Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dreaming Big on the Canada Day Long Weekend

 It's the Canada Day long weekend.  Normally we spend this weekend up north but given the fact that we've been going non stop for for the last couple of months, we've decided to stay put.  I'm looking forward to a laid back weekend around the house.   That's not to say I won't miss the quiet of being on a lake & hearing the crickets at night but there is plenty of amazing scenery in and around the city.    This morning hubby and I hopped in the car and drove 30 minutes north west to the town of Bolton to go for a ride.  The roads are amazing out that way.   A lot of them are newly paved.  And the hills!!  Oy!  They are relentless.  We rode this route a lot when we were training for Ironman and I think it's probably been at least 3 years since I've been out that way.  It was a gorgeous day, baking hot even at 8:30 am when we set off.   I forgot how much I really enjoy that route.  So much has changed since I last rode it but it really does give you a nice picture of what some of the Ontario countryside looks like.  We rode up and down a lot hills, which is normal for Ontario.  I think you could safely say we're a province of rollers.  Even further north, in Central Ontario the roads are still quite roller-coaster-esq in nature.  Further north than that, I'm not sure what happens other than a lot of trees, bears and logging roads.   Yup, Ontario is huge.  I've never done it but I've heard that it takes 24 hours to drive from Toronto to the Manitoba border, which is insane.  You could get to Florida from Toronto in that time!  And we're only one province in a country made of up 9 more provinces and 3 territories! 
In my 41 years, I've only ever been to 5 of the provinces, if I include passing through New Brunswick on our way to Prince Edward Island.  Those 5 provinces couldn't be any different.  Vancouver, in the west with it's lovely coastal climate and laid back life style.  Quebec, the french speaking province that gave us the gift of poutine and maple syrup.  Halifax, the lovely ocean side city with the brightly painted houses.  New Brunswick, the no-mans land of rocks and trees, at least from what I saw out the passenger window as we drive through it and lastly, Prince Edward Island;  the place that gave us Anne of Green Gables and some of the best potatoes I've ever had.  All so different topographically and culturally yet all so very Canadian.  I know one thing,  I need to get out and see more of this wonderful country, this True North Strong and Free
One of the women I swim with is taking a 6 month sabbatical from work and driving across parts of Canada with her partner.  They're going to travel for 4 months.  They've already done a fair bit of travel across Canada so this trip they'll head to some new places that the missed on their last go round.  This of course got me thinking about how I'd like to see Canada.  Driving would be fun, but it would be really amazing to run or cycle it.  Much like Chris' plan to traverse all the paths in his hometown of Lincolnshire, UK.  Funnily enough, in 5 years time, the Trans Canada Trail should be officially complete.  A continuous trail that spans the entire country from coast to coast.  Some areas you can ride and some might be better for running.   That would be amazing.  I can't even being to imagine how long it would take to cover all 23,000 km.  But I can dream about it..and what's life without a little dreaming?   Given that I've got 4 days off, I've got a fair bit of time to lay about and dream big.

Happy Canada Day!

What are you doing to celebrate? 

Have you traveled across your country?  If not, how many provinces (or states for my American friends) have you seen?

(photo credit:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Time for a Change: Bye Bye 1:40 at 40!

I've been writing this blog for over a year now and as some of you have pointed out, the title of it really should be changed.  Given that I managed to smash my goal of a 1:40 half at 40 years old I suppose you guys are right,  it might be high time for a change.  When I started this blog, I geared it specifically towards that 1:40 goal and only added the "other athletic adventures" as an afterthought.   Turns out I'm really enjoying this blogging thing and I assume that some of you out there actually enjoy reading my ramblings.  I thank you for that!  My aim is to create a blog that is much more encompassing than just a goal (knowing me there will be plenty of those posted on here anyway).  It's about a passion and a lifestyle.  I hope you'll continue to read along.  

After much research and brainstorming, I've come up with a new name for this little place of mine on the interwebz.   Ironically enough it was inspired by my rather unattractive feet.  Inspiration comes from strange places sometimes and given that it's fleeting at best,  I'm certainly not going to question it's source.  

So, this is just a heads up that the 1:40 at 40 has been re-named so if you've got me on your blogroll, well, you'll have to update it.  I'm not sure if it will affect Google Friend Connect or not but I guess we'll see!

Without further adieu, the 1:40 at 40 is being laid to rest.  Welcome to the world of Blisters and Black Toenails.

The source of my inspiration.  Thank goodness I have nail polish on.
 (photo credit: Phaedra Kennedy)

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Next Steps

To those of you that don't know me very well, I'll let you in on a little secret.  I'm a planner and I'm beginning to think it's somewhat of a compulsion.  I'm never content to just "be" in the moment,  I'm always thinking about the future, be it my next race, the next job, or what I'm going to do next year.  It's a bit ridiculous.   Right now, I should probably be mapping out my training plan for NYC and working on finessing my friend Kirsten's half marathon training plan.  But what am I doing instead?

Thinking about next summer.

Seriously?  This summer has barely just started and I'm already on fast forward to next summer.  Typical.

What specifically am I thinking about, you may wonder.  Ah.  There's the rub.

I'm thinking about running through the woods for a very long time.  Perhaps here or here.  I'm contemplating running a 50km trail race.  My first choice would be the Sulphur Springs race at the end of May and that might be the most ideal time as I will be coming off Boston in mid-April.  My concern, and it may seem silly, is that I might not like it.  With a road race, especially a marathon, there are usually a lot of people around.  Trail races tend to be smaller so it would stand to reason that there are less people around.  Given that they are run on trails in the woods, that also means that there are generally very few spectators.  I don't know about you but during a marathon, I need that human contact, that support, even if it's from one single person standing by the side of the road clapping.   So perhaps the smarter thing to do would be to do the 25km and see what I think.  OR, perhaps I whet my appetite with some shorter races in the 5 Peaks Series and then tackle the longer distances in 2014.  That might be the smarter thing to do.  And of course, these are all just thoughts, I've yet to commit to anything. 
I've run one trail race and that was last summer.  It was the Rattlesnake Point Sport Course in the 5 Peaks Series.  It was fun but man was it tough.  That particular course is very technical.  Lots of rocks and tree roots so there was a lot of jumping, leaping and scrambling vs. actual running.   My heart was in my throat for most of the run and I'm sure my eyes were like saucers in my head.  Open big, wide and round.  I'm not even sure I blinked at all come to think of it.  It was such a different experience than road racing.  When I'm running on the road, I get into a groove and I tend to relax and get tunnel vision.  On the trail I felt like I was hyper aware of everything around me.   All of my senses were on overdrive.   It was amazing.  I tried to figure out if I could get any more trail races in last summer but I couldn't manage it.  I hoped that perhaps this summer I might get the chance to do another couple of races but given the other races I want to do and the goals that I've set for my fall season, well, I may just have to wait till next year.  I'm ok with that, it gives me something else to plan for.

Do you plan out your races in advance or do you just train and then wing it?

Have you ever done a trail race?  If not, do you plan on doing one?

(photo credit: Phaedra Kennedy)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Run the Runway 2012

I heard about this race on the radio one morning on my way to work.  My first thought was Awesome!  Running on tarmac amongst the planes, how cool would that be???  As soon as I got into work I googled Runway Run 2012 and signed up.  I hadn't run a 5km in ages so I figured this would be a perfect test to see where my speed was at.  It was nice and flat and I hoped that we'd be lucky and not have too much wind to deal with.  It was also only about a 20 minute drive from home so I figured why not.
I left my house a bit later than I hoped, due to much messing about on Facebook but I still figured I had a decent amount of time to get there, get my kit and do a short warm up.  It took me just over 15 minutes to get up to Corvair.  I noticed a long line up of cars turning left but thought nothing of it and then realized that I missed the turn.  Ugh.  So I had to keep going north until I found a place to turn around.  The next set of lights allowed me to do just that, along with another dude who also missed the turn.  It meant that I was driving into a long line up of cars that were turning right to get into the airport.  I assumed that all these folks were also doing the race.  I glanced at the clock and it was shortly after 8:00 am.  The race started at 9:00.  We were crawling along.  Of course, I panicked and silently cursed myself for not picking up my race kit earlier in the week.  I couldn't see the parking lot nor could I see where we were supposed to turn.  Oh well.  I'd get there whenever I got there and if I missed the start so be it, nothing I could do about it now.
The line up with no end in sight.

 Turns out I didn't have much to worry about.  As I got closer to the parking lot, traffic seemed to speed up.  I rounded the bend and could see people turning into the lot.  There were volunteers everywhere directing traffic which was great as you were basically told where to park.  There was no driving around looking for the "best" spot so there was no parking lot chaos.  Thank goodness!  I parked the car and followed the crowds to the AMF.  The lot was almost full as well.  I'm glad I left the house when I did or I would have had to find alternate parking.  That would have sucked.  It was almost 8:30 so I had half an hour to collect my bib, take everything back to the car and do a little warm up.  Perfect. 

Packed Parking Lot
I tried to talk Gary into coming with me but he would have had to pay to go out and watch so I figured he could save that $60 for another day.   In retrospect, knowing what that $60 covered, I should have just paid it for him.  The funds raised by this race went towards Hope Air, a charity that provides flights for Canadians in financial need that live in remote areas that need treatment or care at larger hospital facilities.  The family that spoke at yesterdays event had to travel 16 hours to get their daughter into treatment on a weekly basis.  I missed the first half of the speech as I arrived fairly late but what I heard certainly got me choked up.  I felt like I was back at my very first race, The Run for the Cure, standing in the crowd, alone, listening to the survivors speak and blubbering like a baby.  What can I say, I'm a big softie.  After the speech, I made my way outside and tried to figure out where on earth we were running.
These smaller races sometimes leave a lot to be desired in terms of organization but this one wasn't too bad especially given the fact that it was being held up at the aiport.  The only real issue I had was with hearing the announcements.   It was tough to hear anything inside the hangar unless you were right up by the stage and outside was even worse.  Several of the runners had to step up and ask the people making announcements to speak up.  I made my way right up to the front so I could hear.  I noticed a bunch of other Team Running Free members and we started to chit chat while waiting for the race to get started.  These guys were from the Orangeville Team and they were all really nice (hi to Hannah, Jeff & Len!).  Hannah had just run her first marathon in Ottawa and was still on high from that.  She'd never run a 5km either so she wasn't sure what to expect.  I told her to go as hard as she could for as long as she could.  That's what I was planning on doing.  I'm not going to lie, a small part of me wanted to run leaning forward with my arms extended, you know, like kids do when they're pretending to be airplanes, but I didn't think that would get me very far.

We were finally given instructions to follow the volunteers out to the runway.  I imagine for the volunteers it was kind of like herding cats but they managed to get everyone fairly organized and over to the start line on the runway.   I wished my fellow Team Running Free mates a good race and wandered off to make my way up towards the front.  I manged to find some space about 3 rows back which was perfect.  The countdown started and then we were off.  The crowd spread out very quickly probably because there was a ton of room to do so.  One of the positives of racing on a really wide surface!  This was great as I didn't really have to work my way through too many people.  The course was a big oval.  We ran out about 200 m, made our way around some pylons and then headed out along the runway.  My heart rate immediately spiked and I could feel the lactic acid starting to build in my legs.  My breathing was shallow and ragged.  Not the best way to start a race but at least it was short.  I figured that I'd calm down by the time I hit the first km.  Sure enough, as I approached the 1km mark, I started to feel better.  My Garmin beeped and I looked down to see that that first km was run in 3:44.  Uh.  Wow.  Not sure I'll be able to keep that pace up but it's a good start.  I passed a few guys and then realized that there were no other women in front of me.  Wow, where is everyone? was all I could think.  I figured there had to be another woman close behind me but I didn't want to turn around to check so  just kept running as hard as I could.  Kilometer number 2 rolled over in 3:53.  Whoa, another sub 4 minute km.  Geez.  I was really feeling it in my legs.  It was hot as all hell out on the tarmac.  I figured we should be turning around soon so I kept my eyes glued on the runners in front of me, waiting patiently for a sign that the turnaround was coming up.  Given that the course was totally flat and I had a bunch of taller people in front of me, I couldn't really see anything.  Finally I saw the 3 leaders coming towards me.   Ahhh, I was almost halfway done.  I also got to see where all the other ladies were.
I made my way around the pylons only to be smacked in the face by a headwind.  Awesome.  That would explain my sub 4 minute km's earlier.  I glanced at my Garmin and watched the speed drop.  4:00 min/km's, down to 4:08's down to 4:11's.  I hoped that the 2 women that weren't too far behind me didn't have a strong finishing kick.  I seemed to be able to hang on to 4:10's but I desperately wanted to find someone to draft off of.  I pushed hard to catch the guy in front of me and I tucked in behind him for a bit.  He started to pull away and I couldn't hang on.  I couldn't see the finish but I could see the 4km marker coming up.  I started to tell myself only 5 minutes max, just hang on for another 5 minutes.  I was totally dying.  I was hot, I was hurting and I really felt like I was going to heave.   The triple H was almost in affect!  I was hoping that I'd save the heaving until I crossed the finish line.  Projectile vomit would not have been very sporting of me.  The finish line started to come into view and I saw 2 of the volunteers scrambling with the finish line tape.  I tried to push but I had nothing.  As I got close to the line 2 guys passed me on either side and broke the tape.   


Ah well, first place was first place, no matter if got to break the tape or not and I managed a new PB of 20:17 so it was impossible for me to be disappointed.   And the guy in question came up to me much later and apologized profusely which I thought was really nice.  He had no clue that I was the first place woman.  He thought that they put the tape up because he was the first place team finisher.  Such is life.

It was definitely an interesting place to race.  Given the logistics involved I thought that the organizers did a pretty good job.  There was a TON of post race food and water which is always great and there were plenty of porta potties on either side of the hangar so they were very well prepared.  The medal is also pretty cool too.  The best part is that race managed to raise $200,000 for Hope Air.  It's definitely something I'd do again.  If you want something flat, fairly fast and unique, then I'd highly recommend this race.

(photo credits: Phaedra Kennedy)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Sporting Bond

This past weekend we went up to Windermere House for our friends wedding.  Said friends met through mutual friends in the triathlon community.  Their engagement last year prompted me to write this post about how I met my husband.  Which got me to thinking once again about how much sport can unite people both literally and figuratively.  Case in point:  Back in 1993 when the Maple Leafs were actually still a decent hockey team, they came very close to making it to the Stanley Cup Finals.  I happened to be at a bar downtown with my friends for one of the games.  It was a close one and the Leafs won it.  Judging by celebration on Yonge Street, you'd think they won the Cup.  Everyone flooded out onto the street, hugging and high-fiving total strangers.  I see a similar thing happen at races, especially towards the finish line.  Strangers cheering on strangers, offering up support and high-fives.  That's what I love about sport in general.  It unites us all in a common bond, whether it be for a lifetime or just for an evening.  The best part is, you don't have to be an athlete to be a part of that bond.  You just need to be passionate about a sport, whether it be through participation or through observation, or both.  It's all about passion.  Passion is what keeps you coming back for more.  It's what creates that sporting bond and, if you ask me, makes this world a much more interesting place. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

5 Things I'm Loving Right Now

Inspired by SUAR's post the other day, I'm a bit late to the party but at least I'm playing along.  She has a great point, it's great to see what other folks are into when it comes to training & nutrition. Who knows what you may discover?  It's also a nice little reminder to focus on the little things that make you happy. 

1.  Rush's new album Clockwork Angels.  It's been 5 years since their last album so I can't get enough right now.  This record has me rockin' out all day at work (it's been on repeat since I downloaded on Tuesday when it came out).  A couple of choice songs have made it on to my running playlist already.  I have to resist the urge to air drum when I run just in case people think I'm having a seizure.  Call me a prog rock nerd, a Unicorn or a Geddycorn, I don't care.  These guys are amazing.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will come calling soon.

2.  Chick pea flour.  Also known as Besan or Garbanzo Bean flour.  I had a love affair with this flour last year, as a result of this amazing recipe for spinach and feta pie.  I now use it to make pizza crust.  It's not terribly low carb but it's fairly high in protein and fiber and it's mighty tasty. Since it is very high in fiber there is a good chance it could make you rather ummm..."fragrant" a few hours later (it is made from beans d'uh!).   It's a good option for anyone who is gluten intolerant as well.

3.  Dymatize ISO 100 - Hydrolized Whey Protein.  I'm good with either chocolate or vanilla.  Why do I like this stuff?  1) It tastes great alone or in smoothies.  2) Because it's hydrolized, there is very little if any lactose in it which means I'm not going to fart like demon after ingesting it.  And 3) there's only 106 calories in a scoop.  Win-win for my nose and my figure!

4.  My Zoot Sports running skirt.  Nothing like a flirty little lycra skirt to make you feel like like a Running Goddess with the best gams ever.  It's not too short and the shorts underneath stay put. There's no camel toe or hungry bum issues either.  And, it's got a handy little zippered pocket at the back that is big enough to store a couple of gels if need be.   This particular version came in a variety of bright colours but boring old me opted for black. 

5.  Foam Roller.  Sure these may be old news in the running world but they are the best invention ever.  Whoever came up with this idea is a genius.  I have to say, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with it.  It hurts like hell but feels soooo good at the same time.  It leaves me very conflicted.  I want to hate it but I can't.  I wish I didn't need it but I can't help myself.
 An honorable mention goes to my compressport calf sleeves.  Given that I'm not racing or doing any long distance stuff right now, these bad boys have been given a bit of a hiatus.  Come July I'll be busting them back out as the mileage starts to creep up.  And, since it is summer,  I might even get myself a pair in white.

What 5 things are you loving right now?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Use it or Lose It.

I hate to break it to you folks but that old adage really does ring true in pretty much everything across the Board of Life.  Want to keep your grey matter sharp? Do the Sunday crossword. Want to stay strong as you age?  Keep lifting weights.  Want to be a rock star?  Keep practicing, kiss some ass and hope that you get a lucky break.
Whatever the case may be, you need to use it because if you don't there's a good chance you'll lose it.  For example, I graduated from University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.  I could draw wonderful pictures worthy of framing, at least that's what my parents said.  Now, 15+ years later, I can't even draw a decent stick figure. Why?  Because I stopped drawing altogether when I got out of University.  I'm sure the talent is still there, I just need to find it again.  It's much like riding a bike.  You never really forget, it just takes a bit of regular practice to get the hang of it again. 
 I have to say, regular practice is something that I have sorely missed when it comes to speed work.  My lack of it was evidenced by my incredibly inconsistent effort at some mile repeats last Thursday.  I kept telling myself that perhaps it was because I was fighting something but let's be real, I've done very little speed work since the marathon.  I think I can count on one hand the number of times I've gone out and run intervals or done a tempo run.  Holy moly does it ever show.  My endurance is totally fine but I've lost some serious top end speed.  My repeats were as follows:

#1:  6:16.  Totally busted a gut on this one.  Went too hard too soon.  You'd think I was a 16 year old boy.
#2:  6:35   Worked just as hard if not harder but went slower.  Go figure.
#3   6:57  WTF.  An implosion of colossal proportions as my husband so lovingly said.  I have to agree.  I had nothing left for that last repeat.  N.O.T.H.I.N.G.  The worst part of that was that I could taste my lunch in the last 400m or so.  Gotta be honest, it tasted better going down.

I can't complain about consistent sub 7 minute miles so I won't go down that road.  But the inconsistency between the 3 is huge.  That just tells me it's time to get back on track with my group runs.  Yes folks, the time for ass kicking is here and I'm going to start with my own.

(graphic copyright Phaedra Kennedy 2012)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Get Your Group On!

No, I'm not going to write a post about a crazy deal I found on Groupon.  In fact, I don't even use Groupon.  Minor detail.

Nope, today I'm giving a shout out to my running group:  The West Toronto Pacers.

For the majority of my early running years, I was a solo runner.  That changed when I started doing longer distances and I started training with the Running Room.  We had 2 group runs a week which was a new experience for me.  I found that I looked forward to these runs more than the runs I did on my own.  Especially the Sunday long runs, despite the fact that they started at 8:00 am, which generally meant I would get very little sleep on Saturday nights.  Cause in those days I was still going out to bars and dancing the night away.  Even after staying out late on a Saturday,  I never felt like I could bail on the group so I'd drag my sorry, hungover butt out of bed and go meet the group.  The odd time I did sleep in, I got grief from my running partners.   I didn't like to miss a workout because it meant that I was doing it on my own.  Given that this was before the time of Garmins and Map My Run apps, I always had a tough time trying to figure out how far I should go.   Running with the group made it easier because we had predetermined routes and distances.  No brainer!  I ended up training with the Running Room Group for 2 years.  My last year with them got me a Boston Qualifier.  After Boston I decided it was time to try my hand at triathlons.  This adventure brought training with a group to a whole new level.  I swam with a Masters group and through cycling I was introduced to a whole other group of people.  Funnily enough, I stopped running with a group at this point in time.  I'd do the occasional run with some training buddies or my hubby but for the most part I ran solo and I was ok with that.
As the years ticked by, I kept running on my own.  I also started to slow down.  I figured that would happen as I aged but I didn't think that it would be so dramatic.  After my dismal B.Q attempt in 2010, I decided that I needed to work at getting faster.  The Universe intervened when my friend Joseph had a party at his place for all this "athletic friends".  This party also happened to be the fall social for the run club he was a part of:  The West Toronto Pacers.  I knew some of the Pacers from my old swim group and from seeing them around at various races.  That evening was a lot of fun and everyone I met that night was super nice.  At the end of the evening I timidly asked Joe about coming out to the group.  He was so excited to have another friend join.  I was worried I'd be the slowest person there.  He told me not to worry, there were people of all abilities.  He was right.  I'll never forget my first night out with them.  We met at the Memorial Community Centre and I was introduced to everyone.  There were a couple of folks there that I knew; the really fast gang, my friend Joe being one of them.  Jeff, who was one of the club founders was there with maps for everyone.  We did just over 10km tempo on a route that they call Southbound to Berry.  It was freaking hard.  You basically run downhill towards the water and then turn around and run back up.  I ran with Mike, who was someone that I happened to work with occasionally.  I remember getting back to the community centre totally breathless but pumped that I managed to average 4:59 km's.  As we all stood around chatting & stretching afterwards, I felt like I was back at the Running Room.  There was a great sense of camaraderie.  I knew I'd be back out on Thursday for more.  That was back in November of 2010.  I can't always make the Tuesday and Thursday night workouts but when I do, I always leave with a spring in my step.  I credit this group with helping me get my running to where it is now.  If it wasn't for them, there's a good chance I wouldn't have had the year I did last year.  I got faster and I made a whole bunch of new friends and training partners.  Win/win situation if you ask me.
If you have a local running store that you frequent, as them if they know of any local groups in your area.  What have you got to lose?  Nothing.  The bigger question you should be asking yourself is what could you possibly gain?  Lots.  So what are you waiting for, go and get your group on!
Some of WTP at The Korean 10km

(photo credit:  Phaedra Kennedy)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Lifelong Relationship

Runners are a crazy bunch. I know that's one of the reasons I love the sport.  When I started this journey 14 years ago, I never thought that I'd love it as much as I do.  Sure we've had our moments, much like any relationship does.  You can't take it for granted and you have to work at it.  I think this can be said for just about anything - if you love it, you'll do it.  

I have to let you in on a little secret.  When I started running, I didn't love it.  Those first few outings were incredibly unpleasant.  I was out of shape and I could barely run for 5 minutes.  The first time I tried that I had a hard time walking the next day.  I had to break it down to a 2 minute jog, 2 minute walk.  It was all about moving forward and doing something for me.  I had a point to prove to myself and the Naysayer in my life who figured it was just a phase.  Thank goodness I'm stubborn especially when it comes to proving a point, because I kept at it.   I would go a little bit longer and a little bit farther every day.  It took me a while but I eventually made it to a full half hour of running non stop.  For those of you that don't think it's possible, humor me and just try.  Take that first step.   Especially today.  Why?  Because it's National Running Day!  Get out there and celebrate the fact that you're able to move your body, regardless of how fast or slow it may be.  You'll be glad you did.  Much like life, not every day will be great but some days will be.  Savour the good days, learn from the bad ones and most importantly, keep moving forward!      

As I look back on these last 14 years, I confess that I am head over heels in love.  I can't imagine my life without running.  All because I decided to take that first step.  Sometimes that first step is the hardest but it's always the one worth taking.

Happy National Running Day!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Run, Race, Re-purpose.

The chaos of the last couple of months has finally died down and in it's wake we've been left with a pretty messy house.  Today was the first time in what seemed like months where I actually had the time and the energy to get around to doing some serious cleaning.
I never cease to be amazed at how much mess two people can make and how much stuff we amass, especially in the clothes department.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit of a clothes horse.  I love clothes.  Given my penchant for nice duds, I've become fairly ruthless as to what stays in my closet and what goes so I never really find that there are things in my closet that I don't wear. 
My workout clothes are a bit of a different story.  I tend to hang on to this stuff a lot longer than I probably should.  Mainly because I think that I don't wear it as much as I do, say, a pair of jeans.  But given that I tend to work out an average of 5 days a week, I'm re-thinking that statement.  I did a workout clothes re-evaluation last year after I lost a lot of weight.  I finally took the time to weed through it all and get rid of stuff that didn't fit me or that was just plain gross.  Old things got chucked and newer things that were still in good condition either got sold on e-bay or brought to a consignment store.  One thing I hung on to for some strange reason were my race shirts, which by the end of last year, had grown to a rather impressive pile. 
Going through them this morning, I thought "Why the hell did I keep half of these?"  There are several I've never worn because they are either ugly, ill fitting or both.  Instead of chucking them into the Goodwill bag, I figured they might come in handy as dust rags or cleaning cloths.  So, out came the scissors and I cut the shirts up.  I now have a nice little pile of rags that I can use for cleaning instead of wasting a pile of paper towels.  A win / win situation if you ask me.
Of course as I was dusting the furniture with my newly minted cleaning cloths, I started thinking about the whole idea of race t-shirts.  The Subaru Triathlon series used to post their t-shirt designs on their site ahead of time so you could see what sort of souvenir you'd be getting if you did the race.  Not a bad idea.  I wished more races did that.   What would be even better was if race organizers made the race t-shirt optional.  I get that some folks like to feel like they're getting something for their entry fee.  For the most part, I could care less and I'm sure there are others out there like myself who probably toss the race shirt into their closet and leave it there until it's time for another round of spring cleaning when said t-shirt finds its way into either the garbage or a bag headed to Goodwill. Sure, there are some race t-shirts that I will keep until they fall apart (my first Boston shirt & my two Ironman finishers shirts) but the rest of them I could do without.  I'd be a happy camper if race organizers made the t-shirt an optional selection and gave racers who opted out of getting a t-shirt a discount on the entry fee.  THAT would be excellent.  It would certainly free up some space in my closet and would definitely help keep some dollars in my wallet. 

Given the option would you chose the t-shirt or a discount on an entry fee?

Do you keep / wear your race t-shirts?  If so, what's your favourite one?