Because running isn’t just about string vests.
EXHIBITIONIST Can I take my shirt off on a group run, even though the weather isn’t that hot yet? – SHANE, DURBANVILLE
Why do you want to take your shirt off, if it’s not that hot yet? Do you suffer from a genuine medical condition such as Uhthoff’s phenomenon, which causes your body to overheat? Are you running in the mountains, or through the centre of town? Are your nipples so majestic that the rest of the world needs to witness their glory? Do you have a tattoo of a flatulent dragon on your back that you want to take for a test flight?
Deep down, you know the answers. For the most part, taking your shirt off is unnecessary. Today’s running garments are light, moisture-wicking, and designed to keep you as dry as possible, without weighing you down. And besides, it’s not even a good idea in very hot conditions, because you’ll expose yourself to harmful rays; and in winter, the sweat on your skin can get cold quickly. So, I’ll ask you again: why do you really want to take your shirt off?
SPEAK TO THE WIND When I meet runners, they always ask me about pace, mileage and PBs, but I don’t want to talk numbers. How can I respond without being rude? – JOAN, EAST LONDON
One of my favourite Instagram accounts is a bloke called @ultraromance. He’s a vagabond cyclist who crisscrosses the USA with a ragtag bunch of cycling hippies, riding through beautiful landscapes and basically living free of most of the structures the rest of us are encumbered with.
A cycling holy man – think Eddy Merckx, spliced with Hansel from Zoolander – this guy rides for the sheer joy of it. Ask him about pace, mileage and PBs, and he’ll probably respond with: “I spoke to the east wind this morning, flew on the wings of a Pel’s Fishing Owl; and yes, I love peanut butter, my child – probably too much.”
My point: you don’t have to go to the extreme of abandoning your family to traverse SA like the running equivalent of @ultraromance, in order to unsubscribe from the PBs, pace and mileage gang. If you run for different reasons, talk about those when people ask you inane questions about stats and times. If they think it’s rude, then see how they like being showered with random, competitive, nonsensical questions.
“I spoke to the east wind this morning, flew on the wings of a Pel’s Fishing Owl…”