Friday, May 27, 2011

Fanny Packs

Fanny packs... Fashion faux pas and runner's best friend.
Oh the fanny pack... The unsightly accessory of days gone by.  When most people hear the words fanny pack they tend to think of a poorly dressed tourist in khaki shorts, sandals with socks (or maybe some silly looking black tennis shoes with white socks pulled up high), a loud shirt and possibly the chance of a bad sunburn, around the sunglasses forming "raccoon eyes."  This is not a good look. 

Evidence: Disney tourist
OK, he's not wearing a loud shirt, but I'm going
to guess he's got the socks/sandals combo
happening. And, he looks like his face is
a little red.

Sparkles don't make this look good.

I'm seriously afraid of what the rest of this picture looks like
Apparently fanny packs have attempted to make a couple of comebacks with high end designers such as Louis Vuitton and Diane Von Furstenberg.  They've been sported by celebrities, including Rihanna, and spotted on TV shows such as “Sex and the City” being worn by Carrie Bradshaw.  Seriously?  Why do these hideous bags keep trying to make a comeback?  They are not an attractive look for anyone, they ten to draw attention to the wrong area of your body.  The fanny pack has tried to be rebranded as a waist pack and a belt bag, among other fancier names, but make no mistake, these fancy bags (or even non-fancy versions) are still fanny packs.
Just because its a designer name
doesn't make it okay.

Hulk Hogan,
busy looking like a bumbling tourist
For the most part, I am anti-fanny pack.  They pretty much look ridiculous and are not good fashion sense.  You might be wondering, why am I talking about fashion and fanny packs on a blog about running.  Well, that's because there is one arena where fanny packs have become very useful – running.  Runners around the country (and probably world, for that matter) are being spotted wearing a version of the fanny pack.  Often times they are referred to as hydration belts or fitness belts or running belts, but they are essentially fanny packs with fancier names, like it or not.  They are quite useful when you're running (popular brands include FuelBelt, Nathan, SpiBelt and iFitness).  Most runners aren't going to wear a backpack and these belts hold nutrition (and sometimes hydration) for a long run/marathon/half marathon, keys, some cash and even a cell phone.  They are worn around the waist, in the same way as a fanny pack, making them, yep, a fanny pack.  (Wear it on the front, or the back, it's still a fanny pack.)

I'll admit it, I use one, all the time.  I was reluctant at first.  I mean, really, who wants to wear a fanny pack, of any kind, ever?  When I started training with Team in Training the coaches told us we would be required to wear a hydration belt on any run over 8 miles.  I was not excited about this.  Even when you call it a hydration belt, its still a fanny pack, and it still looks ridiculous.  Regardless, I had to go get a fanny pack to run with.  Ugh. I eventually found a belt I didn't mind wearing (after a couple of so-so belts), its got two small bottles, a water proof pouch big enough for my phone (yes, I take my phone with me on every run after being scolded by my parents, easier to take it than fight with them), a key, some cash and GU. (Check out my review of this awesome fanny pack! I do love this one, and I call it a hydration belt, but make no mistake, this is still, essentially a fanny pack.)

Look! A group of TNT'ers (including me) all wearing hydration
belts (just a fancy name for a fanny pack)
Fanny packs are never a fashionable choice, even when running.  But, they can prove to be quite useful.  I  would not wear one with my regular clothes.  The only time you'll find me sporting a fanny pack (or equivalent) will be when I'm on a run.  The rest of the time, it is completely unacceptable. 

The best reason to carry one of these runner friendly fanny packs?  To take care of yourself.  If you are out on a long run you need to be able to hydrate yourself, and get some nutrition in.  And, having the phone on you can be helpful too in case something happens.  (In January I went for a run and my sprained knee was still healing, I got about 3 miles away from home and couldn't run anymore, I was in tears. I had to call my roommate to come pick me up).  My running belt/fanny pack is something I don't leave home without, it has become an important part of my running gear and I pretty much don't leave home without it.  Tomorrow, when I'm running 20 miles you can bet that I'll have my fancy fanny pack with me every step of the way, holding my hydration, nutrition, cell phone, and other little essentials to help me get through that mileage.  Don't laugh at me or judge me, I'm being self sufficient!

So, the moral of this story is, don't judge a runner wearing a fanny pack (don't point and laugh).  They are busy taking care of themselves on a long run.  It is clearly necessary, or at least very helpful to wear a fancy fanny pack when you're running.  In public, in regular clothes, if you see someone wearing a fanny pack, well, they need fashion help.  Try not to judge them either, cause it isn't nice, neither is pointing and laughing.
A few more examples.  Clear evidence - running belts = fanny packs.


Here's an article I found on about fanny packs trying to make a comeback:

Also, I am still training for the Alaska Mayor's Marathon (just three weeks away) and I have my longest training run tomorrow - 20 miles! Show me some support and make a donation (even though I've hit my minimum donations are still very much appreciated), or send me a tweet/text/message giving me some support!  I could use it!


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