Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Boston Outfit

In my small world of racing (and large world of idiosyncrasies), I’ve come to rely on and embrace several superstitions, one of the primary ones being: the race day outfit.

Several factors weigh in on the race day outfit:

• How new are the shorts/shirt?
• What’s the weather going to be on race day?
• Does the outfit have past racing experience…and if so, what were the results? Varsity effort? JV effort?
• Has the outfit performed well in training runs, speed workouts, long runs?
• And of course, how does it look?

For Boston, I’ve experimented with many combinations. I’m not ready to retire other items. It’s hard to argue the success of my black and green Nike singlet and red racing shorts. We’ve been through my first Boston together, a half marathon PR that qualified me for the NY marathon, and my first sub-60 10-miler.

* dramatic pause for reflection *

No, it’s not time to say good bye, just make room for the up-and-comers.

It’s led to adventures in short-shorts (enjoy those legs, ladies) as well as transported me back in time – more than 30 years – to my dad’s University of Florida racing singlet.

The jersey comes from a different running era. In the days before wicking fabrics, power gels, fuel belts, and thick-cushioned shoes, my dad and Uncle (the Onthebusrunning Distance Project coaching staff), just ran. Cotton shorts, no shirts, popping into gas stations for water and pissing off the attendant. In the Florida heat no less!

The jersey is mesh and yellowed from the years, the miles, and the sweat. Barring snow, I’ll pull it on in the morning and wring out any last magic miles he might have left in there to get me from Hopkinton to Boylston Street.

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