how running has changed me, and not like you think

Remember that teaser that I posted about this subject like a month ago? (See, even I don’t remember.)

Running has changed my life. It does that. I want to talk about an aspect of myself that I thought was immutable but that running has changed drastically, and not in a good way. That would be my fashion sense. Don’t get me wrong- I am not, nor have I ever been, a fashionista. Mainly because I don’t like buying into short-lived trends. In my head, I dress like a J. Crew catalog. (My 13-year-old gothic-self would so hate me now.) In reality, it’s more like Brother Ali says: “My wardrobe is jeans and faded shirts/a mixture of what I like and what I wear to work”. Being that my more-than-full-time job is raising the next generation slash full time college student, the dress code is hella relaxed. But a woman has to have standards. Most of my standards revolve around footwear as I consider myself a recovering shoe snob. Example: I have absolutely no Dutch heritage (you can easily tell because I’m short) so at no point in my life will I ever wear any shoe that resembles a clog. (Crocs and Birkenstocks: I’m talking to you, but especially you, Crocs. I hate loathe despise you. Actually, I don’t know a word that is strong enough to convey my displeasure at your existence.) Also, I cannot in good faith participate in the revival of a “fashion” that has already been around in my lifetime (that’s you, 80s revival). There are others, but I have a point to get to eventually.

Besides not being a big fan of the ‘leggings-as-pants’ look that seems so widespread these days, capris are really my only NO on pants (ok, harem and hammer pants are no-nos, too). Capri length pants flatter NO ONE. The availability of capris should be considered a crime against middle-aged women in this country.

I am chagrined to admit that I own a pair. I console myself by adding the asterisk which clarifies they are running capris and are very practical. They don’t trail on the ground, I can make them be knee-length or low-calf length depending on temps, and they have reflective stripes so my derriere glows in the dark. Okay, that last one is more of a neutral than a positive. Honestly, in comparison to my other HUGE FASHION FAUX PAS running has instigated, capris are harmless.

Remember how I said I don’t like the 80s “fashion” revival going on? Yeah. I bought an item recently that is probably the ugliest thing that ever came out of the 80s. No, not Carrot Top. Ok, he’s actually a product of the 60s but he’s ugly enough to convey my point. It’s not a home perm, shoulder pads, stirrup pants, any shade of neon, or acid washed jeans. It’s a fanny pack. IN THE YEAR 2010, I INTENTIONALLY PURCHASED A FANNY PACK. A. FANNY. PACK. Nauseating, right? Put your head between your knees until the lightheadedness fades. I’ll wait. I know it was a shock. I didn’t warn you properly, but I don’t know if that is possible.

Feeling better? It’s actually called a small personal items (SPI) belt. It’s expandable. When there is nothing in it, it’s only about 1” x 5” (plus the adjustable waist band). But you can stuff it full of… stuff. I can put in my driver’s license, debit card, oddly shaped phone, house key & iPod nano (with the Nike+ attachment on, of course), chapstick, plus four small safety pins so that I’m prepared at my next race. I bought it because my favorite running shorts (PURPLE Nike ones) don’t have pockets. Or even a singular pocket. I don’t like holding my iPod and I don’t always want to tie my house key to my shoe (if only my Roos were good for running! I bought them 8 years ago so it was before the 80s were “cool” again and they are PURPLE and beautiful and therefore doubly exempt from the current “fashion”).  So what’s a runner to do?

I bought a fanny pack SPI belt second generation fanny pack. You know what? It works really well. I really like it. I bought the black one with a purple zipper. I know you’re surprised I didn’t get the purple one with a black zipper, but I have my reasons. Specifically, I wasn’t sure if the purples would coördinate. I do have my priorities, you know. Retrospectively, they totally do and I am seriously considering getting the purple one. Back to my fanny pack. It’s awesome! I have no shame admitting that. What does slightly extremely embarrass me is the fact that I’ve been wearing it even when I’m not running.

I HAVE BEEN WEARING A FANNY PACK IN PUBLIC. FANNY PACK. IN PUBLIC. FANNY. PACK. IN. PUBLIC. FANNYPACKINPUBLIC, PEOPLE.

This shakes me to my core. I’m not even sure who I am anymore. I remember being horrified as a kid when I got a fanny pack in my Christmas stocking. My cousins and I always giggled about the fact that our grandma wore a fanny pack (sometimes around her waist and sometimes as a shoulder bag) well into the 2000s. Maybe I wear mine in public as a sub- or semiconscious memorial to my grandmother. I don’t know. But it must stop.

It even weirds out Hubs. Hubs has no fashion sense. Not that he doesn’t ‘get it’, but he just doesn’t care. For example, if I don’t match his socks he’ll just grab any two out of his drawer and wear them. Ankle sock with calf sock. White athletic sock with dress sock. Argyle with polka dot. Mindboggling but true. If he thinks it is crazy to be walking around wearing a fanny pack, then I know I’ve crossed a line that can never be uncrossed.

Dearest Most Beloved Running,

I love you. I do. But you need to stick to what you know. Things like making me stronger, better lung capacity, faster, maybe trim me up a little in the belleh area. Help all you want in the self-confidence and self-image areas (we both know those need you). But please, for the love of all that is holy, stop trying to infect the rest of my closet with your “practical” gear. If you stop now, I’ll let you be in charge of new iTunes downloads. If that isn’t enough for you, do it or I’ll only meet you at the treadmill. Yeah, I’m playing hardball here. Deal?

Just in case it isn’t really flipping obvious, SPI Belt a) didn’t send me a belt for free and b) sure as heck didn’t pay for this review. And really, can you blame them for not paying for this “review”?

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