Friday, February 26, 2010


(Top photo: A triathlete who totally isn't Bonnie, but totally looks like her.)

by Bonnie Siegel

Aerodynamic, compression technology, allowing for full arm movement, designed for long bike rides, wicks away sweat, absorbs impact, maximum buoyancy. These are not words commonly associated with designer clothing or any clothing for that matter. At least, not unless you are a triathlete.

At my first triathlon I wore a pair of old Nike shorts and a mismatched top from Target over my swimsuit for both the bike and the run. I have photos to forever remind me and I look fondly upon those memories. I recall watching the other participants racing and wondering where they got their cool outfits and what the benefits were. I started talking with veteran triathletes and getting the scoop on what was good to wear and why. Louis Garneau soon replaced my Ann Klien; Pearl Izumi my Tommy Girl & DKNY; 2XU my Target swim suit.

At a triathlon in Duluth a few years back I was standing in line for the ever so popular port-o-potty when I overheard the following conversation taking place behind me, ""I brought more make-up for after the swim.""That's good but guess what! I found the best base and eyeliner that are both waterproof! You should try some in transition!"" I felt sick and it wasn't from the smell seeping from the giant plastic boxes up ahead.... Make-up at a triathlon??? True, they take your photo. True, I treasure said photos if I at least have my eyes open.... But make-up?? What?? I half expected to turn around and see at least one of those women with hair curlers piled up on her head.

I don't get the make-up thing for working out, especially in endurance sports, but what I do get is the clothing. Clothing can make or break a long brick or any long training session. It's tough to feel good and focus when you're wearing poorly designed shoes, a baggy shirt that acts more like a parachute when you're riding the bike, or shorts that are riding up into your comfort zone.

My middle daughter Cailee is in track and last year qualified for Hersheys at her grade level. The coach at her summer training camp has everyone wear conforming running wear to aide in avoiding wind resistance and for ease of movement. Go, Cailee!

I spoke with a friend of mine whom is a well known MN triathlete. You may recall Moe from previous articles. I asked Moe what the benefits are to wearing tight clothes or flats for running. "You have to look cool." was his initial response. I once again pulled out my hot iron and Moe continued nervously, "Clothing really can make the difference for a triathlete. Ease of movement, compression tights, fluidity. That's where it's at. You don't want to have to struggle to get around your clothing because you shirt keeps blowing up your back, your shorts are hiking when you're trying to run, or your shoes are more like clogs from Holland. What you wear can make a big difference in how you train and race. The last thing I want is shorts that don't protect me while I'm out on my five hour bike ride. And, you gotta look cool. We're triathletes! We are cool!"

Take a look at your gear as we head into the race season and make sure you've got what you need for speed. Personally, I like to check out the blow-out sales for the models that worked for me last year to help save on cash. Have fun while you're out there and don't worry - if you've left your make-up at home, most of us won't care.