I’m not an especially fast runner. I mean, I do okay, but I’m not setting land speed records or winning races or anything.
But you know what makes me feel fast? My Skirt.
It was a warm spring day six years ago this month that I was shopping in my local running gear store. I was browsing the racks, not really thinking about buying anything, but looking just for fun. I was there to buy a new pair of shoes and had already chosen them and was just killing time until my husband was ready to go.
But, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a… running skirt?
What in the world was that, and why didn’t I already own one? I looked at the tag. Holy smokes, that was Nicole DeBoom! Wearing a skirt and winning an Ironman! And it was called the Marathon Chick Ultra. Having just run my first marathon a few months prior and anticipating my second one in a few short weeks, this was clearly a sign.
I snatched it off the rack immediately and looked around impatiently for the store clerk so I could try it on. I already knew I would be buying it, I just wanted to check which size would fit me best.
My husband laughed when I showed it to him. A skirt? He thought it was cute, of course, but he wasn’t entirely sold on the practicality of it.
I got home and began counting the hours until I could run in it the next day (I had already run that morning, and this was before I ever dared two-a-days). When the day dawned mild and breezy, I was ready to head out in my brand new Skirt.
There’s a five mile loop around my neighborhood that I love to run, and I’ve had a handful of spectacular and memorable runs on that route. The day of my first Skirt run is definitely one of them.
I had been running for a few years at this point, so it wasn’t that the run itself was a novel experience. It was the Skirt. I can still feel that first delicious thrill of freedom in my legs, unencumbered by shorts. The way the fabric moved against my skin, the way the waistband felt so light and not squeezy. It was almost like I wasn’t wearing anything at all, except better, because I was.
Which is not to say I didn’t worry a little bit about “coverage” issues.
The run that had started out mild and breezy had turned pretty quickly into a windy March day, as is often the case in central California, and my Marathon Chick was only equipped with spankies underneath.
But the funniest thing happened while I was flying through the air with my tiny little wisp of a Skirt that may or may not be showing off my derriere: I didn’t care. I was so FREE and my legs felt so wonderful that I didn’t even think about it until later. And by then it didn’t matter.
That Skirt quickly earned a top spot in my running wear rotation and became my first choice for race day. Nothing made me feel better or more confident than toeing the line in my Skirt.
I’ve bought quite a few other skirts in the intervening years – several more Marathon Chicks as well as a Lioness, a Jette, a Gym Girl Ultra, a Roller Girl and even Redemption Shorts, to name a few – but I always come back to that first Skirt. It’s like my first love, the one I can’t get over or let go.
My first Skirt has fit me perfectly through six years of running and injury and weight changes and shifting allegiances to the road or the trail. It has seen glorious victories and crushing defeats on more race days than I can count. It brings me joy every single time I pull it out of the drawer and has never complained about being worn too much or washed too frequently.
My first Skirt opened the door to wearing other skirts and becoming a huge fan of not just one particular skirt, but Skirt Sports, and Nicole DeBoom, and everything that Skirt Sports stands for. I am beyond grateful for that fateful moment so many years ago that changed my life and my running for the better.
Pahla Bowers, from Sacramento, CA, is an online fitness trainer and middle-aged mama with multiple ultra- (and “regular”) marathon finishes. Though I came to running a little later in life, I have found such passion and happiness in the pursuit of endurance events, and particularly enjoy the 50 mile distance (it’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet with a little running thrown in for fun!). If I’m not out for my own run, you can find me cheering for my husband at his latest ultra or my kids at their track and cross country meets.
Connect with Pahla on YouTube, where I post full-length workouts for runners (https://www.youtube.com/user/PahlaB1), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PahlaBFitness/), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/pahlab_fitness/), Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/pahlab2/) or my website (http://pahlabfitness.com/)