Fat Girl Running- A Letter To My Fellow Gym Patrons and Looking Toward My Future as a Runner

Dear Person Running Next To Me On The Treadmill,

I see you staring at me. You’re not very discreet. I might not be looking directly at you, but my peripheral vision has yet to fail me.

I get it. You’re competitive. You like the thrill of racing next to someone. Trying to run faster than them. It gets your blood pumping, your energy racing. You know what gets my blood pumping?

Running at this pace. Consistently. For several minutes. Without stopping. It makes me feel unstoppable. Even when my breath is waning and sweat is pouring down my back and I’m swearing that I will never step back on a treadmill again. Even when my side starts to cramp. Even when my calves burn like the Fourth of July. You know what doesn’t get my blood pumping?

Competing with you. Just because we’re next to each other doesn’t mean we’re in a running club. And if we were in a running club, I wouldn’t be competing against you: I’m competing against myself. I’m beating my own records, I’m out-timing myself. I’m not tempted to creep my pace up to meet your neck breaking pace (which you can’t seem to maintain for more than a few seconds, but that’s neither here nor there.)

You see, a couple of months ago, running for one minute felt like it would be the end of me. This week, I’m mentally preparing myself to run 20 minutes without walking. That mental preparation is more important to me than any mini-race you want the two of us to engage in.

So keep your eyes to the front, listen to your own breathing, and stop looking at me- I’m not your competition. You are your competition.

(By the way, for the sake of your personal safety, I’m going to assume you’re staring at me for the fun of competition and not because you can’t believe a fat girl can run for so long. If that’s the case, your real concern should be whether or not I’m going to yank out your treadmill power cord when you’re mid-sprint.)

Love,

Jessamyn

Since we’re on the topic of running:

I’ve learned quite a few things about running in the past couple of months. Since I haven’t been doing this my whole life, my learning curve is pretty intense. However, since my personal racing season is about to begin, I’m thinking about a number of things I need to do in order to maintain this hobby after I finish the Couch to 5K Challenge.

running shoe fitting guides1. New Shoes- I’ll admit it, I never thought shoes made that much of a difference. I’ve read countless articles and blog entries where people swear by the importance of proper shoe fittings. I’ve rolled my eyes and thought, “ I can run in these kicks, so what’s the problem? Yeah, it hurts a little, but I can’t afford to buy news ones and certainly not from a running store.”

sneakers 1162011 002

Don’t get me wrong- I am very grateful for these shoes. Without them, I would be running in old converses or even older kangeroo sneakers. But after a few months of running, I’ve started to think that I need shoes which actively accommodate for my foot arch. Also, the backs of these shoes rub against my heels in a way that is not very pleasant. And every time I start to think my calves are feeling the burn more than any other part of my body? That could be directly related to my shoe choice. Basically, new running shoes are fairly high on my list of priorities. They might not happen before summer, but I need to meet up with a running shoe specialist ASAP.


go belt2. Road Running Accessories- Another confession: I am scared to run outdoors. As in, I’m truly afraid. I love walking- I could walk to California and back. But running  outdoors freaks me out. I’ve developed an unhealthy dependency to the treadmill. I know it probably sounds weird, but the treadmill comforts me. It might be really boring, but I find comfort in the fact that as long as it is moving, I can’t stop moving. I’m scared to run outdoors because I can just stop running whenever I “feel tired”. If I stopped running every time I “felt tired” on the treadmill, I would never accomplish any of my daily goals. I don’t have a problem participating in outdoor races (probably because there other people present to motivate me), but running alone makes me nervous. In short, I haven’t conquered the mental aspect of running at all. However, I know that the time for me to focus on road running is near- the weather is brightening up, and I can’t stay indoors forever. Plus, if I really want to take my running seriously, I need to take it outside and try out different types of terrain. Therefore, I need to get a couple of accessories to make things easier. For instance, I am always saddled with too many handheld objects– cell phone, keys, etc. I’ve been eyeballing the go-belt for some time now (pictured above), because it’s an obtrusive way to carry all my stuff without causing problems.

running shorts3. New Clothes- I’m pretty happy with my sports bras, and I own about 308710821 tops which are appropriate for most running weather (though I should probably find a good under armour long sleeved top). However, I need to invest in new running bottoms (pants/shorts). Since I’m losing weight and my butt is (and probably always will be) larger than my stomach, I’m constantly dealing with droopy pants waistbands. Further more, I ( like most people who are blessed with hefty inner thighs) have a problem running in shorts because they always rise up into my crotch and I spend the entire run thinking about readjusting the crotch of my shorts. Therefore, I primarily enjoy running in capri pants.

capri pants

But it would be nice to have a solid pair of running shorts, especially since it’s getting warmer. But if I’m going to run in capri pants, I need pants that don’t droop down under my belly. Actually, part of the problem (probably) is that the shorts I run in are the same shorts I use for biking– but they’re not even really tight enough to be great biking shorts. However, when I’m biking I don’t have to deal with them riding up in my crotch. Hmm. Maybe I should get some shorts that are already short enough to be in my crotch so I don’t have to think about pulling them down? I know a lot of people think Fat girls can’t/shouldn’t wear shorty shorts, but I’ve never really cared what other people think about my wardrobe- why start now?

Bottom line? If I’m going to get serious about running, I need to get serious about my gear. Any ideas?

Also, speaking of suggestions, I think this is the week I’ll work on transitioning to my self-hosted domain. Basially, any and all words of wisdom are greatly appreciated. Smile

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9 Comments

Filed under blogging, couch to 5k challenge, exercise, fat, goals, races, running, walking

9 responses to “Fat Girl Running- A Letter To My Fellow Gym Patrons and Looking Toward My Future as a Runner

  1. Elizabeth King

    Jessamyn — I feel this way EVERY TIME I run at the gym! I’m like, “Dude, quit staring. You clearly want me to look like you, but you aren’t giving me much incentive here.” ❤ Best of luck with the clothes shopping. And I am all for you getting your own domain! DO IT. DO IT. DO IT.

  2. Carolyn

    From another fat girl who has attempted running (calling myself a former runner sounds far too generous, and I’d like to think one day in the near future I’ll get my lazy butt running again), shoes are KEY! Once you try on an actual pair of running shoes, they are so light, so perfectly designed to help you run your best. I promise they’re worth the $80+ investment. I believe I’ve worn both Asics and Nike running shoes, and the Asics rocked. They will make a world of a difference!

    As far as actual apparel goes, try Target. I’ve gotten some great running capris there (I have the same issues with shorts as you do), without breaking the bank. Shorts make me chafe (sorry, TMI), but Dick’s has good capris too, you’ll pay more there though, obviously.

    Good luck w/ the 20 minute run! You can do it.. and I know a little Michael Jackson will help you through it 🙂

  3. kently

    As per usual, you’ve articulated EVERYTHING exactly how I’ve felt it. First off, good for you for not giving in to the girl standing next to you – I always got super self-conscious when some girl was standing next to me running faster than I did or for a longer time, etc.

    Here’s my suggestion for conquering your fear of outside running: MAP IT OUT. Seriously. Go to http://www.mapmyrun.com, enter in your location, and find routes that are near you, and map out exactly how far you’ll run. I know this feeling of “but the treadmill keeps going, so I keep going.” Here’s the secret that no one tells you: because you’re so determined, you WILL keep going. I promise. Even if you need to slow down. Who cares? Just keep jogging. It really is mind over matter. Also, because you’re mapping out streets that are generally familiar to you, you’ll know whether they’re uphill, downhill, or flat. This is what I did for a good while (now I generally stick to the same routes – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), figuring out how I could avoid the most hills. Because for me, the goal was to run 6 miles. NOT to run 6 miles and most of it be uphill. Start running outside once in a while. Maybe once/week? And obviously, choose a time of day when you won’t die of heatstroke (although in NC that’s probably unlikely at this time anyway, but you never know).

    I have big thighs too, and I hate most running shorts because they’re made for skinny model type women. My suggestion: don’t buy the traditional Nike shorts just yet, because they have that shape to them that makes them ride up into your crotch, which is definitely unpleasant. BUT I have these mesh Champion shorts, which don’t have a key pocket, the added underwear (which I hate being added to my shorts anyway), or anything fancy, but the material is a more flattering look, AND they don’t ride up as much. If I can find the model I’m talking about, I’ll send you a link. As far as capri pants go, we’re both in the same boat. Drawstring models are you friends.

    I know you already said you have appropriate tops, but the nike dry-fit tanks and underarmour heatgear are my faves.

    I hope I hope I hope this helps!! When is the race?

  4. kently

    As per usual, you’ve articulated EVERYTHING exactly how I’ve felt it. First off, good for you for not giving in to the girl standing next to you – I always got super self-conscious when some girl was standing next to me running faster than I did or for a longer time, etc.

    Here’s my suggestion for conquering your fear of outside running: MAP IT OUT. Seriously. Go to http://www.mapmyrun.com, enter in your location, and find routes that are near you, and map out exactly how far you’ll run. I know this feeling of “but the treadmill keeps going, so I keep going.” Here’s the secret that no one tells you: because you’re so determined, you WILL keep going. I promise. Even if you need to slow down. Who cares? Just keep jogging. It really is mind over matter. Also, because you’re mapping out streets that are generally familiar to you, you’ll know whether they’re uphill, downhill, or flat. This is what I did for a good while (now I generally stick to the same routes – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), figuring out how I could avoid the most hills. Because for me, the goal was to run 6 miles. NOT to run 6 miles and most of it be uphill. Start running outside once in a while. Maybe once/week? And obviously, choose a time of day when you won’t die of heatstroke (although in NC that’s probably unlikely at this time anyway, but you never know).

    I have big thighs too, and I hate most running shorts because they’re made for skinny model type women. My suggestion: don’t buy the traditional Nike shorts just yet, because they have that shape to them that makes them ride up into your crotch, which is definitely unpleasant. BUT I have these mesh Champion shorts, which don’t have a key pocket, the added underwear (which I hate being added to my shorts anyway), or anything fancy, but the material is a more flattering look, AND they don’t ride up as much. If I can find the model I’m talking about, I’ll send you a link. As far as capri pants go, we’re both in the same boat. Drawstring models are you friends.

    I know you already said you have appropriate tops, but the nike dry-fit tanks and underarmour heatgear are my faves.

  5. Julia

    “This week, I’m mentally preparing myself to run 20 minutes without walking.”

    Jessamyn, congratulations!! That’s such a great feeling and I know you’ve worked hard for it! Motivation to keep going: I find that running for 20 minutes feels amazing, but I also start to get an extra rush (runner’s high?) around 26-30 minutes that puts me in a better mood for the rest of the day. You might find that you get that kind of lift after a different period of time (longer? shorter?), but as you keep running you’ll be able to figure out what feels best for you! So much to look forward to. 🙂

    I definitely relate to what you’re saying about running in shorts. Maybe I’ve been buying the wrong kind, but they always feel like they’re riding up. When I ran cross-country in high school, our weird racing shorts had underwear-like linings in them, so maybe that’s how some people prevent that problem. Personally, I’d rather just stick to capris.

    One thing that’s nice about running outside is that you can set mini-goals for yourself. I had a blast recently running up a steep hill with a friend because we pointed to cracks in the road and pretended we were crossing a finish line every 5 meters or so. Don’t worry about running more slowly outside than on the treadmill. Just focus on keeping your legs moving at all, no matter how much you have to slow down. I find that letting myself take it easy when I want to stop helps me push through the feeling and keep going.

    I love your blog, your philosophy, and your positive attitude. I feel inspired to go for a run!

    • CindyS

      Just to comment on the shorts. I ran cross country also. We wore a pair that had a panty liner in them. The shorts had a split up to the waistline. Since I had bigger thighs, on the hilly sections the short would like to rideup to crouch. Some of the girls would remove the liner for the shorts for comfort.

  6. Julia

    PS – When I say I slow down as much as I need to, I mean you could easily keep up with me at a casual walk! But I keep going anyway. 🙂

  7. I love that you are running! Can your Auntie Helen contribute to some running shoes as a birthday present? Lemme know……. Much love to you girl.

  8. Chubby runner chick

    Loved your blog. Running skirts are the best! Cute flattering and they don’t crawl up your crotch so you can focus on you’re run!

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