April 22, 2012

Medal of Shame

Last week I broke down and ordered a medal rack to display all my race bling.  I'd been wanting to wait until I met my goal of breaking 2:30 in a half marathon, but I came within seconds of that goal during the Hollywood Half a few weeks ago, on a really tough course, and I decided that was okay.  I had this custom made, as I wanted the top to say "Strong Girl". I love it!

I added all my medals, but was missing one:  I did a half marathon back in 1999 and wanted to add that too!  I looked high and low, but it hasn't yet turned up.  However, while digging through old boxes, I did find this old medal, dated October 17, 1999:

It was from the Arturo Barrios Invitational, which was an annual 5k and 10k in the San Diego area (I just read that the race stopped in either 2005 or 2006).  I had signed up for the 10k. I started running in 1998, and did countless 5ks in that year.  In 1999 my husband and I also did the AFC Half Marathon (this is the medal I'm still searching for!)  If I'm estimating my dates right, the Arturo Barrios 10k was a few months after the half marathon.

(As a side note, in looking up the Arturo Barrios 10k while writing this post, I just learned that Deena Drossin--otherwise known as DEENA KASTOR-- also ran the 10k that year.)

Anyhow, the course was set up as a 5k loop.  To do the 10k a runner had to go around the course twice.  I don't remember why, but for some reason I stopped after one lap--a 5k--instead of going around a second time.  I was probably tired and maybe my legs hurt and no doubt I was mentally drained.  But why I didn't do that second lap is beyond me.  They gave me the medal (all 5k and 10k runners got one) but I didn't feel like I earned it.  After all, even though I did the 5k I didn't do the race I had set out to do.

The person I was back in 1999 bears no resemblance to the woman I am today.  That would NEVER happen now.  I am very dedicated to my training, and would never "wimp out" of a race.  I rarely wimp out of a training run/bike/swim, and if I do it's only because something is seriously wrong.  I've become somewhat obsessive-compulsive with my training. For example, if I set out to do a 5 mile run, I am not stopping until my Garmin reads 5 miles.  If I end and my Garmin only says 4.98 I will run the extra .02 miles to make it 5 miles.  I can go OVER my goal (I wouldn't balk at my Garmin reading 5.03 miles, for example) but I need to do at least what I set out to do.  Only injury, time constraints or equipment malfunction would make me fall short of a training goal (I've had leaky goggles that have made me stop a swim, or bike issues that made me call my husband to pick me up, etc).

The cartoon on the far right, created by Colin Hayes, sums me up pretty well:

(I know it's small, so if you can't read it, the runner is looking at the screen and it says: Weekly Mileage Goal: 50 miles. Actual:  49.9  The runner is thinking "Darn, guess I better get back out there.".  The cartoon is titled "The Anal Mileage Man").
In short, the runner (and person) I am today would have never quit a 10k race at only 5k unless something was seriously wrong with me.  And although I don't quite remember why I quit, I know for sure that nothing was seriously wrong. I was tired....and frankly, uncommitted.

Today I take my fitness, my goals and my life much more seriously.  I am dedicated and committed.

I'm not sure what to do with the medal I found.  I don't want to hang it on my new medal rack----it's connotations are too shameful for me to do that, as I didn't really earn it.  But I don't want to throw it away, either, as seeing it reminds me of how far I've come.  I think I will put it back in the box of momentos, and hope that never again I give up on myself.


  1. Love the medal rack!
    I'm with you, if it's .02 shy of what I set out to do I'M NOT FINISHED!! :)

  2. You're an inspiration to me my friend and I look forward to running WITH you soon!

  3. What a great story! I think you should still hang it up to remind you of that girl you once were. That medal made you who you are today right?

  4. You deserve it, SM! And good for you for de-hoarding your ribbons and paying them, and you, the proper respect.

  5. NOTHING annoys me more than getting my Daily Mile weekly emails or tabulating my monthly miles and being .5-1 mile short of a monumental number...irks me beyond belief!!! Love the medal rack....we need 1 around here too!!


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