Tuesday, March 20, 2012

THE RACE: The Running Skirt Tops My List of Athletic Pet Peeves

I realize that I'm about to offend about 95% of women who run and do triathlons with the following statement:  I hate the running skirt.  You heard me, don't bother reading that sentence again.

I realize that the only thing that's gained popularity over the past couple years more quickly than the running skirt is Lady Gaga - the one thing that probably annoys me more and makes even less sense to me than the running skirt.  But still, call me crazy, I'm not a fan.  Why?

Well, it could be that I'm never really a band-wagon jumper when it comes to fashion.  Never have been.  I've always wanted my things a little bit different.

Or it could be because I'm a tom boy.  Always have been, always will be.  That's not to say that I dress like a dude - believe me, I love fashion as much as the next gal.  But at the end of the day, I'm most comfortable in jeans, a t-shirt, and my Simple tennis shoes (vegan shoes, of course).  And when I'm working out, I'm there to sweat and kick some ass, which I guess for me means that a skirt won't do....

Or maybe it's just because I couldn't care less about what I look like when I'm working out.  (FYI - because we're on the topic of pet peeves, the phrase really is "I could not care less."  It's not "I could care less."  That would mean that you actually don't care as little as you could, which defeats the point of saying that you couldn't care any less than you do...but I digress)...

Don't get me wrong, I try not to look like too much of a toolbag so as not to frighten small children; but I'm working out for me - not for anyone else.  And in fact, I often try to look a little silly because it helps me not to take myself too seriously.  Case in point, my Ironman "outfit":

Not an IM fashion statement:  Hot pink tri shirt, black & white swirly arm warmers, black compression shorts, and orange compression socks.
Also, I usually wear two braids when I'm working out, which initially started out to keep people from confusing me with a boy; however, now I've realized that wearing braids makes me feel younger.  Again, it's hard to take yourself too seriously when you're wearing braided pigtails...

Now some of friends tell me that they wear the running skirt - and, even worse, the running dress - because it's comfortable.  Okay, I'll give that one to you.  But if it's the underlying shorts brief or panty thing in the running skirt that you like, there are running shorts that accomplish the same thing...it may take some looking and I've had more than my fair share of running shorts that creep up, but I have found some that fit like a glove.

Some women say they like the running skirt better than spandex shorts because they just don't like their ass in spandex shorts - it jiggles around too much and isn't attractive.  Well, I have two things to say to that:

  1. Who cares if your ass jiggles - you're out there working out for you.  You're a real woman with real flaws, and unless you're anorexic or had the cellulite sucked out of your ass, your butt is gonna jiggle.  Stop wishing for a firm, tight, perky ass that looks good in spandex - it doesn't exist on any real woman.  Stop judging and criticizing your poor ass.  It gets you through a lot - it carries you to work every day, then you sit on it all day long, you make it sit on the toilet without a seat protector, you criticize it for being to flat and flabby, and then you expect it to look good in spandex?  Give your ass a break! 
  2. Why do you care what other people think of you when you're working out?  Again, you're out there for you - no one else.  If it's men you're trying to look good for, all I have to say is - seriously?  Do you really want to pick up a dude on the running trail?  And if you want to look good because you're concerned about what other women think, all I have to say is - really?  We're supposed to love and support other women.  If you think you're being judged by other women, then chances are you're doing some judging too.  Stop worrying about what other people think.  Who cares if someone random stranger, or even a friend for that matter, thinks you look cute in a skirt or jiggly in spandex?  
Maybe some women wear skirts for the same reason that I wear braids - it makes them feel younger.  Maybe some women wear skirts for themselves because they just like how they look in the running skirt.  That's valid - we all buy our workout clothes based on what we think looks best on us.  And maybe I don't have a solid rationale reason for hating the running skirt/dress.  But I can tell you this much - I'll run naked before someone forces me to wear a running skirt or dress....

So while we're on the topic of pet peeves, here's my top five list of athletic pet peeves:

  1. Running Skirts:  We've established that. 
  2. Women Who Wear Make-Up at the Gym:  Why do women do this?  Seriously, I want to know.  Is that they think they're going to meet a man at the gym and they're afraid that the man won't look at them if they don't have make-up on?  Or is that the woman thinks she only looks good in make-up?  Whatever it is, please stop!!  The gym, the running trail, the bike bath - they're all the one time when you don't have to spruce up.  Plus, has it ever occurred to the women who wear make-up when they workout how bad that is for your skin - to sweat with all that goop on your face?  You are not in a magazine ad.  You don't have to look airbrushed to go work up a sweat.  
  3. People Who Don't Announce Themselves On the Bike Trail:  I don't care how good of a cyclist you think you are or how long you've been riding, common courtesy and fundamental safety dictate that you announce yourself every single time you're passing someone when you're on your bike.  Some cyclists I know say that they don't announce themselves because they're either going too fast or it doesn't look like the person is going to get in the way.  Well, (a) if you're going to fast, all the more reason to announce yourself because your reaction time is so much shorter; and (b) you have no idea how many times I've seen someone - especially children or people who aren't familiar with how a trail works - jerk to their left just as you're about to pass them.  Just play it safe and announce yourself when you're passing someone, please.  And if you hear someone cussing you out for not announcing yourself as you pass them, that's me....  
  4. People Who Are Obsessed With Your Times:  The only person to whom my times in a race should matter is me.  And even then, usually my time shouldn't even really matter that much because any day that I finish a race in one piece and healthy, is a good race, regardless of the time.  But for some people, the first thing they ask when they hear that you've completed an event is "What was your time?"  And some people - at least some of the triathletes I know - actually want to compare your time to theirs, or say "wow, what happened" when you tell them that your time was something less than what they think is stellar.  Unless you're trying to qualify for something as a goal of your own - like the Boston Marathon or Kona - then screw the time.  Use it as a measure of your improvement, not of your success.  
  5. People Who Don't Respect The Distance:  I'm totally stealing this one from my faithful reader, Jen, who writes the blog A Lover of Words.  She wrote the other day about a woman who hadn't really trained very well for her first 1/2 marathon and was basically laughing it off.  On one hand, there's something to be said for not stressing too much about training and races.  But on the other hand, I feel that it's disrespectful and foolish to not appropriately train for a race and then just laugh it off.  I know a couple of people who didn't appropriately train for Ironman events.  One person, barely made the cut-off time by a couple of minutes, and only because a friend helped by running/walking half the marathon with that person (which isn't allowed).  The other person, intentionally didn't train for the Ironman just to see if you could finish an event like that without training.  In both cases, I felt that their approach was disrespectful - both to the distance and to the other people who put genuine effort into their training.  Now some may say that if someone can finish an endurance event like Ironman with very little training, then more power to them.  I disagree.  The hardest part of an endurance event like that isn't the event itself - it's the months and months of training, sweat, and sacrifice that you endure just to get to the start line.  So honestly, I'm not impressed with someone who half-heartedly signs up for and completes an endurance event without the proper training.  Sure, things go wrong during training and a race that may prevent you from executing your plan as you'd like; however, that's different than intentionally sloughing off all the hard work that goes into an endurance event and then patting yourself on the back when you finish.    
So there you have it.  I'm sorry if I've offended anyone out there.  I promise that I won't mock you if I see you in a running skirt...well, I'll try not to anyway.  Afterall, to each his own...and besides, you shouldn't care what I think anyway, right?  If you love your running skirt, then by all means flaunt it...I'll be flaunting my jiggly ass in spandex...

Do you love or hate running skirts and why?  And for the guys out there - what's your take? What are your athletic pet peeves?    

8 comments:

Jen said...

Oh, this post made my day! I dislike the running skirt. Ick, ick and more ick. I tried it because I was gifted with one and in non-running, I like skorts, so I thought, sure I'll try it. Hated it.

The only makeup I don't bother to take off is my eye makeup. Usually it's because I have my contacts in and I don't want to get soap/cleanser in my eyes with them in, so that means my eye makeup stays on until I'm back at home. I do use a towel and try to take it a bit off, but I don't fuss about it.

You know I'm all about the respecting the distance. ;) The times thing bugs me too, but then I'm super slow, so I'm a bit defensive about it. It makes me feel better to know a more experienced athlete feels the same way.

Stephanie said...

I have no idea how running skirts evolved and don't wear them, but when I played tennis in high school, I was amazed at how much more mobile I was from side to side in a skirt than in shorts. Come to think of it, given how crowded road races can be, maybe I should wear one!

ps, a co-worker who is a good friend of you finally told me the URL for your blog yesterday!

Life Through Endurance said...

Ladies you have both just made my day! I've actually found some solidarity in two more women for the anti-skirt campaign!
Jen - i'll totally give you the make-up thing. It's hard after work or being out all day to scrub it off at the gym if you have contacts (which I do too). And on the time/distance - yeah who cares!! You're faster than the person who sat on the couch & unless you're a pro getting paid for your results, the time just doesn't matter!

And Stephanie - thanks so much for joining & for the comment. I agree about the tennis thing - makes more sense where you have to move in so many different directions. But running is one direction (except in a race, as you point out!). And you must shoot me an email with the name of my good friend so I can thank him/her!!

Thanks again, ladies...keep rockin it!

Katie said...

Now you really didn't think I would stay quiet on this one... :) I agree on every single one of these peeves - with the mute cyclist being my biggest peeve - except for the skirt. I love, love, love my running skirts! I currently own 16 of them. They are the only bottoms I ever wear. I even ordered some fabulous fleece ones for winter from Colorado - great for the cold winter days over tights. (ok, you can stop mocking me now)
I know this drives you crazy. I still love you. :)

So why do I wear skirts? They are FUN! Fun, fun, fun! Running is how I play. There is nothing better than skipping over rocks, dodging roots on the trail and feeling like a kid again (or sometimes like the vampires running through the woods in the Twilight movies...on the rare day I feel like I'm running fast) as I run in the woods - yes, in a skirt. Wearing skirts just makes running carefree, joyful and FUN! I love putting together crazy outfits with patterned skirts, silly socks and a complementary buff and visor. I have always been a free spirit, "freak at the end of the hall", wild child - and wearing a skirt to run in fits my personality perfectly. I don't do it for the fashion statement, and certainly not for anyone else, but just because it makes ME feel good. And it's fun!
I also wear skirts because for the first time ever in my many years of running, I don't get any thigh chafing with my favorite SkirtSports shorties underneath. And when running for hours on end, that really matters.
So there is a practical side to my skirt wearing obsession, but really, I am a skirt wearing runner girl because it's fun!

Nadine said...

Im the other end of the spectrum, ima girl who hardly ever wears jeans, and welcomes summer with taking out all my skirts(which I find comfy)! I guess I'm in the comfy category, and it looks good, and what's wrong with looking good? Nothing!

I don't wear makeup when I work out, I actually hardly ever wear makeup cause I just cant be bothered. But I do have friends who go from work to the gym and they sometimes forget to remove it.the only fashion faux paus that I despises cotton t-shirts and those ugly jogging pants with elastics in he bottom of it!

Carilyn said...

Love the post - love it! And I'm a fan of the running skirt and dress! What I love about our female running community is that we can have strong opinions, and this is the venue where it's great! The stronger the better, as far as Im concerned! I follow your blog because you say what you think and feel. Even if I disagree :) great post!

Life Through Endurance said...

Katie, Nadine, and Carilyn,..thanks SO much for your comments!

Katie - I was counting on you to comment! You were running through my head (literally) as I was writing this, and NOT because I thought you wore skirts to impress anyone. i figured you probably wore them because they were fun for you! So I'll give ya that one...to each her own fun! It's like my braids...those are fun for me! But, honey - 16 skirts!! I don't think I have 16 anything - including underwear!

Nadine - I'm surprisingly a skirt-loving woman when the weather gets nice. Although I'm generally more comfy in jeans and a t-shirt, when I work or go out, I do it up. So I can see applying that same logic to running too! So flaunt it baby!! I bet you look adorable!

And Carilyn - I couldn't agree with you more! I think this group of women and a lot of women who run (literally) in our circles are strong-willed, supportive, independent women who have learned that it's great to have our differences of opinion, as long as we all respect each other's different views!

You ladies are ALL amazing! I'm very blessed to have our paths cross in cyber-space...hopefully someday they'll cross in real space too!

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