Running Medal Christmas Tree 2016

This week, I put up a running themed Christmas tree. I used medals as ornaments, a heat sheet for a tree skirt, and a race bib for a tree topper. Instead of presents under the tree, I have awards from placing in some of this year’s races.

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As I recover from a season-ending knee injury, I realize the leap of faith it takes to go for a run, let alone toe the starting line of a race. So many people will never run. Of course who do run, many will never train for a race. Of those who train, many will not start the race, and some will not finish. Finishing a race is an accomplishment.

Whether you’re an elite athlete or a Couch-to-5Ker, running takes you out of your comfort zone. You have to be brave to toe the start line of a race- brave enough to run what you hope will be your fastest race at a distance, longest distance, or first race post-injury.

A running Christmas tree is more than a Pinterest Project. Each medal tells a story far more complex than the finish time. One story involves setting goals and finishing a half marathon #CharlestonStrong, one second under your goal time. One story involves sloshing through a muddy trail in memory of a friend’s 9-year-old son who passed away but inspired a community. One story is about running in memory of a cousin who committed suicide and in honor of a new friend who received an organ transplant.

So many Christmas trees are “corporate”, with matching store-bought ornaments or fancy décor. Those trees are beautiful, but don’t represent me. I’m sweaty, smelly, scrappy, muddy, messy, and mismatched. I’m hard working, tenacious, and brave. I’m a runner.

Merry Christmas, and here’s to a 2017 filled with running fast, taking chances, and dreaming big.

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I’m grateful that so many local races, including the Charleston Marathon, Race the Landing Series, and James Island Connector Run recognize ALL runners by giving out finisher’s medals. All three of those races are some of my favorites, and I recommend them to anyone in the area (or outside of the area but willing to travel to Charleston).

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23 Responses to Running Medal Christmas Tree 2016

  1. Hollie says:

    What a great idea Amy. I do like the idea of race that recognize all race participants as well. I think that is extremely important.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Hollie. I do too. I’ll admit that the medals I get for placing in my age group mean more, like I really “earned” them… but I think it’s good to recognize everyone. I’d much rather have a medal than say, a shirt or hat.

  2. Jolene says:

    Love your tree! That is a lot of bling!:) You are so right about each medal telling a story. I’m a new reader so I’m not familiar with your knee injury. I tore my meniscus 3 days before I ran Boston this year. Surgery 3 weeks later. Mentally and physically…so challenging. Good luck on your come back.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks for reading (about to check your blog out soon, too). Torn meniscus is the pits- when I was googling I saw that injury and was glad that wasn’t it. My knee issue is supposedly IBTS (dxed by ortho), although my chiro thinks it is due to bad ankle flexibility. I’m doing a lot of PT exercises to strengthen, and they are helping, so hopefully it will go away on its own soon.

  3. Your medal tree is so awesome! I may have enough medals for a mini Christmas medal tree.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      My friend Melissa (who also reads here and is super speedy) did a small medal tree and hers looks great too. She will probably post pictures of it. You really don’t need a TON of medals to do one- just enough medals for the size of the tree :).

  4. KrisLawrence says:

    Such a cool idea!! Looks great!

  5. Angela says:

    Did you do this last year too? I think I remember you doing this last year!! I love it 🙂

  6. BEAUTIFUL. I love it so much. I love the term “scrappy” too. I may have to use that to describe myself to someone today! I’m in a scrappy mood.

  7. How Pinterest-y of you! 😉 haha actually I have way too many medals that I need to do this with. I just moved and right now all of my medals are sitting in a box collecting dust. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Elizabeth C. says:

    This is so creative. I really loved your paragraph about how most people don’t run, and those who do don’t train, etc. Very true, and it puts everything into perspective. The only better Christmas tree I’ve seen was one that someone decorated with all zebra ornaments! LOL. Also, I like that you personalize your bibs with “Tiny Terror”. Very fun!

  9. Love it!!! I love that this entire tree tells a story, and within every medal there is a memory. I’m still working on my little Charlie Brown running tree btw. In all my running years it never occurred to me to use my medals as ornaments. Now I have a great excuse to run more races, lol!!!

  10. Your tree is awesome! We only did a tree one year, but if we do one again in the future, I’d love to do this! I really needed to hear that about being brave enough to toe the line at a race. I was feeling uneasy about my race tomorrow. I know that might sound silly, but we are running in a completely strange city and I was just feeling scared. Your words helped me remember that I don’t want to live in fear. I need to be brave and step out of my comfort zone. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      You’re welcome. You are in great shape for your race and always have the right attitude. Just run- your body knows what to do. You have done it so much in training! And be grateful to be able to run. I really wish I was racing tomorrow, many of my friends are racing a fast 5K here in town or a race down in Savannah. I can’t do either right now, and it makes me really sad. I feel guilty for those races I complained about and gave myself a hard time over, when I probably should’ve been thankful I could at least race!

  11. Mackenzie says:

    I AM OBSESSED. This is the most amazing thing I have seen yet this holiday season

  12. I love that you have so much meaning behind your tree! It’s beautiful, unique, and so creative!

  13. How awesome. I absolutely love your tree.

  14. laurenweiner says:

    I love this idea, I remember you doing it last year. I’ve seen people take off the ribbons to hang just the medal part, but I LOVE the fact that you use the ribbon to hang them.

    Its nice to be able to reflect back on all you’ve accomplished. Since we are getting our house ready to sell, I’ve starting packing up my medals. It was really neat to look at each one and reflect on each race and the victories and challenges I’ve had.

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