Being a female runner is awesome. Unlike male runners, who are rarely noticed unless they are leading the pack, female runners tend to get noticed a lot…for various reasons. So, okay, I guess it can be awesome being a female runner – but others may say it sucks for the exact same reason. I think we all like to imagine ourselves as graceful runners bounding effortlessly along the path, ponytail swinging lightly behind us, tanned and toned limbs glistening in the sun – in a sexy way, of course, not because we’re super sweaty – and always enough energy to manage a smile as we pass by people. Sure, that does actually describe some girls – but I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the rest of us; the majority of women runners and the not-so-sexy issues we regularly deal with in order to participate in the sport we love.
We’ll start with the easy, least gross, one. Although some men probably deal with this issue as well, I think we can all agree it’s more common for females. Thanks to Jennifer Aniston’s “Rachel” days, women’s hairstyles still haven’t gotten back to keeping hair at a single length, preferably long enough for a simple ponytail. I think we all agree that runners shouldn’t be in charge of setting fashion trends (unless sports bras, do-rags, and rounded shorts with hidden pockets sound cool to you.), but I sure wish someone would make shaved heads or long single-length pioneer women hair cool again. Having various scraps of hair falling out of the many pins we have all over our heads and then either becoming plastered to our face by sweat or bouncing at just the right angle to tickle for the entire run is annoying at best, and simply a pain in the ass the rest of the time.
Let’s just get down to the nitty gritty here. Boobs do a lot of wonderful things. Sweating is not one of them. While running, they not only sweat, but the sweat actually pools between them causing as gross of a sensation as it sounds. However, if an uncomfortable slimy feeling were all that came out of it, I wouldn’t be complaining publicly. The real problem is that boob sweat leads directly to the dreaded sports bra burn.
Sports Bra Burn
While men may read that term and think, “Whaaaaa?” I’d be willing to bet every female running will guffaw, roll her eyes, and think, “Yup. Been there. F*%^ing hurts.” For the former group, sports bra burn is like getting a rug burn around your entire rib cage, and particularly bad in the front, due to your soaked (see ‘boob sweat’ above) sports bra. A few things contribute to sports bra burn: cheap sports bras, longer runs, and forgetting to liberally apply Body Glide to this area pre-run.
Upper Thigh Chaffing
Again, I’m sure some men can relate to this, but I know 9 out of 10 women can. The natural shape of a woman’s body often mean our thighs touch while running. And by ‘touch’, I mean rub together causing some gnarly chaffing spots that rival sports bra burn and result in a waddle similar to a heavily pregnant woman. Although we may go a few years in our mid-twenties, when we’re at our fittest and lowest overall bodyfat, without enduring this issue – those ‘golden years thighs’ won’t last an entire running career. At some point, we all deal with this. Again, the easiest solution is whole lot of Body Glide, Vaseline, and Spandex. Sounds sexy, huh?
Now that I’ve probably ruined the appeal of female runners for the majority of readers, let me at least concede that men have their own host of painful issues related to running – I’m just not qualified to write about them. All in all, it’s safe to conclude that running is gross. Or, at least, it can be thought of as gross. However, it can also be exhilarating, adventurous, healthy, uplifting, transcending, and positively freeing. Clearly, the benefits must outweigh the sweat, burns, and hair issues because I don’t know any female runners looking to quit any time soon. I, for one, have simply learned to buy a nicer sports bra and rock a do-rag like it’s 1991.
By Audra Rundle