110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Reporter’s first race is a memorable experience, indeed
By Jen Horton
posted Jun 19, 2012 - 11:49:27am
Life is such a grand adventure.
My daughter and I recently started to run. I was always the person in a car, hollering “I ain’t running unless something is chasing me.”
Now I’m running. I can’t say I enjoy it, but I do enjoy stopping, and that’s sort of making it all worth my while.
The goal for us was to eventually be able to run a little more than three miles without crying, puking or curling up on the side of the road in the fetal position, rocking back and forth whispering “I don’t want to do this, Mr. Jolly Green Giant.”
Note, that’s me only. My daughter is just fine.
If you read the June 7-10 Weekend Beacon, you probably know which race.
I have to admit feeling a surge of my native impulsiveness while I was writing that story about the clothing-optional 5K at the Sunny Sands nudist resort in Pierson.
So, I signed up for it. For work purposes, you understand. Because my boss told me I could write about it. Because everyone in the free world had either commented on the story or questioned me about it.
I’m here for the people of these fine cities in West Volusia, and they told us clearly that they wanted to (giggle) know about naked people running.
Now, I have a story I can tell for the rest of my life. It begins, “Oh, my first 5K was with a bunch of naked people.” Really, what else do I need?
I arrive at Sunny Sands around 8:30 a.m., and I’m greeted and allowed in after they make a copy of my identification.
I drive beyond the gate, and it’s absolutely beautiful, the resort. Honestly, one of the nicest manufactured-home communities I’ve seen in this area.
A man is watering his lawn, clothed, and I’m like, “Huh; this isn’t too bad.” Then a man drives by on a golf cart wearing a wide-brimmed hat and nothing else.
That’s when it hit me: I made a mistake. There was no fun story worth this. These people were naked.
As in they weren’t wearing clothing!
For one, how was I not going to point, stare and giggle?
For two, they ... were ... naked. What in the world was I thinking?
But I was in, so I went forward. Got to the registration booth, where there was a girl wearing clothes and a guy not. People were in various stages of clothedness, stretching.
Let me say this: I was not naked. At any time.
They wrote our numbers on our arms, because … well, because there weren’t places to attach numbers on a lot of the runners.
I slunk off to my car, took a quick picture of my number (because cameras weren’t allowed at the 5K), and dissolved into a fearful fit of nervous giggles. When I got back my resolve, I headed for the starting line.
The event organizer greeted me with, “Oh, I thought you might be Jen. I was looking, and it was like, ‘Who is that clothed girl surrounded by all the naked people?’”
Young people, old people, people in various states of dress. There was the guy wearing a leopard-print bikini top. The girl who placed first among females was fully clothed, like me.
Most of the women wore sports bras, to keep from bouncing. (That was the No. 1 question I got after I wrote the story.)
Most of the men wore nothing, and didn’t appear to be bothered by bouncing. (That was the No. 2 question.)
I was so afraid of the naked people, but, eventually, I had to talk to them.
Because, you know, I was there for work.
What a laid-back, cool group of people. There was a couple from Jacksonville, ages 65 and 71, who are avid bicyclists (the woman also participates in senior triathlons). There was a guy from Orlando, who found out about naturism when he accidentally waltzed onto a clothing-optional beach.
“I’ve never felt so comfortable and free,” he said.
So many cool people, and cool stories.
I almost forgot they were naked.
You have no idea how much your head and eyes move during an average conversation. You notice people’s shoes, and their shirts, and their necklaces, and whether they bite their fingernails. Your eyes duck down, and look up, and casually check out your conversation partner, right?
Surrounded by unclothed people required a new kind of conversation. Because I didn’t want them to think I was a pervert (plus, I didn’t really want to, you know, see the stuff), I kept my eyes above the shoulders at all times.
You have no idea how unnatural and challenging that is.
My new nude friends were so charming, and so normal. They weren’t, you know, excited, they were just runners who happened to be without clothing. Some of them were pretty serious runners, too. I really, really, liked talking to them.
When it was time to run, I was right in the middle, and I sort of pulled ahead of one pack and fell way behind the other, and ran by myself.
It was raining a tad, but still beautiful. The course ran us around the resort, through some stunning scenery, and then, through the resort itself.
That was charming and strange. I was running, and the people pointing the way and cheering us on, yeah, were naked. They were drinking coffee, walking dogs, offering me water, all au natural.
About half way through I was sure I was going to fall over and start the fetal-position thing, when I saw one of my nude friends up in the distance. I didn’t want to look like a wimp, so I just kept on running.
Eyes on the ground (because there were shiny heinies in front of me); one step in front of the other.
I made a decent time for my first run, and I made some nude friends (nude instead of new … it just never gets old for me), and I maybe lost some of that cattiness toward people who act different from me.
I’m definitely going to keep running.
I’m definitely not going to do any more nude races.
But the experience was worthwhile, and there’s one thing you have to admit. I totally win the “my first race story” contest.
The comments posted below are posted by readers, not by The Beacon staff. These comments express the views and opinions of the authors, and not the administrators, moderators or webmaster. The comments forum is governed by these rules. Please use the report abuse link if you find offensive comments.
Comment on this article
Commenting is closed for this article.
If you would like to contribute a letter to the editor, please click here.
Did you find this story interesting or informative? Subscribe to The West Volusia Beacon to read more stories by Jen Horton, along with others from our award-winning writers. Subscribe now!