I always thought I hated running, for one good reason (although maybe it counts as two): boobs.
I was on the girl’s basketball team in seventh grade, which also happened to be the year that my breasts started sprouting in earnest. Sports bras weren’t a thing yet in the ’80s … boobs bouncing down the court were just part of the scenery of practices and games (the Lady Hawks included eighth- and ninth-graders in all stages of development). I wasn’t comfortable with the bouncing itself or spectators watching the bouncing, however.
And the utter stupidity of being called the Lady Hawks: DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED.
When sports bras began to become more popular in the ’90s, they still weren’t worth much for ladies with anything bigger than B cups. (And don’t think I’m bragging until YOU try to fit them into an Ann Taylor blouse that isn’t so big the shoulder seams are drooping toward your elbows or so tight that the top button is threatening to put someone’s eye out.)
I tried the double-down trick for aerobics classes (SHUT UP) in college, but wearing two sports bras at once pretty much doubles the amount of boob sweat you produce in half the time.
I made peace with the non-bouncy elliptical machine for a few years, then discovered weight training, which I simply LOVED. My body responded quickly, toning here, putting on a little bit of muscle there. Best of all, I didn’t feel skinny or fat, just STRONG.
Even the most effective fitness programs become ruts after a while, however. Bored with weights and walking and the occasional foray into the neighborhood gym (and vividly aware that my cardio stamina was rapidly diminishing), I signed up for Madison Adventure Boot Camp in November.
Finally, I had a reason (and marching orders from Joe Martin, boot camp owner and official trainer of the Rocket City Bloggers) to buy one of those pricey new and improved sports bras that I had read so much about the past few years — a Moving Comfort model from Fleet Feet, which carries a huge variety of bras in a tiny display area and will let you try them ALL on if you need to.
We ran in boot camp, and ran some more. I almost hurt myself — luckily, my shin splints turned out to be less splinty than some — but I discovered that, with the bouncing problem solved, running not only wouldn’t kill me, it could actually be fun.
I’m not the best runner in the world, mind you. I stop to pet dogs. I slow down so I don’t scare ducks. Sometimes I slow to a stroll, convinced that I’m going to die on the street of a heart explosion like a 1985 cocaine addict with really bad judgement.
But then I start running again. One more sidewalk segment. Then another. To the end of that row of hedges. No, wait. THAT row of hedges. I shave two minutes off my route and think, next week, another two minutes is coming off.
Running makes me feel like I can do anything, as long as I can find the right bra and stop to pet dogs. ANYTHING. And that feeling is worth a LOT of $50 sports bras.