Monday, October 12, 2009

Don’t judge a woman until you’ve run a mile in her compression hose

I used to see this woman running all the time who wore a super-short running skirt and what I thought were white knee-high socks. I am a nice person all in all, but I do have a bit of a snide side, and I remember thinking to myself, “Nice look you’ve got there, Wonder Woman.”

Actually, she was a bit more like Molly Shannon’s SNL “Mary Katherine Gallagher” character than Lynda Carter. I kept waiting for her to shout out “Superstar!” and then stick her hands under her armpits to sniff them.

But a few weeks ago my left calf started to hurt, more when I ran but achy when I wasn’t running, too. I tried hot baths, hinting to the pedicurist to “dig a little deeper” during the lotion-application part of the treatment, Advil, ice, heat, arthritis lotion, everything. My calf tightness would loosen up after about four miles of running, but return after I stopped.

I mentioned this during my run on Saturday, and one of my Team in Training teammates suggestion compression hose.

I had no idea what they were, but when I asked to see a pair at Runner’s Depot the next day, wouldn’t you know it? With my running skirt, I indeed look like a nervous Catholic school girl. Just call me Superstar. Sometimes when I’m nervous, I like to stick my fingers under my armpits and smell them…

Actually, the pair I got is purple, and I only wear them on my left side, so maybe I look more like The Joker from Batman than Mary Katherine.

A few other “judgments” I had of other runners when I first began running—that I now wish I could take back:

Smirking at the fanny pack: I remember thinking, when seeing a hyper-equipped runner, “Are you running or are you going on an elephant safari?” But this was back in the day when all I thought I needed to run were sneakers and headphones. Now for my longer runs I wear a fuel belt (which is just a nice name for a fanny pack) equipped with water bottles, sport beans, reflector lights, a sweat rag and more.

Snickering at Richard Simmons wanna-bes: Seeing an old, skinny man running in nothing but tissue-paper-thin running shorts or briefs always gave me a case of the giggles. But eventually I figured out that the weight of your clothing really does have an impact on your performance. True, you won’t see me dressing like I’m ready to Sweat to the Oldies or running in the equivalent of Spandex underwear. But on a really hot day, I’ll choose the lightest weight shorts and tank that I own. (I even weighed two different running skirts once on my digital food scale.)

Turning my nose up at treadmill addicts: Long before I became a runner, I might hop on the treadmill for 15-20 minutes to warm up before lifting weights, taking a kickboxing class, etc. I never understood why there were people who seemed to live on the treadmill. They’d be on it before I got there and still plugging away when I left my kickboxing class. “This is a great gym!” I felt like exclaiming to them. “Why don’t you get off that boring machine and explore it?” But now I realize that they were probably long distance runners stuck indoors because it was raining outside—and I wouldn’t have wanted to stop what I was doing to take kickboxing, either.

Oh well—you live and learn, and you learn not to judge. So if you see a runner with one grape-juice-purple leg limping past you, try not to laugh. Otherwise, one day, that purple one-legged runner might be you.

1 comment:

  1. I still giggle at the old skinny halfdressed men. I saw one at a 5k that had on white split shorts and that's it. He was a barefoot runner and just about bare everything else! I feel guiltier now, but still giggle.