I see them every time I’m driving down the road, walking through a parking lot, or staring out a passenger window. The bright white oval stickers on the rear of different cars stare back at me with bold black numbers. A single 5 x 3 sticker announcing to the world how far that driver ran.
There is something about seeing the milage in print that reinforces how bad-ass long distance running is. I love cruisin’ down the road and seeing 13.1, 26.2, or any other outrageous number plastered on a car, and thinking “that runner earned his or her stripes.” In my mind that’s what an oval mileage sticker is. It’a runner’s personal trophy. It may just be a black and white sticker with a number on it, lacking any sort of intricate eye catching design. And it may seem ridiculous to anyone who simply sees it as a number, but to a runner it represents much more. That one sticker encompasses the aches and pains of training; early morning runs, carb-loading meals, timed miles, intervals, a drawn out process for a long awaited reward, and most of all the overwhelming sense of accomplishment on race day when the finished line has been crossed.
This race I hope to “earn my stripe.” My two major goals for November 23rd are to run the half marathon in under two hours, and to complete the race without the aid of music. If I accomplish my goals, I will proudly be plastering a beautiful, bold 13.1 magnet on my car.