Collecting Race Safety Pins
Safety pins. To non-runners they’re something that one might find in their mother’s sewing kit or on new jackets to attach a tiny plastic bag with single spare button in it. (Who actually keeps those buttons? Maybe I will now that I’m sewing…) Safety pins seem handy, but they’re not all that important in everyday life. Heck, if you were to go look for a safety pin in your own house, could you find one? When was the last time you even needed one?
Pins are always “around” my house, but never really in one spot. They’re normally found in groups of four in random places. Sometimes in a drawer, or on the coffee table, or perhaps in the medicine cabinet. After a race I simply like seeing them so I leave them cluttering up my house for way too long. They’re evidence of my trials and triumphs. When I see them they remind me who I am: a runner.
What separates the casual runners from the competitors? Not much. Four safety pins and a bib. Boom. Runner + pins + bib = Competitor. Like most nostalgic runners, I like to keep my old racing bibs. Recently I got to thinking about those safety pins that I like to leave lingering around the house weeks after a race. If the bib is what makes me a competitor, what about the pins that keep the bib on my chest? I always get nervous fuzzies when I’m pinning on my bib. (Because I’m neurotic about race day, I normally do it the night before.) Usually my mind is a flutter as I make sure my bib is straight and secure, “Race day is tomorrow! All of my training will pay off. Here I go! I’m never going to be able to fall asleep tonight!”
After a few very decent races in February, I decided to keep those pins in one spot – in a jar. Good idea right?
Hold the bus. I had a problem. Over the last two years I have not kept all of my pins. (Inevitably my various piles of four were whisked away in the name of household-tidiness. Or my cat decided they’d be awesome toys and and has a stash of them under the basement stairs. Or they were used to pin something else.) So I went out and bought a pack of pins and I added four to my jar for each race. Is this cheating? They aren’t the actual pins I wore on race day. Am I a cheater? Hell no. I didn’t cheat when I woke up at the crack of dawn on race morning to wait in line at portapotties in the freezing cold. (“Yes, honey. I need to wake up at 4:30AM to get ready. I need to get there that early so I can get in line to pee and check my bag.”) I didn’t cheat when I sacrificed my weekend nights to the “long run” the next morning. (“Sorry guys, I can’t have another glass of wine. I have a long run in the morning.”) I certainly didn’t cheat during the races when I gave my all, mile after mile after mile. (“This is so worth it!” or “God, when will it end?”)
The pins are a reminder of what I’ve accomplished. Isn’t that what all mementos are?
(But for the record, all of my subsequent race pins will be added to this jar.)
How do you keep track of your running momentos? Leave me a comment! I love hearing how folks keep track of their memories…
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