Spandex and Sports bras for a uniform

As a runner for many years, I always got teased or mocked for certain things that I either wore, said, or did with my friends.  A lot of times, people associate being a runner with assumptions of us always being competitive in every aspect of our lives, which isn’t always false.  Whether that be because you are looking at your previous times that you are striving to beat the upcoming season, or even on a simple easy run that the runner always feels like they have to be in the front, even if it’s just one or two steps ahead of everyone else.  Why? Because that’s what we do, we race and try to be in the front at all times because that’s how we run fast and win.  Granted some aren’t as competitive and don’t think of every workout, easy run, or long run as a race which, honestly in my eyes isn’t good or bad, it’s just someone else’s style of running and even their mentality of running.  People, even my identical twin sister, are always pointing out that my spandex are practically underwear, and all I ever want to do is walk around in my sports bra and spandex.  For men, the second some says “Oh yeah, I run long distance” they immediately picture extremely white thighs and WAY too tiny of shorts.  Which isn’t always wrong but that is completely canceling out that there are running spandex men wear as well.  Runners also have this tendency to always keep track of their runs, or are pointed out to time everything and anything.  This isn’t technically the worst stereotype or characteristic you could have, but a lot of time it ties in with the competitive side, or on the contrary just simply wanting to track your progress to watch you increase your intensity in training.  I always had friends and family saying, “Oh please, you can eat anything you’ll just run it off during your 13 mile run tomorrow.”  Also something that isn’t true for everyone; eating healthy and wanting to watch what you intake is a great habit to take on for your own physical body inside and out!  Staying in shape to race and compete is hard and it takes a lot of time to stay diligent on your training, school work, eating habits, and sleep schedule.  You must be really good at managing your time and having the ability to put aside your extracurricular desires and focus on running if it’s what you would like to pursue competitively.

Now, for the disabled side of it, I am still hoping to uncover facts and information on the life of someone battling their disability and their desire to compete.  I understand from a couple articles, that many athletes not only runners, find it exhausting having everyone pity them or think they could get “hurt” or that they should win after all they’ve gone through.  When in reality, they want to be treated no differently than the other man/woman on the line next to them.  Whether this be professionally or amateurs, para/quadriplegics or amputees are out doing what they love because they aren’t going to let an injury stand in their way since there’s nothing they can do to fix it sometimes, might as well work with what you got.  I remember watching Oscar Pistorius, the South African amputee that ran in the olympics, and thinking “wow that would be so cool if he wins because he deserves it!”  Well so does everyone else who got there, and that’s what you should think of when you support them!  Just because they don’t have the “ideal” athlete body or are spoken in the media as “overcoming their battles” when in reality, they are just pursuing their dreams like everyone around them…nothing more.

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One Response to Spandex and Sports bras for a uniform

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    You bring up a number of “stereotypes” of the competitive runner, that sound mostly based on your own experiences. This is fine, but also requires that you attend to your own subject position in relationship to what you see as the stereotype of running. How do different subject positions/identity relate to the stereotype of the runner?

    In relation to disability, I notice that you tend toward metaphors of war (i.e. battle). Consider why this is and how it affects the stories we tell about disability and sport. This is an area ripe for analysis, particularly as it relates to competition.

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