Medals, medals, oh how you shine,
I ran those races and you became mine.
I cherish the memories attached to your race,
Even when I sucked and couldn’t show my face.
Don’t get too comfortable, as I know I’ll add more,
Crossing that line I always quest for!
I finally found a place to put my medals “only” two months after moving into my new house. I remember taking them off the wall in my Texas house, and I thought about packing them in the car so I knew they wouldn’t be lost. Those medals represent such a huge part of my running life and they each have a specific memory attached. Some are amazing, some are not, and some were a reward for a hard run race. Some just remind me of having fun with friends (like N’Orleans). I carefully hung them up and had a little run down memory lane.
I know I’ve finished several races without getting a medal, and many of the finishers shared the same opinion about that, “What?! No medal? That sucks!”. I understand they are expensive and require additional volunteers to give them to finishers, but sometimes, you just want that piece of the race to remember it by. One race where I finished second overall women, I was lucky enough to get a
rock painted green Blarney Stone. It’s cool but a little hard to display.
Not all memories attached to medals are good. Take this one:
First of all, this dumb medal is an insult to itself. The neck strap is huge and the dinky medal is teeny tiny. If you’re running a half marathon, at least the medal could look a little nicer or the strap could be half the size. Maybe I’m a little bitter? This race was the 2010 Lincoln
Marathon Half-Marathon. I was trained for and planned to qualify for Boston at this race. Buuuutttt, as dumb, and I mean DUMB luck would have it, I bonked at mile six and had to stop at the half instead of finishing the full. Yes, mile six. I shutter to remember what I ate the day before. I’m too embarrassed to even repeat it. From that day on, I make sure my eating is where it needs to be for me, and I also listen to myself more than I rely on what a book says regarding pre-race eating. Oh, and I am fully aware of what eating simple carbs (That’s the D’OH!!! part) instead of complex carbs will do to your race. That medal is proof. I have to thank my husband for keeping this medal from ending up in the garbage can, which is where I put it after that race. Well, I threw it more than put it, but I was angry and the medal was just, well, stupid. He kept it for me and now it just shows that you can’t always have a good race.
The Houston Marathon medal is one of my favorites, of course, because this is the race where I qualified for Boston and PR’d by 13 minutes. I will never let rain or wind factor into my mindset before the race, because I know that all you can do is run your best race, as I did in Houston. You just never know how it will end up, so always keep positive!!
Some races are just meant for fun. My husband and I ran these 4 mile obstacle/mud races in Winnie, Texas, and were even four beers deep before running one of them. It was fun. A lot of fun. The people who manage the WWIII.5 races are wonderful people too, so I would recommend this race to anyone. And check out their web page because I can actually say that I’m on the website!! I’m the one climbing out of a car on the right side of the page. I decided to keep the medals as-is instead of cleaning them off before I hung them up to make it more true-to-life. I may even have some dirt left in my ear too…..
The second marathon I ever ran was the Disney Marathon in 2001. I decided, on a whim of course, to join Team in Training and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My grandma was a survivor and she had passed away from other causes the year before, so it seemed appropriate, and I was able to raise over $3,000 for the cause. I ran this one using the “run 9 minutes, walk 1 minute” method with a friend, which seemed to work well for us as we could walk the next day. This is one of my favorite medals as well, because who doesn’t like Disney?
This is the medal I got for finishing first in my 35-39 age group at the last Thanksgiving Day race. I’ve always wanted to run a race on turkey day but we either were traveling that day or there wasn’t a race to run. Last year was the first opportunity to do one, so I signed up for the 10k, plus it was a good training run. It was a beautiful day, humid but sunny, and I wanted to go as fast as possible. I was amazed to finish the 10k in a 3 minute PR of 47:22. That was the first taste of “don’t underestimate yourself” I had last year, and it was a good lesson that I carry with me today and pass along to my kids.
As much as I cherish my race medals, I have to admit that the memories attached to them mean more to me than the actual medal. But I’ll be happy to keep collecting both the memories and the medals as long as they’ll give them out!
Do you have a favorite race medal?