Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reason #19685 I won't be doing the Shape run again

Recently I got a new running shirt from my dear friend D.
It's a very lovely mango-coloured shirt; the only drawback is that it isn't mango-scented or mango-flavoured. One day they will start making mango-scented clothing and I will be a goner.

Photo from http://offshewent.com/2013/06/shape-run-2013-singapore-race-pack-collection/ 
Normally I'd be pleased, but the shirt is coming to me in somewhat unpleasant circumstances.
It's the race shirt for the Shape Run. (The Shape 5k/ 10K was, like the Trifactor run, also postponed from July due to dread haze, but race pack collection was back in June.)

When D signed up to do the 5k, she picked a size L shirt; at race pack collection, it emerged that the size L was minuscule. Which, fine, everyone should read the size charts carefully.

What's more disappointing and rage-inducing was that when she asked about swapping it for a larger size, the packet pick-up people told her: "We usually don't have larger women running". (I understand if you have a strict rule about swapping of shirt sizes, which could create chaos. But if you don't have larger women running, why are all the XL shirts taken then? Could it be because your sizing chart is absurdly small?)

For those of you who cannot think in metric, the XL chest width of 46cm (92 cm around) is 18.1 inches (36.2 inches around). I see all my readers are now laughing or crying in disbelief.

So, gripe number 1: a size chart clearly intended for a population of supermodels. (Extremely stunted supermodels. The shirts aren't that long either.)

Gripe number 2: What do you mean by "we usually don't have larger women running"? That sounds suspiciously like a 'what are YOU doing here' line.

D enjoys running. Not, perhaps, as fanatically as me, but as a pleasant means of moving about and enjoying some fresh air. Here's the thing: her enjoyment of running is entirely separate from her size. I don't care if you usually have larger women running or not. You do now - and you can jolly well cater to them. There's no need to suggest that she doesn't belong there. YES SHE DOES.

Previous years' gripes have included chaotic organisation involving a hilariously long bag pick-up line, and male pacers. I've gotten so fed up with the whole thing in general - not that I liked the magazine very much anyway, for similar reasons - that this is merely reason number 19685 not to do the run.

Elsewhere on the internet, a beautiful, very brave woman put up a photo of herself in a swimsuit for a very good reason. (There are good and bad reasons to invite other people's gaze - I'd say this is a very good one. Arguably, also, as it's her website, the blogger is also gazing back at her audience.)

While Emmie of Authentically Emmie is indeed a weight-loss blogger, she's clearly divorced her weight and her dress size from her sense of self-worth, and is losing weight as a side effect of a suite of measures (good nutrition and exercise) to improve her health. Incidentally, that bathing suit is amazing, and now I want one.

AN IMPORTANT ASIDE about the correlation between weight and health:
While it's correct to say that statistically speaking, the population of obese people is at higher risk of dying of cardiovascular disease and cancer than the population of not-obese people, you cannot draw this exact conclusion about any one obese person versus any one not-obese person.

Incidentally, I just read about this curious Finnish study of 16 twin pairs where one twin was obese and the other was not, which found:
- In about half the pairs, the obese twin was metabolically healthy, and had the same blood work and liver fat as their non-obese twin; they also had more fat cells than their non-obese twin.
- But in the other half, the obese twin was metabolically unhealthy with a fatty liver and the same or fewer but larger fat cells than their twin.
What does it all mean? Maybe some people are fortunate. Maybe the healthy obesity is a transient state. Either way, it does reinforce the idea that you can't tell much about people just by looking at them.

Anyway, about the Shape run. D is still running. It had better be better-organised than previous years (one hopes). No one was severely hurt; the primary end result of this is that D won't be able to advertise for the Shape run by wearing the @$(#! shirt, and I will have to do so on her behalf. Except I'm sufficiently enraged with the Shape run organisers that I will be wearing this shirt only in the dark. Take that, luminous mango.

On Sunday I went for a run with two friends, A. and Holly. A new segment of park connector has just opened - basically, it's an overhead bridge across the expressway, which was the only thing barring pedestrians from getting to the quiet and breezy Pandan Reservoir before. This is at Pandan, at roughly the midpoint of our 15.5km run. It's in a pretty industrial area and you can see the warehouses across the reservoir on the other side - A., who is from Minneapolis, said it reminded her of a lake trail there!

Sunday was very, very sunny: I think we all have magnificent tan lines now.

Training for the Great Eastern half marathon is going fairly decently, I think. It's kind of hard to focus on training when your marathon is followed in quick succession by a sprint triathlon you're doing for fun but still need to train for, which is then followed by a goal half marathon in which you want to take your previous PR and essentially break it over your knee. But I managed to run about 40 km last week, so it's not too bad.

Today is a public holiday and I'm having a wonderful hermit day - me and my book and this week's Economist and a couple of Coursera courses and some coffee and ice cream. Tuesday is usually track day, but as it's a holiday, track is off this evening. I've already run once this morning - about 7km - but am still feeling restless so might talk the husband into jogging with me later! 


  1. Oh no, that sounds like a terrible exclusionary policy in how the shirts are ordered. The last thing runners and races need is to somehow appear to be exclusive to a certain type of runner with a certain body type. I could go on and on, but I am sure no one needs to hear me rant :)

    1. It was a bit surreal. It's true that the Singapore population skews a bit smaller than a US city might, but why not offer larger sizes at the point of registration, then confirm those orders with the supplier later? (I have a lot of rant in me yet.)

  2. Oh wow - I'd be an extra large and I'm really no that big. In my weekend race there would have been heaps of runners bigger than me so I guess they would have just had to miss out in your race.

    1. *I* fit into the large. It is a bit baggy, but its proportions fit me. And I'm a relatively small person. (You see A and Holly in that photo? They're totally badass runners. Either of them could beat me handily in a 10k while running backwards, but neither would fit into the size L shirt. Therefore the problem is not with the runners, it is with the shirts.)

  3. So, I don't know anything about sizing so those numbers are meaningless to me, but if it's as small as I assume it is, that's crazy! And how RUDE of that person to make that comment about "larger" people not running. Dumb. I don't know much about Shape magazine but I assume it's like all the other dumb fitness magazines out there. I'd definitely not do a run put on by a fitness magazine, even if it were a well-run race. Not my thing!

    How fun to see you and Holly out running together! For such a small place, Singapore sure seems to have a lot of cool places to run!

    1. It's pretty much like all the other fitness magazines out there. A bit hit or miss. And yes, those numbers are as small as you think they are!

      Aha, would you like a running photo tour of Singapore then? :) We have yet to do Punggol Waterway together...

  4. Oh this makes me so angry. I would have felt so insulted if I was your friend too!