Story of a medal

As I was cleaning this weekend, I realized that I have to do something with my medals. I foresee a project in the summer where I can create an arrangement with them. Since I don’t have them currently hanging, I decided to go through the basket that they are in and I did a little reminiscing.

And here’s what I realized – Each medal had a story.

How did I train? Did I even train at all? Did I run it solo or with a group? How was the expo? Did I sleep well the night before? Was this my culminating race or tune-up race? Did I have stomach issues? Did I stop and walk? Did I tear up at the end? How were the crowds? Did I recover well? What did I wear? Did I listen to music? Was I pleased? 

Before beginning this blog, I had ran 2 marathon and 3 half marathons. They have not received much air time on the blog in the past, but they did make me really sit back and reflect on the story behind each medal. I still consider myself a young (often naive) runner, but when I think back to how I felt during each of those races that there was a sense of innocence about how I perceived myself and my running  – that’s all it was – me and my legs.

I didn’t sit back and wonder the night before a race, thinking “I wonder if I will make my goal that I posted on the blog or told all my friends about?” or “Crap, if I get hurt again, I can’t hide it”  or ” Ah, I didn’t take any pictures to post!!”

I just went out there and did it – what I had intended to do – and that was to just run. 

And I’m trying to get back to that mentality.

So, on that note, I present my first Story of a medal in chronological order, Nike Women’s Marathon.

For the love of the necklace. I signed up with Team in Training in the summer of 2005 to run this race in October of 2005. I was finishing my freshmen year and anticipated summer approaching! I had a couple close reasons to run this race.

I remember training going not so stellar and not realizing the gravity of my signing up for this race. However, it was because of Nike that I fell in love with San Francisco. It made me bond with the city as I took a pretty long time to complete the full marathon. Naively, I had not done my long, long runs and was going in with training that would have been more suited for the half marathon. In fact, my coach insisted that I do the half, but stubbornly, I refused and said that I’d walk it if it meant that I’d finish.  

Since I was unfamiliar with the city, I did not realize how boring and torturous the second half was as it went along the Great Highway, around Lake Merced, and back. When I first started running in San Francisco, many of our routes were along the Nike route and I slowly began to remember where we had ran, 4 years ago. I think that is why I am completely obsessed with the Embarcadero, the Presidio, and Golden Gate Park. But, the Great Highway?? Not so much, but I do like Lands End Trail near the Clif House.

I remember loving the expo and enjoying the chocolate and smoothie samples. I enjoyed these treats so much that the first fall that I lived here, I visited the expo! My mom and I went to Nike Town where I had my sweatshirt embroidered with my last name (Did I mention that my mom walked the half?).

My mom and I enjoyed sightseeing in the city, along with a Pasta dinner the night before. I slept ok and was up really early to walk up the street to the start at Union Square. I parted with my mom and found two girls who were in our Team in Training chapter. For 10 or so miles, I ran with one of them then we were separated. The day was incredibly foggy and I did not even realize we were near the Golden Gate Bridge!

Throughout Golden Gate Park, I remember seeing the half marathoners separating from us and me realizing I still had a long ways to go! I was so excited that I went 17 miles without stopping. I had no knowledge of my time or my pace, and my only goal was to complete the race. As we ran along the stretch of the Great Highway towards the finish, I counted every stop light thinking it would be the last. Finally, I saw the 26 mile mark and tears swelled up. Since mile 17 I had been stop and go with my running so for 9 miles, I just wanted to end it all. As I went through the chute, there they were – the men with my necklace. They stood their gracefully holding a silver platter with boxes of Tiffany’s on top. I took one, sat down and did not get up for a long time.

My mom found me, we boarded the shuttle back and I passed out for a few hours after showering. That night I ate and ate! I was so happy that I had finished and proud of my completion of a full marathon at age 20.

I want to hear about your first race. Does your medal have a story?

Coming up:

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2 Responses to Story of a medal

  1. My first medal was for a half marathon and I was 6 weeks pregnant with my third child. My husband had no idea until after the race!

  2. Jen says:

    Such a cool post! My first race was the SF Half last July, but my first FULL marathon will be the Nike Women’s Marathon 2011!! It was nice to read your race report and see the necklace as a badge of honor – I hope to follow in your footsteps 🙂

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