Fine, I admit it. I wore actual running shorts today. You know. the kind that were designed for people to step into and dash off in with the ease making powdered lemonade and the grace of a gazelle. It was mostly an accident. A friend of mine, years ago, had passed off a pair of purple runner’s shorts to me, for reasons I have yet to be clear about. Perhaps because I was a runner. I took one look at those athletic short pants, with their built in underwear, and overly leg-displaying properties, and thought: no chance in Atlantis.
For starters, I was supposed to go commando in this fitness-approved garment? What if my nether-bits sweat? What if I’m in a horrible accident and the doctor finds me with no underwear? What if there’s a draft? What if my friend had gone panty-less before they became hand-me-downs? Secondly, there was the length issue. My body is perhaps one of the best kept secrets of California. Only a handful of people have been privy to me in less than a knee-length skirt and a t-shirt, and they are the other morning lap swimmers at the pool. And trust me, if I could efficently swim with nylon pants and a tunic top, I would not balk at the opportunity.
But after my research into the negative affects of heat on a runner’s body, and after noting that simply carrying my laundry downstairs had broken me out into a shirt-staining sweat, I thought I would give a little less clothing a try. I am running in Orange County, after all. So one pair of underwear and one red, baggy T-shirt later, I pulled on the shorts as eagerly as a three year old eats brussel sprouts.
The length of the shorts brought back a memory I was not expecting. I do declare that I had worn these shorts before, for a brief spell, almost two years prior. Upon adding them, and a few slightly longer pairs, into my running wardrobe rotation, I found myself with a strange and ineffable injury: a mild to sharp tingly pain (as best I can describe) in my right quad-region. While one PT’s diagnosis was an unconvincing over-use statement, I began to notice that the pain was most prevelant only when I wore shorts to run. In order to test my hypthesis, I searched for the answer to the obvious question: Why?
The answer: Because I adjusted my shorts as I jogged. And I also adjusted my stride so they would not slither up my leg in a seemingly static-inspired dance. My fear of showing off my upper thigh caused me to run so as to not disturb the shorts. Shorts are meant to be disgruntled, though, and as they remained motionless, I wound up hurting myself.
Thus why I had shoved the shorts to the bottom of the work-out pants crate (yes, it’s an old milk crate). Destiny had it in for me, though, what with moving me to the county of Orange and henceforth making me warm enough to consider those shorts again.
Perhaps it is because a few years have past, but some of my modesty must have shed like old, delicate snake skin since last these shorts were worn. I was aware of them on my body, but I did not alter my stride. And because of the lack of pain and embarrassment, I began to see the good side of the running shorts, such as my legs really were cooler. Sure, it was not Antarctica for my lower-third, but it was perhaps a very early autumn feeling as opposed to the usual mid-summer. Also, these shorts were made to absorb, so I felt accutely arid as I moved.
My favorite part of the running gear is that it was designed with runners in mind. There, on my shorts, was a pocket! Not a kangaroo pouch, but a small, zippered pocket which called “Put your keys in me!” For the first run in years, I did not have to pad my sports bra with my house key (an endeavor which can leave you with cuts and bruises if you aren’t careful). The key slumbered safely in a sealed environment. What a world, right?
I still believe running gear is over-priced and over-rated. Yes, some of it is probably helpful for some people, but not everyone needs Superfeet or UnderArmor, nice as those luxuries may be. However, if you have kind friends (who are faithful wearers of undergarments), I strongly recommend getting your legs into a pair of running shorts. Let that crisp air whip across your heated legs, and let your key be secure.