Until this week, I had done it exactly twice in my life.
Once was a horrible morning in April or so a couple years ago. For some reason, I hadn't checked the weather and I'd worn long sleeves based on the prior morning's weather. Within a mile, I knew it was a mistake.
So I shed my top at mile 2 and picked it up on the way back. The entire time I was running, I tried my best to forget about it. Unfortunately, I was running with a woman who I like a lot, but that day, she kept asking me about my sports bra. I wanted to scream, please, stop, I'm trying not to call attention to myself, and I'm trying to pretend this is just like any other run.
The other time was a prediction run in June. For a prediction run, someone keeps track of a piece of paper and before you start running, knowing the distance and roughly the course, you guess how long it will take you to finish, and then you have to run watch-less. I was running with a guy in his 70s and it was much warmer than I'd expected and my shirt was stifling me. It was a loop course, so no one really saw me, and that made it fairly comfortable.
Well, this week Tuesday, I had the disastrous attempt a progressive tempo run that I mentioned. It was on an out and back course, and I ran in my usual gear (shorts, sports bra, heart rate monitor, sleeveless top), but just before I got in the car to go home, I took off my shirt to wring it out. At least a cup of water came out of it, possibly more.
This morning's schedule was hill repeats. We ran just under 2 miles to warm up, and then we set down water bottles at the bottom of the hill we'd be running. Unfortunately, it was 75 degrees and 83% humidity when we started at 5:15 in the morning. Not typical for Dallas in mid-July -- usually we're sitting close to 80, but humidity is much lower.
I run with a large training group here, but it's broken out by pace group, and within my group is a core group of my running buddies with whom I've been running for many years, through this program and separately from this program. This morning, our group had decided that we were not running the same hill as the rest of the training group (the reasoning was that we wanted something a little longer in distance that we would not crest within 2 minutes). So it was just the 10 or so of us on the hill we chose. 6 guys, but they're all like brothers, and I figured this was a tough workout on a pretty dark road, no one would really notice whether or not I was wearing my tank. Of the other 3 women, 2 of them did the same thing -- left our shirts at the bottom of the hill and then ran our hill repeats.
For the hill repeats, you run up the hill once at a hard pace for exactly 2 minutes, and you mentally mark where you stopped (for me today, it was between a pear tree and a light post). Then 6 more times, you run to that exact same spot. The hill we do is about 80 feet of climbing in a quarter-mile. The hill repeats feel like death, but I know they work. And as expected, I felt self-conscious, but within a minute, I realized no one could really see me and no one gave a $hit, so all was well.
That's my Garmin screen shot (and the pink in bottom right is my heart rate). Anyway, my theory on running topless has always been that I would do it if I ever had the abs to make me worthy of doing that. But obviously that's not happening. So maybe if I do the reverse it will work -- go shirtless sometimes and feel so self-conscious that I do what it takes to get the ab to make the sight less painful for everyone else?
Oh well, I guess the bottom line is that the longer I run, the more I realize that I'm the only one worrying about me. Everyone else is worrying about themselves and their own runs. I doubt my topless trend will continue, especially as the weather is supposed to break later this week (well, it's supposed to get hotter, into the 100s, but the humidity should go down correspondingly). But I felt the need to record this on the blog in case I ever think about it again.