I am still a bit in love with my new purple tights. This is despite the fact that I have since had a conversation that went something like “I saw you out running the other day.” “Oh yes?” ” You were wearing purple tracksuit bottoms that made your arse look big” (to be fair, this was from a man who has little room to give sartorial advice) (also, they are not ‘purple tracksuit bottoms’ they are in fact ‘Blackberry Cord with Violet Tulip tights’) (also, my arse makes my arse look big – an inevitably large bottom was written in the stars of my paternal genes). This is the capri version (mine were from the New Balance factory shop so I suspect that they’re an end of line) modelled somewhat more stylishly than I could ever pull off.
When I wore them the other day, I was a bit unnerved by the pocket on the back. Rather than being a secure, confidence giving, not going to lose my keys miles from home zip style, it’s just a folded over flap. Throughout my run, my hand kept straying to my lumbar spine, just checking that I would be able to get in the house when I had finished. I’m sure that it’s very secure and is definitely more secure than a few days later when I managed three miles with my keys bouncing around in an unzipped pocket. Ooops.
Maybe it’s a woman thing, but pockets on tights are Very Important Things. I mourn my old Karrimor tights that could easily fit my camera in the back (eventually the seams went and rubbed two holes in the side of my knee, leaving me with a scar that looks like I’ve been attacked by a vampire with a poor grasp of anatomy). I am not alone in this; a few weeks ago Twitter was giving Mark (Reliable Plodder) advice on ladies’ running tights (for his missus…) and according to Abradypus*, a pocket should be large enough to contain “an iPhone, an oyster card wallet, car keys and the kitchen sink”.
Having been a Brownie in the 1980s, I was raised with the understanding that a pocket should contain a clean hanky, a safety pin, a pencil, a piece of paper and 10p to make an emergency phone call. These days I would like one that fits my house keys, my car key (if necessary), a camera, some emergency loo roll, a couple of quid and a ham barmcake. I might end up looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, but at least I would be prepared.
Although I suspect that I am wishing for the impossible pocket-wise, my wish might be granted by this nifty bit of kit from workplay bags. It’s a bumbag Jim, but not as we know it. The Fleetfoot II is rather splendid and full of handy little features – you can tell that it’s been designed by people with an understanding of what runners need. For starters, it’s been designed to fit the female shape and sit comfortably on the hips.
I will admit that this took a little bit of getting used to and initially I was a little too enthusiastic with tightening the straps and had to readjust it while I was out (it was very good for my posture if not my breathing). The very first time I used it, was the
morning mid-afternoon after a pre-hydration session (the route of the run took me to wear I’d left my car the night before…) and I could easily fit in the various keys, bank cards, cash and assorted bits and bobs that I needed to take with me. I was also very grateful to be able to carry a bottle of water with me.
This also took a bit of getting used to and at first I had to stop to fettle the bottle out of its net, but after a few goes I got the hang of releasing it on the move. There is no bouncing or rattling from anything in the bag (because of the fleece inner pocket) and there’s even an In Case of Emergency label in case you should encounter any misfortune.
The only feature that I haven’t used is the loops for carrying my jacket, but this is mainly because I rarely take a jacket out with me. Or I rarely go out in the rain, one or the other. I suspect that it would be useful because when I tie my jacket round my waist, it works its way south or twirls itself round and I end up looking like I’m wearing an apron.
Since I received the Fleetfoot II, it has won Silver in the running accessory category of the Women’s Running Awards – a well deserved prize even if I can’t quite fit an emergency sandwich in it. If bumbags aren’t quite your thing, workplay also do a lovely range of gym bags, backpacks and hydration packs, all designed for the female form and with cunning bits of usefulness (a built in ‘packing prompt list’ anyone?) coming out of their seams.
*Who, incidentally, is now a bit of a media star after making her appearance on the parkrun show podcast (5th November) to talk about her life as a parkrun tourist