Badge of Honor


It’s the little things, right?  My first Half Marathon was at Disneyland a couple years ago. It was a family event, and one of my pretend children (son’s friend) ran a few feet with me, holding up his iphone on video mode, and he yelled, “Mrs. G, you just ran a marathon, what are you going to do next?”  I giggled and panted out, “I’m going to Disneyland!”

And we did.  I wore my medal the whole day and loved the experience of having Disney Staff and guests congratulate my achievement.

As soon as we returned home, I went into the local running store, and purchased my well earned 13.1 magnet.  I was so excited to place it on my car that I put it on right there in the parking lot.

Recently, I discovered that my magnet was missing. I said a few choice words, then drove back to the store and bought another.  I explained to the associate what had occurred and she said a few choice words, too.

What is it about losing this little $2.99 item (or having it stolen) that makes me (and apparently other runners, too) so upset?

Those of you who also run, or train for competitions will certainly understand.  It’s the principle of having earned the right to display your accomplishment that is at stake.  I waited to run my first race before I dared place that badge on my car. I had run further on other occasions, but never in competition.  I thought, it doesn’t count until you run it having given all you’ve got.  It doesn’t count until you do your best and leave it all out on the course. Its the same compulsiveness that makes me run in circles until my mileage hits a something.5 or something.0 before I call it a day.

So I waited.  I set my bar and didn’t consider it accomplished until in fact I did it my way.  Then I posted my proud sign.

Today I drove to the grocery store and when I went around the car to open the trunk, I gasped.  My second magnet is missing.

I am without words.  Like today’s teenagers love to say, “Really?”

I’m putting my shoes on and going out to run…that’s all I can do.  I’ll get another badge, only this time, a sticker.  People who can only think in impulsive bursts of selfishness are a waste of my energy.  Perhaps if they were not hiding in their anonymity, I could explain to them them impact of their actions.  Like my old boss used to say when as a young student intern I asked him why does “Sparky” had to go to jail, “You can’t treat ’em if you cant find ’em.”

Meanwhile, even at my age, I’m once again reminded that no one can take away my accomplishments.

I hope you remember that, too.

Thanks for being my friends.


About Caro

I am a social worker by training and a peace officer by profession having worked with California’s delinquent youth and young adults for 28 years. I firmly believe that our development as humans depends on our environment and that sometimes we get stuck. As such, I write about those things we sometimes ignore or fail to see until we are forced to pay attention.
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4 Responses to Badge of Honor

  1. codeterra says:

    haha now I’m thinking about it… my first marathon is later this year. A “twenty-six point freaking two” tattoo sounds fun 🙂


  2. You could always tattoo 13.1 on your ankle or you can wait until you get the 26 miles marathon, 🙂
    Keep running and keep writing!


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