Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fashion Statement

Last year, when I was working my way through the Couch to 5K and Bridge to 10K programs, I managed to chafe my way through, not one, not two, but three pairs of sweat pants.


Okay, so I'll admit it. I am fat, and my thighs rub together when I walk or run. I guess ordinary cotton sweat pants aren't up to the task, and in a relatively short amount of time, the fabric starts to pill. Then it wears away, and eventually I end up with a hole or two in the crotch of my sweats.

At first, it wasn't a huge problem. When I was working my way through C25K, the longest run was only 30 minutes. The chafing didn't seem to be so bothersome. Unfortunately (for me) as I started doing the longer runs that approach an hour in the B210K program, the rubbing started to become really annoying.

As I started to lose a little bit of weight, my sweat pants started slopping around. Once they started slopping around, they'd drag my underwear along for the ride, and I felt like every few steps I was having to pick cotton out of my copious ass. By the time I'd finished B210K, I'd worn big holes in my third pair of sweat pants (my that last run did feel drafty) and I ended up with stinging red patches on my thighs where the outermost layer of skin had been rubbed away.

It didn't feel so bad until I'd got into the shower. Then those little stingy spots made me yelp.

It dawned on me that it was time to buy some Proper Running Clothes.

Yeah, right.

I figured the chances of anything fitting me were going to be about zero.

Still, we found the name and address of a local running specialty store, and we paid them a visit. I felt awkward and embarrassed there, because everyone in the store (customers and staff alike) were clearly fit runners. There I was, the obese middle-aged slob, trying to buy a pair of shoes, because my old ones were just about dead.

I found shoes. Then it came time for the tights. I told the guy to bring me the biggest size they stocked, and I found one style that actually fit.

I couldn't believe it. These pants were supposed to be capris, but because I'm so darn short they reached to my ankles. They were the stretchiest damn things I'd ever seen, and without too much bouncing or wiggling, they pulled up over my copious ass.

Wow, something that fits. I bought three pairs of the running tights (all they had) since I knew I'd be running commando in them and I didn't want to double-wear nasty running tights after I'd run in them once.

Commando, for my UK and OZ friends, means that one is going without underwear.

Umm, yeah.

So I realize that I'm making a serious fashion faux pas here. I am old, fat, and my ass goes on forever, so I really don't have the body for running around in public wearing stretchy running pants that don't leave anything to the imagination.

But, those pants sure are comfortable. They are stretchy, yet they provide a little bit of compression so my fat doesn't feel like it's slopping all over the place when I run. Best of all, they are made out of extremely slippery nylon and spandex, which means that my thighs (and other parts down under) aren't chafing anymore.

Still, I'm not really keen on being seen in this get up. I've been running with a sports bra and a t-shirt, which I try to pull down over my copious ass. Unfortunately, as I run, the shirt tends to ride up and my butt hangs out for all the world to see.

So, to avoid being spotted by too many commuters on their way to work, I started running in the morning, early. That worked for a while, but pretty soon I started noticing that the industrial park I have to run through to get to my favorite jogging trail is often occupied by early-morning truck drivers. These guys are driving big semis, and are mostly young and macho.

It made me want to hide.

So every morning I'd try to sneak through the industrial complex, and about half the time I'd get caught. One morning it was because a driver wanted to turn left into the driveway I was crossing. I suppose it's a good thing that he saw me, as I otherwise would have been crushed flat by his semi. The worst part?

He waved at me!

Yeah, he waved at me. I couldn't very well ignore him, as he was being courteous, so I waved back. Lucky for me, I was already red-faced and sweaty, so he couldn't see that I was blushing because I was so embarrassed. I honestly wished that the ground would have opened up a hole and swallowed me right down.

So this carried on for several mornings. I'd run through the industrial area, and I'd get caught each morning by someone different. Sometimes, it would be the semi-drivers. Other times, it would be some random guy in a pick-up truck waving and giving me the thumbs-up gesture.

The worst, though, was the young (and gorgeous) African American guy who had parked his truck in the middle of the street. He got out of his truck and was walking to the office warehouse as I huffed and puffed my way down the sidewalk. I was on the return home, so I was especially hot, red-faced and sweaty. In short, I looked ugly, fat, and out-of-breath.

What he did next, totally surprised me.

He stopped dead in his tracks, turned around and started walking back towards me. He stopped, and started clapping and shouting encouragement at me. I don't remember what it was exactly that he said, other than something like, "You are doing good momma, keep doin' what you gotta do!"

I didn't know how to respond. Dropping dead of embarrassment was at the top of my list. Instead, I mustered up a smile and thanked him (breathlessly of course) as I ran by.

And now, I figure I just don't give a shit if anyone sees my fat ass. Too bad for them if they don't like it. They can always turn and look somewhere else.

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