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Summer 2014: The return of shorts

So, I've always been ashamed/embarrassed of legs/thighs/butt. My mom told me from a young age that I inherited my great-grandma's rear end. And she has family photos to prove it. Thank you, genetics.

In high school, I became very self-conscious whenever I had to wear shorts. It was especially unfortunate for me as an athlete, as I recall needing special-order uniform bottoms several times to accommodate my rear. One year, I think I had to wear grey softball pants when everyone else had white because they didn't have my size to match. It was only for a game or two, until they ordered new ones. But still.

The other girls on my teams could skip around in booty-baring spandex while I struggled with chaffing and what I call "scrunchy crotch syndrome" (not just when running/moving, but all the damn time).

I basically quit wearing shorts in college, with the exception of pajamas. Capri pants became a summer staple, and my legs didn't see the sun (or any exercise) for years. Since I had a choice, I chose to hide my insecurities. In fact, I've had some people say they didn't think I looked very big in pictures when I was at my heaviest. That's because I deleted *almost* any full-length shots. From the waist up, I was more confident. (My boobs are a post for another day, however.)

When I started running, capris were my saving grace. Chafing was eliminated, and my crotch no longer looked like it was eating the material. I swore I would never again wear shorts as long as capris were an option. Why bother?

That's a good question. I really have no idea why a few weeks back I suddenly got the itch to show my gams again. I think it was half curiosity/half jealousy. Part of me wanted to know if shorts would be different now that I am now 30 pounds lighter than when I graduated high school. Part of me was also seriously jealous of the runners who could breeze past in shorts and not have awkward tan lines when they wore dresses or skirts.

So, I went to good old Walmart and bought some cheapies. I figured for starters, I'd just wear them around the house. I was surprised at how comfortable I felt in them. Still, I stared at my legs in the full-length mirror. My calves remain un-proportionally huge and my thighs jiggle with cellulite, stretch marks and loose skin. It's not pretty.

After a few days, I started worrying less and less about how my legs looked, and I thought more about how they felt. Under all those ugly battle scars are some pretty badass muscles, thanks to running. And though my thighs still touch, the rub is not nearly as uncomfortable as it used to be. I've come a long way.

So, with a little encouragement from my husband, I decided I would be brave and run in shorts. Much to my surprise, I loved it! I felt so free and the breeze made me feel light and quick. I did one run, then another, and I still feel the same way. Who knew my legs would see the daylight again?

I felt great until it was time to race. For the RBS 5k, I panicked about running in front of a lot of people. I didn't want to be standing around at the start/finish, wondering if people were staring at my cottage cheese, zebra-striped, flappy legs. So I chickened out and chose some trusty capris.

Baby steps, right? I think it's all part of adjusting to this new body and a new mentality. On the outside, I'm not the woman I used to be. But on the inside, I'm still that girl in the too-tight softball pants, calling myself "thunder thighs" and cracking jokes about my ass so no one else could do it first. (Not that my friends would have said those things ... I was just seriously insecure.)

So here's to a summer of shorts! May we all find the strength to overcome our insecurities and let go of all our fears. A little bit at a time.

Did you think I'd actually show my legs in a full-length photo on the Internet? Baby steps, people. I'll get there.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I felt like I was reading about myself while reading your thoughts.

  2. Hey, I'm just honest ... sometimes too honest. Ha!


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