What’s your number?

How many race t-shirts have you collected over the years? I don’t have the faintest clue what my number is.  Let’s take a stab at this question mathematically… I have been running road races for 30 years and I run approximately an average of 10 races a year. You do the math- that’s way too many unworn t-shirts for one person. And I’m sure that is a conservative number. Now times that number by 2 because Tim runs in all the races that I do.  I know, I know, I confess that I am a t-shirt hoarder.

Anyone have a clue what to do or where to store mounds and mounds of t-shirts?

Well, a few years back I had the hair brain idea that I was going to make one of those t-shirt memory collage quilts.  Similar to the ones companies like campus quilts  advertises and displays at most of the big race expos.  I was thinking that I would select a favorite road race t-shirt or high school or college track uniform emblem represented from each year that I have been running and have the words “Running Through The Years 1981-2011″ embroidered on the border. Pretty cool, right? In fact, I even took a 12 week quilting course and purchased a Project Runway model sewing machine with all the sewing supplies and accessories you would need, with high hopes that I would be able to tackle this project on my own.  I just didn’t know if I wanted to fork over $300-$500 to a professional to make a quilt made of running t-shirts.

I knew early on in the quilting class that quilting was not going to be a long-term hobby for me.   I learned that way too much can go wrong when you are sewing.  I ended up finishing the quilted table runner from the class with lots of extra help from the instructor. In no way shape or form was I ready or in any position to tackle a quilt made of 30 -12” squares with borders, sashing, backing & embroidery.  Yeah that project is never going to happen.  I think my problem was keeping all of the squares straight and in alignment once I started feeding the material through the pressure foot.  I can’t even begin to tell you all the problems I had with the bobbin.

The moral of the story is – no memory quilt and storage bins filled with race tees.  I decided over last summer to go through and purge my closet and filled several brown garbage bags of unworn t-shirts.  My husband actually recycled them and gave them to the contractor that works on our house from time to time. Even with the first stage purge, my closet is still stuffed with bins of these t-shirts that have never touched the surface of my body.

Someday I will make the decision and buck up and pay someone else to make the quilt. Even if I get this quilt made, I will continue to have new additions of race t-shirts added to the collection because I keep running races and I continue to get a shirt.

Wouldn’t it be nice if races offered the t-shirt a la carte? This way, I would only purchase the shirts that I like, would wear and that fit my body properly. I’m sure this will never happen because it would be a nightmare for race organizers to inventory and manage.  Or perhaps offering running accessories such as socks, gloves, elastic shoelaces, charms for the ladies as a memento for participating in the race.

Are you a race t-shirt hoarder?  Do you like receiving t-shirts or would you prefer something else? I would love to read your thoughts on this subject.