Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Lycra - where have you been all my life?

Confession time...despite all silent protests, I have, I’m afraid to say, succumbed to the panic-inducing wonder that is Lycra.  

Striking fear into the hearts of novice exercise enthusiasts everywhere, it has to be one of the few things on my “never to be worn” list.  Or at least, it had been.  Until the prospect of a warm June Bank Holiday Monday became a reality and I was faced with a tough choice. 

Three hours traipsing through the streets of Dublin in my usual run-of-the-mill track bottoms, only to be carried over the 10km mark to the nearest physio.
Unless, that is, I could bring myself to feel the Lycra fear and wear it anyway.  And feel it I did.  So much so, that my new Lycra sports trousers lingered in their bag for several days, lest they should feel like making a sudden sprint back to the shop from whence they came. 

Bizarrely, they didn’t, and having tried them on for the umpteenth time, I plucked up the courage in true brave- little-soldier style, to face the mirror. 
I’m not sure there are enough words in the English language, or indeed any other, to describe the horror that stood before me.  Back in the bag they went.  No sport is worth that torture. 

It’ll probably rain anyway, right?

Wrong.

With the forecast remaining positive, there was only one thing for it.  So, with some reassurance from Lycra-loving friends and a bit of positive(ish) self talk, off I went with 30-something thousand other women in my breathable, go-faster, Lycra sports trousers.  And my exxxtra long t-shirt.  That oughta hide them.

 "Sure who’s gonna care anyway... its not a fashion show.. comfort before style..all in the name of charity..."

Three hours later, much to my own relief, over the finish line I sauntered in the blazing sunshine. Fresh as a daisy.  Full of the joys of Spring.  Not a bother on me. 

Okay okay, I exaggerate... but to my relief (or disgust??) the discomfort levels were noticeably lowered a few notches thanks to my trusty new friends. 
Actually friendship may be too strong a word, lets not get too hasty here.  But whether I like it or not, this pre-marathon marathon served to prove me wrong in my long-held anti-Lycra beliefs. 


Sometimes, (in exceptional circumstances such as these) it IS okay, if not wise, to put comfort first.   



black Core Performance Jogpants

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Ah, the good ol' days

Pigtails secured with baby pink ribbons.  Brown leather cross-body handbag.  Multiple pastel pink beaded necklaces.  All to complement a lemon jumper and brown trousers complete with an ice-cream pocket motif – lemon and strawberry, naturally. 

Can you picture it yet?

I guess this is where my journey started, and I have my ever stylish mother to thank for setting me off on my colour co-ordinated path.  

Let me clarify -  there is one small component to this outfit that I’ve omitted so far – the dreaded leg braces.  Or calipers to those in the know.  With their hideous brown laced-up boots attached.   
You see, the pastel-hued outfit was a well-planned distraction conjured up by aforementioned stylish mum to prevent another five-year-old tantrum at the prospect of even one more day in these less-than-stylish contraptions.   

And you know what? It kinda worked! Well, it reduced the frequency of the tantrums  anyway.  Still didn’t stop me pining for the latest magic shoes – you know the ones, white, with the secret lock and key – and any other fashion fads that came along, but what I lacked in shoes I more than made up for with handbags.  No change there then.

Moving on a few years, ahem, and I still get comments from the physiotherapists on my colour combinations (more often than not featuring pink or purple, or both).  Only now, I’ve branched out a bit and broadened my range of accessories to include crutches.  Purple, of course. I've yet to choose the most versatile shade of pink for my current wardrobe.

Ok, so you’d be correct in thinking that life with a disability surely has more pressing issues than the inability to wear a platform heel with crutches, but there’s a lot to be said for that boost one gets from a new image, be it an updated outfit, hairstyle, or accessory.  And we’re all entitled to feel good about ourselves, don’t you think?

So, from those early days of caliper cover-ups, began a lifetime attempt to embrace fashion while accepting disability.  No easy task at the best of times, with many mistakes along the way, but sure nobody gets it right all the time...