Sunday, July 26, 2020

Boob--Wobble and F*ck the Patriarchy

The title says it all. Yes I know this is meant to be a happy smiley blog post, but this issue has been bugging me.

I am not a small girl -- chest wise. In the attributes department I would be classed as a 34-"well, hello nurse!" Since the age of 15, I have literally battled with two appendages, that if they were attached to men, would be in medical journals -- but as I am am not, they are counted as things to be stared and commented on. The thing is, compared to the average size of breasts in the UK, they aren't excessively oversized -- In the UK the average cup size was 36DD, (and breast size is increasing, up from a 34B, 11 years ago). Britain is blooming in a wonderful way.

What has this got to do with running? Well, as most female runners will tell you, when you run, you have to bind those puppies down. Double-down on the bra's, buy specialist bra's, there are even Boob-band's  to stop the swaying.  I have done all of the above because I had this notions that I needed support to prevent muscle strains, or bruising, (I honestly don't know what rationale I was using) -- stupid idea's that we are all fed by advertisers and magazines. Those mammogry glands need to be kept stationary peeps, for your own protection. It's running law! Are there Boob-Cops? I bet Netflix has a show on it.

Over, the last few weeks I have been run/wallking on a treadmill at home. As I mentioned last time, I am usually wearing nothing more than my underpants, and a t-shirt... and a bralette.  (It has all the support of a democrat voter at a Trump rally. It has been my curtesy at wearing a bra when the postman knocks on the door.) I am sure a sexy scene --  Runners World, photo shoots eat your heart out. I bet I could do a fantastic alternative cover shoot if needed  -- like Celeste Barber.  

Yet, did my chest muscles all collapse in a heap? Nope. Did I get two black eyes from the excessive bouncing? Nope -- In fact where is the bouncing? Did society collapse? Nope. Did Aliens invade? Nope -- bit sad on that, we could do with a dose of Doctor Who about now. Okay, so what is the hang-up about the boobs and running?

Over the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about this, and I have come to the conclusion -- It's  because of some men and their inability to cope with boob-wobble. Women have been binding themselves, in some type of medieval practise because some men can't cope with the idea that boobs will wobble whilst women run. 

I have just watched the rousing congress speech by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez yesterday in response to the apologies by Congressman Ted Yoho. It struck a cord, women -myself included- have been called names and will continue to be called names by men when we don't do what they want. She inspired me. I finally had to write this shit down. My Boob-wobble pot of anger had boiled over. Again, another Netflix show in the making.

You see, I quite often run with my teenage son in the room, and I have had to reprimand him to stop interfering with my run -- by showing me meme video's or doing silly dances, or trying to distract me with showing me Terraria biomes. Not once has he mentioned anything about how I look whilst I run -- he doesn't care what wobbles and jiggles; what I show, or don't show.

However, contrast that with other experiences I have had running. Running outdoors on my own, or in a gym, where I get wolf-whistles or glared at -despite being an over-forty, unfit, jogger. Men shout and toot their car horns. The troubling incident at a local Parkrun I used to attend, where one man used to make comments to me about which outfits he wish he could see me in to run. Or asking me to do an extra-run-up to the finish on a costume day -I thought so he could take a photo for the event- so he could see my boobs wobble in my costume. How I felt powerless to make a complaint because he was popular, so I started going less.

In running, do women  double-up on bras, or buy extra-supportive bra's or boob-bands not for their own health, but because they want to prevent situations where comments will be made that make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe? Over the last few weeks I realised that I have the extra-supportive bra's, the boob-bands and the loose shirts for outdoor running, not because I need them medically, but I need the emotionally -- to protect myself from the potential of being cat-called. Just like I won't run at night, or run in places that are quiet, or run on trails alone. I do this to protect myself. I protect myself from all those who might hurt me emotionally -- who have in the past overwhelmingly been men.

So, whilst this isn't the upbeat Be Happy post, it is strong and defiant. FUCK THE PATRIARCHY! We should be able to embrace our boob-wobble if we want to. Men should grow a pair (and have the freedom to run with them flapping and jiggling in their shorts for everyone to see without comment). 

I am happy, that I have a son who, when I run, cares more about showing me meme's than commenting that my boobs are wobbling -- that the idea hasn't even crossed his mind. I am happy that I do have a place where I can finally run happy, boob-wobble and everything. I just know that I am privileged to be able to have it -- now if we can just get that freedom for everyone.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

This Run... Running in a lockdown... (and coming back again)

What my running view looks like... currently without the stinky teenager.
My current running view, without the stinky teenager
-he is at school- laughing at how slow I am.

This run..Running in a lockdown... why is it when I say those words, I have to do it do it to the tune of 'The Specials' 1981 tune 'Ghost town'? Anyway, I have only begun running again because frankly I was having trouble getting into all of my old clothes. It was this or swimming and as the pools are closed, trying to do laps in the bath would be darn tricky, (although it would mean I could boast a new personal record on laps).

The little portable treadmill finally turned up -- It was a Indiegogo/Kickstarter thing which should have been delivered in January, but it ended up being June. I suppose they got some of the letters right in the month, but as with all of these projects you have to take a chance. The little treadmill turned up, and it's meant that instead of braving the glorious UK summer (aka rain and cardigans), I can do a quick run whilst supervising the spawn. Multi-tasking -- the new Coronavirus/lockdown skill. Need a paper to write whilst homeschooling your kid? Easy... actually, yeah, that's a fail. Run in your underpants and a Tweetie-pie t-shirt, whilst watching your kid play computer games? Score -- I am rocking this parenting thing! Yes, he's had chicken nuggets and rice five times this week... I keep my parenting bar low, so I can ensure that I occasionally surpass my expectations. I am proud to say I have a teenager who bathes every day -- so I must be doing something right.

I mentioned last time, I am coming back to running after a 2-3-4 ?? year hiatus. Why did I stop? Well, I think a lot of the authors on this blog, found their running vibe did fade and like myself, they don't run anymore. Life, age and potentially misery get in the way perhaps. The kids got slow and ended up on computer consoles, so we don't need to be fit to chase them anymore.

Personally, I moved country -back to my native UK- to an area that, although has its own type of natural beauty, didn't have the type of trail running I was used to. I just didn't enjoy it as much. I tried to reconnect, but I had my own lows about coming back to the UK and the issues I thought I had run (haha) away from. As we all know, you can't run away from life. Life sucks!! I want a refund on the one given me, I am sure parts of it are broken -- definitely an IKEA life. A surname you can't spell correctly (I blame the husband on that one though), instructions no-one can understand, always some bits left over, seemed good in the shop but when you get home you never know what to do with it. Oh, and I always seem to come with meatballs, hotdogs or ice-cream. I had a 365 day return, but I am over forty years past the return policy.

Another local move, more life angst and then about 18 months ago -after a viral infection- I developed Fibromyalgia. I have to admit, I haven't really felt that amount of pain before -- I have broken limbs, flared discs in my back, frozen shoulder and giving birth, but this was another level of pain. There were points I could barely walk up the stairs, let alone run. And was I tired! So damn tired. If there was a medal for falling asleep in strange places, I bet I could have a couple of golds in a few events by now.

I am still getting my head around the symptoms -- my good days, my bad days, my triggers. I am still in the learning process. New meds, new ways of doing my day. Having to say 'No' to things -- which is a huge issue for me. Going slower. Accepting the new me. It's not been the easiest process -- I am a Gal that likes to go fast and hard, (you know you say something in your head and it seems fine...)

Running isn't the most recommended exercise for fibromyalgia -- It's considered too load intensive on the joints. Swimming is preferred by doctors; as is regular exercise. As soon as I received this Perscription of 'Swim regularly!', Coronavirus took over and the pools shut. As with most doctors recommendations -when it comes to the type of physical exercise I should do- I politely ignored it. The treadmill turned up (eventually), the Tweetie-pie t-shirt went on, the trousers PJ bottoms came off and I started to run (okay, fast walk/trot, as my spawn likes to point out) in socks.

I forgot the whole shoe thing... again. I never intended to 'run' on the treadmill in socks -- I wasn't deliberately thinking about running minimalist again. However, I have had no pains in my knees -which is the one of the main joint killers in Fibromyalgia- and as the treadmill has no inclines, my ankles have been stable. I am taking everything slow because I am unfit and ... well old... but, its going good. I know I will never, ever be able to win any PB's. My goal is walk/run a 5K by the end of the year. In January I didn't think it was possible... now... who know's? I think I maybe in with a shot!

But for now, I am moving happy. I am moving smiley! (as long as the teenage spawn doesn't fart -- cloth masks maybe good for helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but they do nothing for the biological weapon known as his farts!). 

Friday, June 26, 2020

RE...Restarting... Running, smiling, writing, what-else?

I couldn't find a good 'reboot' image, so have cute cats instead
I couldn't find any 'reboot' images, so have
some cute cats instead. Ahhhh....

Hello?... TAP. TAP. TAP. Is this thing on?

Well, hello. It's strange to finally find you. Hidden between old accounts and forgotten websites. I had almost forgotten about you. I know you remind me occasionally -- with the occasional new likes on Facebook, but frankly I haven't been paying much attention.

2011-2012 or so, that was so long ago. Even when I tried to reboot you in 2013, it was half-hearted. I was still in a place, where running and living were not something I really wanted to do... let alone smile whilst I did it. I lost it... my joy -- it's there somewhere. Probably hidden, in those lost passwords and mothballed websites.

Now, well I don't run anymore. I haven't run competitively in four years, (it wasn't really a race then either, more of a lark around a course with cake). I haven't run at all in over twelve months. Many of the friends I had made when this site started, are in a similar situation. Life, work, kids... the world has just got in the way. The happy group of mavericks... we just got old.

And Fat(ter); Well I have. If you haven't noticed lately, there is a situation going down in the world at the moment. COVID-19. Coronavirus. I am now into month four of lockdown and my waistline is showing it. I would rationalise it by saying its the Peri-menopause, or 'I am just getting old', but it's not. I just got lazy. Very Lazy.

This week -quietly ignoring my doctor, who recommends swimming (the pools aren't open and the last time I ignored that particular advice I secured a sweet trip to New York)- I decided to start a couch-2-5K training plan.

Couch-2-5K. Yeah. I am quite humbled by that. I remember a time, (okay, it was about 10 years ago), I used to run half-marathons on a whim -- Just because I was bored that weekend. Now, I am running my first week of a plan that has me walking for the majority of the session. 

But, do you know what? At least I am moving again. I am trying again. I am having aspirations, I am setting myself small goals and I looking to the future again. It's been a long time since I made a move that positive; and as you can see, I am writing again. 

This is a big deal.

So here is the re... re-start of 'The Run-Smiley Collective'. I maybe only one member now, but I am always on the lookout for more. If you run (or walk, or dance, or pogo-stick, or silly-walk) am unspecified distance and you want to write about the positivity of movement but have no forum... let me know. Let's spread some "Collective LUUUURRRVVVEE' out there.

MMMWWWWAAAAHHHH.  XX (<-- Socially distance kiss of course).