I get by with a little help from my friends

This past weekend wasn’t about me and my running. For once I wasn’t the person pinning on my bib and heading to the start line. Most of my running buddies had their big marathons or half marathons so I instead played support squad and traded in my bib for some neon poster board.

I haven’t actually been on the cheering side of a race since the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and I was surprised at how much could be evoked six months later. The signs, the cowbells, the repetitive cheers… it brought back some pretty powerful feelings that I guess I don’t notice when I’m the one hitting the pavement. At one point we were walking back towards the finish line and happened to wind up on the sidewalk across from a building on fire and the sound of all the sirens made my heart jump out of my body. Maybe it’s something that will take a while to go away. Maybe it’s something that will always come back when I’m on the other side.

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Ironically the race I was spectating was the B.A.A.‘s Half Marathon so while there were some eerie goosebumps, it also felt really great to be back out there doing some well deserved cheering. Part of me felt a little left out that I was the one staying behind while my friends headed to the start line without me, but I’m happy with my decision to wait another month before attempting my own half marathon. This wasn’t my race to run.

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So instead I drew up my best signs and pulled out my strongest cheering voice. I woke up before my alarm and could barely finish my breakfast simply because I was excited at what great things were in store for them that day. I sent good luck texts to the ones far away, and gave the others good luck hugs before I sent them off to the start line. Along the course I chanted their names, reminded them how great they were doing. I did the things that I know mean the world to me when I am trying to will myself to a finish line. And while I gladly would have hopped over the barricades to join them if given the chance, it felt good to be on the other side for a change.

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I played volleyball in high school because I felt like playing a sport was what I was supposed to do, not because I fell in love with it. And therefore while I enjoyed the two short years (Yep, didn’t make it past JV folks) on the team, I don’t think I ever really got the full experience. While I won’t tell you that if I were to go back in time I’d join the track team, running is what makes me happy at this point in my life. I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s evoked a passion in me that I never thought I had, and therefore has given me another circle of friends that I never expected to find. And while I love and treasure all the different groups of friends from the different aspects of my life- there’s something to be said for your running friends. A friendship that revolves around long runs, planning race logistics, and good foot talk. A friendship where some of your best conversations come from an early morning run. A friendship where you can all sit crammed in a small car and not even notice the awful stench. A friendship where the dress code for dinner is spandex pants and neon shirts. I started running as a way to lose weight and somewhere along the way got sucked in more than I ever expected. I don’t know that I’d still be running if it wasn’t for their support along the way- I certainly wouldn’t be running my first half marathon in less than a month. I’d be lying if I said they aren’t one of my favorite parts of being a runner.

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And so I spent my weekend helping coordinate outfits, calculating projected times, and taking pictures of big grins and medals. I joined in the the usual post race food fest (Being the support team makes you almost as hungry as running!) and celebrated them the way they celebrate me. And when Monday morning came around I woke up feeling energized and ready to tackle my long run. After all- some of us still have a half marathon to train for.

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About Kathleen

When your legs get tired run with your heart.

Posted on October 16, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I can’t put into words how much I heart this post – there is this amazing sense of community that is found in the running world and is so, so different than you find in team sports. Running people are totally my people.

    That whole judgement free environment that comes from spending so much time together when everyone is equally sweaty, smelly, and red-faced doesn’t hurt, either!

  2. I enjoy running with my friends!

    • This thing posted before I was done. I have my running boo’s and we hit the pavement and God-awful morning hours and I would have it no other way. I totally relate to your post because my running boo’s are special to me. Several of them ran the Baltimore Running Festival marathon this past weekend and while I could not be there in person I was there in spirit and watching their stats as they updated on the computer. Yes I signed up to track each and every one of them! The day was ELECTRIC! I mean there was so much positivity, prayers and well wishing going our running friends felt us with them. Not everyone did a marathon. Some did the half and others did the 5K. They all finished exhausted yet accomplished. I am so proud of my running boo’s and we have formed an even tighter bond due to our early-morning 5 am runs at least twice a week as well as conversing during longer runs. We promote, encourage and motivate each other and I am so blessed to have them in my life. Cheers to you and you sound like a great supportive friend. Who knew running does this? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Way to be a great support to your friends, even if you weren’t there physically. I had two buddies run the Chicago Marathon this weekend too and I was checking my phone every 2 seconds for tracking updates wishing I was there. Isn’t it great how being around each other inspires and pushes you to be a better runner? Love it ๐Ÿ™‚

      • It is awesome! I had a friend travel to the Chicago Marathon too. It was cool. Our friends were overwhelmed with emotion from all of our support.

  3. Beautiful tribute to running and your running friends ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Even though I’m sure you would have rather gone to Chi town, I appreciate that you were there. It meant a lot to have support!

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