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Amy Roe, a fellow runner, one I do not know, recently wrote this for the Guardian:

I was ordering coffee when I noticed a well-dressed woman staring at me.

“You look like you just did a class,” she said, giving me the once-over. I had no idea what she meant so I said nothing.

“Or swimming?” she offered, with a tight smile.

Oh, that. I’d just run 12 miles and the hair sticking out from under my hat was wet. It took me a moment to formulate an answer.

“Um, running,” I mumbled finally. “I just … sweat a lot.”

I took the paper cup of drip coffee and hustled past the condiment bar. Screw the half-and-half; I’d drink it black.

Once safely inside my car, I threw off my damp running cap and flipped up the hood of my sweatshirt in embarrassment. I wanted to dive deep into that Lululemon Scuba and never come back up for air.

Eventually the caffeine kicked in and it hit me: I’d been sweat-shamed. Sweat-shaming is when someone points out your sweatiness as a way to signal disapproval.

Now, maybe it’s that as I get older, I get less tolerant of this kind of bullshit.  Perhaps, because I’m a man, I have gone through life sweat-privileged.  Perchance, there really is a thing called “sweat-shaming”…but this, dear Amy, this, you Special Snowflake, was not that.  This was someone making friendly conversation while she, like you, was waiting for her over-priced coffee (mind you, I love my Starbucks…Italian Roast Clover…zing!).

What you did, Ms. Roe, was what we call “Friendly Conversation Shaming”.  Well, that’s not really a thing either, is it?  Maybe you were “Well-dressed Shaming”…”Observation Shaming”?  I digress.

Had she said, “whew!  YOU stink!” or “Ew.  How can you walk around like that.” you might be on to something, but this:

“You look like you just did a class,” she said, giving me the once-over. I had no idea what she meant so I said nothing.

“Or swimming?” she offered, with a tight smile.

Um, no.

Your reaction was more a reflection on how YOU feel about sweat; how you think others feel about sweat.  It has nothing to do with that well-dressed woman.  She was making small talk.  Perhaps, wanting to start an exercise program of her own, she was inspired by you?  Well, you’ve killed that now, haven’t you?  Maybe she liked your $120 hoodie and wanted to know what brand it was?  Speaking of which, why you felt the need to point out that you wanted to bury your head in your Lululemon Scuba, I have no idea.  It screams, “I’m white, I’m wealthy, I’m privileged and Waaaah!”

It’s possible that she simply was trying to make the world a friendlier place by finding a topic you might have in common (maybe she’s loves taking exercise classes).

Roe goes on to write:

If I were to re-imagine the sweat-shaming incident as a music video, it would play out like this: a spotlight comes down, and maybe a disco ball. Baristas dance back-up around me.

“I don’t think you’re ready for this sweaty,” I belt out, to the tune of Bootylicious.

It’s just a fantasy, but it helps me see how I might react differently. I’ve got another long run this weekend and afterward, I’m going to sit down with my coffee, all sweaty and transgressive.

The stigmas surrounding women’s bodies are powerful, but they’re no match for how powerful I feel after running.

Several things – first off, how old are you?  Seriously!  14?  Because that is how old you sound.  Perhaps you need to look in the mirror and sing “I don’t think you’re ready for this sweaty,” to yourself before doing it to random strangers, even if it IS in your own fantasy.  Second, a better response might have been something along the lines of, “yeah, just did 12 miles.  Tired, obviously,” as you point to your hair, “but totally worth it.”  Third, transgressive? Really?  You’re going to sit with your coffee, all sweaty and transgressive?  Nothing like responding to a perceived wrong, and I emphasize perceived, with an actual wrong.  If you are actually really sweaty after a 12 mile run (I know I always am), don’t sit on the chairs at Starbucks…that’s just rude, and again, you’re revealing your own insecurities and immaturity.  Finally, you say that “the stigmas surrounding women’s bodies are powerful, but they’re no match for how powerful I feel after running.”  Your own post contradicts this.  After a long run, I am generally soaked.  I wear that sweat like a goddamned badge.  I do feel powerful after I run, no matter how tired I am.  And if I walk into a Starbucks after a long run, if anything, I am “You’re-Not-Working-Out-As-Hard-As-I-Am-Shaming” everyone in the place.  Crawling into your $120 Lululemon hoodie does not bring “how powerful I feel” to mind.

Get a grip.

Let’s be clear, you say, “Strong may be the new sexy and fit may be the new skinny but sweaty is as gross as ever.”  Wrong.

Sweat. Is. Sexy.

I give you…

Serena...

Serena…

tn-gnp-sp-0812-rousey-pg-014

Ronda…

Alex-Morgan

Alex…

9524926b80919875b847796f03041e86

Lindsey…

3763076286_2a4f7560b7

Gina…and many, many more.

I rest my case.

Projecting your own insecurities onto others does nothing to move society forward.  Assigning “Sweat Shaming” to “You look like you just did a class,” is immature, insecure and most likely, narcissistic.

Own it, Amy.  You are not a Special Snowflake and not every comment is an attempt to “shame” someone.  This post, however, is.

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So the TARC 100 is now 11 days away.  This past Saturday, with my very first 100-miler rapidly approaching, I figured I should collect some data as I tried to get my logistics in order.  One of the aspects of running that we as endurance runners can control to some degree is our hydration level.  Hydration is one of the factors that can determine whether you can actually even finish a race.  Dehydration can lead to a breakdown in your ability to run and in extreme cases shut you down completely.  What many of us often forget is that over-hydration can have just as devastating of an effect on our bodies and our ability to continue as dehydration.  So how does one determine how much water and electrolytes to take in?

Well, you have to have data, and one of the easiest ways to determine how much water you are losing while running is to take a sweat test.  Before going out for a 60 to 90 minutes run, you strip down to nothing and weigh yourself.  Then while on your run you do not take in anything – no hydration, no food, nothing.  Upon returning home or to the gym, you once again strip down to nothing and hop on the scale.  Subtracting your post-run weight from your pre-run weight tells you just how much water you have lost with each pound representing approximately 16 ounces of water.  You then divide the number of ounces by the minutes you ran and then multiply by 60 and that is your hourly sweat rate in ounces per hour.

And that is what I did – I ran 7 miles in 59.7 minutes outdoors in the heat.

My pre-run weight was 176.8 pounds.

My post-run weight was 172.6 pounds.

I did the math.  I checked it twice.

And then I panicked.

excessive-sweating

Just under 68 ounces of water per hour.

Granted I was running about 3 1/2 minutes per mile faster than I plan to at the TARC 100; granted it was 91° outside; but 68 ounces per hour???  That’s over a 1/2 gallon of water I am sweating out!  That was nearly 2.4% of my body weight in an hour.  Race officials don’t like that.

Now obviously I will not be running the TARC 100 without hydration, however, from what I understand, it is difficult for our bodies to comfortably consume more than about 28 ounces of liquid per hour.  That leaves me with a 40 ounce hourly deficit.  Multiply that by the 24 hours I hope to complete the race in and you get a 960 ounce deficit, better known as 60 pounds.

60 POUNDS???

Obviously I can’t lose 60 pounds in a race, but the numbers do have me concerned when it comes to my ability to replace what is lost over the course of 100 miles.

If any of my ultra-running friends (Steve? Maddy? Goji? Jeremy D? et al) have any words of advice or wisdom, I would greatly appreciate them right about now, because I am sitting here sweating…sweating because I’m in a panic about sweating too much!

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Sweat

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

We are one month into 2011.  How are things going?  Have you stuck to your workout goals and resolutions?  Are you still eating better?

***

Do you feel like you’re not seeing enough of a change for all of the time you have been putting in?

***

Let me ask you this – when you workout, are you sweating? I don’t mean schvitzing or perspiring. I mean really, REALLY sweating.

I don’t go to the gym a whole lot. I either run outside or on the treadmill in my basement. For strength training I do a lot of home-based workouts (push ups, planks, chin ups, TRX). BUT when I do go to the gym, I am often surprised to find that a lot of people finish their workouts with just the slightest hint of sweat on their brow and seem to be under the impression that they have put in a hardcore cardio workout.

I want to ask these people if they actually value their time? Don’t they want to make the most of the perceived effort they’ve invested? I don’t believe I’m being a workout snob. I just think that maybe these people don’t get what a hard workout really is.

Yes, I know that getting to the point where you are soaked is hard. Yes, I know that a hard workout hurts. But as the saying goes, “No Pain, No Gain”.

And it’s not like every workout has to be a hard one. In fact, ideally workouts should oscillate between hard and easy to make sure that the body has an opportunity to mend and get stronger while staying loose.

But if it is fast results that you want, you are going to have to sweat; sweat to the point where your shirt is soaked; soaked to the point where you can wring a cupful of stink out of it.

THAT’S when you know you’ve done your job. Quite honestly, there is very little that is more satisfying than hearing the hard smack of your drenched shirt hitting your bathroom floor after a hard workout.

So, if you are struggling to see results in your resolution workouts, I’ll ask you again – are you sweating?

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Why do you run?

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Oink

– My wife’s Facebook status on Wednesday afternoon

I spent the majority of Thanksgiving Week running from the pigs.

They came for my younger daughter Saturday night, then for my wife on Monday night and finally for my older daughter on Wednesday night. No, I wasn’t being chased by the police. I haven’t called a cop a ‘pig’ since high school. OK, maybe since college, but I digress.

I was running from the swine flu. Wednesday night we had three girls down.  I was the last family member standing.  Our Thanksgiving plans to visit family had been laid to waste.  I scrambled last minute to find a Turkey and all the trimmings. All week I was thinking one thing – with the rest of the family out of commission, I could NOT get sick. My wife had been hit especially hard and was pretty much bedridden.  My older daughter (too young to take care of the household anyway) was just entering the worst of it. I had to make sure that the piggies couldn’t get me.

I firmly believe that breaking a major sweat goes a long way toward boosting your immune system. So starting last Monday, I ran.  Not away from my family – they needed me to take care of them. No, I ran away from the flu.  Every day, I ran. Whether it was my quick 5K sprint on Thanksgiving Day morning or my slower but longer 10 mile runs on the dreadmill – er treadmill – I was determined to break a major sweat every day.  I was going to make my body an inhospitable place for any little pigs who might want to take up residence.

I ran more miles this week than I have in any of the weeks in the past several months.

My legs…are…tired.

But you know what? It worked. At this point, as I write, the girls have all come out of the depths of swine and we are pretty much back to normal. Knock on wood, I am swine-free.

Is running the cure to the H1N1 virus? No, absolutely not. But I do think that it helped reduce the effects it had on my body. There is no way that I wasn’t exposed to it. I will admit now that I woke up both Wednesday and Thursday mornings with pounding headaches and I went to bed both of those nights with a very, very slight case of the sniffles, but it never got worse than that. The sniffles were gone each morning and the headaches went away with breakfast and coffee.

So if you feel a chill coming on or your nose is starting to drip, this is my prescription: Run once a day – either hard for 30 minutes or at an easier pace for 60 – 90 minutes. Either way, break a sweat – a real sweat.

You’ll thank yourself for it later.

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