For years, I’ve resisted the temptation to air my abs on a run. I had no problem baring my flabby arms to the world, but my muffin-top was nobody’s business but my own.
Then came this summer, with its 40-degree Celsius heat waves, fabric-drenching humidity and endless circuits around the track. While my slim, speedy training buddies would strip down to their running bras without a moment’s thought, I trailed behind them in my modest midriff-covering tank tops and tees, looking like their chaperone. I envied not only their cooler clothes but their evident comfort with their own bodies.
Then lately, I started thinking, “why not?” (That question’s been getting me in a lot of trouble recently.) I began checking out other runners – male and female – who strip down to what are essentially their skivvies for runs. And guess what? Many of them don’t have perfect bodies. But guess what else? They still look fantastic. There’s something about running in minimal clothing that looks incredibly hard-core athletic to me. It doesn’t matter the shape or size – it’s the “only-my-performance-matters” attitude that comes across.
So, last week when I reached the top of my local hill for 10 reps in 32C heat and there was no one else around, I threw caution to the wind, whipped off my shirt and ran in my sports bra. Then yesterday, at a yoga-for-runners class during the same heat wave, I did it again. And at the track last night? Stripped down to the essentials.
Funny, I thought I’d feel self-conscious. We women may or may not carry a lot of weight on our hips, but we sure do carry a lot of baggage about them. Surprisingly, though, I wasn’t worried about how I looked. I didn’t think I looked good and I didn’t think I looked bad. I just didn’t care. That cool breeze felt so damned refreshing and I swear, I ran faster.
Is this what it’s like to get older? Then bring it on.