Who likes short, shorts?

You bet I freegin’ don’t.

A weekend of basking in the Great British weather and we’ve seen more leg, gun and bad cases of farmer tan sprawled across the screens of our electronic devices in the last two days, than we’ll probably ever see again in 2017. I’m only too convinced we’ve already now had our summer dose of vitamin D and we can all now submerge back into the depths of our white skinned egg shells and live the rest of 2017 as a hermit crab again.

So well done if you did actually manage to find a seat in a pub garden this weekend, or a large enough patch of grass in Clapham Common that you weren’t in the background of all manner of hopeless sunglasses selfies. Though for the mere few, like me, that were not a part in said British activity, fortunately didn’t have to tackle such first world problems. Nothing wrong with a back garden anyway… There’s always space (maybe a stash of beer if you’re lucky) and top end selfie potential, that you can epitomise to your hearts content until you’ve got the right angle, with no further judgement from other London onlookers. 

You’d have thought as a runner that at any sign of heat increase, I’d be straight out that door; kitted out in clothing that in this type of weather, has practically become a small triangular band to cover ones genitals and some top half crop top that does less of a job covering your bits than what nipple stickers would do. This is actually what’s considered pretty standard attire for a female runner, nowadays. How they stand the honking horns without wanting to shoot the god damn driver of the vehicle, I’ll never know. However for me, though still exceptionally keen to still sprint out of the door towards the sun, it becomes more of a grade A organisation plan with too much thought having gone into it than I care to admit. 

Such a plan involves tactically deciding what time of the day to run, to ensure I match a temperature slot that means I won’t actually die from dehydration and sun stroke as well as the time of the day where there are fewer people about. All because I’m too god dam afraid to swap my leggings in exchange for shorts – something which would certainly help minimise the above issues of potential death by running.

Shorts would of course be the most sensible and practical option but with the saggy, undefined skin that sits under my bum, the stretch marks and the wobbly cellulite that is slowly itching its way down the side of my legs again (I’m told it’s age, but I disagree), I’d have no energy left to run anyway because I’ve just spent it all mentally picking myself up from all the utter deflation that came with seeing myself in a pair. It’s all too easy to just conceal problems with a nice pair of black leggings that fool definition at every corner. Hence why running at 06:30 poses no problem at all – the time I chose to go running. Leggings are more than fitting for the temperature occasion and no god forsaken person is generally alive at this hour anyway. 

To think as an u20 track and field athlete, so full of Lycra dreams, you wouldn’t find me in any other clothing that wasn’t another pair of Adidas’s black swimming bottoms that we’d all pass off as running shorts. Now I can barely stand the sight of the things. At least on me, anyway. You other girls carry on rocking it. Though I can practically see the inside of your butt cheeks in such attire, you at least have the balls to do it and hey, kudos to you and your butt. 

In an ideal world, we’d have sun like this every day, I could go out running in shorts at any time of the day and just hope that people have no eyes for the hour or so I’m out running. I’m well aware that people have better things to do and don’t actually take any notice, but that idea seems to just go over my head where I feel like any person passing, just sees a chunky wannabe runner that doesn’t exactly fit the bill. 

Then again if we are asking for things, I’d probably just like a pair of legs that I feel comfortable enough to flaunt around on the streets of London. Perhaps that’s still further down the recovery line for now!  

We get it, you run

Swings and roundabouts, which apart from very much summarising my feelings towards relationships and just my general opinion towards the male species, is a phrase that actually perfectly summarises my feelings towards social media.

Apart from life’s number one tool for discovering the GPS coordinates of your ex back in 2011 or getting to the bottom of the mystery nail polished hand that appeared in the background of their most recent photo, I’ll reluctantly admit that social media is and can be good for a number of different things. Not merely just a stalking tool. However, where my main indecision on social media comes from whether or not to post another upload of the run I did that morning, I don’t actually feel any real need for its use anymore, coupled with the fact I pretty much now resent the thing. So it’s clear I’m probably currently in the ‘swings’ phase in my relationship with social media.

As it goes, all I really needed was STRAVA anyway and I probably could have a saved a lot of people’s efforts in what was probably the likely press of the unfollow button because, “She’s uploaded another fucking run, again”. I just evidently needed all the ‘gram fans. I’d say sorry, but it got me those all important likes we all so desperately strive towards for that affirmation and social clarity.

Recently stumbling across a psychology article, titled ‘Social media uploads and what is says about our personality’ has only gone and heightened the now direction I want to take from the persistent use of such sites. That being, far, far away from its use. Though given my relationship comes in swings and roundabouts, I’ll probably just end up mapping the running route I’ve taken away from social media and just upload it to Facebook anyway.

So the article, which can be found here, indicated that given the above description of the types of things I post on social media, puts me into the narcissism category. Now isn’t that just a complimentary enlightenment of how I seemingly appear as a person and user on social media. I’m a vain, attention-seeking grandiose of a woman. What a cracking and punchy Tinder bio.

If I’d known I was going to come across this way, I would have just gone full-out Narc and taken the standard, minimal clothing ‘before and after’ shots in front of the gym mirror. Undoubtedly known by us all that it’s probably just a person with slightly more air in their lungs and less space in their stomach, helped along by a slightly better lighting angle in one photo compared to the other, rather than it actually being any real physical body changes. Probably would have got more likes though and apparently that’s the kind of attention I need anyway…

In this instance however, I’d probably have opted for such mind trickery as this, in a bid to fool and minimise the impact of all my weight gain of the last few months. Except I’d be far from likely to do that kind of thing on the regular anyway, albeit proud of actually where I’ve got to from the skinny alien I once was.

Perhaps it’s now time to side-step social media a bit and leave all that profound vanity of mine to just be discovered in reality instead.

But at least on STRAVA, I’m enclosed in my own platform with a whole bunch of other like-minded, running Narcs that need affirmation of their achievements though, right?

Learning Curve

Technically speaking, I’d like to think it’s actually closer to 103 things, but for simplifying matters, let’s keep it that so far this week I have learnt three things: hard work has its way of paying off; I am certainly at my most creative whilst running and I have no real need for a sports bra – the latter two having ironically been realised instantaneously.

Not that they need too much more of an explanation but I’ll start with those last two things because let’s face it, we surely all want to hear about my imaginative brain busting ideas and my two not-so-rounded A-grade spectacles bouncing liberally underneath my running top.

Running has so far accounted to nearly all my ideas for Christmas presents this year where I’ve so far lacked so much imagination with gift incentives that I was debating whether just to run off to Hong Kong a few days early and forget about Christmas all together this year. Turns out, all I really needed to do was traipse out into the dreary dullness of December’s early mornings and late evenings, run 7 or 8 miles and voila, a book full of toilet trivia for my work Secret Santa becomes the next best thing since sliced bread for a present. And to think I didn’t think of that before…

Perhaps the reason for my sincere lack of creativity can be partly due to the extreme tiredness of me attempting to work 7-day weeks to both gain some Monday-Friday invaluable unpaid work experience while also earning essential dollar on the weekends to actually get me to Hong Kong in the first place. The extreme tiredness became more than apparent when I learnt number 3 in my list, and noticing 3 miles into a run that I’d completely forgotten to support my boobs with a sports bra – a mile number far too high to justify having anything protruding from my chest at all because it took me that long to realise. It’s a good job my way of celebrating a decent mile pace doesn’t involve lifting my shirt up over my face like the footballers do.

Those two things covered, I get to my main point to this blog about hard work paying off – both with my eating disorder and life in general. Forcing yourself to eat normally again may not seem like much hard work to some, but believe me, it’s no easy feat for someone who is still too afraid to take just one of the miniature heroes offered to you at work. Also forcing yourself to admit defeat that your energy levels are just far too low to attempt exercise for that day has also required an awful amount of hard work too, something of which people dream towards each week knowing they can finally have a rest day that day.

All the hard work of breaking routine, launching out of my comfort zone and working what feels like more unpaid hours of work this year than paid, has all paid off. For the reason I’ll be able to explain in the New Year… This is my way of keeping you hooked until my next post where I can properly explain.

What a curveball cliffhanger!

Mind the gap

Perhaps due to the fact that I’ve so far this week, spent more time on the London underground than anything else, alongside other countless commuters in our attempt to hold the optimum pathway for the flow of wind that turbines its way through the carriage window, that I’ve drawn attention to such a theme as gaps. Though the TFL workers make every attempt to make the daily herding of cattle through the platform as smooth and ‘clear of the closing doors’ as possible, the continual use of the phrase ‘mind the gap between the train and platform’ must surely just come out of their mouths involuntarily now. But at least their children will probably never fall down a hole in their life. I’ve clearly become so caught up in the whole ‘London Commuting Life’ – and I love it.

That besides, instead of trains and platforms, I’ve began noticing the safety in gap size between my thigh… and my other thigh, whereby there’s probably no need for a TFL worker to announce to ‘mind the gap’ any more.

Recently becoming a stupid and non-achievable beauty ideal, the thigh gap is supposedly associated with physical attractiveness, yet really, achieving a thigh gap for most people is next to impossible as it is physically unnatural, and generally is a body shape goal of extreme dieting, surgery, and, would you believe, eating disorders.

Exercising endlessly on all that power fuel of apples and bananas (ha!), my body soon started eating its way through the space between my legs causing the sought after thigh-gap. Obviously, my mind-set took me into jubilation because I was getting thinner and thinner, and I won’t deny the small satisfaction that came when sitting down with my phone in my hand that when dropped, fell through my lap and on to the floor. My phone clearly didn’t listen to the TFL’s instructions.

Knowing that such a feature of a women’s physique is scientifically attributed to being unnatural, makes the realisation a lot easier to accept as the gap continues to close on my own body. Plus, who’s to say that the extra mass around my thighs is not also ploughing its way to my buttocks. Katie-1, ED-0.

Feet over wheels

“If I could have an apple for every one of the new things I’d accomplished and the steps I’d overcome on holiday last week, I’d be 4 short of a bushel” – Katie/Ross Gellar – Friends

No sooner had I said that “I never ever want to ride a bike again”, did I find myself merrily cycling off to work only two days following the above statement. What’s worse, is I have a fully functioning car that was left itching for a ride after having remained dormant during that holiday week. But when you consider my cycle to ride to work is roughly 390km less than the almighty cycle we embarked upon for that holiday, it didn’t exactly require such an almighty effort (and at least burnt some more calories).

Yes, I did just say 390km of cycling. Yet I still haven’t decided what was harder. That: or the almighty struggle of dealing with a mum that gets overtaken by a toddler on stabilizers, or an older sister that has a meltdown in the centre of Amsterdam’s train station.

Though I’ve always questioned my own sanity, at least I feel comforted in knowing, it could well be just a Brown trait, as it was decided by my sister, my mum and me that we would spend our week’s holiday, cycling from Brussels to Amsterdam. It’s true that we imagined it would only be the 340km that the route said it would be, over the 5 days we were there; but adding together the detours, the wrong turns, and the extra journeys made backtracking the route to ensure my mum was still in a close enough proximity to us and still alive, meant our total mileage must have certainly gone above and beyond the specified distance. It can’t have been far short of 400km, I know that much.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say, that my main agreement for embarking on this holiday, was that fortunately I would still be in a position where I could maintain a relative amount of exercise and calorie expenditure. Making me feel a lot more at ease about being away from the comfort of my local London streets and my tri-weekly attendance at the Orange Theory studio. So at least if my eating habits were to be in disarray, I could at least settle the anxiety knowing I’d have burnt a good few calories, cycling for what felt like an eternity, each day.

There may have been some minor cheats along the way, where I’d simply not be able to handle the anxiety of being out of my comfort zone and felt like my eating disorder was getting the better of me. This being, having internal breakdowns when there weren’t enough apples to get me through the day (so I’d have to settle for a nectarine instead), bringing a tupperware lunch from home for the first day (to ease me in to it), and sneaking out for an early morning run on our 4th day (because let’s face it, I’ve not had more than one consecutive day of no running in the last 18 months).

  • I relinquished the control of preparing my own meals
  • I settled for what the supermarket provided and found alternatives, when there was not my usual choice of Alpro soya almond yoghurt.
  • I shared a sandwich with my mum
  • I ate soup in a restaurant, unknown to exactly what went in it, with actual white bread rolls on the side
  • I accepted that although I didn’t feel like I deserved the fuel, I knew I needed it in order to make the cycle mileage each day
  • I was completely out of routine and couldn’t retreat back to my own home comforts
  • There were 3, followed by 4, consecutive days that I didn’t go for a run
  • I snacked at times of the day I wouldn’t normally snack
  • I had a fizzy drink – I never tend to veer away from sparkling water or soda
  • I went to a sweet shop and LOVED it

What’s more than these achievements, though seemingly small to some people, is that I was actually able to spend a holiday with my mum and sister and feel comfortable enough about it. It was hard, and it was a huge step, but it was SO worth the effort – I just don’t think I’ll embark on another cycling holiday again any time soon! So I won’t be swapping the feet for wheels any time soon, I’ll stick to running for now.