Look closely. Can you find me in this photo?
No, you can't.
There's Paula and Kara, rocking their "buns" (I can't believe that's what those shorts are called; even if it's a colloquialism) in NYC last November. As they should be, with legs and, well, buns, like those. Kara appears to be aiming for more modesty, but as I, too, have found with lycra run shorts, they can be a tad creepy. My guess is the cop didn't mind working the beat on that particular Sunday.
Being an amateur who runs a third of the weekly mileage of an elite, I couldn't possibly show up to the Westford 5k in anything like that. I'm not a big girl, but I just don't have the hocks. Nor do I want to be shut in the stocks (or, more accurately, the gazebo on the Common) for corrupting the youth in the Family Fun Run.
Beyond our obvious muscular differences, there's also the issue of storage. I might as well be a mule in a marathon. Just storing my gels requires more fabric than Petrova's got on her entire bum. Storing my "modesty" requires even more.
I just want a nice pair of lightweight shorts that cover the results of my frequent indulgence in Hershey products. With pockets. And in a color that is not always black. I don't mean I need to go this far, but you get it.
On Friday, I attended a Lululemon focus group for runners because the company wants to improve its running line and give us what we want. Hallelujah. And the 12 of us agreed we want pockets that can hold our junk without letting it flop around. (That sentence wasn't meant to read as dirty as it does.) I said I also wanted bionic shorts that eliminate the need for effort.
It's taken the makers of running shorts a while to catch on to our need for pockets. For a while, I ran races in tennis shorts because they had deep pockets. But those were boxy and heavy. Then I used a clip-on pocket, but that digs into my flesh, and speed work is enough self-flagellation for me. I don't need to literally bleed from the gut.
Finally, though, the designers have gotten the message. You'd think they don't run. My favorite pocketed running shorts are made by Sugoi, and I wear them for every long race. I think they're so fabulous, I've started pronouncing it Soo-gwah like when we all started calling Target 'Tarjay.' Shut up--it makes me feel good.
As if the Sugoi people knew how much I adore their shorts, they sent me a pair of a new pocketed short (I like to drop the 's' like that woman on What Not To Wear) that I don't think has even hit the shelves yet. I tried to find a pic of it on their web site, but there isn't one up yet, so this is me in the shorts:
Look at me all striking the poses. I learned that arm thing from too many In Style magazines at the salon.
The shorts? I love 'em. The pockets are perfectly placed on my hip (see second photo), and the fabric is incredibly light without making me feel like I'm running nakey. There was no chafing at my waist on any of my test sessions with them, even with the fuel belt around my waist. There's also no split at the side, which is great because my other Sugoi shorts are split and the fabric can get caught in my SPIbelt in a race, with disastrous results to my dignity. And the color isn't black--gray is a bold enough departure for me. They did seem a smidge big, and I have to roll the waist once, but I have a weird habit of doing that with shorts anyway.
In short (rim shot), they seem like the perfect marathon shorts. Almost makes me want to run one. Right now. I wonder if there's a marathon nearby this weekend...
So a shout out to Sugoi for the love (they also make my favorite running shirt, which I bought at PF Chang). And a big fist pump or fist bump or something like that to all the Boston runners tomorrow. This is your party. And I'll cry if I want to.
Go get 'em Betsy, Jess, Jill, Judith, Laura, Lindsey, Moose, Neal, Sarah, Rebecca, Tyler, and everyone else I'm inevitably forgetting. I'll be cheering from mile 17ish until I'm running Jess to mile 26.1999999. If you see me, stop and grab a Gu from me.
And Kara, make us proud with those legs.
Photo credit: eugene on flickr and Paul Keleher