For quite some time, I have been kicking around the idea of creating a functional reminder of my running journey. Naturally, this memento would have a variety of layers, and provide a great basis for storytelling – so, what else could be better than a t-shirt quilt?
Although far from a super unique or original idea, after I set my mind to it, I made an effort to separate all my race shirts that would potentially be included into a big shopping bag..for years. Really, years. I mean, I had grand plans for a snuggly little blanket since I earned my second runDisney shirt (the 2011 Disneyland Half, still my favorite half marathon around) but each time I set the shirts out, and checked around for price quotes, I took another step backward!
That is, of course, until this week. I saw a deal floating around on Living Social through a company called Project Repat that not only boasted some of the most competitive pricing I have seen, and is completely done in the U.S.A., by fair wage employees – and they are totally okay with handling tech fabric!
So, I purchased my deal last night, and then ventured into the hall closet where I had been storing my shirts. Unfolding each, I set them into square shapes, and created a pattern. I had chosen “full size” which meant 30 designs, 6 down, 5 across. Seeing each shirt was pretty emotional, as I thought of all the memories associated with every event – and so I thought I’d take a moment to share why I picked each:
- Row 1 (left to right): 2011 Walt Disney World Half Marathon, 2011 Disneyland Half Marathon, 2012 Princess Half Marathon, 2012 Jingle Jungle 5K, and 2012 Wine and Dine Half Marathon – this row is all about my first runDisney experiences! I ran my first half just five months after I started running, and surprised myself with a 2:04 finish, despite the fact that I wasn’t able to run further than 8 miles in training, due to getting sick. After that first race…I was hooked! I did my first Coast to Coast challenge that year, and was excited to earn a 1:48 PR just 8 months later, then really realized how much I loved the runDisney events! Princess was a fun experience (probably the last cool weather weekend of that series that’s occurred in recent history – and it marked the first time I wore a costume for a race), and then that fall, I was excited to run my first runDisney 5K, and pace my hubs at Wine and Dine for his first half marathon, ever! This was also the race weekend where I attended my first runDisney meetup!
- Row 2 (left to right): 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon, 2013 Neverland 5K, 2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon, 2013 Coast to Coast, and 2013 Disneyland 10K – this row solidifies my growing love of runDisney by that point! I set out to accomplish another Coast to Coast Challenge, and, after taking a week off of work, had the most magical experience of running WDW and Disneyland in the same week! This race week was also very significant to me because it was the first time I had family cheering me (at Disneyland!) and I was able to run a 5K with my mom and sister. Additionally, I was lucky enough to attend a West Coast runDisney meetup on that trip, and had a blast enjoying a run in a gorgeous, empty Disneyland…and speaking of “once in a lifetime experiences,” this was the trip that I had the pleasure of visiting Club 33 for dinner. Dreams come true! Of course, I *had* to return to California later that year for the Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare Challenge…
- Row 3 (left to right): 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon, 2013 Dumbo Dare, runDisney, 2013 Happy Haunted 5K, 2013 Tower of Terror 10-Miler – It was hotter in Disneyland than usual, but this didn’t tamper with the fun! We had a cupcake meetup that trip, and I got to meet so many friends that had, to that point, only existed in my “Internet friend” realm 🙂 That fall, the fun continued with an extended staycation at WDW with Tower of Terror fun with the Sparkle Athletic crew, and tons of fun costumes and laughs.
- Row 4 (left to right): 2013 Jingle Jungle 5K, 2013 Wine and Dine Half Marathon, 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 10K, 2014 Expedition Everest Challenge, and “I ❤ Sweat” tee – once again, an example of things just falling in to place! I wasn’t planning on running W+D again, but as luck would have it, I found myself back there, and was able to run with Jillian, and enjoy a great race weekend. When 2014 rolled around, I scaled back to “just” the 10K (since it was an Inaugural event!) at Marathon Weekend, then experienced the Everest Challenge with one of my best friends, Theresa, in May! With that race weekend, I was excited to complete the whole runDisney race “circuit” (with the exception of the new Avengers and Star Wars weekends, of course) and I couldn’t be more proud! From that point, I decided to choose shirts that signified other aspects of my running journey, so I chose my first “non runDisney” shirt wisely with my I HEART SWEAT shirt, which was a reminder that running is not only bigger than us, but can serve as a glue to hold the running community together 🙂
- Row 5 (left to right): 2010 Moss Park Forest Run 5K, 2010 BOO RUN 10K, 2011 Charlottesville 10-Miler, 2011 Stonewall Jackson 20-Miler, and 2011 Richmond Marathon – this row signifies FIRSTS! Each of these shirts displays my debut into that race distance.
- Row 6 (left to right): Team in Training Jersey, 2012 Baltimore Marathon, 2013 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador tee, 2014 ZOOMA Florida, and 2013 26.2 with DONNA – last but not least, this is the PRIDE row – these shirts are reminders of running highlights and achievements – my first charity marathon, my marathon PR, my first race ambassadorship (and most scenic marathon!!), my half marathon PR, and last but certainly not least – my most emotional, and life-changing race weekend, with 26.2 with DONNA.
Looking at this collection of shirts, I remind myself – I carry these memories in my heart with each run, and these visual reminders are just one piece of the equation when it comes to my relationship and deep love with running, but I’m excited to see it all come together, and share the tears and smiles with anyone willing to listen!
Now, all I have to do is wait for my shipping instructions and packaging, and then the quilt will be constructed and backed with fleece, ready for reminiscing. Hey, I might even be able to bring it along with me on racecations!
I had a few other shirts that didn’t make the cut, but those were set aside into a shopping bag, and will be donated this week, too, so I hope they can find happy home.
What do you do with your old race shirts?