My very first race, back in the spring of 2007, was a 25K in a city two hours away from home. Looking back on it now, I’m in awe of my blind bravery—no 5K for me; let’s just go with triple that distance! I had trained hard for this race, though, and I’d been running consistently for several months, all thanks to a group of accomplished, sometimes intimidating running friends. (OK, so my decision to run a 25K right out of the gate was partly due to some blissful ignorance, as well as thinking, ‘If they can do it, so can I!’ I’m a bit hard-headed like that.)
Crazy or not, this race/girls’ weekend ultimately was a defining moment in my then-new life as a runner. And after crossing that finish line and experiencing the holy-cow-I-just-did-what? euphoria, my friends and I headed to a nearby shopping area to, yes, refuel, but also treat ourselves to some retail rewards. I don’t even think we changed out of our race clothes—we were staying at one of the girls’ parent’s place just outside of the city—before heading into a department store in search of clothes and shoes. And that’s when I saw them: a pair of chocolate-brown, patent-leather, peep-toe heels that I decided I had to have. Never mind they cost more than I’d normally pay for a pair of shoes. Or that I didn’t particularly want to wear them on my sore feet anytime soon. I deserved them. I had just run my first race.
Whether it’s celebrating a first-ever race, a hard-won PR, another year of running, or some other kind of running moment, we mother runners know how to commemorate such milestones. We know these events are important, and we want to recognize how this sport shapes us and changes us in the most amazing ways. While I don’t wear high-heeled shoes nearly as often as I once did—I prefer stylish comfy shoes now, thank you—those patent-leather beauties remain in my closet, strapped on for special nights out with my husband on occasion, and are a reminder of a pretty big moment in my life and what running continues to be for me. Here’s how other mother runners are celebrating their own running milestones:
Buying Bling: “I bought myself a necklace with a 13.1 bar and runner girl charm for the first half I completed,” says Shannon D., who even shared the jewelry love with a dear friend. “I bought a similar necklace for my best friend when she completed her first half also.” Susan F. also opted to commemorate a race with something she could wear: “Generally, I’m just thrilled to finish, but after the very first 5K, I went out and bought myself a necklace with a ruby slipper on it as a reminder that I had the power all along. Later, when I did marathons, I’d reach up and touch it around mile 20 to keep me going.”
Setting it in Stone (Er, Skin). Janelle C. got a ‘Runner girl 13.1’ tattoo—“I love it!” she says. Amy P., meanwhile, got inked with a Mickey Mouse head with 13.1 inside of it. “I’ll add another outline for each half I run,” she says. Valerie A. and her BRF got tattoos after her first marathon—Big Sur 2012. “I got a tattoo of Bixby Bridge on the inside of my foot just below my ankle bone. It says ’26.2’ across the bridge. I love it! First marathon, first tattoo, I may continue to add to it with every full from now on!”
Rewarding with Running-Related Stuff. Nikki G. bought herself a watch she’d waned for awhile. Many of you also went the running gear route and opted for a new hoodie, top, running shoes, wireless earphones, even a foam roller. Adrienne H., who after her 70.3 treated herself to a new pair of Newtons, plans to save a dollar per mile of her marathon training and treat herself again. We can’t help but share Sherrie N.’s plan for celebrating marathon #5: “A Badass Mother Runner shirt!” Thanks, Sherrie!
Keeping It Simple: A decadent dessert, gourmet coffee, and craft beer topped some mother runners’ lists as ways to celebrate a race finish. “I love a good sour beer,” says Kristi K. Adds Tanjie S. of a race she was about to tackle: “If I pull it off successfully, I’m going to have Key Lime pie for breakfast on Sunday morning with piping hot gourmet coffee. All. By. My. Self.” Terzah B. has a treat chilling on ice: “I have a special fancy chocolate bar in the freezer waiting for me to BQ. I hope it will happen someday—I’d hate to see freezer-burn on that chocolate. But you can bet I will eat it no matter how long it takes.” A little pampering—afternoon at a spa, a pedicure, or a massage—also are popular choices.
Signing on for a new race! “I plan for the next one,” says mother runner Debra D., “knowing that if you can do one, you can celebrate by doing more!”
Have you celebrated a big running moment? How did you commemorate this milestone?