May 2, 2011

Run your face off!

The Internet is a funny place. When I signed up for Twitter, I thought I would just be following headlines. I never dreamed I would meet strangers, who would become my friends, who I would wake up at 5:30 a.m. (!!!) to cheer for. But almost all my local Twitter pals were running the Ozark Race for the Cure 10K Saturday, and I couldn't pass up the chance to yell for them at the finish line. I wanted to run too, but I knew I wasn't prepared. One month ago, I ran my first half marathon. Then I took some time off. And the next thing I knew, a month had flown by, and I had run (not counting my 13.1 race miles) a total of 10 miles in April. TEN. So, no, I wasn't prepared to run a 10K after four weeks of leisure, which I spent patting myself on the back for running a great race, partying and sipping mai tais. So instead of running, I did the next best thing. I cheered myself hoarse!

After the Bentonville Half, I promised myself that I would go out and cheer at a race. Running 13.1 is the most physically challenging thing I've ever done, and it would not have happened without the support of my husband and dozens of strangers. Trea was the best motivator I could have asked for. But the volunteers and spectators who came out to support the runners were awesome too! I had the best time reading funny signs, giving high-fives and simply hearing encouraging words. And nothing could top having friends cheer for me at the finish line. I knew they would be there, so I worked even harder to do a good job. Without all that, I would have given up at mile 10. That's when I realized that being part of a running community is not just about running races; it's about being a good race supporter.

The 5K and 10K runners started together, so by the time we made our way to the finish line, some 5K sprinters were already finishing, but I didn't expect to see my friends for another half hour or so. I looked down at my phone to text someone, and I heard a familiar voice screaming, "ANNA!" and saw my maid of honor running down the road! I didn't know she was going to be there, and it was such a fun surprise. Although I felt kind of bad not paying attention and having HER yell for ME even though she was the one running and panting!

Trea and I did such a good job cheering that we almost didn't have any voice left by the time our 10K finishers got to us. Trea came up with our sign idea and held it the whole time, so he was the life of the party. People LOVED him. He yelled over and over, "Good job, good job!" And in between runners, there were these gems: "This is a race; why didn't we bring any water?" "We need a vuvuzela. My throat hurts." And finally, "I could really go for a lozenge." Cheering is fun, but apparently, that activity requires some preparation too. We'll know better next time.

My friends did great, and I was so glad I was there to see them finish!

Go John go!
After they finished, they came over to help us cheer on the rest of the runners. I didn't think we would ever get John and Trea to leave! John discovered his long lost love of the high-five, and Trea posed for pictures with random people who loved the sign. We tried to stay until all the runners had finished because, as Trea said, the ones coming in at the end probably need encouragement the most.

Getting back on the race scene definitely motivated me to put some races on the calendar and start up a training plan. I learned this month that if I don't have a goal and a training schedule, it's way too easy to talk myself into doing nothing and procrastinating for a day that never comes.

So I'll be running the Gold Rush 5K this Friday evening! And next up is the Cancer Challenge 10K in June. And then, I'll be running my first marathon in December!!! More on that later!


  1. You're so right, it's the spectators who can make such a difference in your race. Wether it's a high five, yelling an encouraging word or a fun sign to make you smile, spectators can put that spring back in your step!
    LOVE the sign!!!

  2. you're right - the internet is such a funny place! i've met so many friends this way.

    and, awesome! spectators make SUCH a huge difference in a race!!



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