Today I finally mustered up the courage and joined the #SportsBraSquad!
What’s the #SportsBraSquad I hear you ask? It’s an amazing social media movement started by Kelly Roberts who founded Run, Selfie, Repeat. You can see all about the movement here on the Badass Lady Gang website.
Is centred around female runners who are being brave, embracing their perceived flaws and whipping off their running tops to run in just their sports bra/crop top.
I’ve been wanting to do this for a few weeks now but I just didn’t have to guts to do it. When I first came across this I was so impressed and in awe of the bravery I was witnessing.
But the little voice in my head said “you’ll never do it, you haven’t got the guts to join them plus you’ll look awful so just keep that top on young lady!”. I let this voice take over (again!) and I was convinced that it was right.
Now to those confident people out there this probably seems like a ridiculous movement and even more ridiculous that we haven’t just whipped our tops off before now. Bless you, you are so lucky that you have no idea what we go through every day.
Unfortunately there are a hell of a lot of women out there that do not feel like you and have a list of their ‘flaws’ that feels suffocating (me included!). So this #SportsBraSquad movement is needed. If it helps women like myself to pluck up the courage and do something brave then it’s a winner in my book.
The other challenge…
Running in a sports bra wasn’t my only challenge this year. I have always worn 3/4 length running tights even in the summer and this year was no exception. Training for my marathon in sunny-ish March and then my marathon on a sunny April day meant I ended up with the most ridiculous tan lines ever.
I had very tanned lower legs (from just below the knee) and white knees and upper legs. It was like someone had drawn a line around my leg and coloured in the bottom part. It looked like I was permanently wearing knee high tights!
I had a wedding to go to in May and the summer coming so I knew I wanted to wear dresses and skirts but there was no way I could do that with these hum-dingers. Luckily I had a couple of weekends of sunshine to sunbath in and I bought some shorts to run in.
The tanning sessions and some application of factor 50 lotion on just my tanned lower legs (I used factor 20 on the rest of me) evened out my tan. I had also carefully planned my runs so that there was no sunshine and no need to wear the shorts as I didn’t want to get my upper legs out in public for fearing of much pointing and laughing from strangers.
Sunshine is here!
We’ve had a lovely summer so the need to wear the shorts was forced upon me as there was no way in hell I was getting those tan lines back. It took me 4 long runs in the shorts to stop feeling self-conscious. Eventually I stopped thinking twice before putting them on. This was when I knew I had to conquer the #SportsBraSquad challenge as well.
I planned today’s 11 miler to start and end in Roath Park. The route would take me to Cardiff Bay Barrage and back. It’s one of my favourite routes. The weather wasn’t going to be great so there would be less people around.
I started out with my running top firmly on and with the intention of taking it off for a little while mid run. Honestly I thought that I was going to bottle it. I kept thinking about Kelly and all the other ladies who had been brave enough to join the #SportsBraSquad. I really wanted to be one of them.
By mile 5 I had convinced myself that I was going to do it… soon.
Get that top off lady!
After I crossed the Barrage I stopped and whipped off my running top. I stood there stunned at my bravery and a little unsure about what to do next. I took a quick selfie, like you do, and knew I had two options. Put the top back on or just run.
As soon as I started running I knew I’d done the right thing. I couldn’t believe that I had actually done it and I was running in just my sports bra and shorts. I had about 2 miles until I would start to see more people so just thought I’d put it back on before that and at least I’d done it for a couple of miles.
But no, I ran the rest of my run in my sports bra and shorts! I ran through Cardiff Bay and into Cardiff centre where there were real people with eyes and everything!!
And do you know what…
I didn’t give a shit what anyone thought or even what I thought they might think. I just kept telling myself how proud I was of everything I’d achieved over the last 2 & 1/2 years. And especially of the massive leap I’d made today towards body confidence.
I actually enjoyed it and laughed at myself for making it into such a big deal. It’s insane how you can allow yourself to be controlled by your perceived flaws to the point that I’d rather struggle in the heat with too many layers on. All because I was worried about what people might think.
So if you see a woman out there running in her sports bra then give her a smile or a thumbs up to acknowledge what she’s doing. You have no idea what’s going on inside her head and what her story is. That might be the little confidence boost that she needs to do it again and again and again.