Minimalist Runner

No, this has nothing to do with barefoot running or trying to navigate your way on a trail in those goofy Vibram shoes. Like my post the other day, this entry is about getting rid of clutter. It's easy to accumulate junk as a runner. When I was younger, race T-shirts were often optional (you had to pay a larger entry fee to get one) and finisher's medals were virtually nonexistent. I get it that some people -- I'm guessing those who grew up in the 1990s (the everyone's a winner generation) -- expect freebies, but all I want from a race is an accurate course and an accurate time.

Here's how I keep my running clutter down:

1) I donate virtually all of my race T-shirts to Goodwill. I mean how many do we really need? And most of them are pretty ugly with all of the corporate logos.

2) Awards: Trophies make great wine stoppers. I've given a bunch to friends.

Medals are fun cat toys but in all seriousness I give those away to friends with kids. Kids love medals. Honestly, I don't think age group awards should even exist for people over the age of 18, unless it's a bottle of wine or a cool gift certificate!

So here's what my gear is reduced to. Maybe 10 T-shirts, a half-dozen long sleeves, five pairs of shorts, track suit bottoms, a windbreaker, hat and gloves, plus two pairs of shoes. One for racing, one for training. It still feels like a lot to me, but like I said in the other post, the weather in Ohio ranges from 0 to 100 and there's only so many times I want to do laundry.

Last up, here's a tip to reduce clutter: arm warmers. In place of a long sleeve T-shirt, I like to wear these under a normal T-shirt. They're easy to wash in the sink with Woolite and you're ready to go the next day.

Next up, I'll write about how to be a minimalist collector. We're all obsessed with something -- in my case, it's records and CDs -- but I have some ideas to keep it all under control.

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