Monday, August 4, 2008

The one where I admit I run in a skirt

Hello. My name is Becky, and I am a copycat, because now I own a running skirt.

When I read this article in Runner’s World last month, I decided I needed to jump on the bandwagon. After all, who doesn’t want to feel cute while getting all sweaty, right? Plus, one of my favorite writers about running, Kristen Armstrong, wrote the article after running actual races wearing running skirts. Why not? I figured I would take it all in stride (har, har), wear my running skirt with pride, and not think another moment about it. Me and the skirt would be BFFs.

After perusing a few online shopping sites, I decided I needed to try a skirt on before purchasing. After a week or two, I ended up finding a blue number on sale during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. Yay for me.

That is, until I got home and read the tag that said “Tennis.”

Great, now I’m not only intending to run in a skirt (how inappropriate! says one part of my brain), but it’s a tennis skirt to boot. Shane had to make fun of me about that one.

Fast forward to my first run. Now, when I found this skirt on sale, they were a little limited in sizes. So I found one that felt a little big, but I thought it would be no big deal. I discovered later out that a little too big when you are bouncing along on a treadmill turns into a big deal. Every few steps I was pulling up the cute little number that didn’t feel like such a cute number while in motion. I admit that there may have been nearly-visible-coin-slot moments, which aren’t too fun while running. Can I say how grateful I am that I run on a treadmill in my safe cozy basement?

Friday I took my freshly laundered skirt and added a dart on the side. Then I added another dart on the other side. Then another in the back. I was hanging around my house for the afternoon, and figured I’d wear it while doing some cleaning to see if it stayed up better with the alterations.

Now, normally I don’t worry too much about how I look when cleaning. And I certainly wasn’t trying to be cute that day, just see if the skirt was functional. I’ve mopped my floor in nightgowns, pants, shorts, sweats, running SHORTS - you name it. I step out on my porch all the time wearing stuff that I probably shouldn’t without thinking twice. However, I noticed my piano teacher walking her children home from school as I was getting ready to put my rugs on the porch.

I waited to go out until she had passed my house, then I kind of shoved the rugs out the door, keeping it half closed. I admit I felt a little silly wearing a tennis-turned-running skirt. And I’m not 100% sure that I won’t feel the same way when I venture outside wearing it to run.

I’ve tried to reason the whole thing out. What is the difference? I wear shorts to run in all the time that aren’t any longer or shorter than said skirt. The leggings that are attached to the skirt make it incredibly modest (as long as it stays up, that is!). I’ve walked in my yard wearing my swimming suit skirt several times this summer without feeling the need to hide behind the door. So where is all this doubt coming from?

Maybe I relate more to this view of the running skirt. Ginny Graves had this dissenting view about her experience with running in a skirt:

“I put it on the next day before leashing up our two Australian shepherds for our usual five-mile loop on the fire road above our house. "How do you like my fancy new skirt?" I asked them as we headed out the door. They leapt joyously in the air. "Thanks, guys," I said.

Still, once we were outside, I felt surprisingly self-conscious, like I had worn a cocktail dress to a casual dinner party. My neighbor, who was out cleaning his bike, grinned and said, "Nice outfit." He meant it as a compliment, but I had an absurd urge to dash home and change.”

I had read this view of the skirt at the same time as Kristen’s. I think I see her point. I usually don’t care much when I’m running about what I look like, but wearing the skirt, even in the house, I think IT is cute, so maybe I transfer that to ME being cute, which translates in my head to maybe people thinking I’m TRYING to be cute which makes me uncomfortable. Am I running or putting on airs?

I’ll keep trying. It’s still too hot for me to go outside running. Maybe come fall, my favorite time of year to run, I’ll have worked out all the kinks of running in the skirt. I don’t know for sure. But I guess that’s where being a copycat gets me. Will I ever learn?


Amy Sorensen said...

I have admired running skirts. What's kept me from them is that I have to have a longer short because otherwise I will arrive back home with an awful and embarrassing rash in my inner thighs. If I were a skinny girl whose inner thighs didn't touch, though, I would be ALL OVER that running skirt. I think that loving your exercise clothes helps get you out the door sometimes. Well, by "you" I mean me, of course. But you know what I mean!

Amy Sorensen said...

ps, I personally think it's 100% OK to look cute when you go running, although those super-gym-girls who run on the treadmills with a full make-up application and immaculate hair bug me. I know for a fact that if anyone saw me running along the side of the road, even in a skirt, they would only think "that girl needs to keep running." I know that because of the many times people (usually obnoxious 20-something boys) have yelled "keep on chuggin'" at me, with an occasional "fatty" thrown in for good wishes.

Melanie said...

I'll bet no one who sees you in the skirt would put as much thought into it as you have. Of course you're not putting on airs! And I'm guessing it's super cute, so I hope you don't give up on it. I'm with Amy - now that my thighs rub together I'm having to think more about my exercise attire. If I had your legs, I'd be rushing out to buy myself a cute little running skirt of my own!

Special K said...

Your post reminds me of this wonderful quote from N. Wolf (I try to make myself think of it when I'm being self conscious, but more often when I'm about to be catty): A woman wins by giving herself and other women permission: to eat, to be sexual, to age, to wear a boiler suit or a paste tiara or a Balenciaga gown or a secondhand opera cloak or combat boots, to cover up or go practically naked; to do whatever she chooses in following - or ignoring - her own aesthetic. A woman wins when she feels that what each woman does with her own body is her own business.