“Hot child in the city, running wild and looking pretty”

Summer is here. Well, not officially, at least according to the calendar. But in terms of weather, particularly, running weather, it’s hot, hot, HOT. With that, last week began the time of year in which I never used to take part. Yes, I think we can safely say it’s time to ditch the tops and run sans shirt.

It took me 10 years but I can finally head out for a run like this.

For those who don’t know me well, this has been a step for me. Prior to last summer, running shirtless was something, in my decade of the sport, I had never done. It’s not that I’m ashamed or embarrassed by my belly; it’s a product of my genetics and, mostly, my love of food. I even wear a bikini at the lake.

That’s the difference though: Spending the day shirtless at the lake? Acceptable, even expected. Out for a run, shirtless, through the southern neighborhoods of my city? Unnecessary, even attention-seeking.

But as someone who’s Function over Form (both in personal and professional life), I started thinking about the simple functionality of running shirtless on very, very hot days.

It was a few months after my first shirtless running experiment I learned I wasn’t alone. You may have heard of @KellyKKRoberts, a runner who has been proudly running in her sports bra for quite some time. Similar to me, she was self-conscious to run shirtless. And similar to me, she decided it was just to effing hot and running in just a sports bra was so much more comfortable. In fact, her brave movement inspired a following knowing as the #SportsBraSquad. Basically, a group for anyone who enjoys the comfort of running shirtless and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of it. And for all you guys out there, @BareThomas10, also known as Running Shirtless, spreads the message of running shirtless.

Not saying I’m a full-on member of the #SportsBraSquad or Running Shirtless crew. I do it only when absolutely necessary. I do it only when I decide shedding the shirt is worth it to gain a degree or more of coolness on my body. In summary, I do it only when it’s hot AF. But I’ve come a long way and thank goodness – this summer is already off to a hellishly hot start.

My respect to you, Kelly and Bare Thomas. Thanks for reminding us all we’re strong and awesome and totally justified to ditch our shirts!

When it’s hot outside, do you run, bike, walk – whatever it is you do – shirtless? Or do you prefer to keep it all under wraps, regardless of the heat? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL. And because shirtless is as real as it gets, don’t forget to use the hasthtag #wellirl.


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