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Five "Green" ideas for the modern Endurance Athlete

Posted Jun 03 2008 8:04am

If you are like me and you?ve been training and racing for a couple of years, you might find that you?ve accumulated a lot of stuff. Everything from old race numbers to finisher medals to old running shoes. Which of course begs the question; what to do with all that stuff in today's "eco" friendly world? So here are a few interesting ideas and suggestions to race Green.

5) Old Race Numbers

I remember reading somewhere that you should save your old race numbers, frame them in a decorative collage, and put them on the wall to have as a reminder of your glorious race days. I have a different idea. Most race numbers seem to be made of that special paper that does not tear (unless you pin it to your shirt at which point it tears immediately).

That's why I like to take my old race numbers and sew them into a quilt of shame. At night I use my quilt of shame as a reminder of all those races that I barely finished. As I snuggle under my quilt I fondly remember my past races?oh look there's the marathon where my legs locked-up at mile 20, and I had waddle to the finish line for 6.2 miles. And look there's the Ironman race number where I flatted 8 times. Oh here's the half marathon that was so hot that I got tunnel vision, almost passed-out, and had to have my first IV. What a wonderful way to fall asleep.

4) Finisher Medals
Over the years I have accumulated a pretty large collection of finisher medals. You would think that they would be sized according to the distance of the race. You would be wrong. My largest medal is from a local 5K turkey trot I ran a few years ago in a tiny town, just next to my wife's hometown, in the middle of Illinois. It seems that the more obscure the race, the bigger the medal. Keep this in mind next time you set your sights on the Boston Marathon. Perhaps you should be training for the annual Ogleby Turkey Trot.

I've always thought that all my medals would make for great wind chime. But recently I've had a much better idea; to start you?ll need about 10 dogs of different sizes and breeds. The medals make for great K9 bling. There is nothing more stylin? than a hound sporting a gold and silver half marathon medal.

You?ll of course need different breeds and sizes as the medals come in different colors and sizes. For instance, you would not want to put that huge Ogleby Turkey Trot medal on a tiny toy poodle. That would look just silly. The best part of this idea is that the more races you run, the more dogs you can make over with their own doggy bling.

3) Running Shoes

If you are like me you probably have a closet full of old running shoes. They say that you are suppose to replace your shoes every 300 to 400 miles of running and that number keeps dropping. I'm sure Nike is working on disposable running shoes as I write this.

You could donate your old shoes to charity. There are a number of great people and agency's that collect old running shoes and ship them to places in Africa where folks really have no shoes.

However, I have another idea. We all know that running shoes are made of super cushioning sole material. Why not put this technology to use where it is really needed?your car's bumper. Over the years the auto makers have refined the traditional car bumper to the point that if you happen to lean on a modern bumper too aggressively, you?ll either scratch or dent it.

I have great solution. Just take those old running shoes and glue them (sole out) to the most likely impact points on your bumper. Now you have a car that's not only ready for the local mall, and any potential fender bender, but more importantly says to everyone ?This driver is a serious runner!? (That is of course when he or she is not driving to the local mall to buy new running shoes.)

2) Cotton Race T-Shirts

With the advent of new technology like ?Cool Max? breathable fibers, many of us now have drawers full of old cotton race T-shirts. If you are lucky, you may have a brother-in-law or sister-in-law that would love these old school workout clothes. Why? Because you know that nothing says I'm a hardcore weight lifter like a well-worn and properly torn cotton T-shirt.

If you are not lucky with the family connection here's another idea. Seal-a-meal those shirts and place them in storage. Why? Because you know that 20 years from now nothing will say that I'm a hardcore old school runner like an old cotton T-shirt. Sure...they may make your nipples bleed on any run longer than 5 K, but that's just another sign that you are indeed a serious runner.

1) Water Bottles

Water bottles are certainly the favorite swag in any race swag bag. They come in two varieties. The soft kind you can squeeze (good) and the rock hard kind that cannot squeeze (bad). Have you ever tried drinking from one of the rock hard kind that take two hands to squeeze while running on a treadmill? Word to the wise, don't or you could find out how fast 8 miles an hour really is when you catapult off the back of the treadmill into the glass partition wall of the nearby crowded women only aerobics class, who all stop and stare at you, as you lay half-naked, splattered with your butt tightly pressed against the glass wall. (Not that something like that has ever happened to me.)

So what to do with all those old water bottles. Here's a simple idea; they make great cat hats. Unscrew the cap, drill two small holes in it, tie a string through both ends, and put it on your cat's head. Magnifique les chic pussy cat. Now your cat will be stylin? with the latest cool cat cap. After all you don't want to make the cat feel left out since your dogs wearing all that medal doggy bling. Do you?

Post Script: No animals were hurt in the making of this story ;-)

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