Monday, 13 February 2012

Clothes Maketh the Man!

I’ve never felt more like a man than when I’m wearing a dress, it’s a strange, but true, fact. I’m no He-Man, Master of the Universe, nor am I a pre-Bullworker Charles Atlas, constantly getting sand kicked in my face by the Beach Bully, I’m a pretty average ectomorph, straight up and down, with my chest circumference hardly exceeding that of my waist and hips, not particularly tall or small – about five feet nine – and weighing in at a smidgen over 11 stones (or about seventy kilos for those of you that have finally succumbed to metric after a forty year rebellion!).

So what, exactly, am I on about? Well, it’s my size you see. Given all of the above I would have expected that I would be of similar proportions to a woman who might, in these times in which we live, think that she was OK, maybe ought to perhaps try and drop a dress size or two, and consider herself fairly average. I’ve lived long enough and observed enough women to be aware that size 6 or 8 might be thought of as ‘petite’, 10 or 12 as ‘slim’ and 14 as ‘real’. Anything above these numbers and it seems it’s time to get out the Atkin’s or the cabbage soup, or the tomato peel, or whatever is the diet du jour.

But I have discovered that I’m a 16-18! Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it just came as a big surprise to me as I am quite a skinny bloke, and I sort of expected that I would be a comfortable size 14. What is an even bigger shock though is that, having seen myself in a dress, I couldn’t help but wish that I was just a little bit skinnier, that my waist was a little trimmer and yes, that my boobs were bigger,,,

Now, the main reason for me running in this fairy outfit is for the comedy value it provides, so really the more ridiculous I look in the outfit, the better, but it really did make me think about how many women must be driven by this picture of perfection presented by society – that you must look just so, that you should do whatever it takes to conform to the glossy magazine image of the perfect shape and size. Which is one of the reasons why there are eating disorders, and why we need to support such a valuable charity as DWED.

I still haven’t plucked up the courage to go for a run round the block in the fairy outfit! The problem is that, if I don’t do it soon then I will have to do it in broad daylight as the days are getting lighter noticeably earlier in the morning now! I was half tempted to give it a go this morning, as the temperature had risen by about ten degrees since my run on Saturday, but instead I opted for the more conventional t-shirt and shorts as I felt up for a longish run.

The air was cool, but because it has become so much warmer than of late I didn’t really feel the cold, and I felt like I had quite a spring in my step as I set off. I’ve found over the years that it’s important to try and preserve this ‘bounce’ that helps drive you forward – once it has gone then running becomes a chore and a drudge, trying to drag one foot in front of the other. For this reason I have developed a mental bounce that takes over when the physical one is all but gone. Mind over matter, if you will – you know that once the mental bounce has gone then life becomes hard however near or far you are from the finish.

I felt like I was maintaining a decent pace all through the park, but declined to check my Garmin, hoping instead for a nice surprise when I returned home. And surprised I was, for I discovered that I had actually run the course at my fastest pace this year, just a touch under 9:30 per mile. Not a patch on my seven-minute mile days, but good for the amount of training I am doing at the moment, so I’m not complaining. I will expect to be much slower in the actual race, of course, not least because I will be wearing a highly-charged nylon fairy dress!

Apart from the unexpected pace and freshness in my legs after Saturday’s run, and after a long layoff, the run itself was uneventful. No playful puppies or stray llamas, or herds of zebra were to be seen anywhere. In fact, when I think about it, there weren’t a lot of people either and not a lot of traffic – perhaps I should have done my trial full-costume run this morning after all!

Time               44 mins
Distance        4.64 miles
Pace               9:29 per mile
BG before      ??? I forgot to test!
BG after         8.3

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