Running and Body Image

179785_10151543452078020_341045859_nFor the last week and a bit Husband and I have been on holidays.  That is as much as a dairy farmer can be on holidays – there have been multiple calls and the usual issues to solve.  This is our once a year get-away.  Our one chance to enjoy some time together without (quite as many of) the usual stresses.

We are in Port Douglas.  Tropical North Queensland.  A destination of dreams.  We leave the Tasmanian winter and arrive to the welcoming warmth of the tropics.  The warmth is like a veil that descends onto my body the moment I walk off the plane.  As each moment passes it first warms my skin, then my muscles, soothing, massaging its heat into the very heart of me, into my core.  The feeling of warm in this magical place has to be experienced to be believed.  I love love LOVE it! I am thawed from the Tasmanian winter, I am warm, I can’t wait to get out and enjoy every part of this holiday.

This is my third trip to North Queensland in as many years.  When Husband found out I’d never been he made it his mission to take me.  As a girl I’d always wanted to come, to visit a tropical island, snorkel and bask in tropical warmth.  Husband wanted to make my dreams come true. He’s like that my Pauly, kind, considerate and if he can make a dream come true he will.

It’s hot here – and humid.  There are more tourists than locals!  It’s a real resort town.  It’s a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef (I shall write about running around a small island out on the Great Barrier Reef in my next post!)

People don’t wear much clothing here.  People of all different ages, body sizes, levels of fitness all get around in pretty much next to nothing.  Bikinis, sarongs, very short shorts – doesn’t matter what size – size 6 to 36 – EVERYONE just strips off!

Enter the non-running-shorts-wearing Unsporty Woman.  The one that ONLY wears long compression pants or sometimes capris pants.  The one who will wear knee-length denim shorts in summer but nothing shorter.  That woman would be me.

Running and body image

Before running this is what I thought of my legs and why I would keep them as covered up as possible:

  • they are fat
  • they are coated in dimply cellulite (yuck)
  • they have fat spongy bits behind each knee
  • they have ankles without any shape
  • they are ugly

Running has made me reconsider my body image – particularly that of my legs.   Here in Port Douglas is a lot of flesh on show.  It’s hot.  I would never judge anyone for what they wear up here or indeed anywhere.  It’s personal choice.  It’s what each of us feels comfortable with.  I didn’t feel comfortable in running shorts so I would never wear them.  Tasmanian summers get hot, but all the summers I’ve been running the shortest attire I’ve worn are capris pants.

What do I think of my legs now?  Now that I’ve been running for a few years?

  • they have taken on the challenge of running and have carried me for 100s or kms
  • they get stiff and sore but keep running on
  • they still are coated with cellulite which I think is yucky but even with this they keep plodding on
  • the ankles have got slimmer and have never looked so good!
  • they are loved by me, fat bits, wobbly bits, unattractive spider veins and all

How can I not love my legs when they have taken up the challenge of running and making my dreams of becoming a runner come true?

Dear legs, thank you.  You deserve to be comfortable up here in this tropical heat.

I bought legs a pair of nifty marathon running shorts from Lorna Jane.  Legs like them very much especially the little inbuilt compression shorts (no knickers required) and the lovely modest over-shorts.  Legs feel pretty comfortable in these and despite the high humidity and 29°C heat they have done over 40kms so far since getting to Port Douglas – all in their new shorts (I think legs might be enjoying the view and being free from so much compression fabric).


The Unsporty Woman has learnt to love her legs cellulite and all.  Thanks legs for taking me on the most amazing journey of my life – from non-runner to runner. The heat and humidity of Port Douglas has challenged me to re think my opinion of my legs.

Body image and running?  How as runners can we not love and appreciate our bodies? Running has completely overhauled my image of myself.

Thanks running for teaching me to appreciate myself and to stop being so critical of my 48 year old body.  Shorts, capris, long pants… here’s to wearing what we like.

Happy running 🙂

PS next post will be all about a trip to the tropical paradise of Low Isles, a small coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef; about running fun and a bit of snorkelling too.  I love this place! Did I mention it’s warm? Love it!

14 thoughts on “Running and Body Image

  1. I wouldn`t say it if I didn`t believe it: your legs look great and so does the rest of you. I know exactly what you mean about the whole woman/body image/running thing. The thing that spared me running in capris all the time is that they get too darned hot-yep, even in a cool climate like we have here in Ireland, I totally overheat in them.
    You`ve hit the nail on the head though with your appreciation of your legs. I know I am blessed to have great health and a body that can sometimes even enjoy running. It really is wonderful.

  2. You are rocking those shorts girlfriend!! So glad you are having such a wonderful time!!! 🙂

  3. Oh the weather sounds heavenly! I do get the body image thing, and am glad you and legs have made peace. Looking quite lovely in your Lorna Janes. 🙂

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