So, I’m clearly going with song titles for the titles of my blog posts. I thought this title was fitting for my post about how I used to worry that I don’t look like a “real” runner. As I’ve mentioned before relating to my weak glutes, I don’t really have much junk in my trunk but I have plenty of junk in my belly and my chest. Thanks to my 70 pound weight loss, I now have some extra skin I am waiting to shrink up. I also have about 15 more pounds to drop. I am not gazelle-like or light on my feet or anything else anyone uses to describe a “real” runner.
I am writing this post because, when I first decided to try out running, I looked at lots of running magazines and blogs. None of the people in those places looked like me. They were slim or muscular or not fat. Then, I found Swim Bike Mom (Meredith Atwood), a wonderful blogger, a wonderful author (Triathlon for the Every Woman) and an Ironman, who said that races aren’t just for skinny people, they are for really brave people in stretchy fabric. I have to say, I found Meredith’s book so inspiring. She did her first triathlon when she weighed 220 pounds. She just got out there and did it and she did not care what other people thought. She also finished. Then she went on to do more races and more races until she completed a full Ironman. Along the way, she lost some weight but she does not meet society’s standard of thin by any means. I also read Slow, Fat Triathlete. One aspect of both books, I really liked was that both authors included a section on where to find apparel to fit the non-traditional athlete and the struggles they felt trying to find something that would work. I want to “pay it forward” and share some of my insights with other non-traditional runner girls.
Athletic clothing manufacturers don’t make many items of running apparel for those of us who don’t resemble real runners. That is why I am extremely picky about the brands I will wear (forget wearing the technical shirt provided by races). I primarily wear Nike, lululemon (yes, the founder is a douchebag) and Oiselle (but only certain items and I am even officially part of Oiselle’s sponsored Flock but they still, largely, design for the traditionally shaped runner). I’ve had some problems with my Saucony clothing order so, I am reserving judgment until my fall items arrive, but so far, I have one pair of capris I really like. I am excited about my fall Saucony items, which should be arriving soon.
I am picky not because I am label-conscious or want to spend a ton of money on running clothes, it is because I know what works and what does not work for me. I may be a really brave person in stretchy fabric but some stretchy fabric looks better on me than others! As a friend of mine said on a recent run when we were discussing pacing, “If you look around you, and you are surrounded by the people in the really short shorts with the slits on the sides, you are running too fast and need to slow down.” First, he was right – I’ve got no business running with those people and will soon be stopping short, gasping for air, and second, I have no business wearing shorts with slits! I firmly believe if I feel comfortable in what I have on, I will be have a better run. With that said, here are the things I have found that work for me (while I do receive some items for being part of the 26Strong program, I will only say I like something if I actually like it – so far I’ve really only tested Saucony’s shoes):
1. Sports Bras – a busty girl’s best friend
Unfortunately, the cute sports bras are not made for the C cup and above runners. I happen to have this bra (Oiselle Strappy Bra) but I can only wear it for yoga and around the house: