You Don’t Have to Be Hot (In Fact, it’s Better if You’re Not)

This morning, only the second time this month that free time and general physical health have coincided with the weather not snowing, I went out and ran around outside for exercise. I got out between rain showers (yay!) but it is still January (boo!). Of course it is January on the west coast so still above freezing (yay!).

I listened to the Pogues and walked up the hill to warm up and then weaved my way around the Queens Park neighbourhood before making my way to the track at Mercer Stadium to run around in circles for a while. Well, ovals I guess. The track was just introduced to me by Jen and is my new favourite place to run around in ovals. Why?

1) There are no hills. When you are a beginning / restarting / lapsed / inconsistent runner, hills are the enemy. However, when you live in the Mizzle, hills are everywhere. New Westminster is like ‘Nam in that way. Come around a perfectly flat corner, perfect stride, HILL. And then you fall down and die just like Willem Dafoe in Platoon.

Anyway. Um. Track! Yes. 2) The track is paved with nice soft asphalt, unlike the aging sidewalks of Queens Park. Did you know sidewalk cement is harder than road cement? That’s why so many runners run on the road and down alleys. Because the cement will give you more shin splints and wreck your knees. Tracks are best. But there are other tracks that are sand or dirt and they’re not as nice because you might get sand in your eye. Or a rock between your teeth if you happen to be panting. Not that I would know that.

and 3) at night there are lights on the track. This means I can run at night, alone, without fearing for my safety.

I ran around the track and it was good and then I walked home, which is the perfect distance away for a nice cool-down (and: DOWNHILL) and as I walked I passed a few other female runners, who were all dressed in, like, outfits; matching pants and jackets, some with lovely headbands holding back their jaunty ponytails. One had lipstick on! There were guys too, the guys just wear shorts and t-shirts and baseball caps.

It reminded me that I read somewhere once (vague!) that you are more likely to work out if you like your workout clothes. So you should buy cute workout clothes. And then you will want to wear them to exercise in them. I admit I take the opposite approach.

1. I am going to sweat, right? So my cute clothes (which probably would cost more money than my uncute clothes) will stink? And then I will have to wash them and they will get worn out faster. They will never look as cute again as they did in the fitting room.

2. Unless I am trying to meet the love of my life by exercising, who cares what I look like? As it turns out, I met the love of my life in a coffee shop, sixteen years ago, so suck it all you boy runners who want to chat me up.
2a. Hahahahahaha. As if.

3. I exercise by running, in part, so that I will not have to talk to anyone.

4. If you don’t want to talk to anybody, should you dress a) cute or b) crazy?

Bonus: if you buy less cute, less expensive clothes, you can save your money for beer. Or, I guess, smoothies would be more a more responsible choice.

It also comes down to this: no matter what I wear, I am going to sweat and go bright red in the face and blow my nose a lot and basically be disgusting. I am disgusting when I exercise. It is not, will never be, and cannot be made to look, pretty. Or cute. I could wear a Hello Kitty workout outfit and it would still not be cute. (Oh my god. So not cute. What is the opposite of cute times four hundred?)

Whatever is around the house, I wear it. Doesn’t even have to be clean – after all: sweat is imminent.

Today, to run, I wore:

– white long sleeved shirt
– black short sleeved shirt
– blue warm up jacket that I love very much because of its many zippered pockets
– army green toque that smelled like Trombone’s hair
– my baggy-style yoga pants that have the drawstrings at the ankle and when I run, billow in the breeze and look alarmingly like HAMMER PANTS
– mismatched mini gloves from the kids’ bin
– some socks
– dingy old runners that used to be pink and white and are now grey…and grey.

All of it perfectly functional. None of it matching anything else.

I listened to Guns N Roses and if anyone looked like they might say hi, I sang along. With the headphones still in.

No one is talking to me when I am running alone. Not even the man in the jeans and the puffy jacket who didn’t know I was racing him. (I totally won) Ignoring social cues leaves me more able to focus on not falling down on the track, gasping like a old goldfish who just got scooped. Power to the un-cute!

(this just in: the kids went with SA to Metrotown this morning, where the CBC peeps were just starting a live festival of sorts. Trombone and Fresco each got a pedometer and a real classy wrist sweatband. I think my running outfit is now complete.)

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8 Responses to You Don’t Have to Be Hot (In Fact, it’s Better if You’re Not)

  1. Camilla says:

    Awesome post. 🙂

  2. eva says:

    Kicking Hello Kitty’s ass in the suburbs while avoiding potential loves of your life. Love it.

  3. Megan says:

    HAMMER PANTS!

    I haven’t been running lately, but last time I did, I wore a “cute” workout outfit that my sister gave me for Christmas. It actually did motivate me to get up and go run. But then the pants started falling down, so I’m grabbing at my backside every few minutes. And then the panting kicks in, so I slow to a sort of stagger, beet red in the face and pulling up my pants. Decidedly not cute.

    And, I still have the outfit, but haven’t run since, so the outfit is not motivating me. Come on, outfit, you have ONE job!

  4. Amber says:

    Hammer Pants rock. And just reinforce the whole “can’t touch this” vibe you’re going for. 🙂

  5. Joanna says:

    Well done on the running front. I say wear whatever makes you go for a run. I am happy it’s not Hello Kitty though. I really can’t imagine you wearing a Hello Kitty outfit.

    Oh, and I’m still laughing about you beating the guy in the jeans and puffy jacket 🙂

    Wristbands make me claustrophobic, so I don’t think I’d be wearing one to go for a run, but yay for a free pedometer. Well done, boys!

  6. I’m also an unattractive exerciser. I get all red and huff and puff a lot. Plus anything remotely cute would just accentuate my saggy post baby potbelly and my alarmingly gigantic boobs, so it’s giant tshirts and yoga pants all the way. At least my butt still looks pretty cute in yoga pants. Not sure about Hammer Pants, though that part made me laugh.

  7. Beth says:

    My criteria for workout gear: a.) light enough – I don’t need to be carrying any MORE extra weight – but warm enough to suit the weather. b.) non restricting: roomy enough that I don’t feel strangled anywhere on my body, but tight enough that they don’t fall down/off. c.) something that covers all the bits that society says should be covered. – don’t want to shock the neighbourhood or anything. d.) shoes are the only important part and the only part I actually spend money on. e.) a fanny pack for keys, cell phone and a couple dollars in case I have to pick something up on the way home. I always seem to have to pick something up on the way home. Fashion rarely hits my radar in general, but when out walking, it isn’t even a contender.
    But double yeah for the track. I live on the highest part of the west end. Everywhere is downhill from here, which means everywhere is uphill home. This part I don’t like. A flat oval track would be wonderful.

  8. steve says:

    The Pogues make anything better! If I were plugged into a Pogues-equipped IPod, I could be out all day. Not a runner, though. I’ll wave politely to the runners from my comfy bike…
    The Pogues are still touring, rarely; and I will be front and center to see them in NYC on Mar 17, St Jimmy Cagney Day!