For The Women


Subject: Bras:
Experience From: "Trail" Patty Wellington, Jane Coleman , Megan Samuels#1 , Megan Samuels#2 , Pat Wellington , Holly Neault-Zinzow

Subject: Woman & Urinating on the Run
Experience From - Ann Snoeyenbos , Laurie Staton , Geri Kilgariff , Jeanie Gerstein , John Vonhof , Suzi Shearer ,

Nail Care for the 100 Miler
Menstrual Cycle and 100 Milers
Protecting Yourself From Attack
Looking Good


"Trail" Patty Wellington

Travis Bernritter writes:

"I don't mean to dredge up this subject again, but at the time that we talked about it I was more interested in the humor factor. If I remember right the outcome was that there was determined to be one "best bra" that you should buy. Can someone please let me know what that is, as Juliet is looking for more support than what she is currently getting with here sports bras."

I sent my previous letter to Runner's World regarding their Sports Bra review directly to Travis, thinking printing this again on the list would be overkill; But what the heck, this is important stuff.

I have a Taurean temper which I try to keep under control most of the time, so I didn't make comments on the January 1997 issue of Runner's World in which they printed two "cutesy" letters from women thanking them for their review of sports bras, including one from a --first time reader of your magazine-- which tells you how long this woman has been running, but nothing about her running bra experience, if any. But, Travis, you just pushed my bra buttons again.

This is also the same issue of Runner's World with the cover showing a model who sometimes runs. Huh?! What, there aren't enough real women runners to put on the cover?#!*

I didn't expect Runner's World to print my rather long --factual--diatribe. I did, however, expect them to make a statement about the availability of the Road Runner Sports Support Top for C and D Cups--not necessarily acknowledging me, but something to the effect that women ultra runners have had excellent experience with this bra.

Silly me. I assumed that Runner's World was a running magazine dedicated to keeping running consumers informed regarding the latest in running apparel/equipment available. Not so. As Ron McBee so astutely noted (and I'm sorry, Ron, I can't remember exactly what you said) but the problem with Runner's World is you only get a review of products they are financially connected to in some way. I mean, why else would you quote a male donkey like Effraim Nathan, President of Lontex Corporation, who's been in the "intimate apparel business" for 26 years (ya mean like Victoria Secret--and remember the founder of Victoria Secret committed suicide not long ago) in an article on women's sports bras. Well, you will see his joke of a white bra advertised in Runner's World, that's why! There are several companies dedicated to women's sports apparel, none of which were mentioned in this article.

For those who are interested, following is my earlier letter to Runner's World, which, I might add, received no response.

I eagerly turned to the article entitled: "In Search of the Perfect Sports Bra" in the November issue of Runner's World only to be very disappointed. I feel it's important that I pass along my expertise is this area, so I wrote a letter with my thoughts regarding the article. Should be interesting to see if it gets printed.

Dear Runner's World:

In Search of the Perfect Sports Bra

I find it very strange that in an article entitled "In Search of the Perfect Sports Bra" you place an adjacent picture of a very thin woman who could probably get by with wearing a t-shirt and no bra. Secondly, this male person by the name of Effraim Nathan, president of Lontex Corporation, who's been in the "intimate apparel business" for 26 years, is quoted as follows:

(a) "Most women don't even know their size." Duh? What planet is this guy from? and (b)"Also, the best running bras should have at least 25 percent Lycra for a comfortable horizontal stretch. Anything less than that won't compress the breasts sufficiently." Wrong again! (See makeup of the "real" perfect sports bra outlined below.) Then the article lists the following as #4 under "Tried-and-True Tips: "If for some reason the seams of your favorite sports bra chafe your skin, try wearing the garment inside out so there are no rough edges." Are you kidding?! Has Eileen Portz-Shovlin , who wrote this article, even worn a sports bra? Wouldn't it have made more sense to talk to companies who specialize in making sports apparel for women?

As a 34C ultra runner, I've conducted by own research on sports bras after suffering from severe bra burn wearing the Action-Tech bra profiled in the article. I've kept the Ultra Internet list groups entertained this past year by discussing the issue of "Bra Burn and the Bounce Factor" in running 50Ks and 50 milers in depth. And, specifically, how the bounce factor relates to a B cup as opposed to a C cup over the looong run. This article failed to mention the critical fact for C and D cup support: Just because a bra says it "fits" C and D cups doesn't necessarily mean it "supports" C and D cups over the looong run.

Just when I thought I'd be applying Vaseline to key bra hot spots forever, I discovered the ROAD RUNNERS "C" AND "D" SUPPORT TOP. Since January I have run six 50Ks and two 50 milers with absolutely no bra burn wearing this bra. Women runners who are C and D cups need to know about this bra and it should be added to your report! And most important, it's attractive and comes in fashion colors such as jade, periwinkle, fuschia, purple and black!

Description: Molded Cups are made of a uniquely supportive fabric that reduces bounce. Smooth endless construction ends chafing. Comfortable racer back. All in a substantial 12-1/2 oz. blend of 90% Supplex/10% Lycra. Price: $24.99.

The key difference is the Road Runner "C" and "D" Support Top lining is soft and smooth and stays that way washing after washing and really wicks away moisture; whereas the Action-Tech Bra lining "balls up" after several washing's and doesn't wick away moisture as well. The Road Runner Bra is also cut just a little higher at the neckline and a little lower at the midriff, which I feel substantially contributes to NO CHAFING.

As far as the bras profiled in the article, the "Sweat It Out" Bra by Lontex Corporation is a joke, right? What woman is going to wear that "white" cross-your-heart straight jacket for any activity? And this is a sample product of the "intimate apparel" company whose president is quoted in this article...

Pat Wellington, who has moved on to duct tape now that she has found the ultrarunner's wonder bra.


Jane Coleman

"If I remember right the outcome was that there was determined to be one "best bra" that you should buy."

It all depends on who you ask, and how much support Juliet needs. Pat Wellington swears by the Road Runner Sports C and D sports top. I prefer the FROG (freedom of gravity) bra from Title 9 Sports, which I find more supportive and comfortable although the Road Runner Sports one is lined, which is very nice. They are both bras which give a lot of support, are suitable for small-backed large-breasted women, and can be worn without a shirt if you like.


Megan Samuels #1

Ah, my first post and it's something I know a great deal about. Bras.

Being a well endowed runner, from the onset of my running this physical attribute posed a difficult problem. I was so desperate that I was going to have a bra made, but while at the LA Marathon Expo in 1990, I came across what has been until this day the answer to my problem. Here in LA is a woman runner who manufactures running bras under the name "Support Team" Her first name is Christine and her company is located in Reseda CA., which is in the 818 area code and it is listed under "Support Team." You can also purchase her bras through Phidippedes Sports Center (818) 986-8686. They are beautifully designed (by a woman, for women) with soft but stable material, coolmax lining and adjustable straps. I know women with A cups to DD cups wearing this bra. She can also special make some. They cost about $40 with tax but well worth it. I wear a 36 C cup in my everyday bras, but wear the 36D in hers, so you need to go a size up (in a lot of cases)

I've tried lots of other bras, most have these funky, stretchy straps that are counter productive.


Megan Samuals #2

About bras, Pat and I have e-mailed back and forth about this. I bought the Frog Bra and all I had to do was put it on to know that I would be very unhappy in it. I could not breath. I also purchased the sport top bra which was better, however, it was still a little tight and I have to exchange it for a larger size. I'll update you when I get it.

After our run on Sunday (16 miles at Strawberry Peak in the San Gabriels) I was sitting with Pat DeVita whom some of you may know and her daughter Vicki whom many of you may know (she won AC a few years back) and we were having this same conversation. We were praising the Support Team Bra and since I had my specially made one on they wanted to see it. When I lifted my shirt they said, God you are big. (Yeah, give me a f***ing break) Duh! We all knew Christine who makes the bras, she's a runner herself and apparently she does not know how to market them.

I run with a group of mostly women. We call ourselves "The Ultra Ladies" and most of them wear the Support Team Bra. Maybe because we all live in LA where they are made.

Just like I'm always looking for a better shoe, I'm also always looking for a better bra. I'm keeping an open mind and await with great expectation the larger Support Top in the mail. It has potential and the colors are the real selling point for me. I also like the idea of the long bra that Pat describes and I will try it. But I got to say that this mail order thing is killing me. It cost a lot more to buy stuff mail order. You think shoes are expensive, try S&H on 2 bras!


Pat Wellington

Road Runner Sports has done it again! While I'm thrilled with Road Runner Sports "C and D" Support Top (which comes in jade, fuschia, periwinkle, purple or black), the spring 1997 catalog has a new RRS "Full Power Long Top" for full busted women. It's essentially the same bra as the "C and D" Support Top, but comes down to the waist (which is good for protecting the waist from water bottle pack strap burn). And it comes in more fabulous colors: ice blue, purple, teal, wine, yellow, navy, red, black, and, oh yes, even white!!

Description: Designed to give C and D-size cup women support during running and other high impact activities. Quick drying, breathable Supplex nylon shell with a Coolmax liner provides the ultimate in moisture management. (Absolutely true!) Sizes: 32C to 40DD...Price: $32.99

All I can say is Road Runner Sports has really done their homework in the Bra Department. Their Bra Research Team must be working overtime. I received my "Full Power Long Top" bra today, in red of course, and so far have only tested it by jumping up and down in my living room, but I can tell it's a winner.


Holly Neault-Zinzow

I will consider myself forewarned about the possibility of getting lost at Voyager. I plan to carry a laminated course map in my sports bra. Yes, I did say in my sports bra. I will let you women in on a secret carrying compartment I have used, ever since I gave up wearing a pack in races (stomach problems). Most of us that run a lot of ultras do have a little extra room in that sports bra, and after all, they do stretch. I found that I can fit a snack size ziplock with crackers, pretzels or boiled potatoes in the middle and extra small packets of sports drink powders or GU packets in the arm pit area. Warning! Do not place packets of GU in the middle of your sports bra. That little foil packet nearly gave me a mastectomy the last time I made this error! I have a nice scar from that one. Which brings to mind another idea for a post, "disfigured by ultras".

People will look at you a little strange when you are constantly pulling things in and out of your sports bra. But some men have confided in me that they are jealous of the extra carrying capacity I have. So that is my "ultra tip" for the day.

Woman & Urinating on the Run

Ann Snoeyenbos

I've read about how men pee on the run in ultras, but what do the women do? I'm preparing for my first ultra and I just can't imagine my knees and leg muscles working well enough to allow me to squat after I've been running for several hours. You can respond to me privately if you prefer and I'll summarize and post it to the group.


Laurie Staton

I don't know what you've read about *how men pee* on the run in ultras, but just because they do it the way they do doesn't mean it is something that you should emulate. I learned a few years ago, from the girls in California, how to pee standing up. It only takes a little practice, and it's a nice option when the quads are shot.

But just because one can pee standing up doesn't mean one may ignore the common courtesy of others in the process. With ultras as crowded as they are these days (and even when they weren't), making nature calls is *still* personal business.

I regret that I have to reiterate this point, but alas, *how men pee* on the run in ultras is commonly regarded as everybody's business.


Geri Kilgariff

Awww, c'mon. It's easy to pee standing up, even if you don't have a dick. If I can do it, anyone can. All you need to do is:

  1. Wear running shorts. Bike shorts or tights won't work.

  2. Don't wear underwear. (hey guys, if you're getting turned on by this, shield your keyboards now)

  3. Pick a secluded spot. Out of sight of other runners. Out of flow range of your water bottles and anything else you threw on the ground.

  4. Stand with your feet spaced about 3 feet apart. Side to side, not front to back.

  5. Take your left hand, and pull the crotch of your shorts over to the left. Or pull to the right with your right hand. Do not cross over unless you want to give your arm a golden shower.

  6. You now have clearance to pee.

  7. Put the crotch back in place and resume running.


Jane Moser

It probably was me. Norm is very sweet, as I've been so happy to find in so many "ultra-men." I have to say, running in ultras is the one arena in life where everything seems to be broken down, including sexism and worrying about bodily functions in front of the opposite sex. I have been fortunate enough to have complete strangers "change" me in a 100 when I am too cold to do it on my own, and never once felt embarrassed that they got a free peek at any of my privates. I pee standing up, squat to poop, and fart and burp along the way when the need arises. I enjoy this freedom from an otherwise "uptight" world, where men and women seem to eye each other warily and with hidden agendas. We are all in this together. I'm just jealous that I can't "squiggle" a pee line in the sand like the guys can! I've asked guys to write my name in the dirt or write other things and then we play the game of "what's the word?" Personally, don't worry, boys and girls, about "exposing yourself". Good God, let's all use common sense, relax, and have some fun!


Jeanie Gerstein

How do you do it???? I want to learn so I don't have to take so much time dropping my drawers. I practiced at the Topsfield 6 hour run and soaked myself with urine. Luckily, it was raining so it all washed away. Any hints out there ladies?


John Vonhof

The item mentioned is called the "Lady j" and is described as:

"This unique device allows womwen to urinate with a minimum of exposure. Designed for situations where restroom facilities are unavailable or unsanitary. Resuable. No. 80976-R $6.99"
It can be ordered from Campmor at1-800-226-7667. The current catalogue has it on page 226. It is a curved funnel device.


Suzi Shearer

OK, I admit it. I've told the story before, but for those that have not heard it, it is worth the effort once more, just for fun.

I use the "freshette", which is a handy little funnel devise with a extension tube that catches and diverts pee, for the female form. It is a narrow funnel with a plastic tube the doesn't actually get 6" long, but than I'm only a girl, and can't be sure about that measurement. I call the gadget my "Pocket Richard". The cost is about $13 and available from CampMor, REI, and other outdoor equipment places both mail order and online.

Here is the Arkansas story I'm so fond of though:

Running alone I arrived at the turnaround, mile 58 just as it became dark. I grabbed some food, tanked up on liquids, added some clothes, and headed back out. As soon as I cleared the lights of the aid station, I stepped to the side of the dirt road to relieve myself. There was a ditch on each side of the road, and some hostile looking shrubs, so I was glad to have my trusty "Pocket Richard".

As I stood with my flashlight turned off, my back to the traffic, quietly watering the road, a runner came by. He heard the sound of the water running, and purposely stopped, pulling up next to me, as if we were using a urinal. He said "boy, that sounds like a good idea". As he began to reach for his own presumably built in "Richard", I started laughing. Well, when he recognized a female laugh, he stuffed the equipment back in and made tracks right on out of the women's rest room, and on down the road.

Nail Care for the 100 Miler

By: Nancy Hamilton
Originally appeared in Suzi T's Trail 100's Newsletter" (June, 1992).

Suzi called on Mother's Day and asked if I would write an article titles "Nail Care for Woman 100 Miler". I will admit, between giggles, that I started getting weekly manicures a few years ago. At first I was quiet about it because it seemed like such a "girl" thing to do, but after being reminded by my husband and children that I was a girl. I decided "what the hell"! Not being one to be shy, I decided to have fun and see it I could come up with my own nail are. During training runs, I stopped thinking depressing thoughts of world events, or uninteresting chores that needed to be done. Instead, I imagined nail designs and put them to paper as soon as I got home.

I learned quickly that if I was going to be an ultra-runner with fancy nails, I needed to learn how to fall. Living in the mountains, 99% of my training is on rocky trails which provide ample opportunity for practice falls. It has become a standard joke at my house, if I come home after a training run with a bloody knee or scraped elbow, no one will ask if I'm hurt, they will ask if I broke a nail!

I arrived in Tennessee for the Barkley Marathons with a glittery T-shirt and multi-color polka dot nails. My greatest feat to date is completing Barkley with all dots in tact! Being tough as nails on the inside, and glittery and feminine on the outside makes saying "I told you so", after finishing an ultra endurance race, extra satisfying.

The real ultra challenge would be for a guy to do a race with mail art intact.

Menstrual Cycle and 100 Milers

By: Suzi "T" Cope
Originally appeared in Suzi T's Trail 100's Newsletter" (Oct., 1992).

Timing a 100 mile race around your menstrual cycle is usually just pure luck, unless you are post menopausal, or can change the schedule of your birth control pills. Wait until you consider this Grand Slam annoyance multiplied by four! In 1989 the woman that finished Western States attempt included four pre menopausal runners. Of those four, one started her period unexpectedly during the Vermont 100 and was so burdened with cramps and complications that she dropped out. The three remaining found their cycles shortened, and they never had the pleasure of suffering a missed cycle die to high mileage (a phenomena often described by gynecology experts). One did however get a very unpleasant surprise at mile 75 during Watsch! Whatever change, or hormonal imbalance, we did notice a tendency to start an unexpected period during or immediately following a race. Ladies run prepared.

Protect Yourself from Attack

By: Suzi "T" Cope
Originally appeared in Suzi T's Trail 100's Newsletter" (March, 1992).

Men rarely need to concern themselves with the threat of attack by a rapist. Sure men get mugged, but seldom is a guy in running shorts robbed, because he obviously isn't carrying much of value. Women in running shorts are quite another situation. We are a fine target. You have heard it all before, and you will continue to hear of violent occurrences. I was reminded recently of the risk we take, by a good friend's narrow escape during a vicious rape attempt.

What can we do? To avoid the attack of a rapist you can virtually forget about life as we know it, or live dangerously with a defensive attitude. What I mean is, we wouldn't be out running trails if we weren't risk takers, but let's at least make them calculated risks.

One women runner I know carried a gun while running for several years after she was seriousl injured in an attack. It may have been the right thing for her, but manu of us would not be comfortable with that solution. Personally I put my faith in a defense based on running in company and being observent. L:ocally we are fortunate in our ability to gather a group of five to ten woman runners to train together. It just isn't feasible for many woman to find a partner for every run.

Whether you run alone or with others, your best defense is observation. You can avoid a probelm situation if you are aware of the danger before it is unaviodable. Look around ! Be on alert when you see a man alone on the trail. Notice the make, model, and license plate on that other car wher you parked. The best defense mode ti use on trails is to learn to read tracks. Your don't have to be an Indian scout to recognize a set of large solitary boot tracks going the same direction that you are headed. You may have seen cougar tracks, or bear tracks, but the most dangerous animal out in the woods is the large male,rifle totaing, Bud drinker. You have to oportunity to avoid this potential problem if you are forewarned.

Practice this method as a challange by guessing how many people are on the trail, their size, direction, and purpose. The more often you try it the better you will get at appraising the situation. Heads up alert trail running will help you defensively, and you will probably still be around to notice more wildflowers this Spring too.

Looking Good

By: Suzi "T" Cope
Originally appeared in Suzi T's Trail 100's Newsletter" (November, 1991).

Nancy March and I once entertained ourselves for a couple of miles during a training run inventing the ideal clothes for woman trail runners. Most of the resulting outfit ws a self deprecating analysis of why woman aren't dressed like guys, but a small portion of our list actually had merit. I fed some of the information to our artist staff, Ricahrd Senelly in Hawaii, I suggested he might want this illustration to be anymous, but instead he added even more gear to the "well equipped female ultra-trail runner" pictured here.

Success in any endeavor is more likely when we are feeling positive about our self image. So what's wrong with wearing color coordinated running wear? Why use clear chapstick when a nice shade of lipstick doesn't take up any more room in you fanny pack? OK so I'm not fast, but I don't have to look SLOW>

A womans fashion statement reflects her personal choices for others to interpret, but hter is another side to this race wear strategy. Sure you WANT to look good, but during an ultra you MUST try to feel good! One of the most common minor annoyances during a 100 is chafing. It's the kind of problem you can ignore in a 10k, but after 50 miles a little belly button rub becomes the source of serious attitude deterioration. The best plan is prevention, the next plan is treatment and the last resort is to just get crabby.