There’s a lovely running store near my office — locally owned, knowledgeable staff, and to top it off they sponsor many area races. It’s exactly the type of establishment any runner wants in their community. I walked in recently, ready and excited to give them my business.
The store was filled with attractive running apparel in every style and color. Several items caught my eye, and I flipped through racks to find my size. Size small, size extra small, size extra-extra small. I checked the entire floor, and found nothing above a medium.
The clerk asked if I needed help, and I had to (rather embarrassingly) say out loud that I couldn’t find anything that would fit. She just stared at me. She wasn’t rude, and to her credit she never even implied that I’d fit into smaller clothing if I ran more. She just never considered that a serious runner might not be a size zero.
If clothes make the (wo)man, what happens when the clothes aren’t made for you?
I’m an average sized woman, which means I’m twice the size of a normal marathoner. This used to bother me, but with time I’ve made my peace with it. My body is imperfect. This isn’t news. But it’s strong and capable and it’s run thousands of miles.
The road is open to anyone willing to show up and do the work. Vanity has no impact on a runner’s dedication or discipline. I know what I need to do to meet my goal, and it has nothing to do with size. The only number on my mind is 26.2.