A wise sage once said "you shall wear no race t-shirt before it's time."
Wait. Maybe I am thinking Orson Welles and the Gallo commercials.
Okay, okay, it was my running buddy Jenn, and she was ticking off one of her pet peeves as we headed over to the corrals for this morning's race in Central Park. Deets on that in a moment. This is more pressing.
One of the perks of entering races is the swag. Granted, it's no Tiffany necklace bestowed upon you by a member of the San Francisco Fire Department, dressed in a tux (Oh yes, maybe now some of you know my biggest motivation for doing the Nike Women's marathon). But still, it's been fun for the rookie that I am to see what the sponsors have to offer. And there's always a t-shirt.
There's a bit of pride in putting that t-shirt on after a race, telling the world that you ran (walked, crawled, whatever) some 4-mile or 10K race. You feel a bit like a pro. Today's race was a benefit for Central Park and the t-shirt was a pretty good one. Many of us remarked that unlike the heavy cotton t-shirts normally given out, this was a lightweight, breathable material that might actually make it out of the t-shirt drawer and have an appearance during a run.
In fact, many of the thousands of people who entered today's race decided there was no time like the present to try that baby out ... and decided to don it to run the 4-miler.
Jenn makes a good point. This might simply be too early.
God forbid anything happens during this 4 miles. But what if you are wearing that shirt, suddenly have a shin splint that cripples you and takes you off the course 10 yards from the finish, preventing you from crossing? Do you lose bragging rights to wear the shirt afterward? What if you're wearing it around the city, someone stops you and says, "Hey, that was a great race! What was your time?" Do you then have to sheepishly admit that you didn't quite finish the race and hope the Running T-Shirt Police aren't notified? (Which would suck if they suddenly showed up and demanded the shirt back on the spot and you had nothing with which to replace it.)
Okay, maybe I have thought way too much into this. But I'll admit after Jenn pointed this out, I was obsessively looking for premature t-shirters.
This brings me to my next point: we women have an alliance of sorts when it comes to outward appearances and embarrasing sitches. It's one of those unspoken courtesies that I like to think we all extend each other. Making a subtle gesture to your teeth when a stranger has a huge piece of spinach lodged right in front; quietly stepping on the trail of toilet paper some random girl has stuck to the bottom of her stiletto as she prances out of the bathroom. There are few exceptions (ie., Some super you-know-what dresses down a well-meaning waiter, turns around in a huff and you notice her shirt is on inside out. Frankly, you just owe it to Karma to let Her have the upper hand with that one). But I have found that in the running world, all bets are off.
Case in point:
That's me, the big purple girl sprinting toward the finish line. Driving hard, digging in, finishing strong ... with one of the biggest tags I have ever seen on a shirt sticking out the back. It wasn't until Mike and I were having brunch after the race that a very nice woman sitting at the table next to us (this is what I am talking about - the alliance thing-y), flips it back into my neck and goes, "Sorry, sweetie. It's been sticking up for a while and it was driving me nuts. " And even though she may have done it simply to quell her own OCD, I totally appreciated it, turned to Mike with a look that said, "Dude? You couldn't have fixed this 45 minutes ago?," realized I was about to ask this of a man and instead said, "How long was this up?"
To which he replied: "I noticed it after the race but you were with Jenn and I didn't want to fix it in front of her and embarrass you." I cannot fault a sweet sentiment such as that ... but sometimes only a woman can understand what another woman truly needs.
As for the race, TNT did really well. Jenn and I both kept great pace ... here we are at the finish:
Our team had a great turnout (over 150 people!) in a very competitive race. It's a scored race that many runners use for entry into the NYC marathon, so people were hauling for that (very hot) 4 miles. I had my best time, coming in at a little over 33 minutes for an 8:20 pace.
And I bet I could have done 8:15 if that damned tag wasn't sticking out.