Saturday, October 11, 2014

No Medal (or Bib) This Race

My bib from the 2014 QC Marathon.  Photo by J. Berta

Greetings All:

Last week was the Quad City Marathon.  I signed up for it with the original intent to run the half marathon.  (I've done four of these in the past.)  Now originally, the plan was to run the full 26.2 miles of the marathon.

I've been here before.  For the past several years, I keep telling myself that this year I'm doing it.  "It" would be the full marathon.  Oh, how I had the absolute best of intentions.  I was going to train, I mean really train for it.  I even downloaded the training schedule.  I think you all know where this is going.

Yup, the full marathon motivation evaporated by July just like an ice cube on hot cement.  So then I went to Plan B, the half marathon.  I knew that was something I could gut through without training as I had done it several times before, the last time being in September, 2010.  

Now perhaps it is because I'm (ahem) getting older but I recognize that even though I could make it through the 13.1 miles, I'd be shot for the rest of the day.  Likely, the following few would be bad as well.  And that presumes I had trained.

So for the training bit, that did not happen either.  The longest I ran was 7 miles and that was for the Bix in July.  Oh, and I did the "Run With Carl" (5 miles) on Labor Day.  However, none of the requisite 10 or 12 mile jaunts.

Why you might ask?  There is a simple answer:  I did not want to.  Oh sure, I can raise any number of excuses (some better than others) yet the answer remains the same:  I didn't want to train.

So I concluded running the half marathon was not the right call.  That left the 5K.  I think 5Ks are a great distance to run so that made all the sense in the world  The day before the race I went to the expo center, switched to this race and picked up my shirt and race bib.

Then a funny thing happened.  I decided not to run the race at all.  Dawn (my wife) and I were over at our good friends' house and we were talking about all the things going on the next day and how to schedule around my running the race.  Then I had a thought:  I don't have to run the race.

From one perspective this was no big deal.  I wasn't running with anyone, nor part of a team.  It was not like I was going to let anyone down by not showing up.  As for the race, well, running the 5K is something I've done a bunch of times.  (In fact, I did run about that length later that day.)

There is a lot of power in the word "NO."  When you say no, you actually are saying "YES" to other things.  In this case, I said yes to hanging out with my wife that morning and getting some things done.  That meant more to me than picking up the medal they handed out to everyone.

I should be clear on something- I respect accomplishments.  Notwithstanding Napoleon's quote, "A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon," I think there is nothing wrong with being recognized for an achievement.  Which leads me to the opening photo.

I decided that if I was not going to run the race then the race bib had to be thrown away.  In races past, they would make it onto the garage fridge, a/k/a, "The Fridge of Honor."  The bibs mean more to me than the medals they give out.  That is probably because it's easier to post the bibs than hang a medal on the fridge door.

I suppose this is my own way of echoing the words of Ty Cobb (baseball star and not-so-great guy):  "It ain't bragging if you've done it."  My form of bragging is posting the bib on the fridge with other stuff that I deem worthy of saving and displaying, if only to me and the family.  (And trust me, no one besides me cares what is on the fridge.)  Speaking of the fridge, here's a photo of it.

"The Fridge of Honor" in the garage.  (Photobomb by the lawn mower) Photo by J. Berta

So there was no posting this bib on the fridge.  Perhaps next race.  In the meantime, I will wear the shirt.  After all, I paid for that and it's the high-tech micro fabric stuff.  


The garage fridge, a/ka/ "The Fridge of Honor," died this past week.  It was put out on the curb for the monthly bulk pick-up after my neighbor secured the door.  In preparing it for its final journey, I removed the various items on the door.  All that remained were two stickers.  Thus ended its time as the destination for race bibs.

The "Fridge of Honor's" last day. (It is duck-taped and thanks to my friend Mike, bolted shut.) Here it is moments before it was loaded into a truck, bound for the scrap yard.  (Photo by J. Berta.)

I guess I need to find a new place to hang up my race bibs for the ones I run.  Who knows, maybe there will be one from a full marathon.

Of course, that means I have to stop saying "NO" to training.  I'll keep you posted on how that one turns out. 

Be well my friends,


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