Large 6 Inch Glitter Virtual Run Medal
A silver set of wings, tree and roots symbolizing wings to fly with details of birds, hearts and flowers on a black glitter background. Artwork features wording, “Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay. She flies on her own wings. Rooted in love, she blooms.” A 6 inch glitter medal with dye sublimation lanyard.
Wings To Fly
Because you have gotten this far on life’s journey and are here looking for a new adventure, I will share with you a Wings to Fly story. Hopefully, we can motivate you to earn your six inch “Wings to Fly” with a true running story, that I have just made up. Stay with me, as I, Mike, tell you about my dream, which may be a little long, but it really is all about running and flying. Because running is an awfully big adventure.
My story land adventure started when I was fishing for Mermaids off the coast of the mainland in my paper boat. I had used crayons to color the sides of my little paper vessel, which is reported to attract Mermaids. My objective was to lure a Mermaid close enough to capture one in my net. From my research, I knew Mermaids like the taste of Crayola Crayons and were partial to Atomic Tangerine, Jazzberry Jam and Razzmatazz. Mermaids, silly as they are, continue to order boxes of crayons on Amazon. Even with a Prime Membership, UPS drivers won’t deliver to Never Land – they just can’t find it – silly Mermaids. Mermaids hate reducing life to black and white, for they can see the rainbow. I coated the colors on thick, colorful, using Razzmatazz the most, since it smelled the juiciest. The wax from the crayons made my paper boat waterproof and seaworthy, which allowed me to venture quite far from shore where Mermaids travel in schools. Being only ten years old at the time, I did try to keep the mainland in sight and my compass at hand. I fished for hours. The sun began to set on the uneventful day at sea without the sight of a single Mermaid, sea cow or flamingo. I began to row towards shore, giving up on the day’s odyssey. I was startled out of my disappointment when a large scaly creature breached the surface causing a large wake. Because the light was dwindling and the creature blew seawater as it breathed, I could not immediately identify it. Through the salty mist I saw fish-like qualities. The creature was within range of my net and moving fast. I found it curious that it was not interested in my most colorful and tasty boat, but Mermaids and women can be fickle. I made a decision at the last possible moment and wildly threw out the net. In my haste, I snared my foot in the rope and the creature pulled it tight. I was caught. As I started to be towed out to sea, I learned I was attached to a very large and directionally determined sea crocodile. So much for my dreams of marrying a Mermaid. The crocodile towed me effortlessly, as if I was a small child in a paper boat, which apparently, I was. We traveled throughout the silent night. The only sound was the wake of a paper boat, the sea creature surfacing for air and the tick tock of a clock.
It was not until darkness set in, miles from shore, that I could determine my situation, which included no dinner. In the distance, I could see candles illuminating a ship under full sail, bearing a Jolly Roger flag. The ship followed several small flying creatures that emitted a high intensity glowing light. They flew in a graceful, erratic manner, like some kind of large bug. The flying critters occasionally were silhouetted by the full moon and had a human shape. The crocodile followed the ship. I followed the crocodile in my sea tub, without choice, unable to free my foot from the net. We traveled further out to sea – following the moon, or maybe it was the second star to the right of the moon. We continued straight on till morning.
We arrived at a very sparkly island as the sun woke up, yawning and stretching across the horizon. I saw there was a large banner above the island, magically waving in the breeze. The banner proudly announced our arrival at Marathon Island, which coincidentally looked a lot like Never Never Land. The island glowed from sparkly dust. I felt like I was at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, except I was tied to a crocodile. I felt like I had been in the spinning tea cup ride all night long. It was very early in the morning when I started my involuntary run training. It was like a runDisney event, but this one started very abruptly and alone instead of waiting an hour in a corral with a couple thousand people like in a real Disney running event. I waited with the crocodile, who was settling patiently beneath the Pirate Ship anchored in Pirate Cove. The crock slapped at small fish circling near the surface for entertainment. I was able to free my foot from the rope while the creature entertained himself. I questioned the crocodile directly about our location – my finger wagging sternly – my compass spinning endlessly in circles. He ignored me, which I thought was quite rude and very un-Disney like. The reptile (or was it a mammal?) gazed up at the ship, intent on a meal, or as I learned later, another meal, from evil self-proclaimed attorney pirate, Captain Copyright. Poor thing. Probably had not eaten since snacking on Captain Copyright’s hand – tasty as it was.
The back story on the missing hand: the evil ignorant attorney, Captain Copyright, had sued the crocodile for looking too much like an alligator and working at Disneyland as an illegal amphibian. The crocodile, a legal citizen of Marathon Island and innocent in both DNA and moral character, was dragged through a long court battle by the Captain. The crocodile won the case, keeping the Captain from his payday. Captain Copyright then filed another suit to allow him fracking and drilling rights on Marathon Island. Captain Copyright planned to mine for glitter on the island, then hoard it. This would increase the demand for glitter which he would then sell to Hollywood at a nice profit. To keep Captain Copyright from filing the fracking suit in King Candy Kangaroo Court, in the town of Korrupt, the croc bit the Captain’s hand clean off, Rolex watch and all. Croc said it was the right thing to do and described the taste as hairy, sickly sweet, super sour, rainbow Skittle flavor. This flavor turns out to be a favorite to reptiles and a few species of sea monkeys. Croc lost his job at Disneyland for this violent act and was banished to the island. He misses licking the heads of children at Disneyland, but is content on hunting the Captain for entertainment and another meal of sweet and sour Skittles – not available in stores.
Back to the running story. It was when Captain Copyright looked over the ship’s rail that he saw me conversing with the tick tock – tick tock – hungry, hungry, reptile. Captain Copyright politely addressed Smeed, his head poised on his hook in a position of profound melancholy, “Why do they call Pirates Cove, Pirates Cove?”
Smeed smiled, as he stumbled to the edge of the ship and answered in his Irish voice, “Because the cove belongs to the Pirates?”
“Correct Mr. Smeed. And so why is there a boy, in a brightly colored tub, conspiring with a crocodile in my cove?”
Mr. Smeed took in the situation and shouted, “Arms, to arms, to arms!” The crew scrambled, assembling weapons for battle.
The croc, which was always smiling in a very Disney-like way, disappeared under the surface as I started frantically paddling paper towards shore. The Pirates fired in my direction, bullets flying overhead. Lucky for me, Pirates are terrible shots with small arms, although they are deadly with cannons, sabers and other pointed weapons. I used their shooting incompetence to my advantage as I quickly paddled out of pistol range. I reached shore, jumping from my boat, kicking up star dust, as they began with some friendly cannon fire. The cannon ball struck true, making Crayola Confetti of my boat art. I got sprayed with seawater and the confetti art stuck to me making me look like a piñata Easter chick, which motivated me to start running my first mile. As I found out through additional misadventures on Marathon Island, running is important to stay alive, especially dressed as a piñata, when chicken enchiladas are on the menu.
I started jogging when I was out of range of the cannons. I looked back seeing that the Pirates had launched a small boat to chase after me. I followed the creek upstream, slowing to a walk, stepping over the large logs that littered the bank. Then the logs (crocodiles) tried to eat the Easter chicken which got me to running again. I found a waterfall and started trail running up the hill next to it, paralleling the river. This was apparently the territory of the lowland gorillas. They provided some hand gestures indicating that I was not welcome. I continued up the falls, through the clouds, to the summit of the highest peak on the island. The peaks were the nesting ground of the Never Bird, a large friendly creature, larger than a Emu. There were nests everywhere along the peaks. One mother hen, attracted to my costume, thought I was her lost chick and began herding and pecking – forcing me into a six foot diameter nest of twigs. She squatted, knocking me down face first. The hen did a little grinding and fluffing as she smothered me in the biggest butt feathers I had ever seen. I squirmed through a wall of down to get my head free, which poked out of the back side of the Never Bird like a bad egg. At least I was warm. Since I was thoroughly pinned by the eight foot, 200 pound bird, I took a look around. The whole island glowed from various colors of glitter. The drifts of glitter dust were 3 feet high in some locations. From my unique perspective, I could see that the Pirates had given up after reaching the creek, for crocodiles have a fetish for the taste of bad attorneys and Pirates. I could also see trails throughout the island, a variety of large animals roaming the plains, an Indiana village, Mermaids sunning themselves in a lagoon and a group of boys dressed as animals huddled near a large tree. I then took a nap warmed by the big bird’s butt.
My dream started with Mermaids and ended in a nightmare of being drowned. I woke up as I was being force-fed by my new bird mother. From deep within the bowels of the bird and into my face poured gallons of a regurgitated ewoey gooey liquid gummy substance. I could not help but notice that it was a quality meal of protein and carbohydrates, berry-flavored with a hint of herring. I tried to wipe the excess from my face as I performed a swimming backstroke to prevent myself from drowning. I tumbled out of the nest and down the steep mountain I had previously climbed, kicking up a cloud of glitter dust. The Never Bird was so sad at my sudden departure, she tried calling me back to the nest with a ‘Ka Caw – Ka Caw’ sound. Once I stopped rolling, I reflected on my involuntary regurgitated meal that I was digesting. It appeared to give me an instant energy boost. History Note: I later sold my regurgitated Ka-Caw recipe and some magic beans to a guy named Jack. Jack started a company that packaged the substance, without the fish aftertaste, into a wonderful product called GU, sold at retail stores for runners nationwide. But that is another story.
Once I was at the bottom of the hill I was greeted by a very attractive petite girl with wings. I was in a daze, but I remember she said her name was Glitterbell. She talked about a famous sister called Tinker something, but Glitterbell flew on her own wings. She sported six pink feathery wings and was wearing a skort – a skirt-short thing for running. I noticed she had a GPS watch on one wrist, a Road ID on the other and a SPIbelt around her waist. As she talked, I thought about how events seemed to happen very fast on the island. Not wanting to miss an opportunity for happiness, and to show I was not bashful or rude, I asked Glitterbell if she would marry me. Glitterbell’s face flushed as she giggled politely and said something about me not being able to keep up.
“I can keep up!” I argued, although I knew in my current state that this was impossible, “I’m holding back my awesomeness so I don’t intimidate you!” I pleaded.
Glitterbell left in a flurry, speeding up the trail at the speed of light, half-running on bare feet, half-flying, leaving me in a cloud of sparkle dust. Did you notice she didn’t say no? – I did. But still, I was a little discouraged and contemplated how I could keep up with Glitterbell. It’s hard to catch a girl that runs, especially one with wings. If I was to catch her, I would need some serious help.
I started looking for a running guru. In my quest to find this mythical mentor, I babbled with various creatures on the island. This included a heffalump, a woozle, a panda, a flamingo and a very fast, but frustrated hare. “You seek Yoda,” the hare said. “Yoda is the running Jedi. He knows both the yin and yang and cannot be beat. Seek Yoda, embrace and learn the Zeno paradox,” the mad hare said, half-crying, half-laughing.
Searching the seashore, I ran into a tortoise, said my hellos and continued on. “I am wondering, why are you here?” puzzled the tortoise.
“I’m looking for someone,” I replied.
“Looking? Found someone, you have, hmmmm? Help you I can. Yes, mmmmm,” said tortoise.
“I don’t think so. I am looking for a great running warrior,” I said looking past the creature and onto the horizon for a height / weight proportional running creature.
The tortoise sat laughing, shaking his head. “Ohhh. Great running warrior. Wars and running not make one great. Reaching back and helping others become great, that makes you great, yes, mmmmm, small in size am I, larger in mind am I. Mmmmm – Something lost. A part of yourself, perhaps. That which you seek, inside you will find.”
I stared at the tortoise, who looked like a old cardboard box with a head sticking out. Not just any head, but the bald head of someone’s grandpa, all wrinkly and leathery. Judging by the abuse of his shell, his box apparently had been dropped-kicked through the postal system on its way to Timbuktu.
“You are Yoda?” I quizzed. “You’re soooooo old,” I accidentally said in my outside voice.
“When my age you reach, look as good you will not. Know my name, not my story. Heard what I’ve done, not what I have been through,” Yoda the tortoise replied.
Which made me think, it’s not what is outside that counts, it’s what’s inside. What does an athlete look like? A runner? A walker? Judging the contents of this box, this turtle, it does not define who he is. It defines who I am.
I told him I was ready for run training and asked if he would perform the task.
“Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi runners. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A runner must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon, to Mermaids. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing? Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. Yes a runner craves these things. You are reckless, no dedication have you. 26.2 miles you must go.”
“All right, I’ll give it a try,” I said with absolutely no confidence.
“No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try,” Yoda warned.
“When do we start?” I asked.
“When there is a smile in your heart, there is no better time to start!” Yoda replied.
After a rough start and some negotiating, Yoda agreed to train me. My running started with the tortoise strapped on my back. I questioned Yoda about yin-running and yang-running. He provided answers in parables or allegories for my muse, “A river cuts through a rock, not because of its power, but its persistence.”
“What does that mean?” I asked. “You know I’m only 10 years old, right?”
He would not offer further explanation, but instead let my mind absorb the information like a sponge. I told him I had nothing, my mental and physical tank were empty – a mile may be too far for me to run.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can,” Yoda said thoughtfully, and then cracked me upside my head with a stick. With Yoda’s encouragement I began to run longer distances.
“Yes, run!”, he exclaimed. “Yes, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Captain Copyright.”
I was able to explore the island as we traveled various trails and pathways, turtle on my back, spewing running wisdom and motivation, sometimes in the form of a stick, sometimes a carrot. I graduated from a 5k to a 10k to a half marathon.
There is something magical about running; after a certain distance, it transcends the body. Then a bit further, it transcends the mind. A bit further yet, and what you have before you, laid bare, is the soul.
In our travels, we ran into some Indiana Indianans, who stopped watching tv long enough to throw corn and Wisconsin cheese at us from their teepees. These state natives were famous for ……, wait, wait, hold on, I’m trying to remember. Never mind.
I ran into Glitterbell on occasion, who provided some encouragement, “The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength in you,” and then she would disappear, running through the imaginary forest of my mind.
Then there were the boys dressed in animal hides. They would wait along the trail to ambush me. But we took a different trail every day which frustrated their efforts. They eventually gave up trying.
After months of training, I believed I was ready for my first marathon. The trail around Marathon Island was an exact 26.2 miles. Glitterbell had made a Never Say Never finisher medal for me to celebrate once I completed my adventure.
I had kept my running progress and success posted on a running Facebook group. The group consisted of awesome motivated people who encouraged others to run while they raised money for various causes. If that was not enough, they provided finishing medals for the runners celebrating their achievements. Unfortunately for me, Captain Copyright found the site and secretly joined the group under the name Vader. The goal of the Captain was to destroy the Force and put an end to the running group. Captain Copyright disliked happiness or anything Disney. Vader posted some positive comments on Facebook to lure me in. I felt the hebejebes, perhaps a tremor in the Force, but discarded it as pre-run jitters. I failed to mention Facebook Vader to Yoda: my mistake.
Everyone has to run their own race and I would run my own, but Yoda would join me for encouragement. Vader advertised on the running Facebook group that he would be waiting at the finish line with Glitterbell. Yoda and I started our run, with no sign of Vader.
Feeling my apprehension, Yoda told me, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
Yoda and I left the cheering Glitterbell at the start, which would also serve as the finish. I was huffing and puffing through the first mile.
“Never, ever, judge a run by the first mile”, Yoda offered.
During mile three, I was joined by Never Bird for a mile or so, who ran circles around me, pecking me on the head, showing her love and encouragement, as only she could. At least she didn’t try and sit on me and give me GU. We ran the shore of Mermaid Lagoon around mile 7. I actually saw some of these lovely Mermaid creatures, bathing in the sun, tending to their hair. But running gives you clarity, and once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives you a fairytale, and mine was Glitterbell. She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future. So I ran with hope in my heart and dreams in my head.
Mile 12 – The north side of Never Say Never Marathon Island, yielded no sun. Yoda explained as we traveled through the curious tropical land, “We must be swift as the coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire, running the land, mysterious as the dark side of the moon”.
The miles gave me insight, Yoda saw it, I felt it. We ran in silence, and I found my own answers to the parables fresh in my mind.
Mile 15 – Focus on how far you have gone, not how far you must go.
Mile 18 – Thought about quitting… until I remember why I started!
Mile 20 – Cowards never start. The weak never finish. Winners never quit!
Mile 22 – The body achieves what the mind believes!
Mile 24 – While eating through the miles, I thought I would die. At mile 24, I learned I was too tough to kill.
Mile 26 – I am Aristotle’s featherless biped, I am a runner. And although I have no wings, I have taught myself to fly.
Yoda and I finished together. I knew he could have easily run ahead, but he didn’t. My celebration on finishing my first marathon was cut short. Glitterbell was not there with the finishing medal she made. Out of nowhere, Never Bird came to me, squawking, flapping in despair. Yoda translated. Glitterbell was taken by Captain Copyright who was, in reality, the evil Dark Vader. He took her to his Pirate Ship.
I thought of what I could do. After all I’d been through, was I going to quit, just like that? No… I’m going to fight like hell until I can’t fight any longer. That’s what I’m going to do! So after Vader, Yoda and I flew. I demolished the bridges behind me leaving no other way but forward.
I asked Yoda if there was a plan, finding the Pirate Ship in the cove.
“We will start by doing what is necessary. Then we will do what is possible and then we will accomplish the impossible,” Yoda exclaimed.
I stood defiantly on Yoda’s tortoise shell as we entered the sea towards the Pirate Ship. We made no attempt to hide. We boarded the ship without a fight, “It’s a trap,” I said, finding Glitterbell on deck, surrounded by Pirates, her wings held by a clothespin to the mast. Fairies are easily trapped by holding their wings together, touching each other with the slightest pressure.
Vader yelled from the helm. “I’ve been waiting for you, Yoda. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master.”
“Only a master of evil and copyright suits!” replied Yoda.
“Your powers are weak, old man”, Vader said as he smiled, pulling his saber for battle.
Yoda pulled out his training stick, which made me wonder, where does he keep that thing?
“You can’t win Vader,” Yoda said. “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”
Vader charged, swinging wildly at Yoda’s turtle head. Yoda countered with the drunken fists, mad monkey, kung fu defense. Vader swung at Yoda’s limbs. Much like Whack-A-Mole, Yoda popped in and out of his shell, frustrating Vader. The other Pirates remained in their position around Glitterbell while the masters fought. I noticed Glitterbell was glowing extra bright with pixie dust which coated the ship, the excess flowing like water within the ship’s holes, knots and crevasses. I asked Glitterbell if she was ok?
“When it rains, look for rainbows. When its dark, look for stars,” she said smiling.
Unknown to everyone but Glitterbell and Yoda, the pixie dust levitated the Pirate Ship out of the sea. The predictable west wind eased the ship toward the island as it floated on air and magic. Yoda kept Vader occupied with a flurry of unpredictable panda-style fighting.
When the ship floated over the islands sandy beach, Glitterbell expelled a petite fairy sneeze, which cleared the decks of pixie dust like a hurricane, sending the vessel plummeting to earth. The impact made the ship list, sending the Pirates towards the starboard rail, half spilling overboard. I was still flying high from my completed marathon run and was not affected by such common nuisances, like gravity. I freed Glitterbell from the mast. The Pirates were occupied with saving themselves some fleeing the ship, leaving Vader and Yoda free to battle.
Word quickly spread around the island of the Jedi battle, the Pirate Ship run aground and the mistreatment of Glitterbell. First on scene of the shipwreck battle was the negotiating team, Hip-Hop-o-Hippopotamus and Rip-Rhyme Rhinoceros. Their Pirate negotiating technique did not consist of so many words, it was mostly stomping and jamming a dance move to the beat of Bruno Mars playing in the background. Flocks of Never Birds glided from the mountaintops landing on the ship’s rails and mast. They kicked and pecked at the Pirates attempting to arm themselves on deck. One unlucky Pirate was fed, most involuntarily, stale regurgitated herring by a Never Bird. Then the hobgoblins came, tied in knots, in stripes and polka dots. They came in ones and twoosles, the Heffalump and Woozles, it was very confusel, very sly sly sly. They were quick and slick, in and out, pounding Pirates all about.
Glitterbell hovered over the pandemonium, throwing balls of glitter at Marathon Island minions, who needed a quick lift out of harm’s way from the Pirate swords. Glitterbell, as fast as she was, awarded me my finishing medal for my marathon, while we were in battle. The Never Say Never medal was huge and heavy, with a picture of Glitterbell and the Island. The weight of the medal was slowing me down, but I was not about to take it off, even if it snapped my neck. It was the Glitterbell kiss that followed the presentation of the medal which gave me my superpowers. The kiss also fixed my compass which stopped spinning – giving a clear direction to my life. I made use of this new found strength and courage to recruit a sea monster named Bob, that showed up on the beach, croaking like a frog. The sea monster was like the kind you see on old world maps, during the medieval and renaissance time period, looking scary, implying to explorers, “Don’t travel on this longitude. Nothing here but us ship eating monsters.” I jumped on Bob’s scaly back, near his dual breathing spouts, holding onto his spiked back fin for balance. We began a quick search of the cove for the one thing Vader feared, a large hungry Crocodile. I was yelling, “Ka Caw, Ka Caw,” for no apparent reason, chumming the sea with jellybeans I saved from my peanut butter, jellybean, jellyfish sandwich. The Croc was never too far from Vader, and we found him straight away. The sea monster, Croc and I briefly discussed a plan and then began its implementation, code name “Vader Bait.” Vader and Yoda were crossing weapons at the top of the highest mast when I returned with my team. I slid down Bob’s back to his giant tail-fin. Bob catapulted me, with great velocity, through the air with his tail. Croc followed soon after, traveling via the same fish-tail-launching method. As I flew, I doused Vader with a bucket of GU. He was about to say something in disgust when Yoda hit him with a giant down pillow made with Never Bird butt feathers, which stuck to the GUed Vader. Where Yoda was hiding that pillow, I don’t know. I grabbed Yoda, surfing a wave of air, hanging ten on his shell, until we crashed into a coconut tree. Croc, flying through the air behind me, had his mouth wide open and engulfed the tarred and feathered Vader as he passed. Croc continued through the masts and sails and back into the sea, tasting the Vader-flavored Skittles once again. No more Vader. The Pirates had had enough and either swam or used the dingy to flee the island into the sea. Good thing Bob was also hungry.
After things settled down on the island, I opened a travel company specializing in “runDisney” vacations. Every year we take the Pirate Ship, loaded with creatures, animals and birds from the island. Yoda, a big fan of Disney, travels with us, sleeping in the crow’s nest. We fly the ship at night against a full moon, sailing the clouds with help from Glitterbell and her pixie dust. We float above Disney World near Cinderella’s Castle until the new moon and visit with her sister Tinkerbell.
After some sweet and sour digestion issues, Croc got his job back at Disney, posing for pictures with his incredible smile and was back to licking the heads of kids.
Can you run an impossible distance? Will love find you? Can love stay in your heart through the hard times? Will your dreams come true? Never Say Never, because all things are possible with Wings To Fly.
As the years pass, I continue to run, Glitterbell still outrunning me using her wings to fly, but it matters not, we met for a reason. She was a blessing in a lesson. A lesson I am still learning. Falling in love was the beginning of everything. I live with her in that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming. That is the place I will always love her, that is where I’ll always be, because living and running are always awfully big adventures. And we all lived happily ever after. The End.
Virtual Run World’s Wings To Fly Virtual Run Medal includes:
Custom Designed Large Finishing Medal – 6 inches of bling!
Custom Designed Dye Sublimation Lanyard
Customizable Bib that you print and personalize with your name and favorite number
Wings To Fly
Large 6 Inch Glitter Virtual Run Medal
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