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.