If You Can’t Join Them, Watch Them

(migrating my old blog page to this one. Post from 3/10/14)

 

If you want to see camaraderie at its finest, stand on the sidelines of a marathon. You can feel the desire from the runners to finish, and you just know how much time, energy and sacrifice they have put into training. I waited at mile 20 yesterday for friends running the LA Marathon and I can tell you, I saw some pretty awesome things.

There were numerous people on the side waiting for their loved ones to come by so they could hop on the course to bang out a few miles with them. I saw little kids waiting for their fathers to come by just so they could give them high fives for encouragement. By far the most inspirational thing I witnessed was a blind runner come through. Wow wow wow.

I even saw people I knew running who were as surprised to see me as I was them. I did feel like a bit of a jerk when I heard a runner scream out “Hi, Missy! “That must be like Bad Spectating 101. You spy the runner, not the runner spy the spectator.

I was getting text alerts tracking my friends so I was able to keep an eye out for them approaching. The first to come through, Marlene, requested I bring a spray bottle (which was the best call and a sign that she is a veteran Marathoner. Her 15th might I add. Talk about impressive). I gave her a good hose down, checked in to see how she was feeling and sent her back on her merry way. Side note, it is slightly awkward though when strangers see the beloved bottle and demand you spray them in the face. (Tip: Don’t buy one from the dollar store. The pressure on it was like getting squirted with a water gun).

My next two friends, Kelly and Celina, came through a few minutes later. They looked like they were actually quite enjoying a little jog around LA (although they claim otherwise). We shot the shit for a few minutes as if I had just met up with them for a latte at Starbucks. They welcomed the water hose down too and thanked me for the encouragement to finish the last leg.

I cheered on my friends and I cheered on perfect strangers. Some people smiled and said thank you. Some people looked at me deliriously trying to figure out if they knew me. I did learn that I need to work on coming up with new phrases to yell out. I alternated between “Good job. You got this!” and “only 6 more to go!”, with the latter resulting in 9 out of 10 times people giving me the “F you with your just 6 more” look. Needless to say, I welcome suggestions for phrases people do like to hear.
When you are pushing your body to its absolute limit, you are bound to have moments when you just want to stop and give up. Then you hear someone urging you to go and with your adrenaline kicking in, you don’t stop. You keep going towards your goals and you truly feel blessed to have someone reminding you that you can do it. Seeing my friends even if just for a really brief moment reminds me of how much a few minutes, or even just a few seconds, can positively impact someone. I wouldn’t trade those moments for a kogi taco (and if you know anything about me,that says a lot).

 

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