The man was so determined to run a race this weekend that when his Saturday race in Kent got scrapped due to a conflict, he scoured the Internet for a race on Sunday. And what came up? The Bare Buns Fun Run in Issaquah hosted by the local nudist organization up there. I thought he was joking.
In most every race he's run, I have been there to support him and this would be no different. It wasn't until this morning when we were driving to Issaquah that I realized "this is really happening" and a mini-freak out hit me.
Thoughts in this order:
- We're going to be surrounded by naked people!
- And they're all running!
- No paint or bicycles!
- You've got to act like it's totally normal.
- Don't look down.
- Eyes...look in the eyes.
They didn't allow cameras up there so you're just going to have to imagine a camping hideaway in the Issaquah foothills containing a nude oasis with pools, a meeting house, gift shop, volleyball court and stretches of grass where everyone can frolic sans clothing and no one bats an eye. After a little sheepishness, Ken joined in and became one the 150 pairs of buns lined up at the start line, with nothing but his shoes, socks and a smile. Having been one of only 7 people with their clothes still on (not including the Red Cross paramedics who's nervous faces made me think this assignment was sprung on them), I kinda stuck out.
Gradually the shock of being there wore off and when the first runners finished, I imagined the Olympics back in Greece so many centuries ago when all the athletes competed naked and how normal that would have been. It sorta makes sense to celebrate the human body and see it in it's finest moments.
Ken said that the course was difficult because of the initial 800 ft. ascent but being naked did not affect his performance otherwise. There were some interesting characters around and there were more men than women (but more women than I would have expected). Ken finished 35th overall and did his usual collapse in the grass just after finishing. He had to lay on his back for a while to catch his breath and drink water before he could get up. Ken seemed quite pleased with himself that he'd overcome his modesty and embraced the spontaneity of the moment. He keeps me guessing, that's for sure.
We zoomed out of there not long after the race ended as the nudists were getting ready for a long afternoon in the sun. It seemed like we were intruding on a world we didn't quite belong in. About trying new "anti-rut" activities that push our comfort zones--I would say this was a big one.
(Final garden blog later this week)