Day at the Office

Day at the Office
All Terrain Vehicle
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Phillppians 3:14

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The White Running Shirt

I have a white “tech” running shirt. I think New Balance manufactured it...but I am not for sure since the logo has long since come off. I love that shirt, not because it looks good but because of what is in it, what it means, what it has come to symbolize. I once wore it in the White Rock Road Marathon, a far cry from what you usually see in running apparel in a road race. You know the flashy, bright colored singlets and tops. I even got some looks like they wanted to say, “somebody buy this guy a descent running shirt….poor guy.”

I wear that shirt in all my Ultras and usually in all my really long trail training runs. It’s the white shirt in all these pictures, but the photos really don’t do it justice. When it was brand new, it was REALLY WHITE…like blinding white. Not so much any more. In fact a dingy grayish color with a lot of stains. Most trail running shirts are dark colors, just for that purpose, they usually get dirty at some point.

I can not tell you how many times I have fallen on the trail in this shirt. One sultry summer, I was running all night long. The shirt was soaked with my sweat from 5 hours of running…there it happened. I tripped and fell, hard, and the red dirt of the trail covered the whole left side of my body. I can still see the stain from that fall, in fact I can still see the stains of all my MAJOR falls. I look at that particular stain and instantly go back to that very moment on the trail. The moon was shining, the sweat dripping onto the parched summer earth. I was hurting, not so much from the fall but from pounding the trail. I sat there a moment, making sure that all the parts still worked and reevaluating why I do this thing called ultra running. I can also still see the stains of the billions of gel pack remnants, left overs of PB&J’s, and Gatorade that have gotten on the once snow white shirt. The very sustenance that fuels the body, left there as a reminder of what it takes to keep going.

I said it before, I love that shirt…man, it’s ugly…and what once was pure now, not so much. It reminds me of all the suffering on the trail. It reminds me that I am not perfect but a work in progress, both as a runner and as a person, It reminds me that regardless of how hard I try the stains will never come out….and neither will my imperfections of a mortal man. It also reminds me of the great runs I have had. It reminds me of my running all night with buddies, where things are hashed out and friendships are forged. It reminds me there was a suffering far greater that occurred 2000 years ago. It reminds me that all the stains of my life have been forgiven because of that suffering…and although the shirt will never be white again…I am…and so I run on…in that stained, dingy, once white shirt.


Mark C. Smith, "The Naked Runner" said...

The most important thing that I, myself, got from this post, Dave, is the discovery that I am not the only dipshit that falls on the trails. That makes me feel good! Love you!

faithrunner said...

Dave, thanks for the reminder that we all run long and we all run dirty. We also all have the hope of One who has run farther and carried all of our dirt with him.

running with you,


Big Daddy Diesel said...

Wow, this was a great post

ThaMessenjah said...

Standing Ovation!!!!!!!!! What a simple statement with such profound meaning. What a great post. They say that every scar has a story, but apparently so does every sweat or blood stain, every spot where a little bit of GU might have dropped out of your mouth, every gatorade stain from when you thought you were dumping water on your face. Such a great metaphor for what our Saviour went through to "make our lives clean". Way to go man!!!!!

Missy said...

Hell, I just think you like a uniform. Makes things simple and easy;)

Lynn B said...

God is good, all the time! You went deep on this one, my friend.

Lynn B