Sunday, July 22, 2012

Running topless in the dark

Approaching the 2 mile aid station at last December's Reggae Marathon 10K, there I was getting overheated again.  Wrong top!  That presented an interesting conundrum.  Keep my top on and suffer or remove my T shirt, run topless and stay cool.  And although I see myself as a finely tuned long distance runner, the harsh reality is that I'm a middle-aged, tending toward pear-shaped runner.  What to do, what to do?

After I passed the aid station I decided that darkness would indeed be my friend that morning.  I removed my top!  Let me remind you though, we start the Reggae Marathon in total darkness at 5:15 am.  With the sunrise shortly after 6 am I was motivated to keep my pace up so that I would not scare too many kids at that early hour.

From then on I enjoyed a number of benefits of running topless in Negril at Reggae Marathon.  First was the immediate cooling effect of the early pre-dawn breeze.  No uncomfortable heat build up to slow me down. Nice. Then, when I grabbed water at the aid stations, I got to squeeze the refreshing cold water from the plastic pouches over my head and shoulders. Really nice!

" Hey good looking...Keep it up"
But I got a really, really nice surprise...shock actually...from running topless. As I approached the 4 mile mark I heard a shout-out:  "Hey good looking...great pace...keep it up". I almost jumped out of my Pumas!  "Who me?"  Was she shouting at me?  Never in a million years...OK, in 30 years of running...has that ever happened.  For a lovely long moment I savored the complement...until I realized she was a course marshal and was shouting encouragement to all the runners.  Nevertheless, it was enough motivation to pick up the pace.  With grin from ear to ear I headed for the finish feeling strong.

Modesty did get the better of me as I closed in on the finish however.  I did put my top back on for the finish line photo.  With finish line photos, multiple smartphone cameras and official photographers, the thought of me running topless shared on Facebook forever was too much.

I was inspired to share this story because I heard about a 'bare' 5 k on the beach race from a friend recently.  That race takes place in broad daylight.  Male and female runners participate.  They run in running shoes...and nothing else.  That's right, 'butt naked'.  I know that's how athletes in the original Olympics competed and the 'uniforms' they wear today leave little room for modesty (Check out these uniforms from the Jamaican Olympic Team).  

And yes, I know what you're thinking. If he ran topless in Negril, shaved his head for the Reggae Runners Half Marathon Challenge can full 'starkers' be far away?  

Until next time...

Follow me on Facebook at Run for Heart.  Races for 2012: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon, October 14, Reggae Marathon, December 1

Photo courtesy of Anthony Foster, Reggae Marathon

1 comment:

  1. As a female, the courage to run bare is not on my radar. However, for those that do so, there definitely must be a real sense of freedom.


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