DIY: Medal & Bib Holder

First things first: I have been looking for a way to display my running medals. I love training for them, earning them and getting them… unfortunately they sit on a shelf for awhile, then eventually get moved into a bag under the stairs. For all my hard work, this seems a rather unfitting resting place. I did a Google search for medal holders, or racks, or some search along this lines and found this. I thought: "What a wonderful solution for not only medals, but race bibs." I hold onto all of my race bibs and they sit in a shoe box. As you can see, I like holding onto things, but display them poorly.

I thought the idea was fairly simple and being a fan of HGTV (yep, I typed that), I figured I would try and make my own. A little DIY project that I thought I might appreciate on a personal level in the long run (pun totally intended). But to be upfront and honest, doing it myself: 1) Cost more than ordering it and 2) took a lot of trial and error to finish. Again, here is the link for my inspiration if you would like to save yourself some time and money.

But if you want to get all Tim "The Toolman" Taylor and build one yourself, here is how I made my rendition.

I purchased to pre-cut boards from a local craft store that cost me around $14.99/ea.

They have embossed edges, which was a nice touch. I then purchased some gray spray paint for $3.99 and covered both sides.

Once that was done, I purchased some stencils (around $4.99) and planned on using some leftover white paint I already had in the house. I decided to use "RACES" for the bibs, but it could really say anything.

I taped up the stencils where I wanted them and applied the white paint.

As you can see: FAIL. The paint just didn't work. This was some old paint, so it might have been too "watery" and just leaked through. I wiped down what I could while it was still wet, then simply covered the mistake up with another layer of gray spray paint. I essentially hit the "reset" button.

Since I was having success with the gray spray paint, I went back to the hardware store and bought some white spray paint ($3.99) and re-taped my letters.

As you can see, much better. (There was some white between the E and the S that leaked through, but I spray painted a Q-tip with gray and simply covered it up. (Easy-breezy.)

Next step was attaching the hanging hook for the back.

As for the front, I looked at my race bibs and there were 2 sizes. Big (NYCM, Rock n Roll Marathon size) and small (everything else). So I penciled in where the hooks needed to go and twisted the screws in. This was also the solution for the bibs on Etsy.

Once that was done, the bib project was finished.

I then repeated the same steps for the medal holder. I decided to go with RUNNING since my race distances vary, so I couldn't write MARATHONS. There are plenty of options that could be used, but I wanted to keep it simple.

After spray-painting both sides (above). I taped my letters.

As you can see, they only supplied one "N" in the box, so I had to create place holders. Spray it, then add the missing "N" where needed.

Then I measured where I wanted the hooks and screwed them into the board. I decided to go with various positions to have some medals hang at different lengths. Here is a sample of the front and back hooks for both. Packs of 4 cost me under $2. Make sure that the length of the screw isn't longer than the depth of your board.

I placed nine hooks, since I have a decent amount of medals, it needed to be able to hold quite a few at different lengths. I placed them about 3.5" apart from one another.

And that is pretty much it. Since it will hold a lot of medals, I placed 2 brackets on the back for support. I'm sure it would have been fine with one, but better safe than sorry.

Here is the final product. I only placed one medal on each hook for the photo, but I'm planning on each hook holding multiple medals.

As you can see, everything seems to have worked out. After a few missteps and multiple trips to the hardware store, they are up. I'm very happy with them and even though it cost me more in materials then it would have to simply have placed the order off Etsy, I'm glad it is something I was able to accomplish without injuring myself or cutting out the electricity in the neighborhood.

Here they are living happily together on the wall. Let me know what you think….

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Once a Thief, Not a Runner

My car was broken into at some point over the past couple days. We've been at home with a newborn, so my car hasn't moved much from it's parking spot. When we do go out, it's in our other car and I'm sure my car feels slightly neglected... to make matters worse, it has now been violated.

So why does this post show up on what is mostly a running blog? Because I believe that the person that broke into my car IS NOT a runner. I believe there is a 66% (or 2 out of 3) possibility that the person who violated my car is NOT a fellow member of the running community.

Here is my rationale:

There were 3 items in my car that I consider valuable to any runner. The first was a Trail Running magazine that was released by Runner's World earlier this year.

The second is Dean Karnazes' latest book: RUN!

Lastly, the only item stolen from my car: an iPod Nano.

Those are three things that any runner would love to have. Trail running magazine's aren't that common, or easily found. And if you've ever read a Dean Karnazes book, you know that they are page after page of inspiration, motivation and some pretty out-there tales of life on the road. The iPod is a toss up. This was a given to be stolen out of any car by a runner or not (even if it was tucked away in my glove box). Due to it being a Nano (small in size) I'll place it in the running category since I like to imagine that most of us prefer the smaller iPod's or iPod shuffles when we run.

Since only 1 of the 3 running related items was taken, that means there is a 66% likelihood that the jerk, er culprit was not a runner. And I have many years of watching Law & Order, CSI, Without A Trace, Numbers and other investigative shows to back up my profile of the theif. And that's a big deal — pretty much equivalent to several years at Langley.

Here are some other quick notes about the thief:

Does not frequently travel into San Francisco (I live in the East Bay)
In my ash tray, coin tray, whatever you want to call it, there were tons of quarters. I'm guessing at least $5-$8 worth. That is San Francisco-meter gold. And if you park in the city, those are 100% necessary. To top it off, I also have a FasTrak (allows you to drive through SF tolls without having to stop) that was not taken.

Not a Laker fan
I have a mini-basketball with a Laker logo that hangs from my rear-view mirror that was not stolen

Not an Oakland Athletics fan
I also have a yellow A's blanket that was a special give-away at the Coliseum that was left untouched.

Not afraid of getting wet in the rain
Yep, umbrella in the back that is still there. Maybe this person is some kind of frog-like-amphibian who isn't affected by rain.

Is not aware of Malcolm Gladwell
C'mon — this guy is a fantastic writer. Yes, that also means I had 2 books (both half read) sitting in my car… and a magazine. Sorry ,I like to read, apparently the thief does not. Side note: I just found out he also used to be a runner (read about it here). I didn't include this in the "running items" list because I'm a fan of his and JUST learned about his running history on Tuesday from his blog.

So if you happen to see someone that doesn't look like a runner listening to a grey iPod Nano with amphibian like characteristics not in Laker or A's gear and couldn't give two-cents about Malcolm Gladwell — call the police. Thanks.

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Don't Pass Out, Don't Puke, Do PR

Originally I wasn't supposed to be running the San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon this year. Although it is one of my favorite local races, I have ran it the past 4 years and was not looking to repeat too many events. But when I saw that twitter friend @DiaryAvgRunner was hosting a raffle for a free entry, I entered my name and won. Yay me.

I arrived at the race fairly early, which isn't typical for me. I decided to duck into the Hilton (a block from the start line) to use the restroom. Trade secret: most hotels close to the event start line are typically filled with runners staying there and hanging out in the lobby. You can easily blend in and use their bathroom... it sure beats a porta-potty. Since I was so early, I also decided to get some stretching done there as well. Again, stretching on the carpet vs. a cold sidewalk or grass.

About a half-hour before the start, I made my way to the corral. I was aiming for coming in under 2hrs and felt pretty good about it. Prior to the gun @SarahStanley spotted me and we shared some PRE-race chatter, took a photo and rocked a high-five as we started. She's attempting to run all 2011 Rock n Roll Marathon Series races... yep, all of them. That's a lot of hardware.

I also ran with a buddy of mine, Drew, who I also train with. He's much faster, but similar to the Giants race he decided to pace me and help me reach for a sub-2 finish. We chatted most of the way and kept a 9-minute pace. I knew I could hold it until about 10 miles... after that I knew my legs would begin to tire. I typically train at a 9:30-10 min. pace, so I was "reaching" at a 9:09 pace.

Mile 10 came and legs started to feel fatigued. A friend of mine, Paige from FB, gave me some great PRE-race advice and told me to "run the mile you are in" and it really stuck. I kept that in mind and just thought "run this mile in 9 minutes" and deal with the next mile when I got there. It worked and definitely got me through miles 11 and 12.

When we got to mile 13, I asked Drew what our overall time was. He had us at 1:51 which meant I was exactly on pace and had 1.1 mile to see what I had in me. I threw on my iPod for the first time during the race and gave it all I had. When I crossed the finish line I thought I was either going to puke or pass out. Neither happened, but I did receive a medal. LOL. I much prefer the latter.

I always hope that a race will go as planned and they rarely do, but this one did. I ran at a very consistent pace and I have Drew to thank for that. I wouldn't have been able to hold that pace as long as I did without him.

At the finish line area I was able to meet fellow Twunner (her new word, Twitter + runner) @Janac, she had just finished with a PR herself. Luckily our conversation wasn't limited to 140 characters and it was fun to finally meet someone outside of the twitter universe.

I was happy to end my San Jose experiences on a positive note. I've dealt with injuries at this race before and to be able to run a successful 13.1 healthy, injury-free and set a PR was great. I now have an official sub 2-hr half marathon that I can point to and say "See, I did that."

Thank you to everyone on FB and twitter that gave me inspirational phrases and motivation to run strong. It was definitely needed in the later miles.

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