October 06, 2014

Look Ma, I'm (not) an athlete


No one should ever call me a "natural athlete."

A natural book-reader or list-maker, yes. I come by those things naturally. But athletically inclined? Nope. Any progress I've made is because I'm determined, persistent, and stubborn.

Three ways to say the same thing. And I've got them all.

I find running therapeutic. A constant source of fresh goals and new challenges, running is a way for me to burn off energy and quiet my mind. A regular jaunt around the block kicks my writer's block to the curb and jumpstarts my creative juices. It preserves my sanity, along with my husband's. It improves my sleep, increases my energy, and squashes my stress. 

When running became a more consistent part of my life, I decided I needed a proper wardrobe to support my habit. Turns out, runner's sartorial choices mainly revolve around spandex and lycra. Words like compression, Dri-Fit and wicking get tossed around casually. Getting accustomed to all of them takes time. And courage.

This need for courage became evident when I bought my first compression top. I knew the benefits: It'd wick away sweat and keep me warm during cold and/or wet runs. But getting that thing over my head and around all my parts? Not fun.

There's no hiding anything while wearing compression fit clothing.

After bringing it home, I sat and stared at my new long-sleeved, black top before I bit the bullet and put it on.  Pausing in front of my floor-length mirror, I surveyed my Spandex-clad side profile. "Not bad, Lindsay... Not bad. You look like a real runner!"

My ego grew three sizes in those three seconds. I turned a couple more times, evaluating my outfit at different angles. My all-black, all-compression running ensemble was flattering. I was meant to be out there, racing around the neighbourhood streets. I looked like a runner. An athlete. A good-looking athlete! 

A few more minutes of self-flattery followed before I put on my shoes and ducked out the door. Consumed by vanity and self-admiration, I was distracted as I ran. I didn't clue in to what was going on until it was, uncomfortably, too late.

Here's the thing about compression tops: They're skintight. When your body moves, they do too. Generally upward. And when you pull them over a pair of less-fitted pants, they all stay in place. Until they start to climb.

As I ran, the fitted top continued its usual trajectory up my torso, bringing my pants up with it. And the higher they went, the more my pants gathered between my cheeks. And I refused to pick this massive wedgie because I was running down the busiest street in my then-neighbourhood. All the traffic. All of my pants, up all of my butt.

Another benefit I glean from running? Humility. It brings me back down a notch or two off my high horse. Always.

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