I have enormous calves. I used to blame them on my weight, like everything else I didn’t like about my body – “Oh it’s just because I’m so fat, that’s why I can’t wear boots, shoe makers don’t make boots for fat legs, only for stick-thin legs.” And the only reason I even cared or noticed is because I desperately want to wear boots. I love boots, I love the style, the look, I know I’d wear them with flare. But for me, boot love is one that will go unrequited, because I have enormous calves.
But then, even at my gauntest, when I was so thin people murmured that I should eat a sammich, and I got dizzy just from standing up, I STILL couldn’t wear boots. Maybe I could find a single pair at Macy’s, I could ask the salesperson if she had any for large calves, and she’d find me a single pair of plain black (always black) boots with a zipper up the inside and elasticated darts to accommodate excessive calves. Take ‘em or leave ‘em, though, they were the only pair in the shop that I could squeeze my gigantic girth into. My calves usually had a muffin top in these sad, fat-lady boots, which limited my skirt length options considerably.
And so then I figured it was the running. I took a little bit of pride in the fact that my calves were so muscled and burly because I ran 3-5 times a week. THAT must be why I had such outsized legs. It’s all the running! But then…well, I have friends who run even more, longer distances than me, and they have lovely shoemaker-approved calves and wear any kind of boots they like. They have the longed-for ability I lack, to see a boot on a shelf at a shoe store, or a boot in a window, and just walk in and try it on. I can’t even imagine this power, I would probably go broke if I could just pull any boot I saw and liked up over my legs, so perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise.
When I met my husband, one of the things that intrigued me immediately is that he’s a monster of a man. As a giantess of a woman, it takes a lot for a man to make me feel dainty and feminine. I’ve come to the realization over many years that I’m built on a bigger scale than most other people – not just women, but men too. At 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, I towered over most potential dates when I was single. The man I now call my husband is an inch taller then me and built like an ox. He has big calloused hands that make mine look child-sized, I call them his monster-paws. His forearms rival Popeye’s – magnificent, vein-covered slabs of granite. His neck measurement actually made me gape when I heard it. He can pick me up and carry me if I’m incapacitated (he had to once when I was sick). This is a man that used to win bar bets by lifting trucks off the ground. Or, as he says, “Mostly Ford Rangers, so it’s not all that big a deal.”
When I moaned to him, last year, about my enormous calves he scoffed and got a measuring tape to Show Me that my calves weren’t all that big and wrapped it around his leg. His scoff turned to incredulity when he saw that my measurement dwarfed his by almost 2 inches. (Hey, our Friday nights get pretty crazy around here!)
And now… now I am satisfied that the size of my calves is just another part of my genetic makeup. Obese or thin, fit or not, I will never wear high-fashion boots – even my favorite shoemaker who always provides amazing customer service, is unable to stretch his boots large enough to fit my calves. I finally accept that I will always be relegated to the one or two pairs of boots in the shop (always plain black…occasionally brown) with the elasticated darts.
This morning I woke up to a steaming mug of hot coffee on the nightstand. My husband headed out early to go to a car show with some pals, so I went for a nice long run. I’ve been amazed at how easy it’s been to slip back into my running routine after a couple of inconsistent years and back issues. Today I went 4.6 miles in an hour. That’s a 13-minute mile, a stately speed, or what I like to call the “…and the rest o’ yous” pace.
At the start of races – 5Ks, 10Ks, triathlons, probably marathons and half-marathons as well – the organizers rank the participants from closest to farthest from the start line, so that the faster runners don’t have to fight their way through crowds of slow-pokes. They usually have people holding up signs to indicate where to stand, starting with something like “8 Min” at the front, and the runners line up in the area that best describes the kind of mile they run, you get signs for “9 Min”, “10 Min”, “11 Min”, “12 Min”, and finally the last group, “…and the rest o’ yous!”