Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ode to a Shirt

It wasn't until the summer of 2005 that I started wearing a shirt to go running in warm weather.  Before then, once the weather warmed to the point I didn't need to wear a long sleeve shirt I was running bare chested.  That was so long ago, I don't remember why I decided to start wearing a shirt.  Sun burn/cancer worries?  Protection against branches and vines?  Decency concerns?  Who knows.  I got a white sleeveless shirt by Hind that quickly became a staple on my summer runs.  The fit, the feel, everything about it was great.  I even wore it in the winter under my long sleeves as an extra layer.  A low estimate has it that the shirt has seen 9000+ miles, that's over a third of the circumference of the Earth.  It's been with me in heat, rain, wind, cold, snow and hail.  It's been with me through the desert, over several 10,000+ foot tall mountains, past piney southern forests and across wheat fields that appear as vast as the ocean.  It's been with me on easy runs, track workouts, the GAP/C&O trek, road races, and trail races including every 100 mile race I've done.

Wasatch 100

Leadville 100

Arkansas Traveller

Kansas Heartland

Oil Creek 100

As you can imagine, this shirt has acquired an odor through the years and it finally got to be too much for Gina.  I'm officially retiring the shirt.  I haven't actually thrown it out yet, it is still sitting on the shelf above my other running clothes, but Gina and I did pick out a new shirt.  The shirt we bought is similar, a lightweight white sleeveless, this time by Adidas.  I wonder what adventures I will take in it?   

I don't know if I will throw the old out. 

What do you do with old running shirts?   


Charlie said...

I think I have the opposite problem. I have too many shirts. I've even given away some that I don't wear. I've noticed through your pictures that you have pretty much worn the same shirt. I like that. Its simple. You never have to worry about what to pack for a race. I've got two sleeveless shirts that are "staple" shirts for me, that I also wear in the winter under layers. But I've got several short sleeved shirts about 4 singlets, and 3 different thicknesses of long sleeved. It gets complicated. So, I've weeded out some of what I've had and given them to new runners as a token of encouragement. But in your case, with the raunchiness that may be lying within the weave of your fabric, I'd either keep it in your garage if it has sentimental value (your wife might be happy with this) or simply toss it. (win-win for your wife).

Anonymous said...

Over the course of our training together, mostly me chasing you, I have experienced the elements of that shirt…and I hope I am not too late, but given that all you have been through with that shirt, you cannot throw your shirt away.
It has worked very hard for you and has never let you down. It was sad, when you chose to run without it, besides what else are you going to bring your baby home in…a blanket? Remember? Cora came home in an old pair of my lucky cycling shorts… and she loves her bike.
That shirt will someday be a tool, a reminder, and a lesson to your offspring. Keep the shirt, box frame it, use it as a post run wipe. Keep it in the family. Hell, name it!
Bobby “g”

Jannick Kjaer said...

Hi Matt,

I am sorry I am leaving a comment, I can't find your email. I am writing you in the hopes that you want to participate in an e-book we are writing about ultra runners.

We want to tap into the collective craziness (we mean that as a compliment:-)) of this community to challenge and inspire other non-runners to make their own life an ever-greater creative expression of their own goals and dreams… without limits.

Progress so far: We have currently contacted more than 550 ultra runners and received more than 90 answers.

We would ask you to answer a question about your experience with ultra running. Please note that these questions are related to your mental state and require that you are able to explain quite specifically what is going on mentally when running.

If you'd like to participate please shoot me an email at


All the best,