Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 9:14 p.m.
So what is it like to run naked, you might ask?
Well, it's lot like running with clothes on: a sweaty, dirty enterprise that is probably most fun when you're done with a run or taking a break from a run or talking about a run but not actually on a run itself.
More specifically, though, a naked run appears to be a lot more diverse than a clothed run. Saturday's 50 or so participants in the Streak Sunsport Gardens' 5K
were a true mix of young and old, tan and taut, pale and doughy, sculpted and schleppy, sagging and pert -- not just jocks. Some of
them were longtime naturists who wanted to streak. Others were hardcore running enthusiasts who wanted to try their favorite sport without clothes. Some runners showed up to the event, which was also a clothing drive for area charities, and donated whatever duds they arrived in. One young man told me that he'd injured his ankle in a bar fight in January and that the run was his triumphant return to physical fitness. The young man needed to shape up, he said, so he could work for the FBI.
What the attendees had in common: Almost all stripped down to the barest sartorial essentials of athletic competition -- shoes, socks, wristwatches, baseball caps.
None of the nude male runners appeared to wear any form of support. A few of the more buxom women opted for sports bras.
Apparently, these women made a very smart choice.
Right into the first lap, a young woman who was running next to me immediately bemoaned that "my breasts are never, ever going to recover." The woman, a seasoned runner, regretted not having used plastic wrap for support, which race organizers suggested to women above a B-cup.
Other than bodily flotsam and jetsam and a measured amount of flopping, the vibe -- one of carbo-loading and cramps and übermensch -- was similar to any other athletic competition that lends itself to being easily dramatized.
On the boggier and woodier portions of the trail, where tree roots sneaked up on you and wide leaves smacked you right in the face, you kind of felt like Rocky or Million Dollar Baby or Cinderella Man or The Hurricane right training for his or her big debut or big comeback or big defeat. That's to say, the run was a challenge and felt damned impossible at times (this Pulp reporter might have smoked a Marb Red or three before the race), but your fellow runners and water station staffers and race organizers hooted and hollered and cheered you on until you made it across the finish line.
Postrace, which took contenders anywhere from 20ish to 40-some minutes, the flush-faced participants chatted about stride and posture and strategy while eagerly awaiting the award ceremony and raffle. Parched and nutrient-starved, they crowded around water coolers and lined up for a table's worth of grapes, apples, pineapple, and orange slices. The crowd favorite was bananas, on account of the potassium.
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