10-10-10 Minus 3: Dress for Success

New Balance Heathered Short Sleeve

Was supposed to rest today but couldn’t resist a little 5K. This weather is borrowed sunshine.

The weather forecast for Sunday is solidifying: Low 58/High 80 as of this writing. Gorgeous! I can pretty much finalize the wardrobe at this point, and it won’t be much. Shorts, short-sleeve shirt, shoes and socks.

Runners have more shirts than they can wear. It’s usually the giveaway for most races; it’s often the easy Christmas gift for a runner. The shirt is where the runner asserts personality. The race t-shirt exerts experience and sometimes exoticism if the race is off-the-beaten path (even metaphorically; I get the best comments when I wear my turquoise finisher’s shirt for the SF Women’s Half Marathon). Though most races know to give out wicking shirts rather than killer cotton, the fit and cut can be all over the map. And the graphic design, well, in some cases, embarrassing. Fortunately, most bigger races give out pretty good shirts. I’m partial to the old Chicago Distance Classic and new Rock N Roll Chicago editions, in addition the SF shirt mentioned above and the 2009 Chicago Marathon shirt.

(In the summer, I wear sleeveless shirts if any shirt at all. In the winter, the long-sleeves come out, usually under a vest.)

The sportswear makers are increasingly treating running wear as fashion, with coordinated colorways each year signaling that season’s look. Though I’m not inclined to chase that rabbit (for financial reasons, not aesthetic), I do own several pieces that are devoid of race references. Most are gifts, though New Balance recently sent me a red “Performance Heathered Short Sleeve” for review that has a nice cut, streamlined, and almost works as streetwear. Apparently, an “anti-microbial treatment fights odors,” but I just like the look. For Sunday, I’m planning to wear a black Nike shirt, with simple, elegant gray and white trim (a Christmas gift) that fits well, is comfortable, and looks good with my gray shorts and gray shoes. (Though with the forecast, I’m starting to get concerned about wearing black in a blazing sun.) This is how one properly dresses for a marathon: 1) feel good; 2) look good. After all, a million or so folks are going to be looking at you, and your picture will be taken whether you want to or not.

But shirts are easy. Shorts, which can actually affect your run as much as your shoes, are another story. Tomorrow’s story, in fact.

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