What Do You Want? A Medal?

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So, I just signed up to run in the Crim.

“Don’t you always?” you ask. “What do you want? A medal?”

It really isn’t about the large, clanking medal that Crim runners earn once they cross the finish line on Flint’s iconic bricks every August. I have several of them. It’s not like I ever put them all on and do a victory walk through my house … well, maybe once.

The thing is, I have not trained for the 2018 Crim. I’m out of shape. I’ve been kayaking daily this summer, but regardless of my newfound upper body strength, I don’t think I can pull off the ten-mile race on my hands.

The truth is, I don’t really know if I can pull off the whole race on my feet, either. What am I thinking?

Last year, I wasn’t in the best shape – on race day, I even decided not to go through with it. I left the start line, telling my friends I’d be waiting for them at the finish. Then, just before the first wave of runners took off, I jumped back in line. I walked it, and I finished.

For some reason, I cannot seem to stay away from those bricks on Crim Day! From the very first time I went as a reporter covering the race, I was hooked. After running my first race, I signed up for even more races. I ran a half-marathon in Detroit and a year later, ran the whole 26.2 in the D.

For five years, I was “Runner Girl.” Okay, full disclosure: I was “turtle-slow, Walk-and-Runner Girl.” That didn’t matter to me. It was all about finishing. There is something about setting a tough goal and then achieving it that is so empowering and life-affirming. Yes, this means that when I finished races, I usually cried.

I went through a rough couple of years and stopped running. For some reason, at a time when I needed affirmation most, I let go of one of the biggest confidence boosters I had ever discovered. I decided a couple of weeks ago that I want to start running again. My knees and feet said, “how about we just walk kinda fast for now.”

I doubt I will actually run through the streets of Flint on Crim Day, but I will be there, giving my all. At least, I hope I make it all the way. I guess finishing doesn’t even matter so much this year. I know I will be surrounded by hundreds of people of different abilities, ages, shapes and sizes who are all doing something empowering. It’s hard not to be inspired in that environment.

So, no – I don’t want a medal just for signing up. I don’t even need a medal if I finish the race. Watching other people, each with their own special reason for participating in the Crim, collect medals and beam with pride is enough for me.

I will, however, take the free banana at the finish line – because, well, I like snacks.

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