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This column was originally named Running Under the Influence, an ode to two of my favorite things — exercise and booze. It turns out there are finite ways to write about running, so the word was dropped from the title, though I remain a big fan of the exercise itself.

Liz Marsh

In the past year and a half I’ve amped up my exercise game. I run, weight lift, and row 4-5 days a week, and I’ve recently added hot yoga to my repertoire. In fact, in the last 21 days I’ve worked out 18 times, not including evening walks with my dog or my 3 mile commute to work on foot. As I lamented to my co-worker the other day, “I shouldn’t have any jiggly bits left on me!”

But I do. I continue to have an abundance of jiggly bits. Not that I really mind them. I have an ass that just won’t quit and I love it. But it can be disappointing to not see an outward reflection of so much hard work. My skinny friends at the gym have well-defined arm muscles whereas mine are slightly less chubby than they once were. Even though we’re lifting the same weights, I often feel like they are doing “better” than I am.

Let’s face it, we live in a state where everyone wears fitness on their sleeve. The lithe folks walking around in their lululemons want you to know they do yoga, crossfitters never shut up about crossfit, and everyone is on a diet that they swear by (mine is currently high-fat, low-carb with intermittent fasting, thanks for asking!). And sometimes I feel left out of the fit community. Like I have to prove myself.

Recently I was stuck at a table of strangers during a work conference. At lunch the two of them on either side of me were in a very busy conversation about exercise. As I awkwardly and silently sat between them they covered the gamut — mountain biking, rafting, trail running, favorite routes and favorite brands of athletic wear. The insecure 12 year old in me panicked and I tried to join the conversation, “is anyone doing the rock and roll (marathon) this year?” I asked. The one to my right was unable to hide her complete shock, “Oh … you … run?”

Skinny people do not corner the market on exercise. People of all sizes run, and swim, and climb, and do yoga and generally move their bodies in whatever way makes them happy. And no one should feel like their size precludes them from being taken seriously as an athlete. There are people larger than me who are in much better shape than I am, and I probably have better blood pressure than many people a fraction of my size.

Under this layer of chub I’m actually super fit, I swear. So if your size 2 Prana pants are starting to get to your head just know that I’ll be running along right next to you, jiggly bits and all.