Runner Swag Swap

You guys.You guys. The running community is so amazing.

If you follow me on Twitter, every other Sunday you are subjected to an hour of frantic story-swapping, question-answering, and fast and furious retweeting. All about running, courtesy of #runchat. If you are a Facebook friend, you know I love to update each morning of an event with “Feel da rhythm! Feel da rhyme! Get on up, it’s [insert event name here] time!” If you follow my Pinterest posts you get bombarded with wedding plans inspirational running quotes. When I discover that a new ‘regular’ friend is also a runner, I just about burst. Even better when ‘runner’ friends become ‘regular’ friends!

Other than the occasional 5K, I do almost all of my running alone. It is my very truest ‘me time.’ No to do list, no responding to emails, no TV to numb/melt my brain. But having a community to share triumphs (or the occasional failures) with is unmeasurably important.

When Katie (awesome name, friend) posted on Twitter that she was going to host a Runner Swag Swap, I practically tripped all over myself to sign up. A Runner Swag Swap is this: you get paired up with another person from Lord-knows-where, and you get their name and address. Then you go buy $30ish dollars worth of running gifties and goodies and other fun things, jam them in a box, stamp ’em, ship ’em, and patiently await your own goody box to arrive. Essentially the sky is the limit on what you can send, and this month we were charged with the added challenge of including a Halloween-themed item.

I dutifully shopped the marathon expo, a local running store, and a local gift shop, and sent my package off earlier this week. I have been checking my doorstep everyday for a few days, excitedly anticipating my goody box’s arrival. Last night I came home late from a happy hour (coincidentally including a bunch of runners) and nonchalantly Aaron said, “Oh yeah, that box came for you.”

It was THE box. I literally jumped up and down. Before I even opened it.

You guys. You guys! The contents of this box were so amazing and awesome and thoughtful and personal and… I could go on and on. I am going to go on and on actually, but I took pictures!

My box came from Lydia, in Florida (this is also who I sent to. Which is a lot of pressure because her box was SO perfect.)

First, here is all the goods together, I should have taken a picture when I first opened the box, because there was cute tissue paper and ribbon and everything but girl was excited.

all stuff in the box
The goods. Like, really good goods.

First, I found some awesome running gear– new socks (omigod I love new socks), a LED light that changes color, and some Body Glide. If you are not a runner/triathlete/cyclist and are unfamiliar with Body Glide, I will say this about it: it cures all ills. Awesome, practical, useful. Lovin’ it.

runner stuff
Socks, a light, and Body Glide.

Oh, I should not forget to include that the organizer of the swap encouraged us to include links to Twitter and our blog, if we had it. Lydia included a letter that said she had followed me and read my blog– she really did her homework.

The next item is a cute box that says, “Having somewhere to go is home” in celebration of our new house! Crazy thoughtful.

home box
Pretty little box.

 Iiiiiiiiiinside the box:


Some CLIF Shot Bloks (incidentally, her favorite and the only gel/chew product I can really stand), but also Tootsie Rolls because she learned that those are what I prefer to fuel my long runs with. Again, crazy thoughtful. Oh, and some Trolli Mummies- for Halloween. Which I ate promptly.

Also, for our house, an awesome seasonal candle. I love fall. I love candles. I cannot wait to hop into the tub, light this little baby, and relax into autumn bliss. Really.

pumpkin candle
Seasonal candle- smells like fall!

Also, all of the items had these cute little typed tags like the candle picture. A lot of them I had already taken off of the items when I opened the box. Again, the excitement.

The last 2 items. . . incredibly sweet. There is a lot about running that I cannot really describe. I once thought I was ‘late to the game’– that real runners started in high school and kept running all the time and were fast and lean and all these things that I. . . wasn’t. But I started. I can actually remember the day I signed up for my very first 5K. I thought, “My goodness, how embarrassing this will be!” But it wasn’t. It was fun. And there were thousands of people there. And some of them were fast and lean. And some were really muscular. And some were slow. Some ran with their dogs, and some ran with strollers. Some ran with their kids, and some took walking breaks. Runners came in every size, every color, every style, every way. It was awesome. In the last 4 years, I have pushed myself to work incredibly hard for dreams that felt so impossible and so out of reach. Almost exactly 4 years ago, I crossed the finish line of my first 5K in 46 minutes. If you had told me at that point that I would run 5 triathlons, a 200 mile Ragnar Relay, 5Ks in the snow, rain, wind, and heat, or a marathon, I would have suffocated in a pile of my own delirious laughter.

But if you set your mind to achieving just a liiiiiiittle bit more than you achieved last time, suddenly you have moved mountains run 26.2 miles.

Ahem. Now that I am all teary-eyed. . . back to the box.

I. Love. This.

I don’t even know if words are necessary, right? I mean, we all know this is true. If you tell yourself you will fail at something, you already have.

And, last, but definitely not least, this little girl:

Penelope pig
Sweet, little glass pig.

Who slays me with cuteness and charm, simply because she is a tiny glass pig with wings.

penelope box
Inside there is a teeny, tiny pig.

But her story and the note Lydia left with her was even more melt-my-heart. I can’t remember the story perfectly, but it is essentially that Penelope the Pig stands in the face of all those who say “when pigs fly” and stands for determination and overcoming the impossible. Lydia’s tag says,

You have achieved what some have only dreamed of doing. 10.2.2011.

That’s the date of my marathon. Which was once totally a “when pigs fly” idea.

This was so fun and I only hope Lydia likes the stuff I sent her even half as much as I like what she sent me. This morning I woke up all “Let’s run a hundred miles!” Turns out the morning went more “Let’s run… really late” but it’s sometimes the thought that counts.

I would do a million more runner swag swaps. I even considered doing a swag swap with my bridesmaids, as some of them don’t know each other super well and we don’t all live close.

So fun. So so fun.


2 thoughts on “Runner Swag Swap”

  1. I’m sure I will LOVE whatever you sent. I am so glad you enjoyed my package and I kind of cried reading this post since I’m so glad you enjoyed the “meanings” behind things.

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