Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Scandal of Shirtless Runners

Monday: 8 miles
Tuesday: 5
Wednesday: 7
Thursday: 5

You may see some runners going shirtless as the weather gets warmer. For some, this may be a time to show off their hard work over the winter. Undoubtedly, this will lead to accusations of showboating and pridefulness, sometimes deservedly. But, for those of us who run lots of miles, it is merely an opportunity to reduce our irritation levels.

When you run lots of miles (I've been over 50 miles for several weeks now), every part of you that can chafe, WILL chafe. Some parts must be kept covered up for legal and practical purposes, of course. I do not have the type of body that lends itself to pride (read: coat hanger or scarecrow), but peeling off my shirt makes my life better on several levels.

1. No flaming armpits. No matter how well-designed a shirt may be, when it gets soaked with sweat and salt, it makes for a low-grain sandpaper effect on the armpits. ANY seam rubbing on your skin for hours is going to cause issues. This leads to painful showers, and putting on deodorant becomes an exercise in avoidance. No one wants to be around a runner who avoids deodorant.

2. No bloody nipples. This is less of a factor on shorter runs, but on 15+ mile runs, it can get ugly and extremely painful. The options are 1) put band-aids on your nipples, 2) glob some vaseline on them, 3) bleed, hurt and bear it, or 4) go shirtless. I usually opt for #2 or #4.

3. It feels good. Some of us like the feeling of the sun, wind, and rain on our skin. Of course, I have to have sun block on hand at all times, but the weather feels good, especially after months of being covered and bundled up. If seeing shirtless dudes running around town bothers you, just pretend you are at the pool or the beach.

My running group consists of a teacher, a lawyer, a hydrologist, a counselor, and a turf manager. We meet at the park or downtown in suits, bow ties, polos, button-ups, dress shoes, slacks, jeans, work boots, and the like. But, for one hour a day, we escape from all of that. Instead of being in an office, we run in the elements. Instead of "dressing the part," we dress for comfort. Instead of sitting still, we go in motion. Instead of adjusting the temperature in our offices from 71 to 70 degrees, we take what Mother Nature gives us.

And sometimes, we do it without shirts.


daybeed said...

i like your new blog, seƱor bloody nipples!

Cort said...

Thanks, Dave!

I hope to see your google running page updated often.