Monday, June 25, 2012

Race Bibs: Bigger isn't better?

I like to think that Monday gets a pretty bad reputation.  Monday doesn’t WANT to be bad, it just forces you to get out of bed extra early....go to work..... be productive.....Hmmmmmm.  Ok, actually Monday does suck – pretty hard.  Stupid Monday.  For me, Monday generally means speed of some sort.  I’ve had Sunday off from pooping running and I have as fresh of legs as I’ll have all week long.  Today?  Tempo.  I ran 9 miles with 5 at 6:30 pace.  It was 88 degrees when I finished.  I can’t be sure, but I’m pretty sure I saw my life flash before my eyes 2/3 of the way through.  It was a tough run, but I got it done.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to push that much harder TWSS when it cools down.  That is the theory at least!

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Over my 6 or so years of running and a pretty solid 30 years of walking, I’ve seen a few trends and fads come and go.  Depending on your perspective they have either been really good for running or have sent such mixed messages that even Einstein himself couldn’t figure out if he should be running or riding around on a Segway.  A few examples:

Sketcher Shape Ups Shoes
I'm not even sure when these things came out, but the concept was pretty straight forward.  They basically glued a piece of curved foam on the bottom of an ugly shoe and ran infomercials saying that it worked your ass off - literally.  People would put them on, their legs would get sore, and they would assume that this meant that they were going to get an ass that wouldn't quit after a few laps around the neighborhood.  Little did they know, not only were they not working their ass...but they were also repelling anyone from the opposite sex more than saying "So, have you been tested for diseases yet?"

What the shoes promised: Kim K's firm, toned, bubble butt
Thankfully, no promises you'd end up as dumb as she was

What the shoes delivered: hordes of mall walkers who looked 2" taller than they actually were



Vibram Five Fingers
Oh ohhhhh, I'm crossing over into the most controversial topic in running right now! BAREFOOT!! **Gasp**  Truth is, Five Finger shoes are a fad. In my mind, they will always be a fad until more than 2 or 3 shoe companies manufacture them or elite marathoners start to run in shoes with toes.  The thought process here is that the foot becomes weak like a school girl being protected in normal shoes and needs to be toughened up by running barefoot.  Five Fingers provide a little rubber protection so that you don't step on a nail and get foot herpies.  The logic is sound (feet do need to be strengthened) but these things take it a step too far.  They try REALLY hard to be just a little bit more different than a regular minimalist shoe to set everyone who wears them apart.

What they promised: Perfect form, feet that are as tough as the calluses on a teenagers hands, and just enough knowledge for you to KNOW that you're better than everyone else
Interactive version of this picture: (probably NOT safe for work.....speaking of bubble buts..)


What they delivered: If you like them, you like them. But man...they look STRANGE


Race Bibs
One of the more recent trends (not necessarily a fad) is amongst the trail running and ultra running crew. Making their race bibs as small as possible by folding it so only the numbers show.  Whether you are a trail runner or not, I’d imagine that most have seen this at road races.  Often you’ll see it on little 19 year old girls who are only running in a sports bra, but other times you’ll see it pined to grizzly looking dude’s shorts wearing a "Big Bear 100k" tshirt with holes in the armpits.

Honestly, I’m not sure of the reasoning.  I always assumed it was an attempt to try to look cool and elitist (not in a good way).  I suppose that one could make the argument that large bibs catch a lot of wind and get annoying after 50 miles of running.  Another explanation could be that ultra runners often carry backpacks filled with water and a large bib would get in the way of the straps to strap it to their back?  Either way, it is a trend or a fad that is certainly starting to get more and more popular.

She looks so surprised because she actually won with such a large bib.  
I'd be surprised too those Pre Classic bibs this year WERE huge


Geoff Roes, Anton Krupicka and Kilian Jornet 
Three of the best ultra runners out there (over the past 5 years)
Obvs Kilian didn't get the memo on how to look cool. Look at him with his large bib!? Nerd.

So, what do you think?  Do you fold your bib? If so.....WHY?  I've honestly never done it, but I guess if I'm going to run any ultra marathons I'll have to. When in Rome....

32 comments:

Runners Fuel said...

I heard there is a lawsuit going on with those shape ups. What a shocker...they don't work!

Kristen Lawrence said...

I have not followed the other fads but have to add that I fold my bib bc usually they are too big and will cover my sponsors logo. Many sponsors (including mine) ask to make sure their logo is shown in all race photos. I am not doing it to try to be cool or follow a trend.

Laura is Undeterrable said...

I have never folded my bib, but I almost did this weekend. I usually put my bib on my stomach because it is a flatter surface, but my last 2 RNR bibs have been huge and go to the bottom of my shirt. This makes face wiping difficult and kind of annoys me in general. I tried on my race belt but I felt like I was wearing a loin cloth. Plus, in the winter I like to wear the bib on my pants so that I can change up the top layers (add/remove clothing depending on temp). My thighs are not large enough to accommodate a billboard sized bib.

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

I never fold my bib. I do hate it though. I am waiting for the day that the bib is a giant sticker that leaves no residue on your clothes and does not rip off when running. I know someone is working on it and will make millions.

abbi said...

I've never folded mine but the last ultra I did had little numbers! It was kind of nice because I do pin it to my shorts since they'll otherwise get in the way of my pack!

Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal said...

Totally had never noticed the bib folding thing! I guess I could see if you were trying to uncover sponsor stuff like someone above said but otherwise...that seems silly!

Andrew Opala said...

When I was young we didn't have Bibs. We had to get tattoos!

Jewelzz said...

I am cool but that's not why I fold my race bibs. I do it because I'm a small person and don't have a lot of real estate to place the large bibs ... unless I want to place it on my large ass. I fold'em up as small as possible and place it on my thigh

Andrew Opala said...

BTW isn't that girl at the Pre Classic (#10) running into the camera man who just jumped out on the track?

Lisa said...

Congrats on getting through your run this morning! Sounds brutal.

I follow the rules and do not fold, but sometimes they have been pretty big. There should be an internationally accepted size limit for race bibs.

ChadisBarefoot said...

I run barefoot, and yes, I am better than you. :)

J/K...but I do run barefoot. It rocks, and I hate VFFs. I run in Altra Adams when I have to wear shoes.

ChadisBarefoot said...

I run barefoot, and yes I am better than you. :)

J/K - I do run barefoot, but I don't own VFFs. Too expensive and goofy looking. Yes, goofier than running around without anything on one's feet.

Andy said...

My Vibrams look goofy as hell, I will never deny that, but I love them. I don't run to look good.

When compared to my New Balance Minimus, I run faster, easier, and with more stamina in my Vibrams. I've run two marathons and four half marathons in them. I don't believe the Vibrams make me better at all, but I do believe that other shoes hold me back from my full potential.

Though, the problem I have is that my arch collapses when I run in Vibrams so I can't run in them as much as I used to (I ran in them exclusively for 18 months).

Kyle said...

I have Vibrams and I do admit that they do look goofy. Comfy, but goofy. But in terms of Toe Shoes you have Vibrams, Adidas, Fila all making them. Plus ZemGear have a weird split toe thing going on like Ninja shoes. Who knows, they might soon not qualify as a fad under your first criteria.

The Green Girl said...

I was expecting you to mention the Shape-ups lawsuit. Heh.

I've only see runners at ultras fold up the bibs.

pensive pumpkin said...

I HATE the way the vibrams look, but I run in them for six miles or less. I find that if I do that once a week, my tendonitis is much less of an issue on longer runs in more normal shoes. Loving my Nike LunaRacers for those.

If I could run around in a sportsbra with no shirt, I would be a bib folder. But since I'm a fattie, I use the giant bib to cover some real estate. LOL

Nelly said...

You mean if I wear shapeups I won't get the Kim Kardashian butt? Damn it! lol

I want to try out a more natural running shoe (Newton or Kinvara), but my guess is I'll never make it to Vibrams. My friend who I've ran with the past couple weeks wears Vibrams, and he seems to like them.

For race numbers, I had no idea about the folding trend, haha. For ultra's that would be pretty annoying having a number on your chest for 100 miles, but maybe you start to forget about it...

Meghan said...

Being I was a Biology major and total nerd - my response to the barefoot running argument - did our feet stop evolving when we were all cavemen/women running around barefoot? NO! Maybe our feet have evolved to adapt to shoes. Bam!

Anyways - I saw the less clothes the smaller the bib needs to be!

Lish said...

Had to fold mine once because it came down past my fuel belt, I don't have a ton of space between the girls and my hips for a huge billboard. Otherwise most are relatively small that I've been to lately.

Nikki said...

The RnR bib DID seem huge this weekend. Honestly never thought about folding it but seems like not a bad idea! they always seem to get in the way anyways...

Sue's Ramblings said...

Unfortunately...I run in VFF and sometimes fold my bib (my excuse is I'm pint size...really...just over 5 feet and under 40kg) and sometimes the bibs are too large.

Ace said...

It seems to be the ultra kewl kid thing to do. Grizzly armpitless folded bib guy. Your new look.

Kelly said...

As a new runner,I may or may not have COMPLETELY FREAKED THE HECK OUT over the introduction of "foot herpies" into my running vernacular. I totally googled it to see if you were being hilarious again, or if such a thing really happens. Turns out? Foot herpies totally exist, man. They are an extension of the herpies 2 virus. When the Vibram fad runs it's course (haha), it's just a short time before every barefoot runner is infected. Barefoot running will be called Burningfoot running, and racing for the cure will mean something completely different.

{lifeasa}RunningMom said...

I must confess, I have folded my race bib a couple of times when I knew the edges were going to rub my skin raw during a long race. What can I say? I love running in a sports bra and have tried applying Body Glide to the edges of a bib but dude, those edges can become darn annoying after a while!

Love this post!

Alili said...

I absolutely fold my bib, helps it from blowing in the breeze and making me crazy...I walk a fine line with crazy anyway. And Vibrams just look ridiculous, what happened to the days of running strides barefoot on the football field to strengthen your feet?

Laura said...

I've folded my bib (though not as small as some of those pics) when they attach all that extra crap to the bottom (bag check ticket, food ticket, etc). If you are a woman wearing a fuel belt around your waist, it can be hard to find a place to pin the bib otherwise. I wish they would just make tiny bibs with your number and not a lot of extra space.

Kelly @ Running Kellometers said...

Some bibs have the timing chips on the back and you literally can't fold them. No matter how hard I try or re-adjust, I can never get those dang things centered!

The Banter said...

No folding- race belt.

Now, on to more important topics: I know that I could get the VFF girl to turn around if I tried hard enough. I'm going back in to see if I can get her to raise her hands.

Lindsay said...

I fold my bib because it gets in the way of the straps of my hydration pack.

Also, slightly less sail like - have you SEEN the size of the RnR bibs?

Razz said...

I'm holding out for Sketcher Shape Ups with 5 toes.

ReneighRuns said...

The RnR race bibs are ridiculously large so I usually fold them in half. For Seattle, they included a timing chip on the back in addition to the shoe tag (I don't know what that was about) so I didn't get to fold it and it took up my whole torso.

Fruit Fly said...

I just really love this post!

1 - I hate those Skechers shoes - and any like them.

2 - Anything the Kardashians promote is probably bad, hence my increased dislike for those "Shape-Ups".

3 - Every person in my town that I know that has tried Vibrams ends up with months of injury and going for physical therapy for their Achilles.

4 - I NEVER fold my bibs. I'm so anal. I try to keep them as nice as possible since I am a race pack rat and save all bibs, medals and timing chips!