Looks Can Be Decieving…

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!

Me: …..really?

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.”

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16 thoughts on “Looks Can Be Decieving…

  1. Karrina says:

    AMEN! I believe there is no “runner look” only a feeling that comes from within. I was waiting for the look to happen and then I realized that I was a runner because I FELT like a runner. Go to any race and you will see all sizes, shapes, and ages of true runners.

  2. starpulp says:

    Oh my. You hit a nerve (in a good way), so I apologize for this massive CAPS storm that’s most likely about to occur.

    So, last week… I bought a treadmill (yays) from a local company. When I first went in (alone), the guy mentioned that the treadmill I was looking at would be great for walking. I was like.. WALKING? um, no… I plan to run on this thing, often and hard. I found the treadmill I knew I wanted, and met my bf, the sexy beanpole, at the store after work so he could take a spin on it himself. The whole time the sales guy was talking to him about running blah blah blah and how he’s going to like running on it so much. Mentioned the Gate River Run and all this stuff. I was like, uh.. I run races too. I ran my 6th Gate River Run. In fact, I got the bf into running and even used to be faster than him…….. but whatevs.

    Then, when they DELIVERED the treadmill (which was a cluster convo for another day), the guys were talking about the mud run MS that’s this weekend and casually asked (out of kindness since I was in the room) if I’d ever thought of doing it. Keep in mind, I’m wearing a RUGGED MANIAC MUD RUN t-shirt at the time, I replied back that I’ve actually done that specific MS mud run 3 times, and a total of 5 mud runs actually, and they are a lot of fun. The silence that followed and look of disbelieve on their faces that annoyed the S**** out of me.

    What is it with some people? I don’t need to prove myself to complete strangers, but man, some people make it so hard not to, you know?

    • jljohnson says:

      You were way nicer than I would have been. I would have blown up in their faces, and pointed out how it’s their closed mindedness that causes the problems of the world.

      Seriously. WTF is WRONG with people?! Why is everyone so jacked up on appearances, and in turn are so judgmental!? It’s infuriating.

  3. Jules (@mymomsawhackjob) says:

    You totally nailed this! I get that all the time, especially since I have started dating and I tell guys I run a minimum of 15 miles a week, they look at me in disbelief. I am 5’11 and hit close to 200 lbs. I wear a DDD bra size. I look nothing like the lean little runners, but I AM A RUNNER! I have such a hard time finding cute gear, yet have drawers full. I do over 10 events a year. I am not fast, I never come in first, but I always finish strong and I am never last.

    Why is it necessary to put labels on people? Society is full of beutiful people, none of them look a like. We should be embracing that instead of bucking it!

    • jljohnson says:

      Agreed, 100%

      Comments like those make me feel like I’m not good enough. I ran a PR on that race, and because I don’t “look the part” I’m not allowed to be proud of that?

      No. I AM allowed to be proud of that. And so do you. And so does EVERYONE.

  4. Sarah Loyd says:

    Hey, I’m with you. Well, I want to be with you. I am trying to get into running – I like it, despite my post-running complaints – but I have literally TWO pairs of workout pants and whatever shirts I can scrounge. It’s not easy finding running gear that’s comfortable and fits a Sir-Mix-A-Lot-worthy behind, particularly when you’re trying to do it without spending an outsized amount of money.

    Also, I don’t look like a runner, but for those brief intervals, I am. If I’m running, I’m a runner.

  5. Tamar (BRC) says:

    I deal with this too Jamie. As a short woman I have always been stockier than most. It has been this way my entire life. Any weight or muscle on me looks bigger than on other women because of my stature. I get the “you’re a runner?” looks and comments. And I also get the reverse from my so called “family” who are used to be being a larger size the “Oh my god, you’re disappearing,” and the “when are you going to stop when you’re invisible?” and the “you’ve gone way too far with this”. It seems I can not win with people no matter what I do. For some I am still too large to be a runner and for others my running has caused me to get too small and needs to be stopped. *sigh*

    • jljohnson says:

      Exactly. it’s disappointing that people are such closed minded, inconsiderate idiots (not me! haha!) and instead of being happy for you making healthy changes in your life, they instead find ways to beat you down.

      The fact that you are getting both ends frustrates me as well. YOU are the only one who should be making decisions on what YOU do for YOUR body. Not them. And if you are happy with what you are doing, screw them. Family or not.

  6. runswithpugs says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I’m extremely self-conscious, especially when I’m running on the main roads, and I am sure I don’t “look like a runner.” It seems like the more I run and the better I feel after those runs, the less I care and the more I feel like I am, in fact, a runner, no matter how many curves I have.

  7. profspiker says:

    I appreciate you passing along my story, and I’m glad you liked it. Keep on rocking and running! (You’re right — it wasn’t online last time I checked.)

  8. Susan says:

    I’ve recently stared running after walking several months and losing nearly 100 #. I’m still close to 100# from my goal weight but have found running to be more enjoyable and therapeutic than I ever thought it could be. I recently walked into an athletic store looking for specific running socks. I was about 10 steps into the store when the sales guy looked me up and down and turned away withouth asking if I needed help. I was initially embarrassed but after standing there for what seemed like forever, I just got mad. I decided he wasn’t worth making a scene over and chose to go to the store next door where I ended up spending a substantial amout of money (more than just socks). I think about that poor excuse of a salesman now every time I run. He’s a big part of my motivation and I know I may never look like a “runner” but I also know that I AM A RUNNER.

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