Thursday, September 1, 2011


Why do I love pockets so much?  If I'm wearing something that doesn't have pockets, I'm at a total loss.  It's not as if I must live with my hands in my pockets all of the time or carry much of anything in those pockets, but they come in so handy to hold a spare Kleenex, or a car key when hands are full, or a little bit of money when I leave the purse at home.
20K race, 2001: They're so
long they look like a skirt!

So naturally, when I first started running, I looked for running shorts with pockets.  They were a little hard to find, but they were out there if I searched the internet hard enough.  I discovered one particular brand and bought every color they made:  Red, bright blue, light blue, navy blue, purple, black.  Even a couple of pair that were a colorful, gay print. 

I sacrificed svelte fit and style in return for having pockets.  They were long.  They were baggy.  They were frumpy.  But...they had those all-important pockets. 
2003 20K:  full and flapping!

Now, most of the time, those pockets were empty other than a couple of Kleenex.  Like when doing short runs in my neighborhood.  But for all-time convenience on long runs, those pockets held GU, Kleenex, pretzels, a spare bandage or two, some folding money, maybe even a few coins.  And I'd safety-pin my car key to the inside of the pocket for safe keeping.

I wore those same few pair of shorts for several years!   But eventually I realized how "dated" they looked.  They sat high at the waist and the inseam was so long.  Besides, they were getting a little faded and were starting to get snagged, and to fray a little around the waist and leg openings. 
2003 Marathon: So baggy!

I looked for more modern-fitting running shorts - shorts that sat a little below the waist, lower on the hip, and with a shorter inseam.  But these features just didn't seem to co-exist with pockets.  The little key pockets were pretty much useless, in my opinion.  I put off purchasing any and continued to wear these same old comfortable baggy running shorts.

But eventually, I had no choice when, one by one, I began throwing away these old pocketed running shorts.   I bought a couple pair of "pocketless" styles and tried them out on short runs.  That's when I realized how much of a "security blanket" those pockets had become. nose runs like a faucet in colder weather and gets stuffy in allergy season which, in Texas, is nearly year-round, so having a Kleenex was handy.   That feature alone came in more than handy the year I ran the Houston marathon with a head cold.  By the end of that race I would have given anything for a dry, fresh Kleenex!

Wearing those pocketless shorts just felt first.  But I came to like the fit better.  Not having that bunchy elastic band up around my waist, my hydration belt fit better.  I liked the shorter leg length.  I liked their more streamlined shape.  I stuck with them, learned to like not having pockets, and started buying more shorts in different styles.  Besides, many of my running tops now have little zippered pockets hidden in the side or back seams, a handy place to stow a few small items.

So, when I came across an old pair of those pocketed running shorts a few days ago, I was a bit embarrassed that I'd stuck with them for so long.  Times...and fashion...surely do change. 

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