I recently went down to run the 2 Oceans Ultra Marathon in Cape Town during the Easter Weekend. As my husband and I sat on the plane waiting to take off for Cape Town, I suddenly realised that I had forgotten my Sports Bra at home! Of all the things I could have forgotten. I was devastated. How was I going to run 56kms without my much-loved Panache Sports Bra?
Once in Cape Town I had to dash around and landed up purchasing 3 different bras, all in 32 D. No one seemed to stock my size. Interestingly, when I asked one of the sales assistants whether they had a 30E, she offered me a 34C and said that should fit. Needless to say it didn’t!
We returned to our hotel and I hastily tried my three purchases on. I jumped around and tested the bounce factor. Unfortunately none of them were as good as my. I was so cross with myself and even contemplated not running. Eventually, I pulled myself together, decided I would run and chose the bra I thought would be the best.
The bra that I chose did not encase each breast, but rather compressed them. During the run I experienced a lot of breast movement. 56kms later I had very sore breasts and felt very embarrassed as I bounced (literally) my way to the finish line on national TV.
Although I was proud of my run I didn’t want to post this pick. When I look at it I don’t see my medal and feel proud of my achievement. Rather, I I feel embarrassed that the bra I am wearing makes me look unsupported and, ever worse, you can see the outline of my nipple! How embarrassing!
This experience served as a good reminder of why a good sports bra is so important. For me, it is not just about offering fantastic products to my customers. (Trust me, as a long distance runner I have put each style to the test and firmly believe we offer some the best in the market.) It is however, more importantly about giving South African women the confidence and opportunity to be active and achieve their goals and dreams.
Here is what one of my customer’s recently said about her sports bra purchase:
“Myhas turned out to be the best investment I’ve made in sports gear to date! It’s the best fitting bra I own and wear it 3 times a week to bootcamp. A nifty little clip turns the bra into a racer back style and as if by magic, supports my chest and keeps my posture upright, while I run and jump around the field. Thank you Sarah! You really do sell confidence, not just perfectly fitted bras!”
I read a very good article on sports bras by the BBC and it got me thinking:
Mom’s have you taught your daughter that not wearing the rights sports bra can damage her breasts?
Do you, or someone you know, not participate in sports because of breast pain or insecurities?http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/athletics/32382911
In summary there are basically three types of sports bras.
1. Compression- there is one cavity for both breasts and breasts are generally flatted or pushed against the body.
2. Encapsulation – each breast has a distinct cup and the breasts are totally separated.
Research has shown that breasts move more in a figure of 8 while exercising. This appears to indicate that encapsulation is a better option, especially for larger breasted ladies. The sports bras that we stock are all in the encapsulation style becaause I believe they give the best support.
For all of those ladies preparing for the Comrades Marathon, I will be out on the road with you (in my Panache Sports Bra). This will be my 6th Comrades Marathon and as 31 May fast approaches I wonder to myself why am I doing this again? As I re-evaluate my sanity I think back to the start of my story and Two Oceans. I remember standing on the start (in my uncomfortable bra) surrounded by nervous and excited runners. The clouds, full moon and mountains created an eerie almost magical setting as everyone rushed to get into the correct starting pen. The tension was palpable. As the countdown began, I happened to catch sight of a Dutch runner who was doing his first Oceans. He was simply soaking in the atmosphere. As the strains of Shosholoza gathered momentum he looked round in amazement with tears streaming down his cheeks. In that moment, I was reminded not only how privileged I was to take part in these races but the amazing spirit of running in South Africa.
People undertake Comrades for a variety of reasons. A bar bet gone wrong, setting an example for your kids or simply to prove you can do it. Whatever the reason, when you feel like quitting… remember why you started.
If you need any advice on sports bras please don’t hesitate to