I have hated my thighs for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, my mother admitted to me her great shame: she had Thunder Thighs and Thick Ankles, and she had passed down these sad afflictions to me.
Ever since that time, I have viewed my curse with reluctant resignation. I would never look good in shorts. Never catch the eye of a gentleman with a delicately turned ankle peeking out from under the hem of my skirts like all the hot chicks in the 18th century. I was destined to be dumpy.
Even back in high school, when I was but a wee skinny snippet, I had cellulite. I remember worrying about it, hating the way my pale legs looked all cottage-cheesy in shorts and skirts. I remember a girl I knew who was on the track team — one of the most beautiful girls in school, athletic and effortlessly pretty — telling me that she loved running because it made it so easy to get rid of the thigh dimples that started showing up during the off season. Just head back to track practice and soon enough the cellulite would disappear. Well, this never happened for me.
Then of course I gained weight and suffered the bane of every curvy woman’s existence: Thigh Chafing! The effing WORST. If you have never experienced this, consider yourself lucky. My thighs, man. Why did they hate me?
Even now that I am back in shape, they’re still my least favorite feature. (Or one of them, anyway, but let’s not start making a list of my flaws.) Even now, I find it hard to love my legs. They’re too short for a person of 5’9″. They’re chunky. They’re dimpled. They’re thick. They’re TREE TRUNKS. That’s what I’ve always called them: tree trunks.
I saw this ad in an issue of Runner’s World a few months ago and I’ve been saving it ever since. For a few weeks I had the magazine laid open to this page on top of my dresser. I LOVE this ad. There’s just something so funny and badassed and straightforward-yet-cheeky about it. Most of all I love that they have turned my self deprecating insult, my own little hypercritical issue, “tree trunks,” into an epithet of power and strength and speed. TREE TRUNKS, motherfuckers! The other terms are wonderful, too. Wheels! Gravity Killers! Moneymakers! The Quad Squad!
I certainly don’t have the perfectly defined quads of the model in the photo, but dammit I sure do have a set of jackhammers over here. Mostly I use them to just destroy hills. I chug right on up a hill in the middle of a race when others have decided to walk; I keep on spinning up a hill when it would be easier to get off the bike; I keep on going, huffing and puffing and jackhammering and panting I eat hills like this for breakfast — cellulite wobbling the whole way.
I figure if I had cellulitey thighs even at age 16, I will always have them. If the Thunder Thighs and Thick Ankles my mother warned me about are part of the family curse, there’s just not much I can do. Except maybe just get over myself and start seeing that short, stocky legs are kind of a secret weapon when you’re running uphill. And I like to run uphill.
With all that in mind, and with the fact that I do live in Alabama, where temperatures and humidity are high all spring, summer, and fall, I have been having a bit of a Tree Trunk celebration over here. Every day is Arbor Day! The itty-bitty running shorts? Got them. Love them. Running skirts like the ones Kristen posted about? Got one. Love it. People, my thighs are showing up all over this hot, humid town — up and down all the hills, pale and wobbly and exposed. I am showing the world my moneymakers and I am not sorry. So. If you see a set of thighs so large and so pale that you need sunglasses to regard them, and if they are coming in your direction, please kindly step aside. The Quad Squad is headed your way and we slow down for no one.