Lots of healthy, bouncy, shiny, energetic people are popping up with running stories at the moment. Heroic tales of pavements pounded, toenails lost, ligaments pulled and walls hit. Well, I’m not that type. And this is emphatically NOT a running story, so don’t worry about that. You don’t have to pull your tummy in when you’re reading this blog.
But I did take part in a half marathon power walk this time last year in Bristol. The Sunwalk – raising money for breast cancer charities. This is the less-gruelling relation of the Playtex Moonwalk and, like it’s London-based, night-time, full-marathon sibling, demands that all participants (both men and women) wear a decorated bra for the duration. Yes, that’s right. A decorated bra.
I walked with a team of about a dozen friends. We sort of trained together, but not very assiduously. Quite often, training took the form of a wander along the tramway as far as the pub but I reckon that talking and laughing while you’re walking increases the intensity of the exercise. And, dear Lord, at talking and laughing we’re world-class.
Now, walking 13 miles isn’t that much of a stretch, but in terms of ability and fitness, I was very much the middle of the pack. Some of the team are hardened runners – not me, though. Not bloody likely. How, then, did I come to finish first in my group, and by quite a large margin?
Rewind to the bit about decorated bras. Now, despite the fact that I was educated by nuns, I’m really not that gifted with the needle. In fact, I’ve been known to turn up hems using staples and the one time I sewed my daughter’s Brownie badges on her sash, people commented what a good idea it was to let her do it herself. (She was eight.). I’d sooner throw out a shirt than sew on a button. Sorry, Sister Berchmanns, but that’s the way it is. All your efforts were in vain.
Anyway, the team decided on a Hawaiian theme. Grass skirt, flowers in hair, and little fabric flowers to be sewn – yes, sewn onto bra. Problem. I could see staples probably weren’t a good idea this time, and blu-tak simply wouldn’t do, so I went along to a haberdashers (we still have those in Stratford) and bought some fabric glue. Problem solved. My bra was resplendant. I was good to go.
But one thing I hadn’t counted on was rain. Oh, and sweat too. And the effect of damp on fabric glue.
Well, I’m sure you can imagine. By halfway round the course, autumn had come early and my bra was rapidly defoliating. A little trail of fabric flowers bedecked the pavement behind me and i was now, basically, walking the streets in my (damp and therefore transparent) smalls.
It’s amazing, you know, the burst of speed that walking around a major city with your tits out can bring. I zoomed past the other contestants. I was a blur of speed – at least I bloody well hope i was because there were quite a few gentlemen (who didn’t especially look as though they had a big interest in sporting achievement) taking photos and videos along the way. (I know – eeeew.) Basically, the faster I got round that course, the sooner I could get back to my car and get a t-shirt on.
And that, my dears, is how I came to walk the half marathon in the fastest time of my team. I can’t say i’d recommend it, but if you’re trying to shave a few minutes off here and there, it might be worth a try. I’ve got half a bottle of fabric glue I won’t be using again if anyone wants to have a go.
(p.s. thanks to cronznet for vastly improved title)