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An Athena Runner Breaks Down Her Search For Apparel That Fits

Photo: RSPORT

Words From An Athena Runner

When I put on athletic apparel, I feel strong. I feel powerful and capable. I feel beautiful. I am free to move through space in the way that my body is able, without being constrained by poorly designed clothing. I am fortunate to be one of a fast-growing group of Athena athletes whose clothing options continue to expand, albeit at a slow pace.

This wasn’t always the case, however. When I recommitted to running back in 2008, things were different. I often found myself looking desperately for clothing that I could wear at my gym or even at home while I embarked on my fitness journey. I finally settled on wearing men’s athletic apparel and boxy cotton T-shirts, because those were the only articles of clothing I could wear that fit and allowed me to get my workouts in without worrying about the tights slipping down past my belly with every bounce or the tops rolling up under my bra…I mean bras, plural. The two or three bras I would wear to ensure that I didn’t have bruises under my chin after a run or jumping jacks or yoga.

But these days I have choices. I have an array of beautifully constructed tights, capris and shorts to choose from for almost all of the activities I love. In addition, I have short sleeved and long sleeved technical tops whose purpose is to support the athletic endeavor I am engaged in and NOT to hide my various rolls (and such).

And although I’m still searching for the perfect sports bra, I have many more options than I did even three years ago. I no longer have to layer two bras under a compression top that has an ineffective built-in shelf bra. I have several—albeit imperfect—pieces to choose from depending on the activity. Some of them are even in colors other than black and white!

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Fat Girl Running

Fat Girl Running

My name is Mirna Valerio, aka @TheMirnavator. I am a native of Brooklyn and current resident of northeast Georgia. I'm a Spanish teacher, diversity educator, cross-country coach, marathoner, ultrarunner and blogger, writing about all things running and living life to its fullest while being a larger gal on my blog, Fatgirlrunning. I have a son who is 12 and a hubby who travels a lot, mostly in West Africa. I try to live by example. We only have one body and one life. We must love our bodies and ultimately our entire selves in order to be whole people, in order to live our lives to the fullest. The road to self-acceptance and self-love is a long one, and one that requires a commitment to loving yourself (and spreading that love to others) no matter how you perceive yourself that moment, day, or year. Get out there and be. And run all the roads and trails.