Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Of Spring, and Running

So apparently, yesterday was the first day of spring: sunny, breezy, and 76 degrees. I happened to be downtown yesterday (I'll be downtown a lot for the next few months, more on that later) in the vicinity of Rice University, and as is usually the case near college campuses on the first day of spring, the sidewalks and paths were crowded with...RUNNERS.

There were herds of them, loping along gracefully, looking lean and trim and not the least bit out of breath. I watched them out of the corner of my eye with a touch--just a touch--of envy. And started formulating running plans in the back of my mind.

Running is a tough topic for me. I love to run, mostly just because (if you run, you know what I'm talking about) but also because it really gives me a lot more energy, and energy is a nice thing to have when you're a mom, especially when you're a mom to two very rambunctious little boys.

But sometimes I feel as though everything is conspiring to prevent me from running. First and foremost, of course, is the fact that I have two children who are obviously too small to be left alone while I head out for a run. When I first moved to Texas, Mom & Dad had not yet left for Israel, so I would get up early and go for a run before the boys woke; if they did wake up while I was gone, Mom was there to keep an eye on them till I got back. Now that Mom's gone, I can't do that.

Theoretically, I could still go for an early run, and let my brother deal with them if they woke. But he is a busy person and would probably not appreciate having them wake him, or interfere with his morning routine; so I would have to go really really early, to be quite sure that I would be back before they wake. But running so early would mean running in the dark, along desolate country roads, with no shoulder to speak of....I could do it, and have done it, but would rather not, you know?

Finally, the other day, it occurred to me that I could run back and forth down the street in front of our house while the boys play in the driveway. This will be incredibly tedious, as one lap back and forth will only be about a tenth of a mile. But at least I can be running.

So the next issue is (guys, feel free to tune out now) what to wear. :) Last summer I was struggling with how to run modestly, experimenting with various options and finally settling upon a pair of loose capris. But now I have discovered that what I thought was a strongly held tradition in our church--women wearing skirts--is actually a rule. A rule that is hard to find, therefore effectively "unwritten." I might as well say that I don't agree with this rule, nor with the idea of a rule being unwritten; but I'm willing to abide by it since when it comes to churches, there isn't another place I'd rather be. :) And one can always hope for change...does that make me sound like a dangerous insurrectionist? But for the time being, at least, this rule creates a new challenge to deal with when it comes to exercise.

Does anyone who read this blog run in a skirt?? Can you help me please? What do you wear and does it really work? How do you find a skirt that's full enough to stretch in yet not so full that it tangles itself around your legs while you run? I've tried a knit skirt (clung to sweaty legs; sorry guys, I warned you to tune out), a smooth polyester skirt (it BOUNCED), a denim skirt (it chafed), a light cotton skirt (wind...'nuf said), and now I'm out of ideas.

I'm a little bit afraid that someone is going to tell me "Well if you can't run decently in a skirt, then you shouldn't be running at all." And since I haven't been running lately, I don't have the energy to combat that hypothetical argument, so I won't. :)


  1. How about a split skirt? Someone I know wore one a long time ago when she did power walks...don't know how they would work for runs but worth a try.

  2. I haven't seen a split skirt in years! I didn't realize they still made them. It would solve the problem of being able to stretch modestly...not sure if it would solve the other problems...but worth some thought! Thanks!

  3. Then again, is a split skirt technically still a skirt? If a split skirt qualifies, then what about culottes? Gauchos?

    The problem with unwritten rules is, how do you know what's okay and what's not? I bet if I asked five different people I would get five different answers...*sigh*

  4. If you want coulottes/split-skirt etc, look no further than here! :-D http://www.modestapparelusa.com/modest-clothing-for-women/modest-culottes.html This shop has every possible style, every possible fabric, and every possible length. Their site looks amazing and I've been planning on making an order there sometime! :) I haven't ordered anything from them yet, but I like the look of these: http://www.modestapparelusa.com/modest-clothing-for-women/modest-culottes/long-ladies-knit-culottes-split-skirt.html Was thinking they'd be ideal for trying to get exercise in the cold/windy weather we have over here! I think the issue with trousers (pants) is that they've been classifed as "men's clothing" and therefore aren't allowed. Oddly enough, it seemed as if shorts aren't down as "men's clothing" and people in the UK (or at least their children!) are allowed to wear them! I have no idea if this is "approved" but it certainly happens, especially with shorts for gym at school, on holidays in hot countries, etc. Not that I'd be advocating wearing of shorts, as I don't think they're modest! :-D And for me, clothing has always been an issue of modesty, which can very much vary between a little girl and a lady! And there are lots of people who can wear dresses and skirts and be far more immodest than someone in a t-shirt & jeans! Just my two-cents worth!

  5. Hmmm, I guess I'm not clear on what the "rule" is (since, not to harp on this, it's not written down anywhere, and I can't go and look it up). "Women shall wear skirts only" says something rather different from "Women shall not wear trousers/pants." The latter would give me a little more flexibility. I shall look into this. :)

    Also, Jesh (my dear brother) says that this post sounded a little grumbly, and for that I apologize.

  6. Rachel, I was looking at that very pair of culottes myself! My only complaint about them is that they don't come in grey!

    I agree that it would be rather silly to forbid trousers but allow shorts. Surely this can't be "approved" but there does seem to be a gap between what's approved and what's practiced (which is partly what has led to my confusion on the topic).

    I also agree that one woman in a t-shirt and jeans can be more modest than the next woman in a skirt. I think that if you're trying to get away with as much as you can, it will show, even if you're still technically following a conservative dress code.

  7. I think that there are two different issues here. First, of what is women's clothing, and second, what is modest. I think the church's "unwritten rule" is not dealing with the modesty issue, but the distintion between men's and women's clothing. I do not wear a skirt because it is more modest than pants, but rather because pants are "men's clothing" in our culture. In the past I concentrated so much on the modesty issue in making a decision on what to wear, that I became quite confused. Of course it is very important to be modest, but, as you've already mentioned, wearing a skirt doesn't neccesarily make you modest. A skirt is feminine, but perhaps culottes etc are borderline between the two, and so I just stay away from them altogether. I've wondered about what to wear in certain circumstances, but since I'm not very athletic, and happen to be pregnant, I haven't had to deal with it lately. However, in the past, I would wear shorts under a just below the knee skirt to run. I can't remember at the moment exactly what material the skirt was made of, but I do know that it was an A-line that I had made. I don't like running in skirts with splits because they slap you...I'm sure you know what I mean. :)

    I don't want to sound as though I think modesty is not very important, I do! I'm just addressing the other issue because that probably comes first in deciding what to do in your running situation! :)


  8. Hi, Sharon!
    We have some Pentecostal girls down the street who go running--in a skirt--knee length and slightly flared. It looks like a heavy cotton. If you wore spandex shorts underneath, it could solve any chafing/other problems assoc. with skirt wearing. :)
    Many blessings-

  9. Thanks for the feedback all (both online and offline!)

    My hesitation with the skirt/shorts underneath idea is the modesty while stretching. If I'm wearing a skirt/shorts while doing my post-run stretching routine, what's going to show? The shorts/whatever I have underneath. If I'm wearing something like culottes, then I could stay quite modest while stretching.

    Granted, the only people who see me stretching are my boys, but still. :)

    And don't dismiss the importance of a good stretching routine--it's key to preventing overuse injuries! I learned that one the hard way!

    But I'm not looking to cause offense, so if I have to make do with a skirt, I will.

    To clarify, I know that the regulation about women's dress is written down *somewhere*, maybe in an annual Synod report, or an issue of the FP magazine, but it's not readily locate-able to the curious. I will try to find where it's written, and post it here.


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