Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Plea for a Snuggie

I'll admit I'm a little late to the Snuggie party (yes, I followed to many online posts, Facebook groups and Today Show images last week), but after the Windy City's return to the cold--Mother Nature was playing a cruel trick on us yesterday--my body's begging to stay warm and I'm wishing for a Snuggie. For as much as people poke fun and express their disdain by joining groups like "Snuggie is a fugly slut", my argument lies in its at-home use, where no one will ever need to know such an item could keep me warm, but also its practicality for race-day comfort, especially for triathletes and marathoners. Snuggie for sport can have a calling.

Think about all the gear you already pack into your transition bag for a triathlon. By the time your cycling shoes, running shoes, wetsuit and towel have been stowed, you have little room for much else. But what do you do when you have to be at the race at the crack of dawn, then sit around for the start for an hour--or hours and hours and hours if you're the unlucky soul at the Chicago Triathlon who's in a late wave--you're not going to shiver in your swimsuit. On most mornings you're wearing your sweats, a light jacket, maybe even wrapping a towel around your legs to stay warm. Score for Snuggie!

I'm seeing that blanket with sleeves as the warm-up suit and towel rolled into one. I'm thinking back to the Chicago Tri where it's routine to park your bike at 5:30 a.m., then set up camp--tarp, towel and all--on the grass lining Monroe Harbor for a good three hours. And I'm always cold, having to sacrifice a layer for a race need in my bag. Or standing around on the beach waiting to swim--it's an easy item to toss to the side (so it's $20 but it's not your favorite lululemon pants or Pearl Izumi cycling jacket) either to be donated, pick up by someone else or stored by your cheer team.

How many items have you seen along the sidelines at a marathon's start gates? Sweatshirts, old tees, hats, garbage bags. The gear we use to stay warm runs the gamut. Again being short on storage space, high on warmth factor, the Snuggie sounds like a winner. Its cost could amount to the price you paid for those discard duds at goodwill or the value of what was in your closet that you thought you could part with, plus its sack creates extra room for storage of all the hydration packs and iPod holders we strap to us on race day. I'd trade my swim parka--my go-to warm gear--for a Snuggie hands down. Each year when I'm heading to the start of a race and piling on the layers to prepare myself for standing outside for a TBD amount of time, I always wish that I had my parka that carried me through all-day swim meets while damp and cold in marshalling areas and on pool decks. But it's big and bulky--not conducive to squeezing into a carry-on.

While it's a definite fashion no-no, Snuggie could hit it's stride among the athletic marketplace. Or maybe I'm prophetizing and feeling bad for a product that's the center of hard-knocks, snickers and jeers. Even if I look like a gospel singer who made a wrong turn Sunday morning, I'll wear it if it keeps me warm. Would you? Photo grabbed from ytimk2006 at Flickr. Posted by Kate

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