico was there with free water bottles and a tap truck, we just became simply too hot and headed back to the cabin to cool off in the lake.

Oh, and by the way ... somehow, the evening ended like this.  Don't know why ...





---


And that's the story of how race bib #60 joined my collection.  All in all, late start aside, this was a great repeat race for both of us.  With an improved shirt, a 2nd place medal for my sister, and an always delicious pancake breakfast ... how could we not be happy?

Here's to another race soon ... my first tri next weekend, yikes! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Racing Recap for 2015 Thus Far

Back in May I laid out my 2015 racing plan.  In that post, I talked about my 15 bib per year goal, and what my tentative schedule was for the year.

So ... how am I doing?


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Completed Races
Total races - 9
Total bibs - 8

Feb - Tri-U-Mah, AKA my first ever triathlon (although no bib was received)
April - Hot Chocolate
May - Lake Minnetonka Half RelayCinco de Miler
June - Run the Inferno, Carlyle Sherstad, Rainbow Run
July - Freedom Five, Gandy Fly-In (recap pending - stay tuned!)

Not too shabby of a start to the racing season, eh?!  Of my 15 goal bibs, I'm over half way there with 8 on my wall.  But ... maybe that's not enough given we are over half way through summer, and thus over half way through the ideal racing season in Minnesota.  Hopefully being just ahead of the curve in all three will prove sufficient.


Races ScheduledTotal races - 15
Total bibs - 13
July - Chase the Cops Tri (not likely to include a bib)
August - Webster Education
September - Suds Run, Women Run the Cities
October - TC 10 Mile (pending lotto), Mankato
November & Beyond - TBD based on weather

OK, so this is where I start to falter.  I'm for sure 2 bibs short of my goal, despite the fact that I'm on par for total races completed (damn triathlons and their body marking).  I guess I need to get on it and find a few more races to run yet this summer.  Suggestions?

Oh ... and let's not talk about my training for the Women Run the Cities and TC 10 milers.  Because ... well, there hasn't been any.  I suppose I should hop on that.


---


Motivate me with your race suggestions below!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

How to Remove the Stank

I've now mentioned in two blog posts that I've discovered a way to get more stank out of your workout clothes.  I suppose since I've said it twice, today is as good a day as any to get out with it and tell you what I do.

First, a little background.

I am very particular on how I wash my workout clothes.  I buy mostly higher end pieces that cost a fair amount of money.  As such, I'm not going to wash them in a way that shortens their life span.  That means I use cooler water, gentle spin, and NEVER put them in the dryer.

The dryer, by the way, is the key point there.  If you don't want your elastics and spandex items to die a premature death, you have to keep your stuff away from the heat.  I got one of these guys at Target to help aid in the air drying process (and honestly, it's not any more work than putting something in the dryer anyway).

 


So now you know.  I'm an OCD workout wear washer.  Heh.

Anyway, for several years I really struggled with washing my workout clothes so that they came out really smelling clean.  It seemed like no matter how quickly I washed them, how much detergent I used, or how many times I washed an item, they would still come out smelling faintly ... stanky.

Before I started teaching, I had even asked some of my peers at the gym how they washed their clothes.  That is how I discovered that I'm not the only one who struggled with this issue.  And that was enough to put me on the prowl.

So of course, the first thing I did was hit up Google.  After reading several articles, I decided: (1) I am not washing my clothes in vinegar no matter how much they stink, (2) I am not going to stop using soap all together which some sites actually suggested, and (3) I didn't particularly want to start using a sports specific laundry detergent that was only available at a sporting goods store and was super expensive.

That left me with little other options, which meant a lot of trial and error on potential solutions I dreamt up on my own.  Not having any really good results from anything I tried, I started to get frustrated.  The only thing that I had limited luck with was pairing Tide Sport with Febreeze powered fabric softener ... which not long after I started doing that, I found out fabric softener isn't good for your workout clothing.  Boo.




So, I settled for just using the Tide Sport, bleached any sports bras I had that were white and could take it, and learned to live with the stink. 

However, not long after making that concession, Downy released these:




Queue singing angels.

Figuring I had nothing to lose, and also having a promotional first time by coupon, a few years ago I bought my first bottle of Downy Unstoppables ... and what do you know?!  I discovered that by pairing Tide Sport with Downy Unstoppables in the wash cycle ... ta-da!  My fitness clothing came out of every wash finally smelling fresh.  I was thrilled.

And of course, I was even more excited a year or so ago when they launched a new scent.  Since your nose can adjust over time to smells, it's always good to rotate through what you use to help you appreciate a smell more.

 


And ... well, that's pretty much it!  I hope you found this information helpful, and if you decide to give it a shot, let me know how it goes!

Or ... if you have your own unique trick on how you keep your workout clothing smelling fresh, share what you do in the comments below!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Work to Workout: The Value to Investing in Good Workout Gear

A few days ago, I baited you on the topic of "Work to Workout" by showing you this image:

 


I did so because I wanted to spur a conversation centered around the value of investing in good workout gear.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not about to start preaching the "active wear as day wear" trend, and suggest you all run out to Lulu or some other horrendously over priced fitness store to start scooping up black spandex capris and oversized, plain scoop neck tanks.  I am NOT trying to get you all to start looking like this:

 


I mean, let's face it.  I don't care how good you look in your black workout spandex.  That sh!t isn't meant to be worn around in public.  You just look dumb doing it.

However!!  What I want to demonstrate today is that with some smart shopping and an investment in a handful of quality fitness pieces, you can easily expand your current everyday wardrobe and save yourself some time and effort when it comes to packing for the gym (and doing laundry after).

Here are a few examples of what I mean, based on actual outfits I've worn in the last month:

 

 




And a variation on the striped capri, from a workout perspective anyway:




As you can see, with the investment in a few key high end workout items, I've been able to mix and match three entire work outfits that transition seamlessly into a workout later in the day.  And even within these sets, there's lots of options - for example, I've paired the amigo shirt with the lace capris and it looks fantastic.  And I bet you could do the teal skull shirt with the striped leggings as well!

So ... where am I going with all this?

Well, a few places.

First, I've seen a handful of people comment on InkNBurn and how it's a little on the pricey side.  And I definitely understand how some might have a little sticker shock when first looking into any brand of quality workout gear, especially if you're new to the workout world or have been using old t-shirts and shorts at the gym (but I certainly don't understand that comment when it comes from the mouth of experienced workout folks who shop at Lulu or similar ... who are paying even higher prices for something with no design to it that's not even made in the USA).  By demonstrating the above, my hope is that folks who are hesitant to purchase something based on price alone can see ... a well designed fitness piece is worth the investment when you consider it can work into your everyday wardrobe as well.

Second & Third - I'm trying to share my gains with you.  Not only have I been able to cut down my laundry significantly by multi-purposing my outfits (like I show above), I have been saving a ton of time and hassle in regards to packing for the gym and changing once at the gym.  Which in the end, these two factors all boil down into convenience ... and let's face it, the more a workout is inconvenient, the more likely you'll not want to do it, right?!  So, I'm trying to make it easier for you to be motivated to work out!

Fourth - for me, having fun and fashionable workout gear like this has made a huge difference in my mind set when it comes to actually working out.  I've learned that, for me, having things that I enjoy wearing and that I feel good in, makes me (1) look forward to working out and (2) helps me enjoy my time during said workout.  By having a handful of pieces like the above, I've come to enjoy being active much, much more.  Depending on your own fashion sense, this may not be as big of a motivating factor in your life.  But you can apply this to fit & function as well, since higher end pieces typically feel better on and allow you to be more comfortable as you work.  So if you want to throw the fashion piece out, at least there's that factor working for you.

So, when you combine all the above factors, and remember that in making the right selection when it comes to purchasing workout gear you may also end up adding some fun new items to your wardrobe ... in the end a more expensive piece of workout gear really isn't so bad.  As long as you can launder it right to get the gym stink out for future non-gym wear (more on this in a future post).

And just in case you think I'm blowing smoke ...





Monday, July 13, 2015

Product Review - VS Sports Bras

Ok, today I have to eat a little crow.

You know how ages ago I wrote about Victoria's Secret sport underwear?  Well ... in that post, and also in one of my OG posts from back when I first set up this blog, I ripped a little on Victoria's Secret workout bras.  Mostly, I didn't like them because:

(1) They emphasized fashion over function
(2) They were designed to show off the girls, not keep them under control
(3) They didn't offer any in basic white so that I could bleach out my post workout stank

And to be fair, I had even purchased and wore a VS Sport bra way back when they first launched the line.  So, despite my reservations and the above 3 points, I fought the good fight and tried to like the product.  But, the results were not good, and I promptly tucked that bra away in the back of my closet never to be heard from again.

So - let's fast forward.  I now own two new VS Sport bras, and ...




Yep. 

I'll take my crow with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy, and some steamed broccoli, please.

Here's what happened:  about two or three months ago, I got what I call my "free panty of the month" coupon in the mail.  Because seriously!  I don't know what the deal is over at Victoria's Secret, but I swear to god their goal in life is to bury me in free panties.  Which, by the way, I'll happily take.  I mean, I haven't actually purchased underwear in at least two years.

But I digress.

Anyway, for whatever reason, along with the free panty coupon that time, in addition to the standard $10 off any bra coupon they give you, Victoria's Secret also included a coupon that was something like "$30 for any VS Sport Bra".  I wasn't originally going to use it, but then I got to thinking.  Since I hadn't purchased any new sports bras in a good two years, and I was badly overdue, I thought... well, for $30, why not?!  I mean, cheaper than any other option out there right now, since they discontinued the bra I really liked at Kohls anyway.

So while I grabbed my free panty, I perused their sports bra selection, and settled on this gem.




Honestly, as I was checking out with the cashier, I wasn't totally convinced.  The bra felt pretty heavily padded, and I am not one for colored sports bras.  But I figured for $30 ... ok, fine.  It'll do. 

And even when I first wore the bra, I was still ... underwhelmed.  The padding made my boobs look like two cannons ready for battle and served dual purpose as a catch all for every drop of sweat I generated during class (which, if you've ever worked out with me, you know that's a lot).  No to mention, the blazing pink ended up showing through the workout shirt I picked for that day.

But something funny happened after I tried to keep the bra in rotation for at least a few more workouts...

Accidentally one day, in trying to dual purpose one of my InkNBurn tops as a work and workout shirt (thus saving myself some laundry), I decided - hey, why not wear my VS Sport bra, too?  I mean, it shapes me just as well as any of my every day bras, and feels equally as good, so why not just wear it all day and save myself a little extra laundry and gym packing?



The idea was GENIUS!  Not only did I save myself laundry and packing, the hidden bonus was I literally shaved minutes off of my pre-workout gym routine.  All I had to do when I got to the gym was swap out pants, tie my cross trainers, pull back my hair and ... viola!  I was ready.

Having that realization, and then getting another "free panty of the month" mailer a few weeks later with another $30 sport coupon, I decided to up the ante and buy a second bra.




I made that second purchase because despite the fact that the bra isn't the BEST sports bra ever, its cross functionality as a work to workout item (I'll talk more about this in a future post), to me, justified the small sacrifice in overall support.  And in all reality, for teaching my standard TBC classes, the support is just fine... though I wouldn't recommend these for running or other similar constant movement, cardio based workout routines.

Also, you'll notice for the second bra, I opted for a "neutral" color option.  I know, gray isn't really neutral as a bra color (IE white or beige).  But in terms of what I wear to workout and the potential for bra color show through, the gray color without any kind of pattern printed on it seemed to be the least offensive option.

Which, speaking of bra color ... I'm still not sold on the whole colorful sports bra trend, as I far prefer to have a standard white bra under my workout tops to avoid show through.  And I also prefer to bleach my sports bras.  But, at this point, that's not a total deal breaker, since I've since figured out how to get the stink out of my workout clothes without having to bleach them.  (I'll talk about that in a future post, too).

And so - I guess that's it!! 

To summarize, I won't recommend VS Sports bras as an all purpose solution for your workouts.  But, if you want to have the convenience of having to wash one less bra on a lower intensity workout day, they're a pretty solid option.

But don't hold your breath on me converting to loving their workout panties any time soon.