Tuesday, 12 July 2011

I've got the Runs...

Tee hee hee...oh, toilet humour. I don't think I'll ever grow out of it. Puns, too - I love a good pun. But this blog post does contain a very (semi) serious theme. It's going to be all about my growing addiction to running.

I only took this new athletic hobby up in March. Running is something I didn't especially enjoy at school, but that was mainly to do with the fact that it consisted of torturous cross-country in heavy tracksuits, or dull track work. I was quite good at it, though - one year they unexpectedly put me in the 200m sprint and I came a surprising third! This was with very little practice. But it didn't kick off any particular interest in the sport, not until on one fateful day, 15 years later, I was challenged to do a half-marathon.*

So I took up training. I bought some cheap semi-retro, semi-sporty clothes, acquired some trainers, dug out my sports bra and made my resolutions. I didn't want to compromise my vintage sensibilities, nor did I want to fork out too much of my meagre disposable income until I knew I was going to keep it up. So, I clad myself in all the above, and set off on my first run. The aim was to do two miles on the dot... I made it just over one mile before I had to stop and walk. I then made it all the way back in one go. Felt like my lungs were going to cough themselves up, but I was very pleased. The next time, I made it round in one go! It then dawned on me that I must have some kind of natural running ability. But there was a problem - my hips and knees didn't like it at all.

I bit the bullet and went to a proper, reputable running shop - Run and Become in Victoria. They watched me run and 'prescribed' me a pair of stability shoes to correct my hip movement. The difference on my next run was amazing. I did my first 5k soon after... it was hard work and challenging (even painful), but the euphoria at the end was amazing, and I was super pleased with my time of 30:35. I kept setting off, gradually increasing my distances to three, four and five miles. The feeling of absolute freedom, with the wind and the scenery rushing by, my legs powering me through the miles... it's an unbeatable feeling!  I joined my local running club, the Elmbridge Road Runners. I then started to do the local parkrun, knocking my 5k time down to 25:35. But I had to admit defeat in one area. The combination of high exertion and cotton jersey was not doing it for me. Damp, and therefore heavy clothing is not enjoyable to wear. And so, dear readers, I have given in. I wear LYCRA.


Here I am in my favourite running outfit. Again, I am currently really not very well-off, but I forked out for some essentials, because I really could not go on as I was.. The Nike capris in their fabulous 'dri-fit' material hold me in, feel cool and also dry very quickly in the rain (and...er, the sweat). The little top came from a site I found though Google called No Balls. A silly name, but the clothes seem fab - a bit more stylish, but still made from performance fabrics and, importantly, they have a sale on! They even do slightly higher waisted bottoms, and they told me over email they plan to do more... I will be keeping an eye on them in case my plan to design my own half-marathon outfit doesn't come to fruition...



I like to pull a silly pose, as you all know by now! But to get serious for a moment, in the few weeks since buying lycra, I have trimmed my 5k PB to 24:01. I feel light and free as I run, so it is partly psychological, I'm sure. But it's done the trick! The only thing I really need now is a better sports bra as mine aren't as firm as I'd like (the bras, not the norks)! Shock Absorber do the best ones, ladies, but they aren't cheap! Oh, and some anti-blister socks for long runs. But I'm pretty pleased with the whole set up at the moment, and my story shows, I hope, that you don't need to invest in all this fancy pants sport-wicking-dri-lycra-fit nonsense until you've given it a go and found out if you love it. But you absolutely must not do it without a proper bra and some proper shoes! No one likes saggy boobs or sports injuries... mark my words! My super stylish shoes are made by Brooks, and have served me well. These pictures document the last time they looked clean, because moments after they were taken, I embarked on a 4 mile, cross-country slog through the South Downs. Would you like to see how I looked afterwards? Of course you would! ;)


Knackered, sweat-patched, pink-faced and mud-splattered, but victorious!



See, it is possible to look reasonably nice during and after a run. My super trendy topknot has survived (slicked down with hairspray and finished off with virtuous sweat!), my eyebrows haven't budged and I held off on the eyeliner, so that hasn't smudged either. I'd like to claim that mud is good for the skin, but in this case it's mixed with horse poo. So I washed that off with lightning speed! But the glow you get from a good run in the fresh air (or cardio work in the gym) is the best beauty treatment, really.

So that is my ode to the joys of running for this month. I am truly loving it, and learning to love my body from doing it. My thighs have slimmed, everything is firming up (though I still have a way to go), my appetite is increasing, but it doesn't matter so much what I eat as I know I will run it off! My scales display a quite worryingly high amount, but my tape measure shows my statistics are close to their lowest. This just goes to show that the old adage about muscle weighing more than fat is true, at least in my case. My figure has always been 'athletic' rather than sylph-like, and now I know why! I was born to run!

Any other retro runners out there??

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

* My original goal was to run a half-marathon, but the goal event itself has changed. I am now delighted to say I am doing the Run To The Beat half-marathon for my chosen charity on September 25th.

13.1 MILES

17,000 PAIRS OF FEET

EXCLUSIVE PERFORMANCES

...MUSIC TO MOTIVATE YOU

GET GRIMY DOWN IN GREENWICH

DUBSTEP THROUGH DOCKLANDS

ROCK ROUND ROYAL ARTILLERY BARRACKS

HIP HOP DOWN HA HA ROAD

...Amazing! I'm running with my brother Guy, who's been doing it for over 10 years and is significantly better and faster than me. He's kindly agreed to pace me as I try to run 13 miles in 2 hours! I'll be posting more about this in the run up, as I am loathe to be annoying. But have a wee look at our JustGiving page, if you have a moment to see why we've chosen to run for Beating Bowel Cancer.

38 comments:

  1. wow, your figure is incredible! I'm not a runner myself (walking to the corner shop makes me feel like dying) but I love that crop top, its lovely for sportswear!
    well done you for being so motivated! I wish I could be :)

    xXx

    Fashion Launderette

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  2. I am a recent running convert too! I have never done it before - even when I've been a gym junkie, I just thought I couldn't run because no matter how fit I was, my joints hurt after about a minute. But a trainer at my gym recently said 'so, just run for a minute and walk until you're ready to run another minute'. That was back in January and I now can run 1.2 kms without stopping and even then I walk for only about 20 seconds between bouts, witha total distance of 4km before my muscles say 'no more!'. I now do road runs and am loving it. I have to say having a toy like the i-Phone with its music and motivating apps has added an extra layer of fun. It's winter here so I can run in leggings and pretty merino tops made from good old NZ wool. :-) I think the fact I have built it up SO slowly means I (hopefully) am not in any danger of injury. I'm looking to sign up for my first 5 km run, then a 10km by the end of the year.

    Thanks Fleur you've inspired my running now as well as my dressing! ;-)

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  3. Hmmm horse poo masks...not sure that one will catch on :P

    You look fantastic Fleur! Whenever I work out I come out looking like a very pink, sweaty mess with my hair plastered to be face! If only I had your glamour!

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  4. You look amazing! I would kill for your flat tummy :-D

    I'm so glad you can show that it's possible to be stylish even while exercising. And thank you for the link for the less fugly gear.

    I'm so unfit myself - but I do enjoy walks and runs the best.
    Here in Aus, I love bushwalking and kayaking because you're really amongst nature and we have such incredible scenery here.

    My gripe is like yours but suits the outdoor/adventure market...there really is NOTHING for the style conscious lass - even fewer options than there are for gym gear. It's all khaki, black and baby pink or blue - and hideous cuts and colours. If only I could get my hands on some of that techno-fabric I would make my own line of ATTRACTIVE outdoor clothing and/or shoes.

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  5. That top is very nice - who would have thought exercise gear could be cute as well as practical?

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  6. Sometimes it pays to embrace lycra! You look great and very happy.

    I don't run but I found the same joy and fitness bonuses from bicycling. I love feeling the wind in my face and get quite grumpy if I don't get on my bike everyday or so. Who knew fitness could be so fun?

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  7. Well done Fleur! (Long-time reader, first time commenter here!) Just wanted to say I had a look at your sponsorship page, and it's a brilliant cause to run for! And it seems like you're loving the running, which makes it even better!

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  8. Bravo! I envy people who can run; I've had terribly bad knees (the sorts that like to "pop" or "crunch" at inopportune moments) my entire life, so I'm pretty much relegated to a brisk walk or the elliptical at the gym. hehe. Although I have discovered Pilates in the past year and added that to my routine, which has helped loads with the ol' knees. ;) lol. Love your workout look--I really need to update my exercise clothing; right now it's a rather back-dated mish mash of things I have from gym class at college and what I've picked up over the years. Definitely not as stylish as you! :)

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  9. I loathe running - just not my bag (not with my norks anyway - it is not advisable - irrespective of bra!) but i do admire anything who gets a kick out of something which is essentially free. AND putting it to a good cause!

    You really should look into some retro clothing a la lycra designment. Bet it would sprint off the shelves (*boom! boom!*)

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  10. Well done on sticking with it!

    Good luck in your half marathon.

    I used to like running,, but I moved and never managed to get back into it. Maybe I should give it another go! I have running shoes, but after 7 years of NOT running I doubt my old capris will fit anymore!

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  11. WOW! What a bod, you look positively Amazonian.

    I really want to run, but unfortunately following some tendon/knee damage last year I was warned off strenuous stuff for ages... totally unfit with that kinda thing now. They recommended swimming but withh dyed hair it can be risky. Health or hair, what a choice!

    I'm wondering about cycling now... ha ha so fickle... but I definitely agree that wearing the right clothes/fabrics for the job in hand is vital whether running, biking or swimming. It makes it so much more comfortable and enjoyable!

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  12. Marks and Spencer now do an amazing sports bra in all sizes for less than the shock absorber. x

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  13. Hilarious! Love your writing style! Also amazed that no makeup sweated off and you look suspiciously fresh-faced after such a workout! I usually look like a train wreck!
    Tikkitiboo + Ahka Vintage

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  14. Fleur, you are fabulous! I love how you can make anything look glamourous! :)

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  15. I really loved this post! I think you've done exercise wear very well, you still look marvelous! And its inspiring to see how successful and pleased you are with running, it gives me and my doughy/muscleless body some hope that I can indeed turn things around with a bit of hard work!
    And if you were to do some collaboration with a sportswear company and made vintage-inspired sportsgear, I would simply have no choice but to pick myself up and get in on the fitness scene!
    Best of luck with the half-marathon!
    - Emily

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  16. I am so proud of you! I am not a serious runner, I run indoors at the gym, but I do love how it makes me feel.

    Just like you recently posted about how you take the time to do your hair and put on lipstick because it's what makes you feel good, I totally believe that nice work out clothes make one more likely to work out, and look forward to it!

    For the record, my eyebrows and mascara are always done for the gym, and you did look very nice after your run.

    Again, so proud of you for taking up running, and I look forward to hearing more of your progress, it's very inspiring!

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  17. The furthest I can ever bring myself to run is about 3 miles. Then I get bored. I work out wuite a lot but have always hated running - I envy the ladies who love it!

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  18. I'm getting back into running after having 2 babies. I love your running outfit, the top is too cute. However after having two giant boys I'm not willing to show that part of my anatomy. I might nip over to the No Balls website and see if they have something to cover the jiggle belly. And then I might sign up for a half marathon.....

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  19. Looking good in lycra there! Also, I really like that you like toilet humour. Best kind - matron!

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  20. Gosh you are an inspiration! I have to say running is not for me but I do get that feeling when I exercise regularly, sadly I'm not at the moment.

    Thanks also for running for bowel cancer, my Dad died from it and my Mum just survived bowel cancer surgery last November so I appreciate it more than you can know.

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  21. Wonderful to see more Vintage Runners although we really should be doing some designing a nice playsuit to run in maybe?!?
    Please check out http://www.bmycharity.com/BrightonBikiniRun

    Another run for a great cause!

    xoxo

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  22. Shock absorber bras are great for running. My tip is to find your size in a shop and then buy it off Amazon. They are half the price!!

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  23. WOW, really excellent pix.thank fir the detailed info on gear-very inspiring.

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  24. Fleur,
    I know of a woman in New York who wears vintage clothing, recently became a runner and also rides a single speed bicycle all over New York City. You might enjoy reading her blog. Her name is Sheryl. Here is a recent blog post about her running and cycling in vintage clothing: http://www.sherylyvette.com/2011/06/last-weeks-accomplishments-and-upcoming.html Sincerely, Karenne

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  25. You have a stunning figure and making me want to take up running! Love the new kit too. (Am new to your blog, was introduced to it by a friend and adore your posts!)

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  26. Hey Fleur - inspirational!

    I try to run (I usually work out in the gym, which is a cop out because somehow treadmill running is easier than road running)

    But on the subject of cooler running kit, have you checked out Sweaty Betty? I'm absolutely in *love* with their stuff (and they do Yoga/triathalon stuff too!. It's pretty expensive BUT they do amazing sales, and almost all of the good basic stuff in the season goes into it, so I try to stock up then. Also, if you join their members club (it's free) then you get an extra 10% off the sale price if you buy online :) I looove it. Got a pair of amazing run tights that way and some leggings for yoga.

    Anyway, keep up the good work - you look amazing! :)

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  27. Definitely wish I could muster the enthusiasm to go running! love the blog :)

    http://bowtiedbeauty.blogspot.com/

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  28. Your body is to die for! And I love that training top. It is important to have good gear, it makes any workout easier to do. Best of luck with your training!

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  29. wow, beautyful even in lycra! I am impressed!

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  30. We have a name for hot babes like you here in the Southwest and Mexico:

    Mammacita!

    I like to read your blog to gain insights on how to live well; the best perk is in seeing you, lovely lady.

    God be with you.

    Adios.

    Your Mexican fan,

    pablo el Bandito

    *

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  31. Good luck with the half marathon - great to see you are supporting such a worthwhile cause.

    Love the blog, keep up the great work!

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  32. Keep up the good work! I'm also a retro runner, but I'm so addicted on having my ipod & the nike+ "runkeeper" with me to make it fun enough. Running on asphalt in the city bores me a lot faster than running on tracks in the woods or by the coast, so my ipod is my trusted friend. My running outfit is very similar to yours: capris and a top, a good(make that great) sports bra and a good pair of trainers!
    I won't do a half marathon or anything above 15k because of my knees (because of that d*mn hard asphalt) but I'm doing my best to keep in shape on shorter routes ;)

    Good luck with your half marathon, and thanks for posting this. For a while I thought I was the only retro runner out here ;)

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  33. Good luck with your half marathon......I took the plunge into running a couple of years ago and did my first half marathon last September and it was such an amazing feeling to finish it.

    I too don't like the look of most running gear, plus I have bad skin and look terrible with my hair tied back off my face, and I just accept I don't look great whilst running and just enjoy the physical side of it. Though if you or anyone else designed vintage-style running gear I would definitely be a customer!

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  34. I found my cheap (pink and purple!) Shock Absorber in TK Maxx :) They also sometimes get knocked down in Debenhams sales but generally get snapped up pretty quickly.

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  35. Lycra is awesoem for what it's intended to do, and running is an amazing thing! You go!

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  36. Vintage running! I love it. I started to run a few months ago, I hadn't thought of giving it a name like that. It fits my style much better than plain old running! You look fantastic, thanks for sharing!

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  37. Hi ! I love your site. It inspires me to have fun with all the things I do and take pretty pictures and smile more and stuff : ))
    I started running about 9 months ago. I don't really keep track of time or run any marathons (yet). But I run at least 2 miles four times a week. I look forward to it all the time; my body has changed so much and I love it! I always hated running before but I stuck with it this time and made sure to listen to music that got me going!

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