Black Lycra or ‘spandex’ which I believe our US chums call it ( which sounds immediately more seedy of course) is the safe haven of the majority of the UKs amateur athletes. Park Runs and start lines ooze with the black stretchy stuff. It anonymises us, it’s a safe harbour, it’s like going out in your Spanx ….if there’s any hope we can look just a millimetre smaller, then black Lycra is your best mate. I quite like the black Lycra with hint of cunningly designed colour. You know what I mean, the attractive side stripe that perhaps curves in the shape of slim leg, so hopefully at a distance, making the actual leg seem slimmer.
It washes endlessly, it doesn’t need ironing, it doesn’t even fade, no wonder we love it. That said, I have actually be running long enough to trash a pair of capris with my fast paced thighs. My very first pair of Capri pants (black Lycra, white piping ) wore out on the inner thighs, I sewed them, how thrifty is that ! But as I have the needlework capabilities of a three year old, I soon burned through my repair. You’ve been running a long time when you have to consign a pair to the bin.
I have black Lycra in many lengths. I have full length for those chilly runs when you just don’t need blue calves. I have them with both pink and white ‘slimming’ colour highlights, they make your legs look quite long, yup, happy in these when cold. Is it sexist though to say men should be barred from wearing these, especially sparrow legged elite runner types. Who’s old enough to remember Max Wall ?
I have several pairs of the most popular Capri style, three quarter ones, where we ladies clearly feel the safest. Warm enough yet cool enough, hider of podgy knees, concealer of wobbly thighs in motion, grasper of unruly bottoms, elongater of shorter pins and the blend in option because everyone else has them on too.
If it’s really warm or I really mean business, I’ve been training regularly and my legs have a bit of colour, I am now brave enough to go for the short option. The cheeky cycling short version ( sans chamois crotch of course). This is a bold move for me, it took about 7 years to get to this point. I have learned to accept that even though my new legs aren’t massive, if a race photographer catches me on a foot strike there will be a ripple of fat heading up my thigh caught on camera, I have seen it and I can live with it. Beware also the ‘camel toe’ of shorties, it can catch you out. Just when you think you’re pulling them up to a snug position, without your knees to give resistance in the opposite direction those shorties will nestle right where you don’t want the attention! Knowing these risky facts, I still wear them. If that wasn’t enough, don’t like my knees, never have, never will. I have those weird knees that look like small babies are hiding in them. No idea what I mean ? Look below, it’s not related to fat or thin knees, it’s just how your knees are…
The common factor of this drawer full of multi length leggings? They all have ‘safe’ written all over them, I’m British, I’m an LCA, it’s my destiny to wear black Lycra, isn’t it part of ageing gracefully?
I have running tee shirts and wind resistant jackets in all colours of the rainbow, some I’ve bought because they caught me eye, some represent the two running clubs I turn out for and most of them are badges of honour from races I’ve completed. I have them in bright yellow and red ( total bug magnet), in lurid green ( colour of snot), in white (nice with a bit of a tan) but I relish wearing them all in all their look at me, check me out, look what race I ran glory. My most recent purchase of a high Vis jacket is not only hi Vis, but reflective and has a flashing led light on the back. I am both safe from traffic and visible from space! But my bum sadly must remain at all times enrobed in black Lycra.
Or should it ? I’m working up to changing things. I see such beauties in the running stores. The stuff surely only the bold and devil may care types would wear.
But as soon as I drool my first thought is “would my bum look big in these?” I have seen some jolly bold prints out and about and on some jolly big bottoms but you’ve got what you’ve got, does a pattern actually make your assets any bigger ?
I would never wear a plain black swimming costume, I always feel sorry for predominately British ladies who wear the plain black, all in one swimsuits round the pool of beautiful hotels. The range now of beautiful swimwear in all colours, styles and with inbuilt lift, squeeze and shrink means no one should try to disguise themselves in something they had from school swimming lessons ( remember the school issue costume) . The drab black all in one most definitely doesn’t make you any slimmer or less pale……..get your glitz on like the confident, curvy, continental ladies do. Fine words, so why can’t I break my own black Lycra obsession?
Well I’m getting there. I’ve moved to monochrome! Lured by a sale, I spotted some cheeky USA Pro leggings in a wild black and white butterfly pattern and I road tested them at Park Run. Ellie was astounded when I opened the door…..I think in a good way.
I hoped not to draw stares at the start, for me this is bold. You’ll never guess what though? They bring a new runner out in me. I talked to Ellie most of the way round as it was her first Park Run and despite being a very experienced runner, she still suffers from the pathological fear of 5km which I have conquered this year and am now well and truly over. I enjoyed spotting John, the race photographer and it was my first Park Run just enjoying it, not ruining my whole day pushing too hard. Finally, ‘finish line, not finish time’