Posts Tagged ‘naked running’

The temperature on my phone read 18°F.

And it was snowing.

And it was a little breezy.

Just awesome… I thought.

Am I really gonna do this?

No, I wasn’t asking myself if I was going to run – I’ve run RaceMenu’s Super Sunday race every year since 2009.  It’s has a special place in my heart having been 1.) my very first road race and the following year being 2.) the best performance I have ever had in a road race.

No, I was definitely running.  The question was whether I was going to be crazy enough to take off the singlet and go bare-chested with #AutismStreaks written on my chest.

I had been pretty certain I was doing this – that is until Friday afternoon when I came down with a debilitating head and chest cold.  I was so out of it Friday night that I had to skip much anticipated dinner plans with family friends.  After a cocktail of homeopathic and OTC remedies, I had pretty much recovered by Saturday morning, but I was still feeling the lingering effects.

As I got myself dressed to head out, I took my singlet in my hand.  I thought about putting it in my backpack, but instead dropped it on the floor – my decision was made.  I then woke up Jess, handed her a sharpie and put her to work.


My original thought was to stay completely clothed until the starting gun.  Unfortunately, if I wanted to be able to check my stuff, I was going to have to do it a good 15 – 20 minutes beforehand.  As I stripped down to my running shorts I got a lot of  “Oh my God!”‘s.


It would be the most repeated statement of the day.  At 20°F, I knew I could be pretty much viewed only as absolutely crazy.  I moved into the tent to wait until the last minute to join the starting crowd.   While there I got plenty of “way to go”‘s and “nicely done”‘s.  One woman even asked if she could take a picture with me – who was I to say no?

Finally, with what I thought was just minutes to go, I made my way with my buddy JB and his friend Ed to the starting line.  We moved to the back of the crowd.  My reasoning was that I wanted as many people as possible to see that I had “sponsored by Charity Miles” across my back –


– hopefully at least a few of the approximately 1300 people I would pass along the way would get curious, google “Charity Miles” and start raising money on their own for their favorite charities.  With the wind blowing and the snow falling, my body began to shiver.  Despite having on a hat and gloves, I was standing still and I was cold.

All I needed was a starting gun, but the opening ceremonies dragged on and on – truth be told, I’m sure they weren’t any longer than any other race, but when you’re standing in 20° snowy, windy weather, half-naked, time slows down big time.

Finally the gun went off.  It took us nearly a minute to get to the starting line.

As we weaved our way through the crowd, my nakedness paid off immediately.  Every small pack of people I passed noticed “the naked runner” and commented on the writing – along with the “Oh My God!”‘s I got plenty of “GO Charity Miles!”‘s.

Awesome! I genuinely thought!

Fighting the crowds, our first mile was the slowest, coming in at a leisurely 8:16.  By the time we hit mile 1, my legs were warming up.  As the packs thinned, we picked up our pace covering the second mile in 7:35.  It’s funny how being cold can motivate one to run faster.  As much as I was warming up, I kept thinking about the fact that I was still not fully recovered from being sick on Friday.  My upper chest began to tighten.  Now under normal circumstances, that would be a signal for me to slow it down, but dammit, I was cold and I wanted some of that Oatmeal Stout I had been eyeing before the race.  JB asked how I was doing.  Okay…I think.  Hurtin’ a little. He cracked the whip and said let’s turn it up a little!

So we did.  Mile three came in at 7:08.

The Super Sunday 5 is two races.  There is the 5-Miler which we were running, but there is also the 5K Bailout, where you can bail out at 5K and then take a bus back to the start.  I have to admit, just briefly, I had a moment of wanting to bail out.  My chest was burning from the cold air.  But as soon as the thought was in my head, it was banished.  I was continuing to pass people along the way at a steady clip (an advantage of starting at the very rear of 1500 people) and the steady stream of comments drove me on.  JB and I once again picked up the pace – mile four got cover in 6:48.

I knew that the pace at which we started the race wouldn’t allow me to approach last year’s finishing time, but with one mile to go we decided to empty the tanks just for fun.  JB and I went back and forth.  On the second to last turn we were in a dead run and he shouted, next turn we sprint to the finish.  All I could think was I thought we WERE sprinting.

But he was right – we made the final turn for home and we both found one more gear.


#AutismStreaks streaking toward the finish line

There was a young kid maybe 15 yards ahead of us.  We started to close on him rapidly.  I was sure we would catch him – that is until someone along the sideline warned him and he too found one last gear.  We continued to close on him but ran out of real estate.  I think if we had had another 20 – 30 yards we would have had him.  The last mile was covered in 6:29 – according to the Garmin we covered the last 150 yards at 4:49 pace.

36:28.  183rd place out of  over 1500 runner, 15th out of 72 runners ages 40 – 45.  Not bad.  I have to admit that part of me had been looking to go sub-35, but considering the condition I was in, I wasn’t complaining.  JB and I made our way to the tent and more importantly to the beer.


I highly recommend Mayflower Oatmeal Stout as a post-run recovery drink!

After chatting with some runners and cooling down (yes, I was actually warm when I finished), I ran into some more friends, taking the opportunity to snap a shot with twitter pal and fellow blogger @kissing_frogs before heading home.


photo op with @kissing_frogs

Hopefully, somewhere out there this week, somebody from that race has googled and download the Charity Miles app and is out there running, raising money for their favorite charity.

Maybe it’s you?

Read Full Post »

On Sunday I ran for the first time since the Green Mountain Relay – almost 2 weeks to the hour.  Part of my lack of running has been a purposeful rest; part has been forced on me with the onset of mild plantar fasciitis.  The run was supposed to be the first group run for locals running Boston 13.1 with Team Up with Autism Speaks.  I had been delinquent in getting a schedule out, so this last minute group ended up being a group of one.  I contemplated going home when nobody showed up, but I knew that I needed to get some miles in.

The run was awful – 6.2 miles of tired legs and weak lungs mixed with a serving of  “why am I doing this?”  It didn’t help that at the end my feet were not happy.

How the Hell am I going to lead these group runs over the next ten weeks if I can hardly walk?

I’ve been fighting this PF now for about two, maybe three weeks.  Looking back, there were twinges well before Sugarloaf, but it really kicked in a couple of weeks ago – the intense pain getting out of bed in the morning, the discomfort walking.  I was forced to stop wearing my flip-flops.  That just about killed me – I can’t stand wearing normal shoes when I’m bopping around town; my feet tend to overheat.  About a week ago I took to going barefoot around the house.  When I would take the dogs out for their walks, I wouldn’t bother putting on shoes.  At first it was a little tough on the soles of my feet, but eventually, I got used to it.  Although the pain in the morning and after sitting idle for extended periods of time didn’t go away, moving about became less painful.

Then came Sunday’s run.  I did not have a good time.  There was nothing redeeming about that run except that I ran.  That was it.  I started to think that maybe I would just run on Sundays with the group, painting a grin on my face if I needed to.  That didn’t sound like fun at all.


Over the last week, several of my running friends have offered remedies for my plantar fasciitis.  Some suggested tennis balls.  Some suggested frozen water bottles.  Others suggested going to a chiropractor.  Some suggest orthodics, special shoes and socks, even taping up my feet.

I tried the frozen water bottles.  They felt good while I was rolling my feet on them, but I’m not sure how much they really helped.

One suggestion that kept nagging at though came from my buddy JB.  You may remember JB from the Vermont 50, the Super Sunday 5-miler, the Quincy Half and Sugarloaf.  He is a VFF (Vibram Five Finger) runner (he ran the Vermont 50 in Vibrams – Rock STAR!!!).  He suggested that I pull out my old VFF’s and go run until I burned the Plantar Fasciitis from my feet.

Hmmmmm…. I thought, that could be interesting.

I was hearing conflicting suggestions about how to treat PF – more support! less support! more support! less support! more support! less support!

After Sunday’s run (in Kinvara 3’s – which I do like, though not as much as the originals), I was willing to try anything.

BUT, being the kind of person who rarely half does something, I decided that if I were gonna go the less support route, it was going to be all the way.

So I put this old pair of shoes on:

The oldest pair of footwear I own.

My plan was to limit myself to two miles.  Initially, running barefoot or barefoot style can be tough on the lower calves.  I made the mistake of running three or four miles the first time I put on a pair of VFF’s and I couldn’t walk for a week.  I was nervous as to how my soles would hold up.  Would it hurt running on the sidewalk and street?  Would I be able to avoid pebbles and glass?  Would I rip up my feet?

I knew I needed to take it slowly, but amazingly, my first mile was faster than any of the miles I ran on Sunday, coming in at a comfortable 8:09.  Having reached the turnaround point of my run, I did a quick self-check – lungs? good. legs? good. feet? just fine!!!

I decided to could go another half mile before I turned around.  When I reached that half mile, I was tempted to go even further, but I knew I ran the very real risk of overdoing it.  I knew that I may have already overdone it.  So I turned around and headed for home.  As I hit two miles, I looked at my Garmin – 8:04.  Not bad at all!!!

I decided to pick up the pace just a little – to see if I could manage a sub-8:00 mile barefoot.  To my surprise, at one point, I was running close to 7:40 pace.  When I reached home, the final mile came in at 7:55.  3 miles in 24:08 – not bad for my first barefoot run ever.  Afterward, the calves felt a little tight, as did my hips.  Hopefully the stretching I did will help speed recovery so I’m not in too much pain in the morning.

As I sit here and write this, I really want to get back out and try this barefoot thing again.  Yeah, I’ve got a little bit of a hot spot on the ball of my foot, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a matter of building up the soles a little.  I’m going to force myself to take the day off tomorrow but I am determined to give this barefoot thing another go on Thursday.  Who knows, maybe by Sunday I’ll be ready to take the Team Up with Autism Speaks group on their 75 minute run without my shoes.

This could be a whole new chapter in my evolution as a runner…

I’ll keep you posted.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: