Running Naked

Rock and Roll St. Louis Half Marathon 2012 was an experiment for me. I decided to run naked. Ok, I wore clothing but opted out of everything else. I know all of you who like to be in control are beginning to get nervous. Yes, I ran without a watch. I didnít bring a Garmin. I left home the iPod and I didnít even take any nutrition with me. Gasp! Nothing, I simply went and ran.

Ok, I had some moments of doubt. When I got to registration Saturday there were 20 corrals. This is how the organizers divide the runners and the corals divide people up based on their projected finish time. Of the 20 corrals I was slotted into number 2, which got me thinking perhaps I should reconsider my running with nothing strategy. What if I was a hardware contender? What if I had the chance for a podium finish? How could I run and not control my destiny?

The what ifís began to fill my head. How could I go run my best and neglect the rest? Could I simply rely on whatever was provided on the course? Could I trust that there would be enough water and Gatorade? Would they provide nutritional gels? I had no idea. I hoped that my needs would be met, but taking nothing meant that I whatever happened I would have to accept and wing it.

I found myself thinking about Jesusí words as he sent his disciples out:

These were his instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff--no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.  Mark 6:8-10

Gee I struggled with a two hour race, I might have had a hard time living day after day vulnerably, or perhaps not. Maybe I would have felt supremely free. The Santa Rosa marathon was my ďAĒ race and my race preparation bordered the obsessive. I wanted to be prepared for every potential mishap. Since I had trained so hard for a long time I was not going to let anything I could prevent derail me.  There is a cost to this and as I ran with my loaded down race belt everything in it felt heavier and heavier. When I met up with Janet with two miles remaining we tossed it beside the race photographer and I am thankful that she volunteered to go back and get it for me. This time I would not be weighed down with things I might need.

It was wonderful. Race day I felt so light and free. There was water and Gatorade on the course-as promised and then at mile 7 GU gels were handed out. Everything I needed was provided and I simply ran.  I noticed that because I had less stuff to bother with I was more observant.  Actually the miles seemed to go by quite fast, just a nice set of 13 x 1 mile repeats. It was a good day. 

How did I do? Well, I didnít beat my fastest time, but I did finish with 1:50:49 and came in 7 of 417 in my age group.  I guess I donít need all that stuff after all.