Run for Dom Supports Naked Running

Posted: May 10, 2010 in Motivation
Tags: , , , , ,

RFD Rocking the Steel City

Now, now – don’t get ahead of yourself.  I know a lot of you think those two marathons in 13 days were signs that I had finally lost my mind.  But when it comes to running “naked” – I’ve never been more serious.

When I say “naked” I don’t mean “au natural” – I mean running completely without technology.  One of the things that really hit home over the latter stages of the Pittsburgh Marathon is that I really love to run.  I love everything about it, especially when it gets difficult.

Last Sunday I found myself 20 miles in to my second marathon in two weeks with a charley horse forming a knot in my left calf.  I was tired.  It had rained on me for more than two and a half hours.  My shoes and socks were soaked as if I had jumped in a pool.  My legs were heavy and runners were slowing to a walk all around me.  I looked down at my GPS and realized I had almost 6 more miles left to run.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the last time I glanced down at my watch the rest of the day.  Quite honestly, my timer ran all the way through the finishing cute, family reunion area and my walk back to the hotel.  It was only when I heard it beeping at me when I got out of the shower that I clicked “stop”.

When I felt like running faster I did.  When I felt like slowing down to talk with a fellow marathoner I did.  When I found myself alone at mile 25 I was alone with my thoughts again and started thinking about seeing my wife Dawn, family, friends and especially Dom at the finish line. 

2010 Pittsburgh Marathon Finisher

Those final 6 miles were by far the slowest I have ever run on a marathon course.  Quite honestly, they were some of the slowest miles I had ever run.  But looking back at them more than a week later, I wouldn’t change a thing about a single one of them.  Being free from all of my “technology” allowed me to focus on all the important things that day.  I was free of distractions and simply “ran like I’d never run again” as my friend Ashley Kumlien had instructed me to do prior to the race.  It was awesome.

When my wife Dawn and I relocated briefly to the suburbs of Philadelphia in 2004 I took up distant running.  I had started training for my first marathon at that time and one of our neighbors used to refer to me as “Spider Man” to my wife.  Over the winter months I would be bundled up head to toe in my running tights, technical shirts, jackets, hats and gloves.  I would have my iPod wires trailing behind me as I cranked out one sub-8:00 mile after another.  I ran each and every mile with my music playing, quickly jumped inside, uploaded my run from my Garmin into my computer and analyzed every mile.  Did I hit my goal?  How fast did I take those hills?  Did my time fall off over the final 3 miles?  How much did the wind and elevation impact my time?

Sunday's Run 5/9/10

Now don’t get me wrong – there is absolutely a time for doing exactly what I just described.  Runners today have amazing tools at their disposal to analyze their training.  I seriously doubt I would have been able to run my PR last year at Pittsburgh and qualify for the Boston Marathon this spring without a top-notch training plan and the ability to teach my body how to “run fast”. 

But last week taught me a valuable lesson, that not each and every run needs to be about time, distance and improvement.  Sometimes you should just run because you love it.

So in that spirit on Thursday of this past week I went for my first “naked run”.  No iPod, no GPS, just me and my Asics pounding the pavement here in Avery Ranch.  I ran as far as I felt like running.  I ran as fast as I felt like running.  Just like the latter stages of the Pittsburgh Marathon, I enjoyed every stride.

Going forward I am going to take one day per week and make it a “naked run day”.  To start I am going to “go naked” on Wednesdays and see how that works.  Give it a try this week and let me know what you think.  My guess is you are going to really enjoy it.  Besides, just think about how much fun you will have when your neighbors come over and see your training plan on your refrigerator that says:

“Naked Wednesday” – it really doesn’t get any better than that.

  1. Martin says:

    Joe I was also too obsessed with data analysis and recording everything but discovered by accident that sometimes the best measure of your run is just how it feels. Of course there are times when you are trying to achieve something as a friend and me did on Sunday. We were running a tough hilly 7 mile race and knowing we were keeping at an average of 7 min / miles was beneficial but other times its best to run without distractions and learn to listen to your body.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Martin! Good to hear from you, thanks for visiting! I couldn’t agree more with you. There is a lot of satisfaction gained from achieving a goal whether it is training or racing – I’m about as “goal-oriented” as they come. I’m really looking forward to my Wednesday runs however, where I can just shut everything off and run because I love being out there. Take good care Martin!

  2. Connie says:

    I thought you were really running naked. So what I got ahead of the story
    I got excited. I my be old but i”m not dead lol. For that i’ll be sending you something in the mail. Because YOU ARE A WINNER

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Connie! Thanks so much for the visit! I’ve gotten quite a few e-mails this morning regarding the title of the post … guess I should have seen that one coming.

      Thanks so much for the surprise coming in the mail – you are the greatest! Take care, J

  3. jeepneyjesus says:

    if naked means like what you said. i always run “naked”…haha i love listening to my body. i feel free!

    • joerunfordom says:

      JJ – thanks so much for the message! I’m truly becoming a convert to running without all of my “gadgets” – definitely allows more of my attention to focus on the natural beauty around me.

      Best from Austin, Joe

  4. Ty says:

    Great post Joe. The early morning run with nature is another call for the naked run…at least without the iPod.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Ty- Thanks so much for the visit and the message! Was back out there myself with the Ipod this morning and really enjoyed having the music to keep me rocking. Time and place for everything Ty! Best from Austin, Joe

  5. Robert Ranzer says:

    Ha. Joe. Have to say you peaked my interest with the title there. Don’t have all that tech stuff. All seems real cool though, to be honest. I-pod it for me. They even have shoes that you connect to a computer I think. (sure you know about these) Take it easy …

    • joerunfordom says:

      Bob – Thanks for the visit! Caught a glimpse of you over on FB this week – looks like you have been hitting the gym hard! Great stuff. There is a lot of great technology out there for running right now. The Nike Chip technology is great for sure. I change my shoes from run to run so much I’ve been reluctant to try them, but if Nike were to donate a pair to me with the chip to try out and blog about …….

      I do love my Garmin when I’m training for a race – it is great to check elevation changes, calories, splits for each mile etc. – but it does make every workout seem a little bit like “work”.

      It has been nice to just leave the watch behind and just “go for a run”. Looking forward to tomorrow’s “Naked” 6-miler on the schedule! Take good care! J

  6. Sarah says:

    I absolutely love this idea! 🙂 Adding it to my calendar right after I type this.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Sarah! So great to hear from you. Happy to add you to the list of converts! I can’t wait for tomorrow’s “naked run” – it makes Wednesday a day to look forward to. Take good care! J

  7. David H. says:

    I always like seeing people who get relief without the gear. I always have a run or two after a race to “run just to run” and not worry about anything.

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