At the end of my first Half Marathon, I did not receive my medal. They had run out in the course of the race day. I was in a such a daze at the finish line that my brain could not process this information. Part of the motivation for getting to the end of the race is receiving the medal. That moment is something I will not get back. However not getting it right then does not diminish my accomplishment.
As I read through the comment threads on Face Book it became clear to me that something more was going on. Complaint after complaint, from the medal situation to every little thing that happened that made someone’s experience not so great. It is understandable with an event as large as the Miami Marathon that not everything can or will go exactly as planned. How often in our own every day lives does that even happen? I do understand that with paying the entrance fee there is a higher expectation for things to go as planned.
What occurred to me as I read through the thread is that nearly all of us were missing the point. No it was not that a lot of people missed out on their ubiquitous after race photo. The one with the medal hanging around their necks. Complaint after complaint filled the face book threads. Even the weather was criticized! I have to say as a Florida girl since the age of 8, I found the weather on race day to be particularly beautiful. Yes I was rained on but that was fine, often my best runs are in the rain.
How easy is it to complain? Did not all of us who finished just do something that most people would shake their heads at? That we are blessed to be healthy enough to even attempt to run a race such as this? There are people who are in constant pain and unable to even walk a few steps without feeling as if they had just run a marathon. There are people who wish they could run in a race but the cost keeps it just out of reach for them.
I got to thinking that once I do have my medal what will happen to it. I will wear it for a bit, perhaps an hour or a day. Of course I will have my picture taken. Show it off to friends and anyone who asks really to look at it. Then most likely it will hang on my wall. Perhaps I will have it framed along with my running number. Or not. Eventually it will end up in some box somewhere, framed or not. It will get lost in a move or broken. Becoming a footnote in the history of my life.
My point is this, the real trophy is not the one that hangs around my neck. It is the hard work and sweat put into running the race. Getting angry about this is a waste. That is what will take away from reaching the goal. Allowing something that is out of my control to become ugly is just sad. In the disappointment of not getting a medal at the end of a long, hard, race I have the knowledge (not to mention soreness!) of what I just did. Pushing my body to complete a race. That alone is worth it’s weight in gold than any medal in the world.
I chose to train and run this race because I wanted it. I wanted to do something to show how far I had come. Getting out there day and day training for the race was not what I always wanted to do. The fact that anyone who participated and finished the race (or any race!) is an amazing feat. I revel in this, how this body is healthy enough to complete 13.1 miles.
Now am not sure of when my next half will be, this year or the next but I do hope to run another one!
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Do you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (NIV)
My lovely friends made me a homemade medal as you can see below.