So, after the Gate River Run, we met up with some friends at our favorite Mexican restaurant. La Nopelara, or also known as La Nop (or ‘the plop’ as lovingly called by some of the reporters) is known for having the best cheese dip, the strongest margaritas, and the cheapest prices for traditional Mexican in town.
It was during this late dinner that I had the beginings of a revelation that I’m still uncertain is good or bad.
Brian and I both had a margarita, but I stopped after one. I knew that I needed to rehydrate after such a warm ending to the Gate River Run. Our conversation went a little like this:
Friend: So Reporter asked me who was running the Gate this weekend, and naturally you were the first person I thought of so I said your name. Reporter was shocked! Reporter was like – Jamie runs?! She doesn’t look like a runner!
Friend: Now, stop it. Reporter didn’t mean it like that. You don’t have the typical runners body. You have curves…and boobs…and…
At this point I kind of checked out. While I know the reporter who said this comment, and I have nothing but love – I was hurt. I know I put some weight back on (like I haven’t complained about THAT lately) and I knew that it was all in my middle. It just frustrated me that the comment was made about how I didn’t “look” like a runner.
I’ve been seriously running for over two years now. Until my shift change at work, I ran every race that the station sponsored, and then some. I have permanent tan lines from the tank tops and sports bras I wear in the dead of summer (that RUIN how I look in anything strapless) because I refuse to let the 112 degree summers stop me from getting just a few miles in. I have tree trunk legs that take me faster in each race I run. I have a drawer full of gear in my bedroom, and I have a closet full of tech shirts. I go through sneakers more often than I do anything else in my world, I own blinking lights, a bunch of running only socks, and a variety of headbands.
But, clearly, I don’t LOOK like a runner. Hmm.
On the Sunday after the race, and because I’m super behind in my reading, I picked up the February issue of Runner’s World. We were sitting in comfy pajamas watching the NASCAR race, just relaxing and enjoying a Sunday with nothing to do, and I was flipping through the magazine trying to catch up. I get a lot of magazines and seriously, I am MONTHS behind.
I flipped to the article by Ted Spiker, called “True to Size” and read it all in one sitting with a growing sense of understanding. I’d link you to the article but I can’t find it on the website, and I’ve been searching for 10 minutes. If you have access to Runner’s World February 2013 issue, go find it. I shared it with Tiffany who was at my place watching the race with Brian, and she read it too.
It basically talked about the same thing I experienced and how frustrating it can be. Ted’s wife was getting him running gear and the size XL was too small. Ted isn’t even a small guy!! When his wife returned the gear, she got a lot of comments along the lines of “It’s okay, tell him to keep it up” and I heard the voices that I’ve been hearing the past few weeks echo in my head. I knew exactly how he felt. I had felt it the night before when I heard comments that reporter made. While it made me feel better that there were other people experiencing the same crap I was experiencing, I was frustrated.
Sports companies need to realize that runners come in all sizes, and make gear that fit them accordingly. And NOT label them “plus sized” because guess what, I’m NOT a plus sized girl, I shouldn’t have to buy “plus sized” running gear.
People in general need to realize that looks are deceiving. It’s because of how “normal” I look and how hard I run that has gotten many of my friends running. I don’t look like a runner? Okay, you’re right.
I look NORMAL. And normal people run. They run fast and they run hard and they break records, personal and otherwise. Normal people get out there and run while balancing work, life, friends, family, and everything else that could possibly be weighing them down. The push harder and they make it happen.
And now that I’m done writing this post, I realize that I’m not angry anymore about surprising people about how I am a runner, though I don’t look like it. I think I like shocking people, making them realize that looking “normal” and running is just as good – if not better – than looking like a “runner.”