Goodbye, 'Jogbra'...

May 2015: First up, though I still try to put up blog content whenever I can, it has been easier to more regularly visit the the Twitterverse. Follow me at @barethomas10 and let's keep the shirtless running flag flying. Of course, the blog still attracts very interesting comments, and good discussion. Keep it up.

Second, in the years since this venture launched, and as shirtless running among women has gone increasingly mainstream, the term "jogbra" has clearly declined in use. I will thus prefer "sportsbra" henceforth - as has already been the case on Twitter, and in recent posts here.

I continue to welcome guest posts (sent to on any related topic, including from those who would discourage stripping to the waist. I am myself of course a fervent convert to the joys of running bare. But let all voices be heard!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How not running shirtless has affected me

These last few months, I've been unable to go for my usual shirtless runs. You know the usual reasons that will be adduced: The weather's not right, work demands too heavy. Bla bla bla. I've not even been able to update this blog.

How has my life changed? I feel myself increasingly constricted in my shirt. At home, I typically shuck it, but I miss the freedom of pounding down a trail in just shorts and shoes (and watch). I miss the perspiration on my back and chest, the friendly tickling of the breeze. I miss the tug of camaraderie when I pass a fellow convert to the bare-chested cause.

I am spiritually sustained, if I may put it that way, by the occasional email that still comes my way, by someone who has happened on this blog and found it strikes a chord with him (or her). When I can, I read the comments that are still posted. I am going shirtless vicariously, and am grateful.

In sum, I had not realised how being a shirtless runner had become an essential part of my being or identity, so that failing to live out this part of my soul has left me with a sense of void. Sometimes, if I may be trite, you really do need to miss something before you realise how much it matters. I've come so far from my days as a ever-shirted, over-clad self!

It's not a happy situation. For exercise, I could always join a gym near my new workplace, but gyms have their sartorial regulations (imposed, I must say, usually with the best of intentions and with some weight of logic on their side). It is not convenient for me to run at lunchtime. But I'm sure, with time, I'll carve out some part of the day and resume my runs. I shall not be denied forever.

For now, fellow converts, keep running shirtless and free. I am with you in spirit. Induct more people into our happy community. Write in and share.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter, does it? I mean, if it becomes impractical or uninteresting, then doing something else happens, and when we take up the old thing it is new again. I haven't been runnign shirtless either, haven't been running at all. I am old enough to have got into habits, and the place where I go to run has recently been the subject of a national news sensation, the death of Jo Yeates. Her body was found within yards of the gate that bounds part of my running course, and the road she lived on ends within yards of the route I walk to the start of my run. I'm a single man with strange habits, and as such, MUST know well enough to stay the hell out of such places when the witch hunt is up. I once nearly got made to do long prison time for an armed robbery commited by someone else, so I know that it is very dangerous to risk being the face that fits when people really WANT your face to fit. Fortunately the killer seems to have been caught, and is to be formally charged with her murder this morning, so if the issue has settled enough to allow me to feel it safe to return to an area that became unsafe (as wekll as defiled by his actions), then I shall run again.

The point of all this is that at times, a serious reason exists to modify our behaviour, and the best thing we can do is do it and not agonise over it. Every sportsman who has suffered injury knows this too, no doubt.

Anyway, I've been able to make up for it a tad by working outside shirtless a lot. That can be fun too. I'm not trying to make it deliberately hard for myself, I'm more interested in seeing what 'hard' conditions can be safely adapted to, to the point where I'm genuinely comfortable with them. I'm also lucky enough that no-one is in much of a position to tell me how I must dress, which helps. So long as I'm safe, it doesn't matter much.

(Who just signed up to a Yahoo group, and noticed that inactivity isn't a unique phenomon here. :)

Toughpaul said...

Crow, shame your running has been curtailed by circumstances. Maybe U can find a place a short distance away from the scene that's suitable.

Meanwhile I agree with U about just being shirtless in the cold as a willpower test or toughening exercise.

Personal toughness & self mastery is important to me & several times in the past few weeks I've been working in the garden (or in my unheated outhouse-shed) wearing only shorts, just to see how much I can cope with. With temp's down to minus 10C-ish I can manage about a hour before I start shivering.

As I'm interested in toughening myself & increasing my willpower against surface skin coldness I usualy decide that shivering is a signel to go indoors. I'm NOT into hypothermia!


Anonymous said...

I am very uncomfortable when taking off my shirt, but as it warms up, and others start stripping, I hope to be more comfy. :)

Anonymous said...

I went back today. :) Walked home shirtless too, before dawn. It feels better, like it always was actually. Having a change from routine helps. but I like going to that place (Ashton Court estate). Feels like sacred ground to me. I could try other routes, but that means a choice between hard road running (no fun, mucho pollution), and sussing out some new route through Leigh Woods. That could take a day or two of exploration at walking pace before figuring out a route safe to run in daylight, never mind the dark into dawn which I like best.

I blew my best shot at trying -10 this year. Last year I ran at least 5.25 miles a day every day for 2 months, this year I just had NO desire to repeat myself on such a grand scale, that and the nasty business of Jo Yeate's killing put me off spending any time up there recently. Last year I got a few at -7, but with wind enough to chill to -12. An hour walking, up to 50 minutes running, and an hour walking back. I can fuel and time things to avoid shsivering (I agree, to me, shivering is a warning of imminently flat batteries. :) The worst is cold fingers, I hate that, being barely able to manage a key in a door on arrival at home. I've found that working in cold is actually easier than running, for that, using my hands and arms more keeps me warmer where it hurts most when running or walking. Not tried anything below -1.5 for working yet, but with food, coping with freezing air for 8 hours is doable with nothing worse than a bit of irritation in the upper airways. And perhaps stiffness and aching in the spine if the work demands tension rather than mobility there. Which it would do anyway, of course... And wind faster than 5 mph would also change this. I'd have to move around a lot to cope with even that at below 2°C, but with little wind, even overcast 2°C is ok for sitting around in for a while, for example to mark steel ready for sawing or drilling. And so long as I had just worked up enough heat to support it too. I like all these details. That's how I get a true sense of what I can really handle. Pushing beyond the limit seems easy to me, if all I want to do is bounce back and spend time recovering. The real challenge seems to be to find the equilibrium that lets me stay shirtless whenever and wherever I want. Not least so that if some smartarse asks "Aren't you cold?" With utter certainty that I must be, I can answer "no" with utter certainty that I am not. Thay way they learn something because they realise I'm not lying.

In reply to the other guy (posting after Paul), comfort is a strange thing, a lot depends on habituation, so if you wait it gets harder than if you chose a good moment to do it soon instead. By making that choice deliberately you easily overcome any shock involved. I still don't find it easy at times, mostly because I live in a city. I don't even bother to think of witty replies to silly remarks. While the remarks are few in proportion to the number of people I see, I'd run out of little justifications in no time at all, so I don't try. I just do it when I want to, and focus on what I'm doing rather than what someone else might find odd about it. Eventually, even other people get used to it, those who see me often enough, anyway. I don't think the staff who manage the Clifton Suspension Bridge ever fail to recognise me now. :)


Toughpaul said...

I wonder if Barethomas who runs this blog could provide an un-distorted version of the masthead picture with the lads running?

Anonymous said...

All the best in finding time to run barethomas. It's frustrating when time conspires against you!

In response to Anon's comment (25th Jan) the best advice is really just to go out and do small run without your shirt/vest on and take it from there. I was told today by my very good friend Laura, she's has finally convinced her hubbie to strip down for Sunday's run for the first time so out of the 4 of us 2 will be in sports bra's while the men wil be stripped down.

Good luck and let us know how things go.

Mrs Hoover

Phil said...

I too have been forced indoors due to some extreme winter weather and work schedule for the past 2 months. However, we had a brief break in the weather in the past few days, pushing day time temps to 6-7C. Dreading the thought of running at the gym again, I decided to hit the running trail in late afternoon. Upon arriving at the trail, it was right around 6C and up until 2 months ago I had run shirtless in colder weather than this, but was in better shape then. There is the hesitation again once you get away from running shirtless. However, while walking to the trail, I decided to jog back and quickly tossed my shirt into the car, I didn’t want to get into that trap of becoming fearful about being shirtless again. I saw many runners and walkers along the trail but, I was the only shirtless one. It was actually kind of fun to go running with snow on the ground just wearing shorts and running shoes. Overall, I had a great hour long run and felt good to run shirtless again after being away from it for so long.

barethomas said...

Hullo, Mrs Hoover: Thanks for the words of encouragement, and for another 'embracing-shirtlessness' vignette.

I wonder, did your good friend Laura come by her jogbraed ways after being inspired by you too? Remembering of course how you had converted your husband to the cause. Perhaps resistance is futile with you!

Anyway, did Laura's husband doff his shirt for his run in the end, or did he beat a retreat at the last minute? Perhaps you might introduce both of them to this blog, and they might pen a post together!

Anonymous said...

Not this time! Laura and I met during Fresher's week at Uni and soon became firm friends. Laura encouraged (and gave me the confidence) to just wear a sports bra when running. Despite the shocking weather last Sunday her hubbie kept his promise and stripped down before we set off. A convert...well you never know! Mrs H