Friday, May 31, 2013

Marathons ARE a Spectator Sport!

I’ve decided that I’m going to stop calling myself slow.  Although my pace is not with the masses, I do my best and I finish. That being said, I’m usually at the back half of the pack. This means two things:
1.       I always have someone at the finish line.
2.       I don’t always get a moment to cheer on the people behind me. 
When I finish, generally, we leave because everyone else has been hanging around.
I’ve hung out at a couple of finish lines in my time, but mostly for 10k’s and 5k’s but standing there watching people run in after sacrificing their bodies for 26.2 miles was an incredible experience.
Let's start at the beginning:
Last weekend I went to the Mountains to Beach Marathon and Half Marathon to support my friends Cody and Neil who were running their first full and half respectively.
Ditto and I left at 6:30am to head to Ventura. The race started at 6am and we had mapped a place that would put us at mile 21ish for the marathon (mile 8ish for the half) and it was walking distance to the finish (the last 5 miles were a “fish hook” shape). 
We had spent the evening before making posters and crew shirts!  Team Ditto was in FULL EFFECT!
Cody, Neil, Ditto and I all love the TV show “How I Met Your Mother” so we used their NY Marathon episode as inspiration for signs and also re-used the signs Angela made for us for our marathon! 

 We also cut up oranges into wedges and bought pretzels and water for runners.
 So, we go there and held up our signs and held out our snacks!
Watching the runners go by was so inspiring and I got so jealous!  I wanted to run. Ditto and I both wore running clothes in the hopes that the boys would need us to pace them to the end…but they stayed strong!
I LOVE to run. Some may even say I’m obsessed with it. But let me tell you something.  There is SOMETHING to watching.
Having people laugh out loud at our signs and stop and take pictures. (One guy told me my sign was so funny it was what would get him through the last 5 miles of the race!)
Seeing the passion in the eyes of the guy in the front…the guy who won this marathon did it in 2:35!
Hearing a small child yell, “Go Mommy!” when they see their mom run on by.
Seeing the determination of someone who is struggling and just wants to finish.
Heading to the finish line and watching people make their dreams come true. I felt so privileged to be there to witness it.
Watching this FIRED ME UP! I cannot wait to stay strong, get stronger and meet more goals.
But I’m also excited to watch other people stay strong and meet their goals. 
AND I’m super proud of my friends!
Cody and Neil- You guys are superstars! I totally have medal envy =D

Kathryn Switzer was right when she wrote
And I believe her.
But you know what else I believe?
If you lose faith in yourself, run.
Any distance will do.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The End of An Era (well, kind of...)

I feel a little bit ridiculous being this sad.
I mean, it’s just a watch; a really big, fancy watch, but a watch nonetheless.
The thing is it was a gift to me.
It was my award for losing 75 pounds.
I have been quoted with saying “This watch changed my life.”
My big, clunky, Garmin Forerunner 305.
It didn’t always work. I didn’t always remember to turn it on.  I often forgot to download my runs.
But me and my watch, we had a relationship.
I didn’t always love my watch.
In fact, sometimes it would say a pace and I would be pissed off.  Why would my watch say I was running that slow?
Other times it would give me confidence.  Like, “WHAT? I’m going fast!”
They’re sending me a new one, and it will do the same thing. It will help me keep pace.  It will remind me to go faster or to slow down. It will tell me how much further I have to go or how much further I GET to go depending on the day.
But it won’t be my first watch.
Anyone who goes out for a run is a runner, but there are certain milestones that people will tell you signified when they FELT like a real runner.
Sometimes it’s crossing that first finish line.
Sometimes it’s the first time you realize there are photographers on the course and you make yourself presentable to them.
Sometimes it’s pinning that first bib or hitting that specific pace.
For me, it was the first time I got a finish line photo back from a race and I wasn’t celebrating my victory, but pausing my Garmin.
Because that’s what real runners do.