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 barethomas@gmail.com) 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!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

'One of the completely converted': First day sans safety shirt [guest post]

John D has just undergone that rite dubbed "full conversion" - heading out for a run barechested (or in sportsbra), without a safety shirt. This is his lively account, originally an email.

I've come a pretty long way from when I was a kid and had a very strange aversion to being shirtless around anyone, anywhere. Even when my fifth grade class went to the Y for a week of swimming, I insisted I keep my T-shirt on (this was completely my idea, by the way. I was a stubborn kid).  But over the years, I've gotten used to the freedom of being shirtless in various appropriate contexts, whether it is ninety minutes of hot yoga, hanging out at a gay pride festival or playing a shirts and skins pickup soccer game.

But actually jogging shirtless for some strange reason has always made me a bit nervous.  Like you [referring to the owner of this blog], I was once one of those guys that thought the men running around without shirts were - gasp! - exhibitionists, and I H*A*T*E drawing attention to myself!  But the first time I actually got the nerve to go running shirtless was last year, when I whipped my top off as I was jogging past Johns Hopkins University (lovely campus).  Despite the worries about my not terribly buffed upper body (I've lost a bit of weight but still have a pound or two that likes to show itself), my chest hair (there's more than a bit) or people maybe yelling "PUT YOUR SHIRT ON!" (no one has ever done that), I got more comfortable with taking my shirt off when it was overly hot.

But today, I became one of the completely converted. For the first time ever, I made myself take my shirt off in my apartment, leave it on the bed, and head outside completely bare chested.  My apartment is next to a small garage where some tenants have cars, so sneaking out the back was easy enough. But at least twice from the alley to the street, I told myself "Oh damn, I can't do this!" Still, as I got to the street, I just decided to forget about the others around me.  I now live closer to downtown Baltimore, but it's still easy enough to find not-so-well-traveled side streets that I can jog without too many people seeing me - that does make it easier. But I jogged for the better part of an hour in the warm sun, completely stripped to the waist.  

And I gotta say, man, it felt so much more natural, comfortable, freeing and even a bit empowering not having a shirt in hand.  To top it off, not a single person seemed to care, or if they did they didn't say anything.  On the downside, I forgot to bring water with me, so that made me miserable, but apart from that it just felt awesome.  Sir, you have indeed converted me to the brotherhood / sisterhood of jogging shirtless / sportsbra'd, without a shirt in hand as a crutch, and I am looking forward to doing it again the next time I go jogging.

And yes, I guess the next step is working up my nerve to go running in a more populated area than I did, but baby steps here, and no harm if I stick to the less travelled roads ;)

9 comments:

John D said...

This is John D here. Thanks for posting my email, Thomas. And yes, I have still been running shirtless each time I've run since I sent my email. I think this morning was the most difficult for me, because it was only 60° (about 16°C) outside. I know most of you reading this will probably think that's kind of wimpy on my part, but I am not used to being shirtless at that temperature in any circumstance. But after running for about nine minutes and stopping to catch my breath, the sweat and the heat started to pour from me, and I was extremely glad at that point not to be encumbered with a shirt.

I will definitely get used to this, and am most certainly not going back now! Unless it gets really, REALLY cold. So I think that's my next question, Thomas, and anyone else reading: just how cold does it have to be before you put the shirt back on? Obviously for me 60°F is not nearly cold enough. Maybe I should just keep running into the fall and winter until it just feels too cold to go shirtless?

Anonymous said...

First, great that you are running shirtless. Feels great, doesn't it? I would say just keep running shirtless and you will discover what is too cold for you. I have not run in the cold myself, but I do see guys running shirtless into the upper 30's F, where I live. Whatever you feel comfortable with.

Jamie

John D said...

It does indeed feel great, Jamie! In fact, the day after I posted the last comment, it got down to an unsummery 50°F (about 10°C), but again I headed out of my apartment building for my run barechested and with no safety shirt. Felt a little cool at first but I ended up going five miles that morning! So like you said, I just need to keep forging out until it just feels too cold to run with no shirt. I know now that threshold is at most in the 40s, so anything about 50 at least is shirtless running weather for me.

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Cris said...

Great post John D!

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