"Why is that necessary to wear to say 'look what I've done!' ?"
Mind you, this comment came from a non runner.
However, it made me pause and think just a little bit.
My initial answer was " I don't wear mine as to say 'Look at me! I did this race! I wear them because they are comfortable.' "
Whereas it was answered with a chuckle and a "sure" kind of statement. Then the conversation moved on to something else along running lines. Quite honestly, the shirts given out at events are my favorites to wear when I'm out on training runs because most shirts now given out at races are designed for running.
That being said, I pretty much forgot about the conversation until this morning, when I went to get a shirt out to wear, and the stuffed drawer spilled out several of its contents. What fell out: admittedly, mostly race shirts. I laughed out loud and became determined to clean out said drawer.
However, when I went to clean it out, I found myself reminiscing over each shirt.
"Oh, I can't throw that out! That was my KY race. Nope, not that one either, I did that one with Dawn. Oh man, I'd forgotten about this one- I threw up after it, but it was a worthwhile race, proving to myself new milestones. Nope, this shirt does not fit me anymore, I am 10 lbs heavier, but maybe I will fit into it again one day... That was my best time ever!" and so the dialogue went.
Many of my shirts I do still wear, but let's be honest, one can only wear so many shirts in a weeks time. Even if going for a run every day and then wearing one for work. But, I can't exactly go around wearing my medals, now can I? Now, that would be strange. A shirt....that is a wearable item.
My race bibs go into a little book I keep to log all the races I do. I love every now and then looking back on those and remembering. But each shirt comes with memories embedded in it. Memories, generally, of accomplishment of some sort. Each shirt is kind of like a trophy in a way.
A Best Time (PR for runner speak)
A victory of knowing I could do something I once thought impossible
Tears, sweat, vomit (sorry to be descriptive, but sometimes it is necessary for explanation) and all: the shirt was my trophy for a race that I will never earn a trophy for in the top of my age group, but I do feel at the top of my own game. So it becomes a trophy to me in that way.
Some races I have finished after a painful time: mom's death, life transitions, struggles at home- and finishing a race at times help me know I will be ok. It's a journey roughly traveled, but paved in part with running, and a shirt at the end of it .
A run with a friend.
A marker in time for personal growth
Somehow, quite honestly, every race means something in its own way. So, I will keep the over stuffed drawer of shirts.
It's my version of scrapbooking, runner style.