A Quest for Tights

It’s Fall which is perfect running weather.  As the weather grows colder, it is time to figure out what to wear to run.  There are many blog posts and articles out there which can help you.  Cold Weather Tips for Beginners on active.com is one.  The Never Say Never November 2012 issue of Runner’s World has a great article titled “Bottoms Up” which is a great gear review for cold weather bottoms.  So this post isn’t about to recreate the wheel.  What I am going to do is share with you my quest for the perfect tights for my fellow hysterrunners. (WARNING – This post is longer than normal for me.)

Women who have had a hysterectomy know of the dreaded swelly belly.  What is swelly belly you may ask?  Well, according to the HysterSisters website, swelly belly “refers to post-op swelling of the abdomen. It can occur in any type of hysterectomy procedure, but seems to be more prevalent in abdominal surgeries.
The current views are that swelly belly is caused by trauma to the abdominal tissues, gasses used during surgery, and/or fluids collecting in the tissues due to trauma during surgery.”  Trust me when I tell you that it is UNCOMFORTABLE, especially at the end of the day.  From what I have seen and read, it can last for up to 16 months post-surgery!!! YUCK!!!

100x75-lady-diet-cb817de

Because I don’t intend to let swelly belly stop me from being a hysterrunner, I need to find running tights which support it.  During the day, I have been wearing a girdle under my clothes to support my injured stomach muscles in much the same way as someone would ear an Ace bandage to support an injured ankle.  However, girdles don’t cut it for running.  Hence, the quest.

On the HysterSisters site, a fellow hysterrunner had mentioned that compression tights were best.  I agree with that.  Now which ones should I choose became the question.  So during this month, I have tried 4 different types of compression tights – Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Compression, Nike Element Thermal, Saucony AmpPro2 Training Tight, and the CW-X PerformX.  You can check out the individual websites for their official features and compression fit for muscle stability, etc.  What I am going to share with you is how they worked for me and my swelly belly.

Saucony AmpPro2 – I had high hopes for these tights.  They came in a cute tube which I have had displayed on my television console during my entire recovery period.  They were what I dreamed of wearing when I ran my first post-op run.  For compression, my legs felt wonderful! For swelly belly, these were a no-go!  They were subject to slippage.  In fact, 1/4 mile into my first run, I felt a cool breeze as I discovered that they had slipped below my butt.  It was a good thing my shirt was long in the back!  They also didn’t really sit right over the belly and provide any support above the legs.  I will save these for next Fall/Winter when I can wear them with a pair of shorts over them because of the leg compression.

Nike Element Thermal – When I put these on, I liked the fact that there was a drawstring so I could pull them tighter around my waist and belly.  They also have a brushed fleecy feel on the inside which makes them warm and cozy just where it is needed.  Like the Saucony tights, these also were great for my legs.  They were ok to run in; but, I still had a bit of a belly jiggle going on.

CW-X PerformX – These were the third pair I tried.  I was planning to save them for a long run because of their reputation for supporting muscles that have gone the distance.  But when I realized that my first two choices weren’t as supportive as I would have liked, I decided to try them out on a 2-mile run.  As soon as I put them on, I was in heaven.  My muscles and joints truly felt like they were in alignment.  They provided perfect pressure and support to my swelly belly as well.  When I ran in them, I didn’t hear LL Cool J rapping – you’re jiggling baby! I had hit the motherlode.  These tights are the go-to in compression for most runners and they are definitely the go-to for me as a hysterrunner.  However, the price is somewhat cost prohibitive.  I want to be able to run 3-4 times a week and only one pair isn’t going to be enough.  So I continued my quest.

Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Compression – Last but not least, I tried these.  They look like plain black tights; no fancy stitching or reflective stripes.  They don’t even have a drawstring waist. But…wait for it…they have an awesome fit for my swelly belly!  They come up above my waist with just enough support and pressure.  I wore them around the house for about an hour before I headed out for my run and didn’t feel uncomfortable.  They kept supporting me while I ran and I only heard LL when my MP3 shuffled to him!  These are definitely a keeper.

So, basically I have come up with 2 pairs of running tights which are about to be in heavy rotation this cold weather running season that work with the swelly belly of this hysterrunner.  CW-X and Under Armour will be my new best friends.  I will probably invest in at least one more pair, which one will depend on if I can get a sale or not. (I’m a frugal Franny!)

I should probably tell you that I was not provided with any of these tights for free.  I bought most of them on clearance during the summer when everyone else was focused on shorts. (Frugal Fanny again!)

Talk to you all soon! Continue to Never Say Never this November!

Hysterrunning–Finally there

Never say Never November is here and so far it is definitely so good.  I have been chosen to be a Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador.  I look forward to working with GGS to promote fitness and share my experiences as a hysterrunner.

I kicked off the month RUNNING!  On November 1st, exactly 6 weeks post-surgery, I had my first run!  I got 1.4 miles in around the Lake.  I promised my doctor that I wouldn’t do more than 1 mile my first time out to test how my body was healing.  But, the Lake is a little over a mile and I completed the loop.  I felt good like I could do more.  I followed this up with 2 miles the next day and 1.6 miles on the 3rd.  Short distances, yes; but, long enough to not stress out my still healing body.  From what I have read and discussed with my doctor, I won’t be fully healed until about six months post-surgery just in time for my birthday in February.

The key to running this soon after surgery is to wear supportive gear.  Abdominal binders may be good when you get off a bedrest but aren’t conducive to exercise, especially not running.  Girdles are fine to deal with the bloating and help you fit back into your regular clothes but they also are not for running.  Compression gear is the way to go.  So far I have run in Saucony Amp Pro tights and Nike Hyperwarm Dri Fit tights.  They both provide just enough support without being restrictive and irritating my incision.  I haven’t run in my CW-X tights as yet.  I’m saving those until when I get to my longer runs.

exercise your right to vote

Today is Election Day here in the US.  I chose to Exercise my Right to Vote by running a 5K for my home town of New York.  I donated money to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund and decided to run4nyc.  This was a virtual 5K which was perfect for my first attempt as a hysterrunner. I am glad that my first 5K back could be dedicated for a good cause.  If you are still looking for ways to help Sandy victims, consider donating to the American Red Cross.

I joined my Twilight Tuesday Black Girls Run Baltimore group for a cold, dark run/walk around the Lake and the surrounding neighborhood.  I completed my 3 miles in 41:51 which is faster than my last race pre-surgery!!!  Lack of pain and cramping coupled with the cold air worked for me. 

I’m looking forward to my progress in my new body.  I am now officially a HYSTERRUNNER!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15, 2013
Aiming for a PR!