And we’re back to the State Street Mile shirts. This one is from 2004. I gotta say that while simple, I like this one. I don’t love all the State Street Mile shirts, but they’ve had a few good ones—certainly more than those boring Crazylegs ones—and this one I like for its simplicity. I think one of the reasons I am inclined to like the SSM shirts is that they tend to be about running up to, and past, the point of pain, which is something I guess I can just identify with.
The shirt is a gray short-sleeve that just says, simply: “run. fast. breathe. hard.” Which is a nice little mantra if you ask me. It also has all the other regular SSM logos and ads and such but I’ve shown those before.
’04 is quite a while ago now. I don’t think this was from my first one, but perhaps the first one I officially ran the open race in (and consequently got a T-shirt). The reason I say that is because the first time I went down to Rockford on race day was when I had just started running again after a while and just coincidentally happened to be visiting my sister on the day of the race. I mentioned that I had started running again and she suggested I should do the fun run—I wasn’t signed up, but she said I could just drop out before the finish. I said I did happen to have my running shoes in the car, so I laced up and went with them. At that point I was doing a mile or two every day or two, nothing major. So I lined up in the middle of the pack for the non-competitive fun run, with the intention of just doing it like my normal everyday training runs.
So the gun went off, and we started running, and pretty soon I found that even though I was going and my usual nice easy pace, I was only behind one guy. Pretty soon, he started running out of steam, and I knew I wasn’t officially in the race, but I didn’t want to run slower than my usual pace just because this guy went out too fast, and the folks in the pace truck ahead of us were waving me forward (even though I didn’t have a race number) so I passed him. And just kept running. In the lead. I didn’t look back at him after that but I guess I put a good distance between us and pretty soon I was near the finish and people were cheering me on, and the race officials were waving me in to the chute. I knew we had talked about me dropping out before the finish, but there was really no opportunity for me to do that. So I went in the chute and crossed the finish line first. And then they asked me for my race number. And I had to tell them I didn’t have one. They were mad. I felt pretty bad about it. But I hadn’t ever run a road race before, at least not as an adult, and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just happened to be the fastest guy in the fun run that day. Ever since then I’ve run in the open where I belong and they’ve since done away with the fun run (which had nothing to do with me being a cheater, I’m sure, but is still a bad idea in my opinion, because there should be an event for walkers and other non-competitive types). Turned out that guy I passed was the official winner, and my sister, who I had just come to visit, got second.