The Free Dictionary offers three definitions for the word bib. I find two of the definitions to be of particular interest. The first reads as a piece of cloth or plastic secured under the chin and worn, especially by small children, to protect the clothing while eating and I'm certain this is the most common use of the word.
In the world of runners, however, the word brings to mind a slightly different image. To return to the Free Dictionary for a moment, a runner's bib is a piece of cloth or plastic bearing a number, usually worn over the chest or back, identifying a competitor in a race. Most every bib I've ever worn at a running event is made of paper, but let's not split hairs. The rest of the definition is apt.
I'm not much of a packrat and even if I were, changes in places of residence, failed relationships and the overall evolution of living situations has led to many misplaced, discarded or forgotten mementos. Now and then I do lament not having a bib stashed away to confirm my having taken part in such-and-such a race. I wouldn't mind being able to pull out the number from the wonderful 10-miler in Ocean City, Maryland or the one from the midnight 5K in Central Park at the stroke of a new year. Might be nice to still have the bibs from the few (very few) races in which I placed in my age group or even the number from my very first Red Rose 5 Mile run in which my in-shape-but-not-in-running-shape body learned a lesson in humility and finished in a tortoise-like 44 minutes and 44 seconds, a time that even my poor memory can't seem to forget.
In the end, however, they're really all just little squares of paper with random numbers printed on them. I've got the memories and that's certainly what's important. I've held onto a few and will make a point to do so in the future when it really does seem important, but I expect the collection will never be very sprawling.
Our other bib collection, however, has grown to epic proportions. Between Lily and Piper Bea, we've amassed enough bibs to present a fresh one at every meal the girls partake in for the next 6 months. Much like ironic t-shirts, there are bibs in every gift shop and clothing store emblazoned with clever graphics and text. Some of them, I must admit, are absolute treasures. Others are, well, simply pieces of cloth or plastic secured under the chin and worn to protect clothing while eating. Still, I have some favorites.
Here, then, is a very condensed look at some of the standout Lutz family bibs:
a. "If you think I'm cute you should see my Dad!" is one of the bibs we've had the longest and despite the fact that Lily and mealtimes have put a hurting on it, it remains in circulation for obvious reasons.
b. The Wasatch Wobble is a Montrail sponsored race held in Red Butte Gardens above Salt Lake City each summer to coincide with the large Outdoor Retailer trade show. The course changes each year and I'm not sure how precisely the distance is ever determined, but it works out roughly to a 5K and usually involves some quirky plot twists along the way. Last year, to launch Montrail's Mountain Masochists (see my earlier posting), the twisted folks at Montrail basically ran us straight up a mountain for a mile-and-a-half before dumping us straight down the other side in a hamstring burning suffer fest. Asking a flatlander to start at an altitude of 5,000+ feet and tackle 900+ feet of gain in just over a mile is indeed masochistic.
c. Piper Bea's "Tuesday" bib is just one in a collection of 7, I suppose intended for a far more organized household than our own. The idea of using the Monday bib, depositing it in the laundry basket at the end of the day and then laying out the Tuesday bib for tomorrow is an adorable and preposterous concept.
d. I was handed number 79 before the start of this year's New York City Beard and Moustache Championships, never suspecting that it would lead to my crowning as the winner of the Sideburns Category and the runner-up for the overall winner. AND, I certainly didn't suspect that it would lead to my face appearing in The New York Times, The Onion, Time Out NY or prompt a visit to Live With Regis and Kelly (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doJyLysW4_A). Sometimes life just works out that way.
e. The Amos K. Herr 5K Honey Run is a local favorite. I've probably participated in this run more than any other organized event. I believe I've run my fastest time at this event and, more memorably, this was the first race that I ran with Lily and then, just this past summer, it was the first event that Lindsay and I ran in together. With any luck, August 2010 will find all four of us crossing the line as a family of four.
f. This cute little bib was knitted for us by a friend as a maternity gift. It's such a wonderful, thoughtful gift and we cherish it. Because of the handful that Lily proved to be in the high chair, it unfortunately didn't provide the coverage necessary to be a functional day-to-day bib. Somewhere along the line, I got it in my head that it would make a great, though airy, loin cloth. If I'm not mistaken (and I might be), it deserves some of the credit for Lily having a big sister.
Having said too much, I believe it's time to put the bibs away.