So many running clothes, so little time

Wanna buy some used Karhus?

Today’s run (street): 4.7 miles

For the first time since fall, I’ve had two consecutive runs wearing short sleeves and shorts. Yesterday’s temperature was moderate, but the humidity was anything but. Happily, today was cooler and far less humid. In both cases I was comfortable, helped along by overcast skies. I’m not looking forward to running in the summer heat and I hope I’ll have the discipline to get out at dawn most of the time.

Today’s run or Rorschach test? 

Now that we are transitioning to warmer weather, I’ve started to pay attention to my lighter gear. Over the past eight years, I’ve collected a lot of running clothes that I keep in a wooden wardrobe in the guest room.  I have at least three pairs of running tights, three pairs of track pants and a sizable collection of quarter zips, rain jackets and long sleeve running shirts.

My collection of short sleeve running shirts includes the first one I ever bought and every one after that. I also have a bunch of shirts I got from racing. Storage has extended to a dresser in my bedroom. I also have six pairs of running shorts and dozens of socks. Don’t get me started on shoes. There are pairs I use and those I just can’t throw out.

I swear I’m not a hoarder, but I find it hard to throw out perfectly good running clothes. Perfectly good may mean different things to different people. I don’t think rips and tears necessitate disposal. As long as you can wear it, and it doesn’t expose areas that need to be covered in public, I think a shirt should be kept in inventory.

In truth, I tend to wear the same gear, cycling through four or five pairs of shorts, the same number of shirts and about half a dozen pairs of socks. That changes a little when the seasons change and I put wool socks to the back of the drawer until fall. I know I should go through all this stuff and keep only those clothes and shoes that I actually use. I really should donate the undamaged shirts and recycle the old trainers. I’ll make it a project for next weekend unless I can find anything else to do.

Wearing the seagull proudly

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt

Today’s run (street): 3.9 miles

The rain stopped this morning, so I took advantage of the clearing skies and went out for my run. I had no plan except to cover more miles than I normally do on weekdays, when I’m constrained for time. I was feeling slightly sluggish on my first steps out the door — I think it had more to do with the humidity than my physical condition.

I ran easy for the most part, not minding my pace or even looking at my overall time. There were a few other runners out at the same time and I crossed paths with a young woman who appeared to be struggling with her workout. The weather was taking its toll on everyone. I completed my run feeling like I’d worked harder than my numbers showed. If it’s more about perceived effort than actual pace then I did well today.

After my run I went for my six month checkup at the dentist. I was wearing my 2011 Cow Harbor t-shirt and my dentist (who is 8 months pregnant) joked that she’d skipped Cow Harbor this year because she’d gained too much weight. One of my daughter’s teachers mentioned last week that he’d ran it on Saturday. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, around here, Cow Harbor is the race to run.

Tomorrow I earn the shirt

Do the clothes make the man?

My friend Brian, who has run his share of races, sent me a note regarding tomorrow’s half marathon. He said: “Remember to Take in the Moment. 1/4 or 1/2 way through the run you’ll be saying to yourself….”I’m really doing this.”

I thought that was a really good perspective. I’ve run many races at this point but a half marathon represents important new ground. I’ll admit that I liked collecting my race number last night at the Expo and receiving the dark orange technical race shirt that the marathoners and half marathoners get. But picking up the racing shirt is one thing, earning it on the race course is another. It was a nice surprise to also receive an LI Marathon racing hat and some excellent running socks.

Tomorrow morning I’ll line up to run my longest distance to date. That means that once the gun sounds I’ll spend the next two-plus hours racing along a 13.1 mile course. By now I’ve thought through my pacing strategy, my race day hydration, nutrition plan and fueling. My knee feels much better than it did a week ago but it’s still a little tender. I finally feel ready to take this on. At least as ready as I can be. After six weeks of training, with a focus on building my base, I’ll face my biggest racing challenge yet. You only get one first experience at every distance. I will definitely follow Brian’s advice tomorrow and take in the moment as often as I can.

Race shirts: The good, the bad & the very ugly

One of Brian’s ugly shirts that isn’t already in the rag bin

Today’s run (street): 3.3 miles (9:05 pace)

The Snowflake Run race shirt

Recently my running buddy Brian mentioned ugly race t-shirts and he sent me a photo as an example. I’ve compiled well over a dozen race shirts in the last couple of years and many of them would clearly fit into the ugly category. This weekend I received my latest shirt for the Long Beach Snowflake Run and was pleased to see it was attractive enough to wear in public. My wife loves snowflakes and cozy long sleeved shirts so I expect that it will soon become hers. 

Good memories sometimes make up for wacky design

The other Long Beach race shirt I have is from last November’s Turkey Trot. It’s not a great looking shirt but it’s fun and also long sleeved. I PR’d in that race so I enjoy wearing it.

I guess flesh-colored was the new black in 2009

 I participated on a Cape Cod marathon relay team in October of 2009 and the race shirts were very close-fitting technical long sleeved shirts. The front is about as ugly a design as I’ve seen (plus Duncan Donuts and running are a strange combination) but the back has a cool lighthouse. It’s actually a good between-seasons running shirt and I especially like wearing it on trails.

Clean design and functional – I earned this one

The first race I ran in 2010 was in March, less than two months after my stay in the hospital for pneumonia. The race in Stillwell Woods was challenging and my successful run told me that I was back and fully recovered. We got technical racing shirts and I am proud to wear mine outside my home. As a wicking shirt it’s just okay, but it will certainly do in a pinch.

Subtlety was not the theme in 2009

The 2010 New Hyde Park 8K shirt was a decent design, but the year before it was an explosion of red, white, blue and yellow. The back was no cleaner though it wasn’t as garish as the front. Kudos to the organizers for making a change for the better last year.

The Dirty Sock design – not all that it’s quacked up to be

In my opinion the Ugly Duckling Award goes to the race shirt that actually has a duck on it. The Dirty Sock Run is a great event and the organizers always give out both a t-shirt and a pair of socks printed with the words “Dirty Sock Run.” I love the socks (although my son immediately commandeers them) but the shirts are not attractive.  The shirt color from the last Dirty Sock 10K is a strange blend of muddy brown and magenta. The front is blank and the back has a graphic of the event’s logo — a duck on the water. The prior year’s shirt was not much better – pea soup green instead of muddy brown with the logo on the front. 

Actually, I love all my race tees no matter how they look. Each one reminds me of a special time and the accomplishment of participation.  Still, if a race organizer has the choice of making a shirt more attractive, it would be time well spent to do that!