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Say Something or Just Keep Smiling?

Originally Published on SaltyRunning.com

January 29, 2014

By: Doretha Walker  a.k.a. Chipotle

SaltyRunning.com -166x250I like half marathons, where there is a lot of diversity amongst the runners. It allows me to people watch.  Or maybe it’s more accurate to say it allows me to shop.  You know, just like at the mall…except I’m running. Generally I am able to do this without passing judgments. I am looking at the cool running skirts, shoes, hats, tops, and so on and wonder where I can get those items. If I am close enough to the wearer I ask where she got it, if it is comfortable, blah blah blah.

While running with the pace group we got into a conversation about bras, wondering aloud why no one has made them in brightly colored prints. As the conversation continued, I saw her and I almost stopped completely, as did almost everyone who was running beside me. For a moment no one spoke.  For a moment I forgot that I was running a race. I did not really know what to say and wondered if I should say anything.

What we saw was a woman running in very sheer white tights. When I say sheer white, think of a white t-shirt that got wet. Or a pair of white pantyhose without the skirt. Wow! Now, I only saw the woman from behind so I have no idea what her front looked like, but I saw all of her backside as she ran in front of me. I could actually see her butt.

Our silence begged the question:  should we say something?I kept thinking she could not be comfortable because those tights offered no support and they were super sheer. I wondered if she would chafe when she started to sweat. The race temperature was 65 degrees and sweating was inevitable. I also wondered if the friction from her legs would cause the tights to run like pantyhose, exposing even more of her.  We debated on whether or not to tell the woman that we could ‘see’ her or just high five her and keep on running.

We all realized that a conversation about wicking fabrics was not appropriate at that time.  Since she was running in the race, there was nothing she could do about changing clothes even if she wanted to. Perhaps she knew exactly what she was doing and maybe she ran in those tights all of the time–we had no way of knowing.  So we passed her without making eye contact and never once looking at the front of her.

After the race I wondered if we did the right thing, yet I could not think of a way we could have broached the conversation without appearing judgmental, condescending, or something else. After all, we were there to run a race. She was running her race. She did not ask for our input. No one made us the running fashion police, but I tell you, Joan Rivers would have had a good time with her.

Later when I was telling this to a male friend of mine he said maybe she wanted to look provocative. Maybe, I mused, but I doubted it. I will never know. I did not see her again. She may have finished before me. She may even have been running the full marathon. I just hope she finished without chafing!

Salties, how do you handle it when you see a fellow runner with a wardrobe issue? Do you keep quiet to avoid embarrassing her, or do you say something to help save her from additional embarrassment?

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