I’ve been a runner for nine years now.  The kind of runner who has to put in work to reach the finish line — a lot of hard work.  Running doesn’t come naturally or easy for me.  I’m not fast.  I run the sort of pace that patronizing elitists and media types call “jogging.”

O, how I hate the word JOGGING! It makes it sound like the person really isn’t trying very hard, or isn’t very committed, or just decided that day to “jog” around their neighborhood to scope out the house that went up for sale. I work hard. I *am* committed.  And if I wanted to check out the houses for sale I will look them up online from the comfort of my couch and laptop, thank-you-very-much.

The next thing I hate is “the look.”  You know which one it is. It’s the one the Sidekick gives the Hero in a movie when said Hero announces he’s going to do something outrageous. It’s the one Dionne gave her boyfriend in Clueless when he doesn’t treat her like he should in front of his friends. You know, that whole-body in-a-single-motion, lean back, drop the chin, look sideways down the shoulder, raise the eyebrows move. For you 80’s kids: Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?


If I had $1 for every time I saw that face, or heard “Oh, you run?” from, well, anybody, I’d have enough to buy a new pair of running shoes.  These conversations usually starts with polite chit chat with people I interact with but don’t really know: the dental hygienist, bank teller, CNA in the doctor’s office, grocery store cashier. It most often goes something like this:

Them: So, what are your plans for the weekend?, — or — Do you have big plans for the weekend?  (It’s one of the safest things to ask of someone you hardly know.)

My answer usually goes something like this: Not much, I’m training for a race so I have to do a long run on Saturday. And we might _____ later.  (Cue eyebrow raise of curiosity.)

Them: Oh, really. Like a 5k or something? — or — (my favorite) You run? (insert astonished face)

Me: No, not a 5k. — or — Yes, I run. I’m training for a _____  (insert race distance: half marathon, marathon, 25k, triathlon, half ironman) and I have to run _____ miles.

Cha-ching! That’s when I could start collecting the money.

After the umpteenth time this happened I decided to use a hashtag I’d seen on Instagram whenever I posted a running selfie, or finish line picture or anything else to do with training for a race.

Maybe, just maybe the general population will stop being so flipping shocked that someone over a size 12 actually does exercise and can run a long way. Maybe, just maybe if enough Thick Chicks see the hashtag they’ll start using it too, and realize they aren’t alone. I know you know we aren’t.  I see you at the start lines looking all cute in your tutus, skirts, bright shirts, flashy capris or all basic black.  I see you with your compression calf sleeves, arm warmers and kinesio tape.  I see that fuel belt.  I see you’re not a size 4. I see you are ready.  Just.like.me. And I’m pretty sure you have seen me, or someone like me.

So girls, stand up, be proud. Let’s make it a movement, and let the world know: YES, I run!




I run. Yup, thick girls with thick thighs can and do run. I get a lot of quizzical looks: You run?! You run?! Huh, you run.  (Insert scrunched eyebrows, pinched faces here.) And I don’t run “just a little bit” — I run long distances.  Well, not insanely, crazy long distance Ultra Marathon-lengths of 50km or 50 miles, because, well, that’s just crazy.  No, I run the standard long distances of half (13.1mi) or full (26.2mi) marathons. I’m training for some right now. And I raise money for charity while I’m at it. 

I was out running this past Saturday — 12 miles just so you know —  and The Little Voice Inside asked “What are you doing this for? Really, why?! You’re going to go home smelling all sorts of un-fresh; your legs, no your whole person, will be tired, and it’s going to be dark. Your belly will be too tight to eat any sort of proper meal so you’ll go to bed hungry, and you’ll prob’ly wake up a little dehydrated.  So, tell me again why?”

Actually The Little Voice Inside didn’t say all of those things, but it was implied in that one word: WHY?  What motivates me to get out the door at half-past-dark-o’clock on a Saturday morning?

I thought about the word, then I decided to look it up*:


noun \ˌmō-tə-ˈvā-shən\

Definition of MOTIVATION
1 a : the act or process of motivating
   b : the condition of being motivated
: a motivating force, stimulus, or influence :incentivedrive
— mo·ti·va·tion·al  adjective
— mo·ti·va·tion·al·ly  adverb
Then I had to look up the root word*:


noun \ˈmō-tiv, 2 is also mō-ˈtēv\

Definition of MOTIVE
1: something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act
2: a recurrent phrase or figure that is developed through the course of a musical composition

The short answer is because others can’t, for whatever variety of reasons: illness, physical disability, life is too hectic to add anything else. The even shorter reason is because I can. It’s good for me and my bones. It’s cheaper than therapy and medication. It gives me time to think, or just shut my thoughts down completely.  It gets me outdoors.

The long explanation for the short reason is because I have 6 relatives with 5 different kinds of cancer (prostate, bladder, kidney, breast x2, facial nerve cancer with a name too long to pronounce), a nephew with Down Syndrome, friends with Cerebral Palsy and another who is a 3-time lymphoma and secondary breast cancer survivor.  One friend with CP has said the first thing he wants to do when he gets to heaven is climb a tree.  Climb a tree! It’s one of those childhood rites of passage he’s never had a chance to pass.  That really struck a chord with me — no tree climbing, no hopscotch, no Red Rover, no raucous games of tag, no jungle gym swinging.  All these childhood playground and neighborhood games watched from the sidelines. That thought made me, makes me, sad.

That thought also made me quicken my step just a bit. On Saturday I posted my best pace to date for 12 miles.