I appear to have reached a stage in my running career where the amount of exercise I’m taking is having a tangible impact on my physical appearance.
...Yes, I suppose if you were being picky, you could argue that the fact I have sunken cheeks and that I look like I might blow away in a stiff breeze were maybe something to do with my running… but I’m not buying that. Anyway, I’m talking about my calves.
I don’t know whether it’s the steady increase in my weekly mileage over the last few months or what, but my calves are definitely bulking out. So what’s the problem, I hear you cry? When you’re as weedy as I am, you’d imagine that I’d welcome any sign of muscle growth at all as a positive development.
Well, that's as may be, but the trouble is that some of the trousers that I wear for work are relatively slim fitting, and I’m now finding that, when I stand up from a meeting or something, the bottoms of my trousers (that have ridden up a bit whilst I'm seated) are catching around my calf muscles and are not immediately sliding back down around my ankles. In short, for a few seconds, I look an absolute plum.
You’d imagine that nobody else really cares, but a couple of people have commented on it and I’m starting to become a little bit self-conscious about it, and only this afternoon, I saw someone staring.
Why the fascination? It’s an entirely functional muscle, after all. It’s not like I’ve gone out of my way to pump up my calf muscles to show them off to people. I don’t shave them, paint them with self-tan and then spend all weekend showing them off in capri pants. I barely show them off when I go for a run, for goodness sake… certainly not at this time of year, when I won’t go outside without at least three separate layers and as little exposed skin as I can get away with. I won't be back in shorts until May!
Those muscles are there because I do a lot of running and they’ve developed to support that. That’s it. Perhaps they’ve developed a little bit more because they’re helping to compensate for my loss of balance and ankle flexibility, but they’re still functional and not for show. I don’t laugh at people who are putting on weight and haven’t yet changed their wardrobe so that everything looks like it’s about to burst. Well… not all the time, anyway. So it’s NOT COOL to laugh at my calves either.
I think that perhaps I need to go out and buy some flared work trousers (I don't think shorts will stop people staring, if I'm honest...)
Or maybe even just stop caring what other people think and just embrace the bulk.