Yesterday I went to the Boston Marathon expo and it amazes me how clueless some companies are to women runners, and larger women runners particularly.
I go to Weight Watchers because I need a level of accountability, not because I need a therapy group or for fun. I also have the double whammy of a minor autoimmune issue that interferes with my thyroid so, even though I'm this side of "normal" and don't need meds, it does mess with my ability to lose weight. I'm trying to go from being a big girl who has every bit of food in my life scrutinized to unique like everyone else. I run because I love having that time that is solely mine and the sense of accomplishment that goes with it.
So why is it the running magazines try to tell me that they use "real people" and open to a section to prove it. When I ask them to find one person that looks like me (as they still look like those gazelle like creatures that bound weightlessly from the earth), the people hem and haw and then say, "Well, you could write a letter to the editor...."
At the clothing manufacturer booths, they hold up a woman's XL and it looks like it would fit.... if I didn't have chest that gives me two black eyes when I run if I don't double bag (which I do) and doesn't cover up my gut. Who do they think I am? Britney Spears at the height of "look at me! I have skin and it's E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E! My epidermis is showing along with other body parts!" phase.
I look a lot... um, rounder than Brit Brit ever has. This leads me to the other side of the booth to get the men's large, which fits over my chest. When I mention this to the shirt folks, they shrug and say, "Hey, if it doesn't fit, don't buy it."
The only people who got it were the Running Skirts people. One of the women looked at me and said, "I have your size." She handed me a skirt to try on. The shorties fit, the length was perfect and the waist band sat on my waist the way it was supposed to instead exposing my butt crack. The woman helping me said, "I was your size last year, trust me I know this will work for you." ♥ ♥ ♥ She is the first person since the iRun Like a Girl folks to acknowledge that I want to look as nice as the people I aspire to look like one day.
We talked about how the women in my WW meeting and I often talk about how unfair it is we don't get to wear "cute" clothes when we work out, how frustrating it is. Finally I have something that sits properly so I don't have to wear 2 tops running because if my shirt does the inevitable crawl, there is fabric covering my belly and I don't feel obscene running down the street.
So to the running gear and information folks out there: I'm a big market. Not just because I'm big but because I'm the majority of Americans who find themselves curled up in a funk rather than be relegated to oversized sweats and t-shirts hiding so you can't see me while I try to battle my way back to my normal weight. It's a double blow to be fat and be reminded of it at every turn as a result of the lack of work out clothing for us. You actually could make a lot of money off our desire to step back towards normal.
Until then, all of you can kiss my rather large posterior after you take an airborne act of fornication at a round breakfast pastry in motion. I'm about to get vocal and become an advocate because you delivered the straw that broke the camel's back yesterday.