I tend to collect stuff.
Baseball cards, autographs, Star Wars action figures, and even Beanie Babies.
So, as I ventured into my new hobby of running, I fell in love with the bling. It represented an accomplishment that I felt were beyond my limits. They also look darn cool. Many of my race selections (including my final marathon last week) were made almost entirely on the basis of bling quality. All of these are on display in my home gym. The racks are quite full.
I also saved all the running bibs. I am not alone in this…an online company makes a bib folio with vinyl pouches to store these. Next to each bib, I have a printout of my race results. If finishers certificates were printable, then they are here as well. Race stickers are placed on the covers. Race guides are slid into the pouches as well.
Remember…I will be running race #100 next month. That’s a lot of bibs.
Then there is all of the other stuff.
Race photos. I almost always buy them (you see them here in this blog). I have them all on my phone and iPad. I have made a couple of Shutterfly books (with a third that I will finish off at the end of the season). Most are pics of me looking like I am about to die. But, since I was never athletic, these photos have a weird fascination for me.
And, at every event, I get at least one shirt. Usually, these are short sleeved running shirts. Occasionally, we get the long sleeved variety. Other “freebies” include cotton t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, hats, hoodies, and even socks. In my early days of running, I would look at the clearance rack at the expo. Often the previous year’s shirts were far cheaper then plain running shirts available at the store (often $5 or less), so I would stock up on these for my training run. At bigger events (marathons, Ironman 70.3’s, Disney races), I would buy extra souvenirs (hats, posters, backpacks, coffee mugs, collectible pins-a Disney thing). I think I filled the trunk of my car for Ironman Wisconsin. Several months after Ironman, their online store had an end of season clearance event…and a lot of items were mispriced…hello $3 cycling jerseys…I’ll take 6 please…
Then, there is all the gear you need that isn’t “free”. Shorts, thermal tops, tights, shoes, gloves, race belts. I bought one set of “cold weather gear” when I started (it wasn’t enough at first as these were always in the wash during winter months…and layering was important). So, again, I would stock up when a sale would pop up.
Of course, there is all of the freebies at the expos…water bottles, shoulder bags, frisbees, lip balm, band aids, ice packs, towels. Most of the stuff was junk, but I stashed it away “just in case”.
I also have a medicine cabinet of Glide, vasolene, band-AIDS, salt tablets, etc.
Lets not forget cycling gear, helmets, cycling shoes, swimsuits, trisuits, wetsuits, goggles, iPods, earbuds, Garmins…
Its a lot of stuff.
So, with my final marathon behind me, and a move towards shorter distances/more regularity in running/no outdoor winter running/fewer events, I decided to wade through this mess and thin it out. Mostly, I was looking at the wardrobe excesses.
I took over the laundry room with stacks of running gear years ago. I tried to keep it seasonal and limited in scope (enough clothing to last 1-2 weeks). Despite these good intentions, it was a mess. It was also a very small amount of my running gear. A few shirts found their way into my regular rotation. These items just don’t wear out…so I never had to replace them…and the new gear just stacked up elsewhere. I found mountains of them.
After going through them, I decided that I would keep some shirts as souvenirs. The official event shirt from my first half marathon, every full marathon and every Disney race was set aside. I was more generous with Ironman swag (finishers shirts, cycling jersey, cotton and long sleeve polyester “name” shirts, and hats from each event).
I set aside a small pile of short and long sleeve shirts, shorts, socks and hats for regular summer use. I also set aside a larger stack of layers for cool weather (but NOT mid-winter running). Some non-running swag (t-shirts, hoodies, truckers hats) that I would actually wear in the real world were also set aside. This still left bags finishers shirts (most still have tags on them) that I don’t know what to do with. Someone suggested making a quilt…but most of these events were meaningless to me…so I can’t see spending money on this type of project. I suppose I could use the marathon shirts, and duplicate Ironman shirts since these “special” shirts will likely just gather dust in the closet and I could actually see them this way. Alternatively, I could donate them all to goodwill, but I don’t know if they would even want them. So, they are bagged in the basement for now.
Most of the shoulder bags, water bottles, frisbees, etc. have been tossed. The laundry room is a laundry room again. In the process of doing so, I had visions of being featured on one of the cable network hoarding shows. Even after the purge, I suspect that I still still could. I still have the medals and bibs…and action figures, autographs, trading cards…and the Beanie Babies are still hiding somewhere…