Every now and then I try out a new piece of clothing. Quite often, that attempt is met with disaster.
I present to you, my loyal pair of jogging pants. I have been using these for over fifteen years.
This pair of pants is an old friend that I have often considered breaking up with. Let us face it, our pal here has seen some better days. The stripe of white is coming off of the leg. The knee has been sewed back up after we took a fall. (Jogging in the dark is relaxing and a nice challenge. Jogging in the dark after a windstorm provides moments of tripping and falling hazards. “Ow”, my knee said.)
Admittedly, it is a bit callous to toss aside a friend who has aided me so much. Fifteen years of running at least once a week, every week. More than its fair share of miles as it swished and fwished through some double digit runs. Yet we all have those friends whose stories we have heard dozens of times. They invite themselves over a bit too often. We start to wonder if we cannot break up with them and try something new.
Thus I found myself searching online. Jogging pants; how hard can those be to find? Quite difficult, it appears.
I have rules for jogging pants. Pants; not tights. I want my legs to be able to move; no shrink-wrapping, please. Spandex, speedos, leggings; call them what you will. I will not call them at all. I want trim, but I do not want to be on display. Also, the price tag on these, “high-tech marvels” does not really speak to me in this economic climate.
Pants that I wear for jogging are required to have some give. A drawstring is annoying, but acceptable. (They go in the same category as associates that sneeze in clusters. Those that, “atchoo”, three times in ten seconds. Wackos.) More importantly, we need to have an understanding that this is Seattle. Every run has the potential to be a wet t-shirt contest. No heavy cloth is allowed. We are looking for wick-away material. Keep the puddles on the ground, not on my legs.
The pictures online made me think that I could make this gray pair work. “Close enough”, was my thought. They seemed like the right size. The description did not mention a water-repelling feature, but I hoped that was an oversight. I clicked, paid what seemed like a fair price, and hoped for the best.
Did I ever tell you what happened when I tried to run a marathon without training enough? I hoped for the best. Which, in that instance, meant only going 24 out of the 26 miles. And miles 20-24 were a pathetic, half-walking, half-wimpy-stumbling, moments-of-lying-on-the-sidewalk, tragic affair. The whole thing went horribly awry.
These new pants are much like that. Let us just say it. They are sweatpants. Frustrating, heavy, vexing sweatpants. The drawstring hangs like a maritime knot on the outside. The fabric pulls at the waist while obnoxiously clinging to the genitals. Only the length of the leg suits me. The other attributes are not my style.
Returning clothing feels like a failure. It is not the store’s fault that I did not chose what I wanted. I decided I could use them for wearing around the apartment. One cannot live entirely in jeans.
(Side note: I have lived entirely in jeans. I used to jog in jeans. My running partner of nine or so years will testify to the fact. That is part of why I kept the old pair of running pants for so long. She could not possibly be more embarrassed at me running in beaten-up pants than she was at the sight of me jogging in boots and jeans.)
I spent all of last Tuesday in those sweatpants. It was morally defeating. I felt lazy and blubbery. I was not in the full uniform of a couch potato but I was on my way. All I needed was a torn tank top and a trucker’s hat with the phrase, “Beer Me!” printed on it.
They are gray. When one is outside in nature then that is a non-issue. However, when confined to an already beige-filled apartment? It is too much. The quarantined part of me simply could not take it. I had visions of nacho and salsa stains that would soon adorn this monstrosity. My energy was sapped. My self-respect plummeted. At the same time, the urge to scratch myself increased the longer I wore them.
Some clichés are true. With sweatpants, they are all true. I can feel a burp coming up simply by thinking of it. If others find these leg blankets to be relaxing and freeing then I am happy for those folks. I prefer a pair of pants that stand up for themselves. I need pockets that will maintain a grip on belongings and not give up their contents to forces like gravity or the crack in couch cushions.
The sweatpants will be dealt with. This I say with confidence. After a wash they will join my old running shoes. They will all go into a bag and visit a clothing donation bin. All my running gear eventually lives with someone else. Hopefully someone who enjoys the ultimate in leisure will seize upon the opportunity to have new clothing for free. Then a happy ending will result from this.
As for myself, I will go back to my fifteen-year clothing. The knees are faded. The zipper at the ankle gets caught on the fabric (which is torn). Yet the rain retreats out of deference and respect. The weight around my waist is a familiar one.
One day I will still seek out a new pair of pants. They will be in the style of my choosing and will meet all of my standards. (I do not care how trendy they are; I still say no to spandex.) Until I find exactly what I want, the familiar is preferable to the alternative. When I embrace my old pair of jogging pants, exercising is no sweat.
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