I love trail and ultra running. The people, the challenges, the community, the support.
Soul-enriching, strength and character building beyond anything I have ever done or been involved with in my life. It’s saved and changed my life in ways I can barely begin to describe. I hold those random, bubbly, precious feelings near and dear and tightly in my heart.
While deeply satisfying and challenging, I will be the first to admit that it is really not a very glamorous sport.
If you’ve run trails or ultras you’ll feel this list is missing something. (Tell me what you would add!)
If you have not run trails or an ultra you might be wondering… Just how not-glamorous can this possibly be?
Pooping in the woods, snot rockets, chafe, sweat and mud and dirt. Blisters. Missing toenails. Black toenails. Sunburn in the oddest of patterns and places. Did I mention chafing? Squatting in poison oak. Headlamp batteries dying and leaving you in the dark at 4 AM. Hallucinations, scabbed knees, puking, smelling like a yeti, digestive issues, swamp-ass.
I know I’m missing some critically UN-glamorous, probably hilarious, things.
But you get the idea.
Some of you are totally horrified and wondering what on earth there is to possibly love about this sport. You’ll just have to trust me. The thrill of covering a whole lot of miles, seeing country I would never see any other way, supported by amazing people and the challenge of pushing myself well beyond the normal boundaries…
It’s all worth it.
Every bit of it.
I feel strong and bad ass and challenged and alive.
It’s worth ALL of it.
Some of the best ultra-runners in the world wear skirts when they run. The woman are strong, talented and fearless. And they’re wearing these practical and comfortable and cute skirts. Win, win, win. It’s as close to glamorous as we’re going to get in this sport. I always wanted to try to pull off that look. Except that I am a larger size than the elites. And having lost 200+ pounds; well, my upper thighs need a little more care and coverage than most peoples. I simply need a longer inseam in the built-in shorts than is typically offered to help prevent the aforementioned chafing.
I searched high and low and experimented with all kinds of product lines for well over two years. I want to look cute in race pictures. (Ego!) I also want to respect the spaces I’m running in, special spaces that are wildly scenic. Kind of like dressing up for a party, I like to dress ‘up’ out of respect for the place I’m visiting and running in.
And let’s face it… I don’t need to spend each run looking like I’m wearing whatever doesn’t smell and like I dressed in the dark with whatever garments I could put my hands on.
Then I found this active dress company out of Seattle…
And our local running store, Running Princess, sold the dresses.
I saw one. Bought it. Ran in it the next day.
I kind of fell in love with their dresses.
I wear my own compression shorts under it – and WA LA!
I finally had the running dress/skirt I’d been searching for for over two years!
The dress is from a company called Nuu Muu.
And there’s one additional and really vital thing about them that has become increasingly important to me…
They support active women of all sizes.
Some companies say they do. This company does it in their branding, marketing, size offerings, event support. I know. I watched and looked and snooped around to see if this was JUST their clever marketing niche, or if they really meant it.
Their commitment to active women of all sizes is at their core — and it’s obvious. As someone who was starting to be active and painfully stood out EVEN MORE than I already was at 300ish pounds in my boxy cotton T’s and ‘big and tall’ men’s shorts from Walmart…
I instantly felt a surge of gratitude and compassion for this company’s approach to helping woman feel strong and pretty and confident while being active… No matter their size.
And now a days, I’m 180ish pound, about a size 12-14. I find really cute active clothes and sometimes at my current weight and fitness I still don’t fit in their largest offering. I can run a 100 miler, but they don’t make clothes that fit me. Huh. Their message is clear and frustrating to me. ‘We don’t want larger women who are active being seen as our customers or brand ambassadors.’ OK…. Maybe that is not their intended message at all. However, that’s certainly what I hear LOUD AND CLEAR.
Spencer and I were having a conversation about a running team that I am on. Last year after some consideration and a wild dose of courage, I applied and got accepted. I never expected a yes. It was totally a thrilling moment for this former 400-pound, non-active woman to be invited to join a running team! I was over the moon. It is a group of women across the country that are all tied to a clothing line by their love of running. I was expressing to Spencer that I was not sure how much longer I would stay on the team after a year of being on it. He suggested perhaps I hadn’t given it enough effort, hadn’t worked to reach out and meet some of my fellow teammates. I finally said that I never felt like I fit in. They only offer up to size 12 in clothing and I can only fit in a select few of their ‘looser fit’ garments on a good day.
The racing singlet they give you for being on their team barely fits over my boobs and so I have never even worn it to represent them when I run. I won’t wear it in public.
It’s great, high quality and fun clothing line for some woman, and while I respect and loved the community of supportive women, the clothes just don’t work for me. And perhaps more importantly, their clothing is not an option for the women I am trying to reach, work with and encourage who are learning to love being active and themselves wear sizes 12 – 30.
I told Spencer that I was in a spot with my running and health and with our business, Novo Veritas, that I was truly interested in finding companies that I could suggest and endorse that embraced the idea that active woman come in all sizes.
I want to find companies, events and products that back up OUR brand with theirs; they show support and exhibit the understanding that woman are fierce, bad ass, healthy in all sizes.
Women (and men, let’s be fair!) kick ass, conquer mountains, battle fears and chase down dreams in ALL shapes and sizes.
I told Spencer that I wanted to intentionally throw my support behind those endeavors that recognize active, adventure-seeking, healthy people of all shapes and sizes.
And then I found this dress.
But it turns out to not even really be about the dress. It was more about finding a company and a community that support me and all of the other women I know so we can go out and do daring and bad ass things.
No matter what it may be. No matter our size. 🙂
What daring and bad ass things are YOU up to?!
‘Clothes aren’t going to change the world, the women who wear them will. ‘ – Anne Klein.