On Running in Skirts, Showing the World your Moneymakers, and Getting over Yourself

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.


  1. Good for you! The way I see it, anyone who’s out there and working their ass off deserves to wear whatever the hell is comfortable and makes them feel good. I know I’m never going to look like I belong on the cover of Shape, but if I can drop just a bit more of this belly, you’d better believe I’ll have no qualms about running in a sports bra (as of right now, however … um, NO).

    Also — the thigh chafing. Good god, it is the WORST. That is all.


  2. Thigh chafing: the curse of big-legged women everywhere, and, oh, how I love to wear my skirts in the summer time. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Even when I was a “wee skinny snippet,” oh-so-long-ago, my thighs touched. I have never known the joy of having those skinny, no-touching legs. But whatevs.
    I am glad you’ve embraced your “moneymakers.” Lord knows we all should. (And now I feel like saying something about the “quivering such-and-such of a 17th century courtesan,” but that might be inappropriate.)
    (BTW, I know you’ve mentioned before about using that runner’s stuff to prevent thigh-chafing, but I’ve found a smidge of deodorant where they touch works just as well…)


  3. Thanks for chiming in to support my claim that thigh chafing is, in fact, THE WORST! I knew this to be true! I am also glad I’m not alone in this (although this means y’all are suffering, too, so that’s less pleasant).

    ANYWAY! Right! I do use Body Glide to prevent that — it also works on any part of your feet prone to blistering. I have never tried C’s suggestion above of using deodorant, but maybe when my Body Glide runs out I will.

    So to anyone following along on the chafe issue, check out Body Glide and/or regular old deo (or, as I call it, “Deo for my B.O.” – hahaha I am twelve).


  4. i feel this deserves a hearty, “you go, girl!” also perhaps a “fuck yeah!” i hope you allow cussin on this here blog.


  5. Thanks! I fucking love cussing! Also, it took me a minute to remember who Rutina Wesley is, but then I did. Yeah, she totally has the jackhammers. She looks like an elite sprinter or something.


  6. You should’ve been a soccer player! Check out the moneymakers on these ladies: http://flic.kr/p/2VAqwN

    (and now I have Rilo Kiley stuck in my head)

    I too have been cursed/blessed with short, stocky legs (also, lack of tallness), but have used it to my advantage for sprinting in soccer and now kickball: http://flic.kr/p/81XCWE

    I also, as your probably know, also like hills. I read somewhere that one should “view hills as an opportunity to pass others,” and I embrace this philosophy.

    Also also, after reading this post, I wanted to name my right quads “The Four Horsemen”, but then I realized I needed a name for the other set of quads. Maybe “Godzilla.” “Godzilla and the Four Horsemen” has a nice ring to it.


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