I am pretty firm believer that if you go through someone's closet you can learn an awful lot about them. (Not that I sneak into people's homes to investigate what's hanging in the walk-in, but if the dinner party was boring I might find myself drifting that way.) The closet/personality connection hit me this week while putting away some of my laundry. I have a closet that has two sections (some might call them jumbled piles, but I like the term sections). I have my work clothes, suits and ties, and then I have my running clothes. That's pretty much it. I can dress for a funeral or an Ironman triathlon, but a Saturday afternoon backyard BBQ could seriously throw me for a fashion loop.
As I was putting away my laundry, I came across my trusted black running visor. It's tattered and worn out, and for good reason. I have worn that visor for every run in at least the past decade. Thousands of runs in any weather, the last thing I did leaving the house was grab my visor and go. It wasn't much to look at when I bought it and soaking up my sweat through a dozen marathons has taken a toll. When I bought it--it was the shape of a normal visor. Today it's more the shape of my head. Over the years it's been molded and shaped to perfectly fit my melon.
As I was putting it back into my closet, I couldn't help but wonder why I had such an affinity for what is essentially a hat without a top to it, and that no matter how much I wash it, is perpetually stained with white, dried up salt sweat rings.
Once I almost forgot my visor on race day! (You know the scene in the movie â??Castawayâ?? when Tom Hanks looses his trusty volleyball on the oceanâ?¦heâ??s reduced to a sobbing mess, yelling â??Wilsonâ??â?¦that was me in the car, â??Visor!â??) I had to turn around and drive back home to get it--not the calm and relaxing pre race routine I had hoped for to say the least. It's at the point where I am not sure I can run without my visor.
So what is it about the simple artifact you would find in my closet? Why am I so attached to it? That visor has been there for me. It's just that simple. When it's sunny, it shields my eyes. When it's raining, it blocks the rain from my face (and if it is a long run the visor gives me something to look at as the drips fall from its bill). In the wind, well, actually in the wind I like to think of it as a racecarâ??s spoiler that creates enough down force to keep my feet on the ground (Ok, I have serious delusions about how fast I run if I really thought I need a spoilerâ?¦but itâ??s my internal voice and I love the way it thinks.) For all its practical purposes, the truth of the matter is that I think my visor makes me run better. (Look, I know there is no scientific way that the visor influences my ability to run...at all! But I think it does...and if I think it does, then it does.)
Come race day, there are few guarantees. You never know how you are going to feel, what toll the miles will take, or whether you are going to have a great day or not. But I can guarantee you this, if you want to cheer for a runner this Saturday who will really appreciate it, just look for the guy wearing the old black visor.