Death by Race T-Shirt

Last weekend, my parents and sister headed to Austin (one sister is already there) for a visit and also to run events associated with the Austin Marathon.  My dad ran his second half marathon, and my sisters ran the 5-K.  Seeing all of them there running one of the bigger deal races the country while I was at home struggling through my uninspired mid-distance Sunday run KILLED me.  But I guess that’s neither here nor there.

My family is proudly nerdier than yours.

I’m so excited that my family is getting the racing bug.  I won’t begin to presume that I’ve inspired that hobby in any of them, but I love seeing people (my family and others) take the leap into running.  For me, running is the activity that gave me more confidence in myself than anything ever has before.  Plus, the running community is one of the most amazing and supportive groups of people.  If other people can discover that for themselves, then I’m happy!

But that’s not what this post is about.

If you’ll look at that picture, you’ll notice that all three of my family members are wearing THIS YEAR’S race t-shirt at the race.  In fact, they do this for every race.  Despite my best efforts, I can’t get them to stop (p.s., they love me.  Even when I write posts about them and their questionable race day fashion choices.  They have to.).


AT Run for the Zoo


AT The Shamrock Shuffle

AT The Turkey Trek

I have an irrational fear of wearing the race day t-shirt on race day.  Granted, most race shirts are cotton (I won’t run in cotton), so the only ones I’ve worn for training runs are from Rock n Roll Arizona and Chicago (both technical and made by either Brooks or Nike), but it has never even crossed my mind to wear a race t-shirt to the race because… SCARY.

photo (3)

Pretty Chicago Race Shirt…I’ve worn it exactly once.

Potential reasons for this irrational fear:

1) Chaffing: Lord knows how that shirt will behave in the latter miles.  I like to wear clothes that I’ve tested.

2) Bad luck: I’ve heard that wearing this year’s t-shirt is along the same lines as breaking a mirror over a black cat on Friday the 13th.  The t-shirt is a memento for a race that you RAN. Past tense.  By putting it on before the race, you are making a mighty big assumption that you will actually finish.  Apparently this is a temptation of fate. I personally need all the good luck I can get for a race…tempting fate isn’t an option.

3) Runners start to all look the same anyway since there are only so many ways to style running shorts and a racer back tank.  Wearing the same t-shirt as half the other runners makes it harder for your cheerleaders to determine which of those sweaty people you are.  On the upside, maybe you’ll get some cheers that were meant for someone else?

But, much like those spirit days in high school where everyone gets giggly over wearing the same shirt and same school color face paint, there is something kind of cool in seeing a bunch of people collectively wearing the race t-shirt. Like, “Hey! We’re all in this together!” Kind of.

And it is quite possible that I am the only person who feels this way.

And it goes without saying that I’ll still love my family and be proud of them for getting out there and staying active (and likely even pose like weirdos in pictures with them) even if they continue with this trend!  I just don’t want them to experience death by race t-shirt!

What’s your take?  Do you wear the race t-shirt to run this year’s race?