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Tell Me Tuesday: How To Commemorate a Running Milestone

My beloved chocolate-brown heels, a gift to myself after finishing my very first race.
My beloved chocolate-brown heels, a gift to myself after finishing my very first race.

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.”

Mother Runner Rebecca received this bracelet from a friend after completing her first (so far) 50-mile ultra. “It’s the best ‘medal’ ever!”
Mother Runner Rebecca received this bracelet from a friend after completing her first (so far) 50-mile ultra. “It’s the best ‘medal’ ever!”

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?

17 responses to “Tell Me Tuesday: How To Commemorate a Running Milestone

  1. Since I spent my running budget on the entrance fee, I treated myself to transit fare home after a full marathon. I enjoyed a stale “past it’s sell date” muffin and reheated the sour coffee that I didn’t finish that morning before the race. I then had a nap and when I woke up, remembered that I had not bought groceries for dinner so ended up just grabbing a tuna sandwich from subway and settled in to a night of reruns of 90210. Bedtime was early since I had to work in the morning (early shift, you know).

  2. I’ve done something like this, but think I should after I finish my first half marathon this November. Part of me is thinking of getting a tattoo, but something else says get something more practical or nice like jewelry.

  3. for christmas, my mom and grandma bought me the BEST celebration of my running: a charm bracelet. it was custom, designed by me, and the etsy artist who did it for me did an amazing job. it has the distances that i’ve done events for (up to and including a half), a running shoe charm, a running girl charm, a dog charm (they run with me quite often), and a crystal for my birthstone. i wear it VERY proudly and love, love, love it! i am all for people celebrating milestones- and encourage all mother runners to do so!!

  4. I just started running in January with the goal of running the Chicago marathon. After total hip replacement surgery 18 years ago I was told I couldn’t run. This weekend my long training run is 13 miles. (So far so good)
    Maybe that titanium hip needs a commemorative tattoo!

  5. After my first 13.1, I got my nose pierced — something I wanted to do for a long time. Second 13.1 is slated for this fall. Might be my first tattoo!

  6. After my first half in June, I bought a 13.1 sticker and slapped that on the tail gate of my vehicle. It sits along side my BAMR one! They are friends. :o)

  7. After my 1st marathon I got a running shoe tattoo. After my 2nd marathon I ate an entire pizza.

    Didn’t reward myself after the next 3… no time when you have toddlers

  8. I have been tossing around the idea of some ink when I complete my first half. However, I also would probably love some new running gear or camera gear, so that might take precedence. Oh, and wine. Can’t forget the wine.

  9. After my first half last fall, I got a GRANDE ( woo hoo!) mocha, with whip cream– that would have done it for me! But the best “treat” was the dinner waiting for me when I got home– hubby and oldest son had all my favorites waiting– nice wine, ceviche’, and lava cakes. And they made a “menu” poster, which I framed and have in my bedroom 🙂

  10. I commemorated my first marathon with a tattoo, a sparrow with 26.2 under it on my foot. Its my favorite tattoo because everyday it reminds me how strong I am.

  11. I bought running bling after my first half marathon – a shoe charm that says 13.1. It fit the bill on all counts – makes me feel pretty AND it shows my pride in the fact that I can and did run a half!

  12. I don’t think I did anything (besides a special meal) for most of my races. For my 1st marathon my husband and kids got me a silver necklace with a Tiffany-esque pendant with IIVI.II engraved on it. I wear it all the time, it reminds me of what I’m capable of. I love seeing people try to figure out what it says!

  13. Hmmm… first race was a 5K in October 2012. What did I reward myself with? More training. LOL! Seriously. I never bought anything to commemorate it except monthly training with my C25K coach. And, since then, I’ve run 5 more 5K’s, 1 10K, and 1 half marathon. I did buy a Bani Band with “13.1 Finisher” on it after my half. And, while I was in training for that half, I bought myself a handmade 13.1 necklace to remind me every day of what I was working towards. I think the medal was commemorative enough. But, for someone who JUST started running at the end of August 2012, I like having something I can actually wear. That necklace gets a LOT of use. Especially since I’m now training for my 2nd half this fall.

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