Extremely Inflammatory Topics


OMG. Not to mention, UGH

This blog should be prefaced by the words of my favorite bumper sticker: “I’m Not Judgin’, I’m Just Sayin’. (Roughly translated, this means: “I’m judging.”) With that in mind, the following things trouble me:

Running Skirts.  A skirt made for running. Why?  The very first time I saw one, I honestly thought that the woman’s shorts had collapsed or something since, clearly, no one would go running in a hot pink breezy nylon mini-skirt if they were sober or mentally competent. Some time later, however, I discovered that these skirts were intentional. Yikes. To me, the wearing of a skirt while running is the equivalent of sitting sidesaddle while riding a horse. It says: “Look! Look! I’m still feminine even if I’m doing something mannish! I’ll never look like one of those sprinters named Helga from East Germany, because goshdarnit, I’m wearing a skirt!”

I have an acquaintance who always wears skirts because, in her words, “It makes me feel pretty.” Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with that—but while running? I expect to feel a number of different things when out in public with my hair matted down, sweat in my eyes, a grimace on my face, and my nose running. Oddly enough, “pretty” isn’t one of them. I do enjoy the occasional skirt now and then when, say, sipping mimosas on a veranda or something, but for training for an endurance sport (or, God forbid, racing), they just seem wrong.

And apparently Putting Down The Skirt can create wrath and public mudslinging of a nature rarely seen outside the Jerry Springer show. (Time to waste? Click it, Sister! http://www.runningahead.com/groups/2000/Forum/b894cefb20b145a580b50ffef3d094d6  ). Personally, I don’t care if you want to wear a sequined ball gown and a pair of Crocs (the only fashion item more heinous than running skirts) out to the track to do interval training if that’s what floats your boat. Have at it. But your running skirt still looks like a pair of collapsed shorts.

Fuel Belts: Yeah, yeah, people need fuel on runs longer than 8.4  miles because blah blah blah. So thank goodness there’s a pink, studded rodeo-style tool belt packed with a dozen miniature plastic bottles full of bright blue fluids to strap around your waist and chafe you for the next two hours. Because stopping at a water fountain would be, you know, too much of an imposition.

I understand that in the ongoing quest to transform marathoning into a camping trip, more and more flamboyant gear is required. After all, how will anyone know you’re a distance runner if you don’t have the gear? Still, the advantages of hauling around a vast array of miniscule bottles with barely enough liquid in them to fill an eyedropper evades me. This being said, I can totally see wearing a fuel belt to dinner at the in-laws, a party, work, or any other destination where small bottles of Old Charter or Smirnoff would come in handy. That’s the kind of “fuel” I’m talking about!

Anyway, short of taking a run across three counties where no water or human life forms are present, a fuel belt seems a tad superfluous. (I just wanted to use that word.)

Camelbaks: Really, I don’t think 70 ounces of water sloshing against your back during your 14-mile long run is enough. I suggest pulling a Radio Flyer wagon behind you with a water cooler in it. Keeping the water cool may prove a bit tricky, but a remote generator could wedge in nicely behind the cooler as long as you limit the cooler size to 8 gallons. If 8 gallons is not enough, you’re probably going to need a fuel belt to supplement your intake.

Cell Phones on the run: I personally don’t know any women who lug their cell phones with them on a run, but recently I was updated on the fact that I am in constant and severe danger at all times as soon as I begin the motion of running. Apparently, there is just a tidal wave of inappropriate and unwanted attention out there waiting to crash down on me at any second. (Not that wearing a hot pink running skirt does anything to encourage this.) In any event, it’s been politely offered that I’m a moron for not carrying a cell phone when running alone whether it’s across the Australian Outback or around the block in Schenectady. A cell phone, it seems, is the ultimate key to safety.

And so it’s alarming to consider all those years I ran before cell phones were even invented! The foolhardiness of it all overwhelms me. When I began running, my parents still had a rotary dial phone—try carting one of those things around on a fartlek jaunt. It’s no picnic, I can tell you that.  In retrospect, I should have probably carried a walkie talkie and a blowtorch with me on those scary training runs around suburban Columbia, SC.

And so there you have it. Four items that I think are either dorky or unnecessary on a run. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to strap on my overblown, Dick Tracy 2-Way Radio-esque Garmin so that I can measure my run even though it’s on a course I’ve run 3000 times.


4 thoughts on “Extremely Inflammatory Topics

  1. I agree with your assessment of the Fuel Belt… but you lack the personal experience necessary to observe yet another downside. Every marathon has dead soldier fuel belt bottles scattered about… the reason is that you have to place them EXACTLY right into the holsters, or they fall through.

    As for my fannyback Camelbak, I have a love/hate relationship with it. It’s good support, but it’s an extra 3-4 lbs of weight to lug through 20+ miles… I have battle scars from it, too.

  2. I’ve never even seen that god-awful looking fuel belt. They actually sell that? People actually BUY that? Is it legal for us to shoot these people?

    I am just in awe. That’s possibly the ugliest thing i’ve ever seen in my entire life.

    I haven’t seen many runners wear a camelback before either, I guess I hang with the right crowd. Oh wait, come to think of it there was the time that I candiced all over myself during the middle of a marathon and a bunch of chicks in running skirts, fuel belts and ONE camelback passed me. Even a girl whose t-shirt said “I’m just trying to lose weight for my wedding.”

    I’m pretty dissapointed I didn’t see that rodeo style fuel belt though. That is just ridiculous. It probably would have brought joy to my otherwise unhappy day.

    Anyway, good stuff. Very good stuff.

  3. That was such an awesome read Tanya. I love it!
    So dang funny, and spot on. Carry on Sister!

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