I love getting a medal at a race. Sure, nobody sees them, they collect dust, and they aren't useful, but I still love my race medals. Looking back at them I can have a sense of accomplishment that I worked my butt off and that I earned them. Each medal contains memories, whether they are from the race or from training for it. I have close to 10 medals, but there are 4, that are extra special to me.
My favorite medal of course would be from the Boston Marathon. Not only does it look cool, but it is the one medal that every runner dreams of having someday. The race itself was hard. I wasn't prepared, I had been sick, my foot hurt, and I went into the race being exhausted. The experience, however, was absolutely amazing and something that I will never forget. The crowds were incredible! The course was beautiful, challenging, but beautiful. I had only gotten to train for about 9-10 weeks prior to Boston so I wasn't in shape for it at all. I never felt like I hit the wall when I ran Portland, but I hit the wall hard at Boston. Or I should say the wall hit me! I started feeling really crummy about mile 8 which is any runner's worst nightmare in a marathon. I had to constantly tell myself to put one foot in front of the other. I ran one mile, walked for a bit, ran another mile, walked for a bit and repeated for the whole race. I was in so much pain! Every part of my body just hurt. By the time I saw my husband about mile 21 I was near tears. The last 5.2 miles were the slowest and longest miles of my life. I have never been so glad to see a finish line in my life. I wished that my training would have gone better, but nothing in life is perfect. Some races are good, and some not so much. The marathon itself was something that I am so glad that I was able to do. Boston is an amazing and gorgeous city and I am glad that my best friend, Cassie, and her boyfriend, Scott, were there to partake in all of the fun with us!
My second favorite medal would be from the 2008 Portland Marathon. It is extra special for two reasons. #1 it was my first marathon and #2 I qualified for Boston. I trained harder than I have ever trained before. In the back of my mind I thought I had a chance of getting a BQ time, but at the same time didn't have a lot of faith in myself. I had ran several 1/2 marathons at this point, but never a full. 26.2 miles seems so intimidating! I was really excited for the race and I felt prepared. I was so thankful that my parents and aunt were there to cheer me on. I was so nervous on the morning of race day. The conditions to run couldn't have been more awful. It rained, no actually it poured the whole entire race. I was a drenched rat and I was freezing! At one point, about mile 6, I actually stopped running and almost dropped out. I kept on thinking how hard this was race was. I had gotten some really good advice from one of my running mentors, who also happened to be there to watch me. He told me that everybody goes out too fast in the beginning because the course is so flat with a slight downhill. He told me if I kept my pace under control I would be passing all of those runners at mile 17 going over St. John's Bridge. I kept that thought in the back of my mind and also the thought that my parents and aunt were somewhere along the course. They would be so disappointed in me if I just quit. Especially at mile 6! I jumped back in the race and kept on telling myself I COULD NOT STOP. Once I hit mile 17 I did start to pass all of those runners who had gone out too fast and that give me a boost of confidence. I saw my family about mile 19 and that was yet another boost of confidence. Once I hit mile 20 I put everything I had into that last 10k. I knew since it was less than Bloomsday I could do it. It hurt so bad, but by the time on my watch I knew that I was going to get my BQ. When I crossed the finishing line I was so incredibly proud of myself. I had accomplished something that every runner aspires to have. I don't know one runner who doesn't want to run Boston someday. I don't remember for sure, but I believe I placed within the top 20 of my age division. I wanna say I was like 17th place, but don't remember for sure.
My third favorite medal is from the Helvetia 1/2 marathon last year. It is one of my favorites because it was the first 1/2 marathon I got to run with my best friend, Cassie. The medal is also pretty cool looking. The race was fun, so fun that I am running it again this year. It was a little warm on race day and the course had quite a few rolling hills, but I like the challenge. After the race you get a Helvetia Tavern hamburger and it was so delicious! I hope to beat my time this year by at least 10 minutes, wish me luck!
My fourth favorite medal is a Bloomsday division winner from Corporate Cup. The last year I ran for the EWU women, 2009, we won our division. I think that we beat most of the men's teams in our category as well! If you aren't that familiar with Bday CC, the EWU men's team wins every year. They are incredible runners. It was just the cherry on top of the sundae to have the EWU men's and women's teams sweep first place for their respected categories.