Running and Skinny Jeans

| April 20, 2010 | 27 Comments


When you are a runner, you are surrounded by people who are motivating and supportive. You meet non-runners who admire your dedication, discipline, and shiny finishers medals. They say things like “Great job!” “Way to go!” “You are doing so well!” We are fortunate to receive this kind of feedback, and it makes us want to improve. We like to be told we are doing well and to “keep up the great work.” Affirmations are perks of the sport.

However, not everyone you encounter is going to be a cheerleader. I’m not speaking of rivals or your friends who want to engage in some friendly competition. I’m referring to people who will tell you how much they hate running or that running is a dangerous sport. Recently, I met someone who was very vocal about her hatred for running (and perhaps any fitness-related activities). This woman freely spoke ill of running after a mutual friend introduced me as a runner. She was relentless and self-deprecating, and I pitied her. Instead of reasoning with her and persuading her to reconsider her stance, I simply said “It’s not for everyone.” She had already made up her mind, and I wasn’t going to befriend someone who was this afraid of a sport I enjoy. I chose not be defensive. This was not the first time I met someone like her, and it certainly isn’t going to be the last.

When someone feels so strongly against a sport that makes me feel empowered, I believe it is because they don’t know the facts – only myths. It could be because their only experience with running was in gym class when doing laps was considered a punishment. Or it’s because they are intimidated by runners and running. When I encounter these skeptics, I use their negative energy to my advantage and think “If it was easy, everyone would be a runner.”

Though it’s a bonus to receive words of encouragement from friends and family, your commitment will be tested when you are challenged by those who want to deject your efforts. These people might even be your friends who want you skip your workout in favor of staying out late or having another cocktail! They’ll say things like “Live a little!” “Do you have to run tomorrow?” “I run only when being chased by a bear.” It’s not easy, but I tune out the noise, seek encouragement through my Dailymile friends, and focus on my goals.

I am proud to be labeled as a runner. It is not my life, but it is a part of my life. It is a selfish activity that provides endless benefits. It is something I love to do, and I’ll happily talk about running with my friends and with strangers who are open to learning about it. But running – like skinny jeans – is not for everyone.

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Category: Featured, Health & Fitness, Running Notes

About the Author ()

Chanthana Tsai is an endurance athlete currently training for local half marathons, 10-mile road races, the San Francisco Half Marathon, and the Chicago Marathon (where she hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon). Follow her on Twitter @chanthana or provide her motivation on Dailymile

Comments (27)

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  1. Jessica says:

    a bad knee has ended my running career which meant the world to me. I had heard that “live a little’ remark quite often b/c I still workout quite a bit (swim, bike, etc) however, to this day I would give anything to be able to run again. I did it for 28 years and I literally cry sometimes b/c I can’t do it. I watch ppl running and I want to yell out, “you are the luckiest person I know” sad? maybe. but too bad.

    • Chanthana says:

      Jessica, my heart aches for you. I do feel like the luckiest person in the world when I get to lace my shoes and go out for a few miles. Perhaps in your case it is “Better to have run and lost than to never have run at all.” Thank you so much for your comment and supporting the sport.

    • Melissa says:

      Have you gotten a second opinion on running preferable from a doctor that runs?

  2. Michael says:

    I think those who denigrate running often do it because of an innate bitterness that they can’t/won’t do it. I get other athletes who don’t see the point of “just running,” but not those who put it down just on principal. I cherish the fact that being a runner is part of my identity.

  3. Magda says:

    I admire the fact some people are runners because I’m not one.
    I have known this for a very long time. In high school when I was at my peek of physical shape, the best I could do was a 13 min mile run. The school mandated running weekly, and I dreaded Wednesdays because I knew it was the mile run day.

    So maybe this woman had a bad experience… trust me those mandated mile runs made me hate running for a long time…
    But that doesn’t excuse her lack of appreciation for other people doing it.

    • Chanthana says:

      Magda, you bring up a great point. We should be reminded that in running (and just about any physical activity), we should strive to achieve our own personal greatness. For some people, that is running a 4-minute mile and others it’s running a 13-minute mile. It’s all relative, but if you’ve progressed from being a couch potato to running a whole mile without stopping, that is progress!

      OK, enough of my Tony Robbins talk 🙂 Thank you for the comment!

  4. Great post! I’ve always admired my big brother who has been an avid runner since we were kids. Bikes were my thing, and still are and I cycle everyday in the warmer months in Chicago. But lately…I’m learning to be a runner. And I’m doing it right – taking the training slow, so I don’t get hurt or too sore to move – and you know what – I love it! It’s different than my love for cycling – it’s harder, for one, but when I’m running I’m more able to just forget everything else, and enjoy the moment I’m in. Fabulous.

    And thanks for all of your encouragement and support on DailyMile! I look at your runs every day, and you inspire me to keep getting better.

    • Chanthana says:

      Jenn!! You are budding into a runner! I think it’s great that you are trying something new and I love hearing you are enjoying it. I keep talking about wanting to take swim lessons. Thank you for your comment! BTW, no more allergies thanks to the neti pot 🙂

      • Hooray – glad the neti pot is working for you! Amazing how something so simple works, right?! And WAY better than taking pills all the time. Yep, swimming lessons are next on my list, too!

  5. Deanna says:

    I come across people like this all the time. Recently, I’ve had one family member who previously took an identical stance to running as the woman you just met, tell me she had started running. Then she lost some weight. Then she started working out because she felt so great. Then at Easter she asked me how many miles were in a marathon.

    I think those who say they hate running are just putting on a front because one, they are fearful they would not be able to be a successful runner and two are jealous of your abilities. Think about it. If someone told you they have a passion for developing websites with flash or gardening, would anyone take such a stance against those? No. It simply stems from fear, IMHO. Don’t let those people even steal one more minute of your thoughts.

    • Chanthana says:

      Deanna, excellent point! People do tend to be against things for which they fear or don’t understand. (I say that all they time when people don’t like Twitter – haha). I think it’s an incredible transformation to hear of your family member to go from one end of the spectrum to the complete opposite! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  6. Stephanie says:

    Great article Chanthana. You know me, I really don’t particularly care for running myself, (well I kinda hate it) but do it so I can get into my skinny jeans!

  7. Joe says:

    Once again, Chanthana, great article. What is funny is that I used to be that woman…well not literally, but you know what I mean! 🙂 I hated running and everything about it. I didn’t see the need for it and easily got bored when I attempted to run. But now when I look back at my attempts at running in the past, I simply was not trying. Running is not for everyone like you said, but it’s DEFINITELY not for people who don’t try. Just like anything in life that you have to learn, it takes time and practice and training to even get to a level that you can enjoy. If someone runs once a month, how will they ever improve or reap the benefits of running?

    One thing is for certain that I will NOT try..skinny jeans, hahaha

    • Chanthana says:

      Joe, you never fail to make me laugh! And you never cease to make me think. So true – how can you not succeed at running (or anything) if you don’t at least try? It may take several attempts (as both you and I know very well), but a person can fall in love with running. I would have to agree with you on the skinny jeans — just stick to running or basketball shorts 😉 Thanks for your comment and insight!

      • Joe says:

        Haha…I do wear running tights when it is cold out, so I guess that’s the tightest most uncomfortable look I can come close to skinny jeans.

  8. Ann says:

    I run into people all the time who tell me they can’t run a mile. I usually think this means they don’t want to run but my answer is always the same. “Well, a mile is hard. If I had to go out and run a mile everyday I would hate running.” I go on to explain something no one ever talks about but that makes total sense. Your body runs better when warmed up, literally warmed up. It take a full mile for your body to reach the optimum temperature for running. So, yes, the first mile sucks but getting past that is what makes us a runner and it is where the true joy of running begins.

    • Chanthana says:

      Great answer, Ann! Many people think they have to run a 6-minute mile to call it running, and yes that would be painful! For us, we don’t care if it takes them 15 minutes to run a mile as long as they keep moving. Running one mile everyday is like eating the same thing everyday. We need variety and running definitely provides that. Thank you so much for your comment! I really appreciate it 🙂

  9. MJ Tam says:

    TY for writing all this Chanthana. As you probably have noticed, I have been absent in the online world lately. Health issues. Was hospitalized and all. Your articles has been inspiring and can you bottle your enthusiasm for me please?! I hope to get back on my feet in no time and I am going to learn how to run…have to…

  10. Chanthana says:

    Hi MJ – I didn’t realize you were hospitalized! I wish you a speedy recovery and will find a way to bottle my enthusiasm 🙂

  11. Sami says:

    Chanthana, you’re always one of the people I think about when I want to move my butt out of my apt to go for that mile or mile and a half 😉

  12. Laurel says:

    Chantana – Love the blog! As a ‘jogger’ at best ;0)( and that could be a stretch ) I have always been super impressed by your dedication, the turning down that one last cocktail the night before a long run, and the fact that you don’t make excuses for why you’re not gonna go, went to Ravinia last night, too much Twittering to do ;0), etc. You always go and that is the kind of dedication most of us wish we had! Rock those Marathons girl I’ll be cheering you on in spirit from South carolina!!

    • Chanthana says:

      Hi Laurel! Thank you so much for your comment and lending support. When you think about it, it’s just a matter of prioritizing. We all sacrifice something to bring us one step closer to a goal or dream. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by loved ones who support my goals even if sometimes they do think I’m nuts 😉 Hope you & Doug are well!

  13. Tara says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more on this and like the attitude you take. I have studies that I am ready to forward to anyone who says running is bad for your knees. That’s the one I get the most, you are ruining your body with all the running you do. My response is “Stop hating” 🙂

    BTW- is there a way I can be alerted every time you post a new article?

    • Chanthana says:

      Exactly! Stop hating 🙂 I thank goodness everyday for having an able body and legs to carry me for long distances. Running with you, Tara, is so much fun! You are proof that pushing yourself yields amazing payoffs. Good luck in Fargo! Can’t wait to see you BQ!

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