5k Naked Run
Naturist Foundation, Orpington, Kent
Not only had I started publishing this blog, but I had spent most of my spare time developing and exploring my new naked running hobby, with seven additional distinctive runs catalogued.
It was also the first time I was returning to a previous naked running location with the benefit of experience and hindsight. I was no longer a naked running novice. In fact, there were enthusiastic blog supporters who were keen to meet me at the event. It was all a bit unusual.
My dream came true. Britain experienced a rare, intense Indian Summer the week of this 5k naked run: it was 20c the day before the race, with bright blue skies punctuated with a few fluffy clouds. On the morning of the run, however, it was cold. An eastern wind had brought the dry blue skies overhead and it had carried cold continental air with it. It was dry, clear but autumnal as I drove to the run site.
The discomfort I felt the first time at the Naturist Foundation was non-existent on the occasion of my second run there. Not only was I now familiar with the surroundings and the procedures, there were many familiar faces (and bodies!). I met new people, some who read this blog, others who were unaware of it. To warm up my body and joints I went on a warm up lap of the course. I’m still much more comfortable running on flat ground. The site for this run is relatively sloped, so it really helped to do that lap and warm up.
Again, there were about 80 runners, mostly male, of all ages (ranging from ages 8 to 73).
At 11:30 we were off. In preparation for the three days prior to this event I had gone on a run every morning at 11:00. As I’ve discussed twice before, my body runs more comfortably later in the day. In the morning I’m stiffer and it takes several kilometres to warm up. With the warm-up lap done, I didn’t suffer as much from this problem. I also didn’t race off in a sprint from the starting line, as I did for the previous race, only to fatigue quickly.
This race felt completely different to the previous 5k naked run. That first naked race was almost terrifying. Not only was the situation exceptional and new to me, I constantly felt like I was about to die (I knew this was only psychological). It was tough. I pushed myself and felt it. This time the entire run felt comfortable. I was very aware how much my fitness had improved. Certainly my oxygen capacity and heart rate were coping much better. After the initial burst of setting off chaos, I wasn’t over taken by any other runner while I over took a few runners, especially in the last kilometre where I knew I could push myself harder.
Importantly, I felt that glorious beauty of the fire in the belly for most of the run. I could enjoy the sensation and stoke that fire without worrying about where the course went next or if my breathing was telling my I was going to collapse. It was pure enjoyment.
While the woods lacked the beautiful bluebells of the previous May and suffered from a bit more mud, it was a comfortable, pleasing 5k. Where the previous time I struggled and felt like I needed to stop (but didn’t), this time I ran comfortably – not as fast as I could, but fast enough. I ended the 5k not as fast as I have during a clothed Park Run on perfectly flat terrain, but given the slopes involved, I was pleased with the result.
Significantly, I placed 19th in the field of 77 with a time of 23m26, 1m00 faster than my previous naked 5k run. Adjusted with WAVA age grading, I ranked 14th (6th for my age category).
This was 0m47s slower than my 5k personal best (at the time), but given it was naked, on rough, muddy, sloped ground and that I enjoyed the pacing and the running much more, I was very satisfied with the result. I even had a smile on my face as I crossed the finish line!
When I got home that evening I registered for my first 10k (clothed) run.
What is happening to me?
Naked Run Facts
Date: 27 September 2015
Location: Brocken Hurst Campsite, Naturist Foundation, Orpington, Kent, England
Time of Day: 11:30
Air Temperature: 15c
Conditions: shaded wood in a campsite under partly cloudy skies with a very cool breeze
Run Length: 5k Run
Duration: 23 minutes, 26 seconds
Barefoot or Shoes: shoes
Photo credits: Naturist Foundation
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