Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The body of a Runner

“You run?”, someone asked me incredulously.
“Yup!”
“But you don’t’ look like a runner. I mean, it’s not that you are fat or anything, but…..”
Since I knew what she meant, I changed the topic.

People expect runners to be thin because of the calories we burn, but actually very few of us are. Runners pile on the carbs to ensure they have enough energy for the home-stretch. Our thigh muscles need to be well developed- skinny jeans are not for us.

A Size Zero model cannot survive a long race. Why, then, do people expect runners to be thin?:

_____
A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

22 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

You're exceptionally good at these drbble's, another good one, Thanks for sharing Rayna,

Yvonne,

Clarissa Draper said...

That's a good question. I'm not thin... not fat either and can't run half a block.

CD

Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - Thanks for this - what a great story! It raises some really important questions about body image and our assumptions about it, too. I'll be thinking about this one for a while...

Tina said...

Thanks for pointing this out. Women have enough body image issues, they don't need this stereotype added to that.
Tina, a former runner (ankle injuries led my doc to forbid it anymore) but never skinny

Jen said...

Loving this drabble!

I have to say this is a great post! People need to know that runners are all shapes and sizes. I ran cross country for years and I'm tall and thin, however it has nothing to do with running, it had everything to do with gene's. You are required to eat a ton of carbs and thanks to my father and his fast metabolism he was kind enough to carry it to me, however my sister has a healthy curvacious body and she's a much better runner than I am.

Fitness isn't about being thin, it's about being healthy! Great post! Thanks for sharing!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Some are, but you're right - most have some serious leg muscles.
Ironically, when I was running distance, most people looked at my thighs and thought I was better suited as a weight-lifter. (Darn thunder thighs!)

LTM said...

excellent as always! I run. Then I eat chocolate cake. Yay! (I don't look like a runner either... ;o)

Mohamed Mughal said...

For whatever it's worth, I looked at the accompanying photo and you sure look like a runner to me :)

Mary said...

Maybe people want to think all runners are thin as an excuse not to get up and run.
I love your drabble!



Mary
Giggles and Guns

Patricia Stoltey said...

My knees flinched at your post today. They said to tell you that their owner had better not try running if she knows what's good for her.

Stationary bicycle is, however, acceptable. At least, that's what my knees say.

Saumya said...

I have received the same reaction when I say I run. I think that some group of lithe cross country runners painted everyone else's views on how runners are supposed to look. Skinny jeans are definitely not for me!!

Beth Zimmerman said...

Kind of silly of us, isn't it!

Ellie said...

People have preconceived notions about size. If I lift weights I get bulky, when you would think I'd be lean. It is all about muscle fiber, fast twitch, slow twitch, how much we have, where, and the T word.
Thyroid gland...the master gland of
our metabolism, this butterfly shaped gland, controls a lot of more than just your weight. Run and be happy you can!
Great drabble~

Jemi Fraser said...

Good question. Probably another case of people reacting not actually thinking :)

Deb and Barbara said...

Ha! I've always been naturally thin (eat like a horse) and everyone always assumes I'm athletic. NOT! It's frustrating actually to always under-perform expectations...

How I wish I could run a marathon. Congrats!

Barbara

Lisa said...

Very nice writing (drabble).

Any good tips for a beginning runner? :)

Trudy said...

Great drabble Rayna, and an even greater question!

I hope to start running someday when I get a bit better conditioned and, needless to say, I will NEVER be a thin runner!

God's blessings to you!
Trudy

Watery Tart said...

*smacks people with stereotypes*

I see runners in all shapes and sizes. I blame the Kenyans for the runner stereotypes--those lean speedsters have defined the runner look, but the fact is distance runners at least DO need to be able to store some energy. It's been several years, but there was a time I was very lean, and at about mile 7, my body definitely protested if I hadn't carb-loaded. at a more reasonable weight, I could hit 10 or 11 without.

Chary Johnson said...

Natasha, this is so true. I have to say that I am guilty of this assumption. But in all fairness, I am a plus size women who sees joggers and runners all over the city. To me, they are all skinny. I will try to be more open minded and empathetic to how others might take this type of comment.

Great post Rayna!

dipali said...

Pre-conceived notions about everything exist, unfortunately.
You look good, running.

dipali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Yvonne - thank you.

@ Clarissa- I do not think thin or fat really has to do with too many other things.

@ Margot- we are so quick to make assumptions, aren't we. And body image is so important these days. Glad I could make you think.

@ Tina- absolutely. And to be honest, I would rather have the body I do have than be skinny. And a pity about the injury.

@ Jen- precisely. It comes down to genetics. And I would rather be fit than skinny, though if you can be both, it is a bonus.

@ Diane- I can't believe you saying you have thunder thighs. You look like someone who will have slender legs that go on forever.

@ LTM- running + chocolate cake. No better combination. Food for the soul and food for the soul.

@ Mohamed- thank you!!! The best compliment I have had in a long time.

@ Mary- that would be some excuse!

@ Patricia- I gave my knees a break for two months, and they are happy to get back to running. But I am watching out for every flinch- so far there haven't been any.

@ Saumya- and those Kenyan runners, who are actually cheetahs in disguise.

@ Beth- stereotypes, again.

@ Ellie- yes, that butterfly shaped gland. That does play havoc with most of us, often without us being aware of them.

@ Jemi- and that person definitely did not mean it as an insult.

@ Barbara- you must have a metabolism people would kill for. Just the opposite of me- I can exercise all I can, and I still have thunder thighs- so might as well hog and run.

@ Lisa- five minute intervals of running and walking- keep increasing the running, till you don't ever want to stop. But you are not a beginning runner- you do run 5 ks pretty often, don't you?

@ Trudy- and why should you be. It is better to be healthy and happy than skinny.

@ Tami- EXACTLY!

@ Chary- oh yes, there are degrees and degrees. This particular person is skinny, but doesn't exercise a jolt. Good metabolism and no kids.

@ dipali- thank you. And too many preconceived notions about everything, unfortunately.

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