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Respecting the Boston Marathon

6 Jun

Unless you have lived under a rock for the last couple of months, you have heard of the tragic events that occurred on April 15, 2013…the day of the 117th Boston Marathon. Like many of you, I struggled to even find the words to express how I felt about what was unfolding that day. I still have difficulty even wrapping my brain around all of it. I mean, what kind of people would do this? To marathon runners? Why? How?

The Boston Marathon is the one race that, for me, if I were ever able to qualify for it, would basically be the equivalent of making it to the Olympics. Even if I qualified…and ran…and finished dead last…I would be “the world’s greatest” in my own mind. And then April 15th happened. And then the one event that has topped my race bucket list for the last 8 years….seemed scary…and tainted. All of a sudden, staying closer to home and continuing to run “small town” events (though lacking the prestige and fanfare) seemed so much more secure and reliable. I let thoughts that I never thought I would think (Does that make sense?) run through my mind…”I mean, is the Boston Marathon really THAT big of a deal? Do I really want to keep running large events where stuff like this can happen? Should this really be my end-all-be-all pursuit?” For a while, I just let those thoughts marinate.

After the bombings, every news channel and media outlet was clamoring to get the “goods” on the story. Although some efforts were being made to tell the stories of the victims, survivors, runners, first responders, and spectators, a shift was made more quickly into covering these guys (I did not even want to type their names). How did they do it? What was their plan? Were they terrorists? Where were they from? And on, and on, and on…

Upon receiving the June issue, many readers were surprised that it did not cover the Boston Marathon, and, in fact, it made no mention of the race whatsoever. As explained by this post by David Willey, Editor-in-Chief of Runner’s World, much of the editorial content for the June issue had been finalized and the issue was already in production. Runner’s World committed to dedicate their July issue to covering the Boston Marathon. Yesterday, the tablet edition of the July issue was released and I was so pleased with the way the event was covered.

Very few publications have reported the stories from what I would consider “my perspective”, that of a runner. Runner’s World is one of those publications that I feel has handled the media aftermath of the bombings in the very best way. Yes, they reported the details of that day, but they also told the stories of people who were stopped at Mile 25, people who had been out there cheering for a loved one, people who were trying to connect with their friends or family members. I don’t know, maybe I just see so much bad stuff on the news that I have become numb or detached from it, but the way Runner’s World covered the events of April 15th kept the “human element” at the forefront. These people are so relatable. These people they reported on could be my friends, my running buddies, people in my running club.

Runner’s World – July 2013 Cover Art. (Photo courtesty of Runner’s World)

I have been a subscriber to Runner’s World for the last six years and this is the first cover that I can recall without a runner on it. Usually the covers are graced with images of runners (celebrities or not) sporting perfect form, the hippest gear, and a smile on their faces. This cover couldn’t have been more different. The Boston Marathon medal is an icon, and displaying it in this way communicates respect, honor, reverence, and solidarity for this race and our community. Reading about and understanding the creative process that went into achieving this cover image was truly fascinating. I highly encourage to take the time to read about it here. The minimal nature of its design allows the image to fully impact the reader, and I like that.

For the April 1996 issue of Runner’s World, the 100th Boston Marathon medal was prominently highlighted on its cover. For this issue, showing the medal on its own seems like a most appropriate and respectful “hat tip” to a race that has meant so much to the sport of running and to the history of Runner’s World. Though the messages of both covers are different, you cannot deny the power in these images.


After having some time to let the shock dissipate and reading this issue, I plan on letting the Boston Marathon continue to rest in the #1 spot on my Race Bucket List. Reading the articles of runners who will persevere and make our running community stronger than ever gives me hope. I admire the way so many runners, running clubs, running brands, etc. have banded together to show strength and unity. In the future, I’ll make more of an effort not to take racing for granted and maybe I will be a little more careful and aware at ALL events I run, whether local or national or whether I’m racing with hundreds of runners or with thousands.

(The July issue of Runner’s World was available on tablets yesterday and will hit newsstands on July 11. If you have a subscription, you should be receiving it this week.)

If you would like to support The One Fund in their fundraising efforts to provide financial aid and support to victims of the bombings, please click here.

If you would like to show your support for The One Fund in your local communities, please consider purchasing and wearing a silicone support band from Go Sport ID. 100% of all proceeds from the sale of this bracelet go directly to The One Fund and support their fundraising efforts.

How were YOU affected by the Boston Marathon bombings? Were you there? How did it make you feel?

Wait…(Most) Women Shouldn’t Run? Ugh.

27 Sep

Michael Boyle is a DOPE.

Recently, an asinine article about why women shouldn’t run has made its resurgence on the interwebs. I had read this composition a while back (maybe four years ago?) but had noticed that just as fast as it had been spread around the web, it was gone. It had crept into the bowels of the internet, right where it should have stayed. Lately though, I have noticed it making a comeback on several web sites and I just cannot keep from throwing my two cents in this time.

(For the complete text of the article, click here.

These are awesome women runners…

I will be honest. Taken point by point, Mr. Boyle actually makes a couple of decent arguments. As long as you only consider how women are physically constructed, no, we probably should not run. But you know what? All my life I have been warned of things I should not do, and for the ones I was passionate about and did anyway, I never regretted it. Not once.

For starters, I find his use of Diane Lee’s quote, “You can’t run to get fit, you need to be fit to run,” to be a misleading half-truth. Thee word “run” is relative to each person who participates in the sport. Personally, I disagree with the idea that you can’t run to get fit. No, I am not a fitness professional, but I can tell you that I have seen MANY of my friends get on the path to fitness by taking up running. And by “running,” I do not mean “hard core, sub-6:00, sprint until you vomit” running. At the time when each one started, their own version of running may not have been much more than a shuffle. But that shuffle got them burning calories and getting fitter. And the fitter they got, the faster their feet shuffled. Funny how that works, right?

…but so are these…

Yes, running is a hard sport. It is hard on the body. To be an elite runner, I think it is pretty safe to say that you need to be pretty darn fit. However, I do NOT think this means that your body needs to look like Mr. Universe or Ms. Fitness USA in order to compete in your local 5k. I feel like telling people that you NEED to be fit to run is intimidating to people who may be considering the sport. As long as your expectations are reasonable for YOU, I do not feel like you need to be “fit” before taking up running. Running should just be one more tool that you use in your path to fitness.

When it comes to the physique of women runners, I have to say, Mr. Boyle hits the nail on the head. Yes, women with narrower hips and smaller breasts make faster runners. But if you notice, that is not what he said. He said that it makes them better runners. Is speed the only litmus test for what is “good” and “not good” about running? Sadly, Mr. Boyle assumes that all women runners only run to be fast. Being fast is fun, but there are so many other reasons why women run.

Women run for the joy of running.
Women run to relieve stress.
Women run to reach personal goals.
Women run to make friends and build a community.
Women run to set good examples for their children.
Women run to raise awareness for causes that are important to them.
Women run because they want to.

“So what happens when a ‘normal’ woman begins to run? She becomes a statistic. She becomes a physical-therapy client as she tries to shovel you-know-what against the tide. Her wider hips cause her to develop foot problems or most likely knee problems. Her greater body weight causes greater ground reaction forces. Greater ground reaction forces stress muscle tissue and breast tissue. Get my drift yet? The end result is likely to be hurt and saggy instead of the cute and little.”

This last paragraph was really the “icing on the cake” for me. The first time I read it, I seethed. And then my ire turned to pity. I felt bad for this man. And then I selfishly thought, “Please tell me he is not married.” With these words, he is basically saying there are only two kinds of women in the world…those who are 5’ 3”, 110lb female elites and all the other women in the world must be obese and not have any clue what we are doing when we get out on the road. His line of thinking here is so faulty, I almost don’t know where to begin.

For starters, I am a normal woman. I was a normal woman at 5’ 5” and 135lb before my son was born, and I am still a normal woman at 5’ 5” 150lb since having my son. One of my normal woman running friends is 5’ 10” and 170lb. My sister-in-law is a normal woman at 5’ 4” and 115lb. My running buddy is a normal woman runner at 5’ 7” and 165lb. Obviously, there are many shades of “normal” out there. You know how many of these normal women runners I have known to ever visit a physical therapist? None. Not one.

…and so are these.

And because we have wider hips, we should stop running? That is just ridiculous. When a woman gets pregnant, her hips widen, preparing her body for birth. After birth, some women are fortunate enough to have their hips go right back to the size they were pre-pregnancy. Other women are left with wider hips. Let’s say a woman was an avid runner before pregnancy, and after the baby, she was left with wider hips. However, she wanted to keep running. According to Mr. Boyle, this woman would no longer be a “good runner” because now she’s bigger. And since she isn’t “good” anymore, she might as well stop, because surely this running mama won’t have a clue how to handle her new body when running. Ugh, do you see where I am going with this? Please tell me I am not the only one who let out a massive eyeroll here.

In addition, all of the points he makes about why women shouldn’t run can easily be applied to why men shouldn’t run. Stressed muscle tissue and saggy body parts only apply to women? Oh, please. Trust me, I have seen my fair share of man boobs at races and, if I think anything when I see them, I think, “Wow! Look at that guy go!” The last thing I think is, “Hmmm, I wonder if that guy realizes that physics is really not on his side.”

Mr. Boyle, let me fill you in on a little secret. Not every runs to win first place. Bigger people aren’t in denial. They know they are bigger…just like I know I am not a size 4. Odds are, if they sign up for a race, they are pretty sure they won’t come in first. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t run. In case you had not heard, running is also good for people mentally and emotionally. And, sometimes, the overwhelming positive mental and emotional effects they experience are a fair trade for the occasional calf cramp or muscle ache.

Maybe I will never be a “good female runner” according to Mr. Boyle’s standards. However, I do know that I can be a “good female runner” according to me, Katie Key. With that, I am going to step off my soap box. After all, I have some miles to knock out before the sun goes down.

P. S. – Someone should also let Mr. Boyle know that there have been great advancements made in women’s running apparel. Sports bras have come a long way and we don’t have to worry about sagging body parts quite as much as we did once upon a time. Besides, how would Mr. Boyle have first-hand experience that running causes boob saggage…he’s a dude.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Concerns?

Post-Partum depression is REAL.

21 Mar

Before Baby Key was born, “depression” was a word that was completely foreign in my vocabulary. I have a very bubbly personality and I considered myself a very positive, upbeat person. If you have ever met me, you know that I high five strangers and shamelessly use “jazz hands” when I talk. When I spot a friend across a room, I instantly throw my arms open for a big ol’ bear hug.

But in the few months since Baby Key’s birth, I have felt a lot less…”jazz hands-y.” It took me a long time to decide whether or not to write this, but since this is something I have been struggling with, I decided to tell my story. It is deeply personal but I am sure there is someone out there that can relate.

I will be the first to admit that I was completely overwhelmed with all things related to Baby Key. Sure, we went to the parenting classes, breastfeeding classes, and “what to expect” classes, but nothing on the planet truly prepares you for that day when you bring your little bundle of joy home from the hospital. No more nurses at the push of a button. No more hourly visits from doctors to make sure mama and baby are happy and healthy. You are on your own…and reality b*tch slaps you in the face.

Not me, but I've felt this pain.

The first two weeks of being home with Baby Key are a complete blur. On a nightmare scale of 1 to 10, I would absolutely give them an 11. He cried…and cried…and cried. It was terrible. We are not talking the normal “I’m hungry” cry or the “I need a diaper change” cry. This cry involved quivering lips, an arched back, fists clenched, and hives. Yes, he even broke out in hives. It was enough to send any sane person crawling up the walls. And it was incessant. 24 hours a day. He never stopped.

For weeks, I felt like I could do nothing. All I could do was hold him. Putting him down or resting him in a swing was not an option. Trust me, we have probably spent over $1,000 on swings, mats, swaddlers, and any other product to soothe a crying infant. None of it worked. We tried EVERYTHING. I could not go anywhere. I felt so trapped. The nurses on the hospital “warm line” even got to know the sound of my voice because I called so often begging for help. There were days that my husband left for work in the morning only to return home that evening to see me sitting in the same rocking chair, wearing the same clothes I had slept in the night before. I remember sending him frantic text messages pleading for him to come home and give me just a little bit of reprieve because I was just sure that if he didn’t my ears would literally start bleeding. On these days, getting a daily shower before 7:00PM was my crowning accomplishment.

As the weeks went by, everyone kept telling me things like, “Hang in there. It gets better.” or “It’s just a phase, you’ll make it.” While I appreciated all the kind words and sweet sentiments, I just could not see how things would EVER get better. Because they weren’t. As time went by, his crying and tantrums only seemed to be getting worse and more violent.

Things really started turning south around the 4-week mark. This was at the point where the typical “baby blues” should have started going away. Not only were they not going away, but the feelings seemed to intensify. There were moments when I was holding him, and he was in one of his fits, and I played out this scenario in my head…

What if I just put him down, walked away, closed the door behind me, and never dealt with this again?

I really thought I could not take one minute more of it. There were times that I would just look down at him and think, “Why did I do this? This was the worst decision of my life. I should have never had a child.” There were even times that I looked at him and thought, “I don’t even want him anymore.” And yes, there were moments that I even wanted to shake him.

Several friends of mine had babies right around the same time that I did. By this time, they were posting cute pictures of their kiddos smiling, doing fun things, or updating me that their babies were happily sleeping in their swings. While I was happy for them, it made me so angry. I tried really hard not to let it get to me, but it did. I sat there, fully convinced that my butt was permanently melding to the seat of the rocking chair, seething. Why couldn’t my baby be the “easy one”?

All of these thoughts brought on extreme guilt. After all, this is the child we prayed for, the child that we wanted so badly, the child that we were told we were never going to be able to have. And here I am, wishing him away. This was one of the lowest points in my whole life.

I will never forget taking Baby Key to his 6-week check-up. I walked in looking like death warmed over, holding my crying child. As soon as his pediatrician walked into the room and asked how things were going, I broke down completely. I totally lost it. I begged her to “fix” him. I must have looked so absurd, but I was desperate. I needed help…fast.

This was the point at which she expressed that what I was experiencing was beyond the normal baby blues. The first thing I thought was, “Oh great! Just add that to our list of issues to deal with” but it was true. Each passing day made me feel more and more detached from my child, exactly the opposite of what I “should” be feeling. It was also on this visit that Baby Key was diagnosed with a severe case of GERD. Though I was not thrilled at his diagnosis, being given assurance he really was crying more than other babies, helped me feel less crazy. Up until this point, I am pretty sure there were people in my life that when I told them, “He cries all the time.” thought I was exaggerating. This day was our turning point.

Not wanting to immediately start taking medicine, I started to see a therapist. Talking about my anxieties, fears about the future, and caring for a child with special medical concerns helped me take some control over my issues. After several weeks of counseling sessions for me, and a twice daily dose of Nexium for Baby Key, things started looking up. The sun seemed to shine a little brighter, the air didn’t feel as thick, and for the first time since he was born, I actually wanted to hold my son.

Before Baby Key, I did not really know much about depression at all…especially post-partum depression (PPD). Not that I did not think it was real (no Tom Cruise-like rants from me, I promise), but I just assumed that depression was for other people. I know that sounds awful, but it is just the truth. I never thought it would be me.

I have come to realize that having a bout of PPD does not make me crazy, does not make me a bad mother, and with time and honesty, can be dealt with in a healthy way. All it means is that it took me a little longer to get to that joyous I-want-to-smell-my-baby-every-second-of-the-day point than it did some other moms.

Now that we have turned a proverbial corner, I am starting to feel more and more like the “old me.” The changing season and warmer weather have helped us get out and do more so that I no longer feel so trapped and isolated. My husband and family have also stepped in to give me a little more time to go running, which does so much more for me mentally and emotionally than it ever did physically. And the best part is, I simply cannot wait to end my work day so that I can go home to my husband and beautiful baby boy…you know, to smell him and tell him I love him.

I say all this to let you know that if you are going through a similar experience, you are not alone. If you or a new mom you know has had or is having these kinds of thoughts or having a hard time bonding with your new baby, I sincerely urge you to ask for help. Speak up. People are there to help, I promise.

Please don’t suffer in silence.

There is no shame in admitting you need help and seeking out the necessary treatments to make you a happier, healthier woman and mother. The sooner mama gets better, the sooner everything gets better.

Will you still Race for the Cure?

13 Mar

For as long as I can remember, I have been involved in one way or another with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Over a decade ago, I started out by volunteering with my local chapter, Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Baton Rouge. Having a personal connection with how breast cancer and breast health issues can affect a family, I found myself wanting to do more…to make more of a commitment…to raise more awareness for the cause. In 2005, I signed up to walk 60 miles in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. Since then I have walked/crewed 6 3-Day for the Cure events (across 3 states), run in about 20 or so Race for the Cure events (across 4 states), and done what I could to help spread the word about Susan G. Komen for the Cure and its initiatives.

However, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has recently come under scrutiny for deciding to pull funding from one of its beneficiaries, Planned Parenthood. For those of you who are not familiar with the issue, back in January, Susan G. Komen for the Cure adopted new grant policies that barred agencies that were under government investigation from receiving any funding. Since Planned Parenthood falls in that category, it was made public that they would no longer receive funding from Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Once this information hit the AP wire, it fired across the internet like crazy, creating a PR nightmare for Komen. Long story short, within days Komen revised their policies to bar agencies under “criminal investigation” from receiving funding, allowing Planned Parenthood to again apply for grants.

However, this leaves a lot of people scratching their heads and saying, “Wait, Susan G. Komen for the Cure helps fund Planned Parenthood??” Yes, they do, as well as these organizations.

So where do they get all this money for these grants? The majority of the funding comes from Race for the Cure, 3-Day for the Cure, and Marathon for the Cure events.

“The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is the world’s largest fundraising event for breast cancer. It consists of a series of 5K runs and fitness walks to raise money to for breast cancer, to raise awareness of the disease, to celebrate those who have survived breast cancer, and memorialize those who have not.

The primary source of revenue for the event is donations collected by the participants in the race. Three-quarters of the net proceeds from the event are used locally to pay for community outreach programs, breast health education, and breast cancer screening and treatment projects run by the Komen affiliate. The remaining quarter is sent to the central organization.” [Wikipedia]

While I, personally, do not support Planned Parenthood or their programs (just my opinion, I am entitled to it), I will still support Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I will still run in Race for the Cure events. I will still walk/crew 3-Day for the Cure events. And in the future, I hope to run the Rock and Roll Dallas Half Marathon with the Marathon for the Cure program. I cannot be in control of where every dollar that I donate to charity goes, but I do know that a lot of those dollars are being spent in places and on programs that I think are worthy and appropriate.

How do you feel about Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure? Have you run these events before? Will you do so again? How do you feel about the usage of your race fees?

(In an odd twist of fate, I was coaxed into running the Rock and Roll Dallas Half Marathon just this morning, but I will not be participating in the Marathon for the Cure program this year. I am not sure I could raise the $1,000 of fundraising in only two weeks. And while I did miss my local Race for the Cure event this past weekend, I plan on being at the Race for the Cure events in New Orleans, LA and Charleston, SC later this year to make up for it!)

Psycho-Pharmaceuticals in the Running Industry

24 Oct

Self-motivation is *so* last year.

It’s too cold outside.
It’s raining.
I have to pick up the kids from daycare.
I have to get dinner started.
I have to work late.
I am tired.

Some days we can find every excuse in the book NOT to go work out or get our run in. On these days, we literally have to force ourselves into tying our running shoes and getting outside or on the treadmill. Forced or unmotivated runs rarely produce work outs you are proud of and, many times, end up being miles marked down on some calendar saying you followed your training plan.

But, what if there was an easier way? What if there was a pill you could take that would actually make you WANT to run? Would you take it? Would you at least try it? If so, would you feel like it is “cheating” in some way? If not, how would you feel about others who took it…especially on race day?

Psycho-pharmaceuticals will be able to alter our levels of will-power and change patterns that are already ingrained in our brains. We could literally ask a doctor to mix up the perfect drug to tell our brains that we want to train all the time and run, run, run, and then run some more. This “cocktail drug” could literally be made such that every time you went for a run, the pleasure receptors in your brain were triggered, much the same way that they are triggered with delicious foods or sex.

Just imagine this for a second. Really think about this.

Can you only imagine how much your running would improve (or at least change) if every time you went for a run it felt as good as makin’ a little lovin’? HELLO! Following that, can you just imagine how many people would graduate from being the occasional 5k racer to wanting to run a marathon overnight? Can you imagine how much the ultramarathon industry would surge? Ha!

While it is fun to giggle about this for a second, it does bring up a very real…and potentially scary…issue. How would these drugs be regulated? If they are legal, how do you race or compete fairly? Whether we like it or not (or agree with it or not), psycho-pharmaceuticals are the future and, in all honesty, the not too distant future. Since they are prescribed and legal medications, how will these be regulated for racing and training, in general?

It is definitely interesting to think about. It sort of reminds me of that movie Limitless. Could this be life imitating art…or art imitating life?

What do YOU think of the use of psycho-pharmaceuticals in the running/sports industry?

An Open Letter to the IAAF

27 Sep

Let me preface this post with some background information. The racing world firestorm started last week with this article in Sports section of The New York Times. In short, a new ruling by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) states that it will “recognize women’s road-race records only if they are set in ‘women’s only’ events.” To further complicate the situation, the IAAF has then made the ruling retroactive, so that even previously set records no longer count as “records.” Outraging many racers and racing fans alike, commentaries were then posted by ESPN and by Runner’s World. What follows is my opinion.

To Whom It May Concern:

I realize that I am one voice among thousands that are speaking out regarding your recent ruling on women’s records being set at women’s-only events. To say that this ruling is unfair is a gross understatement. Other words that come to mind are unwarranted, unreasonable, and unjust.

This ruling is nothing short of unreasonable. The argument that women’s records should not be upheld because they use faster men to pace them is asinine. At the core, it is tantamount to saying that my personal PR should not “count” if I, say, paced with a female who happened to be African-American. Primarily, pacing is not considered illegal, cheating, or technically against the rules. If anything, some consider it to be a smart racing strategy. Runners race to push themselves. Otherwise, they would never sign up for a competitive event in the first place. Secondly, if a racer chooses to pace with another runner, what does it matter if that runner is of a different gender, ethnicity, etc. At the end of the day, are all racers not competing on the SAME course under the SAME conditions?

My next question to you is, why even make this ruling in the first place? I was not aware that there was so much controversy surrounding women’s records that such a ruling was even necessary. If no such controversy even existed, however, then this ruling seems completely arbitrary and serves no purpose other than to waste people’s time discussing the matter. More importantly, even bringing it up now puts a black smudge over incredible records and achievements by runners like Paula Radcliffe, Deena Kastor, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and Katherine Switzer. At this point, even if you were to reverse your ruling, you have already managed to taint their records. That, to me, seems irresponsible.

For decades, female runners and racers have wanted nothing but to compete on an even playing field. From my perspective, it is not that we want special favors or advantages; we merely want to be considered equal. How is segregating the genders and relegating us to women’s-only events keeping the competition even? How does this raise morale for women in the sport of running? Similarly, do you plan on having men compete in men’s-only events? After all, there are some women who are faster than men and we wouldn’t want those men to have an unfair advantage by pacing with a female, would we? Over the last several decades, female runners have been discouraged from competing, told they were not capable of competing at the same level as men, and even had spectators attempt to pull them off race courses. At the end of the day, just let the female runners run, no special rules or consolations. Just let them do what they have trained and worked so hard to do. These women have sacrificed to be the elites of their sport and if everything they have given up pays off by way of outstanding race records, please recognize that and give them all the accolades you would if they were male. To take away their personal bests and records is demoralizing and insulting. It is just that simple.

I realize that you will receive an incredible amount of feedback regarding this ruling and that my letter will probably get lost in the shuffle. However, I do feel the need to make my voice heard. I look forward to watching how this issue progresses. I have a strong feeling this is not then end of this issue.

Katie Key

Are you a male or female runner? How does this ruling make YOU feel? Do you think they will ever overturn it?

Half-Nekkid Runners

16 Sep

“’Naked’ means you’re running around with no clothes on. ‘Nekkid’ means you’re running around with clothes on and you’re up to something.” ~ Suzanne Sugarbaker, Designing Women

Many moons ago, my mom was obsessed with a television show called Designing Women. There was one particular character, who was a total sass-mouth, named Suzanne Sugarbaker. While it was so long ago, I do not remember the context in which this quote was said, but it has stood out to me for YEARS. I must have thought it was hilarious as a child!

In a roundabout way, this makes me think of today’s topic…shirtless runners. (Blame my ADHD for that wacky train of thought.) There has been much debate among the running community if running shirtless should really be considered acceptable for men or women. Personally, it has never really offended me to see male or female runners running sans singlet as it gets hotter than Hades here in South Louisiana. However, there are many in the running community that think this is entirely inappropriate and considered to be showing too much skin.

So I ask, do these ads offend you?

Photo courtesy of Saucony

Photo courtesy of Moving Comfort

Neither ad resonates negatively with me at all. In regards to the male runner, I feel like this ad shows no more skin than I would see if we took a family trip to the beach. In fact, lots of male runners at my weekly running groups will arrive to group with a tech tee on, take it off for the run (leaving it somewhere at the start) and then throw it on afterwards for when we are all standing around hanging out. In regards to the female runner, all I can say is…JEALOUS. Let me tell you…if I had a body that toned, I would literally be running around naked…or rather, nekkid. Yes, NEKKID. Okay, well, maybe not, but don’t think I haven’t had dreams where I show up to a race in my birthday suit. Plus, she is actually more covered up than what what you would see most women wearing at the beach!

At the end of the day, if someone has the confidence to show off a well-toned body that they have worked hard for, kudos to them! And if they have the confidence to show of a not well-toned body that they are still proud of, even bigger high fives! I know some people may find runners without shirts on distracting, inappropriate, or not family-friendly, but its okay with me.

How do you feel about topless runners? Do you find it to be distracting or unnecessary? Does it offend you? If so, what about it makes you feel uncomfortable?