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Jun 8, 2021

For The Medal Of It

Training. Sweat. Accomplishment. That’s the meaning behind a medal given at the finish line. Obtaining a finisher medal means so much to the person crossing that finish line. Whether the finish line is at the end of a 1-mile race, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, or Triathlon, the sense of accomplishment secures a special place in the heart of the finisher. The training that goes into the preparation for the race can be quite extensive and somewhat daunting.

I recall my training for my first Peachtree Road Race. I recall my training for the Mayor’s 5K on the Runway and others. I was intimidated to say the least by even signing up for the Peachtree Road Race. Listening to friends, I signed up and then realized the race would be my first 10K. After joining Black Girls Run!, I never had a desire to participate in the Peachtree Road Race, was scared to death of such a task, did not possess the confidence to believe in myself that I could complete it without falling out or fainting, but here I was, not a member of Atlanta Track Club, registered in the lottery, and was selected to participate. What on God’s green earth did I get myself into? What did I sign up for? Did I fall and bump my head and then register? Was I going to be able to complete the race before the officials start closing the course? Would I be the very last participant? Oh, Eden, just think of some excuse to tell your friends that you cannot participate and then find out how someone else can race in your place. Those thoughts and quite a few others entered my mind when I thought about the actual work I would have to put in to prepare for this race. I not only wanted to finish the race standing upright, but I wanted to finish knowing that I was in a much better place physically and could do a 10K at any given time. The training, the preparation began.

There were many days training in different areas of Atlanta, making sure that I incorporated hills in my training, and different terrain. At first, I was only doing running and walking, but then realized I must incorporate cross training. Doing such, I could definitely tell the cross training increased my endurance. As the days continued to pass, and training came to an end, actual race day became closer than ever. My excitement grew, my confidence increased, and my anticipation mounted as the day was about to become a reality. This coveted memento of the Peachtree Road Race and any other medal that is obtained from any race serves as a reminder of a huge accomplishment in my running journey and I’m sure yours too. Some runners would argue that you should have a certain pace or finish the race within a certain timeframe, but guess what? All finishers of a race receive a medal if a medal is offered. Your accomplishment is that you have trained and you have finished, not that you finished with a certain pace or that you finished under a certain time. Always remember that.

Your journey to the finish line is what you make it. It can be grueling, or it can be packed with moments of struggle, accomplishment, and strength.

So enjoy the entire process of earning that medal. Your beautiful finisher medal is a symbol of the mental valiancy achieved.

By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)
Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia. Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988. Eden joined Black Girls Run! in Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group. Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.