Hello! My name is Michelle and I am a bling addict. I am not usually attracted to bright, shiny things, but anytime I get an email advertising a new race, the first thing I do is scroll down to see what the medal looks like before I make a commitment. The more amazing the medal, the more committed I am. I must admit that one of the only reasons I ran the Awesome 80's race was for the medal--an old school cassette tape (see photo to the left). But as much as I love my bling, I have come to realize that there are definitely things more precious than any medal.
It is also important for me to make my training miles fun as well. I look forward to my Tuesday/Thursday runs with my running buddies. We push ourselves on the runs, but we catch up on our lives and take time to document our adventures with photos. I also try to make sure we have a group at the gym or on long bike rides. It just makes the miles fly by when you can focus on something other than how many miles are left to complete or focusing on the fact that your legs feel like jello. Training with others is definitely a greater gift than any medal could ever bring.
Not only do I no longer shy away from social situations, but I feel amazing. I have more energy than I have had since my teens, which is very important when you have an extremely active 5 year-old boy in the house. It also takes a lot of energy to wake up between 3 and 4 am to get in all the swimming, biking, and running I need to fit in in order to be prepared for my full Ironman. I often have to do 2-3 hours of exercise before I go to work, so that my training does not take too much time away from my family. I could never have kept up this grueling schedule when I weighed over 200 pounds. All my energy was sapped just doing everyday things like housekeeping, work, and playing with my children. No medal could ever replace how I feel about myself these days!
I also have a husband that not only allows me time to train, but he does much of the bike miles with me. We have been on this journey to better health together, and nothing is more precious than being a good example for your kids--not even an amazing piece of bling.
And while my medals are certainly good reminders of all that I have accomplished, my improved health and self-confidence and my family and friends are worth more than any medal I could ever win. I will continue to be drawn to fancy medals, but nothing can ever replace the incredible second chance I have been given at life because of my new lifestyle.