On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Yes, I'm back on the skirts again: Runner's World August issue

Living in Harlem, the mail takes as long as the subway sometimes to get up here. That's why I only yesterday received my August 2011 issue of Runner's World, featuring a Running Skirt on the cover. Not just any running skirt, but a pink and orange argyle running skirt. This skirt says, "Pay attention to me!!" (In fact, I happen to know someone who not only owns this skirt, but who looks hotter in this skirt than the cover model does.)

I'm sorry; did I subscribe to a fashion magazine by mistake while I wasn't paying attention? "32 ways to get the look" - are you serious? What's next: Sex tips for runners? "What kind of runner are you" quizzes? Mascara reviews?

I haven't really kept my feelings on Runner's World to myself. I read the magazine each month, but I think that it too often panders to the casual runner. I have no problem with casual runners - but running is a sport, it's a serious sport, and there is a line between encouraging casual runners to get out there and do it, and recycling the same tired tips over and over again and calling it content.

My take on this cover: who on earth wears a sportsbra with arm warmers? Granted if I had her abs I'd never wear a shirt, but still.

Specific to the "Fastonistas" article, here are things I learned:

  • Kara Goucher "popularized the tanks-with-arm-warmers look" after running NYCM in 2008.... never mind that every runner I knew was cutting the toes off of knee socks to fashion arm warmers well before that.
  • Me in 2003. But I'm not wearing a tank, I guess.
  • Shalane Flanagan "made a big splash" in her white knee socks at NYCM in 2010. But, again: have we forgotten Paula Radcliffe's knee socks well before that? Like, a decade before that?

Here Paula is in NY... in 2001.
Not even to mention how stupid and non-gender-specific these examples are. Arm warmers and compression socks as fashion statements? These are functional clothing first and foremost.


A three-page foldout in the middle of the article shows you how you can run! and shop! at the same time! in pretty colors!

I hope it goes without saying: I am not a fastanista. (I'm not an anything-nista, but that's another story).

But if you do want to talk about running fashion, let's address Galen Rupp's fashion choices:

I'll be no one has ever called him a stunner in that mask. (In case you didn't know, "stunner" stands for "stylish + running.")


  1. Yeah, when I saw this in the mailbox I went "Oh. My. Goodness."

  2. I saw it and said Holy Baby Jesus, Tracy and AngryRunner and Liv and all of us are gonna have a field day with this. Again, if skirts are your best functional gear, great. But the "run and shop" foldout was a vomitous pander (can that be a noun?) that I wrote to RW about. I bet the letters next month will be interesting.

  3. you should send in your comments/pics, actually...

  4. i kind of love runner's world but it's only because it's the only running magazine i've really read. do you know of any others that have more tips/content for the "serious" runner? (i say that not as a competitive runner but as one who takes my running seriously)

  5. Kate - I am SO going to write them a letter. Great idea. I'm not sure why I didn't think to do that right away! I guess I've just gotten the impression that they're not really interested in what their readers have to say...

    And Lauren - RUNNING TIMES. I love Running Times. Yes, most of the training advice is slightly above me, but it's above me in an "I'd love to get here someday" way and it's not completely unattainable. When they profile runners (and not all elites!), they ask them questions like "What does a week in your training look like?" rather than things like, "What's your favorite snack?" or "What music do you like?" I'll bring you the latest issue on Friday, assuming I haven't marked it up too much :)

  6. A lot of runners have the opinion that Runner's World has gone soft. It really is geared toward a beginner now.

  7. Ha! Thanks for the link. ;) And for the record: I don't look anywhere near as hot as that cover model does. Come to think of it...she doesn't look that hot...Never mind. :)

    Heard about this article. Some bloggers are featured in it. Am I weird for thinking it's a bit disturbing? Yes, I love bright colors, but their has to be function in it. And those strappy tanks (sorry, I'm not a fan) - well...they won't handle my sweat level. My favorite tee for the moment? Ice breaker Men's tank. Yep, men's tank. Might not be as hip and happening as the things RW is featuring, but it sure is comfy. And it looks shabby chic in a functional way with my pink Moeben running skirt. ;)

  8. The thing I noted about this issue was that the runner on the cover is apparently the "model" that all the Athleta stuff from Gap is based on. And I look at her, and then I look at all the variety of active women I know in the world who aren't pro athletes and I wonder who their customer base is. I'm not a fancy runner.

    I most often run or exercise in wicking capris and a sports bra with a singlet. (I hate sleeves.) My favorite part of this issue was the Bart Yasso quote near the table of contents. :-)

  9. I TOTALLY thought of you when I saw that article. I wanted to email you. After I barfed, of course.

    What made me laugh is that the article interviewed (I think? Just looked at the pics and skimmed) two bloggers I used to read, but stopped reading them because I couldn't get in to their blogging style. It's cool they were in there!