Guest Post: Running While Female

This blog entry will actually be about putting your damn pants on, no matter what kind of pants they may be. Plenty of people wear pants, and more often than not, those pants are put on the same way by all kinds of different people.

I am a runner. When running, my pants (or shorts) of choice are primarily made of lycra and/or spandex. This is not an uncommon selection, no matter where your gender identity lies (which is on the female scale, for me). When I run, I don’t like to have loose fabric weighing me down or creating wind resistance. Minimalism in clothing is important in running, ranging from shorty shorts in the summer and tight pants in the winter. While I am nowhere near elite status, you will see this type of clothing amongst the most decorated runners.

When I run, I am disgusting. I sweat, I wheeze, I spit, I wipe my nose on my shirt. Any sort of “ladylike” manners get thrown out the proverbial window when I run, and I don’t care. I have a mission to complete. Over time, I have added another non-ladylike mannerism to my oh-so-appealing running persona – the middle finger.

Running through the city over the past few years has made me more defensive. As I’m sure everyone has seen on the internet recently, there are videos of the catcalling women endure on a daily basis while walking around. The same goes for when I run. Honks, whistles, yells, you name it. This article came to me while I was on a two mile run around where I live this morning before work. A guy at a bus stop did a full 360 degree turn to watch me run by. A few men honked. Another fellow at stop sign yelled out to me, and when I flicked him off, he hollered back that, “I don’t need to be mean.” When did my reaction turn from a slight look of disgust to gritting my teeth and getting pissed? Have my mind and body always been on the defense? I’m not sure, but it brings me back to pants.

I’m pretty confident that a man running in spandex would not get the same unwanted attention. As I stated earlier, this is a common outfit choice for runners regardless of gender identity. It’s a damn shame that it’s something that I just have to “suck up and deal with” if I want to continue running in sport-appropriate clothing in public. Maybe I should do an experiment and have a man with a ponytail and tight pants run the same route I ran today, and see how many people holler at him! Any volunteers?

In closing, I’m not asking for your hoots and hollers because I wear tight pants, and I’m not a bitch for rejecting you; I just want to do my workout in peace. If you are running, walking, or biking past me, I will most likely give you a polite wave or head nod instead of the finger, as long as you keep to yourself.

Liz is a 30-something Richmond transplant. When she’s not running, or bitching about running, she works at a local sex shop and well known organic grocery store.

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