I enjoy a good movie as much as anyone, but for me to sit still for two straight hours requires three things: bad weather, a long run finished, and the possibility that Russell Crowe might appear on the screen. Otherwise, count me out.
But I snapped to attention last week upon hearing the news that Angelina Jolie had removed her breasts. Or rather, surgeons did, at her request, to dramatically cut her risk of getting breast cancer. It was one more step in the canonization process of a bad girl turned saintly mother, and while I think hers was a reasonable decision for a woman of privilege and means (not so much for women in the undeveloped world), there was a tiny part of me that was a little bit jealous, thinking, “Man, if I only I could have a double mastectomy, I would be so much faster!”
Yes, horrible, I know. And I can say that only because I am blessed (so far) with good health, and have never had to wage fierce battle with the Big C. But my friends who have fought it bravely did so with a generous dose of black humor, and so I hope they understand. This is my truth: My breasts get in the way of my running. They affect my gait, my speed, my self-image.
This is, in large part, because parts of me are large; although I’m a dedicated runner, I remain overweight for my age and height. Presumably, I would not have this problem if I lost 50 pounds, but then I’d be walking around all day singing the “Do your boobs hang low?” song because skinnier, in some places, seems to mean flatter.
As it is, when I gain weight, as I did over the winter, I gain first in my chest, and this has made more than one man deliriously happy over the course of my adult life. But a big chest (right now, I’m a 36D if you must know), is great for Hollywood actresses, horrible for runners.
I long ago learned to “double bag” – to wear two sports bras — so I won’t break any indecency laws when I’m out on the road. And no clingy cotton for me. In my drawers are the finest sports bras a second mortgage can buy, including Title Nine’s now defunct “Frog Bra” – “so you can leap without bouncing!” – which was so heavy duty that apparently the government has taken control of the fabric for our military. (Not really, but you gotta admit, the description of what happened to it is disturbingly vague.)
Anyway, despite all this, I still jiggle mortifyingly when I run down the road, and I am deeply envious of all you A and B cups who run past me with nary a jiggle. Would I really have my breasts surgically removed to better my running? No, probably not; I don’t have enough time or money.
But before you dismiss me as crazy, know this: There’s a man in Charleston, South Carolina, who had one of his legs amputated a few years ago so he could run better. Plagued by chronic arthritis, he decided he’d run better without the bum leg, and so he had it removed, and is now happily running with prosthesis.
So there you go. That’s a runner for you. “Normal” people walk for exercise, and never dream about surgery that is medically unnecessary. But I’d rather be a runner than normal.
SALTIES, WHAT BODY PART SLOWS DOWN YOUR RUNNING? WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER HAVING IT SURGICALLY REMOVED?