Tales of the chronically-disheveled

If I were to look back on my life as an athlete/exerciser, there’s a lot I’ve done. From gymnastics in my youth (I was terrible) to volleyball in college (I was not terrible) to running and hiking these days – I’ve logged a lot of miles, both literally and metaphorically. I am proud of this. But there is one skill I have never, ever been able to master.

It’s the art of looking good while doing all this exercising.

You know what I mean, dear readers. You know these women. Hell, many of you probably ARE these women, the ones who can run 5 miles and flash a brilliant smile in your slightly glistening, glowing face, as your shiny straight hair clings to your cheeks just enough to look like you exerted yourself, but no more than that.

You are the ones who could play a 5-match volleyball set and somehow make a sweaty pair of spandex and an ugly jersey look good. Wearing mascara that somehow didn’t smudge. How did you do that?

You’re the ones I pass on the hiking trail, in your perfect duds and artful pony tails. Sometimes you even wear a bandana wrapped just so around your perfectly shaped heads, as your appropriately-bearded hiking mate whistles your gleaming-coated and perfectly obedient dog to your side.

You’re always friendly. You always say hi. And I always imagine you laughing at me as I pass.

Because I am always a mess. Today, after finishing a 6.4 mile trek, I was feeling good. I thought I might take a selfie in the gorgeous New England woods to mark the moment. I turned the camera on myself and nearly yelped.

Hair flying literally every which way, escaping the elastic – I’m pretty sure there were a few twigs in there, too, perhaps a small animal? Dirt on my face, and not the kind that they smudge on in your makeup trailer. Even my clothes were in disarray, which is a special accomplishment when you consider I was wearing a backpack with enough straps to keep an astronaut in her seat.

In that brief glimpse, I saw myself as I’d been hundreds of times in my life, red-faced and sweaty and gross after a workout. I laughed and put the phone away, because y’all don’t need to see that. I packed my muddy-pawed and dusty dog into the car. And I sent a silent thanks out to the many friends who still hang out with me even when I’ve got my post-workout, ahem, glow, going on.

To those of you who can’t relate at all to what I’m saying, well, sorry. You just keep being your gorgeous selves, appreciate your good fortune, and keep smiling your perfect smiles at the rest of us. We won’t hate you (too much). 😉

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