All I am is a (wo)man...I want the world in my hands.
Actually, I'm far more simple than that; I like to spend time with my kids and friends, I like to run, and I like to live colorfully. Last year, I'd seen this groovy INKnBURN tech "sweater," which looked a heckuva lot like a real sweater. When winter rolled around this year, and the company came out with a smashing new red, white and blue tech sweater, I knew I had to have that. In a year full of challenges, just the simple act of putting on something that fun brings a smile to my face. You can't wear a running shirt that looks like an ugly Christmas sweater and not feel a bit of joy. Better yet, that joy is infectious, as it turns out.
I first got this year's tech sweater prior to the Rim Rock Marathon. I'd worn it for some training runs, and I was pleased that my INKnBURN holiday sweater was definitely cut for a woman. This has long been a pet peeve of mine-so many race shirts and running shirts seem to have a unisex design....AKA, fit like a potato sack. INKnBURN does a great job of making sure their products fit the athlete wearing them, whether he or she is 4'10", 6'5", long and lean, or proud Clydesdale or Athena. What I did not anticipate was all the talk about what I was wearing on the race course. That was quite amusing, and on a race day that was tough for me, I laughed to hear men whispering "yes, that's definitely a sweater," or have women ask to touch my clothing after the race. I take my running and training seriously, but I also take seriously that this is a joyful activity, first and foremost. This soon became my go-to item for winter running.
I wore it again for the Winter Sun 10K, which is normally a crisp and beautiful December race. This year, in the midst of freezing temperatures, snow coming down hard during the race, and laughing to myself at how absurd it was that we were all out in this weather, it felt like the perfect thing to be wearing as I tore down the bike path toward the finish at Moab's high school, snow falling all around, and frosted trees hanging above. I wore it to a free Monday night race put on by the host of the Footfeathers blog, which was to test a brand-new timing system, and ended at the Copper Club in Fruita, Colorado, with free beers. Mr. Footfeathers and the gal helping him out said they remembered my goofy sweater from Rim Rock, and I once again had folks ask to touch the fabric. It's pretty cool that the thing looks like a real sweater to the point that strangers ask to touch you. Well, it might be weird to some, but not to me if it's made someone smile or question what the heck I'm wearing.
(pre-race, rocking the sweater at second from left. and, why yes, that is a gong that we tote around to races.)
I've also worn it to my job. I work in the largest hospital between Denver and Salt Lake City, spending my mornings registering patients for a variety of procedures from basic lab work to CT scans, pet scans, MRIs, x-rays, and other things that nobody yells "heck yeah, I'm going to the hospital today!" over. In the afternoon, I'm registering folks at another location for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and other treatments that might not be the most fun thing in the world for the individual across the desk from me to be doing with their time. Surprisingly, I've gotten more compliments and laughs about it at work than anywhere. That's a pretty cool thing; I strive to be that first friendly contact who makes the whole process a little easier, and if I can take their mind off things for even a moment, it's a good thing.
I most recently wore my holiday tech sweater for what has become "my" annual tradition of running Serpent's Trail, my beloved local hill on the Colorado National Monument, on Christmas Eve. Each year, a few folks have joined me in festive attire to run or hike up and down the hill, and celebrate being outdoors. As mentioned early on, this has been a challenging year for me. But, it felt SO good to be out there, doing what I love to do, and remaining colorful and positive. It may sound cheesy....but, at the most difficult times, that's what has saved me. Getting a smile on your face, not taking yourself too seriously, and being a goofball may not bring about world peace, but it softens things. Lightens things up. Gets one in the mindset to seek positivity...and it often follows from there. Hope this gave you all a little joy and amusement, and some positivity to end 2013 carrying into a new year. Sometimes it's remembering to do the little things we love, and doing them joyfully and with humor, that makes the biggest difference.
Top of Serpent's Trail, 12/24/13
Wishing You And Yours Peace, Love, Health, and Good Humor in 2014.
(If you would like to try out some INKnBURN, first time customers may use the discount code "karahtoldme" for 15% off your first order. I bet you'll smile as much as I do when I get to wear their fun stuff)