Here’s something I never thought I’d say… this morning I ran 3.1 miles. Naked.
Yes, naked. As in nothing on top and nothing on bottom – fully nude. It was… liberating. Probably one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had and I’d do it again in a heart beat.
I first heard of the Streak the Cove 5K back in August (I even wrote a post about it’s sister race – the Bare Dare 5k). I had recruited Pete (the race director) to be on the Dr. Fitness and Fat Guy Show (I used to help them with their scheduling) and Pete and I became e-friends. He spoke so highly of the race that I put it on my calendar as a “maybe” for 2012. When I saw the date was fast approaching, I emailed Pete to tell him I was seriously considering it. He emailed back and offered a free race entry if I agreed to blog about it (as if I would NOT blog about something like this?!).
I registered, but was still nervous about the idea of running fully nude. I kept it as a “mystery race” because I still wasn’t 100% I would do it. I also knew I would be more comfortable going nude if I didn’t know anyone else there. Being naked in front of strangers sounded less terrifying than being naked in front of friends and family. This might be the first race where Derek jumped in and volunteered to be my spectator, and I told him know. Even the idea of Derek being there made me feel self conscious.
The days ticked by and the idea of doing the race seemed less and less intimidating. When my alarm went off this morning I jumped out of bed, got dressed, and headed to the race site just like any other race day.
My stomach was full of knots as I drove to the start (about an hour and a half drive from Tampa). I’m not sure I’ve ever been so nervous driving to a 5k before. I think part of me still believed I really wasn’t going to go through with it, that this race really wasn’t going to happen. I guess that part was the part that kept me throwing up.
I’d never been to a nudist resort before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I pulled up and saw the high bricked walls and gated entrance with security, I assumed I was in the right place. The guy at the entrance asked if I was pre-registered for the race, asked for my last name, then told me follow the sign for “event parking.” As soon as I entered, I was surrounded my mobile homes and trailers with multiple couples sitting outside enjoying breakfast. Some were nude, some weren’t. The whole placed reminded me of a KOA.
I parked and headed to the registration table still fully clothed. I gave my name, got a shirt, and was banded with a bright orange “age verified” bracelet. That part was easy, however, my nerves heightened as I noticed plenty of fully nude males with running shoes on, but not so many nude females. Most had shorts and a sports bra on, while some had just a sports bra on and nothing else or just shorts on and nothing else (well, except running shoes).
I knew going into this race that clothing was optional, meaning not everyone running was going to be fully nude. I sort of went in with an all-or-nothing mentality and decided I was doing this race fully nude or not at all. I knew once I got to the race start that my opinions would change, so I made sure to wear non-running clothes to the race. I had on a regular bra, a black cotton shirt, and white sweat pants with PINK on the butt and would fall to my knees if I attempted to run in them. In case I chickened out, nothing about this outfit was running approved.
I know myself well. As soon as I saw the other females in running shorts or sports bras, I panicked. I headed back to my car and began tearing it apart looking for something – anything – that I could run in. There was nothing. Damn it.
I sat in my car and took a few deep breaths. I saw a few fully nude women walk by with just their running shoes on, which made me feel oddly more comfortable about the idea of going nude myself. About 10 minutes until the start, I got out of my car and attempted to start to undress, but something about stripping down by my car didn’t feel right. I headed to the bathroom to ease myself into it.
There was a mirror in the bathroom and I knew if I was going to walk around naked outside, I’d have to see what everyone else was going to be seeing first. I stood in front of the mirror and took off my shirt, then my bra, then my bottoms. I took a deep breath and looked in the mirror. I told myself there was no need to be afraid and that I was beautiful. I was strong, confident, and I could do this. Then someone walked in and scared the crap out of me. This was it. Now or never.
I grabbed my clothes and walked outside. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been outside fully nude before, the feeling was… interesting. I felt exposed, but not as exposed as I assumed I would be. Why are we all so afraid to be naked? Is it really that big of a deal? A few guys walked by, but no one looked my way or said anything. They were going about their business, as was I. I took a breath. I could do this.
The walk to the start line was terrifying, but the closer I got, the more comfortable I began to feel in my nakedness. There were hundreds of runners – some nude, some not-so nude – standing around and talking and stretching just like they would before any other race. The normalcy of it all seemed to relax me. People were laughing, joking, and having fun. This was going to be a fun race.
It was crazy how comfortable I began to feel standing around, fully nude, waiting for the start. At that moment I was surrounded by hundreds of nude runners in all shapes and sizes that seemed to strip away my insecurities. I think what a lot of us fail to understand is that none of us look perfect naked. Well, mostly none of us. All of our bodies are so unique, so special, that we’re all “perfect” in our own ways. Honestly, I felt more confident standing around naked, surrounded by other naked women, than I usually do standing in the middle of the mall. These women that were owning their bodies were so inspiring, that they inspired me to own mine along with them. There was no shame – only happiness.
(photo credit: Pete Williams)
The countdown to the start began and we all piled around the start line. I stood near the front. They had announced that the top 20 female and male finishers would receive a special prize and my goal became to finish in the top 20.
We were off!
And I was running… naked. This was a first. It felt strange, but not terrible. Honestly, it felt no different than running with clothes on. Actually, at first, it was a teensy bit better. There were no shirts to tug on, shorts to stop from riding up, and no uncomfortably tight sports bra strap digging into me. It was freeing to run nude.
I kept waiting to feel some pain with “the girls,” but they felt fine. They didn’t bother me the entire race. Three cheers for small boobs! They do have their moments sometimes.
“The girls” may have been fine, but my inner thighs weren’t so lucky. Ouch. Major ouch. I’m not sure I’ve ever chafed so much in a race before.I wanted the race to be over quick just so the rubbing (and pain!) would stop.
It was a late race start (8:30am!), so by the time they said “go” the sun was already high in the sky. The race page recommended sunscreen – lots of sunscreen – so I made sure to liberally apply some SPF 30 before the start. It was hot, really hot, and I didn’t drink nearly enough water before the start. When I hit the only water station at mile 1.5, I paused to down two full cups of water.
Since i wasn’t planning to run this race for time, I decided to leave my garmin in the car. I felt like I was running blind. I had no idea how many miles I had gone, how many I had left or what pace I was running. I found a groove with what other people were running around me and sorta went with that. However, I think I went out too fast because I was fading fast at the first mile. I went from being the 3rd lead female to the 5th or 6th. I’m not sure I really cared at that moment. My thighs hurt too much to care.
It was a two-loop course of the resort. A lot of the community had come outside to cheer us on and it was nice to see so many sweet faces cheering us on from their driveways. I smiled and thanked all of them as we passed. When I made the last turn towards the finish I saw a decent size crowd at the finish, who encouraged me to sprint to the end.
With a finish time of 24:26, I was the 6th (7th?) female to cross the finish line and had earned a mini bottle of Streak the Cove wine.
There were no chips, no race bibs, and nothing about the timing of the race was official. It’s a fun run, where people come to just run – no strings attached.
There was a post-race party by the pool for finishers. I grabbed a couple of bottles of water and some handfuls of grapes. I was surprised that I wasn’t rushing back to my car to get dress. I was more kicking myself for not having a towel so I could enjoy a dip in the pool.
Runners gathered to discuss this and that about the course, conditions, etc. and, again, it felt like the finish of just about any other race.
This race was one-of-a-kind. I never thought I would feel comfortable enough in my own skin to stand fully nude in a crowd – let alone run a 5k! – but I was. The whole race I wasn’t thinking about what was wiggling, what was shaking, or even what I looked like. I felt confident. I felt beautiful. And that feeling was amazing.
I would highly suggest everyone running at least one naked 5k in their racing career. Think of it as a bucket list race. Please DO NOT tell me that “no one wants to see that” Gah – I swear if one more person says that to me… but, you’re sorta right, ONLY instead of “no one wants to see that” it’s “no one cares about seeing that” because THEY DON’T! There were runners of all shapes and sizes out there today and everyone was cheering everyone equally. It was peaceful, encouraging, and inspiring.
I can promise you that I will be rocking my Streak the Cove 5k shirt in the future.
For a nude race, they do provide a pretty cute race shirt. I know this one will be a favorite in my collection.
Have you ever done a nude race before? Would you?