Thursday, August 22, 2019

A Medal Or Just Metal?

I was running a six hour endurance race in July and overheard a discussion between two runners about finisher medals. One individual made the statement that they did not want a medal and another asked him why. The conversation almost ended in an argument because neither could see the other's point of view- was it just metal or was it a medal (in this particular race they were hand crafted ceramic and they were both wrong). An unattended consequence of hearing this conversation is that it sparked a series of arguments in my head as I tried to determine where I stood on the topic. The outcome of the internal chaos that rattled around in my head for the next few hours is as follows:

 The Ultra Flunkie blog and ultimately my brand's mission is to inspire others to get outdoors and just get moving. Ultimately, I would love for all of my Ultra Flunkies to successfully run one 50k just to prove to themselves what they are capable of. So how does this relate to medals? My wife and I have our medals hanging up in our family room and yes I even display a few 5k finisher medals. This is not to brag or to show how bad ass I am, my dog reassures me of this everyday, but to remind me where I started and what I have achieved. Each one had weeks, months, or years of effort behind them. They remind me on those days, when a short three to six mile run hurts, that I am capable of much more and to pull my depressed head out of my butt.

 If you are new to running and are trying to complete your first mile, three mile, or even your first half marathon, then you are putting a lot of effort into your training. You are constantly fighting the urge to sit on the couch and binge watch all the seasons of Fringe. You are fighting the urge to stay inside because it is too hot, cold, raining, dark, early, late, or the sky is just too blue. When race day comes around you are sweating before your toes even make it to the starting line. Your pulse is beating in your neck and in that bulgy little vein near your temple.  Your heart feels like its going to pop out of your ribs like a slimy little alien. Your brain is telling you to just get back into your car because you are not ready. And your anxiety has you standing in a line with 100 other runners to empty your bowels in the only two port-o-potties that haven't overflowed yet. Then you finally start running, the fear begins to be replaced with pain in your feet, back, knees, or a sever side stitch or stomach cramp that will not go away.  You want to just stop running and go home but you push yourself to keep going. The anger builds up inside of you while yelling to yourself, "Left Foot, Right Foot, Left Foot, Right Foot," hopefully only in your head.  Trust me, other runners will start avoiding you if you lose track of what you are yelling in your head and out loud! Finally, you hear the music, cheering; you see crowds of people, and then those two magical, beautiful, and angelic words appear: Finish Line. Once you cross over to the promise land of vitamin waters, bananas, and hopefully beer (there better be beer or why did I pick this race) the pain diminishes temporally and you are overcome with joy. Then world will know just how excited you feel because all your social media pages are going to be selfies of you, your medal, and your beers (all of them)! BE PROUD, YOU EARNED IT!

Now weeks or months have passed and out of the excitement from your last race....... excuse me: triumph and glorious victory..... you have registered for an even longer distance. The anxiety and fear begin to set in again. Now is when that piece of metal needs to be medal. It needs to remind you of the hard work you put in to achieving that victory. It will remind you that you survived the last time and you still had the energy to get sloshed with your new running buddies after the race. That medal will be the encouragement to keep going. To run faster, further, and harder than you ever have before.

So, if the medal ever just becomes metal, then ask yourself why did I run today? If it was not to challenge yourself, to reach a new level of zen or self awarenesses, was it to help someone else to reach their goals?

 Let me know what your medal or medals mean to you. Leave a comment and tell me which one has the most sentimental value to you.

- The value of an object is directly related to how we perceive its worth.  That means you are and should be the most valuable object in your life, so treat it as such.  Ultra Flunkie

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1 comment:

  1. I’m no where near an ultra runner yet (so definitely a flunkie), but my favorite race was my first trail 12k, the Kunigami Trail Run in Okinawa, Japan. There was more elevation than I had trained for but the medal at the end reflected my inner “mettle” to keep going and climb EVEN MORE STAIRS!


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