Protesting Neon with a Tight Belt

No water belts or neon shoes here! *

Races and other running misadventures have taught me to wear a water belt. Slowing for water stations messes with momentum, while eagerness to gulp and get out of the way for other thirsty pilgrims compromises actual water intake. There is something to be said for being in control of your hydration, even if the belt look ridiculous. Earlier this summer I bought one for a pretty penny, because it was the only model without neon green bottles. Alas, I ripped off the tags before discovering its ego-bruising impracticality. Ranty digression: I do not (rather, did not) understand why so much running gear seems inspired by the palettes of Skittles and Starburst. Michael’s new pair of shoes are a blinding mashup of yellow and lime; variations on that style zip are all over the city. A large company that rhymes with  bikey might be partly to blame. In an act of “Ambush Marketing,” it clad the feet of hundreds of 2012 Olympians in neon green; according to research, that hue has the most eye-grabbing power, especially in contrast with red tracks. Since I am not an Olympic caliber runner, or even someone who cozies up to the first corrals, I prefer not to draw attention to my feet. And although appearance is not supposed to influence choice of running shoes,  any pair that hurts my eyes won’t be considered. I held on to my basic black super comfortable Mizunos until the uppers starting separating from the soles and duct-taping had diminishing returns.   Leah Etling of A Page a Day, though not targeting neon in particular, captures the spirit of my frustration: ” I think these metallic-accented monstrosities look like something that my Jazzercise Barbie would have worn with her leg warmers and belted unitard back in 1984.” End of ranty digression.

Ok–maaaaybe I can see how the neon accentuates their feet’s amazing feats. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

Back to the water belt. . . Size: When I tried it on at home, I realized It barely reaches around my waist. How depressing is that?! I don’t need any more encouragement to scowl at my body; I am already mourning the slow and steady expansion of my belly due to aging (it can’t be related to love of chocolate, bread and wine). There is also the small matter of breathing. I am thinking about hacking in a belt extender. Function: The water spout things on top never fully close. When I bend over to tie my shoes, pick something up, or stretch my back and hamstrings,  the trickles of water make me feel like I am peeing my pants.  And I better not (again)  carelessly toss it on a wood surface, such as the treasured mid-century modern table I inherited from my grandparents, as it leaves water stains that take some serious muscle to wax and buff away. Other minor complaints: Unless positioned precisely, the bottles interfere with my vigorously swinging arms which supposedly help scoot me along. It also doesn’t have a proper pouch–just a tiny place for a key and a few chews. The bottles are on the small size, though I guess if they were any bigger the belt would need to be longer. Which would be great!  Ah well, I am grateful to have such “problems.”

I am aware of the irony of decrying bold colors while sporting Starburst pink. But the thrift store find was hard to pass up. This reminds me of one of my favorite Simpsons episodes, where Sideshow Bob takes to the airways to denounce TV. The picture links to the episode. The speech is at about 8:50. Oh–and those are poop bags for a run I did with Meatball.

*Re the picture at the top of the post: The 1977 animated film will always be my favorite Hobbit movie.  It hews to the story and still leaves plenty to the imagination. I kind of wish I could unsee the Peter Jackson versions. They were stunning, lush, and in many cases close, but they  smothered the Tolkien universe I have carried in my heart and mind since I was a kid. I am trying to hold my son back from seeing the new movies until we have read all the books together.

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