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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