Make a Workout Tank from a T-shirt

While I love dressing up and making cute outfits for special occasions, most of my laundry ends up being workout clothes. In these summer months, it's hard to want to wear T-shirts instead of tank tops and lately I feel like I've been running low on tanks. I like to wear them to yoga and when I’m running. Also, I’m not a big fan of running in t-shirts because I’d much rather have a racerback tan than a farmers tan (because I’m vain), plus tanks are so much more breezy! These hot days have been killing me and I just don’t have enough tanks (without doing laundry every other day) for yoga and running right now. Rather than go out and spend money (which I would love to do ), I figured I’d get by with some tanks made from tees!

A few years ago I did the Enchanted 10k in Disney World with my hubby and sister, and hubby never wears the princess-y workout top we got with the race, so I decided to make it into a running tank!

First I grabbed a tank I liked the shape of, and got cutting. I liked using my rotary cutter, because I could leave the shirts flat on my cutting mat, but scissors will work just fine, too. Also, try the shirt on a lot while you’re making cuts. You might find that fewer steps result in a shape you really like!

  1. Lay your T-shirt down flat, and lie your tank on top of it. Either mark where you’re going to cut with a pencil or tailor’s chalk, or just use your rotary cutter and cut off the sleeves and neck. (You could leave the neck, but I prefer a lower cut for a workout tank.) You might be done! See what you think of this shape.
  2. Take your cut up T-shirt, and fold it in half the awkward way - so you can see your side seams. This helps you keep your cuts consistent/symmetrical on the right and left sides. At this point, I made the neckline lower and the racerback more pronounced. You could also make your armholes larger and lower in case you want a bit of breeze on your abdomen.
  3. Keep trying on your shirt and repeating step 2 until you’re happy. You can err on the side of caution and make lots of minor adjustments - you can always cut away more fabric, but you can’t put it back!
  4. Optional - stitch up the arm holes and neck hole. Using a binding stitch, you can quickly go around each hole to keep the fabric from fraying. However, most t-shirt fabric doesn’t really fray much, so you can skip this step as long as you don’t mind how it looks. If you really want to go crazy, you could always create a neckband or use some stretchy bias tape and give your tank a more finished look. This of course takes more time, makes you take out your sewing machine, and just might not be necessary for a quick tank you’re just going to sweat in.
  5. A fun touch would be to accentuate the racerback shape by tying a bow around the fabric at your back - I did this to wear to a 5k fun-run with a friend.

Keep in mind that this won’t fit you snugly like other tanks you might already own. I think some of the charm in a garment like this has to do with it’s roughness, and the fact that your sports bra will probably be showing a little. Plus, you’re mostly just going to be sweating in it. No one will care if it’s perfectly tailored to your body.

Happy Sweating!

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Running Through May - Part 2: BB10k

This May brought me my first Ragnar Trail Relay and my fourth BolderBoulder. You can read Part 1 about the Ragnar here, but now I’ll tell you about America’s best 10k in 2017.

The first time I was not in shape at all. I had it in my head that I couldn’t possibly be a “runner”, so I walked a lot. It was still fun. I did it with my hubby, and we smiled a lot along the course. I totally could have pushed myself harder, but that’s the past. The second time I did it, I wasn’t in much better shape, but I was super sick, with a crazy cough, so we walked the whole thing. Nathaniel and his friend wore tutus, and I wore a flowy ballet-esque skirt.

BB10k 2013

BB10k 2014

BB10k 2015 - Probably the leanest I've ever been

The third time I ran is still my PR, and I even qualified for a wave because of it! [The slowest qualified wave, but still!] I probably could beat that time by a tiny bit if I really set my mind to it, but I think that was the best physical/mental shape I’ve been in. It was also after I lost a bunch of weight and had a treadmill at my disposal so I could pace myself better. I do struggle with that on roads and trails.

This year I ran with my best friend. We decided to run for fun rather than run for speed, but we still finished in about an hour and 15 minutes, with a handful of beer breaks (and therefore beer in our bellies). One of the big sponsors for the BolderBoulder is Oskar Blues, so there are a ton of tents set up on the side of the course where they have beer. The course goes through neighborhoods too, so sometimes people are handing out their own drinks, food, jello shots… or are shooting you with hoses or water guns and have slip-n-slides set up. I typically skip the slip-n-slides because I’m a major klutz, but they’re fun to watch! This year there were dancing Chick-fil-a cows, and we got countless high fives. And even though we weren’t running at breakneck speeds, because we were having fun together, the time passed quickly. Another great thing about the BolderBoulder is that they let you have your race photos for free. Anyway, long story short, I’ll take it 😉 We had a great time and I’d totally do it the same exact way over again.

All in all, I ran over 60 miles in May, 20 of which were in organized events with amazing friends. 🏃🏻‍♀️💜

Running Through May - Part 1: Ragnar

This May brought me my first Ragnar Trail Relay and my fourth BolderBoulder. First I’ll give you the low-down on the Ragnar.

On May 12-13, I was part of an 8 person group that took turns running through trails near Zion National Park. Yes, there are crazy people who voluntarily run miles through the desert at odd hours of the day for fun. 😉 A few weeks before the race, a friend reached out to me asking if I wanted to join their team, because they were short one person. In those weeks leading up to the race my emotions ranged from excited to do something new with my friends to crazy terrified that I’d fail or break myself or something crazy would happen (because I’m not the most graceful person). We ended up having a super fun time and we placed 15th out of 313 teams (despite me dragging down my teams average pace 😜)

Our team name was "El Mem̃o", and we all dressed like memes. Also, none of their systems could handle an M with a tilda, so variations included "El Memzo" and, my personal favorite, "El Mem?_o".

A few things I learned and will hopefully remember for next time:

Detail of my DIY Nyan Cat costume

  1. You won’t sleep enough. Of course, you might have guessed that, but really, I didn’t realize just how little I’d get. Between my runs, I tried to sleep, but often woke in a panic, wondering if I’d missed my next turn.
  2. Eating is hard when you need to run so much. I typically run in the morning on a mostly empty stomach, but when you have to run multiple times in a 24 hour period, you need to fuel your body without feeling too full, and you need to be aware of foods that might not sit well in this sort of scenario. I had my first ever shot blocks, but also tried to eat normal things like bananas and nut butter. ALSO, you don’t want to et caught in a situation where you need to go to the bathroom on the course (you’ll get disqualified, too).
  3. I’m so glad I brought a change of clothes for each run. There wasn’t enough time between runs for my clothes to fully dry, so having extra outfits was amazing. Especially socks.
  4. It’s super fun! We dressed up and didn’t take ourselves too seriously. I started with a bunch of doubt and fear, but my teammates were super sweet, and I couldn’t be happier with how much we as a group cheered each other on.

Some things I would have changed if I were in charge of the whole event… 

Zion through the car window

  • Don’t call it “Zion” because it’s not actually in Zion. It's near Zion.
  • Try to keep track of where teams set up camp so that people who don’t arrive together can find each other because there's practically no cell reception.
  • Don’t break down the event the instant people stop running. There were s’mores the night before we got there and the night that we were running, but not the night when everyone had finished! Seems a little crazy to me - all other races I’ve done make it feel like a party once everyone is done! Instead it felt like a ghost town. Maybe other Ragnar events do it differently, but this was pretty strange to me.

Anyway… We kicked butt, had fun, and did get to drive through Zion National Park when we went back home 😍

Glamping - The Great Outdoors

Camping can mean a lot of things. It can mean using an RV, setting up a tent, or sleeping in your car. It can mean going to an established campsite with some amenities or it can mean going to the middle of nowhere and finding a flat enough place to set up a tent. It can be in the woods, the desert, on the beach, anywhere, really!

Our caravan of cars in the middle of nowhere

For us, we tend to find known campsites that are more of the beaten path. Clearly others have been here before, but they’re fairly far from other sites, and there are no amenities. [Either that, or we go to Disney World 😉]. We recently got a MASSIVE tent, and we like to bring an air mattress so we don’t have rocks digging into our bodies as we sleep. We also recently got a two-person sleeping bag, and it’s great for using body heat to keep warm. We also bring pillows and extra blankets, because you never know how chilly it’ll get!

In addition to the kitchen gear I talked about here, we also bring fold up camping chairs and tables to put near the fire for meals and just hanging out. I’d also recommend bringing some sort of emergency gear, like a car kit and first aid, just in case. Hopefully you won’t ever need to use it!

Depending on your activities, you may decide to bring a number of other things. We saw so many cars towing ATVs, motorbikes and/or mountain bikes. If you plan on hiking a bunch, hiking poles can be nice, and a Camelback backpack is convenient for carrying lots of water easily, plus food and sunscreen. There are lots of canyons around which require climbing gear, so rock climbers can have a lot of fun, too. If you’re a photographer, bringing lots of gear can be great - just be careful of dirt and sand! Night photography is great here, because of the lack of ambient light.

"Vader Rock"

This trip we went to the San Rafael Swell. Our first night we spent near Goblin Valley, at a site we call Vader Rock because the shape of the huge rock reminds us of Darth Vader’s helmet. From this site we can walk up to a nice little notch and look over at the canyons on the other side, or climb Vader Rock itself. We also hear a lot of people on ATVs and motorcycles. You can also quickly drive to Goblin Valley, which is worth seeing!

The next two nights, we went a little further and camped near Cistern Canyon, which we could walk to from our campsite. In order to make it all the way through and out Ramp Canyon nearby, though, you need mountaineering gear - it’s a bit more technical, and we didn’t do that. We did make it all the way to the chokestone in Cistern Canyon, though, which makes for some fun photos.

At the chokestone!

Muddy pups in Muddy Creek

The next day we drove to the Muddy Creek hike. This water really lives up to its name! There were some dogs with us and they got FILTHY swimming in this water. It would be good to bring water shoes (like Tevas or Chacos) on this hike, because you will get wet! I think we got about knee deep at one point, but if you go even farther, you might get even wetter! Also, entering this hike you get to pass by an old mining area, with some dilapidated wooden buildings. It’s amazing that this land used to be utilized for mining so much, and now it just sits there. Do NOT go into any mines, though. That could be super dangerous both because they may not be stable, and because they aren’t cleaned up and you could get radiation!

A lot of people go farther south to Moab and Canyonlands, but we really like this area around Green River - I think it’s a little less off the beaten path, and it’s not far from Moab anyway, so it could be fun to mix things up a little bit.

(edit: reviews.com reached out to me about their reviews of the best air mattresses - check it out if you're in the market)