In one of my lady runner Facebook groups, it was decided that “Independence Day” would not just be a day for us to celebrate America’s birthday. We decided that we ladies would encourage each other to find the strength to embrace running sans shirt. Many women feel comfortable enough in their skins to run in their sports bra. Many women also feel like they do not have the bodies to run in just a sports bra. Many women – such as myself – worry about what others will think, agonize over the extra bit of fat they carry in their midsection and choose to don an extra layer despite the summer heat.
The ladies in this group encouraged each other to change that.
I didn’t run on the 4th this year… but I am striving to use this month to strengthen my resolve to throw those reservations to the wind. There are things about my body that I love and there are things that I hate. My midsection is an area that falls in the “hate” field. I carry a little bit more “insulation” and up until the thought of running without a shirt over my sports bra has made me nervous. I have been worried about what other people will think. Will they think I have no business running without a proper cover up – whether thinking it inappropriate or thinking I do not possess the body to do so? I’ve found myself unnerved by the thought that doing so might send the wrong “message” to people that I run by… Isn’t it just plain wrong that part of me worries that running in only a sports bra could be construed as an invitation?
My resolve strengthened by some of the strong and wonderful women in my group, I decided to go for it. The first run wasn’t bad. As I was running along side the road, someone in a passing vehicle honked at me – but that has happened while running with a shirt on, so it didn’t phase me. Other than that, nothing happened. No one jumped out to shame me for my exposed skin. I didn’t shame myself. I didn’t burst into flame. I felt considerably cooler and actually felt relaxed and free! It was more liberating than I thought it would be.
I’m slowly working up to the point where I am fully confident being out in the own in my running shorts and a sports bra. Up to now, my sports bra runs have been in the early morning hours on a mostly empty campus or near my home (on a mostly empty sidewalk). Hopefully with each run I’ll gain a little more confidence to be able to run like this no matter where I am!