Monday, April 06, 2009

Tan Lines & the Great Bikini Debate

I love cycling. But I have yet to find a way to keep my legs from looking like they're still wearing bike shorts after a long ride!

These tan lines are courtesy of Saturday's 78 miler which took me 4 hours and 43 minutes (avg 16.56 mph) thanks to some crazy Kona winds. For several miles I was struggling to go just 12-13 mph and this was not uphill - GAH!

Humbled again by the unseen enemy. I once read somewhere that cyclists prefer a steep hill to a strong headwind because the hill is something they can see. I'd agree if I didn't have to see any steep downhills :-)

But at least I had my secret weapons with me to keep me company and going strong: lemon-lime Gatorade mixed with an orangeade drink I like, Hooah bars and PowerGels. I never came close to wanting to lie down and take a little nap alongside the road (really bad idea when you're out there by yourself). In fact, I got done and felt like I could have gone for a little run if I had to! Uh-oh, now having said that, Coach Bill may have me do one next week ...

Workout summary for week 4 of Base Building:
6000 yds swimming (3-yippee!)
157.3 mi biking (3)
15.67 mi running (2)
2 strength workouts
18:22 hours



Now on bikinis, do you think old(er) women should or should not wear them if they want?

Even before Valerie Bertinelli donned one for People Magazine recently, I'd been thinking of getting a cute one as a reward for all this hard work I'm doing. I have a big family reunion on my husband's side coming up in August and the last time I wore one in public was the last time we'd all gotten together for my sister-in-law's first wedding over 10 yrs ago. (No, I didn't wear it to the wedding. I meant afterwards while just hanging out watching the kids play in the pool.)

This reunion will also have lots of time spent hanging around at the pool, no doubt, and since I'm now a swimmer too, the new suit will have to be functional. I know Lisa and Stef both have talked about wearing one, or rather two pieces, and from the sounds of it, they haven't done so in years either. I really think that no woman would wear a bikini if she thought she looked bad in it. Regardless of what any other people may say or think!

But there are those who say bikinis make men view women as objects, they promote unhealthy body images, they make some people feel uncomfortable, they're OK for young girls but not older ones, yadda yadda ...

Your thoughts?

PS - Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend. Look forward to reading those race reports!!

33 comments:

Spokane Al said...

I am a 58.5 year old guy who wears a Speedo to the pool, entirely too much spandex at other times, ran the local Bare Buns Fun Run two years straight and am past the point where the opinion of others drives my fashion decisions.

That is my two cents for what it is worth.

Stef said...

If you feel like you will look good in a bikini/two piece, then wear it! I plan to get a new one soon. :-)

Stef said...

P.S. From seeing all your pictures over these months of reading your blog, I know you would look great in a two piece! And you will no doubt inspire many when you wear it!

Bruce Stewart (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

From your posting and the comments so far, I now wear a Speedo to swim (the suits last longer and are more economical) and don't have the tan line problem since I am not biking very much. I may have gone gray, but the rest of me has not changed much.
Personally, you should do some long bike rides in your swim gear or else hang out in the sun after training (and Bree would be a much better person to advise on this).
As for the "older woman", age is relative and you are young compared to someone in his mid fifties. Better to dress like you would if you were 25 than try to pretend you are a 50-year-old. Anyway, the Asian woman (I know from experience) continues to look a lot younger than her Western counterpart as the years add up, and so you should make the most of your youth while you still have the chance.

Shannon said...

I say go for it, I'm sure your two piece would be conservative looking enough for a family reunion. You have the body for it, be prepared for "looks" from a whole lotta jealous bit**es. I don't want to see any thongs though! LOL...

Katherine said...

I think the answer lies with "I really think that no woman would wear a bikini if she thought she looked bad in it." I know you wouldn't go for something scandalous, so I see no reason why you should not go for a fun, tasteful two-piece. Your body can definitely pull it off. My 22-year-old body, on the other hand, cannot pull off a bikini.

Katherine said...

PS- as to the other argument- I think there are many women purposefully objectifying themselves for men, but I think otherwise women need to expect more of men and not allow themselves to be objectified. Worry TOO much about how men might see us as objects leads to burkas.

Calyx Meredith said...

I think bikinis aren't the thing that promotes unhealthy body image! I think that someone as fit and beautiful as you are should definitely wear a bikini if you're comfortable in it. I think it's inspiring, not anything negative at all. Have fun with it. You've certainly worked hard enough for it!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

My 20th anniversary getaway (starting with no tan) was the only time I can remember in a long time when I didn't have the same tan lines as you!

I wore a bikini (a 2 piece is a better word for it, that's even what my daughter called it) for that vacation, but I can't see myself wearing it again any time soon. I still feel more comfortable being more covered up - and wear an athletic top and tri shorts or bathing suit bottoms.

What are you comfortable in? I think that's the bigger question.

DaveP said...

A bikini, burka, head scarf, shorts below the knee, coat and tie, etc. are all the same and it really doesn't matter. They are all forms of some element of society telling you what are the the expected cultural norms for you to wear. Largely, it comes down to an issue of control. If others are in control of your life, then their opinion matters. You should be able to wear what you feel comfortable in. If somebody doesn't like it, they don't have to look.

Susan said...

I actually read everyone's comments before providing my own, for once!

I think you SHOULD wear the 2-piece swimsuit. If you feel comfortable in it, GO FOR IT! You look darn good, and I'd be showing it off! And wearing a 2-piece is just as "revealing" as a 1-piece, I'd imagine, except for the stomach portion -- because I'm sure yours wil consist of more than dental floss and 2 thimbles. Catch my drift? An elegant woman can absolutely look elegant in a 2-piece. I'm sure you're not going to purchase it at the Playboy Mansion! :)

Go for it, Shirley. Anyone who gives you grief at whatever function yo're at is just JEALOUS. You're amazing, and I think you should be proud of it!

Just my thoughts...

PLANET3RRY said...

Let's get three FACTS out in the open:
1) Men ARE Pigs. If you are wearing a two-piece, we are imaging you naked. If you are in a one-piece we are imagining you naked.

2) There is a culture in Mass Media that pushes that image a certain body type is cool or acceptable. However, this is just a bunch of hogwash.

3)Different Cultures have different customs. In American Samoa, when I was there, it was recommended that even men wear shirts while swimming. So, you'd want to make sure that there isn't a Cultural Dress Code that might be issue.

Now, my Facts:
1) I learned from the TV show What Not To Wear is that it is not your body type, but it's WHAT you wear and HOW you wear it, that makes ALL the difference.

2) If you have the confidence to wear it, then you should. If the bikini that you pick out "reveals" a little more than you are comfortable with, then you should get a 2pc that DOES make you comfortable and save the other one for another time and place.

----
I have... and in all my triathlons have used one of these for my events. The are light weight, dry very fast and come in a lot of different styles:
http://www.solartanthrusuits.com/


One last thing to consider is that non-runner/triathletes have a different opinion of running attire then these athletes do. Some times, what we deem appropriate for our sports(i.e. skin tight one piece suit, cut for maximum hydrodynamics, 1.5" length shorts) isn't always deemed appropriate by others outside of training or an event.

Sarah said...

Athleta.com has totally adorable sporty bikinis, which I think would look awesome on you! You are in shape and you should rock it!!

Vickie said...

I say if you've got it, flaunt it! You would look great in a bikini. If you feel comfortable, I say wear it. Personally I would be more likely to wear one if I weren't at any family gathering. Not sure how appropriate it would be for grandma to be prancing around like that.

Bruce Stewart (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

In Taiwan, the women at the outdoor pool almost cover themselves head to toe because they are afraid of getting tanned, while those at the indoor pool just wear normal one- or two-piece suits. In Kona, you could bike in a Pacific Vibrations bikini up and down the highway and even go into Walmart in it afterwards and no one would be surprised. So just enjoy being the person you are. If you feel good if someone of the opposite sex compliments you on your looks, then you are no different from the rest of us.

Gotta Run said...

I am hoping that all the sunscreen will reduce the bike short lines. if this does not work than I give up!! :)

aron said...

i have some serious runner tan lines right now too. socks, shorts, watch and tank top :)

X-Country2 said...

A sporty bikini or a tankini is a nice way to do "bikini-lite". Stay away from anything too stringy or with a young pattern though.

You've certainly earned the right to rock something though.

Runner Leana said...

Come on Shirley...you can totally rock the two piece! Go for it!!

Marathon Maritza said...

First of all, I have horrible tan lines from my running shorts. I'm trying one of those self-tanner lotions...it's SORT OF getting better, but I keep making the tan line worse every run. One step forward, two steps back let me tell ya!

And also, I think you look AWESOME and if you want to rock a 2-piece bikini, I have three words for you: WORK IT, GIRL!

It's not about age, it's about confidence and attitude. And I think both of those are timeless!

Fe-lady said...

I wore a bikini in Hawaii two years ago....
and if people didn't like it, they didn't have to look.

But I didn't know any of them and I didn't ever have to see them again!

Do what 'cha want when you want to !

jen said...

Great job on the ride! That is a very impressive average speed considering the wind. WOW! I just said the exact thing about prefering hills over wind because you can SEE what you are facing.

First of all, you look awesome in that swimsuit! I say if you are comfortable in a two-piece, wear it! That goes for everyone. Don't worry about what people are thinking, just do what makes you feel good. :)

PS I am a bikini girl, but mostly because a one-piece is such a pain in the ass when you have to use the restroom!!

Road Warrior said...

I think you've got quite a while before you can call yourself an "older person".

Besides, you look amazing. You're just the type of person who **should** be wearing a bikini. Let the rules be damned!

Smithposts said...

My definition of older use to be 35, now it is 75, in a few years it will be 85. Age is not a factor, if you look great and want to where a bikini, do!!

Great bike ride!

Rainmaker said...

I hear ya. I get made fun of from my runner friends in the summer when my bike tan is more apparent than my running tan. Doh.

Cliff said...

what a ride.

I am always proud of my tan lines. Especially the one i had on my wrist from my watch.

Just to go and show that I worked hard enough to earn it :).

I always have some crazy shoulder tan lines. Going to the pool, I always feel like i am wearing a wife beater :P

jeanne said...

OF COURSE you should wear a bikini!!! Since when do we dress according to what men may or may not think??

Great comments here. I say go find the skimpiest suit you can find that you also feel comfortable in, and show yourself off! You earned that body, don't hide it!

:)

Shawn said...

I so know what you mean RE: the winds - they were horrible for Lavaman, just horrible. I've never had to strain to peddle - downhill - before!

As for the one-piece/two-piece debate, I think everyone here has hit the nail on the head. It's what you are comfortable in. If you've got the body rock it :)

RoadBunner said...

With the recent sunshine, I'm developing my typical socks/shorts tan lines. Bleh.

I think if someone is comfortable in it, they should wear a bikini! You'd look great in one!

The Alien said...

My bike shorts tan lines are scaaaryy!!! And I think it's going to be impossible to get rid of them!

About bikinis, I think anyone that has the body and the confidence to wear one, should wear one if they want to.

Irish Blue said...

Shirley,
You should wear it if you feel comfortable in it, I agree. I don't think you are "too old". I know people in there 20s and 30s with less enthusiasm for life and concern for health and fitness than you. Frankly, they seem much older to me than you do.

You're not old, your awesome!! Speaking as someone a few years younger than you, you inspire me daily. Just last week, I sent a link to your blog to a coworker my age who is trying to lose weight and get in shape. I said, "Go here when you need inspiration. Then, get up and move!" I also created a vision board and have it on my desktop. I have pics of you, Chris, Petra, Susan, Akeshaye, Laurel, Maddy, Charlie to keep me motivated and remind me why I run. (I used the one of you flexing your guns...lol.)

Julianne said...

Omg, your tan lines are pretty funny! I can laugh because I have some funny ones myself. Oh the life of an athlete in sunny places! :-)

Jade Lady said...

Hey, wear what you feel comfortable in! Who cares what the rest of the world thinks!

Everyone has their opinions about what they like to see and not see..but we can't please everyone, so forget them all!