Saturday, March 29, 2014

The positives and negatives of NOT LOOKING LIKE A RUNNER

I have a lot of experience in this I thought I'd have some fun with it.
Me, 2/3 way into my 50K

Me, after finishing my first 50K race 

First, let me start with the negatives of being a runner, yet, not looking like one....

1. When you go to a running store the attendant will almost always give me less than excellent service. I am not making this up. I have into the PR Running in my neighborhood several times and have always felt unwelcome by the younger women behind the counter. Not all have been aloof, but, most often than not, they don't know how to be around me. 

2. Experienced runners will almost always see you as a novice.

3. If I tell someone I ran 20 miles non-stop, the first question out of their mouth is inevitably about my pace. A few times I've been asked, "But, you are basically just jogging it right?". As if jogging 20 miles  is a breeze compared to "running" it.

4. Hard to find clothes that make my tummy look good. If I wear a belt, one of those belt to help me carry GU's and my phone, the issue always becomes whether to wear the belt above my belly or below.

5. When encountering faster runners on a run, they hardly wave, say hello, or glance over at slower runners. I may be wrong and please feel free argue with me all you want, but in my experience there seems to be very little feelings of camaraderie coming from most faster runners towards slower runners. I credit this to the fact that they, the faster runners, see themselves in a different category than slower runners. Now, I have had some faster runners make a huge fuss and clap and, or cheer me on as I run past, yet, again, their assumptions, judging from their very excited cheering is that I am fairly inexperienced. I know they have good intentions and I don't mind their initial assumption, but as I go onto my second year of weekly miles in the 30's, having completed a marathon and a 50K....this assumption gets more and more annoying.

Now for the positives of being a runner and NOT looking like a runner....

1. Because I look curvy, the minute people find out that I have completed a marathon or run a 50K they have often said to me, "If you can do it, I know I can." I think most people would probably be annoyed at this comment being said to their face but I think it's wonderful. I love running so much that if me running spurs others to run, that is fantastic.

2. I love, love, love my curves. We all have this shared image of the female runner and she is pretty much a woman with a very masculine body. I do not want a masculine body. I love being able to put on a dress and looking like a female.

3. The surprise factor of being a runner and not looking like one is fun sometimes. I love it when my assumptions get checked. I was giving a lady from my building a ride to the metro and she asked what we are doing this weekend. I told her I would be running a ten mile race and I could feel her eyes give me the once over.

4. As much as I sometimes feel embarrassed parading around in my 7" compression shorts on my runs once it gets warmer, I think it's important for me to be out there. Women who look like me need to see what their bodies are capable of. When I see someone that looks like me doing things I can't do, it suddenly makes it possible somehow.

5. Most runners I see out there are younger. For me to be 40 years old and professing to want to run until I hit the grave makes people around me see that they too could continue to be active as they get older. I find it more inspiring to see older runners out there running than younger ones. To be in your 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's (or older) and running is so inspiring to me....

So what are your negatives and positives of being a runner, YET, not looking like one?

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