Thursday, 26 June 2014

Confessions of a Former Medal Nerd: It's Not About the Medals (Anymore)

I used to be Queen of the Medal Nerds: If a race or an event didn't offer a (nice, big, good quality) medal to all finishers, the chances of me entering or participating were slim to none.  I'd spend hours drooling over bucket-list event medals, and even based my bucket list selections on races with the flashiest bling.  Looking back I know exactly where my love for medals came from: After a school- and varsity career marked by being above-average in a lot of things, but never the best in anything, I loved finally being able to build up a collection of stunning awards.  It fanned my running flame.

The bling.

You can imagine my surprise then, when suddenly sometime after my children's births, I started skipping local races (with medals) for a chance to do normal neighbourhood stroller runs.  I even started passing up the opportunity to do destination races while on holiday for the sake of running with new friends, or doing parkruns.  Gasp.  Cue medal nerds everywhere to hang their heads in shame.

Celebrating an everyday stroller run.

So what has changed?  And why?  Perhaps it's a case of having learnt to appreciate running just for the sake of running - no more flashy side-benefits required.  Or perhaps it's a sign that I'm getting older?  (My dad always says that once you start enjoying dark chocolate and blue cheese, you know you're all grown-up...  Perhaps running is the same?)  I'm convinced that parkrun also had something to do with it: Showing me that simply experiencing a run with fellow runners in a beautiful setting is a great reward in itself.

parkrun, I love you.

Whatever the reason, this former medal nerd is looking at running with new eyes.  Here's to the everyday stroller runs with our kids around the neighbourhood; to the Saturday morning long runs with water bottles hidden in the bushes at the halfway mark; and to runner's highs after nailing a good interval session.  'Cause every run should be celebrated.

Do medals motivate you to run/race?  Or do you enjoy running just for the sake of running?

  

8 comments:

  1. I'm glad to say I run for the love of it, but at the same time I do love and enjoy my bling collection. I've got so many running medals, badges trophies, shields and other goodies I don't even keep most of them in the house. They are in a shed outside! But I do look at them from time to time because everything tells a story.

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    1. I'd love to see that collection someday! Perhaps you can do a post on it...? I agree with your last sentence - I also love to go through all my medals from time to time and remember each one's story :) .

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  2. You're so right - stroller runs and time with friends is just as awesome (or more so) than bling. Whether a race has that stuff or not doesn't have much of an impact on whether I'll run, but it's definitely a nice perk!

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    1. It definitely is - and like Johann says in the comment above: Each medal tells a story. I'm just thankful that I've learnt to appreciate the normal, everyday runs too - I think I was just a tad too medal obsessed in the past ;) !

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  3. I truly appreciate this post! So very true. xo

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Meridith - much appreciated!

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  4. Loved this! I feel like sometimes I'm motivated by medals and other times I'm not. I do have some medals that hold a special place in my heart for the type of race it was, whether it was a race back in college where I placed at a championship or my half marathon plaque where I never thought I would be in the top three for my first half. Then there's other races I've ran where the medals are definitely lacking the "bling" factor, but rather have the "bla who designed that?" factor haha, but I'll still continue to run the race because I just love running. Then there's the medals I love because their just plain cute (I was in awe when the Women's Running Series half medal was a flower and came with a charm). Overall, I would say I do like my medals, but more than that I think I'm just motivated by the experience of being with other runners and pushing myself now :) In high school though, I was all about the medals- so yes, it's like the bleu cheese thing ;)

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    1. Who knew bleu cheese was such a metaphor for life, hey ;) ? Lol!

      I think that I live the in the "bla, who designed that?" mecca of the world... Perhaps that also has something to do with my newly found love for medal-less runs, haha!

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