Now I’m not a serious runner like some of our health columnists. I’ve run two 5ks in my life, both last year, the last one being Woodstock 2012. I was in much better shape last year than I am now — winter and laziness were not kind — so I really have to get moving if I want to do any actual running come race day on Aug. 3.
I needed some motivation for the first Woodstock training run (meet at the starting line at 14th Street and Woodstock Avenue every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.), so I decided to make a cute running skirt. Skirts are my favorite thing to wear while running. Running skirts aren’t skirts — they’re what is usually referred to as “skorts,” a skirt with a pair of shorts attached underneath, for more coverage and less chafing. The shorts are tight enough (like leggings) that they don’t ride up, and the skirt covers those tight shorts, so I don’t too badly insult the eyes of those who may be slower than me.
I only had one running skirt — worn, more often than not, when I was not running or even intending to run. What can I say? Athletic wear is so comfortable to wear around the house or while gardening, and I’m a fan of stretchable waistbands. I needed another, but instead of buying a new one, I used my exisiting skirt to draft a pattern so I could make my own. I also had some athletic-wear material — it breathes and dries faster than other fabrics — in the form of my Lions 5k race shirt. (For those who may not know, you usually get a shirt when you register for a race.)
Now serious runners usually have more race shirts than they know what to do with. While this isn’t the case for me, I didn’t like the fit of the shirt, so I didn’t wear it often. It was perfect for upcycling into my “new” running skirt. And I still get bragging rights by showing off my race shirts. Not that I have much to brag about, but hey, it’s something. The entire thing was a cinch to do on my serger, and it took not much longer to make than I took to run the course (47:40, pushing 100 pounds of children and stroller and that’s including a few mechanical difficulties).
The width of the shirt was less than what I needed the skirt to be, so I added panels made from the sleeves of the race shirt on each side. The remainder of the shirt was used to make the back panel of the skirt and shorts. The length of the skirt ended up being a bit short due to a lack of attention on my part — measure twice, cut once; measure twice, cut once — so I also pilfered some material from a gray T-shirt that the Calhoun County EMA gave me, stashed away for just such a purpose (Tip: Always ask for free T-shirts and other swag in the largest size, so you can get the most material out of it). I used the gray material for the waistband as well.
The fit’s not perfect — first drafts rarely are — but my new running skirt and I both made it through our first training run. Maybe by this time next year I’ll have a couple more race shirts to convert.
Contact Deirdre Long at firstname.lastname@example.org.