Big Girl Undies

June 19, 2013 Posted By: Serena Burla

Today my husband and I were discussing my upcoming race, the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in Duluth June 22, when my son blurted out, “ Mom races in her underwear.” Since I have called my bottom racing attire many different names throughout the years, I simply chuckled and agreed. The statement seemed fitting, for the past few weeks my running motto has been, “Time to put on your big girl undies.”

The phrase came about two years ago when I moved to D.C. I finished a run in Rock Creek Park where I got dropped in the last 20 minutes. Exhausted and gasping for air, I looked at my coach, Isaya, and exclaimed, “Whew, time to put on my big girl undies.” I’m pretty sure I put on an imaginary pair thereafter which served as a symbol—a mind shift and a recommitment to working my butt off. Sometimes you get stuck thinking you are working as hard as you can, but at certain points you have to pledge to reach down even deeper; deep enough to be able to mentally and physically push harder than before. For you guys out there, the synonymous phrase would be “Time to grow a pair.”

A few weeks ago I finished a run that went crappy and I started placing blame on various factors—the hot/humid weather, my lack of acclimation, my level of dehydration, etc. Fortunately, my coach was there to call my bluff and to point out that I was making excuses. I felt like a runner getting caught using the bushes on the trail as a toilet. Instead of running the other way to dodge my onlooker, I faced the truth and admitted that I needed to start sucking it up and getting the job done. I put on my big girl undies.

Since then, I’ve completed runs one step at a time, making sure to focus on digging deep every single moment. I’m not worrying about the next repeat, mile, workout, or race. I’ve got my undies on, not a diaper. I don’t want to be babied. I don’t want the padding for the growing pains and potential falls; I am taking the risk. So to my son, fellow runners, and fans, on Saturday I might appear to be racing in buns, bundies, bun huggers, briefs—call them what you may. But to me, I’m racing in my big girl undies.

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