My mate, Mary, has signed me up to do my first ever running race – a 3.5 mile – and today was my first day of training. I am basically starting from zero fitness, and this challenge to go from couch to 3.5 miles is rather daunting because I have less than two months to get there. It’s not impossible, but it’s certainly no walk in the park either. Add into the mix that I am not a distance runner. Never have been. Sure, I always managed a top 10 finish in the cross-country race at school, but that was only a 1.7km. And I was much fitter than I am now. What I will be attempting is almost 6km! This is a Big Deal for me.
l was all excited to kick-start my new training regime over the weekend, but for two whole days I put it off because… I had to shave my legs. Let me say that again. I didn’t go to the gym because I had some seriously hairy pins. That’s the lamest excuse in the world, Bec! And one I have used so rarely before (yoga pants, Bec?). One of my favourite bloggers, Liv Hambrett of A Big Life, wrote a whole piece about female body hair recently. I get around looking far more like Emer O’Toole than runway smooth, and I’m cool with that. Mostly. It’s my choice, but really it’s the default of a lazy woman like yours truly. Liv’s right — it’s not really a choice anymore but an expectation.
From the moment I started shaving in high school it was such a chore. Over the years, I have alternated between shaving and waxing in addition to keeping things au naturale. Each have their pros and cons. Waxing requires you to be in the same place for a while (which wasn’t possible whilst I was travelling) and it’s not always cheap. Plus, you can’t see just any old waxer. You must cultivate a relationship with the woman who has the potential to cause you an inordinate amount of pain and who will see the parts of you that are never exposed to sunlight. Shaving, on the other hand, is relatively pain-free (aside for my habit of scraping old blades up my shin) but the drag is that it takes so long. I’m just shy of 6 foot. That’s a lot of leg right there. And it grows back in a heartbeat. What should be a once-in-a-blue-moon landscaping session becomes a twice-a-week long hard slog in the bathroom with sharp instruments. Letting my wild mane/s grow is liberating, but sometimes, you need to be liberated from the liberators as well.
I bought an Epilady in Ireland, ready to banish the hairy behemoth I’d become. Dreadful. I took Neurofen Plus (science’s over-the-counter gift to us), drank heavily and still could only bear half a lower leg. I’ve also tried some of the Nad’s at-home wax, but there’s something remarkably difficult about waxing your own parts that you never comprehend when you’re standing in Walgreen’s. And then when I was back in Sydney just before my visa was approved, Mum was super generous and bought me a few sessions with the laser lady. Despite the woman’s well rehearsed guarantee, it all grew back and now I’m back at square one. Le sigh.
Speaking of which, what methods do you find the most successful for removing hair?
This is ultimately not just about hair and its removal. It’s about conquering my fears.
My reticence to start training is less about the ‘unsightly’ hair as about conquering the little voice inside me that says that I can’t do it. The little voice that reminds me I ate an entire Ritter Sport on Sunday… in one sitting. The little voice that says it’s okay to be unfit, and you can still fit into (most of) your clothes. But I want to be better than that! I want to be fit, and not plan my route around the city according to the smallest hills possible.
I want to feel better about myself. I want to run in this race and finish for myself. To show that little voice that I can achieve things I set my mind to. I am not going to let a little thing like hair stop me from at least trying to achieve this goal for myself.