Thursday, July 19, 2007

Letting Go

There comes a point in every triathlete’s life when you have to let go.

Case and point – you have an entire cabinet in your kitchen dedicated to water bottles. Even though there are at least fifty in there, it seems like you are always using the same one. And every time you open the cabinet looking for one at least fifty come tumbling out.

And you wonder to yourself how you ended up with fifty bottles when regularly at most you might only use four. You think back to the races – all of the races – where you had gotten the dreaded green bottle with a white cap or a cheapo bottle that you would never use to pee in because you are so particular about bottle type, squeeze, and size.

It’s not just the water bottles that you are ready to let go. It’s the t-shirts as well. It was just a few months ago when I purged myself of over eight year’s worth of t-shirts. I had drawers full of these things, multiplied by two for husband, that I kept moving from place to place. Until finally one day I had enough. I wasn’t sure why I was hanging on to them or what I even planned to do.


For years, I tricked myself into thinking I would save them and one day make a quilt. Sure, in my freetime. Freetime? Hello, freetime? Even if I had freetime did I really think I would spend it making a quilt?

Scratch that plan. Maybe I should start wearing them instead. But it was long ago that I realized a cotton t-shirt is about as comfortable as a wool blanket on any bike or run.

On top of that, none really fit me too well. I had been miffed more than once, in fact just recently at nationals, when I showed up to be given a medium when I had ordered a small. It’s bad enough that today’s small is really medium and that I eventually ended up with drawers full of jumbo-sized shirts that are mislabeled medium/small.

Then there is the shirt slogan and design. While most t-shirt designs are just fine, some come in colors I would rather not wear – like dark green, or bright red. Or contain things that I don’t really care to say, like “get wet or stay dry”. And there's the reaction from shirt slogan that you are faced with when you actually do wear it. For example, the Hustle Up The Hancock shirt which every time I wear leads Chris to say “why don’t you hustle up my cock.” Ok, shirt, goodbye.

Not to be outdone by the fact that race organizers have found the one way to make us already dorky enough triathletes look even worse – the sleeveless shirt. The wife beater/tank top that most of us would never wear even to dig in the garden, even to paint the bedroom, even to clean to shower. These I don't even bring home. Please, please please already no more sleeveless shirts.

Sometimes you’ll get a visor or a hat. Here’s the deal – men will wear hats, women will wear visors. In the words of my darling coach about the hat they gave out at nationals ­a woman would never wear that hat. It was a dreary gray hat. Why would you wear that when you could wear a bright pink or aqua visor? That's when the guy behind us said a man would never wear a visor. Fair enough.


And then there are the things you have earned at a race. In our basement, we have a bookcase filled with these awards. A buffalo from Buffalo Springs, a wooden shark from Tri-Shark, an eagle from Eagleman. Those are the awards that actually make sense. Then, there are the not so sensible awards. The plastic picture frame with a printed piece of paper that says 3rd place. The Mardi Gras beads from short course nationals 4 years ago. And, most bizarre, the ceramic mug from this year's nationals.

A mug? What does one put in the mug? After the awards, I brought the mug into the bathroom and told Jennifer she had to pee in it just to be sure.

There are things I would like to see more of in my race goodie bag. If I'm going to sign away the better part of my paycheck to sign up for the race, I would hope to take away at least one thing that I might actually use. But that would first require definition of what I find 'useful'. With all of the random things I use in training, racing, and everyday, I thought I'd make a list of 'useful' things that could be stuffed in a goodie bag:

-Save my feet from misery - Socks

-Keep my hands from getting too sticky during ironman- Gloves

-Get this wetsuit off of me NOW - Body Glide

-Help my swollen clown feet to fit into a shoe during the race - Aquaphor

-Keep my bike shoes from smelling like I have swampfoot - Baby powder

-One can NEVER have enough - Tampons

-To jimmy rig gels to bike aerobars - Hair rubberbands

-The nectar of my life - Coffee

-To keep me regular - Oatmeal

-So many uses I cannot begin to list them here - Black electrical tape

-Makes a great post-race bedtime medication dispenser - Shot glass

-These days more useful than gas in my car - Laundry detergent

-Just in case the porta potties run out race morning - Baby wipes

-To keep from scraping me off the side of a hot road - Salt tabs

-You never know what will bring you good luck - Natascha's underwear

-Because sometimes I am a smelly girl - Waterproof deodorant

-Autographed picture from Robbie Ventura/Robbie McEwen/Tom Boonen - because who wouldn't want a free picture of a really hot guy

And if you can't find any of that stuff or can't fit it in, well, I guess I'm ok with another medium t-shirt. But don't be surprised if in another eight years I find the need to let that shirt go.

4 comments:

Bob Mitera said...

I totally agree with the useless crap in the swag bag. I've taken to weeding the crap out pre-race even. This spring...recycled over 50 water bottles, 75 t-shirts and all the emotional baggage associated with said races.

Last thing I need is another t-shirt...except maybe to clean my bike gears.

Jason said...

My wife recently culled my water bottle collection. It was a sad day, but she did think two cupboards full was getting ridiculous.

Alicia Parr said...

Seriously that's your first prize mug? I have like 6 or 7 of them, half of which I use to drink out of.

The thing I'd be happy to never see in a swag bag again - Hammergel. Ick.

Mira Lelovic said...

You need to send that list on to race directors across the country!