While all the other runners were sleeping (or least trying to sleep), I was embroidering felt patches for the handmade race apron I sported at today’s 32 annual Fifth Third River Bank Run in Grand Rapids.
That’s right, folks. My apron fixation as overflowed into my sporty life. And let me tell you that you really haven’t lived until you’ve ran through puddles in the pouring rain with strangers, while sporting a race bib AND a handmade apron.
My snap decision to begin making an apron 10 hours before the race was nuts, but I’m glad I did it because that apron salvaged what my have otherwise been a disappointing day of compromise. I registered to run the 25K event months ago, only to have illness and scheduling issues impede my training. So instead of suffering through a race I wasn’t ready for, I switched to the 10K instead.
When I stepped up to the starting line, I was suffering the effects of a massive craft hangover. My head hurt and my puffy eyes wanted to close. My salvation was the handmade race apron tied around my waist and the fact that I was running just 6.2 miles and not 15.5 miles.
Even though opting out of the long race was the right decision, I felt like a total slacker when I switched my registration to an easier race. So I decided it was time for a crafty distraction to restore the fun factor.
I put the kids to bed and got to work. I didn’t really have a plan, I just knew I liked the race promo materials: “I (runner symbol) for” that invites participants to fill in the blank. Short on time, I skipped making tiny runner guy symbols and simply embroidered the word “run.”
I’ve been in the habit of wearing aprons everywhere for years, but today was the first time I’ve ever raced while sporting an apron. It actually went much better than I anticipated. I picked lightweight black cotton and added felt embellishments. I was pleased that the apron didn’t get in my way during the race and seemed to give me a psychological boost. (Aprons must be in the cape family or something.) I was running tired, but could not help but crack up when I reminded myself that I was doing great considering the fact that I was likely the only person in the race who stayed up all night making handmade race gear. The ridiculousness of the situation kept me going.
I know it’s completely insane to get 3.5 hours of sleep the night before a race, but it was worth it. My time was an acceptable 51:29, but about two minutes slower usual. Ah, well, I had fun out there and got to follow through with my plan to run in something handmade.
Now I know a black cotton apron with red velvet trim can withstand a wind and pouring rain. Which means there are probably plenty more running aprons in my future. I also learned that even though I have a built-in apron radar, most people don’t. When I crossed the finish line in all my apron glory, I don’t think anybody noticed that I was wearing an apron. This is good for the younger men who I beat. No good comes of them knowing they got stomped by a 32-year-old mom wearing an apron. : )
The patches on my apron state that I run for: dreamers, apron awareness and me. What do you run for?