You don’t look like a runner #2

I have written before about people’s reactions to finding out I’m a runner. To be honest, it’s not something I widely advertise. I don’t walk around with the introduction “Hi my name is Nicole and I’m a runner.” (That would be odd and I would be a real weirdo.) But there are times when I tell a new person that I run and then I see their eyes light up with surprise as they try to hide it. Through the years, I really have tried to NOT let it bother me or let myself be surrounded by negativity. But, there are times when it feels just plain old judgmental. Unless you’re a Miss American contestant…Nobody likes being judged solely on their looks…
A few weeks ago, I ran the “Moose on The Loose” half marathon. The race had three options that a runner could choose from: a 4k, a two man relay, and the half. Runners had two options for number pickup: Go the day before to grab it at the sponsoring store, Runner’s Alley, or go early on race morning. Since I like to sleep in as late be lazy on Sundays as I possibly can, I picked up my number the day prior.

When I walked in the door of the store, the sales rep/greeter in the front asked me, immediately before I could open my own mouth if I was there to pick up my number for the 4k. Zero hesitation. Zero.

I later laughed with my girlfriend about the shocked look that popped up on Mr Assumptions face as I said “I’m here to pick up my number for the half marathon.” You should have seen him try to hide his surprise…It was pretty comical to see him tell me what part of the store it was in. I walked away and couldn’t help but feel a quick pang of hurt/anger towards this man because he had automatically dismissed me as either:
-someone who isn’t ready to do a half marathon so they chose the 4k
-someone who doesn’t look like a runner.

(I would like to pause here and add for one second that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with only running the 4k option.. I simply was snap judged by own appearance and that is what this story is about. Just wanted to clarify that!)


The thing is…I know I may not look like the typical runner. I get it. I have curves (as much as I hate to admit it) …And I like cheese and chocolate and wine and beer. GASP! ”Runners don’t eat those things” people will say to me as I am eating cheese with my wine. Ummm. Yes, yes they do. And they are delicious. #getyohandoffamycheese!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Not all runners are skin and bones. Looks can be deceiving. I am “workout skinny”. What does that mean? It means that I run 55-65 miles a week at a high velocity. I have muscles. I have strength. I live a very healthy and active lifestyle. I am a runner. I eat. I live. I’s a cycle that I am happy to repeat.
Runners come in all shapes and sizes: As I waited for Boston to start last week, I sat among 360 other runners who came in varying degrees of proportions. My BFF that morning was a lovely lady named Mo from Florida. This was Mo’s second Boston. Mo told me all about her running career and all the races she has run. She was the nicest lady and we chatted all morning long while we waited for the start. I’m actually really mad I didn’t take a selfie with her because she was super cool!

When you look at Mo, you might have seen a “larger lady”…but who cares? She hauled a** out there and broke 5 hours.. And hey, some of my fittest-appearing-teammates did not hit that number last week…

I obviously knew she was a runner…I mean.. we were waiting for the start of the marathon together. BUT. What if we were somewhere else and I hadn’t known, though. Let’s say…what if we were side by side in a running store shopping for a new outfit for Boston and hadn’t spoken a word to one another. Would I have known then? No.

Could I have possibly jumped to conclusions just as that sales clerk did and thought to myself “this lady doesn’t look like an experienced runner/she must be brand new to running/looking for a way to lose weight.” YES. I could have thought all of those things. And I would’ve been WRONG, and that is extremely unfair.

So my lesson to you is this: don’t judge others too quickly. Think before you speak-there are no take backs with words that are spoken aloud and you never know who’s feelings you could accidentally hurt. I have never forgotten some particularly painful childhood taunts(and I bet you have a set of your own) and would absolutely loathe myself for making someone else feel that way.

The day after I had my encounter with Mr. ASSumptions….I happened to win my age division at Moose on The Loose. It felt pretty cool to ‘Not Look Like A Runner’ and be a winner.

So never dismiss the girl with boobs who stands all of 5’1 at the starting line. Actually, what am I talking about??? Go ahead and dismiss her…she has already figured out how to kick your butt seven ways to Sunday for the win, anyway.❤️



39 thoughts on “You don’t look like a runner #2

  1. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading it,
    you can be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back later in life.
    I want to encourage continue your great writing, have a nice day!

  2. Great post! You’re a badass runner and those people are stupid. I’ve heard people make comments like that before, and it’s usually people who don’t run themselves.

  3. That was so well written. It is funny how one little comment like that can hurt your feelings. The morning after Boston I was talking to this guy in our hotel about the marathon and he asked if my goal had been to “finish”. Umm, I trained very hard with a very challenging time goal and did quite well. I was left feeling like he thought I didn’t look like a competitive runner and it sort of hurt my feelings.

  4. Love this! I am also a curvier lady, and have gotten the judgmental question at half marathon packet pickup “Oh… is this your first one?” with a look of sympathy. It drives me nuts, but really puts me into place when judgmental thoughts creep into my head as well.

  5. i have been passed too many times in races by people of all shapes, sizes, ages, gaits, and whatnot to ever judge. surprising that someone in a running store would make that assumption. i’m sure they see all kinds.

    meanwhile, i tend to love the shocked look in people’s eyes. i love it when i don’t meet people expectations of me. it makes me feel triumphant and like i’m a secret running ninja 🙂

  6. Well you definitely look like a runner to me! Honestly, I am definitely built more long and lean, like I guess most people might associate how a runner “looks”. But, I have never once thought someone else didn’t look like a runner. My sis in law is many inches shorter and has some awesome muscular legs and she was the one who got me into racing. I have seen runners of all shapes and sizes running at all different types of paces and you know what? They are running right? And therefore they are all runners. Hard work and dedication makes you a runner. Lacing up and getting out the door makes you a runner, no matter if you ran 1 mile or 20. No matter if you are short or tall. Heavy or skinny. Keep rocking on girl, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad because they think you don’t look like a runner. You know you are a runner (an awesome one at that) and that’s all that matters!

  7. The hysterical thing is that I look like a runner. I’m tall, really muscular and thin. But running is hard for me! Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy it, but it is HARD! Never ever judge a book by it’s cover, you, at 5’1″ is probably way more of a runner, and way faster than me, who stands at 5’8″.

  8. This post hit home in too many ways! When I began my running journey in 2012, I did not have a typical runners body. I wore cotton pants and a t-shirt for my runs and sketchers sneakers (ya stop laughing)…it wasn’t until I signed up for my 1st Half Marathon (Portland, ME) that I bought “running attire”…I went into that race just trying to finish, to not walk…and I did, I completed it in 2:10 (huge for a short, stubby non-runner)…THAT day I called myself a RUNNER. I still do not have a typical runners body, I am 5’0, weigh about 20lbs over what they “say” I should weigh and have legs like tree trucks! But, those legs have power! Those legs have carried me through 5k’s, 10k’s, 7 half marathons and this year THE BOSTON MARATHON! I AM A RUNNER!!! I like beer, pizza, ice cream and candy! I AM A RUNNER!!! I am a wife, mother, sister, cousin and friend! BUT, I AM A RUNNER TOO! Thank for your posts, they make complete sense to me!

    • What an awesome comment Melissa! I think you are doing AMAZING in your running journey!!! My 1st Boston was like 6 hours look how AWESOME you did this year AND IT WAS YOUR FIRST!!! You ROCKED IT!!! Don’t ever stop running I think you’re amazing!

      I ran up your street this morning and waved at your house (lol it was like 5am haha.)

  9. Ugh I HATE when people do this. I was asked at a gas station the other day if I was a soccer player because i was wearing compression socks. People tell me I don’t look like a runner because I’m not some scrawny little thing with small legs. I have muscular legs but guess what? Muscles give us the strength to run! Love this 🙂

  10. This was a beautiful post! It literally brought tears to my eyes! I learned a long time ago that great runners come in all shapes and sizes and that you should never judge a book by it’s cover at the starting line… You are amazing, keep up the good work doll!

  11. You are so right and I love this post!
    But, seriously, random strangers think all kind of things, and who cares… sure we come with baggage, so sometimes those looks or comments strike a nerve, but we need to work on that.
    And on another note, although I know you didn’t write this post looking for reaffirmation on what you look like, and that’s besides the point, I think you look like a runner 100%!

  12. Great post!
    When I first started running I was guilty of misplacing myself on the start line. It’s such a tall order trying to find the right spot to begin from, and surround yourself with other people of the same speed. You look around and have to make judgements on what people are wearing, their body type, how they are acting, their conversations… Too many times I’ve put myself infront of people that have then gone zooming past me. You cannot judge a book by it’s cover or a runner by their appearance…they might just well surprise you!

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