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Posts Tagged ‘running without a shirt’


As summers go in North Texas, up until this week, it’s been rather mild.  Yet, that doesn’t mean it’s been nice; especially for running.

Up until the end of June, we were stricken with a “higher than I can remember in recent past” humidity level.  The actual temperatures remained lower than normal, but the moisture in the air was pretty high.  On one of those runs in June, I finally gave vent to breaking my daughter’s rule (actually, she says it should be an ordinance).

One day a few years ago, my daughter was babysitting for some friends during the day.  The friends live across from a park and when she went outside once during the day, there was an older gentleman out in the park sans shirt.  She came home that day and informed us there should be a city ordinance against old men (yours truly included) from being outdoors without a shirt, because we don’t have the body for it.

On some of my really long runs getting ready for my second marathon last Fall, I encountered a problem that guy runners often encounter, injured nipples.  Yup, it can get really bad.  When I could tell the injury was about to start, I would just stop and remove the shirt and keep going.  It was better to break my daughter’s rule than to come home with bloody nipples. Yes, it should probably make you laugh.

In December, we had a warm spell around the day for the Dallas Marathon.  Sure enough, about 10 miles out, I could tell that the sweat was going to be a problem. Now what do I do?  I’m in the middle of a big–very public–well photographed race. I took off the shirt. A marathon has enough of its own aches to slow me down, and I wasn’t going to let this be one more.  So, I removed the shirt once again.  I went without the shirt through about the next 15 miles.  About that time, we reached downtown and the forecasted cold front began to blow in.  I put the shirt on for the last mile or so and ran across the finish line without breaking the “Rule”.

Fast forward to June of this year.  As soon as the humidity level struck, the uncomfortable nature of running with a shirt surfaced once again.  I had learned now that not only was running sans shirt a good preventive measure against the dreaded bloody nipples, it was much more comfortable to run during   serious heat and humidity. The die was now cast.

For most of June and almost all of my July runs, I’ve simply left the shirt at home.  We had a rare cold front at the beginning of July and the temps and humidity were just good enough in the morning that I could tolerate a shirt for a few days that week.  However, since then, it’s back to shirtless running.

Fortunately, for my daughter’s sake, I run mostly in the early AM hours and she is not awake to be aghast at my total disregard for her “Rule”.  I consider my comfort while running a lot more important than what I look like, which I assure you is not pretty.  Since I run a lot in the dark, my pasty white skin was my primary defence early on for visibility.  But, after a few weeks of Saturday long runs, I have resorted to extra reflective bands during my morning runs now.

I’m not sure what the public actually thinks of seeing a senior citizen running loose without a shirt.  I haven’t been pulled over by the police yet.  I haven’t seen anyone look like they are going to get sick.  No moms have covered their kids eyes because of me either.  So, I have to assume at this point that probably no one cares.  I certainly know that when it’s 90 degreesF when I take out for a run, ditching the shirt definitely makes a difference in the quality of the run.  I wonder how long into the Fall this will last?  Happy Running, ya’ll!

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janice writes fiction

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