So now I am one of those people. You know, the kind with bumper stickers on their car. Scratch that – I’m a runner, a mom-driving-a-minivan runner, who is letting the whole wide world know just how much I. Love. To. Run. And how much I love my home state of Michigan. Through the use of some stickers.

Witness photo of my smiling self next to my newly sticker-adorned Dodge Caravan as evidence. I figure if you’re going to broadcast a passion in life, broadcast it. Go all out. (aside from the running stickers, I’ve got a M22 one, which I received for my participation in this year’s M22 Challenge and which represents a state highway, yes, but much more – check out the M22 company site for more. They’re also behind the new, clever Love Michigan sticker I also had to put on my van…)

Why not?

I’d thought often of slapping on a 13.1 sticker, having tackled that distance several times over, but never quite got around to it, mostly out of laziness and maybe a little out of worry I’d appear to be bragging or something. And yet, I’ve always thought it was cool seeing these stickers on other people’s vehicles – it actually made me smile whenever I saw one, leaving me feeling an instant kinship with these fellow drivers on the road. I’d find myself especially in awe of any driver with an ultra-marathon or triathlon sticker on their car, like the 70.3 one my rockin’ friend Michele has on the back of her mini-van. How cool is that?

In fact, the question of The Sticker – specifically, the 26.2 sticker – was one posed to me by a fellow runner and BQ’er after she’d heard I’d run my first marathon. “I just have one question…is the sticker on your car yet?” she asked in an email. Yeah, I’d thought about it, but again, hadn’t gotten around to it. “You’ve earned it!” she admonished me.

My friend’s enthusiasm for the sticker got me thinking I needed to get on that, and then I got talking with fellow Michigan runner Andy Klevorn, owner of MyRaceSticker.com. Andy, who lives with his family in Ludington, Mich., began creating custom race stickers – he kindly gave me the 26.2 sticker that’s in the picture above – after running his first marathon (and qualifying for Boston) last year.

Go Andy!

“I ran the Bayshore and I wanted a 26.2 sticker to put on the back of my car,” he says.

But the stickers he saw at stores seemed too big. “I drive a smaller car and didn’t want to be that ostentatious,” he says. “So I went to a local sign shop and had 20 made, the size of a business card. I put one on the back of my car, gave two to my running partner and put the rest on eBay.”

“Fifty or 100 stickers later, here I am. Selling marathon, half marathon, Ironman, 5k, 10k, 15k, 25k, Iceman and triathlon stickers.”

I also like that these stickers are smaller and that you can customize your order, which could include putting the name of your race next to the distance if you choose. You can even put your finish time on it. Andy doesn’t believe any other outfit is doing this kind of customization currently. “They’re small, the vinyl lasts six years, and if you want it off, you can peel it off with a razor blade,” he says of his cut-vinyl decals for runners, bicyclists and triathletes. The stickers come in two sizes and three colors: white, black and pink.

“It’s been really fun because my customers are all runners. It’s cool. I’ve swapped emails with them about training and nutrition. You get to share the fun of their accomplishments by selling them a sticker,” says Andy of his side biz. (His day job? Working at the Ludington Daily News. He’s also involved with the Lakestride Half Marathon and 5k)

Go ahead, brag. You've earned it.

Do you have a race sticker on your car? On a water bottle or laptop? I’d love to hear. If you’ve been thinking about getting one, consider supporting a fellow Michigan runner and business by checking out Andy’s site. He’s even making it easier for everyone here: Andy tells me that MyRaceSticker.com would like to welcome Michigan Runner Girl readers to use the coupon code mirunnergirl at www.myracesticker.com to receive 15% off any custom sticker order through the end of the year. In addition, any order of 4 or more of the standard stickers will get 20% off their order. Many thanks for the offer, Andy!

OK, so aside from becoming a bumper sticker fanatic, I’m finding my groove with my summer running routine. I’ve got the National Cherry Festival 15k coming up, which just has to be better than last year’s attempt, and this week I head to Boulder, Co. for a health & fitness bloggers’ conference. My plan is to post pics and share my experience while I’m out there – you know I’ll be running! Should be interesting given the higher altitude…wish me luck on that one…

More soon. Keep running!

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