The Casual Runner

CosRunning: TANGLED UP

In this chapter, at last I see the light… and tangle with the Dark Side of costume challenges.

CHARACTER: RapunzeLeia (Rapunzel/Slave Leia mashup)
EVENT: Star Wars Dark Side 10K
DATE: April 16, 2016
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Extremely Difficult

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PREFACE
For the 2015 Princess 10K, I cosran as Ariel. I thought I looked pretty good and got a ton of complements on my costume. Along the course, however, a lady ran up beside me and declared, “O good, you’re a boy… I thought you were a really ugly girl.” I suppose I should have taken that as a compliment to my manliness, but it only ignited a seething grudge deep inside. Who knew my feminine side could be so catty?

On the outside, I simply said something like, “Thanks?” But, on the inside I thought, “How dare you call me an ugly girl? I look better than you, lady!” That one comment stuck with me and I vowed that if I ever did another female character, I would make sure no one had any reason to call me an ugly girl. I owe the inspiration for this costume to that lady. Thanks?

CONCEPT
Jennifer and I were planning to do the Star Wars Rebel Challenge as our only Disney race weekend of 2016, since we did all the runDisney race weekends in 2015. Then, runDisney announced Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon and Challenge, and we couldn’t pass up doing the inaugural Kessel Run! Of course, that meant coming up with two more costumes each, but we felt up to the task.

I considered doing Slave Leia as one of my costumes, but knew it was going to take a lot of work to give it the level of commitment necessary to do it right. I did some initial research on supplies and found two wigs that would work for Leia, one looked really good with a price tag to match, and the other was the right price and looked like it. I wasn’t happy with either of those choices, but I did come across a really good looking blond braided Rapunzel wig for a decent price that would be perfect for a mashup.

I kept the idea on the back burner, and it wasn’t until the expo at Light Side that I decided to make RapunzeLeia happen for Dark Side. Jennifer and I happened to be in line for official merch right behind a well-known fellow cosrunner. While we were chatting, I told her I was thinking of doing RapunzeLeia, but hadn’t decided for sure. Her enthusiastic encouragement for the idea urged me to go for it. I owe her a thank you for the nudge.

DESIGN
I knew going in to this costume that I had certain challenges to overcome to pull it off successfully. First was knowing that I was not going to have a sexy bikini body no matter how good of shape I was in. So, that lead to my decision to use a corset as the base for my costume instead of an actual bikini. No one wants to see my middle-aged torso! I also thought the corset would help tie in the Rapunzel look of the costume. On top of that, it would help with another challenge: Boobs! Since I don’t come equipped with those, the corset, along with some foam padding, would help push up what little I do have on my chest. This ended up working really well. My boobs looked fantastic.

(TMI ALERT: it was honestly hard to fight the urge to keep looking down at them!)

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The next challenge was how to make myself look like a pretty girl. I purposely went light on the makeup for my Ariel costume, since it was my first time running in any kind of makeup, but I thought it still looked pretty good. I would need to consult the experts to elevate my game for this costume. By experts, of course, I mean YouTube. Who else would know better how to make a 40-something man look like a pretty girl, than drag queens? And there are plenty of drag tutorials on YouTube. As an artist I faced this challenge as I would any painting, I just had a really lumpy canvas. I did my homework and I think it paid off.

Now, Princess Leia’s slave girl costume is an iconic piece of cinematic history and I wanted to do it justice. So, fresh on the heels of doing foam armor for Light Side, I decided to fabricate my own metal bikini out of EVA foam. I would use purple fabric for the front and back drapes, as well as the insets on the bikini top to add more Rapunzel to the costume.

Since the drapes would only cover the front and back, the sides would be VERY exposed. I knew I would need to cover up to keep it G rated, but also wanted to maintain the look of exposed legs. I decided to wear nude colored leggings along with a purple G-string to go over them in the event of a strong breeze or potential wardrobe malfunction (more on that later).

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With the design mapped out, I ordered the wig, leggings, and G-string and payed a visit to the local fabric store to find the textiles I needed. I also picked up foam, paint, and a few other items from the local craft store.

CREATION
The foundation of the costume was the corset, so I knew I needed something up to the task of squeezing me down to a girly shape. I chose a heavy duty training corset and ordered the XL size that the sizing guide said would be the right fit. I was only slightly disappointed when it arrived and the XL was much bigger than the sizing guide wanted me to believe. That’s good, right? I’m not extra large! So, it was even more disappointing when the L size arrived and it was just a little too small. Not one to be dissuaded, I took the XL corset over to the sewing machine. Using upholstery thread, I took in the corset along the sides where it would not interfere with the steel boning. Success! The modified corset fit perfectly.

I wanted to match Rapunzel’s dress colors as closely as possible, so I mixed up a custom blend of purple, purple sparkle, and white Tulip fabric paint and applied it to the white brocade corset. (You may be trying to remember if Rapunzel had a glittery dress. She didn’t. But, as Jennifer and I like to joke about whenever we find glitter somewhere unexpected, glitter makes everything just a little more “fabulous”.) I painted the corset laces pink to match the laces on Rapunzel’s dress. In retrospect, I would have chosen a different method because the stiffer laces made cinching the corset a little more difficult than it needed to be. I also added white lace around the top of the corset to give it just a little more of a Rapunzel look.

In a classic twist, when I did my full dress rehearsal the week before the race, I ended up losing enough weight that the L size corset would have fit fine, but since I had already finished altering and painting the XL one, I just took it in a little more.

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For the metal elements of Leia’s slave bikini, I employed the same techniques that I used for our Mandalorian Beauty and the Beast costumes at Light Side. Check out the link for details.

Like Belle-Ba Fett’s armor, I used 6mm EVA foam for this costume. But for this costume, I also added a layer of 3mm craft foam over the top to create the detail elements on the bikini pieces. I had some trouble cementing the 3mm layer, and had to do a lot of reheating and adjusting to get it to lay right. Unfortunately, I burned a few sections during the process. On top of that, the hard edges of the top layer just didn’t look very good. I was almost ready to start over, but I pulled out my trusty DAP Kwik Seal and generously applied it to the pieces. After two coats of filling in the sharp edges, I was really happy with the result. The burned sections and parts that weren’t laying perfectly helped create a rustic handmade metal look that worked for me. Once the gold Rub ‘n Buff was on, the pieces looked so good that I opted not to distress them with a black acrylic wash like I did for Belle-Ba Fett’s armor.

I was lucky enough to find a really great fabric for the drapes and bra insets. It had a nice glossy sheen to it and the color was spot on. I cut and sewed the drapes to match the width of the metal bikini pieces and sewed white lace to the bottom edges. I used fabric paint to simulate the embroidery from Rapunzel’s dress and, for graphic interest, only aplied it to one side of each drape. When I drew up the graphics, I added rebel symbols to the embroidery and wanted it to be large enough for people to see the detail. With the increase in size, it looked better on one side only. Especially after I decided to add the gold rebel sun logo, which is my favorite part of this costume.

To apply the painted graphics, I used 9X12 frisket film. I printed the designs directly to the frisket and hand cut all the details with an X-acto knife (I really need to invest in Cricut). Once I had the frisket positioned how I wanted it, I painted on the custom embroidery color, which was a combination of purple and white metallic Tulip fabric paints. I was really happy with how the metallic silver ColorShot fabric spray paint turned out on my Winter Soldier costume for the Avengers Half Marathon, so I used gold ColorShot for the rebel sun logo. To prep the drapes for spray painting, I used a combination of Scotch tape, packing tape, and aluminum foil to completely cover all the fabric that I did not want to spray. That stuff gets everywhere!

I considered adding more accessories from Leia’s slave girl costume, like her bracelet, arm cuff, collar, and hair pins, but I thought the Leia half of the mashup was taking over a bit and decided to add more Rapunzel details instead. I did opt to use a couple of large flower clips to represent Leia’s hair pins, spraying them gold with the ColorShot. For the rest of the flowers in Rapunzel’s hair, I used medium sized flower clips as a base and hot glued additional flowers to them. I never really counted flower arranging as one of my artistic skills, but I might need to add it to the list… They turned out really good.

RACE DAY
Race day started ridiculously early! I did most of my “manscaping” the afternoon before the race, but it was still going to take me three hours to do makeup and get dressed (I did a full dress rehearsal the week before the race to make sure I knew how much time I needed). With a plan to leave our room for the bus at 3:30a.m., that meant setting the alarm for 12:30a.m.! I stuck to schedule pretty well and finished my makeup in about two hours.

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I started with my eye makeup, which was going to take the longest to complete. Using the tricks I learned from YouTube, I got to work. To set the stage, I covered my eyes and surrounding areas with concealer, foundation, and powder. I used white eye liner on my lower water line to make the whites of my eyes appear larger, I used back eye liner with a cat eye technique to extend my eyes out, and I used eye shadow to make my eyelid creases appear higher. I also penciled in my eyebrows along the top of the brow to make them look slightly higher. With the addition of mascara and fake lashes, my eyes were done and it was time to shave my face.

Waiting to shave until the last moment possible and shaving against the grain, which I normally don’t do, made it easier to cover my manly beard shadow. I used concealer over my beard area and plastered liquid foundation over my face and chest. With lighter and darker makeup I contoured my face in strategic areas, locking it all in with a translucent powder. I applied lipstick, blush, a few freckles with the eyebrow pencil, and finished it all with setting spray to make sure everything stayed in place despite any sweat or rain sprinkles that might come that day.

Getting dressed did not go quite as smoothly. It involved a step-by-step process that I practiced the week before without a problem; however, I did not practice putting my shoes on! Putting on toe socks alone can sometimes be a challenge, but it became an impossible task after getting my costume on. Lucky for me, Jennifer came to my rescue and put my socks and shoes on for me.

Even though the forecast had been calling for possible rain showers the day of the race, we caught a break and had decent enough weather. But, it wasn’t all sunshine and flowers for me.

To attach the foam pieces to the corset, I used industrial strength Velcro with super sticky backing. The Velcro stuck to itself without fail, but the super sticky backing was no match for Florida humidity. I had no problem with stick during any of my testing at home, and didn’t think I needed to add extra glue, but on the bus ride to the starting area it started to come loose. Luckily, it held together through the race, but after we crossed the finish line and grabbed our water bottles the back piece of the bikini fell off, giving a nice show of my G-string to everyone standing behind me. I had trouble bending down to get it, so Jennifer came to my rescue again (Yeah, she’s a keeper). I had to hold the back piece in place until we made it to our hotel room. Even though I was wearing leggings, it was still a little embarrassing. Next time I use Velcro, it gets super glued no matter what!

While the corset was totally the right choice to create the look I wanted to achieve, it was a terrible choice for doing something as active as a 10K. We walked this race, but it was still hard to breathe by the end. I also got overheated since the corset trapped in my body heat, and so did the three pound wig on my normally bald head. The struggle was real.

That said, all the love, encouraging comments, and pictures (I got so many more photo requests than any other costume) kept a smile on my face through the whole race. A big thanks to all the people who kept me going.

So, would I do this costume, or one like it, again? Absolutely not! Not for a race, anyway. Halloween or a comic convention? Yeah, probably. It did turn out really good.

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GEAR
ASICS Men’s Gel Kayano 22 Running Shoes
Injinji Run Original Weight No Show Xtralife Socks
Camellias 24 Steel Boned Victorian Brocade Waist Training Corset
Nikibiki 3/4 Smooth Crop Leggings
SPANX Undie-tectable Thong
Anogol Long Blonde Braid Tangled Wig
Disney Pascal Mini Bean Bag Plush
MAKEUP
Bare Essentials concealer
NYX Cosmetics Invincible Fullest Coverage Foundation
NYX Cosmetics Studio Finishing Powder
NYX Cosmetics Slide On Pencil
NYX Super Skinny Eye Marker
Bare Essentials eye shadows
Ardell Demi Wispies Fake Eyelashes
Duo Lash Adhesive
NYX Wonder Stick
Bare Essentials blush
NYX Cosmetics Make Up Setting Spray

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CONSTRUCTION SUPPLIES
EVA foam
Aluminum foil
Duct tape
Sharpie
Scissors
Parchment paper
X-acto knife
Box knife
Sandpaper
Barge cement
DAP Kwik Seal caulk
Plasti Dip
AMACO Rub ‘n Buff Wax Metallic Finish
Tulip fabric paint
Tulip ColorShot Instant Fabric Color

We all have our own motivations for running, but most of us do it because it’s fun. And running in costume only adds to the fun. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas for your next CosRunning adventure.

Check out our other Great CosRunning Features:

You can also check out our picture gallery of race costumes on our Facebook page.  If you are looking for ways to add more character to your Casual Running adventures, consider running races in Costumes.  Jake will be bringing you more great features with costuming ideas – including how he creates his great looks – that are both awesome looking and runner friendly.

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