Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Shout-Out To The Best. Sports Bra. Ever.

First: Post-injury weekly mileage record (22 miles)! Post-injury distance record (8.7 miles)! This week is awesome just because of that.

Second: Let us talk about exciting things, like the prospect of racing (actual racing! With finish mats & timing chips & everything!) for the first time in nearly five months. On 10/19 I'll be toeing the line at the inaugural Let's Go 510 10K in Berkeley, and since this is supposed to be my glorious return to racing, I've purchased a new sports bra for the occasion:

Well; sort of. I'm not generally in the habit of buying new running clothes *just* for specific races, but in the last couple of weeks, I've found myself getting down to the last of my solid, reliable sports bras with workouts yet left to go before laundry day. I'd kind of been toying with the idea of at least wearing green & yellow for 510 (green & yellow are sort of the official colors of Oakland / the East Bay), so imagine how stoked I was to find that my absolute favorite running bra in the world, which I kind of wanted to grab another of anyway, is out in a new green & yellow pattern.

What's so awesome about Moving Comfort Alexis?

  • Compression AND encapsulation (ie, actual cups) -- shit is LOCKED DOWN.
  • Higher coverage
  • Mesh panels for extra ventilation
  • Thin, adjustable shoulder straps (I find these more comfortable than the traditional racer-back design)
  • Less chafing that any other running bra I've tried
  • (Reasonably) flattering shape (translation: no uni-boob. This is advantageous because I can wear it to work for lightning-quick wardrobe changes before & after lunchtime yoga / Pilates)
  • Fairly long-lived -- my oldest Alexis is coming up on three years and not quite as supportive as it used to be (I try to wear it for karate or yoga rather than running when I can), but that's a pretty darn good lifespan for a running bra.
  • Lots of cool colors & patterns

MC Alexis in plain black, SF Pride Run, June 2011

There are only two sports bras on the planet I trust for running (the other is the Nike Pro line), and this is one of them. The green & yellow is my sixth Alexis, and although at $34-36 they are not cheap (though you can sometimes get discontinued patterns at clearance prices), I've gone through my share of "bargain" sports bras & can say with confidence that this is definitely a case of you-get-what-you-pay-for. (And really...this isn't the priciest sports bra out there. Not by a long shot.)

LEFT: Nike Pro Combat in red, Bad Bass 10K, July 2011
RIGHT: Nike Pro Combat in purple, Healdsburg Half Marathon, October 2012

(Sidenote: The Moving Comfort site describes the Alexis as made for A/B cups, but I'm a C & a size medium is *perfect* for me. Yes, there is a bit of effort involved in getting it on & off, but let's be honest--this is the hallmark of a running bra that effing does its job. If you can pull it on & off like a tight shirt, don't complain when the girls are be-bopping all over the place.)

MC Alexis in light blue, Windsor Green Half Marathon, 2012

If you're looking for something in a larger size, I have heard good things about their Juno & Fiona styles -- you can check out the whole selection here.

* * *

Grand Total: 22 miles

    * 19 easy
    * 3 speed


a.m. 8 miles spin bike, lunchtime yoga, p.m. karate/strength work. Seriously, this is two weeks in a row of not hating on the spin bike. And I am always excited to hate things less. :)


5 speed. 1 warm-up, 4 x (1200m @ 5K pace / 3:00 rest), 1 cool down. Speed work, f**** yeah!!!!


karate / strength work. I planned a.m. spin bike & lunchtime yoga, but ended up working from home due to technical difficulties, so no gym access. :/


a.m. strength work + p.m. 3.3 easy. Hanging with Coach Nate & the Triathletes [that's a band name if I ever heard one] is always deceptively challenging -- no one drill or exercise seems that hard on its own, but attempt multiple sets of a bunch of them in a short amount of time, and suddenly you're soaked with sweat & sore in places you didn't know you had muscles. Efficiency win.

Hijinks ensued on Thursday evening & even though it was only supposed to be 3 miles I came very close to ditching this run altogether & just getting up early on Saturday to do it. Then around 8pm I just said, "Eh, screw it," changed clothes, & headed out. Even though I was dutifully engaging my glutes & hamstrings, this run still felt surprisingly easy. My average pace ended up being around 8:27, which is much, MUCH more reasonable for an easy run than the low-to-sub eights I've been seeing.


I was supposed to do a tempo run on Friday but woke up soooo sore I could barely walk. I'm guessing it was a combination of an intense karate day on Wednesday night & Thursday morning's strength session. Either way, since walking was challenging enough on its own, I decided not to attempt the tempo run & just take a rest day.


5 easy. I've been using Saturdays as pre-"long"-run rest days, but since I didn't run on Friday, I got up early & ran 5 easy miles. I'd sort of toyed with the idea of attempting the 1 warm up / 4x1600m @ 7:20 / 1 cool down, but it became evident early on that although I *was* able to run, the idea of running a 7:20 mile was just laughable. Over the course of the morning, though, I loosened up, & did manage to finish my last three miles sub-8:00. (Not what I intended to do, but there you go.)


8.7 easy. I wanted to hit 22 for the week, so 8.7 through Golden Gate Park it was. This is the first time since April I've done a "long" run after a non-rest day, and I could feel it in my legs. By the time I got going at around 11am, it was bright and sunny, so although the temperature was probably only low seventies, it also felt uncomfortably warm & there was little shade to be had in the park. I was glad I opted to ditch the top & just run in sports bra & shorts (stripey purple Alexis FTW!), but still--one of my hardest runs since May, in spite of the fact that I was specifically watching my Garmin & making a concerted effort to keep my pace slower than 8:15. (I finished with an 8:10 average, soooooo....yeah. That is what it is, I guess.)

I finished this week with tired legs, so we'll see what happens with my track workout come Tuesday evening.


  1. Ah, a fellow Alexis fan! The top edge does come up a little high and stick a little far out of my favourite tank tops for my A-cup, ironing-board liking, but they are far and away my favourite sports bras. A tip: Sierra Trading Post frequently has them on sale for less than half the regular price.

    I feel like Coach Nate & the Triathletes would be a great band, except they would all go to bed by 10pm on Fridays after a single beer because they had to wake up for long bike rides on Saturday morning.

    - Grace

    1. I have totally gotten one or two at Sierra Trading Post! Yep, the one thing about wearing them to work is that if I wear a tank top they stick out a little, but I just tell myself people will assume I'm wearing two tank tops. Layering is in, right? :)

  2. I've heard that the cup style bras are better, but I don't know if I could handle the thin straps. I do have a few moving comfort bras (a different style) and while not cheap, they're a good value. I'll pay in the $30 range, but not $80 like some of these bras!

    1. Seriously. For $80 that bra better run the race for me.

  3. If I'd known you wore them, I would have given you the size medium Alexis bra I just donated... I've tried Moving Comfort twice now, and both of the bands chafed me horribly. I can't even bring myself to try on their other clothing, even when it's on clearance, because of the chafing memories. I was so bummed, because I liked the lining of the Alexis.

    1. Ah, bummer! I totally would've taken it off your hands!

  4. Cracking running this week!

    I'm the opposite spectrum of the bra world - I've just discovered the Target compression bras and I'm seriously impressed. Like the Nike Pro Combat compression (which I also love) but half the price! It even somehow manages to give me a chest under my tank for which I am very grateful :)

    1. Hey, if the cheap ones work, go for it!!

  5. Aaack, where did my comment go?
    Anyway, I think I said: I'm bookmarking this for a later date, because I've spent way too much money on running clothes lately. I've been having really bad chafing on all of my long runs for MCM, even though I did have any chafing while training for CIM last year -- except for the race itself. I just bought 2 Nike Pro bras today (a bargain at $15 and $18), so I'm hoping they work out.

    1. Nice! Mine are both nearly two years old now, & they've held up really well. Hopefully they'll work out for you.